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Title: Louise Chandler Moulton - Poet and Friend
Author: Whiting, Lilian, 1847-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Louise Chandler Moulton - Poet and Friend" ***

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Poet and Friend




  _Copyright, 1910_,

  _All rights reserved_

  Published, September, 1910





  CHAPTER                     PAGE

     I. 1835-1853                1

    II. 1853-1860               26

   III. 1860-1876               51

    IV. 1876-1880               79

     V. 1880-1890              106

    VI. 1890-1895              169

   VII. 1895-1900              205

  VIII. 1900-1906              229

    IX. 1907-1908              263


  Louise Chandler Moulton, æt. 20                       _Frontispiece_
    From a daguerreotype.

                                                           FACING PAGE

  Elmwood Cottage, Pomfret, Conn., the girlhood home
  of Louise Chandler Moulton                                         5
    Engraved on a watch belonging to her mother.

  Louise Chandler Moulton, æt. 18                                   34
    From a daguerreotype containing a slip of paper upon which
    Mrs. Moulton had written, "Taken in Boston the day I
    first saw my husband,--Spring of 1853."

  Facsimile of a letter from Robert Browning                        96

  Lucius Lemuel Chandler, Mrs. Moulton's father                    104
    From an old daguerreotype.

  The library in Mrs. Moulton's Boston home, 28 Rutland
  Square                                                           109
    From a photograph.

  Louise Chandler Moulton                                          122
    From a photograph by W. Kurtz.

  Facsimile of the original draft of "Laus Veneris," in
  Mrs. Moulton's handwriting                                       143

  Facsimile of a letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes                 164

  Louisa Rebecca Chandler, Mrs. Moulton's mother                   199
    From an old daguerreotype.

  William U. Moulton                                               215
    From a photograph.

  Louise Chandler Moulton                                          227
    From a photograph by Mendelssohn, London, taken about

  Louise Chandler Moulton's grave in Mount Auburn,
  Cambridge, Mass.                                                 275

  Facsimile of book plate from the Memorial Collection
  of the Books of Louise Chandler Moulton,
  Boston Public Library                                            282





     The poet in a golden clime was born
           With golden stars above.--TENNYSON.

     The lingering charm of a dream that is fled.--L.C.M.

Genius, love, and friendship make up a triple dower which holds within
itself the possibilities of high destiny. Their changing combinations
comprise all intensities of human joy and human sorrow: the richness
of sympathetic companionship; the enchantments of romance; the glow
and passion of artistic achievement; and that power of initiating
noble service which invests life with the

           loveliness of perfect deeds
     More strong than all poetic thought.

In few lives have these possibilities been more fully realized than in
that of Louise Chandler Moulton, poet and friend, and lover of the
beautiful. Poet born and poet made, she developed her natural lyric
gift into a rare mastery of poetic art. She wore her singing-robes
with an unconscious grace, and found in her power of song the
determining influence which colored and shaped her life. Her lyrics
were the spontaneous expression, the natural out-pouring, of a lofty
and beautiful spirit. Her poetic instinct radiated in her ardent and
generous sympathies, her exquisite interpretations of sentiment and
feeling; it informed all her creative work with a subtle charm
pervasive as the fragrance of a rose. Her artistic impulse was,
indeed, the very mainspring of her life; it expressed itself not only
in the specific forms of lyrics and of prose romance, but in her
varied range of friendships and in her intense and discriminating love
of literature. Mrs. Moulton was not of the order of the poet who

             puts what he hath of poetry in his verse
     And leaves none for his life.

Her life as well as her art expressed her gift of song. She was a poet
not only in singing, but no less in living. Her friendships were
singularly wide and eclectic, determined always from the inner vision.
They were the friendships of mutual recognition and of sympathetic
ministry. Her tenderness of feeling responded to every human need.
Others might turn away from the unattractive; to her the simple fact
that kindness was needed was a claim which she could not deny.

This was the more striking from the fact that from her early girlhood
her gifts, her culture, and her personal charm won recognition in the
most brilliant circles. To be as unconsciously gracious to peasant as
to prince was in her very nature. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, alluding
to Mrs. Moulton's social prestige in London, wrote:

     "... It is pleasant to feel that she owes this result quite
     as much to her qualities of character as to her gifts of
     intellect. There never lived, perhaps, a more thoroughly
     open-hearted and generous woman; and the poorest and least
     gifted applicant might always seek her as successfully as
     the most famous and influential."

This symmetry of character, a certain fine balance of the gifts of
mind and heart, was the natural outcome, it may be, of a worthy
ancestry. So far as is known, the Chandlers lived originally in
Hampshire, England, where, in the sixteenth century, arms were granted
to them. Many of these Chandlers were men distinguished in their day.
In 1887 was commemorated at Philadelphia the two hundredth anniversary
of the arrival in this country of one of the first Chandlers known to
have immigrated. This was a follower of Fox, who fled from
persecution, and settled in Pennsylvania. A group of ten English
Puritans settled long before the Revolution in what was afterward the
township of Pomfret, Connecticut: and from one of these was descended
Lucius Chandler, the father of Louise. The Chandler family throughout
gave evidence of decided intellectual ability, and this was
strengthened by marriages with other sound Puritan stock. Through her
paternal grandmother Mrs. Moulton was descended from the Rev. Aaron
Cleveland, of literary reputation in the late eighteenth century, and
of account in his day as a wit. This relationship linked her in remote
cousinship with Edmund Clarence Stedman, a tie which both cherished.
The two poets congratulated themselves on a common great-grandmother
who was a classical scholar, famed for her familiarity with Greek.


_Page 5_]

Lucius L. Chandler married Louisa Rebecca Clark, also of good English
ancestry. Mrs. Chandler has been described by Harriet Prescott
Spofford as "a gentle, gracious woman, a noted beauty in her youth,
but singularly free from the vanity and selfishness of most noted
beauties." The only surviving child of this marriage was born at
Pomfret on April 10, 1835, and was christened Ellen Louise. Mr.
Chandler's farm lay on the edge of the quiet Connecticut town, the
landscape pleasantly diversified by adjacent hills and forests, and
the modest, comfortable home was surrounded by flowers and trees. In
later years, recalling her childhood, Mrs. Moulton wrote:

     My thoughts go home to that old brown house
       With its low roof sloping down to the east,
     And its garden fragrant with roses and thyme
     That blossom no longer except in rhyme,
       Where the honey-bees used to feast.

     Afar in the west the great hills rose,
       Silent and steadfast, and gloomy and gray.
     I thought they were giants, and doomed to keep
     Their watch while the world should wake or sleep,
       Till the trumpet should sound on the judgment-day.

     And I was as young as the hills were old,
       And the world was warm with the breath of spring;
     And the roses red and the lilies white
     Budded and bloomed for my heart's delight,
       And the birds in my heart began to sing.

A winsome little sprite seems Ellen Louise to have been, revealing,
even in her earliest years, a quaint touch of her father's courtly
dignity combined with her mother's refinement and unerring sense of
the amenities of life. Mrs. Chandler's fastidious taste and a certain
innate instinct for the fitness of things, invested her always with a
personal elegance that surrounded her like an atmosphere. A picture
lived in her daughter's memory of her arriving one day, in a bonnet
with pink roses, to visit the school; and of her own childish thought
that no other little girl had so pretty a mother as her own. In after
years she pictured, in one of her sonnets, this beloved mother:

     How shall I here her placid picture paint
       With touch that shall be delicate, yet sure?
       Soft hair above a brow so high and pure
     Years have not soiled it with an earthly taint,
     Needing no aureole to prove her saint;
       Firm mind that no temptation could allure;
       Soul strong to do, heart stronger to endure;
     And calm, sweet lips that utter no complaint.
     So have I seen her, in my darkest days,
       And when her own most sacred ties were riven,
     Walk tranquilly in self-denying ways,
       Asking for strength, and sure it would be given;
     Filling her life with lowly prayer, high praise,--
       So shall I see her, if we meet in heaven.

The little maid's schooldays seem to have begun before she was out of
the nursery, for a tiny relic has drifted down the years, in the form
of a very brilliant rose painted on a slip of paper,--the paper faded
and yellow with age, the rose as fresh as if colored yesterday,--bearing
the legend: "Miss Ellen L. Chandler deserves my approbation for good
behavior in school. Charlotte Taintor." And this documentary evidence
of the good behavior of "Miss Ellen" is dated August, 1839, when she
was but little past her fourth birthday. It is pleasant to know that
the future poet began her earthly career in a fashion so exemplary;
and a further testimonial exists in a page which has survived for
nearly seventy years, on which a relative, a friendly old gentleman,
had written, in 1840, lines "To Little Ellen," which run in part:

     Ah, lovely child! the thought of thee
       Still fills my heart with gladness;
     Whene'er thy cherub face I see
       Its smiles dispel my sadness.

This artless ditty continues through many stanzas, and contains one
line at which the reader to-day can but smile sympathetically:

     Thy seraph voice with music breathing;

for this rhapsodical phrase connects itself with the many tributes
paid in later life to her "golden voice." Whittier, expressing his
desire to meet "the benediction of thy face," alludes also to the
music of her tones. That the voice is an index of the soul is a
theory which may easily be accepted by those who have in memory the
clear, soft speech of Mrs. Moulton. Often was she playfully entreated

       lend to the rhyme of the poet
     The music of thy voice;

the lines seeming almost to have been written to describe her recital
of poetry.

The fairies who came to the christening of this golden-haired and
golden-voiced child seemed, indeed, to have given her all good gifts
in full measure. She was endowed with beauty and with genius; she was
born into surroundings of liberal comfort and of refinement; into
prosperity which made possible the gratification of all reasonable
desires and aspirations of a gifted girl. It was her fortune through
life to be sheltered from material anxieties. To a nature less
sensitively perceptive of the needs and sorrows of others, to one less
generous and tender, the indulgence which fell to her as an only and
idolized child, might have fostered that indifference to the condition
of those less favored which deprives its possessor of the richest
experiences of life. With her to see need or misfortune was to feel
the instant impulse to relieve or at least to alleviate the suffering.
Colonel Higginson, in recalling her life in England said:

     "I shall never forget, in particular, with what tears in his
     eyes the living representative of Philip Bourke Marston
     spoke to me in London of her generous self-devotion to his
     son, the blind poet, of whom she became the editor and

Emerson has declared that comforts and advantages are good if one does
not use them as a cushion on which to go to sleep. With Mrs. Moulton
her native gifts seemed to generate aspiration and effort for noble

Among the schoolmates of her childish years was the boy who was
afterward the artist Whistler, who was one year her senior. As
children they often walked home from school together, and one night
the little girl was bewailing that she could not draw a map like the
beautiful one he had displayed to an admiring group that day. It was a
gorgeous creation in colored crayons, an "arrangement" that captivated
the village school with much the same ardor that the future artist was
destined to inspire from the art connoisseurs of two continents. A sad
object, indeed, was the discordant affair that Ellen Louise held up in
self-abasement and hopelessness while she poured out her enthusiasm on
his achievement. The lad received this praise with lofty scorn.
"That's nothing," he exclaimed; "you think this is anything? Take it;
I don't want it; you just see what I can do to-morrow! I'll bring you
then something worth talking about." And with the precious trophy in
her possession, the little girl made her way home. True to his word,
the next morning "Jimmy" brought her a package whose very wrapping
revealed the importance of its contents; and when she had breathlessly
opened it, there was disclosed an exquisite little painting. Under a
Gothic arch that breathed--no one knew what enchanted hints of "the
glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome," or some
far-away dreams of Venice, or other dimly prefigured marvel in the
child's fancy, was an old monk; through the picture were silver
gleams, and a vague glint of purple, and altogether, it held some far
prophecy of the brilliant future yet undisclosed. All her life Mrs.
Moulton kept the gift. It had an unobtrusive place in her
drawing-room, and even figured modestly at the great Whistler
exhibition which was held in Boston by the Copley Society after the
death of the artist.

In some ways Ellen Louise had a rather lonely childhood save that an
imaginative and poetic nature peoples a world of its own. The little
girl had, as it chanced, no playmates near at hand to supply the place
of brothers and sisters; and her companions were those that fancy
created. In later years she wrote of this period:

     "I never felt alone. Dream children companioned me, and were
     as real to my thoughts as if other eyes than my own could
     have seen them. Their sorrows saddened me, their mirth
     amused me, they shared my visions, my hopes; and the strange
     dread with which I--brought up in a Puritan household where
     election and predestination were familiar words--looked
     forward to the inevitable end.

     "Yet haunted as I was by the phantom future, I was happy in
     the present. I am afraid I was what is called a spoiled
     child. I loved horses and I loved verses, and on my eighth
     birthday two presents were made me--a well-equipped saddle
     horse, and a book of poems. The horse ran away with me that
     same afternoon while my too sociable father, who was riding
     with me, stopped to talk town politics with a neighbor; but
     my steed raced homeward, and I reached my own door in
     safety. The book of verse I have yet. It was by Mrs.
     Hemans--now so cruelly forgotten."

Her imaginative nature showed itself in many ways. She says:

     "I was not allowed to read fiction or to play any but the
     most serious games.... Hence I was thrown upon my own
     resources for amusement. I remember when I was only eight
     years old carrying in my head all the summer a sort of
     Spanish drama, as I called it, though I knew little of Spain
     except some high-sounding Spanish names which I gave to my
     characters. Each day, as soon as I could get away by myself,
     I summoned these characters as if my will had been a sort of
     invisible call-boy, and then watched them performing. It did
     not seem to me that I created them, but rather that I
     summoned them, and their behavior often astonished me. For
     one of them, a young girl, who obstinately persisted in
     dying of consumption, I sincerely grieved."

She had written from the age of seven verses which would hardly have
discredited her maturer years. A stanza written when she was nine

     Autumn is a pleasant time
     Breathing beauty in our clime;
     Even its flowerets breathe of love
     Which is sent us from above.

The lines seem to have written themselves, but as Autumn had been
assigned as a theme-subject at school she dealt with it also in prose.
She began with the assertion: "Autumn to the contemplative mind is the
loveliest season of the year"; and closed with the rather startling
line: "All these are beautiful, but let us leave the contemplation of
them until another winter dawns on the languid sea of human life." One
almost wonders that under a training which permitted English so florid
Mrs. Moulton was able to develop her admirable style. At ten she was
writing "An Address to the Ocean" and a meditation on "Hope." Another
effort was "The Bell of My Native City," and this she explained in a
footnote as an imaginative composition, composed to express the
feelings of an exile who had been "unjustly banished from his
country." She was taken a few months later on a little trip to "Tribes
Hill" on the Mohawk, and in a "History of My Journey Home from Tribes
Hill" records gravely:

     "It was a beautiful September morning that ushered in the
     day of my departure. I rose with the first dawning of light
     to gaze once more upon those scenes whose loveliness I had
     so loved to trace. I rejoiced to pay a tribute of gratitude
     to some of the many friends whose society had contributed so
     much to my happiness when away from the home of my
     childhood.... At noon I started.... For many a mile, as we
     were drawn with dazzling rapidity by our wild steam horse
     (whose voice resounded like the rolling of distant thunder),
     I could catch glimpses of the dark blue waters of the
     Mohawk, which I had so loved to gaze upon, and to whose
     music I had so often listened in the hush of evening, from
     my open window, or when walking on its green banks with a
     friend, dearly loved and highly prized, but whom I shall,
     perhaps, meet no more forever.... As I rode along my
     thoughts reverted to her. The river gleaming in quiet beauty
     from beneath the green foliage of its fringing trees
     reminded me of the hours we had spent together in
     contemplating it. The excitement of travelling and the loved
     home to which I was hastening were alike forgotten in these
     reveries of the past."

A sentence of more than a hundred and fifty words that follows quite
graphically depicts a walk taken with this friend, and the child

     "From such reveries of the past was I awakened by the
     stopping of the cars at Albany. That night we embarked on
     board a steamboat, and as we glided o'er the Hudson river,
     my heart bounded with delight. I stood alone before an open
     window, and my soul drank in the richness of the scene."

One can but smile at this rhapsody of the child of eleven, but it is
after all suggestive of literary powers genuine if undeveloped. It
shows, too, a nature sensitive to beauty and a heart full of quick
responsiveness to friendship. The gifts of the woman are foreshadowed
even in the extravagances of the girl.

The blank books in which Louise recorded her impressions and thoughts
and copied out her verses in the years between eight and eighteen
afford material for a curious study of unfolding tendencies. A
religious meeting to which she is taken suggests a long dissertation
on "The Missionary;" and this sketch assumes an imaginative form. The
missionary and his bride are described as voyaging over the ocean to
the field of his labors in these terms:

     "... But when they had entirely lost sight of land Charles
     clasped his loved one to his heart and whispered, 'Be
     comforted, dearest; we go not alone, for is not He with us
     who said, "Lo, I am with thee always, even unto the end of
     the world!"'... The young bride burst into an agony of
     tears.... Her husband led her on deck, and showed her the
     sun's last, golden rays that lay upon the waves, sparkling
     like a thousand brilliants.... It seemed a sea of burning
     gold.... A high and holy resolve rose in the hearts of the
     young missionaries.... They had left a circle of brilliant
     acquaintances for the untutored heathen.... They left the
     deck to sit down in a quiet nook and read the word of Him
     for whom they forsook all earthly pleasures."

Not only do the note-books give such hints of the future story-teller,
but they abound in verse. It is noticeable that although much of this
is crude and inevitably childish, it is yet remarkably free from false
measures. The child had been gifted by heaven with an ear wonderfully
true. The books contain also many quotations copied from the volumes
she was from time to time reading. Moore, Mrs. Hemans, Tupper, Willis,
Longfellow, Whittier, Campbell, are among the names found here most
frequently. Curiously enough the record shows no trace of Scott, of
Byron, of Wordsworth, or of Coleridge.

One of the felicitous orderings of her schooldays was that which
placed her as a pupil of the Rev. Roswell Park, the Episcopal rector
in Pomfret, and Principal of a school called Christ Church Hall. Here
she easily carried off the honors when "compositions" were required.

"Will Miss Ellen Louise Chandler please remain a moment after the
school is dismissed," was the disconcerting request of the teacher one

The purpose of the interview was a private inquiry where the girl had
"found" the poem which she had read in the literary exercises of the

"Why, I can't tell," she answered; "it all wrote itself from my own

The instructor looked at her earnestly for a moment,--this dainty
young girl with the rose-flush deepening in her sweet face,--and
replied: "Then I sincerely congratulate you." And she went on her way.

The commonplace books of her thirteenth year, kept while she was still
a pupil at this school, show more clearly than ever the dawning power
of the young poet. Her reading was not indiscriminate, but selective,
inclining almost equally to poetry and to serious prose. Of the usual
schoolgirl love of novels is little evidence; and this is the more
curious as her fancy was active, and she was writing many stories.
Literary form, also, was beginning to appeal to her, and she copies "A
Remarkable Specimen of Alliteration."

She took life seriously in the fashion of her generation. It was a
time when every girl loved a diminutive; she wrote her name "Nellie"
and signed her verses "Nellie C." Those were the days of the annuals,
"Friendship's Wreath," "The Literary Garland" and the like, and to
these after once she began to see herself in print, "Nellie C." became
quickly a favorite contributor.

She tasted the rapture of a poet born who first sees his verses in
print, when she was fourteen. This is her account:

     "I used to rhyme as long ago as I can remember anything, and
     I sent my first contribution to a newspaper when I was
     fourteen years old.... I remember how secretly, and almost
     as if it were a crime, I sent it in; and when I found the
     paper one evening, upon calling at the post-office on my way
     home from school, and saw my lines--my very own lines--it
     seemed to me a much more wonderful and glorious event than
     has anything since that time.... Perhaps it was unfortunate
     for me that it was accepted at once, since it encouraged me
     in the habit of verse,--making a habit which future
     occupations confirmed. But one gain, at least, came to
     me,--the friendship and encouragement of authors whose work
     I loved. I was scarcely eighteen when my first book was
     published. I called it 'This, That, and the Other,' because
     it was made up of short stories, sketches (too brief and
     immature to call essays), and the rhymes into which, from
     the first, I put more of myself than into any other form of
     expression. Strangely enough, the book sold largely."

This early poem was printed in a daily of Norwich, Connecticut, and no
recognition of after years could ever give quite the same thrill as
this first sight of her name and her own verse in print.

Among her girl-friends was Virginia F. Townsend, later to be known
also as a writer of stories and of verse, and the pair exchanged
numerous rhymes, rather facile than poetic, but doubtless useful in
the way of 'prentice work. A poem which Miss Chandler wrote in her
sixteenth year and called "Lenore"--in those days every youthful
rhymester rhymed to Lenore,--and designated as "for music," was much
praised by the newspapers of the day. It is as admirably typical of
the fashion of the day as the bonnets of the forties which one finds
in a dusty attic.

     Hush thy footfall, lightly tread;
     Passing by a loved one's bed.
     Dust hath gathered on her brow,
     Silently she resteth now.

     Sank she into dreamless rest
     Clasping rosebuds to her breast;
     With her forehead pale and fair
     'Neath the midnight of her hair....

     There we laid her down to sleep
     Where the wild flowers o'er her weep.
     Earth below and blue sky o'er,
     Sweetly sleeps our own Lenore.

Another lyric, written about this time to Governor Cleveland on the
death of his only daughter, contained these lines:

     What time she braided up her hair
       With summer buds and sprays of flowers,
     It was as if some saint had shed
       Heaven's light on this dim world of ours;
     And kneeling where her feet have trod,
       We watched to see the glory break
     When angel fingers at the dawn
       Heaven's portals opened for her sake.

Of these lines Edmund Clarence Stedman wrote with youthful

     "This is almost equal to the picture of Madeline in 'The Eve
     of St. Agnes,' as she kneels before the oriel window of the
     casement, high and triple-arched, in all the holiness of

The stories which the young writer contributed to the gift-books bore
the most startling titles: "Inez Caisco; or, The Flower of Catalonia";
"Beatrice; or, The Beautiful Tambourine Girl"; "Evilia; or, The
Enchantress." Of Isabel Sydenham, the heroine of one of these tales,
it is told that she "threw open her casement,"--no self-respecting
story-teller of the mid-century called a window anything but a
casement,--and sighed: "If he were only here, how we might enjoy the
surpassing loveliness!" Of this sensitive creature, who naturally
"yearns" for all sorts of impossible things, her creator remarks that
"ideality was the predominating characteristic of her mind." According
to gift-book standards no heroine could be more eminently

Not content with being a contributor to the annuals of others, Miss
Chandler compiled a gift-book of her own: "The Book of the Boudoir; a
Gift for All Seasons, Edited by Ellen Louise." By her publisher's
insistence her own portrait formed the frontispiece, and the book
contained also an engraving of Elmwood Cottage. The letter-press
opened with an "Invocation to the Spirit of Poetry" by the youthful
editor, and besides sketches and verses of her own the volume offered
contributions by Mrs. Sigourney, Virginia F. Townsend, George S.
Burleigh, Amanda M. Douglas, and others.

With this publication Miss Chandler may be said to have come fully and
formally into full-fledged authorship. She was deeply tinged with the
sentimental fashions which reigned universally in America in the
middle of the nineteenth century, and which had, indeed, by no means
disappeared in England; but she had genuine feeling, a natural
instinct for literary form, an ear unusually sensitive to metrical
effect, and her real power had already shown itself unmistakably. From
this time on her progress in her art was sure and constant.

One influence of her youthful environment may be mentioned here since
it has been often commented upon. The strain of melancholy habitual in
Mrs. Moulton's poetry has been ascribed to the shadow which was cast
upon her childhood by the sternness of the Calvinistic faith. An
English critic has written:

     "She was brought up in abysmal Puritan Calvinism, and her
     slumber at night was disturbed by terrific visions of a
     future of endless torment. The doctrine of election pressed
     heavily on her youthful soul.... The whole upbringing of
     children in Puritan circles in those days was strict and
     stern to a degree impossible to be realized in a day when
     vulgar sentimentalism rules supreme, and when it is
     considered cruel and harsh to flog a rebellious boy. The way
     in which children were brought up by the Puritans of New
     England in Mrs. Moulton's day may have had its faults, but
     it turned out a class of person whom it is hopeless to
     expect the present day methods of education will ever be
     able to produce."

In this are both truth and exaggeration. The parents of Mrs. Moulton
were, it is true, Calvinists, but they were neither bigots nor
fanatics. The question was quite as much that of the sensitive,
delicately responsive temperament of the child as of the doctrine in
which she was reared. Being what she was, she realized to the full the
possible horrors involved in the theology of the time, and
imaginatively suffered intensely. She once said to a London

     "I remember that the Calvinistic doctrines I was taught
     filled my imagination with an awful foreboding of doom and
     despair. I can recall waking in the depth of the night, cold
     with horror, and saying to myself, 'Why, if I'm not among
     the elect, I _can't_ be saved, no matter how hard I try,'
     and stealing along on my little bare feet to my mother's
     bed, praying to be taken in, with a vague sense that if I
     must be lost in the far future, at least now I must go where
     love could comfort me, and human arms shelter me from the
     shapeless terrors that mocked my solitude."

While, however, the lack of a more encouraging interpretation of
Divine Goodness undoubtedly was to a degree responsible for the minor
chords which became habitual in her verse, the natural longing which
is part of the poetic nature, was in Mrs. Moulton unusually strong and
was exaggerated by the literary modes of her day. On the whole the
influences of her childhood were sweet and sound and wholesome. Her
natural love of beauty was fed and developed, her inherent literary
taste was nourished by sympathy and by success, and her wonderful
sensitiveness to literary form trained by early and constant practice.
It is even possible that the very harshness of Calvinism, which was
almost the only shadow, was a healthful influence which deepened and
strengthened her art, that might without this have suffered from
sunshine too uninterrupted.



     A beautiful and happy girl
       With step as light as summer air.--WHITTIER.

     Her glorious fancies come from far
     Beneath the silver evening-star,
     And yet her heart is ever near.--LOWELL.

     At dawn of Love, at dawn of Life.--L.C.M.

In a lyric written by Mrs. Moulton in after years, occurs the lovely
line quoted above, which seems vividly to describe her as she stood, a
girl of eighteen, on the threshold of a new phase of life.

Young as she was Miss Chandler had already, by her newspaper and
magazine work, made for herself a reputation, and she now collected
the papers which made up the volume spoken of in the previous chapter,
"This, That, and the Other," with the encouraging result of a sale of
twenty thousand copies. The _North American Review_ was then almost
the only magazine in the country exclusively devoted to criticism and
the intellectual life. Much of the best literary work of the time, in
the way of fiction and poetry, appeared in such periodicals as
_Godey's Lady's Book_, _Peterson's Magazine_, and the like; and to
these Miss Chandler was a constant contributor. The weekly newspapers
were rich in poems by Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, the Cary sisters,
N.P. Willis, Poe, and many others of permanent fame. Besides these, a
host of the transient singers of the day, literary meteors, flitted
across the firmament, not unfrequently with some song or story which
individually was quite as worthy of recognition as were those of their
contemporaries whose power to sustain themselves in longer flights and
to make good the early promise has earned their title to permanent
recognition. Mrs. Moulton's scrapbooks indicate how rich were the
literary columns of the newspapers in those days. There being then no
international copyright law, the American editor enriched his page
with the latest poem of Browning, Tennyson, Swinburne, or Mrs.
Browning. Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Dr. Parsons, Nora Perry,
William Winter, the Stoddards (Richard Henry and Elizabeth), N.P.
Willis, Saxe, Mrs. Stowe, Jean Ingelow, Miss Mulock, Aldrich, and Mary
Clemmer, are largely represented in these old scrapbooks. Many
fugitive poems, too, appear, as the "Bertha" of Anne Whitney, a poem
well entitled to literary immortality; the "Three Kisses of Farewell,"
by Saxe Holm; the "Unseen Spirits," by Willis, a poem too little
known; and Mr. Aldrich's "The Unforgiven," excluded from his later
editions, but which contains those beautiful lines:

     In the East the rose of morning biddeth fair to blossom soon,
     But it never, never blossoms in this picture; and the moon
     Never ceases to be crescent, and the June is always June.

Miss Chandler's book was one of over four hundred pages, illustrated
by the famous Rouse (whose portrait of Emerson has always been so
highly considered), and its fine engravings and its binding of crimson
cloth combined to give it a sumptuous appearance. The _Springfield
Republican_ gave it pleasant recognition in these words:

     "The writings of a young girl still on the threshold of life
     and still to be regarded as a bright, incarnate
     promise,--her writings are very graceful, very tender, and
     very beautiful, just what the flowers of life's spring
     should be."

The young author dedicated her book to her mother in tender phrase,
and her artless "Preface" was one to disarm any adverse view.

In after years Mrs. Moulton smilingly replied to some questions
regarding her initiation into authorship:

     "I remember the huge posters with which they placarded the
     walls, headed, 'Read this book and see what a girl of
     eighteen can do.' I think I had the grace to be a little
     shocked at these posters, but the reviews were so kind, and
     said such lovely things that--Ah! shall I ever be so happy
     again as when I read them!"

Edmund Clarence Stedman, who had just left Yale College and who, at
the beginning of his literary career, was editing a country paper in
Connecticut, greeted Miss Chandler's book with the ardent praise of
youth and friendship; but these warm phrases of approval were also the
almost unanimous expression of all the reviewers of the day. The
twentieth century reader may smile at Mr. Stedman's youthful distrust
of the "strong-minded woman," but his remarks are interesting. Of
"This, That, and the Other," he wrote:

     "'This, That, and the Other,' is a collection of prose
     sketches and verse from the pen of a young lady fast rising
     into a literary reputation; a reputation which, though it
     is achieved in no 'Uncle Tom' or 'Fanny Fern' mode, is no
     less sure than that of Mrs. Stowe, or Sara Payson Willis,
     and will be more substantial, in that the works on which it
     is founded are more classic and in better taste.... Miss
     Chandler is a native of Pomfret in this state, and every
     denizen of Connecticut should be proud of her talents. She
     is beautiful and interesting; her manners are in marked
     distinction from the forwardness of the strong-minded woman
     of the day...."

Epes Sargent, in the _Boston Transcript_, said:

     "... The ladies have invaded the field of fiction and
     carried off its most substantial triumphs. Mrs. Stowe, Fanny
     Fern, and now another name, if the portents do not deceive
     us, is about to be added--that of Miss Chandler, who
     although the youngest of the band (she is not yet nineteen),
     is overflowing with genius and promise. Such tales as those
     of 'Silence Adams,' 'A Husking Party at Ryefield,' 'Agnes
     Lee,' and 'Only an Old Maid,' reveal the pathos, the beauty,
     the power, the depth and earnestness of emotion that Ellen
     Louise has the art of transfusing into the humblest and
     most commonplace details.... But Ellen Louise must not be
     deceived by injudicious admiration. Her style, purified,
     chastened and subdued, would lose none of its
     attractiveness. She gives evidence of too noble a habit of
     thought to desire the success which comes of the hasty
     plaudits of the hour."

The book reviewing of 1853 was apparently not unlike the spelling of
George Eliot's poor Mr. Tulliver,--"a matter of private judgment." For
although the stories of Ellen Louise were singularly sweet and winsome
in their tone, with an unusual grasp of sentiment and glow of fancy
for so youthful and inexperienced a writer, they could yet hardly
claim to rank with the work of Mrs. Stowe. The leading papers of that
day united, however, in an absolute chorus of praise for the young
author, who is pronounced "charming," and "overflowing with talent";
the "refinement and delicacy" of her work, her "rare maturity of
thought and style," and a myriad other literary virtues were discerned
and celebrated to the extent that the resources of the language of the
country would allow. A sonnet was written to her, signed "B.P.S.,"
which signature is easily translated to us in these days as that of
B.P. Shillaber, the author of "Mrs. Partington." The sonnet is


     Take this, and that, and t'other all together,
       We like you better every day we're breathing;
     And round our hearts this pleasant summer weather
       Your fairy fingers deathless flowers are weaving:
     We read delightedly your charming pages
       Fraught in each line with truth and magic beauty;
     Here starts a tear that some hid woe assuages,
       And there is heard a voice that calls to duty.
     And proudly may Connecticut, sweet Ellen,
       Point to the genius bright that crowns her daughter,
     And the rare graces that she doth excel in,
       Confessed in floods of praise from every quarter.
     The world forgives the wooden nutmeg suction
     Because of you, the best Connecticut production.

The succeeding year Miss Chandler passed at Mrs. Willard's Seminary in
Troy, N.Y., and a classmate, who in after years became the wife of
General Gillespie, thus describes her:

     "My acquaintance with Louise Chandler began when she entered
     Mrs. Willard's Seminary in Troy, where we were both pupils.
     She was at once very much admired and beloved. Her first
     book, called 'This, That, and the Other,' had been published
     just before she came, and we were all very proud of her
     authorship. She had a lovely face, very fair, with
     beautiful, wavy, sunny hair, falling on either side the deep
     blue-gray eyes, with their dark, long lashes. Her voice was
     clear and sweet, with the most cultivated intonation."

For the school Commencement Miss Chandler was chosen class poet, and
produced the regulation poem, neither better nor worse than is usual
on such occasions. Six weeks later, August 27, 1855, she married
William Upham Moulton, editor and publisher of _The True Flag_, a
Boston literary journal to which his bride had been a frequent

The journalists of the day made many friendly comments upon the
marriage of their brother editor. Some of them ran thus:

     "The possession of a noble and true heart in the one, and of
     a gentle and winning nature in the other, are presages of
     future bliss."

     "Mr. Moulton is a writer of much originality of style and
     great power; an independent thinker, shrewd in conclusions
     and fearless in expression. Miss Chandler overflows with
     kindness, geniality, appreciation of the lovely, and the
     power of description to a remarkable degree."

     "... Of his choice the world can speak. Her literary
     attainments have made their public mark, and her kindness of
     heart has won for her an eminent place in the affections of
     thousands. Our associate may well be congratulated on his
     acquisition of a new contributor to his happiness, and
     pardoned, in view of the richness of his prize, for leaving
     the fair of our own locality for more distant Connecticut."


_Page 34_]

One of the girlish pictures of Miss Chandler bears the inscription, in
her own writing, "Taken the day I first saw my husband," but
unfortunately, the date is not given. In a little sketch Harriet
Prescott Spofford remarks that "Louise must have combined studying,
writing, and love-making to a rather remarkable degree during her last
year at school"; and adds in regard to her marriage:

     "She was barely twenty when she married William Upham
     Moulton, a man of culture and of much personal attraction.
     Lingering a moment on the church porch in the sunset light,
     she has been described by one who saw her as a radiant
     being, in her bridal veil, blooming, blushing, full of life
     and joy and love. An exquisite skin, the 'rose crushed on
     ivory,' hazel eyes, with dark lashes and brows, and a
     confiding, fearless glance, small white teeth, a delightful
     smile, cheek and chin having the antique line, all united to
     make a loveliness which no portrait has successfully
     rendered, and which tender consideration and grace of manner
     accented to wonderful charm."

Among her girlish treasures preserved for more than fifty years was a
small blank book, on the fly-leaf of which she had written: "Ellen
Louise Chandler Moulton, from my husband, Aug. 27, 1855, Elmwood
Cottage, Pomfret, Conn."; and underneath in quotation, the lines:

     "Who shall decide? The bridal day, oh, make it
       A day of sacrament and present prayer;
     Though every circumstance conspire to take it
       Out of the common prophecy of care!
     Let not vain merriment and giddy laughter
       Be the last sound in the departing ear,
     For God alone can tell what cometh after--
       What store of sorrow, or what cause to fear."

Mr. Moulton brought his bride to Boston, where she was at once
introduced into those literary circles made up of the chief men and
women of letters. "Here," said one who remembers her entrance into
Boston life, "the bright, quick, impassioned girl speedily blossomed
into the brilliant woman." In some reminiscences of her own in
recalling this delightful period she said:

     "Every one was very good to me--Dr. Holmes, Longfellow,
     Whittier--all those on whose work I had been brought up. And
     then the broader religious thought of Boston began to
     conquer the Puritanism in which I had been educated.
     Whittier was a Quaker, but he believed most of all in the
     loving Fatherhood of God,--the Divine care which would
     somehow, somewhere, make creation a blessing to all on whom
     had been bestowed the unsought gift of life. He told me once
     how this conviction first came to him. It was a touching
     anecdote of his childhood when his mother's tenderness to
     the erring aroused in him the perception of the goodness of
     God. Whittier was a singularly modest man; if one praised
     his work he would say, 'Yes, but there should be a
     perfection of form, and what I do is full of faults.' Once,
     at an evening party, he was vainly entreated to recite one
     of his poems. 'No,' he said, 'but I wish she would,'
     pointing to me. I then read 'The Swan Song of Parson Avery,'
     and when I had finished he came across the room and said,
     'Why, thee has really made me think I've written a
     beautiful poem.'

     "No words could overpraise the sweet graciousness of
     Longfellow and Dr. Holmes to me, a new-comer into their
     world. I knew Ralph Waldo Emerson, also. The very last time
     I saw him he had just returned from California, and he
     crossed the Athenæum Library, where we chanced to be, to ask
     me if I had ever been there myself and had seen the big
     trees. 'Why,' he said, 'it took thirteen horses to go round
     one tree, the head of one touching the tail of another--what
     do you think of that?'

     "I remember once, when I was a guest in his house in
     Concord, his telling me that he had long wanted to make an
     anthology of the one-poem men. And he went on to speak of
     the poets who were remembered by only one poem. He never
     carried out his idea, but I wish some one else might."

It was a rich and stimulating atmosphere into which Mrs. Moulton
entered in Boston. The first winter after her marriage Thackeray
visited this country and gave in Boston, in January of that year
(1856), his lectures on "The Four Georges." In recalling these, Mrs.
Moulton afterward said:

     "I sat close to the platform, thoroughly entranced, and
     longing to speak to him--this great man! longing with all a
     romantic schoolgirl's ardor and capacity for hero-worship. I
     never missed a lecture. The last day and the last lecture
     came, and as Mr. Thackeray came from the platform he bent
     toward me and said: 'I shall miss the kind, encouraging face
     that has sat beneath me for so many hours'; and I was too
     surprised to be able to answer him a word. But it is a
     memory that has never left me."

Boston in the fifties had little to boast of in the artistic line.
Henry James, writing of Hawthorne's time, noted with amusement the
devotion to the "attenuated outlines" of Flaxman's drawings. The
classic old Athenæum contained practically all that the city could
offer in the way of art. Here were some casts from antique marbles,
specimens of the work of Greenough and Thorwaldsen, a certain number
of dull busts of interesting men, a supply of engravings, and a small
collection of paintings. The paintings were largely copies, but
included originals by Allston, Copley, and a few others.

In music the taste was pure, if the opportunities were but provincial.
Grisi and Mario in brief visits delighted the town in opera; the
Handel and Haydn Society provided oratorio; the Harvard Orchestra gave
instrumental concerts. In the spring of 1856 was held a Beethoven
Festival, and the bronze statue, so long familiar in the old Boston
Music Hall, was inaugurated with a poem by the sculptor, William
Wetmore Story.

In intellectual life Boston had long been distinguished among American
cities. In these early years of Mrs. Moulton's life here Lowell gave
his course of lectures on "Poetry" before the Lowell Institute, and
Curtis his course on "Bulwer and Disraeli." Longfellow at this time
was writing "Hiawatha"; Richard Grant White was often coming over from
New York to confer with the Cambridge group on nice points in his
edition of Shakespeare. The interest in literature is illustrated by
the fact that when "Maud" appeared in the summer of 1855 Longfellow
and George William Curtis made a pilgrimage to Newport to read and
discuss it with Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. The aristocratic ideal in the
world into which Mrs. Moulton had come was distinctly intellectual
rather than plutocratic.

The year of her marriage was also the year of the publication of her
second book, a novel entitled "Juno Clifford," which was brought out
anonymously by the Appletons. Again the praise of the reviewers was
practically unanimous. A Boston critic wrote: "The authorship is a
mystery which perhaps time will unravel, for rumor is ascribing it to
lofty names in the world of literature"; and George D. Prentice, in
the _Louisville Journal_, in less journalistic phrase, characterized
the story as having "numerous points of strange beauty and a strange

Among the sympathetic friends who at this time enriched Mrs. Moulton's
life none was of personality more striking than Mrs. Sarah Helen
Whitman, whose connection with Poe was at once so touching and so
tragic. "No person ever made on me so purely spiritual an impression,"
wrote Mrs. Moulton in _The Athenæum_ in after years, "as did Mrs.
Whitman. One of her friends said of her: 'She is nothing but a soul
with a sweet voice.'" Some of the poems signed "Ellen Louise" had
attracted the attention of Mrs. Whitman, and a correspondence
followed. In a postscript to the first letter written to Mrs. Moulton
after her marriage, Mrs. Whitman says:

     "You ask my plans. I have none nor ever had. All my life I
     have been one of those who walk by faith and not by sight. I
     never can plan ahead. The first words I ever learned to
     speak were caught from hearing the watchman call out in the
     middle of the night, 'All's well.' This has always been my
     great article of faith. An angel seems ever to turn for me
     at the right time the mystic pages of the book of life,
     while I stand wondering and waiting,--that is all."

On the appearance of "Juno Clifford," Mrs. Whitman wrote:

     _Mrs. Whitman to Mrs. Moulton_

     NOVEMBER 15 [1855].

     MY DEAR LOUISE: I have read "Juno Clifford," and my "honest
     opinion" is that it is a very fascinating story, eloquently
     related. I was surprised at its finished excellence; yet I
     expected much from you.

     I have written a notice for the _Journal_ which will appear
     in a few days. I will send you a copy of the paper. I wish I
     had leisure to tell you all I think of the book. You have
     all the qualities requisite for a successful novelist, and
     some very rare ones, as I think. The grief of the poor Irish
     girl brought tears to my eyes,--eyes long accustomed to look
     serenely on human sorrows. The character of Juno is
     admirably portrayed and you have managed the "heavy tragedy"
     with admirable skill. I do not, however, like to have Juno
     tear out her beautiful hair by "handfuls," and I think there
     is a lavish expenditure of love scenes in the latter part of
     the book; but all young lovers will freely pardon you for
     this last offence, and I am not disposed to be hypercritical
     about the hair.

     I can find nothing else to condemn, though I would fain show
     myself an impartial judge. I wish "Juno" all success, and am
     ever, with sincere regard,

     Your friend,


     P.S.--I saw the death of Miss Locke in _The Times_! could it
     have been our Miss Locke? Do you know? I am very busy just
     now. I have no good pen, and my pencil turns round and round
     like an inspired Dervish, but utters no sound; so look on my
     chirography with Christian charity, and love me,


In other letters from Mrs. Whitman, undated, but evidently written
about this time, are these passages:

     "I have to-day found time to thank you for your letter and
     beautiful poem. It is very fine, picturesque, and dramatic.
     These are, I think, your strong points, but you have touches
     of pathos.... You must not leave off writing stories, nor do
     I see any necessity of making any selection between the muse
     of poetry and the muse of romance. I should say, give
     attendance to both, as the inspiration comes.... Dr. Holmes,
     whom I met at the lectures of Lola Montez, is charmed by

     "Mrs. Davis read me Mrs. [R.H.] Stoddard's book ['Two Men'],
     because you spoke of it so highly. It has, indeed, a strange
     power,--not one that fascinates me, but which impresses me
     profoundly and piques my curiosity to know more of the
     author. I marked some paragraphs which indicated a
     half-conscious power of imaginative description, which I
     wish she would exercise more freely. Tell me about her in
     her personal traits of character.... I hope you will not
     impugn my taste, dear Louise, when I tell you I like your
     'two men' better than Mrs. Stoddard's. 'Margaret Holt' is a
     charming story. Why is it that Mrs. Stoddard so entirely
     ignores all sweet and noble emotions?"

Mrs. Moulton's next volume was a collection of the stories which she
had contributed to various magazines. It was entitled "My Third Book,"
and was brought out by the Harpers in 1859. It was greeted as a work
which "bears the seal of feminine grace," and which "reveals the
beauty of Mrs. Moulton's genius." Of two of the tales a reviewer said,
in terms which give with amusing fidelity the tone of the favorable
book-notice of the mid-century:

     "'No. 101' reminds us of some wondrous statue, her pen has
     so sculptured the whole story. 'Four Letters from Helen
     Hamilton' are enough to stir all hearts with their [_sic_]
     high purpose and the beautiful ideal of womanhood which
     consecrate [_sic_] them."

Continuing her old habit at school, Mrs. Moulton for many years kept
notes of her abundant reading, and the comments and extracts set down
in her exquisite handwriting throw a most interesting light on the
growth of her thought. She mentions Miss Austen's "Sense and
Sensibility" as "interesting, but deficient in earnestness." "Guy
Livingston," that old-fashioned apotheosis of brute force, she, like
most of the novel-readers of the time, found "fascinating." "The
Scarlet Letter" impresses her profoundly, and she copies many
passages; the first volume of "Modern Painters" she reads with the
most serious earnestness, and comments at length upon Ruskin's view
that public opinion has no claim to be taken as a standard in the
judgment of works of art. Although the bride of a few months, and not
yet twenty-one, she enters with the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl into
the larger opportunities of life opened to her by her marriage. To
English literature she gives herself in serious study. She writes
copious analyses of the history of different periods, and critical
studies of various writers. It was perhaps at this period that she
began to respond to the work of the Elizabethan lyricists with a
sympathy which marked the kinship which English critics found so
evident in her poetic maturity.

The list of books noted in these records during the next ten years is
large and varied. Mrs. Gaskell, Bishop Butler, Dr. Martineau, Miss
Mulock (Mrs. Craik), Anthony Trollope, and later George Eliot and
George Meredith, are among the writers whom she mentions; and from the
"Self-Help" of Samuel Smiles in 1860 she makes copious extracts. Her
taste was catholic, and her attitude toward literature always one of
genuine seriousness.

Mrs. Moulton's memoranda for her own stories are both interesting and
suggestive. To see as it were the mind of the creative writer at work
is always fascinating, and here, as in the "American Notebooks" of
Hawthorne, the reader seems to be assisting in the very laboratory of
the imagination. Some of these notes are as follows:

     "Have the story written by a man. Have him go all his life
     worshipping one woman, even from boyhood. He wins her,--she
     is cold but he is satisfied and believes she will grow to
     love him. After three years she leaves him. He gives his
     life to seeking her. At last finds her just as she is
     attempting to drown herself, and takes her home."

And again:

     "Have a wealthy family travelling in Egypt, and a child born
     to them there who shall bear the name of the country. This
     child, Egypt Sunderland, seems to be strangely influenced by
     her name, and develops all the peculiar characteristics of
     the Egyptian women."

She conceives the outline plots for numerous stories,--among the
titles for which are "The Sculptor's Model," "The Unforgiven Sin,"
"The River Running Fast," "The Embroidered Handkerchief," "A Wife's
Confession," "The Widow's Candle and How It Went Out." For one
projected story her outline runs:

     "Show that there is punishment for our sins lying in the
     consequence of them, which no repentance can avert, or
     forgiveness condone,--which must be suffered to the
     uttermost. Make it clear that passive goodness is not
     enough. We must do something for humanity. That a man who
     has no moral fibre or practical wisdom has a claim on us for
     help. For energy and good judgment are as much a gift as are
     eyes to see and ears to hear. The very lack of practical
     wisdom gives the one so lacking a special claim on our

Perhaps no one ever lived more in accord with this little gospel of
human duty than did Mrs. Moulton, and this fact invests the note with
a peculiar interest.

The fiction of the day was little concerned with character-drawing or
mental analysis, but was largely occupied with a certain didactic
embodiment of ideals of conduct. In such fiction a writer of Mrs.
Moulton's genuine sincerity of temperament could not but show clearly
her true attitude toward the deeper problems of life. The opening of
one of her stories, "Margaret Grant," will illustrate this fact.

     "The love of life, the love of children, the love of
     kin--these constrain all of us; but it was another kind of
     love that constrained Margaret Grant. Curiously enough the
     first awakening came to her soul from a book written by an
     unbeliever, a book meant to bring Christianity to the final
     test of final obedience, and to prove its absurdity, thereby
     prove that to be a Christian as Christ taught, would
     overthrow the uses of the world, and uproot the whole system
     of things. 'Let the uses of the world go, and the system of
     things take care of itself,' Margaret Grant said when she
     laid the book down. 'This same religion of Christ is the
     best thing I know, and I will go where it leads me.' And
     then she waited for the true Guide, that Holy Spirit which
     shall be given to every honest soul that seeks--waited for
     her special work, but not idly, since every day and all the
     days were the little offices of love that make life sweeter
     for whatever fellow-pilgrim comes in our way.

     "Margaret read to her half-blind grandmother--taught the
     small boy that ran the family errands to read--helped her
     mother with the housekeeping, all on the lines of 'godly
     George Herbert,' who wrote:

          Who sweeps a room as for God's laws,
            Makes that and the action fine.

     But all the time she felt that these were not the real work
     of her life, that work which was on its way."

With the earnestness of spirit which is shown in this and which so
continually sounded in her poems, Mrs. Moulton lived her rich life in
the congenial atmosphere which surrounded her. Mrs. Spofford, writing
of Mrs. Moulton from personal memory, says of her in 1860:

     "She was now in her twenty-fifth year, fully launched upon
     the literary high-seas, contributing to _Harper's_, the
     _Galaxy_, and _Scribner's_ as they came into existence, and
     to the _Young Folks_, the _Youth's Companion_, and other
     periodicals for children. Her life seemed a fortunate one.
     She had a charming home in Boston where she met and
     entertained the most pleasant people; her housekeeping
     duties were fulfilled to a nicety, and no domestic detail
     neglected for all her industrious literary undertakings. A
     daughter had been born to her, Florence, to whom 'Bed-time
     Stories' were dedicated in some most tender and touching
     verses, and, somewhat later, a son whose little life was
     only numbered by days."

Life was deepening and offering ever wider horizons. With Emily
Dickinson she might have said of the complex interweaving of event,
influence, and inspiration:

     Ah! the bewildering thread!
       The tapestries of Paradise
     So notelessly are made.



                       But poets should
     Exert a double vision; should have eyes
     To see near things as comprehensively
     As if afar they took their point of sight;
     And distant things as intimately deep
     As if they touched them....
     I do distrust the poet who discerns
     No character or glory in his time.
               MRS. BROWNING.--_Aurora Leigh._

                               ... there are divine things, well envelop'd;
     I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than
       words can tell.--WALT WHITMAN, _Song of the Open Road_.

     The morning skies were all aflame.--L.C.M.

Poetry with Mrs. Moulton was a serious art and an object of earnest
pursuit. It was not for mere pastime that she had steeped herself, so
to speak, in

           ... The old melodious lays
     Which softly melt the ages through;
     The songs of Spenser's golden days,
     Arcadian Sidney's silver phrase;

for in her poetic work she recorded her deepest convictions and her
most intimate perceptions of the facts of life. To her life was love;
its essence was made up of the charm of noble and sincere friendships,
of happy social intercourse, of sympathetic devotion. To this joy of
love and friendship, there was in her mind opposed one sorrow--death,
and not all the assurances of faith or philosophy could eliminate this
dread, this all-pervading fear, that haunted her thoughts. In some way
the sadness of death, as a parting, had been stamped on her
impressionable nature, and it inevitably colored her outlook and made
itself a controlling factor in her character. It took the form,
however, of deepening her tenderness for every human relation and
widening her charity for all human imperfection. The vision of

     Cold hands folded over a still heart,

touched her as it did Whittier, with the pity of humanity's common
sorrow, and with him she could have said that such vision

     Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave.

Writing in later years of Stephen Phillips she said:

     "Is it not, after all, the comprehension of love that above
     all else makes a poet immortal? Who thinks of Petrarch
     without remembering Laura, of Dante without the vision of

     "I have said that Phillips is the poet of love and of pity.
     Many poets have uttered the passionate cries of love; but
     few, indeed, are those who have seen and expressed the
     piteous tragedy of life as he has done. He says in

          "The half of music, I have heard men say,
          Is to have grieved.

     And not only has Phillips grieved, but he has felt the grief
     of other men--listened to the wild, far wail which, one
     sometimes feels, must turn the very joy of heaven to

These words reveal much of her own nature. One critic said aptly:

     "She is penetrated with that terrible consciousness of the
     futility of the life which ends in the grave--that
     consciousness of personal transitoriness which has haunted
     and oppressed so many passionate and despairing hearts. She
     knows that 'there is no name, with whatever emphasis of
     passionate love repeated, of which the echo is not faint at
     last.' And against this inevitable doom of humanity she
     rebels with all the energy of her nature."

In her verse-loving girlhood she had delighted in the facile music and
the obvious sentiment of Owen Meredith; his "Aux Italiens," "Madame
la Marquise," and "Astarte" had delighted her fancy. As she developed,
Browning's "Men and Women" held her captive; and she responded with
eagerness to the new melodies of Swinburne. She was indeed wonderfully
sensitive to the charm of any master who might arise; yet her own work
seemed little influenced by others. She remained always strikingly

In the decades between 1860 and 1880 Boston was singularly rich in
rare individualities, and among them Mrs. Moulton easily and naturally
made her own place. She found the city not so greatly altered from the
Boston of the forties of which Dr. Hale remarked that "the town was so
small that practically everybody knew everybody. Lowell could discuss
with a partner in a dance the significance of the Fifth Symphony of
Beethoven in comparison with the lessons of the Second or the Seventh,
and another partner in the next quadrille would reconcile for him the
conflict of freewill and foreknowledge." At this period James Freeman
Clarke had founded his Church of the Disciples, of which he remained
pastor until 1888; and in 1869 Phillips Brooks became rector of
Trinity. Lowell, in these years, was living at Elmwood, and it was in
1869 that he recited at Harvard Commencement his great Commemoration
Ode. The prayer on that occasion was made by Mr. Brooks, and of it
President Eliot said that "the spontaneous and intimate expression of
Brooks' noble spirit convinced all Harvard men that a young prophet
had risen up in Israel."

Lydia Maria Child, the intimate friend of Whittier, Sumner, Theodore
Parker, and Governor Andrew, was then living, and in her book,
"Looking Toward Sunset," quoting a poem of Mrs. Moulton's from some
newspaper copy which had omitted the name of the author, Mrs. Child
had altered one line better to suit her own cheerful fancy. On Mrs.
Moulton's remonstrance Mrs. Child wrote her a characteristically
lovely note, but ended by saying: "I hope you will let me keep the
sunshine in it; the plates are now stereotyped, and an alteration
would be very expensive." Mrs. Moulton cordially assented to the added
"sunshine," and an affectionate intercourse continued between them
until Mrs. Child's death in 1880.

These years of the third quarter of the Nineteenth Century were the
great period of Webster, Choate, Everett, Channing, Sumner, and
Winthrop. With the close of the Civil War national issues shaped
themselves anew. It was a period of wonderful literary activity.
Thomas Starr King, who came to Boston in 1845, was a lecturer as well
as a preacher of power and genius. Henry James, the elder, was
publishing from time to time his philosophic essays, and to Mrs.
Moulton, who was much attracted by his gentle leadings, he gave in
generous measure his interest and encouragement. The _Atlantic
Monthly_ was founded in 1857 by Phillips and Sampson, the enterprising
young publishers who, according to Dr. Hale, inaugurated the
publishing business in Boston, and who were the publishers of Mrs.
Moulton's first book. With Lowell, the first editor of the _Atlantic_,
Mrs. Moulton came in contact in the easy intimacy of the literary
atmosphere. She heard with eager attention the well known lecture of
George William Curtis on "Modern Infidelity" in 1860; and in the same
year read with enthusiastic appreciation Hawthorne's "Marble Faun,"
from which she made copious extracts in her note-books with
sympathetic comments. The artistic and intellectual life of Boston in
those days held much to call out her keenest interest. Mrs. Kemble
gave her brilliant Shakespearian readings; Patti, a youthful prima
donna, delighted lovers of opera; Charles Eliot Norton invited
friends to see his new art treasure, a picture by Rossetti; Agassiz
was marking an epoch in scientific progress by his lectures.
Interested by Professor Agassiz's efforts to found a museum, Mrs.
Moulton wrote for the _New York Tribune_ a special article on the
subject; and this was acknowledged by Mrs. Agassiz.

     _Mrs. Agassiz to Mrs. Moulton_

     Thanks for the pleasant and appreciative article about the
     Agassiz Museum in the _Tribune_. It is a good word spoken in
     season. It is very charming, and so valuable just now, when
     the institution is in peril of its life. No doubt it will be
     of real service in our present difficulties by awakening
     sympathy and affection in many people. Mr. Agassiz desires
     his best regards to you.

     Yours sincerely,


The intellectual and the social were closely blended in the Boston of
the sixties and the seventies, and Mrs. Moulton was in the very midst
of the most characteristically Bostonian circles. Her journals record
how she went to a "great party" given by Mrs. William Claflin, whose
husband was afterward governor; to Cambridge to a function given by
the Agassizs; to a reception at Dr. Alger's "to meet Rose Terry,"
later known as Rose Terry Cooke; to a dinner given in honor of Miss
Emily Faithful; to one intellectual gayety after another. She was one
of the attractive figures at the delightful Sunday evening reunions
given by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin P. Whipple. She notes in the journal that
at a brilliant reception given by Mrs. John T. Sargent, so well known
as the hostess of the famous Chestnut Street Radical Club, she had "a
few golden moments" with Emerson, and a talk with the elder Henry
James, with whom she was a favorite.

In 1870 Mrs. Moulton became the Boston literary correspondent of the
_New York Tribune_. This work developed under her care into one of
much importance. Boston publishers sent to her all books of especial
interest, and her comments upon them were of solid value. She recorded
the brilliant meetings of the Chestnut Street Radical Club, and the
intellectual news in general. These letters made a distinct success.
Extracts from them were copied all over the United States, and they
came to be looked upon as a sort of authorized report of what was
doing in the intellectual capital of the country. They were given up
only when the desire for foreign travel drew Mrs. Moulton so much
abroad that she could no longer keep as closely in touch with current
events as is necessary for a press correspondent.

The Radical Club at that time was famed throughout the entire country,
and it was regarded as the very inner temple wherein the gods forged
their thunderbolts. Only those who bore the sacramental sign were
supposed to pass its portals. Mrs. Moulton's accounts of these
meetings were vivid and significant. As, for instance, the following:

     "The brightest sun of the season shone, and the balmiest
     airs prevailed, on the 21st of December, in honor of the
     meeting of the Radical Club under the hospitable roof of Mr.
     and Mrs. John T. Sargent in Chestnut street. Mrs. Howe was
     the essayist, and there was a brilliant gathering to hear
     her. David Wasson was there, and John Weiss, and Colonel
     Higginson, and Alcott, hoary embodiment of cool, clear
     thought. Mr. Linton, the celebrated engraver, John Dwight of
     the _Musical Journal_, Mrs. Severance, the beloved president
     of the New England Woman's Club, bonny Kate Field of the
     honest eyes and the piquant pen, Mrs. Cheney, Miss Peabody,
     and many others, distinguished in letters or art.

     "To this goodly company Mrs. Howe read a brilliant essay on
     the subject of Polarity. She commenced by speaking of
     polarity as applied to matter, in a manner not too abstruse
     for the _savants_ who surrounded her, though it was too
     philosophical and scholarly to receive the injustice of
     being reported. The progress of polarity she found to give
     us the division of sex; and Sex was the subject on which she
     intended to write when she commenced the essay; but she
     found it, like all fundamental facts in nature, to be an
     idea with a history. In the pursuit of this history she
     encountered the master agency of Polarity, and found herself
     obliged to make that the primary idea, and consider sex as
     derived from it."

Another letter, describing a meeting a few weeks later, gives a
glimpse at some of the women who frequented the club:

     "There was Mrs. Severance, reminding one so much of an
     Indian summer day, so calm and peaceful is the sweet face
     that looks out at you from its framing of fair waving hair.
     Not far away was Julia Ward Howe, who some way or other
     makes you think of the old fairy story of the girl who never
     opened her mouth but there fell down before her pearls and
     diamonds. That story isn't a fairy story, not a bit of it.
     It is real, genuine truth, and Mrs. Howe is the girl grown
     up, and pearls of poetic fancy and diamonds of sparkling wit
     are the precious stones which fall from her lips. Lucy Stone
     was there, an attentive listener, looking the very picture
     of retiring womanliness in her Quaker-like simplicity of
     dress, and her pleasant face lighted with interest and
     animation. Sitting by a table, busy with note-book and
     pencil, was Miss Peabody, the Secretary of the Club. She has
     a sparkling, animated face, brimming over with kindness and
     good-will; she wins one strangely--you can't help being
     drawn to her. There's a world of fun in the black eyes, and
     you feel sure she would appreciate the ridiculous sides of
     living as keenly as any one ever could."

In still another letter are these thumb-nail sketches of persons

     "As we drew near Chestnut street we saw a goodly number of
     pilgrims.... Nora Perry, with the golden hair, had journeyed
     up from Providence with a gull's feather in her hat and a
     glint of mischief in her glance; Celia Thaxter, whom the
     Atlantic naturally delights to honor, since from Atlantic
     surges she caught the rhythm of her life, sat intent; Mr.
     Alcott beamed approval; Professor Goodwin had come from
     Harvard; David A. Wasson had left his bonded ware-house a
     prey to smugglers; Rev. Dr. Bartol, who seems always to
     dwell on the Mount of Vision; and Mr. Sanborn, who had
     sheathed his glittering lance, sat near; Mrs. Howe, taking a
     little vacation from her labors for women, listened
     serenely; Miss Peabody had a good word to say for Aspasia;
     and Mrs. Cheney quoted Walter Savage Landor's opinion of

A racy letter tells of the meeting when the Club discovered Darwin;
another deals with the day when Mrs. Howe discoursed of "Moral
Trigonometry"; and yet another of an occasion when the Rev. Samuel
Longfellow was essayist, and all the pretty women had new bonnets.
This allusion reminds one of a bit of witty verse when "Sherwood
Bonner" (Mrs. McDowell) served up the Radical Club in a parody of
Poe's "Raven," and described Mrs. Moulton as,

     "A matron made for kisses, in the loveliest of dresses."

The "Twelve Apostles of Heresy," as the transcendental thinkers were
irreverently termed by the wits of the press, were about this time
contributing to the enlightenment of the public by a series of Sunday
afternoon lectures. These lectures were held to represent the most
advanced thought of the day, and were delivered by such speakers as
the Rev. O.B. Frothingham, Mary Grew (Whittier's friend and a woman of
equally cultivated mind and lovely character), the Rev. John Weiss,
Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, T.W. Higginson, and Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney. In one
letter Mrs. Moulton writes thus:

     "As the coffin of Mahomet was suspended between heaven and
     earth, so is Mr. Wasson, who spoke last Sunday at
     Horticultural Hall, popularly supposed to be suspended
     between the heaven of Mr. Channing's serene faith and the
     depths of Mr. Abbot's audacious heresy. But if any one
     should infer from this statement that Mr. Wasson is a gentle
     medium, a man without boldness of speculation, or
     originality of thought, he would find he had never in his
     life made so signal a mistake. Few men in America think so
     deeply as David A. Wasson, and fewer still have so many of
     the materials for thought at their command. He has a
     presence of power, and is a handsome man, though prematurely
     gray, with an expansive forehead, where strong thoughts and
     calm judgment sit enthroned, and with eyes beneath it which
     see very far indeed. His features are clearly cut, and he
     looks as if he felt, and felt passionately, every word he
     utters, as he stands before an audience, his subject well in
     hand, and with always twice as much to say as his hour will
     give space for, forced, therefore, against his will, to
     choose and condense from his thronging thoughts. He spoke,
     in the Sunday afternoon course, on 'Jesus, Christianity, and
     Modern Radicalism.'"

John Weiss, the biographer of Theodore Parker, discoursed on one
occasion on "The Heaven of Homer," and Mrs. Moulton commented:

     "Not the author of 'Gates Ajar,' listening in her pleasant
     dreams to heavenly pianos, ever drew half so near to the
     celestial regions, or looked into them with half so
     disillusionized gaze as the Grecian thought of the time of

Of Mary Grew Mrs. Moulton gave this pen-picture:

     "We saw a woman not young, save with the youth of the
     immortals; not beautiful, save with the beauty of the
     spirit; but sweet and gentle, with a placid, earnest face.
     Her own faith is so assured that she appeals fearlessly to
     the faith of others; her nature so religious that her
     religion seems a fact and not a question."

Another Boston institution of which Mrs. Moulton wrote in her
_Tribune_ letters was the New England Woman's Club. "Here," she
declared, "Mrs. Howe reads essays and poems in advance of their
publication; Abby May's wit flashes keen; Mrs. Cheney gives lovely
talks on art; and Kate Field, with the voice which is music, reads her
first lecture." She records how Emerson sends to the club-tea a poem;
how Whittier is sometimes a guest; how Miss Alcott tells an inimitable
story; and how on May 23, 1870, was celebrated the birthday of
Margaret Fuller, who for a quarter of a century had been beyond the
count of space and time. On this occasion the Rev. James Freeman
Clarke presided, and among the papers was a poem by Mrs. Howe of which
Mrs. Moulton quotes the closing stanza:

     Fate dropt our Margaret
       Within the bitter sea,
     A pearl in golden splendor set
       For spirit majesty.

It was in connection with a meeting of the Woman's Club that a guest
invited from New York wrote for a journal of that city an account of
the gathering in which is this description:

     "There too was Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, looking for all
     the world like one of her own stories, tender and yet
     strong, the child-like curving of the mouth and chin in such
     contrast with the tender, almost sad eyes and well-developed
     brow covered with its masses of waving light hair."

Bret Harte, then in the height of his fame, wrote to Mrs. Moulton in
regard to her _Tribune_ letters, and told her that "it is woman's
privilege to assert her capacity as a critic without sacrificing her
charm as a woman." Many of her criticisms were richly worth
preservation, did space allow. Of Walt Whitman she said:

     "With his theories I do not always agree; they seem to me
     fitter for a larger, more sincere, less complex time than
     ours; but there is no sham and no affectation, either in the
     man or in his verse. I could not tell how strong was the
     impression of sincerity and large-heartedness which he made
     on me."

A new volume of poems by Lowell appeared, and in her comment she

     "Wordsworth was notably great in only a few poems, and
     Coleridge, and Keats, and Shelley come under the same
     limitations. Mr. Lowell is thus not alone in being at times
     forsaken by his good genius.... If he does not furnish us
     with a great amount of poetry of the highest order, it is
     the simple truth to say that in his best he has no rival,
     excepting Emerson, among American poets. When he is
     inspired, the key to nature and to man is in his hand, and
     he becomes the interpreter of both, commanding the secrets
     of one as truly as he interprets the interior life of the

All this newspaper work did not interfere with the steady production
of work less ephemeral. Poems and stories succeeded one another in
almost unbroken succession. The fecundity of Mrs. Moulton's mind was
by no means the least surprising of the good gifts with which nature
had endowed her. In all the leading American magazines her name held a
place recognized and familiar. What was apparently her first
contribution to the _Atlantic Monthly_, a poem called "May-Flowers,"
caught the popular fancy and became a general favorite. The exquisite
closing stanza was especially praised by those whose approbation was
best worth winning:

     Tinted by mystical moonlight,
       Freshened by frosty dew,
     Till the fair, transparent blossoms
       To their pure perfection grew.

Longfellow commended her perfection of form and the lyric spontaneity
of her verse and Whittier urged her to collect and publish her poems
in a volume.

Various letters of interest during these years from and to Mrs.
Moulton are as follows:

     _Mr. Whittier to Mrs. Moulton_

     AMESBURY, 3d, 8th month, 1870.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I am greatly disappointed in not meeting
     the benediction of thy face when I called last month; but I
     shall seek it again sometime. It just occurs to me that I
     may yet have the pleasure of seeing thee under my roof at
     Amesbury. We have so many friends in common that I feel as
     if I knew thee through them.

     How much I thank thee for thy kind note. It reaches me at a
     time when its generous appreciation is very welcome and

     Believe me very truly thy friend,


     _William Winter to Mrs. Moulton_

       November 8, 1875.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I accept with pleasure and gratitude your
     very kind and sympathetic letter,--seeing beneath its
     delicate and cordial words the sincere heart of a comrade
     in literature, and the regard of a nature kindred with my
     own. I wish I could think that your praise is deserved. It
     has often seemed to me of late that there is no cheer in my
     newspaper work.... I am aware, however, that the sympathy of
     a bright mind and a tender heart and the approval of a
     delicate taste are not won without some sort of merit, and
     so I venture to find in your most genial and spontaneous
     letter a ray of encouragement. You will scarcely know how
     grateful this is to me at this time. I thank you and I shall
     not forget that you were thoughtful and delicately kind.

     To-day I have received a copy of Stedman's poems, which I
     want to read again with great care. A man who has missed
     poetic fame himself may find great satisfaction in the
     success of his friend, and I do feel exceedingly glad in the
     recognition that has come to Stedman. Your article on the
     book in the _Tribune_ was excellent.

     Faithfully yours,


     _Mrs. Moulton to Mr. Stedman_

     "When you say it depends on me whether I will be looked upon
     as a real judicial authority by people of culture throughout
     the land, you fire me with ambition, but my springing flame
     is quenched by the realization that I am not cultured enough
     to rely on my judgment as a certainty, a finality, and that
     while I may feel that my intuitions are keen, they are apt
     to be warped by my strong emotions. I'll try. A very few
     persons are really my public, and I think how my letters
     will strike them, rather than how the world will receive
     them. I wonder how you will like my review of...? Much of
     the book is 'splendidly null,'--perfect enough in execution,
     but without that subtle something that sets the heart-chords
     quivering, and fills the eyes with tender dew; that subtle
     minor chord of being, to which we are all kin, by virtue of
     our own pain...."

     _Mrs. Moulton to Mr. Stedman_

     "... I am impatient to see your article on Browning. I am so
     struck by your calling him the greatest of love poets. I,
     too, have often thought something like that of him. If 'The
     Statue and the Bust' means anything, it means that Browning
     thought the Duke and the Lady were fools to let 'I dare not'
     wait upon 'I would.' But, _au contraire_, I think 'Pippa
     Passes' gives one the impression that he considers illegal
     love a great sin and the natural temptation to still greater
     sins. Don't you think so? I wish I could have a talk on
     social questions with you, for I think your ideas are more
     fixed, more developed in thought and less chaotic than

     _Mr. Whittier to Mrs. Moulton_

     AMESBURY, 11th month, 9th, 1874.

     heart for thy letter. I think some good angel must have
     prompted it, for it reached me when I needed it; needed to
     know that my words had not been quite in vain. And to know
     that they have been comfort or strength to thee is a cause
     for deep thankfulness. I do not put a very high estimate
     upon my writings, in a merely literary point of view, but it
     has been my earnest wish that they might at least help the
     world a little. I read thy notice of my book in the
     _Tribune_, in connection with Dr. Holmes' last volume, and
     while very grateful for thy praise, I was saddened by a
     feeling that I did not fully deserve it. In fact, I fear the
     world has treated me far better than I had any reason to
     expect; and I have been blessed with dear friends, whose
     love is about me like an atmosphere.

     I have read the little poem enclosed in thy letter with a
     feeling of tenderest sympathy. God help us! The loneliness
     of life, under even the best circumstances, becomes at times
     appalling to contemplate. We are all fearfully alone; no one
     human soul can fully know another, and an infinite sigh for
     sympathy is perpetually going up from the heart of humanity.
     But doubtless this very longing is the pledge and prophecy
     and guarantee of an immortal destination. Perfect content is
     stagnation and ultimate death.

     Why does thee not publish thy poems? Everywhere I meet
     people who have been deeply moved by them.

     Thy letter dates from Pomfret, and I direct there to thee. I
     was in that place once so long ago that thee must have been
     a mere child. I rode over its rocky hills, bare in the chill
     December, with the late William H. Burleigh. I think it must
     be charming in summer and autumn. But something in thy poems
     and in thy letter leads me to infer that thy sojourn there
     has not been a happy one. Of course I do not speak of
     unalloyed happiness, for that can only come of entire
     exemption from sin and weakness. A passage which I have been
     reading this morning from Thomas à Kempis has so spoken to
     my heart that I venture to transcribe it:

     "What thou canst not amend in thyself or others, bear with
     patience until God ordaineth otherwise. When comfort is
     taken away do not presently despair. Stand with an even
     mind, resigned to the will of God, whatever may befall; for
     after winter cometh the summer, after the dark night the day
     shineth; and after the storm cometh a great calm."

     Believe me always gratefully thy friend,


Religious questions, with which Mrs. Moulton was always deeply
concerned, come often into her letters. To Mr. Stedman she writes:

     "I have been curiously interested of late about a band of
     'Sanctificationists,' who believe Christ meant it when He
     said, He can save from all sin. So they reason that,
     trusting in His own words, they can be saved from sin now
     and here. There is about them a peace and serenity, a
     sweetness and light, a joy in believing, that is
     unmistakable. They do live happier lives than others. I
     cannot believe, somehow, in this 'cleansing blood,' yet,
     seeing these people, I feel that I lose a great deal by not
     believing in it. Oh, if one only knew the truth! Reason
     rejects, it seems to me, the orthodox dogmas, but what is
     one to do with the argument of holier lives?"

Unconsciously Mrs. Moulton was echoing Emerson's lines,

     Nor knowest thou what argument
     Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent.

To the late sixties belongs a little incident which illustrates well
Mrs. Moulton's attitude toward society. She was fond of social life,
but it was in her interest always secondary to the intellectual.
During a visit to New York, she was one evening just dressed for a
festivity which she was to attend with her hostess, when the card of
Horace Greeley was brought to her. She went down at once, and Mr.
Greeley, who probably would not have noted any difference between a
ball-gown and a negligé did not in the least appreciate that she was
evidently dressed for a social function. When her hostess came to call
her, Mrs. Moulton signalled that she was to be left, and passed the
evening in conversation so interesting and so animated that Mr.
Greeley remained until an unusually late hour. Just as he was leaving
he seemed to become dimly conscious that her costume was especially
elaborate, and he inquired innocently:

"But were you not going somewhere to-night?"

"One does not go 'somewhere,'" she returned, "at the expense of
missing a conversation with Mr. Greeley."

In 1873 Mrs. Moulton published a volume for young folk entitled
"Bed-Time Stories." It was issued by Roberts Brothers, who from this
time until the dissolution of the firm in 1898, after the death of Mr.
Niles, remained her publishers. The success of the book was immediate,
and so great that the title was repeated in "More Bed-Time Stories,"
brought out in the year following. The first volume was dedicated to
her daughter in these graceful lines:

     It is you that I see, my darling,
       On every page of this book,
     With your flowing golden tresses,
       And your wistful, wondering look,

     As you used to linger and listen
       To the "Bed-time Stories" I told,
     Till the sunset glory faded,
       And your hair was the only gold.

     Will another as kindly critic
       So patiently hear them through?
     Will the many children care for
       The tales that I told to you?

     You smile, sweetheart, at my question;
       For answer your blue eyes shine:
     "We will please the rest if it may be,
       But the tales are--yours and mine."

Of the second series of "Bed-Time Stories" George H. Ripley wrote in
the _Tribune_:

     "The entire absence of all the visible signs of art in the
     composition of these delightful stories betrays a rare
     degree of artistic culture which knows how to conceal
     itself, or a singular natural bent to graceful and
     picturesque expression. Perhaps both of these conditions
     best explain the secret of their felicitous construction,
     and their fidelity to nature. The best fruits of sweet
     womanly wisdom she deems not too good for the entertainment
     of the young souls with whom she cherishes such a cordial
     sympathy, and whom she so graciously attracts by the silvery
     music of her song, which lacks no quality of poetry but the
     external form.... They inculcate no high-flown moral, but
     inspire the noblest sentiments. There is no preaching in
     their appeals, but they offer a perpetual incentive to all
     that is lovely and good in character."

An equal success attended the collection of stories for older readers
which Mrs. Moulton brought out a year later under the title, "Some
Women's Hearts." This contained all the stories written since the
appearance of "My Third Book" which she thought worthy of
preservation, and may be said to represent her best in this order of
fiction. Professor Moses Coit Tyler said of them: "Mrs. Moulton has
the incommunicable tact of the story-teller"; commented on their
freedom from all padding, and commended their complete unity. The
instinct for literary form which was so strikingly conspicuous in her
verse showed itself in these stories by the excellence of arrangement
and proportion, the sincerity and earnestness which made the tales
vital. She had by this time outgrown the rather sentimental fashions
of the gift-book period of American letters, and her conscientious and
careful criticism of the work of others had resulted in a power of
self-criticism which was admirable in its results. "My best reward,"
she said in after years, "has been the friendships that my slight work
has won for me"; but by the time she was forty she had won a place in
American letters such as had been held by only two or three other
women, and before her was the reputation which she was to win abroad,
such as no woman of her country had ever attained before.



     For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
     Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.

     The winds to music strange were set;
     The sunsets glowed with sudden flame.--L.C.M.

Mrs. Moulton made her first visit to Europe in January, 1876. She
remained abroad for nearly two years. From that date until the summer
of 1907, inclusive, she passed every summer but two on the other side
of the Atlantic. London became her second home. Her circle of friends,
not only in England but on the Continent, became very wide. Her poems
were published in England, and she was accorded in London society a
place of distinction such as had not before been given to any American
woman of letters. She enjoyed her social opportunities; but she prized
most the number of sincere and interesting friendships which resulted
from them. It is not difficult to understand how her charm and
kindliness won those she met, or how her friendliness and sympathy
endeared her to all who came to know her well.

Mrs. Moulton's first glimpse of London was simply what could be had in
a brief pause on her way to Paris. She was, however, present in the
House of Lords when the Queen opened Parliament in person for the
first time after the death of the Prince Consort. She stayed but a few
days in Paris, and then hastened on to Rome. Mrs. Harriet Prescott
Spofford thus describes this first visit to the Immortal City:

     "Paris over, came Rome, and twelve weeks of raptures and
     ruins, of churches and galleries, old palaces and
     almond-trees in flower, the light upon the Alban Hills, the
     kindly, gracious Roman society, all like a dream from which
     might come awaking. Certainly no one was ever made to feel
     the ancient spell, or to enjoy its beauty more than this
     sensitive, sympathetic, and impressible spirit. Stiff
     Protestant as she is, she was touched to tears by the
     benignant old pope's blessing; and she abandoned herself to
     the carnival, as much a child as 'the noblest Roman of them

Mrs. Moulton entered into the artistic life of Rome with
characteristic ardor. She knew many artists, and became an especial
friend of Story's, a visitor at his studio, and an admirer of his

     "I had greatly liked many of his poems," she said later,
     "and I was curious to see if his poems in marble equalled
     them. I was more than charmed with his work; and I suppose I
     said something which revealed my enthusiasm, for I remember
     the smile--half of pleasure, half of amusement--with which
     he looked at me. He said: 'You don't seem to feel quite as
     an old friend of mine from Boston felt, when he went through
     my studio, and, at least, I showed him the best I had. We
     are all vain, you know; and I suppose I expected a little
     praise, but my legal friend shook his head. "Ah, William,"
     he said, "you might have been a great lawyer like your
     father; you had it in you; but you chose to stay on here and
     pinch mud!"' Another American sculptor whom Rome delighted
     to honor is Mr. Richard S. Greenough, whose 'Circe' has more
     fascination for me than almost anything else in modern art;
     but my acquaintance with him came later. I had a letter of
     introduction to William and Mary Howitt from Whittier; they
     made me feel myself a welcome guest."

She was interested also in the work of a young sculptor who had then
lately arrived in Rome, Franklin Simmons; and of him she told this

     "Mr. Simmons had almost completed a statue, for which he had
     received an order from one of the States, had spent a great
     deal of time and money, when a conception came to him higher
     than his original idea. Without hesitation he sacrificed his
     time, his labor, and his marble--no small loss this--and
     began again. It was an act of simple heroism, of which not
     every one would have been capable; and there is little doubt
     that a man who unites to his talent a criticism so
     unsparing, and a spirit so conscientious, will do work well
     worthy the attention of the world."

Mrs. Moulton's real introduction to London did not come this year, but
in the summer of 1877, when a breakfast was given in her honor by Lord
Houghton (Richard Monckton Milnes), at which the guests included
Browning, Swinburne, George Eliot, Jean Ingelow, Gustave Doré, and
others of only less distinction. The breakfast was followed by a
reception at which, in the society phrase, the guest of honor met

Of this breakfast an amusing reminiscence has been given by Mrs.
Moulton herself:

     "Shortly after I came into the room, Lord Houghton, whose
     voice was very low, brought a gentleman up to me whose name
     I failed to hear. My fellow-guest had a pleasant face, and
     was dressed in gray; he sat down beside me, and talked in a
     lively way on everyday topics until Lord Houghton came to
     take me in to table. Opposite to us sat Miss Milnes, now
     Lady Fitzgerald, between two gentlemen, one of whom was the
     man in gray. Presently Lord Houghton asked me if I thought
     Browning looked like his pictures. 'Browning?' I asked.
     'Where is he?' 'Why, there, sitting beside my daughter,' he
     replied. But, as there were two gentlemen sitting beside
     Miss Milnes, I sat during the remainder of the breakfast
     with a divided mind, wondering which of these two men was
     Browning. After going back to the drawing-room my friend in
     gray again came and sat beside me, so I plucked up courage
     and said, 'I understand Mr. Browning is here; will you
     kindly tell me which he is?' He looked half puzzled, half
     amused, for a moment; then he called out to some one
     standing near, 'Look here, Mrs. Moulton wants to know which
     one of us is Browning. _C'est moi!_' he added with a gay
     gesture; and this is how my friendship with the author of
     'Pippa Passes' began."

This introduction may be said to have "placed" Mrs. Moulton in English
literary society, and there was hardly a person of intellectual
distinction in London whom she did not meet. She came to know the
Rossettis, William Sharp, Theodore Watts (later known as
Watts-Dunton), Herbert E. Clarke, Mrs. W.K. Clifford, A. Mary F.
Robinson (afterward Mme. Darmesteter), Olive Schreiner, Lewis Morris,
William Bell Scott, the Hon. Roden Noel, Iza Duffus Hardy, Aubrey de
Vere, the Marstons, father and son, and in short almost every writer
worth knowing. She came, indeed, to belong almost as completely to the
London literary world as to that of America.

Philip Bourke Marston, the blind poet, whose friend and biographer she
in time became, she first met on the first day of July of this year.
She has recorded the meeting:

     "It was just six weeks before his twenty-sixth birthday. He
     was tall, slight, and, in spite of his blindness, graceful.
     He seemed to me young-looking even for his twenty-six years.
     He had a noble and beautiful forehead. His brown eyes were
     perfect in shape, and even in color, save for a dimness like
     a white mist that obscured the pupil, but which you
     perceived only when you were quite near to him. His hair and
     beard were dark brown, with warm glints of chestnut; and the
     color came and went in his cheeks as in those of a sensitive
     girl. His face was singularly refined, but his lips were
     full and pleasure-loving, and suggested dumbly how cruel
     must be the limitations of blindness to a nature hungry for
     love and for beauty. I had been greatly interested, before
     seeing him, in his poems, and to meet him was a memorable

     "He and the sister, who was his inseparable companion, soon
     became my close friends, and with them both this friendship
     lasted till the end."

The poetry of Swinburne had for her a fascination from the first, and
she was attracted also by the personality of the poet. Writing an
article upon a new volume of his, she submitted the copy to him before
publishing it in the _Athenæum_. His acknowledgment was as follows:

     _Mr. Swinburne to Mrs. Moulton_

     DECEMBER 19, 1877.

     DEAR MADAME: I am sincerely obliged for the kindness and
     courtesy to which I am indebted for the sight of the MS.
     herewith returned. Of course my only feeling of hesitation
     as to the terms in which I ought to acknowledge and answer
     the application which accompanied it arises merely from a
     sense of delicacy in seeming to accept, if not thereby to
     endorse, an estimate altogether too flattering to the
     self-esteem of its object.

     But even at the risk of vanity or self-complacency, I will
     simply express my gratitude for your too favourable opinion,
     and my grateful sense of the delicacy and thoughtfulness
     which has permitted me a sight of the yet unprinted pages
     which convey it.

     Yours sincerely,


Leaving London in August, 1876, Mrs. Moulton went with Kate Field to
visit Lawrence Hutton and his mother, who had a house for the summer
in Scotland. In September, in company with Dr. Westland Marston, his
son and daughter, and Miss Hardy, she made a visit to Étretat. The
place and the company made a combination altogether delightful. An
entry in her diary for this time, of which the date is merely
"Midnight of September 1," records her enthusiasm.

     "I want to remember this evening which has been so
     beautiful. I had worked all day to six o'clock dinner, after
     which I sat and talked awhile with Cecily and Iza, and then
     took a long moonlight walk with them and Dr. Marston. I
     think I never saw such a wonderful sky. The blue of it was
     so intensely blue and great masses of white clouds, hurried
     and driven on by the wind, met each other and retreated and
     put on all sorts of fantastic shapes, while among them the
     moon walked, visible sometimes, and at others hiding her
     pale face behind some veiled prophet of a cloud, who was
     mocking the fair night with the gloom of his presence. I
     never saw such grand effects.

     "We climbed a long hill, and from thence we looked down on
     little Étretat lying below us, with the lights in its many
     windows, and the sea tossing beyond it white with spray and
     with moonlight. The trees were quivering at the whispers of
     a low wind, and still above all the clouds held strange
     conclave, keeping up their swift march and counter-march.
     All this time Dr. Marston talked as we sauntered on, and
     talked superbly. I think the electricity in the air inspired
     him. He talked of the soul's destiny, of immortality, and
     expressed, with matchless eloquence, that strong-winged
     faith which bears him on toward that end that will be, he
     feels sure, the new life's beginning. From time to time he
     interrupted himself to point out something that we might not
     else have seen,--some wonderful phantom of moonlight, some
     cottage-lamp shining at the end of a long lane, some
     Rembrandt contrast of light and shade.

     "We walked far, but I knew no weariness. I could have walked
     on forever watching that strange and fitful sky, and
     listening to such talk as I have seldom heard. Here is an
     affluent poet, who affords to scatter his riches broadcast,
     and does not save them all for his printed pages. We went
     home at last and sat for a while in Dr. Marston's house, and
     then Philip and Cecily and I went down to the long terrace
     overlooking the sea, and sat for an hour or more to watch
     the moonlight on the breaking waves. How happy we were, that
     little while! We talked of the fitful clouds, the wild,
     hurrying sea, the white, sweet moon. Then something brought
     back to me visions of the white statues at Rome, and I
     tried to show them how fair these old gods stood in my
     memory. Ah! shall I ever forget this so lovely night? The
     strange, changeful, wind-swept sky, the waves swollen with
     the passion of yesterday's storm, marching in like a strong
     army upon the shore and overwhelming it. Behind us the
     casino, with its many lights, and down there between the
     moonlight and the sea, we three who did not know each other
     three months ago but hold each other so closely now.

     "Nothing can ever take from me the fitful splendor, the wild
     rhythm, the divine mystery of this happy night. I can always
     close my eyes and see again sea and sky and dear faces; hear
     again the waves break on this wild coast of Normandy, with
     the passion of their immortal pain and longing."

This stay in Étretat was further commemorated in her poem of that
title. Dr. Marston, too, felt the spell of the place and company, and
addressed to her this sonnet:



     A Day hath Lived! So let him fall asleep.
       A Day is Dead--Days are not born again.
       Only his Spirit shall for Us remain
     Who found Him dear: His Hours in Balm to steep
     Of all sweet Thoughts that may in Freshness keep
       The beauty of a Day forever slain--
       Of Wishes, for the bitter Herbs of Pain:
     Of Looks that meet and smile, though Hearts may weep.
     So shall our Night to come not wholly prove
       An Egypt's Feast, where bids the Silent Guest
     "In Joy remember Death."--"Remember Love
       In Death," thy dead Day breathes from Breast to Breast.
     Embalm Him thus, Heart's Love, that he may lie
     Untombed and unforgotten, though he die.

The succeeding winter Mrs. Moulton passed in Paris. Here as in London
she met many of the most interesting people of the day. With Stéphane
Mallarmé especially she formed a close friendship, and through him she
came to know the chief men of the group called at that time the
"_Décadents_" of which he was the leader. Mallarmé was at this time
professor of English in a French college, and his use of that language
afforded Mrs. Moulton some amusement. "He always addressed me in the
third person," she related, "and he made three syllables of
'themselves.' He spoke of useless things as 'unuseful.' He was,
however, a great comfort and pleasure to me, and I saw a great deal of
him and of his wife that winter. I used to dine with them at their
famous Tuesdays, and meet the adoring throng that came in after
dinner. Often he and Madame Mallarmé would saunter with me about the
streets of Paris. It was then that I first made acquaintance with the
French dolls,--those wonderful creations which can bow and courtesy
and speak, and are so much better than humans that they always do the
thing they should. Whenever we came to a window where one of these
lovely creatures awaited us, I used to insist upon stopping to make
her dollship's acquaintance, until I fear the Mallarmés really
believed that these dolls were the most alluring things in life to me.
But the winter,--crowded for me with the deepest interests and
delights in meeting the noted men of letters and many of the greatest
artists, and of studying that new movement in art, Impressionism,
which was destined to be so revolutionary in its influence,--at last
this wonderful winter came to an end, and I was about to cross the
Channel once more. Full of kindly regrets came Monsieur and Madame
Mallarmé to pay me a parting call. 'We have wishéd,' began the poet,
mustering his best English in compliment to the occasion, 'Madame and
I have wishéd to make to Madame Moulton a souvenir for the good-bye,
and we have thought much, we have consideréd the preference beautiful
of Madame, so refinéd; and we do reflect that as Madame is pleaséd to
so graciously the dolls of Paris like, we have wishéd to a doll
present her. Will Madame do us the pleasure great to come out and
choose with us a doll, _très jolie_, that may have the pleasure to
please her?'"

It would be a pleasure to record that Mrs. Moulton accepted the gift.
The doll presented by the leader of the Symbolists would have been not
only historic, but it might have been regarded as signifying in the
language of symbolism things unutterable; but she could only say: "Oh,
no; please. I should be laughed at. Please let it be something else."
And the guests retired pensive, to return next day with a handsome
Japanese cabinet as their offering. "And I have pined ever since,"
Mrs. Moulton added smilingly, when she told the story, "for the
Mallarmé doll that might have been mine."

In 1877 the Macmillans brought out Mrs. Moulton's first volume of
poems under the title "Swallow Flights," the name being taken from
Tennyson's well known lines:

     Short swallow-flights of song, that dip
     Their wings in tears, and skim away.

The American edition, which followed soon after from the house of
Roberts Brothers, was entitled simply "Poems." The success of the
book was a surprise to the author. Professor William Minto wrote in
the _Examiner_:

     "We do not, indeed, know where to find, among the works of
     English poetesses, the same self-controlled fulness of
     expression with the same depth and tenderness of simple
     feeling.... 'One Dread' might have been penned by Sir Philip

The _Athenæum_, always chary of overpraise, declared:

     "It is not too much to say of these poems that they exhibit
     delicate and rare beauty, marked originality, and perfection
     of style. What is still better, they impress us with a sense
     of subtle and vivid imagination, and that spontaneous
     feeling which is the essence of lyrical poetry.... A poem
     called 'The House of Death' is a fine example of the
     writer's best style. It paints briefly, but with ghostly
     fidelity, the doomed house, which stands blind and voiceless
     amid the light and laughter of summer. The lines which we
     print in italics show a depth of suggestion and a power of
     epithet which it would be difficult to surpass.


          "Not a hand has lifted the latchet,
            Since she went out of the door,--
          No footsteps shall cross the threshold,
            Since she can come in no more.

          "There is rust upon locks and hinges,
            And mould and blight on the walls,
          _And silence faints in the chambers_,
            _And darkness waits in the halls_,--

          "Waits, as all things have waited,
            Since she went, that day of spring,
          Borne in her pallid splendour,
            To dwell in the Court of the King;

          "With lilies on brow and bosom,
            With robes of silken sheen,
          _And her wonderful frozen beauty_
            _The lilies and silk between_....

          "_The birds make insolent music_
            _Where the sunshine riots outside_;
          And the winds are merry and wanton,
            With the summer's pomp and pride.

          "But into this desolate mansion,
            Where Love has closed the door,
          Nor sunshine nor summer shall enter,
            Since she can come in no more."

Philip Bourke Marston wrote a long review of the volume in _The
Academy_, London, in the course of which he admirably summarized the
merits of the work when he said:

     "The distinguishing qualities of these poems are extreme
     directness and concentration of utterance, unvarying harmony
     between thought and expression, and a happy freedom from
     that costly elaboration of style so much in vogue.... Yet,
     while thus free from elaboration, Mrs. Moulton's style
     displays rare felicity of epithet.... The poetical faculty
     of the writer is in no way more strongly evinced than by the
     subtlety and suggestiveness of her ideas."

The reviewers of note on both sides of the Atlantic were unanimous in
their praise. In a time of æsthetic imitation she came as an
absolutely natural singer. She gave the effect of the sudden note of a
thrush heard through a chorus of mocking-birds and piping bullfinches.
She was able to put herself into her work and yet to keep her poetry
free from self-consciousness; and to be at once spontaneous and
impassioned is given to few writers of verse. When such a power
belongs to an author the verse becomes poetry.

Mrs. Moulton had already come to regard Robert Browning as, in her own
phrase, "king of contemporary poets." She sent to him a copy of
"Swallow Flights," with a timid, graceful note asking for his
generosity. In his acknowledgment he said:

     _Mr. Browning to Mrs. Moulton_

       February 24, '78.

     MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: Thank you for the copy of the poems.
     They need no generosity.... I close it only when needs I
     must at page the last, with music in my ears and flowers
     before my eyes, and not without thoughts across the brain.
     Pray continue your "flights," and be assured of the
     sympathetic observation of

     Yours truly,



In acknowledgment of a copy of "In the Garden of Dreams" William
Winter wrote:

     _Mr. Winter to Mrs. Moulton_

     "It is a beautiful book, Louise, and the spirit of it is
     tender, dreamlike and sorrowful.... The pathos of it affects
     me strongly. Life appeals more strongly to you than the
     pageantry. There is more fancy in your poems and more
     alacrity and variety of thought, but the quality that
     impresses me is feeling. I am not a critic, but somehow I
     must feel that I know a good thing when I see it, and I am
     sure that no one but a true artist in poetry could have
     written those stanzas called 'Now and Then.' The music has
     been running in my mind for days and days,

          "And had you loved me then, my dear.

     I think you are very kind to remember me and to send such a
     lovely offering to me at Christmas. God bless you! and may
     this new year be happy for you, and the harbinger of many
     happier years to follow."

Some years later the Scotch critic, Professor Meiklejohn, sent to Mrs.
Moulton a series of comments which he had made while reading "Swallow
Flights," "in the intervals of that fearful kind of business called
Examination;" and some of these may be quoted before the book is
passed for other matters.

     "The word 'waiting' in the line

          'White moons made beautiful the waiting night,'

     is full of emotional and imaginative memory.

     "In 'A Painted Fan' the line

          'The soft, south wind of memory blows,'

     is another instance of a perfect poetical thought, perfectly

     "Two lines of an unforgettable beauty are

          'The flowers and love stole sweetness from the sun;
          The short, sweet lives of summer things are done.'

     "And a line Shelley himself might have been proud to own is

          'No bird-note quivers on the frosty air.'

     "The lines

          'He must, who would give life,
             Be lord of death:'


          'Shall a life which found no sun
            In death find God?'

     express musically a mystic thought.

     "The sonnet 'In Time to Come' is one of astonishing
     crescendo. The lines

          'And you sit silent in the silent place, ...
          You will be weary then for the dead days,
          And mindful of their sweet and bitter ways,
          Though passion into memory shall have grown.'

     "This is very poetry of very poetry. You must look for your
     poetic brethren among the noble lyrists of the sixteenth and
     seventeenth centuries. Your insight, your subtlety, your
     delicacy, your music, are hardly matched, and certainly not
     surpassed, by Herrick or Campion or Carew or Herbert or

The success of this first volume of poems naturally contributed not a
little toward establishing Mrs. Moulton firmly in the place she had
won already in the literary society of London. Among other celebrities
she met at this time Lady Wilde, who, as the poet "Speranza" in the
_Dublin Nation_ in 1848 had been a figure really heroic, and who was
by no means disinclined to magnify her own virtues. Taking Mrs.
Moulton to task as a poet of mere emotion, Lady Wilde said to her
reprovingly: "You're full of your own feelin's, me dear; but when I
was young and your age, too, only the Woes of Nations got utterance in
me pomes."

Mrs. Moulton heard Cardinal Newman and Mr. Spurgeon. Of them she

     "You see straight into his [Newman's] mind and heart. You
     feel the glow of his thought, the action of his conscience;
     you feel the inherent excellence of the man you are dealing

     "Mr. Spurgeon's style is admirable--strong, vigorous Saxon,
     short sentences, simple in structure, and full of
     earnestness. His first prayer was brief and earnest, and
     extremely simple in phraseology. It gave one a sense of
     intimacy with God, in which was no irreverence. The sermon
     commenced at 12 M., and lasted three-quarters of an hour. I
     thought John Bunyan might have preached just such a

To her great regret she missed meeting Tennyson. Long afterward she

     "I never met Tennyson, but I just lost him by an accident. I
     shall never get over the regret of it. I had been invited to
     various places where he was expected as a guest; but you
     know how elusive he was, even his best friends could get at
     him but rarely. One day I had gone out for some idiotic
     shopping--shopping is always idiotic to me--and when I came
     back at late dinner time Lord Houghton met me with the
     question, 'Where have you been? I've been sending messengers
     all over the city for you. I got hold of Tennyson, and he
     waited for half an hour to see you.' The fates were never
     kind enough to bring me within the poet's range again."

On the death of Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman in 1878, Mrs. Moulton wrote
of her in the London _Athenæum_. The admiration of Poe which exists in
England, the romance of his relations with the "Helen" of his most
beautiful poem, made the article especially timely; and from her
acquaintance and her warm friendship for Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Moulton
was able to speak with authority. Her description of the personality
of Mrs. Whitman is noteworthy:

     "There was a singular attraction in the personal presence of
     this woman. The rooms where she lived habitually were full
     of her. They were dim, shadowy rooms, rich in tone, crowded
     with objects of interest, packed with the memorials of a
     lifetime of friendships; but she herself was always more
     interesting than her surroundings. When she died, her soft
     brown hair was scarcely touched with gray. Her voice
     retained to the last its music, vibrating at seventy-five
     with the sympathetic cadences of her youth. She was
     singularly shy. I remember that when I persuaded her to
     repeat to me one of her poems, she always insisted on going
     behind me. She could not bring herself to confront eye and
     ear at the same time."

The letters of Mrs. Whitman to Mrs. Moulton have been published in the
biography of the former, but the following is so unusual--"the lady's
gentle vexation at having been made out younger than she was,"
commented the recipient of the letter; "is so exceptional among women
as to be amusing"--that it may be quoted.

     _Mrs. Whitman to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I will speak of one or two points suggested by the
     expression, 'true to her early love for Edgar Poe.' Now I
     was first _seen_ by Edgar Poe in the summer of 1845, when I
     was forty-two years old, and my earliest introduction to him
     was in 1848, when I was forty-five. You will see, therefore,
     that it was rather a _late_ than an _early_ love. I was born
     on the 19th of January, 1803--Edgar Poe was born on the 19th
     of January, 1809, being six years, to a day, my junior. Soon
     after the last edition of Griswold's 'Female Poets' was
     issued, I happened to be turning over some of the new
     Christmas books at a bookseller's, when I unwittingly opened
     a copy of that work, at the very page where an alert,
     enterprising woman sits perched on a marble pedestal.
     Glancing at the foot of the page, I read, in blank
     amazement, my own name. Turning to the preceding page, I
     found that the lady in question was born in 1813! I began
     seriously to doubt my own identity. I had never, to the best
     of my recollection, been modelled in plaster; I had never
     been 'interviewed' on the delicate point of age. Everybody
     knows that a lady's age after forty is proverbially
     uncertain; still it is as well to draw a line somewhere, and
     so, dear, if you should be called upon to write my obituary,
     and should consent to do so, here is a faithful transcript
     from the family Bible:--

     "'Sarah Helen Power, born Jan. 19--10 o'clock P.M., 1803.'

     "That was the same year that gave birth to Emerson."

Mr. Longfellow wrote to thank Mrs. Moulton for her paper on Mrs.
Whitman, and at no great interval he wrote again in acknowledgment of
an article upon his own poetry also in the _Athenæum_.

     _Mr. Longfellow to Mrs. Moulton_

     CAMBRIDGE, May 17, 1879.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: For your kind words in the _Athenæum_,
     how shall I thank you? Much, certainly, and often,--but more
     and more for your kind remembrance, and the pleasant hours
     we passed together before your departure.

     ... A charming country place in England is the
     thatched-roofed Inn at Rowsley in Derbyshire, one mile from
     Haddon Hall. Go there. And do not forget to write to me.

     Truly yours,


In October, 1879, Mr. Chandler died, and Mrs. Moulton's grief was
sincere and deep. It was the beginning of the breaking of the
relations which had been closest in her life. Her love for her father
had been always tender and fine, and both her journal and her letters
show how much she felt the loss.


_Page 104_]

She was in America at the time of her father's death, and in
correspondence with many of the friends she had made abroad. Among her
Christmas gifts this year came a sonnet from Dr. Westland Marston.

     _To L.C.M._

     Take thou, as symbol of thyself, this rose
     Which blooms in our world's winter.
       Dank and prone
     Lie rose-stems now, by sleety gales o'erthrown,
     But still thy flower in hall and chamber glows,
     Fed, like thee, not by airs the garden knows,
       But by a subtler climate. Thus the zone
       Of Summer binds the seasons, one to one,
     And links the beam which dawns with that which goes.

     Hail, Human Rose!--With heavenly fires enshrined,
       Still cheat worn hearts anew in fond surprise
       To faith in Youth's dear, dissipated skies;
     Soul-flower, still shed thine influence!
         Sun nor wind
       Control not thee; thy life thy charm supplies
     And makes the beauty which it does not find.


     _Christmas Eve._



     The busy shuttle comes and goes
       Across the rhymes, and deftly weaves
       A tissue out of autumn leaves,
     With here a thistle, there a rose.

     With art and patience thus is made
       The poet's perfect Cloth of Gold;
       When woven so, nor earth nor mould
     Nor time can make its colors fade.--T.B. ALDRICH.

     And others came,--Desires and Adorations;
       Winged Persuasions and veiled Destinies;
     Splendors and Glooms and glimmering Incantations
       Of hopes and fears and twilight fantasies.--SHELLEY.

     I see the Gleaming Gates and toward them press.--L.C.M.

Mr. and Mrs. Moulton when they first set up their household gods
established themselves on Beacon Hill. A few years later, however, a
new part of the city was developed at the South End, and popular favor
turned in that direction. The broad streets and squares with trees and
turf were quiet and English-looking, and although fickle fashion has
in later years forsaken the region, it remains singularly attractive.
Here Mr. Moulton became the owner of a house, and for the remainder of
their lives he and his wife made this their home.

The dwelling was a four-story brick house, the front windows looking
out upon the greenery of a little park in the centre of the square. At
one end of the place was a stone church, defined against the sky and
especially lovely with the red of sunset behind it; and an old-world
atmosphere of retirement and leisure always pervaded the region. In
Rutland Square, No. 28 came to be well known to every Bostonian and to
whomever among visitors was interested in things literary. It was the
most cosmopolitan centre of social life in the city; and to it famous
visitors to this country were almost sure to find their way. For
thirty years Mrs. Moulton's weekly receptions through the winter were

The drawing-room and library where groups of charming and famous
people assembled were such as to remain pictured in the memory of the
visitor. They were fairly furnished, so to speak, with the tributes of
friends. There were water-colors from Rollin Tilton of Rome; a
vigorous sketch of a famous group of trees at Bordighera by Charles
Caryl Coleman; a number of signed photographs from Vedder; sketches in
clay from Greenough, Ezekiel, and Robert Barrett Browning; a group of
water-colors, illustrating Mrs. Moulton's poem, "Come Back, Dear
Days," by Winthrop Pierce,--one of these showing a brilliant sunrise,
while underneath was the line,

     "The morning skies were all aflame;"

and another, revealing a group of shadow-faces, illustrated the line,

     "I see your gentle ghosts arise."

There were signed photographs of Robert Barrett Browning's "Dryope," a
gift from the artist; a painting of singular beauty from the artist,
Signor Vertunni, of Rome; and from William Ordway Partridge three
sculptures,--the figure of a child in Carrara marble, a head tinted
like old ivory, and a portrait bust of Edward Everett Hale, a speaking
likeness. There was that wonderful drawing by Vedder, "The Cup of
Death" (from the Rubaiyat), which the artist had given to Mrs. Moulton
in memory of her sonnet on the theme, the opening lines of which

     She bends her lovely head to taste thy draught,
       O thou stern "Angel of the Darker Cup,"
       With thee to-night in the dim shades to sup,
     Where all they be who from that cup have quaffed.

And among the rare books was a copy of Stéphane Mallarmé's translation
of Poe's "Raven," with illustrations by Manet, the work being the
combined gift to Mrs. Moulton of the poet-translator and the artist.


_Page 109_]

Many were the rare books in autograph copies given to Mrs. Moulton by
her friends abroad--copies presented by Lord Houghton, George Eliot,
Tennyson, Jean Ingelow, Christina Rossetti, Oswald Crawfurd, George
Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur O'Shaughnessy, and several,
too, which were dedicated to her,--the "Wind Voices" of Philip Bourke
Marston, inscribed: "To Louise Chandler Moulton, true poet and true
friend," and another by Herbert L. Clarke of London. The rooms were
magnetic with charming associations.

A correspondent from a leading New York daily, commissioned to write
of Mrs. Moulton's home, described her drawing-room as

     "Long, high, and altogether spacious and dignified. A
     library opening from the rear increases the apparent length
     of the apartment, so that it is a veritable salon; the
     furnishings are of simple elegance in color and design, and
     the whole scheme of decoration quiet and not ultra-modern.

     "But in this attractive room are more treasures than one
     would dream of at first glance. The fine paintings that are
     scattered here, there, and everywhere, are all of them
     veritable works of art, presented to Mrs. Moulton by their
     painters; the etchings are autograph copies from some of the
     best masters of Europe. Almost every article of decoration,
     it would seem, has a history. The books that have overflowed
     from the dim recesses of the library are mostly presentation
     copies in beautiful bindings, with many a well-turned phrase
     on their fly leaves written by authors we all know and love.

     "There could be no better guide through all this
     treasure-house of suggestive material than Mrs. Moulton
     herself. Without question she knows more English people of
     note than does any other living American. As she spreads out
     before the delighted caller her remarkable collection of
     presentation photographs, she intersperses the exhibit with
     brilliant off-hand descriptions of their originals--the sort
     of word-painting that bookmen are eager to hear in
     connection with their literary idols. It is the real
     Swinburne she brings to the mind's eye, with his
     extraordinary personal appearance and his weird manners; the
     real William Watson, profoundly in earnest and varying in
     moods; the real George Egerton, with her intensity and
     devotion to the higher rights of womankind; the real Thomas
     Hardy and George Meredith and Anthony Hope, and the whole
     band of British authors, big and little, whom she marshals
     in review and dissects with unerring perception and the
     keenest of wit. Anecdotes of all these personages flow from
     her tongue with a prodigality that makes one long for the
     art of shorthand to preserve them."

From this home in the early eighties the daughter of the house was
married to Mr. William Henry Schaefer, of Charleston, South Carolina.
In her daughter's removal to that Southern city, Mrs. Moulton's life
found an extension of interests. She made frequent visits to
Charleston before what now came to be her annual spring sailings to
Europe. In her later years Mrs. Moulton and her daughter and
son-in-law often travelled together, though Mrs. Moulton's enjoyment
centred itself more and more, as the years went by, in her extensive
and sympathetic social life. Always was she pre-eminently the poet
and the friend; and travel became to her the means by which she
arrived at her desired haven, rather than was indulged in for its own
sake. Yet the lovely bits of description which abound in her writings
show that she journeyed with the poet's eye; as, for instance, this on
leaving Rome:

     "The deep blue Italian sky seemed warm with love and life,
     the fountains tossed high their white spray and flashed in
     the sunshine. Peasants were milking their goats at the foot
     of the Spanish Steps. Flower-girls had their arms full of
     fresh flowers, with the dew still on them, loading the air
     with fragrance."

Or this of Florence:

     "I never cross the Ponte Vecchio, or Jewellers' Bridge, in
     Florence, without thinking of Longfellow's noble sonnet, and
     quoting to myself:

          'Taddeo Gaddi built me,--I am old.'

     Nor could I ever approach the superb equestrian statue of
     the Grand Duke Ferdinand without thinking of Browning's 'The
     Statue and the Bust.' 'The passionate pale lady's face'
     wrought by Lucca della Robbia no longer 'watches it from the

Just before her sailing in 1880 came this note from Mr. Longfellow:

     _Mr. Longfellow to Mrs. Moulton_

     CRAIGIE HOUSE, CAMBRIDGE, March 2, 1880.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: ... Yes, surely I will give you a letter
     to Lowell. I will bring it to you as soon as I am able to
     leave the house.... It was a great pleasure to meet you at
     Mrs. Ole Bull's, but I want to hear more about your visits
     to England, and whom you saw, and what you did. What is it?
     Is it the greater freedom one feels in a foreign country
     where no _Evening Transcript_ takes note of one's outgoings
     and incomings? I can't attempt to explain it. Please don't
     get expatriated.

     Ah, no, life is not all cathedrals and ruined castles, and
     other theatrical properties of the Old World. It is not all
     scenery, and within the four walls of home life is much the
     same everywhere.

     Truly yours,


Of cathedrals and ruins she saw much, but people always interested her
more than any inanimate things. She records her talks with one and
another of the intellectual friends whom she met now in one city and
now in another. She records, for instance, a talk with Miss Anne
Hampton Brewster, so long the Roman correspondent of the _Boston
Advertiser_, the topic being the poetry of Swinburne. "She regarded
his 'Laus Veneris' as the most fearful testimony against evil she ever
read," Mrs. Moulton wrote; "and in 'Hesperia,' that glorious,
beautiful, poetic cry, she declared could be found the way to the
poet's meaning."

She visited the Roman studios, and in that of Mr. Story saw the busts
of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, and others, and the statue of
"Medea," just then completed. She wrote later that the concluding ten
lines of Swinburne's "Anactoria" "express the character of Story's
'Sappho.' It is as if the poem had been written for the statue, or the
statue was modelled to interpret the poem."

One result of her travels was the publication in 1881 of a charming
little collection of papers called "Random Rambles." The book
contained short chapters about Rome and Paris and Genoa and Florence
and Venice and Edinburgh and the London parks. A reviewer
characterized the volume aptly when he said:

     "Mrs. Moulton seems to have gathered up the poetic threads
     of European life which were too fine for other visitors to
     see or get, to have caught and given expression to the
     impalpable aromas of the various places she visited, so that
     the reader feels a certain atmospheric charm it is
     impossible to describe."

The little book was deservedly successful. Mrs. Moulton's writings
seemed always to conform to the standard set by Mr. Aldrich, who once
said to her: "Literature ought to warm the heart; not chill it." Her
readers were conscious without fail of a current of sympathetic

It was this quality no less than her real critical power, or perhaps
even more than that, which made authors so grateful for her reviews of
their work. In reference to a newspaper letter in which she had spoken
of Wilkie Collins, the novelist wrote to her:

     _Mr. Collins to Mrs. Moulton_

       March 30, 1880.

     "I have read your kind letter with much pleasure. I know the
     'general reader' by experience as my best friend and
     ally.... When I return to the charge I shall write with
     redoubled resolution if I feel that I have the great public
     with me, as I had then (for example) in the case of 'The New
     Magdalen.' 'Her Married Life,' in the second part, will be
     essentially happy. But the husband and wife--the world whose
     unchristian prejudices and law they set at defiance will
     slowly undermine their happiness, and will, I fear, make the
     close of the story a sad one."

The letter referred to was one of a long series which Mrs. Moulton
contributed to the _New York Independent_. Many of these papers were
of marked literary value. A typical one was upon Mme. Desbordes-Valmore,
founded upon Sainte Beuve's memoir of that interesting and unhappy
French poet. Mrs. Moulton characterizes Mme. Desbordes-Valmore as "the
sad, sweet nightingale among the singers of France, and as a tender,
elegiac poet" without equal. She closes with these words:

     "Mme. Valmore passed away in July of 1859. 'We shall not
     die,' she had said. In that hour a gate was opened to some
     strange land of light, some new dawning of glory, and the
     holy saints, to whose fellowship she belonged, received her
     into the very peace of God."

Mrs. Moulton's witty essay on "The Gospel of Good Gowns" was one of
this series in _The Independent_, and a fine paper of hers on Thoreau
was widely quoted.

In a department which for some months she conducted under the title,
"Our Society," in a periodical called _Our Continent_, Mrs. Moulton
discoursed on manners, morals, and other problems connected with the
conduct of life. The incalculable influence of the gentle, refined
ideals that she persuasively imaged was a signal factor in the
progress of life among the younger readers. Mrs. Moulton's ideal of
the importance of manner was that of Tennyson's as expressed in his

     For manners are not idle, but the fruit
     Of loyal nature and of noble mind.

Many of these papers are included in Mrs. Moulton's book called
"Ourselves and Our Neighbors," published in 1887. In one of these on
"The Gospel of Charm" she says:

     "So many new gospels are being preached, and that so
     strenuously, to the girls and women of the twentieth
     century, that I have wondered if there might not be a danger
     lest the Gospel of Charm should be neglected. And yet to my
     mind there are few teachings more important. I would
     advocate no charm that was insincere, none that would
     lessen the happiness of any other woman; but the fact
     remains that the slightest act may be done with a
     graciousness that warms the day, or with a hard indifference
     that almost repels us from goodness itself. It is possible
     to buy a newspaper or pay a car-fare in such wise as to make
     newsboy or car-conductor feel for the moment that he is in a
     friendly world."

Certainly the "gospel of charm" never had a more signal illustration
than in her own attitude toward those with whom she came in contact.

In one of the chapters, "The Wish to Rise," she writes:

     "The moment a strong desire for social advancement seizes on
     a man or woman it commences to undermine the very
     foundations of character, and great shall be the fall
     thereof. 'To keep up appearances,' 'to make a show'--one of
     these sentences is only more vulgar than the other. The
     important thing is not to appear, but to be. It is true, and
     pity 'tis, 'tis true, that many people are shut out by
     limited and narrow fortunes from the society to which by
     right of taste and culture they should belong. But nothing
     proves more surely that they do not belong there than any
     attempt to force their way there by means of shams.... If
     our steady purpose is, each one, to raise himself, his own
     mind and spirit, to the highest standard possible for him,
     he will not only be too busy to pursue shams and shadows,
     but he will be secure of perpetual good society, since he
     will be always with himself.... Nothing more surely
     indicates the parvenu than boastfulness. The man who brings
     in the name of some fine acquaintance at every turn of the
     conversation is almost certain to be one whose acquaintance
     with any one who is fine is of yesterday. Really well-placed
     people do not need to advertise their connections in this
     manner.... It is essentially vulgar to push--to run after
     great people, or to affect a style of living beyond one's
     means--it is not only vulgar but contemptible to change
     one's friends with one's bettering fortunes."

The book had a merited success, and even yet is in demand.

In the early eighties an enterprising publisher conceived the idea of
a book on "Famous Women," in which those exceptional beings should
write of each other. To Mrs. Moulton's pen fell Louisa M. Alcott, and
a request on her part for information brought to her the following
characteristic note, dated January, 1883:

     _Miss Alcott to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I have not the least objection to your writing a sketch of
     L.M.A. I shall feel quite comfortable in your hands. I have
     little material to give you; but in 'Little Women' you will
     find the various stages of my career and experience. Don't
     forget to mention that I don't like lion hunters, that I
     don't serve autophotos and biographies to the hundreds of
     boys and girls who ask, and that I heartily endorse Dr.
     Holmes' views on this subject."

To this volume the sketch of Mrs. Moulton herself was written by the
graceful pen of Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford, who wrote with the
sympathetic appreciation of the poet and close friend.

While on a visit to Spain in 1883,--and "Spain," she wrote, "is a word
to conjure with,"--Mrs. Moulton made the acquaintance of Oswald
Crawfurd the novelist, when he was in the diplomatic service. From his
letters then and afterward might be taken many interesting passages,
of which the following may serve as examples:

     "There is another writer whose acquaintance I have made,
     through his books, I mean, for such interesting creatures as
     authors seldom come to Portugal. We have to put up with
     royalties, rich tourists, and wine merchants. For me, the
     writers, the manipulators of ideas, the shapers of them into
     human utterance, are the important people of the age, as
     well as the most agreeable to meet, in their books or in
     life. This particularly pleasant one I have just met is
     Frank Stockton. You will laugh at the idea of my discovering
     what other people knew long ago, but it happens that I have
     only just read his books. The three notes that strike me in
     him are his perfect originality, his literary dexterity, and
     his new and delicate humor. I cannot say how he delighted

     "We are going to give you Andrew Lang to take you in [at the
     dinner] on Friday, and on the other side you will have
     either James Bryce or Mr. Chapman, the 'enterprising young
     publisher' mentioned by Dickens. Regarding Lang, I know no
     man who does so many things so very well,--journalist,
     philologist, mythological researcher,--and to the front in
     all these characters. To almost any one but yourself I
     should call him a poet also. His face is very refined and

     "I have been reading your poems again. You are as true a
     lyric artist as Landor or Herrick. I admire your
     sonnets,--they have a particular charm for me, and I am glad
     that you do not despise the old English form with the two
     last lines in rhyme. Shakespeare's, indeed, are so. I am
     almost inclined to think that for our rhymeless language,
     for an ear not attuned to the Italian perception for
     delicate rhyme of sounds, the strong emphasis on the ending
     couplet is right and good."

     "I honestly like and admire the genius of Howells. I like
     his novels immensely, but his theories not at all."


_Page 122_]

The brief records in Mrs. Moulton's journal in these days suggest her
crowded life of social enjoyment and literary work. On New Year's day
of 1885 she notes having been the night before at a party at Mrs. Ole
Bull's; and on that day she goes to a reception at the Howard
Ticknors'; friends come to her in the evening. January second falls on
a Friday, and as she is about to visit her daughter and son-in-law in
Charleston, this is her last reception for the season. Naturally, it
is a very full one, and while she does not chronicle the list of her
guests, it is constructively easy to fancy that among them may have
been Dr. Holmes, Professor Horsford, the poet Aldrich and his lovely
wife; Dean Hodges, always one of her most dearly esteemed friends;
Mrs. Ole Bull, the Whipples, Oscar Fay Adams, Professor Lane of
Harvard, Arlo Bates, in whose work, even then, she was taking great
delight; Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, or her
daughter, Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott; Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford; Mrs.
Julius Eichberg and her brilliant daughter, Mrs. Anna Eichberg King
(now Mrs. John Lane of London),--these and many others of her Boston
circle who were habitués of her "Fridays," and seldom, indeed, was one
of these receptions without some guests of special distinction who
were visiting Boston. On one occasion it was Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Gosse
of London; or again, Matthew Arnold; W.D. Howells was to be met there
when in Boston; and not infrequently Colonel T.W. Higginson; Helen
Hunt, whom Mrs. Moulton had long known; Mary Wilkins (now Mrs.
Freeman), always cordially welcomed; Mrs. Clement Waters, the art
writer; President Alice Freeman of Wellesley College (later Mrs.
George Herbert Palmer); and Governor and Mrs. Claflin, at whose home
Whittier was usually a guest during his sojourns in Boston, were among
the familiar guests. Mr. Whittier could seldom be induced to appear
at any large reception; but from Mrs. Moulton's early youth he had
been one of her nearer friends, and his calls were usually for her

Bliss Carman and Edgar Fawcett from New York were sometimes to be met
in Mrs. Moulton's drawing-room; and there were also a group of Boston
artists,--Arthur Foote who had set to music several of Mrs. Moultons'
lyrics; B.J. Lang and his daughter, who had also set some of Mrs.
Moulton's songs; the painters, I.M. Gaugengigl, Winthrop Pierce, John
Enneking; Miss Porter and Miss Clarke, the editors of _Poet-Lore_;
Caroline Ticknor, the young author whose work continued the literary
traditions of her famous name; and often some of the clergy of
Boston,--the Rev. Dr. Charles Gordon Ames, with Mrs. Ames, both of
whom were among Mrs. Moulton's most dearly-prized friends;
occasionally Rev. Dr. Edward Everett Hale, and Bishop Phillips Brooks;
in a later decade, Rev. Dr. E. Winchester Donald, who succeeded
Phillips Brooks as rector of Trinity; Rev. Bernard Carpenter, a
brother of the Lord Bishop of Ripon; and beside the throngs of
representative people who, at one time or another through some thirty
years, were to be met at Mrs. Moulton's, the socially unknown guest
received from the hostess the same cordial welcome. Her sympathies had
little relation to social standing. No praise of the critics ever gave
her more happiness than did a letter from a stranger in the West,
written by a young girl who had for years been unable to move from her
bed, telling of the blessed ministry of a poem by Mrs. Moulton, of
which the first stanza runs:

     We lay us down to sleep,
       And leave to God the rest,
     Whether to wake and weep
       Or wake no more be best.

A book of Mr. Stedman's of which he sent to Mrs. Moulton a copy bore
on its fly-leaf the inscription:

     My life-long, loyalist friend,
       My sister in life and song.

In the winter of 1885 the journal notes a visit to Mrs. Schaefer in
Charleston, where amid all the festivities she finds time to send
"four short stories and a poem" to various editors. On her way North
she visited Washington, where dinners and receptions were given to her
in private and in diplomatic circles. Then she went on to New York,
and before sailing for Europe met Monsignor Capel at dinner, lunched
with the Lawrence Barretts, attended Mr. Barrett's performance of "The
Blot in the 'Scutcheon," which she found a "wonderful piece of
acting," and at last sailed, as usual lavishly remembered with flowers
and graceful tokens.

In Venice this year Mrs. Moulton wrote the charming pseudo-triolet,


     In Venice once they lived and loved--
       Fair women with their red gold hair--
     Their twinkling feet to music moved,
     In Venice where they lived and loved,
     And all Philosophy disproved,
       While hope was young and life was fair,
     In Venice where they lived and loved.

It is interesting to feel in this a far suggestion of Browning's "A
Toccata of Galuppi's," because so seldom does any echo of her
contemporaries strike through Mrs. Moulton's verse.

With friends Mrs. Moulton visited Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi,
Castellamare, Pompeii, and then went on to Rome. Here she passed the
morning of her fiftieth birthday in the galleries of the Vatican.
Friends made a _festa_ of her birthday, with a birthday-cake and
gifts; and she dined with the Storys, to go on later to one of Sir
Moses Ezekiel's notable _musicales_ at his study in the Baths of
Diocletian. "The most picturesque of studios," she wrote, "and a most
cosmopolitan company,--at least fifty ladies and gentlemen,
representing every civilized race.... All languages were spoken.
Pascarella, the Italian poet, recited.... Professor Lunardi, of the
Vatican library, who has his Dante and Ariosto by heart, was talking
Latin to an American Catholic clergyman." Of this studio she gives a
picturesque description:

     "Suspended from the lofty ceiling was a hanging basket of
     flowers encircled by a score of lights; while around the
     walls hundreds of candles in antique sconces were burning,
     throwing fitful gleams over marble busts and groups of
     statuary. The frescoes on the walls are fragments of the
     walls of Diocletian, and the floor is covered with rich
     antique tiles fifteen hundred years old. Eight elephants'
     heads hold the candles that light the studio on ordinary
     occasions. Two colossal forms claim the attention of the
     visitor; one, the picture of a herald, drawn by Sir Moses,
     holds in his right hand the shield of art; the other is the
     figure of Welcome, holding in one hand a glass of wine,
     while the other rests upon a shield. The most striking and
     interesting work in the studio is the group of Homer. The
     figure of the poet is of heroic size, and he is represented
     sitting on the seashore, reciting the Iliad, and beating
     time with his hands; even in his blindness, his face wears
     an expression that seems to be looking into the future and
     down through the ages of time. At his feet is seated his
     guide, a youth with Egyptian features, who accompanies Homer
     with strokes on the lyre."

In the studio was also a bronze bust of Liszt, the only one for which
he ever sat, and which Sir Moses modelled at the Villa d'Este.

After Rome came Florence, where Mrs. Moulton was the guest of Mrs.
Clara Erskine Clement Waters, who had taken a villa in that city.
Among other people whom Mrs. Moulton met at this time was "Ouida," who
unbent from her accustomed stiffness to Americans, and, yielding to
the charm of her guest, displayed her house and pets in a manner which
for her was almost without precedent. Mrs. Waters gave a brilliant
reception in her honor; she was the guest of the Princess Koltzoff
Massalsky (Dora d'Istria), and she visited Professor Fiske at the
Villa Landor, where she was "charmed by his wonderful library" with
its collections of the most notable editions of Dante and Petrarca;
and she was entertained by Professor and Madame Villari.

From Florence she went to Aix-les-Bains. Then she passed to England.

In London she saw constantly almost everybody of note in literary
circles. Her diary records visits to or from or meetings with the Lord
Bishop of Winchester, Mrs. Bloomfield Moore, Lord Morley, Thomas
Hardy, the Bishop of Ripon, Mr. Verschoyle of the _Fortnightly
Review_, William Sharp, Frederick Wedmore, Sir Frederic and Lady
Pollock, Dr. Furnival, and others, for a list too long to give entire.
Her journal shows how full were her days.

     "Mrs. Campbell-Praed came to lunch; a lot of callers in the
     afternoon, among them the Verschoyles, the Francillons, Mrs.
     Cashel-Hoey, Mrs. Fred Chapman, and Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt.

     "Went to the Chapmans' to luncheon; met George Meredith....
     Meredith is a very brilliant and agreeable man.

     "Francillon to luncheon. A lovely letter from Oswald
     Crawfurd, praising Andrew Lang.... Went with Mrs. Marable to
     see Mrs. Sutherland Orr; a very charming person."

Herbert E. Clarke, whom in a letter to Professor Bates she described
as "a wonderfully charming and fine fellow," accompanied a volume of
his poems which he sent to her with these graceful dedicatory verses:



     Go forth, O little flower of song,
       To her who found you fair;
     After a winter black as night,
     I plucked you when spring's smile brought light,
     And April's winds were blithe and strong,
       And Hope was in the air.

     Poor stray of Autumn left to Spring,
       I send you forth to be
     'Twixt us a pledge of happier hours;
     Yea, though she hath far fairer flowers
     Always at hand for gathering,
       Go forth undoubtingly.

     For thou hast gained a happy meed,
       And wert thou weed or worse,
     With her praise for a light above,
     Many should find thee fair, and love
     Though not for thine own sake indeed,--
       But her sake, O my verse.

     Be weed or flower, and live or die,
       To me thou art more dear
     Than all thy sister flowerets are,
     O herald of the single star
     That rose above the lowering sky
       Of my most hopeless year.

One particularly delightful day was that on which Mrs. Moulton
attended a garden-party at Lambeth Palace as the guest of the
Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs. Benson. Another of the red-letter
days was an afternoon with the Holman Hunts, in their rambling,
fascinating house, filled with artistic treasures, when on the lawn a
Hungarian orchestra played their national airs. Among the guests were
Lewis Morris, Edwin Arnold, Hall Caine, Theodore Watts-Dunton, and
many others who bore names well known. The diary records, too, a
studio-reception given by Felix Moscheles, a coaching trip to Virginia
Water; and so on for a round of gay doings which make it amazing that
all this time Mrs. Moulton continued her literary work.

In the autumn Mrs. Moulton journeyed to Carlsbad, and there "made Lady
Ashburton's acquaintance in the morning and sat up in the wood with
her for a couple of hours." The acquaintance ripened into a warm
friendship between the two, and Mrs. Moulton was often a guest at Lady
Ashburton's place, Kent House, Knightsbridge. The sonnet "One
Afternoon" is the memory of this first meeting written at Carlsbad a
year after.

On her return to America in the autumn, Mrs. Moulton went to Pomfret
to visit her mother. While there she heard from Miss Guiney of the
death of a young poet, James Berry Bensel, of whom she wrote to Oscar
Fay Adams as follows:

     _Mrs. Moulton to Mr. Adams_

     28 RUTLAND SQUARE, Sunday.

     MY DEAR FRIEND: Your letter just received draws my very
     heart out in sympathy. I wish you were here, that I could
     tell you all the feelings that it brought, for I know what
     it is to lose my dearest friend. Louise Guiney said to me
     when she came Friday afternoon: "I have something to tell
     you. Bensel is dead. His brother has written me." And I was
     not myself all the afternoon. I could not put aside the
     thought that pleaded for my tears. And I grieved that I had
     not yet written to him about his book. I find such fine
     things in it. Come back and let us grieve for him
     together,--not that I grieve as you do who loved him so, but
     I do understand all you feel, and I felt his death very
     unusually, myself. I wish, oh, how I wish, we could call him
     back to life, and give him health, and the strength to work,
     and more favorable conditions. But we do not know but that
     he may now be rejoicing somewhere in a great gain, beyond
     our vision. He has gone where our vision cannot find or our
     fancy follow him; but he must either be better off in a new
     birth or else so deeply at rest that no pain can pierce him
     where he is. Good-bye and God bless you.

     Yours most truly,


The Boston winters were full always with social and literary
interests. The relations of Mrs. Moulton to the writers of her circle
were indicated when on her sailing in the spring of one of the late
eighties a post-bag was arranged which was delivered to her in
mid-ocean. The idea originated with Miss Marian Boyd Allen, and among
the contents were a manuscript book of poems for every day by Bliss
Carman; poems by Clinton Scollard, Arlo Bates, Willis Boyd Allen,
Minot J. Savage, Celia Thaxter, the Rev. Bernard Carpenter, Gertrude
Hall, Mary Elizabeth Blake, and Hezekiah Butterworth; a silver
vinaigrette from Professor James Mills Pierce; a book from Mrs. Clara
Erskine Clement Waters; two charming drawings from Winthrop Pierce;
with notes from Nora Perry, Colonel T.W. Higginson, and others. Miss
Guiney addressed as her "Chief Emigrant and Trans-Atlantic Gadder,
Most Ingenious Poet, and Queen of Hearts." Colonel Higginson wrote:

     _T.W. Higginson to Mrs. Moulton_

     CAMBRIDGE, May 3, 1887.

     DEAR FRIEND: I gladly join with others in this mid-ocean
     post-bag. I hope you will take your instalments of
     friendship in as many successive days. Few American
     women,--perhaps none,--have succeeded in establishing such a
     pleasant intermedian position before English and American
     literature as have you, and as the ocean does not limit your
     circle of friends, it seems very proper that we on this side
     should stretch our hands to you across it. As one of your
     oldest and best friends, I wish you not only "many happy
     returns," but one, at least, in the autumn.

     Ever cordially,


On the other side of the Atlantic Philip Bourke Marston and his friend
William Sharp greeted her return to London in three sonnets.

     _Philip Bourke Marston to Mrs. Moulton_


     When from her world, new world, she sailed away,
       Right out into the sea-winds and the sea,
       Did no foreshadowing of good to be
     Surprise my heart? That memorable day
     Did I as usual rise, think, do, and say
       As on a day of no import to me?
       Did hope awake no least low melody?
     Send forth no spell my wandering steps to stay?
       Oh, could our souls catch music of the things
     From some lone height of being undescried,
       Then had I heard the song the sea-wind sings
     The waves; and through the strain of storm and tide,--
       As soft as sleep and pure as lovely springs,--
     Her voice wherein all sweetnesses abide.

     _William Sharp to Mrs. Moulton_


     Friend of my friend! as yet to me unknown,
       Shall we twain meeting meet and care no more?
       Already thou hast left thy native shore,
     And to thine ears the laughter and the moan
     Of the strange sea by night and day unknown,
       Its thunder and its music and its roar;
       A few days hence the journey will be o'er,
     And I shall know if hopes have likewise flown.
     As one hears by the fire a father tell
       His eager child some tales of fairy land,
     Where no grief is and no funereal bell,
       But thronging joys and many a happy band;
     So do I hope fulfillment will be well,
       And not scant grace, with cold, indifferent hand.


     Friend of my friend, the looked-for day has come,
       And we have met: to me, at least, a day
     Memorable: no hopes have flown away.
       Bad fears lie broken, stricken henceforth dumb:
     In the thronged room, and in the ceaseless hum
       Of many voices, I heard one voice say
     A few brief words,--but words that did convey
       A subtle breath of friendship, as in some
     Few scattered leaves the rose still gives her scent.
       Thy hand has been in mine, and I this night
     Have seen thine eyes reach answer eloquent
       To unseen questions winged for eager flight.
     And when, at last, our Philip and I went,
       I knew that I had won a fresh delight.

The following letter from Mr. Sharp explains itself in this cluster of

     _William Sharp to Philip Bourke Marston_


     DEAR PHILIP: I couldn't be bothered going out anywhere, as
     you suggested, and an hour or two ago I was able to complete
     a second sonnet for the two on "Anticipated Friendship"
     addressed to Mrs. Moulton. I told you how much I liked her,
     and what a relief it was to find my hopes not disappointed.
     In reading these sonnets (at least, the second one) remember
     the dolorous condition I am in, and have mercy on all
     short-comings that therein abound; and, please, if you think
     the spirit of thankfulness in them not sufficient to
     overbalance all deficiencies, throw them in the fire without
     showing them to their unconscious inspirer, and thus earn
     the future gratitude of

     Your loving friend,


In February of 1887 Philip Bourke Marston died. He bequeathed to Mrs.
Moulton his books and manuscripts, and many autographs of great
interest and value. Among them was the first page of the original
manuscript of the first great chorus in "Atalanta in Calydon"
corrected in Swinburne's own hand. Marston requested that she should
be his literary executor. Speaking of this work some years later, Mrs.
Moulton said:

     "When I first knew the Marstons they were a group of
     five,--dear old Dr. Marston, his son, Philip Bourke Marston,
     his unmarried daughter Cecily, his married daughter Mrs.
     Arthur O'Shaughnessy, and her husband. I edited a volume of
     selections by O'Shaughnessy; and I was named by Mr. Marston,
     in his will, as his literary executor. I brought out after
     his death a volume whose contents had not been hitherto
     included in any book, and which I called 'A Last Harvest.'
     Then I put all his flower-poems together (as he had long
     wished to do) in a volume by themselves, which was entitled
     'Garden Secrets.' Finally I have brought out a collected
     edition of his poems, including the three volumes published
     before his death, and the ones I had compiled after he

     "Ah, you may well call his life tragic. He was only three
     years old when he lost his sight. He was educated orally,
     but his knowledge of literature was a marvel. The poets of
     the past were his familiar friends, and he could repeat
     Swinburne's poems by the hour. To recite Rossetti's 'House
     of Life' was one of the amusements of his solitary days. But
     he longed, beyond all things, to be constantly in touch with
     the world--to know what every year, every month, was
     producing. 'Can you fancy what it is,' he would say to me
     sometimes, 'to be just walled in with books that you are
     dying to read, and to have them as much beyond your reach as
     if they were the other side of the world?' Yet he had,
     despite his sad fate, the gayest humor--the most naturally
     cheerful temperament; he could be so merry with his
     friends--so happy 'when there was anything to be happy
     about.' Of his work 'Garden Secrets' is uniquely charming.
     Rossetti once wrote him, in a letter of which I am the
     fortunate possessor, that he had been reading these 'Garden
     Secrets,' the evening before, to William Bell Scott, the
     poet-artist, and adds, 'Scott fully agreed with me that they
     were worthy of Shakespeare, in his subtlest lyrical moods.'
     Some of the best critics in London declared that the author
     of 'Song-Tide' (Marston's first volume) should, by virtue
     of this one book, take equal rank with Swinburne, Morris,
     and Rossetti. Certainly his subsequent volumes fully
     sustained the promise of this first one, and I feel that
     when Philip Bourke Marston died, at the age of thirty-seven,
     on the fourteenth of February, 1887, England lost one of her
     noblest and subtlest poets--one whose future promise it were
     hard to overrate. Sometimes I think I care most for some of
     his sonnets; then the subtle beauty of his lyrics upbraids
     me,--and I hardly know which to choose. Take him all in all,
     he seems to me a poet whom future generations will recognize
     and remember."

Regarding the death of Mr. Marston, Mr. Whittier wrote to the friend
who had brought so much brightness into the life of the blind poet:

     _Mr. Whittier to Mrs. Moulton_

     CENTRE HARBOR, N.H., 7th month, 1887.

     thee to send thy admirable little book and most welcome
     letter. We have read thy wise and charming essay up here
     among the hills, and under the shadow of the pines, with
     hearty approval. It was needed, and will do a great deal of
     good to young people, in the matter of manners and morals.

     It seems a very long time since I had the great pleasure of
     seeing thee, or of hearing directly from thee. I meant to
     have been in Boston in the early spring, and looked forward
     to the satisfaction of meeting thee, but I was too ill to
     leave home, and I felt a real pang of regret when I learned
     of thy departure. I am now much better, but although I
     cannot say with the Scotch poet that

            "the years hang o'er my back
          And bend me like a muckle pack,"

     I must still confess that they are getting uncomfortably
     heavy. But I have no complaint to make. My heart is as warm
     as ever, and love and friendship as dear.

     I was pained by the death of thy friend, Philip Marston. It
     must be a comfort to thee to know that thy love and sympathy
     made his sad lot easier to be borne. He was one who needed
     love, and I think he was one to inspire it also.

     My old and comfortable hotel at Centre Harbor, where I have
     been a guest for forty years, was burned to ashes a few days
     ago, after we came away. But we are now in good, neat
     quarters at a neat farm house, with large cool rooms on the
     border of the lovely lake.

     Good-bye, dear friend! While enjoying thy many friends in
     London, do not forget thy friends here.

     Ever affectionately thy old friend,


Herbert E. Clarke, the warm and intimate friend of Marston, touchingly
alludes to his death in this sonnet.


     Ah, friend, the die is cast,--life turns to prose.
       My way lies onward--dusty, hot, and bare,
       Through the wide plain under the noonday glare,--
     A sordid path whereby no singer goes;
     For yon the cloudy crags--the stars and snows--
       Limitless freedom of ethereal air
       And pinnacles near heaven. On foot I fare,
     Halting foredoomed, and toward what goal who knows?
     But though the singer who may sing no more
       Bears ever in his heart a smothered fire,
     I give Fate thanks: nor these my pangs deplore,
       Seeing song gave first rewards beyond desire--
     Your love, O Friend, and his who went before,
       The sightless singer with his silver lyre.

     LONDON, 1st August, 1888.

To Arlo Bates, Mrs. Moulton, reading this, repeated the closing line
with a touching tenderness, and then without further word laid the
manuscript aside.

In the middle years of the eighties Mrs. Moulton began to send to the
_Boston Herald_ a series of literary letters from London, and these
she continued for a number of years. She was especially well fitted
for the undertaking by her wide acquaintance with English writers, her
unusual power of appreciating work not yet endorsed by public
approval, and her sympathetic instinct for literary quality. The work,
while arduous, gave her pleasure, chiefly because it provided
opportunity for her to give encouragement and aid to others, and to
help to make better known writers and work not yet appreciated in
America. "I am sending a literary letter each week to the _Boston
Herald_," she writes Mr. Stedman. "It is hard work, but it gives me
the pleasure of expressing myself about the current literature. I
believe the letters are accounted a success."

Many were the letters of gratitude which came to her from those of
whom she had written. The sympathetic quality of her approval, so
rarely found in combination with critical judgment, made her praise
especially grateful. Not only did she interest and enlighten her
reading public, but she encouraged and inspired those of whom she

Other letters of grateful recognition came now and then from
artists of whose work she had written in verse. After a visit to the
studio of Burne-Jones in London she was inspired to write the
admirable and subtle lyric "Laus Veneris," upon his picture of that

     Pallid with too much longing,
       White with passion and prayer,
     Goddess of love and beauty,
       She sits in the picture there,--

     Sits with her dark eyes seeking
       Something more subtle still
     Than the old delights of loving
       Her measureless days to fill.

     She has loved and been loved so often,
       In the long, immortal years,
     That she tires of the worn-out rapture,
       Sickens of hopes and fears.

     No joys or sorrows move her,
       Done with her ancient pride;
     For her head she found too heavy
       The crown she has cast aside.

     Clothed in her scarlet splendor,
       Bright with her glory of hair,
     Sad that she is not mortal,--
       Eternally sad and fair,--

     Longing for joys she knows not,
       Athirst with a vain desire,
     There she sits in the picture,
       Daughter of foam and fire.


_Page 143_]

It is not to be wondered that the artist wrote in warm acknowledgment:

     _Mr. Burne-Jones to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I think you must know how glad all workers are of such
     sympathy as you have shown me, and I don't know of any other
     reward that one ever sets before one's self that can be
     compared for a moment with the gratified sense of being
     understood. It's like hearing one's tongue in a foreign
     land. I do assure you I worked all the more confidently the
     day your letter came. Confidence and courage do often fail,
     and when all the senses are thoroughly tired with work, and
     the heart discouraged, a tribute like the one you sent me is
     a real refreshment."

During all these years Mrs. Moulton's mastery of technical form, and
especially her efficiency in the difficult art of the sonnet, had
steadily increased. George H. Boker wrote to her: "In your ability to
make the sonnet all it should be you surpass all your living, tuneful
sisterhood." Certainly after the death of Mrs. Browning no woman
writing English verse could be named as Mrs. Moulton's possible rival
in the sonnet save Christina Rossetti, and no woman in America, if
indeed any man, could rank with her in this.

In many of Mrs. Moulton's sonnets is found a subtle, elusive
suggestion of spiritual things, as if the poet were living between the
two worlds of the seen and the unseen, with half-unconscious
perceptions, strange and swift, of the unknown. With this spiritual
outlook are mingled human love and longing. The existence of any
genuine poet must be dual. He holds two kinds of experience, one that
has been lived in outward life; the other, not less real, that has
been lived intuitively and through the power of entering, by sympathy,
into other lives and varied qualities of experience.

Mrs. Moulton's imaginative work, both in her stories and her poems,
suggests this truth in a remarkable degree. Her nature presents a
sensitive surface to impressions. She has the artist's power of
selection from these, and the executive gift to combine, arrange, and
present. Thus her spiritual receptivity gives to her work that deep
vitality, that sense of soul in it that holds the reader, while her
artistic touch moulds her rare and exquisite beauty of finished

In 1889 Mrs. Moulton published another volume of collected tales, the
last that she made. It was entitled "Miss Eyre from Boston, and Other
Stories." Her natural power and grace in fiction made these charming,
but it is by her poetry rather than by her prose that she will be
remembered. To her verse she gave her whole heart. To her short
stories only, so to say, her passing fancy.

On her way north from a visit to her daughter in Charleston, Mrs.
Moulton saw Walt Whitman. Little as she could be in sympathy with his
chaotic art-notions, she was much impressed by his personality. Her
diary records:

     "Went with Talcott Williams to see Walt Whitman, a grand,
     splendid old man. He sat in the most disorderly room I ever
     saw, but he made it a temple for his greatness. He expounded
     his theories of verse; he spoke of his work, of his boyhood;
     of his infirmities merely by way of excuse for his
     difficulty in moving, and he gave me a book. He was
     altogether delightful."

From the diary one gets a curiously vivid impression that Mrs.
Moulton's work was done in the very midst of interruptions and almost
in an atmosphere so markedly social that it might seem to be utterly
incompatible with imaginative production. Of course, a large number of
those whom she saw most intimately were concerned chiefly with the
artistic side of life, and this in a measure explains the anomaly; but
the fact remains that she had an extraordinary power of doing really
fine work in scraps and intervals of time which would to most writers
have seemed completely inadequate.

     "Full of interruptions, but managed to get written an
     editorial entitled 'A Post Too Late.'"

     "Went to Lady Seton's breakfast-party and sat beside Oswald
     Crawfurd. In the morning before I went out at all I wrote a
     sonnet commencing,

          "Have pity on my loneliness, my own!"

     "Finished _Herald_ letter. Mr. F.W.H. Myers called. Lunched
     at Walter Pater's and met M. Gabriel Sarrazin, the French
     critic, who told me that Guy de Maupassant thought the three
     disgraces for a French author were to be _décoré_, to belong
     to the Academy, and to write for the _Revue des Deux

     "Jan. 1, 1889. Wrote poem, 'At Dawn,' or whatever better
     title I can think of. Spent the time from 8 to 2 in
     correcting my 13,000 words story."

     "Louise Guiney came in to help me look over my poems. We
     worked till night, then went to the Cecilia concert to hear
     Maida Lang's quartet."

     "Such a busy morning! Polished off a rondel to send to the
     _Independent_. Read _Herald_ proof; wrote letters. This
     afternoon pleasant guests,--Mrs. Ole Bull, Mr. Clifford,
     Percival Lowell, and others."

     [In New York.] "Went over to Brooklyn and gave a Browning
     reading.... Met the Russian Princess Engalitcheff. Lunched
     at Mrs. Field's with the Princess and Mr. and Mrs. Locke
     Richardson. Went in the evening to the Gilders'."

     "Wrote a little.... Mrs. [John T.] Sargent and sweet Nellie
     Hutchinson called in the forenoon; and in the afternoon ten
     people, including Stedman."

     [In London.] "Worked on poems in forenoon. Had a lovely
     basket of flowers from dear old Mr. Greenough. Gave a little
     dinner at night at the Grand Hotel, to the Oswald Crawfurds,
     Sir Bruce Seton, Mrs. Trubner, and Mr. Greenough."

Extracts of this sort might be multiplied, and they explain why it was
that amid so much apparent preoccupation with social affairs Mrs.
Moulton kept steadily her place as a literary worker. Her genuine and
abiding love for letters was the secret of her ability thus to enter
with zest into the pleasures of life without losing her power of
artistic production.

Among the records of the year 1889 is this touching entry, with the
date April 27, at the close of a visit to her mother:

     "Poor mother's last words to me were: 'I love you better
     than anything in this world. You are my first and last
     thought. Believe it, for it is the _truth_.'"

In London this summer Mrs. Moulton was considering a title for a new
volume of poems, and had asked advice of William Winter. He chanced to
be in England at the time, and wrote at once:

     _Mr. Winter to Mrs. Moulton_

         August 14, 1889.

     DEAR LOUISE: Your letter has just come. Business affairs
     brought me suddenly to town. I will seek to see you as soon
     as they can be disposed of, Saturday or Sunday, perhaps.
     But I deeply regret your not coming to the "Red Horse." He
     might have led us a glorious fairy race. The only one of
     your titles that hits my fancy is "Vagrant Moods," and that
     is not good enough. Fancy titles are dangerous things. They
     generally have been used before. I once made use of the word
     "Thistledown," as a title for a collection of my poems, and
     too late found it had been used by an American lady, Miss
     Boyle, for a similar purpose. And Miss Boyle, or her
     attorneys, threatened me with the terrors of the law for
     infringement of copyright. I was also told that Miss Boyle's
     book had recently passed through my hands; and this was
     true, though I had not the least recollection of the book or
     its title. In fact, I had never read a line of it, but only
     at the request of a friend of hers turned it over to Bayard
     Taylor for review. He wrote a notice of it in _The Tribune_.
     And here, only lately, I learn from an Australian paper that
     my title of "Shakespeare's England," used by me to indicate
     the England of poetry, was used twenty-five years ago by a
     writer about the active England of Shakespeare's time.
     "Poems, by L.C.M." would be safer than any fancy title.
     "Awfully hackneyed," I hear. Well, if you have a fancy
     title, why not cull out a Shakespearian phrase? "The
     Primrose Path," say? Think a little about this. I will think
     further. Only look up clear, and so God bless you and good
     night.--What a lonely place this with no one to speak to and
     no one to hear.


     Your old friend,


The solution of Mrs. Moulton's difficulty was found in the attractive
title, "In the Garden of Dreams." The volume appeared in the following

Among the special friendships of Mrs. Moulton's life of both literary
and personal interest, one of the most important and enjoyable to her
was that with Professor Arlo Bates, the poet and romancist, whose work
she appreciated highly and whose sympathetic companionship gave her
great pleasure. With him she felt a peculiar sympathy, and to him she
wrote a series of letters, extending over many years, beginning in the
decade of the eighties. The extracts presented from these are here
grouped, as, while they thus lose a strict chronological thread, they
gain in a more complete representation, and their nature is such that
the precise date (rarely given, indeed, as they were mostly dated by
a month only) is, in any case, negligible in importance.

The extracts chosen deal almost exclusively with literary matters. The
only son of Professor Bates, in his twentieth year, afterward the
author of "A Madcap Cruise," whom Mrs. Moulton playfully called
"Prince Oric," and to whom in his sixth year she wrote a delicious
sonnet under that title, is alluded to, as well as is his mother, who
wrote over the pen-name Eleanor Putnam.

     _Mrs. Moulton to Arlo Bates_

     "... Thanks for the charming book. My love to the sweetest
     wife I know. Thank her for her letter...."

     "... Your letter about Marston's songs came to me when he
     and William Sharp happened to be passing the evening with
     me. I read it aloud, to Mr. Marston's great delight. It
     quite went to his heart.... I am so sorry I shall not find
     you and Mrs. Bates where you were last year. That desperate
     flirtation with Master Oric is off entirely...."

     "... I have just been reading 'Childe Roland,' and it
     baffles me, as it has so often done before. I feel less sure
     that I understand it than any other of Browning's poems. Is
     the Black Tower Death, do you think? But what a wonderful
     poem it is! I suppose spiritual judgments concern themselves
     with spiritual states...."

     "... I am delighted with what you say of Mr. Marston's poem
     in _Harper's_, because I think the poem too subtle and
     delicate to be appreciated, save by the very elect; and I am
     also delighted because what you said gave him so much
     pleasure. Marston said of you, 'What a wonderful
     psychological vein, almost as powerful as that of Browning,
     runs through many of the poems of Mr. Bates.'..."

     "... I am so eager to see your novel of artistic Boston.
     'The Pagans,'--a capital title. I am glad you have had the
     courage to tell the truth in it as you see it. I don't see
     it quite as you do, I fancy, but I am thankful when any one
     has the courage of his opinions, for it seems to me that the
     English and American writers are just now very much like
     cats standing on the edge of a stream, and afraid to put in
     their feet. They say what they think is expected of them to
     say, and they reserve the truth for the seasons when they
     enter their closets and shut the door on all the world. I
     think there is more hypocrisy in novels than in religion."

     "... I am ashamed that two weeks have gone by since I
     received your noble book, 'Told in the Gate.' I have not
     been so neglectful of it as it seems. I have not only taken
     my own pleasure in it, but I have shown it to other poets
     who are interested in knowing what is being done in America.
     It is a beautiful book externally--how beautiful it is
     internally I am sure the world of readers will eagerly
     perceive; but never one of them can love it more than I do.
     Even in print it is hard for me to say which poem I prefer.
     There is not one among them that is not well done from the
     point of art, and thrillingly interesting as a story. The
     lyrics star the book like gems. They sing themselves over
     and over to my listening mind.... I feel a glow of exultant
     pride that the author is my friend. I am proud and glad to
     have my name inscribed in a volume I so admire and love. I
     am enjoying London as I always do.... I go toward the end of
     August to pay some visits in Scotland, and then to visit
     Lady Ashburton in Hampshire and after that to Paris. I
     enclose some foreign stamps for the young Prince.... Your
     poems are among the pleasures of my life."

Of the sonnets of Mr. Bates Mrs. Moulton wrote:

     "... Dante breathed through the sonnet the high aspirations
     of that love which shaped and determined his soul's life. By
     sonnets it was that Petrarch wedded immortally his name to
     that of his ever-wooed, never-won Laura of Avignon. Strong
     Michael Angelo wrote sonnets for that noble lady, Vittoria
     Colonna, whose hand he kissed only after Death had kissed
     the soul from her pure lips.

     "The one personal intimacy with Shakespeare to which any of
     his worshippers have been admitted is such as comes from
     loving study of his sonnets, in 'sessions of sweet, silent
     thought.' The sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning burned
     with the pure flame of her perfect love. In the sonnets of
     'The House of Life' Rossetti commemorated that love and loss
     so passionate and so abiding that it seemed to him the whole
     of life. In the sonnets of 'Song-Tide' Marston sang the
     praises of his early love, as in those of 'All In All' he
     bewailed her loss; and his sonnets of later years throb like
     a tell-tale heart with the profoundest melancholy out of
     whose depths a human soul ever cried for pity.

     "Such and thus intimate have been the revelations made
     through this form of verse--so rigid, yet so plastic and so

     "To the list of these sonneteers who have thus sounded the
     deepest depths of love and sorrow, the name of Arlo Bates
     has now been added, by the publication of his noble and
     sincere 'Sonnets in Shadow.' Born of one man's undying pain,
     these sonnets at once become, through the subtlety of their
     research into the innermost depths of human emotion, the
     property and the true expression of all souls who have loved
     and suffered.

     "A few of us know, personally, the rare charm, the exquisite
     loveliness, of her thus royally honored and passionately
     lamented; and all of us who read can feel that thus and thus
     our own hearts might be wrung by such a loss--that in us,
     also, if we have souls at all, such sorrow might bear fruit
     in kindred emotion, even though for want of words our lips
     be dumb. It seems to me that it is the dumb souls--who feel
     all that the poet has sung, and yet cannot break the silence
     with a cry--who owe the deepest debt to this, their

     _Mrs. Moulton to Mr. Bates_

     "OCTOBER 27, 1889.

     "I have been passing this rainy afternoon with your sonnets.
     I had read some of them more than once before, but this
     afternoon I have been quite alone save for their good
     company. I have read the strong, noble sequence through,
     from first to last, enjoying them more than ever. I like
     every one of them, but I had a pencil and paper by me and
     put down the numbers that most moved me. I see that my list
     is not short; do you care to see what it includes? It begins
     with the beautiful sonnet of dedication; then the first,
     with its wonderful procession of the gray days passing the
     torpid soul, and laying their 'curious fingers, chill and
     numb,' upon its wounds. Then the sixth, with the

          "... drowned sailors, lying lank and chill
          Under the sirupy green wave.

     And the fifteenth with its visions of love.

          "Never can joy surmise how long are sorrow's hours,

     ought to be, like certain lines of Wordsworth, among the
     immortal quotations. I think your sonnets noble alike in
     thought and in execution. They can have no more faithful
     lover than I am; and I do believe that if there is anything
     in which my opinion has any value, it is on the form of
     poetry. I love it so sincerely and I have studied it so

     "... Mrs. Spofford has been to stay over Sunday with me and
     I read through to her your new volume of poems, with the
     exception of 'The Lilies of Mummel See,' which she read to
     me. I think you would be pleased; could you know how much we
     both enjoyed and admired the book. To my mind, 'Under the
     Beech Tree' is the finest romantic drama of the time. I like
     it far better than I do 'Colombe's Birthday,' much as I like
     that. Mrs. Spofford is quite wild with enthusiasm about 'The
     Gift.' She said the last line,

          "His heart is still mine, beating warm in my grave,

     is not only the finest line in your book, but the finest
     line that has been written by any one in a score of years."

     "... Your suggestion as to national characteristics of women
     struck me as a curious coincidence with the fact that the
     editor of the _Fortnightly_ has just asked me to write an
     article on American and English women, contrasting and
     comparing them, and discussing their differences. But the
     differences; seem to me individual, not national.

     "Thanks for your suggestion about the sonnet.

          "Break through the shining, splendid ranks

     seems to me simpler and more forcible, but then this
     involves the 'I pray,' to which you greatly object.

          "Break through their splendid militant array:

     "I'll copy both, and see what you think. On the whole, I
     like yours better.

     "I have been arranging books all the afternoon, and I am so
     tired that I wish I had the young prince here, or such
     another,--only there is no other."

     _The same to the same_

     "DEAR PAGAN: I am on page 238 of 'The Puritans,' and I pause
     to say how piteously cruel is your portrait of ----.
     Sargent, at his best, was never so relentlessly realistic. I
     pity Fenton so desperately I can hardly bear it. Why do I
     sympathize so with him when he is so little worthy? Is it
     your fault, or mine? I believe I am not pitiless enough to
     write novels, even if I had every other qualification.

     "Your character of Fenton is admirably studied. It is worthy
     of the author of 'The Pagans' and 'A Wheel of Fire.'"

     "... I have finished reading 'The Puritans,'--all the duties
     of life neglected till I came to the end. I have not been so
     interested in a book for ages. I am especially interested in
     the conflict of the souls between degrees of agnosticism. It
     is the keenest longing of my life to know what is truth."

     "I have reason to be grateful for your birthday, since I
     find you one of the most interesting persons I have ever had
     the happiness to know."

     "I have just finished reading 'The Diary of a Saint,' and I
     cannot wait an hour to tell you how very greatly I admire
     it. It has been said that all the stories were told. You
     prove how untrue is this statement,--for your story, or
     anything like it, has never been told before. It is
     absolutely unique and original.... I am so interested in
     every page of the book that I have an impatient desire to
     know all the spiritual experiences that lead to it."

     "Just now at Les Voirons (Haute Savoie) I have found a sort
     of hilltop paradise. Four thousand and more feet above the
     sea level, the air is like balm, and the views indescribably
     lovely. I have never seen Mont Blanc half so well. It is far
     more wonderful than the view from Chamounix. And just now at
     night the white ghost of a young moon hangs above it, in a
     pale, clear sky, and the lesser peaks all around shimmer in
     the moonlight. This hotel is ten climbing miles from any
     railroad station. You can buy nothing here but postage

In a characteristic letter from Rome, Richard Greenough, the sculptor,

     _Mr. Greenough to Mrs. Moulton_

     "The sidereal certainty of your movements impresses me. It
     reminds me of the man who ordered his dinner in England a
     year in advance, and when the time came he was there to eat
     it.... Do I feel sure of a life after this? Was ever a note
     charged with such heavy ballast? To attempt an answer would
     take a volume,--to give an answer would require a
     conscience.... While reading Cicero's Tusculan Disputations
     'On Grief,' I found a quotation from Sophocles that reminds
     me of your loss in Philip's death.

          "No comforter is so endowed with wisdom
          That while he soothes another's heavy grief,
          If altered fortune turns on him her blow,
          He will not bend beneath the sudden shock
          And spurn the consolation he had given.

     "I wonder if you know how poetic you are? Do what you
     may,--read, write, or talk, you make real life seem ideal,
     and ideal life seem real. Your sweet 'After Death' is above
     all praise."

On the appearance of "Robert Elsmere" Mrs. Moulton read it with the
greater interest in that, as has already been noted, her own mind
constantly reverted to religious problems. Writing to Mrs. Humphry
Ward to congratulate her on the achievement, she received the
following reply:

     _Mrs. Ward to Mrs. Moulton_

     LONDON, June 20, 1888.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: Thanks for your interesting letter _in
     re_ Robert Elsmere. There is no answer merely to the
     problems of evil and suffering except that of an almost
     blind trust. I see dimly that evil is a condition of good.
     Heredity and environment are awful problems. They are also
     the lessons of God.

     Sincerely yours,

     MARY A. WARD.

The publication in 1889 of the collection of poems entitled "In the
Garden of Dreams" added greatly to Mrs. Moulton's standing as a poet.
On the title-page were the lines of Tennyson:

     Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite
     Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love.

The book contained a group of lyrics "To French Tunes," which showed
that Mrs. Moulton had responded to the fashion for the old French
forms of rondel, rondeau, triolet, and so on which in the eighties
prevailed among London singers. They showed her facility in
manipulating words in metre and were all graceful and delicate; but
she was a poet of emotion too genuine and feeling too strong to be at
her best in these artificial and constrained measures. She wrote a few
in later years, which were included in the volume called "At the
Wind's Will," but although they were praised she never cared for them
greatly or regarded them as counting for much in her serious work. The
book as a whole showed how the natural lyric singer had developed into
the fine and subtle artist. The noblest portion of the collection, as
in her whole poetic work, was perhaps in the sonnets; but throughout
the volume the music of the lines was fuller and freer, the thought
deeper, the emotion more compelling than in her earlier work. With
this volume Mrs. Moulton took her place at the head of living American
poets, or, as an English critic phrased it, "among the true poets of
the day."

The voice of the press was one of unanimous praise on both sides of
the Atlantic. The privately expressed criticisms of the members of the
guild of letters were no less in accord. Mrs. Spofford said of
"Waiting Night":

     "It is a perfect thing. The wings of flying are all through
     it. It is fine, and free, and beautiful as the 'Statue and
     the Bust.' It is high, and sweet, and touching."

     _Dr. Holmes to Mrs. Moulton_

     296 BEACON ST.,
       December 29, 1889.

     MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I thank you most cordially for sending
     me your beautiful volume of poems. They tell me that they
     are breathed from a woman's heart as plainly as the
     fragrance of a rose reveals its birthplace. I have read
     nearly all of them--a statement I would not venture to make
     of most of the volumes I receive, the number of which is
     legion, and I cannot help feeling flattered that the author
     of such impassioned poems should have thought well enough of
     my own productions to honor me with the kind words I find on
     the blank leaf of a little book that seems to me to hold
     leaves torn out of the heart's record.

     Believe me, dear Mrs. Moulton,

     Faithfully yours,

     O.W. HOLMES.


_Page 164_]

     _Dr. Rolfe to Mrs. Moulton_

     CAMBRIDGE, Christmas, 1889.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: How can I thank you enough for giving me
     a free pass to your "Garden of Dreams" with its delightful
     wealth of violets, fresh and sweet; lilies and roses,
     rosemary, and Elysian asphodel, and every flower that sad
     embroidery weaves? Put your ear down close and let me
     whisper very confidentially,--tell it not at our meetings at
     the Brunswick, publish it not in the streets of Boston! that
     I like your delicate and fragrant blossoms better than some
     of the hard nuts that the dear, dead Browning has given us
     in his "Asolando." Sour critics may tell us that the latter
     will last longer,--they are tough enough to endure,--but I
     doubt not that old Father Time,--who is not destitute of
     taste, withal,--will press some of your charming flowers
     between his ponderous chronicles, where their lingering
     beauty and sweetness will delight the appreciation of
     generations far distant. So may it be!

     Luckily, one may wander at will with impunity in your lovely
     garden, even if he has as bad a cold as at present afflicts
     and stupefies your friend, though he may enjoy these all the
     more when he recovers his wonted good health. If this poor
     expression of his gratitude seems more than usually weak and
     stupid, ascribe it to that same villainous cold, and believe
     him, in spite of it, to be always gratefully and cordially

     With the best wishes of the holiday time,

     W.J. ROLFE.

     _Mr. Greenough to Mrs. Moulton_

     "DECEMBER, 1889.

     "I took a long walk in 'The Garden of Dreams.' What a
     perfect title! Dr. Charles Waldstein is staying with me on
     his way to Athens, and I read him some of these poems which
     most pleased me, finding instant response.

     "You will feel Browning's death very much. Story was with
     him only a few weeks ago. They were making excursions, and,
     despite remonstrances, Browning insisted on scaling heights,
     though often obliged to stop. It was a great disappointment
     to his son that he could not be buried by E.B.B., as he
     desired to be.... Yes, positively and inexorably, the past
     exists forever. We do not apprehend it, owing to the
     limitations of our faculties, but once granting the removal
     of these limitations by organic change (as by death), then
     the past becomes awakened, and we are again alive in the
     entity of our being. Then the latent causes of our actions,
     for good or evil, are as patent to us as to the Author of
     our being. The friends we long to see are present. This is a
     practical glance at the thing...."

Such extracts might be extended almost indefinitely, for with Mrs.
Moulton's very large circle of friends the number of letters which
naturally came to her after the appearance of a new volume was
inevitably large, and "In the Garden of Dreams" was so notable an
achievement as to make this especially true. The closing decade found
her rich in fame and in friends with an acknowledged and indeed
undisputed place in the literary world, not only on this side of the
water but the other, and the consciousness that it had been won not
alone by her great natural gifts and marked personal charm, but by
sincere and conscientious devotion, untiring and unselfish, to her

A pleasant closing note was a Christmas card adorned with violets, on
the back of which William Sharp had written the graceful lines:

     TO L.C.M.

       From over-sea
     Violets (for memories)
       I send to thee.

     Let them bear thought of me,
       With pleasant memories
     To touch the heart of thee,
       From over-sea.

     A little way it is for love to flee.
       Love winged with memories,
     Hither to thither over-sea.



     And this is the reward. That the ideal shall be real to
     thee, and the impressions of the actual world shall fall
     like summer rain, copious, but not troublesome.... Doubt
     not, O Poet, but persist.--EMERSON.

     Onward the chariot of the Untarrying moves;
       Nor day divulges him nor night conceals.
                                 WILLIAM WATSON.

     They are winged, like the viewless wind,
       These days that come and go.--L.C.M.

Mrs. Moulton's morning-room was on the second floor, its windows
looking into the green trees of Rutland Square. In one corner was her
desk, in the centre a table always piled with new books, many of which
were autographed copies from their authors, and around the walls were
low bookcases filled with her favorite volumes. Above these hung
pictures, and on their tops were photographs and mementos. The mantel
was attractive with pretty bric-a-brac, largely gifts. Between the two
front windows was her special table filled with the immediate letters
of the day, and by it her own chair in which, on mornings, she was
quite sure to be found by the little group of friends privileged to
familiar intimacy.

No allusion to these delightful talks with Mrs. Moulton in her
morning-room could be complete without mention of her faithful and
confidential maid, Katy, whom all the frequenters of the house
regarded with cordial friendliness as an important figure in the
household life. It was Katy who knew to a shade the exact degree of
greeting for the unending procession of callers, from the friends
dearest and nearest, to the wandering minstrels who should have been
denied, though they seldom were. It was Katy who surrounded the
gracious mistress of the establishment with as much protection as was
possible; but as Mrs. Moulton's sympathies were unbounded, while her
time and strength had their definite limits, it will be seen that
Katy's task was often difficult.

The informal lingerings in Mrs. Moulton's morning-room were so a part
of the "dear days" that "have gone back to Paradise" that without some
picture of them no record of her Boston life could be complete. The
first mail was an event, and to it Mrs. Moulton gave her immediate
attention after glancing through the morning paper with her coffee
and roll. Her correspondence increased with every season, and while it
was a valued part of her social life, it yet became a very serious tax
on her time and energy. There were letters from friends and from
strangers; letters from the great and distinguished, and from the
obscure; and each and all received from her the same impartial
consideration. Every conceivable human problem, it would seem, would
be laid before her. Her name was sought for all those things for which
the patroness is invented; there were not wanting those who desired
her advice, her encouragement, her practical aid in finding, perhaps,
a publisher for their hitherto rejected MSS. with an income insured;
and they wanted her photograph, her autograph, her biography in
general; a written "sentiment" which they might, indeed, incorporate
into their own concoctions by way of adornment; or they frankly wanted
her autograph with the provision that it should be appended to a
check, presumably of imposing dimensions,--all these, and a thousand
other requests were represented in her letters, quite aside from the
legitimate correspondence of business and friendship. With all these
she dealt with a generous consideration whose only defect was perhaps
a too ready sympathy. Her familiar friends might sometimes try to
restrain her response. "It is an imposition!" one might unfeelingly
exclaim. "God made them," she would reply. And to the insinuation that
the Divine Power had perhaps little to do in the creation of
professional bores and beggars, she would smile indulgently, but she
usually insisted that it "wasn't right" to turn away from any appeal,
although, of course, all appeals were not to be granted literally. In
vain did one beseech her to remember Sir Hugo's advice to Daniel
Deronda: "Be courteous, be obliging, Dan, but don't give yourself to
be melted down for the tallow trade." She always insisted that even to
be unwisely imposed upon was better than to refuse one in real need;
and her charities--done with such delicacy of tender helpfulness that
for them charity is too cold a name--were most generous. Her countless
liberal benefactions, moreover, were of the order less easy than the
mere signing of checks, for into them went her personal sympathy. She
helped people to help themselves in the most thoughtful and lovely

Now it was a typewriter given with such graceful sweetness to a
literary worker whose sight was failing; now checks that saved the
day for one or another; again the numerous subscriptions to worthy
objects; or the countless gifts and helps to friends. A woman lecturer
had been ill and unfortunate, but had several modest engagements
waiting in a neighboring city if only she had ten dollars to get
there. Mrs. Moulton sent her fifty that she might have a margin for
comforts that she needed. To a friend in want of aid to bridge over a
short time was sent a check, totally unsolicited and undreamed of, and
accepted as a loan; but when the recipient had, soon afterward, a
birthday, a delicate note from Mrs. Moulton made the supposed loan a
birthday gift. Never did any one make such a fine art of giving as did
she. Pages could be filled with these instances--the complete list,
indeed, is known to the Recording Angel only.

All the world of letters was talked over in those morning hours in her
room. Sometimes her friends "gently wrangled," and bantered her with
laughter and love. At one time she had made in a lyric a familiar
allusion to larks and nightingales, and Louise Guiney, who, because
she bore Mrs. Moulton's name, usually addressed her as "Godmam," took
her to task for some ornithological inadvertence in the terrestrial
location of her nightingale. Colonel Higginson, in a review of her
poems, had quoted the stanza:

     Shall I lie down to sleep, and see no more
       The splendid affluence of earth and sky?
     The morning lark to the far heavens soar,
       The nightingale with the soft dusk draw nigh?

and had ungallantly commented:

     "But Mrs. Moulton has lain down to sleep all her life in
     America, and never looked forward to seeing the morning lark
     on awakening. She never saw or sought the nightingale at
     dusk in the green lanes of her native Connecticut. Why
     should she revert to the habits of her colonial ancestors,
     and meditate on these pleasing foreign fowl as necessary
     stage-properties for a vision of death and immortality?"

Another writer had come to the defence of the poet in this fashion:

     "Considering that Mrs. Moulton goes to Europe the last of
     every April, not returning till late in October, it would
     seem natural for her to sing of 'larks and nightingales,'
     since she must hear them both sing in the English May. Do,
     dear Colonel Higginson, permit her to sing of them, though
     they are not native birds, since in the magic of her art she
     almost makes us hear them too."

Miss Guiney, laughing over these comments, turned to Mrs. Moulton.

"Godmam," she asked, "did you ever see a nightingale?"

"Why, yes, Louise; plenty of them."


"Why, anywhere. Out here, I suppose," replied the elder poet, dreamily
glancing from the windows of her morning-room into the tree-tops of
Rutland Square. "In London, too, I believe," she added, rather

"Singing in Trafalgar Square, godmam," rejoined the younger poet

The informal loiterers in the morning-room were never weary of asking
Mrs. Moulton's impressions of London writers.

"You knew Thomas Hardy well?" someone would ask.

"I knew him. I even venture to think of him as a friend--at least as a
very friendly acquaintance. I cared deeply for many of his books
before I had the pleasure of meeting him; and I quite adored 'The
Return of the Native.'"

"And you liked the author as well as the books?"

"I think no one could know Thomas Hardy and not like him. He is
sympathetic, genial, unaffected, altogether delightful; somewhat
pessimistic, to be sure, and with a vein of sadness--a minor chord in
his psalm of life: but all the same with a keen sense of fun. I
remember I was telling him once about an American admirer of his. It
was at a party at Hardy's own house, and a few people were listening
to our talk. The American of whose praise I spoke was Charles T.
Copeland, of Harvard, who had just reviewed 'Tess,' in the _Atlantic
Monthly_. Mr. Hardy listened kindly, and then he said, 'What you say
is a consolation, just now.' I knew some good fun lurked behind the
quaint humor of his smile. 'Why just now?' I asked. 'Oh, I dined, two
nights ago, at the house of a Member of Parliament. It was by way of
being a political dinner; but, as "Tess" was just out, one and another
spoke of it--kindly enough. Finally one lady, two or three seats away
from me, leaned forward. Her clear voice commanded every one's
attention. "Well, Mr. Hardy," she said, "these people are complaining
that you had Tess hanged in the last chapter of your book. _That_ is
not what I complain of. I complain because you did not have all your
characters hanged, for they all deserved it!" Don't you think, Mrs.
Moulton, that after that I need consolation from somewhere?'"

Many of her reminiscences which entered into the talk have been told
in her newspaper letters, and need not be repeated here, but they took
on a fresh vitality from the living voice and the gracious, unaffected

By some untraced or unanalyzed impulse Mrs. Moulton was apt to be
moved on each New Year's day to write a poem. Usually this was a
sonnet, but now and then a lyric instead; and for many years the first
entry in the fresh volume of her diary records the fact. On the first
of January, 1890, she writes:

     "Began the New Year by writing a sonnet, to be called 'How
     Shall We Know,' unless I can find a better title."

"The Last Good-bye" was the title upon which she afterward fixed.

On the fifth day of January of this year died Dr. Westland Marston.
Mrs. Moulton wrote in her _Herald_ letters a review of his life and
work, in the course of which she said with touching earnestness:

     "I scarcely know a life which has been so tragic as his in
     the way of successive bereavements; and when I think of him
     as I saw him last, on the first day of last November--in his
     solitary library, with the pictures of those he had loved
     and lost on its walls, and with only their ghosts for his
     daily company--I almost feel that, for his own sake, I ought
     to be glad that he has gone to join the beloved ones whom
     one can easily fancy making festival of welcome for him."

Her intimacy had been close with all the family, and while Edmund
Gosse was right when he wrote to her that she seemed to him always to
have been "Philip's true guardian-ray, or better genius," her
friendship for Cecily Marston, for Mrs. O'Shaughnessy, and with Dr.
Marston himself was hardly less close. The tragic ending of the family
could not but cast a bleak shade over the opening year.

Her relations with English writers and the good offices by which she
helped to make their work better known on this side of the Atlantic
might be illustrated by numerous letters.

     _Richard Garnett to Mrs. Moulton_

       August 4, 1890.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I hope I need not say how your letter has
     gratified me. The progress of "The Twilight of the Gods" has
     been slow, and I was especially disappointed that the
     endeavor to introduce it to the American public through an
     American publisher fell through. But there seems token of
     its gradually making way, and I value your approbation among
     the most signal. I shall be delighted to receive the copy of
     your poems, which I know I can safely promise to admire.

     Believe me,

     Most sincerely yours,

     R. GARNETT.

Both Edmund Clarence Stedman and George Meredith had, each unknown to
the other, suggested to Mrs. Moulton that she write a novel in verse.
"Lucile" and "Aurora Leigh" had each in its time and way made a wide
popular success, and they felt that Mrs. Moulton might succeed
equally. To this suggestion Mr. Meredith alludes in a letter in which
he thanks Mrs. Moulton for a copy of "In the Garden of Dreams."

     _George Meredith to Mrs. Moulton_

     MARCH 9, 1890.

     "DEAR MRS MOULTON: Your beautiful little volume charms us
     all. It is worth a bower of song, and I am rightly sensible
     of the gift. You are getting to a mastery of the sonnet that
     is rare, and the lyrics are exquisite. I hope you will now
     be taking some substantial theme, a narrative, for ampler
     exercise of your powers. I am hard at work and nearing the
     end of a work that has held me for some time. I have not
     been in London since the day of Browning's funeral,--a sad
     one, but having its glory. I had a tinge of apprehension the
     other day in hearing of Russell Lowell's illness. We have
     been reassured about him. Boston, I suppose, will soon be
     losing you...."

In the years directly following its publication, "In the Garden of
Dreams" went rapidly through several editions. One sonnet which
elicited much praise was that called


     Because I seek Thee not, oh seek Thou me!
       Because my lips are dumb, oh hear the cry
       I do not utter as Thou passest by
     And from my life-long bondage set me free!
     Because, content, I perish far from Thee,
       Oh, seize me, snatch me from my fate, and try
       My soul in Thy consuming fire! Draw nigh
     And let me, blinded, Thy salvation see.
     If I were pouring at Thy feet my tears,
       If I were clamoring to see Thy face,
     I should not need Thee, Lord, as now I need,
     Whose dumb, dead soul knows neither hopes nor fears,
       Nor dreads the outer darkness of this place--
     _Because_ I seek not, pray not, give Thou heed!

The deeply religious feeling, the profound sincerity, and what might
perhaps not inaptly be called the completely modern mood of this, a
mood which in its essence is permanent but which in its outward form
varies with each generation, gave it a power of wide appeal. A church
paper in England said of it:

     "Profound faith in the infinite goodness of God is the
     spirit which animates most of Mrs. Moulton's work. The
     sonnet ... deserves a place among the best devotional verse
     in the language. It is a question if, outside of the volume
     of Miss Rossetti, any devotional verse to equal this can be
     found in the work of a living woman-writer."

The critic need hardly have limited himself to the poetry of women.
Mrs. Moulton was all her life vitally interested in the religious side
of life, and many more of her letters might have been quoted to show
how constantly her mind returned to the question of immortality and
human responsibility. The sonnet had become for her a natural mode of
utterance, as it was for Mrs. Browning when she wrote the magnificent
sequence which recorded her love; and in this especial poem is the
essence of Mrs. Moulton's spiritual life.

Mrs. Moulton's mastery of the sonnet has been alluded to before, but
as each new volume brought fresh proof of it, and as she went on
producing work equally important, it is impossible not to refer to
this form of her art again and again. Whittier wrote to her after the
appearance of "In the Garden of Dreams": "It seems to me the sonnet
was never set to such music before, nor ever weighted with more deep
and tender thought;" and Miss Guiney, in a review, declared that "we
rest with a steadfast pleasure on the sonnets, and in their masterly
handling of high thoughts." Phrases of equal significance might be
multiplied, and to them no dissenting voice could be raised.

In 1890 Mrs. Moulton brought out a volume of juvenile stories under
the title "Stories Told at Twilight," and in 1896 this was followed by
another with the name "In Childhood's Country." Always wholesome,
kindly, attractive, these volumes had a marked success with the
audience for which they were designed; and of few books written for
children can or need more be said.

Among the letters of this period are a number from a correspondent
signing "Pascal Germain." The writer had published a novel called
"Rhea: a Suggestion," but his identity has not yet been made public.
Mrs. Moulton never knew who he was, but apparently opened the
correspondence in regard to something which struck her in the book.
Some clews exist which might be followed up were one inclined to
endeavor to solve the riddle. After the death of Carl Gutherz, the
artist who painted the admirable decoration "Light" for the ceiling of
the Reading-room in the Congressional Library in Washington, his
daughter found among the papers of her father a post-card signed
Pascal Germain, and written from Paris in the manner of a familiar
friend. Evidently Mr. Gutherz had known the mysterious writer well,
but the daughter had no clew by which to identify him.

A letter from Edward Stanton Huntington, author of "Dreams of the
Dead," rather deepens than clears the mystery. The writer was a nephew
of Bishop Huntington, and is not now living.

     _Mr. Huntington to Mrs. Moulton_

       December 8, 1892.

     "MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I find myself unable to send the
     complete letters of my friend, Duynsters, but take pleasure
     in sending you the extracts referring to Pascal Germain.
     After the receipt of his letter (enclosed) dated June 1st, I
     wrote him of the conversation you and I had in regard to
     'Rhea' and the merits of the book. I also mentioned the
     photograph. He replies:

     "'What you tell me of the photograph and Mrs. Moulton amuses
     me very much. Let me assure you that the photograph is no
     more the picture of Pascal Germain than it is of Pericles,
     or Gaboriau, or Zoroaster. I am the only human being who
     knows the identity of Germain, beside himself, and no one
     can possess his photograph.'

     "Duynsters then goes on to discuss the symbolism and sound
     psychology of the work. My own conclusion, after reading the
     words of my friend Duynsters, and hastily perusing 'Rhea,'
     (I confess I was not much interested in the book)--my
     conclusions are that Germain is the pen name of some man or
     woman of peculiar genius and eccentric taste.

     "Mr. Duynsters is a very cultivated man, one who has
     travelled extensively, and who has a keen judgment of men
     and affairs; so it puzzles me exceedingly to decide who this
     author of 'Rhea' really is. Time will tell...."

A copy of "Rhea" was among Mrs. Moulton's books, but the novel seems
never to have made a marked impression on either side of the Atlantic.
What is apparently the earliest letter remaining of the series seems
to throw light on a passage in the note of Mr. Huntington, and to give
the impression that Pascal Germain had played a mischievous trick on
Mrs. Moulton by sending her a photograph which was not genuine.

     _M. Germain to Mrs. Moulton_


     MADAME: It is in sincere gratitude that I tender you my
     thanks for your kind words about the photograph which I had
     many misgivings in venturing to lay before you, fearing it
     might be _de trop_. Whether you really forgive me for
     sending it, or were so gentle as to conceal your
     displeasure, it leaves me your debtor always. Although I
     write from Paris now, the above is my address, and I beg you
     will remember it if at any time I can serve you on this side
     of the ocean. I beg you to command me freely.

     Believe me to remain,

     Yours very faithfully,


     _From the same_

     PARIS. Tuesday Morn.

     DEAR FRIEND: I am inexpressibly touched by your letter, and
     I reply at once. I drop all other work to write to you,
     solely that I may lose no time. Yours of the 1st has been
     here only a few minutes. Believe me, your idea of death is
     purely a fancy, born of an atmosphere of doubt, out of which
     you must get as soon as possible. I am glad you wrote, for
     in this I may serve you as I have served others.

     When I tell you I feel sure your phantom of approaching
     death is unreal, I am telling you a truth deduced from hard
     study, and than which no other conclusion could arrive. Of
     this I give you my most sacred assurance. Put this thought
     out of your mind as you would recoil from any adverse
     suggestion. The fact is, very few deaths are natural: they
     are the result of fear. The natural death is at the age of
     from a hundred to a hundred and twenty or thirty years. The
     deaths about us are from fright, ignorance, and concession
     to the opinions of uneducated friends, and half-educated
     doctors. This I know. I could cite you case after case of
     those who have really died because the physician asserted
     they could not live.

     If your delusion is mental, swing to the other side of the
     circle, and read or study the most agreeable things that are
     widely apart from what you have been dwelling upon. Exercise
     strengthens the mind. It is the folly of fools to speak of
     the brain being over-worked. It may be stupidly exercised,
     but if used in a catholic development, the use makes it more
     vigorous. Look at the blue sky; not the ground. God is the
     Creator, but man is also a creator. His health depends
     largely on his will,--that is to say, in the sense of that
     will being plastic to the Divine will.

     If your illness is physical stop thinking about
     yourself,--do as Saint Teresa did, take up some other
     subject, and suddenly you will find yourself well. Nature
     requires only a few months, not years, to make the body all
     over again.

     Death is natural. Few physicians know anything about it.
     They have shut down every window in their souls to the
     light. For your comfort let me tell you that what I am
     saying is the subject of a long talk with one of the first
     physicians on the Continent.

     Many things, accepted by the common people to be the result
     of miracle, are really the result of thought. That is, of
     mental force, used or misused. Don't misuse your forces.
     Read Plato if you have been reading too much modern fiction,
     or have been dipping too deep into Wittemberg's philosophy.
     It seems to me there can be no doubt of the survival of the
     individual soul. Why not plant your feet on the facts we
     possess, and on faith, and philosophy? Read your "Imitatione
     Christi." It fits every mind by transposing the symbolism. I
     tell you frankly that even if no such man as Jesus ever
     lived, I can be serene with Plato's guidance and light.

     Stop critical reading. Really a critic is an interpreter,
     but what modern critic knows this? The only modern critic I
     honor is Herbert Spencer.

     Believe me,

     Yours with great respect,


     _From the same_

       September 13, 1890.

     MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I hope you have believed that all this
     while I have been away my letters were not forwarded and
     only now can I thank you for the beautiful volume you have
     sent me.

     I have wandered through it reading over and over special
     poems that fascinate me. I have not really read them all
     yet, though I ought to know this volume very well, for I
     bought it some years ago. I am particularly pleased with the
     poems, "A Painted Fan," and "The House of Death." The poem
     called "Annie's Daughter" is picturesque to a great degree.
     By the way I have a letter from an American magazine asking
     me to write for them "anything." The letter is in French.
     Now why should I not write for them an article on your
     poems? They tell me they will faithfully translate all I
     send. Your informant was right. I am French only on one side
     of the house. Lest I may forget, I want to say here and now
     how much I like your "At Étretat." I should have known it
     meant that place, even without the title. The picture is so
     vivid. Do you know the Riviera? There is material for you in
     grays and browns, and the sound of the sea. But I think the
     poetry of the "fan" expresses you best, and there you have
     the advantage of being alone in your beautiful thought. What
     lonely things beauty, truth, and the soul are! The atoms
     never touch.

     Forgive the length of this if you can, and believe me,

     Your faithful servant,


     _From the same_

       December 24, 1891.

     MADAME: I trust it will not displease you to hear from me
     again, though my fate is perilously uncertain, since not
     from you, nor from any mutual friend, can I be sure that my
     "Rhea" has not fallen under your displeasure. But I offer
     something more welcome to your poet's hands than any work of
     mine. The laurel which I enclose is from the casket of dear
     Owen Meredith. You may have seen in the newspapers an
     account of the brilliantly solemn funeral, when honors were
     paid him which only before have been paid to the Chief
     Marshals of France; and how through all that pomp and
     pageantry, but one laurel wreath rested on his casket,--the
     crown laid upon his beloved clay by his wife.

     There was a good deal of talk about this wreath, though no
     one but Lady Lytton and the sender knew from whence it came.
     It was I--yet not altogether myself,--for it was a late (too
     late) atonement for an undelivered message of love and
     thanks to the author of "Lucile" sent to him by a dear
     friend of mine, a Sister of Charity.

     Lord Lytton's death was, as you know, sudden, and my message
     was unwritten because I had only returned to Paris after
     years of travelling, and I was simply waiting for better
     news of him in order to go to the Embassy with the story of
     her life, and what the ideal woman in the poem had done for
     the heroine in the flesh, when the startling news of his
     death came. I did what I thought the dear Sister would like
     done, since words were useless. One might quote his own

          Soul to soul,

     since from my hands to the poet's wife the laurel was laid
     upon him; and I send it because it has a touch of the
     supernatural; of the mystical love and sweetness of your own
     domain,--and is no common occurrence, that, out of all the
     wreaths and tokens, sent by kings and queens and nobles,
     from all over the world, the one alone from a Sister of
     Charity, was laid upon his casket from the first, in the
     death-chamber, in the church, and in the sad procession, and
     finally buried with him at Knebworth. For I must explain
     that not till a fortnight afterward did Lady Lytton know
     that the laurel crown was not my gift alone. It was purely
     as my gift that she generously favored it above all others.

     She was profoundly touched when I told her the story, and
     only last Sunday she wrote and asked me if she might some
     day give it to the public, to which, of course, I assented.
     I am therefore breaking no confidence in sending these few
     leaves which I plucked from the wreath after it was woven.
     As they had faded I regilded them, as you see. (Laurels and
     gold for poets.) Nor is this boldness all mine. It is my
     artist friend, Monsieur Carl Gutherz, who bids me send them
     to you, "because," he says, "they will weave into her
     fancies in some sweet and satisfying dream."

     Madame, believe me,

     Your faithful servant,


Among the Moulton books now in the collection in the Boston Public
Library is a 16mo copy of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre's "Paul et
Virginie," bound in an old brocade of a lovely hue of old-rose. On its
cover obliquely is to be seen the faintest shadow of a cross, and in
it is preserved the following letter:

     _M. Germain to Mrs. Moulton_

     PARIS, Wednesday.

     MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: The little book is not _quite_ what I
     was looking for. The binding I was searching for I did not
     find, but if I delay too long, I shall be away to Madrid;
     _not_ the place most likely to reward my search.

     I wonder if you will like the odd cover? It was ordered by
     me in an impulse without stopping to reflect that its
     associations to me mean nothing to you. The bit of tapestry
     is the relic of one of the oldest and most picturesque
     chambers in Normandy, and was given me by a nun who nursed
     me through an illness there--in fact I begged her for it
     because it is interwoven with a story which I think my best
     (not yet finished). If you hold the book so that the light
     plays horizontally, you will see the trace of time-wear in
     the shape of a [cross symbol]. The fabric was the vestment
     more than a hundred years in the service of the church
     there, and was worn by the hero of my story--a priest whose
     life was a long agony--for a fault nobly atoned. But I must
     not assume your interest in the tragedy. Perhaps the
     color--which an artist friend borrowed to robe one of his
     angels in--may please you. If not, kindly burn the packet,
     as it has been consecrated--the fabric, not the book;--for I
     owe the giver the courtesy of conforming to the old Catholic
     (nay, Egyptian, for the matter of that) rule to burn all
     sacred things when their day is done.

     No doubt the cover does not look professional. I got it done
     at short notice by one not used to my sometimes eccentric
     requests and wishes. Will you kindly give it value by
     accepting it with the best wishes of

     Your very faithful,


So these letters remain, with their curious suggestiveness.

Mrs. Moulton's memorial volume on Arthur O'Shaughnessy was published
in 1894,--a volume containing selections from his poems preceded by a
biographical and critical introduction. Mrs. Spofford pronounced the
book "an exquisite piece of work, full of interest and done with such
delight in touch." Mrs. Moulton had written with her accustomed skill,
and through every line spoke her intimate sympathy with the poet and
with his work.

Her summers, after the visit to her daughter in Charleston, were still
passed in Europe. Rome, Florence, and other southern cities were often
visited before she went to England for her annual London season.
Often, too, she made a stay in Paris either before or after her
sojourn on the other side of the Channel. Among her friends in Paris
were Marie Bashkirtseff and her mother, and not infrequently she took
tea at the studio. After the death of the artist, a number of letters
passed between Mrs. Moulton and the heart-broken mother.

Her friends in London were so many, and the diary records so many
pleasant social diversions that it is no wonder that Thomas Hardy
should write to her: "Why don't you live in London altogether? You
might thus please us, your friends, and send to America letters of a
higher character than are usually penned. You would raise the standard
of that branch of journalism." Season after season she notes dinners,
luncheons, drives, functions of all sorts, and one does not wonder
that with this and her really arduous literary work her health began
to suffer. A German "cure" came to be a regular part of the summer
programme, and yet with her eager temperament and keen interest in the
human, she could not bring herself to forego the excitement and
enjoyment which probably did much to make this necessary.

Not a little did her voluminous correspondence add to the strain
under which she lived. Continually in her diary are entries which show
how heavy was the task of keeping up with the flood of correspondence
which constantly flowed in at her doors. "Letters, letters, letters to
answer. Oh, dear, it seems to me that the whole of my life goes in
writing letters. I wrote what seemed necessary letters till one P.M.
Oh, what shall I do? These letters are ruining my life!" "Letters
_all_ the morning." "Letters till luncheon." Her acquaintance was
wide, and her relations with the literary world of her day made it
inevitable that she should be called upon for large epistolary labors;
but added to this was the burden, already alluded to, of the letters
which came to her from strangers. She was too kindly to ignore or
neglect these, and she expended much of her strength in answer to
calls upon her which were unwarrantably made. Against the greater
amount of literary work which she might have accomplished with the
force thus generously expended, or the possible days which might have
been added to her life, must in the great account be set the pleasure
she gave to many, and the balance is not for man to reckon.

It is now well known that the poems published over the name "Michael
Field" were written by Miss Bradley and Miss Edith Cooper in
conjunction. To Miss Cooper, Mrs. Moulton, in the intimacy of a warm
friendship which established itself between them, gave in loving
familiarity the name "Amber Eyes." Many letters were exchanged, and
from the correspondence of Miss Cooper may be quoted these fragments.

     _Miss Cooper to Mrs. Moulton_

     "We have just returned from Fiesole and Orvieto, and such
     names are poems. I had hoped to send you verses in _The
     Academy_, welded by Michael, on some Greek goddess in the
     British Museum. We very much care for the sympathy and
     interest of Americans."

     "I don't know any poet who is so spontaneously true to
     himself as you are. I actually stand by you as I read, and
     see the harmonious movement of your lips, and the
     half-deprecating, half-shadowed look in your eyes.... Your
     verses are like music. What is this? You are not able to
     sing? Is this the effect of Boston on its winter guest? I
     can sympathize, for I have not written a line since our play
     was brought out last October."

     "The placid hills [in the Lake Country] make one love them
     as only Tuscan hills besides can do. Some of the greatest
     ballads belong here. Wordsworth, Scott, and Burns, and many
     song-writers have given their passion to this country-side,
     where one has such joy as the best dreams are made of."

     "In a cover somewhat like this paper in tone 'Stéphanie'
     presents herself to you.... We have the audacity to think it
     is nearly as well woven as one of the William Morris
     carpets. We have taken ten years over the ten pages."

On one of her visits to the cure at Wiesbaden Mrs. Moulton made the
acquaintance of Friedrich von Bodenstedt and visited at his house. She
characterized the lyrics of the author of the "Lieder des
Mirza-Schaffy" as "warm with the love of life and the life of love,
and perfumed with the roses of the East." Her description of his
personal appearance is not without interest.

     "A tall, handsome, active man of seventy-two, with gray
     hair, with eyes full, still, of the keen fire of youth; with
     the grand manner which belongs to the high-bred gentlemen of
     his generation, and the gift to please and to charm which is
     not always the dower even of a poet."

Her return voyage from Europe in 1891 was a sorrowful one. Just before
sailing she notes in her diary: "A sad day,--a telegram in the
morning to say that mother was failing." On the day before the steamer
made land she writes: "A lovely day, but I am so anxious as to what
news of my poor mother awaits me to-morrow"; and the first entry on
shore is: "Landed to learn that my dear mother died last Monday,
October 26, and was buried Tuesday. Oh, what it is to know that I
shall never see her again!"


_Page 199_]

The letters of Mrs. Moulton show through these years a growing feeling
in regard to the mystery of death. So many of her friends had gone
that the brevity of life was more and more deeply impressed upon her.
In the correspondence of many of her friends are traces that her
letters to them, not now available, had touched upon the questions to
her so vital. Mrs. Maxwell (Miss M.E. Braddon) for instance, wrote:

     _Mrs. Maxwell to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I have never believed in the gloomy and pitiless creed of
     the Calvinists. I believe every one is master of his destiny
     so far as perfect freedom of choice for good or evil. When
     we take the wrong road we do it perhaps in the blindness of
     passion, with eyes blind to consequences, minds darkened by
     selfish desires, by vanity, false ambitions, and by weakly
     yielding to bad influences."

     _Canon Bell to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I hope you are seeing your way clearly to faith in God and
     His dear Son. A sure trust in our Heavenly Father is the
     only true consolation in this world of change and sorrow.
     That brings peace."

     _Lady Henry Somerset to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I well understand what you say about looking onward. I
     think our eyes are turned that way when the steps of life
     lead us nearer to the journey's end with each setting sun.
     It is absorbingly interesting. Yes, I believe the love of
     God will be closest; and, in the last, victorious."

What the words were to which these were replies may in part be
gathered from the following:

     _Mrs. Moulton to William Winter_

       October 3, 1894.

     DEAR WILLIE: I hope your lecture last night was a success,
     but it seems to me that all you do is. Yes,--how well I
     remember that seventieth-birthday breakfast to Dr. Holmes.
     We sat very near each other, you and I, and I know how your
     words moved me, as well as how they moved Dr. Holmes. I felt
     his death very keenly, but I knew him far less than you did.
     To know him at all was to love him. How strange that you
     should have written of so many great pilgrims into the
     unknown. Thank God for your immortal hope. To me the outlook
     darkens as I draw nearer and nearer to the end. I am
     appalled by the immensity of the universe, and the
     nothingness of our little human atom among the infinite
     worlds. But God knows what is to come. You are happier than
     most in the love that surrounds you.

     Thank you a thousand times for your dear letter. If I go to
     New York or you come to Boston, do not let us fail to meet,
     for the time in which earthly meetings are possible is
     short. Oh, how I hope there may be a life to come in which
     we shall find lost loves and hopes, and above all, lost
     possibilities. I think it is hardest of all to me to think
     what I might have been, might have done, and to be so
     utterly discontented with myself as I am. If you pray, say a
     prayer sometimes for one of the truest and fondest of your
     many friends,--this wanderer,


Without doubt the state of Mrs. Moulton's health had much to do with
her apprehensions in regard to a future life, and no one who was
intimately associated with her could fail to know that these
expressions of gloom and foreboding, while entirely genuine at the
moment of their utterance, convey an impression of her usual state of
mind far more dark than was warranted by the truth. She was too
sincerely interested in life and friendship, too much of her time and
thought went to earnest work, however, for her to be in general either
brooding or fearsome. The extracts given rather indicate her attitude
of mind toward certain grave questions than toward life in general.

The frankness of the following letter from a woman who possessed
remarkable powers which the public never fully appreciated is striking
and refreshing:

     _Mrs. Richard Henry Stoddard to Mrs. Moulton_

     MATTAPOISETT, January 20.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: Will you accept Mr. Stoddard's thanks for
     your pleasant notice through me? I write nearly all his
     personal letters, I may say, nearly all except business
     letters. He was always averse to letter writing, and since
     his blindness this aversion is increased; he hurts and
     angers many without meaning to do so.

     I think your first quotation a very poor one. The value of
     reviews or notices seems to me to be in quotations rather
     than in the ordinary criticism. In reading them I have often
     taken the poems in a new and striking light; the
     medium--that is, the writer--has instructed and cleared my
     understanding. The happiest in regard to "The Lion's Cub" is
     the extract in _The Critic_. There has been no review of the
     book; the nearest, so far, is the _Springfield Republican's_
     and that is suggestive of a review. Mr. Stoddard considers
     the book a failure; I doubt if he ever collects again. Boyle
     O'Reilly once said that he saw Stoddard in Broadway and that
     no one noticed him; "had he been in Boston," he continued,
     "on Washington Street, every man's hat would have been off
     to his white head."

     We are most delightfully set aside from the afternoon teas
     of the city, though the invitations chase us up here; the
     gray tranquil waters of our little bay, the solitary street,
     a dog occasionally going by, sometimes a man, is a pleasing
     contrast to 15th Street and Broadway. We shall remain a few
     days longer and then go into our incongruous life again. If
     Lorimer were acting in Boston as he did for the past three
     winters, we should go home that way, but as he has not been
     there this season we shall not appear.

     Have you come across my friend, young Edward McDowell, the
     composer, who has made such a success? He and his wife are

     And Miss ----, will you give her my regards when you see
     her? She has been not only attentive to me, but to my young
     sister, who followeth not in her aged sister's steps.

     Mr. Stoddard also wished to be remembered kindly to you.

     Yours truly,


     P.S. I meant to say while on "The Lion's Cub" that I never
     was so impressed with the gravity and dignity of S.'s verse,
     nor so clearly saw the profound melancholy of his mind. He
     really cares little for life. Ah, me!




         ... The laurel and the praise
     But unto them, true helpers of their kind,
     Who, daily walking by imagined streams
     Rear fanes empyreal in Verse of Gold,--
     Rare architects of figments and of dreams.--LLOYD MIFFLIN.

     That jar of violet wine set in the air,
     That palest rose sweet in the night of life.
                              --STEPHEN PHILLIPS.

     I give you a day of my life;
     My uttermost gift and my best.--L.C.M.

The last decade of the century, to half of which the preceding chapter
was given, stands out pre-eminently in Mrs. Moulton's life. Her fame,
which had come to her so untainted by any self-seeking, and the
abounding richness of friendship which so filled her life, friendship
as sympathetic and cordial as it was widespread, made these years
wonderful. Death and sorrow did bring into them a profound sadness,
but even these brought her into closer touch with humanity and ripened
her experiences. The recognition which her art won gave her something
much more satisfying than merely

     ... to hear the nations praising her far off.

And if to deal with literature is only to know about the Eternal
Beauty, while living and loving are in it and of it, she was indeed
fortunate. In the life of no poet could be less of the abstraction of
literary fame and more of the vitality of real existence. Her social
life, both at home and abroad, was full of companionship sweet and
genuine. For the mere ceremonial of life she cared little. Life was to
her a thing too real, too precious, to make of it a spectacle. If her
association was so largely with persons of distinction, it was because
they interested her personally, and not because of the social
position. That was incidental. Mrs. Kate Gannett Wells, speaking after
the death of Mrs. Moulton, remarked: "I honored her for her literary
power; I loved her for herself. But especially I felt her refinement."
Such refinement is incompatible with ostentation, and it was
significant of her feeling on social matters that she copied in her
note-book, with the remark, "I agree with this entirely," this
paragraph from Henry James' "Siege of London":

     "I hate that phrase 'getting into society.' I don't think
     one ought to attribute to one's self that sort of ambition.
     One ought to assume that one is in society--that one is
     society--and to hold that if one has good manners, one has
     from the social point of view achieved the great thing. The
     rest regards others."

While she was a woman of the world, she was not a worldly woman. She
might easily have been presented at court during her many seasons in
London, but she never cared to be. She not infrequently met the
Princess Louise and other members of the Royal Family, and her own
comings and goings were chronicled in the London press. She was the
guest and the intimate friend of titled persons in England and of
those first in American society; but all this never altered her simple
and utterly unaffected cordiality toward those who were of no social
prominence whatever. "The reason for her popularity," wrote Miss
Josephine Jenkins very justly, "is summed up in the sympathy of her
nature, which expands with loving and often helpful solicitude to
those seeking encouragement, precisely as it expands toward those
having attained some noble distinction. Not every human being is
endowed with this genius for appreciation."

Mrs. Moulton wrote to Coulson Kernahan on one occasion: "I do wonder
who spoke of me as 'a woman, above all things, of society.' Nothing
could be more remote from truth. I simply will not go to balls; I
don't care for large receptions, though I do go to them sometimes; I
enjoy dinners, if I am by the right person. But I refuse ten
invitations to every one I accept, and the thing I most and really
care for in all the world is the love of congenial friends and quiet,
intimate tête-à-tête with them. The superficial, external side of life
is nothing to me. I long for honest and true love as a child set down
in a desert might long for the mother's sheltering arms."

On New Year's day, 1895, she wrote, with that curious periodicity
which characterized the opening of so many years for her, a sonnet
entitled "Oh, Traveller by Unaccustomed Ways," fine and strong, and
with haunting lines such as:

     Searcher among new worlds for pleasures new.--....
     Some wild, sweet fragrance of remembered days.

The sestet is as follows:

     I send my message to thee by the stars--
       Since other messenger I may not find
     Till I go forth beyond these prisoning bars,
       Leaving this memory-haunted world behind,
     To seek thee, claim thee, wheresoe'er thou be,
     Since Heaven itself were empty, lacking thee.

The letters of this time are as usual full of allusions to Mrs.
Moulton's work, and are as usual from a very wide circle of literary
friends. Sir Frederick Pollock expresses his appreciation of her book
upon Marston, and the pleasure he and Lady Pollock anticipate in
seeing her in London next season. J.T. Trowbridge writes to her that
the technique of her songs and sonnets "is well-nigh faultless, and
their melody never fails to respond to the tender feeling by which
they are inspired." Lord de Tabley thanks her for a notice of his
work, "and particularly," he adds, "for putting me in such good
company as that of William Watson, whom I greatly admire." Sir Lewis
Morris writes cordially, and reminds her of their "pleasant lunches at
Lord Haylston's." Marie Corelli expresses her gratitude for pleasant
things which Mrs. Moulton has said of her in a letter to Mrs. Coulson
Kernahan. Other letters were from Miss Bayley (Edna Lyall), Andrew
Lang, Rose Kingsley, Lady Temple, Stephen Phillips, the Hon. Florence
Henniker. If, as Emerson says, "a letter is a spiritual gift," these
gifts were showered upon Mrs. Moulton.

     _William Watson to Mrs. Moulton_

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: One of the most generous recognitions of
     my early poems came from your pen. I wished then to express
     my gratitude. I look forward to the pleasure of making your
     acquaintance. I am touched by your kind sympathy, and I know
     that you gladden all our group of friends. It is no ordinary
     thanks I owe you for your generous and delightful criticism.
     I have to thank you, already, for my best appreciation in
     America. You do not know how grateful I am to the first
     woman in America (and almost the first human being) who gave
     me hearty and inspiring praise. Your poems add to my store
     of beautiful things, and I do not prize them the less
     because some of their qualities are my own despair. When
     your letter came, that article which I call my conscience,
     and which I wear less for use than for ornament, gave me no
     peace. Yet the outward parts of life were to blame rather
     than I, their victim. I had been moving, and giving the Post
     Office the trouble of one who inherits a wandering tendency.
     I hope you will permit me to call upon you when next you are
     in London, and I am, dear Mrs. Moulton,

     Sincerely yours,


To a friend Mr. Watson wrote of Mrs. Moulton: "Her letters show her
absolute goodness of heart, which is worth all other human qualities
put together."

Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett writes characteristically of that inner
inspirer which she calls her "Fairy."

     _Mrs. Burnett to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... I am so glad you like my story.... It was not I who
     said 'Human beings can do anything if they set their minds
     to it'; it was that beloved thing which has said things for
     me all my life. Sometimes I call it 'The Fairy,' but I think
     it must be a kind of splendid spirit. It is so strong, it is
     so good to me, and I do so love it. When I said that thing
     it seemed to make something waken within me. I began to say
     it to myself, and to believe it. Only thus could I have
     finished the story, and this makes me know it is true.... I
     have sometimes thought the thing I had to give is nearly
     always part of a story, some note of love, or message that
     rings clear. I don't ask it should be a loud note, only that
     some one shall hear it and remember. The fact that you have
     heard, makes the story a success, so far as I am concerned.
     As for giving, you give always. I have seen that. You give
     of gentleness and kindness and all things that help. Your
     hands are full of things to give."

Just before Mrs. Moulton's sailing in the spring of 1895 a breakfast
was given to her by a group of her friends, at which the decoration
was very prettily all of mountain laurel. In the centre of the table
was a basket of green osiers filled with the faintly pink kalmia, and
this color-scheme was carried out in the menu-cards, the embroidered
centre-piece, the candle-shades, and in the Venetian glass with which
the table was furnished. It is to this breakfast that Mrs. Blake
alludes in the little note which follows:

     _Mrs. John G. Blake to Mrs. Moulton_

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: Among all the laurels which are being
     laid before your conquering feet, will you take my little
     flower of good-will and congratulations? The sonnets are
     exquisite, so are you always to

     Your affectionate


In 1896 was published "Lazy Tours," Mrs. Moulton's most important book
in prose. This volume records her impressions in her wanderings in
Spain, in Southern Italy, in France, and in Switzerland. It is a
delightful mosaic of bits about people and places, of glimpses of
Rome, of Florence, of Paris, of the German "cures," and of pleasant
experiences of all sorts. The book is dedicated to Sir Bruce and Lady
Seton, "The well-beloved friends and frequent hosts of this lazy
tourist." The dedication is as appropriate as it is pleasantly
phrased, for the Setons were not only among the closest of Mrs.
Moulton's English friends, but with them she had done a great deal of
journeying. The book is charmingly vivid, and is a pleasant companion
for the traveller in the places with which it deals. Mrs. Moulton
neither was nor claimed to be an expert critic of painting and
sculpture, but her artistic taste responded sensitively to what was
best, and she recorded her feelings with a frank enthusiasm and a
wonderful freshness.

Arlo Bates, in acknowledging a gift copy of "Lazy Tours" wrote: "I
thank you for 'Lazy Tours.' It is done with a touch not only light and
delicate, but strangely gentle. It is written with the experience of a
woman and the enthusiasm of a girl." In another note of Mr. Bates',
belonging to this time, are the remarks:

     "Friendship is about the only real thing in humanity."

     "The few of us who, in this muse-forgotten age, still care
     for real poetry, are to be congratulated no less."

The sculptor Greenough wrote: "Verily, your 'Lazy Tours' are a rebuke
to industry, for it has woven a magic carpet, as that of the 'Arabian
Nights,' only you transport the reader, in every sense of the word....
What excellent prose you poets write when you try." The critics were
all agreed, and the verdict of the public endorsed that of Mrs.
Moulton's friends and of the reviewers. The book had precisely that
lightness of touch which is perennially charming, and which perhaps is
due equally to literary expertness and to innate good taste.

The usual summer abroad, full of social experiences, followed; and
then the winter in Boston with the crowded Friday receptions. A letter
which belongs to this winter is full of a lightness and kindliness
characteristic of the writer.

     _James Whitcomb Riley to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... You, after months and months of barbarous silence, are
     asking me why I have not written! Well, I'll answer in my
     artlessness and most truthfully tell you that my last letter
     (and a really appealing one) meeting with no response
     whatever, I just had concluded that I'd win highest favor in
     your estimate by not writing. So I quit writing, and went
     to pouting,--this latter so persistently indulged in that my
     previously benignant features now look as though they were
     being cast back on my very teeth, so to speak, by a tawdry,
     wavery, crinkly looking-glass in the last gasp of a
     boarding-house. But since your voice of yesterday, the eyes
     of me are lit again, and the whole face beams like radiant
     summer time. No wonder you continue in indifferent health.
     It's a judgment on you for your neglect of me. Now you'll
     begin to improve. And you can get into perfect health by
     strictly maintaining this rigorous course of writing to me.
     Heroic treatment, of a truth!..."

One of the entries in the diary of the winter reads:

     "Could hardly get to the Browning Society, where I read 'A
     Toccata of Galuppi's.' Mr. Moulton seemed interested about
     the reading, and I read him the 'Toccata' after dinner, and
     other poems. A beautiful evening."

[Illustration: WILLIAM U. MOULTON

_Page 215_]

Strangely enough this was Mr. Moulton's last evening of being in
health. The next day he was taken ill, and on February 19, 1898, he
passed into "the life more abundant." The funeral service was read by
the Rev. E. Winchester Donald, rector of Trinity, and Mrs. Moulton
more than once spoke of the kindness and sympathy which he showed to
her at this time. She wrote in her diary: "Dr. Donald called; he is,
it seems to me, a nobly good man." Her daughter was with her, and her
many friends were about her. Numerous were the letters of condolence,
and they were full of the genuine feeling which could be called out
only by one who was herself so ready and quick to respond to the
sorrows of others.

In the summer following Mr. Moulton's death Mrs. Moulton remained in
America. Her life was saddened and cumbered with the cares needful in
business matters, and on the last day of the year she wrote in her
diary: "This sad year which is now ending--how strange a year it has
been for me. Mr. Moulton died in February and changed all. I have done
nothing, enjoyed nothing. With 1899 I must turn over a new leaf, or
give up life and all its uses, altogether." In this mood it was
natural that her predisposition to brood upon the problem of death
should reassert itself. She writes to William Winter: "No,--my dread
of death does not seem to me to be physical, for it is not the pain of
death that I ever think of. I hate the idea of extinction, but I could
reconcile myself to that; ... but what I dread most is the to-morrow
of death,--the loneliness of the unclothed soul." And again: "For
myself, I have an unutterable and haunting horror of going out into
the dark.... I always wish I might die at the same moment with some
well beloved friend, so that hand and hand we might go into the

Her literary work, however, continues. She said from time to time that
she could not write, and that she should never write a line again; but
the poetic instinct was strong, and asserted itself in its own time
and way. In a letter to a friend she remarks in passing: "The
_Century_ has just come with my poem, 'A Rose Pressed in a Book,' and
it seems to me to read pretty well." The lyric to which she modestly
alludes as reading "pretty well" is beautifully characteristic of some
of her choicest poetic qualities: easy and seemingly unconscious
mastery of form, delicacy of touch, charming melody, and sincerity of

Always her correspondence goes on.

     _T.B. Aldrich to Mrs. Moulton_

     "Some day I must get you to tell me about Andrew Lang. One
     night last winter as I sat reading one of his books a kind
     of ghost, distinct, elusive, rose before me. Out of this
     impression grew my 'Broken Music.'"

In allusion to his much discussed "Modern Love," George Meredith

     _George Meredith to Mrs. Moulton_

     "You are like the northern tribes of the Arabs, in that what
     you love you love wholly and without ceasing. This poem has
     been more roundly abused than any other of my
     much-castigated troop. You help me to think that they are
     not born offenders, antipathetic to the human mind.
     Americans who first gave me a reputation for the writing of
     novels will perhaps ultimately take part in the admission
     that I can write verse. They may thus carry a reluctant
     consent in England, when I no longer send out my rhyming
     note for revision. I have been taught, at least, to set no
     store upon English opinion in such matters. I would thank
     you, but gratitude is out of place. There is a feeling hard
     to verbalize."

     _Mrs. Moulton to Lloyd Mifflin_

     "It is five days since I received your 'Slopes of Helicon,'
     enriched by your kind inscription. I have been too ill to
     write; but I will no longer postpone the pleasure of telling
     you how delighted I am to have your charming book. I have
     already read enough to know that the book will be an abiding
     pleasure. You are as delightful a lyrist as you are a
     sonneteer, and I could not give you higher praise. Both the
     sonnets and lyrics in this volume charm me."

     "... This morning, looking over a shelf of books that have
     accumulated during my absence,--as books are never forwarded
     to me,--I find your 'Fields of Dawn,' and also 'Lyrics,' by
     J.H. Mifflin, for both of which I want to thank you at once.
     I have a real pleasure to look forward to, for I love your
     sonnets. Am I right in supposing 'J.H.M.' to be your father,
     and that you are a poet by inheritance?..."

     "I am sending a hurried note to tell you how entirely I
     agree with you about the demand for 'cheerful poetry.'"

     "It is worth writing a book to have written the line,

          "Made eminent by death,

     in that noble poem, 'Peace to the Brave.' The poem entitled
     'Herbert Spencer' makes me wonder whether you feel that
     assurance of the future which he certainly did not feel...."

     _Lloyd Mifflin to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... It is very uplifting, as you say in New England, to
     have such a genuine letter as yours. You read a book as I
     do, through at once. No one has said that my mind inclines
     to visions like Blake's, but I see visions. I used to sit
     and hold the pen and feel it hovering about, becoming nearer
     and nearer, till suddenly it came, the complete sonnet. I
     merely recorded it then. This was always wonderful to me.
     Where do they come from? Not death itself, to say nothing of
     our earth, can keep a born poet from writing. I can write a
     better poem about sunset by not seeing it...."

     _James Whitcomb Riley to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... Very slightly changing R.L.S.'s line,

          "This be the verse which ye grave for me,
          Home he is where he longed to be;

     and very thankful I am to be at home again. True, the mother
     is away, the old father, too, and a sister, and a brother;
     but they all seem to be here still, with the happy rest of
     us,--for we all believe, thank God. And you must take this
     for answer to your very last question, for I do feel that I
     know. I know likewise why fuller assurance has been
     withheld from us, lest knowing that, not one of all God's
     children but would be hurrying to Him ere His own good
     time.... Always your books are near at hand. May I tell you
     that I think the sonnet is your true voice? Yours is the
     deep, strong utterance which belongs, with the soul-cry in
     it, as individual to yourself as Mrs. Browning's to herself.
     Somewhere we are to talk poetry together sometime!... Of my
     book, 'A Child's World,' I venture to send you Mr. Howells'
     printed blessing, ... so delightfully characteristic (I
     think) of his very happiest way of saying things. And, oh!
     but I am gloating over a supernal letter from the Archangel
     Aldrich! Truly with hurtling praise and God-speed the
     heavenly battlements have loosened on me...."

     _From the same_

     "Has it been, and is it being, a beautiful Christmas season
     to you? for I have been so praying, though vexing you with
     no line of it in ink. And I've seen two new poems of yours,
     and they testify to your loyal love of this world of ours;
     so I know at least you can't be happier till you get to
     Heaven with no good word or gift forgotten, and such
     profusion! Since my return home I've been mostly working on
     pyramids of matter accumulated since my taking to the road.
     But last night I was struck with a real thought, while I was
     off guard, so to speak. So I've gone to work on that, and
     I'll send you the result, if I ever overtake it.... Lor! but
     don't praise unexpected hit the very crazybone of vanity!"

     _From the same_

     "How beautiful your new poems are! Oh, yes! Even to vaguely
     question your Divine Inspirer's ultimate intent!...
     Sometimes I even smilingly think that He has given you that
     haunting doubt here that your delight may be all the more
     ineffable a glory when you find His throne more real a fact
     than this first world of ours."

Among the pleasant friendships which came into a life whose entire
texture seemed woven of friendship and song, was that with Coulson
Kernahan, who, though one of the younger men of letters in England,
had already made a recognized place. His warmly responsive nature made
the two especially sympathetic, and they were alike in their devotion
to literature. After the vanishing of the "Marston group," Mrs.
Moulton's most intimate London circle came to comprise Sir Bruce and
Lady Seton, with whom she stayed frequently at Durham House, Mr.
Kernahan, Mrs. Campbell-Praed, and Herbert E. Clarke. Mr. Kernahan's
acquaintance with Mrs. Moulton began from a critique on "Swallow
Flights" which he had written for the _Fortnightly_. In it he had

     "No one who looks upon life with earnest eyes can fail to be
     touched by the passionate human cry which rings from Mrs.
     Moulton's poems. No one whose ear is attuned to catch the
     wail that is to be heard in the maddest, merriest music of
     the violin, to whom the sound of wind and sea at midnight is
     like that of innumerable lamentations; no one who, in the
     movement of a multitude of human beings--be they marching to
     the bounding music of fife and drum, or hurrying to witness
     a meeting of the starving unemployed--no one who in all
     these hears something of 'the still, sad music of humanity,'
     can read her verses unstirred."

Mr. Kernahan had also emphasized--Mrs. Moulton herself thought
somewhat unduly--the strain of sadness in her poems; and had he known
her personally at the time he wrote, he would surely not have called
her "world-weary and melancholy." The point was one often made by
critics, and has been alluded to in an earlier chapter. Partly the
melancholy note was due to environment, but more to temperament. Mrs.
Moulton almost at the beginning had edited a "gift-book" and the fact
is significant of the literary fashions of her youth. The "annuals"
and "gift-books" of the second quarter of the nineteenth century were
redolent of a sort of pressed-rose sadness, a sort of faded-out
reminiscence of belated Byronism; a richly passionate gloom of spirit
was held to be necessary to lyric inspiration. By this convention Mrs.
Moulton was undoubtedly affected, although by no means to such an
extent as was Edgar Allan Poe. With her the cause of the minor cadence
was chiefly a temperament which gave a sad quality to her singing as
nature has put a plaintive timbre into the notes of certain birds. In
writing to Mr. Kernahan about his article, she said: "I always hear
the minor chords in nature's music; after the summer, the autumn;
after youth, age; after life, death. I happened yesterday to close a

     "O June, dear month of sunshine and of flowers,
       The affluent year will hold you not again;
     Once, only once, can youth and love be ours,
       And after that the autumn and the rain.

Is it not true?" Yet she assured him that she was "often gay."

The numerous letters of Mrs. Moulton to Mr. Kernahan were intimate and
full of details of business in regard to publication, with personal
matters relating to friends and the like, but through them all runs a
thread of comment on literature and life.

     "I am simply enchanted with the new book William Morris has
     printed for Wilfrid Blunt, 'The Love Lyrics and Songs of

     "Yes, I did like that one line in Christina Rossetti's poem:

          "... half carol and half cry;

     but the rest of it is not good enough for her."

     "I have had many violets sent me this year, but far the most
     fragrant were a bunch left for me to-day with a card on
     which was written:

          "Since one too strange to risk intrusion
          Would dare rebuke, nor meet confusion,
          Yet fain would--failing long to meet you--
          With gentle words and memories greet you,
          Sweet Mistress of the Triolet,
          Admit, I pray, a violet."

     "I am reading, or rather rereading Rossetti's sonnet
     sequence, 'The House of Life.' How unequal are the
     sonnets,--some of them so beautiful they fairly thrill one's
     soul with their charm, but others seem whimsical and far
     fetched. On the other hand, how glorious, how like a full
     chord of music is, for instance, 'The Heart's Compass,' and
     the sestet of 'Last Fire,' and that magnificent sonnet, 'The
     Dark Glass.'"

     "I had a letter this morning from a far-off stranger who
     tells me that her heart keeps time to my poems.... I am
     expecting my beloved Mrs. Spofford to-day.... No sweeter
     soul than she lives on this earth."

     "Recently I sent a rhyme called 'A Whisper to the Moon,' to
     _The Independent_, and in accepting it Bliss Carman writes:
     'I like it, and that line

          "'She is thy kindred, and fickle art thou,

     is immense. Lines with the lyric quality of that are
     imperishable. Quite apart from its meaning--its cold
     meaning--it is poetry. It floods the heart. It carries all
     before it. There is no stopping it. It is like the opening
     of the gates of the sea. You often write such lines.' The
     line does not seem to me at all worth such praise, but all
     the same the praise pleased me. How lovely it is to have
     people single out some special phrase to care for!"

     "Louise Guiney and I are looking over my poems together. Oh,
     I wish there were more variety in them. They are good (I
     hope and think) in form, but they are, almost all, the cry
     of my heart for the love that I long for, or its protest
     against the death that I fear. Ah, well, I can only be


_Page 227_]

In this year appeared Mrs. Moulton's third volume of poems, "At the
Wind's Will," the title being taken from Rossetti's "Wood-spurge":

     I had walked on at the wind's will,--
     I sat now, for the wind was still.

Of it Mrs. Spofford said:

     "Mrs. Moulton's last volume of poems, 'At the Wind's Will,'
     fitly crowns the literary achievement of the century. It is
     poetry at high-water mark. Her work exhibited in previous
     volumes has given her a rank among the foremost poets of the
     world, and much of the work in 'At the Wind's Will' exceeds
     in grasp and in surrender, in strength and in beauty,
     anything she has hitherto published."

So the year wore to a close. Her last record for December in her diary
reads: "Now this year of 1899 goes out,--a year in which I have
accomplished nothing,--gone back, I fear, in every way. God grant 1900
may be better." In part this was the expression of the melancholy
natural to ill health, but it was a characteristic cry from one always
too likely to underrate herself. Surely the prayer was granted, for
the year 1900 gave her again a spring in Rome and Florence, and was
filled with rich and significant experiences.



             ... One in whom
     The spring-tide of her childish years
       Hath never lost its sweet perfume,
       Though knowing well that life hath room
     For many blights and many tears.--LOWELL.

     In my dreams you are beside me,--
       Still I hear your tender tone;
     And your dear eyes light my darkness
       Till I am no more alone:
     For with memories I am haunted,
       And the silence seems to beat
     With the music of your talking,
       And the coming of your feet.--L.C.M.

The diary during the early months of the year which opened the new
century records as often before many kindnesses in the form of reading
for various objects:

     "Went in evening to read for the Rev. Mr. Shields, of South

     "In the evening read for the College Club. Mrs. Howe
     presided. The other readers were Dr. Hale, Dr. Ames, Colonel
     Higginson, J.T. Trowbridge, Judge Grant, and Nathan Haskell

     "Read for the Young Men's Christian Association. I read 'In
     Arcady,' 'The Name on a Door,' and 'A June Song,' of my own
     verses; then my paper on the Marstons, entitled 'Five
     Friends.' People seemed pleased."

Among her numerous generous acts were to be reckoned the many times
when, without regard to herself, she assisted at readings or gave a
reading entirely by herself.

On February 19, the entry is:

     "Two years ago this day Mr. Moulton passed out of life. It
     was my first thought this morning, and the sadness of it has
     been with me all day."

Mr. Moulton had always been to her a tower of strength. Few men were
more highly esteemed by those who knew him, or were more deserving of
esteem. He was a man of flawless integrity and the highest sense of
honor; a man of vigorous intellect, of clear and definite intellectual
grasp, and of a generous and kindly nature. He was not himself fond of
society, but he was proud of his wife's success, and ministered to her
tastes for travel and social life. His sympathy with the literary
life was genuine and strong, and his service to clean and wholesome
journalism in his editorial work gave him a lasting claim upon public
gratitude, had he chosen to assert it. Upon his sterling worth and
fine character Mrs. Moulton had always been able to depend, and life
without the consciousness of his presence in the home was a thing
different and sadder.

In a letter written about this time Mrs. Moulton again touches upon
the old question of social struggle:

     "I agree with you as to the inanity of struggle for social
     prominence. How fine is the passage you quote from Emerson:
     'My friends come to me unsought. The great God Himself gave
     them to me.' That is the way I feel. Any social struggle
     seems to me so little worth while. It is worth while to know
     the people who really interest one,--but the others! It is
     always climbing ladders, and there are always other ladders
     to climb, and one never gets to the top. And then, what will
     it be if there is an 'after death'? I wonder? Will there be
     social ambitions,--the desire to get ahead there? It almost
     seems as if there must be, if there is the continuity of
     individual existences, for what could change people's
     desires and tendencies all at once?"

From various letters to the friend to whom this is written, to whom
she wrote often, may be put together here a few extracts. The letters
were seldom dated, and it is hardly possible to tell exactly when each
was written, but the exact sequence is not of importance.

     "And what do you think (_entre nous_) I have been asked to
     do? To go to Cambridge, England, with a party of friends who
     have included Mme. Blavatsky, and they are to have some
     brilliant receptions given them there by the occult folk, or
     those interested. But I declined."

     "Mr. ---- goes about asking every one if he has read 'The
     Story of My Heart,' by Jeffries, which is his latest
     enthusiasm. After being asked till I was ashamed of saying
     no, I got the book and read it, finding it the most haunting
     outcry of pessimism imaginable. When one has read it one
     feels in the midst of a Godless, hopeless world, where
     nature is hostile, and the animal kingdom alien, and man
     alone with his destiny,--a destiny that menaces and appalls
     him. It is a too powerful book. Jeffries makes one feel,
     for the moment, that all the happy people are happy only
     because insensate, and are madly dancing on volcanoes."

     "Austin Dobson says: 'I have always admired your sonnets,--a
     thing I can never manage; but how you do take all Gallometry
     to be your province!! What are we, poor slaves to canzonets
     and serenades, to do next?' Very pleasant of him."

     "Last Saturday the Boyle O'Reilly monument was unveiled, and
     I was chosen to crown it with a laurel wreath. It was a
     wonderful occasion; and President Capen, of Tufts College,
     gave the most eloquent eulogy to which I ever listened."

     "My life is not the beautiful life you think, but it is my
     soul's steadfast purpose to make it all that you believe it
     already is. Nothing is of any real consequence save to live
     up to your very highest ideal. In criticism I made up my
     mind, long ago, that one should be like Swedenborg's angels,
     who sought to find the good in everything. Of course, really
     poor things must be condemned--or what _I_ think is
     better--boycotted; but I do not like what is harsh,
     prejudiced, one-sided. I would see my possible soul's
     brother in every man--which all means that I am an

     "Can you tell me what Henry James means by his story, 'The
     Private Life'? Is it an allegory or what? I never saw
     anything so impossible to understand."

     "You speak of the 'close and near friendships' you have made
     in your few weeks in Florence,--'friendships for a
     lifetime.' That is delightful, only I can't make friendships
     with new people easily; so if I went I should not have that

     "... Before I rose this morning, a special messenger came
     from the Secretary of the Women Writers' Club (which is
     giving a magnificent dinner to-night at which Mrs. Humphry
     Ward presides). Miss Blackburne, the 'Hon. Secretary,' had
     only heard of my being in London this morning, so she at
     once sent a messenger to invite me. She entreated me to
     come; said she wanted me to sit at the head of one of the
     tables, and preside over that table, etc., etc. She sent a
     most distinguished list of guests, and oh, I _did_ want to
     go--but I felt so ill I dared not try to go, and I sent an
     immediate refusal. Many of the authors whom I would like to
     meet will be among the guests...."

     "Here is the little screed ... about Mrs. Browning. The
     description was given me by an English lady who saw Mrs.
     Browning very often during Mrs. B.'s last visit to Rome. To
     her such rumors as (falsely, I am persuaded) have connected
     Mr. Browning's name with that of another marriage would have
     seemed an impossible impertinence. Indeed, when one
     knows--as I happen to know--that Mr. Browning was asked to
     furnish some letters and some data about Mrs. Browning's
     life for Miss Zimmern (who had been requested to write about
     her for the Famous Women Series of Biographies) and refused
     because he could not bring himself to speak in detail of the
     past which had been so dear, or to share the sacred letters
     of his wife with the public, it hardly seems that he can be
     contemplating the offer of the place she, his 'moon of
     poets,' held in his life, to another."

In the "little screed" alluded to was this description of Mrs.
Browning, given in the words of the friend:

     "No, she was _not_ what people call beautiful; but she was
     more and better. I can see her now, as she lay there on her
     sofa. I never saw her sitting up. She was always in white.
     She wore white dresses, trimmed with white lace, with white,
     fleecy shawls wrapped round her, and her dark brown hair
     used to be let down and fall all about her like a veil. Her
     face used to seem to me something already not of the
     earth--it was so pale, so pure, and with great dark eyes
     that gleamed like stars. Then her voice was so sweet you
     never wanted her to stop speaking, but it was also so low
     you could only hear it by listening carefully."

     "'Was Mr. Browning there?'

     "Oh, yes, and he used to watch her as one watches who has
     the most precious object in the whole world to keep guard
     over. He looked out for her comfort as tenderly as a woman.

     "I think there never was another marriage like that; a
     marriage that made two poet souls one forever. Don't you
     notice how Browning always speaks of finding again the 'soul
     of his soul'? It was easy enough to see that that was just
     what she was. And the boy was there, too, a little fellow,
     with long golden hair, and I remember how quietly he used to
     play, how careful he was not to disturb his mother.
     Sometimes he used to stand for a long time beside her, with
     her 'spirit-small hand,' as her husband called it, just
     playing with his curls. I wonder if he can have known that
     she was going away from him so soon."

From various letters of this time of and to Mrs. Moulton may be taken
such bits as these:

     _Mrs. Moulton to Elihu Vedder_

     "It was such a pleasure to me in my present loneliness to
     have a good talk with you last night, and I have been
     thinking of what you said. You would like a big fortune that
     you might have leisure to fulfil your dreams, but what if
     you had the fortune and not the dreams? I would a million
     times rather be you than any capitalist alive. It seems to
     me that to do work as the few great men in the world have,
     that must live, is the supreme joy. When you are dust the
     world will adore the wonder and majesty and beauty of your
     pictures. It seems to me that I would starve willingly in an
     attic, like Chatterton, to leave to the wide future one such

     _Walter Pater to Mrs. Moulton_

     "I read very little contemporary poetry, finding a good deal
     of it a little falsetto. I found, however, in your elegant
     and musical volume a sincerity, a simplicity, which stand
     you as constituting a _cachet_, a distinct note."

     _Mrs. Moulton to Lady Lindsay_

     "I am reading, with very unusual interest, 'Blake of Oriel,'
     by Adeline Sargent. It is a story of fate and of heredity,
     which sets one thinking and questioning.... Is fate also to
     be complicated by the curse of evil inheritance? Oh, is it
     fair to give life to one with such an inheritance of evil,
     and then condemn the sinner for what he does? Is it?... Is
     it a loving God who creates men foreknowing that they will
     commit spiritual suicide?... Are people sinners who are
     doomed by heredity to sin?"

     _Arthur Christopher Benson to Mrs. Moulton_

     "Thank you for what you say of my 'Arthur Hamilton.' It is
     deeply gratifying to me that the book has ever so slightly
     interested you. As for the difficulties of the hero, I
     suppose they are the eternal difficulties. It was like my
     impudent youth to think that to no one else had the same
     problem been so unjustly presented before, and to rush
     wildly into a tourney."

The summer of 1900 Mrs. Moulton passed abroad, going before her London
visit for the spring in Italy. She revisited familiar haunts in Rome
and Florence, and again was steeped in the enchantment of Italy. In
Rome she loved especially the gardens of the Villa Ludovisi; and
indeed, something in the solemn spell she felt in the Eternal City
appealed especially to her nature. The roses and the ruins, the
antique and the modern; churches and altars and temples, and modern
studios and society,--each, in turn, attracted her. She passed hours
in the Vatican galleries; she was fond of driving on the Pincian in
the late afternoon; she took a child's joy in the _festas_; she found
delight in the works growing under the hand of artists. Of a visit to
the studio of Mr. Story she related: "I was looking at a noble statue
of Saul, and this, recalling to me the 'Saul' of Browning, led me to
speak of the dead poet. Mr. Story then told me of his own last meeting
with Browning, which was at Asolo. It was but a short time before
Browning's death, and the two old friends were talking over all sorts
of intimate things, and finally Mr. Story entered his carriage to
drive away. Browning, who had bade him good-bye and turned away,
suddenly came back, and reached his hand into the carriage, grasping
that of Story, and looking into the sculptor's eyes exclaimed,
'Friends for forty years! Forty years without a break.' Then with a
last good-bye he turned away, and the two friends never met again."

       *       *       *       *       *

After the London visit, Mrs. Moulton went for the cure at
Aix-les-Bains, perhaps as much for the delightful excursions of the
neighborhood as in any hope of help for her almost constant
ill-health. Thence she went in September to Paris, still in the full
glory of its Exposition year. While in Paris she received from
Professor Meiklejohn the comments upon her latest volume, "At the
Wind's Will." He had fallen into the custom of going over her poems
carefully, and of sending her his notes of admiration. "I still
maintain," he wrote her on this occasion, "that your brothers are the
Elizabethan lyrists, Shakespeare, Fletcher, Vaughan." Some of the
comments were these:

     "In 'When Love is Young,' the line

          "Time has his will of every man,

     is in the strong style of the sixteenth century.

     "I think the 'Dead Men's Holiday' martial and glorious.

          "And the keen air stung all their lips like wine,

     is the kind of line when Nature has taken the pen into her
     own hand.

     "What an exquisite stanza is this in 'The Summer's Queen':

          "You sow the fields with lilies--wake the choir
            Of summer birds to chorus of delight;
          Yours is the year's deep rapture--yours the fire
            That burns the West, and ushers in the night.

     "The line

          "Yet done with striving, and foreclosed of care,

     in the sonnet entitled 'At Rest' is as good as anything of
     Drayton's. You know his sonnet,

          "Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part!

          "Mocked by a day that shines no more on thee,

     in the sonnet called 'The New Year Dawns,' is the very truth
     in the strong simplicity of the Elizabethan age.

     "What a wonderful line is the last one of the sonnet, 'The
     Song of the Stars':

          "The waking rapture, and the fair, far place."

The serenity and sweetness of Longfellow's verse are the natural
expression of a life sweet and serene; and in the work of Mrs. Moulton
the beauty of her work was in no less a measure the inevitable outcome
of her character. She wrote so spontaneously that her poems seemed, as
she used to say, "to come to her," and although she never spared the
most careful polishing, yet her song seemed to spring without effort
and almost without conscious prevision.

The literary life was to her in its outward aspect chiefly a matter of
fit and harmonious companionship. She declared that she thought "the
great charm of a literary life was that it made one acquainted with so
many delightful people." Her warm sense of the personality and
characteristics of the writers whom she met in London has been alluded
to already, and some of her words about them have been quoted in a
former chapter. Those who enjoyed the privilege of chatting with her
in her morning-room were never tired of hearing her give her
impressions of distinguished authors.

"George Meredith's talk," she said on one occasion, "is like his
books, it is so scintillating, so epigrammatic. In talking with him
you have to be swiftly attentive or you will miss some allusion or
witticism, and seem disreputably inattentive."

"Thomas Hardy," she said again, "has the face, I think, which one
would expect from his books. His forehead is so large and so fine that
it seems to be half his face. His blue eyes are kindly, but they are
extremely shrewd. You feel that he sees everything, and that because
he would always understand he would always forgive. I have heard him
called the shyest man in London, but he never impressed me so."

"I did not find George Eliot so plain a person as she is ordinarily
represented," she replied to a question about that author. "To me she
seemed to have a singularly interesting face and a lovely smile; and
one distinctive trait, one peculiarly her own, was a very gentle and
sweet deference of manner. In any difference of opinion, she always
began by agreeing with the person with whom she was conversing, as 'I
quite see that, but don't you think--' and then there would follow a
statement so supremely convincing, so comprehensive, so true, so
sweetly suggestive, that one could not help being convinced. It was
like a fair mist over a background of the greatest strength."

       *       *       *       *       *

Christmas was always a season of much activity at No. 28 Rutland
Square. The tokens which Mrs. Moulton sent to friends kept her and
Katy busy long in arranging and sending; and in turn came gifts from
far and near. With her generous and friendly spirit she was fully in
sympathy with the spirit of the time. Among her Christmas gifts on
this year, was one from Louise Imogen Guiney, with these charming and
delicately humorous verses:



     Behold, good Hermes! (once a god
     With errand-winglets crowned and shod),
     Your silvern, sensitive, slim rod,
       Still potent, still surviving;
     Chill mimic of the chilly sky,
     Crouched, chin on knee, morose and sly,
     Where, in my luthern window's eye,
       The Christmas snows are driving.
     But if beside her heart you were,
     And over you the smile of her,
     Oh, never might the north-wind stir,
       Or gleaming frost benumb her!
     For you, of old, love warmth and light,
     And in the calendar's despite,
     This moment leaping to your height,
       I know you'd swear 'tis summer!

On January 1, 1901, Mrs. Moulton records in her diary:

     "Wrote a sonnet, the first in nearly or quite two years,
     beginning, 'Once more the New Year mocks me with its

When the poem was published, "New Year" had been changed to "morning."

The summer of this year found her again in London. Her health was
seriously affected, and at times she was a great sufferer; but when
she was able to go about among her friends she was as full of spirit
as ever. Indeed, the diary gives a surprising list of festivities
which she attended.

     "Went to Lady Wynford's charming luncheon."

     "Went to Edward Clifford's to see pictures, and had the
     loveliest evening."

     "Went to Archdeacon Wilberforce's, Mrs. Meynell's, and Mrs.
     Clifford's, and dined at Annie Lane's."

     "Lunch at Sir Richard Burton's at Hampstead Heath. Lady
     Burton, who can never sit up, because of spinal trouble, was

     "Some one--a lady who left no name--brought me charming
     roses. A good many guests--Lady Wynford, Mrs. Sutherland
     Orr, Canon Bell, and George Moore among them."

     "Went to Lord Iddesleigh's. He gave me his first book,
     'Belinda Fitzwarren.'"

To this summer belongs the following letter, which is interesting not
only in itself, but also as illustrating how the old questions of
religion followed Mrs. Moulton through life:

     _Dr. E. Winchester Donald to Mrs. Moulton_

     "JULY 9, 1901.

     "... This place is a paradise. The Thames, from Windsor to
     Henley, is a beautiful dream, sailing up and down--no
     churches, no responsibilities. Consequently we New
     Englanders need not urge that it is dangerous to linger long
     upon its bosom. If there be no physical miasma rising from
     these waters, I fear there is an ethical one.... You are
     very kind and very generous. Your gift is very acceptable to
     us, and in my own name and that of those whom the Church is
     trying to help, I thank you with all my heart. What you have
     told me of the perplexities that beset you is more than
     simply interesting,--it is also revelatory of what, I fancy,
     is not uncommon among the thoughtful folk. But why not fall
     back deliberately on worship as distinguished from
     satisfactory precision of opinion or belief? I should not be
     surprised to learn that prayer has tided many people over
     the bar of intellectual perplexity into the harbor of a
     reasonable faith. Indeed, I know it has. The instinct of
     humanity is to worship and fall down before the Lord, our
     Maker. Why should we insist on having a precisely formulated
     proposition as respects the nature of that Lord before we
     worship? Prayer and praise form the sole common
     meeting-ground of humanity. Why not come back to the Church,
     not as a thoroughly satisfied holder of accurately stated
     formulas, but as a soul eager to gain whatever of help,
     hope, or comfort the Church has to give? You would never
     repent this, I am confident. My strong wish, never stronger
     than to-day, is that all of us may be receiving from God
     what God is only ready to give. For our reasoned opinions we
     must be intellectually intrepid and industrious. For our
     possession of the peace that passeth understanding we must
     be spiritually receptive and responsive."

After Mrs. Moulton's return to Boston in the autumn, the diary shows
the old round of engagements, of visits from friends, of interest in
the new books, and the writing and receiving of innumerable letters.
Mrs. Alice Meynell came to Boston in the winter as the guest of Mrs.
James T. Fields, and to her Mrs. Moulton gave a luncheon. The
Emerson-Browning club gave a pleasant reception in Mrs. Moulton's
honor, at which by request she read "The Secret of Arcady"; at one of
Mrs. Mosher's "Travel-talks" she read by invitation "The Roses of La
Garraye"; and with occasions of this sort the winter was dotted.

In a note written that spring to Mrs. John Lane is this pleasant

     "Frances Willard's mother was in her eighties,--she was on
     her death-bed--it was, I think, the day before she died, and
     her daughter said to her, 'Well, mother, if you had your
     life to live over again, I don't think you would want to do
     anything differently from what you have done.' The dear old
     lady turned her gray head on the pillow, and smiled, and
     said, 'Oh, yes; if I had my life to live over again, I would
     praise a great deal more and blame a great deal less.' I
     always thought it lovely to have felt and said."

In London in this summer of 1902 she notes in her diary that she went
to the dinner of the Women Writers. Later, she was given a luncheon by
the Society of American Women in London. She sat, of course, on the
right of the president, Mrs. Griffin, and next to her was placed Lady
Annesley, "who seemed to me," she said afterward, "the most beautiful
woman I had ever seen." She gave a little dinner to which she invited
Whistler, who accepted in the following terms:

     _J. McNeill Whistler to Mrs. Moulton_

     96 CHEYNE ROAD.

     DEAR LOUISE: I accept your invitation with great pleasure,
     and how kind and considerate of you to make it eight-thirty.
     I really believe I shall reach you, not only in good time,
     but in the unruffled state of mind and body that is utterly
     done away with in the usual scramble across country, racing
     hopelessly for the "quarter to."...

     Yours sincerely,

     J. McN. W.

When in her Boston home Mrs. Moulton was seldom, in later years,
allured far afield. She thought little of a journey to Europe, but
avoided even an hour's journey "out of town." She had in London,
however, come to be fond of the lady who became Mrs. Truman J. Martin,
of Buffalo, N.Y., and to her had written the lyric, "A Song for
Rosalys"; and she made an exception to her usual custom to visit her
friend in her American home. A Buffalo journal remarks on the
occurrence with the true floridness of society journalism:

     "The event of the week _par excellence_ has been the arrival
     in Buffalo of that gifted writer and eminent woman--Mrs.
     Louise Chandler Moulton of Boston. Mrs. Moulton arrived on
     Monday evening, and is the guest of her friend, Mrs. Truman
     J. Martin of North Street, where she is resting after a
     season of excessive literary work and many social
     obligations.... Mrs. Moulton has a striking personality. The
     years have touched lightly her heart and features, her
     strongest characteristic being a heartiness and sincerity
     and warmth that come to a great soul who has enjoyed and
     suffered much and who has dipped into the deepest of life's
     grand experiences. She dresses handsomely and somewhat
     picturesquely, elegant laces and rich velvet and silks
     forming themselves into her expressive attire."

The reporter goes on to describe a reception given to Mrs. Moulton by
her hostess at which a local club known as the Scribblers was

     "Flowers were everywhere in the house, bowls and vases of
     white carnations. 'The Scribblers' flowers, and roses and
     lilies for 'Rosalys,' Mrs. Martin's middle name, and which
     she still retains--'Charlotte Rosalys Jones,' as her pen
     name.... Mrs. Moulton was dressed in black satin, with
     elegant rose-point lace and diamonds.... The real delight
     of the afternoon came when Mrs. Moulton took up a little
     bundle of her poems, special selections of Mrs. Martin's,
     and read with great expression some of the sublime,
     pathetic, and passionate thoughts that have endeared this
     writer to the English reading world and placed her among the
     foremost of American writers. Mrs. Moulton's voice is of
     peculiar timbre, and reveals to the intelligent listener a
     character of the finest mould, suffering intensely through
     the inevitable decrees of a fate not too kind to the most
     favored, and a wealth of love and devotion that is

The hostess might be English, but the description of the entertainment
could hardly be more American.

Mrs. Moulton mentioned that during this visit she met Mrs. Charles
Rohlfs (Anna Katherine Green), and had an opportunity of saying that
she had enjoyed that writer's novels. Like Mrs. Browning, who declared
that she "slept with her pillows stuffed with novels," Mrs. Moulton
was a confirmed reader of fiction. She read them at seventy with the
zest of seventeen, and took "cruel endings" quite to heart.

Among the letters of the winter is an amusing note from Secretary
John Hay, accompanying a copy of the "Battle of the Books," and
saying: "Don't ask how I obtained it! I am proud to say in a strictly
dishonest manner!" An invitation from Miss Anne Whitney, too, asking
her to dine, and assuring her that she "will meet some friends without
strikingly bad traits"; and many epistles from which pleasant bits
might be taken. An interesting letter from Alice Brown refers to the
subject of death, and in allusion to her friend, Louise Imogen Guiney,
Miss Brown says: "So if you go before Louise and me, it will only be
to begin another spring somewhere else,--gay as the daffodils. I hope
you'll keep your habit of singing there, and we shall all love to love
and love to serve." A letter of Bliss Carman's thus refers to Miss

     _Bliss Carman to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... Have you seen that perfect thing of Louise Imogen
     Guiney's with the lines,--

          "And children without laughter lead
            The war-horse to the watering.

     "Isn't that the gold of poetry? She ought to have a triumph
     on the Common, and a window in Memorial Hall.... Do you see
     that faun of Auburndale?"

On New Year's Day, 1903, the diary records: "First of all I wrote a
sonnet--'Why Do I never See You in My Dreams?'"

       *       *       *       *       *

The summer was passed in London as usual, but with, if possible, more
festivities than ever. The diary records:

     "Went to Lady Seton's luncheon party--of I think twenty--a
     very pleasant affair in honor of Mr. Howells and his
     daughter. I sat next to Mr. Howells and had a good talk with

     "Went to the luncheon at the Cecil, given by the Society of
     American Women in London in honor of Ambassador and Mrs.
     Reid and Mr. and Mrs. Longworth."

     "Went in the evening to the Women Writers' dinner. I sat at
     Mrs. Craigie's table."

     "Went to the Lyceum Club Saturday dinner. Lady Frances
     Balfour presided."

     "Went to the Baroness Burdett-Coutts' garden-party. Oh,
     Holly Lodge is such a beautiful place!"

     "Went to Irving's dinner at the New Gallery. Sir Edward
     Russell, editor of the _Daily Post_, Liverpool, took me out;
     and a delightful companion he was."

     "Many guests: Mrs. Wilberforce, Lady Henry Somerset, Mrs.
     Henniker, the Pearsall Smiths, William Watson, Oswald
     Crawfurd, 'Michael Field' (that is to say Miss Bradley and
     Miss Cooper), Violet Hunt, Mr. and Mrs. Clement Shorter,
     Archdeacon and Mrs. Wilberforce, and many more."

As the years went on, bringing her to the verge of seventy, Mrs.
Moulton's literary activity naturally grew greatly less. The record of
her life for the following years was largely a record of friendships,
with the enjoyments and honors which belonged to her place among
American writers. She was asked often to write her reminiscences of
the many distinguished people she had known, but always declined. "I
have, alas! kept no records," she wrote to one editor. She was
naturally asked to be present at any literary function of importance.
She was a guest at the dinner given by the New England Women's Club in
1905, in honor of Mrs. Howe's eighty-fifth birthday, and notes that it
was "a brilliant meeting," and adding: "Mrs. Howe had written a gay
little poem in response, wonderful woman that she is." The dinner
given in honor of Mark Twain's seventieth birthday was the last great
occasion of the kind which she attended. In the following year she
returned from Europe just too late to join in the dinner given by the
Harpers on the seventieth birthday of Dr. Alden. Not only for her
literary standing and as an old friend of Dr. Alden would it have been
appropriate for her to be present on this occasion; but she might also
have appeared as his first contributor, as some thirty years earlier,
Dr. Alden's first official act upon assuming the chair as editor of
_Harper's Magazine_ had been to accept a contribution from Mrs.

In the letters of this period are to be found the truest records of
what most interested Mrs. Moulton and best expressed her personality.
Unfortunately she often asked that her letters should be destroyed, so
that no selection which may now be brought together does her complete
justice. The letters she received, however, reflect in many ways those
to which they replied; and extracts from them may be left to speak for

     _Louise Imogen Guiney to Mrs. Moulton_

     "... On an awfully wild and windy day of last week I struck
     off for Highgate over Hampstead Heath, and got so drenched
     additionally in the memories of the men who reign over me,
     Lamb, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Hunt, that I declare
     now I must live there a while. Coleridge's tomb I knew to be
     under the crypt of the Grammar School, and I found the
     Gilmans' house where he died, thanks to the only knowledge
     that I seem to have had from everlasting. The tomb is a
     queer piece of masonry, so placed that you may put your hand
     within an inch of his coffin. After some exploring and
     inquiring, George Eliot's grave turned up in the new grounds
     of Highgate Cemetery, where I suppose poor Philip Marston's
     must be. Her grave is an entirely unconventional affair, to
     the memory of Mary Ann Cross. I caught myself wondering
     whether there were any special reason for laying that great
     soul (here is some theological inaccuracy!) in so narrow and
     crowded a space, when suddenly I shifted my position, and
     saw that she was lying directly at the feet of George Henry
     Lewes, born August 4, 1817, died December 30, 1878. It gave
     me a queer sensation, I tell you, for Lewes' marble is half
     hidden and not visible from the path. If it were George
     Eliot's wish, honor to Mr. Cross for carrying it out!"

     "Some agreeable witchery, sure to be transient, is about me
     to-day, for I've made a 'pome,' the first since winter, and
     patched up a trivial old one,--both of which I send you as
     a slight token that I may get out of Bedlam yet. The sonnet
     I want you to cherish, it is so abominably pessimistic...."

     "I have been luxuriating in 'Atalanta.'... That is my
     springtime. There is no such music and motion and solemn
     gladness anywhere in modern verse. In a year or two more I
     shall know it by heart from cover to cover.... And here is
     England knee-deep in green and daisies; England piled with
     ruined Abbey walls."

     "I have two refreshments to chronicle,--one is Irving's
     'Becket,' and not the stock-still, curiously inefficient
     play, but just Irving's 'Becket,' otherwise 'St. Thomas of
     Canterbury,' a flash and a breath from Heaven. Where does
     that actor get his gift of everything spiritual and
     supernatural? His charm to me is that he has great moral
     power,--either inherent from the noble mind ... or else
     acquired by art so subtle that I never got hold of the
     like.... Surely, not everybody can see so into a character
     ... and measure its astonishing depth in humanity and

     _Archdeacon Wilberforce to Mrs. Moulton_

     "DEAR MRS. CHANDLER-MOULTON: Thank you for your letter. On
     page 237, of the book I send you, I have answered your
     question 'Why cannot God make people good in the first
     instance.' Because even God can only make things by means of
     the process by which they become what they are. God could
     not make a hundred-year-old tree in your garden in one
     minute. He cannot make a moral being except through the
     processes by means of which a moral being becomes what he
     is. What does Walt Whitman say?

          "Our life is closed, our life begins.

     And again:

          "In the divine ship, the World hasting Time and Space,
          All People of the globe together sail, sail the same voyage,
            are bound for the same destination...."

     _Miss Robbins to Mrs. Moulton_

     96 MT. VERNON ST.,
       January 23, 1906.

     MY DEAR MRS. MOULTON: This little note from Dean Hodges
     belongs to you rather than to me. If you had never written
     anything else all your life but this beautiful "Help Thou
     Mine Unbelief," you have done something worth living for,
     something truly great.

     And now to explain a little. I was glad to meet Dean Hodges
     at your house, and I asked him if among your poems he knew
     this one that I so prized. I told him that I had shown it to
     Dr. Momerie, who murmured, after reading it: "It is finer,
     it is, than 'Lead, Kindly Light.'" Dr. Momerie then went on
     to say there were only half a dozen good hymns, and that
     this was one of them. As Dean Hodges did not know the poem,
     I offered to copy it for him, as I have done for several
     people before, and now this is his reply. Such praise from
     such a man is praise indeed!

     I had such an interesting time at your house, meeting such
     interesting people, but what I wanted most was a
     _tête-à-tête_ with my interesting hostess. I always want to
     know you better.

     Believe me, dear Mrs. Moulton,

     Always yours,


     _Dean Hodges to Miss Robbins_


       January 22, 1906.

     DEAR MISS ROBBINS: I cannot thank you enough for these
     devout and helpful verses of Mrs. Moulton's. I have read and
     re-read them,--every time with new appreciation. They belong
     to the great hymns.

     It was a pleasure to meet you, and one I hope to have again.

     Faithfully yours,


     _Dr. Hale to Mrs. Moulton_

     APRIL 5, 1906.

     DEAR MRS. MOULTON: I thank you indeed for the kind
     expression of memories and hopes which calls up so much from
     the past and looks forward so cheerfully into the future....
     No, as life goes on with us, we do not rest as often as I
     should like. But that is the special good of a milestone
     like this,--it gives us a chance to look backward and

     This note has carried me back to an old friend, Phillips,
     the publisher, who died too early for the rest of us. You
     will not remember it, but he introduced me to you. I wonder
     if you can know how highly he prized your literary work?

     With thanks for your kind note, dear Mrs. Moulton,

     I am always yours,


Mrs. Moulton's visit to London in the summer of 1906 was her last.
While her health forced her to decline most invitations, she still saw
her numerous friends in quiet, intimate ways, and was made to feel
their abiding affection.

On her birthday of this year she received, with a single red rose,
this poem from the late Arthur Upson:

     Does a rose at the bud-time falter
       To think of the Junes gone by?
     Shall our love of the red rose alter
       Because it so soon must die?

     Nay, for the beauty lingers
       Though the symbols pass away--
     The rose that fades in my fingers,
       The June that will not stay.

     I used to mourn their fleetness,
       But years have taught me this:
     A memory wakes their sweetness,
       The hope of them, their bliss.

     They are not themselves the treasure,
       But they signal and they suggest
     Imperishable pleasure,
       Inviolable rest!

Among the Christmas gifts which she made this year was a copy of "At
the Wind's Will," which she sent to Miss Sarah Holland Adams, the
accomplished essayist and translator from the German. It was thus

     _Miss Adams to Mrs. Moulton_

     "DEAR MRS. MOULTON: Your beautiful little book is a dear
     thing. I thank you for sympathy in the loss of my only
     brother. I am writing to the publisher for your 'Garden of
     Dreams.' I've never read it and now I need to live in
     dreams. Do you know Swinburne's lines on the death of Barry
     Cornwall? No poem ever haunted me like this. The tone of it,
     even in my brightest moods, seemed to color my words. Of
     course this must be imagination, but the last lines are so

          "For with us shall the music and perfume that die not dwell,
          Tho' the dead to our dead bid welcome--and we, farewell."


     "How kind, how generous you are, to send me this precious
     volume! I find many fine poems in it and only wish I could
     hear you read them."

And so, as always before, on all the New Years of all her lovely life,
the old year went out and the New Year came in to the music of
gracious words. Her life, marking the calendar with kindly deeds and
beautiful thought, leaves as its legacy

           ... the assurance strong
     That love, which fails of perfect utterance here,
     Lives on to fill the heavenly atmosphere
         With its immortal song.



                       ... May she meet
     With long-lost faces through the endless days;
       Find youth again, and life with love replete,
     In amethystine meadows where she strays;
       And hear celestial music, strangely sweet,
     By the still waters of the lilied ways.--LONGFELLOW.

               ... A Hand like this hand
     Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee! See Christ stand!

     Break, ties that bind me to this world of sense,
       Break, now, and loose me on the upper air;
       Those skies are blue; and that far dome more fair
     With prophecy of some divine, intense,
     Undreamed-of rapture. Ah, from thence
       I catch a music that my soul would snare
       With its strange sweetness; and I seem aware.
     Of Life that waits to crown this life's suspense.--L.C.M.

In any thought of Mrs. Moulton's life, through which gleamed always
the double thread of friendship and song, certain words of the Rev.
Dr. Ames associate themselves,--that all our time here is God's time,
"which we measure off by days and years, that we are, even now,
continually with Him in the great Forever, embosomed in the infinite
power and purity." In Mrs. Moulton's own words, it is only

     From life to Life

that we pass.

In retrospective glance, how beautiful are these closing months of her
sojourn on earth! They were filled to the last with love and
friendship, and sweet thought, Mrs. Moulton's health was constantly
failing from this winter of 1907 until she passed through the
"Gleaming Gates" in August of 1908, but so gently imperceptible was
the decline that even through this winter she half planned to go to
London again in the spring. In a little meditation on the nature of
life which T.P. O'Connor induced her to write for his journal about
this time, under the caption of "My Faith and My Works," she said:

     "There must be always 'the still, sad music of
     humanity'--the expression of the mind that foresees, of the
     heart that aches with foreknowledge. One would not ignore
     the gladness of the dawn, the strong splendor of the mid-day
     sun; but, all the same, the shadows lengthen, and the day
     wears late.

     "And yet the dawn comes again after the night; and one has
     faith--or is it hope rather than faith?--that the new world
     which swims into the ken of the spirit to whom Death gives
     wings, may be fairer even than the dear familiar
     earth--that, somewhere, somehow, we may find again the
     long-lost; or meet the long-desired, the un-found, who
     forever evaded our reach in this mocking sphere, where we
     have never been quite at home, because, after all, we are
     but travellers, and this is but our hostelry, and not our
     permanent abode."

"My best reward has been the friendships that my slight work has won
for me," she had said; and the assurance of these did not fail her to
the end.

In the article just quoted she said of her work:

     "I have written many times more prose than verse, but it is
     my verse which is most absolutely _me_, and for which I
     would rather that you should care. Some critics assert that
     the sonnet is an artificial form of expression. Is it? I
     only know that no other seems to me so intimate--in no other
     can I so sincerely utter the heart's cry of despair or of
     longing--the soul's aspiration toward that which is

     "Am I a realist? I think I am; but who was it who said that
     the sky is not less real than the mud?"

The death of her old friend, Mr. Aldrich, greatly moved her, and in
her diary for March 20, 1907, she records:

     "Indoors all day; an awful wind storm, and the day was made
     sad by the news in the morning's paper of T.B. Aldrich's
     death yesterday, in the late afternoon. Oh, how sad death
     seems. Aldrich was seventy last November. How soon we, his
     contemporaries, shall all be gone. His death seems to darken

Two days later she writes:

     "Went to the funeral services of T.B. Aldrich, at Arlington
     Street Church. The services, the music, and Mr.
     Frothingham's reading, were most impressive and
     beautiful.... In the evening came Mr. Stedman to see me. His
     visit was a real pleasure, I had not seen him for so long."

This must have been the last meeting between Mrs. Moulton and Mr.
Stedman after their almost life-long friendship.

To Mrs. Aldrich she wrote:

     _Mrs. Moulton to Mrs. Aldrich_

       March 30, 1907.

     DEAR MRS. ALDRICH: I cannot tell you how my talk with you a
     few days ago brought the long past back to me. How I wish I
     could put into words a picture of your poet as I saw him
     first. I was in New York for a visit, and was invited for an
     afternoon to an out-of-town place, where a poet-friend and
     his wife were staying. Other interesting people were there,
     but _the_ one I remember was T.B.A. His poems had charmed
     me, and to me he was not only their author, but their
     embodiment. Had it been otherwise, I should have felt bereft
     of an ideal; but he was all I had imagined and more. I saw
     him alive with the splendor of youth, rich, even then, in
     achievement, and richer still in hope and dreams,--a
     combination of knight and poet. He escorted me back to New
     York, I remember, and the charm of his presence and his
     conversation still lingers in my memory. Ever since then I
     have kept in touch with his work and loved it. His
     personality attracted every one who met him, and his
     generous kindness and appreciation were a joy to those who
     sought his sympathy.

     I remember the pleasure with which my poet-friend, Frederic
     Lawrence Knowles, told me of a kind invitation to call on
     Mr. Aldrich, and the yet more enthusiastic delight with
     which he afterward described the interview. He found his
     gracious and graceful host to be so wise, sympathetic,
     hopeful, and suggestive, all that he had hoped for and more.
     I think every young poet who had the happiness of meeting
     him could bear similar testimony.

     I saw him last on the twelfth of January, 1907, so short a
     time before his death, and yet he seemed so alert and alive,
     so interesting, so entirely what he was when I knew him
     first that one could not have dreamed that the end was near.
     The only consolation for a loss that will be so widely felt
     is in the legacy he has left to the world of immortal charm
     and beauty,--the work that will not die.

     Yours most sincerely,


The last sonnet which Mrs. Moulton wrote was for the birthday of Mrs.



     Youth is thy gift--the youth that baffles Time,
       And smiles derisively at vanished years.
       Since the long past the present more endears,
     And life but ripens in its golden prime,
     Who knows to what proud heights thou still may'st climb--
       What summoning call thy listening spirit hears--
       What triumphs wait, ere conquering death appears--
     What magic beauty thou may'st lend to rhyme?

     Sovereign of Love and May, we kiss the hand
       Such noble work has wrought, and add our bays
     To those with which the world has crowned thy brow:
     Thy subjects we, in this the happy land,
       Thy presence gladdens, and thy gracious ways
     Enchant--Queen of the Long-Ago and Now.

During the summer Mrs. Moulton was for the most part in her
morning-room, surrounded by her favorite books, her papers, her
letters, attended by the faithful Katy, and remembered constantly with
flowers and tokens from friends. She cherished until quite midsummer
the hope of joining the Schaefers, who were in Europe; but in reply to
their urgent wish to return and be with her, she begged that they
would not cut short their trip, as it would distress her to feel that
they were in Boston during the hot weather. To a friend who remained
in town and who saw her every day, she said: "It would make me really
ill to have Florence and Will come into this hot town. I should only
feel how uncomfortable they must be, dear as they are to wish to come
for my sake. With letters and the cable, we are in touch all the

It was, on the whole, a pleasant season, although she was often
uncomfortable if not actually in pain. Friends urged her to come into
the country, but to this she did not feel equal. Mrs. Spofford had met
with an accident, but before the summer was over was able to resume
her visits; and more than anything else her companionship brightened
the days.

The autumn brought back the accustomed circle, and in October came the
following letter from Dr. Ames:

     _Dr. Ames to Mrs. Moulton_

       October 24, 1907.

     MY DEAR FRIEND: I am somewhat foot-fast; but very far from
     indifferent, and you will never know how often your name is
     called as I tell my rosary beads.

     I wonder if you find comfort, as I often do, in the thought
     that all true and honorable human friendship is
     representative of its inspiring source, and that we should
     not thus care for each other, and wish each other's highest
     welfare, if our hearts were not in receptive touch with a
     Heart still greater, purer, and more loving? Can you rest in
     the imperfect good will of your friends and yet distrust its
     Origin and Fountain?

     I appreciate and share your perplexity over the world's
     "Vast glooms of woe and sin." But, when most weary and
     heavy-laden with all our common burden of sorrow and shame,
     I find some measure of strength and peace in the example and
     spirit of One who knew and felt it all, One who could gather
     into a heart of boundless compassion all the blind and
     struggling multitudes, and could yet trust all the more
     fully to the Father's love for all, because He felt that
     love in His own.

     The problem of evil--my evil, yours, everybody's--was not
     solved by Him with any reasoning; it was simply met and
     overmatched by faith which saw all finite things held in the
     Infinite, as all the stars are held in space.

     Did sin abound? Grace did much more abound. To that
     superabounding grace I commit all our needy souls. I know no
     other resource. I need no other.

          Not all the sins that we have wrought
            So much His tender mercies grieve
          As that unkind, injurious thought
            That He's not willing to forgive.

     As for unanswered questions,--let them rest. They rest while
     you sleep; let them rest while you wake. In opening a window
     to look out, we shall let in the blessed light of heaven.
     How many hearts have found this true! Did any ever find it
     untrue? To escape from self-attention is the sure cure of
     morbid, self-consuming thoughts and moods....

     While you and I are waiting for the sunset gun, what use can
     we make of our afternoon except to welcome the sacred
     horizontal light, which shows us how our resources and
     energies can best be applied to the welfare of others? If in
     considering our remaining opportunities and duties, we may
     partly forget our own private troubles, that will be
     salvation, will it not? We may be sure that all the
     happiness we try to secure for others will return to
     ourselves redoubled. You would say this to another, why not
     say it insistently to yourself.

     Faithfully yours,


In November her daughter and son-in-law arrived, and from that time
did not leave her. There were happy days in which Mrs. Moulton was
able to drive, although these were rare, and as the winter wore on she
was less and less able to see friends. The last letter she ever wrote,
save for some brief words to Mrs. Spofford, written when she could
with difficulty hold a pen, was one to Archdeacon Wilberforce, and
even this was left unfinished. It was entirely concerned with
religious questionings.

The entries in her diary became few and irregular. There is a pathetic
beauty in the fact that the latest complete record, in the early
summer of 1908, is a mention of a visit from "dear Hal," Mrs.
Spofford. The very last was simply the words "Florence and Will,"
which fitly closed the record which had extended over more than a
quarter of a century.

Hardly a month before her death Colonel Higginson wrote to her that he
felt that in her execution she excelled all other American
women-poets. She had questioned him of death, and he replied: "Your
question touches depths. I never in my life felt any fear of death, as
such. I never think of my friends as buried."

The transition came on Monday, August 10, 1908. On the Friday before
she had seemed better, and Mrs. Spofford, who was with her on that
day, remarked afterward that "It was delightful to hear her repeat her
lyric, 'Roses.'"

     Roses that briefly live,
       Joy is your dower;
     Blest be the fates that give
       One perfect hour;
     For, though too soon you die,
       In your dust glows
     Something the passer-by
       Knows was a rose.

"Velvet-soft in this," Mrs. Spofford continued, "her voice had a
ringing gayety whose strange undertone was sorrow when reciting, 'Bend
Low, O Dusky Night.'"

On Saturday she seemed still her old self, but on Sunday afternoon she
became unconscious, and on the morning following came release. So
peaceful was the transition that to the watchers it was as if she only
passed from sleep into a deeper peace. The lines of the late Father
Tabb might almost seem to have been written to describe that fitting

     Death seemed afraid to wake her,
       For traversing the deep
     When hence he came to take her,
       He kept her fast asleep.
     And happy in her dreaming
       Of many a risk to run,
     She woke with rapture beaming,
       To find the voyage done.

The funeral service was held three days later. Friends had sent masses
of flowers, and among them she rested, never more beautiful, with only
peace on the still face. An incident slight, but at such a moment
touching, marked the removal of the casket from the house. As it was
borne down the steps a superb golden butterfly flew on just before it,
as if it were a visible symbol of the rich spirit now "loosed upon the
air." The committal was at Mount Auburn, where her grave is beside
that of Mr. Moulton. A beautiful Celtic cross marks the spot where
rests all that was mortal of one of the sweetest and most genuine
singers of all her century.


_Page 275_]

The letters of sympathy sent to Mrs. Schaefer were many and
spontaneous, full of individual feeling and of a sense of personal
loss on the part of the writers. "I shall always feel grateful for the
privilege of Mrs. Moulton's friendship," wrote the Rev. Albert B.
Shields, then rector of the Church of the Redeemer. "One of the
kindest friends I ever had," wrote Professor Evans, of Tufts College;
"no one that I have known had a greater capacity than she for making
close friends." "No one loved your mother as I did," was the word from
Coulson Kernahan, "and her passing leaves me lonelier and sadder than
I can say." Mrs. Margaret Deland spoke of her "nature so generous, so
full of the appreciation of beauty, and of such unfailing human
kindness." Mrs. Spofford, so long and so closely her friend, said
simply: "I miss her more and more as the days go by. I miss her
sympathy, her comradeship.... She was inspiringly good and dear to me;
and her love will go with me to the last."

       *       *       *       *       *

Such extracts might be multiplied, but they are not needed. The
affection she felt and inspired must live in the hearts of her
friends, and such letters are almost too tender and intimate to be put
into cold print.

Mrs. John Lane, now of London, but in former years known in Boston as
Miss Eichberg, one of the intimates of 28 Rutland Square, has written
the following reminiscences of Mrs. Moulton, between whom and herself
long existed a warm friendship:

     "An anecdote told by Mrs. Moulton about Thomas Carlyle and
     his wife has been going the rounds of the press since her
     death, coming thus to my notice. I only partially recognize
     it as one she had often told me. The true version of it is
     as follows: Mrs. Moulton had it from her friend, Lady
     Ashburton, who was also a friend of Carlyle and his wife. It
     seems that Lady Ashburton had invited the Carlyles to visit
     her. There was a large house-party of people congenial to
     the great man, and one day after dinner Lady Ashburton
     prevailed on Carlyle to read aloud some passages from the
     'French Revolution.' From reading, Carlyle, carried away by
     his subject, continued a discourse independent of his own
     work, which was so brilliant and eloquent that his hearers
     were profoundly impressed. After he had ceased and it was
     time for all to separate for the night, they went, in turn,
     to express to him their appreciation. The only person who
     did not do this was his wife, and as Carlyle stood as if
     expectant, Lady Ashburton said rather impulsively to Mrs.
     Carlyle: 'Why don't you speak to him? Your praise means more
     to him than that of all the rest, and only see how he has
     moved them!' 'Ah, yes,' replied Mrs. Carlyle, 'but they
     don't have to live with him.'"

     "I first met Mrs. Moulton in London in the early eighties. I
     had a letter of introduction to her from a common Boston
     friend. She was then in the beginning of her London success,
     knowing everybody in the literary world worth knowing, and
     extending her simple and charming hospitality to very great
     people indeed. To go to her Fridays was always to meet men
     and women whose names are famous on two continents. To a
     young girl as I was, brought up with a deep veneration for
     all things literary in England, it was a wonderful
     opportunity to come face to face, through her kindness,
     with the curious phases of art and literature of that

     "These movements were the outcome of the pre-Raphaelite, the
     outward aspects of that erratic and distinguished society,
     and its artificial simplicity. It was enough to impress any
     one coming from so conventional a city as Boston. Perhaps
     the deepest impression made on me was by Philip Bourke
     Marston, for I remember how Mrs. Moulton brought him to see
     us, and my father, Julius Eichberg, played for him on the
     violin. Never shall I forget the picture as he sat there
     listening, his head supported by his hand, and the various
     expressions evoked by the music passing over his face.

     "It was undoubtedly through Mrs. Moulton that the younger
     English poets of those earlier days won American
     recognition. Many of these who have now an assured place in
     literature were first known in America through her
     introduction. As I remember now, it was she who first
     unfolded to me the splendid, stately perfection and the
     profound thought of William Watson, and I can still hear her
     lovely voice as she recited to me that wonderful poem of
     his, 'World-Strangeness.' It was she who first read to me
     'The Ballad of a Nun,' by John Davidson, and that moving
     and tragic poem by Rosamond Marriott, '_Le Mauvais Larron_.'

     "I remember going with Mrs. Moulton to Miss Ingelow's. Once
     I remember, when James Russell Lowell was first accredited
     Minister to the Court of St. James, and had just arrived in
     London, we met him at Miss Ingelow's. He was evidently a
     stranger to the hostess and to all her guests, and I recall
     his talking to her, holding in his hand a cup of tea which
     he evidently did not want. Miss Ingelow, in a bonnet and
     shawl, with a lace veil over her face (it was a garden
     party), seemed to be stricken with a kind of English shyness
     which made her rather unresponsive, so that he went away
     without having been introduced to any one, while every one
     looked on and wanted to know him.

     "I remember an enthusiastic American girl who was introduced
     to Thomas Hardy by Mrs. Moulton, at one of her Fridays, who
     exclaimed, 'O Mr. Hardy, to meet you makes this a red letter
     day for me'; whereupon the quiet, reserved, great man looked
     at her in speechless alarm and fled. It was at Mrs.
     Moulton's that I first became acquainted with the editor of
     the famous 'Yellow Book.' He was Henry Harland, and its
     publisher was John Lane. I recall Mrs. Moulton saying 'Now
     that I have introduced the editor to you I must also
     introduce the publisher.'

     "It was in the 'Yellow Book' that the most distinguished of
     the younger English writers first won their spurs, and that
     erratic genius, Aubrey Beardsley, made his undying mark on
     the black and white art, not only of England, but of the
     world. It was all these younger men whose talent Mrs.
     Moulton made known to the American public.

     "In the first years of my friendship with Mrs. Moulton, when
     she still wrote fiction, she once told me of the plot of a
     story which had been told to her by Philip Marston. It was a
     wonderful plot and Mr. Marston wished her to use it. As she
     told me the details in her vivid way, I was profoundly
     impressed as if it had been a story of De Maupassant. She
     seemed to have no great desire to use it, although she was,
     for the moment, fired by my young enthusiasm for it. If ever
     I envied, as only a young literary aspirant can, it was Mrs.
     Moulton then as the ownership of that plot, and I told her
     so. 'If I do not use it,' she said, 'I will give it to you.'
     So years passed, and in my mind still lingered the
     remembrance of that wonderful plot which, so far, Mrs.
     Moulton had not used. One evening we were at the theatre
     together, and as we sat talking, between the acts, she
     suddenly reverted to the plot. 'I have decided,' she said,
     'that I shall never use it, and I will give it to you.' I do
     not think that any gift ever made me so happy; it was a
     happiness that only a writer of stories can appreciate. It
     seemed to me as if I could not find words to express my
     gratitude for her great generosity. I know my delight made
     her happy. It was so a part of her to be happy in another's
     happiness. For days and weeks afterward I only lived in that
     wonderful plot--but to this day the wonderful plot has not
     been used."

The numbers of autograph copies of books presented to Mrs. Moulton by
their authors she left, by memorandum, to the Boston Public Library,
with the request that Professor Arlo Bates make the selection. These
now form a memorial collection, each volume marked by a book-plate
bearing an engraved portrait of Mrs. Moulton. Professor Bates has
written an account of this collection, which, as it has not before
been published, may be included here as not only interesting from the
inscriptions which it contains, but as indicating the range and
variety of Mrs. Moulton's literary friendships.



_Page 282_]


"From the library of Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton it has been my
task--sombre yet grateful--to select a collection of autographed books
and first editions to be given to the Public Library of Boston as a
Memorial. Between eight and nine hundred volumes were found worthy,
and of these no small number are of rarity and much interest. Mrs.
Moulton had not only the books presented to her personally by the
writers, but from the library of Philip Bourke Marston she inherited
many others enriched by the autographs of famous men and women. The
list is too long to be given in anything like entirety, but it
included Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Mathilde Blind, Frederick von
Bodenstedt, Charles Bradlaugh, Alice Brown, Madison Cawein, F.B.
Money-Coutts, John Davidson, Austin Dobson, W.H. Drummond, Eugene
Field, Richard Garnett, Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Grant, Edmund
Gosse, Louise Imogen Guiney, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, H. Rider
Haggard, John Hay, William Ernest Henley, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Lord
Houghton, Henry James, Amy Levy, Lady Lindsay, Frederick Locker, James
Russell Lowell, Stéphane Mallarmé, Joaquin Miller, George Moore,
Felix Moscheles, the Hon. Roden Noel, Thomas Nelson Page, John Payne,
Nora Perry, Mr. and Mrs. James B. Piatt, James Whitcomb Riley, Amélie
Rives, C.G.D. Roberts, Christina Rossetti, William Sharp, Harriet
Prescott Spofford, Edmund Clarence Stedman, Algernon Charles
Swinburne, Bayard Taylor, John T. Trowbridge, Mrs. Humphry Ward,
William Watson, Theodore Watts-Dunton, John Greenleaf Whittier, and
Mary Wilkins.

"The exact number of authors represented has not been counted, but
probably the autographed volumes, of which there are about six
hundred, do not contain more than a fifth of that number of well-known
names. Some signatures are by unknown authors who sent their books to
Mrs. Moulton because of her prominence; and in a limited number of
cases such have been thrown out as obviously not worthy of a place in
the collection. The variety of the personal acquaintances among
distinguished writers, however, illustrates very strikingly the
breadth of Mrs. Moulton's sympathies and the remarkable extent to
which she kept in touch with current literature. In not a few cases,
moreover, the inscriptions show how often her encouragement or wise
counsel had been helpful to the writer. In 'The White Sail,' Miss
Guiney writes: 'To Louise Chandler Moulton from her lover and debtor';
Charles Bradlaugh, in 'The Impeachment of the House of Brunswick':
'From the author to his critic'; F.B. Money-Coutts, in 'King Arthur':
'A poor return for her kind interest'; John Davidson, in 'New
Ballads': 'From her obliged friend.' Others of this sort might be
quoted, and while dedicatory inscriptions are not always to be taken
too seriously, no one could know Mrs. Moulton and her helpful
kindliness without realizing to how many writers her sympathetic
criticism and judicious advice had been of marked value. C.W. Dalmon,
in a copy of the limited edition of 'Song-Favors' writes: 'To Mrs.
Louise Chandler Moulton for her kindness' sake, and for the sake of
"Philip, our King"; and the remembrance of that kindness in so many
hearts is to Mrs. Moulton a lasting monument.'

"From the many and varied inscriptions in these books I have selected
a handful which seem to me interesting, and which Mrs. Moulton's
friends will, I hope, find so. In going over the library I was struck
with the range in time which these autographs cover. It gave a feeling
of being in touch with a past almost that of our grandmothers' to
come upon Le Tellier's '_L'Histoire Ancienne_' with the inscription:
'Louise Chandler Moulton from Madame Emma Willard, Troy Female
Seminary, May 30th, 1856'; or upon 'Lucy Howard's Journal,' bearing
upon the fly-leaf: 'Mrs. Ellen Louise Moulton, with the love of her
friend, L.H. Sigourney, Hartford, Conn't. Christmas, 1857.' The latter
volume is dated by the publishers 1858, so that the trick of making
the title-page state its age with feminine inexactness is less recent
than is generally supposed. Who to-day knows anything about Madame
Willard, or has other remembrance of Mrs. Sigourney than that of
seeing her name attached to moralizing selections in the reading-books
of our remote youth?

"Older still than these, although the fact that Mr. Trowbridge has
happily been with us to the present time makes him seem less a figure
of the past, are the inscriptions in the first and second series of
Emerson's 'Essays': 'Ella Louise from Paul Creyton, April 10th, 1854';
'To Ellen Louise from J.T.T., April 10th, 1854.' To the same year
belongs a copy of 'Mrs. Partington,' in which is written: 'To my
granddaughter, Ellen Louise, Ruth Partington by B.P. Shillaber.' I
confess to something of a wistful feeling at these reminders of a
time in the midyears of a century already dead, when I was in the
nursery and 'Ellen Louise,' 'Paul Creyton,' and 'Mrs. Partington' were
the literary stars glimmering out with yet ungauged power in the sky
where Emerson and Whittier and Longfellow were the fixed and shining

"The autographed books, for the most part, however, belong to the
years since Mrs. Moulton had won her place as the leading woman-poet
of America. Her intimate connection with the literary world in England
has brought it about that almost as many English as American names are
found written on the fly-leaves of presentation copies. Largely, of
course, the sentiments are simple expressions of regard or admiration,
and it has not seemed worth while to include these here. Of those
which are more full or less conventional the following are examples:
Oswald Crawfurd has written in his 'Portugal': 'My friends consider
this my best work, and if they are right it is the fittest present I
can give to Mrs. Chandler Moulton, the best friend this year, 1887,
has brought me.' In the 1896 edition of 'Dawn' the author says: 'To
Mrs. Chandler Moulton with the kind regards of H. Rider Haggard. P.S.
Her appreciation of this old "three-decker," which he remembers
working very hard over, has pleased its antiquated author very much
indeed, as he imagined that nowadays it only possessed a prehistoric
interest.' In Lloyd Mifflin's 'The Fields of Dawn' is written: 'You
who know so well--by having so often encountered them yourself--the
almost insuperable difficulties of the sonnet form, will be among the
first to pardon the many short-comings of this little volume'; and in
'The Slopes of Parnassus' are quoted with graceful modesty the lines
of Tennyson:

     "For though its faults were thick as dust
     In vacant chambers, I could trust
     Your kindness.

Nothing could be more graceful than the inscription of Arthur
Sherburne Hardy: 'If the _salut_ Passe Rose sang to Queen Hildegarde
(p. 354) had not already been verified for you, I should repeat it
here. Faithfully yours, etc.' The _salut_, as those will remember who
are as fond of 'Passe Rose' as I am, was:

     "God give thee joy,
     And great honor.

In her 'Brownies and Boggles' Miss Guiney has written:

     "'Of Brownyes and of Boggles fulle is this Beuk.
                           GAWAIN DOUGLAS, 1474-1522.

For the "Fairy" Godmother, from her chronicler of elves. L.I.G.' And
in 'Goose-Quill Papers': 'To your most gracious hands these weeds and
tares.' Clyde Fitch, in a copy of 'The Knighting of the Twins,'
mounted from newspaper slips and bound by the author: 'Sweet
singer--friendship is a blue, blue sky,--fair, ethereal, interminable,
with an horizon made goldy with the sun of love. And your
friendship--is a sky still more precious, a heavenly one.' Harriet
Prescott Spofford inscribes 'An Inheritance,' 'My dear Louise, with
the love of her Hal,' and in turn Mrs. Moulton herself writes in a
volume of Mrs. Spofford's 'Poems': 'To Philip Bourke Marston I give
these poems of a woman whom I love.' Mrs. Clara Erskine Clement in
'Angels in Art': 'Alas! My pen was not "dropped from an angel's wing,"
but such things as it writ I send thee with my love.' In a copy of
'Berries of the Briar' I found with amused surprise, as I had not seen
it for twenty years or so: 'Louise Chandler Moulton with Christmas
greeting from The Briar, 1886.

     "'Small worth claims my book
       Save the greeting it brings you.
     I pray you o'erlook
     Small worth. Claims my book
     But that you deign to brook
       Its intrusion, in view
     That no worth claims my book
       Save the greeting it brings you.'

Anybody could easily place this sort of verse without a date, for at
that time, in the eighties, experiments in French forms were
notoriously in fashion. In 'Love Lyrics,' in clear, incisive text one
reads: 'For Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton these humble lines--herein
gathered by another than the author's hand--so doubly poor an exchange
for her volume of real poetry entitled "At the Wind's Will." With all
hale greetings of your ever grateful friend, James Whitcomb Riley.
Christmas of 1899.

     "'_At the Wind's Will!_--So sail these songs of thine
     Into the haven of hearts--the world's and mine--
     While anchoring-chant of crew and pilot saith:
     The Wind's will--yea, the will of God's own breath.'

"In 'The World Beautiful' was inscribed: 'To Mrs. Louise Chandler
Moulton, whose graciousness and charm create a World Beautiful
wherever she goes, this little book is offered, with grateful love.'
Dr. Holmes' inscription is a copy of his well-known stanza: 'And if I
should live to be.' Edmund Clarence Stedman inscribes his 'Poems': 'To
my loyal, lifelong friend, Louise Chandler Moulton, Poet, with love
and homage. E.C. Stedman, Thanksgiving, 1897.

     "'The Power that arches heaven's orbway round
     Gave to this planet's brood its soul of fire;
     Its heart of passion,--and for life unbound
     By chain or creed the measureless desire.--p. 126.'

"The 'American Anthology' three years later has: 'To my life-long,
loyalest woman friend--my sister in life and song--Louise Chandler
Moulton. Meet whom we may, no others comprehend save those who
breathed the same air and drank the same waters when we trod the
sunrise fields of Youth.' In 'The Poet's Chronicle,' privately printed
in an edition of forty-four copies on Van Gelder paper, is written:
'My old friend, Louise Chandler Moulton, this piece not aimed at the
public. Frederick Wedmore, 3rd July, 1902.' 'Heartsease and Rue' Mr.
Lowell presents 'to Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton with the kind regards
of the author, who wishes her all heartsease and no rue.' In this
volume, as in a number of others, a signed letter is inserted, either
one which accompanied the gift in the first place or which replied to
the acknowledgment of the recipient. 'Astrophel and Other Poems' is
sent 'To Mrs. Moulton from A.C. Swinburne in memoriam Philip Bourke

"Among the Marston books are many of interest, but of them I have
space to mention only two. One is a copy of 'Ecce Homo,' to 'Philip
Bourke Marston from his godmother, D.M.C., Aug. 13, 1866.' Dinah
Mulock Craik's poem to her godson, 'Philip, my King,' is well known,
and is alluded to in one of the inscriptions which I have already
quoted. Mr. Marston's godfather, Philip James Bailey, bestowed upon
him a copy of 'Festus,' with the inscription: '_Ce livre donné
affectueusement par l'auteur à son cher filleul Philippe Bourke
Marston, qui a déjà par son propre genie étendue la renommée
patronymique, est accompagné des voeux les plus sincères pour la santé
et pour son bonheur._' Just why French should be used in this
connection is not evident, and perhaps I am not justified in feeling
that 'Festus' Bailey was perhaps not without a secret pride in being
able to achieve an inscription in that language. Be that as it may,
however, the sentiment expressed is a graceful one, not ungracefully
put. The third volume is a copy of Swinburne's 'A Song of Italy.' In
it is this note: 'This copy was read by Mr. Swinburne, on March 30th,
1867, to Mr. Mazzini, and has been in the hand of the great Italian to
whom it is dedicated. Presented to Philip Bourke Marston by Thomas
Purnell, 12 April, 1867.'

"I have already much exceeded the limits within which in beginning
this paper I meant to end. I have therefore no space in which to speak
of the first and limited editions or of the privately printed books
which add to the value of the collection. It is to me a source of much
satisfaction that this fine and dignified memorial to Mrs. Moulton
should be in the Public Library of Boston. The book-plate by Sidney L.
Smith contains her portrait, and a catalogue of the books has been
printed. Mrs. Moulton's work is her monument, but this will be an
appropriate and fitting recognition of her place in American letters
and in the gracious company of New England's poets."

       *       *       *       *       *

The autograph letters left by Mrs. Moulton, the greater number written
to her personally but some which were well-nigh priceless (like the
original of the famous letter in which Mrs. Browning stated her view
of spiritualism) from the bequest of Mr. Marston, were carefully
assorted, and by her daughter given to the Congressional Library at
Washington. To them was added the large number of autographed
photographs which Mrs. Moulton had received as gifts from famous or
distinguished persons.

       *       *       *       *       *

The place of Louise Chandler Moulton as a writer is assured. The words
of the _London Athenæum_ in its memorial notice may be said to sum up
the matter with entire justice when it said that her work "entitles
her to her recognized position as the first poet, among women," in
America, from the fact that her verse possesses "delicate and rare
beauty, marked originality, and, what was better still, ... a sense of
vivid and subtle imagination, and that spontaneous feeling which is
the essence of lyrical poetry." Her mastery of the sonnet-form has
been commented upon in the words of critics of authority a number of
times already in this volume, and neither this nor her wonderful
instinct for metrical effect need be dwelt upon here. That she has
left her place in American letters unfilled, and that no successor is
in evidence will hardly be disputed. Few writers of equal eminence
have so completely escaped from all trace of mannerism, for unless a
tendency to melancholy might be so classed her poetry is unusually
free from this fault. The imaginative spontaneity of her verse made
it impossible for artificiality to intrude; and even the sadness never
seems forced or affected. The beauty of feeling and the exquisite
melody of her verse have in them the savor of immortality.

To her friends the remembrance of her genius for friendship,--for it
amounted to that,--her wonderful and unworldly kindness which
overflowed in all her acts, the sympathy which no demands could
exhaust, must seem hardly less a title to continued remembrance than
her poetic powers. Her life was singularly complete, singularly
fortunate, in its conditions. It was a life enriched with genius,
friendship, and love, and above all it was the life of one whose
nature was golden throughout with the appreciation of beauty and the
instinctive generosity which gave as freely as it had received.

She had entered into the larger life where

     No work begun shall ever pause for death,

and where all the nobler energies of the spirit shall enter into
eternal beauty.

[Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer errors have been corrected
without note, and illustrations have been moved to the nearest
paragraph break.]

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