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Title: A Writer's Recollections — Volume 1
Author: Ward, Humphry, Mrs., 1851-1920
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Writer's Recollections — Volume 1" ***



Published November, 1918



T. H. W.

(In memory of April 6, 1872)_





















Do we all become garrulous and confidential as we approach the gates of
old age? Is it that we instinctively feel, and cannot help asserting,
our one advantage over the younger generation, which has so many over
us?--the one advantage of _time!_

After all, it is not disputable that we have lived longer than they.
When they talk of past poets, or politicians, or novelists, whom the
young still deign to remember, of whom for once their estimate agrees
with ours, we can sometimes put in a quiet, "I saw him"--or, "I talked
with him"--which for the moment wins the conversational race. And as we
elders fall back before the brilliance and glitter of the New Age,
advancing "like an army with banners," this mere prerogative of years
becomes in itself a precious possession. After all, we cannot divest
ourselves of it, if we would. It is better to make friends with it--to
turn it into a kind of _panache_--to wear it with an air, since wear it
we must.

So as the years draw on toward the Biblical limit, the inclination to
look back, and to tell some sort of story of what one has seen, grows
upon most of us. I cannot hope that what I have to say will be very
interesting to many. A life spent largely among books, and in the
exercise of a literary profession, has very obvious drawbacks, as a
subject-matter, when one comes to write about it. I can only attempt it
with any success, if my readers will allow me a large psychological
element. The thoughts and opinions of one human being, if they are
sincere, must always have an interest for some other human beings. The
world is there to think about; and if we have lived, or are living, with
any sort of energy, we _must_ have thought about it, and about ourselves
in relation to it--thought "furiously" often. And it is out of the many
"thinkings" of many folk, strong or weak, dull or far-ranging, that
thought itself grows. For progress surely, whether in men or nations,
means only a richer knowledge; the more impressions, therefore, on the
human intelligence that we can seize and record, the more sensitive
becomes that intelligence itself.

But of course the difficulty lies in the seizing and recording--in the
choice, that is, of what to say, and how to say it. In this choice, as I
look back over more than half a century, I can only follow--and
trust--the same sort of instinct that one follows in the art of fiction.
I shall be telling what is primarily true, or as true as I can make it,
as distinguished from what is primarily imagination, built on truth. But
the truth one uses in fiction must be interesting! Milton expresses that
in the words "sensuous" and "passionate," which he applies to poetry in
the _Areopagitica_. And the same thing applies to autobiography, where
selection is even more necessary than in fiction. Nothing ought to be
told, I think, that does not interest or kindle one's own mind in
looking back; it is the only condition on which one can hope to interest
or kindle other minds. And this means that one ought to handle things
broadly, taking only the salient points in the landscape of the past,
and of course with as much detachment as possible. Though probably in
the end one will have to admit--egotists that we all are!--that not much
detachment _is_ possible.

For me, the first point that stands out is the arrival of a little girl
of five, in the year 1856, at a gray-stone house in a Westmorland
valley, where, fourteen years earlier, the children of Arnold of Rugby,
the "Doctor" of _Tom Brown's Schooldays_, had waited on a June day, to
greet their father, expected from the South, only to hear, as the summer
day died away, that two hours' sharp illness, that very morning, had
taken him from them. Of what preceded my arrival as a black-haired,
dark-eyed child, with my father, mother, and two brothers, at Fox How,
the holiday house among the mountains which the famous headmaster had
built for himself in 1834, I have but little recollection. I see dimly
another house in wide fields, where dwarf lilies grew, and I know that
it was a house in Tasmania, where at the time of my birth my father,
Thomas Arnold, the Doctor's second son, was organizing education in the
young colony. I can just recall, too, the deck of a ship which to my
childish feet seemed vast--but the _William Brown_ was a sailing-ship of
only 400 tons!--in which we made the voyage home in 1856. Three months
and a half we took about it, going round the Horn in bitter weather,
much run over by rats at night, and expected to take our baths by day in
two huge barrels full of sea water on the deck, into which we children
were plunged shivering by our nurse, two or three times a week. My
father and mother, their three children, and some small cousins, who
were going to England under my mother's care, were the only passengers.

I can remember, too, being lifted--weak and miserable with toothache--in
my father's arms to catch the first sight of English shores as we neared
the mouth of the Thames; and then the dismal inn by the docks where we
first took shelter. The dreary room where we children slept the first
night, its dingy ugliness and its barred windows, still come back to me
as a vision of horror. Next day, like angels of rescue, came an aunt and
uncle, who took us away to other and cheerful quarters, and presently
saw us off to Westmorland. The aunt was my godmother, Doctor Arnold's
eldest daughter--then the young wife of William Edward Forster, a Quaker
manufacturer, who afterward became the well-known Education Minister of
1870, and was Chief Secretary for Ireland in the terrible years 1880-82.

To my mother and her children, Fox How and its inmates represented much
that was new and strange. My mother was the granddaughter of one of the
first Governors of Tasmania, Governor Sorell, and had been brought up in
the colony, except for a brief schooling at Brussels. Of her personal
beauty in youth we children heard much, as we grew up, from her old
Tasmanian friends and kinsfolk who would occasionally drift across us;
and I see as though I had been there a scene often described to me--my
mother playing Hermione in the "Winter's Tale," at Government House when
Sir William Denison was Governor--a vision, lovely and motionless, on
her pedestal, till at the words, "Music! awake her! Strike!" she kindled
into life. Her family were probably French in origin. Governor Sorell
had been a man of promise in his youth. His father, General William
Alexander Sorell, of the Coldstream Guards, was a soldier of some
eminence, whose two sons, William and Thomas, both served under Sir John
Moore and at the Cape. But my great-grandfather ruined his military
career, while he was Deputy Adjutant-General at the Cape, by a
love-affair with a brother officer's wife, and was banished or
promoted--whichever one pleases to call it--to the new colony of
Tasmania, of which he became Governor in 1816. His eldest son, by the
wife he had left behind him in England, went out as a youth of
twenty-one or so, to join his father, the Governor, in Tasmania, and I
possess a little calf-bound diary of my grandfather written in a very
delicate and refined hand, about the year 1823. The faint entries in it
show him to have been a devoted son. But when, in 1830 or so, the
Governor left the colony, and retired to Brussels, my grandfather
remained in Van Diemen's Land, as it was then generally called, became
very much attached to the colony, and filled the post of Registrar of
Deeds for many years under its successive Governors. I just remember
him, as a gentle, affectionate, upright being, a gentleman of an old,
punctilious school, strictly honorable and exact, content with a small
sphere, and much loved within it. He would sometimes talk to his
children of early days in Bath, of his father's young successes and
promotions, and of his grandfather, General Sorell, who, as Adjutant of
the Coldstream Guards from 1744 to 1758, and associated with all the
home and foreign service of that famous regiment during those years,
through the Seven Years' War, and up to the opening of the American War
of Independence, played a vaguely brilliant part in his grandson's
recollections. But he himself was quite content with the modest affairs
of an infant colony, which even in its earliest days achieved, whether
in its landscape or its life, a curiously English effect; as though an
English midland county had somehow got loose and, drifting to the
Southern seas, had there set up--barring a few black aborigines, a few
convicts, its mimosas, and its tree-ferns--another quiet version of the
quiet English life it had left behind.

But the Sorells, all the same, had some foreign and excitable blood in
them. Their story of themselves was that they were French Huguenots,
expelled in 1685, who had settled in England and, coming of a military
stock, had naturally sought careers in the English army. There are
points in this story which are puzzling; but the foreign touch in my
mother, and in the Governor--to judge from the only picture of him which
remains--was unmistakable. Delicate features, small, beautifully shaped
hands and feet, were accompanied in my mother by a French vivacity and
quickness, an overflowing energy, which never forsook her through all
her trials and misfortunes. In the Governor, the same physical
characteristics make a rather decadent and foppish impression--as of an
old stock run to seed. The stock had been reinvigorated in my mother,
and one of its original elements which certainly survived in her
temperament and tradition was of great importance both for her own life
and for her children's. This was the Protestant--the _French_
Protestant--element; which no doubt represented in the family from which
she came a history of long suffering at the hands of Catholicism.
Looking back upon her Protestantism, I see that it was not the least
like English Evangelicalism, whether of the Anglican or dissenting type.
There was nothing emotional or "enthusiastic" in it--no breath of Wesley
or Wilberforce; but rather something drawn from deep wells of history,
instinctive and invincible. Had some direct Calvinist ancestor of hers,
with a soul on fire, fought the tyranny of Bossuet and Madame de
Maintenon, before--eternally hating and resenting "Papistry"--he
abandoned his country and kinsfolk, in the search for religious liberty?
That is the impression which--looking back upon her life--it often makes
upon me. All the more strange that to her it fell, unwittingly,
imagining, indeed, that by her marriage with a son of Arnold of Rugby
she was taking a step precisely in the opposite direction, to be, by a
kind of tragic surprise, which yet was no one's fault, the wife of a

And that brings me to my father, whose character and story were so
important to all his children that I must try and draw them, though I
cannot pretend to any impartiality in doing so--only to the insight that
affection gives; its one abiding advantage over the critic and the

He was the second son of Doctor Arnold of Rugby, and the younger
brother--by only eleven months--of Matthew Arnold. On that morning of
June 12, 1842, when the headmaster who in fourteen years' rule at Rugby
had made himself so conspicuous a place, not merely in the public-school
world, but in English life generally[1] arose, in the words of
his poet son--to tread--

  In the summer morning, the road--
  Of death, at a call unforeseen--

My father, a boy of eighteen, was in the house, and witnessed the fatal
attack of _angina pectoris_ which, in two hours, cut short a memorable
career, and left those who till then, under a great man's shelter and
keeping, had--

  Rested as under the boughs
  Of a mighty oak....
  Bare, unshaded, alone.

[Footnote 1: At the moment of correcting these proofs, my attention has
been called to a foolish essay on my grandfather by Mr. Lytton
Strachey, none the less foolish because it is the work of an extremely
clever man. If Mr. Strachey imagines that the effect of my
grandfather's life and character upon men like Stanley and Clough, or a
score of others who could be named, can be accounted for by the eidolon
he presents to his readers in place of the real human being, one can
only regard it as one proof the more of the ease with which a certain
kind of ability outwits itself.]

He had been his father's special favorite among the elder children, as
shown by some verses in my keeping addressed to him as a small boy, at
different times, by "the Doctor." Those who know their _Tom Brown's
Schooldays_ will perhaps remember the various passages in the book where
the softer qualities of the man whom "three hundred reckless childish
boys" feared with all their hearts, "and very little besides in heaven
or earth," are made plain in the language of that date. Arthur's
illness, for instance, when the little fellow, who has been at death's
door, tells Tom Brown, who is at last allowed to see him: "You can't
think what the Doctor's like when one's ill. He said such brave and
tender and gentle things to me--I felt quite light and strong after it,
and never had any more fear." Or East's talk with the Doctor, when the
lively boy of many scrapes has a moral return upon himself, and says to
his best friend: "You can't think how kind and gentle he was, the great
grim man, whom I've feared more than anybody on earth. When I stuck, he
lifted me, just as if I'd been a little child. And he seemed to know all
I'd felt, and to have gone through it all." This tenderness and charm of
a strong man, which in Stanley's biography is specially mentioned as
growing more and more visible in the last months of his life, was always
there for his children. In a letter written in 1828 to his sister, when
my father as a small child not yet five was supposed to be dying, Arnold
says, trying to steel himself against the bitterness of coming loss, "I
might have loved him, had he lived, too dearly--you know how deeply I do
love him now." And three years later, when "little Tom," on his eighth
birthday, had just said, wistfully--with a curious foreboding instinct,
"I think that the eight years I have now lived will be the happiest of
my life," Arnold, painfully struck by the words, wrote some verses upon
them which I still possess. "The Doctor" was no poet, though the best of
his historical prose--the well-known passage in the Roman History, for
instance, on the death of Marcellus--has some of the essential notes of
poetry--passion, strength, music. But the gentle Wordsworthian quality
of his few essays in verse will be perhaps interesting to those who are
aware of him chiefly as the great Liberal fighter of eighty years ago.
He replies to his little son:

  Is it that aught prophetic stirred
  Thy spirit to that ominous word,
    Foredating in thy childish mind
  The fortune of thy Life's career--
  That naught of brighter bliss shall cheer
    What still remains behind?

  Or is thy Life so full of bliss
  That, come what may, more blessed than this
    Thou canst not be again?
  And fear'st thou, standing on the shore,
  What storms disturb with wild uproar
    The years of older men?

         *       *       *       *       *

  At once to enjoy, at once to hope--
  That fills indeed the largest scope
    Of good our thoughts can reach.
  Where can we learn so blest a rule,
  What wisest sage, what happiest school,
    Art so divine can teach?

The answer, of course, in the mouth of a Christian teacher is that in
Christianity alone is there both present joy and future hope. The
passages in Arnold's most intimate diary, discovered after his death,
and published by Dean Stanley, show what the Christian faith was to my
grandfather, how closely bound up with every action and feeling of his
life. The impression made by his conception of that faith, as
interpreted by his own daily life, upon a great school, and, through the
many strong and able men who went out from it, upon English thought and
feeling, is a part of English religious history.

[Illustration: MATTHEW ARNOLD.

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN. From a drawing in possession
of H. E.  Wilberforce, Esq.]

But curiously enough the impression upon his own sons _appeared_, at any
rate, to be less strong and lasting than in the case of others. I mean,
of course, in the matter of opinion. The famous father died, and his
children had to face the world without his guiding hand. Matthew and
Tom, William and Edward, the eldest four sons, went in due time to
Oxford, and the youngest boy into the Navy. My grandmother made her home
at Fox How under the shelter of the fells, with her four daughters, the
youngest of whom was only eight when their father died. The devotion of
all the nine children to their mother, to one another, and to the common
home was never weakened for a moment by the varieties of opinion that
life was sure to bring out in the strong brood of strong parents. But
the development of the elder two sons at the University was probably
very different from what it would have been had their father lived.
Neither of them, indeed, ever showed, while there, the smallest tendency
to the "Newmanism" which Arnold of Rugby had fought with all his powers;
which he had denounced with such vehemence in the Edinburgh article on
"The Oxford Malignants." My father was at Oxford all through the agitated
years which preceded Newman's secession from the Anglican communion. He
had rooms in University College in the High Street, nearly opposite
St. Mary's, in which John Henry Newman, then its Vicar, delivered Sunday
after Sunday those sermons which will never be forgotten by the Anglican
Church. But my father only once crossed the street to hear him, and was
then repelled by the mannerism of the preacher. Matthew Arnold
occasionally went, out of admiration, my father used to say, for that
strange Newmanic power of words, which in itself fascinated the young
Balliol poet, who was to produce his first volume of poems two years
after Newman's secession to the Church of Rome. But he was never touched
in the smallest degree by Newman's opinions. He and my father and Arthur
Clough, and a few other kindred spirits, lived indeed in quite another
world of thought. They discovered George Sand, Emerson, and Carlyle,
and orthodox Christianity no longer seemed to them the sure refuge
that it had always been to the strong teacher who trained them as boys.
There are many allusions of many dates in the letters of my father
and uncle to each other, as to their common Oxford passion for George
Sand. _Consuelo_, in particular, was a revelation to the two young
men brought up under the "earnest" influence of Rugby. It seemed to
open to them a world of artistic beauty and joy of which they had
never dreamed; and to loosen the bands of an austere conception of
life, which began to appear to them too narrow for the facts of life.
_Wilhelm Meister_, read in Carlyle's translation at the same time,
exercised a similar liberating and enchanting power upon my father.
The social enthusiasms of George Sand also affected him greatly,
strengthening whatever he had inherited of his father's generous
discontent with an iron world, where the poor suffer too much and
work too hard. And this discontent, when the time came for him to
leave Oxford, assumed a form which startled his friends.

He had done very well at Oxford, taking his two Firsts with ease, and
was offered a post in the Colonial Office immediately on leaving the
University. But the time was full of schemes for a new heaven and a new
earth, wherein should dwell equality and righteousness. The storm of
1848 was preparing in Europe; the Corn Laws had fallen; the Chartists
were gathering in England. To settle down to the old humdrum round of
Civil Service promotion seemed to my father impossible. This revolt of
his, and its effect upon his friends, of whom the most intimate was
Arthur Clough, has left its mark on Clough's poem, the "Vacation
Pastoral," which he called "The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich," or, as it
runs in my father's old battered copy which lies before me,
"Tober-na-Fuosich." The Philip of the poem, the dreamer and democrat,
who says to Adam the Tutor--

    Alas, the noted phrase of the prayer-book
    Doing our duty in that state of life to which God has called us,
    Seems to me always to mean, when the little rich boys say it,
    Standing in velvet frock by Mama's brocaded flounces,
    Eying her gold-fastened book, and the chain and watch at her bosom,
    Seems to me always to mean, Eat, drink, and never mind others--

was in broad outline drawn from my father, and the impression made by
his idealist, enthusiastic youth upon his comrades. And Philip's
migration to the Antipodes at the end--when he

         rounded the sphere to New Zealand,
  There he hewed and dug; subdued the earth and
      his spirit--

was certainly suggested by my father's similar step in 1847, the year
before the poem appeared. Only in my father's life there had been as yet
no parallel to the charming love-story of "The Bothie." His love-story
awaited him on the other side of the world.

At that moment, New Zealand, the land of beautiful mountain and sea,
with its even temperate climate, and its natives whom English enthusiasm
hoped not only to govern, but to civilize and assimilate, was in the
minds of all to whom the colonies seemed to offer chances of social
reconstruction beyond any that were possible in a crowded and decadent
Europe. "Land of Hope," I find it often called in these old letters.
"The gleam" was on it, and my father, like Browning's Waring, heard the

  After it; follow it. Follow the gleam!

He writes to his mother in August, 1847, from the Colonial Office:

    Every one whom I meet pities me for having to return to London at
    this dull season, but to my own feelings, it is not worse than at
    other times. The things which would make me loathe the thought of
    passing my life or even several years in London, do not depend on
    summer or winter. It is the chronic, not the acute ills of London
    life which are real ills to me. I meant to have talked to you
    again before I left home about New Zealand, but I could not find
    a good opportunity. I do not think you will be surprised to hear
    that I cannot give up my intention--though you may think me
    wrong, you will believe that no cold-heartedness towards home has
    assisted me in framing my resolution. Where or how we shall meet
    on this side the grave will be arranged for us by a wiser will than
    our own. To me, however strange and paradoxical it may sound,
    this going to New Zealand is become a work of faith, and I cannot
    but go through with it.

And later on when his plans are settled, he writes in exultation to his
eldest sister:

    The weather is gusty and rainy, but no cheerlessness without can
    repress a sort of exuberant buoyancy of spirit which is supplied
    to me from within. There is such an indescribable blessedness in
    looking forward to a manner of life which the heart and conscience
    approve, and which at the same time satisfies the instinct for the
    heroic and beautiful. Yet there seems little enough in a homely life
    in a New Zealand forest; and indeed there is nothing in the thing
    itself, except in so far as it flows from a principle, a faith.

And he goes on to speak in vague exalted words of the "equality" and
"brotherhood" to which he looks forward in the new land; winding up with
an account of his life in London, its daily work at the Colonial Office,
his walks, the occasional evenings at the opera where he worships Jenny
Lind, his readings and practisings in his lodgings. My poor father! He
little knew what he was giving up, or the real conditions of the life to
which he was going.

For, though the Philip of "The Bothie" may have "hewed and dug" to good
purpose in New Zealand, success in colonial farming was a wild and
fleeting dream in my father's case. He was born for academic life and a
scholar's pursuits. He had no practical gifts, and knew nothing whatever
of land or farming. He had only courage, youth, sincerity, and a
charming presence which made him friends at sight. His mother, indeed,
with her gentle wisdom, put no obstacles in his way. On the contrary,
she remembered that her husband had felt a keen imaginative interest in
the colonies, and had bought small sections of land near Wellington,
which his second son now proposed to take up and farm. But some of the
old friends of the family felt and expressed consternation. In
particular, Baron Bunsen, then Prussian Ambassador to England, Arnold of
Rugby's dear and faithful friend, wrote a letter of earnest and
affectionate remonstrance to the would-be colonist. Let me quote it, if
only that it may remind me of days long ago, when it was still possible
for a strong and tender friendship to exist between a Prussian and an

Bunsen points out to "young Tom" that he has only been eight or nine
months in the Colonial Office, not long enough to give it a fair trial;
that the drudgery of his clerkship will soon lead to more interesting
things; that his superiors speak well of him; above all, that he has no
money and no practical experience of farming, and that if he is going to
New Zealand in the hope of building up a purer society, he will soon
find himself bitterly disillusioned.

    Pray, my dear young friend, do not reject the voice of a man of
    nearly sixty years, who has made his way through life under much
    greater difficulties perhaps than you imagine--who was your father's
    dear friend--who feels deeply attached to all that bears the honored
    and blessed name of Arnold--who in particular had _your father's
    promise_ that he would allow me to offer to _you_, after I had seen
    you in 1839, something of that care and friendship he had bestowed
    upon Henry [Bunsen's own son]--do not reject the warning voice of
    that man, if he entreats you solemnly not to take a _precipitate_
    step. Give yourself time. Try a change of scene. Go for a month
    or two to France or Germany. I am sure you wish to satisfy your
    friends that you are acting wisely, considerately, in giving up
    what you have.

    _Spartam quam nactus es, orna_--was Niebuhr's word to me when once,
    about 1825, wearied with diplomatic life, I resolved to throw up my
    place and go--not to New Zealand, but to a German University. Let me
    say that concluding word to you and believe me, my dear young friend,

    Your sincere and affectionate friend


    P.S.--If you feel disposed to have half an hour's quiet conversation
    with me alone, pray come to-day at six o'clock, and then dine with us
    quietly at half-past six. I go to-morrow to Windsor Castle for four

Nothing could have been kinder, nothing more truly felt and meant. But
the young make their own experience, and my father, with the smiling
open look which disarmed opposition, and disguised all the time a
certain stubborn independence of will, characteristic of him through
life, took his own way. He went to New Zealand, and, now that it was
done, the interest and sympathy of all his family and friends followed
him. Let me give here the touching letter which Arthur Stanley, his
father's biographer, wrote to him the night before he left England.

    UNIV. COLL., OXFORD, _Nov. 4, 1847._

    Farewell!--(if you will let me once again recur to a relation so long
    since past away) farewell--my dearest, earliest, best of pupils. I
    cannot let you go without asking you to forgive those many annoyances
    which I fear I must have unconsciously inflicted upon you in the last
    year of your Oxford life--nor without expressing the interest which I
    feel, and shall I trust ever feel, beyond all that I can say, in your
    future course. You know--or perhaps you hardly can know--how when I
    came back to Oxford after the summer of 1842, your presence here was
    to me the stay and charm of my life--how the walks--the lectures--the
    Sunday evenings with you, filled up the void which had been left in
    my interests[1], and endeared to me all the beginnings of my College
    labors. That particular feeling, as is natural, has passed away--but
    it may still be a pleasure to you to feel in your distant home that
    whatever may be my occupations, nothing will more cheer and support
    me through them than the belief that in that new world your dear
    father's name is in you still loved and honored, and bringing forth
    the fruits which he would have delighted to see.

    Farewell, my dear friend. May God in whom you trust be with you.

    Do not trouble yourself to answer this--only take it as the true
    expression of one who often thinks how little he has done for you in
    comparison with what he would.

    Ever yours,

    A. P. STANLEY.

[Footnote 1: By the sudden death of Doctor Arnold.]

But, of course, the inevitable happened. After a few valiant but quite
futile attempts to clear his land with his own hands, or with the random
labor he could find to help him, the young colonist fell back on the
education he had held so cheap in England, and bravely took school-work
wherever in the rising townships of the infant colony he could find it.
Meanwhile his youth, his pluck, and his Oxford distinctions had
attracted the kindly notice of the Governor, Sir George Grey, who
offered him his private secretaryship--one can imagine the twinkle in
the Governor's eye, when he first came across my father building his own
hut on his section outside Wellington! The offer was gratefully refused.
But another year of New Zealand life brought reconsideration. The exile
begins to speak of "loneliness" in his letters home, to realize that it
is "collision" with other kindred minds that "kindles the spark of
thought," and presently, after a striking account of a solitary walk
across unexplored country in New Zealand, he confesses that he is not
sufficient for himself, and that the growth and vigor of the intellect
were, for him, at least, "not compatible with loneliness."

A few months later, Sir William Denison, the newly appointed Governor of
Van Diemen's Land, hearing that a son of Arnold of Rugby, an Oxford
First Class man, was in New Zealand, wrote to offer my father the task
of organizing primary education in Van Diemen's Land.

He accepted--yet not, I think, without a sharp sense of defeat at the
hands of Mother Earth!--set sail for Hobart, and took possession of a
post that might easily have led to great things. His father's fame
preceded him, and he was warmly welcomed. The salary was good and the
field free. Within a few months of his landing he was engaged to my
mother. They were married in 1850, and I, their eldest child, was born
in June, 1851.

And then the unexpected, the amazing thing happened. At the time of
their marriage, and for some time after, my mother, who had been brought
up in a Protestant "scriptural" atmosphere, and had been originally
drawn to the younger "Tom Arnold," partly because he was the son of his
father, as Stanley's _Life_ had now made the headmaster known to the
world, was a good deal troubled by the heretical views of her young
husband. She had some difficulty in getting him to consent to the
baptism of his elder children. He was still in many respects the Philip
of the "Bothie," influenced by Goethe, and the French romantics, by
Emerson, Kingsley, and Carlyle, and in touch still with all that
Liberalism of the later 'forties in Oxford, of which his most intimate
friend, Arthur Clough, and his elder brother, Matthew Arnold, were to
become the foremost representatives. But all the while, under the
surface, an extraordinary transformation was going on. He was never able
to explain it afterward, even to me, who knew him best of all his
children. I doubt whether he ever understood it himself. But he who had
only once crossed the High Street to hear Newman preach, and felt no
interest in the sermon, now, on the other side of the world, surrendered
to Newman's influence. It is uncertain if they had ever spoken to each
other at Oxford; yet that subtle pervasive intellect which captured for
years the critical and skeptical mind of Mark Pattison, and indirectly
transformed the Church of England after Newman himself had left it, now,
reaching across the world, laid hold on Arnold's son, when Arnold
himself was no longer there to fight it. A general reaction against the
negations and philosophies of his youth set in for "Philip," as
inevitable in his case as the revolt against St. Sulpice was for Ernest
Renan. For my father was in truth born for religion, as his whole later
life showed. In that he was the true son of Arnold of Rugby. But his
speculative Liberalism had carried him so much farther than his father's
had ever gone, that the recoil was correspondingly great. The steps of
it are dim. He was "struck" one Sunday with the "authoritative" tone of
the First Epistle of Peter. Who and what was Peter? What justified such
a tone? At another time he found a _Life of St. Brigit of Sweden_ at a
country inn, when he was on one of his school-inspecting journeys across
the island. And he records a mysterious influence or "voice" from it, as
he rode in meditative solitude through the sunny spaces of the Tasmanian
bush. Last of all, he "obtained"--from England, no doubt--the _Tracts
for the Times_. And as he went through them, the same documents, and the
same arguments, which had taken Newman to Rome, nine years before,
worked upon his late and distant disciple. But who can explain
"conversion"? Is it not enough to say, as was said of old, "The Holy
Ghost fell on them that believed"? The great "Malignant" had indeed
triumphed. In October, 1854, my father was received at Hobart, Tasmania,
into the Church of Rome; and two years later, after he had reached
England, and written to Newman asking the new Father of the Oratory to
receive him, Newman replied:

    How strange it seems! What a world this is! I knew your father a
    little, and I really think I never had any unkind feeling toward him.
    I saw him at Oriel on the Purification before (I think) his death
    (January, 1842). I was glad to meet him. If I said ever a harsh
    thing against him I am very sorry for it. In seeing you, I should
    have a sort of pledge that he at the moment of his death made it
    all up with me. Excuse this. I came here last night, and it is so
    marvelous to have your letter this morning.

So, for the moment, ended one incident in the long bout between two
noble fighters, Arnold and Newman, each worthy of the other's steel. For
my father, indeed, this act of surrender was but the beginning of a long
and troubled history. My poor mother felt as though the earth had
crumbled under her. Her passionate affection for my father endured till
her latest hour, but she never reconciled herself to what he had done.
There was in her an instinctive dread of Catholicism, of which I have
suggested some of the origins--ancestral and historical. It never
abated. Many years afterward, in writing _Helbeck of Bannisdale_, I drew
upon what I remembered of it in describing some traits in Laura
Fountain's inbred, and finally indomitable, resistance to the Catholic
claim upon the will and intellect of men.

And to this trial in the realm of religious feeling there were added all
the practical difficulties into which my father's action plunged her and
his children. The Tasmanian appointment had to be given up, for the
feeling in the colony was strongly anti-Catholic; and we came home, as I
have described, to a life of struggle, privation, and constant anxiety,
in which my mother suffered not only for herself, but for her children.

But, after all, there were bright spots. My father and mother were
young; my mother's eager, sympathetic temper brought her many friends;
and for us children, Fox How and its dear inmates opened a second home,
and new joys, which upon myself in particular left impressions never to
be effaced or undone. Let me try and describe that house and garden and
those who lived in it, as they were in 1856.



The gray-stone house stands now, as it stood then, on a "how" or rising
ground in the beautiful Westmorland valley leading from Ambleside to
Rydal. The "Doctor" built it as a holiday paradise for himself and his
children, in the year 1833. It is a modest building, with ten bedrooms
and three sitting-rooms. Its windows look straight into the heart of
Fairfield, the beautiful semicircular mountain which rears its hollowed
front and buttressing scaurs against the north, far above the green
floor of the valley. That the house looked north never troubled my
grandfather or his children. What they cared for was the perfect outline
of the mountain wall, the "pensive glooms," hovering in that deep breast
of Fairfield, the magic never-ending chase of sunlight and cloud across
it on fine days, and the beauty of the soft woodland clothing its base.
The garden was his children's joy as it became mine. Its little beck
with its mimic bridges, its encircling river, its rocky knolls, its wild
strawberries and wild raspberries, its queen of birch-trees rearing a
stately head against the distant mountain, its rhododendrons growing
like weeds on its mossy banks, its velvet turf, and long silky grass in
the parts left wild--all these things have made the joy of three

Inside, Fox How was comfortably spacious, and I remember what a palace
it appeared to my childish eyes, fresh from the tiny cabin of a 400-ton
sailing-ship, and the rough life of a colony. My grandmother, its
mistress, was then sixty-one. Her beautiful hair was scarcely touched
with gray, her complexion was still delicately clear, and her soft brown
eyes had the eager, sympathetic look of her Cornish race. Charlotte
Brontë, who saw her a few years earlier, while on a visit to Miss
Martineau, speaks of her as having been a "very pretty woman," and
credits her and her daughters with "the possession of qualities the most
estimable and endearing." In another letter, however, written to a less
familiar correspondent, to whom Miss Brontë, as the literary lady with a
critical reputation to keep up, expresses herself in a different and
more artificial tone, she again describes my grandmother as good and
charming, but doubts her claim to "power and completeness of character."
The phrase occurs in a letter describing a call at Fox How, and its
slight pomposity makes the contrast with the passage in which Matthew
Arnold describes the same visit the more amusing.

    At seven came Miss Martineau, and Miss Brontë (Jane Eyre); talked to
    Miss Martineau (who blasphemes frightfully) about the prospects of the
    Church of England, and, wretched man that I am, promised to go and see
    her cow-keeping miracles to-morrow, I who hardly know a cow from a
    sheep. I talked to Miss Brontë (past thirty and plain, with expressive
    gray eyes, though) of her curates, of French novels, and her education
    in a school at Brussels, and sent the lions roaring to their dens at
    half-past nine.

No one, indeed, would have applied the word "power" to my grandmother,
unless he had known her very well. The general impression was always one
of gentle sweetness and soft dignity. But the phrase, "completeness of
character," happens to sum up very well the impression left by her life
both on kindred and friends. What Miss Brontë exactly meant by it it is
difficult to say. But the widowed mother of nine children, five of them
sons, and all of them possessed of strong wills and quick intelligence,
who was able so to guide their young lives that to her last hour, thirty
years after her husband's death had left her alone with her task, she
possessed their passionate reverence and affection, and that each and
all of them would have acknowledged her as among the dearest and noblest
influences in their lives, can hardly be denied "completeness of
character." Many of her letters lie before me. Each son and daughter, as
he or she went out into the world, received them with the utmost
regularity. They knew that every incident in their lives interested
their mother; and they in their turn were eager to report to her
everything that came to them, happy or unhappy, serious or amusing. And
this relation of the family to their mother only grew and strengthened
with years. As the daughters married, their husbands became so many new
and devoted sons to this gentle, sympathetic, and yet firm-natured
woman. Nor were the daughters-in-law less attached to her, and the
grandchildren who in due time began to haunt Fox How. In my own life I
trace her letters from my earliest childhood, through my life at school,
to my engagement and marriage; and I have never ceased to feel a pang of
disappointment that she died before my children were born. Matthew
Arnold adored her, and wrote to her every week of his life. So did her
other children. William Forster, throughout his busy life in Parliament,
vied with her sons in tender consideration and unfailing loyalty. And
every grandchild thought of a visit to Fox How as not only a joy, but an
honor. Indeed, nothing could have been more "complete," more rounded,
than my grandmother's character and life as they developed through her
eighty-three years. She made no conspicuous intellectual claim, though
her quick intelligence, her wide sympathies, and clear judgment,
combined with something ardent and responsive in her temperament,
attracted and held able men; but her personality was none the less
strong because it was so gently, delicately served by looks and manner.

Perhaps the "completeness" of my grandmother's character will be best
illustrated by one of her family letters, a letter which may recall to
some readers Stevenson's delightful poem on the mother who sits at home,
watching the fledglings depart from the nest.

  So from the hearth the children flee,
    By that almighty hand
  Austerely led; so one by sea
    Goes forth, and one by land;
    Nor aught of all-man's sons escapes from that command.

         *       *       *       *       *

  And as the fervent smith of yore
    Beat out the glowing blade,
  Nor wielded in the front of war
    The weapons that he made,
    But in the tower at home still plied his ringing trade;

  So like a sword the son shall roam
    On nobler missions sent;
  And as the smith remained at home
    In peaceful turret pent,
    So sits the while at home the mother well content.

The letter was written to my father in New Zealand in the year 1848, as
a family chronicle. The brothers and sisters named in it are Walter, the
youngest of the family, a middy of fourteen, on board ship, and not very
happy in the Navy, which he was ultimately to leave for Durham
University and business; Willy, in the Indian Army, afterward the author
of _Oakfield_, a novel attacking the abuses of Anglo-Indian life, and
the first Director of Public Instruction in the Punjab--commemorated by
his poet brother in "A Southern Night"; Edward, at Oxford; Mary, the
second daughter, who at the age of twenty-two had been left a widow
after a year of married life; and Fan, the youngest daughter of the
flock, who now, in 1917, alone represents them in the gray house under
the fells. The little Westmorland farm described is still exactly as it
was; and has still a Richardson for master, though of a younger
generation. And Rydal Chapel, freed now from the pink cement which
clothed it in those days, and from the high pews familiar to the
children of Fox How, still sends the cheerful voice of its bells through
the valley on Sunday mornings.

The reader will remember, as he reads it, that he is in the troubled
year of 1848, with Chartism at home and revolution abroad. The "painful
interest" with which the writer has read Clough's "Bothie" refers, I
think, to the fact that she has recognized her second son, my father, as
to some extent the hero of the poem.

    Fox How, _Nov. 19, 1848._

    My Dearest Tom,--... I am always intending to send you something
    like a regular journal, but twenty days of the month have now passed
    away, and it is not done. Dear Matt, who was with us at the
    beginning, and who I think bore a part in our last letters to you,
    has returned to his post in London, and I am not without hope of
    hearing by to-morrow's post that he has run down to Portsmouth to
    see Walter before he sails on a cruise with the Squadron, which I
    believe he was to do to-day. But I should think they would hardly
    leave Port in such dirty weather, when the wind howls and the rain
    pours, and the whole atmosphere is thick and lowering as I suppose
    you rarely or never see it in New Zealand. I wish the more that
    Matt may get down to Spithead, because the poor little man has been
    in a great ferment about leaving his Ship and going into a smaller
    one. By the same post I had a letter from him, and from Captain
    Daws, who had been astonished and grieved by Walter's coming to him
    and telling him he wished to leave the ship. It was evident that
    Captain D. was quite distressed about it.

She then discusses, very shrewdly and quietly, the reasons for her boy's
restlessness, and how best to meet it. The letter goes on:

    Certainly there is great comfort in having him with so true and good
    a friend as Captain D. and I could not feel justified in acting
    against his counsel. But as he gets to know Walter better, I think
    it very likely that he will himself think it better for him to be in
    some ship not so likely to stay about in harbor as the _St. Vincent_;
    and will judge that with a character like his it might be better for
    him to be on some more distant stations.

    I write about all this as coolly as if he were not my own dear
    youngest born, the little dear son whom I have so cherished, and who
    was almost a nursling still, when the bond which kept us all together
    was broken. But I believe I do truly feel that if my beloved sons are
    good and worthy of the name they bear, are in fact true, earnest,
    Christian men, I have no wish left for them--no selfish longings
    after their companionship, which can for a moment be put in
    comparison with such joy. Thus it almost seemed strange to me when,
    in a letter the other day from Willy to Edward, in reference to
    his--E's--future destination--Willy rather urged upon him a home,
    domestic life, on _my_ account, as my sons were already so scattered.
    As I say, those loving words seemed strange to me; because I have
    such an overpowering feeling that the all-in-all to me is that my
    sons should be in just that vocation in life most suited to them,
    and most bringing out what is highest and best in them; whether it
    might be in England, or at the furthest extremity of the world.

           *       *       *       *       *

    _November 24, 1848._--I have been unwell for some days, dearest Tom,
    and this makes me less active in all my usual employments, but it
    shall not, if I can help it, prevent my making some progress in this
    letter, which in less than a week may perhaps be on its way to New
    Zealand. I have just sent Fan down-stairs, for she nurses her Mother
    till I begin to think some change good for her. She has been reading
    aloud to me, and now, as the evening advances I have asked some of
    them to read to me a long poem by Clough--(the "Bothie") which I
    have no doubt will reach you. It does not _look_ attractive to me,
    for it is in English Hexameters, which are to me very cumbrous and
    uninviting; but probably that may be for some want of knowledge in
    my own ear and taste. The poem is addressed to his pupils of last
    summer, and in scenery, etc., will have, I suppose, many touches
    from his Highland residence; but, in a brief Preface, he says that
    the tale itself is altogether fiction.

           *       *       *       *       *

    To turn from things domestic to things at large, what a state of
    things is this at Berlin! a state of siege declared, and the King at
    open issue with his representatives!--from the country districts,
    people flocking to give him aid, while the great towns are almost in
    revolt. "Always too late" might, I suppose, have been his motto; and
    when things have been given with one hand, he has seemed too ready
    to withdraw them with the other. But, after all, I must and do
    believe that he has noble qualities, so to have won Bunsen's love
    and respect.

    _November 25._--Mary is preparing a long letter, and it will
    therefore matter the less if mine is not so long as I intended. I
    have not yet quite made up the way I have lost in my late
    indisposition, and we have such volumes of letters from dear Willy
    to answer, that I believe this folio will be all I can send to you,
    my own darling; but you do not dwell in my heart or my thoughts
    less fondly. I long inexpressibly to have some definite ideas of
    what you are now--after some eight months of residence--doing,
    thinking, feeling; what are your occupations in the present, what
    your aims and designs for the future. The assurance that it is
    your first and heartful desire to please God, my dear son; that
    you have struggled to do this and not allowed yourself to shrink
    from whatever you felt to be involved in it, this is, and will be
    my deepest and dearest comfort, and I pray to Him to guide you
    into all truth. But though supported by this assurance, I do not
    pretend to say that often and often I do not yearn over you in
    my thoughts, and long to bestow upon you in act and word, as
    well as in thought, some of that overflowing love which is
    cherished for you in your home.

And here follows a tender mother-word in reference to an early and
unrequited attachment of my father's, the fate of which may possibly
have contributed to the restlessness which sent him beyond the seas.

    But, dear Tom, I believe that though the hoped for flower and fruit
    have faded, yet that the plant has been strengthened and
    purified.... It would be a grief to me not to believe that you
    will yet be most happy in married life; and when you can make to
    yourself a home I shall perhaps lose some of my restless longing
    to be near you and ministering to your comfort, and sharing in
    your life--if I can think of you as cheered and helped by one
    who loved you as I did your own beloved father.

    _Sunday, November 26._--Just a year, my son, since you left England!
    But I really must not allow myself to dwell on this, and all the
    thoughts it brings with it; for I found last night that the contrast
    between the fulness of thought and feeling, and my own powerlessness
    to express it weighed on me heavily; and not having yet quite
    recovered my usual tone, I could not well bear it. So I will just
    try to collect for you a few more home Memoranda, and then have
    done.... Our new tenant, James Richardson, is now fairly established
    at his farm, and when I went up there and saw the cradle and the
    happy childish faces around the table, and the rows of oatmeal cake
    hanging up, and the cheerful, active Mother going hither and
    thither--now to her Dairy--now guiding the steps of the little one
    that followed her about--and all the time preparing things for her
    husband's return from his work at night, I could not but feel that
    it was a very happy picture of English life. Alas! that there are
    not larger districts where it exists! But I hope there is still much
    of it; and I feel that while there is an awful undercurrent of
    misery and sin--the latter both caused by the first and causing
    it--and while, on the surface, there is carelessness, and often
    recklessness and hardness and trifling, yet that still, in our
    English society, there is, between these two extremes, a strength
    of good mixed with baser elements, which must and will, I fully
    believe, support us nationally in the troublous times which are
    at hand--on which we are actually entered.

    But again I am wandering, and now the others have gone off to the
    Rydal Chapel without me this lovely Sunday morning. There are the
    bells sounding invitingly across the valley, and the evergreens
    are white and sparkling in the sun.

    I have a note from Clough.... His poem is as remarkable, I think,
    as you would expect, coming from him. Its _power_ quite overcame
    my dislike to the measure--so far at least as to make me read it
    with great interest--often, though, a painful one. And now I
    must end.

As to Miss Brontë's impressions of Matthew Arnold in that same afternoon
call of 1850, they were by no means flattering. She understands that he
was already the author of "a volume of poems" (_The Poems by A,_ 1849),
remarks that his manner "displeases from its seeming foppery," but
recognizes, nevertheless, in conversation with him, "some genuine
intellectual aspirations"! It was but a few years later that my uncle
paid his poet's homage to the genius of the two sisters--to Charlotte of
the "expressive gray eyes"--to Emily of the "chainless soul." I often
try to picture their meeting in the Fox How drawing-room: Matthew
Arnold, tall, handsome, in the rich opening of his life, his first
poetic honors thick upon him, looking with a half-critical,
half-humorous eye at the famous little lady whom Miss Martineau had
brought to call upon his mother; and beside him that small, intrepid
figure, on which the worst storms of life had already beaten, which was
but five short years from its own last rest. I doubt whether, face to
face, they would ever have made much of each other. But the sister who
could write of a sister's death as Charlotte wrote, in the letter that
every lover of great prose ought to have by heart--

      Emily suffers no more from pain or weakness now, she never will
      suffer more in this world. She is gone, after a hard, short
      conflict.... We are very calm at present, why should we be
      otherwise? The anguish of seeing her suffer is over; the
      spectacle of the pains of death is gone; the funeral day is
      past. We feel she is at peace. No need now to tremble for the
      hard frost and the keen wind. _Emily does not feel them_.--

must have stretched out spiritual hands to Matthew Arnold, had she lived
to read "A Southern Night"--that loveliest, surely, of all laments of
brother for brother.



Doctor Arnold's eldest daughter, Jane Arnold, afterward Mrs. W.E.
Forster, my godmother, stands out for me on the tapestry of the past, as
one of the noblest personalities I have ever known. She was twenty-one
when her father died, and she had been his chief companion among his
children for years before death took him from her. He taught her Latin
and Greek, he imbued her with his own political and historical
interests, and her ardent Christian faith answered to his own. After his
death she was her mother's right hand at Fox How; and her letters to her
brothers--to my father, especially, since he was longest and farthest
away--show her quick and cultivated mind, and all the sweetness of her
nature. We hear of her teaching a younger brother Latin and Greek; she
goes over to Miss Martineau on the other side of the valley to translate
some German for that busy woman; she reads Dante beside her mother, when
the rest of the family have gone to bed; she sympathizes passionately
with Mazzini and Garibaldi; and every week she walks over Loughrigg
through fair weather and foul, summer and winter, to teach in a night
school at Skelwith. Then the young Quaker manufacturer, William Forster,
appears on the scene, and she falls happily and completely in love. Her
letters to the brother in New Zealand become, in a moment, all joy and
ardor, and nothing could be prettier than the account, given by one of
the sisters, of the quiet wedding in Rydal Chapel, the family breakfast,
the bride's simple dress and radiant look, Matthew Arnold giving his
sister away--with the great fells standing sentinel. And there exists a
delightful unpublished letter by Harriet Martineau which gives some idea
of the excitement roused in the quiet Ambleside valley by Jane Arnold's
engagement to the tall Yorkshireman who came from surroundings so
different from the academic and scholarly world in which the Arnolds had
been brought up.

Then followed married life at Rawdon near Bradford, with supreme
happiness at home, and many and growing interests in the manufacturing,
religious, and social life around the young wife. In 1861 William
Forster became member for Bradford, and in 1869 Gladstone included him
in that Ministry of all the talents, which foundered under the
onslaughts of Disraeli in 1874. Forster became Vice-President of the
Council, which meant Minister for Education, with a few other trifles
like the cattle-plague thrown in. The Education Bill, which William
Forster brought in in 1870 (as a girl of eighteen, I was in the Ladies'
Gallery of the House of Commons on the great day to hear his speech),
has been the foundation-stone ever since of English popular education.
It has always been clear to me that the scheme of the bill was largely
influenced by William Forster's wife, and, through her, by the
convictions and beliefs of her father. The compromise by which the
Church schools, with the creeds and the Church catechism, were
preserved, under a conscience clause, while the dissenters got their way
as to the banishment of creeds and catechisms, and the substitution for
them of "simple Bible-teaching," in the schools founded under the new
School Boards, which the bill set up all over England, has
practically--with, of course, modifications--held its ground for nearly
half a century. It was illogical; and the dissenters have never ceased
to resent the perpetuation of the Church school which it achieved. But
English life is illogical. It met the real situation; and it would never
have taken the shape it did--in my opinion--but for the ardent beliefs
of the young and remarkable woman, at once a strong Liberal and a
devoted daughter of the English Church, as Arnold, Kingsley, and Maurice
understood it, who had married her Quaker husband in 1850, and had
thereby been the innocent cause of his automatic severance from the
Quaker body. His respect for her judgment and intellectual power was
only equaled by his devotion to her. And when the last great test of his
own life came, how she stood by him!--through those terrible days of the
Land League struggle, when, as Chief Secretary for Ireland, Forster
carried his life in his hand month after month, to be worn out finally
by the double toil of Parliament and Ireland, and to die just before Mr.
Gladstone split the Liberal party in 1886, by the introduction of the
Home Rule Bill, in which Forster would not have followed him.

I shall, however, have something to say later on in these Reminiscences
about those tragic days. To those who watched Mrs. Forster through them,
and who knew her intimately, she was one of the most interesting figures
of that crowded time. Few people, however, outside the circle of her
kindred, knew her intimately. She was, of course, in the ordinary social
and political world, both before and after her husband's entrance upon
office, and admission to the Cabinet; dining out and receiving at home;
attending Drawing-rooms and public functions; staying at country houses,
and invited to Windsor, like other Ministers' wives, and keenly
interested in all the varying fortunes of Forster's party. But though
she was in that world, she was never truly of it. She moved through it,
yet veiled from it, by that pure, unconscious selflessness which is the
saint's gift. Those who ask nothing for themselves, whose whole strength
is spent on affections that are their life, and on ideals at one with
their affections, are not easily popular, like the self-seeking,
parti-colored folk who make up the rest of us; who flatter, caress, and
court, that we in our turn may be flattered and courted. Their
gentleness masks the indomitable soul within; and so their fellows are
often unaware of their true spiritual rank.

It is interesting to recall the instinctive sympathy with which a nature
so different from Charlotte Brontë's as that of Arnold's eldest
daughter, met the challenge of the Brontë genius. It would not have been
wonderful--in those days--if the quiet Fox How household, with its
strong religious atmosphere, its daily psalms and lessons, its love for
_The Christian Year_, its belief in "discipline" (how that comes out in
all the letters!) had been repelled by the blunt strength of _Jane
Eyre_; just as it would not have been wonderful if they had held aloof
from Miss Martineau, in the days when it pleased that remarkable woman
to preach mesmeric atheism, or atheistic mesmerism, as we choose to put
it. But there was a lifelong friendship between them and Harriet
Martineau; and they recognized at once the sincerity and truth--the
literary rank, in fact--of _Jane Eyre_. Not long after her marriage,
Jane Forster with her husband went over to Haworth to see Charlotte
Brontë. My aunt's letter, describing the visit to the dismal parsonage
and church, is given without her name in Mrs. Gaskell's _Life_, and Mr.
Shorter, in reprinting it in the second of his large volumes, does not
seem to be aware of the identity of the writer.

    Miss Brontë put me so in mind of her own Jane Eyre [wrote my
    godmother]. She looked smaller than ever, and moved about so
    quietly and noiselessly, just like a little bird, as Rochester
    called her; except that all birds are joyous, and that joy can
    never have entered that house since it was built. And yet, perhaps,
    when that old man (Mr. Brontë) married and took home his bride,
    and children's voices and feet were heard about the house, even
    that desolate graveyard and biting blast could not quench
    cheerfulness and hope. Now (i.e. since the deaths of Emily and
    Anne) there is something touching in the sight of that little
    creature entombed in such a place, and moving about herself there
    like a spirit; especially when you think that the slight still
    frame incloses a force of strong, fiery life, which nothing has
    been able to freeze or extinguish.

This letter was written before my birth and about six years before the
writer of it appeared, as an angel of help, in the dingy dock-side inn,
where we tired travelers had taken shelter on our arrival from the other
side of the world, and where I was first kissed by my godmother. As I
grew up into girlhood, "Aunt K." (K. was the pet name by which Matthew
Arnold always wrote to her) became for me part of the magic of Fox How,
though I saw her, of course, often in her own home also. I felt toward
her a passionate and troubled affection. She was to me "a thing enskied"
and heavenly--for all her quick human interests, and her sweet ways with
those she loved. How could any one be so good!--was often the despairing
reflection of the child who adored her, caught herself in the toils of a
hot temper and a stubborn will; but all the same, to see her enter a
room was joy, and to sit by her the highest privilege. I don't know
whether she could be strictly called beautiful. But to me everything
about her was beautiful--her broad brow, her clear brown eyes and wavy
brown hair, the touch of stately grace with which she moved, the mouth
so responsive and soft, yet, at need, so determined, the hand so
delicate, yet so characteristic.

She was the eldest of nine. Of her relation to the next of them--her
brother Matthew--there are many indications in the collection of my
uncle's letters, edited by Mr. George Russell. It was to her that
"Resignation" was addressed, in recollection of their mountain walks and
talks together; and in a letter to her, the Sonnet "To Shakespeare,"
"Others abide our question--thou art free," was first written out. Their
affection for each other, in spite of profound differences of opinion,
only quickened and deepened with time.

Between my father and his elder brother Matthew Arnold there was barely
a year's difference of age. The elder was born in December, 1822, and
the younger in November, 1823. They were always warmly attached to each
other, and in spite of much that was outwardly divergent--sharply
divergent--they were more alike fundamentally than was often suspected.
Both had derived from some remoter ancestry--possibly through their
Cornish mother, herself the daughter of a Penrose and a
Trevenen--elements and qualities which were lacking in the strong
personality of their father. Imagination, "rebellion against fact,"
spirituality, a tendency to dream, unworldliness, the passionate love of
beauty and charm, "ineffectualness" in the practical competitive
life--these, according to Matthew Arnold, when he came to lecture at
Oxford on "The Study of Celtic Literature," were and are the
characteristic marks of the Celt. They were unequally distributed
between the two brothers. "Unworldliness," "rebellion against fact,"
"ineffectualness" in common life, fell rather to my father's share than
my uncle's; though my uncle's "worldliness," of which he was sometimes
accused, if it ever existed, was never more than skin-deep. Imagination
in my father led to a lifelong and mystical preoccupation with religion;
it made Matthew Arnold one of the great poets of the nineteenth century.

There is a sketch of my father made in 1847, which preserves the dreamy,
sensitive look of early youth, when he was the center of a band of
remarkable friends--Clough, Stanley, F.T. Palgrave, Alfred Domett
(Browning's Waring), and others. It is the face--nobly and delicately
cut--of one to whom the successes of the practical, competitive life
could never be of the same importance as those events which take place
in thought, and for certain minds are the only real events. "For ages
and ages the world has been constantly slipping ever more and more out
of the Celt's grasp," wrote Matthew Arnold. But all the while the Celt
has great compensations. To him belongs another world than the visible;
the world of phantasmagoria, of emotion, the world of passionate
beginnings, rather than of things achieved. After the romantic and
defiant days of his youth, my father, still pursuing the same natural
tendency, found all that he needed in Catholicism, and specially, I
think, in that endless poetry and mystery of the Mass which keeps
Catholicism alive.

Matthew Arnold was very different in outward aspect. The face, strong
and rugged, the large mouth, the broad lined brow, and vigorous
coal-black hair, bore no resemblance, except for that fugitive yet
vigorous something which we call "family likeness," to either his father
or mother--still less to the brother so near to him in age. But the
Celtic trace is there, though derived, I have sometimes thought, rather
from an Irish than a Cornish source. Doctor Arnold's mother, Martha
Delafield, according to a genealogy I see no reason to doubt, was partly
of Irish blood; one finds, at any rate, Fitzgeralds and Dillons among
the names of her forebears. And I have seen in Ireland faces belonging
to the "black Celt" type--faces full of power and humor, and softness,
visibly molded out of the good common earth by the nimble spirit within,
which have reminded me of my uncle. Nothing, indeed, at first sight
could have been less romantic or dreamy than his outer aspect.
"Ineffectualness" was not to be thought of in connection with him. He
stood four-square--a courteous, competent man of affairs, an admirable
inspector of schools, a delightful companion, a guest whom everybody
wanted and no one could bind for long; one of the sanest, most
independent, most cheerful and lovable of mortals. Yet his poems show
what was the real inner life and genius of the man; how rich in that
very "emotion," "love of beauty and charm," "rebellion against fact,"
"spirituality," "melancholy" which he himself catalogued as the cradle
gifts of the Celt. Crossed, indeed, always, with the Rugby
"earnestness," with that in him which came to him from his father.

It is curious to watch the growing perception of "Matt's" powers among
the circle of his nearest kin, as it is reflected in these family
letters to the emigrant brother, which reached him across the seas from
1847 to 1856, and now lie under my hand. The _Poems by A._ came out, as
all lovers of English poetry know, in 1849. My grandmother writes to my
father in March of that year, after protesting that she has not much
news to give him:

    But the little volume of Poems!--that is indeed a subject of new and
    very great interest. By degrees we hear more of public opinion
    concerning them, and I am very much mistaken if their power both in
    thought and execution is not more and more felt and acknowledged. I
    had a letter from dear Miss Fenwick to-day, whose first impressions
    were that they were by _you_, for it seems she had heard of the
    volume as much admired, and as by one of the family, and she had
    hardly thought it could be by one so moving in the busy haunts of
    men as dear Matt.... Matt himself says: "I have learned a good
    deal as to what is _practicable_ from the objections of people,
    even when I thought them not reasonable, and in some degree they
    may determine my course as to publishing; e.g., I had thoughts of
    publishing another volume of short poems next spring, and a tragedy
    I have long had in my head, the spring after: at present I shall
    leave the short poems to take their chance, only writing them
    when I cannot help it, and try to get on with my Tragedy
    ('Merope'), which however will not be a very quick affair. But as
    that must be in a regular and usual form, it may perhaps, if it
    succeeds, enable me to use meters in short poems which seem proper to
    myself; whether they suit the habits of readers at first sight or
    not. But all this is rather vague at present.... I think I am
    getting quite indifferent about the book. I have given away the
    only copy I had, and now never look at them. The most enthusiastic
    people about them are young men of course; but I have heard of one
    or two people who found pleasure in 'Resignation,' and poems of
    that stamp, which is what I like."

"The most enthusiastic people about them are young men, of course." The
sentence might stand as the motto of all poetic beginnings. The young
poet writes first of all for the young of his own day. They make his
bodyguard. They open to him the gates of the House of Fame. But if the
divine power is really his, it soon frees itself from the shackles of
Time and Circumstance. The true poet becomes, in the language of the
Greek epigram on Homer, "the ageless mouth of all the world." And if,
"The Strayed Reveller," and the Sonnet "To Shakespeare," and
"Resignation," delighted those who were young in 1849, that same
generation, as the years passed over it, instead of outgrowing their
poet, took him all the more closely to their hearts. Only so can we
explain the steady spread and deepening of his poetic reputation which
befell my uncle up to the very end of his life, and had assured him by
then--leaving out of count the later development of his influence both
in the field of poetry and elsewhere--his place in the history of
English literature.

But his entry as a poet was gradual, and but little heralded, compared
to the debuts of our own time. Here is an interesting appreciation from
his sister Mary, about whom I shall have more to say presently. At the
time this letter was written, in 1849, she was twenty-three, and already
a widow, after a tragic year of married life during which her young
husband had developed paralysis of the brain. She was living in London,
attending Bedford College, and F.D. Maurice's sermons, much influenced,
like her brothers, by Emerson and Carlyle, and at this moment a fine,
restless, immature creature, much younger than her years in some
respects, and much older in others--with worlds hitherto unsuspected in
the quiet home life. She writes:

    I have been in London for several months this year, and I have seen a
    good deal of Matt, considering the very different lives we lead. I
    used to breakfast with him sometimes, and then his Poems seemed to
    make me know Matt so much better than I had ever done before.
    Indeed it was almost like a new Introduction to him. I do not
    think those Poems could be read--quite independently of their
    poetical power--without leading one to expect a great deal from
    Matt; without raising I mean the kind of expectation one has from
    and for those who have, in some way or other, come face to face
    with life and asked it, in real earnest, what it means. I felt
    there was so much more of this practical questioning in Matt's
    book than I was at all prepared for; in fact that it showed a
    knowledge of life and conflict which was _strangely like experience_
    if it was not the thing itself; and this with all Matt's great
    power I should not have looked for. I do not yet know the book
    well, but I think that "Mycerinus" struck me most, perhaps, as
    illustrating what I have been speaking of.

And again, to another member of the family:

    It is the moral strength, or, at any rate, the _moral consciousness_
    which struck and surprised me so much in the poems. I could have been
    prepared for any degree of poetical power, for there being a great
    deal more than I could at all appreciate; but there is something
    altogether different from this, something which such a man as
    Clough has, for instance, which I did not expect to find in Matt;
    but it is there. Of course when I speak of his Poems I only speak
    of the impression received from those I understand. Some are
    perfect riddles to me, such as that to the Child at Douglas, which
    is surely more poetical than true.

_Strangely like experience!_ The words are an interesting proof of the
difficulty we all have in seeing with accuracy the persons and things
which are nearest to us. The astonishment of the sisters--for the same
feeling is expressed by Mrs. Forster--was very natural. In these early
days, "Matt" often figures in the family letters as the worldling of the
group--the dear one who is making way in surroundings quite unknown to
the Fox How circle, where, under the shadow of the mountains, the
sisters, idealists all of them, looking out a little austerely, for all
their tenderness, on the human scene, are watching with a certain
anxiety lest Matt should be "spoiled." As Lord Lansdowne's private
secretary, very much liked by his chief, he goes among rich and
important people, and finds himself, as a rule, much cleverer than they;
above all, able to amuse them, so often the surest road to social and
other success. Already at Oxford "Matt" had been something of an
exquisite--or, as Miss Brontë puts it, a trifle "foppish"; and (in the
manuscript) _Fox How Magazine_, to which all the nine contributed, and
in which Matthew Arnold's boyish poems may still be read, there are many
family jests leveled at Matt's high standard in dress and deportment.

But how soon the nascent dread lest their poet should be somehow
separated from them by the "great world" passes away from mother and
sisters--forever! With every year of his life Matthew Arnold, besides
making the sunshine of his own married home, became a more attached, a
more devoted son and brother. The two volumes of his published letters
are there to show it. I will only quote here a sentence from a letter of
Mrs. Arnold's, written in 1850, a year after the publication of the
_Poems by A._ She and her eldest daughter, then shortly to become
William Forster's wife, were at the time in London. "K" had been
seriously ill, and the marriage had been postponed for a short time.

    Matt [says Mrs. Arnold] has been with us almost every day since we
    came up--now so long ago!--and it is pleasant indeed to see his
    dear face, and to find him always so affectionate, and so
    unspoiled by his being so much sought after in a kind of society
    entirely different from anything we can enter into.

But, indeed, the time saved, day after day, for an invalid sister, by a
run-after young man of twenty-seven, who might so easily have made one
or other of the trifling or selfish excuses we are all so ready to make,
was only a prophecy of those many "nameless unremembered acts" of simple
kindness which filled the background of Matthew Arnold's middle and
later life, and were not revealed, many of them, even to his own people,
till after his death--kindness to a pupil-teacher, an unsuccessful
writer, a hard-worked schoolmaster or schoolmistress, a budding poet, a
school-boy. It was not possible to "spoil" Matthew Arnold. Meredith's
"Comic Spirit" in him, his irrepressible humor, would alone have saved
him from it. And as to his relation to "society," and the great ones in
it, no one more frankly amused himself--within certain very definite
limits--with the "cakes and ale" of life, and no one held more lightly
to them. He never denied--none but the foolish ever do deny--the immense
personal opportunities and advantages of an aristocratic class, wherever
it exists. He was quite conscious--none but those without imagination
can fail to be conscious--of the glamour of long descent and great
affairs. But he laughed at the "Barbarians," the materialized or stupid
holders of power and place, and their "fortified posts"--i.e., the
country houses--just as he laughed at the Philistines and Mr. Bottles;
when he preached a sermon in later life, it was on Menander's motto,
"Choose Equality"; and he and Clough--the Republican--were not really
far apart. He mocked even at Clough, indeed, addressing his letters to
him, "Citizen Clough, Oriel Lyceum, Oxford"; but in the midst of the
revolutionary hubbub of 1848 he pours himself out to Clough only--he and
"Thyrsis," to use his own expression in a letter, "agreeing like two
lambs in a world of wolves," and in his early sonnet (1848) "To a
Republican Friend" (who was certainly Clough) he says:

  If sadness at the long heart-wasting show
    Wherein earth's great ones are disquieted;
  If thoughts, not idle, while before me flow

    The armies of the homeless and unfed--
  If these are yours, if this is what you are,
  Then I am yours, and what you feel, I share.

Yet, as he adds, in the succeeding sonnet, he has no belief in sudden
radical change, nor in any earthly millennium--

  Seeing this vale, this earth, whereon we dream,
    Is on all sides o'ershadowed by the high
    Uno'erleaped mountains of necessity,
  Sparing us narrower margin than we dream.

On the eagerness with which Matthew Arnold followed the revolutionary
spectacle of 1848, an unpublished letter written--piquantly
enough!--from Lansdowne House itself, on February 28th, in that famous
year, to my father in New Zealand, throws a vivid light. One feels the
artist in the writer. First, the quiet of the great house and courtyard,
the flower-pricked grass, the "still-faced babies"; then the sudden
clash of the street-cries! "Your uncle's description of this house,"
writes the present Lord Lansdowne, in 1910, "might almost have been
written yesterday, instead of in 1848. Little is changed, Romulus and
Remus and the she-wolf are still on the top of the bookcase, and the
clock is still hard by; but the picture of the Jewish Exiles...has been
given to a local School of Art in Wiltshire! The green lawn remains, but
I am afraid the crocuses, which I can remember as a child, no longer
come up through the turf. And lastly one of the 'still-faced babies'
[i.e., Lord Lansdowne himself] is still often to be seen in the gravel
court! He was three years old when the letter was written."

Here, then, is the letter:

  LANSDOWNE HOUSE, _Feb. 8, 1848._

    MY DEAREST TOM,--...Here I sit, opposite a marble group of Romulus
    and Remus and the wolf; the two children fighting like mad, and
    the limp-uddered she-wolf affectionately snarling at the little
    demons struggling on her back. Above it is a great picture,
    Rembrandt's Jewish Exiles, which would do for Consuelo and Albert
    resting in one of their wanderings, worn out upon a wild stony
    heath sloping to the Baltic--she leaning over her two children
    who sleep in their torn rags at her feet. Behind me a most musical
    clock, marking now 24 Minutes past 1 P.M. On my left two great
    windows looking out on the court in front of the house, through
    one of which, slightly opened, comes in gushes the soft damp
    breath, with a tone of spring-life in it, which the close of an
    English February sometimes brings--so different from a November
    mildness. The green lawn which occupies nearly half the court is
    studded over with crocuses of all colors--growing out of the grass,
    for there are no flower-beds; delightful for the large still-faced
    white-robed babies whom their nurses carry up and down on the
    gravel court where it skirts the green. And from the square and
    the neighboring streets, through the open door whereat the civil
    porter moves to and fro, come the sounds of vehicles and men, in
    all gradations, some from near and some from far, but mellowed by
    the time they reach this backstanding lordly mansion.

    But above all cries comes one whereat every stone in this and other
    lordly mansions may totter and quake for fear:

"Se...c...ond Edition of the Morning _Herald_--L...a...test news from
Paris:--arrival of the King of the French."

    I have gone out and bought the said portentous _Herald_, and send it
    herewith, that you may read and know. As the human race forever
    stumbles up its great steps, so it is now. You remember the Reform
    Banquets [in Paris] last summer?--well!--the diners omitted the
    king's health, and abused Guizot's majority as corrupt and servile:
    the majority and the king grew excited; the Government forbade the
    Banquets to continue. The king met the Chamber with the words
    "_passions aveugles_" to characterize the dispositions of the
    Banqueters: and Guizot grandly declared against the spirit of
    Revolution all over the world. His practice suited his words, or
    seemed to suit them, for both in Switzerland and Italy, the French
    Government incurred the charge of siding against the Liberals. Add
    to this the corruption cases you remember, the Praslin murder, and
    later events, which powerfully stimulated the disgust (moral
    indignation that People does not feel!) entertained by the lower
    against the governing class.

    Then Thiers, seeing the breeze rising, and hoping to use it, made
    most telling speeches in the debate on the Address, clearly
    defining the crisis as a question between revolution and
    counter-revolution, and declaring enthusiastically for the
    former. Lamartine and others, the sentimental and the plain honest,
    were very damaging on the same side. The Government were harsh--
    abrupt--almost scornful. They would not yield--would not permit
    banquets: would give no Reform till they chose. Guizot spoke
    (alone in the Chamber, I think) to this effect. With decreasing
    Majorities the Government carried the different clauses of the
    address, amidst furious scenes; opposition members crying that they
    were worse than Polignac. It was resolved to hold an Opposition
    banquet in Paris in spite of the Government, last Tuesday, the 22d.
    In the week between the close of the debate and this day there was
    a profound, uneasy excitement, but nothing I think to appall the
    rulers. They had the fortifications; all kinds of stores; and
    100,000 troops of the line. To be quite secure, however, they
    determined to take a formal legal objection to the banquet at the
    doors; but not to prevent the procession thereto. On that the
    Opposition published a proclamation inviting the National Guard,
    who sympathized, to form part of the procession in uniform. Then
    the Government forbade the meeting altogether--absolutely--and
    the Opposition resigned themselves to try the case in a Court of Law.

    _So did not the people!_

    They gathered all over Paris: the National Guard, whom Ministers did
    not trust, were not called out: the Line checked and dispersed the
    mob on all points. But next day the mob were there again: the
    Ministers in a constitutional fright called out the National Guard:
    a body of these hard by the Opéra refused to clear the street, they
    joined the people. Troops were brought up: the Mob and the National
    Guard refused to give them passage down the Rue le Pelletier, which
    they occupied: after a moment's hesitation, they were marched on
    along the Boulevard.

    This settled the matter! Everywhere the National Guard fraternized
    with the people: the troops stood indifferent. The King dismissed
    the Ministers: he sent for Molé; a shade better: not enough: he
    sent for Thiers--a pause; this was several shades better--still
    not enough: meanwhile the crowd continued, and attacks on different
    posts, with slight bloodshed, increased the excitement: finally
    _the King abdicated_ in favor of the Count of Paris, and fled. The
    Count of Paris was taken by his mother to the Chamber--the people
    broke in; too late--not enough:--a republic--an appeal to the
    people. The royal family escaped to all parts, Belgium, Eu,
    England: _a Provisional Government named_.

    You will see how they stand: they have adopted the last measures of
    Revolution.--News has just come that the National Guard have declared
    against a Republic, and that a collision is inevitable.

    If possible I will write by the next mail, and send you a later paper
    than the _Herald_ by this mail.

    Your truly affectionate, dearest Tom,

    M. ARNOLD.

To this let me add here two or three other letters or fragments, all
unpublished, which I find among the papers from which I have been
drawing, ending, for the present, with the jubilant letter describing
his election to the Poetry Professorship at Oxford, in 1857. Here, first
of all, is an amusing reference, dated 1849, to Keble, then the idol of
every well-disposed Anglican household:

    I dined last night with a Mr. Grove,[1] a celebrated man of science:
    his wife is pretty and agreeable, but not on a first interview. The
    husband and I agree wonderfully on some points. He is a bad sleeper,
    and hardly ever free from headache; he equally dislikes and
    disapproves of modern existence and the state of excitement in
    which everybody lives: and he sighs after a paternal despotism
    and the calm existence of a Russian or Asiatic. He showed me a
    picture of Faraday, which is wonderfully fine: I am almost inclined
    to get it: it has a curious likeness to Keble, only with a calm,
    earnest look unlike the latter's Flibbertigibbet, fanatical,
    twinkling expression.

[Footnote 1: Afterward Sir William Grove, F.R.S., author of the famous
essay on "The Correlation of Physical Force."]

Did ever anybody apply such adjectives to John Keble before! Yet if any
one will look carefully at the engraving of Keble so often seen in quiet
parsonages, they will understand, I think, exactly what Matthew Arnold

In 1850 great changes came upon the Arnold family. The "Doctor's" elder
three children--Jane, Matthew, and my father--married in that year, and
a host of new interests sprang up for every member of the Fox How
circle. I find in a letter to my father from Arthur Stanley, his
father's biographer, and his own Oxford tutor, the following reference
to "Matt's" marriage, and to the second series of Poems--containing
"Sohrab and Rustum"--which were published in 1854. "You will have
heard," writes Stanley, "of the great success of Matt's poems. He is in
good heart about them. He is also--I must say so, though perhaps I have
no right to say so--greatly improved by his marriage--retaining all the
genius and nobleness of mind which you remember, with all the lesser
faults pruned and softened down." Matt himself wrote to give news of his
wedding, to describe the bride--Judge Wightman's daughter, the dear and
gracious little lady whom we grandchildren knew and loved as "Aunt Fanny
Lucy"--and to wish my father joy of his own. And then there is nothing
among the waifs and strays that have come to me worth printing, till
1855, when my uncle writes to New Zealand:

    I hope you have got my book by this time. What you will like best, I
    think, will be the "Scholar Gipsy." I am sure that old Cumner and
    Oxford country will stir a chord in you. For the preface I doubt if
    you will care, not having much before your eyes the sins and
    offenses at which it is directed: the first being that we have
    numbers of young gentlemen with really wonderful powers of
    perception and expression, but to whom there is wholly wanting
    a "_bedeutendes Individuum"_--so that their productions are most
    unedifying and unsatisfactory. But this is a long story.

  As to Church matters. I think people in general concern themselves less
  with them than they did when you left England. Certainly religion is
  not, to all appearance at least, losing ground here: but since the great
  people of Newman's party went over, the disputes among the comparatively
  unimportant remains of them do not excite much interest. I am going to
  hear Manning at the Spanish Chapel next Sunday. Newman gives himself up
  almost entirely to organizing and educating the Roman Catholics, and is
  gone off greatly, they say, as a preacher.

  God bless you, my dearest Tom: I cannot tell you the almost painful
  longing I sometimes have to see you once more.

The following year the brothers met again; and there followed, almost
immediately, my uncle's election to the Poetry Professorship at Oxford.
He writes, in answer to my father's congratulations:

  HAMPTON, _May 16, 1857._

    MY DEAR TOM,--My thoughts have often turned to you during my canvass
    for the Professorship--and they have turned to you more than ever
    during the last few days which I have been spending at Oxford. You
    alone of my brothers are associated with that life at Oxford, the
    _freest_ and most delightful part, perhaps, of my life, when with
    you and Clough and Walrond I shook off all the bonds and
    formalities of the place, and enjoyed the spring of life and that
    unforgotten Oxfordshire and Berkshire country. Do you remember a
    poem of mine called "The Scholar Gipsy"? It was meant to fix the
    remembrance of those delightful wanderings of ours in the Cumner
    hills before they were quite effaced--and as such Clough and
    Walrond accepted it, and it has had much success at Oxford, I am
    told, as was perhaps likely from its _couleur locale_. I am hardly
    ever at Oxford now, but the sentiment of the place is overpowering
    to me when I have leisure to feel it, and can shake off the
    interruptions which it is not so easy to shake off now as it was
    when we were young. But on Tuesday afternoon I smuggled myself away,
    and got up into one of our old coombs among the Cumner hills, and
    into a field waving deep with cowslips and grasses, and gathered
    such a bunch as you and I used to gather in the cowslip field on
    Lutterworth road long years ago.

    You dear old boy, I love your congratulations although I see and
    hear so little of you, and, alas! _can_ see and hear but so little
    of you. I was supported by people of all opinions, the great bond
    of union being, I believe, the affectionate interest felt in papa's
    memory. I think it probable that I shall lecture in English: there
    is no direction whatever in the Statute as to the language in which
    the lectures shall be: and the Latin has so died out, even among
    scholars, that it seems idle to entomb a lecture which, in English,
    might be stimulating and interesting.

On the same occasion, writing to his mother, the new Professor gives an
amusing account of the election day, when my uncle and aunt came up to
town from Hampton, where they were living, in order to get telegraphic
news of the polling from friends at Oxford. "Christ Church"--i.e., the
High Church party in Oxford--had put up an opposition candidate, and the
excitement was great. My uncle was by this time the father of three
small boys, Tom, Trevenen--_alias_ Budge--and Richard--"Diddy."

    We went first to the telegraph station at Charing Cross. Then, about
    4, we got a message from Walrond--"nothing certain is known, but
    it is rumored that you are ahead." Then we went to get some toys
    for the children in the Lowther Arcade, and could scarcely have
    found a more genuine distraction than in selecting wagons for Tom
    and Trev, with horses of precisely the same color, not one of which
    should have a hair more in his tail than the other--and a musical
    cart for Diddy. A little after five we went back to the telegraph
    office, and got the following message--"Nothing declared, but you
    are said to be quite safe. Go to Eaton Place." ["Eaton Place" was
    then the house of Judge Wightman, Mrs. Matthew Arnold's father.]
    To Eaton Place we went, and then a little after 6 o'clock we were
    joined by the Judge in the highest state of joyful excitement with
    the news of my majority of 85, which had been telegraphed to him
    from Oxford after he had started and had been given to him at
    Paddington Station.... The income is £130 a year or thereabouts:
    the duties consist as far as I can learn in assisting to look over
    the prize compositions, in delivering a Latin oration in praise of
    founders at every alternate commemoration, and in preparing and
    giving three Latin lectures on ancient poetry in the course of the
    year. _These lectures I hope to give in English_.

The italics are mine. The intention expressed here and in the letter to
my father was, as is well known, carried out, and Matthew Arnold's
Lectures at Oxford, together with the other poetic and critical work
produced by him during the years of his professorship, became so great a
force in the development of English criticism and English taste, that
the lifelike detail of this letter acquires a kind of historical value.
As a child of fourteen I first made acquaintance with Oxford while my
uncle was still Professor. I remember well some of his lectures, the
crowded lecture-hall, the manner and personality of the speaker, and my
own shy pride in him--from a great distance. For I was a self-conscious,
bookish child, and my days of real friendship with him were still far
ahead. But during the years that followed, the ten years that he held
his professorship, what a spell he wielded over Oxford, and literary
England in general! Looking back, one sees how the first series of
_Essays in Criticism_, the _Lectures on Celtic Literature_, or _On
Translating Homer, Culture, and Anarchy_ and the rest, were all the time
working on English taste and feeling, whether through sympathy or
antagonism; so that after those ten years, 1857-1867, the intellectual
life of the country had absorbed, for good and all, an influence, and a
stimulus, which had set it moving on new paths to new ends. With these
thoughts in mind, supplying a comment on the letter which few people
could have foreseen in 1857, let me quote a few more sentences:

    Keble voted for me after all. He told the Coleridges he was so much
    pleased with my letter (to the electors) that he could not refrain.
    ... I had support from all sides. Archdeacon Denison voted for me,
    also Sir John Yarde Buller, and Henley, of the high Tory party. It
    was an immense victory--some 200 more voted than have ever, it is
    said, voted in a Professorship election before. It is a great
    lesson to Christ Church, which was rather disposed to imagine it
    could carry everything by its great numbers.

    Good-by, my dearest mother.... I have just been up to see the three
    dear    little brown heads on their pillows, all asleep.... My
    affectionate thanks to Mrs. Wordsworth and Mrs. Fletcher for
    their kind interest in my success.

It is pleasant to think of Wordsworth's widow, in her "old age serene
and bright," and of the poet's old friend, Mrs. Fletcher, watching and
rejoicing in the first triumphs of the younger singer.

So the ten years of approach and attack--in the intellectual
sense--came to an end, and the ten central years of mastery and success
began. Toward the end of that time, as a girl of sixteen, I became a
resident in Oxford. Up to then Ruskin--the _Stones of Venice_ and
certain chapters in _Modern Painters_--had been my chief intellectual
passion in a childhood and first youth that cut but a very poor figure,
as I look back upon them, beside the "wonderful children" of this
generation! But it must have been about 1868 that I first read _Essays
in Criticism._ It is not too much to say that the book set for me the
currents of life; its effect heightened, no doubt, by the sense of
kinship. Above all it determined in me, as in many others, an enduring
love of France and of French literature, which played the part of
schoolmaster to a crude youth. I owe this to my uncle, and it was a
priceless boon. If he had only lived a little longer--if he had not died
so soon after I had really begun to know him--how many debts to him
would have been confessed, how many things said, which, after all, were
never said!



I have now to sketch some other figures in the Fox How circle, together
with a few of the intimate friends who mingled with it frequently, and
very soon became names of power to the Tasmanian child also.

Let me take first Doctor Arnold's third son, "Uncle Willy"--my father's
junior by some four years. William Delafield Arnold is secure of long
remembrance, one would fain think, if only as the subject of Matthew
Arnold's two memorial poems--"A Southern Night" and "Stanzas from
Carnac." But in truth he had many and strong claims of his own. His
youth was marked by that "restlessness," which is so often spoken of in
the family letters as a family quality and failing. My father's
"restlessness" made him throw up a secure niche in English life, for the
New Zealand adventure. The same temperament in Mary Twining, the young
widow of twenty-two, took her to London, away from the quiet of the
Ambleside valley, and made her an ardent follower of Maurice, Kingsley,
and Carlyle. And in Willy, the third son, it showed itself first in a
revolt against Oxford, while he was still at Christ Church, leading to
his going out to India and joining the Indian Army, at the age of
twenty, only to find the life of an Indian subaltern all but
intolerable, and to plunge for a time at least into fresh schemes of

Among the early photographs at Fox How there is a particularly fine
daguerreotype of a young officer in uniform, almost a boy, slim and well
proportioned, with piled curly hair, and blue eyes, which in the late
'fifties I knew as "Uncle Willy"; and there were other photographs on
glass of the same young man, where this handsome face appeared again,
grown older--much older--the boyish look replaced by an aspect of rather
grave dignity. In the later pictures he was grouped with children, whom
I knew as my Indian cousins. But him, in the flesh, I had never seen. He
was dead. His wife was dead. On the landing bookcase of Fox How there
was, however, a book in two blue volumes, which I soon realized as a
"novel," called _Oakfield_, which had been written by the handsome young
soldier in the daguerreotype. I tried to read it, but found it was about
things and persons in which I could then take no interest. But its
author remained to me a mysteriously attractive figure; and when the
time came for me to read my Uncle Matthew's poems, "A Southern Night,"
describing the death at Gibraltar of this soldier uncle, became a great
favorite with me. I could see it all as Matthew Arnold described it--the
steamer approaching Gibraltar, the landing, and the pale invalid with
the signs on him of that strange thing called "death," which to a child
that "feels its life in every limb" has no real meaning, though the talk
of it may lead vaguely to tears, as that poem often did with me.

Later on, of course, I read _Oakfield_, and learned to take a more
informed pride in the writer of it. But it was not until a number of
letters written from India by William Arnold to my father in New Zealand
between 1848 and 1855, with a few later ones, came into my possession,
at my father's death, that I really seemed to know this dear vanished
kinsman, though his orphaned children had always been my friends.


The letters of 1848 and 1849 read like notes for _Oakfield_. They were
written in bitterness of soul by a very young man, with high hopes and
ideals, fresh from the surroundings of Oxford and Rugby, from the
training of the Schoolhouse and Fox How, and plunged suddenly into a
society of boys--the subalterns of the Bengal Native Infantry--living
for the most part in idleness, often a vicious idleness, without any
restraining public opinion, and practically unshepherded, amid the
temptations of the Indian climate and life. They show that the novel is,
indeed, as was always supposed, largely autobiographical, and the
references in them to the struggle with the Indian climate point sadly
forward to the writer's own fate, ten years later, when, like the hero
of his novel, Edward Oakfield, he fell a victim to Indian heat and
Indian work. The novel was published in 1853, while its author was at
home on a long sick leave, and is still remembered for the anger and
scandal it provoked in India, and the reforms to which, no doubt, after
the Mutiny, it was one of the contributing impulses. It is, indeed, full
of interest for any student of the development of Anglo-Indian life and
society; even when one remembers how, soon after it was published, the
great storm of the Mutiny came rushing over the society it describes,
changing and uprooting everywhere. As fiction, it suffers from the Rugby
"earnestness" which overmasters in it any purely artistic impulse, while
infusing a certain fire and unity of its own. But various incidents in
the story--the quarrel at the mess-table, the horse-whipping, the court
martial, the death of Vernon, and the meeting between Oakfield and
Stafford, the villain of the piece, after Chilianwallah--are told with
force, and might have led on, had the writer lived, to something more
detached and mature in the way of novel-writing.

But there were few years left to him, "poor gallant boy!"--to quote the
phrase of his poet brother; and within them he was to find his happiness
and his opportunity in love and in public service, not in literature.

Nothing could be more pathetic than the isolation and revolt of the
early letters. The boy Ensign is desperately homesick, pining for Fox
How, for his mother and sisters, for the Oxford he had so easily
renounced, for the brothers parted from him by such leagues of land and

    The fact that one learns first in India [he says, bitterly] is the
    profound ignorance which exists in England about it. You know how one
    hears it spoken of always as a magnificent field for exertion, and
    this is true enough in one way, for if a man does emerge at all, he
    emerges the more by contrast--he is a triton among minnows. But I
    think the responsibility of those who keep sending out here young
    fellows of sixteen and seventeen fresh from a private school or
    Addiscombe is quite awful. The stream is so strong, the society is
    so utterly worldly and mercenary in its best phase, so utterly and
    inconceivably low and profligate in its worst, that it is not
    strange that at so early an age, eight out of ten sink beneath it.
    ... One soon observes here how seldom one meets _a happy man_.

    I came out here with three great advantages [he adds]. First, being
    twenty instead of seventeen; secondly not having been at Addiscombe;
    third, having been at Rugby and Christ Church. This gives me a sort
    of position--but still I know the danger is awful--for
    constitutionally I believe I am as little able to stand the
    peculiar trials of Indian life as anybody.

And he goes on to say that if ever he feels himself in peril of sinking
to the level of what he loathes--"I will go at once." By coming out to
India he had bound himself to one thing only--"to earn my own bread."
But he is not bound to earn it "as a gentleman." The day may come--

    when I shall ask for a place on your farm, and if you ask how I am
    to get there, you, Tom, are not the person to deny that a man who
    is in earnest and capable of forming a resolution can do more
    difficult things than getting from India to New Zealand!

And he winds up with yearning affection toward the elder brother so far

    I think of you very often--our excursion to Keswick and Greta Hall,
    our walk over Hardknot and Wrynose, our bathes in the old Allen
    Bank bathing-place [Grasmere], our parting in the cab at the corner
    of Mount St. One of my pleasantest but most difficult problems is
    when and where we shall meet again.

In another letter, written a year later, the tone is still despondent.
"It is no affectation to say that I feel my life, in one way, cannot now
be a happy one." He feels it his duty for the present to "lie still," as
Keble says, to think, it may be to suffer. "But in my castle-buildings I
often dream of coming to you." He appreciates, more fully than ever
before, Tom's motives in going to New Zealand--the desire that may move
a man to live his own life in a new and freer world. "But when I am
asked, as I often am, why you went, I always grin and let people answer
themselves; for I could not hope to explain without preaching a sermon.
An act of faith and conviction cannot be understood by the light of
worldly motives and interests; and to blow out this light, and bring the
true one, is not the work of a young man with his own darkness to
struggle through; so I grin as aforesaid." "God is teaching us," he
adds--i.e., the different members of the family--"by separation,
absence, and suffering." And he winds up--"Good-by. I never like
finishing a letter to you--it seems like letting you fall back again to
such infinite distance. And you are often very near me, and the thought
of you is often cheery and helpful to me in my own conflict." Even up to
January, 1850, he is still thinking of New Zealand, and signing himself,
"ever, dear Tom, whether I am destined to see you soon, or never again
in this world--Your most truly affectionate brother."

Alack! the brothers never did meet again, in this world which both took
so hardly. But for Willy a transformation scene was near. After two
years in India, his gift and his character had made their mark. He had
not only been dreaming of New Zealand; besides his daily routine, he had
been working hard at Indian languages and history. The Lawrences, both
John and Henry, had found him out, and realized his quality. It was at
Sir Henry Lawrence's house in the spring of 1850 that he met Miss Fanny
Hodgson, daughter of the distinguished soldier and explorer, General
Hodgson, discoverer of the sources of the Ganges, and at that time the
Indian Surveyor-General. The soldier of twenty-three fell instantly in
love, and tumult and despondency melted away. The next letter to New
Zealand is pitched in quite another key. He still judges Indian life and
Indian government with a very critical eye. "The Alpha and Omega of the
whole evil in Indian Society" is "the regarding India as a rupee-mine,
instead of a Colony, and ourselves as Fortune-hunters and
Pension-earners rather than as emigrants and missionaries." And outside
his domestic life his prospects are still uncertain. But with every mail
one can see the strained spirit relaxing, yielding to the spell of love
and to the honorable interests of an opening life.

"To-day, my Thomas [October 2, 1850], I sit, a married man in the Bengal
army, writing to a brother, it may be a married man, in Van Diemen's
Land." (Rumors of Tom's courtship of Julia Sorell had evidently just
reached him.) He goes on to describe his married home at Hoshyarpore,
and his work at Indian languages. He has been reading Carlyle's
_Cromwell_, and marveling at the "rapid rush of thought which seems more
and more to be engrossing people in England!" "In India you will easily
believe that the torpor is still unbroken." (The Mutiny was only seven
short years ahead!) And he is still conscious of the "many weights which
do beset and embitter a man's life in India." But a new stay within, the
reconciliation that love brings about between a man and the world,
upholds him.

"'To draw homeward to the general life,' which you, and dear Matt
himself, and I, and all of us, are--or at least may be--living,
independent of all the accidents of time and circumstance--this is a
great alleviation." The "_fundamentals"_ are safe. He dwells happily on
the word--"a good word, in which you and I, so separated, as far as
accidents go, it may be for all time, can find great comfort, speaking
as it does of Eternity." One sees what is in his mind--the brother's
"little book of poems" published a year before:

    Yet they, believe me, who await
    No gifts from chance, have conquered fate,
    They, winning room to see and hear,
    And to men's business not too near
    Though clouds of individual strife
    Draw homeward to the general life.
         *       *       *       *       *
    To the wise, foolish; to the world
    Weak;--yet not weak, I might reply,
    Not foolish, Fausta, in His eye,
    To whom each moment in its race,
    Crowd as we will its neutral space,
    Is but a quiet watershed
  Whence, equally, the seas of life and death are fed.

Six months later the younger brother has heard "as a positive fact" of
Tom's marriage, and writes, with affectionate "chaff":

    I wonder whether it has changed you much?--not made a Tory of you,
    I'll undertake to say! But it is wonderfully sobering. After all,
    Master Tom, it is not the very exact _finale_ which we should have
    expected to your Republicanism of the last three or four years, to
    find you a respectable married man, holding a permanent appointment!

Matt's marriage, too, stands pre-eminent among the items of family news.
What blind judges, sometimes, the most attached brothers are of each

    I hear too by this mail of Matt's engagement, which suggests many
    thoughts. I own that Matt is one of the very last men in the world
    whom I can fancy happily married--or rather happy in matrimony. But
    I dare say I reckon without my host, for there was such a "_longum
    intervallum"_ between dear old Matt and me, that even that last month
    in town, when I saw so much of him, though there was the most
    entire absence of elder-brotherism on his part, and only the most
    kind and thoughtful affection, for which I shall always feel
    grateful, yet our intercourse was that of man and boy; and though
    the difference of years was not so formidable as between "Matthew"
    and Wordsworth, yet we were less than they a "pair of Friends,"
    though a pair of very loving brothers.

But even in this gay and charming letter one begins to see the shadows
cast by the doom to come. The young wife has gone to Simla, having been
"delicate" for some time. The young husband stays behind, fighting the

    The hot weather, old boy, is coming on like a tiger. It is getting
    on for ten at night; but we sit with windows all wide open, the
    punkah going, the thinnest conceivable garments, and yet we sweat,
    my brother, very profusely.... To-morrow I shall be up at
    gun-fire, about half-past four A.M. and drive down to the civil
    station, about three miles off, to see a friend, an officer of our
    own corps ... who is sick, return, take my Bearer's daily account,
    write a letter or so, and lie down with _Don Quixote_ under a
    punkah, go to sleep the first chapter that Sancho lets me, and
    sleep till ten, get up, bathe, re-dress and breakfast; do my daily
    business, such as it is--hard work, believe me, in a hot sleep-
    inducing, intestine-withering climate, till sunset, when doors and
    windows are thrown open ... and mortals go out to "eat the air," as
    the natives say.

The climate, indeed, had already begun its deadly attack upon an
organism as fine and sensitive as any of the myriad victims which the
secret forces of India's sun and soil have exacted from her European
invaders. In 1853, William Delafield Arnold came home invalided, with
his wife and his elder two children. The third, Oakeley (the future War
Minister in Mr. Balfour's Government), was born in England in 1855.
There were projects of giving up India and settling at home. The young
soldier whose literary gift, always conspicuous among the nine in the
old childish Fox How days, and already shown in _Oakfield_, was becoming
more and more marked, was at this time a frequent contributor to the
_Times_, the _Economist_, and _Fraser_, and was presently offered the
editorship of the _Economist_. But just as he was about to accept it,
came a flattering offer from India, no doubt through the influence of
Sir John Lawrence, of the Directorship of Public Instruction in the
Punjaub. He thought himself bound to accept it, and with his wife and
two children went out again at the end of 1855. His business was to
organize the whole of native education in the Punjaub, and he did it so
well during the short time that remained to him before the Mutiny broke
out, that during all that time of terror, education in the Punjaub was
never interrupted, the attendances at the schools never dropped, and the
young Director went about his work, not knowing often, indeed, whether
the whole province might not be aflame within twenty-four hours, and its
Anglo-Indian administration wiped out, but none the less undaunted and

To this day, three portrait medals in gold and silver are given every
year to the best pupils in the schools of the Punjaub, the product of a
fund raised immediately after his death by William Arnold's
fellow-workers there, in order to commemorate his short heroic course in
that far land, and to preserve, if they could, some record of that
"sweet stateliness" of aspect, to use the expression of one who loved
him, which "had so fascinated his friends."

The Mutiny passed. Sir John Lawrence paid public and flattering tribute
to the young official who had so amply justified a great man's choice.
And before the storm had actually died away, within a fortnight of the
fall of Delhi, while it was not yet certain that the troops on their way
would arrive in time to prevent further mischief, my uncle, writing to
my father of the awful days of suspense from the 14th to the 30th of
September, says:

    A more afflicted country than this has been since I returned to it
    in November. 1855--afflicted by Dearth--Deluge--Pestilence--far
    worse than war, it would be hard to imagine. _In the midst of it
    all, the happiness of our domestic life has been almost perfect_.

With that touching sentence the letters to my father, so far, at least,
as I possess them, come to an end. Alas! In the following year the
gentle wife and mother, worn out by India, died at a hill-station in the
Himalayas, and a few months later her husband, ill and heartbroken, sent
his motherless children home by long sea, and followed himself by the
overland route. Too late! He was taken ill in Egypt, struggled on to
Malta, and was put ashore at Gibraltar to die. From Cairo he had written
to the beloved mother who was waiting for him in that mountain home he
so longed to reach, that he hoped to be able to travel in a fortnight.

    But do not trust to this.... Do not in fact expect me till you hear
    that I am in London. I much fear that it may be long before I see
    dear, dear Fox How. In London I must have advice, and I feel sure
    I shall be ordered to the South of England till the hot weather is
    well advanced. I must wait too in London for the darling children.
    But once in London, I cannot but think my dearest mother will
    manage to see me, and I have even had visions of your making one
    of your spring tours, and going with me to Torquay or wherever I
    may go.... Plans--plans--plans! They will keep.

And a few days later:

    As I said before, do not expect me in England till you hear I am
    there. Perhaps I was too eager to get home. Assuredly I have been
    checked, and I feel as if there were much trouble between me and
    home yet.... I see in the papers the death of dear Mrs.

    Ever my beloved mother ...

    Your very loving son,

    W.D. ARNOLD.

He started for England, but at Gibraltar, a dying man, was carried
ashore. His younger brother, sent out from England in post haste, missed
him by ill chance at Alexandria and Malta, and arrived too late. He was
buried under the shelter of the Rock of Spain and the British flag. His
intimate friend, Meredith Townsend, the joint editor and creator of the
_Spectator_, wrote to the _Times_ shortly after his death:

    William Arnold did not live long enough (he was thirty-one) to gain
    his true place in the world, but he had time enough given him to
    make himself of importance to a Government like that of Lord
    Dalhousie, to mold the education of a great province, and to win
    the enduring love of all with whom he ever came in contact.

It was left, however, for his poet-brother to build upon his early grave
"the living record of his memory." A month after "Willy's" death, "Matt"
was wandering where--

  beneath me, bright and wide
  Lay the low coast of Brittany--

with the thought of "Willy" in his mind, as he turns to the sea that
will never now bring the wanderer home.

  O, could he once have reached the air
    Freshened by plunging tides, by showers!
  Have felt this breath he loved, of fair
    Cool northern fields, and grain, and flowers.

  He longed for it--pressed on!--In vain!
    At the Straits failed that spirit brave,
  The south was parent of his pain,
    The south is mistress of his grave.

Or again, in "A Southern Night"--where he muses on the "two jaded
English," man and wife, who lie, one under the Himalayas, the other
beside "the soft Mediterranean." And his first thought is that for the
"spent ones of a work-day age," such graves are out of keeping.

  In cities should we English lie
    Where cries are rising ever new,
  And men's incessant stream goes by!--
         *       *       *       *       *
  Not by those hoary Indian hills,
    Not by this gracious Midland sea
  Whose floor to-night sweet moonshine fills
    Should our graves be!

Some Eastern sage pursuing "the pure goal of being"--"He by those Indian
mountains old, might well repose." Crusader, troubadour, or maiden dying
for love--

  Such by these waters of romance
      'Twas meet to lay!

And then he turns upon himself. For what is beauty, what wisdom, what
romance if not the tender goodness of women, if not the high soul of

  Mild o'er her grave, ye mountains, shine!
    Gently by his, ye waters, glide!
  To that in you which is divine
    They were allied.

       *       *       *       *       *

Only a few days after their father's death, the four orphan children of
the William Arnolds arrived at Fox How. They were immediately adopted as
their own by William and Jane Forster, who had no children; and later
they added the name of Forster to that of Arnold. At that moment I was
at school at Ambleside, and I remember well my first meeting with the
Indian children, and how I wondered at their fair skins and golden hair
and frail, ethereal looks.

By this time Fox How was in truth a second home to me. But I have still
to complete the tale of those who made it so. Edward Penrose, the
Doctor's fourth son, who died in 1878, on the threshold of fifty, was a
handsome, bearded man of winning presence and of many friends. He was at
Balliol, then a Fellow of All Souls, and in Orders. But he first found
his real vocation as an Inspector of Schools in Devon and Cornwall, and
for eighteen years, from 1860 to 1878, through the great changes in
elementary education produced by his brother-in-law's Education Act, he
was the ever-welcome friend of teachers and children all over the wide
and often remote districts of the West country which his work covered.
He had not the gifts of his elder brothers--neither the genius of
Matthew nor the restless energy and initiative of William Delafield, nor
the scholarly and researching tastes of my father; and his later life
was always a struggle against ill-health. But he had Matthew's kindness,
and Matthew's humor--the "chaff" between the two brothers was
endless!--and a large allowance of William's charm. His unconscious talk
in his last illness was often of children. He seemed to see them before
him in the country school-rooms, where his coming--the coming of "the
tall gentleman with the kind blue eyes," as an eye-witness describes
him--was a festa, excellent official though he was. He carried
enthusiasm into the cause of popular education, and that is not a very
common enthusiasm in this country of ours. Yet the cause is nothing more
nor less than the cause of _the international intelligence_, and its
sharpening for the national tasks. But education has always been the
Cinderella of politics; this nation apparently does not love to be
taught! Those who grapple with its stubbornness in this field can never
expect the ready palm that falls to the workers in a dozen other fields.
But in the seed sown, and the human duty done, they find their reward.

"Aunt Mary," Arnold's second daughter, I have already spoken of. When my
father and mother reached England from Tasmania, she had just married
again, a Leicestershire clergyman, with a house and small estate near
Loughborough. Her home--Woodhouse--on the borders of Charnwood Forest,
and the beautiful Beaumanoir Park, was another fairyland to me and to my
cousins. Its ponds and woods and reed-beds; its distant summer-house
between two waters, where one might live and read and dream through long
summer hours, undisturbed; its pleasant rooms, above all the "tapestry
room" where I generally slept, and which I always connected with the
description of the huntsman on the "arras," in "Tristram and Iseult";
the Scott novels I devoured there, and the "Court" nights at Beaumanoir,
where some feudal customs were still kept up, and its beautiful
mistress, Mrs. Herrick, the young wife of an old man, queened it very
graciously over neighbors and tenants--all these are among the lasting
memories of life. Mrs. Herrick became identified in my imagination with
each successive Scott heroine,--Rowena, Isabella, Rose Bradwardine, the
White Lady of Avenel, and the rest. But it was Aunt Mary herself, after
all, who held the scene. In that Leicestershire world of High Toryism,
she raised the Liberal flag--her father's flag--with indomitable
courage, but also with a humor which, after the tragic hours of her
youth, flowered out in her like something new and unexpectedly
delightful. It must have been always there, but not till marriage and
motherhood, and F.D. Maurice's influence, had given her peace of soul
does it seem to have shown itself as I remember it--a golden and
pervading quality, which made life unfailingly pleasant beside her. Her
clear, dark eyes, with their sweet sincerity, and the touch in them of a
quiet laughter, of which the causes were not always clear to the
bystanders, her strong face with its points of likeness to her father's,
and all her warm and most human personality--they are still vividly
present to me, though it is nearly thirty years since, after an hour or
two's pain, she died suddenly and unexpectedly, of the same malady that
killed her father. Consumed in her youth by a passionate idealism, she
had accepted at the hands of life, and by the age of four and twenty, a
lot by no means ideal--a home in the depths of the country, among
neighbors often uncongenial, and far from the intellectual pleasures she
had tasted during her young widowhood in London. But out of this lot she
made something beautiful, and all her own--by sheer goodness,
conscience, intelligence. She had her angles and inconsistencies; she
often puzzled those who loved her; but she had a large brain and a large
heart; and for us colonial children, conscious of many disadvantages
beside our English-born cousins, she had a peculiar tenderness, a
peculiar laughing sympathy, that led us to feel in "Aunt Maria" one of
our best friends.

Susan Arnold, the Doctor's fourth daughter, married Mr. John Cropper in
1858, and here, too, in her house beside the Mersey, among fields and
trees that still maintain a green though besmutted oasis in the busy
heart of Liverpool, that girdles them now on all sides, and will soon
engulf them, there were kindness and welcome for the little Tasmanians.
She died a few years ago, mourned and missed by her own people--those
lifelong neighbors who know truly what we are. Of the fifth daughter,
Frances, "Aunt Fan," I may not speak, because she is still with us in
the old house--alive to every political and intellectual interest of
these darkened days, beloved by innumerable friends in many worlds, and
making sunshine still for Arnold's grandchildren and their children's
children. But it was to her that my own stormy childhood was chiefly
confided, at Fox How; it was she who taught the Tasmanian child to read,
and grappled with her tempers; and while she is there the same magic as
of old clings about Fox How for those of us who have loved it, and all
it stands for, so long.



It remains for me now to say something of those friends of Fox How and
my father whose influence, or whose living presence, made the atmosphere
in which the second generation of children who loved Fox How grew up.

Wordsworth died in 1850, the year before I was born. He and my
grandfather were much attached to each other--"old Coleridge," says my
grandfather, "inoculated a little knot of us with the love of
Wordsworth"--though their politics were widely different, and the poet
sometimes found it hard to put up with the reforming views of the
younger man. In a letter printed in Stanley's _Life_ my grandfather
mentions "a good fight" with Wordsworth over the Reform Bill of 1832, on
a walk to Greenhead Ghyll. And there is a story told of a girl friend of
the family who, once when Wordsworth had been paying a visit at Fox How,
accompanied him and the Doctor part of the way home to Rydal Mount.
Something was inadvertently said to stir the old man's Toryism, and he
broke out in indignant denunciation of some views expressed by Arnold.
The storm lasted all the way to Pelter Bridge, and the girl on Arnold's
left stole various alarmed glances at him to see how he was taking it.
He said little or nothing, and at Pelter Bridge they all parted,
Wordsworth going on to Rydal Mount, and the other two turning back
toward Fox How. Arnold paced along, his hands behind his back, his eyes
on the ground, and his companion watched him, till he suddenly threw
back his head with a laugh of enjoyment.--"What _beautiful_ English the
old man talks!"

The poet complained sometimes--as I find from an amusing passage in the
letter to Mr. Howson quoted below, that he could not see enough of his
neighbor, the Doctor, on a mountain walk, because Arnold was always so
surrounded with children and pupils, "like little dogs" running round
and after him. But no differences, great or small, interfered with his
constant friendship to Fox How. The garden there was largely planned by
him during the family absences at Rugby; the round chimneys of the house
are said to be of his design; and it was for Fox How, which still
possesses the MS., that the fine sonnet was written, beginning--

  Wansfell, this household has a favored lot
  Living with liberty on thee to gaze--

a sonnet which contains, surely, two or three of the most magical lines
that Wordsworth ever wrote.

It is of course no purpose of these notes to give any fresh account of
Wordsworth at Rydal, or any exhaustive record of the relations between
the Wordsworths and Fox How, especially after the recent publication of
Professor Harper's fresh, interesting, though debatable biography. But
from the letters in my hands I glean a few things worth recording. Here,
for instance, is a passing picture of Matthew Arnold and Wordsworth in
the Fox How drawing-room together, in January, 1848, which I find in a
letter from my grandmother to my father:

    Matt has been very much pleased, I think, by what he has seen of dear
    old Wordsworth since he has been at home, and certainly he manages to
    draw him out very well. The old man was here yesterday, and as he sat
    on the stool in the corner beside the fire which you knew so well,
    he talked of various subjects of interest, of Italian poetry, of
    Coleridge, etc., etc.; and he looked and spoke with more vigor than
    he has often  done lately.

But the poet's health was failing. His daughter Dora's death in 1847 had
hit him terribly hard, and his sister's state--the helpless though
gentle insanity of the unique, the beloved Dorothy--weighed heavily on
his weakening strength. I find a touching picture of him in the
unpublished letter referred to on a previous page, written in this very
year--1848--to Dean Howson, as a young man, by his former pupil, the
late Duke of Argyll, the distinguished author of _The Reign of
Law_--which Dean Howson's son and the Duke's grandson allow me to print.
The Rev. J.S. Howson, afterward Dean of Chester, married a sister of the
John Cropper who married Susan Arnold, and was thus a few years later
brought into connection with the Arnolds and Fox How. The Duke and
Duchess had set out to visit both the Lakes and the Lakes
"celebrities," advised, evidently, as to their tour, by the Duke's old
tutor, who was already familiar with the valleys and some of their
inmates. Their visit to Fox How is only briefly mentioned, but of
Wordsworth and Rydal Mount the Duke gives a long account. The picture,
first, of drooping health and spirits, and then of the flaming out of
the old poetic fire, will, I think, interest any true Wordsworthian.

    On Saturday [writes the Duke] we reached Ambleside and soon after
    drove to Rydal Mount. We found the Poet seated at his fireside,
    and a little languid in manner. He became less so as he talked.
    ... He talked incessantly, but not generally interestingly.... I
    looked at him often and asked myself if that was the man who had
    stamped the impress of his own mind so decidedly on a great part
    of the literature of his age! He took us to see a waterfall near
    his house, and talked and chattered, but said nothing remarkable
    or even thoughtful. Yet I could see that all this was only that
    we were on the surface, and did not indicate any decay of mental
    powers. [Still] we went away with no other impression than the
    vaguest of having seen the man, whose writings we knew so well--
    and with no feeling that we had seen anything of the mind which
    spoke through them.

On the following day, Sunday, the Duke with a friend walked over to
Rydal, but found no one at the Mount but an invalid lady, very old, and
apparently paralyzed, "drawn in a bath chair by a servant." They did not
realize that the poor sufferer, with her wandering speech and looks, was
Dorothy Wordsworth, whose share in her great brother's fame will never
be forgotten while literature lasts.

In the evening, however--

    ... after visiting Mrs. Arnold we drove together to bid Wordsworth
    good-by, as we were to go next morning. We found the old man as
    before, seated by the fireside and languid and sleepy in manner.
    Again he awakened as conversation went on, and, a stranger coming
    in, we rose to go away. He seemed unwilling that we should go so
    soon, and said he would walk out with us. We went to the mound in
    front, and the Duchess then asked if he would repeat some of his own
    lines to us. He said he hardly thought he could do that, but that he
    would have been glad to read some to us. We stood looking at the
    view for some time, when Mrs. Wordsworth came out and asked us back
    to the house to take some tea. This was just what we wanted. We sat
    for about half an hour at tea, during which I tried to direct the
    conversation to interesting subjects--Coleridge, Southey, etc. He
    gave a very different impression from the preceding evening. His
    memory seemed clear and unclouded--his remarks forcible and
    decided--with some tendency to run off to irrelevant anecdote.

    When tea was over, we renewed our request that he should read to us.
    He said, "Oh dear, that is terrible!" but consented, asking what we
    chose. He jumped at "Tintern Abbey" in preference to any part of the

    He told us he had written "Tintern Abbey" in 1798, taking four days
    to compose it; the last twenty lines or so being composed as he
    walked down the hill from Clifton to Bristol. It was curious to feel
    that we were to hear a Poet read his own verses composed fifty years

    He read the introductory lines descriptive of the scenery in a low,
    clear voice. But when he came to the thoughtful and reflective
    lines, his tones deepened and he poured them forth with a fervor and
    almost passion of delivery which was very striking and beautiful. I
    observed that Mrs. Wordsworth was strongly affected during the
    reading. The strong emphasis that he put on the words addressed to
    the person to whom the poem is written struck me as almost unnatural
    at the time. "My DEAR, DEAR friend!"--and on the words, "In thy wild
    eyes." It was not till after the reading was over that we found out
    that the poor paralytic invalid we had seen in the morning was the
    _sister_ to whom "Tintern Abbey" was addressed, and her condition,
    now, accounted for the fervor with which the old Poet read lines
    which reminded him of their better days. But it was melancholy to
    think that the vacant gaze we had seen in the morning was from the
    "wild eyes" of 1798.

    ... We could not have had a better opportunity of bringing out in
    his reading the source of the inspiration of his poetry, which it
    was impossible not to feel was the poetry of the heart. Mrs.
    Wordsworth told me it was the first time he had read since his
    daughter's death, and that she was thankful to us for having made
    him do it, as he was apt to fall into a listless, languid state. We
    asked him to come to Inverary. He said he had not courage; as he had
    last gone through that country with his daughter, and he feared it
    would be too much for him.

Less than two years after this visit, on April 23, 1850, the deathday of
Shakespeare and Cervantes, Arnold's youngest daughter, now Miss Arnold
of Fox How, was walking with her sister Susan on the side of Loughrigg
which overlooks Rydal Mount. They knew that the last hour of a great
poet was near--to my aunts, not only a great poet, but the familiar
friend of their dead father and all their kindred. They moved through
the April day, along the mountainside, under the shadow of death; and,
suddenly, as they looked at the old house opposite, unseen hands drew
down the blinds; and by the darkened windows they knew that the life of
Wordsworth had gone out.

Henceforward, in the family letters to my father, it is Mrs. Wordsworth
who comes into the foreground. The old age prophesied for her by her
poet bridegroom in the early Grasmere days was about her for the nine
years of her widowhood, "lovely as a Lapland night"; or rather like one
of her own Rydal evenings when the sky is clear over the perfect little
lake, and the reflections of island and wood and fell go down and down,
unearthly far into the quiet depths, and Wansfell still "parleys with
the setting sun." My grandmother writes of her--of "her sweet grace and
dignity," and the little friendly acts she is always doing for this
person and that, gentle or simple, in the valley--with a tender
enthusiasm. She is "dear Mrs. Wordsworth" always, for them all. And it
is my joy that in the year 1856 or 1857 my grandmother took me to Rydal
Mount, and that I can vividly recollect sitting on a footstool at Mrs.
Wordsworth's feet. I see still the little room, with its plain
furniture, the chair beside the fire, and the old lady in it. I can
still recall the childish feeling that this was no common visit, and the
house no common house--that a presence still haunted it. Instinctively
the childish mind said to itself, "Remember!"--and I have always

A few years later I was again, as a child of eight, in Rydal Mount. Mrs.
Wordsworth was dead, and there was a sale in the house. From far and
near the neighbors came, very curious, very full of real regret, and a
little awe-stricken. They streamed through the rooms where the furniture
was arranged in lots. I wandered about by myself, and presently came
upon something which absorbed me so that I forgot everything else--a
store of Easter eggs, with wonderful drawings and devices, made by
"James," the Rydal Mount factotum, in the poet's day. I recollect
sitting down with them in a nearly empty room, dreaming over them in a
kind of ecstasy, because of their pretty, strange colors and pictures.

Fifty-two years passed, and I found myself, in September, 1911, the
tenant of a renovated and rebuilt Rydal Mount, for a few autumn weeks.
The house was occupied then, and is still occupied by Wordsworth's
great-granddaughter and her husband--Mr. and Mrs. Fisher Wordsworth. My
eldest daughter was with me, and a strange thing happened to us. I
arrived at the Mount before my husband and daughter. She joined me there
on September 13th. I remember how eagerly I showed her the many
Wordsworthiana in the house, collected by the piety of its mistress--the
Haydon portrait on the stairs, and the books, in the small low-ceiled
room to the right of the hall, which is still just as it was in
Wordsworth's day; the garden, too, and the poet's walk. All my own early
recollections were alive; we chattered long and late. And now let the
account of what happened afterward be given in my daughter's words as
she wrote it down for me the following morning.

    RYDAL MOUNT, _September 14, 1911._

    Last night, my first at Rydal Mount, I slept in the corner room,
    over the small sitting-room. I had drawn up the blind about half-way
    up the window before going to bed, and had drawn the curtain aside,
    over the back of a wooden arm-chair that stood against the window.
    The window, a casement, was wide open. I slept soundly, but woke
    quite suddenly, at what hour I do not know, and found myself sitting
    bolt upright in bed, looking toward the window. Very bright
    moonlight was shining into the room and I could just see the corner
    of Loughrigg out in the distance. My first impression was of bright
    moonlight, but then I became strongly conscious of the moonlight
    striking on something, and I saw perfectly clearly the figure of an
    old man sitting in the arm-chair by the window. I said to myself,
    "That's Wordsworth!" He was sitting with either hand resting on the
    arms of the chair, leaning back, his head rather bent, and he seemed
    to be looking down straight in front of him with a rapt expression.
    He was not looking at me, nor out of the window. The moonlight lit
    up the top of his head and the silvery hair and I noticed that the
    hair was very thin. The whole impression was of something solemn and
    beautiful, and I was not in the very least frightened. As I looked--
    I cannot say, when I looked again, for I have no recollection of
    ceasing to look, or looking away--the figure disappeared and I
    became aware of the empty chair.--I lay back again, and thought for
    a moment in a pleased and contented way, "That was Wordsworth." And
    almost immediately I must have fallen asleep again. I had not, to my
    knowledge, been dreaming about Wordsworth before I awoke; but I had
    been reading Hutton's essay on "Wordsworth's Two Styles" out of
    Knight's _Wordsworthiana_, before I fell asleep.

    I should add that I had a distinct impression of the high collar and
    stock, the same as in the picture on the stairs in this house.

Neither the seer of this striking vision--unique in her experience--nor
I, to whom she told it within eight hours, make any claim for it to a
supernatural origin. It seemed to us an interesting example of the
influence of mind and association on the visualizing power of the brain.
A member of the Psychical Society, to whom I sent the contemporary
record, classified it as "a visual hallucination," and I don't know that
there is anything more to be said about it. But the pathetic coincidence
remains still to be noted--we did not know it till afterward--that the
seer of the vision was sleeping in Dorothy Wordsworth's room, where
Dorothy spent so many sad years of death-in-life; and that in that very
corner by the window Wordsworth must have sat, day after day, when he
came to visit what remained to him of that creature of fire and dew,
that child of genius, who had been the inspiration and support of his
poetic youth.

In these rapid sketches of the surroundings and personal influences amid
which my own childhood was passed I have already said something of my
father's intimate friend Arthur Hugh Clough. Clough was, of course, a
Rugbeian, and one of Arnold's ablest and most devoted pupils. He was
about three years older than my father, and was already a Fellow of
Oriel when Thomas Arnold, the younger, was reading for his First. But
the difference of age made no difference to the friendship which grew up
between them in Oxford, a friendship only less enduring and close than
that between Clough and Matthew Arnold, which has been "eternized," to
use a word of Fulke Greville's, by the noble dirge of "Thyrsis." Not
many years before his own death, in 1895, my father wrote of the friend
of his youth:

    I loved him, oh, so well: and also respected him more profoundly
    than any man, anywhere near my own age, whom I ever met. His pure
    soul was without stain: he seemed incapable of being inflamed by
    wrath, or tempted to vice, or enslaved by any unworthy passion of
    any sort. As to "Philip," something that he saw in me helped to
    suggest the character--that was all. There is much in Philip that is
    Clough himself, and there is a dialectic force in him that certainly
    was never in me. A great yearning for possessing one's soul in
    freedom--for trampling on ceremony and palaver, for trying
    experiments in equality, being common to me and Philip, sent me out
    to New Zealand; and in the two years before I sailed (December,
    1847) Clough and I were a great deal together.

It was partly also the visit paid by my father and his friend, John
Campbell Shairp, afterward Principal Shairp of St. Andrew's, to Clough's
reading party at Drumnadrochit in 1845, and their report of incidents
which had happened to them on their way along the shores of Loch Ericht,
which suggested the scheme of the "Bothie." One of the half-dozen short
poems of Clough which have entered permanently into literature--_Qui
laborat oral_--was found by my father one morning on the table of his
bachelor rooms in Mount Street, after Clough had spent the night on a
shake-up in his sitting-room, and on his early departure had left the
poem behind him as payment for his night's lodging. In one of Clough's
letters to New Zealand I find, "Say not the struggle nought
availeth"--another of the half-dozen--written out by him; and the
original copy--_tibi primo confisum_, of the pretty, though unequal
verses, "A London Idyll." The little volume of miscellaneous poems,
called _Ambarvalia,_ and the "Bothie of Tober-na-Vuo-lich" were sent out
to New Zealand by Clough, at the same moment that Matt was sending his
brother the _Poems by A_.

Clough writes from Liverpool in February, 1849--having just received
Matt's volume:

    At last our own Matt's book! Read mine first, my child, if our
    volumes go forth together. Otherwise you won't read
    mine--_Ambarvalia_, at any rate--at all. Froude also has published a
    new book of religious biography, auto or otherwise (_The Nemesis of
    Faith_), and therewithal resigns his Fellowship. But the Rector (of
    Exeter) talks of not accepting the resignation, but having an
    expulsion--fire and fagot fashion. _Quo usque_?

But when the books arrive, my father writes to his sister with
affectionate welcome indeed of the _Poems by A_, but with enthusiasm of
the "Bothie."

    It greatly surpasses my expectations! It is on the whole a noble
    poem, well held together, clear, full of purpose, and full of
    promise. With joy I see the old fellow bestiring himself, "awakening
    like a strong man out of sleep and shaking his invincible locks";
    and if he remains true and works, I think there is nothing too high
    or too great to be expected from him.

"True," and a worker, Clough remained to the last hours of his short
life. But in spite of a happy marriage, the burden and perplexity of
philosophic thought, together with the strain of failing health,
checked, before long, the strong poetic impulse shown in the "Bothie,"
its buoyant delight in natural beauty, and in the simplicities of human
feeling and passion. The "music" of his "rustic flute".

  Kept not for long its happy, country tone;
    Lost it too soon, and learnt a stormy note
  Of men contention-tost, of men who groan.

The poet of the "Bothie" becomes the poet of "Dipsychus," "Easter Day,"
and the "Amours de Voyage"; and the young republican who writes in
triumph--all humorous joy and animation--to my father, from the Paris of
1848, which has just seen the overthrow of Louis Philippe, says, a year
later--February 24, 1849:

    To-day, my dear brother republican, is the glorious anniversary of
    '48, whereof what shall I now say? Put not your trust in republics,
    nor in any constitution of man! God be praised for the downfall of
    Louis Philippe. This with a faint feeble echo of that loud last
    year's scream of "_À bas Guizot_!" seems to be the sum total. Or are
    we to salute the rising sun, with "_Vive l'Empereur!"_ and the green
    liveries? President for life I think they'll make him, and then
    begin to tire of him. Meanwhile the Great Powers are to restore the
    Pope and crush the renascent Roman Republic, of which Joseph Mazzini
    has just been declared a citizen!

A few months later, the writer--at Rome--"was in at the death" of this
same Roman Republic, listening to the French bombardment in bitterness
of soul.

    I saw the French enter [he writes to my father]. Unto this has come
    our grand Lib. Eq. and Frat. revolution! And then I went to Naples--
    and home. I am full of admiration for Mazzini.... But on the
    whole--"Farewell Politics!" utterly!--What can I do? Study is much
    more to the purpose.

So in disillusion and disappointment, "Citizen Clough," leaving Oxford
and politics behind him, settled down to educational work in London,
married, and became the happy father of children, wrote much that was
remarkable, and will be long read--whether it be poetry or no--by those
who find perennial attraction in the lesser-known ways of literature and
thought, and at last closed his short life at Florence in 1862, at the
age of forty-one, leaving an indelible memory in the hearts of those who
had talked and lived with him.

  To a boon southern country he is fled, And now in happier air,
    Wandering with the Great Mother's train divine (And purer or more
    subtle soul than thee, I trow the mighty Mother doth not see) Within
    a folding of the Apennine,

    Thou hearest the immortal chants of old!--

But I remember him, in an English setting, and on the slopes of English
hills. In the year 1858, as a child of seven, I was an inmate of a
little school kept at Ambleside, by Miss Anne Clough, the poet's sister,
afterward the well-known head of Newnham College, Cambridge, and wisest
leader in the cause of women. It was a small day-school for Ambleside
children of all ranks, and I was one of two boarders, spending my
Sundays often at Fox How. I can recall one or two golden days, at long
intervals, when my father came for me, with "Mr. Clough," and the two
old friends, who, after nine years' separation, had recently met again,
walked up the Sweden Bridge lane into the heart of Scandale Fell, while
I, paying no more attention to them than they--after a first ten
minutes--did to me, went wandering and skipping and dreaming by myself.
In those days every rock along the mountain lane, every boggy patch,
every stretch of silken, flower-sown grass, every bend of the wild
stream, and all its sounds, whether it chattered gently over stony
shallows or leaped full-throated into deep pools, swimming with foam--
were to me the never-ending joys of a "land of pure delight." Should I
find a ripe wild strawberry in a patch under a particular rock I knew by
heart?--or the first Grass of Parnassus, or the big auricula, or
streaming cotton-plant, amid a stretch of wet moss ahead? I might quite
safely explore these enchanted spots under male eyes, since they took no
account, mercifully, of a child's boots and stockings--male tongues,
besides, being safely busy with books and politics. Was that a dipper,
rising and falling along the stream, or--positively--a fat brown trout
in hiding under that shady bank?--or that a buzzard, hovering overhead.
Such hopes and doubts kept a child's heart and eyes as quick and busy as
the "beck" itself. It was a point of honor with me to get to Sweden
Bridge--a rough crossing for the shepherds and sheep, near the head of
the valley--before my companions; and I would sit dangling my feet over
the unprotected edge of its grass-grown arch, blissfully conscious on a
summer day of the warm stretches of golden fell folding in the stream,
the sheep, the hovering hawks, the stony path that wound up and up to
regions beyond the ken of thought; and of myself, queening it there on
the weather-worn keystone of the bridge, dissolved in the mere physical
joy of each contented sense--the sun on my cotton dress, the scents from
grass and moss, the marvelous rush of cloud-shadow along the hills, the
brilliant browns and blues in the water, the little white stones on its
tiny beaches, or the purples of the bigger rocks, whether in the stream
or on the mountain-side. How did they come there--those big rocks? I
puzzled my head about them a good deal, especially as my father, in the
walks we had to ourselves, would sometimes try and teach me a little

I have used the words "physical joy," because, although such passionate
pleasure in natural things as has been my constant Helper (in the sense
of the Greek [Greek: epikouros]) through life, has connected itself, no
doubt, in process of time, with various intimate beliefs, philosophic or
religious, as to the Beauty which is Truth, and therewith the only
conceivable key to man's experience, yet I could not myself indorse the
famous contrast in Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey," between the "haunting
passion" of youth's delight in Nature, and the more complex feeling of
later years when Nature takes an aspect colored by our own moods and
memories, when our sorrows and reflections enter so much into what we
feel about the "bright and intricate device" of earth and her seasons,
that "in our life alone doth Nature live." No one can answer for the
changing moods that the future, long or short, may bring with it. But so
far, I am inclined to think of this quick, intense pleasure in natural
things, which I notice in myself and others, as something involuntary
and inbred; independent--often selfishly independent--of the real human
experience. I have been sometimes ashamed--pricked even with self-
contempt--to remember how in the course of some tragic or sorrowful
hours, concerning myself, or others of great account to me, I could not
help observing some change in the clouds, some effect of color in the
garden, some picture on the wall, which pleased me--even for the
moment--intensely. The impression would be gone, perhaps, as soon as
felt, rebuked by something like a flash of remorse. But it was not in my
power to prevent its recurrence. And the delight in natural things--
colors, forms, scents--when there was nothing to restrain or hamper it,
has often been a kind of intoxication, in which thought and
consciousness seemed suspended--"as though of hemlock one had drunk."
Wordsworth has of course expressed it constantly, though increasingly,
as life went on, in combination with his pantheistic philosophy. But it
is my belief that it survived in him in its primitive form, almost to
the end.

The best and noblest people I have known have been, on the whole--except
in first youth--without this correspondence between some constant
pleasure-sense in the mind, and natural beauty. It cannot, therefore, be
anything to be proud of. But it is certainly something to be glad
of--"amid the chances and changes of this mortal life"; it is one of the
joys "in widest commonalty spread"--and that may last longest. It is
therefore surely to be encouraged both in oneself and in children; and
that, although I have often felt that there is something inhuman, or
infrahuman, in it, as though the earth-gods in us all--Pan, or Demeter--
laid ghostly hands again, for a space, upon the soul and sense that
nobler or sadder faiths have ravished from them.

In these Westmorland walks, however, my father had sometimes another
companion--a frequent visitor at Fox How, where he was almost another
son to my grandmother, and an elder brother to her children. How shall
one ever make the later generation understand the charm of Arthur
Stanley? There are many--very many--still living, in whom the sense of
it leaps up, at the very mention of his name. But for those who never
saw him, who are still in their twenties and thirties, what shall I say?
That he was the son of a Bishop of Norwich and a member of the old
Cheshire family of the Stanleys of Alderley; that he was a Rugby boy and
a devoted pupil of Arnold, whose _Life_ he wrote, so that it stands out
among the biographies of the century, not only for its literary merit,
but for its wide and varied influence on feeling and opinion; that he
was an Oxford tutor and Professor all through the great struggle of
Liberal thought against the reactionary influences let loose by Newman
and the Tractarian movement; that, as Regius Professor at Oxford, and
Canon of Canterbury, if he added little to learning, or research, he at
least kept alive--by his power of turning all he knew into image and
color--that great "art" of history which the Dryasdusts so willingly let
die; that as Dean of Westminster, he was still the life and soul of all
the Liberalism in the Church, still the same generous friend and
champion of all the spiritually oppressed that he had ever been? None of
the old "causes" beloved of his youth could ever have said of him, as of
so many others:

  Just for a handful of silver he left us, Just for a ribbon to stick in
  his coat--

He was, no doubt, the friend of kings and princes, and keenly conscious,
always, of things long-descended, with picturesque or heroic
associations. But it was he who invited Colenso to preach in the Abbey,
after his excommunication by the fanatical and now forgotten Bishop of
Cape Town; it was he who brought about that famous Communion of the
Revisers in the Abbey, where the Unitarian received the Sacrament of
Christ's death beside the Wesleyan and the Anglican, and who bore with
unflinching courage the idle tumult which followed; it was he, too, who
first took special pains to open the historical Abbey to working-men,
and to give them an insight into the meaning of its treasures. He was
not a social reformer in the modern sense; that was not his business.
But his unfailing power of seeing and pouncing upon the _interesting_--
the _dramatic_--in any human lot, soon brought him into relation with
men of callings and types the most different from his own; and for the
rest he fulfilled to perfection that hard duty--"the duty to our
equals"--on which Mr. Jowett once preached a caustic and suggestive
sermon. But for him John Richard Green would have abandoned history, and
student after student, heretic after heretic, found in him the man who
eagerly understood them and chivalrously fought for them.

And then, what a joy he was to the eye! His small spare figure,
miraculously light, his delicate face of tinted ivory--only that ivory
is not sensitive and subtle, and incredibly expressive, as were the
features of the little Dean; the eager, thin-lipped mouth, varying with
every shade of feeling in the innocent great soul behind it; the clear
eyes of china blue; the glistening white hair, still with the wave and
spring of youth in it; the slender legs, and Dean's dress, which becomes
all but the portly, with, on festal occasions, the red ribbon of the
Bath crossing the mercurial frame: there are still a few pictures and
photographs by which these characteristics are dimly recalled to those
at least who knew the living man. To my father, who called him "Arthur,"
and to all the Fox How circle, he was the most faithful of friends,
though no doubt my father's conversion to Catholicism to some extent, in
later years, separated him from Stanley. In the letter I have printed on
a former page, written on the night before my father left England for
New Zealand in 1847, and cherished by its recipient all his life, there
is a yearning, personal note, which was, perhaps, sometimes lacking in
the much-surrounded, much-courted Dean of later life. It was not that
Arthur Stanley, any more than Matthew Arnold, ever became a worldling in
the ordinary sense. But "the world" asks too much of such men as
Stanley. It heaps all its honors and all its tasks upon them, and
without some slight stiffening of its substance the exquisite instrument
cannot meet the strain.

Mr. Hughes always strongly denied that the George Arthur of _Tom Brown's
Schooldays_ had anything whatever to do with Arthur Stanley. But I
should like to believe that some anecdote of Stanley's schooldays had
entered at least into the well-known scene where Arthur, in class,
breaks down in construing the last address of Helen to the dead Hector.
Stanley's memory, indeed, was alive with the great things or the
picturesque detail of literature and history, no less than with the
humorous or striking things of contemporary life. I remember an amusing
instance of it at my own wedding breakfast. Stanley married us, and a
few days before he had buried Frederick Denison Maurice. His historical
sense was pleased by the juxtaposition of the two names Maurice and
Arnold, suggested by the funeral of Maurice and the marriage of Arnold's
granddaughter. The consequence was that his speech at the wedding
breakfast was quite as much concerned with "graves and worms and
epitaphs" as with things hymeneal. But from "the little Dean" all things
were welcome.

My personal memory of him goes back to much earlier days. As a child at
Fox How, he roused in me a mingled fascination and terror. To listen to
him quoting Shakspeare or Scott or Macaulay was fascination; to find his
eye fixed on one, and his slender finger darting toward one, as he asked
a sudden historical question--"Where did Edward the First die?"--"Where
was the Black Prince buried?"--was terror, lest, at seven years old, one
should not be able to play up. I remember a particular visit of his to
Fox How, when the dates and places of these royal deaths and burials
kept us--myself in particular--in a perpetual ferment. It must, I think,
have been when he was still at Canterbury, investigating, almost with
the zest and passion of the explorer of Troy or Mycenae, what bones lie
hid, and where, under the Cathedral floor, what sands--"fallen from the
ruined sides of Kings"--that this passion of deaths and dates was upon
him. I can see myself as a child of seven or eight, standing outside the
drawing-room door at Fox How, bracing myself in a mixture of delight and
fear, as to what "Doctor Stanley" might ask me when the door was opened;
then the opening, and the sudden sharp turn of the slight figure,
writing letters at the middle table, at the sight of "little Mary"--and
the expected thunderbolt:

"_Where did Henry the Fourth die_?"

Confusion--and blank ignorance!

But memory leaps forward to a day four or five years later, when my
father and I invaded the dark high room in the old Deanery, and the
little Dean standing at his reading-desk. He looks round--sees "Tom,"
and the child with him. His charming face breaks into a broad smile; he
remembers instantly, though it is some years since he and "little Mary"
met. He holds out both his hands to the little girl--

"Come and see the place where Henry the Fourth died!"

And off we ran together to the Jerusalem Chamber.




How little those who are school-girls of to-day can realize what it was
to be a school-girl in the fifties or the early sixties of the last
century! A modern girls' school, equipped as scores are now equipped
throughout the country, was of course not to be found in 1858, when I
first became a school boarder, or in 1867, when I ceased to be one. The
games, the gymnastics, the solid grounding in drawing and music,
together with the enormously improved teaching in elementary science, or
literature and language, which are at the service of the school-girl of
to-day, had not begun to be when I was at school. As far as intellectual
training was concerned, my nine years from seven to sixteen were
practically wasted. I learned nothing thoroughly or accurately, and the
German, French, and Latin which I soon discovered after my marriage to
be essential to the kind of literary work I wanted to do, had all to be
relearned before they could be of any real use to me; nor was it ever
possible for me-who married at twenty--to get that firm hold on the
structure and literary history of any language, ancient or modern, which
my brother William, only fifteen months my junior, got from his six
years at Rugby, and his training there in Latin and Greek. What I
learned during those years was learned from personalities; from contact
with a nature so simple, sincere, and strong as that of Miss Clough;
from the kindly old German governess, whose affection for me helped me
through some rather hard and lonely school-years spent at a school in
Shropshire; and from a gentle and high-minded woman, an ardent
Evangelical, with whom, a little later, at the age of fourteen or
fifteen, I fell headlong in love, as was the manner of school-girls
then, and is, I understand, frequently the case with school-girls now,
in spite of the greatly increased variety of subjects on which they may
spend their minds.

English girls' schools to-day providing the higher education are, so far
as my knowledge goes, worthily representative of that astonishing rise
in the intellectual standards of women which has taken place in the last
half-century. They are almost entirely taught by women, and women with
whom, in many cases, education--the shaping of the immature human
creature to noble ends--is the sincerest of passions; who find, indeed,
in the task that same creative joy which belongs to literature or art,
or philanthropic experiment. The schoolmistress to whom money is the
sole or even the chief motive of her work, is, in my experience, rare
to-day, though we have all in our time heard tales of modern "academies"
of the Miss Pinkerton type, brought up to date--fashionable, exclusive,
and luxurious--where, as in some boys' preparatory schools (before the
war!) the more the parents paid, the better they were pleased. But I
have not come across them. The leading boarding-schools in England and
America, at present, no less than the excellent day-schools for girls of
the middle class, with which this country has been covered since 1870,
are genuine products of that Women's Movement, as we vaguely call it, in
the early educational phases of which I myself was much engaged; whereof
the results are now widely apparent, though as yet only half-grown. If
one tracks it back to somewhere near its origins, its superficial
origins, at any rate, one is brought up, I think, as in the case of so
much else, against one leading cause--_railways_! With railways and a
cheap press, in the second third of the nineteenth century, there came
in, as we all know, the break-up of a thousand mental stagnations,
answering to the old physical disabilities and inconveniences. And the
break-up has nowhere had more startling results than in the world of
women, and the training of women for life. We have only to ask ourselves
what the women of Benjamin Constant, or of Beyle, or Balzac, would have
made of the keen school-girl and college girl of the present day, to
feel how vast is the change through which some of us have lived.
Exceptional women, of course, have led much the same kind of lives in
all generations. Mrs. Sidney Webb has gone through a very different sort
of self-education from that of Harriet Martineau; but she has not
thought more widely, and she will hardly influence her world so much as
that stanch fighter of the past. It is the rank and file--the average
woman--for whom the world has opened up so astonishingly. The revelation
of her wide-spread and various capacity that the present war has brought
about is only the suddenly conspicuous result of the liberating forces
set in action by the scientific and mechanical development of the
nineteenth century. It rests still with that world "after the war," to
which we are all looking forward with mingled hope and fear, to
determine the new forms, sociological and political, through which this
capacity, this heightened faculty, must some day organically express

In the years when I was at school, however--1858 to 1867--these good
days were only beginning to dawn. Poor teaching, poor school-books, and,
in many cases, indifferent food and much ignorance as to the physical
care of girls--these things were common in my school-time. I loved
nearly all my teachers; but it was not till I went home to live at
Oxford, in 1867, that I awoke intellectually to a hundred interests and
influences that begin much earlier nowadays to affect any clever child.
I had few tools and little grounding; and I was much more childish than
I need have been. A few vivid impressions stand out from these years:
the great and to me mysterious figure of Newman haunting the streets of
Edgbaston, where, in 1861, my father became head classical master of the
Oratory School; the news of the murder of Lincoln, coming suddenly into
a quiet garden in a suburb of Birmingham, and an ineffaceable memory of
the pale faces and horror-stricken looks of those discussing it; the
haunting beauty of certain passages of Ruskin which I copied out and
carried about with me, without in the least caring to read as a whole
the books from which they came; my first visit to the House of Commons
in 1863; the recurrent visits to Fox How, and the winter and summer
beauty of the fells; together with an endless storytelling phase in
which I told stories to my school-fellows, on condition they told
stories to me; coupled with many attempts on my part at poetry and
fiction, which make me laugh and blush when I compare them to-day with
similar efforts of my own grandchildren. But on the whole they were
starved and rather unhappy years; through no one's fault. My parents
were very poor and perpetually in movement. Everybody did the best he

With Oxford, however, and my seventeenth year, came a radical change.

It was in July, 1865, while I was still a school-girl, that in the very
middle of the Long Vacation I first saw Oxford. My father, after some
five years as Doctor Newman's colleague at the Oratory School, had then
become the subject of a strong temporary reaction against Catholicism.
He left the Roman Church in 1865, to return to it again, for good,
eleven years later. During the interval he took pupils at Oxford,
produced a very successful _Manual of English Literature,_ edited the
works of Wycliffe for the Clarendon Press, made himself an Anglo-Saxon
scholar, and became one of the most learned editors of the great Rolls
Series. To look at the endless piles of his note-books is to realize how
hard, how incessantly he worked. Historical scholarship was his destined
field; he found his happiness in it through all the troubles of life.
And the return to Oxford, to its memories, its libraries, its stately,
imperishable beauty, was delightful to him. So also, I think, for some
years, was the sense of intellectual freedom. Then began a kind of
nostalgia, which grew and grew till it took him back to the Catholic
haven in 1876, never to wander more.

But when he first showed me Oxford he was in the ardor of what seemed a
permanent severance from an admitted mistake. I see a deserted Oxford
street, and a hansom coming up it--myself and my father inside it. I was
returning from school, for the holidays. When I had last seen my people,
they were living near Birmingham. I now found them at Oxford, and I
remember the thrill of excitement with which I looked from side to side
as we neared the colleges. For I knew well, even at fourteen, that this
was "no mean city." As we drove up Beaumont Street we saw what was then
"new Balliol" in front of us, and a jutting window. "There lives the
arch-heretic!" said my father. It was a window in Mr. Jowett's rooms. He
was not yet Master of the famous College, but his name was a rallying-
cry, and his personal influence almost at its zenith. At the same time,
he was then rigorously excluded from the University pulpit; it was not
till a year later that even his close friend Dean Stanley ventured to
ask him to preach in Westminster Abbey; and his salary as Greek
Professor, due to him from the revenues of Christ Church, and withheld
from him on theological grounds for years, had only just been wrung--at
last--from the reluctant hands of a governing body which contained Canon
Liddon and Doctor Pusey.

To my father, on his settlement in Oxford, Jowett had been a kind and
helpful friend; he had a very quick sympathy with my mother; and as I
grew up he became my friend, too, so that as I look back upon my Oxford
years both before and after my marriage, the dear Master--he became
Master in 1870--plays a very marked part in the Oxford scene as I shall
ever remember it.

It was not, however, till two years later that I left school, and
slipped into the Oxford life as a fish into water. I was sixteen,
beginning to be conscious of all sorts of rising needs and ambitions,
keenly alive to the spell of Oxford and to the good fortune which had
brought me to live in her streets. There was in me, I think, a real
hunger to learn, and a very quick sense of romance in things or people.
But after sixteen, except in music, I had no definite teaching, and
everything I learned came to me from persons--and books--sporadically,
without any general guidance or plan. It was all a great voyage of
discovery, organized mainly by myself, on the advice of a few men and
women very much older, who took an interest in me and were endlessly
kind to the shy and shapeless creature I must have been.

It was in 1868 or 1869--I think I was seventeen--that I remember my
first sight of a college garden lying cool and shaded between gray
college walls, and on the grass a figure that held me fascinated--a lady
in a green brocade dress, with a belt and chatelaine of Russian silver,
who was playing croquet, then a novelty in Oxford, and seemed to me, as
I watched her, a perfect model of grace and vivacity. A man nearly
thirty years older than herself, whom I knew to be her husband, was
standing near her, and a handful of undergraduates made an amused and
admiring court round the lady. The elderly man--he was then fifty-
three--was Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln College, and the croquet-
player had been his wife about seven years. After the Rector's death in
1884, Mrs. Pattison married Sir Charles Dilke in the very midst of the
divorce proceedings which were to wreck in full stream a brilliant
political career; and she showed him a proud devotion till her death in
1904. None of her early friends who remember her later history can ever
think of the "Frances Pattison" of Oxford days without a strange
stirring of heart. I was much at Lincoln in the years before I married,
and derived an impression from the life lived there that has never left
me. Afterward I saw much less of Mrs. Pattison, who was generally on the
Riviera in the winter; but from 1868 to 1872, the Rector, learned,
critical, bitter, fastidious, and "Mrs. Pat," with her gaiety, her
picturesqueness, her impatience of the Oxford solemnities and decorums,
her sharp, restless wit, her determination _not_ to be academic, to hold
on to the greater world of affairs outside--mattered more to me perhaps
than anybody else. They were very good to me, and I was never tired of
going there; though I was much puzzled by their ways, and--while my
Evangelical phase lasted--much scandalized often by the speculative
freedom of the talk I heard. Sometimes my rather uneasy conscience
protested in ways which I think must have amused my hosts, though they
never said a word. They were fond of asking me to come to supper at
Lincoln on Sundays. It was a gay, unceremonious meal, at which Mrs.
Pattison appeared in the kind of gown which at a much later date began
to be called a tea-gown. It was generally white or gray, with various
ornaments and accessories which always seemed to me, accustomed for so
long to the rough-and-tumble of school life, marvels of delicacy and
prettiness; so that I was sharply conscious, on these occasions, of the
graceful figure made by the young mistress of the old house. But some
last stubborn trace in me of the Evangelical view of Sunday declared
that while one might talk--and one _must_ eat!--on Sunday, one mustn't
put on evening dress, or behave as though it were just like a week-day.
So while every one else was in evening dress, I more than once--at
seventeen--came to these Sunday gatherings on a winter evening,
purposely, in a high woolen frock, sternly but uncomfortably conscious
of being sublime--if only one were not ridiculous! The Rector, "Mrs.
Pat," Mr. Bywater, myself, and perhaps a couple of undergraduates--often
a bewildered and silent couple--I see that little vanished company in
the far past so plainly! Three of them are dead--and for me the gray
walls of Lincoln must always be haunted by their ghosts.

The historian of French painting and French decorative art was already
in those days unfolding in Mrs. Pattison. Her drawing-room was French,
sparely furnished with a few old girandoles and mirrors on its white
paneled walls, and a Persian carpet with a black center, on which both
the French furniture and the living inmates of the room looked their
best. And up-stairs, in "Mrs. Pat's" own working-room, there were
innumerable things that stirred my curiosity--old French drawings and
engravings, masses of foreign books that showed the young and brilliant
owner of the room to be already a scholar, even as her husband counted
scholarship; together with the tools and materials for etching, a
mysterious process in which I was occasionally allowed to lend a hand,
and which, as often as not, during the application of the acid to the
plate, ended in dire misfortune to the etcher's fingers or dress, and in
the helpless laughter of both artist and assistant.

The Rector himself was an endless study to me--he and his frequent
companion, Ingram Bywater, afterward the distinguished Greek Professor.
To listen to these two friends as they talked of foreign scholars in
Paris or Germany, of Renan, or Ranke, or Curtius; as they poured scorn
on Oxford scholarship, or the lack of it, and on the ideals of Balliol,
which aimed at turning out public officials, as compared with the
researching ideals of the German universities, which seemed to the
Rector the only ideals worth calling academic; or as they flung gibes at
Christ Church, whence Pusey and Liddon still directed the powerful
Church party of the University--was to watch the doors of new worlds
gradually opening before a girl's questioning intelligence. The Rector
would walk up and down, occasionally taking a book from his crowded
shelves, while Mr. By water and Mrs. Pattison smoked, with the after-
luncheon coffee--and in those days a woman with a cigarette was a rarity
in England--and sometimes, at a caustic _mot_ of the former's there
would break out the Rector's cackling laugh, which was ugly, no doubt,
but, when he was amused and at ease, extraordinarily full of mirth. To
me he was from the beginning the kindest friend. He saw that I came of a
literary stock and had literary ambitions; and he tried to direct me.
"Get to the bottom of something," he would say. "Choose a subject, and
know _everything_ about it!" I eagerly followed his advice, and began to
work at early Spanish in the Bodleian. But I think he was wrong--I
venture to think so!--though, as his half-melancholy, half-satirical
look comes back to me, I realize how easily he would defend himself, if
one could tell him so now. I think I ought to have been told to take a
history examination and learn Latin properly. But if I had, half the
exploring joy of those early years would, no doubt, have been cut away.

Later on, in the winters when Mrs. Pattison, threatened with rheumatic
gout, disappeared to the Riviera, I came to know a sadder and lonelier
Rector. I used to go to tea with him then in his own book-lined sanctum,
and we mended the blazing fire between us and talked endlessly.
Presently I married, and his interest in me changed; though our
friendship never lessened, and I shall always remember with emotion my
last sight of him lying, a white and dying man, on his sofa in London--
the clasp of the wasted hand, the sad, haunting eyes. When his _Memoirs_
appeared, after his death, a book of which Mr. Gladstone once said to me
that he reckoned it as among the most tragic and the most memorable
books of the nineteenth century, I understood him more clearly and more
tenderly than I could have done as a girl. Particularly, I understood
why in that skeptical and agnostic talk which never spared the Anglican
ecclesiastics of the moment, or such a later Catholic convert as
Manning, I cannot remember that I ever heard him mention the great name
of John Henry Newman with the slightest touch of disrespect. On the
other hand, I once saw him receive a message that some friend brought
him from Newman with an eager look and a start of pleasure. He had been
a follower of Newman's in the Tractarian days, and no one who ever came
near to Newman could afterward lightly speak ill of him. It was Stanley,
and not the Rector, indeed, who said of the famous Oratorian that the
whole course of English religious history might have been different if
Newman had known German. But Pattison might have said it, and if he had
it would have been without the smallest bitterness as the mere
expression of a sober and indisputable truth. Alas!--merely to quote it,
nowadays, carries one back to a Germany before the Flood--a Germany of
small States, a land of scholars and thinkers; a Germany that would
surely have recoiled in horror from any prevision of that deep and
hideous abyss which her descendants, maddened by wealth and success,
were one day to dig between themselves and the rest of Europe.

One of my clearest memories connected with the Pattisons and Lincoln is
that of meeting George Eliot and Mr. Lewes there, in the spring of 1870,
when I was eighteen. It was at one of the Sunday suppers. George Eliot
sat at the Rector's right hand. I was opposite her; on my left was
George Henry Lewes, to whom I took a prompt and active dislike. He and
Mrs. Pattison kept up a lively conversation in which Mr. Bywater, on the
other side of the table, played full part. George Eliot talked very
little, and I not at all. The Rector was shy or tired, and George Eliot
was in truth entirely occupied in watching or listening to Mrs. Lewes. I
was disappointed that she was so silent, and perhaps her quick eye may
have divined it, for, after supper, as we were going up the interesting
old staircase, made in the thickness of the wall, which led direct from
the dining-room to the drawing-room above, she said to me: "The Rector
tells me that you have been reading a good deal about Spain. Would you
care to hear something of our Spanish journey?"--the journey which had
preceded the appearance of _The Spanish Gypsy,_ then newly published. My
reply is easily imagined. The rest of the party passed through the dimly
lit drawing-room to talk and smoke in the gallery beyond, George Eliot
sat down in the darkness, and I beside her. Then she talked for about
twenty minutes, with perfect ease and finish, without misplacing a word
or dropping a sentence, and I realized at last that I was in the
presence of a great writer. Not a great _talker_. It is clear that
George Eliot never was that. Impossible for her to "talk" her books, or
evolve her books from conversation, like Madame de Staël. She was too
self-conscious, too desperately reflective, too rich in second-thoughts
for that. But in tête-à-tête, and with time to choose her words, she
could--in monologue, with just enough stimulus from a companion to keep
it going--produce on a listener exactly the impression of some of her
best work. As the low, clear voice flowed on in Mrs. Pattison's drawing-
room, I _saw_ Saragossa, Granada, the Escorial, and that survival of the
old Europe in the new, which one must go to Spain to find. Not that the
description was particularly vivid--in talking of famous places John
Richard Green could make words tell and paint with far greater success;
but it was singularly complete and accomplished. When it was done the
effect was there--the effect she had meant to produce. I shut my eyes,
and it all comes back--the darkened room, the long, pallid face, set in
black lace, the evident wish to be kind to a young girl.

Two more impressions of her let me record. The following day, the
Pattisons took their guests to see the "eights" races from Christ Church
meadow. A young Fellow of Merton, Mandell Creighton, afterward the
beloved and famous Bishop of London, was among those entertaining her on
the barge, and on the way home he took her and Mr. Lewes through Merton
garden. I was of the party, and I remember what a carnival of early
summer it was in that enchanting place. The chestnuts were all out, one
splendor from top to toe; the laburnums; the lilacs; the hawthorns, red
and white; the new-mown grass spreading its smooth and silky carpet
round the college walls; a May sky overhead, and through the trees
glimpses of towers and spires, silver gray, in the sparkling summer
air--the picture was one of those that Oxford throws before the
spectator at every turn, like the careless beauty that knows she has
only to show herself, to move, to breathe, to give delight. George Eliot
stood on the grass, in the bright sun, looking at the flower-laden
chestnuts, at the distant glimpses on all sides, of the surrounding
city, saying little--that she left to Mr. Lewes!--but drinking it in,
storing it in that rich, absorbent mind of hers. And afterward when Mr.
Lewes, Mr. Creighton, she, and I walked back to Lincoln, I remember
another little incident throwing light on the ever-ready instinct of the
novelist. As we turned into the quadrangle of Lincoln--suddenly, at one
of the upper windows of the Rector's lodgings, which occupied the far
right-hand corner of the quad, there appeared the head and shoulders of
Mrs. Pattison, as she looked out and beckoned, smiling, to Mrs. Lewes.
It was a brilliant apparition, as though a French portrait by Greuze or
Perronneau had suddenly slipped into a vacant space in the old college
wall. The pale, pretty head, _blond-cendrée_; the delicate, smiling
features and white throat; a touch of black, a touch of blue; a white
dress; a general eighteenth-century impression as though of powder and
patches--Mrs. Lewes perceived it in a flash, and I saw her run eagerly
to Mr. Lewes and draw his attention to the window and its occupant. She
took his arm, while she looked and waved. If she had lived longer, some
day, and somewhere in her books, that vision at the window and that
flower-laden garden would have reappeared. I seemed to see her
consciously and deliberately committing them both to memory.

But I do not believe that she ever meant to describe the Rector in "Mr.
Casaubon." She was far too good a scholar herself to have perpetrated a
caricature so flagrantly untrue. She knew Mark Pattison's quality, and
could never have meant to draw the writer of some of the most fruitful
and illuminating of English essays, and one of the most brilliant pieces
of European biography, in the dreary and foolish pedant who overshadows
_Middlemarch_. But the fact that Mark Pattison was an elderly scholar
with a young wife, and that George Eliot knew him, led later on to a
legend which was, I am sure, unwelcome to the writer of _Middlemarch_,
while her supposed victim passed it by with amused indifference.

As to the relation between the Rector and the Squire of _Robert Elsmere_
which has been often assumed, it was confined, as I have already said
(in the introduction to the library edition of _Robert Elsmere_
published in 1909), to a likeness in outward aspect--"a few personal
traits, and the two main facts of great learning and a general
impatience of fools." If one could imagine Mark Pattison a landowner, he
would certainly never have neglected his estates, or tolerated an
inefficient agent.

Only three years intervened between my leaving school and my engagement
to Mr. T. Humphry Ward, Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose College, Oxford.
But those three years seem to me now to have been extraordinarily full.
Lincoln and the Pattisons, Balliol and Mr. Jowett, and the Bodleian
Library, outside the influences and affections of my own home, stand in
the forefront of what memory looks back on as a broad and animated
scene. The great Library, in particular, became to me a living and
inspiring presence. When I think of it as it then was, I am, aware of a
medley of beautiful things--pale sunlight on book-lined walls, or
streaming through old armorial bearings on Tudor windows; spaces and
distances, all books, beneath a painted roof from which gleamed the
motto of the University--_Dominus illuminatio mea_; gowned figures
moving silently about the spaces; the faint scents of old leather and
polished wood; and fusing it all, a stately dignity and benignant charm,
through which the voices of the bells outside, as they struck each
successive quarter from Oxford's many towers, seemed to breathe a
certain eternal reminder of the past and the dead.

But regions of the Bodleian were open to me then that no ordinary reader
sees now. Mr. Coxe--the well-known, much-loved Bodley's Librarian of
those days--took kindly notice of the girl reader, and very soon,
probably on the recommendation of Mark Pattison, who was a Curator, made
me free of the lower floors, where was the "Spanish room," with its
shelves of seventeenth and eighteenth century volumes in sheepskin or
vellum, with their turned-in edges and leathern strings. Here I might
wander at will, absolutely alone, save for the visit of an occasional
librarian from the upper floor, seeking a book. To get to the Spanish
Room one had to pass through the Douce Library, the home of treasures
beyond price; on one side half the precious things of Renaissance
printing, French or Italian or Elizabethan; on the other, stands of
illuminated Missals and Hour Books, many of them rich in pictures and
flower-work, that shone like jewels in the golden light of the room.
That light was to me something tangible and friendly. It seemed to be
the mingled product of all the delicate browns and yellows and golds in
the bindings of the books, of the brass lattice-work that covered them,
and of reflections from the beautiful stone-work of the Schools
Quadrangle outside. It was in these noble surroundings that, with far
too little, I fear, of positive reading, and with much undisciplined
wandering from shelf to shelf and subject to subject, there yet sank
deep into me the sense of history, and of that vast ocean of the
recorded past from which the generations rise and into which they fall
back. And that in itself was a great boon--almost, one might say, a
training, of a kind.

But a girl of seventeen is not always thinking of books, especially in
the Oxford summer term.

In _Miss Bretherton_, my earliest novel, and in _Lady Connie_, so far my
latest,[1] will be found, by those who care to look for it, the
reflection of that other life of Oxford, the life which takes its shape,
not from age, but from youth, not from the past which created Oxford,
but from the lively, laughing present which every day renews it. For six
months of the year Oxford is a city of young men, for the most part
between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. In my maiden days it was
not also a city of young women, as it is to-day. Women--girls
especially--were comparatively on sufferance. The Heads of Houses were
married; the Professors were mostly married; but married tutors had
scarcely begun to be. Only at two seasons of the year was Oxford invaded
by women--by bevies of maidens who came, in early May and middle June,
to be made much of by their brothers and their brothers' friends, to be
danced with and flirted with, to know the joys of coming back on a
summer night from Nuneham up the long, fragrant reaches of the lower
river, or of "sitting out" in historic gardens where Philip Sidney or
Charles I had passed.

[Footnote 1: These chapters were written before the appearance of
_Missing_ in the autumn of 1917.]

At the "eights" and "Commem." the old, old place became a mere
background for pretty dresses and college luncheons and river picnics.
The seniors groaned often, as well they might; for there was little work
done in my day in the summer term. But it is perhaps worth while for any
nation to possess such harmless festivals in so beautiful a setting as
these Oxford gatherings. How many of our national festivals are spoiled
by ugly and sordid things--betting and drink, greed and display! Here,
all there is to see is a competition of boats, manned by England's best
youth, upon a noble river, flowing, in Virgilian phrase, "under ancient
walls"; a city of romance, given up for a few days to the pleasure of
the young, and breathing into that pleasure her own refining, exalting
note; a stately ceremony--the Encaenia--going back to the infancy of
English learning; and the dancing of young men and maidens in Gothic or
classical halls built long ago by the "fathers who begat us." My own
recollection of the Oxford summer, the Oxford river and hay-fields, the
dawn on Oxford streets, as one came out from a Commemoration ball, or
the evening under Nuneham woods where the swans on that still water,
now, as always, "float double, swan and shadow"--these things I hope
will be with me to the end. To have lived through them is to have tasted
youth and pleasure from a cup as pure, as little alloyed with baser
things, as the high gods allow to mortals.

Let me recall one more experience before I come to the married life
which began in 1872--my first sight of Taine, the great French
historian, in the spring of 1871. He had come over at the invitation of
the Curators of the Taylorian Institution to give a series of lectures
on Corneille and Racine. The lectures were arranged immediately after
the surrender of Paris to the German troops, when it might have been
hoped that the worst calamities of France were over. But before M. Taine
crossed to England the insurrection of the Commune had broken out, and
while he was actually in Oxford, delivering his six lectures, the
terrible news of the last days of May, the burning of the Tuileries, the
Hôtel de Ville, and the Cour des Comptes, all the savagery of the beaten
revolution, let loose on Paris itself, came crashing, day by day and
hour by hour, like so many horrible explosions in the heavy air of
Europe, still tremulous with the memories and agonies of recent war.

How well I remember the effect in Oxford!--the newspaper cries in the
streets, the fear each morning as to what new calamities might have
fallen on civilization, the intense fellow-feeling in a community of
students and scholars for the students and scholars of France!

When M. Taine arrived, he himself bears witness (see his published
Correspondence, Vol. II) that Oxford could not do enough to show her
sympathy with a distinguished Frenchman. He writes from Oxford on May

    I have no courage for a letter to-day. I have just heard of the
    horrors of Paris, the burning of the Louvre, the Tuileries, the
    Hôtel de Ville, etc. My heart is wrung. I have energy for nothing. I
    cannot go out and see people. I was in the Bodleian when the
    Librarian told me this and showed me the newspapers. In presence of
    such madness and such disasters, they treat a Frenchman here with a
    kind of pitying sympathy.

Oxford residents, indeed, inside and outside the colleges, crowded the
first lecture to show our feeling not only for M. Taine, but for a
France wounded and trampled on by her own children. The few dignified
and touching words with which he opened his course, his fine, dark head,
the attractiveness of his subject, the lucidity of his handling of it,
made the lecture a great success; and a few nights afterward at dinner
at Balliol I found myself sitting next the great man. In his published
Correspondence there is a letter describing this dinner which shows that
I must have confided in him not a little--as to my Bodleian reading, and
the article on the "Poema del Cid" that I was writing. He confesses,
however, that he did his best to draw me--examining the English girl as
a new specimen for his psychological collection. As for me, I can only
perversely remember a passing phrase of his to the effect that there was
too much magenta in the dress of Englishwomen, and too much pepper in
the English _cuisine_. From English cooking--which showed ill in the
Oxford of those days--he suffered, indeed, a good deal. Nor, in spite of
his great literary knowledge of England and English, was his spoken
English clear enough to enable him to grapple with the lodging-house
cook. Professor Max Müller, who had induced him to give the lectures,
and watched over him during his stay, told me that on his first visit to
the historian in his Beaumont Street rooms he found him sitting
bewildered before the strangest of meals. It consisted entirely of a
huge beefsteak, served in the unappetizing, slovenly English way, and--a
large plate of buttered toast. Nothing else. "But I ordered bif-tek and
pott-a-toes!" cried the puzzled historian to his visitor!

Another guest of the Master's on that night was Mr. Swinburne, and of
him, too, I have a vivid recollection as he sat opposite to me on the
side next the fire, his small lower features and slender neck
overweighted by his thick reddish hair and capacious brow. I could not
think why he seemed so cross and uncomfortable. He was perpetually
beckoning to the waiters; then, when they came, holding peremptory
conversation with them; while I from my side of the table could see them
going away, with a whisper or a shrug to each other, like men asked for
the impossible. At last, with a kind of bound, Swinburne leaped from his
chair and seized a copy of the _Times_ which he seemed to have persuaded
one of the men to bring him. As he got up I saw that the fire behind
him, and very close to him, must indeed have been burning the very
marrow out of a long-suffering poet. And, alack! in that house without a
mistress the small conveniences of life, such as fire-screens, were
often overlooked. The Master did not possess any. In a pale exasperation
Swinburne folded the _Times_ over the back of his chair and sat down
again. Vain was the effort! The room was narrow, the party large, and
the servants, pushing by, had soon dislodged the _Times_. Again and
again did Swinburne in a fury replace it; and was soon reduced to
sitting silent and wild-eyed, his back firmly pressed against the chair
and the newspaper, in a concentrated struggle with fate.

Matthew Arnold was another of the party, and I have a vision of my uncle
standing talking with M. Taine, with whom he then and there made a
lasting friendship. The Frenchman was not, I trust, aware at that moment
of the heresies of the English critic who had ventured only a few years
before to speak of "the exaggerated French estimate of Racine," and even
to indorse the judgment of Joubert--"_Racine est le Virgile des
ignorants"!_ Otherwise M. Taine might have given an even sharper edge
than he actually did to his remarks, in his letters home, on the
critical faculty of the English. "In all that I read and hear," he says
to Madame Taine, "I see nowhere the fine literary sense which means the
gift--or the art--of understanding the souls and passions of the past."
And again, "I have had infinite trouble to-day to make my audience
appreciate some _finesses_ of Racine." There is a note of resigned
exasperation in these comments which reminds me of the passionate
feeling of another French critic--Edmond Scherer, Sainte-Beuve's best
successor--ten years later. _À propos_ of some judgment of Matthew
Arnold--whom Scherer delighted in--on Racine, of the same kind as those
I have already quoted, the French man of letters once broke out to me,
almost with fury, as we walked together at Versailles. But, after all,
was the Oxford which contained Pater, Pattison, and Bywater, which had
nurtured Matthew Arnold and Swinburne--Swinburne with his wonderful
knowledge of the intricacies and subtleties of the French tongue and the
French literature--merely "_solide and positif_," as Taine declares? The
judgment is, I think, a characteristic judgment of that man of
formulas--often so brilliant and often so mistaken--who, in the famous
_History of English Literature_, taught his English readers as much by
his blunders as by his merits. He provoked us into thinking. And what
critic does more? Is not the whole fraternity like so many successive
Penelopes, each unraveling the web of the one before? The point is that
the web should be eternally remade and eternally unraveled.


I married Mr. Thomas Humphry Ward, Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose
College, on April 6, 1872, the knot being tied by my father's friend, my
grandfather's pupil and biographer, Dean Stanley. For nine years, till
the spring of 1881, we lived in Oxford, in a little house north of the
Parks, in what was then the newest quarter of the University town. They
were years, for both of us, of great happiness and incessant activity.
Our children, two daughters and a son, were born in 1874, 1876, and
1879. We had many friends, all pursuing the same kind of life as
ourselves, and interested in the same kind of things. Nobody under the
rank of a Head of a College, except a very few privileged Professors,
possessed as much as a thousand a year. The average income of the new
race of married tutors was not much more than half that sum. Yet we all
gave dinner-parties and furnished our houses with Morris papers, old
chests and cabinets, and blue pots. The dinner-parties were simple and
short. At our own early efforts of the kind there certainly was not
enough to eat. But we all improved with time; and on the whole I think
we were very fair housekeepers and competent mothers. Most of us were
very anxious to be up-to-date and in the fashion, whether in esthetics,
in housekeeping, or in education. But our fashion was not that of
Belgravia or Mayfair, which, indeed, we scorned! It was the fashion of
the movement which sprang from Morris and Burne-Jones. Liberty stuffs
very plain in line, but elaborately "smocked," were greatly in vogue,
and evening dresses, "cut square," or with "Watteau pleats," were
generally worn, and often in conscious protest against the London "low
dress," which Oxford--young married Oxford--thought both ugly and
"fast." And when we had donned our Liberty gowns we went out to dinner,
the husband walking, the wife in a bath chair, drawn by an ancient
member of an ancient and close fraternity--the "chairmen" of old Oxford.

Almost immediately opposite to us in the Bradmore Road lived Walter
Pater and his sisters. The exquisiteness of their small house, and the
charm of the three people who lived in it, will never be forgotten by
those who knew them well in those days when by the publication of the
_Studies in the Renaissance_ (1873) their author had just become famous.
I recall very clearly the effect of that book, and of the strange and
poignant sense of beauty expressed in it; of its entire aloofness also
from the Christian tradition of Oxford, its glorification of the higher
and intenser forms of esthetic pleasure, of "passion" in the
intellectual sense--as against the Christian doctrine of self-denial and
renunciation. It was a gospel that both stirred and scandalized Oxford.
The bishop of the diocese thought it worth while to protest. There was a
cry of "Neo-paganism," and various attempts at persecution. The author
of the book was quite unmoved. In those days Walter Pater's mind was
still full of revolutionary ferments which were just as sincere, just as
much himself, as that later hesitating and wistful return toward
Christianity, and Christianity of the Catholic type, which is embodied
in _Marius the Epicurean_, the most beautiful of the spiritual romances
of Europe since the _Confessions_. I can remember a dinner-party at his
house, where a great tumult arose over some abrupt statement of his made
to the High Church wife of a well-known Professor. Pater had been in
some way pressed controversially beyond the point of wisdom, and had
said suddenly that no reasonable person could govern his life by the
opinions or actions of a man who died eighteen centuries ago. The
Professor and his wife--I look back to them both with the warmest
affection--departed hurriedly, in agitation; and the rest of us only
gradually found out what had happened.

But before we left Oxford in 1881 this attitude of mind had, I think,
greatly changed. Mr. Gosse, in the memoir of Walter Pater contributed to
the Dictionary of National Biography, says that before 1870 he had
gradually relinquished all belief in the Christian religion--and leaves
it there. But the interesting and touching thing to watch was the gentle
and almost imperceptible flowing back of the tide over the sands it had
left bare. It may be said, I think, that he never returned to
Christianity in the orthodox or intellectual sense. But his heart
returned to it. He became once more endlessly interested in it, and
haunted by the "something" in it which he thought inexplicable. A
remembrance of my own shows this. In my ardent years of exploration and
revolt, conditioned by the historical work that occupied me during the
later 'seventies, I once said to him in tête-à-tête, reckoning
confidently on his sympathy, and with the intolerance and certainty of
youth, that orthodoxy could not possibly maintain itself long against
its assailants, especially from the historical and literary camps, and
that we should live to see it break down. He shook his head and looked
rather troubled.

"I don't think so," he said. Then, with hesitation: "And we don't
altogether agree. You think it's all plain. But I can't. There are such
mysterious things. Take that saying, 'Come unto me, all ye that are
weary and heavy-laden.' How can you explain that? There is a mystery in
it--something supernatural."

A few years later, I should very likely have replied that the answer of
the modern critic would be, "The words you quote are in all probability
from a lost Wisdom book; there are very close analogies in Proverbs and
in the Apocrypha. They are a fragment without a context, and may
represent on the Lord's lips either a quotation or the text of a
discourse. Wisdom is speaking--the Wisdom 'which is justified of her
children.'" But if any one had made such a reply, it would not have
affected the mood in Pater, of which this conversation gave me my first
glimpse, and which is expressed again and again in the most exquisite
passages of _Marius_. Turn to the first time when Marius--under Marcus
Aurelius--is present at a Christian ceremony, and sees, for the first
time, the "wonderful spectacle of those who believed."

    The people here collected might have figured as the earliest handsel
    or pattern of a new world, from the very face of which discontent
    had passed away.... They had faced life and were glad, by some
    science or light of knowledge they had, to which there was certainly
    no parallel in the older world. Was some credible message from
    beyond "the flaming rampart of the world"--a message of hope ...
    already molding their very bodies and looks and voices, now and

Or again to the thoughts of Marius at the approach of death:

    At this moment, his unclouded receptivity of soul, grown so steadily
    through all those years, from experience to experience, was at its
    height; the house was ready for the possible guest, the tablet of
    the mind white and smooth, for whatever divine fingers might choose
    to write there.

_Marius_ was published twelve years after the _Studies in the
Renaissance_, and there is a world between the two books. Some further
light will be thrown on this later phase of Mr. Pater's thought by a
letter he wrote to me in 1885 on my translation of Amiel's _From Journal
Intime_. Here it is rather the middle days of his life that concern me,
and the years of happy friendship with him and his sisters, when we were
all young together. Mr. Pater and my husband were both fellows and
tutors of Brasenose, though my husband was much the younger, a fact
which naturally brought us into frequent contact. And the beautiful
little house across the road, with its two dear mistresses, drew me
perpetually, both before and after my marriage. The drawing-room, which
runs the whole breadth of the house from the road to the garden behind,
was "Paterian" in every line and ornament. There were a Morris paper;
spindle-legged tables and chairs; a sparing allowance of blue plates and
pots, bought, I think, in Holland, where Oxford residents in my day were
always foraging, to return, often, with treasures of which the very
memory now stirs a half-amused envy of one's own past self, that had
such chances and lost them; framed embroidery of the most delicate
design and color, the work of Mr. Pater's elder sister; engravings, if I
remember right, from Botticelli, or Luini, or Mantegna; a few mirrors,
and a very few flowers, chosen and arranged with a simple yet conscious
art. I see that room always with the sun in it, touching the polished
surfaces of wood and brass and china, and bringing out its pure, bright
color. I see it too pervaded by the presence of the younger sister,
Clara--a personality never to be forgotten by those who loved her. Clara
Pater, whose grave and noble beauty in youth has been preserved in a
drawing by Mr. Wirgman, was indeed a "rare and dedicated spirit." When I
first knew her she was four or five and twenty, intelligent, alive,
sympathetic, with a delightful humor and a strong judgment, but without
much positive acquirement. Then after some years she began to learn
Latin and Greek with a view to teaching; and after we left Oxford she
became Vice-President of the new Somerville College for Women. Several
generations of girl-students must still preserve the tenderest and most
grateful memories of all that she was there, as woman, teacher, and
friend. Her point of view, her opinion, had always the crispness, the
savor that goes with perfect sincerity. She feared no one, and she loved
many, as they loved her. She loved animals, too, as all the household
did. How well I remember the devoted nursing given by the brother and
sisters to a poor little paralytic cat, whose life they tried to save--
in vain! When, later, I came across in _Marius_ the account of Marcus
Aurelius carrying away the dead child Annius Verus--"pressed closely to
his bosom, as if yearning just then for one thing only, to be united, to
be absolutely one with it, in its obscure distress"--I remembered the
absorption of the writer of those lines, and of his sisters, in the
suffering of that poor little creature, long years before. I feel
tolerably certain that in writing the words Walter Pater had that past
experience in mind.

After Walter Pater's death, Clara, with her elder sister, became the
vigilant and joint guardians of their brother's books and fame, till,
four years ago, a terrible illness cut short her life, and set free, in
her brother's words, the "unclouded and receptive soul."



When the Oxford historian of the future comes across the name and
influence of Benjamin Jowett, the famous Master of Balliol, and Greek
professor, in the mid-current of the nineteenth century, he will not be
without full means of finding out what made that slight figure (whereof
he will be able to study the outward and visible presence in some
excellent portraits, and in many caricatures) so significant and so
representative. The _Life_ of the Master, by Evelyn Abbott and Lewis
Campbell, is to me one of the most interesting biographies of our
generation. It is long--for those who have no Oxford ties, no doubt, too
long; and it is cumbered with the echoes of old controversies,
theological and academic, which have mostly, though by no means wholly,
passed into a dusty limbo. But it is one of the rare attempts that
English biography has seen to paint a man as he really was; and to paint
him not with the sub-malicious strokes of a Purcell, but in love,
although in truth.

[Illustration: BENJAMIN JOWETT]

The Master, as he fought his many fights, with his abnormally strong
will and his dominating personality; the Master, as he appeared, on the
one hand, to the upholders of "research," of learning, that is, as an
end in itself apart from teaching, and, on the other, to the High-
Churchmen encamped in Christ Church, to Pusey, Liddon, and all their
clan--pugnacious, formidable, and generally successful--here he is to
the life. This is the Master whose personality could never be forgotten
in any room he chose to enter; who brought restraint rather than ease to
the gatherings of his friends, mainly because, according to his own
account, of a shyness he could never overcome; whose company on a walk
was too often more of a torture than an honor to the undergraduate
selected for it; whose lightest words were feared, quoted, chuckled
over, or resented, like those of no one else.

Of this Master I have many remembrances. I see, for instance, a drawing-
room full of rather tongue-tied, embarrassed guests, some Oxford
residents, some Londoners; and the Master among them, as a stimulating--
but disintegrating!--force, of whom every one was uneasily conscious.
The circle was wide, the room bare, and the Balliol arm-chairs were not
placed for conversation. On a high chair against the wall sat a small
boy of ten--we will call him Arthur--oppressed by his surroundings. The
talk languished and dropped. From one side of the large room, the
Master, raising his voice, addressed the small boy on the other side.

"Well, Arthur, so I hear you've begun Greek. How are you getting on?"

To the small boy looking round the room it seemed as though twenty awful
grownups were waiting in a dead silence to eat him up. He rushed upon
his answer.

"I--I'm reading the Anabasis," he said, desperately.

The false quantity sent a shock through the room. Nobody laughed, out of
sympathy with the boy, who already knew that something dreadful had
happened. The boy's miserable parents, Londoners, who were among the
twenty, wished themselves under the floor. The Master smiled.

"The Anábasis, Arthur," he said, cheerfully. "You'll get it right next

And he went across to the boy, evidently feeling for him and wishing to
put him at ease. But after thirty years the boy and his parents still
remember the incident with a shiver. It could not have produced such an
effect except in an atmosphere of tension; and that, alas! too often,
was the atmosphere which surrounded the Master.

I can remember, too, many proud yet anxious half-hours in the Master's
study--such a privilege, yet such an ordeal!--when, after our migration
to London, we became, at regular intervals, the Master's week-end
visitors. "Come and talk to me a little in my study," the Master would
say, pleasantly. And there in the room where he worked for so many
years, as the interpreter of Greek thought to the English world, one
would take a chair beside the fire, with the Master opposite. I have
described my fireside tête-à-têtes, as a girl, with another head of a
College--the Rector of Lincoln, Mark Pattison. But the Master was a far
more strenuous companion. With him, there were no diversions, none!--no
relief from the breathless adventure of trying to please him and doing
one's best. The Rector once, being a little invalidish, allowed me to
make up the fire, and, after watching the process sharply, said: "Good!
Does it drive _you_ distracted, too, when people put on coals the wrong
way?" An interruption which made for human sympathy! The Master, as far
as I can remember, had no "nerves"; and "nerves" are a bond between
many. But he occasionally had sudden returns upon himself. I remember
once after we had been discussing a religious book which had interested
us both, he abruptly drew himself up, in the full tide of talk, and
said, with a curious impatience, "But one can't be always thinking of
these things!" and changed the subject.

So much for the Master, the stimulus of whose mere presence was,
according to his biographers, "often painful." But there were at least
two other Masters in the "Mr. Jowett" we reverenced. And they, too, are
fully shown in this biography. The Master who loved his friends and
thought no pains too great to take for them, including the very rare
pains of trying to mend their characters by faithfulness and plain
speaking, whenever he thought they wanted it. The Master, again, whose
sympathies were always with social reform and with the poor, whose
hidden life was full of deeds of kindness and charity, who, in spite of
his difficulties of manner, was loved by all sorts and conditions of
men--and women--in all circles of life, by politicians and great ladies,
by diplomats and scholars and poets, by his secretary and his servants--
there are many traits of this good man and useful citizen recorded by
his biographers.

And, finally, there was the Master who reminded his most intimate
friends of a sentence of his about Greek literature, which occurs in the
Introduction to the _Phoedrus_: "Under the marble exterior of Greek
literature was concealed a soul thrilling with spiritual emotion," says
the Master. His own was not exactly a marble exterior; but the placid
and yet shrewd cheerfulness of his delicately rounded face, with its
small mouth and chin, its great brow and frame of snowy hair, gave but
little clue to the sensitive and mystical soul within. If ever a man was
_Gottbetrunken_, it was the Master, many of whose meditations and
passing thoughts, withdrawn, while he lived, from all human ken, yet
written down--in thirty or forty volumes!--for his own discipline and
remembrance, can now be read, thanks to his biographers, in the pages of
the _Life_, They are extraordinarily frank and simple; startling, often,
in their bareness and truth. But they are, above all, the thoughts of a
mystic, moving in a Divine presence. An old and intimate friend of the
Master's once said to me that he believed "Jowett's inner mind,
especially toward the end of his life, was always in an attitude of
Prayer. One would go and talk to him on University or College business
in his study, and suddenly see his lips moving, slightly and silently,
and know what it meant." The records of him which his death revealed--
and his closest friends realized it in life--show a man perpetually
conscious of a mysterious and blessed companionship; which is the mark
of the religious man, in all faiths and all churches. Yet this was the
man who, for the High Church party at Oxford, with its headquarters at
Christ Church, under the flag of Doctor Pusey and Canon Liddon, was the
symbol and embodiment of all heresy; whose University salary as Greek
professor, which depended on a Christ Church subsidy, was withheld for
years by the same High-Churchmen, because of their inextinguishable
wrath against the Liberal leader who had contributed so largely to the
test-abolishing legislation of 1870--legislation by which Oxford, in
Liddon's words, was "logically lost to the Church of England."

Yet no doubt they had their excuses! For this, too, was the man who, in
a city haunted by Tractarian shades, once said to his chief biographer
that "Voltaire had done more good than all the Fathers of the Church put
together!"--who scornfully asks himself in his diary, _à propos_ of the
Bishops' condemnation of _Essays and Reviews_, "What is Truth against an
_esprit de corps_?"--and drops out the quiet dictum, "Half the books
that are published are religious books, and what trash this religious
literature is!" Nor did the Evangelicals escape. The Master's dislike
for many well-known hymns specially dear to that persuasion was never
concealed. "How cocky they are!" he would say, contemptuously. "'When
upward I fly--Quite justified I'--who can repeat a thing like that?"

How the old war-cries ring again in one's ears as one looks back! Those
who have only known the Oxford of the last twenty years can never, I
think, feel toward that "august place" as we did, in the seventies of
the last century; we who were still within sight and hearing of the
great fighting years of an earlier generation, and still scorched by
their dying fires. Balliol, Christ Church, Lincoln--the Liberal and
utilitarian camp, the Church camp, the researching and pure scholarship
camp--with Science and the Museum hovering in the background, as the
growing aggressive powers of the future seeking whom they might devour--
they were the signs and symbols of mighty hosts, of great forces still
visibly incarnate, and in marching array. Balliol _versus_ Christ
Church--Jowett _versus_ Pusey and Liddon--while Lincoln despised both,
and the new scientific forces watched and waited--that was how we saw
the field of battle, and the various alarms and excursions it was always

But Balliol meant more to me than the Master. Professor Thomas Hill
Green--"Green of Balliol"--was no less representative in our days of the
spiritual and liberating forces of the great college; and the time which
has now elapsed since his death has clearly shown that his philosophic
work and influence hold a lasting and conspicuous place in the history
of nineteenth-century thought. He and his wife became our intimate
friends, and in the Grey of _Robert Elsmere_ I tried to reproduce a few
of those traits--traits of a great thinker and teacher, who was also one
of the simplest, sincerest, and most practical of men--which Oxford will
never forget, so long as high culture and noble character are dear to
her. His wife--so his friend and biographer, Lewis Nettleship, tells
us--once compared him to Sir Bors in "The Holy Grail":

  A square-set man and honest; and his eyes, An outdoor sign of all the
  wealth within, Smiled with his lips--a smile beneath a cloud, But
  Heaven had meant it for a sunny one!

A quotation in which the mingling of a cheerful, practical, humorous
temper, the temper of the active citizen and politician, with the heavy
tasks of philosophic thought, is very happily suggested. As we knew him,
indeed, and before the publication of the _Prolegomena to Ethics_ and
the Introduction to the Clarendon Press edition of Hume had led to his
appointment as Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy, Mr. Green was not
only a leading Balliol tutor, but an energetic Liberal, a member both of
the Oxford Town Council and of various University bodies; a helper in
all the great steps taken for the higher education of women at Oxford,
and keenly attracted by the project of a High School for the town boys
of Oxford--a man, in other words, preoccupied, just as the Master was,
and, for all his philosophic genius, with the need of leading "a useful

Let me pause to think how much that phrase meant in the mouths of the
best men whom Balliol produced, in the days when I knew Oxford. The
Master, Green, Toynbee--their minds were full, half a century ago, of
the "condition of the people" question, of temperance, housing, wages,
electoral reform; and within the University, and by the help of the
weapons of thought and teaching, they regarded themselves as the natural
allies of the Liberal party which was striving for these things through
politics and Parliament. "Usefulness," "social reform," the bettering of
daily life for the many--these ideas are stamped on all their work and
on all the biographies of them that remain to us.

And the significance of it is only to be realized when we turn to the
rival group, to Christ Church, and the religious party which that name
stood for. Read the lives of Liddon, of Pusey, or--to go farther back--
of the great Newman himself. Nobody will question the personal goodness
and charity of any of the three. But how little the leading ideas of
that seething time of social and industrial reform, from the appearance
of _Sybil_ in 1843 to the Education Bill of 1870, mattered either to
Pusey or to Liddon, compared with the date of the Book of Daniel or the
retention of the Athanasian Creed? Newman, at a time when national
drunkenness was an overshadowing terror in the minds of all reformers,
confesses with a pathetic frankness that he had never considered
"whether there were too many public-houses in England or no"; and in all
his religious controversies of the 'thirties and the 'forties, you will
look in vain for any word of industrial or political reform. So also in
the _Life_ of that great rhetorician and beautiful personality, Canon
Liddon, you will scarcely find a single letter that touches on any
question of social betterment. How to safeguard the "principle of
authority," how to uphold the traditional authorship of the Pentateuch,
and of the Book of Daniel, against "infidel" criticism; how to stifle
among the younger High-Churchmen like Mr. (now Bishop) Gore, then head
of the Pusey House, the first advances toward a reasonable freedom of
thought; how to maintain the doctrine of Eternal Punishment against the
protest of the religious consciousness itself--it is on these matters
that Canon Liddon's correspondence turns, it was to them his life was

How vainly! Who can doubt now which type of life and thought had in it
the seeds of growth and permanence--the Balliol type, or the Christ
Church type? There are many High-Churchmen, it is true, at the present
day, and many Ritualist Churches. But they are alive to-day, just in so
far as they have learned the lesson of social pity, and the lesson of a
reasonable criticism, from the men whom Pusey and Liddon and half the
bishops condemned and persecuted in the middle years of the nineteenth

When we were living in Oxford, however, this was not exactly the point
of view from which the great figure of Liddon presented itself, to us of
the Liberal camp. We were constantly aware of him, no doubt, as the
rival figure to the Master of Balliol, as the arch wire-puller and
ecclesiastical intriguer in University affairs, leading the Church
forces with a more than Roman astuteness. But his great mark was made,
of course, by his preaching, and that not so much by the things said as
by the man saying them. Who now would go to Liddon's famous Bamptons,
for all their learning, for a still valid defense of the orthodox
doctrine of the Incarnation? Those wonderful paragraphs of subtle
argumentation from which the great preacher emerged, as triumphantly as
Mr. Gladstone from a Gladstonian sentence in a House of Commons debate--
what remains of them? Liddon wrote of Stanley that he--Stanley--was
"more entirely destitute of the logical faculty" than any educated man
he knew. In a sense it was true. But Stanley, if he had been aware of
the criticism, might have replied that, if he lacked logic, Liddon
lacked something much more vital--i.e., the sense of history--and of the
relative value of testimony!

Newman, Pusey, Liddon--all three, great schoolmen, arguing from an
accepted brief; the man of genius, the man of a vast industry, intense
but futile, the man of captivating presence and a perfect rhetoric--
history, with its patient burrowings, has surely undermined the work of
all three, sparing only that element in the work of one of them--
Newman--which is the preserving salt of all literature--i.e., the magic
of personality. And some of the most efficacious burrowers have been
their own spiritual children. As was fitting! For the Tractarian
movement, with its appeal to the primitive Church, was in truth, and
quite unconsciously, one of the agencies in a great process of
historical inquiry which is still going on, and of which the end is not

But to me, in my twenties, these great names were not merely names or
symbols, as they are to the men and women of the present generation.
Newman I had seen in my childhood, walking about the streets of
Edgbaston, and had shrunk from him in a dumb, childish resentment as
from some one whom I understood to be the author of our family
misfortunes. In those days, as I have already recalled in an earlier
chapter, the daughters of a "mixed marriage" were brought up in the
mother's faith, and the sons in the father's. I, therefore, as a
schoolgirl under Evangelical influence, was not allowed to make friends
with any of my father's Catholic colleagues. Then, in 1880, twenty years
later, Newman came to Oxford, and on Trinity Monday there was a great
gathering at Trinity College, where the Cardinal in his red, a blanched
and spiritual presence, received the homage of a new generation who saw
in him a great soul and a great master of English, and cared little or
nothing for the controversies in which he had spent his prime. As my
turn came to shake hands, I recalled my father to him and the Edgbaston
days. His face lit up--almost mischievously. "Are you the little girl I
remember seeing sometimes--in the distance?" he said to me, with a smile
and a look that only he and I understood.

On the Sunday preceding that gathering I went to hear his last sermon in
the city he had loved so well, preached at the new Jesuit church in the
suburbs; while little more than a mile away, Bidding Prayer and sermon
were going on as usual in the University Church where in his youth, week
by week, he had so deeply stirred the hearts and consciences of men. The
sermon in St. Aloysius's was preached with great difficulty, and was
almost incoherent from the physical weakness of the speaker. Yet who
that was present on that Sunday will ever forget the great ghost that
fronted them, the faltering accents, the words from which the life-blood
had departed, yet not the charm?

Then--Pusey! There comes back to me a bowed and uncouth figure, whom one
used to see both in the Cathedral procession on a Sunday, and--rarely--
in the University pulpit. One sermon on Darwinism, which was preached,
if I remember right, in the early 'seventies, remains with me, as the
appearance of some modern Elijah, returning after long silence and exile
to protest against an unbelieving world. Sara Coleridge had years before
described Pusey in the pulpit with a few vivid strokes.

    He has not one of the graces of oratory [she says]. His discourse is
    generally a rhapsody describing with infinite repetition the
    wickedness of sin, the worthlessness of earth, and the blessedness
    of Heaven. He is as still as a statue all the time he is uttering
    it, looks as white as a sheet, and is as monotonous in delivery as

Nevertheless, Pusey wielded a spell which is worth much oratory--the
spell of a soul dwelling spiritually on the heights; and a prophet,
moreover, may be as monotonous or as incoherent as he pleases, while the
world is still in tune with his message. But in the 'seventies, Oxford,
at least, was no longer in tune with Pusey's message, and the effect of
the veteran leader, trying to come to terms with Darwinism, struggling,
that is, with new and stubborn forces he had no further power to bind,
was tragic, or pathetic, as such things must always be. New Puseys arise
in every century. The "sons of authority" will never perish out of the
earth. But the language changes and the argument changes; and perhaps
there are none more secretly impatient with the old prophet than those
younger spirits of his own kind who are already stepping into his shoes.

Far different was the effect of Liddon, in those days, upon us younger
folk! The grace and charm of Liddon's personal presence were as valuable
to his party in the 'seventies as that of Dean Stanley had been to
Liberalism at an earlier stage. There was indeed much in common between
the aspect and manner of the two men, though no likeness, in the strict
sense, whatever. But the exquisite delicacy of feature, the brightness
of eye, the sensitive play of expression, were alike in both. Saint
Simon says of Fenelon:

    He was well made, pale, with eyes that showered intelligence and
    fire--and with a physiognomy that no one who had seen it once could
    forget. It had both gravity and polish, seriousness and gaiety; it
    spoke equally of the scholar, the bishop, and the _grand seigneur_,
    and the final impression was one of intelligence, subtlety, grace,
    charm; above all, of dignity. One had to tear oneself from looking
    at him.

Many of those who knew Liddon best could, I think, have adapted this
language to him; and there is much in it that fitted Arthur Stanley.

But the love and gift for managing men was of course a secondary thing
in the case of our great preacher. The University politics of Liddon and
his followers are dead and gone; and as I have ventured to think, the
intellectual force of Liddon's thoughts and arguments, as they are
presented to us now on the printed page, is also a thing of the past.
But the vision of the preacher in those who saw it is imperishable. The
scene in St. Paul's has been often described, by none better than by
Doctor Liddon's colleague, Canon Scott Holland. But the Oxford scene,
with all its Old World setting, was more touching, more interesting. As
I think of it, I seem to be looking out from those dark seats under the
undergraduates' gallery--where sat the wives of the Masters of Arts--at
the crowded church, as it waited for the preacher. First came the stir
of the procession; the long line of Heads of Houses, in their scarlet
robes as Doctors of Divinity--all but the two heretics, Pattison and
Jowett, who walked in their plain black, and warmed my heart always
thereby! And then the Vice-Chancellor, with the "pokers" and the
preacher. All eyes were fixed on the slender, willowy figure, and the
dark head touched with silver. The bow to the Vice-Chancellor as they
parted at the foot of the pulpit stairs, the mounting of the pulpit, the
quiet look out over the Church, the Bidding Prayer, the voice--it was
all part of an incomparable performance which cannot be paralleled to-

The voice was high and penetrating, without much variety, as I remember
it; but of beautiful quality, and at times wonderfully moving. And what
was still more appealing was the evident strain upon the speaker of his
message. It wore him out visibly as he delivered it. He came down from
the pulpit white and shaken, dripping with perspiration. Virtue had gone
out of him. Yet his effort had never for a moment weakened his perfect
self-control, the flow and finish of the long sentences, or the subtle
interconnection of the whole! One Sunday I remember in particular.
Oxford had been saddened the day before by the somewhat sudden death of
a woman whom everybody loved and respected--Mrs. Acland, the wife of the
well-known doctor and professor. And Liddon, with a wonderfully happy
instinct, had added to his sermon a paragraph dealing with Mrs. Acland's
death, which held us all spellbound till the beautiful words died into
silence. It was done with a fastidious literary taste that is rather
French than English; and yet it came from the very heart of the speaker.
Looking back through my many memories of Doctor Liddon as a preacher,
that tribute to a noble woman in death remains with me as the finest and
most lasting of them all.



How many other figures in that vanished Oxford world I should like to
draw!--Mandell or "Max" Creighton, our lifelong friend, then just
married to the wife who was his best comrade while he lived, and since
his death has made herself an independent force in English life. I first
remember the future Bishop of London when I was fifteen, and he was
reading history with my father on a Devonshire reading-party. The tall,
slight figure in blue serge, the red-gold hair, the spectacles, the keen
features and quiet, commanding eye--I see them first against a
background of rocks on the Lynton shore. Then again, a few years later,
in his beautiful Merton rooms, with the vine tendrils curling round the
windows, the Morris paper, and the blue willow-pattern plates upon it,
that he was surely the first to collect in Oxford. A luncheon-party
returns upon me--in Brasenose--where the brilliant Merton Fellow and
tutor, already a power in Oxford, first met his future wife; afterward,
their earliest married home in Oxford so near to ours, in the new region
of the Parks; then the Vicarage on the Northumberland coast where
Creighton wrestled with the north-country folk, with their virtues and
their vices, drinking deep draughts thereby from the sources of human
nature; where he read and wrote history, preparing for his _magnum
opus_, the history of the Renaissance Popes; where he entertained his
friends, brought up his children, and took mighty walks--always the same
restless, energetic, practical, pondering spirit, his mind set upon the
Kingdom of God, and convinced that in and through the English Church a
man might strive for the Kingdom as faithfully and honestly as anywhere
else. The intellectual doubts and misgivings on the subject of taking
orders, so common in the Oxford of his day, Creighton had never felt.
His life had ripened to a rich maturity without, apparently, any of
those fundamental conflicts which had scarred the lives of other men.

The fact set him in strong contrast with another historian who was also
our intimate friend--John Richard Green. When I first knew him, during
my engagement to my husband, and seven years before the _Short History_
was published, he had just practically--though not formally--given up
his orders. He had been originally curate to my husband's father, who
held a London living, and the bond between him and his Vicar's family
was singularly close and affectionate. After the death of the dear
mother of the flock, a saintly and tender spirit, to whom Mr. Green was
much attached, he remained the faithful friend of all her children. How
much I had heard of him before I saw him! The expectation of our first
meeting filled me with trepidation. Should I be admitted, too, into that
large and generous heart? Would he "pass" the girl who had dared to be
his "boy's" fiancée? But after ten minutes all was well, and he was my
friend no less than my husband's, to the last hour of his fruitful,
suffering life.

And how much it meant, his friendship! It became plain very soon after
our marriage that ours was to be a literary partnership. My first
published story, written when I was eighteen, had appeared in the
_Churchman's Magazine_ in 1870, and an article on the "Poema del Cid,"
the first-fruits of my Spanish browsings in the Bodleian, appeared in
_Macmillan_ early in 1872. My husband was already writing in the
_Saturday Review_ and other quarters, and had won his literary spurs as
one of the three authors of that _jeu d'esprit_ of no small fame in its
day, the _Oxford Spectator_. Our three children arrived in 1874, 1876,
and 1879, and all the time I was reading, listening, talking, and
beginning to write in earnest--mostly for the _Saturday Review_.
"J.R.G.," as we loved to call him, took up my efforts with the warmest
encouragement, tempered, indeed, by constant fears that I should become
a hopeless bookworm and dryasdust, yielding day after day to the mere
luxury of reading, and putting nothing into shape!

Against this supposed tendency in me he railed perpetually. "Any one can
read!" he would say; "anybody of decent wits can accumulate notes and
references; the difficulty is to _write_--to make something!" And later
on, when I was deep in Spanish chronicles and thinking vaguely of a
History of Spain--early Spain, at any rate--he wrote, almost
impatiently: "_Begin_--and begin your _book_. Don't do 'studies' and
that sort of thing--one's book teaches one everything as one writes it."
I was reminded of that letter years later when I came across, in
_Amiel's Journal_, a passage almost to the same effect: "It is by
writing that one learns--it is by pumping that one draws water into
one's well." But in J.R.G.'s case the advice he gave his friend was
carried out by himself through every hour of his short, concentrated
life. "He died learning," as the inscription on his grave testifies; but
he also died _making_. In other words, the shaping, creative instinct
wrestled in him with the powers of death through long years, and never
deserted him to the very end. Who that has ever known the passion of the
writer and the student can read without tears the record of his last
months? He was already doomed when I first saw him in 1871, for signs of
tuberculosis had been discovered in 1869, and all through the 'seventies
and till he died, in 1883, while he was writing the _Short History_, the
expanded Library Edition in four volumes, and the two brilliant
monographs on _The Making of England_ and _The Conquest of England_, the
last of which was put together from his notes, and finished by his
devoted wife and secretary after his death, he was fighting for his
life, in order that he might finish his work. He was a dying man from
January, 1881, but he finished and published _The Making of England_ in
1882, and began _The Conquest of England_. On February 25th, ten days
before his death, his wife told him that the end was near. He thought a
little, and said that he had still something to say in his book "which
is worth saying. I will make a fight for it. I will do what I can, and I
must have sleeping-draughts for a week. After that it will not matter if
they lose their effect." He worked on a little longer---but on March 7th
all was over. My husband had gone out to see him in February, and came
home marveling at the miracle of such life in death.

I have spoken of the wonderful stimulus and encouragement he could give
to the young student. But he was no flatterer. No one could strike
harder or swifter than he, when he chose.

It was to me--in his eager friendship for "Humphry's" young wife--he
first intrusted the task of that primer of English literature which
afterward Mr. Stopford Brooke carried out with such astonishing success.
But I was far too young for such a piece of work, and knew far too
little. I wrote a beginning, however, and took it up to him when he was
in rooms in Beaumont Street. He was entirely dissatisfied with it, and
as gently and kindly as possible told me it wouldn't do and that I must
give it up.[1]  Then throwing it aside, he began to walk up and down his
room, sketching out how such a general outline of English literature
might be written and should be written. I sat by enchanted, all my
natural disappointment charmed away. The knowledge, the enthusiasm, the
_shaping_ power of the frail human being moving there before me--with
the slight, emaciated figure, the great brow, the bright eyes; all the
physical presence instinct, aflame, with the intellectual and poetic
passion which grew upon him as he traced the mighty stream of England's
thought and song--it was an experience never forgotten, one of those by
which mind teaches mind, and the endless succession is carried on.

[Footnote 1: Since writing these lines, I have been amused to discover
the following reference in the brilliant biography of Stopford Brooke,
by his son-in-law, Principal Jacks, to my unlucky attempt. "The only
advantage," says Mr. Brooke in his diary for May 8, 1899, "the older
writer has over the younger is that he knows what to leave out and has a
juster sense of proportion. I remember that when Green wanted the Primer
of English Literature to be done, Mrs. ---- asked if she might try her
hand at it. He said 'Yes,' and she set to work. She took a fancy to
_Beowulf_, and wrote twenty pages on it! At this rate the book would
have run to more than a thousand pages."]

There is another memory from the early time, which comes back to me--of
J.R.G. in Notre Dame. We were on our honeymoon journey, and we came
across him in Paris. We went together to Notre Dame, and there, as we
all lingered at the western end, looking up to the gleaming color of the
distant apse, the spirit came upon him. He began to describe what the
Church had seen, coming down through the generations, from vision to
vision. He spoke in a low voice, but without a pause or break, standing
in deep shadow close to the western door. One scarcely saw him, and I
almost lost the sense of his individuality. It seemed to be the very
voice of History--Life telling of itself.

Liberty and the passion for liberty were the very breath of his being.
In 1871, just after the Commune, I wrote him a cry of pity and horror
about the execution of Rossel, the "heroic young Protestant who had
fought the Versaillais because they had made peace, and prevented him
from fighting the Prussians." J.R.G. replied that the only defense of a
man who fought for the Commune was that he believed in it, while Rossel,
by his own statement, did not.

    People like old Delescluze are more to my mind, men who believe,
    rightly or wrongly (in the ideas of '93), and cling to their faith
    through thirteen years of the hulks and of Cayenne, who get their
    chance at last, fight, work, and then when all is over know how to
    die--as Delescluze, with that gray head bared and the old threadbare
    coat thrown open, walked quietly and without a word up to the fatal

His place in the ranks of history is high and safe. That was abundantly
shown by the testimony of the large gathering of English scholars and
historians at the memorial meeting held in his own college some years
ago. He remains as one of the leaders of that school (there is, of
course, another and a strong one!) which holds that without imagination
and personality a man had better not write history at all; since no
recreation of the past is really possible without the kindling and
welding force that a man draws from his own spirit.

But it is as a friend that I desire--with undying love and gratitude--to
commemorate him here. To my husband, to all the motherless family he had
taken to his heart, he was affection and constancy itself. And as for
me, just before the last visit that we paid him at Mentone in 1882, a
year before he died, he was actually thinking out schemes for that
history of early Spain which it seemed, both to him and me, I must at
last begin, and was inquiring what help I could get from libraries on
the Riviera during our stay with him. Then, when we came, I remember our
talks in the little Villa St. Nicholas--his sympathy, his enthusiasm,
his unselfish help; while all the time he was wrestling with death for
just a few more months in which to finish his own work. Both Lord Bryce
and Sir Leslie Stephen have paid their tribute to this wonderful talk of
his later years. "No such talk," says Lord Bryce, "has been heard in our
generation." Of Madame de Staël it was said that she wrote her books out
of the talk of the distinguished men who frequented her _salon_. Her own
conversation was directed to evoking from the brains of others what she
afterward, as an artist, knew how to use better than they. Her talk--
small blame to her!--was plundering and acquisitive. But J.R.G.'s talk
_gave_ perpetually, admirable listener though he was. All that he had he
gave; so that our final thought of him is not that of the suffering
invalid, the thwarted workman, the life cut short, but rather that of
one who had richly done his part and left in his friends' memories no
mere pathetic appeal, but much more a bracing message for their own
easier and longer lives.

Of the two other historians with whom my youth threw me into contact,
Mr. Freeman and Bishop Stubbs, I have some lively memories. Mr. Freeman
was first known to me, I think, through "Johnny," as he was wont to call
J.R.G., whom he adored. Both he and J.R.G. were admirable letter-
writers, and a volume of their correspondence--much of it already
published separately--if it could be put together--like that of Flaubert
and George Sand--would make excellent reading for a future generation.
In 1877 and 1878, when I was plunged in the history of West-Gothic
Kings, I had many letters from Mr. Freeman, and never were letters about
grave matters less grave. Take this outburst about a lady who had sent
him some historical work to look at. He greatly liked and admired the
lady; but her work drove him wild. "I never saw anything like it for
missing the point of everything.... Then she has no notion of putting a
sentence together, so that she said some things which I fancy she did
not mean to say--as that 'the beloved Queen Louisa of Prussia' was the
mother of M. Thiers. When she said that the Duke of Orleans's horses ran
away, 'leaving two infant sons,' it may have been so: I have no evidence
either way."

Again, "I am going to send you the Spanish part of my Historical
Geography. It will be very bad, but--when I don't know a thing I believe
I generally know that I don't know it, and so manage to wrap it up in
some vague phrase which, if not right, may at least not be wrong. Thus I
have always held that the nursery account of Henry VIII--

  "'And Henry the Eighth was as fat as a pig--'

"is to be preferred to Froude's version. For, though certainly an
inadequate account of the reign, it is true as far as it goes."

Once, certainly, we stayed at Somerleaze, and I retain the impression of
a very busy, human, energetic man of letters, a good Churchman, and a
good citizen, brimful of likes and dislikes, and waving his red beard
often as a flag of battle in many a hot skirmish, especially with
J.R.G., but always warm-hearted and generally placable--except in the
case of James Anthony Froude. The feud between Freeman and Froude was,
of course, a standing dish in the educated world of half a century ago.
It may be argued that the Muse of History has not decided the quarrel
quite according to justice; that Clio has shown herself something of a
jade in the matter, as easily influenced by fair externals as a certain
Helen was long ago. How many people now read the _Norman Conquest_--
except the few scholars who devote themselves to the same period?
Whereas Froude's History, with all its sins, lives, and in my belief
will long live, because the man who wrote it was a _writer_ and
understood his art.

Of Bishop Stubbs, the greatest historical name surely in the England of
the last half of the nineteenth century, I did not personally see much
while we lived in Oxford and he was Regius Professor. He had no gifts--
it was his chief weakness as a teacher--for creating a young school
around him, setting one man to work on this job, and another on that, as
has been done with great success in many instances abroad. He was too
reserved, too critical, perhaps too sensitive. But he stood as a great
influence in the background, felt if not seen. A word of praise from him
meant everything; a word of condemnation, in his own subjects, settled
the matter. I remember well, after I had written a number of articles on
early Spanish Kings and Bishops, for a historical Dictionary, and they
were already in proof, how on my daily visits to the Bodleian I began to
be puzzled by the fact that some of the very obscure books I had been
using were "out" when I wanted them, or had been abstracted from my
table by one of the sub-librarians. _Joannes Biclarensis_--he was
missing! Who in the world could want that obscure chronicle of an
obscure period but myself? I began to envisage some hungry German
_Privatdozent_, on his holiday, raiding my poor little subject, and my
books, with a view to his Doctor's thesis. Then one morning, as I went
in, I came across Doctor Stubbs, with an ancient and portly volume under
his arm. _Joannes Biclarensis_ himself!--I knew it at once. The
Professor gave me a friendly nod, and I saw a twinkle in his eye as we
passed. Going to my desk, I found another volume gone--this time the
_Acts of the Councils of Toledo_. So far as I knew, not the most ardent
Churchman in Oxford felt at that time any absorbing interest in the
Councils of Toledo. At any rate, I had been left in undisturbed
possession of them for months. Evidently something was happening, and I
sat down to my work in bewilderment.

Then, on my way home, I ran into a fellow-worker for the Dictionary--a
well-known don and history tutor. "Do you know what's happened?" he
said, in excitement. "_Stubbs_ has been going through our work! The
Editor wanted his imprimatur before the final printing. Can't expect
anybody but Stubbs to know all these things! My books are gone, too." We
walked up to the Parks together in a common anxiety, like a couple of
school-boys in for Smalls. Then in a few days the tension was over; my
books were on my desk again; the Professor stopped me in the Broad with
a smile, and the remark that Joannes Biclarensis was really quite an
interesting fellow, and I received a very friendly letter from the
Editor of the Dictionary.

And perhaps I may be allowed, after these forty years, one more
recollection, though I am afraid a proper reticence would suppress it! A
little later "Mr. Creighton" came to visit us, after his immigration to
Embleton and the north; and I timidly gave him some lives of West-Gothic
Kings and Bishops to read. He read them--they were very long and
terribly minute--and put down the proofs, without saying much. Then he
walked down to Oxford with my husband, and sent me back a message by
him: "Tell M. to go on. There is nobody but Stubbs doing such work in
Oxford now." The thrill of pride and delight such words gave me may be
imagined. But there were already causes at work why I should not "go

I shall have more to say presently about the work on the origins of
modern Spain. It was the only thorough "discipline" I ever had; it
lasted about two years--years of incessant, arduous work, and it led
directly to the writing of _Robert Elsmere_. But before and after, how
full life was of other things! The joys of one's new home, of the
children that began to patter about it, of every bit of furniture and
blue pot it contained, each representing some happy _chasse_ or special
earning--of its garden of half an acre, where I used to feel as
Hawthorne felt in the garden of the Concord Manse--amazement that Nature
should take the trouble to produce things as big as vegetable marrows,
or as surprising as scarlet runners that topped one's head, just that we
might own and eat them. Then the life of the University town, with all
those marked antagonisms I have described, those intellectual and
religious movements, that were like the meeting currents of rivers in a
lake; and the pleasure of new friendships, where everybody was equal,
nobody was rich, and the intellectual average was naturally high. In
those days, too, a small group of women of whom I was one were laying
the foundations of the whole system of women's education in Oxford. Mrs.
Creighton and I, with Mrs. Max Müller, were the secretaries and founders
of the first organized series of lectures for women in the University
town; I was the first secretary of Somerville Hall, and it fell to me,
by chance, to suggest the name of the future college. My friends and I
were all on fire for women's education, including women's medical
education, and very emulous of Cambridge, where the movement was already
far advanced.

But hardly any of us were at all on fire for woman suffrage, wherein the
Oxford educational movement differed greatly from the Cambridge
movement. The majority, certainly, of the group to which I belonged at
Oxford were at that time persuaded that the development of women's power
in the State--or rather, in such a state as England, with its far-
reaching and Imperial obligations, resting ultimately on the sanction of
war--should be on lines of its own. We believed that growth through
Local Government, and perhaps through some special machinery for
bringing the wishes and influence of women of all classes to bear on
Parliament, other than the Parliamentary vote, was the real line of
progress. However, I shall return to this subject on some future
occasion, in connection with the intensified suffragist campaign which
began about ten years ago (1907-08) and in which I took some part. I
will only note here my first acquaintance with Mrs. Fawcett. I see her
so clearly as a fresh, picturesque figure--in a green silk dress and a
necklace of amber beads, when she came down to Oxford in the
mid-'seventies to give a course of lectures in the series that Mrs.
Creighton and I were organizing, and I remember well the atmosphere of
sympathy and admiration which surrounded her as she spoke to an audience
in which many of us were well acquainted with the heroic story of Mr.
Fawcett's blindness, and of the part played by his wife in enabling him
to continue his economic and Parliamentary work.

But life then was not all lectures!--nor was it all Oxford. There were
vacations, and vacations generally meant for us some weeks, at least, of
travel, even when pence were fewest. The Christmas vacation of 1874 we
were in Paris. The weather was bitter, and we were lodged, for
cheapness' sake, in an old-fashioned hotel, where the high canopied beds
with their mountainous duvets were very difficult to wake up in on a
cold morning. But in spite of snow and sleet we filled our days to the
brim. We took with us some introductions from Oxford--to Madame Mohl,
the Renans, the Gaston Parises, the Boutmys, the Ribots, and, from my
Uncle Matthew, to the Scherers at Versailles. Monsieur Taine was already
known to us, and it was at their house, on one of Madame Taine's
Thursdays, that I first heard French conversation at its best. There was
a young man there, dark-eyed, dark-haired, to whom I listened--not
always able to follow the rapid French in which he and two other men
were discussing some literary matter of the moment, but conscious, for
the first time, of what the conversation of intellectual equals might
be, if it were always practised as the French are trained to practise it
from their mother's milk, by the influence of a long tradition. The
young man was M. Paul Bourget, who had not yet begun to write novels,
while his literary and philosophical essays seemed rather to mark him
out as the disciple of M. Taine than as the Catholic protagonist he was
soon to become. M. Bourget did not then speak English, and my French
conversation, which had been wholly learned from books, had a way at
that time--and, alack! has still--of breaking down under me, just as one
reached the thing one really wanted to say. So that I did not attempt to
do more than listen. But I seem to remember that those with whom he
talked were M. Francis Charmes, then a writer on the staff of the
_Débats_, and afterward the editor of the _Revue des deux Mondes_ in
succession to M. Brunetière; and M. Gaston Paris, the brilliant head of
French philology at the Collège de France. What struck me then, and
through all the new experiences and new acquaintanceships of our
Christmas fortnight, was that strenuous and passionate intensity of the
French temper, which foreign nations so easily lose sight of, but which,
in truth, is as much part of the French nature as their gaiety, or as
what seems to us their frivolity. The war of 1870, the Commune, were but
three years behind them. Germany had torn from them Alsace-Lorraine; she
had occupied Paris; and their own Jacobins had ruined and burned what
even Germany had spared. In the minds of the intellectual class there
lay deep, on the one hand, a determination to rebuild France; on the
other, to avenge her defeat. The blackened ruins of the Tuileries and of
the Cour des Comptes still disfigured a city which grimly kept them
there as a warning against anarchy; while the statue of the Ville de
Strasbourg in the Place de la Concorde had worn for three years the
funeral garlands, which, as France confidently hopes, the peace that
will end this war will, after nearly half a century, give way once more
to the rejoicing tricolor. At the same time reconstruction was
everywhere beginning--especially in the field of education. The corrupt,
political influence of the Empire, which had used the whole educational
system of the country for the purpose of keeping itself and its
supporters in power, was at an end. The recognized "École Normale" was
becoming a source of moral and mental strength among thousands of young
men and women; and the "École des Sciences politiques," the joint work
of Taine, Renan, and M. Boutmy, its first director, was laying
foundations whereof the results are to be seen conspicuously to-day, in
French character, French resource, French patience, French science, as
this hideous war has revealed them.

I remember an illuminating talk with M. Renan himself on this subject
during our visit. We had never yet seen him, and we carried an
introduction to him from Max Müller, our neighbor and friend in Oxford.
We found him alone, in a small working-room crowded with books, at the
College de France. Madame Renan was away, and he had abandoned his large
library for something more easily warmed. My first sight of him was
something of a shock--of the large, ungainly figure, the genial face
with its spreading cheeks and humorous eyes, the big head with its
scanty locks of hair. I think he felt an amused and kindly interest in
the two young folk from Oxford who had come as pilgrims to his shrine,
and, realizing that our French was not fluent and our shyness great, he
filled up the time--and the gaps--by a monologue, lit up by many touches
of Renanesque humor, on the situation in France.

First, as to literature--"No, we have no genius, no poets or writers of
the first rank just now--at least so it seems to me. But we _work--nous
travaillons beaucoup! Ce sera noire salut_." It was the same as to
politics. He had no illusions and few admirations. "The Chamber is full
of mediocrities. We are governed by _avocats_ and _pharmaciens_. But at
least _Ils ne feront pas la guerre_!"

He smiled, but there was that in the smile and the gesture which showed
the smart within; from which not even his scholar's philosophy, with its
ideal of a world of cosmopolitan science, could protect him. At that
moment he was inclined to despair of his country. The mad adventure of
the Commune had gone deep into his soul, and there were still a good
many pacifying years to run, before he could talk of his life as "_cette
charmante promenade à travers la realité_"--for which, with all it had
contained of bad and good, he yet thanked the Gods. At that time he was
fifty-one; he had just published _L'Antichrist,_ the most brilliant of
all the volumes of the "Origines"; and he was not yet a member of the
French Academy.

I turn to a few other impressions from that distant time. One night we
were in the Théâtre Français, and Racine's "Phèdre" was to be given. I
at least had never been in the Maison de Molière before, and in such
matters as acting I possessed, at twenty-three, only a very raw and
country-cousinish judgment. There had been a certain amount of talk in
Oxford of a new and remarkable French actress, but neither of us had
really any idea of what was before us. Then the play began. And before
the first act was over we were sitting, bent forward, gazing at the
stage in an intense and concentrated excitement such as I can scarcely
remember ever feeling again, except perhaps when the same actress played
"Hernani" in London for the first time in 1884. Sarah Bernhardt was
then--December, 1874--in the first full tide of her success. She was of
a ghostly and willowy slenderness. Each of the great speeches seemed
actually to rend the delicate frame. When she fell back after one of
them you felt an actual physical terror lest there should not be enough
life left in the slight, dying woman to let her speak again. And you
craved for yet more and more of the _voix d'or_ which rang in one's ears
as the frail yet exquisite instrument of a mighty music. Never before
had it been brought home to me what dramatic art might be, or the power
of the French Alexandrine. And never did I come so near quarreling with
"Uncle Matt" as when, on our return, after having heard my say about the
genius of Sarah Bernhardt, he patted my hand indulgently with the
remark, "But, my dear child, you see, you never saw Rachel!"

As we listened to Sarah Bernhardt we were watching the outset of a great
career which had still some forty years to run. On another evening we
made acquaintance with a little old woman who had been born in the first
year of the Terror, who had spent her first youth in the _salon_ of
Madame Récamier, valued there, above all, for her difficult success in
drawing a smile from that old and melancholy genius, Châteaubriand; and
had since held a _salon_ of her own, which deserves a special place in
the history of _salons_. For it was held, according to the French
tradition, and in Paris, by an Englishwoman. It was, I think, Max Müller
who gave us an introduction to Madame Mohl. She sent us an invitation to
one of her Friday evenings, and we duly mounted to the top of the old
house in the Rue du Bac which she made famous for so long. As we entered
the room I saw a small disheveled figure, gray-headed, crouching beside
a grate, with a kettle in her hand. It was Madame Mohl--then eighty-
one--who was trying to make the fire burn. She just raised herself to
greet us, with a swift investigating glance; and then returned to her
task of making the tea, in which I endeavored to help her. But she did
not like to be helped, and I soon subsided into my usual listening and
watching, which, perhaps, for one who at that time was singularly
immature in all social respects, was the best policy. I seem still to
see the tall, substantial form of Julius Mohl standing behind her, with
various other elderly men who were no doubt famous folk, if one had
known their names. And in the corner was the Spartan tea-table, with its
few biscuits, which stood for the plain living whereon was nourished the
high thinking and high talking which had passed through these rooms.
Guizot, Cousin, Ampère, Fauriel, Mignet, Lamartine, all the great men of
the middle century had talked there; not, in general, the poets and the
artists, but the politicians, the historians, and the _savants_. The
little Fairy Blackstick, incredibly old, kneeling on the floor, with the
shabby dress and tousled gray hair, had made a part of the central scene
in France, through the Revolution, the reign of the Citizen king, and
the Second Empire--playing the rôle, through it all, of a good friend of
freedom. If only one had heard her talk! But there were few people in
the room, and we were none of us inspired. I must sadly put down that
Friday evening among the lost opportunities of life. For Mrs. Simpson's
biography of Madame Mohl shows what a wealth of wit and memory there was
in that small head! Her social sense, her humor, never deserted her,
though she lived to be ninety. When she was dying, her favorite cat, a
tom, leaped on her bed. Her eyes lit up as she feebly stroked him. "He
is so distinguished!" she whispered. "But his wife is not distinguished
at all. He doesn't know it. But many men are like that." It was one of
the last sayings of an expert in the human scene.

Madame Mohl was twenty-one when the Allies entered Paris in 1814. She
had lived with those to whom the fall of the _Ancien Régime_, the
Terror, and the Revolutionary wars had been the experience of middle
life. As I look back to the _salon_ in the Rue du Bac, which I saw in
such a flash, yet where my hand rested for a moment in that of Madame
Récamier's pet and protegée, I am reminded, too, that I once saw, at the
Forsters', in 1869, when I was eighteen, the Doctor Lushington who was
Lady Byron's adviser and confidant when she left her husband, and who,
as a young man, had stayed with Pitt and ridden out with Lady Hester
Stanhope. One night, in Eccleston Square, we assembled for dinner in the
ground-floor library instead of the drawing-room, which was up-stairs. I
slipped in late, and saw in an arm-chair, his hands resting on a stick,
an old, white-haired man. When dinner was announced--if I remember
right--he was wheeled into the dining-room, to a place beside my aunt. I
was too far away to hear him talk, and he went home after dinner. But it
was one of the guests of the evening, a friend of his, who said to me--
with a kindly wish, no doubt, to thrill the girl just "out": "You ought
to remember Doctor Lushington! What are you?--eighteen?--and he is
eighty-six. He was in the theater on the night when the news reached
London of Marie Antoinette's execution, and he can remember, though he
was only a boy of eleven, how it was given out from the stage, and how
the audience instantly broke up."

Doctor Lushington, of course, carries one farther back than Madame Mohl.
He was born in 1782, four years after the deaths of Rousseau and
Voltaire, two years before the death of Diderot. He was only six years
younger than Lady Hester Stanhope, whose acquaintance he made during the
three years--1803-1806--when she was keeping house for her uncle,
William Pitt.

But on my right hand at the same dinner-party there sat a guest who was
to mean a good deal more to me personally than Doctor Lushington--young
Mr. George Otto Trevelyan, as he then was, Lord Macaulay's nephew,
already the brilliant author of _A Competition Wallah, Ladies in
Parliament_, and much else. We little thought, as we talked, that after
thirty-five years his son was to marry my daughter.



If these are to be the recollections of a writer, in which perhaps other
writers by profession, as well as the more general public, may take some
interest, I shall perhaps be forgiven if I give some account of the
processes of thought and work which led to the writing of my first
successful novel, _Robert Elsmere_.

It was in 1878 that a new editor was appointed for one of the huge well-
known volumes, in which under the aegis of the John Murray of the day,
the _Nineteenth Century_ was accustomed to concentrate its knowledge--
classical, historical, and theological--in convenient, if not exactly
handy, form. Doctor Wace, now a Canon of Canterbury, was then an
indefatigable member of the _Times_ staff. Yet he undertook this extra
work, and carried it bravely through. He came to Oxford to beat up
recruits for Smith's _Dictionary of Christian Biography_, a companion
volume to that of _Classical Biography_, and dealing with the first
seven centuries of Christianity. He had been told that I had been
busying myself with early Spain, and he came to me to ask whether I
would take the Spanish lives for the period, especially those concerned
with the West-Goths in Spain; while at the same time he applied to
various Oxford historians for work on the Ostrogoths and the Franks.

I was much tempted, but I had a good deal to consider. The French and
Spanish reading it involved was no difficulty. But the power of reading
Latin rapidly, both the degraded Latin of the fifth and sixth centuries
and the learned Latin of the sixteenth and seventeenth, was essential;
and I had only learned some Latin since my marriage, and was by no means
at home in it. I had long since found out, too, in working at the
Spanish literature of the eleventh to the fourteenth century, that the
only critics and researches worth following in that field were German;
and though I had been fairly well grounded in German at school, and had
read a certain amount, the prospect of a piece of work which meant, in
the main, Latin texts and German commentaries, was rather daunting. The
well-trained woman student of the present day would have felt probably
no such qualms. But I had not been well trained; and the Pattison
standards of what work should be stood like dragons in the way.

However, I took the plunge, and I have always been grateful to Canon
Wace. The sheer, hard, brain-stretching work of the two or three years
which followed I look back to now with delight. It altered my whole
outlook and gave me horizons and sympathies that I have never lost,
however dim all the positive knowledge brought me by the work has long
since become. The strange thing was that out of the work which seemed
both to myself and others to mark the abandonment of any foolish hopes
of novel-writing I might have cherished as a girl, _Robert Elsmere_
should have arisen. For after my marriage I had made various attempts to
write fiction. They were clearly failures. J. R. G. dealt very
faithfully with me on the subject; and I could only conclude that the
instinct to tell stories which had been so strong in me as a child and
girl meant nothing, and was to be suppressed. I did, indeed, write a
story for my children, which came out in 1880--_Milly and Olly_; but
that wrote itself and was a mere transcript of their little lives.

And yet I venture to think it was, after all, the instinct for "making
out," as the Brontës used to call their own wonderful story-telling
passion, which rendered this historical work so enthralling to me. Those
far-off centuries became veritably alive to me--the Arian kings fighting
an ever-losing battle against the ever-encroaching power of the Catholic
Church, backed by the still lingering and still potent ghost of the
Roman Empire; the Catholic Bishops gathering, sometimes through winter
snow, to their Councils at Seville and Toledo; the centers of culture in
remote corners of the peninsula, where men lived with books and holy
things, shrinking from the wild life around them, and handing on the
precious remnants and broken traditions of the older classical world;
the mutual scorn of Goth and Roman; martyrs, fanatics, heretics,
nationalists, and cosmopolitans; and, rising upon, enveloping them all,
as the seventh and eighth centuries drew on, the tide of Islam, and the
menace of that time when the great church of Cordova should be half a
mosque and half a Christian cathedral.

I lived, indeed, in that old Spain, while I was at work in the Bodleian
and at home. To spend hours and days over the signatures to an obscure
Council, identifying each name so far as the existing materials allowed,
and attaching to it some fragment of human interest, so that gradually
something of a picture emerged, as of a thing lost and recovered--
dredged up from the deeps of time--that, I think, was the joy of it all.

I see, in memory, the small Oxford room, as it was on a winter evening,
between nine and midnight, my husband in one corner preparing his
college lectures, or writing a "Saturday" "middle"; my books and I in
another; the reading-lamp, always to me a symbol of peace and
"recollection"; the Oxford quiet outside. And yet, it was not so
tranquil as it looked. For beating round us all the time were the
spiritual winds of an agitated day. The Oxford of thought was not quiet;
it was divided, as I have shown, by sharper antagonisms and deeper feuds
than exist to-day. Darwinism was penetrating everywhere; Pusey was
preaching against its effects on belief; Balliol stood for an unfettered
history and criticism, Christ Church for authority and creeds; Renan's
_Origines_ were still coming out, Strauss's last book also; my uncle was
publishing _God and the Bible_ in succession to _Literature and Dogma_;
and _Supernatural Religion_ was making no small stir. And meanwhile what
began to interest and absorb me were _sources_--_testimony_. To what--to
whom--did it all go back, this great story of early civilization, early
religion, which modern men could write and interpret so differently?

And on this question the writers and historians of four early centuries,
from the fifth to the ninth, as I lived with them, seemed to throw a
partial, but yet a searching, light. I have expressed it in _Robert
Elsmere_. Langham and Robert, talking in the Squire's library on
Robert's plans for a history of Gaul during the breakdown of the Empire
and the emergence of modern France, come to the vital question: "History
depends on _testimony_. What is the nature and virtue of testimony at
given times? In other words, did the man of the third century
understand, or report, or interpret facts in the same way as the man of
the sixteenth or the nineteenth? And if not, what are the differences?--
and what are the deductions to be made from them?"

Robert replies that his work has not yet dug deep enough to make him
answer the question.

"It is enormously important, I grant--enormously," he repeated,

On which Langham says to himself, though not to Elsmere, that the whole
of "orthodoxy" is in it, and depends on it.

And in a later passage, when Elsmere is mastering the "Quellen" of his
subject, he expresses himself with bewilderment to Catherine on this
same subject of "testimony." He is immersed in the chronicles and
biographies of the fifth and sixth centuries. Every history, every
biography, is steeped in marvel. A man divided by only a few years from
the bishop or saint whose life he is writing reports the most fantastic
miracles. What is the psychology of it all? The whole age seems to
Robert "non-sane." And, meanwhile, across and beyond the medieval
centuries, behind the Christian era itself, the modern student looks
back inevitably, involuntarily, to certain Greeks and certain Latins,
who "represent a forward strain," who intellectually "belong to a world
ahead of them." "You"--he says to them--"_you_ are really my kindred."

That, after all, I tried to express this intellectual experience--which
was, of course, an experience of my own--not in critical or historical
work, but in a novel, that is to say in terms of human life, was the
result of an incident which occurred toward the close of our lives in
Oxford. It was not long after the appearance of _Supernatural Religion_,
and the rise of that newer school of Biblical criticism in Germany
expressed by the once-honored name of Doctor Harnack. Darwinian debate
in the realm of natural science was practically over. The spread of
evolutionary ideas in the fields of history and criticism was the real
point of interest. Accordingly, the University pulpit was often filled
by men endeavoring "to fit a not very exacting science to a very
grudging orthodoxy"; and the heat of an ever-strengthening controversy
was in the Oxford air.

In 1881, as it happened, the Bampton Lectures were preached by the Rev.
John Wordsworth, then Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose, and, later, Bishop
of Salisbury. He and my husband--who, before our marriage, was also a
Fellow of Brasenose--were still tutorial colleagues, and I therefore
knew him personally, and his first wife, the brilliant daughter of the
beloved Bodley's Librarian of my day, Mr. Coxe. We naturally attended
Mr. Wordsworth's first Bampton. He belonged, very strongly, to what I
have called the Christ Church camp; while we belonged, very strongly, to
the Balliol camp. But no one could fail to respect John Wordsworth
deeply; while his connection with his great-uncle, the poet, to whom he
bore a strong personal likeness, gave him always a glamour in my eyes.
Still, I remember going with a certain shrinking; and it was the shock
of indignation excited in me by the sermon which led directly--though
after seven intervening years--to _Robert Elsmere._

The sermon was on "The present unsettlement in religion"; and it
connected the "unsettlement" definitely with "sin." The "moral causes of
unbelief," said the preacher, "were (1) prejudice; (2) severe claims of
religion; (3) intellectual faults, especially indolence, coldness,
recklessness, pride, and avarice."

The sermon expounded and developed this outline with great vigor, and
every skeptical head received its due buffeting in a tone and fashion
that now scarcely survive. I sat in the darkness under the gallery. The
preacher's fine ascetic face was plainly visible in the middle light of
the church; and while the confident priestly voice flowed on, I seemed
to see, grouped around the speaker, the forms of those, his colleagues
and contemporaries, the patient scholars and thinkers of the Liberal
host, Stanley, Jowett, Green of Balliol, Lewis Nettleship, Henry
Sidgwick, my uncle, whom he, in truth--though perhaps not consciously--
was attacking. My heart was hot within me. How could one show England
what was really going on in her midst? Surely the only way was through
imagination; through a picture of actual life and conduct; through
something as "simple, sensuous, passionate" as one could make it. Who
and what were the persons of whom the preacher gave this grotesque
account? What was their history? How had their thoughts and doubts come
to be? What was the effect of them on conduct?

The _immediate_ result of the sermon, however, was a pamphlet called
_Unbelief and Sin: a Protest addressed to those who attended the Bampton
Lecture of Sunday, March 6th_. It was rapidly written and printed, and
was put up in the windows of a well-known shop in the High Street. In
the few hours of its public career it enjoyed a very lively sale. Then
an incident--quite unforeseen by its author--slit its little life! A
well-known clergyman walked into the shop and asked for the pamphlet. He
turned it over, and at once pointed out to one of the partners of the
firm in the shop that there was no printer's name upon it. The
booksellers who had produced the pamphlet, no doubt with an eye to their
large clerical _clientèle_, had omitted the printer's name, and the
omission was illegal. Pains and penalties were threatened, and the
frightened booksellers at once withdrew the pamphlet and sent word of
what had happened to my much-astonished self, who had neither noticed
the omission nor was aware of the law. But Doctor Foulkes, the clergyman
in question--no one that knew the Oxford of my day will have forgotten
his tall, militant figure, with the defiant white hair and the long
clerical coat, as it haunted the streets of the University!--had only
stimulated the tare he seemed to have rooted up. For the pamphlet thus
easily suppressed was really the germ of the later book; in that,
without attempting direct argument, it merely sketched two types of
character: the character that either knows no doubts or has suppressed
them, and the character that fights its stormy way to truth.

The latter was the first sketch of _Robert Elsmere_. That same evening,
at a College party, Professor Green came up to me. I had sent him the
pamphlet the night before, and had not yet had a word from him. His kind
brown eyes smiled upon me as he said a hearty "thank you," adding "a
capital piece of work," or something to that effect; after which my
spirits were quite equal to telling him the story of Doctor Foulkes's

       *       *       *       *       *

The year 1880-81, however, was marked for me by three other events of
quite a different kind: Monsieur Renan's visit to Oxford, my husband's
acceptance of a post on the staff of the _Times_, and a visit that we
paid to the W.E. Forsters in Ireland, in December, 1880, at almost the
blackest moment of the Irish land-war.

Of Renan's visit I have mingled memories--all pleasant, but some touched
with comedy. Gentle Madame Renan came with her famous husband and soon
won all hearts. Oxford in mid-April was then, as always, a dream of
gardens just coming into leaf, enchasing buildings of a silvery gray,
and full to the brim of the old walls with the early blossom--almond, or
cherry, or flowering currant. M. Renan was delivering the Hibbert
Lectures in London, and came down to stay for a long week-end with our
neighbors, the Max Müllers. Doctor Hatch was then preaching the Bampton
Lectures, that first admirable series of his on the debt of the Church
to Latin organization, and M. Renan attended one of them. He had himself
just published _Marc Aurèle_, and Doctor Hatch's subject was closely
akin to that of his own Hibbert Lectures. I remember seeing him emerge
from the porch of St. Mary's, his strange, triangular face pleasantly
dreamy. "You were interested?" said some one at his elbow. "_Mais oui_!"
said M. Renan, smiling. "He might have given my lecture, and I might
have preached his sermon! _(Nous aurions du changer de cahiers_!)" Renan
in the pulpit of Pusey, Newman, and Burgon would indeed have been a
spectacle of horror to the ecclesiastical mind. I remember once, many
years after, following the _parroco_ of Castel Gandolfo, through the
dreary and deserted rooms of the Papal villa, where, before 1870, the
Popes used to make _villegiatura_, on that beautiful ridge overlooking
the Alban lake. All the decoration of the villa seemed to me curiously
tawdry and mean. But suddenly my attention was arrested by a great
fresco covering an entire wall. It represented the triumph of the Papacy
over the infidel of all dates. A Pope sat enthroned, wearing the triple
crown, with angels hovering overhead; and in a huge brazier at his feet
burned the writings of the world's heretics. The blazing volumes were

We passed on through the empty rooms, and the _parroco_ locked the door
behind us. I thought, as we walked away, of the summer light fading from
the childish picture, painted probably not long before the entry of the
Italian troops into Rome, and of all that was symbolized by it and the
deserted villa, to which the "prisoner of the Vatican" no longer
returns. But at least Rome had given Ernest Renan no mean place among
her enemies--Arius, Luther, Voltaire--_Renan_!

But in truth, Renan, personally, was not the enemy of any church, least
of all of the great Church which had trained his youth. He was a born
scholar and thinker, in temper extremely gentle and scrupulous, and with
a sense of humor, or rather irony, not unlike that of Anatole France,
who has learned much from him. There was, of course, a streak in him of
that French paradox, that impish trifling with things fundamental, which
the English temperament dislikes and resents; as when he wrote the
_Abbesse de Jouarre_, or threw out the whimsical doubt in a passing
sentence of one of his latest books, whether, after all, his life of
labor and self-denial had been worth while, and whether, if he had lived
the life of an Epicurean, like Théophile Gautier, he might not have got
more out of existence. "He was really a good and great man," said
Jowett, writing after his death. But "I regret that he wrote at the end
of his life that strange drama about the Reign of Terror."

There are probably few of M. Renan's English admirers who do not share
the regret. At the same time, there, for all to see, is the long life as
it was lived--of the ever-toiling scholar and thinker, the devoted
husband and brother, the admirable friend. And certainly, during the
Oxford visit I remember, M. Renan was at his best. He was in love--
apparently--with Oxford, and his charm, his gaiety, played over all that
we presented to him. I recall him in Wadham Gardens, wandering in a kind
of happy dream--"Ah, if one had only such places as this to work in, in
France! What pages--and how perfect!--one might write here!" Or again,
in a different scene, at luncheon in our little house in the Parks, when
Oxford was showing, even more than usual, its piteous inability to talk
decently to the great man in his own tongue. It is true that he neither
understood ours--in conversation--nor spoke a word of it. But that did
not at all mitigate our own shame--and surprise! For at that time, in
the Oxford world proper, everybody, probably, read French habitually,
and many of us thought we spoke it. But a mocking spirit suggested to
one of the guests at this luncheon-party--an energetic historical
tutor--the wish to enlighten M. Renan as to how the University was
governed, the intricacies of Convocation and Congregation, the
Hebdomadal Council, and all the rest. The other persons present fell at
first breathlessly silent, watching the gallant but quite hopeless
adventure. Then, in sheer sympathy with a good man in trouble, one after
another we rushed in to help, till the constitution of the University
must have seemed indeed a thing of Bedlam to our smiling but much-
puzzled guest; and all our cheeks were red. But M. Renan cut the knot.
Since he could not understand, and we could not explain, what the
constitution of Oxford University _was_, he suavely took up his parable
as to what it should be. He drew the ideal University, as it were, in
the clouds; clothing his notion, as he went on, in so much fun and so
much charm, that his English hosts more than forgot their own defeat in
his success. The little scene has always remained with me as a crowning
instance of the French genius for conversation. Throw what obstacles in
the way you please; it will surmount them all.

To judge, however, from M. Renan's letter to his friend, M. Berthelot,
written from Oxford on this occasion, he was not so much pleased as we
thought he was, or as we were with him. He says, "Oxford is the
strangest relic of the past, the type of living death. Each of its
colleges is a terrestrial paradise, but a deserted Paradise." (I see
from the date that the visit took place in the Easter vacation!) And he
describes the education given as "purely humanist and clerical,"
administered to "a gilded youth that comes to chapel in surplices. There
is an almost total absence of the scientific spirit." And the letter
further contains a mild gibe at All Souls, for its absentee Fellows.
"The lawns are admirable, and the Fellows eat up the college revenues,
hunting and shooting up and down England. Only one of them works--my
kind host, Max Müller."

At that moment the list of the Fellows of All Souls contained the names
of men who have since rendered high service to England; and M. Renan was
probably not aware that the drastic reforms introduced by the two great
University Commissions of 1854 and 1877 had made the sarcastic picture
he drew for his friend not a little absurd. No doubt a French
intellectual will always feel that the mind-life of England is running
at a slower pace than that of his own country. But if Renan had worked
for a year in Oxford, the old priestly training in him, based so solidly
on the moral discipline of St. Nicholas and St. Sulpice, would have
become aware of much else. I like to think that he would have echoed the
verdict on the Oxford undergraduate of a young and brilliant Frenchman
who spent much time at Oxford fifteen years later. "There is no
intellectual _élite_ here so strong as ours (i.e., among French
students)," says M. Jacques Bardouz, "but they undoubtedly have a
political _élite_, and, a much rarer thing, a moral _élite_.... What an
environment!--and how full is this education of moral stimulus and

Has not every word of this been justified to the letter by the
experience of the war?

After the present cataclysm, we know very well that we shall have to
improve and extend our higher education. Only, in building up the new,
let us not lose grip upon the irreplaceable things of the old!

It was not long after M. Renan's visit that, just as we were starting
for a walk on a May afternoon, the second post brought my husband a
letter which changed our lives. It contained a suggestion that my
husband should take work on the _Times_ as a member of the editorial
staff. We read it in amazement, and walked on to Port Meadow. It was a
fine day. The river was alive with boats; in the distance rose the
towers and domes of the beautiful city; and the Oxford magic blew about
us in the summer wind. It seemed impossible to leave the dear Oxford
life! All the drawbacks and difficulties of the new proposal presented
themselves; hardly any of the advantages. As for me, I was convinced we
must and should refuse, and I went to sleep in that conviction.

But the mind travels far--and mysteriously--in sleep. With the first
words that my husband and I exchanged in the morning, we knew that the
die was cast and that our Oxford days were over.

The rest of the year was spent in preparation for the change; and in the
Christmas vacation of 1880-81 my husband wrote his first "leaders" for
the paper. But before that we went for a week to Dublin to stay with the
Forsters, at the Chief Secretary's Lodge.

A visit I shall never forget! It was the first of the two terrible
winters my uncle spent in Dublin as Chief Secretary, and the struggle
with the Land League was at its height. Boycotting, murder, and outrage
filled the news of every day. Owing to the refusal of the Liberal
Government to renew the Peace Preservation Act when they took office in
1880--a disastrous but perhaps intelligible mistake--the Chief
Secretary, when we reached Dublin, was facing an agrarian and political
revolt of the most determined character, with nothing but the ordinary
law, resting on juries and evidence, as his instrument--an instrument
which the Irish Land League had taken good care to shatter in his hands.
Threatening letters were flowing in upon both himself and my godmother;
and the tragedy of 1882, with the revelations as to the various murder
plots of the time, to which it led, were soon to show how terrible was
the state of the country and how real the danger in which he personally
stood. But, none the less, social life had to be carried on;
entertainments had to be given; and we went over, if I remember right,
for the two Christmas balls to be given by the Chief Secretary and the
Viceroy. On myself, fresh from the quiet Oxford life, the Irish
spectacle, seen from such a point of view, produced an overwhelming
impression. And the dancing, the visits and dinner-parties, the keeping
up of a brave social show--quite necessary and right under the
circumstances!--began to seem to me, after only twenty-four hours, like
some pageant seen under a thunder-cloud.

Mr. Forster had then little more than five years to live. He was on the
threshold of the second year of his Chief-Secretary ship. During the
first year he had faced the difficulties of the position in Ireland, and
the perpetual attacks of the Irish Members in Parliament, with a
physical nerve and power still intact. I can recall my hot sympathy with
him during 1880, while with one hand he was fighting the Land League and
with the other--a fact never sufficiently recognized--giving all the
help he could to the preparation of Mr. Gladstone's second Land Act. The
position then was hard, sometimes heartbreaking; but it was not beyond
his strength. The second year wore him out. The unlucky Protection Act--
an experiment for which the Liberal Cabinet and even its Radical
Members, Mr. Bright and Mr. Chamberlain, were every whit as chargeable
as himself--imposed a personal responsibility on him for every case out
of the many hundreds of prisoners made under the Act, which was in
itself intolerable. And while he tried in front to dam back the flood of
Irish outrage, English Radicalism at his heels was making the task
impossible. What he was doing satisfied nobody, least of all himself.
The official and land-owning classes in Ireland, the Tories in England,
raged because, in spite of the Act, outrage continued; the Radical party
in the country, which had always disliked the Protection Act, and the
Radical press, were on the lookout for every sign of failure; while the
daily struggle in the House with the Irish Members while Parliament was
sitting, in addition to all the rest, exhausted a man on whose decision
important executive acts, dealing really with a state of revolution,
were always depending. All through the second year, as it seemed to me,
he was overwhelmed by a growing sense of a monstrous and insoluble
problem, to which no one, through nearly another forty years--not Mr.
Gladstone with his Home Rule Acts, as we were soon to see, nor Mr.
Balfour's wonderful brain-power sustained by a unique temperament--was
to find the true key. It is not found yet. Twenty years of Tory
Government practically solved the Land Question and agricultural Ireland
has begun to be rich. But the past year has seen an Irish rebellion; a
Home Rule Act has at last, after thirty years, been passed, and is dead
before its birth; while at the present moment an Irish Convention is
sitting.[1] Thirty-six years have gone since my husband and I walked
with William Forster through the Phoenix Park, over the spot where, a
year later, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke were murdered. And
still the Aeschylean "curse" goes on, from life to life, from Government
to Government. When will the Furies of the past become the "kind
goddesses" of the future--and the Irish and English peoples build them a
shrine of reconciliation?

[Footnote 1: These words were written in the winter of 1917. At the
present moment (June, 1918) we have just seen the deportation of the
Sinn Feiners, and are still expecting yet another Home Rule Bill!]

With such thoughts one looks back over the past. Amid its darkness, I
shall always see the pathetic figure of William Forster, the man of
Quaker training, at grips with murder and anarchy; the man of sensitive,
affectionate spirit, weighed down under the weight of rival appeals, now
from the side of democracy, now from the side of authority; bitterly
conscious, as an English Radical, of his breach with Radicalism; still
more keenly sensitive, as a man responsible for the executive government
of a country, in which the foundations had given way, to that atmosphere
of cruelty and wrong in which the Land League moved, and to the hideous
instances poured every day into his ears.

He bore it for more than a year after we saw him in Ireland at his
thankless work. It was our first year in London, and we were near enough
to watch closely the progress of his fight. But it was a fight not to be
won. The spring of 1882 saw his resignation--on May 2d--followed on May
6th by the Phoenix Park murders and the long and gradual disintegration
of the powerful Ministry of 1880, culminating in the Home Rule disaster
of 1886. Mr. Churchill in the _Life_ of his father, Lord Randolph, says
of Mr. Forster's resignation, "he passed out of the Ministry to become
during the rest of Parliament one of its most dangerous and vigilant
opponents." The physical change, indeed, caused by the Irish struggle,
which was for a time painfully evident to the House of Commons, seemed
to pass away with rest and travel. The famous attack he made on Parnell
in the spring of 1883, as the responsible promoter of outrage in
Ireland, showed certainly no lack of power--rather an increase. I
happened to be in the House the following day, to hear Parnell's reply.
I remember my uncle's taking me down with him to the House, and begging
a seat for me in Mrs. Brand's gallery. The figure of Parnell; the
speech, nonchalant, terse, defiant, without a single grace of any kind,
his hands in the pockets of his coat; and the tense silence of the
crowded House, remain vividly with me. Afterward my uncle came up-stairs
for me, and we descended toward Palace Yard through various side-
passages. Suddenly a door communicating with the House itself opened in
front of us, and Parnell came out. My uncle pressed my arm and we held
back, while Parnell passed by, somberly absorbed, without betraying by
the smallest movement or gesture any recognition of my uncle's identity.

In other matters--Gordon, Imperial Federation, the Chairmanship of the
Manchester Ship Canal, and the rest--William Forster showed, up till
1885, what his friends fondly hoped was the promise of renewed and
successful work. But in reality he never recovered Ireland. The mark of
those two years had gone too deep. He died in April, 1886, just before
the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, and I have always on the retina
of the inward eye the impression of a moment at the western door of
Westminster Abbey, after the funeral service. The flower-heaped coffin
had gone through. My aunt and her adopted children followed it. After
them came Mr. Gladstone, with other members of the Cabinet. At the
threshold Mr. Gladstone moved forward, and took my aunt's hand, bending
over it bareheaded. Then she went with the dead, and he turned away
toward the House of Commons. To those of us who remembered what the
relations of the dead and the living had once been, and how they had
parted, there was a peculiar pathos in the little scene.

A few days later Mr. Gladstone brought in the Home Rule Bill, and the
two stormy months followed which ended in the Liberal Unionist split and
the defeat of the Bill on June 7th by thirty votes, and were the prelude
to the twenty years of Tory Government. If William Forster had lived,
there is no doubt that he must have played a leading part in the
struggles of that and subsequent sessions. In 1888 Mr. Balfour said to
my husband, after some generous words on the part played by Forster in
those two terrible years: "Forster's loss was irreparable to us [i.e.,
to the Unionist party]. If he and Fawcett had lived, Gladstone could not
have made head."

It has been, I think, widely recognized by men of all parties in recent
years that personally William Forster bore the worst of the Irish day,
whatever men may think of his policy. But, after all, it is not for
this, primarily, that England remembers him. His monument is
everywhere--in the schools that have covered the land since 1870, when
his great Act was passed. And if I have caught a little picture from the
moment when death forestalled that imminent parting between himself and
the great leader he had so long admired and followed, which life could
only have broadened, let me match it by an earlier and happier one,
borrowed from a letter of my own, written to my father when I was
eighteen, and describing the bringing in of the Education Act.

    He sat down amidst loud cheering.... _Gladstone pulled him down with
    a sort of hug of delight._ It is certain that he is very much
    pleased with the Bill, and, what is of great consequence, that he
    thinks the Government has throughout been treated with great
    consideration in it. After the debate he said to Uncle F., "Well, I
    think our pair of ponies will run through together!"

Gladstone's "pony" was, of course, the Land Act of 1870.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Writer's Recollections — Volume 1" ***

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