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Title: Memorials of the Life of Amelia Opie - Selected and Arranged from her Letters, Diaries, and other Manuscripts
Author: Brightwell, C. L. (Cecilia Lucy)
Language: English
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[Illustration]



[Illustration: In loving fellowship farewel! A Opie. 3rd Mo 24th 1841.]



                               MEMORIALS
                                 OF THE

                          LIFE OF AMELIA OPIE,

                         SELECTED AND ARRANGED

                             [Illustration]


                                   BY
                        CECILIA LUCY BRIGHTWELL.

                             [Illustration]

                                NORWICH:
                        FLETCHER AND ALEXANDER;
                     LONDON: LONGMAN, BROWN, & Co.
                 *        *        *        *        *
                               MDCCCLIV.



                                PREFACE.

                 *        *        *        *        *

In the preparation of these Memoirs for publication, the principal part
of the labour has been undertaken by my daughter; the pressure of other
engagements having only permitted me to undertake the general direction
and supervision of the whole.

As the Executor of Mrs. Opie, her papers and letters came into my hands;
and it devolved on me to decide in what way to dispose of them. There
had been, (I believe,) a general impression among her friends, that she
would herself prepare an account of her Life; but although she seems to
have made some efforts at commencing the task, and the subject was often
affectionately recommended, and even urged upon her, she has left it a
matter of regret to her friends, (and especially so to the compilers of
these memoirs,) that no “Autobiography” was found among her papers. Nor
did Mrs. Opie ever distinctly give any directions as to the publication
of her MSS. or any Memoir of her Life; but we have, we think, strong
presumptive evidence, that she anticipated, if not desired, that it
should be done.

Not long before she died, she said, that her Executor would have no
light task with her papers; and a few days before she breathed her last,
when she could no longer hold a pen, she called her attendant to her,
and dictated a most touching and affectionate farewell address, to me
and my daughter, directing the delivery of various small articles as
remembrances to a few most intimate friends, and requesting us to
complete what she had left undone; adding, that she had confidence in
our judgment, and believed that we should “do everything for the best.”

It has been with an earnest desire to justify this trust, and to
perfect, as far as in our power, that which she had, in fact commenced,
but left incomplete, that these pages have been put to the press.

It will be seen, in the course of these Memoirs, that the materials from
which they are compiled, are principally Papers, Letters, and Diaries,
of Mrs. Opie’s own writing; a few Letters preserved by her, and judged
to be of general interest, and bearing upon her history, we have thought
it well to give. It would have been no difficult task, to have greatly
extended these Memoirs, had it been deemed expedient to make a free use
of the Letters received by her, and of which a very large number were
found among her papers; but we have not felt ourselves at liberty to
adopt such a course, and we trust there will be found in this Volume few
(may we say we hope _no_) violations of private and confidential
communications.

My acquaintance with the subject of these Memoirs, commenced nearly
forty years ago; and well do I remember the first impressions made on me
by her frank and open manner, the charm of her fine and animated
countenance, her artless cheerfulness and benevolence, and the
extraordinary powers of her conversation. But it was not till the time
of Dr. Alderson’s last illness, that my acquaintance with Mrs. Opie
ripened into confidential friendship. From that period to the time of
her decease, I had the happiness to enjoy much of her society, and to
hear her recollections of her earlier days, and her graphic descriptions
of the scenes and characters, which had been subjects of interest to her
during the course of her long life; and she subsequently often read me a
large portion of the correspondence she continued to maintain.

Gifted with an extraordinary memory, a reverence for truth, extending
even to the minutest details, a disposition to look at the best side of
everything and everybody, and with almost dramatic power in the
exhibition of character and manners; Mrs. Opie when she entered into any
details of her former life, painted the whole scene with such
truthfulness and power, as to make it live before her hearers, and fix
it in their memory.

As an Author, her works have undergone the ordeal of public criticism,
and some additional testimony is afforded by these Memoirs, to the
favourable impression they made. It will be seen that Sir Walter Scott,
Dr. Chalmers, Southey, and other men of note, alike agreed in paying
their tribute of admiration to her power of touching the heart, and
awakening the softer passions.

The great leading feature of Mrs. Opie’s character was pure, christian
benevolence; charity in its highest sense. None that knew her could fail
to observe this. Unwearied in her efforts to relieve the distresses of
others, and limited in her own means, she was almost ingenious in some
of the methods she devised for doing so, and made it matter of duty to
avail herself of her influence with her wealthier friends to induce them
to assist her endeavours. Her patience in dealing with the incessant
importunities of persons who applied for her aid, was almost _more_ than
exemplary: but she found a blessing in doing good; and, in her parting
address, before alluded to, she has not failed to urge “the remembrance
of the poor, so as to be blessed by them.”

Of her religion, the latter part of this Memoir will best speak, and
especially the short extracts from her private Journals. These, speaking
from the depths of her own heart, shew how holily and humbly she walked
before her God; how strictly she called herself to account day by day;
and how firmly she relied on the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as
her hope in life and support in death.

Mrs. Opie had no liking for religious controversy, and seemed to me
always desirous of avoiding it. I believe she disliked dogmatic theology
altogether. Her religion was the “shewing out of a good conversation her
works, with meekness of wisdom.”

She ever deemed her union with “the Friends” the happiest event of her
life; and she did honour to her profession of their principles, by
shewing that they were not incompatible with good manners and refined
taste. She met with some among them who have always appeared to me to
come the nearest to the standard of christian perfection; _these_ were
her dearest friends on earth, and she is now, with them, numbered among
the blessed dead who have died in the Lord, who have ceased from their
labours, and whose works do follow them.

                                                      THOMAS BRIGHTWELL.
  Norwich, May, 1854.



    A SECOND EDITION _of this work having been speedily called for,
    the Author has found but little opportunity for making additions
    to it, and the present is, therefore, excepting some trifling
    omissions, and the introduction of a few additional lines,
    simply a reprint of the former volume._

                                                 C. L. BRIGHTWELL.
      Norwich, July, 1854.



                               CONTENTS.

                 *        *        *        *        *

                               CHAPTER I.

    Birth and Parentage; her Father; her Mother’s Family; her
    Mother; Sonnet to her Mother’s Memory; Early Reminiscences;
    Early Terrors and their Cure; the Black Man; Crazy Women;
    Bedlam; Visits to the Inmates; Early Training; the Female
    Sailor; Abrupt Conclusion       1

                              CHAPTER II.

    First Sorrow; the Assizes; Sir Henry Gould; the Usury Cause;
    “Christian;” Mr. Bruckner; Girlish Days; her Friendship with
    Mrs. Taylor; Mrs. T.’s Memoir of her       22

                              CHAPTER III.

    Norfolk and Norwich, and their Inhabitants; Young Love; the
    Drama; Song writing and Cromer; Politics; Visit to London;
    Letters from thence; the Old Bailey Trials      34

                              CHAPTER IV.

    French Emigrants; Letter to Mrs. Taylor; Letter of the Duke
    d’Aiguillon; Visit to London and Letter from thence; London
    again; Letter from Mrs. Wollstonecroft; First introduction to
    Mr. Opie; Mr. Opie’s early history; Return to Norwich;
    Preparations for Marriage      51

                               CHAPTER V.

    Marriage; Early Ménage; Authorship; Lay on portrait of Mrs.
    Twiss; Letter to Mrs. Taylor; Visit to Norwich; Letter from Mr.
    Opie; Mrs. Opie to Mrs. Taylor; Mr. Opie’s Mother      68

                              CHAPTER VI.

    “The Father and Daughter;” Critique in the Edinburgh; three
    Letters to Mrs. Taylor; volume of “Poems;” “Go, youth beloved;”
    Letter from Sir J. Mackintosh; S. Smith’s Lecture      79

                              CHAPTER VII.

    The Trials of Genius; Domestic Troubles; Letters to Mrs. Taylor;
    Journey to France; Arrival at Paris; the Louvre; the First
    Consul; Charles James Fox; The Soirée; Kosciusko      91

                             CHAPTER VIII.

    The Review and Buonaparte; “Fesch;” General Massena; Return to
    England; Letter to Mrs. Colombine Visit to Norwich; “Adeline
    Mowbray;” Letter to Mrs. Taylor; Mr. Erskine      108

                              CHAPTER IX.

    Prosperity; “Simple Tales;” Visit to Southill; Lady Roslyn; Mr.
    Opie’s “Lectures;” his Illness; his Death      125

                               CHAPTER X.

    Return to Norwich; “Poems;” Memoir of her Husband; Letter from
    Lady Charleville; from Mrs. Inchbald; Visit to London; Party at
    Lady E. Whitbread’s; Visit to Cromer; “Temper;” “Tales of Real
    Life;” Soirée at Madame de Staël’s      135

                              CHAPTER XI.

    Letters of Mrs. Opie to Dr. Alderson, written during her visit
    in London in the year 1814      146

                              CHAPTER XII.

    Friendship with the Gurney family; two Letters from Mr. J. J.
    Gurney; Death of his Brother; Mrs. Opie’s Return from London;
    Early Religious Opinions; Mrs. Roberts; Recollections of Sir W.
    Scott; Visit to Edinburgh; “Valentine’s Eve;” Visit to Mr.
    Hayley; “Tales of the Heart;” Letter to Mr. Hayley; Letter from
    Mrs. Inchbald; her death      167

                             CHAPTER XIII.

    Illness of Dr. Alderson; His Daughter’s anxiety; Priscilla
    Gurney; Bible and Anti-Slavery Meetings; “Madeline;” Letter from
    Southey; “Lying;” Letters to Mrs. Fry; Mrs. Opie joins the
    Society of Friends; Dr. Alderson’s Decline and Death      183

                              CHAPTER XIV.

    Consolation in Sorrow; Letter to a Friend; Journal for the year
    1827      197

                              CHAPTER XV.

    Yearly Meetings; Letter from London; Letters from Ladies Cork
    and Charleville; “Detraction Displayed;” Letter from Archdeacon
    Wrangham; Cromer; Diary for 1829      212

                              CHAPTER XVI.

    Visit to Paris; Journal during her Stay there; Letter from
    thence; Return to England; Letter from Lafayette; Sonnet “on
    seeing the Tricolor;” Southey's “Colloquies;” Letter from Mrs.
    Fry; “Nursing Sisters”      229

                             CHAPTER XVII.

    Revolution of “the Three Days;” Mrs. Opie goes to Paris again;
    her Journal there      245

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

    Letter on the Distribution of Prizes at the Catholic Schools;
    Continuation of Journal; Letter giving an Account of her Visit
    to the French Court      264

                              CHAPTER XIX.

    Influence of Christian Fellowship; Mrs. Opie Returns to England;
    gives up Housekeeping; Journey into Cornwall; Letters and
    Journal during her Residence there      284

                              CHAPTER XX.

    Return to Norwich; Extracts from her Diary; Dr. Chalmers and
    Mrs. Opie at Earlham; Lines addressed by Mrs. Opie to Dr.
    Chalmers; “Lays for the Dead;” Visit to London; Journey to
    Scotland; her Journal there; The Highlands; her Visit to
    Abbotsford      302

                              CHAPTER XXI.

    Journey to Belgium; Visit to Ghent; Journal of her Travels;
    Letter from the Rhine Falls; Homeward Journey; Arrival at Calais
         317

                             CHAPTER XXII.

    Mrs. Opie’s Removal to Lady’s Lane; Letters, Visitors, and
    Writing; Spring Assizes of 1838; Memoirs of Sir W. Scott; Visits
    to London and Northrepps; Death of Friends; Anti-Slavery
    Convention; Winter and Spring of 1840-41; Visits to Town and
    Letters from thence in 1842-43; Illness; Close of 1843; Letter
    of Reminiscences of Thomas Hogg      333

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

    Death of Mr. Briggs; Summer Assizes, 1844; “Reminiscences of
    Judges Courts;” “Reminiscences of George Canning”      353

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

    The Seventy-fifth year; Notes and Incidents in the years
    1845-46; Deaths of Mr. J. J. Gurney and of Dr. Chalmers; Letter
    from Cromer; Death of Mrs. E. Alderson; Mrs. Opie’s Visit to
    London in the Spring of 1848; Letter from thence      366

                              CHAPTER XXV.

    The Castle Meadow house; Indisposition; Increase of Crime;
    Rush’s Trial; Summer Assizes of 1849; Death of Bishop Stanley;
    Summer and Autumn of 1850; Farewell Visit to London; the Great
    Exhibition; Summer of 1852; Rheumatic Gout; Notes; last Visit to
    Cromer; the Spring and Summer of 1853; Sudden Illness, October
    23rd; Patience and Cheerfulness; Increasing Sickness; Leave
    Taking; Death      382

                 *        *        *        *        *

    CONCLUSION      404



                               MEMORIALS
                                 OF THE
                          LIFE OF AMELIA OPIE.

                 *        *        *        *        *



                               CHAPTER I.


    BIRTH AND PARENTAGE; HER FATHER; HER MOTHER’S FAMILY; HER
    MOTHER; SONNET TO HER MOTHER’S MEMORY; EARLY REMINISCENCES;
    EARLY TERRORS AND THEIR CURE; THE BLACK MAN; CRAZY WOMEN;
    BEDLAM; VISITS TO THE INMATES; EARLY TRAINING; THE FEMALE
    SAILOR; ABRUPT CONCLUSION.

Amelia Opie, the only child of James Alderson, M.D., and of Amelia, his
wife, was born the 12th of November, 1769, in the parish of St. George,
Norwich; she was baptized by the Rev. Samuel Bourn, then the
Presbyterian Minister of the Octagon chapel, in that city. Her father
was one of a numerous family, the children of the Rev. Mr. Alderson, of
Lowestoft, of whom some account is given in Gillingwater’s History of
that “ancient town.” From this we gather that “Mr. Alderson was a very
worthy, well-disposed man, of an exceeding affable and peaceable
disposition, much esteemed by the whole circle of his acquaintance, and,
as he lived much respected, so he died universally lamented.” His death
happened in 1760. In a note the following account of his family is
added: “Four sons and two daughters survive him; the sons are all
distinguished for their industry and ability, and are eminent in their
several professions; James, an eminent surgeon, at Norwich; John, a
physician, at Hull, Thomas, a merchant, at Newcastle; and Robert, a
barrister, at Norwich. Of the two daughters, Judith is married to Mr.
Woodhouse, and Elizabeth unmarried.”

This was written in 1790. Were the historian now to add a supplementary
notice, with how much satisfaction would he record, that, in the third
generation, this family numbered among its descendants, Amelia Opie and
Sir E. H. Alderson; the former the child of the eldest brother, the
latter the son of the youngest.

The tender attachment borne by Mrs. Opie to her father was perhaps her
most prominent characteristic. They were companions and friends through
life; and when, at length, in a good old age, he was taken from her, she
wept with a sorrow which no time could obliterate, and for which there
was no solace but in the hope of rejoining him in a better world. Deeply
touching are the evidences of the love which prompted her pen in its
most successful efforts, influenced her in all the steps she took
throughout her career, and rendered her indefatigable in cheering and
soothing him through the long years of his declining age. Best of all,
she was enabled to direct his mind towards those great truths of the
gospel, which she had learned to love, and in which she found her
support, when the arm of her earthly friend was about to relax its hold,
and leave her alone to pursue in solitude the remainder of her
pilgrimage.

Probably the early loss of the wife and mother was one cause which drew
more close the bond of union between the “Father and Daughter.” It
naturally followed that when, at the age of fifteen, she took the head
of her father’s table, and the management of his domestic arrangements,
she should endeavour, as much as possible, to supply the place which had
been left vacant, and that her young affections should cling more fondly
around her remaining parent. There was also much in the father
calculated to draw to him the love of his child. He was of fine person
and attractive manners, and to these external advantages was joined
something better and more enduring—a kind-hearted and generous sympathy
for the sufferers whom his skill relieved, and a charity to the poor,
which induced him freely to give them his valuable advice and
assistance. His daughter says, “He prescribed for about four or five
hundred persons at his house every week. The forms in our large hall in
a morning were so full from half-past eight till eleven, that I could
scarcely pass; and this he did till the end of the year 1820, or rather
perhaps to the beginning of 1821, when, unable to go down-stairs, he
received the people, at my earnest desire, in my little drawing-room,
till he said he could receive no one again. Oh! it was the most bitter
trial he or I ever experienced, when he was forced to give up this truly
Christian duty; and I was obliged to tell the afflicted poor people that
their kind physician was no longer well enough to open his house to
receive them, and try to heal their diseases again. He wept, and so did
I; and they were bitter tears, for I feared he would not long survive
the loss of his usefulness.” Those acts of kindness are not yet
forgotten in his native city; an aged woman, being told the other day of
the death of Mrs. Opie, recalled to mind the days of her father, “the
doctor,” and the time when he was “very good to the poor folks, that is,
he gaw’n ’em his advice for nothing; and that was a true charity, lady.”

Mrs. Opie’s mother, Amelia, was the daughter of Joseph Briggs, of
Cossambaza, up the Ganges, (eldest son of Dr. Henry Briggs, rector of
Holt, Norfolk, and Grace, his wife,) and of Mary, daughter of Captain
Worrell, of St. Helena. In an old pocket book, Mrs. Opie has entered the
following memoranda concerning this branch of her maternal ancestors.

    Account of my great, great, _great_ grandfather, Augustine
    Briggs, M.P., for Norwich. (From the pedigree of the Briggs’ in
    Blomefield’s “History of Norfolk.”) An ancient family of Salle,
    in Norfolk, who before the reign of Edward the First assumed the
    surname of De Ponte, or Pontibus, i.e. at Brigge or Brigges; as
    the ancient family of the Fountaines of the same place assumed
    theirs, of De Fonte or Fontibus, much about the same time, one
    we presume dwelling by the bridge or bridges, the other by the
    springs or fountains’ heads. The eldest branch of both families
    continued in Salle till they united in one. William Atte Brigge,
    of Salle, called in some deeds W. de Fonte de Salle, was living
    at Salle in 1334. John Atte Brigge, his second son, was alive in
    1385. Thomas Brigge, of Holt, the fourth brother, was alive in
    1400; and, in 1392, went to the Holy Sepulchre of our Lord, an
    account of which pilgrimage written by himself is still extant,
    in a manuscript in Caius College Library. Augustine Briggs,
    mayor, alderman, and member for Norwich in four Parliaments, was
    turned out of the Corporation by the _rebels_, and restored at
    the king’s restoration. He joined the Earl of Newcastle’s forces
    at the siege of Lynn, in 1643. There is a long sword in the
    family, with a label in Augustine Briggs’ own hand writing tied
    to it. “This I wore at the siege of Linn, in the servis of the
    royal martyr, K. Charles ye First, A. Briggs.” He lies buried in
    a vault in the church of St. Peter’s Mancroft, built by himself,
    but he alone of the family lies there. It has been since
    appropriated by the Dean and Chapter to another family, as it
    was supposed no one was alive to claim it; but I, A. Opie, am
    the lineal descendant and representative of this excellent man,
    and the vault was my property. The following is a translation of
    part of the Latin inscription on his mural monument in St.
    Peter’s church:—“He was indeed highly loyal to his king, and
    yet a studious preserver of the ancient privileges of his
    country; was also firm and resolute for upholding the Church of
    England, and assiduous and punctual in all the important trusts
    committed to him, whether in the august assembly of Parliament,
    his honourable commands in the militia, or his justiciary
    affairs on the bench: gaining the affections of the people by
    his hospitality and repeated acts of kindness, which he
    continued beyond his death, leaving the following charities by
    his will, as a more certain remembrance to posterity, than this
    perishing monument erected by his friends, which his posterity
    endeavours by this plate to continue to further ages.” He died
    in 1684, aged 67. He lived in the Briggs’ Lane, called after
    him, which lane is now (1839) widening, and is to be called
    D’Oyley Street, a proper tribute of respect to the public
    spirited individual who subscribed £1600 to further this
    improvement.[1]

    Augustine Briggs was also a public benefactor to this, his
    native city, for he left “estates and monies to increase the
    revenue of the Boys’ and Girls’ Hospital, and for putting out
    two poor boys to trades every year, as can read and write, and
    have neither father nor mother to put them forth to such
    trades.” My cousin, Henry Perronet Briggs, R.A.,[2] his male
    representative, has a very fine picture of him, a half-length,
    in his military dress, painted, he believes, by a pupil of
    Vandyke. I have a tolerably good three-quarter picture of
    him,[3]—Amelia Opie. I have also a portrait of his
    daughter-in-law, Hannah Hobart, heiress of Edmund Hobart, son of
    the Lord Chief Justice Hobart, afterwards ennobled, and wife of
    Dr. W. Briggs, M.D., of the University of Cambridge, a man of
    great science and learning, and an eminent physician.

                       *    *    *    *    *    *

Of the mother of Mrs. Opie but few memorials remain. She was of a
delicate constitution, and appears to have cherished the habits of
retirement, so naturally preferred by an invalid. Her early death
bereaved her daughter of a mother’s care and guidance at the most
critical period of woman’s life; and we may perhaps trace some features
of Mrs. Opie’s character to this event. From the occasional glimpses we
catch of the mother in her daughter’s short record of her own early
days, it is evident that she was possessed of firm purpose and high
principle; a true-hearted woman, and somewhat of a disciplinarian. Her
steady hand would have curbed the high spirit of her child, and softened
those ebullitions of youthful glee, which made the young Amelia such an
impetuous, mirthful creature: she would have been more demure and
decorous had her mother lived, but perhaps less charming and attractive.
Speedily as the mother’s influence was withdrawn, it left,
notwithstanding, some indelible traces in the memory of her daughter,
who frequently referred to her, even in her latter days, and usually
with reference to some bad habit from which she had warned her, or some
good one which she had inculcated. Mrs. Alderson died on the 31st of
December, 1784, in the 39th year of her age.

A series of Letters referring to the death of Mr. Joseph Briggs and his
wife, and the transfer of their little orphan daughter to England, still
exist. They are principally written by Mr. William Briggs, the second
son of Dr. Henry Briggs, who having died in 1748, (just about the time
of his eldest son’s decease in India,) the family affairs were committed
to the care of his next surviving son. He writes thus:—

    Several years ago my elder brother, Joseph Briggs, went over to
    Bengal as a writer in the Company’s service; he married Miss
    Mary Worrell; he died in May, 1747, and his widow in the
    December following; leaving behind one child, Amelia. Captain
    James Irwin, out of friendship to my brother, took care of his
    little daughter after the death of her mamma. The latter end of
    May, 1749, the child arrived here in England, and is now in
    perfect health.

To this kind friend of the orphan, Captain Irwin, the grateful uncle
writes:—

                                          London, August 23rd, 1749.

    Worthy sir, your letter of December 24th, 1748, and my very dear
    niece, Amelia Briggs, came safe to England the latter end of May
    last, praised be God! My honoured father dying in May 1748,
    yours to him came to me with one directed for myself, in both
    which you give very uncommon proofs of real friendship.
    Friendship in prosperity is common; but in adversity none are
    true friends but the pious.

    Your great care of my niece has given very sensible pleasure to
    all her relations, and all unite with me to return you sincere
    and hearty thanks; at present we can only express our gratitude
    in words, but should you ever be pleased to give us an
    opportunity, I doubt not but you will find us ready to testify
    our thanks by useful deeds. I believe you will meet with a
    reward more substantial and durable from our gracious God.

    My very great affection for my dear brother Joseph naturally
    leads me to love and care for the little orphan as if it was my
    own. She will never want whilst I have it in my power to assist
    her. She will be a burden to none of her relations; for, before
    she will have any occasion for it, she will be in possession of
    a very handsome annuity. At present she is with my mother in
    Norfolk, one hundred miles from London. She is a charming child,
    and the country agrees very well with her. The black girl, her
    nurse, is not reconciled to England; and, thinking she never
    shall be so, she is determined to return to Bengal by the
    Christmas ships. As my mother will give her entire liberty to be
    at her own disposal, I believe her design is to enter into
    service, as other free women do. If it be in your power, you are
    very much desired by all my niece’s friends to prevent
    Savannah’s being bought or sold as a negro.

    May the God of all grace and consolation keep and bless you,
    dear sir, and all your family, with everything necessary to make
    your short passage easy and agreeable through time into a happy
    eternity, is the sincere wish and prayer of,

                                                     Dear Sir,
                                  Your most obliged humble servant,
                                                               W. B.

Seven years after her mother’s death, (1791,) she addressed to her
memory the following sonnet.

          ON VISITING CROMER FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE DEATH
          OF MY MOTHER, WITH WHOM I USED FREQUENTLY TO VISIT IT.

        Scenes of my childhood, where, to grief unknown,
        And, led by Gaiety, I joy’d to rove,
        ’Ere in my breast Care fix’d her ebon throne,
        And her pale rue, with Fancy’s roses wove.
        No more, alas! your wonted charms I view,
        Ye speak of comforts I can know no more;
        The faded tints of Memory ye renew,
        And wake of fond regret the tearful power.
        But would ye bid me still the beauties prize
        That on your cliff-crowned shores in state abide,
        Bid, aim’d in awful pomp, yon billows rise
        And seek the realms where Night and Death reside;
        Unusual empire bid them there assume,
        And force departed goodness from the tomb!

Many years after, among her “Lays for the Dead,” appeared some further
lines dedicated to her mother, and, as they have several references to
the recollections she retained of her, and are in themselves very sweet
and full of earnest tenderness of regret, they are reprinted here:—

            IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER.

        An orphan’d babe, from India’s plain
        She came, a faithful slave her guide!
        Then, after years of patient pain,
        That tender wife and mother _died_.
        Where gothic windows dimly throw
        O’er the long aisles a dubious day,
        Within the time-worn vaults below
        Her relics join their kindred clay—
        And I, in long departed days,
        Those dear though solemn precincts sought,
        When evening shed her parting rays,
        And twilight lengthening shadows brought—
        There long I knelt beside the stone
        Which veils thy clay, lamented shade!
        While memory, years for ever gone,
        And all the distant past pourtray’d!
        I saw thy glance of tender love!
        Thy check of suffering’s sickly hue!
        Thine eye, where gentle sweetness strove
        To look the ease it rarely knew.
        I heard thee speak in accents kind,
        And promptly praise, or firmly chide;
        Again admir’d that vigorous mind
        Of power to charm, reprove, and guide.
        Hark! clearer still thy voice I hear!
        Again reproof, in accents mild,
        Seems whispering in my conscious ear,
        And pains, yet soothes, thy kneeling child!
        Then, while my eyes I weeping raise,
        Again thy shadowy form appears;
        I see the smile of other days,
        The frown that melted soon in tears!
        Again I’m exiled from thy sight,
        Alone my rebel will to mourn;
        Again I feel the dear delight
        When told I may to thee return!
        But oh! too soon the vision fled,
        With all of grief and joy it brought;
        And as I slowly left the dead,
        And gayer scenes, still musing sought,
        Oh! how I mourn’d my heedless youth
        Thy watchful care repaid so ill,
        Yet joy’d to think some words of truth
        Sunk in my soul, and teach me still;
        Like lamps along life’s fearful way
        To me, at times, those truths have shone,
        And oft, when snares around me lay,
        That light has made the danger known.
        Then, how thy grateful child has blest
        Each wise reproof thy accents bore!
        And now she longs, in worlds of rest,
        To dwell with thee for evermore!

                       *    *    *    *    *    *

Mrs. Opie evidently designed, at one time, to write a record of the most
interesting events of her life; she commenced the task, but abruptly
broke off when she reached the age of early youth. This interesting
fragment was clearly written at a late period of her life, it commences
thus:—

    “_Ce n’est que le premier pas qui coûte_,” says the proverb, and
    when I have once begun to put down my recollections of days that
    are gone, with a view to their meeting other eyes besides my
    own, the difficulty of the task will, I trust, gradually
    disappear.

    But I should be afraid that my garrulities, as I may call them,
    would not be so interesting to others as I have thought they
    might be, had I not observed such a hunger and thirst in the
    world in general for anecdotes, whether biographical or
    otherwise, and had I not experienced, and seen others evince,
    such interest and amusement while reading of persons and things;
    and I am thus encouraged to record my recollections of those
    distinguished persons with whom I have had the privilege of
    associating, from my youth upwards, to the present day.
    Therefore, without further delay or apology, I mean to relate a
    few “passages” in my very early days, in order to make my
    readers acquainted with the preparation for my future life and
    occupations, which these days so evidently afforded.

    One of my earliest recollections is of gazing on the bright blue
    sky as I lay in my little bed, before my hour of rising came,
    and listening with delighted attention to the ringing of a peal
    of bells. I had heard that heaven was beyond those blue skies,
    and I had been taught that _there_ was the home of the good, and
    I fancied that those sweet bells were ringing in heaven. What a
    happy error! Neither illusion nor reality, at any subsequent
    period of my life, ever gave me such a sensation of pure,
    heartfelt delight, as I experienced when morning after morning I
    looked on that blue sky, and listened to those bells, and
    fancied that I heard the music of the home of the blest, pealing
    from the dwelling of the most high. Well do I remember the
    excessive mortification I felt when I was told the truth, and
    had the nature of bells explained to me; and, though I have
    since had to awake often from illusions that were dear to my
    heart, I am sure that I never woke from one with more pain than
    I experienced when forced to forego this sweet illusion of my
    imaginative childhood.

    I believe I was naturally a fearful child, perhaps more so than
    other children; but I was not allowed to remain so. Well do I
    remember the fears, which I used to indulge and prove by tears
    and screams, whenever I saw the objects that called forth my
    alarm. The first was terror of black beetles, the second of
    frogs, the third of skeletons, the fourth of a black man, and
    the fifth of madmen.

    My mother, who was as firm from principle, as she was gentle in
    disposition, in order to cure me of my first fear, made me take
    a beetle in my hand, and so convince myself it would not hurt
    me. As her word was law, I obeyed her, though with a shrinking
    frame; but the point was carried, and when, as frequently
    happened, I was told to take up a beetle and put it out of the
    way of being trodden upon, I learnt to forget even my former
    fear.

    She pursued the same course in order to cure me of screaming at
    sight of a frog; I was forced to hold one in my hand, and thence
    I became, perhaps, proud of my courage to handle what my
    playfellows dared not touch.

    The skeleton of which I was afraid was that of a girl, black,
    probably, from the preparation it had undergone; be that as it
    may, I was induced to take it on my lap and examine it, and at
    last, calling it my black doll, I used to exhibit it to my
    wondering and alarmed companions. Here was vanity again perhaps.

    The African of whom I was so terribly afraid was the footman of
    a rich merchant from Rotterdam, who lived opposite our house;
    and, as he was fond of children, Aboar (as he was called) used
    to come up to speak to little missey as I stood at the door in
    my nurse’s arms, a civility which I received with screams, and
    tears, and kicks. But as soon as my parents heard of this ill
    behaviour, they resolved to put a stop to it, and missey was
    forced to shake hands with the black the next time he approached
    her, and thenceforward we were very good friends. Nor did they
    fail to make me acquainted with negro history; as soon as I was
    able to understand, I was shewn on the map where their native
    country was situated; I was told the sad tale of negro wrongs
    and negro slavery; and I believe that my early and
    ever-increasing zeal in the cause of emancipation was founded
    and fostered by the kindly emotions which I was encouraged to
    feel for my friend Aboar and all his race.

    The fifth terror was excited by two poor women who lived near
    us, and were both deranged though _in different degree_. The one
    was called Cousin Betty, a common name for female lunatics; the
    other, who had been dismissed from bedlam as incurable, called
    herself “Old Happiness,” and went by that name. These poor women
    lived near us, and passed by our door every day; consequently I
    often saw them when I went out with my nurse, and whether it was
    that I had been told by her, when naughty, that the mad woman
    should get me, I know not; but certain it is, that these poor
    visited creatures were to me objects of such terror, that when I
    saw them coming (followed usually by hooting boys) I used to run
    away to hide myself. But as soon as my mother was aware of this
    terror she resolved to conquer it, and I was led by her to the
    door the next time one of these women was in sight; nor was I
    allowed to stir till I had heard her kindly converse with the
    poor afflicted one, and then I was commissioned to put a piece
    of money into her hand. I had to undergo the same process with
    the other woman; but she tried my nerves more than the preceding
    one, for she insisted on shaking hands with me, a contact not
    very pleasing to me: however, the fear was in a measure
    conquered, and a feeling of deep interest, not unmixed with awe,
    was excited in my mind, not only towards these women, but
    towards insane persons in general; a feeling that has never left
    me, and which, in very early life, I gratified in the following
    manner:—

    When able to walk in the street with my beloved parents, they
    sometimes passed the city asylum for lunatics, called the
    bedlam, and we used to stop before the iron gates, and see the
    inmates very often at the windows, who would occasionally ask us
    to throw halfpence over the wall to buy snuff. Not long after I
    had discovered the existence of this interesting receptacle, I
    found my way to it alone, and took care to shew a penny in my
    fingers, that I might be asked for it, and told where to throw
    it. A customer soon appeared at one of the windows, in the
    person of a man named Goodings, and he begged me to throw it
    over the door of the wall of the ground in which they walked,
    and he would come to catch it. Eagerly did I run to that door,
    but never can I forget the terror and the trembling which seized
    my whole frame, when, as I stood listening for my mad friend at
    the door, I heard the clanking of his chain! nay, such was my
    alarm, that, though a strong door was between us, I felt
    inclined to run away; but better feelings got the mastery, and I
    threw the money over the door, scarcely staying to hear him say
    he had found the penny, and that he blessed the giver. I fully
    believe that I felt myself raised in the scale of existence by
    this action, and some of my happiest moments were those when I
    visited the gates of bedlam; and so often did I go, that I
    became well known to its inmates, and I have heard them say,
    “Oh! there is the little girl from St. George’s” (the parish in
    which I then lived.) At this time my mother used to send me to
    shops to purchase trifling articles, and chiefly at a shop at
    some distance from the bedlam, which was as far again from my
    home. But, when my mother used to ask me where I had been, that
    I had been gone so long, the reply was, “I only went round by
    bedlam, mamma.”

    But I did not confine my gifts to pence. Much of my weekly
    allowance was spent in buying pinks and other flowers for my
    friend Goodings, who happened to admire a nosegay which he saw
    me wear; and as my parents were not inclined to rebuke me for
    spending my money on others, rather than on myself, I was
    allowed for some time to indulge in this way the interests which
    early circumstances, those circumstances which always give the
    bias to the character through life, had led me to feel in beings
    whom it had pleased the Almighty to deprive of their reason. At
    this period, and when my attachment to this species of human woe
    was at its height, a friend of ours hired a house which looked
    into the ground named before, and my father asked the gentleman
    to allow me to stand at one of the windows, and see the lunatics
    walk. Leave was granted and I hastened to my post, and as the
    window was open I could talk with Goodings and the others; but
    my feelings were soon more forcibly interested by an unseen
    lunatic, who had, they told me, been crossed in love, and who,
    in the cell opposite my window, sang song after song in a voice
    which I thought very charming.

    But I do not remember to have been allowed the indulgence of
    standing at this window more than twice. I believe my parents
    thought the excitement was an unsafe one, as I was constantly
    talking of what I had said to the mad folks, and they to me; and
    it was so evident that I was proud of their acquaintance, and of
    my own attachment to them, that I was admonished not to go so
    often to the gates of the bedlam; and dancing and French school
    soon gave another turn to my thoughts, and excited in me other
    views and feelings. Still, the sight of a lunatic gave me a
    fearful pleasure, which nothing else excited; and when, as youth
    advanced, I knew that loss of reason accompanied distressed
    circumstances, I know that I was doubly eager to administer to
    the pecuniary wants of those who were awaiting their appointed
    time in madness as well as poverty. Yet, notwithstanding, I
    could not divest myself entirely of fear of these objects of my
    pity; and it was with a beating heart that, after some
    hesitation, I consented to accompany two gentlemen, dear friends
    of mine, on a visit to the _interior_ of the bedlam. One of my
    companions was a man of warm feelings and lively fancy, and he
    had pictured to himself the unfortunate beings, whom we were
    going to visit, as victims of their sensibility, and as likely
    to express by their countenances and words the fatal sorrows of
    their hearts; and I was young enough to share in his
    anticipations, having, as yet, considered madness not as
    occasioned by some physical derangement, but as the result, in
    most cases, of moral causes. But our romance was sadly
    disappointed, for we beheld no “eye in a fine phrensy rolling,”
    no interesting expression of sentimental woe, sufficient to
    raise its victims above the lowly walk of life in which they had
    always moved; and I, though I knew that the servant of a friend
    of mine was in the bedlam who had been “crazed by hopeless
    love,” yet could not find out, amongst the many figures that
    glided by me, or bent over the winter fire, a single woman who
    looked like the victim of the tender passion.

    The only woman, who had aught interesting about her, was a poor
    girl, just arrived, whose hair was not yet cut off, and who,
    seated on the bed in her new cell, had torn off her cap, and had
    let the dark tresses fall over her shoulders in picturesque
    confusion! This pleased me; and I was still more convinced I had
    found what I sought, when, on being told to lie down and sleep,
    she put her hand to her evidently aching head, as she exclaimed,
    in a mournful voice, “Sleep! oh, I cannot sleep!” The wish to
    question this poor sufferer being repressed by respectful pity,
    we hastened away to other cells, in which were patients confined
    in their beds; with one of these women I conversed a little
    while, and then continued our mournful visits. “But where (said
    I to the keeper) is the servant of a friend of mine (naming the
    patient) who is here because she was deserted by her lover?”
    “You have just left her,” said the man. “Indeed,” replied I, and
    hastened eagerly back to the cell I had quitted. I immediately
    began to talk to her of her mistress and the children, and
    called her by her name, but she would not reply. I then asked
    her if she would like money to buy snuff? “Thank you,” she
    replied. “Then give me your hand.” “No, you must lay the money
    on my pillow.” Accordingly I drew near, when, just as I reached
    her, she uttered a screaming laugh, so loud, so horrible, so
    unearthly, that I dropped the pence, and rushing from the cell,
    never stopped till I found myself with my friends, who had
    themselves been startled by the noise, and were coming in search
    of me. I was now eager to leave the place; but I had seen, and
    lingered behind still, to gaze upon a man whom I had observed
    from the open door at which I stood, pacing up and down the
    wintry walk, but who at length saw me earnestly beholding him!
    He started, fixed his eyes on me with a look full of mournful
    expression, and never removed them till I, reluctantly I own,
    had followed my companions. What a world of woe was, as I
    fancied, in that look! Perhaps I resembled some one dear to him!
    Perhaps—but it were idle to give all the perhapses of romantic
    sixteen—resolved to find in bedlam what she thought _ought_ to
    be there of the sentimental, if it were not. However, that poor
    man and his expression never left my memory; and I thought of
    him when, at a later period, I attempted to paint the feelings I
    imputed to him in the “Father and Daughter.”

    On the whole, we came away disappointed, from having formed
    false ideas of the nature of the infliction which we had gone to
    contemplate. I have since then seen madness in many different
    asylums, but I was _never disappointed_ again.

    Faithful to the views with which I began this little sketch of
    my childhood and my early youth, I will here relate a
    circumstance which was romantic enough to add fresh fuel to
    whatever I had already of romance in my composition; and
    therefore is another proof that, from the earliest circumstances
    with which human beings are surrounded, the character takes its
    colouring through life. Phrenologists watch certain bumps on the
    head, indicative, they say, of certain propensities, and assert
    that parents have a power to counteract, by cultivation, the bad
    propensities, and to increase the good. This may be a surer way
    of going to work; but, as yet, the truth of their theory is not
    generally acknowledged. In the meanwhile, I would impress on
    others what I am fully sensible of myself; namely, that the
    attention of parents and instructors should be incessantly
    directed to watching over the very earliest dispositions and
    tastes of their children or pupils, because, as far as depends
    on mere human teaching, whatever they are in disposition and
    pursuit in the earliest dawn of existence, they will probably be
    in its meridian and its decline.

    When I was scarcely yet in my teens, a highly respected friend
    of mine, a member of the Society of Friends, informed me that
    she had a curious story to relate to me and her niece, my
    favourite friend and companion; she told us that her husband had
    received a letter from a friend at Lynn, recommending to his
    kindness a young man, named William Henry Renny, who was a
    sailor, just come on shore from a distant part, and wanted some
    assistance on his way (I think) to London. My friend, who was
    ever ready to lend his aid when needed, and was sure his
    correspondent would not have required it for one unworthy,
    received the young man kindly, and ordered him refreshments in
    the servants’ hall; and, as I believe, prepared for him a bed in
    his own house. But before the evening came, my friend had
    observed something in the young man’s manner which he did not
    like; he was too familiar towards the servants, and certainly
    did not seem a proper inmate for the family of a Friend. At
    length, in consequence of hints given him by some one in the
    family, he called the stranger into his study, and expressed his
    vexation at learning that his conduct had not been quite
    correct. The young man listened respectfully to the deserved
    rebuke, but with great agitation and considerable excitement,
    occasioned perhaps, as my candid friend thought, by better meals
    than he had been used to, and which was therefore a sort of
    excuse for his behaviour; but little was my friend prepared for
    the disclosure that awaited him. Falling on his knees, the young
    man, with clasped hands, conjured his hearer to forgive him the
    imposition he had practised. “Oh, sir,” cried he, “I am an
    impostor, my name is not William Henry R. but Anna Maria Real, I
    am not a man, but a woman!” Such a confession would have
    astounded any one; judge then how it must have affected the
    correct man whom she addressed! who certainly did not let the
    woman remain in her abject position, but desired immediately to
    hear a true account of who and what she was. She said, that her
    lover, when very young, had left her to go to sea, and that she
    resolved to follow him to Russia, whither he was bound; that she
    did follow him, disguised as a sailor, and had worked out her
    passage undetected. She found her lover dead, but she liked a
    sailor’s life so well, that she had continued in the service up
    to that time, when (for some reason which I have forgotten) she
    left the ship, and came ashore at Lynn, not meaning to return to
    it, but to resume the garb of her sex. On this latter condition,
    my friend and his wife were willing to assist her, and endeavour
    to effect a reformation in her. The first step was to procure
    her a lodging that evening, and to prevent her being seen, as
    much as they could, before she had put on woman’s clothes.
    Accordingly, she was sent to lodgings, and inquiries into the
    truth of her story were instituted at Lynn and elsewhere.

    But what an interesting tale was this for me, a Miss just
    entered into her teens! Of a female soldier’s adventures I had
    some years previously heard, and once had seen Hannah Snelling,
    a native of Norfolk, who had followed her lover to the wars.
    Here was a female sailor added to my experience. Every
    opportunity of hearing any subsequent detail was eagerly seized.
    What a romantic incident! The romance of real life too! How I
    wanted to see the heroine; and I was rather mortified that my
    sober-minded friend would not describe her features to me. Might
    I (I asked) be at last allowed to see her? and as my parents
    gave leave, I, accompanied by a young friend, called at the
    adventurer’s lodgings, who was at home! Yes,—she was at home,
    and to our great consternation we found her in men’s clothes
    still, and working at a trade which she had acquired on board
    ship, the trade of a tailor! Nor did she leave off though we
    were her guests, but went on stitching and pulling with most
    ugly diligence, though ever and anon casting her large, dark,
    and really beautiful, though fierce eyes, over our disturbed and
    wondering countenances, silently awaiting to hear why we came.
    We found it difficult to give a reason, as her appearance and
    employment so totally extinguished any thing like sentiment in
    our young hearts, upon this occasion. However, we broke the ice
    at last, and she told us something of her story: which, however
    touching in the beginning, as that of a disguise and an
    enterprize prompted by youthful love, became utterly offensive
    when persisted in after the original motives for it had ceased.
    Her manner too was not pleasant: I wore a gold watch in my
    girdle, with a smart chain and seals, and the coveting eye with
    which she gazed, and at length clapped her hand upon them,
    begging to see them near, gave me a feeling of distaste; and, as
    I watched her almost terrible eyes, I fancied that they
    indicated a deranged mind; therefore, hastening to give her the
    money which I had brought for her, I took my leave, with my
    friend, resolving not to visit her again. Out of respect to our
    friends, she went to the Friends’ meeting with them, and they
    were pleased to see her there in her woman’s attire; but when
    she walked away, with the long strides and bold seeming of a
    man, it was anything rather than satisfactory, to observe her.

    I once saw her walk, and though this romance of real life
    occupied the minds of my young friend and myself, and was
    afterwards discussed by us, still the actress in it was
    becoming, justly, an object with whom we should have loathed any
    intercourse.

    I do not recollect how long she remained under the care of my
    excellent friends, but I think much of her story was
    authenticated by the answers to the inquiries made. All that I
    know with certainty is, that a collection of wild beasts came to
    town, the showman of which turned out to be Maria Real’s
    husband, and with him she left Norwich!

                       *    *    *    *    *    *

Thus abruptly does Mrs. Opie’s narrative of her early days break off.
Had she turned the next leaf in that history it must have been to record
her first sorrow.

-----

[1] For all that it is Briggs’ Street still!—Ed.

[2] Since deceased.

[3] This portrait is the first of those which she apostrophizes in her
“Lays for the Dead,” and begins—

        “There hangs a Soldier in a distant age,
        Call’d to his doom—my honour’d ancestor.”



                              CHAPTER II.


    FIRST SORROW; THE ASSIZES; SIR HENRY GOULD; THE USURY CAUSE;
    “CHRISTIAN;” MR. BRUCKNER; GIRLISH DAYS; HER FRIENDSHIP WITH
    MRS. TAYLOR; MRS. T.’s MEMOIR OF HER.

In one of his letters to a friend, Southey remarks:—

    “Few autobiographies proceed much beyond the stage of boyhood.
    So far all our recollections of childhood and adolescence,
    though they call up tender thoughts, excite none of the deeper
    feeling with which we look back upon the time of life when
    wounds heal slowly, and losses are irreparable. This is, no
    doubt, the reason why so many persons who have begun to write
    their own lives have stopped short when they got through the
    chapter of their youth.”

The poet elsewhere observes, that the wounded spirit, which shrinks from
such a record of past griefs, finds solace in breathing out its regret
in the tender strains of verse. And so it was in the present instance.
The loss of her mother was deplored in pathetic numbers; and no other
record of this event is given.

Another passage in the history of her earlier days is found in her note
book, a few pages after the former, shewing how early she manifested a
predilection, in the gratification of which she found so much enjoyment
in after life. It should be mentioned before we proceed further, that
the house in which Mrs. Opie was born was situated in Calvert Street,
immediately opposite a handsome mansion, once the residence of an
individual of note in his day, and after whom the street was named. This
house Dr. Alderson afterwards inhabited for some years; but in the
interim, he removed from the one in which his daughter was born, to
another, opposite St. George’s church, and in which they were living at
the time referred to in the following pages:—

    To a girl fond of excitement it will easily be believed that the
    time of Assizes was one of great interest. As soon as I was old
    enough to enjoy a procession, I was taken to see the judges come
    in; and, as youthful pages in pretty dresses ran, at that time
    of day, by the side of the high sheriff’s carriage in which the
    judges sat, while the coaches drove slowly, and with a solemnity
    becoming the high and awful office of those whom they contained,
    it was a sight which I, the older I grew, delighted more and
    more to witness: with reverence ever did I behold the judges’
    wigs, the scarlet robes they wore, and even the white wand of
    the sheriff had an imposing effect on me.

    As years advanced, I began to wish to enter the assize court;
    and as soon as I found that ladies were allowed to attend
    trials, or causes, I was not satisfied till I had obtained leave
    to enjoy this indulgence. Accordingly some one kindly undertook
    to go with me, and I set off for court: it was to the _nisi
    prius_ court that I bent my way, for I could not bear the
    thoughts of hearing prisoners tried, as the punishment of death
    was then in all its force; but I was glad to find myself hearing
    counsel plead and judges speak where I had no reason to
    apprehend any fearful consequences to the defendants. By some
    lucky chance I also soon found myself on the bench, by the side
    of the judge. Although I could not divest myself of a degree of
    awful respect when I had reached such a vicinity, it was so
    advantageous a position for hearing and seeing, that I was soon
    reconciled to it, especially as the good old man, who sat then
    as judge, seemed to regard my fixed attention to what was going
    forward with some complacency.

    Sir Henry Gould was the judge then presiding, and he was already
    on the verge of eighty; but the fire of his fine eye was not
    quenched by age, nor had his intellect as yet bowed before it;
    on the contrary, he is said while in Norwich to have delivered a
    charge to the jury, after a trial that had lasted far into the
    night, in a manner that would have done credit to the youngest
    judge on the bench.

    This handsome and venerable old man, surprised probably at
    seeing so young a listener by his side, was so kind at last as
    to enter into conversation with me. Never, I think, had my
    vanity been so gratified, and when, on my being forced to leave
    the court, by the arrival of my dinner hour, he said he hoped I
    was sufficiently pleased to come again, I went home much raised
    in my own estimation, and fully resolved to go into court again
    next day. As I was obliged to go alone, I took care to wear the
    same dress as I wore the preceding day, in hopes that if the
    judge saw me he would cause way to be made for me. But being
    obliged to go in at a door where the crowd was very great, I had
    little hopes of being seen, though the door fronted the judge;
    at last I was pushed forward by the crowd, and gradually got
    nearer to the table. While thus struggling with obstacles, a
    man, not quite in the grade of a gentleman, pushed me back
    rather rudely, and said, “there miss, go home—you had better go
    away, what business have you here? this is no place for you; be
    advised—there go, I tell you!” But miss was obstinate and stood
    her ground, turning as she did so towards the judge, who now
    perceived and recognized her, and instantly ordered one of the
    servants of the court to make way for that young lady;
    accordingly way was made, and at his desire I took my place
    again by the judge’s side. It was not in nature, at least not in
    my weak nature, to resist casting a triumphant glance on my
    impertinent reprover, and I had the satisfaction of seeing that
    he looked rather foolish. I do not remember that on either of
    these days I heard any very interesting causes tried, but I had
    acquaintances amongst the barristers, and I liked to hear them
    plead, and I also liked to hear the judge sum up: in short, all
    was new, exciting, and interesting. But I disliked to hear the
    witnesses sworn. I was shocked at the very irreverent manner in
    which the oath was administered and repeated; and evidently the
    Great Name was spoken with as much levity as if it had been
    merely that of a brother mortal, not the name of the great King
    of kings. This was the drawback to my pleasure, but not a
    sufficient one to keep me from my now accustomed post, and a
    third time, but early enough to have my choice of places, I
    repaired to court, and seated myself near the extremity of the
    bench, hoping to be called to my accustomed seat when my
    venerable friend arrived. It was expected that the court would
    be that day crowded to excess, for the cause coming on was one
    of the deepest interest. One of our richest and oldest aldermen
    was going to be proceeded against for usury, and the principal
    witness against him was a gentleman who owed him considerable
    obligation. The prosecutor was unknown to me; the witness named
    above I knew sufficiently to bow to him as he passed our house,
    which he did every day; and he was reckoned a worthy and
    honourable man. These circumstances gave me an eager desire to
    be a witness of the proceedings, and I was gratified at being
    able to answer some questions which the judge asked me when, as
    before, he had beckoned me to sit by him.

    The cause at length began, and it was so interesting that I
    listened with almost breathless attention, feeling, for the
    first time, what deep and agitating interest a court of justice
    can sometimes excite, and what a fearful picture it can hold up
    to the young of human depravity; for, as this cause went on, the
    witness for the accused, and the witness for the accuser, both
    swore in direct opposition to each other! One of them therefore
    was undoubtedly perjured! and I had witnessed the commission of
    this awful crime!

    Never shall I forget that moment; as it seemed very soon to be
    the general conclusion, that my acquaintance was the person
    perjured. I felt a pain wholly unknown before, and though I
    rejoiced that my friend, the accused, was declared wholly
    innocent of the charge brought against him, I was indeed sorry
    that I should never be able to salute my old acquaintance with
    such cordiality in future, when he passed my window, as this
    stain rested on his reputation; but that window he was never to
    pass again!

    The next morning before I was up, (for beginning influenza
    confined me to my bed,) the servant ran into the room to inform
    me that poor —— had been found dead in his bed, with strong
    suspicions of suicide by poison!

    Instantly I dressed myself, forgetting my illness, and went in
    search of more information. Well do I remember the ghastly
    expression of the wretched man’s countenance as he left the
    court. I saw his bright grey eye lifted up in a sort of agony to
    heaven, with, as I supposed, the conviction that he was retiring
    in disgrace, and I had been told what his lips uttered, while
    his eyes so spoke. “What! are you going,” said a friend to him.
    “Yes; why not? What should I stay for now?” and his tone and
    manner bore such strong evidence of a desponding mind, that
    these words were repeated as confirming the belief that he had
    destroyed himself.

    I never can forget with what painful feelings I went back to my
    chamber, the sensation of illness forgotten, by the sufferings
    of my mind!

    What would I not have given to hear that the poor man who had
    thus rushed unbidden into the presence of his heavenly judge,
    urged by the convictions of having been condemned in the
    presence of an earthly one, was innocent of this second crime!
    It had been terrible to believe him guilty of the first.

    My mind was so painfully full of this subject, that it was
    always uppermost with me; and, to increase my suffering, the
    unhappy man’s grave was dug immediately opposite our windows;
    and although I drew down the blinds all day long, I heard the
    murmuring voices of the people talking over the event, some
    saying he was an injured man, and venting curses on the heads of
    those who had brought him to that pass. The verdict having been
    that “he was found dead in his bed,” the interment took place in
    the usual manner; and it did so early in the morning. I took
    care to avoid the front of the house till all was over; and when
    the hour in the following morning arrived, at which I used to go
    to the window, and receive the bow and smile of our neighbour, I
    remembered with bitter regret that I should see him no more, as
    he lay beneath the wall before me.

    Even while I am writing, the whole scene in the court, and the
    frightful results, live before me with all the vividness of
    early impressions; and I can scarcely assert, that, at any
    future stage of life, I ever experienced emotions more keen or
    more enduring.

    Judge Gould came to Norwich again the next year, and as I heard
    he had inquired for me, I was not long in going to court. One of
    his first questions was concerning the result of the Usury
    cause, which he had found so interesting, and he heard with much
    feeling what I had to impart. I thought my kind friend seemed
    full a year older; and when I took leave of him I did not expect
    to see him again. Perhaps the invitation which he gave me, was a
    proof of a decay of faculties; for he said that if ever I came
    to London, he lived in such a square, (I forget the place,) and
    should be pleased to introduce me to his daughter Lady Cavan. I
    did go to London before he died, but I had not courage enough to
    call on Sir Henry Gould; I felt it was likely that he had
    forgotten me, and that he was unlikely to exclaim, like my
    friends at the bedlam, “Oh! here’s the young girl from St.
    George’s!”

It may be remembered that in the short memorial of her earlier days,
given in the preceding chapter, Mrs. Opie says that her attention was
drawn away from an interest that was becoming too absorbing in the
unhappy inmates of the bedlam, by new sources of occupation and
interest. “Dancing and French school,” she says, “soon gave another turn
to my thoughts, and excited in me other views and feelings.” The master
who first instructed her to thread the gay mazes of the dance was one,
“Christian,” a man well skilled in his art, and who attained such
celebrity in it, that the room in which he taught is still called after
him, “Christian’s room.” Here the young Amelia received her first
lessons in dancing; and in after years she was wont to refer to those
days, and would close her recollections of the worthy Christian, by
telling how on one occasion, when she and her husband were in Norwich,
they accompanied a friend to see the Dutch Church. “The two gentlemen
were engaged in looking around and making their observations; and I,
finding myself somewhat cold, began to hop and dance upon the spot where
I stood. Suddenly, my eyes chanced to fall upon the pavement below, and
I started at beholding the well-known name of ‘Christian,’ graved upon
the slab; I stopped in dismay, shocked to find that I had actually been
dancing upon the grave of my old master—he who first taught me to
dance!”

The gentleman who gave her instruction in the French language was a
remarkable man, and one for whom she entertained an affectionate respect
which continued during the remainder of his life. As he is frequently
referred to in her letters and elsewhere, it may not be irrelevant here
to give some particulars respecting him, which are principally gathered
from an article in “the Monthly Magazine,” written by the late Mr. Wm.
Taylor. It appears that in 1752, Mr. Colombine, one of a French refugee
family, then residing in Norwich, was entrusted by the members of the
Walloon church, in that city, on occasion of his going over to Holland,
to seek out for them a suitable pastor. In the execution of this
commission, he applied to Mr. Bruckner, then holding a pastorship at
Leyden. This gentleman, who had been educated for the theological
profession, was of eminent literary acquirements; he read the Hebrew and
the Greek, composed correctly, and was able to preach in four languages:
Latin, Dutch, French, and English. He listened favourably to the
invitation of the Norwich church; and in 1753 settled amongst them, and
continued to officiate during 51 years with increasing satisfaction:
about the year 1766, Mr. B. also undertook the charge of the Dutch
church, of which the duties had become almost nominal, in consequence of
the diminished numbers of Dutch families, and the gradual disuse of that
language.

The French was Mr. Bruckner’s favourite tongue; and in it he gave
lessons, both public and private, to the young people of his adopted
city, for many years: he also cultivated music, and delighted in
practising upon the organ. He was, besides, an author, and published a
work entitled “Théorie du Systême Animal,” and, under an assumed name, a
pamphlet entitled “Criticisms on the Diversions of Purley.” His death
took place in the month of May, 1804; at his house in St. Benedict’s
street. Mr. Opie painted an admirable likeness of him, which appeared in
the London Exhibition of 1800. This picture was in the possession of
Mrs. Opie at the time of her death, and is the subject of one of her
“Lays.” There was a very singular expression in the eyes, and on one
occasion a visitor who was calling upon her, gazing on the picture,
remarked, that he was painfully affected by this look, as he remembered
to have seen the same strange appearance in the countenance of a person
who committed suicide. This remark forcibly struck Mrs. Opie, and no
wonder, as it was the fact that her poor master died by his own hands! A
gradual failure of spirits overtook him in his old age; sleep forsook
his eyelids, and the fatal stroke terminated his existence, to the
regret of all who had known him; for he was much beloved for his
kindliness and affability, and his society was courted to the last, as
his conversation shewed good sense, humour, and information. A small
piece of paper, written in her delicate and minute characters, and found
among her letters, proves that his friend and pupil continued to think
of him after the lapse of more than half a century.

    Lines, addressed to me by my dear friend and French master, John
    Bruckner, a Flemish Clergyman, on my requesting him to let my
    husband paint a portrait of him for me.

              Pourquoi me demander, aimable Amélie
              De ce front tout ridé, le lugubre portrait?
              Pour être contemplé jamais il ne fut fait,
              Assez il a déplu—Permettez qu’ on l’oublie!

                                            _John Bruckner, 1800._

Translation in prose:—

    Why do you ask of me, amiable Amelia, the gloomy portrait of
    this wrinkled brow? It was never meant to be contemplated. It
    has enough displeased—Let it now be forgotten.—_A. O. 1852._

To this amiable man and accomplished scholar Mrs. Opie was indebted, not
only for instruction in French, but for much general information, which
he was well qualified to impart.

The premature death of Mrs. Alderson occasioned (as we have seen) the
introduction of her daughter into society at a very early age. Her
father delighted to make her his constant companion, and introduced her
to the company of the friends with whom he visited, and whom he welcomed
to his house. Hence, at a time when girls are usually confined to the
school room, she was presiding as mistress of his household, and
mingling in the very gay society of the Norwich circles of that day. The
period of which we write was shortly before the breaking out of the
French revolution, and was one of great commercial prosperity, in which
the merchant-manufacturers of the old town shared, in an extraordinary
degree. This state of things lasted until the troubles consequent upon
that event disturbed the commercial relations of the continent; when the
trade declined, and a season of unparelleled depression ensued. But at
the time of which we speak, it was a thriving and prosperous city, and
abounded in gaiety and amusements of various sorts.

A young girl placed in such circumstances must have greatly needed the
counsel and friendship of a wise female friend; and such an one Miss
Alderson happily found in Mrs. John Taylor, a lady distinguished for her
extensive knowledge and many excellencies. She was living at that time
in Norwich, not far from Mr. Alderson’s, and an intimacy was early
formed between the two ladies, which appears to have lasted
uninterruptedly through life. After Mrs. Opie’s marriage, she continued
to correspond with this friend of her early days, and happily many of
her letters to Mrs. T. have been preserved.

Frequent mention is made of Mrs. Taylor in Sir James Mackintosh’s life,
and she is spoken of as one of the principal attractions amid the circle
of friends whose society he sought, when carried by his professional
duties to Norwich. Mr. Montague, his companion on some of these
occasions, says:—

    “N. was always a haven of rest to us, from the literary society
    with which that city abounded. Dr. Sayers we used to visit, and
    the high-minded and intelligent Wm. Taylor; but our chief
    delight was in the society of Mrs. John Taylor, a most
    intelligent and excellent woman, mild and unassuming, quiet and
    meek, sitting amidst her large family, occupied with her needle
    and domestic occupations, but always assisting, by her great
    knowledge, the advancement of kind and dignified sentiment and
    conduct.

    Manly wisdom and feminine gentleness were in her united with
    such attractive manners, that she was universally loved and
    respected. In ‘high thoughts and gentle deeds’ she greatly
    resembled the admirable Lucy Hutchinson, and in troubled times
    would have been equally distinguished for firmness in what she
    thought right. In her society we passed every moment we could
    rescue from the court.”[4]

How dear must such a friend have been to one whom she so tenderly loved!
When some years later a portrait of Mrs. Opie was brought out in “The
Cabinet,” a periodical of the day, Mrs. Taylor drew up a short notice of
her friend, to accompany this likeness. This paper was written about the
time of Mr. Opie’s death, but it principally refers to the early part of
Mrs. Opie’s life. After speaking of the circumstances of her birth, of
the early death of her mother, and of the proofs she gave, even in
childhood, of poetical genius and taste, the writer continues:—

    “Mrs. Opie’s musical talents were early cultivated. Her first
    master was Mr. Michael Sharp, of Norwich, who possessed a degree
    of love for his profession which comparatively few, employed in
    the drudgery of teaching, evince. Mrs. O. never arrived at
    superiority as a player, but she may be said to have been
    unrivalled in that kind of singing in which she more
    particularly delighted. Those only who have heard her can
    conceive the effect she produced in the performance of her own
    ballads; of these, ‘The poor Hindoo’ was one of her chief
    favourites, and the expression of plaintive misery and
    affectionate supplication which she threw into it, we may safely
    say has very seldom been equalled. She may fairly be said to
    have created a style of singing of her own, which, though
    polished and improved by art and cultivation, was founded in
    that power, which she appears so pre-eminently to possess, of
    awakening the tender sympathies and pathetic feelings of the
    mind.”

After enumerating some further accomplishments possessed by her friend,
Mrs. Taylor closes her tribute of affectionate regard, by speaking of
the excellencies of a heart and mind “distinguished by frankness,
probity, and the most diffusive kindness;” and appeals to the many who
could bear witness from experience, to those sympathies which “made the
happiness of her friends her own, and to the unremitting ardour with
which she laboured to remove the miseries that came within her knowledge
and influence.”

-----

[4] See Life of Sir James Mackintosh.



                              CHAPTER III.


    NORFOLK AND NORWICH, AND THEIR INHABITANTS; YOUNG LOVE; THE
    DRAMA; SONG WRITING AND CROMER; POLITICS; VISIT TO LONDON;
    LETTERS FROM THENCE; THE OLD BAILEY TRIALS.

Mr. Holcroft, in his Autobiography, writes thus of East Anglia:—

    “I have seen more of the county of Norfolk than of its
    inhabitants; of which county I remark, that, to the best of my
    recollection, it contains more churches, more flints, more
    turkeys, more turnips, more wheat, more cultivation, more
    commons, more cross roads, and from that token probably more
    inhabitants, than any county I ever visited. It has another
    distinguishing and paradoxical feature, if what I hear be true;
    it is said to be more illiterate than any other part of England,
    and yet, I doubt, if any county of like extent have produced an
    equal number of famous men.”

The praises of Norwich were written thus, in old monkish rhymes in days
of yore;

        “Urbs speciosa situ, nitidis pulcherrima tectis,
        Grata peregrinis, deliciosa suis.”

If common fame speak true, the Inhabitants of the old City have been
noted for three peculiarities—the resolute purpose and strongly marked
character of her men; the fair looks of her women; and the deep-rooted
attachment which is entertained for her by those born and bred within
her walls. The subject of this memoir certainly shared largely in this
love for the city of her birth. During the eight and twenty years of her
life which preceded her marriage, with the exception of occasional
visits to London and elsewhere, she remained in her native town and in
her father’s house; and when, at the expiration of nine years, she
became a widow, she returned to live under her father’s roof again; nor
at his death did she manifest a desire to quit the place endeared to her
by the recollections of so many long and happy years.

At the period to which we have arrived in her history, she possessed the
advantages of a pleasing personal appearance. Her friend, Mrs. Taylor,
delicately alludes to the graces of “person, mind, and manner,” so
happily united in her; and Mr. Opie’s portraits fully bear testimony to
the truth of these friendly representations. Her countenance was
animated, bright, and beaming; her eyes soft and expressive, yet full of
ardour; her hair was abundant and beautiful, of auburn hue, and waving
in long tresses; her figure was well formed; her carriage fine; her
hands, arms, and feet, well shaped;—and all around and about her was
the spirit of youth, and joy, and love. What wonder if she early loved,
and was beloved! She used to own that she had been guilty of the
“girlish imprudence” of love at sixteen. From the following lines in one
of her poems, it should seem that this fancy of her youth was but a
day-dream destined to pass away like the rest!

        I’ve gazed on the handsome, have talked with the wise,
          With the witty have laugh’d, untouched by love’s power,
        And tho’ long assailed by young Corydon’s eyes,
          They charmed for a day, and were thought of no more!

        But once, I confess, (t’was at tender sixteen,)
          Love’s agents were busy indeed round my heart,
        And nought but good fortune’s assistance I ween,
          Could ere from my bosom have warded the dart.

Numerous admirers, indeed, seem to have paid her homage, and courted her
favour in those days. Some perhaps enjoyed a short season of hope, and
there were two or three, whose rapturous effusions were committed to
some secret receptacle, there to await a season of leisure when their
claims might be considered. But alas! none such came; they lay
forgotten; and only came to light when she, whose bright young charms
they told of, had closed a long life.

High spirits, uninterrupted health, a lively fancy, and poetic talent,
were hers; and she fully enjoyed and exercised these natural advantages.

One of her earliest tastes was a love of the drama, and Mr. Capel Lofft,
writing to her in 1808, observes, “Your uncle, the barrister, was saying
yesterday evening, how struck he was, almost in your childhood, with
your power of dramatic diction and recitation, and that he had never
thought it equalled by any one.” This taste she cultivated; and, when
not more than eighteen years of age, wrote a tragedy, entitled
“Adelaide,” which is still extant. It was acted for the amusement of her
friends; she herself performing the heroine’s part, while Mr. Robert
Harvey played the rôle of “the old father.”

It should seem from an expression in one of her letters, that this was
not a solitary effort in theatrical composition, and that she even
aspired to see some of her plays performed in public. It was probably
this taste which early introduced her to an acquaintance with the Kemble
family; as she says, in a very early letter to her father, signing
herself ‘Euridice,’ “My claim to this name was revived in my mind the
other day, by Mr. Kemble coming up to me, saying, ‘Euridice, the woods,
Euridice, the floods,’ &c.” She ever entertained an ardent admiration
for the illustrious Mrs. Siddons; an admiration mingled with a warm
sentiment of personal regard. This was manifested in a touching and
natural manner after the death of that lady, when, as she was one day
visiting the Soanian museum, (in company with the friend who now records
the fact,) happening unexpectedly to see a cast of Mrs. Siddons’ face,
taken after death, and unable to control her emotion, she burst into a
passionate flood of tears!

Mrs. Taylor was probably right in her judgment when she said to Mrs.
Opie, “You ought to rest your fame upon song writing.” Many of the most
popular songs she published after her marriage had been early
productions of her pen; and were, perhaps, not excelled by any efforts
of that kind in her later years. Some of them first appeared separately
in newspapers and magazines, and a few in a periodical miscellany called
“The Cabinet.”

The Lay to the memory of her mother was written (as we have said) at
Cromer, in the year 1791; and is the first in an old manuscript book
containing her earlier poems, many of which she afterwards published.
They were produced in this and the following year, and are inscribed
“Verses written at Cromer.” This place seems to have been, throughout
life, very dear to her; owing no doubt, in part, to the fact that she
had frequently spent the summer season there with her mother in her
childhood; hence it became associated in her mind with these earliest
recollections.

There she indulged in fond memories and fancies, spending the long
summer days roving along the shore, and weaving her thoughts into verse,
grave or gay. She deplores her fate when compelled to leave

        These scenes belov’d upon whose tranquil shores,
          Thoughtless of ill, I breathed my earliest songs,
        While childish sports and hopes—a joyous throng—
          In soft enchantment bound the guiltless hours.

And concludes,

        Here I would wander, from day’s earliest dawn,
          Till o’er the western summit steals dark night;
        And from the rugged cliff or dewy lawn,
          Reluctant fades the last pale gleam of light.

Visits among her numerous friends, and excursions on business and
pleasure, in which she not unfrequently accompanied her father,
occasionally afforded themes for her pen, and her wanderings may often
be tracked by the titles she gave to these effusions. “A sonnet written
in Cumberland,” bears date 1790. Another “in a bower in Wroxham
Churchyard,” August, 1792. A serio-comic poem written at Windermere, in
a letter to her father, gives an account of the merry antics played by
herself and a gay party of young folks with whom she made the trip, and
one, which we give to the reader, was

  “WRITTEN ON SEEING A BUST OF MINERVA AT FELBRIGG
  HALL, THROWN INTO A CORNER AMONGST RUBBISH.”

        Who should have thought in Windham’s breast
          Ingratitude to find!
        Who should have thought that _he_ could prove
          To his best friend unkind!

        Yet sure I am, my eyes beheld
          In Felbrigg hall this morn,
        Unmeaning heads exalted high,
          And Wisdom left forlorn!

                       *    *    *    *    *    *

From these tranquil scenes we must make a somewhat abrupt transition,
and carry the reader to the busy world of London, where we find her in
1794, and writing to her friend, Mrs. T., from thence. The allusions to
political events, contained in these letters, render it necessary to say
a few words respecting the opinions entertained by Dr. Alderson, and the
friends with whom he associated on these subjects; as his daughter’s
views were naturally to a great degree formed after those of her father
and his companions.

During the later years of the last century, at the time when this
country was so vehemently excited by the great changes then occurring in
France, and which were regarded by many as the commencement of a new and
happier era for the nations of Europe generally; party strife ran to a
fearful height, and scarcely any, even of the weaker sex, remained
passive spectators of the struggle.

Dr. Alderson was among those who hailed the dawn of the French
revolution with pleasure; and, though he afterwards saw cause to
moderate his expectations as to the results of that movement, he seems
(in common with many sincere patriots) to have held his allegiance true
to the original revolutionary cause. It is well known that at this time
various societies were organized, in different parts of the kingdom, for
the purpose of discussing the political questions then agitating the
public mind, and Norwich was among the foremost in these associations. A
local society was instituted, in which were canvassed reforms and
changes, many of which, advocated by the most influential statesmen of
our day, have since been safely yielded to the irresistible force of
public opinion. Three of the leading measures contended for were the
Abolition of Negro Slavery, the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts,
and the reform of the House of Commons.

The policy of the government was, however, (not without reason,) hostile
to associations such as these, and severe measures were adopted to put
them down, and to bring their leaders under the fearful ban of high
treason.

During Miss Alderson’s stay in London, in 1794, she attended the famous
trials of Horne Tooke, Holcroft, and others, for treason, at the Old
Bailey; and in her letters home she gave her father a lively account of
the events which transpired. It is known that Dr. Alderson, after
reading these letters to his confidential friends, thought it prudent to
destroy them. A few letters, to Mrs. Taylor, written previous to her
marriage, have been preserved; but as that lady was in the habit of
reading those addressed to Dr. Alderson by his daughter, they contain no
account of the events which she described to him. The three which follow
were written in 1794, during her visit to some friends who lived near
London, but her letters being mostly without date, cannot always be
arranged with certainty. It is evident that a fellowship in political
opinions was the only bond which united her to many with whom, at this
time, she associated. Her own good sense and firm rectitude of
principle, happily preserved her from the follies and errors into which
not a few around her were led, by their extravagant zeal for a liberty
which speedily degenerated into license. She too, was enthusiastic,
ardent, perhaps imprudent, at least so she seems to have judged in
cooler moments; but there was too much of the pure womanly character in
her, to suffer her ever to sympathize with the assertors of “woman’s
rights,” (so called;) and she was not to be spoiled even though exposed
to the influence of Horace Walpole’s “philosophising serpents, the
Paines, the Tookes, and the Wollstonecrofts.”

                                                    Tuesday,   1794.
      MY DEAR MRS. T.

    At length I have found an opportunity of writing to you at my
    leisure, but now, though I have begun with the resolution of
    being very grave and very sentimental, I feel such an
    inclination to run into plain matters of fact and narration,
    that I shall beg leave to content myself with a recital of the
    events of my journey to town yesterday, requesting at the same
    time a recital of the events of your life, since I saw you, in
    return. We will leave gravity and sentiment to be the order of
    the evening when we resume our Wednesday _tête à têtes_, and
    rejoice in the absence of husband and father.

    Mr. J. Boddington and I set off for town yesterday by way of
    Islington, that we might pay our first visit to Godwin, at
    Somers’ Town. After a most delightful ride through some of the
    richest country I ever beheld, we arrived at about one o’clock
    at the philosopher’s house, whom we found with his hair _bien
    poudré_, and in a pair of new, sharp-toed, red morocco slippers,
    not to mention his green coat and crimson under-waistcoat. He
    received me very kindly, but wondered I should think of being
    out of London;—could I be either amused or _instructed_ at
    Southgate? How did I pass my time? What were my pursuits? and a
    great deal more, which frightened my protector, and tired me,
    till at last I told him I had not yet outlived my affections,
    and that they bound me to the family at Southgate. But was I to
    acknowledge any other dominion than that of reason?—“but are
    you sure that my affections in this case are not the result of
    reason?” He shrugged disbelief, and after debating some time, he
    told me I was more of the _woman_ than when he saw me last.
    Rarely did we agree, and little did he gain on me by his mode of
    attack; but he seemed alarmed lest he should have offended me,
    and apologised several times, with much feeling, for the
    harshness of his expressions. In short, he convinced me that his
    theory has not yet gotten entire ascendancy over his practice.
    He has promised to come over to spend a day at Southgate, when I
    shall pit rational belief in Mr. M., against atheism in Mr.
    Godwin. Mr. B. was disgusted with his manner; though charmed
    with that of Barry, whom we called on last week. Godwin told me
    he had talked of me to Mrs. Inchbald, that she recollected me,
    and wished to see me; so I determined to call on her after I had
    paid my visit to Mrs. Siddons. From Godwin’s, we went to Ives
    Hurry’s in the City, where we left our chair and horses, and
    proceeded in a coach to Mrs. Betham’s, to have my profile taken,
    and thence we drove to Marlborough Street. I found Mrs. Siddons
    engaged in nursing her little baby, and as handsome and charming
    as ever. She played last Wednesday before her month was up, and
    is now confined to her room with the cold she caught behind the
    scenes. There too, I saw Charles Kemble, as I passed through his
    sister’s dressing room, and thought him so like Kemble, Mrs.
    Twiss, and Mrs. Siddons, that it was some time before I could
    recollect myself enough to know whether he was a man or a woman.
    Sally and Maria, tell my father, are quite well, and inquired
    much concerning him. The baby is all a baby can be, but Mrs. S.
    laughs, and says it is a wit and a beauty already in her eyes;
    she leaves town to-day, or she would have invited me for a
    longer visit. From Marlborough Street, we drove to Mrs.
    Inchbald’s, who is as pretty as ever, and much more easy and
    unreserved in her manner, than when I last saw her. With her we
    passed an hour, and when I took my leave, she begged I would
    call on her again. She is in charming lodgings, and has just
    received two hundred pounds from Sheridan, for a farce
    containing sixty pages only. From her house we drove into the
    city. You will wonder, perhaps, where we dined. Be it known unto
    you, that we never dine when we visit London. Ives Hurry, as
    soon as we arrive at his house, always treats us with as much
    ice and biscuits as we can eat; we then sally forth, and eat ice
    again when we want it; so we did yesterday, and Mrs. Siddons’
    roast beef had no temptations for us. As we returned to I. H.’s,
    we went to Daniel Isaac Eaton’s shop; we had scarcely entered
    it, when a very genteel-looking young man came in. He examined
    us, and we him; and suspicion being the order of the day, I
    dared not talk to Mrs. Eaton till the stranger was engaged in
    conversation with Boddington. I then told her that curiosity led
    me to her shop, and that I came from that city of sedition,
    Norwich. Her eyes sparkled, and she asked me if I knew Charles
    Marsh? “You come from Norwich, (cried the stranger,) allow me to
    ask you some questions,” &c., &c. He put questions, I answered
    them, and in a short time Mr. J. B. and myself were both so
    charmed with his manners and conversation, that we almost
    fancied we had known him before. We saw that he was intimate
    with Mrs. E. and her sweet girl, and seemed to be as much at
    home in the shop as the counter itself. So we had no fears of
    him; at last we became so fraternized, that Mrs. E. shut the
    shop door and gave us chairs. I will not relate the information
    I heard, but I could have talked with him all night. “Well, but
    who was he?” Have patience and you shall hear. Finding that he
    was just returned from Scotland, and was _au fait_ of all the
    proceedings there, and that his connexions were those of high
    life; I asked where Lord Daer was, and lamented that he was not
    one of the _arrested members_. He smiled, and said that Lord D.
    wanted nerve then, and fortitude to resist the anxieties of his
    mother, and sisters, the most accomplished women in England;
    that the very day of the arrest he had received a letter from
    Lord Daer, promising to be with them if possible; and in the
    evening another note to say Lady Selkirk was ill, and that he
    could not leave her. “Indeed! I thought he _bailed_ you,” said
    Mrs. Eaton. “Oh! no,” replied the other. Mr. B. and I looked at
    each other, wondering who “you,” was; but I began to suspect,
    and went on questioning him. He said they dared not hurt Lord
    D.; that they dared not attack any man of connexions and estate
    in Scotland: that had he himself been condemned, or sent to
    Botany Bay, his connexions would have _risen to a man_. I
    ventured to say, that however amiable Lord D.’s family might be,
    he ought to have disregarded their influence. He replied that I
    was quite right, and that he himself had disregarded them;—that
    democratic women were rare, and that he heartily wished he could
    introduce me to two charming patriots at Edinburgh, who were,
    though women, up to circumstances—and a great deal more, that
    raised my curiosity to a most painful height; at last, having
    said that he had laid it down as a rule for his conduct, that a
    patriot should be without the _hope of living_, or the _fear of
    dying_, he took his leave, leaving our minds elevated and
    delighted. Mrs. E. told us it was Mr. Sinclair, Sir John’s
    nephew, he who was tried, and acquitted. He says Lord D. is
    supposed to be dying, and he himself looks in bad health, but
    his countenance is fine, and his manners elegant.—“What think
    you of Mr. Windham?” said I, “Oh! the poor creature is out of
    his element; he might have done very well for a college
    disputant or a Greek professor, perhaps, but that’s all.” “Why
    do the Norwich patriots espouse Mingay? what can they expect?
    (said he,) he might be a very good implement of resentment
    against Windham, but, though the friend of their necessity, not
    of their choice.” Is he not right? * * * *

The following letter begins quite abruptly, and is without date.

    * * * How strange it is, my dear friend, that I should have
    suffered your kind letter to remain so long unanswered, but, as
    I am certain that you will not impute my silence to any
    diminution of affection towards you, I will not fret about my
    oddity, but endeavour to make amends for it, by writing as good
    a letter as I _can_, and that will be, alas! very stupid; for
    the state of the times and other things press upon my mind
    continually, and unfit me for everything but conversation. My
    father will have told you a great deal; he will have told you
    too how much we are interested and agitated by the probable
    event of the approaching trials. Would to God, you and your
    husband were equally so, for then would one of my cares be
    removed; as you would, like us, perhaps turn a longing eye
    towards America as a place of refuge; and one of the strongest
    ties that binds me to Norwich would be converted into an
    attraction to lure me to the new world. On this, at least, I
    hope we are at all events resolved; to emigrate, if the event of
    the trial be fatal; that is, provided the Morgans do not give up
    their present resolution, and that we can carry a little society
    along with us, in which we can be happy, should Philadelphia
    disappoint our expectations. I write to you on this subject in
    confidence; as we do not wish our intention to be much known at
    present. How changed I am! How I sicken at the recollection of
    past follies and past connexions, and wish from the bottom of my
    soul, that I had never associated but with you and others like
    you. But it is folly to dwell on the past; it only incapacitates
    one for enjoying the present; it shall now be my care to anchor
    on the future, and I trust in God that it will not disappoint
    me.

    You see I am not in high spirits; but then I am the more
    natural; and my flighty hours are long gone by, and my time for
    serious exertion is, I hope, arrived; but why should I write
    thus? I shall perhaps infect you with this _seeming_ gloom; for,
    after all, if I carefully examine my heart, it will tell me,
    that I am happy. My usual spirits have been lowered this
    morning, by hearing Mr. Boddington and Mr. Morgan mark the
    printed list of the jury. Every one almost is marked by them as
    unfit to be trusted; for almost every man is a rascal, and a
    contractor, and in the pay of government some way or another.

    What hope is there then for these objects of ministerial
    rancour? Mr. B. objects even to his own uncle, whom he thinks
    _honest_, because he is so prejudiced an aristocrat, that he
    looks upon rigour, in such cases, to be justice only. What a
    pass are things come to, when even dissenters lick the hand that
    oppresses them! Hang these politics! how they haunt me. Would it
    not be better, think you, to hang the _framers_ of them?

    What is a woman made of, think you, that can _sue_ a man for
    inconstancy? Truly of very coarse materials; yet I really
    believe Miss Mann’s trial would have attracted me more than that
    for sedition. It would have given me so many new ideas. * * * *
    I wish my father could have remained with us, but he was very
    good to stay so long as he did; and I have the satisfaction of
    knowing he was happy while he did stay. He will tell you enough
    about Mrs. Inchbald, for he is quite smitten with her. Nay, I
    rather suspect he paid her a farewell visit. Pray tell him to
    write to me soon.

    What a pity it is that The Cabinet is dangerous. I should have
    enjoyed it else so much. I admire what is already written. We
    are going to-night, as usual, to W. Morgan’s, where I shall sing
    as usual, your husband’s song. How I wish he was here to sing it
    instead of me. Farewell. Pray write to me soon.

                                                           A. A.

Although, as we have said, the letters describing what she saw at the
Old Bailey were destroyed, she has fortunately preserved an anecdote of
much interest relative to them, which was recalled to her recollection
many years subsequently, on occasion of a visit she paid to Madame de
Staël; she says:—

    With this woman of excelling genius and winning manners, I had
    the pleasure of being acquainted in the year 1813; when, with
    her daughter, then of the age of sixteen, who afterwards became
    Duchess de Broglie, and Mr. Rocca, to whom she was then
    privately married, she was residing for some months in London,
    when exiled by Napoleon from France. One morning I went to call
    on her by appointment, accompanied by a friend of mine whom she
    wished to see, on some particular business. Scarcely had that
    business been concluded, when the servant announced Lord
    Erskine, who came in with books in his hands, and when he saw me
    he cried, “I am glad to see you here, for I want you to read
    something for me.” He then gracefully bowed to Madame de Staël
    and presented the two books to her, containing, he said, his
    most celebrated speeches; and opening the first volume he turned
    to the first page, on which he had written a dedication to la
    Baronne de Staël in English, which he begged me to read to her.
    “No, no, not so,” she exclaimed eagerly, taking the book from
    me, “I can read it myself.” Accordingly she began; while I,
    myself an author, soon felt painful sympathy with poor Lord E.’s
    feelings; for the writing was, I dare say, difficult for her, a
    foreigner, to read; and the poor writer’s smooth and elegant
    periods were, in a great measure, deprived of their charm, by
    their meaning being sometimes stammered out, and, possibly, not
    entirely understood. However, the lady was flattered with what
    she did understand, and Lord E. soon recovered the steadiness of
    his nerves: and taking up the second volume, which contained his
    speeches at the Old Bailey trials in the year 1794, he read some
    favourite passages to her, and finished by alluding to the
    evident dislike which the Lord Chief Baron Eyre, who presided at
    them, entertained for him, and how strongly he proved it during
    the trial of Horne Tooke, who was the second person tried for
    his life, and was (like the first person, Thomas Hardy) entirely
    acquitted. He then related what had passed between himself and
    the Chief Justice, after the trial was over and the crowd
    dispersed, and which I, who was present, well remembered having,
    by accident, overheard. Liking to be near the eloquent man and
    to hear him speak, I had contrived to get so near as to overhear
    what passed, and which I thought was too loud, not to be
    intended to be heard. The judge had, I saw, to repeat what he
    said; but at length he was answered in a manner which he little
    expected; for the indignant speaker replied, “My lord, I am
    willing to give your lordship such an answer as an aggrieved man
    of honour like myself is willing to give to the man who has
    repeatedly insulted him, and I am willing and ready to meet your
    lordship, at any time and place that you may choose to appoint.”
    At this point of his story our hostess cried, “What! my lord,
    that was a challenge, _n’est ce pas_?” “Yes, ma’am.” “Well, what
    did he say?” “Oh! nothing to the purpose; but I assure you I was
    irritated into saying what I did.” “Yes, indeed,—I was behind
    you, Lord E. (said I,) and heard all that passed; and though
    such things were quite new to me, I felt sure what was said by
    you amounted to a challenge; but when I told the friends with
    whom I went home what had passed, they said I was a silly girl
    and that I was mistaken.” He looked at me with some surprise,
    and, I fear, with a doubt of my veracity; but I could affirm to
    the truth of my assertion. I do not wonder, however, as he did
    not then know me personally, and was not conscious of my
    proximity, or that of any one else perhaps, that he was inclined
    to distrust my truthfulness; but it was a fact, that the
    circumstance and the words he related, were, I believe,
    witnessed and overheard by me alone; and a curious fact or
    coincidence it was, that this conversation, overheard by me in
    the year 1794, I should be present to hear related to the
    Baronne de Staël by Lord E. himself in the year 1813. The
    circumstance and the words he has published at the end of the
    trial of Horne Tooke; and I could, with a safe conscience,
    _underwrite_ all that he there relates. I fear that he really
    believed I was romancing, or he would have named this odd
    corroboration of his conduct, which no doubt he thought the
    noble daring of a man of worldly honour.

Among Mrs. Opie’s loose papers was one written within a short time of
her death, containing some introductory remarks to a reminiscence she
purposed to write of this eventful period. It begins—

        “‘Tis pleasant from the loophole of retreat
        To look on such a world,”

    wrote Cowper: but these words do not exactly express my present
    feelings; for from my loophole of retreat I am looking with
    pleasure, _not_ on the world as it is, but on the world as it
    was.

    The occurrences of the year 1794 have lately been pressing with
    such power on my remembrance, demanding from me a decided
    confession that it was the most interesting period of my long
    life, (or nearly such,) that I am inclined to give an account of
    what made it so, and acknowledge that it was the opportunity
    unexpectedly afforded me of attending the trials of Hardy, Horne
    Tooke, and Thelwall, at the Old Bailey, for High Treason. What a
    prospect of entertainment was opening before me when (while on a
    visit at Southgate, near London) I heard that at these
    approaching trials, to which I hoped to obtain admission, I
    should not only hear the first pleaders at the bar, but behold,
    and probably hear examined, the first magnates of the land; and
    on the event depended, not a _nisi prius_ cause, or one of petty
    larceny, but interests of a public nature, and most nearly
    affecting the safety and prosperity of the nation; aye, and much
    personally interesting to myself; as I knew, in the secret of my
    heart, that my own prospects for life might probably be changed
    and darkened by the result. To such a height had party-spirit
    reached on both sides, in my native city and elsewhere, that
    even innocent men were accused of treasonable intentions and
    practices, who _talked_, when excited by contradiction, the
    fearful things they would never have thought of acting; and I
    had reason to believe that if the “felons” about to be tried
    should not be “acquitted felons,” certain friends of mine would
    have emigrated to America, and my beloved father would have been
    induced to accompany them!

    This was, indeed, an alarming idea to me, who was only beginning
    to taste the pleasures of London society, and who could still
    say, in spite of the excitement of party feeling, and my unity
    of opinion with the liberals of that day, “England! with all thy
    faults I love thee still;” and when, on the 28th of the 10th
    mo., the trial of Thomas Hardy began at the Sessions-house in
    the Old Bailey, existence acquired, in my eyes, a new but
    painful interest; and, with the pleasing anticipations of the
    unexpected enjoyment awaiting me, were mingled some apparently
    well-founded fears of evil to come. How vividly do I often now,
    in my lone and lonely portion, live over the excitements of
    those far distant days, in the many, many evening hours, which I
    pass not unwillingly alone.

            “Alone! if ’tis to be alone, when mem’ry’s spells are cast
            To summon phantoms from the dead, and voices from the past,
            Long woven in the tangled web of the mysterious brain,
            Till time and space are things of naught, and all is ours
              again.”[5]

    Yes! how often (as I said) do I recall with all these alternate
    emotions of pain and pleasure, of disappointment and fruition,
    the last days of October, and the first five days of November,
    1794! * * *

Here the manuscript breaks off.

-----

[5] From a charming Poem called the Desert Dream, written by Anna
Savage, and published in the Monthly Magazine for April, 1847.—A. O.



                              CHAPTER IV.


    FRENCH EMIGRANTS; LETTER TO MRS. TAYLOR; LETTER OF THE DUKE
    D’AIGUILLON; VISIT TO LONDON, AND LETTER FROM THENCE; LONDON
    AGAIN; LETTER FROM MRS. WOLLSTONECROFT; FIRST INTRODUCTION TO
    MR. OPIE; MR. OPIE’S EARLY HISTORY; RETURN TO NORWICH;
    PREPARATIONS FOR MARRIAGE.

The sufferings endured by the upper and proscribed classes in France
during the time of the French Revolution, obliged (as is well known)
multitudes of them to take refuge in this country; and, in the year
1797, London and its suburbs alone were found, by an official return, to
contain seven thousand and forty-one _Aliens_. Many of these were
subjected to the extremes of want and misery; their condition exciting
the compassion, as well as the indignation, of the humane. Amongst them
were not a few men of high standing and repute, who were received into
society, and found friends among the wealthier classes of the community.
It was just at this period, that the celebrated Count de Lally Tolendal,
published his “Defence of the French Emigrants;” a work well known all
over Europe, as soon as it was published. To this gentleman Mrs. Opie
addressed a “Quatrain,” on reading his “Defence of his Father,” which
subsequently appeared among her published poems. This favour he
acknowledged, in a letter dated from Cossey, (near Norwich,) accompanied
by a French poem of one hundred lines, which she preserved among her
papers. It was very natural that she, whose sympathies were ever so
keenly alive to the sorrows of others, should become warmly interested
on behalf of these unhappy exiles; and she appears to have formed many
acquaintances among them, during the time she spent in London. The
following letter to Mrs. Taylor gives a lively narrative of one of the
_soirées_, at which she met a party of the emigrants, among whom was the
Duc d’Aiguillon; and we have added a letter from him, received by her
the following year, on the cover of which she has written, “From the
Duke d’Aiguillon, the ex-minister; one of the second importation of
emigrants.”

                            TO MRS. TAYLOR.
                                             Sunday Morning, 1795.

    It is so long, my dear friend, since I conversed with you, even
    through the imperfect medium of a letter, that I joyfully take
    advantage of the first favourable opportunity for writing you a
    long epistle, in hopes that I may rouse you to pay me in coin.
    Besides you are in a state of widowhood and require all the
    attention possible to console you for so forlorn a condition!
    What shall I tell you by way of anecdote? My father has read
    you, perhaps, my account of Charles Lameth; take some more
    particulars respecting that extraordinary man. You may suppose
    that I felt a new and pleasing sensation while contemplating
    him, as I knew him to be one of the actors in the first
    revolution; and as soon as my silence yielded to my curiosity, I
    began questioning him concerning some of the patriotic leaders.
    Amongst others I inquired what he thought of Legendre? He says
    Legendre, though misled, has some good points in his character,
    and is not a bad man; he then gave us the following instance of
    his determined spirit and resolution; “I was, at the time I
    mention,” said Lameth, “president of the National Convention,
    and had been supping at your house, (turning to the Duc
    d’Aiguillon,) when, at midnight, my servant came to me, and
    said, ‘A man muffled up is in a hackney coach at the door, and
    wants to see you.’ ‘Tell him to come in.’ ‘He refuses.’ ‘Go and
    ask his name.’ He did so, and returned saying, ‘His name is
    Legendre.’ Hearing this, I went into the coach to him, and
    demanded his business. ‘I come to you,’ replied he, ‘as
    president of the National Convention; I hear that an accusation
    is bringing forward against me, and as I shrink not from the
    charge, I came to surrender myself, and save you the
    trouble—here I am, guillotine me, if you will, I am firm and
    steady.’ I endeavoured to convince him the decree of accusation
    might be repealed, and that all that was necessary was his
    concealment till the danger was gone by. ‘Conceal me then in
    your house, my own is not safe,’ cried he; but I convinced him
    that mine was too public. However, I sent to a friend in whom I
    could confide, who concealed Legendre in his, till the decree
    was annulled.”

    “Oh!” said Sam. Rogers to me, some time after, “I do not like
    the fellow’s looks, I would not have gone muffled up to his
    house, at midnight, and have given him leave to kill me, for
    fear he should have taken me at my word!” This led Mr. Rogers to
    give his opinion of the three _émigrés_ then with us, and of
    Duport, another of considerable talents, who was prevented
    coming; and he defined them thus:—“Though I have often
    entertained Lameth at my house, I should expect he would treat
    me insolently, and make me feel the distance between us, even if
    he admitted me to his table. The Marquis would grin at me, and
    pass on; the Duc would be glad to see me, and do me immediately
    all the service and civility in his power; but Duport would open
    his arms to me!” Lameth entertained the _gentlemen_ very much,
    by his account of the fascinating Madame de Condorcet, and of
    her method of acquiring votes for the members whom she wished
    returned. These favoured men were called “the majority of Madame
    de Condorcet;” and, on my innocently asking what it meant, I saw
    enough, from the laugh I excited, and L’s mysterious manner of
    answering, to know that the majority of Madame de Condorcet
    meant no good. “Does she live still?” said I; “Oh, yes,” cried
    the Duc, “she is in no danger; all parties will be her friend;
    she is so pretty and so accommodating; and I’m sure she’ll be
    the _friend of all parties_.” The Marquis, who was the intimate
    friend of the Duc de Rouchefoucault, says, though he brought
    Condorcet forward, fed him, lodged him, and married him,
    Condorcet was _justly_ suspected of being privy to his
    assassination. When Lameth was forced to fly, as he was
    denounced in the Jacobin Club, and orders given for his
    detention, he sent to desire such a portmanteau to be forwarded
    directly to him; having received it, and wanting some of the
    money and papers which it contained, he opened it as soon as he
    was out of France, and found, to his utter surprise and dismay,
    that the wrong portmanteau had been sent, and instead of money,
    that it contained his wife’s child-bed linen! “Et les voilà
    encore, mesdames! (continua-t-il) car, en vérité, je n’ai pas eu
    _encore_ occasion d’en faire usage.” * *

                         à Hambourg, chez Mr. Fortune de la Vigne,
                                   Negociant, ce 6 février, 1796.
           TO MISS AMELIA ALDERSON, MR. ALDERSON’S, NORWICH.
      MADEMOISELLE,

    Daignez agréer l’assurance bien sincère, de la vive
    reconnaissance que m’inspire le marque aimable, de souvenir et
    d’intérêt, que vous avez bien voulu me donner. Je vous dois
    mille remerciemens, et de la lettre donc vous avez chargé Mr. le
    Chevalier de Bercley, et de m’avoir procuré le plaisir de le
    connaitre. Je l’ai vu assez pour que le peu de séjour qu’il a
    fait ici, m’ai laissé beaucoup de regrets. J’ai mille excuses à
    vous faire d’avoir autant tardé à vous répondre; mais j’ai été,
    pendant plus de quinze jours, tellement malade d’un rhume mêlé
    de fievre, et de goutte (ma constante ennemie) que j’étois dans
    l’impossibilité absolue d’écrire un seul mot. Croyez, je vous
    prie, Mademoiselle, qu’il a fallu une raison aussi forte, pour
    m’empêcher de vous exprimer plutot toute ma gratitude, et le
    plaisir que j’ai, d’être assuré par vous, que je ne partage pas
    le sort ordinaire aux absens.

    Recevez mes remerciemens des jolis airs que vous m’avez envoyés.
    Je les conserverai avec soin, et ne les donnerai quoique vous en
    disiez, à personne. Ils ont renouvellé mes regrets, en me
    rappellant ces tendres et jolies romances que vous chantiez avec
    l’expression de la musique et toute celle du sentiment, ce qui
    vaut bien mieux.

    Je vous rends graces, Mademoiselle, des souhaits, vraiment
    pleins de bonté que vous faites en ma faveur. Je crains qu’ils
    ne soyent encore longtems à s’accomplir; cependant, je n’en suis
    pas moins sensible à vôtre obligeance. Mais vous! que desirer
    pour vôtre bonheur? La nature n’a-t-elle pas pourvu à tout, en
    vous donnant les qualités du cœur, celles de l’esprit, des
    graces, des talents? Je me bornerai donc à souhaiter que vous
    soyez toujours aussi heureuse que vous méritez de l’être, et
    c’est tout dire.

    Il me paroit que vous avez à Norwich une Societé de Français
    assez agréable. Je ne connois point ceux que vous me nommez;
    mais j’envie leur sort, d’être aupres de vous, et de vous
    plaire,—à propos!—que peut fonder ce reproche d’aristocratie
    fait à mon ami, M. de L.? Voilà, vraisemblablement, la première
    fois qu’il en est accusé. Cela est assez plaisant, et le
    singularité du fait, l’empêche, en verité, d’être aussi affligé
    qu’il le seroit, d’être jugé par vous aussi sévèrement.

    Adieu, Mademoiselle. Adieu! Croyez que je regarderois comme un
    vrai bonheur d’être instruit quelquefois de ce qui peut vous
    intéresser. Veuillez bien agréer l’hommage du tendre respect et
    de l’attachement sincère, que je vous ai voué.

                                                        D’AIGUILLON.

Miss Alderson’s visit in London seems to have been protracted to a
period of some months; a season full of constant occupation and variety,
passed amidst a gay round of visits and amusements, which, however, did
not merely serve the end of the fleeting hour’s enjoyment, but in which
she studied human nature, and became acquainted with the world and its
ways, to good practical purpose. There are two other letters to her
friend, of this period, from which we make the following extracts:—

    * * * Yesterday morning I had the unexpected pleasure of a visit
    from Mr. Wrangham. He did not stay long, but he has promised to
    call again, and is as gentle, elegant, and interesting as ever;
    he gained the Seatonian prize for a poem this year, which is
    published, and he has promised to send me one. I am much pleased
    with Mr. W. Taylor’s Ode to the ship that conveys Gerald. Though
    he would not favour me with a copy of the elegant sonnet he sent
    me on the morning of my departure, my memory retains every word
    of it; and I catch myself repeating the first and last line,
    whenever home and its varied associations crowd on my mind.
    Month follows month in this _wilderness_ of pleasure, if I may
    call it so, where fruits and flowers dispute pre-eminence with
    weeds; and yet I cannot say, “I’ll stay here no longer,” till,
    as I said before, my natal soil and its comforts press on my
    mind, and I exclaim, “Ah! not for ever quaff at pleasure’s
    distant fount!” To-morrow I am going to enjoy “the feast of
    reason and the flow of soul,” with Mrs. Barbauld and Dr. Geddes,
    at Mrs. Howard’s. I wish I could _wish_ you there. Godwin drank
    tea and supt here last night; a leave-taking visit, as he goes
    to-morrow to spend a fortnight at Dr. Parr’s. It would have
    entertained you highly to have seen him bid me farewell. He
    wished to salute me, but his courage failed him. “While oft he
    looked back, and was loth to depart.” “Will you give me nothing
    to keep for your sake, and console me during my absence,”
    murmured out the philosopher, “not even your slipper? I had it
    in my possession once, and need not have returned it!” This was
    true; my shoe had come off, and he had put it in his pocket for
    some time. You have no idea how gallant he is become; but indeed
    he is much more amiable than ever he was. Mrs. Inchbald says,
    the report of the world is, that Mr. Holcroft is in love with
    her, _she_ with Mr. Godwin, Mr. Godwin with _me_, and I am in
    love with Mr. Holcroft! A pretty story indeed! This report
    Godwin brings to me, and he says Mrs. I. always tells him that
    when she praises _him_, I praise Holcroft. This is not fair in
    Mrs. I. She appears to me jealous of G.’s attention to me, so
    she makes him believe I prefer H. to him. She often says to me,
    “Now you are come, Mr. Godwin does not come near me.” Is not
    this very womanish? We had a most delightful conversation last
    night. A dispute on the merits of different poets,—Mr. G.
    abusing Collins, I defending him,—G. setting Gray above him,
    and I putting him below him; but we agreed about Churchill, who
    was one of my _flames_. How idle I am! I cannot write, and I
    read but little, but I shall mend. Farewell! Mr. Batty and I
    both wear you “in our heart’s core,” and so would Mrs. B., if
    she knew you. I love and admire them more every day. Love to the
    Barnards; my love to the Smiths. Dear love and good wishes to
    the boys and girls.

                                                         Yours, ——
                                                         Thursday.
      MY DEAR MRS. TAYLOR,

    * * * * I flatter myself with the idea that you hear most of my
    letters to my father; consequently that you know my movements,
    and can judge of the probable quantity of enjoyment I
    experience. I am now about to enjoy pleasant society in a
    pleasant country, one of the first luxuries at this season of
    the year; but still I sigh for home, that is, I sigh for a day
    or two of confidential intercourse with you and others, and to
    wash off the dirt of London in the sea of Cromer; to write
    poetry on the shore, to live over again every scene there that
    memory loves (and never did she love them so dearly as now;)
    and, having rioted in all that my awakened fancy can give,
    return to Norwich, and endeavour to make one of my plays, at
    least, fit to be offered to one of the managers of the winter
    theatres. Such is my plan; and in it I live, move, and have my
    being.

    Bless me! what a busy place Norwich has been, and I not in it!
    but then I heard H. Tooke and Fox speak, and that’s something.
    To be sure I had rather have heard Buonaparte address his
    soldiers; but as pleasure _delayed_ is not pleasure _lost_, I
    may still hope to hear _him_ when the _bonnet rouge_ has taken
    place of the tiara, and a switch from the tree of liberty
    dangles from that hand which formerly wielded the crozier. But
    alas! this is no laughing matter,—or rather let us laugh while
    we can, for I believe an hour to be approaching when _salut et
    fraternité_ will be the watchwords for civil slaughter
    throughout Europe; and the meridian glory of the sun of Liberty,
    in France, will light us to courting the past dangers and
    horrors of the republic, in hopes of obtaining her present power
    and greatness. It will be an awful time; may I meet it with
    fortitude! But I shrink, and shrink _only_, from the idea of
    ties dear to my heart, which it will for ever break; of the
    friendships I must forego; of the dangers of those I love; and
    of friends equally dear to me, meeting in the field of strife
    opposed in mortal combat! I feel heart-sick at such
    possibilities; yet which amongst us dare assert that such
    possibilities may not, ere long, be probable?

    Mrs. Imlay tells me, no words can describe the feelings which
    the scenes she witnessed in France gave birth to continually—it
    was a sort of indefinite terror. She was sitting alone, when
    Imlay came in and said, “I suppose you have not heard the sad
    news of to-day?” “What is it? is Brissot guillotined?” “Not only
    Brissot, but the _one-and-twenty_ are.” Amongst them she
    immediately could conjure up the faces of some lately endeared
    acquaintances, and before she was conscious of the effect of the
    picture, she sunk lifeless on the floor: and Mrs. Imlay is not a
    fine lady—if any mind could be unmoved at such things hers
    would; but a series of horrors must have a very weakening
    tendency. When we meet I shall have much to tell you. Yesterday
    I had a letter from Catherine; she is well and happy, she says;
    but we’ll read her letter together.

    Farewell! Mrs. Barbauld is more charming than ever; both he and
    she speak of you as you deserve. Love to Mrs. Beecroft, and
    Fanny Smith, and all the circle of home. * * *

In the spring of 1797 we find her again in town, accompanying her friend
Mrs. Inchbald on the 17th April, to Westminster, to hear a sermon from
Bishop Horsley. Again she extended her visit to several months; and a
most eventful time it proved to be in her history, as will be gathered
from her communications to Mrs. Taylor. Some unexpected changes too had
occurred amongst her acquaintances, since she left them, twelve or
fourteen months before. The philosophic Godwin had justified her opinion
of him, and proved that his heart was not so wise as his head; he had
married Mrs. Wollstonecroft, a strange incomprehensible woman, whose
unhappy existence terminated shortly after this marriage. A letter from
her to Miss Alderson, seems to have been written at this time, and as it
is of painful interest, and curious in more respects than one, we
subjoin it:—

      MY DEAR GIRL,

    Endeavouring, through embarrassment, to turn the conversation
    from myself last night, I insensibly became too severe in my
    strictures on the vanity of a certain lady, and my heart smote
    me when I raised a laugh at her expense. Pray forget it. I have
    now to tell you that I am very sorry I prevented you from
    engaging a box for Mrs. Inchbald, whose conduct, I think, has
    been very rude. She wrote to Mr. Godwin to-day, saying, that,
    taking it for granted he had forgotten it, she had spoken to
    another person. “She would not do so the next time he was
    married.” Nonsense! I have now to request you to set the matter
    right. Mrs. Inchbald may still get a box; I beg her pardon for
    misunderstanding the business, but Mr. G. led me into the error,
    or I will go to the pit. To have done with disagreeable subjects
    at once, let me allude to another. I shall be sorry to resign
    the acquaintance of Mrs. and Mr. F. Twiss, because I respect
    their characters, and feel grateful for their attention; but my
    conduct in life must be directed by my own judgment and moral
    principles: it is my wish that Mr. Godwin should visit and dine
    out as formerly, and I shall do the same; in short, I still mean
    to be independent, even to the cultivating sentiments and
    principles in my children’s minds, (should I have more,) which
    he disavows. The wound my unsuspecting heart formerly received
    is not healed. I found my evenings solitary; and I wished, while
    fulfilling the duty of a mother, to have some person with
    similar pursuits, bound to me by affection; and beside, I
    earnestly desired to resign a name which seemed to disgrace me.
    Since I have been unfortunately the object of observation, I
    have had it in my power, more than once, to marry very
    advantageously; and of course, should have been courted by
    those, who at least cannot accuse me of acting an interested
    part, though I have not, by dazzling their eyes, rendered them
    blind to my faults. I am proud perhaps, conscious of my own
    purity and integrity; and many circumstances in my life have
    contributed to excite in my bosom an indignant contempt for the
    forms of a world I should have bade a long good night to, had I
    not been a mother. Condemned then, to toil my hour out, I wish
    to live as rationally as I can; had fortune or splendor been my
    aim in life, they have been within my reach, would I have paid
    the price. Well, enough of the subject; I do not wish to resume
    it. Good night! God bless you.

                                              MARY WOLLSTONECROFT,
                                                   femme GODWIN.
      Tuesday Night.

From this letter, it is cheering to turn to the bright joyous spirit,
evinced in the following, which contains the first announcement of the
important event to which we alluded just now.

                            TO MRS. TAYLOR.
                                                  Tuesday,   1797.

    Why have I not written to you? it is a question I cannot answer;
    you must answer it yourself, but attribute my silence, _not_ to
    any diminution of affection for you * * * * Believe me, I still
    hear the kind fears you expressed for me when we parted, and
    still see the flattering tears that you shed when you bade me
    adieu. Indeed, I shall never forget them. I had resolved to
    write to you as soon as ever I had seen Richard, but it was a
    resolution made to be broken; like many others in this busy
    scene. Had I written to you as soon as I left, of all those whom
    I have heard talk of and praise you as you deserve, I should
    have ruined you in postage. Poor Mr. C. is desperately in love
    with you, by his own confession, and his wife admires his taste.
    Mr. Godwin was much gratified by your letter, and he avowed that
    it made him love you better than he did before, and Mrs. Godwin
    was not surprised at it; by the bye, he never told me whether
    you congratulated him on his marriage or not; but now I
    remember, it was written before that wonder-creating event was
    known. Heigho! what charming things would sublime theories be,
    if one could make one’s practice keep up with them; but I am
    convinced it is impossible, and am resolved to make the best of
    every-day nature.

    I shall have much to tell you in a _tête à tête_, of the
    Godwins, &c.—so much that a letter could not contain or do it
    justice; but this will be _entre nous_; I love to make
    observations on extraordinary characters; but not to mention
    those observations if they be not favourable.

    “Well! a whole page, and not a word yet of the state of her
    heart; the subject most interesting to me”—methinks I hear you
    exclaim; patience, friend, it will come soon, but not go away
    soon, were I to analyze it, and give it you in detail. Suffice,
    that it is in the most comical state possible; but I am not
    unhappy, on the contrary, I enjoy everything; and if my head be
    not turned by the large draughts which my vanity is daily
    quaffing, I shall return to Norwich much happier than I left it.
    Mr. Opie, has (but _mum_) been my declared lover, almost ever
    since I came. I was ingenuous with him upon principle, and I
    told him my situation, and the state of my heart. He said he
    should still persist, and would risk all consequences to his own
    peace, and so he did and does; and I have not resolution to
    forbid his visits. Is not this abominable? Nay more, were I not
    certain my father would disapprove such, or indeed _any_
    connexion for me, there are moments, when, ambitious of being a
    wife and mother, and of securing to myself a companion for life,
    capable of entering into all my pursuits, and of amusing me by
    his,—I could almost resolve to break all fetters, and
    relinquish too, the wide, and often aristocratic circle, in
    which I now move, and become the wife of a man, whose genius has
    raised him from obscurity, into fame and comparative affluence;
    but indeed my mind is on the pinnacle of its health when I thus
    feel; and on a pinnacle one can’t remain long! But I had
    forgotten to tell you the attraction Mr. O. held out, that
    staggered me beyond anything else; it was that, if I were averse
    to leaving my father, he would joyfully consent to his living
    with us. What a temptation to me, who am every moment sensible,
    that the claims of my father will always be, with me, superior
    to any charms that a lover can hold out! Often do I rationally
    and soberly state to Opie the reasons that might urge me to
    marry him, in time, and the reasons why I never could be happy
    with him, nor he with me; but it always ends in his persisting
    in his suit, and protesting his willingness to wait for my
    decision; even while I am seriously rejecting him, and telling
    him I _have_ decided. * * * Mr. Holcroft too, has had a mind to
    me, but he has no chance. May I trouble you to tell my father
    that, while I was out yesterday, Hamilton called, and left a
    note, simply saying, “Richardson says he means to _call_ on you,
    I have seen him this morning.” Before I seal this letter I hope
    to receive my farce from him; I will put my letter by till the
    boy returns from R. I have been capering about the room for joy,
    at having gotten my farce back! now idleness adieu, when Dicky
    and I have held sweet converse together! * * *

The first time Mr. Opie saw his future wife, was at an evening party, at
the house of one of her early friends; among the guests assembled, were
Mr. Opie, and a family, personally known to the writer of these Memoirs.
Some of those present were rather eagerly expecting the arrival of Miss
Alderson; but the evening was wearing away, and still she did not
appear; at length the door was flung open, and she entered, bright and
smiling, dressed in a robe of blue, her neck and arms bare; and on her
head a small bonnet, placed in somewhat coquettish style, sideways, and
surmounted by a plume of three white feathers. Her beautiful hair hung
in rich waving tresses over her shoulders; her face was kindling with
pleasure at sight of her old friends; and her whole appearance was
animated and glowing. At the time she came in, Opie was sitting on a
sofa, beside Mr. F., who had been saying, from time to time, “Amelia is
coming; Amelia will surely come: why is she not here?” and whose eyes
were turned in her direction. He was interrupted by his companion
eagerly exclaiming “Who is that? Who is that?” and hastily rising, he
pressed forward, to be introduced to the fair object whose sudden
appearance had so impressed him. He was evidently smitten; charmed, at
first sight, and, as she says, “almost from my first arrival Mr. Opie
became my avowed lover.”

It will not be necessary for us to give more than a short reference to
Mr. Opie’s career before he became acquainted with Amelia Alderson. He
was born of poor and respectable parents, and early showed a remarkable
strength of understanding and indomitable perseverance. His father would
fain have brought him up to his own business, (that of a carpenter,) but
to this the boy evinced a most decided disinclination, and even so early
as his 10th year the bent of his talents was determined. In vain his
father endeavoured to discourage his attempts at drawing; he persisted
in covering the walls of their house with pictures of his family, his
companions, and favourite animals. Accident brought him to the knowledge
of Dr. Walcot, (the Peter Pindar of well-known celebrity,) who assisted
and recommended him, and eventually introduced him, in his 20th year, to
the notice of the artistic world in London; there he was hailed as a
wonder and a genius, and immediately surrounded and employed by amateurs
and many of the nobility. The street in which he lived was so crowded
with carriages that, as he jokingly observed, he thought he should have
to plant a cannon at his door to keep the multitude off! This
popularity, however, did not last long; although he was really improving
by diligent practice, and advancing towards excellence, the world began
to cool upon him when he ceased to be a novelty; and soon neglected one
it had perhaps at first somewhat overvalued. By a wise economy he had,
even at this time, secured a considerable sum of money; and with
praiseworthy diligence cultivated his mind, and in some degree supplied
his early want of education.

About this time, he unhappily married a woman, wholly unworthy of him,
who is reported to have possessed some property. Before long he found
himself compelled to procure a divorce from her. Probably this domestic
trouble had a serious effect upon his temper and manners. His address
was naturally somewhat rugged and unpolished, especially before his
second marriage; but those who knew him well, found that his disposition
was the very reverse of unfeeling or vindictive. Mrs. Inchbald says,
“the total absence of artificial manners was the most remarkable
characteristic, and at the same time the adornment and the deformity of
Mr. Opie.” At the time when he paid his addresses to Miss Alderson he
was in his 36th year. Mr. Allen Cunningham, in the pleasing biography he
has given of him in his “Lives of the Painters,” says, “in person Opie
looked like an inspired peasant.”

We have no further record, reporting how he fared in his courtship; she
vowed that his chances of success were but one to a thousand! But the
indomitable one persevered. He knew _his_ mind, and persuaded her at
length, that he had read her heart. So she went home again to Norwich,
to think of the future, and prepare for it; one last short note heralded
her approach; probably the last she ever addressed to her friend,
bearing the signature, “A. Alderson.”[6]

                                             Englefield Green,
                                        Friday, August 12th, 1797.
      MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,

    I cannot meet even the kindest glance of your eye, without
    having written a few lines, before our reunion. I must tell you,
    that of all the letters I have received from my friends, yours
    gave me the most pleasure, though I had not the grace to say so
    till now: when we meet I will tell you _why_; indeed I must put
    off a great many communications till that time. Suffice, that
    whatever you hear about me, you must disbelieve!

    Here I am, on a high hill, wishing most fervently, though not
    warmly, for a fire, and in the middle of August too! Shall we,
    (I fear not,) have some hot evening walks? I shall want them by
    way of relaxation from my studies, (do not laugh.) Positively, I
    must set hard to work, as the theatre opens in September.
    Farewell! I must conclude, I have been writing a long time; with
    love to your spouse and children, believe me most affectionately
    yours,

                                                      A. ALDERSON.

The time was approaching when she was to leave her father’s house, and
the home and friends of her youth, to become the wife of Mr. Opie. An
ardent love letter, still in existence, tells with what intense desire
he was awaiting her arrival; for it was arranged that she should go,
accompanied by her father, to the house of one of their friends in
London, and be married from thence; towards the close of this epistle he
enters into some details respecting the preparations he was making, in
his domestic arrangements, for the reception of his bride; and
concludes:—

    I am puzzled, dearest, to know whether you expect to hear from
    me to-morrow. If I think of anything particular I’ll write; else
    not. To love thee much better than I did, is, I think,
    impossible; but my heart springs forward at the thought of thy
    near approach. God bless thee ever, my dearest love, and guard
    thee up safe to thy fond, anxious, devoted,

                                                             J. O.

-----

[6] For the benefit of our fair readers we subjoin a list found among
her old letters, of what probably formed a part of the contents of her
Trousseau.

Blue satin bonnet russe with eight blue feathers; nine small feathers
and a feather edge; three blue round feathers and two blue Scotch caps;
one striped gold gauze bonnet russe; four scollop’d edged caps, à la
Marie Stuart; one bead cap; one tiara; two spencers, one white, one
black.

2nd Box, No. 1. Two yards broad figured lace, for neck and wrists; buff
satin slip; buff net gown; three muslin gowns and one skirt; three
frilled handkerchiefs; one lace cap and two bands; a set of scarlet
ribbon for the gown lined with blue; three lace frills; worked cambric
gown and flounces; seven flat feathers and three curled ones, &c., &c.,
&c.



                               CHAPTER V.


    MARRIAGE; EARLY MÉNAGE; AUTHORSHIP; LAY ON PORTRAIT OF MRS.
    TWISS; LETTER TO MRS. TAYLOR; VISIT TO NORWICH; LETTER FROM MR.
    OPIE; MRS. OPIE TO MRS. TAYLOR; MR. OPIE’S MOTHER.

Mr. and Mrs. Opie were married in Marylebone church on the 8th of May,
1798.

In the Memoir prefixed to her husband’s life she speaks with touching
naiveté and feeling of the earlier years of their married life; “great
economy and self denial were necessary,” she says, “and were strictly
observed by us at that time.” The habits and tastes of Mr. Opie were,
happily, very inexpensive, and so domestic in their nature, that he
preferred spending his evenings at home to joining in society abroad;
and liked nothing better, by way of relaxation after the labours of the
day, than to spend the evening hours in converse with his wife, in
reading with her books of amusement or instruction, in studying prints
from the best ancient and modern masters, or in sketching designs for
his pictures. His love of his profession was intense, and his
unremitting industry in the pursuance of it drew from Mr. Northcote the
observation, that while other artists painted to live, _he_ lived to
paint. He was incessantly engaged in his painting-room during the hours
of day-light, and no society, however pleasant, could long detain him
from it. It was indeed a passion to which the whole energies of his
being were devoted. In one branch of his art he appears to have been
much indebted to his wife, and in what way this was shewn will be best
told in her own words:—

    When Mr. Opie became again a husband, (she says,) he found it
    necessary, in order to procure indulgences for a wife whom he
    loved, to make himself popular as a portrait-painter, and in
    that productive and difficult branch of the art, female
    portraiture. He therefore turned his attention to those points
    he had long been in the habit of neglecting, and his pictures
    soon acquired a degree of grace and softness to which they had
    of late years been strangers. At the second exhibition after our
    marriage one of his fellow artists came up to him and
    complimented him on his female portraits, adding, “we never saw
    any thing like this in you before, Opie; this must be owing to
    your wife.”

Her husband related with evident delight this pleasing compliment to her
who had inspired his efforts. Her modesty did not permit her to speak of
another mode in which she assisted to promote his interests; but her
friend Mrs. Taylor has mentioned that “in her own house, where Mr.
Opie’s talents drew a constant succession of the learned, the gay, and
the fashionable, she delighted all by the sweetness of her manners, and
the unstudied and benevolent politeness with which she adapted herself
to the taste of each individual.”

Happy it was for them both, that Mr. Opie was disposed to aid and
encourage his wife in her favourite tastes, and the exercise of her
literary talent. She observes:—

    Knowing at the time of our marriage that my most favourite
    amusement was writing, he did not check my ambition to become an
    author; on the contrary he encouraged it, and our only quarrel
    on the subject was not that I wrote so much, but that I did not
    write more and better. Idleness was the fault that he was most
    violent against in both sexes; and I shall ever regret those
    habits of indolence which made me neglect to write while it was
    in my power to profit by his criticisms and advice, and when, by
    employing myself more regularly in that manner, I should have
    been sure to receive the proudest and dearest reward of woman,
    the approbation of a husband, at once the object of her respect
    and of her love.

Mr. Opie entertained a partiality for works of fiction, and not
unfrequently indulged himself in reading a novel, even if it were not of
the first class; and his wife remarks in defence of this taste:—

    He was above the petty, yet common affectation of considering
    that sort of reading as beneath any persons but fools and women;
    and if his fondness for works of that description was a
    weakness, it was one which he had in common with Mr. Burke and
    Mr. Porson.

Encouraged by the sympathy and approval of the man to whom she had
united her fortunes, she soon began to exert her powers with diligence,
and ere long became (as she expresses it) “a candidate for the
pleasures, the pangs, the rewards, and the penalties, of authorship.”

In one respect, indeed, they were not congenial in their tastes; she
ardently loved society, to which she had been so much accustomed, and in
which her talents so peculiarly fitted her to appear to advantage. On
the contrary, it was with difficulty that Mr. Opie could be induced to
join a numerous and mixed assemblage. He preferred to spend an evening
occasionally at the theatre, or rather at the opera; for he loved music,
and had so quick an ear that he would remember accurately a tune that
pleased him, after having heard it once. When he sought society, he
preferred select dinner parties, where he could meet persons whose
friendship he valued, and from whom he might hope to learn. With
honourable pride his wife observes:—

    He was conscious that he aimed at no competition with the
    learned; while, with a manly simplicity, which neither feared
    contempt nor scorned applause, he has often, even in such
    company, made observations, originating in the native treasures
    of his own mind, which learning could not teach, and which
    learning alone could not enable the possessor to appreciate.

In the year after her marriage Mrs. Opie wrote a Lay “addressed to Mr.
Opie on his having painted for me the picture of Mrs. Twiss;” it was
published the same year, in the 1st volume of “The Annual Anthology,”
and was (she tells us) one of her earliest; the concluding lines contain
a pleasing tribute of affection to her husband:—

        Within my breast contending feelings rise,
        While this lov’d semblance fascinates my eyes;
        Now pleas’d, I mark the painter’s skilful line,
        Now joy, because the skill I mark, was thine;
        And while I prize the gift by thee bestow’d,
        My heart proclaims I’m of the giver proud,
        Thus pride and friendship war with equal strife,
        And now the friend exults, and now the wife.

                    A. O. 1799.

This picture was in her possession at the time of her death; it is
“Portrait the Second” in her “Lays for the Dead,” which commences:—

                              The gift of love
        That speaking picture was—of bridal love,
        Now both the painter and his subject are
        Where pictures come not. * * *

Mr. Opie’s ardour in the pursuit of his profession made him also
unwilling to leave his home, even for a short change of scene and
relaxation. In the frequent visits paid to Norwich by his wife, it was
with difficulty she could prevail on him to accompany her; and whenever
he was induced to do so, she says she had no chance of detaining him
there, unless he found business awaiting him. In the autumn after their
marriage, she turned her steps towards her early home, and rejoiced in
greeting once more her father and the friends of her youth. After her
return to London, we find her again resuming her pen to write to Mrs.
Taylor: this letter bears date—

                                            27th of January, 1800.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    * * * * John, I suppose, informed you he called on us; he
    promised to come and dine with us, but has not been since; and
    as I have been tied by the foot ever since the day after
    Christmas day, from having worn a tight bound shoe, which made a
    hole in my heel, I do not regret his false-heartedness, as when
    he does come we are to go church and meeting hunting. * * * * *
    _Àpropôs_, I was very sorry to hear of your husband’s severe
    return of gout, but as he had a long respite before, I hope he
    will again. Severe illness has (I often think) on the frame, the
    same effect that a severe storm has on the atmosphere. I myself
    am much better in every respect, since my late indisposition,
    than I was before; and the mind is never perhaps so serene and
    tranquil, as when one is recovering from sickness. I enjoyed my
    confinement, as I was not, like your good man, in pain. My
    husband was so kind as to sit with me every evening, and even to
    introduce his company to my bedside. No less than three beaux
    had the honour of a _sitting_ in my chamber. Quite Parisian you
    see, but I dare not own this to some women. I have led a most
    happy and delightful life since my return, and in the whole two
    months have not been out more than four times; so spouse and I
    had no squabbles about visiting, and that is the only thing we
    ever quarrel about. If I would stay at home for ever, I believe
    he would be merry from morning to night; and be a lover more
    than a husband! He had a mind to accompany me to an assembly in
    Nottingham place, but Mrs. Sharpe (a most amiable woman)
    frightened him, by declaring he should dance with her, if he
    did.

    What the friendships of dissipated women are, Mrs. —— going to
    a ball, while poor H. T. was dying, sufficiently proves. I
    remember with satisfaction that I saw her, and shook hands with
    her at the November ball. Indeed she had a _heart_; and I can’t
    help recollecting that when I had the scarlet fever she called
    on me every day, regardless of danger, and sat at the foot of my
    bed. Besides, she was the friend of twenty years, and the
    companion of my childhood, and I feel the older I grow, the more
    tenderly I cling to the scenes, and recollections, and
    companions, of my early hours. When I now look at Mr. Bruckner’s
    black cap, my memory gets astride on the tassel of it, and off
    she gallops at a very pleasant rate; wooden desks, green bags,
    blotted books, inked hands, faces, and gowns, rise in array
    before me. I see Mrs. Beecroft (Miss Dixon I should say) with
    her plump good-humoured face, laughing till she loses her eyes,
    and shakes the whole form; but I must own, the most welcome
    objects that the hoofs of memory’s hobby-horse kick up, are the
    great B.’s, or bons, on my exercises! I do not choose to
    remember how often I was marked for being _idle_. * * So you
    have had riots. I am glad they are over. Mrs. Adair called on me
    this morning, and she tells me that Charles Harvey was terribly
    alarmed after he had committed Col. Montgomery. A fine idea this
    gives one of the state of a town, where a man is alarmed at
    having done his duty!

    I am very much afraid my spouse will not live long; he has
    gotten a fit of tidyness on him; and yesterday evening and this
    evening, he has employed himself in putting his painting-room to
    rights. This confirms what I said to him the other day; that
    almost every man was _beau_ and sloven, at some time of his
    life. Charles Fox once wore _pink heels_; now he has an
    unpowdered crop. And I expect that as my husband has been a
    sloven hitherto, he will be a _beau_ in future; for he is so
    pleased with his handyworks, and capers about, and says, “look
    there! how neat! and how prettily I have disposed the things!
    Did you ever see the like?” Certainly I never did, where he was,
    before. Oh! he will certainly be a _beau_ in time. Past ten
    o’clock! I must now say farewell; but let me own that I missed
    you terribly when I was ill. I have no _female_ friend and
    neighbour; and men are not the thing on such occasions. Besides,
    you, on _all_ occasions, would be the female neighbour I should
    choose. Love to your spouse. Write soon, and God bless you.

In the autumn of 1800 she again visited Norwich, accompanied by her
husband; and on this occasion Mr. Opie painted the portrait of Dr.
Sayers, an engraving from which is prefixed to the Life of that
gentleman by Mr. W. Taylor; who says, “Dr. Sayers conversed much with
Mr. O. on art, and listened to his native strength of talent and
originality of judgment, and has happily applied to him a Greek distich
in his Essay on Beauty.”

Mr. Opie seems to have returned to London after completing this picture,
leaving his wife to spend some longer period with her father. His
patience, however, became exhausted before she felt disposed to return
to him, and he remonstrated with her in a half lover-like strain of
complaint.

    My dearest life, (he writes,) I cannot be sorry that you do not
    stay longer; though, as I said, on your father’s account, I
    would consent to it. Pray love forgive me, and make yourself
    easy, for I did not suspect, till my last letter was gone, that
    it might be too strong; I had been counting almost the hours
    till your arrival for some time, and have been unwell and unable
    to sleep these last three weeks, so that I could not make up my
    mind to the disappointment. As to coming down again, I cannot
    think of it; for though I could, perhaps, better spare the time
    at present from painting, than I could at any part of last
    month, I find I must now go hard to work to finish my lectures,
    as the law says they must be delivered the second year after the
    election, and though they have never acted on this law, yet
    there are many, perhaps, who would be glad to put it in force in
    the present instance. I had almost given way to the suggestions
    of idleness, and determined to put them off till another year;
    but since I have been acquainted with the above-mentioned
    regulation, I have shut myself up in the evenings, and, I doubt
    not, shall be ready with three or four of them at least. We had
    a thin general meeting on Monday last, and elected Calcot an
    associate of the R.A. Lawrence and Hoppner attended. Thompson
    was also there, and we were very sociable; but he has not
    called, nor was there any notice taken, on either side, of our
    long separation. Pray, love, be easy, and as (I suppose) you
    will not stay; come up as soon as possible, for I long to see
    you as much as ever I did in my life.

A very short time elapsed after her return before we find her writing
again to Mrs. Taylor.

                                              12th December, 1800.

    * * * * Are you not very much obliged to me, my dear friend? I
    am good for nothing to-day, so I am going to write to you! But
    one ventures to show one’s person in _dishabille_ at a friend’s
    fireside, and why not one’s mind? and so I’m resolved, though my
    mind is not just now smart enough for Parnassus, to exhibit it
    at St. George’s. Here’s weather! But you Norwich people can’t,
    even from recollection, I think, conceive half the horror of a
    London fog. At present my husband’s mind is more affected by it
    than my health (for it is a terrible time for a painter). I hope
    I shall not suffer this winter as I did last; on the contrary, I
    continue to grow fat, and have an excellent appetite for
    everything but breakfast; and alas! I still “sigh and lament me
    in vain” for Mrs. Lessy’s hot half-baked cakes. Fye upon her!
    she has made me so dainty. My visit to Harleston was a very
    satisfactory one; it seemed the burial of unpleasant feelings,
    and the resurrection of amiable ones. I left Eliza Merrick a
    _plump_ image of health and content, and I found Betsey Fry
    yester-evening at her own house a _lean_ image of the same. How
    women vary! I am surprised to see the leanness of the one, and
    the fatness of the other; formerly the lean one was fat, and now
    the fat one is lean; but now she is so very comfortably settled,
    no doubt she will soon grow fat again. In all Quaker houses
    there is a most comfortable appearance of neatness, comfort, and
    affluence. Betsey Fry is settled down with everything requisite
    to domestic happiness. Mr. Fry pleases me very much.

    Richard and I have frequent meetings now. On Sunday he is to
    breakfast with me, squire me to the Catholic chapel in King
    Street, where French Bishops (and sometimes the Archbishop of
    Narbonne) officiate, and then eat his beef with us.

    To-morrow, if Anne Plumptre returns, I shall go with her into
    the pit of Drury lane to see a new tragedy, the author nameless
    to me, (though known to others I find,) and so I wish him to
    continue; for I should like to form of the piece, for the first
    time in my life, an unprejudiced judgment. Mrs. Siddons, indeed,
    told me not to go, because the play was stupid; but I have since
    recollected, to counteract her influence, that Kemble says she
    knows nothing about a play. So I flatter myself I am still
    unprejudiced.

    I shall have left Norwich a month only next Sunday, and it seems
    to me three, at least, so much have I done and seen since my
    return. Mr. Opie, too, has been constantly employed. The T.s
    will be here in a month; that is a great joy to me. I purposely
    avoid saying anything of my evening at Mrs. Siddons’ on Tuesday
    evening last, as I expect to fill my letter to my father with it
    to-morrow.

    I am uneasy about Mr. Opie’s mother. She has again taken to her
    bed; and I fear the long struggle she had with death last
    winter, though she overcame him, will have weakened her too much
    to make it possible for her to endure another—and I did so
    ardently wish to see her! A committee of Academicians is to meet
    every Saturday till means are found to execute Mr. Opie’s plan
    for a Naval Pantheon; and this looks well. Just room for love to
    your circle, and my name,

                                                        A. OPIE.

The fear expressed in this letter was, happily, not realized; Mr. Opie’s
mother survived till the spring of 1805, when she died at the advanced
age of ninety-two.  To this parent he was most tenderly attached, and
neither time nor the pressure of business, diminished his filial
devotion to her. He delighted to dwell upon her early tenderness, her
careful attention to his childish wants, and the encouragement which she
afforded to his first attempts in the art he loved; his eye would
glisten and his face kindle with affection when he spoke of her; and no
sooner was it in his power to assist her, than he rejoiced in affording
her the means of comfort and independence.

How cordially could his wife sympathize with him in this fervent
attachment; she, who was, throughout life, so sensitively alive to the
claims of relationship, even in the remotest degrees, and whose whole
being was devoted with tenderest love to her parents while living, and
to their memory when dead! She appears to have been permitted the
gratification of her wish to see her husband’s mother, and “I believe
(she says) that scarcely any one who knew her would have thought this
description of her an exaggerated one.”



                              CHAPTER VI.


    “THE FATHER AND DAUGHTER;” CRITIQUE IN THE EDINBURGH; THREE
    LETTERS TO MRS. TAYLOR; VOLUME OF “POEMS;” “GO, YOUTH BELOVED;”
    LETTER FROM SIR J. MACKINTOSH; S. SMITH’S LECTURE.

In the year 1801, Mrs. Opie gave to the world the “Father and Daughter;”
her first acknowledged publication. She had, before her marriage,
published an anonymous novel, entitled “the Dangers of Coquetry,” which
does not appear to have attracted any attention. It will presently be
seen that she refers to it in a letter to Mrs. Taylor, and it is
included in the list of her works given in Watt’s Bibliotheca
Britannica, although without date, and placed in order after her earlier
publications. The “Father and Daughter,” in the first edition, was
accompanied by a poem called “The Maid of Corinth,” and some smaller
pieces. It is unnecessary to do more than remind the reader of the
warmth of approval with which this tale was received by the public.[7]
In the preface to it Mrs. Opie modestly confesses her diffidence in
appearing as an _avowed_ author at the bar of public opinion, and
disclaiming for her little book the ambitious title of a novel, says,
“Its highest pretensions are to be a simple moral tale.”

In the first volume of “The Edinburgh,” there is a review of her
poems,[8] in which the writer thus criticises the “Father and Daughter.”

    * * * “Mrs. Opie’s mind is evidently more adapted to seize
    situation than to combine incidents. It can represent, with
    powerful expression, the solitary portrait, in every attitude of
    gentler grief; but it cannot bring together a connected
    assemblage of figures, and represent each in its most striking
    situation, so as to give, as it were, to the glance of a moment,
    the feelings and events of many years. When a series of
    reflections is to be brought by her to our view, they must all
    be of that immediate relation which allows them to be introduced
    at any part of the poem; or we shall probably see before us a
    multitude, rather than a group. * * * * She has, indeed, written
    a novel; and it is one which excites a very high interest: but
    the merit of that novel does not consist in its action, nor in
    any varied exhibition of character. Agnes, in all the sad
    changes of fortune, is still the same; and the action, if we
    except a very few _situations_ of the highest excitement, is the
    common history of every seduction in romance. Indeed, we are
    almost tempted to believe that the scene in the wood occurred
    first to the casual conception of the author; and that, in the
    design of fully displaying it, all the other events of the novel
    were afterwards imagined.”

The three following letters to Mrs. Taylor admit us behind the scenes,
and allow us to see the palpitations of her heart.

                                             Sunday Evening, 1801.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    The only paper I can find consists of two half sheets, _comme
    vous voyez_. But no matter. I will not, for appearance’ sake,
    baulk my inclination to write to you.

    * * I am very sorry that Mrs. Jordan and the Duke of Clarence
    have hitherto managed their matters so ill, as always to
    disappoint you; but the lady is now about again, though, from
    pecuniary disputes with the manager, probably, she is, as yet,
    invisible to the public. However, by the time you come, I hope
    she will be on the boards again. I believe you were very right
    in what you said to me, about the good arising from my having
    delayed publishing my juvenile pieces; but some of those things
    which have now gained me reputation _are_ juvenile pieces,
    written years ago; however, I am contented that I have, till
    now, lived unconscious of the anxieties of an author. I wish I
    were launched! As usual, all the _good_ I saw in my work, before
    it was printed, is now vanished from my sight, and I remember
    only its faults. All the authors, of both sexes, and artists
    too, that are not too ignorant or full of conceit to be capable
    of alarm, tell me they have had the same feeling when about to
    receive judgment from the public. Besides, whatever I read
    appears to me so superior to my own productions, that I am in a
    state of most unenviable humility. Mr. Opie has no patience with
    me; but he consoles me by averring that fear makes me overrate
    others, and underrate myself. Be so good as to tell my father
    that, as a subscriber to Dyer’s book, he has half a guinea to
    pay for the volume I have received for him, and when the other
    two volumes are done, he will have to pay half a guinea more!
    Poor man; but tell him, as some little consolation, that there
    are three pretty stanzas addressed to me in the first volume,
    the old verses lengthened and improved, but they are “To a
    Lady,” not to Mrs. Opie. Viganoni was with me from twelve to
    three to-day, alternately singing with me and talking; he has,
    with all his genius, a great deal of what the French call
    _bonhommie_, which makes him talkative and confiding, when he is
    with those he thinks his friends. I was pleased, for his sake,
    to hear him say he should sing only two or three years longer,
    as he had saved money enough to live quite at his ease in his
    native country. He says music is now so cultivated and courted
    in England, that it is at its height, and must soon fall “_en
    décadence_;” but he thinks the present taste a vicious one. “_Le
    monde Anglais_;” he says, “like nothing equal to bravura
    singing,” which he thinks no singing at all, and which never
    goes to the heart like simple sentimental singing. Indeed he
    never puts in a grace, but what tends to illustrate the
    sentiment of the words, and the style of the air; his singing is
    conversation, put into sweet sounds. My plaudit is of no weight,
    perhaps; but Viganoni has, unrivalled, that of all the oldest,
    most experienced, and able professors of music—men who unite
    theory with practice, and are the _only good_ judges, from
    having, from their situations, an opportunity of comparing
    singers and styles—men who have _learnt_ to _hear_, an art,
    nothing but hearing constantly the first music and performers,
    can teach. I long to hear Mara again. V. says she sings better
    than ever, though her voice is on the wane. How strange it is
    that Bante retains her _unequalled_ voice, though she gets drunk
    every day. This extraordinary creature can’t even write her
    name, and knows not a note of music. V. is sometimes forced to
    pinch her to keep her in time, and make her leave off her vile
    shake, or rather no shake, at the proper point. A gentleman
    declared to me he saw this; but I did not believe it, till I
    asked V., who told me it was true. Adieu! Love to all.

                                                             1801.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    I began a letter to you full a fortnight ago, but I know not
    what is become of the precious scrawl; it is “wasting its
    sweetness on the desert air,” somewhere or other, so I must
    begin a new one. All I remember of it is, that it began with
    very sensible reproaches for your having thought it necessary
    and becoming in you to _thank_ me for what you were pleased to
    call kindnesses, from me, to you and yours; as if such words and
    such ceremonies were proper between you and me, and as if, in
    showing attention to you and Richard, I did not do myself honour
    by proving the sense I entertain of superior merit. Tol de rol
    lol!

    So you are coming to the great city! but let me advise you to
    come in mourning, for there seems to be a rot amongst royalty,
    and one court mourning succeeds to another; the present one will
    scarcely be over before you arrive. One of our great
    grandmothers is dead, but which I do not know. I shall have a
    great deal to tell you about new people and new characters when
    I see you, which a letter could neither contain nor do justice
    to. It is a world to see! I dearly love to get a peep at it now
    and then; and what I do see of it only serves to endear the
    safety and quiet of my own home. You will be up just time enough
    for one of my pleasantest parties, and I expect you and I shall
    be two merry wives when we get together again. You will see the
    exhibition too; and I hope _que vous y verrez briller mon Mari_.

    I am glad on reperusing “The Dangers of Coquetry,” that you
    think so highly of it. I read it at Seething soon after I
    married, and felt a great respect for it; and if I ever write a
    collection of tales, I shall correct and re-publish that, as _I
    originally wrote it_, not as it now is, in the shape of a novel,
    in chapters. I believe I told you that Mr. Hoare was so struck
    with it, as to intend writing a play from it. I wish he would.
    Heigho, I am very stupid to-night, so my ideas do not come
    _coulamment_; so for want of something better to say, I will
    tell you a characteristic anecdote of Mr. Northcote. Mr. Opie,
    and he, and Sir Francis Bourgeois (the landscape painter) dined
    at Sir William Elford’s the other day, and met there a Colonel
    Elford. After dinner some disputatious conversation took place,
    in which my husband and Mr. N. took a principal part; after some
    time, the Colonel said, in a low voice to Sir Francis, “Painters
    are queer fellows; how oddly they converse. One knows not what
    to make of them; how oddly these men run on!” Sir Francis
    assented, and consoled himself as well as he could, for being so
    little eminent as not to be known to be a painter himself. After
    tea, he took an opportunity of telling this story to Northcote;
    who, starting back with a face of horror, exclaimed, “Gude G—!
    then he took _you_ for a gentleman!” I dare say he did not sleep
    that night. My husband says very truly and admirably of this
    queer little being, that his mind resembles an old family
    mansion, in which some of the apartments are furnished and in
    good repair, while the major part are empty or full of rubbish.
    * * * (Enter Mr. Northcote!) (Sunday.)   I have nothing to tell
    you in consequence of the little man’s visit, except a fresh
    proof of the care he takes of his little health. I had some
    cheese toasted and brought up. “Gude G—! how unwholesome, one
    piece if you please, and no more.” Presently after, he says,
    “Bless me, Mrs. Opie! eating still? how much have you ventured
    to eat?” “Two pieces.” “Oh, then so will I, I’ll venture to eat
    two pieces too.” As a proof of his _politeness_, I will tell you
    that on my saying Sir Roger L’Estrange was a Norfolk man, he
    exclaimed, “A Norfolk man! could anything good or great come out
    of Norfolk?”

    I am told my father certainly means to visit us this spring, but
    I am resolved not to expect him, as I was so disappointed last
    year. I am sorry you will come up too late for the Oratorios. I
    am going to-day to carry Mrs. Inchbald my book to read. She has
    promised me her opinion of it; and I long to receive it. She is
    a judge of the tale only; poetry is to her an undiscovered
    country. The ballads she already admires very highly. As this
    letter will not go till to-morrow, I shall leave it
    open.—(Sunday eve.)—I had written thus far, when your kind
    letter came. I repeat my advice to you to come in a black
    muslin; a white gown and black ribbons, or even a coloured gown,
    will do occasionally in a morning, to spare the other, and then
    you will always be either dressed or undressed; for black suits
    all companies; black stockings and a black petticoat you would
    find so useful too. All black continues fashionable, and is
    economical too. I am very glad you like my tale. The Hoares
    called to-day, and expressed themselves much pleased and
    affected by it, Mr. H. could not sleep all night after it, it
    made him so wretched. You will undoubtedly see both Coome and
    Mrs. Jordan. Adieu, just room to send kind love. Yours, &c.,

                                                           A. O.
                                                     Monday, 1801.

    * * * I did not expect, my dear friend, that my asking one
    favour of you should procure me _two_; viz., fowls for Viganoni,
    and a letter for myself; but I like to take all heaven
    sends—and the more the better. Your question to me “what is
    this indescribable charm which attends the overflowings of one
    mind into another when it finds itself understood?”—I can’t
    answer; though, as you observe, the enjoyment is known to me.
    But this pleasure is not confined to the contemplation of well
    assorted minds; in everything we delight to see things _fit_, as
    we call it; even a scissors-sheath delights us when, on buying
    it, we find it sits _flush_—as the phrase is. No wonder then
    that, when mind fits mind, the pleasure should be so great.
    Yes!—as you say, July is coming; and I am coming, but late in
    July I doubt. I have not made out the author of the anonymous
    letter—I wish I had; yet, there I lie; mountains look largest
    and most sublime when they are shrouded partly in mist. The
    “British Critic” is something _awful_; but what is Parson Beloc?
    Pray tell my father that 750 are to be printed of the _Tale_; it
    will be time enough to settle the number of the other volume
    when it is ready for the press. At present I am so incapable of
    writing!

    I have been giving myself a great deal of trouble to-day, and I
    doubt at last I shall be disappointed. Viganoni, with great
    readiness and great humility, granted my request that he would
    set the little song I wrote the other day; but to enable him to
    do this, I have just written it out, leaving a space between
    each line wide enough for him to write the cadence of the words,
    as if they were Italian, underneath; then at the bottom, in
    French prose, I have translated the song, that he may comprehend
    the sentiment; and I have also written it again with a literal
    translation of each word by a _French_ one under it, regardless
    of French construction, that he may catch the proper emphasis;
    thus:—

               New friends, new hopes, new joys, to find—
De nouveaux amis, de nouvelles espérances, de nouveaux plaisirs, à
  trouver.

    And, after all, if he should not do it well! he says he will do
    _son possible_, but I have my fears; if he succeeds I shall be
    so pleased! * * What a labour it is to laugh for a continuance!
    I am quite sore to-day with immoderate laughter yesterday! I was
    irritable, and then anything sets me off. Not but what my uncle
    and aunt, at whose house I dined, and Mr. Biggs who dined there
    also, were very agreeable; but had I been quite well, and my
    husband not gone to Chatham I should not have been so noisy. Yet
    I declare I laugh now at some of the fun. I expect my husband
    home in half an hour. He went to please me, and after he was
    gone I repented of my persuading him to go, but I thought the
    air and exercise would do him good. Do not laugh, but though
    only two days absent, the house seems so strange without its
    master, that I have learned to excuse, nay to commend, women for
    marrying again! How dreadfully forlorn must be the situation of
    a widow! I think I shall write an essay recommending second
    marriages, and dedicate it to Mrs. Merrick. Well, God bless you!
    I think I have written nonsense enough.  Love to your spouse and
    bairns; and believe me, ever yours,

                                                           A. OPIE

“The other Volume” was the “Poems,” which appeared early in 1802, and
for a critique upon which we must again refer the reader to the article
in the Edinburgh Review for October, 1802. After some rather severe
criticism of her deficiencies and faults, the writer observes, “It is in
the smaller verse of eight syllables, which requires no pomp of sound,
and in the simple tenderness, or simple grief, to which, the artlessness
of such numbers is best suited, the power of Mrs. O.’s poetry consists.
* * * The verses of feeling, on which she must rely for the
establishment of her fame, are certainly among the best in our opuscular
poetry. As a specimen we select the following song, which is scarcely
surpassed by any in our language:—

        Go, youth beloved, in distant glades,
        New friends, new hopes, new joys to find!
        Yet sometimes deign, ’midst fairer maids,
        To think on her thou leav’st behind.
        Thy love, thy fate, dear youth, to share,
        Must never be my happy lot;
        But thou may’st grant this humble prayer
        Forget me not! forget me not!

        Yet should the thought of my distress
        Too painful to thy feelings be,
        Heed not the wish I now express,
        Nor ever deign to think of me!
        But oh! if grief thy steps attend,
        If want, if sickness be thy lot,
        And thou require a soothing friend,
        Forgot me not! forget me not!

Sir James Mackintosh, in a letter written to Mr. Sharpe, from India,
refers to these lines in the following manner: “Tell the fair Opie that
if she would address such pretty verses to me as she did to Ashburner, I
think she might almost bring me back from Bombay, though she could not
prevent his going thither. I beg that she will have the goodness to
convey Lady M.’s kindest compliments and mine, to her friend Madame
Roland, of Norwich.” (By this playful epithet Mrs. Taylor was
designated, in consequence of a fancied resemblance to her portrait.) It
was probably, the delivery of this message which produced the impromptu
by Mrs. Opie, on being asked if she had written verses on the absence of
Sir James Mackintosh, in India:—

        No! think not in verse
        I his absence deplore:
        Who a sorrow can sing
        Till that sorrow is o’er?
        And when shall his loss
        With such sorrow be classed?
        Oh! when shall his absence
        Be _pain that is past_?

Sir James acknowledged the compliment thus paid him by the following
letter, dated,

                                     Bombay, 30th September, 1805.
      MY DEAR MRS. OPIE,

    Many thanks for all your late presents, your good cousin, your
    most affecting novel, and your elegant verses. Your cousin will
    do well, and return to you, I hope, in a few years, with a
    reasonable fortune, and an unbroken constitution. At present I
    think he looks fresher than I ever saw him in Norfolk. Of
    Adeline, I cannot speak with quite so much unmixed complacency;
    she has occasioned many painful moments, and even cost us some
    tears. The verses I am sure I should admire, even if they had
    not bribed me to do so. The first four lines in particular are
    so ingenious and so natural, so lively and so easy, that they
    resemble the light poetry of the French, in which they so much
    surpass all nations. Standing by themselves, they would make an
    admirable _impromptu_ answer to the question which is the
    subject. Perhaps you will allow me to prove the sincerity of
    this praise, by adding that the remaining lines though
    excellent, are not perhaps of quite so high a cast as the first
    four. I have some thought of publishing these four in our Bombay
    Paper, in the form of which I have spoken; if I do, I bespeak
    pardon by anticipation.

    The character of the Hindu is, in your songs, and in most
    European descriptions, beautiful and poetical; but on near
    approach it is base and odious enough. Their fine forms and
    graceful attitudes might indeed furnish subjects for Mr. Opie’s
    pencil, but their minds will seldom be worthy of your verse or
    your prose. I agree with you about the commencement of the third
    volume of Godwin’s novel. It is most masterly. There are other
    admirable parts; but, taken throughout, I think it the worst of
    his three; though far indeed above the limits of a vulgar fate.
    So unlettered and incurious is this place, that the copy of
    Fleetwood which came here, was suffered to lie on the shop
    counter with all the common trash of the Minerva press,
    undistinguished by our novel readers, to whom Godwin has no
    name; and might have so remained till it was devoured by the
    white ants, if I had not heard of it by chance, and eagerly
    snatched it from these animals, or from others of nobler shape,
    but not much nobler nature. I need scarcely say that no
    hostility was mixed with my eagerness; on the contrary, I
    expected, and I found great pleasure. I hope you are in love
    with Walter Scott’s “Lay of the Last Minstrel.” Nowhere else,
    but in “Warwick Castle,” are antique character and dignity
    reconciled with modern elegance and regularity. It has many
    charming passages, and the narrative is full of warlike and
    Homeric spirit; if the poem be sometimes tedious, so is Homer
    himself, the prince of ballad-makers, and of border minstrels. I
    presume that you have read Madame de Genlis’ “Duchesse de la
    Valière;” which, though not precisely a novel, is surely a most
    fascinating work. Have you ventured on the Abbé Delille’s
    translation of “Paradise Lost?” I presume it is a capital crime
    to praise it in England; and perhaps the importation of it may
    be prohibited; I see it is most profusely panegyrized in the
    _Moniteur_, and the only fault in the opinion of the French
    critics, is that the Translator has _not altered Milton
    sufficiently_. How would this sound on the banks of my beloved
    Thames? It would be blasphemy in England, and would be very bad
    taste anywhere, not to mention its glaring inconsistency with
    the first idea of _translation_. The bearer of this letter is
    Mrs. Stewart, a very amiable, and rather unfortunate woman, who
    brought here beauty and understanding fit for happier spots, and
    who is now going to England in search of long-lost health; any
    attention that you may have the goodness to show her, Lady M.
    and I shall consider as a great favour to us. I am confident,
    that when your own ingenious delicacy has gently dispelled the
    clouds that dejection and retirement have spread around her, you
    will see in herself sufficient motives for kindness to her.

                                      I am, my Dear Madam,
                                   Truly and faithfully yours,
                                                 JAMES MACKINTOSH.

A triple crown was to be awarded to this song “Go, youth beloved.” It
was selected by the Rev. Sydney Smith, in one of his “Lectures on Moral
Philosophy,” delivered at the Royal Institution in 1804-5, as possessing
peculiar excellence in its style; he says, “If any man were to discover
the true language of nature and feeling in this little poem of Mrs.
Opie’s, he would gain no credit for his metaphorical taste, because the
beauties of it are _too_ striking for a moment’s hesitation.”

The authoress was present at the time when Mr. Smith pronounced this
eulogium upon her verses; and she used laughingly to tell how
unexpectedly the compliment came upon her, and how she shrunk down upon
her seat, in order to screen herself from the observation of those
around her.

-----

[7] It was afterwards taken as the groundwork for one of the most
popular Italian operas of the time, the “Agnese” of Paer.

[8] Written by Dr. Brown.



                              CHAPTER VII.


    THE TRIALS OF GENIUS; DOMESTIC TROUBLES; LETTERS TO MRS. TAYLOR;
    JOURNEY TO FRANCE; ARRIVAL AT PARIS; THE LOUVRE; THE FIRST
    CONSUL; CHARLES JAMES FOX; THE SOIRÉE; KOSCIUSKO.

We have seen how diligently Mrs. Opie laboured during the year 1801, and
with what success her efforts had been crowned. Yet this was the
severest season of domestic anxiety and trouble, she was, as a wife,
destined to experience. She tells us, in her Memoir of her husband, that
although he had a picture in the Exhibition of 1801, which was
universally admired, and purchased as soon as beheld, yet “he saw
himself at the end of that year, and the beginning of the next, almost
wholly without employment; and even my sanguine temper yielding to the
trial, I began to fear that, small as our expenditure was, it must
become still smaller. Not that I allowed myself to own that I desponded;
on the contrary, I was forced to talk to him of hopes, and to bid him
look forward to brighter prospects, as his temper, naturally desponding,
required all the support possible. But gloomy and painful indeed were
those three alarming months, and I consider them as the severest trial
that I experienced during my married life. However, this despondency did
not make him indolent; he continued to paint regularly as usual; and no
doubt by that means increased his ability to do justice to the torrent
of business which soon after set in towards him, and never ceased to
flow till the day of his death.”

There is something very touching in these few and simple words. The
earnest hopeful nature of the wife supporting the desponding spirits of
her gifted husband. Like all men of true genius, he was subject to dark
shadows and melancholy broodings. He aspired high, studied much,
laboured hard, and was too painfully alive to his deficiencies, ever to
rest satisfied with the point to which he had attained; the voice within
cried ever, “higher!” and he must run until he fell. “During the nine
years that I was his wife, (she continues,) I never saw him satisfied
with any one of his productions, and often, very often, have I seen him
enter my sitting room, and throwing himself in an agony of despondence
on the sofa, exclaim, ‘I never, never shall be a painter, as long as I
live!’”

Happily for women they have, in the little domestic cares of every day
life, a source of employment and interest, which, compelling their
attention, diverts their thoughts into wholesome channels, and saves
them from uselessly brooding over evils they cannot avert. The domestic
_ménage_ of the painter’s household had to be governed, its mistress
tells us, with a strict and watchful economy, and an observant eye must
be kept upon all that went on there. But this was not all; as a
mistress, the conduct of her servants appears to have occasioned her no
small trouble, and to her faithful _confidante_ she reveals her
anxieties on more than one occasion; from two of these letters we find
that she learned by experience, what she afterwards described with her
pen; the first letter seems almost a comment upon one of her tales on
“Lying,” or rather to have furnished the text for it. Both must have
been written early in the year 1802, as in the month of August
following, the journey to Paris took place.

      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    Your most kind and gratifying letter, so wholly undeserved on my
    part, and (considering your many avocations) so generous on
    yours, demanded an earlier acknowledgment; but it is one of the
    charms of our intimacy that it is proof against neglects like
    mine. I know you will not cease to love me, nor think that I
    have ceased to love you, though even months pass without my
    assuring you of my unaltered regard. But at last I sit down to
    write to you, and you might suppose I take up my pen
    _conscience-urged_; no such matter; I write to crave your advice
    on a subject that weighs heavy on my mind, and one on which at
    present I cannot consult my husband; a difficult affair to act
    properly in, as I want to reconcile pity and justice. You must
    know, that, after having for some time past had some reason to
    suspect the strict honesty, in trifles, of my maid Anne, I had,
    last Friday, the mournful certainty of detecting her in a course
    of most flagrant iniquity; and what is worse, when I brought my
    charge against her, she was most firm in denial, and accused me
    of the grossest cruelty and injustice in accusing her; while a
    series of ready _lies_, abounding in contradictions, which left
    no doubt of her guilt on my mind, sunk her still lower in my
    opinion. I was easily prevailed on to keep the affair a secret
    from my husband for a short time, in order to avoid an _éclat_,
    which would blast the poor wretch’s character for ever; yet how,
    my dear friend, can I any way act as I ought, without doing
    this? Her cry is, “give me a character for God’s sake!” but how
    can I? Even if I keep her till August, can I then, however
    correct her future conduct, say “yes” to an enquiry concerning
    her honesty? If she had a _heart_, (but I am certain she has
    not,) I would keep her and conceal her fault, (for while
    reputation is safe, there is hope of amendment,) but of her I
    have no hope. Now, my dear friend, tell me how I can stand
    between her and the punishment of her guilt, with honour and
    justice to myself? A young maid-servant turned out, without the
    chance of a character, is in so exposed and desperate a
    situation, that I shudder to think of the consequences, and, as
    my too great confidence and my carelessness _may_ have laid
    temptation in her way, I feel a degree of responsibility for her
    faults, which distresses me exceedingly.

    I really should feel it incumbent on me to make an apology for
    worrying your brains with my domestic concerns, did I not know
    it is the honest pride of your life to be useful, and that you
    are always glad of an opportunity of serving me.

    The string that pulls me towards Norwich begins to grow tight.
    To Cornwall, or even to France, we cannot afford to go; at least
    so Mr. Opie thinks; and that is the same thing.

    My next letter (and I shall certainly _answer_ your answer)
    shall contain more amusing stuff. At present I have only time to
    say, Kemble was arrested for a debt, kindness had made him
    incur, (for £200,) as he came out of the theatre on Saturday
    last. He is not yet in limbo, but to jail he is resolved to go
    on Wednesday, unless Mr. Sheridan pays the money; and never will
    he play again, till it is paid. Sheridan swears and protests
    that he will pay the debt, and that he knew not of the
    transaction; whereas, it is certain Sheridan went to the
    bailiff, and for fear of a riot, prevailed on him to put off the
    arrest till the play was over. We think Sheridan dares not let
    him go to jail, and go he will. Adieu! anxiously hoping to hear
    from you,

                                             I remain,
                                      Yours most affectionately,
                                                          A. OPIE.

How well this letter illustrates some of her most strongly marked
characteristics! that earnest desire “to reconcile pity with justice;”
that readiness to take to herself any blame she might possibly have
incurred, as an extenuation of the fault of another, and the lingering
hope that the delinquent might be reclaimed. These are traits which
those who knew her well will recognize as her very own.

Here is her promised answer to Mrs. T.—

                                                    Tuesday, 1802.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    As opening and detaining letters to and from active partizans is
    the order of the day, and as the enclosed contains _numbers_, I
    write to you instead of my father, and shall get my letter
    directed for me. Franks are now of no use, as even _Peers_ can’t
    frank, being no longer Lords of parliament; therefore, were they
    sacred to these _licensed_ rogues, the one I have for to-morrow
    is good for nothing. _Indefatigable_, alias your cousin Peter,
    whom I saw just now at Mr. Smith’s, desired me to send Lord C.’s
    letter; so I obey. Be so good also, as to tell my father that
    his letter, franked by Mr. Smith, did not reach till Saturday;
    and tell him I wrote to him yesterday, enclosing the peer’s
    first letter.

    Your kind answer to my statement of vexation gave me the
    greatest satisfaction, and I hope by your excellent advice and
    assistance to be able, with a very little trouble, to put such a
    degree of order in my subsequent _ménage_ as shall prevent, in
    future, any gross imposition. Anne’s conduct since the
    detection, and what I have heard of it previously to it, takes
    from me all idea of my carelessness having led her into
    temptation. I believe her to be thoroughly bad.

    Yesterday evening, at half-past five, we saw the balloon, from
    the painting-room window, distinctly. Suddenly it was lost in a
    cloud, and the feeling it gave me was a very strange one. Soon
    after it emerged again, considerably higher than it was before;
    then it entered another cloud and disappeared. It is past two,
    and Mr. Garnerin is not returned, but I have been to the
    Pantheon to inquire concerning him, and I find he landed at
    Colchester in an hour and forty minutes!

    Of election matters what can I say? Till I read the squibs, &c.
    I could not, _con amore_, say, I wished Mr. Windham to be
    ousted; but now indignation has assisted principle to conquer
    feeling, and I will _not_ say of the agreeable delinquent,

                “If to his share some manly errors fall
                Hear him converse, and you’ll forget them all,”
            or, “Look in his eyes, and you’ll forget them all,”

    (which you please, Mrs. Taylor.)—I was to have gone to Mr.
    Hiliar’s on Sunday or Monday; but, if the election is to be on
    _Monday_, I can’t leave town to be out of the way of the news on
    Tuesday, especially as I should not meet with sympathy in my
    feelings there. Adieu! I must go to see again whether Garnerin
    is returned. I wonder when your travellers come back.

                     Believe me, ever most affectionately yours,
                                                             A. O.

    P. S. I want to come down to the election ball. What a shock
    poor Garnham’s death was to me!

In the autumn of this year her long cherished desire to visit France,
and more especially Paris, was gratified.[9] Her husband needed
relaxation after the anxiety and labour of the last few months, and
there was now an unexpected opportunity afforded to the painter to study
those glorious _chefs d’œuvre_ of art which the conquering arms of
Napoleon had assembled at the Louvre.

They were joined in this excursion by a party of friends, of whom Mrs.
Opie mentions Samuel Favell, Esq. and Mrs. Favell, and her early
acquaintance, Miss Anne Plumptre. On the 14th of August, 1802, they
reached Calais, and for the first time she experienced “the strangely
interesting moment when one’s foot first touches a foreign land, and
when one hears on every side a foreign language spoken by men, women,
and children.” The first impression seems to have been one of
bewilderment, for which she was not at all prepared, occasioned by the
confusion of voices that greeted them. Having recovered from this
perplexing sensation, she was agreeably surprised to see a well known
face, that of Le Texier; he who for many years delighted the English
public by his admirable French readings. The recognition was mutual, and
she was welcomed by him to the land of his birth.

An amusing adventure befell our inexperienced traveller, as she seated
herself at the Hôtel de Grandsire, to enjoy the delicious fare of the
excellent _table d’hôte_, and be initiated at once into the mode of a
French dinner, “so contrary to our own;”—

    Opposite to me (she says) sat a gentleman, wearing what I
    conceived to be a foreign order; and as he was very alert in
    rendering me the customary table-attentions, I ventured to
    address him in French, but he did not reply.  I therefore
    concluded that he was of some nation in which French was not
    very generally spoken; and so far I was not very wrong in my
    conjecture, as my opposite neighbour turned out to be an English
    messenger, just arrived with dispatches from our government! and
    the order which gave him such distinction, in my curious eyes,
    was nothing more than a silver greyhound, which messengers then
    wore! My mistake exposed me to some good humoured banter; but,
    perhaps, it was well for me that I made it, as it put me a
    little on my guard against one of my infirmities, that of
    forming hasty conclusions. * *

The next morning the travellers started for Paris, going a very long
stage before breakfast,

    The tediousness of which, (she says,) as the country had no
    charms to boast, was in a degree relieved to me by the
    occasional beauty and picturesqueness of the costume of the
    peasants, both men and women; but the whiteness of the caps and
    full sleeves, of even the young women, sometimes formed an
    unpleasing contrast with their dark, sunburnt, and almost
    parchment-looking complexions.

After many tedious delays on the road, occasioned by the voiturier’s
“unreasonable care of his horses, as he would not allow them to move
after seven o’clock,” and various little events of small interest, they
reached Paris, and she thus describes her feelings on the occasion:—

    At length we entered the suburbs of the metropolis, and saw
    written in chalk on the walls on both sides, and in giant
    letters, “_L’Indivisibilité de la Republique_;” but all traces
    of republicanism were so rapidly disappearing, that the word
    without the second syllable would have described it better;
    namely, “invisibility.” But to me every other consciousness was
    soon absorbed in the joyful one of being at last in Paris, that
    city which I had so long desired to see.

Being advised to go to the Hôtel of the Rue des Etrangers, they repaired
thither, and were soon installed in commodious apartments; the street,
then the best in Paris, opening at one end, on the Place de la Concorde,
where “the perpetual guillotine” stood, while at the other end was the
Church de la Madeleine.

    By this time my restless curiosity was at its height, and I was
    anticipating some days of great enjoyment, when my husband, who
    had run off to the Louvre long before the rest of us were ready,
    returned with a countenance of such vexation and suffering, that
    I could not help asking him what calamity had occurred?
    “Calamity indeed!” he replied, “the Louvre is shut to-day, but
    then it will be open to-morrow, so that it would not much
    signify; but I cannot stay here—the whiteness of
    everything—the houses—the ground we walk upon—all dazzle and
    blind me; and if I stay, I shall lose my eyesight, and then I
    shall be a lost man.” This was uttered in such evident
    suffering, that for a few minutes I was overwhelmed with
    consternation and disappointment. I knew that go we must, if
    staying endangered my husband’s sight; and I still recall, with
    exquisite pain, the trial of that hour.

Happily they succeeded, by some means, in procuring admittance to the
Louvre immediately, and she says:—

    As the painter, while contemplating the wonders of the museum,
    ceased to feel the inconvenience which the man had thought
    unbearable, I had the joy of finding that we should not quit
    Paris that day. * * * * *

    Why should I dwell on emotions which every one probably has felt
    on entering the Louvre gallery? My own pleasure, my ignorant
    pleasure, was nothing to the more scientific delight of my
    husband; and I recall with melancholy satisfaction, the
    enjoyment which he derived from this visit to the French
    metropolis; an enjoyment purchased and deserved by many years of
    the most assiduous labours in his difficult profession; and
    which, with the single exception of a week spent in a visit to
    Flanders, a few years previously, was the only relaxation to his
    well principled industry, in which he ever allowed himself to
    indulge.

On the second day after her arrival in Paris, she thus records an event
which greatly delighted her.

    I was in the Louvre gallery and standing alone before the
    picture of the Deluge, by N. Poussin, (my favourite station,)
    when I heard some one say that the First Consul was just going
    to enter his carriage, on his way to the Conservative Senate.
    “Oh that I could but see him!” exclaimed I aloud, and in French;
    on which, one of the guardians of the gallery said, “_Eh bien!
    mademoiselle, suivez moi et vous le verrez_.” Without daring to
    lose a moment in order to seek for my companions, I followed
    rapidly whither he led. He took me through a door at the extreme
    end of the gallery, opening into a room on the floor, and
    against the wall of which were several unframed pictures.
    Another door led us into an apartment, which looked immediately
    on the Place du Carousel. Ladies were sitting at the window,
    who, at my guide’s request that they would make room for an
    English stranger, kindly allowed me a seat beside them.

    I arrived just in time to see the procession form. The carriage
    of Buonaparte, drawn by eight bays, was already at the palace
    gate, and was soon followed by that of the other consuls,
    Cambaceres and Le Brun, drawn by six black horses. Soon after,
    the _corps d’élite_, the body guard, and the troop of Mamelucs,
    made their appearance; and Rustan, the favourite Mameluc of
    Napoleon, was also at his post, awaiting his master. At length
    an increased noise at the door announced that he was coming, and
    I gazed to an almost painful degree of intensity, in order to
    catch one glimpse of this extraordinary man; but he sprang into
    his carriage with such rapidity that not one of us could see
    him! Rustan quickly jumped up behind, and the procession went
    forward. It was, I own, a striking sight; but I did not think
    equal in beauty and grandeur to the procession of our king to
    the House of Lords, when he goes to open or prorogue the
    Parliament.

    Who knows what views of royal splendour to come, were, even
    then, floating before the mind of Napoleon! He was going that
    morning to realize and enjoy the highest present object of his
    “vaulting ambition.” He was going, for the first time, to open
    the Conservative Senate, as First Consul for life. He had taken
    the first step on the path to despotic power; he had ascertained
    the extent of his own influence; he had succeeded in his
    endeavours to be voted a sort of Dictator for life; and he had
    proved that the self-denying and noble example of Washington had
    been thrown away on him. But even then, at this seeming height
    of his proud career, I do not remember to have heard him greeted
    by a single shout; the evidences of a people’s love did not hail
    his presence; and no eager and exulting crowd hung on his
    carriage wheels; and when I turned from the window, as the
    _cortège_ disappeared, I felt disappointed, not only because I
    had not seen Buonaparte, but because there was no expression
    heard of animating popular feeling.

Returning to join her party in the picture gallery after this adventure,
Mrs. Opie found there an object of nearly equal interest to her; the
“loved and distinguished patriot” of her own country, Charles James Fox,
who, with his wife and party, had arrived in Paris the day before, from
the Netherlands. Being introduced by a mutual acquaintance, Mr. Opie
took the opportunity of presenting a letter of introduction from Mr.
Coke, of Holkham, and they were presently engaged in conversation
together. At this moment an officer of the court came to announce to Mr.
Fox that he would be admitted, at all times, into the Louvre; adding
that a room as yet closed to the public and containing some first-rate
works of art, should be immediately opened to him and his party.
Availing themselves of the courteous invitation given them to accompany
him, the party gladly followed in his train;

    But my husband, (says the proud delighted wife,) walked by his
    side; and as they walked along, the Jerome of Domenichino drew
    their attention, and they stopped before it. On some part of
    this celebrated picture they differed in opinion. Mr. Fox,
    however, instead of replying to the artist’s remarks, with proud
    superciliousness, as if he wondered that he should presume to
    disagree with him, said, “Well, to be sure, you must be a better
    judge of such points than I am.” And I saw by my husband’s
    pleased and animated countenance, as they proceeded, (though I
    did not hear their subsequent remarks,) that he felt conscious
    he was conversing with one, who was capable of appreciating the
    soundness of his opinions, and generous enough to respect his
    judgment.

    Having reached the promised room, I found to my surprise, that
    it was the one into which I had already been, and I was rather
    ashamed to see that I had passed, without noticing it, the _chef
    d’œuvre_ of Raphael, the far famed Transfiguration! When,
    however, raised up as it was by the attendants, and placed to
    advantage, sideways to the light of the window on the left, I,
    as well as the rest of the party, stood before it, lost in
    admiration! Some of its admirers had seen it before, but to the
    painter—to him who was the most capable of appreciating all its
    various beauties, it imparted a new and intense delight, beyond
    the power of words to express. How he rejoiced that we had
    arrived before it was hung up, as its present situation enabled
    him to view it to perfection! While we were still gazing on this
    wonder of art, some one said the First Consul was returning in
    state from the Conservative Senate, and that the procession
    could be seen from the window near us. Accordingly, all the
    company, myself excepted, crowded to the window; but our
    greatest man, I own, turned away, and resumed his station before
    the picture, while his wife observed to me that, considering
    Buonaparte was a republican, he seemed very fond of state and
    show. Again her distinguished husband went to the window, and
    again turned away. It was the first time he had ever seen aught
    appertaining to the consular government, and it was natural that
    his curiosity should be excited; but there was evidently a
    feeling uppermost in his mind, which struggled with his wish to
    indulge in it, and before the procession was out of sight, it
    had ceased to appear an object of interest to him.

The day after the events just mentioned, Mr. and Mrs. Opie called at the
Rue Richlieu, to pay their respects to Mr. Fox, and accepted his
invitation to dine with him there on an early day. The company they met
on that occasion, was too numerous to admit of general conversation, and
she only records one fact mentioned by their host, as illustrating the
strange changes in times of revolution.—He said, “that nine-and-twenty
years before, he had supped in the room in which they were then dining,
with the celebrated and witty Maréchal Richlieu, whose residence the
hotel then was.”

Mrs. Opie mentions, _en passant_, that this was the only time they saw
Mr. Fox, until he came to sit to her husband, for the whole length
picture which Opie painted of him, for Mr. Coke. This far-famed picture
cost the painter much anxiety; and, during the progress of the work, he
was greatly distracted by the conflicting opinions of friends, who
crowded to watch the work; and interrupted by the impatience of the
sitter, who was eager to be released from the annoyance of sitting. Mr.
Fox perceived and felt for the uneasiness of Opie, and kindly whispered
him, “Don’t mind what these people say, you must know better than they
do.”

The picture, when completed, gave general satisfaction, and Mrs. Opie
says, “I think I may without partiality say, it is worthy of the artist,
the owner, and the original.”[10]

The last time she ever saw Mr. Fox was when he was chaired on his return
to Parliament, after he had accepted office, and alarming was the change
in his appearance:—

    With a heavy heart (she says) I plucked a laurel leaf from that
    car of triumph, which I feared that he filled for the last time;
    and I, indeed, saw him no more; but on his decease, I went to
    the house of Nollekens, to see the cast taken from his face
    immediately after death. It was lying on the table, by the side
    of that of his dear friend Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, and
    of William Pitt, his powerful opponent. The two latter masks I
    could look at, and did look at with painful interest and serious
    meditation: but when I took up the other, I laid it down, and
    ran out of the room; I could not bear to survey the ravages
    which disease and death had made in that benevolent countenance;
    indeed the features were not recognizable, and though I often
    returned to gaze on the others, on _that_ I could never look
    again.

Mrs. Opie next gives some pleasant recollections of the evenings she
spent in the society of the most distinguished persons then in Paris,
and especially in the house of Helen Maria Williams, and a beautiful
Irish Countess, the friend of that lady. We select the account of her
interview with Kosciusko.

    One evening, at Lady ——’s, we met a party, consisting chiefly
    of ambassadors from different nations, and other strangers. I
    had not long entered the room, when our hostess led me up to the
    Turkish ambassador, and desired me to “make the agreeable to
    him.” “Can he speak French?” said I. “No, but here is a
    gentleman who will interpret between you.” At the same time she
    introduced to me a gentleman in Asiatic costume, and I readily
    seated myself by the Turk. He was a little elderly man,
    splendidly attired in the dress of his country; and I prepared
    to answer his questions. One of them was, “how long I had been
    in Paris?” and when my reply, “a few days only,” was repeated to
    him, he said, not very gallantly, “that he concluded so, from my
    complexion,” which, I was very conscious, was tanned, by the
    broiling heat of the sun on the recent journey, to a red brown.
    At last we ceased to converse through our interpreter, and
    substituted signs for words. For instance, he took my fan, and
    made me understand that he wanted to know what I called it; and
    I tried to make him comprehend that it was fan in English, and
    _éventail_ in French. He then pronounced its name in Turkish;
    and I was learning to speak it after him, when I was interrupted
    by my husband, who, with a glowing cheek and sparkling eye,
    exclaimed, “Come hither, look, there is General Kosciusko!” Yes,
    we did see Kosciusko; “Warsaw’s last Champion!” he who had been
    wounded almost to death in defending his country against her
    merciless invaders; while (to borrow the strong expressive
    figure of the poet)—

              “While Freedom shriek’d as Kosciusko fell!”

    Instantly forgetting the ambassador, and, I fear, the proper
    restraints of politeness, I took my husband’s arm, and
    accompanied him to get a nearer view of the Polish patriot, so
    long the object to me of interest and admiration. I had so often
    contemplated a print of him in his Polish dress, which hung in
    my own room, that I thought I should have known him again
    anywhere; but whether it was owing to the difference of dress, I
    know not, but I saw little or no resemblance in him to the
    picture. He was not much above the middle height, had high cheek
    bones, and his features were not of a distinguished cast; with
    the exception of his eyes, which were fine and expressive, and
    he had a high healthy colour. His forehead was covered by a
    curled auburn wig, much to my vexation, as I should have liked
    to have seen its honourable scar. But his appearance was
    pleasing, his countenance intellectual, his carriage dignified;
    and we were very glad, when our obliging hostess, by introducing
    us, gave us an opportunity of entering into conversation with
    him. He spoke English as well as we did, and with an English
    accent. On our expressing our surprise at this unusual
    circumstance, he said he had learned English in America. The
    tone of his voice was peculiar, and not pleasing; however, it
    was Kosciusko who spoke, and we listened with interest and
    pleasure; though, at this distance of time, I am unable to say
    on what subject we conversed. What I am going to relate,
    however, it was not likely that I should forget—

    During the course of the evening, while I was standing at some
    distance, but looking earnestly at him, and speaking to some one
    in his praise, contrasting, as I believe, his unspotted
    patriotism with the then suspected integrity of Buonaparte, he
    suddenly crossed the room, and coming up to me, said, “I am sure
    you were speaking of me, and I wish to know what you were
    saying.” “I dare not tell you,” replied I. “Was it so severe
    then?” I bade him ask my companion. And on hearing her answer he
    thanked me, in a tone of deep feeling. “I have a favour to beg
    of you,” said he, “I am told that you are a writer, pray do
    write some verses on me; a quatrain will be sufficient, will you
    oblige me?” I told him I could rarely write extempore verses,
    and certainly not on such a subject, as I should wish to do it
    all the justice possible. “Well then,” said he, “I will await
    your pleasure.” I saw him again only once before I returned to
    England; but the next time that his birthday was commemorated at
    Paris, I wrote some verses on the occasion, and sent them to him
    by a private hand.

    During the rest of that memorable evening, when we had the
    gratification of seeing the Polish patriot and of conversing
    with him, I did not venture to resume the seat next the Turkish
    ambassador which I had so unceremoniously quitted; but I
    contrived to enter into conversation with the interpreter, whose
    handsome figure and features, added to the gracefulness of his
    costume, made him, next to our hostess, the most striking
    looking person in the assembly. He spoke French fluently, and
    his manner was particularly pleasing.

-----

[9] Mrs. Opie published an account of this journey in Tait’s Magazine,
vol. iv., 1831. From this account we have extracted several of the most
interesting passages. She says, in a few prefatory remarks, that it had
originally been her intention to give an account of her visit to Paris
in 1829, but that, while endeavouring to do this, so many recollections
of her first journey recurred to her mind, that she was induced to alter
her purpose, and prefer relating the events of the earlier visit.
Probably in doing this she made use of the original letters which she is
known to have written home to Dr. Alderson at the time; and having done
so, no longer preserved them.

[10] This picture is now at Holkham.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


    THE REVIEW AND BUONAPARTE; “FESCH;” GENERAL MASSENA; RETURN TO
    ENGLAND; LETTER TO MRS. COLOMBINE; VISIT TO NORWICH; “ADELINE
    MOWBRAY;” LETTER TO MRS. TAYLOR; MR. ERSKINE.

At length the long desired object (a sight of Buonaparte) was attained;
she thus relates her impressions of the scene:—

    We had now been several days in Paris, and yet we had not seen
    the First Consul! I own that my impatience to see him had been
    abated, by the growing conviction which I felt of the possible
    hollowness of the idol so long exalted.

    But still we were desirous of beholding him; and I was glad when
    we received a letter from our obliging acquaintance, Count de
    Lasteyrie, informing us that Buonaparte would review the troops
    on such a day, on the Place du Carousel, and that he had
    procured a window for us, whence we should be able to see it to
    advantage. But, on account of my short-sightedness, I was still
    more glad when our friend De Masquerier, (a very successful
    young English painter,) informed us that he had the promise of a
    window for my husband and myself, in an apartment on the
    ground-floor of the Tuilleries, whence we should be able to have
    a near view of Buonaparte:—our friends, therefore, profited by
    M. de Lasteyrie’s kindness, and we went to the palace.

    As the time of seeing the First Consul drew nigh, I was pleased
    to feel all my original impressions in his favour return. This
    might be a weakness in me, but it was, I hope, excuseable; and
    our sense of his greatness and importance was, as my husband
    observed, heightened by seeing the great man of our own
    country,—he who was there a sight himself to many,—cross the
    Place du Carousel, with his wife on his arm, going, as we
    believed, to gaze like us, on, at least, a more fortunate man
    than himself—for, at that time, Charles James Fox had not seen
    Napoleon Buonaparte.

    The door which opened into the hall of the palace was shut, but,
    after some persuasion, I prevailed on the attendant to open it;
    and he said he would keep it open till the First Consul had
    mounted his horse, if I would engage that we would all of us
    stand upon the threshold, and not once venture beyond it.

    With these conditions we promised to comply; and, full of eager
    expectation, I stationed myself where I could command the white
    marble stairs of the palace; those steps once stained with the
    blood of the faithful Swiss guards, and on which I now expected
    to behold the “Pacificator,” as he was called by the people and
    his friends—the hero of Lodi.

    Just before the review was expected to begin, we saw several
    officers in gorgeous uniforms ascend the stairs, one of whom,
    whose helmet seemed entirely of gold, was, as I was told, Eugène
    de Beauharnois. A few minutes afterwards there was a rush of
    officers down the stairs, and amongst them I saw a short pale
    man, with his hat in his hand, who, as I thought, resembled Lord
    Erskine in profile; but, though my friend said in a whisper,
    “_C’est lui_,” I did not comprehend that I beheld Buonaparte,
    till I saw him stand alone at the gate. In another moment he was
    on his horse, and rode slowly past the window; while I, with
    every nerve trembling with strong emotion, gazed on him
    intently; endeavouring to commit each expressive, sharply
    chiselled feature to memory; contrasting also with admiring
    observation, his small simple hat, adorned with nothing but a
    little tri-coloured cockade, and his blue coat, guiltless of
    gold embroidery, with the splendid head adornings and dresses of
    the officers who followed him.

    A second time he slowly passed the window; then, setting spurs
    to his horse, he rode amongst the ranks, where some faint huzzas
    greeted him from the crowd on the opposite side of the Place du
    Carousel.

    At length he took his station before the palace, and as we
    looked at him out of the window, we had a very perfect view of
    him for nearly three quarters of an hour. I thought, but perhaps
    it was fancy, that the countenance of Buonaparte was lighted up
    with peculiar pleasure as the _corps d’élite_, wearing some mark
    of distinction, defiled before him, bringing up the rear—that
    fine gallant corps, which, as we are told, he had so often led
    on to victory; but this might be my fancy. Once we saw him
    speak, as he took off his hat to remove the hair from his heated
    forehead, and this gave us an opportunity of seeing his front
    face, and his features in action. Soon after, we saw him give a
    sword of honour to one of the soldiers; and he received a
    petition which an old woman presented to him; but he gave it,
    unread, to some one near him. At length the review ended; too
    soon for me. The Consul sprang from his horse—we threw open our
    door again, and, as he slowly re-ascended the stairs, we saw him
    very near us, and in full face again, while his bright,
    restless, expressive, and, as we fancied, dark blue eyes,
    beaming from under long black eyelashes, glanced over us with a
    scrutinising but complacent look; and thus ended, and was
    completed, the pleasure of the spectacle.

    I could not speak; I had worked myself up to all my former
    enthusiasm for Buonaparte; and my frame still shook with the
    excitement I had undergone.

    The next day sobered me again, however, but not much, as will be
    soon seen.

    The day after the review, our accomplished countrywoman Maria
    Cosway, took the president of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West,
    and ourselves, on a round of picture-seeing; and at length we
    proceeded to the residence of a gentleman, who was, I concluded,
    only a picture dealer, or one of the many _nouveaux riches_, who
    had fine collections; because, whenever she spoke of him, Maria
    Cosway called him nothing but “Fesch.” We stopped at the door of
    a very splendid hotel in the Chaussée d’Antin, and were met at
    the top of a magnificent flight of stairs, by a gentleman in the
    garb of an ecclesiastic. His hair was powdered, and he wore it
    in a full round curl behind, after the fashion of an _abbé_; his
    coat was black, but his stockings were of a bright purple; his
    shoe and knee buckles were of gold; round his neck he wore a
    glossy white silk handkerchief, from under which peeped forth a
    costly gold crucifix. His countenance was pleasing; his
    complexion uncommonly blooming; his manners courteous; and his
    age (as I afterwards learned) was thirty-nine.

    This gentleman was the “Fesch” we came to visit, but I soon
    discovered that though he lived in the house, it was not his
    own; for Maria Cosway was summoned into an adjoining room, where
    I overheard her conversing with a female; and when she returned,
    she told us that Madame Buonaparte Mère, (as she was called to
    distinguish her from her daughter-in-law,) the mistress of the
    hotel, was very sorry that she could not see us, but that she
    was so unwell, she was obliged to keep her bed, and could not
    receive strangers. So then! we were in the house of Letitia
    Buonaparte, and the mother of Napoleon! and in the next room to
    her, but could not see her! how unfortunate! however, I was sure
    I had heard her voice. I now supposed that “Fesch” was her
    spiritual director, and believed his well studied dress, _si
    bien soignée_, was a necessary distinction, as he belonged to
    the mother of the First Consul.

    He seemed a merry, as well as a courteous man; and once he took
    Maria Cosway aside, and showed her a letter that he had only
    just received, which, to judge from the hearty laugh of “Fesch,”
    and the answering smiles of the lady, gave them excessive
    pleasure.

    By and by, however, I heard and observed many things which made
    me think that “Fesch” was more than I apprehended him to be. I
    therefore watched for an opportunity to ask the President who
    this obliging person was.—“What!” cried he, “do you not know
    that he is the Archbishop of Lyons, the uncle of Buonaparte?” I
    was astonished! What the person so familiarly spoken of as
    “Fesch,” could he be indeed “_du sang_” of the Buonapartes, and
    the First Consul’s uncle! How my respect for him increased when
    I heard this! How interesting became his every look and word;
    and how grateful I felt for his obliging attention to us!

    While we were looking at the pictures, his niece, the wife of
    Murat, drove to the door; and I saw the top of her cap as she
    alighted, but no more, as she went immediately to her mother’s
    bedside.

    After devoting to us at least two hours, the Archbishop
    conducted us down the noble staircase, to the beautiful hall of
    entrance, and courteously dismissed us. My companions instantly
    went away, but I lingered behind; for I had caught a view of a
    colossal bust of Buonaparte in a helmet, which stood on a table,
    and I remained gazing on it, forgetful of all but itself. Yes!
    there were those finely cut features, that “_coupe de menton à
    l’Apollon!_” and, though I thought the likeness a flattered one,
    I contemplated it with great pleasure, and was passing my hand
    admiringly over the salient chin, when I heard a sort of
    suppressed laugh, and, turning round, saw the Archbishop
    observing me, and instantly, covered with confusion, I ran out
    of the house. I found Maria Cosway explaining what the letter
    was which had given “Fesch” and her such evident satisfaction.
    It was nothing less than a letter from Rome, informing him that
    he would probably be put in nomination for the next cardinal’s
    hat.

    How soon he was nominated I cannot remember, but it is now many
    years since the blooming ecclesiastic of 1802, exchanged his
    purple for scarlet stockings, his mitre for a red hat, and his
    title of Archbishop of Lyons, for that of Cardinal Fesch.

As the time drew near when she must bid farewell to Paris, Mrs. Opie
evidently longed for an extension of a season so full of enjoyment to
her; but since her wish could not be gratified, she determined to make
the most of every hour that remained; and she relates several anecdotes,
relative to what she saw at the places she visited; among others the
_atelier_ of David, whither she accompanied her husband, and where she
was forcibly struck with one of that artist’s pictures, “Brutus
returning from the tribunal after adjudging his sons to death.” The
emotion of compassion awakened in her mind by this picture was so
strong, that she was unable to gaze on it without pain, so real was the
illusion. Another visit the party made was to the Hotel of Murat, which,
being furnished in the most elegant style of French luxury, was thought
worth seeing: and splendid indeed it was.

    The bed of the lady of the house was too elegant, and then, too
    uncommon, to be forgotten; it stood in a recess which was lined
    with looking-glass, and at the foot of the bed were, as I think,
    two finely chiselled marble cupids. The draperies were of the
    clearest muslin, lined with rose-coloured satin; and the
    counterpane as well as the valance was flounced with deep point
    lace. The panels of the room were painted in drab and rose
    colour; and all the decorations of the apartment were in the
    most costly but tasteful style. But what pleased me most in this
    hotel, was a picture of General Moreau, which, unframed, stood
    against one of the walls. It was a whole-length, as large as
    life, from the pencil of Gérard, and was one of those real
    portraits, which resemble life so much, that we are apt to
    fancy, when we recall the features, that we have seen, not the
    portrait, but the original.

Just as they were leaving the hotel, their attention was directed to a
gentleman who was talking energetically to the porter, and whom their
guide informed them was General Massena. Pleased indeed, to see one of
whom she had read and heard so much, she scanned him attentively, and
thus describes his appearance:—

    His head was one of the largest I had ever seen, his hair long
    and thick and curled, _à la Brutus_, and his features large and
    not fine. His eyes, however, were bright; in his ears he wore
    gold rings of large dimensions, (then commonly worn by French
    officers,) and his person was large, his height apparently
    nearly six feet. On the whole, however, his appearance was not
    prepossessing, and there was a look of coarse brutal daring,
    which contrasted unfavourably with the pleasing expression in
    the countenance of his rival in military fame, General Moreau.

Sorry as our enthusiastic traveller felt, when the hour of departure
from Paris arrived, she yet greeted (she tells us) with heartfelt
delight the white cliffs of her own dear native land. On the homeward
journey she mentions a somewhat amusing incident; a little dog,
purchased by Mr. Opie, was entrusted to her care, and made so many
claims upon her time and attention, that she owns it was no matter of
regret to her, that the poor brute shortly died, “which saved me (she
adds) from the danger I seemed likely to incur, of becoming the slave of
a pet animal.”

Some of those who accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Opie on this tour used
afterwards to relate, what ardour and intense delight she manifested in
all the objects of interest she beheld; and how she sat on the
Boulevards and sang, with heart and voice, “Fall, tyrants fall!” At the
theatre they heard Talma, as “Cain,” in the “Death of Abel;” and so deep
an impression did this wonderful actor produce on her memory, that
within a few years, she has been heard to refer to that occasion,
dwelling on his look and manner, and the preternatural tone with which
he answered the voice, “_Où es tu Cain?_”—“_Ici, Seigneur_;” the
sounds, deep and sepulchral, appearing to issue from the ground beneath
him.

Of the ensuing winter, and spring of the year following, we have no
record from her hand; one letter alone remains, dated 25th February,
1803, addressed to her old and esteemed friend Mrs. Colombine. It is too
long to be inserted entire, although of much interest, illustrating as
it does her benevolence, and that kindliness of heart which was
throughout life one of her most distinguishing characteristics. After
expressing her friendly sympathy in the troubles that had befallen those
to whom in early life she had been attached, she says:—

    * * I assure you I cannot enough express how much I admire and
    honour the fortitude you have throughout displayed. Not to feel
    would be downright insensibility; but to feel so acutely as I
    know you do, and still to bear up so well, is a proof of
    strength of mind which I am _proud_ to see in one whom I so
    sincerely love and esteem. But you would not, I know, exchange
    your feelings, for the insensibility of some mothers; for
    instance, of Mrs. B——, whom I almost hated for your sake, for
    daring so to intrude on the sacredness of recent sorrow. Do not
    scold me for speaking thus of her, because she is dead. I think
    “speak only good of the dead,” is a silly and pernicious maxim;
    I had rather speak ill of the dead than of the living. * * *
    Give my kind love to Mr. C. and tell him that he must, and ought
    to be, cheerful, because he has reason to be proud. Respect and
    esteem attend him into retirement and misfortune, and though he
    may be allowed to blush for others, he must respect himself. I
    think we Norwich people have reason to be proud of our native
    city! such liberality, and so well directed, makes it an honour
    to belong to it.[11] It gives me great pleasure to see, both in
    you and Mrs. B. that ardent piety which can _alone_ fortify and
    cheer the afflicted mind; and when I hear virtuous infidels (for
    there _are_ such) declare that they do not regret either the
    hopes or consolations of religion, I hear with surprise and
    pity, and end by believing that they do not know or do not own,
    their _real_ feelings.

                                     Farewell, and believe me,
                                      Most affectionately yours,
                                                          A. OPIE.

During the summer of this year Mrs. Opie paid her usual visit to
Norwich, and again her lengthened stay called forth the remonstrances of
her husband. He writes, “my affection for you is even increased in point
of general feeling and interest, so that if I do not admire you more, I
feel you more a part of myself than I ever did at first,” and urging her
speedy return, for that he “longs so very much to see her.”

In this letter he mentions that as soon as he has an opportunity he
means to send her—

    A letter, with a volume of poems, by Henry Kirke White, a
    “visionary boy,” of seventeen, who, with all becoming
    diffidence, presumes to lay his youthful productions at the feet
    of one, “who so eminently enjoys the holy impulse” as yourself.
    He was “struck with the resemblance of one of his poems to one
    of yours, though to compare the former to the latter, is like
    comparing O’Keefe to Shakespeare”—there! I hope this will give
    you pleasure. Let me hear on Wednesday how you are. The cat and
    parrot are both well, and the kitten[12] beautiful and merry.
    The guns have been firing to-day, but on what account I am
    ignorant yet.

                                              Adieu, my only love.

Again, probably shortly after this, her husband writes to her, enclosing
a letter containing some complimentary verses on her “Elegy to the
memory of the late Earl of Bedford,” and adding, by way of postscript,

    This came to me in a cover on Monday, so I thought it too
    delicious not to be sent immediately; who is the author? Your
    letter is arrived; and I am very sorry to find this cursed
    election lasting so long, and I wish you would not appear so
    prominent in it. I asked Mrs. N. about the box, and she says it
    was not to go till I went; however, I shall now have it sent as
    soon as possible. I have seen nothing of Erskine or Reynolds for
    some time. The cloak I am afraid is lost, for Mr. Bunn wrote me
    that he had made every inquiry in vain. Dr. Haweis has been
    sitting two or three times, and makes a good head. I shall write
    to you to-morrow or next day, so, God bless you, yours ever.
      J. O.

    Let me hear again, Friday or Saturday at furthest; I feel
    desirous enough of seeing you, but I have not much more to say
    at present, unless I begin scolding you about the election. What
    business had you to get mounted up somewhere so conspicuously?
    But there is no more room; I am going now to dine with Thomson,
    to meet little J. A Mr. Best called on Saturday, and said he
    meant to be or to have somebody painted, but I have heard no
    more.

In 1804, Mrs. O. published “Adeline Mowbray,” or “Mother and Daughter,”
a Tale, in three volumes, the object of this work is to pourtray the
lamentable consequences which would result from the adoption of lax
principles on the subject of matrimony. “The second volume of this
beautiful story is perhaps the most pathetic and the most natural in its
pathos, of any fictitious narrative in the language,” says the writer of
the 19th Art. in “The Edinburgh Review” of 1806.

The following letter to Mrs. Taylor was probably written about this
time:—

                                                   (without date.)
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    * * * I am just returned from Deptford, where I have been ever
    since Thursday; a sad loss of time, and nothing would have made
    me patient under it, but the extreme pity I feel for Miss M.’s
    forlorn situation. But perhaps, as my company gives her comfort,
    I ought not to call my visit to her a loss of time. I was
    lamenting to Mrs. Barbauld, to whom I related this poor orphan’s
    story, that Miss M. did not seem to have any taste for reading.
    “So much the better,” was her answer, “I do not think such a
    taste desirable. Reading is an indolent way of passing the
    time”—and so she went on. I was extremely surprised, as you may
    think, and began to combat her assertions; but I recollected
    that I had heard it said that Mrs. B., like W. Taylor, often
    contradicted for the sake of argument, and when I feel this, as
    it is a proceeding which I thoroughly disapprove, I am too angry
    to keep up the ball.

    I find that Mrs. B. admires Cowper’s letters very much. In my
    opinion they have been much overrated. The letters to Lady
    Hesketh are beautiful; but those to Hayley and J. Johnson,
    abounding as they do in “dearests” and “fondnesses” and “dearest
    of all dear Johnnies,” make me sick _à la mort_!

    * * * * You have not ridden much in stage coaches I believe, at
    least not round town. O! what a pleasure I should lose were I to
    ride in my own carriage and forsake stages! I find egotism the
    prevailing characteristic of my fellow-travellers. This morning
    I found, when I entered the stage, one passenger only in it, and
    that was a little girl. “Are you going to town?” said I. “Yes, I
    know the gentleman, and so I came.” “What gentleman?” “The
    coachman, he lives by us; and so, as I wanted to go for my
    shoes, he said he would take me; he promised me my shoes to wear
    to-day, and I am going to see arter’em: I ha’ known Mr. Wheeler
    a long time,” &c.—and so she ran on, till I was tired of
    listening; and convinced me egotism is of all ages. As I went
    down, a fine, jolly, florid young countrywoman, a great deal
    fatter than I am, was complaining to a gentleman (who informed
    us he was just recovered from a fit of illness) that she was
    very unwell too; and as she had not seen her friends at Deptford
    for two years, she was sure they would be quite _shocked_ at the
    change in her, for when she left them she was quite jolly and
    healthy looking. I could hardly keep in my laughter at this. Her
    Deptford friends must be droll persons, and great amateurs in
    fat indeed, to be dissatisfied with her magnitude, and regret
    what she had lost; I protest she might have played the goddess
    of health at Dr. Graham’s.

    I shall see you now soon, and I hope to see you nearly well.
    Farewell! With kind love to Mr. Taylor and all the family, I
    remain, _toute à vous_,

                                                        A. OPIE.

In 1805 she was again in Norwich, and during that visit she enjoyed the
unexpected pleasure of hearing Mr. Erskine plead; happily she has given
an account of this event, which is preserved among her MSS. As usual
when about to relate anything connected in her mind with an earlier
period, she goes back, on the present occasion, to the time when she
first saw Mr. Erskine. This was in the Nisi Prius court in Norwich,
whither he had come down on a special retainer in a Right-of-Way cause,
which for some reason was not heard at that assizes. She says:—

    Well do I remember him, as I first saw him, entering for a few
    minutes, and taking a hasty survey of the court. I was
    immediately struck with the look of intelligent inquiry which he
    cast over the eager, but disappointed crowd, assembled to hear
    him; that eye reminded me of the description of Ledyard, the
    eastern traveller’s eye, for it seemed “bright and restless,”
    and its rapid glance appeared to observe, in its brief survey,
    as much as other eyes in a more lengthened one; and I much
    regretted that the interest which his appearance excited in me
    was not to be increased by the well known melody of his
    voice.[13]

    Soon after, I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with him,
    when I was staying at the house of a dear friend near London,
    and in the course of conversation he informed us that he was
    going down special to Huntingdon, on a most interesting
    occasion. A young man, lately come into possession of a large
    fortune, had been proceeded against by the next heir as being a
    supposititious child; and he told us that he was counsel for the
    defence, and that the cause was likely to be very long and very
    interesting, as the defendant was universally beloved; kindly
    adding, that as he saw I was interested in such things, when he
    met me at dinner again, on his return to London, he would then
    give myself and my friends an account of the trial.
    Consequently, great was my impatience till the day of the dinner
    came, and the great orator arrived; but though he again talked
    most pleasantly, and on law subjects too, not one single
    allusion did he make to the Huntingdon cause. In vain did I try
    to take courage, and remind him of his promise; I was not then a
    married woman, and fancied it would be presuming to do so; but,
    when I heard his carriage announced, and saw him about to
    depart, made valiant by despair, I exclaimed “Oh! Mr. Erskine,
    you have not fulfilled your promise! you have not told us the
    particulars of the Huntingdon cause!” “True!” he replied,
    starting and turning back, “but you shall not be disappointed,”
    and leading me to the sofa, he seated himself beside me, and
    went through the whole of the proceedings. He gave us the
    evidence on both sides, told us what his opponent had said for
    the plaintiff, and he for the defendant; and, warming as he
    proceeded, he soon grew as much interested in the details as we
    were; and when he came to the verdict of the jury which was in
    favour of his client, his countenance beamed with animation,
    while he described the general plaudit with which the verdict
    was received in the court, and the shouts which were heard
    outside the walls from the assembled multitude!

    He then hastily jumped into his carriage, leaving me exulting in
    having drawn from him a gratification so unusual and so
    complete.

    But I experienced a still greater and much longer enjoyment of
    his eloquence in the year 1805, when he went down to Norwich, on
    the same Right-of-Way cause before alluded to; and I, being then
    on a visit to my father, had the pleasure of hearing him speak
    when he appeared on the side of the plaintiff.

    As I was very early in court, I obtained a seat by the side of
    the judge, Sir Alexander Macdonald, and saw and heard everything
    to the greatest advantage. In that place I remained the whole
    day, except when, on being assured that my seat should be kept
    for me, I went home to tea, but soon returned to the scene of
    action, where I staid all night; as I could not bear to go away
    without hearing the great orator’s reply to the defendant’s
    counsel. As I was desirous that the plaintiff should gain her
    cause, I had been alarmed to find by the speech of the eloquent
    advocate for the defendant, how much could be said on both
    sides, and was therefore anxious to hear by what means his
    arguments could be rendered powerless; therefore, though
    listening with delighted attention and wonder to the powerful
    cross-examination, I wished it over: but witness, on the
    defendant’s side, succeeded to witness; the audience became
    gradually smaller and smaller, and although Lord Brougham with
    his usual eloquence and felicity of expression has said, “that
    juries declared they found it impossible to remove their looks
    from Mr. Erskine when he had, as it were, rivetted and
    fascinated them by his first glance,” I am obliged to confess
    that some of this Norfolk jury began visibly to nod, and it
    seemed likely, that, except the judge, the high sheriff, the
    barristers, the officers of the court, and myself, there would
    soon be no hearers left awake, and the beams of rising day were
    forcing themselves through the windows!

    The observant Erskine took the hint, so palpably given, and
    coming up to me, he kindly said, “go home! go home! I shall not
    reply to-night; but you had better be here by eight in the
    morning,” and soon after the court adjourned to that hour.

    When I reached the terrace of the castle[14] my steps were
    arrested, and even the necessity of sleep forgotten, by the
    sight of the most splendid sunrise I had ever beheld! I did not
    pause to gaze on it alone, and I should not have paused in my
    narrative, in order to mention so irrelevant a circumstance, had
    not my companion been one whom I never again beheld; one whom I
    have pleasure in recalling to my memory, and of whom I have
    lately been agreeably reminded by Dr. Bowring’s amusing memoir
    of Jeremy Bentham. I allude to the late George Wilson, who for
    many years went the Norwich Circuit, and to whom I was made
    known at an early age, and by whom my love of attending courts
    was good humouredly encouraged. When impaired health (rather
    than age) obliged this amiable and intellectual man to quit the
    bar, he retired into Scotland, his native country, and I think
    he took up his abode in the delightful city of Edinburgh, where
    he died a few years ago, lamented and regretted by all who had
    the privilege of his acquaintance. It is a satisfaction to me to
    have had the oportunity of paying even this little tribute to
    his memory.

    I was in court again by half-past seven, but too late to obtain
    a seat, and I stood many hours, in a painful position, but I was
    soon made unconscious of it by the eloquence of Erskine; for
    during those hours he spoke, and hushed a court, crowded even to
    suffocation, into the most perfect stillness. Never was the
    power of an orator over his audience more evident or more
    complete.

    The plaintiff gained her cause, and her advocate new laurels;
    for I know that those best qualified to form a correct judgment
    on the subject, namely, his brother lawyers, who were present,
    declared that they had “never before heard Mr. E. so great in
    reply.”

    Fortunate, therefore, were those who heard him that day, as
    never again was he heard to equal advantage. A few months
    afterwards he was made Lord Chancellor, and when, while talking
    to him at a party in London, I told him I was every day
    intending to go into the Court of Chancery, in hope of hearing
    him speak in his new capacity—his reply was, “Pray do not come!
    you will not hear anything worth the trouble. I am nothing now;
    you heard the last and best of me at Norwich last year!”

    This was indeed too true; and those powers of forensic eloquence
    for which he was so celebrated, he could exercise no longer. His
    audiences, in future life, were almost wholly different from his
    former ones, and those attractions so peculiarly his own, were
    not necessary on the judgment-seat, in the Court of Chancery,
    and would have been in a measure thrown away in the House of
    Lords.

    Fortunate, therefore, I repeat it, were those who heard him in
    the Right-of-Way cause at Norwich, and when he forcibly reminded
    me of the portrait of Garrick so admirably drawn by the pen of
    Sheridan in his unequalled monody—a portrait which might have
    been supposed to be that of the Honorable Thomas Erskine, for
    his indeed were

        “The grace of action, the adapted mien,
        Faithful as nature to the varied scene;
        The expressive glance, whose subtle comment draws
        Entranc’d attention and a mute applause;
        Gesture that marks, with sense of feeling fraught,
        A sense in silence, and a will in thought.
        Harmonious speech, whose pure and liquid tone
        Gives verse a music scarce confess’d its own:
        As light from gems assumes a brighter ray,
        And cloth’d with orient hues transcends the day.
        Passion’s wild break, and frowns that awe the sense
        And every charm of gentler eloquence.”

-----

[11] We find in Matchett’s “Norfolk and Norwich Remembrancer,” p. 63,
under date, October 13th, 1802, this entry; “Alderman Francis Colombine
resigned his gown as Alderman, to whom and his daughter the Corporation
of Norwich granted an annuity of £100.”

[12] This creature became a great pet. Mrs. Opie taught it some pretty
tricks, and it was so fondly attached to Mr. O. that during his illness
it used to sit and watch at the door of his chamber like a dog. Mrs. O.
often talked of it. It came to an untimely end, and she was so much
distressed about it, that this probably was the reason she never would
again have any pets; for, in later years she evinced no disposition to
fondle animals. No favourite dog, cat, or bird, was permitted to
domicile with her.

[13] I observed the same expression in the eye of Buonaparte, when,
standing near the marble stairs of the Tuilleries, I saw him as he
ascended them and looked on a group of English assembled to gaze at
him.—A. O.

[14] The Assizes were held at this time in a building at the top of the
Castle Hill adjoining the Castle.



                              CHAPTER IX.


    PROSPERITY; “SIMPLE TALES;” VISIT TO SOUTHILL; LADY ROSLYN; MR.
    OPIE’S “LECTURES;” HIS ILLNESS; HIS DEATH.

The year 1806 was, to the subject of these memoirs, prosperous, and full
of joyful anticipation for the future, beyond any that had preceded it.
The time so long desired seemed now at hand; Mr. Opie saw himself justly
rewarded, for all his labour and perseverance amid difficulties and
disappointments, by success and fame; “he was conscious (his wife says)
that our circumstances were now such as would enable us to have more of
the comforts and elegancies of life, and to receive our friends in a
manner more suited to the esteem which we entertained for them; I was
allowed to make the long projected alterations and improvements in my
own apartments; and he had resolved to indulge himself in the luxury (as
he called it) of keeping a horse.” But alas! when the time did come, it
came too late!

Not, however, to anticipate—in the spring of this year, Mrs. Opie
published her “Simple Tales,” in four volumes; tales which are
characterized by the same merits, as well as defects, as are found in
her other works of this description. For a critique upon them, and on
Mrs. Opie’s merits as an author, we must refer the reader to the
article, before alluded to, in the July number of “The Edinburgh
Review,” for 1806, from which we may be allowed to quote a short
extract. After alluding to the deficiencies of her style, and observing
that few of her personages can be said to be original, or even uncommon,
the writer says:—

    “They have, however, a merit in our eyes incomparably superior;
    they are strictly true to general nature, and are rarely
    exhibited except in interesting situations; * * * there is
    something delightfully feminine in all Mrs. O.’s writings; an
    apparent artlessness in the composition of her narrative; and
    something which looks like want of skill or practice in writing
    for the public, that gives a powerful effect to the occasional
    beauties and successes of her genius; there is nothing like an
    ambitious, or even a sustained tone in her stories; we often
    think she is going to be tedious or silly; and immediately,
    without effort or apparent consciousness of improvement, she
    slides into some graceful and interesting dialogue, or charms us
    with some fine and delicate analysis of the subtler feelings,
    which would have done honour to the genius of Marivaux. She does
    not reason well; but she has, like most accomplished women, the
    talent of perceiving truth, without the process of reasoning,
    and of bringing it out with the facility and the effect of an
    obvious and natural sentiment. Her language is often inaccurate,
    but it is almost always graceful and harmonious. She can do
    nothing well that requires to be done with formality; and,
    therefore, has not succeeded in copying either the concentrated
    force of weighty and deliberate reason, or the severe and solemn
    dignity of majestic virtue. To make amends, however, she
    represents admirably everything that is amiable, generous, and
    gentle.”

The following note by Mr. Sydney Smith, was written soon after this
time, when she was preparing to publish one of her subsequent works:—

      DEAR MRS. OPIE,

    I have read your manuscripts, upon the whole, with great
    satisfaction; two or three I have advised you to suppress; two
    or three to correct and polish; and upon many I have bestowed a
    praise, which I hope, for your sake, is as enlightened, as it is
    warm and sincere. Tenderness is your forte, and carelessness
    your fault.

    Direct me how to dispose of your MS., and believe me,

                                          Ever yours most truly,
                                                         S. SMITH.

    Mrs. S. begs her kind compliments to you. You will find my
    remarks scrawled in pencil under each page. I have left
    emendations to you, merely marking where they are wanted.

In the summer of this memorable year, (when, as the phrase is, “all the
talents were in,” so soon to be driven out by the death of Fox,) Mr. and
Mrs. Opie went, accompanied by Mr. Wilkie, on a visit to Southill, the
seat of Mr. Whitbread; “and never,” says Mrs. Opie, “did I see my
husband so happy, when absent from London, as he was there; for he felt
towards the host and hostess every sentiment of respect and admiration
which it is pleasant to feel, and honourable to inspire. But though he
was the object of the kindest and most flattering attention, he sighed
to return to London and his pursuits; and when he had been at Southill
only eight days, he said to me, on my expressing my unwillingness to go
away, ‘Though I shall be even anxious to come hither again, remember
that I have been idle _eight days_!’”

In a letter to her father, during this visit, she gives a pleasing
account of some of the events that transpired;—

                                                             1806.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I received the parcel safe, and beg you to thank Mr. Taylor for
    his letter, and tell him I am quite convinced of his sobriety,
    but not the less of my neglect. Your letter is just arrived. I
    had already asked about the boroughs and borough-mongers; but
    Mr. W. knows not where to find the latter, and nothing certainly
    about the price of the former; but he fancies it is £4000 for a
    single seat, and five, or more, for two seats. * * * *

    We arrived here after a pleasant journey of forty-two miles,
    (not sixty, as we were told it was,) at three o’clock on
    Saturday. Part of the country through which we passed was
    pleasant, but for some miles before we approached Southill, we
    went through such bleak barrenness, as was scarcely cheered by
    the sight of a large white house seen at a distance, which we
    took to be Mr. Whitbread’s. In two miles more we entered the
    park, “and paradise seemed opened in the wild.” The entrance is
    near the house, which is, however, perfectly concealed by a
    thick shrubbery and high trees, skirting a winding gravel walk
    up to the house, which bursts upon you very beautifully indeed.
    The country is flat; but in the front of the house there is a
    slight inequality of ground, and the lawn is so beautiful, and
    the trees so fine, and the shrubs so richly diversified; in
    short, it is so truly a smiling scene, and at the same time so
    comfortably sequestered, that, for a dwelling, I would not
    change it for one commanding views of bolder country. On
    entering the house, the true use and enjoyment of unbounded
    opulence force themselves at once on one’s conviction.
    Everything is rich, but at the same time tasteful and
    comfortable; and the more you see, and the longer you inhabit
    Southill, the more you feel assured that, used as it is there,
    opulence is a blessing. The family, not expecting us till near
    six, were out when we arrived; so the groom of the chambers led
    us to our apartments, consisting of a large dressing-room and
    bed-room; and we had the pleasure to find that our room
    commanded the pretty view at the front of the house, of which a
    pond, prettily shaded, is an agreeable feature. As soon as we
    had had sandwiches, &c., the barouche and the family arrived,
    and we had the sorrow to find Lady Elizabeth very unwell, and so
    she had been all the time on her journey. She immediately went
    to lie down. Mr. Opie accompanied Mr. Whitbread, &c., in the
    barouche, in a drive which he was going to take, four in-hand;
    and Mr. Wilkie and I took a walk. At six we all met at dinner.

    _Wednesday._   I began this yesterday before breakfast, but had
    no opportunity of resuming my pen till to-day, nine o’clock.
    Nobody down but my husband and myself. He is standing under a
    colonnade, going from the open window at which I am now sitting,
    enjoying the rolling of the thunder and the forked lightning,
    which, untired with its tremendous violence last night, has
    renewed the elemental strife to-day. It reminds me of the storm
    some twenty years ago, which made a tour through the whole
    country. Hark! it comes nearer and nearer, and the lightning
    flashes across my face. I doubt there has been mischief done
    somewhere.—But to resume my narrative.—I need not tell you our
    dinner was excellent, and French enough to delight me. The
    dessert consisted of ice, pine apple, and every variety of fruit
    and wine. The only guests here are Reynolds, Wilkie, ourselves,
    and Lady Roslyn and her children. After a pleasant evening, Lady
    Elizabeth being much recovered, we retired at eleven, and were
    summoned to meet the next morning at the breakfast table at
    nine, that we might get off for Woburn Abbey in good time. We
    got away a little before eleven, Tom Adkin and Wilkie in a gig,
    Lady E. W., Lady Roslyn, Miss Whitbread, her brother, Reynolds,
    and ourselves in the barouche and four greys, driven by Mr.
    Whitbread. The day was only too fine, as its extreme brightness
    almost made it impossible for us to gaze on the really pretty
    country which we passed. * * * Interrupted by the tempest, and
    for the first time in my life _terrified_ and awed almost to
    fainting by the nearness and overpowering brilliancy of the
    lightning, and the loudness of the thunder; it is quite over the
    house, and one feels as if the vast building was rived in twain.
    It was quite mournful to hear the cattle lowing and the sheep
    bleating their fears last night. Another and another louder yet!
    the rain falling in torrents. The poor green parrot by me, its
    powers sharpened by fear, is trying to imitate the thunder; the
    other parrot, a grey one, seems too much alarmed to speak. I
    never felt so nervous before at a storm, but it quite oppresses
    me! * * I think it abates. How I pity those who are always
    afraid at such times, during the awful continuance of such a
    tempest as this! At eleven Lady Roslyn was to leave us; she
    can’t go now certainly, and I wish her departure may be delayed
    till to-morrow. On the stairs I met three lovely children the
    first day I came, and the nursemaid said, “this is Lady Janet
    Sinclair.” And who is that lovely boy in petticoats? “That is
    Lord Loughborough.” I thought I should have laughed in the
    child’s face, for my associations with that name are a great wig
    and a parrot face! The child himself, an uncommonly grand and
    handsome boy, of four years old, says, “my _real_ name is
    _James_, that is what my friends call me, but my nickname is
    Lord Loughborough.” “And who calls you by your nickname?” “The
    maids in the nursery.”

    The storm is greatly subsided, at least it is further off, or I
    could not have told you this trifling story. If I have time
    after breakfast, before the post goes off, I will describe our
    delightful day at Woburn, and our drive yesterday. To-day Lady
    St. John is to dine here, and with her come Mr. Peakwell and his
    mother. Mrs. Bouverie writes to Lady R. (her daughter) every
    day, the most delightful accounts of Mr. Fox’s health!

The envelope of this letter is missing.

Mrs. Opie has recorded, in her note book, some further particulars of
this delightful visit; and especially in reference to Lady Roslyn, whom
she had long wished to see and know.

    At first (she says) I was rather disappointed in her beauty, but
    there was a charm in her manner and conversation which soon won
    upon me, and we shortly became mutually interested in each
    other, and visited Bedford Jail together, and two or three
    country houses, at one of which, belonging to our host, we
    remained for some time with the old dame who took care of it.
    Lady R. begged her to fetch us a draught of new milk, and the
    good woman, who was basting a leg of mutton, hastily laid down
    her basting-spoon and departed to fulfil her wishes. “It were a
    pity the good soul should suffer for her kindness,” said the
    lady, and immediately seizing the ladle, the graceful countess
    commenced operations; while I, admiring her benevolence, pleased
    myself with observing her, and thought that among the
    interesting sights of the morning, that of seeing Harriet,
    Countess of Roslyn, basting a leg of mutton, was not the least.

The last paragraph in the preceding letter speaks of “delightful
accounts of Mr. Fox’s health;” soon to be exchanged for tidings of his
lamented death, which happened on the 13th of September following.

On his return from this short period of relaxation, Mr. Opie betook
himself with increasing diligence to the duties of his profession. “To
the toils of the artist, during the day, (says his wife,) succeeded
those of the writer, every evening; and from the month of September,
1806, to February, 1807, he allowed his mind no rest, and scarcely
indulged in the relaxation of a walk, or the society of his friends.”
He was engaged in completing his Lectures on Painting, to be delivered
as Professor of Painting, at the Royal Academy. Each of them, as he
finished it, he read to his wife, and, after the delivery of the first
lecture in the Academy, “he was complimented by his brethren, escorted
home by Sir William Beechey, and appeared to his wife in a flush of joy.
Next morning he said he had passed a restless night, for he was so
elated that he could not sleep!”[15] The first of the lectures was
delivered on the 16th February, 1807; the fourth and last, on the 9th of
March following.

To the completion of these Lectures his life perhaps fell a sacrifice,
at least so thought Mrs. Opie, and, in the bitterness of her regret, she
wished they had never been thought of. When they were completed, his
friend, Mr. Prince Hoare, requested of him an article for his periodical
paper, called “The Artist.” “I am tired, (he replied,) tired of writing;
and I mean to be a gentleman in the spring months, keep a horse, and
ride out every morning.”

But it was otherwise determined. He shortly after sickened; a slow and
consuming illness attacked him, and wasted his vital energies, baffling
the skill of the most experienced physicians, who hastened to his
bedside, and attended him during the few remaining weeks of his life,
with unremitting attention. His poor wife said she had, at least, the
soothing conviction, that no human means had been left untried to ward
off the inevitable stroke. Her memoir concludes with a few details
respecting the closing scenes, which are best given in her own words.

    I cannot dwell minutely on these painful hours. Great as my
    misery must have been at such a moment, under any circumstances,
    it was, if possible, aggravated by my being deprived of the
    consolation and benefit of my father’s presence and advice, at
    this most trying period of my life; for he was attending the
    sick bed of his, apparently, dying mother. Yet she recovered, at
    the age of 85, to the perfect enjoyment of life and happiness,
    while Mr. Opie was cut off in the prime of his days! But let me
    dwell on the brighter side of the picture. Let me be thankful
    for the blessing I experienced in the presence of that sister,
    so dear to my husband, who, by sharing with me the painful, yet
    precious tasks of affection, enabled me to keep from his bed all
    hired nurses,—all attendants, but our deeply interested selves;
    that was indeed a consolation.

Of this sister Mrs. Opie speaks frequently with affectionate regard; and
many years after, when she visited her husband’s relations in Cornwall,
expressed her tender regret that she was no longer living to welcome
her, and to go over with her the memories of the past.

After paying a tribute of thanks to the numerous friends who evinced
their sympathy and respect, and shared, with affectionate solicitude,
her anxieties, she says:—

    The most soothing consciousness which I now have to look back
    upon, when I revert to the painful scenes of his illness, is the
    certainty that my husband’s last perceptions in this world were
    of a pleasurable nature. By the kindness of his friend and
    former pupil, Mr. Thompson, R. A., he was gratified in his
    desire to see his picture of the Duke of Gloucester, which he
    was most anxious should appear in the exhibition, completed, and
    when it was brought to the foot of his bed, he looked at it with
    the greatest satisfaction, and said, with a smile, “Take it
    away, it will do now.” This incident seemed to give the turn to
    the delirium which followed, for he was painting in imagination
    upon it, until the last hour of his existence.

When Sir Joshua was buried in St. Paul’s, Mr. Opie exclaimed to his
sister, with the proud consciousness of innate power, “Aye girl! and I
too shall be buried in St. Paul’s.” His prophecy was accomplished. On
the 9th of April, 1807, in the 46th year of his age, he expired; and on
the 20th, the remains of John Opie were interred close beside those of
Sir Joshua Reynolds!

It was said of him, by one of the first painters of his day, “Others get
forward by steps, but this man by strides;” and so Goethe said of his
great rival Schiller, “Er hatte ein furchtbares Fortschreiten; und so
ging er immer vorwärts, bis sechs und vierzig Jahre; dann war er denn,
freilich, weit genug!”[16]

-----

[15] A. Cunningham’s Lives of British Artists.

[16] “His strides were astounding: and so he continued ever onwards, for
forty and six years; then indeed, he had gone far enough!”



                               CHAPTER X.


    RETURN TO NORWICH; “POEMS;” MEMOIR OF HER HUSBAND; LETTER FROM
    LADY CHARLEVILLE; FROM MRS. INCHBALD; VISIT TO LONDON; PARTY AT
    LADY E. WHITBREAD’S; VISIT TO CROMER; “TEMPER;” “TALES OF REAL
    LIFE;” SOIRÉE AT MADAME DE STAËL’S.

On the death of her husband Mrs. Opie returned to the home of her youth,
and to her father, for whom she now felt the more concentrated and
entire affection, as he was the only object united to her by the dearest
ties of nature. For, unhappily, her marriage was a childless one; the
desire she cherished had been denied her, and no son was given her, to
inherit the talents of his father, and be the joy of his mother’s heart.

Providence, however, had preserved to her the parent whom she had left
with regret, and whose love she still so dearly prized. It was now her
duty and delight to devote herself to render him happy, and she left her
sad abode, where all reminded her of the loss she had sustained, and
came back to her father, and like a sunbeam her presence gladdened his
home; and as a guardian angel she blessed him, the delight and the
ornament of his declining years.

Of the seven years that followed the death of Mr. Opie not many traces
remain among her papers; some there are, and we proceed to record them.
That she left London very shortly after that event, is evident from a
letter written by one of her friends dated July the 11th, 1807, and
addressed to her at Norwich; as well as from a note, short enough to be
given at length, signed Comtesse d’Oyenhausen.[17]

    “Parmi les noms qui vous marquent autant d’estime que
    d’attachement, veuillez bien Mme. ajouter le mien, comme une
    preuve de n’être point oubliée. Vôtre départ trop prompt, laissé
    ici un vuide que tout le monde aperçoit, et très
    particulièrement vôtre,” &c., &c.

In 1808 she published a second volume of poetry, entitled “The Warrior’s
Return, and other Poems;” in the preface to which she says, “The poems
which compose this little volume were written, with two or three
exceptions, several years ago, and to arrange and fit them for
publication has been the amusement of many hours of retirement.”

In the spring of 1809 were published her husband’s “Lectures on
Painting,” to which was prefixed the “Memoir,” from which we have so
frequently quoted. This book was published by subscription, and some of
her friends interested themselves in procuring names; one or two letters
on the subject were found among her papers, and among them one from Lady
Charleville, from which, as it contains some allusions to Mrs. Opie’s
writings, and shews the impression her manners produced upon those with
whom she associated, we venture to select a few passages.

                            Charleville Forest, August 23rd, 1809.
      MY DEAR MADAM,

    I did not expect that you could find leisure to write to me
    before your return to Norwich, and I feel more obliged by your
    not delaying it long after, than I can easily express. Your
    amiable, modest manners, joined to talents far beyond the
    pretensions of most women, attracted me immediately; and all I
    have seen of you, permit me to say, has so confirmed this first
    bias, that I do feel a sincere wish to continue to cultivate the
    acquaintance I have so happily begun. * * * I believe you enjoy
    gay scenes, and what is called pleasure, with somewhat yet of
    pristine vivacity. May it fulfil your hopes or wishes whatever
    they are! * *

    Poor dear Lady Cork’s activity in pursuit of amusement is a
    pleasant proof of vivacity and spirit surviving youth. I think,
    however, small plays seldom succeed with an English audience;
    “_la vache qui trotte_,” is Rousseau’s simile for French music,
    and may be applied to John Bull’s facetious and playful humours
    quite as well; but he does very well at a concert, where some
    must be quiet, and I envied you that evening you described so
    well. * * *

    Our best bookseller here has fallen into a state of epilepsy;
    his shop is closed, and we shall await the arrival of your last
    publication with impatience, through the common channel; but I
    think you should not have awaited Lady C.’s interference to
    mention its being published by subscription; as I should be
    happy to be considered as your friend. Neglect me so no more, I
    request, in this way; begin a good, long, Clarissa-like novel;
    you have principles and fancy to compose an elevating and
    interesting work, and a knowledge of the manners of the world,
    which Richardson wanted. Write now all the summer, and let there
    be no episodes, no under plot, but give me a character, acting
    and developing itself under a variety of circumstances, to
    interest my feelings and exert my understanding; and set her
    feet on English ground, and let us not have mystic notions, or
    Asiatic refinements, to perplex our intellects, too well braced
    by this northern temperature to sympathize with mysteries,
    embroideries, and odours, or start at every creaking hinge in an
    old castle. Miss Owenson, whom I saw in Dublin, tells me she is
    writing a Hindostan tale. Let’s keep plain English for yours;
    and believe me, in its full sincerity, your faithful servant,

                                                C. L. CHARLEVILLE.

The following letter from Mrs. Inchbald appears to have been written in
the winter of this year (1809.) Its only date is Wednesday, 7th
December.

      MY DEAR MRS. OPIE,

    I thank you much for your letter, and especially for your
    consideration in telling me the secret of Mr. Barbauld’s death;
    for contemplation is my great source of entertainment, and the
    events of the day kindly afford me almost as much as I require.

    I certainly think Buonaparte has acted, in the affairs of Spain,
    with less honour to his name than upon all former occasions; yet
    he was compelled to protect his firm ally, Charles IV., and to
    punish the criminal Prince who drove his parents from their
    throne, and imprisoned them. Still, you will say, why did he not
    replace Charles? The people of Spain would not have suffered his
    return; and, no doubt, many of the first importance invited
    Buonaparte to take the government. That he did so by artifice, I
    can only excuse, upon the supposition that he meant thus to
    spare the people all that calamity, which open violence must now
    draw upon them. No doubt his reign would have been a blessing to
    them, would they at first have submitted. But now the avenger is
    the character he must take, and we shall have to lament another
    nation, added to the number of those, on whom we have forced him
    to draw his sword.

    I have not been from London yet, and I purposely did not date my
    letter, because I wished to have no presents this year, and had
    not time to explain why.  My sister has been very ill again, and
    is in that kind of weak state, that she now never comes to see
    me, and I fear much that the winter may prove fatal to her. She
    always partook of your presents, and I had rather not be
    reminded of the loss I feel from the want of her occasional
    visits, by having any feasts during her absence.

    Poor Godwin is a terrific example for all conjugal biography;
    but he has marked that path which may be avoided, and so is
    himself a sacrifice for the good of others. His name I now see
    added to his library advertisements. The title of Miss Owenson’s
    new work has something very charming in it. “Ida of Athens.”—I
    have not yet been able to read any of her novels. I am now
    reading Leo the X., by Roscoe. War, religion, laws, and elevated
    mankind are my delight, for among them I increase my love for
    politics of the present day, and find that our great enemy is
    less wicked than most heroes and politicians have been; at the
    same time a vast deal wiser than them all.

      With my best respects to Dr. Alderson,
                                                   Dear Madam,
                                                      E. INCHBALD.

In the spring of the following year Mrs. Opie was in London, and it
seems to have been from this time her established custom to pay an
annual visit to the metropolis. The spring of 1810 was a stirring one,
and she, who so dearly loved (as she says) to have a peep at the busy
world, has given in one of her reminiscences of this period, a short
account of a dinner party at Lady Elizabeth Whitbread’s, the day after
the removal of Sir F. Burdett to the Tower. The Government had been
obliged to have recourse to the Speaker’s warrant, to obtain legal
entrance into Sir F.’s house, which he had purposely barricaded, being
determined to resist what he thought an unjust sentence.

    I went (she says) to the dinner in Dover Street, full of hope
    that I should hear at that table some interesting conversation
    relative to these peculiar circumstances, for it was a time of
    no common excitement, as great fears of a popular tumult had
    gone forth, and I had myself seen, with a sensation difficult to
    describe, cannon planted in Hanover Square at this period, as I
    returned late from a party to my lodgings in Prince’s Street;
    and soldiers were watching by their guns. (I think I am correct
    in speaking in the plural number.) My expectation of hearing the
    subject of Sir F. B.’s arrest discussed, was increased, when I
    saw of whom the party assembled round the dinner table
    consisted; there were no ladies present but our hostess, the
    Countess G., her venerable mother, and myself; the gentlemen
    were Lord King, and I think two whig M.P.’s, members of the
    Lower House, and also some gentlemen not in public life.

    I was, however, disappointed, and learned to believe that
    Members of Parliament hear too much of state matters when there,
    to wish to discuss them in their hours of relaxation, as the
    only allusion made to the event of the preceding day, was this.
    The master of the house found it a difficult, and, for some
    time, an impossible task, to open the hard rind of an immense
    shaddock which stood before him, and said he must give it up in
    despair. “He had better send for the Speaker’s warrant,” said
    one of the guests; but this observation was not heard, therefore
    it led to nothing. Amongst the evening guests came Lady Roslyn;
    and soon, engaged in the bloodless, but not pointless, strife of
    tongues, were lady R., J. W. Ward, the late Lord Dudley, W.
    Lyttleton, Sheridan, and the ever welcome Sydney Smith.

    Sheridan did not arrive till late, and when some of the company,
    who yet remained, were seated at the supper tables, to which he
    immediately repaired. Soon after, my attention was forcibly
    arrested by his deep sonorous voice, exerted in questioning, as
    if with a view to cross-examination, a very handsome youth in a
    Greek dress, and who was by birth also a Greek, according to his
    own shewing. This young man was much in request in certain
    circles; and his right to be there, and to be acknowledged as
    what he declared himself to be, would probably not have been
    questioned, had he not chosen to wear this very peculiar and
    becoming dress. As soon as I found what was going on, I went and
    stood by Sheridan’s elbow, and was amused by the extraordinary
    questions by which he sought to discover the reality of the
    youth’s pretensions. I could not but feel for a youthful
    foreigner, exposed to such an ordeal, inflicted by such a man,
    but he seemed to bear it unmoved. At last Sheridan turned round
    to us who stood behind him, and said, “A quack, nothing but a
    quack.”

    Two years afterwards, I saw a young Greek of the same name at
    another party, with whom I overheard Lord Byron talking with
    great fluency, in what I was told was modern Greek. The tones of
    Lord B.’s voice were always so fascinating, that I could not
    help attending to them; and when I turned round to see with whom
    he was conversing, I thought I saw the same face and person in
    an English garb, whom I had seen in 1810, set off by a beautiful
    turban and a crimson robe; but I was told this was a brother of
    that youth, and I never afterwards had an opportunity of
    ascertaining, with accuracy, whether it was the same person or
    not; yet I wished to do so, in order to establish the truth or
    falsehood of the charge of quackery which I had heard. If these
    youths were brothers, it was very unlikely that either of them
    was a quack; and surely the harmless vanity of wishing to appear
    in his own native costume, was not sufficient to authorize so
    severe an appellation.

    Be that as it may, of all the merry combatants in the strife of
    tongues at the party to which I allude, Sydney Smith is the sole
    survivor! he is merry still, and the provoker of mirth in
    others; but perhaps, like me, when he feels his memory crowded
    with the names of departed friends and associates, an
    involuntary sadness comes over his mind, as it does over mine,
    and I weep as I remember the exquisite and incomparable lines of
    Moore—

            “When I remember all
            Once linked in love together,” &c.

    Lady Roslyn expressed a wish that when I visited Edinburgh I
    would go to Roslyn, and that she might have the opportunity of
    shewing me its beauties. Alas! when I went there in 1816, she
    was in her grave, and I stood within the chapel on the stone
    which covered her remains!

The autumn of this year found Mrs. Opie once more at her favourite
Cromer; and her stay appears to have been prolonged to an unusual
extent; so that one of her friends, writing to her in the month of
December, speaks of sending a second Ulysses in search of the truant.
There is an allusion in this letter which seems to intimate that it was
not _faute de solicitations_ that she remained a widow; and it is
evident that at subsequent periods she received similar addresses.
Turning, however, a deaf ear to such proposals, she continued diligently
to use her pen; and in the spring of 1812 published “Temper,” a tale, in
which she diverged from the pathetic style of writing she had hitherto
most affected, and evidently aimed more, in the character of a moralist,
at practical usefulness; and happily with pleasing evidence of success.
In the third volume of this work, Mrs. Opie carries her heroine to
Paris, and introduces the very scenes which she records in her journal
of her own Parisian trip—the visit to the Louvre—her own words on
being told the First Consul was expected to pass—the scene that
followed, &c.

The following extract from a letter she received after the publication
of this work, affords a pleasing evidence of its beneficial influence.

                                              November 14th, 1812.

    You have, my dear Mrs. Opie, shown such clear discernment of
    what is good and virtuous, and exhibited reason and conscience,
    as triumphant over the passions, with so masterly a pen, in your
    late publication, that it has carried with it the suffrage of
    many a young and amiable mind.

    My daughter may perhaps have told you what effect your book had,
    upon a young married lady whom she chanced to meet. “I have
    read,” said she, “Mrs. Opie’s ‘Temper,’ I hope to my lasting
    improvement; certain I am that it has shewn me many of my
    faults, and, I trust, has taught me to overcome them.” By the
    pleasure this gave me, I can judge, in some degree, my dear
    Madam, of the pleasure it must afford you; for I think there
    cannot be a greater, than to fortify the young in habits of
    virtue; and when you consider these volumes, you may exclaim,
    with more propriety than Sheridan did, “that on the review of
    his publications, nothing gave him such great, such
    inexpressible pleasure, as the thought that he had never written
    one word derogatory to the cause of virtue.” * * *

In the following year (1813) appeared the “Tales of Real Life;” they
were published (unlike her former works) without a paragraph,
introductory or dedicatory. There is, as usual, much inequality in the
merits of the various stories composing the series; “Lady Anne and Lady
Jane” occupies the whole of the first volume, and is, perhaps, on the
whole, equal, or superior, to any tale she wrote. The one entitled,
“Love and Duty,” was a favourite with herself.

In a former chapter, reference has been made to an interview Mrs. Opie
had with Lord Erskine, at the house of Madame de Staël during this year;
she has given another short account of an evening visit to that
celebrated woman, which we subjoin:—

    I had been spending the evening at a soirée, given by Madame de
    Staël, during the year 1813, which was particularly interesting,
    from its having been composed chiefly of the _élite_ of London
    society. That admirable man, W. Wilberforce, had been among the
    dinner guests, but was gone before I arrived; there were,
    however, many still left, some of whom threw over the circle the
    spell of beauty, and others that of their high talents. Lady
    Crewe, Lord Dudley, William Spencer, the Mackintoshes, the
    Romillys, were among the brilliant group, who, witty themselves,
    were the cause of wit in others; and, while they grouped around
    her, called forth the ever-ready repartees, and almost
    unrivalled eloquence, of our hostess. She had recently left the
    court of Bernadotte, and from time to time indulged herself in
    descanting in his praise. At length she produced a portrait in
    miniature of her favourite, painted in profile; and, when it had
    gone round the greater part of the circle, she put it into the
    hand of Sir Henry Englefield, well known as a man of virtu,
    science, and taste for the fine arts; and, while she stood by
    the side of the chair on which he was indolently lounging, she
    evidently awaited, with much anxiety, the result of his
    examination. Carefully and long did he examine the painting, and
    then, holding it up to the light which hung near him, he
    observed with a slow distinct utterance, and in rather loud
    voice, “he is like a ferocious sheep!” on which, uttering an
    exclamation of justly indignant surprise, Madame de Staël
    snatched the miniature from him, and turned hastily away. I
    turned away also, for I could not help smiling because, though
    displeased at Sir Henry’s want of courtesy I felt the truth of
    the remark; for _I_ had examined the picture, and seen, with no
    admiring eye, the long projecting nose, and the receding chin,
    so truly the profile of a sheep; the eye, too, was black, but it
    did not, like a sheep’s eye, resemble a blockhead when seen
    sideways; on the contrary, it was bright and _piercing_, as a
    friend would have said, but it was easy for an enemy of the
    Swedish Prince (and such I concluded Sir H. was) to have called
    the expression _ferocious_. But the incident and its effects
    were soon forgotten; and the circle had not lost its charm,
    when, reminded by a pendule of the lateness of the hour, I had
    placed myself near the door, and was watching an opportunity to
    retire unseen, as the door opened; and unannounced, and
    unattended, a shortish, middle-sized, and middle-aged man
    entered the room, and, finding himself unobserved, did not
    advance further than where I was. I was struck by the plainness
    of his dress and his unpretending appearance, altogether, yet
    his manner was dignified rather than otherwise; and I was
    wondering who he could be, when our hostess saw him, and ran up
    to him with a degree of delighted yet respectful welcome, which
    instantly proclaimed him to be somebody. In a short time he was
    seen by others, and he had soon a little court around him; but
    who he was I could not yet discover; however, I delayed my
    departure, and joining the circle, heard him converse with a
    simplicity consonant to his manner and appearance.

    At length I heard him addressed “vôtre Majesté,” and I could not
    forbear to ask who this royal stranger was, and learned that it
    was the king of the Netherlands, who was awaiting, in our
    country, a change of things in his favour in his own. Little,
    probably, did he, or any of those present, imagine that change
    was so near; but, before the year came round, Buonaparte was at
    Elba! His changes of fortune, however, were not yet over: when I
    saw him he was King of the Netherlands; and, soon after, became
    their _restored_ king; but had I seen him again in the year
    1835, I should have beheld him deprived of half his dominions,
    and only King of Holland!

-----

[17] This lady’s name is among the subscribers to the “Lectures.”



                              CHAPTER XI.


    LETTERS OF MRS. OPIE TO DR. ALDERSON, WRITTEN DURING HER VISIT
    IN LONDON IN THE YEAR 1814.

“In 1814, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and other royal
and distinguished foreigners were, as everybody knows, in London,” says
Mrs. Opie, in one of her reminiscences of the scenes she witnessed at
that stirring time; for she was there, in the very midst of all the
gaiety and whirl. Many of the letters she wrote home to her father,
during her three months’ stay in London at this time, have been
preserved, and we give them almost entire.

                             11, Orchard Street, Portman Square,
                                                   21st May, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    You would be sure that, so tempted, I should go to Hudson
    Gurney’s, and I did. The company consisted of Lady Nelson, Mrs.
    Forbes, her daughter, Lady James Hay, Armine and Edmund
    Wodehouse, M. Bland, Mr. Maltby, his wife’s nephew, just
    returned from the army, Mr. Hume, of the India House, Dr.
    Southey, and Frank Morse: I was so fortunate as to sit between
    the two Wodehouses. I must tell you a _bon mot_ of Dudley
    North’s which was told me. “Sheridan, (said Dudley N.) I hear
    you are coming forward for Westminster again.” “Pho! replied he,
    if I were, I am sure I must be _wound up_ again.” “And if you
    were wound up (returned D. N.) you would go on as usual,
    tick-tick-tick.”

    The Prince has sunk himself in the mud, with all parties, by his
    endeavour to get to himself the exclusive privilege of inviting
    all the royalties, that he might exclude his wife, the Princess
    of Gloucester, and the Dukes of Sussex, Kent, and Gloucester.
    Lord Seyton had sent to give tickets to the Princess, and on
    being pressed by Lord Yarmouth to recall them, he replied,
    “Yarmouth, go and tell the Prince Regent that I am no dancer,
    but that if the Princess of Wales will do me the honour of
    dancing with me, I will open the ball with her.” This, Lord
    Montford told me, as a fact, on Thursday evening. At Boodle’s,
    on the Prince’s applying for the same privilege as at White’s,
    they voted three to one against him. Lord M. added, that if, as
    she is likely to do, goaded as she is, (silly woman!) she goes
    to White’s, and is refused admission, it is probable that the
    populace may take her part, and endanger the house. For my part,
    I see no necessary difference between the conduct proper for a
    royal wife and a wife in a private station; and as a public
    brawl between an angry wife and a brutal husband would excite
    just indignation in private life, I cannot do otherwise than
    consider the Princess as violating her duty, however great her
    wrongs, by exposing herself to insult, and her husband also, by
    persisting to do what is disagreeable to him; let her take care
    to fulfil her _own_ duties, and she will meet what she deserves,
    the respect and pity of every one. But I believe her to be a
    weak vixen, or at least that she loves to teaze the Prince.

    Next day, in the evening, the L. M.s came and took me to the
    Hamiltons’ ball. We went late, and found the rooms so crowded,
    that we took our station on the stairs, where Lady Montford
    joined us, and talking occasionally to Edward, Tom, Lord M., and
    two or three other men, we made ourselves amusement, till we
    thought Mrs. H. thought us acting fine, so then we entered the
    hot room, where we staid till the carriage got up, and then came
    away, though the H.s said they would not forgive us if we did
    not stay to supper; but I was more fit to be in bed, having
    then, and _now_, a crying cold, that is most trying, and makes
    me look like an owl. Yesterday I went out with Mrs. Gurney and
    left some cards. In the evening I went to Miss White’s, (having
    dined at home on eggs and coffee) where I found some rank,
    talent, and odd looking notoriety and ability. Lady Mackintosh
    asked me to dine there on Monday, and Mrs. Philips, to a party,
    on Wednesday; but business and duty take me to Mitcham on Monday
    for two or three days. Just as Lady M. turned away from me, a
    young man who had been talking to her said to me, “that odd
    looking man yonder is a distinguished character; that is Mr.
    Gallatin, the American commissioner.” “So Lady Mackintosh told
    me.” “I told you,” he replied, “because we all like to have
    lions pointed out; I shall do _him_ the same kindness, for I
    shall point you out to him.” “You are very obliging,” said I,
    making him a low curtsey, and thinking I had never seen anything
    so impudent since the days of Mr. Hirst, and wondering who he
    could be. “For my own part,” continued he, “I am remarkable for
    being, what you may think is not very remarkable in this great
    city, namely, a very impudent fellow, in thus introducing myself
    to you.” I laughed, but would not ask his name of himself. I
    asked it of Lady M., and found him to be a Mr. Cullen, son of
    Dr. Cullen. Farewell! till Wednesday, and pray write and let me
    know all about you.

                                                          A. Opie.
                                           Mitcham, 25th May, 1814
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I wonder much I have not yet heard from you; it is now ten days
    since I heard of or from home!

    On Sunday C. breakfasted with me, and we went to Bedford Chapel
    to hear S. Smith preach; Mrs. H. C. saw us in the aisle, and
    took us into her pew. We had an excellent sermon, but, _entre
    nous_, I saw C. nearly asleep several times. She said she liked
    the sermon exceedingly, but I am sure she did not hear some fine
    parts. (There’s Ella Roberts taking off a little dog howling or
    barking, so like _nature_ that I have been calling her a little
    howling puppy; the noise a dog makes when his toe is trodden
    upon is most admirable. * * * * She has now exhausted herself so
    much with the fatigues of her canine madness, as she calls it,
    that she is quiet, and I stand a chance of finishing my letter
    in peace.)

    My _levée_ on Sunday was rather splendid, consisting of
    twenty-seven persons, who (men excepted) chiefly came in
    carriages. These carriages succeeded each other so quickly, that
    the servants asked my servant what was to be _seen_ at No. 11;
    and when he said “a lady,” they answered, “what, is she ill?” My
    cousin came first, and told me his brother had been in town, and
    had often talked of visiting me, and when he returns I am to see
    him.

    The next day I took a coach, and came to Mitcham! a sad arrival!
    But, as you may suppose, the freshness of grief was all mine,
    and it became my duty to conquer the expression of it as soon as
    possible; but I am only now in my usual spirits. * * * We are
    very comfortable together; there is too, here, the _nicest_ set
    of children; we had them all in last night, and we played at
    magical music, and I made myself hoarse with singing through a
    comb.

    Upon my word I shall be very savage if I don’t hear from you,
    and of the romans, alias romances or novels, in Pottergate
    Street and St. Helen’s. * * * Of all things in the world, truth
    and ingenuousness, the foundation of all virtue, are the rarest.
    Farewell! till Saturday.

                                                          A. Opie.
                                       Tuesday, 31st of May, 1814.

    I begin my letter to-day, my dear father, as I shall probably be
    hurried to-morrow. * * * On Sunday Tom went with me to hear S.
    Smith at Baker Street chapel; and luckily a friend of Tom’s,
    hearing him say I was coming, secured a place for me with a
    friend of his. This gentleman went home with us, and I was
    amused by his account of Spurzheim, the lecturer on Craniology,
    whom I am going to meet at Dr. Busk’s. * * * * I had a very
    pleasant morning, for my court, as L. M. calls it, was full and
    agreeable. Rollis, Busks, Mr. Blair, Hamiltons, a new
    acquaintance they brought, a Mr. Bainbridge, Mr. Kingston, Mrs.
    C. Hanbury and her daughter, &c. At dinner I met Lady Cork,
    Professor Spurzheim, Tenant, Dr. Rogier, or Roget, (I forget
    which it is) and a young surgeon who is craniology mad. Tenant
    talked all dinner, and in no way was the philosopher called out.
    I thought this very rude and English, and so did Lady Cork;
    therefore when the gentlemen joined us, she seated herself by
    Mr. Spurzheim, and began to talk to him of his art. I joined
    them; and he was explaining to me his ideas of the brain, when
    _my_ ideas were distracted, and my brain rendered woolgathering,
    by the arrival, not of a very large importation of clever men
    and women, but of Dr. Brown, _the_ Dr. Brown, professor and
    lecturer on moral philosophy, the successor of Dugald Stuart,
    the Edinburgh Reviewer, and the recondite reviewer of Mrs. Opie,
    in the first number of that celebrated work. He came with the L.
    M.s, and was soon presented to me. I recollected L. M.’s
    character of him, that he liked _faire le galant, vis-à-vis des
    dames_, better than to converse in society, therefore I expected
    what I found, a flattering Scotchman, and I could have broken my
    silly head, because I felt fluttered while talking to him;
    however, I recovered myself at last, and, as I told Mr. Blair I
    would do, I contrived to be civil in my turn, though he (Mr.
    Blair) assured me he thought the philosopher quite conceited
    enough already. I must leave off, I am grie * * * _Wednesday_,
    1st June. _Grieved_ for Henry Burrell I meant to say, but if I
    had, I should have mourned foolishly, he being yesterday alive
    and better: this is to me incomprehensible, unless, which I hope
    cannot be the case, W. Burrell himself is ill. * *

    To resume my Journal. I did contrive to say civil things to Dr.
    Brown; but the wonder of the crowd, and the persons who sucked
    us all in turn into their vortex, were Professor Spurzheim and
    Lady M. Shepherd. Her ladyship fairly threw down the gauntlet,
    and was as luminous, as deep, as clever in her observations and
    questions, and her display of previous knowledge of Gall’s
    theory and Hartley’s, as any professor could have been, and
    convinced _me_, at least, that when Mr. Tierney said, of Lady
    Mary, she was almost the best metaphysician he ever knew, and
    the most logical woman, _by far_, he ever met with, he was
    probably _right_. The professor looked alarmed, and put on his
    pins; and Lady Mary began her dialogue at ten, and it was not
    over at a little past twelve.

    Dr. Brown listened occasionally, and with an _anatomizing_ eye,
    for he does not like literary women; therefore a woman, entering
    his own arena, must have called forth all his reviewer
    bitterness. L. M. had assured Dr. B. our parties were mixed
    ones, and nothing like science or learning displayed; and on his
    first introduction he meets with a scene like this!

    On the 11th I dine at L. M.’s to meet Dr. Brown and Lord
    Erskine, &c. When S. Smith breakfasts with me I mean to ask Dr.
    B. also. Farewell! I must conclude.

    Dr. Brown has just called on me, uninvited and self-introduced.
    He is gone again. Adieu!

                                                   4th June, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I expect a frank from Mr. Heathcote every minute. Last Tuesday
    was a miserable day, for it rained hard; my sense of duty made
    me keep my engagement, and accompany Mrs. Parry to the speeches,
    at Harrow. Her other friends left her in the lurch, and Mr. P.
    was too unwell to go; we dined at Harrow, at the Inn; and I
    returned too tired, unfortunately, to dress and go to Mrs. S.’s
    assembly, which was, I hear, very pleasant. Friday (yesterday)
    evening, Lord Tamworth called on me; he arrived the day before,
    and is come for a month to lodgings in the next street (Somerset
    Street.) Mr. Rolls met Lord T. in the street and asked him to an
    evening party of music, &c., at his house yesterday evening; and
    when Lord T. arrived, we were a complete Leamington party. Lord
    T. called on Lady Cork yesterday to announce himself, and be
    ready for the dinner she promised us. But alas! she has fixed it
    for to-morrow, and Lord T., Lord Erskine, and I, are engaged,
    and cannot go! I dine to-day at Mr. Philips’, and go to Lady C’s
    misses and muffins in the evening; however, I must say, to Lord
    T.’s credit, that he is our only L. beau who looks here, even
    better than he did there; indeed, better, for he threw more
    dignity into his air last night, and all the other men looked
    comparatively vulgar. How I honour Lady N. Dr. O. had the
    officious brutality to write her a letter of four sides,
    disapproving Lord N.’s goings on, and telling tales of him; that
    is, repeating scandal concerning him; on which Lady N. said to
    her lord, “I dare say N. you deserve all this and much more, but
    it is an insult to a wife, for a man to dare abuse her husband
    to her, and I shall write as follows,” and she wrote
    thus:—“Sir, I conclude the time will come when you will repent
    having written such a letter to me; I return it to you, that you
    may have the satisfaction of burning it with your own hands!”
    There’s a wife for you! I brought tears into her husband’s eyes,
    by my praises of her.

    On Monday, Doly and I walk over to dine at four, at cousin
    Briggs’, and I am not yet engaged in the evening. I went
    yesterday to pay visits; I found Lady Shepherd at home, and as
    friendly as ever; but she sees less of her charming husband than
    before, even. I found Lady Mary also at home, and she wanted me
    to go thither in the evening, but I was engaged. She was nervous
    about her display on Sunday last; but I assured her she was
    thought to talk well, though I could have added, but not by Dr.
    Brown. By the bye, I had only just sealed my letter to you when
    Dr. Brown came in uninvited; he apologised for his impudence in
    coming, we shook hands, and I found myself _tête à tête_ with an
    Edinburgh reviewer, and a lecturer on moral philosophy!
    However, I did not _die_ of it, as I offered to take him to Lady
    C.’s _pink_ party to-night, and her _blue_ one on the 11th, and
    to the latter he will probably go. Lady Mary Shepherd told me
    she had inquired, and the foundation of my mysterious stranger,
    did really happen to her father’s eldest brother, Lord Dunmany,
    my Lord D.; with this addition, that when Lady D.’s coffin
    arrived at Deal or Dover, the first husband, in a sort of
    frenzy, stabbed the coffin, that he might get a sight of his
    lost wife’s face. I find Joseph Gurney was gentleman-usher at
    the Meeting to the Duchess of Oldenburg. I shall like to hear
    his account of her. I will not seal this till the last moment. I
    now recollect I might have sent my letter to be franked, but
    then I must trust other people’s servants.

                              11, Orchard Street, June 14th, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    * * * Margaret came, just before Doly and I set off, and was
    glad to go to the concert, so I was easy. She eats nothing but
    pudding or tart, and potatoes, and drinks only water. She is a
    very fine creature, and has the most graceful dignified carriage
    possible, and I assure you I like much to have to _shew_ her.
    Yesterday a party of us went to Franklin’s, the fruiterer’s, in
    Pall Mall, to see the Emperor, &c., arrive, and there we waited
    fruitlessly till near six, and to this hour we know not when the
    royals arrived, but sure it is we were all disappointed, high
    and low. While we were there, B. was called out of the room by
    Mr. Franklin, who went backwards and forwards into Carlton
    House, and he told him first that the Prince was so afraid of an
    attack on his palace, that he had, under a pretence of its being
    a guard of honour, gotten a party of _blues_ into the palace,
    and next he said, that the Prince was so low and so nervous that
    they could not get him downstairs, and that he would not go to
    meet the kings, and declared he would not stir at all, or shew
    himself. Last Saturday he was going out at the left-hand gate,
    but seeing a crowd at it, he drew the string, ordered the gate
    to be closed, and drove to the other; but by that time the mob
    was there also, on which he ordered that to be closed, and went
    out a backway. This shews how shattered his nerves are. It seems
    strange that he should not have gone to meet the kings now come,
    in the same way as he met the king of France; and as, whatever
    he may be, he has at least been doing the honours of the country
    and of a sovereign _well_, I am sorry that he is deprived of the
    only opportunity he has or _values_, of appearing to advantage.
    Still, he has only himself to blame in the first instance; but I
    disapprove and dislike as much the woman and the wife, who stirs
    up the nation against her husband; she violates _her_ duties, I
    think, _et l’un vaut bien l’autre_. Foolish vixen as she is! if
    she stirs up a flame to consume her husband, the same flame in
    the end must consume her; let her look to that, and for that
    “even-handed justice, which returns the poisoned chalice to
    one’s own lips.” I enjoyed my day at H. Briggs’ much; Doly and I
    walked thither, and back again, at night. A night dark as
    Erebus; and the effect of the bright city, when we reached the
    bridge, and St. Margaret’s bells ringing a peal of expectation
    of the Emperor, and the crowds of persons still gathering in
    hopes of his arrival, had a most striking and novel effect.

    _Thursday_, 9th.   I resolved not to finish this letter, but get
    a frank at Mr. W. Smith’s, as I was going to attend Mrs. S.’s
    _levée_, and I am now expecting it by the morning post. One
    knows not whom or what to believe; but I now find that it was
    the mob’s breaking in to see old Blucher that so alarmed the
    Prince that he sent for a guard; and an aid-de-camp to the
    Prince of Wurtemberg, a handsome young Prussian, told me
    yesterday, that the Prince _did_ go to meet them, and that it
    was he that took them to London by the road, and a way by which
    they were not expected. “Ah!” said I, “_c’est qu’il avoit
    peur_.” “_Mais oui, (repondit-il,) c’est bien vrai; c’est qu’il
    avoit peur._” But really of public things and people you must
    know more than I can tell you, by the papers. Yesterday,
    however, on our return from Mrs. Smith’s, we walked home by the
    Pulteney Hotel, and just in time to get in amongst the crowd,
    and on a step, whence, in due time, we saw the Emperor and his
    sister pass, in the Prince’s state coach. I only saw, however,
    his back, left arm, and curl. But the king of Prussia, who
    followed, I saw perfectly; and he is a most interesting looking
    man. But we are all Emperor mad, and from morn till eve the
    streets are thronged with people and carriages, waiting
    patiently for hours, to see him pass. Yesterday morning by ten,
    he was, with his sister, _tête à tête_, at the British Museum;
    and a gentleman we know saw him very near, and said he was like
    J. Smith.

    We dined at Westmacott’s and I sent Meg home, and went to Lady
    Charleville’s, where I found a large circle listening to music,
    by Naldi, Chiodi, &c.; to my glad surprise I was kindly greeted
    by my old friend Lord Carysfort, whom indisposition, of a severe
    kind indeed, has kept out of company four years. There too I saw
    J. Smith, who repeated to me a poem on H. Twiss’s parodies,
    called “the mocking-bird,” which is admirable; he says Mr. Poole
    wrote the “who wants me.” When most of the company was gone,
    Lady C. took the seat vacated by Lady Mornington, that mother of
    great men, and it was next a venerable-looking blind woman, whom
    Lord C. had previously pointed out to me as the once celebrated
    beauty, Lady Sarah Lennox. She is now grey, blind, and seems
    both by her voice and manner to be bowed by various cares; but
    perhaps I fancied this.—No frank yet! Just room and time to say
    I have seen, from head to foot, and _touched_ the Emperor. Other
    ladies touched his hand, I squeezed his wrist only. I bribed the
    porter and got into his hotel!!! To-morrow, from a balcony, we
    shall have a chance of seeing him again, and in safety. Adieu.

                                                  11th June, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    Lest you should have thought me _mad_ by the conclusion of my
    last, I shall begin by giving you a full explanation of it. The
    other morning Mrs. L. M. took me and Margaret out in her
    carriage, and I persuaded her to drive opposite the Pulteney
    Hotel; but other and heavier carriages obstructed our view; so I
    borrowed the servant, and said, “I will try and get on the
    steps, and if I succeed, I will send back for you.” Accordingly,
    off I set, and was told by the constables I must not stand on
    the steps; however, the men’s hearts relenting, they told me, if
    I ran up and made friends with the porter, perhaps I should get
    into the hall. I took the hint, and opening the door, I accosted
    Cerberus, who told me admission was impossible, but, _tout en me
    grondant, il avoit la bonté d’accepter une pièce de trois
    chelins, que je lui mis dans la main, et il me permit d’éntrer_.
    There I found about ten ladies, one of whom, whose face I know
    as well as my own, came up to me and said, “I’m sure Mrs. Opie
    you would be welcome to be here,” and seating herself by me,
    proceeded to discuss divers important matters, _en attendant_
    the return of the Emperor from Carlton House. At length he
    arrived, and we formed a line for him to pass through. He was
    dressed in a scarlet uniform, (ours,) and wore our blue ribband.
    His head is bald, his hair light, his complexion is blond and
    beautiful, his eyes blue, his nose flattish, with a funny little
    button end to it; his mouth very small, and his lips thin. His
    chest and shoulders are broad, and finely formed, his manner
    graceful and dignified, and his countenance pleasing; and he is
    the Emperor of all the Russias, therefore, he is handsome,
    delightful, and so forth. I said that we formed a _line_, and I,
    simple soul, meant to _keep_ it, but not so my companions; for
    they all closed round him, and one took one hand, one the other,
    and really I did not know how far they meant to presume; for my
    part, I dared not, for some time, even think of touching him,
    but “evil communications corrupt good manners,” and at last,
    when he was nearly past, I grasped his wrist, but the grasp
    would not have crushed a fly. The lady who knew me, said to me,
    when he was past, “what a soft hand he has.” Lord Yarmouth, who
    was with him, came afterwards, and talked with that lady. What a
    fright _he_ is!

    Now to go back to Lady Sarah, who, as I said before, is blind. *
    * * Lord Tullamore came to me, and said, “Now almost all the
    company is gone, you will sing a little ballad.” I rose, and
    went to Lady Charleville. “This,” said she, “is Lady S. Napier,
    will you sing her a ballad?” and, recollecting how ill I once
    used Lady C. in not answering a letter of hers for three years,
    and eager to make amends, I said I could not sing anything worth
    hearing, but I would try. “Surely,” said Lady Sarah, “that was
    injudicious; Mrs. Opie would rather not have had the attention
    of the company so loudly solicited.” “Very true,” replied Lady
    C., “but your ladyship is always the best-bred woman in the
    world, and I the worst, and I never see you without taking a
    lesson in manners.” * * * Well, after having beguiled my fear a
    little, by inquiring of Lady S. after her sister, Lady Louisa
    Conolly, I begun, and sung, “Nay, take it, Patty,”[18] and
    _decently_, considering. By Lady Sarah, was one of her sons,
    who, with his brothers, was wounded in every engagement abroad,
    and one of them taken up for dead. I never saw a handsomer man!
    I could not help looking at him! He is very black, with black
    moustachios, that make him look like a picture of some young
    Venetian by Titian, and his manner was so pleasing! He has his
    mother’s outline, enlarged into manly beauty, and he has such
    fine dark eyes! Thursday I dined at the Maxwells’, and liked my
    day. Sir James Saumarez dined there; a Mr. Lamb, M.P., and his
    wife and son. Dr. Young, a Miss Caldwell, and Sir Nathaniel
    Conant, the magistrate. I sat at dinner between Sir Nathaniel
    and Mr. Lamb, and liked my companions much. I went home at
    eleven, undressed, and robed myself to walk to see the
    illuminations, with Margaret, Tom, and Mr. Barber. We did not
    get home till three in the morning, and were not in bed till
    four. Yesterday we staid at home; I had refused a dinner-party,
    and we kept quiet, and were in bed by half-past ten.

    This morning, by a little past eight, we were at the Pulteney
    Hotel, and in the hall. By ten the hall was very full, so I
    placed my young companion on a table, and we had a good view of
    the Emperor and his sister, who came in arm-in-arm, and extended
    their hands graciously on either side; neither Margaret,
    however, nor I, had resolution enough to take them; but two
    young women pressed forward, one _on her knee_, and _kissed his
    hand_, which he drew back as if shocked or ashamed, and I am
    sure I was, for I did not recognise my country-women in such
    forwardness. M. touched his arm, and I tried to touch the
    Duchess’s hand, but had no chance of success. She is very like
    him, but plain; her nose plainer than his, and though as fair,
    she has not his colour, but a beauty would have been disguised
    by such dress; an immense Leghorn gipsy hat, with white
    feathers; but they say her manners are most captivating. Ask
    Joseph J. Gurney what _he_ thinks. To-day I dine at Lady Cork’s
    in the evening. Adieu!

The next letter in this series formed the material for a paper which
Mrs. Opie published in “Tait’s Magazine,” February, 1844; at the close
of that article, she makes a few reflections, which will be of interest
to the reader, as shewing the feelings with which she looked back upon
those scenes of earlier days:—

    I had dined (she says) that day in company with Lord Erskine,
    and the lamented Dr. Brown, of Edinburgh, the professor of moral
    philosophy, at the house of my dear and highly valued friend J.
    G. Lemaistre, (_now_, alas! no more,) and I had finished the
    evening in a party, more than usually marked by interesting
    incidents and conversation. Yet I fear I have not said much in
    favour of those gay and busy scenes in which I once moved, by
    confessing myself so highly gratified by what I have been
    describing; still I cannot retract my words; pleased and
    grateful I was—it might perhaps be a weakness in me to feel so;
    but I cannot be so disingenuous as not to own it to its full
    extent.

The original Letter bears date the 16th.

      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I really could not write yesterday, so I got a frank, that
    to-day I might write a great deal; but I have seen so much, and
    seem to have so much to say, that I know not where to begin. On
    Saturday last I met at dinner Lord Erskine, Sir John Sinclair,
    Dr. Brown, his brother, the mayor, &c. I sat between Dr. B. and
    Lord E.; but the peer, by his very agreeable though incessant
    egotism, and tales of himself, intermingled with interesting
    anecdotes of the Emperor Alexander, rather seduced my attention
    away from the philosopher. Barely have I seen Lord E. more
    amusing, but Sir J. Sinclair was new to me, and I wanted to hear
    him. So it was really “_l’embarras de richesses_,” for any one
    of these three lions would have been enough at once. In the
    evening came an addition to the company, but Lord E. and I went
    away to Lady Cork’s; the professor was tired and would not go,
    though I got Lord E. to offer to take him. Had it not been for
    my sacred vow never to break an engagement, I should have gone
    to the opera to see the royalties, which was, I hear, the finest
    sight of the sort ever seen. At Lady C.’s I found Mrs. Harvey,
    (the author of many novels, and latterly of the excellent one of
    Amable,) James Smith, the Boddingtons, Professor Spurzheim, Monk
    Lewis, Horace Twiss, Lord and Lady Carysfort, Lord Limerick,
    Miss White, Lord Cumbermere and his betrothed, Miss Greville and
    her sister, Lady Caroline Lamb, just as ever, and doing her
    possibles to amuse this very small party, in three large rooms,
    thrown open for Blucher, who was expected; but the opera had
    spoiled the party, for Greys, Lansdownes, and Whitbreads, had
    intended being there. Past midnight, however, some came in from
    the opera, and broke up our conversation, which had been
    pleasant; for Lady Carysfort had been very entertaining with
    accounts of Berlin, and Lord Limerick very eloquent in
    describing the preparations for White’s ball, so vast and so
    elegant as to make me very curious, because I shall not see
    them. However, perhaps I shall escape being _burnt alive_, for
    the same decorations exposed Prince Schwartzenberg’s palace to
    that fire in which his wife was burnt; as the pillars are all
    made of fluted muslin, to represent alabaster; and the capitals
    of rose-coloured ditto.

    But, to return—on the entrance of Miss Fox, (Lord Holland’s
    sister,) and Miss Vernon, a new subject of interest was started;
    for they brought the astonishing intelligence, that the emperor,
    and the king, and lastly the regent, had bowed to the princess!
    No, I am wrong—Some one else asserted the fact, and they said
    it was _equivocal_, or that he might be said to have bowed
    either to the pit or the princess. Oh! the glorious uncertainty
    of reports, even from eye-witnesses! Well, there we were, all on
    the _qui vive_—first one came in, then another, and the first
    question was—“Well what do _you_ say? Did the prince bow to the
    pit, or the princess?” and, as you may suppose, no two persons
    gave the same statement. “See,” said I, to Lady C. Lamb, “how
    difficult it is to ascertain the truth!” “Aye, indeed,” she
    replied, “it teaches us to receive all reports doubtingly;” she
    added, “still the historian will describe this as it really was,
    and _he_ will be overruled by the majority of voices on the
    subject.” “If that be the way of judging,” thought I, “then the
    prince _did_ bow to the princess, for the majority were in
    favour of it,” but I shall insert here, though not in its turn,
    that the princess herself told S. Smith, who told me, that he
    did _not_ bow to her, nor was there any strong ground for
    fancying it. To resume my narration—the company had begun to
    disperse, and no Blucher came, when, to keep up Lady Cork’s
    spirits, Lady C. L. prepared to act a proverb, but it ended in
    their acting a word; and she, Lady Cork, and Miss White, went
    out of the room, and came back digging with poker and tongs. To
    be brief, the word was _orage_: they dug for _or_, and they
    acted a passion for _rage_, and then they acted a storm, for the
    whole word, _orage_.

    Still, the old general came not, and Lady Caroline disappeared;
    but, previously, Mrs. Wellesley Pole and her daughter had
    arrived, bringing a beautiful Prince—Prince Leopold, of Saxe
    Coburg; but saying she feared Blucher would not come. However,
    we now heard a distant, then a near, hurrah; and a violent
    knocking at the door. The hurrahs increased, and we all jumped
    up, exclaiming, “There’s Blucher at last!” and the door opened,
    the servant calling out, “General Blucher;” on which in strutted
    Lady Caroline Lamb, in a cocked hat and a great coat! In the
    meanwhile, Lord Hardwick had arrived from the British Gallery,
    where he had been in attendance on the Princess Charlotte, the
    Grand Duchess, &c., and to him Lady Caroline went, with clasped
    hands and lifted eyes, saying she was come to ask the greatest
    favour—it was that he would give her some money. “What for?”
    “Oh! to pay the servants for that _pretty hurrah_, they did it
    so well!” So poor Lord H. gave her a dollar; looking, I thought,
    rather silly at having his pocket so gracefully picked; and Lady
    C. ran downstairs delighted. So end the adventures of yesterday.
    Sunday I heard Mr. Moore preach, and admirably. Mrs. L. M. took
    me to the crowded drive; and though we did not see the kings, we
    saw Blucher very near. We dined with the L. M.s, and in the
    evening went to Miss White’s, where, after talking some time to
    a gentleman who knew me, though I did not know him, I found it
    was Sir William Dunbar, that interesting Captain Dunbar I have
    seen at Norwich. He is very odd, but clever. I forgot to say
    that I had a very crowded _levée_, where, again, every one told
    me a new story of the Prince’s bow, and all were equally
    positive! * * * * *

(Rest of letter lost.)

                                               22nd of June, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I have not time to write much, but I will write as it is my day;
    and I have to acknowledge the receipt of the parcel. Pray let me
    have two pairs of black boots made as soon as possible; mine are
    quite worn out, and the filthy weather does not allow of my
    wearing light ones. I can’t wait. * * _Thursday_, eleven
    o’clock. Thus far I had gotten yesterday at half past four
    o’clock, when Lord Tamworth, and Mrs. L. M. after him, came in
    and interrupted me, and I was forced to turn the latter out,
    that I might dress to go to Mackintosh’s to dinner, at six
    o’clock; but I consoled myself by the certainty of getting a
    frank. I will now go on to that of which my mind is most full,
    namely, my yesterday’s dinner; which it was almost worth coming
    up to town on purpose to be at. I got to M.’s at six, the hour
    appointed; found no fire, alas! and no one to receive me;
    happily soon after arrived Mr. Wishawe, horror struck at no
    fire, and saying in all civilized houses there must be one in
    such weather; but he warmed himself and me by inveighing against
    poor Lord Cochrane’s pillory, which all the lawyers, and all
    London, I hope, disapprove. How unwise too! for it leads us to
    forget his fault in his punishment—but this is by the by. Next
    arrived Dr. Brown, whom I presented to Wishawe. Then came Lady
    M., and then Sir James, and I found three different hours for
    dining had been named to the different guests; and Mr. W. and I
    anticipated hunger being added to cold. Next came Playfair, then
    Richard Payne Knight, then John William Ward, just come from
    Paris, and lastly, at about half past seven, the great
    traveller, and so forth—Baron de Humboldt; he was not presented
    to me, therefore I could not ask whether he, or his brother,
    brought my letter from Helen Williams; and to dinner we went,
    Ward handing me, so I sat by him, and on my other hand was Mr.
    Knight. I certainly never saw so many first-rate men together;
    but again it would have been _l’embarras de richesses_ with me,
    had not each person been a whetting-stone to the wit and
    information of the other.

    Politics, science, literature, Greek, morals, church government,
    infidelity, sects, philosophy, characters of the Emperor of
    Russia, King of Prussia, of Blucher, of Platoff, given in a
    clear and simple manner by the Baron, and commented on by
    others, formed the never flagging discourse, throughout the
    dinner. I did not talk much, as you may guess, for I had
    scarcely ears enough to listen with. Ward was more charming and
    more maliciously witty, more Puck-like than I had seen him for
    years; and what he did not choose to venture aloud, he whispered
    in my ear—more agreeable than polite; but once I caught myself
    in an argument with Mr. Knight, and I trembled at my own
    temerity. Talk across the table, I could not have done; but Mr.
    K. was my neighbour, and none but he heard my daring. I will
    give you one of Ward’s sarcasms; but an unusually good natured
    one, as it would flatter, not wound, the persons at whom it was
    aimed. “I hear (said I) you returned from Paris with a
    Cardinal.” “Yes, the Cardinal Gonsalva, and I had the great
    satisfaction of putting him at length under the protection of a
    Silesian Jew.” “Not being able (said Sir James) to find any
    Scotch philosophers at hand to take his place.” “But had there
    been any Scotch philosophers at hand to consign him to, I should
    still have preferred the Jew, because I know there would be some
    chance of his converting _the Jew_.” The philosophers present
    laughed; and this introduced a curious discussion on infidelity.
    * * (Enter the Baron de Humboldt to breakfast with me, and then
    I take him to Mrs. Siddons.) Alas! it was no Baron—so I may go
    on. Ward saw Lafayette at Paris; almost the only man of a
    revolution who has survived one, and lived to enjoy life. He
    owned to me he did not care to see him; for in his opinions on
    such a subject, he was too much of a Burkite, to relish seeing
    Lafayette. De Humboldt spoke highly of him, and mentioned with
    pleasure, as a proof of tolerance of opinion, that Lafayette has
    always been beloved and associated with, by persons of totally
    opposite opinions to his own; and has been enriched by them at
    their death: lately, he has acquired much by the death of
    Monsieur de Lusignan, whom I once knew very well. * * Here is
    the Baron indeed! He is very charming! So full of information,
    and so simple in his manner of giving it. * * *

    Two o’clock. I have lived more in two or three hours to-day than
    I usually live in a month. I have been to Peru, to Mexico,
    climbing the Table Mountain, besides hearing much on all
    subjects, amusing, instructive, and interesting. This charming
    Chamberlain of Frederick William (I mean the King of Prussia)
    goes to-day; but I am to see his brother, who is now appointed
    ambassador from Prussia to France, on Sunday certainly, if not
    before. * * *

(Rest of letter lost.)

                                         Thursday, July 1st, 1814.
      MY DEAR FATHER,

    I would not write yesterday, that I might acknowledge the
    receipt of the parcel to-day. I had no idea they could all come
    together, _meat_ and _clothes_. Gregory is _not_ a Catholic. We
    may go in fancy dresses, but _all_ must wear a _mask_; though no
    one is forced to assume a character. The verses I sent you were
    tame enough; but those I have since written, if I had not been
    forced to introduce the name of Wellington, with my own
    approbation, and at the suggestion of a very good critic, (Col.
    Barry,) are tolerably good, I think. Mrs. B. S. has undertaken
    to sing them, and, if she can’t adapt, to set them herself. Lady
    Cork has given me a most beautiful trimming for the bottom of a
    dress which I am to wear on the 4th. It is really handsome; a
    wreath of white satin flowers worked upon net.

    Our day on Tuesday was delightful, the scene enchanting. My
    favourite companion there was Sir William Dunbar, more odd, but
    more amusing and original, than ever. Still, however pleasant
    the people at Fulham, M. and I enjoyed the drive to and fro,
    more than the day itself. James Smith went with us, and he sang
    funny songs, and repeated epigrams and _bon mots_ all the way
    there. While waiting in the hall for the carriage, (for we
    wisely came away at eleven,) he gave us an extempore comedy;
    and, when in the carriage, on my telling him that Sir W. Dunbar
    had told me he was _blasé_ with everything, and that he was a
    disappointed man; he said; “It is evident that _he_ is so; I
    dare say there is something interesting and particular in his
    story; suppose I _invent_ one for him.” So off he set, and gave
    us three letters of a novel in letters, and, without pausing a
    moment, beginning, “Sir W. Dunbar to General Evelyn.—When we
    last parted, my dear General, I was in the prime of life; every
    hope full of vigour,” &c., &c., and during the last mile or two,
    he relieved the monotony which was stealing over all this, by
    quotations from Young and Swift, well remembered and well
    repeated. Certainly, never did a man so completely pay, by his
    brains, for a seat in a carriage. I persuaded Edward to dance
    with Miss M., having vainly tried to persuade Sir W. D., though
    he owned her to be very pretty, as did Edward. We left them
    dancing. The baron, William de Humboldt, was forced to attend
    Lord Castlereagh in a conference of nine hours, yesterday;
    therefore he wrote me an elegant note of excuse for not going to
    see Mrs. Siddons with me, calling me “Mademoiselle Opie;”—no
    doubt from my juvenile appearance. So we walked over to tell
    Mrs. Siddons this, and she was somewhat mortified; but recovered
    herself, and was most delightful. We staid two hours and more,
    and we none of us knew how late it was. She said she had passed
    a most happy two hours, and had no regrets. M. came home raving
    all the way, saying she was the most beautiful, delightful,
    agreeable, and, I believe, even the _youngest_ woman she ever
    saw; and she has put up in paper, the bud of a rose she gave
    her, to keep for ever. Yesterday we dined at H. G.’s, and went
    to the Maxwells’ in the evening. Old Albinia, of
    Buckinghamshire, has made me promise to go to her masquerade
    breakfast, and _en masque_. I owe her this, for her kindness to
    me, when I sang to the Prince. On Sunday we were to dine at the
    Solicitor-General’s, in Bloomsbury Square; but it is now put off
    to Sunday se’nnight, at Wimbledon. As I was offered a ticket for
    the ball to the Duke of Wellington for £4 7s., I accepted the
    offer, and wrote my last commands to Lord Tamworth; so I hope I
    did not write too late to prevent the exchange. I go full
    dressed, but no train, and high feathers; with a pink domino of
    calico, made high and long, to give me height and disguise me,
    thrown over all, that I may be _incog._, and be masked till I am
    tired, and then appear as myself. Mrs. P. goes with us. I have
    had the kindest letter from Mr. Coke! promising to do all he can
    for Mr. D., and entreating me to visit him in the winter,
    whenever I choose.[19]—I have just room to insert the lines.

            Why sons of Britain rush ye forth
            Like torrents from the mountain’s height,
            To shout, untired, for foreign worth
            And glad with foreign chiefs, your sight?
            Can Britain boast no chiefs renown’d,
            Whose arm can crush, whose heart can _spare_!
            No Leader who, with conquest crown’d,
            Can _wisely plan_, and _greatly dare_?

            Yes, Britains, yes! and now again
            In shouts your myriad voices raise!
            But louder, longer, be the strain
            That speaks a grateful nation’s praise.
            For Wellington now glads our sight,
            Whose valour guards his Sovereign’s throne,
            He, in untarnish’d glory bright;
            And Wellington is all OUR OWN!

    I allude in the sixth line to the mercy he showed at Toulouse.
    The Baron, Alexander de Humboldt, said to me, “This certainly
    was the first man in Europe!” and no doubt, when party feeling
    is forgotten, he will be done _justice_ to. Farewell!

-----

[18] This ballad was called “The Soldier’s Farewell,” and was composed
by Mrs. R. Cumberland.

[19] Mrs. Opie visited Holkham in January, 1816, and wrote some lines to
Lady Anson on her birthday, while there.



                              CHAPTER XII.


    FRIENDSHIP  WITH  THE  GURNEY  FAMILY;  TWO  LETTERS  FROM MR.
    J. J. GURNEY; DEATH OF HIS BROTHER; MRS. OPIE’S RETURN FROM
    LONDON; EARLY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS; MRS. ROBERTS; RECOLLECTIONS OF
    SIR W. SCOTT; VISIT TO EDINBURGH; “VALENTINE’S EVE;” VISIT TO
    MR. HAYLEY; “TALES OF THE HEART;” LETTER TO MR. HAYLEY; LETTER
    FROM MRS. INCHBALD; HER DEATH.

From the gay and brilliant scenes depicted in the preceding letters,
Mrs. Opie was suddenly and painfully called away, by an event which
excited deep feeling in her heart, and which must have been rendered
more peculiarly distressing, by the contrast in which it stood with all
that had been occupying her thoughts, during the months of her absence
from home.

Preserved with her letters of this date, there were found two, of a very
different character from her own, addressed to her by a friend who was
destined, in after years, to exercise great influence over her opinions
and subsequent course; we speak of Mr. J. J. Gurney, that highly
honoured and admirable man, whose friendship, thus early commenced, she
retained, with ever-growing satisfaction, until his deeply-lamented
death.

It may be remembered that Mrs. Opie, in one of her early letters, speaks
of “Elizabeth Fry,” to whom she had been paying a visit on occasion of
her marriage. They had been acquaintances in youth; and, in the life of
Mrs. Fry, there are occasional allusions to visits paid by Dr. Alderson
to Earlham, the home of the Gurney family, when Elizabeth was a gay and
lively girl.[20] Shortly after Mrs. Opie’s marriage, Miss E. Gurney
visited London, and in her diary she records a day spent with “Amelia
Opie,” and says: “I had a pleasant time of it; I called on Mrs. Siddons,
and on Dr. Batty, then on Mrs. Twiss; and, in the evening, Mr. Opie,
Amelia, and I, went to the concert,” &c.

After Mrs. Fry’s marriage she was brought into the society, almost
exclusively, of strict “Friends,” and there does not appear to have been
much intercourse between her and her early friend; but when Mrs. Opie
returned to Norwich, on the death of her husband, she resumed her former
habits of intimacy with the family at Earlham; and found, among the
large and happy circle there, friends whose influence had a beneficial
effect upon her. The youngest sister, Priscilla, who was a most lovely
creature, and who died in 1821, seems to have been especially endeared
to her; and Mr. J. J. Gurney said, that her friendship with this sister
and himself, appeared to be the principal means of producing that
gradual change of sentiment, which eventually led to her joining the
Society of Friends.

We are, however, anticipating the progress of events.—To return to the
letters of which we have spoken; we find, in the first of them,
allusions to the illness of Mr. Gurney’s brother, whose death, which
followed a few weeks subsequently, was the cause of Mrs. Opie’s hasty
return.

                                      Norwich, 6th mo., 4th, 1814.

    I have a mind, my dear friend, to write thee a letter; this is
    all the apology I offer for the intrusion. There are two or
    three things I wish to say to thee; the first is, that I
    remember, with true pleasure, thy affectionate conduct to us
    all, during the last few months of affliction. It has been like
    that of a sister, and has been prized by us, I trust, as it
    ought to be; however thou mayest be engaged in the gay whirlpool
    of London life, rest assured, therefore, thou art not forgotten
    by thy retired friends at Earlham. I thank thee for thy last
    note, which is an instructive inmate of my pocket-book, since it
    bespeaks a _tender conscience_. Wilt thou pardon thy friend if
    he tell thee, that he greatly admires this tenderness of
    conscience with regard to all thou sayest of others? It appears
    to him that thy mind is particularly alive to the duties of
    Christian charity; and he now wishes to express his desire that
    the same fear, (shall he call it “godly fear?”) may attend thee
    in all thy communications with the world.

    To leave the third person; I will refer to two texts, “Pure
    religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this—to
    keep one’s self _unspotted from the world_,” and again, “Be ye
    not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the
    renewing of your minds, that he may know what is the good,
    acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Now, what wilt thou say to
    me? perhaps thou wilt say that thy countrified, drab-coated,
    methodistical friend, knows nothing of the “world,”
    misinterprets the meaning of the apostle, and is frightened by
    the bugbear of a name, as a child is by a ghost.

    There may be some truth in these observations of thine, and I
    must allow that the world is not idolatrous _now_, as it was
    _then_; and again, that we all alike are citizens of the world,
    and there is no department of it which is not tinctured with
    evil; but I refer particularly to the “fashionable world,” of
    which I am apt to entertain two notions—the first, that there
    is much in it of _real evil_; the second, that there is much
    also in it, which, though not evil in itself, yet has a decided
    tendency to produce forgetfulness of God, and thus to generate
    evil indirectly. On the other hand, there is little in it,
    perhaps, which is _positively good_.

    With regard to the apostolic precepts; perhaps they intimate
    that there are two spirits or dispositions, moving amongst
    mankind; the one celestial, leading to good; the other
    terrestrial, tending to evil; perhaps they are meant to warn us,
    not literally against the world, but against _a worldly spirit_.
    Now I will close my grave remarks, by saying, that it is my
    earnest desire, both for thee and myself, that we may be
    redeemed from a _worldly spirit_, and that in our communications
    with the world, whether fashionable, commercial, or
    common-place, we may be enabled simply to follow an unerring
    guide within us, which will assuredly inform us, if we will but
    _wait for direction_, what to touch and what to shrink
    from—what to follow, and what to eschew.

    I returned home with Pris, last fourth day, and found my dear
    brother considerably more feeble than when I left him; I think
    this may be owing, principally, to his having fallen and hurt
    his knee, and to the confinement which the accident has rendered
    necessary. Upon the whole we are much at ease about him, and
    _ought_ to be thankful whether we _are_ so or no.

    Do not be angry with me; write me a letter; and farewell, in
    every sense of the word.

                            I remain, thy affectionate friend,
                                                     J. J. GURNEY.

The second letter (dated Earlham, 7th mo., 22nd, 1814) is much longer,
and as a large part of it will be found inserted in the Life of Mr.
Gurney, we shall content ourselves with a few extracts taken from it.
After apologizing for “addressing something in the shape of advice, to
one so much older and more experienced than himself,” he says:—

    My chief desire is, that thou mayst be willing to give up
    everything which the light of truth may point out as
    inconsistent with the holy will of God. True happiness, here or
    hereafter, can consist in nothing, but in conformity to that
    will. The world has, undoubtedly, many pleasures to bestow,
    perhaps none so great as that of being universally _liked,
    admired, and flattered_; but it is not in the world we are to
    find that “peace which passeth understanding.” It is striking to
    observe the _essential_ difference which exists between the
    pleasures of the world, and the religious happiness of the soul.
    The _temporality_ of the former seems to be proved, by their all
    being conveyed to us through our _natural senses_; but “eye hath
    not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of
    man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for those who
    love Him.” How clearly one sees, all the way through, that the
    one belongs to our mortal, the other, to our immortal part.

    Thou wilt observe, my dear friend, that I have underscored the
    words, “liked, flattered, and admired.” It is because I know
    thou art so; and, unless thou art of a very different
    composition to thy friend, I am satisfied it must afford no
    small temptations to thee, and require, on thy part, the utmost
    stretch of watchfulness. I really should like to know how thy
    mind was affected by Lady B.’s day-masquerade. Because, I am
    sure, that if I could sing and converse in that way, and
    procured all manner of favour and applause, from innumerable
    lords and ladies, I should be vain as a peacock thereupon. Now,
    I confess, if thou art vain, thy vanity[21] does not show
    itself; but it may be there is some lurking particle of it in
    the bottom of thy heart, which may put thee to some trouble. But
    mind, I do not want to draw thee to confession.

    My dear brother has been a good deal weaker, especially in mind,
    during the last fortnight; but he continues full of peace, and,
    I think I may add, of Christian love. Again and again farewell,
    saith thy sincere and affectionate friend,

                                                     J. J. GURNEY.

This brother, Mr. John Gurney, declined rapidly, and early in September
his death took place. In the Life of Mrs. Fry this event is recorded;
and she mentions in a letter dated from Earlham, whither she had gone to
take her leave of him, that on the last morning of his life, Dr.
Alderson had called and seen him, and that he desired his love to Amelia
Opie.

The second of her Lays for the Dead is addressed to this “departed
friend,” and was written (as the title to it informs us) after attending
his funeral, in the Friend’s burying-ground at Norwich, having travelled
all night, in order to arrive in time.

It commences thus:—

        “Friend, long beloved! on thy untimely bier
        I came to drop the sympathizing tear;
        I came to join the long funereal train,
        And heave the bitter sigh which mourns in vain.”

From this period Mrs. Opie attended the religious services of the
Friends, and continued to do so until she united herself to their
communion, eleven years after; and in a note written the year of Mr.
Gurney’s death, to the writer of these memoirs, she says, “in 1814 I
left the Unitarians.”

It does not, indeed, appear, from any record of her early days, nor from
the recollections of her friends is it ascertainable, that she, at any
time, was in actual communion with the Unitarian body. She was, in her
youth, in the habit of attending at the Octagon chapel, where, during
the ministry of Mr. Pendlebury Houghton, Dr. Sayers, and Mr. William
Taylor, and others of similar opinions, attended, and highly eulogised
the sermons of that eloquent, though by no means evangelical, preacher.
When in London, it is evident, from her letters, that Mrs. Opie went to
church, and did not act as a conscientious Unitarian would, under the
circumstances, have done; and we can hardly avoid the inference, that
she had no very fixed opinions on religious subjects, and that the mere
circumstances of her birth and education had occasioned her connexion
with the Unitarians. From the time, however, at which we have now
arrived, she ceased to attend the Octagon chapel; and although she did
not at once embrace the religious opinions of the Friends, nor sever
herself from her former associates and pursuits, she gradually, but
surely, yielded to an influence to which she had hitherto been a
stranger, and experienced a progressive change in her religious views.

Mrs. Opie, shortly after this time, edited a little book, entitled
“Duty,” written by her friend Mrs. Roberts, to which she prefixed a
sketch of the character of the authoress. This sketch was published
separately in the “Gentlemen’s Magazine,” for 1815. It is a pleasing
tribute of affectionate regret, to the memory of one whose friendship,
she said, would always be among the most pleasing recollections of her
life, and to have lost her so soon, one of her most lasting regrets.

In the spring of the year 1816, Mrs. Opie paid her usual annual visit to
London; and in her note book has recorded her “recollections of Sir W.
Scott,” whom she then, for the first time, saw, or rather heard. She had
_seen_ him on two or three previous occasions—first, shortly after the
publication of the “Lay of the Last Minstrel,” at the assembly of a
widow lady, in London; but the crowd was so great that she caught a very
imperfect glimpse of him, merely sufficient to tell her that “he wore
powder and his hair tied behind.” The next time she saw the great man
was at a picture gallery, somewhere in London, when, as he passed near
and was pointed out to her, she observed that he was lame, but there was
a freshness in his complexion and an air of robust health about his
whole contour. At length, in 1816, she met him, and she says,

    It was the _last_ time I ever saw him, and I might say the
    _first_, according to the idea of him, who said on the
    introduction of a stranger, “speak, that I may see thee!” for
    certainly the face of W. Scott, when speaking and animated, and
    the same face in a quiescent state, were two different things.
    And what a seeing that was! It was at breakfast, at the house of
    Sir George Phillips, in Mount Street; I had been invited to meet
    Sir Walter, and I went with the anticipation of no common
    pleasure, arriving precisely at the time specified. Sir W.,
    however, was there before me; and for some time, to my great
    satisfaction, we, with the master and mistress of the house,
    continued uninterrupted by other guests. I know not what led to
    the subject; but he gave us a most animated description of a
    cockney’s hunting in the Highlands; I think the person was a
    militia officer, and his terror, when he found himself going
    full gallop up and down crags, steeps, and declivities of which
    he had before no idea, was pictured with a living spirit which I
    cannot do justice to. This narrative was interrupted by the
    arrival of other guests, and Sir W., to my great joy, was
    desired to hand me downstairs; consequently I sat beside him;
    the company was too large for much general conversation, though
    there was also present another whose conversational powers were
    first-rate—Wordsworth, who came late, being one of the party. I
    did not, however, regret this, as I was enabled to keep the
    conversation of my right-hand neighbour to myself. One subject
    succeeded another, and the gifted man condescended to speak to
    me of my “Father and Daughter,” and told me he had cried over it
    more than he ever cried over such things. I felt emboldened to
    speak of his own writings, and ventured to ask him why, with
    such dramatic power, he had never tried the drama? he said many
    reasons had prevented him; amongst others, he was, he said, a
    proud man, and his pride would never have allowed him to dance
    attendance on the managers, and consult the varied tastes of
    actors and others—or words to that effect. But he owned that he
    had once serious thoughts of writing a tragedy, on the same
    subject as had been so ably treated by his friend, Joanna
    Baillie; meaning the “Family Legend”—founded, as I need not
    say, on a true story. Sir W. said, had he gone on with his
    tragedy, (I think he had begun it,) he should have had _no love
    in it_. His hero should have been the uncle of the heroine, a
    sort of misanthrope, with only one affection in his heart, love
    for his niece, like a solitary gleam of sunshine, gilding the
    dark tower of some ruined and lonely dwelling! Never shall
    I—never _can_ I, forget the fine expression of his lifted eye,
    as he uttered this! The whole face became elevated in its
    character, and even the features acquired a dignity and grace
    from the power of genius! How fortunate did I consider myself in
    having that morning been favoured with a specimen of his _two_
    manners, if I may so express myself.

In the autumn of this year Mrs. Opie went to Edinburgh; and she has
given a short account of this visit, in connexion with her reminiscences
of Sir Walter Scott.

    From my earliest days (she says) I was such an admirer of Scotch
    literature and Scotch music, and I was so prepossessed in favour
    of Scotland, that I have often run eagerly to the window of my
    own house, only to see a Scotch drover pass by, in his blue
    bonnet and plaid; and it was with gladness of heart that in the
    autumn of the year I had met Sir Walter, I found myself at
    liberty to visit Edinburgh! “Tell me, (said I to the
    postillion,) when we reach the Tweed,” and as soon as I saw its
    silver waters sparkling in the summer sun, I hailed it with
    delight, and warmly congratulated myself on being, at last, in
    Scotland. That day we went to Dryburgh; I had seen the Earl of
    Buchan at my own house, in London, when he was in England; and,
    having promised to return his call at the first opportunity, I
    went, at the end of sixteen years, to perform my promise, and
    was most kindly received. Before dinner was served, we went to
    see the grounds and the beautiful ruins of the abbey, where was
    pointed out to us the part of the ruin apportioned off for the
    place of interment of Sir W. Scott and his descendants.

    During the nine days I remained in Edinburgh, Sir W. did not
    come thither; so that I had no opportunity of seeing him; but I
    had the pleasure of sitting opposite Raeburn’s picture of him
    every day, at the house of my kind host Constable, whose guest I
    was. Eagerly did I tell every body who would listen to me, of my
    meeting him in London, and of the impression which he made on
    me: but I was mortified when, on my praising the beauty of his
    countenance, under strong excitement, and the fire of his blue
    grey eye, Dr. Brown, the celebrated professor, interrupted me
    with, “Nay, nay, Mrs. Opie, do not go on with these flights of
    fancy; the face is nothing but a roast-beef and plum-pudding
    face, say what you will!”  Whatever that face was, would I had
    had the happiness of seeing it again! However, the remembrance
    of the enjoyment which that morning at Mount street gave me, I
    treasure as one of the greatest which was ever afforded me, by
    worldly intercourse.

This year was published “Valentine’s Eve,” a tale in three volumes,
interesting as shewing the state of her religious feelings at the time
it was written. The lesson it inculcates is the superiority of religious
principle as a rule of action, and as a support under affliction and
unmerited calumny. The heroine of the story, pronouncing her conviction
that “moral virtues are only durable and precious as they are derived
from religious belief and the consequence of it,” says,

    Some suppose that morality can stand alone without the aid of
    religion, and even fancy that republican firmness will enable us
    to bear affliction; but _I_ feel that the only refuge in sorrow
    and in trial, is the Rock of Ages, and the promises of the
    gospel.

In 1817 Mrs. Opie made an excursion into Sussex, and among other
friends, visited Mr. Hayley. In consequence, she says, of this
gentleman’s flattering mention of her in the twelfth edition of his
“Triumphs of Temper,” she went on a visit to his house, in the year
1814; and in his “Life,” by Dr. Johnson, there is a short sketch, from
her pen, of the manner in which they passed their time, during that and
subsequent visits she paid him. “In 1816,” (writes Mrs. O.) “I went to
Scotland, and did not see Eartham till 1817. I then found Mr. Hayley was
become fond of seeing occasional visitors; but, for the most part, our
life was as unvaried as it had been in my former visits to him.” She
corresponded with him after leaving him, and fulfilled the promise she
had made, to send him her portrait. He acknowledged the receipt of this
picture, in a letter, from which we give an extract.

    * * * * I rejoice that a petty incident prevented my letter from
    beginning its travels yesterday; for, in the evening, the
    eagerly expected portrait arrived: a fine head nobly painted in
    the _gusto grande_!

    After assigning to it, this early morn, its proper station, in
    an excellent light, your paternal hermit burst into the
    following extempore benedictions, in contemplating his
    _carissima figlia_.

            Thy portrait, dear Amelia, in my sight,
              My eyes are charmed with beauty’s blooming flower;
            But when thy books my sympathy excite,
              I feel thy genius, the sublimer power;
            Pleased, of thy various charms to bless the whole,
              I praise thy form, and idolize thy soul;
            Such worship’s thine, from “threescore and eleven,”
              Whose higher adoration mounts to heaven.

    I can devise no better mode of expressing my gratitude to you
    for this delightful proof of your filial regard, than by putting
    into the case, which conveyed you to my cell, that sweet
    picture[22] of Virgil’s Tomb, by my friend of Derby, which I had
    long intended as a legacy for you; yet some time must elapse
    before the picture can arrive at Norwich, because it is to halt
    on its transit through London, at the house of a very amiable
    young artist, who is to execute for me a _diminutive_ copy of
    it, as a companion to another small picture. And now I must
    hastily say _addio carissima_! not to lose the post of to-day.
    _Addio._

In October of this year Mr. Hayley wrote:—[23]

    “I have much enjoyed a social visit of several weeks, from our
    admirable Amelia Opie, who, after having kindly devoted some
    pleasant months to various friends, in her excursion, is just
    settling herself at home again, with a mind well prepared to
    exert its powers in several projected works, that will, I trust,
    in due time, afford a copious supply of pleasure and instruction
    to the literary world.”

In 1818 Mrs. Opie published her “Tales of the Heart,” probably one of
the works alluded to in this letter. In the first volume of this series
there are two, entitled, “The Odd Tempered Man,” and “White Lies.” The
former of these, is an original picture of an eccentric phase of the
infirmities of temper; to the latter Mrs. O. evidently refers in the
following letter to Mr. Hayley:—

                                         Norwich, 24th Jan., 1819.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    You are too just to expect that the author of “White Lies,” the
    _tale_, should be guilty of “White Lies,” the _fault_—therefore
    though I can, _en toute sureté de conscience_ say, that I was
    very glad to hear from you again, yet I must own that I did not
    feel your excuses for not having written _at all_ satisfactory.
    * * * I am going to send you (perhaps to-morrow) some dried
    apples, apples being once more plentiful here; and the box will
    also contain an etching of my dear father, from a drawing by my
    husband: it is like, but _too full_ about the _jawbone_, and my
    father’s hair must have been by accident rough, when my husband
    drew him; _now_ it is close to his head, and his head is well
    shaped. However, on the whole, it is very like, and the etching
    does credit to the artist, a lady, the wife of Dawson Turner,
    and a most admirable person she is. * * * My father is now,
    blessed be God! quite well, in all respects; but soon after my
    return home in July he sprained his ancle, and was lame, unwell,
    dispirited, and broken down in mind and body _for weeks, nay
    months_, and I suffered _much_, but he now _walks_ well, and
    _is_ well, and enjoys himself. Farewell!

                           Believe me ever affectionately yours,
                                                          A. OPIE.
      William Hayley, Esq., near Chichester.

Shortly after the date of this letter, Mrs. Opie was alarmed by tidings
of the severe illness of her aged friend; she says, (in the sketch given
in Hayley’s life before referred to,) “I went down to Bognor, not
certain that I should not arrive too late to see him; but I found him
out of danger, and had the happiness of returning to London at the end
of the week, leaving him recovering. But I saw him no more. He died in
November of the following year.”

Another of her old friends (Mrs. Inchbald) wrote to her this year, under
the pressure of a malady beneath which she speedily succumbed. She wrote
again, for the last time, at the Christmas of the following year,
thus:—

                                Kensington House, 19th Dec., 1820.
      MY DEAR MRS. OPIE,

    Your kind Christmas-box arrived safe, and temptingly beautiful,
    yesterday evening; many thanks.

    We are, even in these dark and short days, as brilliant on the
    high road, and in open air, as during the long and bright days
    of summer and autumn. I think I never saw a more gaudy, yet
    numerous and sober procession, (processions, I should say, for
    they lasted from morning till night,) than passed the house
    yesterday. I think myself particularly fortunate in the place of
    my abode, on this account. The present world is such a fine
    subject to excite intense reflection.

    Mr. Kemble called on me, during the short time he was in
    England; he looked remarkably well in the face, but as he walked
    through the court-yard, to step into his carriage, I was
    astonished to perceive him bend down his person, like a man of
    eighty. How, I wonder, does she support her banishment from
    England? He has sense and taste to find “books in the running
    brooks, and good in everything.”

    By the bye, your books are lying on the table of our drawing
    room most days, and I hear great praise of them; and yet I do
    not feel the slightest curiosity to open one of them. The reason
    is, there are also a hundred of Sir Walter Scott’s in the same
    place, and as it is impossible to read _all_, I have no wish to
    read _any_; for to read without judging, is to read without
    amusement; and how can I judge without comparing, detecting
    likenesses, or admiring originality? Besides, I have so many
    reflections concerning a _future_ world, as well as concerning
    the _present_, and there are, on that awful subject, so many
    books still unread, that I think every moment lost, which
    impedes my gaining information from holy and learned authors.

    It rains, and I fear I cannot send my letter to the post by a
    safe hand, till fine weather. My best compliments to Dr.
    Alderson, and believe me,

                                         Yours most sincerely,
                                                      E. INCHBALD.

She died in 1821. Mrs. Opie had not been aware of her illness, and wrote
on the 9th of August to Mr. Phillips, thus:—

      DEAR SIR,

    The paper of to-day contains an account of the _funeral_ of Mrs.
    Inchbald, and I had heard neither of her illness, nor her death!
    I need not say how shocked and sorry I am; and I take the
    liberty of requesting that you will be so kind as to give me
    some account of her illness, last moments, &c.

    I have not seen her this year, because I _now never leave my
    father_, and have been in Norwich almost ever since I saw her
    last, which was last September. Pray excuse, &c.

                                           Yours respectfully,
                                                          A. OPIE.
      G. Phillips, Esq.,
        Surgeon to his Majesty, Carlton Palace.

-----

[20] The friendship between Dr. Alderson and the Gurney family was
indeed of very early date; for when Mr. John Gurney, senior, first hired
Earlham, he invited Mr. and Miss Alderson to go and see the place, which
they did; Mr. A. on horseback, and Miss, on her little pony, by his
side. They drank tea with Mr. G. in a room afterwards known as the
ante-room, the only place where there was a seat to be had.

[21] Mrs. Opie has marked a large (!) against these words.

[22] This picture Mrs. Opie in her will bequeathed to “her friend Thos.
Brightwell.” It is by Wright, of Derby, and is curious, as attempting to
give the three effects of moonlight, fire-light, and twilight, in the
same piece.

[23] See Memoirs of Wm. Hayley, vol. 2, p. 191.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


    ILLNESS OF DR. ALDERSON; HIS DAUGHTER’S ANXIETY; PRISCILLA
    GURNEY; BIBLE AND ANTI-SLAVERY MEETINGS; “MADELINE;” LETTER FROM
    SOUTHEY; “LYING;” LETTERS TO MRS. FRY; MRS. OPIE JOINS THE
    SOCIETY OF FRIENDS; DR. ALDERSON’S DECLINE AND DEATH.

Dr. Alderson became seriously ill in December, 1820, and his daughter
accompanied him to London, for medical advice, on the 23rd January,
1821. On the 26th, they went to stay at the house of Mr. Hudson Gurney,
by whom the following particulars were communicated to the
writer;—“Davies Gilbert and a few friends dined with us; and Dr.
Alderson was, apparently cheerful and pretty comfortable; but, in a day
or two, he was seized with extreme depression of spirits, and went back
to Norwich on the 2nd of February. He never, I believe, or hardly ever,
left his house afterwards, till the time of his death. During the whole
time of his illness, Mrs. Opie most assiduously attended him; she had
latterly joined the Quakers; and read to him much in the Bible and other
religious books, and his views, on religious subjects, appear to have
undergone an entire change. Mr. J. J. Gurney was very frequently with
them both.”

On their journey home from town, after this visit, an alarming accident
occurred.  The horses took fright, the coachman and passengers were
thrown off the coach, and the leaders broke the traces; by some means
the vehicle was stopped, but their lives had been endangered; and when
Dr. Alderson, who was not at first aware of the peril they had incurred,
was told, by his daughter, the particulars of the accident, he
exclaimed, as he thanked God that they had reached Norwich in safety, “I
have been mercifully spared, my dear child, and I wonder _why_?” His
daughter, speaking of the event, said—“afterwards, when his serious
impressions daily deepened, he said, ‘Oh! my dear child! I know _now_
why I was spared.’”

From this time the continued and increasing illness of her father
occupied her time, and engaged her constant thought, while numerous
friends gathered around them, desirous to cheer and soothe the invalid,
and to aid his daughter in her task of love. “I suffered much!” she
wrote, when the first symptoms of this “sickness unto death” appeared;
_how much_ we learn, in some degree, to estimate, by the grief of after
years, when the blow, she was then dreading, had fallen. But, if it be
true (and every Christian will set his seal to it) that “since the day
Jesus redeemed us on the cross, all that is great, powerful, and
salutary, partakes of a serious nature, and that all the seeds of life
and regeneration, are sown in sorrow and in death,” then we may
recognise, in this afflictive visitation, the “blessing in disguise,”
which was sent by her heavenly Father to wean her from the world and
call her to himself.

Two prayers, written at this time, were preserved among her papers, and
remain affecting testimonials of the “thoughts of her heart” within her.

                     A PRAYER.—25TH OF APRIL, 1821.

    O gracious and long suffering God! now that those trials and
    infirmities are come upon me, from which I have hitherto been
    mercifully exempted, let me not, I beseech Thee, forget Thy past
    mercies, in Thy present chastisements; but rather let me
    consider those chastisements as _greater mercies still_, and as
    designed to draw me, in humble supplication and heartfelt
    thankfulness, to the foot of Thy throne, there to confess my
    sins and my long forgetfulness of Thee; and to acknowledge, that
    I have no hope of salvation, but through the merits of Jesus
    Christ, my Lord and my Redeemer, who died the death of a sinner,
    that I, and sinners like myself, might be forgiven and _live_.

                     A PRAYER.—26TH OF APRIL, 1821.

    O Thou! “the God that hearest prayer,” and even amidst
    innumerable choirs of angels for ever glorifying Thee and
    hymning Thy praise, canst hearken to the softest breathings of a
    supplicating and contrited heart, deign Lord to let the prayers
    of a child, for a beloved parent, come up before Thee. In
    grateful return for that life which he gave me here, and which,
    under Thy good providence, he has tenderly watched over, and
    tried to render happy, enable me, O Lord! to be the humble means
    of leading him to Thee. O let us “thirst,” and come together “to
    the waters, and buy the wine and milk without money and without
    price;” and grant, O Lord! that before we go hence, and are no
    more seen of men, our united voices may ascend to Thee in
    praises and in blessings! grant that we may together call upon
    the name of Him who has redeemed us by His most precious blood,
    that in that blood our manifold sins may be washed away.

This year died her lovely friend, Priscilla Gurney. In the Memoirs of
Mrs. Fry (vol. 1, pp. 391, 399,) a most touching account is given, of
the closing scenes of her life. She must have been singularly pleasing,
for, notwithstanding her early death, her memory still remains sweet to
many, and she is yet spoken of with affectionate regret. Some lines (not
among her “Lays”) were written by Mrs. Opie in remembrance of this dear
friend; they are headed

            “PRISCILLA’S GRAVE.”

        There is a spot in Life’s vain scene,
          Which oft, with willing feet, I tread;
        It is yon still, sequester’d _green_,[24]
          Where lowly sleep the nameless dead.

        There, underneath that elm’s soft shade,
          Now waving in the zephyr’s breath,
        Belov’d Priscilla, thou art laid,
          Within thy grassy home of Death!

        I would not call thee back again
          To this dark world, unworthy thee,
        Faith bids my heart that wish restrain,
          Yet oh; how vast thy loss to me!

        I miss thy soothing _smile_ of love,
          Thy _voice_, that could my fears control,
        Thy _words_ that bade my doubts remove,
          And breath’d conviction o’er my soul.

        I miss thee, while with pilgrim feet
          I now my course to Zion bend;
        For _thou_, upon her way wouldst greet,
          And fondly hail, thy fainting friend.

        But thou art where each promise given
          Is now fulfill’d, (thine, endless day,)
        Then, full of gratitude to Heaven,
          I’ll breathe a prayer, and turn away.

There was much passing in the religious world at this period, calculated
to engage the attention, and attract the warm sympathies, of Mrs. Opie.
The spirits of many highly gifted and eminent men were aroused to do
great things in the cause of religion and philanthropy. In 1811 the
first Meeting of the Norwich Bible Society was held in St. Andrew’s
Hall, and was noted as “a day indeed; one that might be called a mark of
the times.” Then were seen, for the first time, united for one great
object, in the spirit of christian union, Churchmen and Dissenters;
Bishop Bathurst presided, and Clergymen and Dissenting Ministers,
Lutheran, Independent, Baptist, Quaker, and Methodist, joined hand in
hand. On this occasion, the Hall at Earlham was made the head-quarters
of the deputation; and a numerous circle of friends gathered around, to
share in the pleasures of holy intercourse and christian fellowship.
These meetings were annually renewed, and year by year the honoured host
at Earlham opened his mansion, and greeted his friends and
fellow-workers, and cheered them with his generous hospitality. They who
were wont to meet on these occasions, have often felt their hearts burn
within them, as they “talked one with another” on the great things of
the heavenly kingdom, whose interests had gathered them together, and
united them as the heart of one man.

In 1820 the Anti-slavery Society was formed, and was brought before the
friends of the cause in Norwich, at a meeting, superintended by Mr.
Gurney, and largely attended. In both these Societies Mrs. Opie took a
deep interest, which (to use a favourite and constantly repeated
expression of her own) “grew with her growth and strengthened with her
strength.”

The pressure of domestic affliction did not interrupt Mrs. Opie’s
literary occupations, and perhaps she found (as many others have done) a
relief in such absorbing engagements. In 1822 she published “Madeline,”
the last of her Novels, (for though she commenced writing another, it
was never completed.) In the following year, she contributed to the
European Magazine, a series of poetical “Epistles from Mary Queen of
Scots to her Uncles,” prefacing them by saying, “Ever since I have been
able to compare the strength of opposing evidence, and to enter into the
probable motives of human actions, I have believed Mary Queen of
Scotland to be entirely innocent of the atrocious guilt of which she has
been accused—adultery and murder.” There are also some Tales and a
short memoir of Bishop Bathurst, from her pen, in the same volume.

She appears to have made some application to Mr. Southey, with reference
to a Review of her “Madeline,” which drew from him the following
letter:—

                                        Keswick, 11th April, 1822.
      MY DEAR MADAM,

    Your Madeline is a great favourite here, and well deserves to be
    so. The tale is beautifully told, and everywhere true to nature;
    if there be a little of that ideal colouring, which belongs to
    this species of composition, as much as to poetry, it is in your
    _hero_ rather than your heroine. The tragic catastrophe would,
    as you say, have made the story more perfect, but it would have
    made the book painful, instead of pleasing, in recollection. I
    am sure that I should not have looked at it a second time,
    compared one part with another, and dwelt upon particular
    scenes, if there had been death at the end; and this, I think,
    is not so much the weakness of my individual temper, as it is a
    natural feeling. The theatres shew it to be so, by the
    preference which is given to comedy; they who have borne a part
    in the tragedies of real life (who is there that can go through
    the world without?) shrink, even from the sorrow which is
    produced by fiction.

    The Quarterly Review will be much better employed in
    recommending Madeline to notice, than in pointing out in the
    Pirate, beauties which everybody must have seen, and defects
    which nobody can have overlooked. The part which I bear in that
    journal is greatly overrated, and the influence which I possess
    there, quite as much so. For two years I have been vainly
    endeavouring to get a book by Sir Howard Douglas reviewed there,
    though the subject is of great importance, and national
    interest, as well as national credit, concerned in it. I could
    not do it myself, because it required scientific knowledge,
    which I do not possess.

    To convince you, however, that your tale has really interested
    me, I will write to Mr. Gifford, and ask him to admit an article
    upon it; most likely he will consent; I cannot be quite sure of
    this, nor can I promise anything farther for the paper, than
    that it will be written in right good will. As for my
    prose—anybody’s prose is mistaken for mine; and what is far
    more strange, anybody’s opinions! The guessing at anonymous
    writings is almost as much a matter of haphazard, as the attempt
    to discover any person, by his walk and figure, at a masquerade.

    Mrs. S. desires me to present her compliments. Remember me to
    William Taylor, when you happen to see him.

                                      Farewell, my dear Madam,
                                     And believe me yours truly,
                                                   ROBERT SOUTHEY.

Her next work was one of a widely different character; on “Lying, in all
its branches,” a subject affording ample scope for the moralist, and
handled in a manner at once novel and ingenious. It received the best of
all sanctions, that of _success_; and she had the exquisite satisfaction
of knowing that she attained the object at which she aimed. Some few
years afterwards, when Mrs. Opie was at Paris, she was introduced to
several American friends, who cordially greeted her, thanking her for
this book, which they assured her was universally acknowledged to have
done good in their country; and that it had found its way into the
cottages in _the interior_, and might be seen there, well thumbed by
frequent use. Shortly after the publication of this work, Mrs. Opie
wrote thus to Mrs. Fry:—

                                     Norwich, 12th mo., 6th, 1823.
      MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,

    As it is possible that thou mayst have been told that a new
    novel from my pen, called “_The Painter and his Wife_,” is in
    the press, I wish to tell thee this is a falsehood: that my
    publishers advertised this only _begun_ work, unknown to me, and
    that I have written to say the said work is not written, _nor
    ever will be_. I must own to thee, however, that as several
    hundreds of it are already ordered by the trade, I have _felt_
    the sacrifice, but I do not _repent_ of it.[25]

    Joseph and Catherine are highly pleased with my new work, on
    “Lying, in all its branches,” (each sort of lie illustrated by a
    simple anecdote, or tale,) and they think it must do good. We go
    on as usual; my dear father I think better on the whole, in
    body, and, I hope, not gone back in mind. I am at times very
    low, but there is safety in lowness for some people, and I am
    one of them. I know a tortoise pace is a safe pace, but still I
    am dissatisfied with my slow progress. Farewell! dearest Betsy!
    I remember thy visit with true and grateful pleasure; with kind
    love to all thy circle,

                                  I am, thy affectionate Friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.
      To Elizabeth Fry, Plashet, Essex.

Dr. Alderson attained the age of four-score, in the spring of this year;
and his daughter thus greeted him on the return of his birthday.

            TO MY FATHER.
        7th April, 1823.

        And thou art eighty; ’tis thy natal day!
        Then oh! forgive me that I dare to pray
        (Since from so dear a tie ’tis hard to part,
        A tie, sole treasure of this lonely heart)
        That many a year thou yet may’st with me stay,
        Resign’d in pain, and cheerful in decay!
        While the bright hopes redeeming love has taught,
        Prompting each pious, purifying thought,
        Live in thy soul, to tell of sins forgiven,
        And plume its pinions for its flight to heaven.

Some years had now passed since Mrs. Opie first attended the religious
services of the Friends; and it will have been apparent to the reader,
that she had, during that time, been approaching more and more nearly,
in her religious sentiments, to their principles. Another letter which
she wrote to Mrs. Fry shortly after the above, speaks of the
difficulties she felt on some points; and mentions that “many of her
relations, on the mother’s side, had been united for generations past to
the Wesleyan Methodists,” which consideration had sometimes disposed her
to incline towards “a union with that sect of worshippers.”

It was not without considerable anxiety, and after long deliberation,
that the decisive step was taken, and she applied for membership with
the Society of Friends. On looking back to that period, she always
rejoiced in that decision, and expressed, on her bed of death, her
satisfaction in it.

Of the perplexities and anxieties of her mind at this time, her letters
to Mrs. Fry give sufficient proof. In January, 1824, she again wrote to
her, and, after stating the great difficulty which she experienced in
adopting “the plain language,” and her earnest desire to be guided
aright in this matter, she proceeds:—

    * * * It is indeed true that I never feel so comforted, as when
    I feel humbled, and experience a deep sense of my own
    sinfulness; when I rise from my knees, or leave meeting with an
    arrow striking in my heart, as it were, I feel a sort of
    pleasure, which I now would not exchange for aught the world can
    give. I hope this will not seem to thee unreal or fantastical:
    but no, I think thou wilt understand it. * * * * To say the
    truth, much as I should like to belong to a religious society,
    and much as I see, or think I see, the hand of my gracious Lord
    in leading _me_, to whom have been given so many ties to a
    worldly life, in the various gifts bestowed on me, (I mean
    _accomplishments_, as they are called,) to communion with a sect
    which requires the sacrifice of them almost _in toto_, thereby
    trying my faith to the uttermost, still I feel no necessity for
    haste in doing so. It is by no means clear to me, that, though
    generally strong, I am not locally infirm. I have lately had
    severe colds, and coughs, and have queer feelings in my heart,
    which may be merely nervous, and may be not so. Be this as it
    may, I am never without the consciousness now, that this may be
    for me “no continuing city.” In the next place, should I survive
    my father, and be in a condition of body and mind favourable to
    travelling, it has long been the desire of my heart to visit
    foreign countries; my wishes, I own, extending even to
    Palestine; and it might be far better for me to travel,
    unfettered by any ties. * * * Meantime, I feel my reliance on my
    Saviour grow stronger every day, and a sort of loathing of
    worldly society, which I must strive against. But no one, but
    that wise and merciful and _just_ Being who has tried, and is
    now trying me, knows, or ever will know, what I have to endure
    from the many unseen peculiarities of my situation. However, I
    take comfort and encouragement from my difficulties; I know that
    I am most vile, and that I ought to be for ever striving to show
    my gratitude to my blessed Redeemer, by devoting myself entirely
    to his service; and I feel a repose and peace, in spite of my
    conscious sins, which the world cannot give nor take away, and
    which I humbly hope will continue to bear me up unto the end.
    Above all, I am conscious of a daily increasing spirit of
    prayer, and a desire of constant communion with the Bestower of
    it. What a letter of egotism! But I know thy mind will be
    interested in the “dealings” with mine, and I wish thee, dearest
    Betsy, always to know whereabouts I am. Dear Joseph is come back
    well, and looking well. With kind love to you all,

                                I am, thy affectionate Friend,
                                                        A. OPIE.
      To Elizabeth Fry,
        Plashet, East Ham, Essex.

In another letter, dated Norwich, 3rd mo., 2nd, 1824, addressed to Mrs.
Fry, after thanking her for her reply to the former letter, she tells
her that on the 14th of the preceding month, she had, after much anxious
consideration and indecision, decided to act without delay, according to
the dictates of her conscience; and that a gentleman, a stranger,
chancing to come and call on her that morning, she spoke the “plain
language” to him, and had continued to do so ever since; and she says,
“Nor have I had a misgiving, but feel so calm and satisfied, that I am
convinced _I have done right_; and I feel now utterly cast for comfort,
support, and guidance, on the Searcher of hearts, and the great
Shepherd, the merciful Redeemer.”

In the following year Mrs. Opie addressed this letter to the Friends of
the Monthly Meeting.

      RESPECTED FRIENDS,

    Having attended your place of worship for more than eleven
    years, and being now fully convinced of the truth of Friends’
    principles, I can no longer be easy without expressing my
    earnest desire to be admitted into membership with your Society.
    My former opinions and habits, were, I own, at variance with
    yours; but having, through Divine mercy, been convinced of the
    error of my early belief, and of the emptiness of worldly
    pleasures, I trust that the same mercy has led me to desire to
    “walk in the narrow way” that seems to lie before me, and to
    promise me “that peace which the world cannot give.”

      I am, yours, with respect and esteem,
                                                             A. O.

As the result of this application, she was received into membership on
the 11th of August, 1825.

Dr. Alderson expressed his warm approval of the step his daughter had
taken. He had, during the lengthened period of his gradual decline, been
much comforted and assisted by the attentions and religious counsels of
Mr. J. J. Gurney, and had become attached to those friends whose society
she so much esteemed. He wished also to be permitted to find his last
resting-place in the Friends’ burial ground; and it was evident that he
was destined soon to occupy the “abode appointed for all living.”

There exists an affecting record of the last two years of his life, in a
ledger-like book, into which he entered all his medical cases, day by
day. The first entry is dated January 25th, 1824, and the last,
September 7th, 1825, little more than a month before his death! In this
book, he has, every now and then, in the midst of his professional
notes, made an entry of some personal feeling or event. Thus, under date
27th January, 1824, he writes, “Southey came—his portrait taken—his
hair grey.” 4th March, 1825, “_Miserere mei, Domine, precor_;” and
again, August 16th, “Never felt so like dying, as I have just now done;
the sensation was indescribably bad.” At length, on the closing page of
the book, he writes:—“I never thought I should live to finish this
book. If I live till to-morrow, I shall begin a new one. My pain, at
this moment, is bad, my intellects clear, and I look forward to my being
saved for happiness hereafter. How much I long for my last end! but in
this I act wrongly; for a man ought to wait patiently till his end
comes; for I can live no longer than God pleases, let a man talk to me
ever so long about curing my legs.”

On the cover of this book Dr. A. has written the following verse of Dr.
Watts:—

        “Let all the heathen writers join,
          To form one perfect book,
        Great God! when once compared with Thine,
          How mean their writings look.”

During his illness, Mrs. Opie used to play on the piano, and sing the
hymns and psalms of Dr. Watts to her father, at his request; he appeared
to find great consolation in listening as she sung, and often called to
have the hymn repeated; and that music was like a medicine that soothed
him to rest, when any other might have been administered in vain.

Shortly before his death, he was visited by Mr. Gurney, and, in reply to
an observation made by him, expressed, with great feeling, his humble
confidence in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So died the father of Amelia Opie. As she gazed upon his lifeless
countenance, she was able to entertain a hope that supported her soul,
and preserved her from sinking under the blow. How deeply and enduringly
she lamented him, and how tenderly she cherished his memory, was evident
in every day of her after life. Dr. Alderson’s record was written upon
his daughter’s heart. And is not Carlyle right when he says, “Oh! great,
or little one, according as thou art loveable, those thou livest with
will love thee?”

-----

[24] The Friends have no tombstones, and the field for the graves is
usually green.—A. O.

[25] The unfinished MS. was found among her papers.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


    CONSOLATION IN SORROW; LETTER TO A FRIEND; JOURNAL FOR THE YEAR
    1827.

                         *   *   *   *   *   *

In the months that followed her father’s death, Mrs. Opie, though
suffering deeply, was sustained by her faith in the promises of Him
whose voice she had heard and obeyed, and for whose service she had
renounced the approval and the pleasures of the world. In the kindness
and sympathy of her friends she found comfort, and thankfully
acknowledged that there is “good in friendship, and delight in holy
love,” and, in her turn, she sought to “bind up the heart that was
broken,” and to minister to the consolation of others—one of the surest
and best means of obtaining relief under the pressure of sorrow. It is
impossible to read her journals and letters of this time, without
recognizing in them a depth of piety, that could only spring from a
Divine source. Her tender compassion for the afflicted, and her labours
of love, in visiting the sick, the prisoner, and the necessitous, remind
one of Horace Walpole’s words to Hannah More, “Your heart is always
aching for others, and your head for yourself.”

The following letter is almost the only record of the year that followed
Dr. Alderson’s death; it was addressed to a lady to whom she was much
attached, and who afterwards came to live in Norwich. When she died,
Mrs. Opie’s letters to her were returned, and some of them will be found
occasionally in these pages.

                                     Norwich, 3rd mo., 26th, 1826.
      MY BELOVED FRIEND,

    * * * I had thought that I could never feel anything again, but
    thy news really affected me! I am, I own, uneasy at the idea of
    thy suffering; but thy present sweet, spiritual, and submitted
    state of mind, will, I doubt not, strew thy path with those
    unfading flowers, which, blown here, will blossom to all
    eternity, and sooth and cheer thy passage to the tomb.

    For a year at least, my place of abode must be unfixed; it may
    be London; in that case, I should be near thee: but when we meet
    we will speculate on the earthly future, which is equally
    uncertain to us both.

    What a mercy it is, dear friend, that thou wast enabled, through
    faith, to bear thy apparent sentence, so abruptly pronounced. In
    nothing are the Lord’s dealings with us so wonderful and
    gracious, as when he enables us to bear trials, which we should
    once have expected to shrink from and to sink under. How I have
    been permitted to experience this!

    My health is quite restored, my recent journey having, I trust,
    been beneficial. On my way home I was alone from Scole to
    Norwich, with a young man apparently dying of decline, and I
    felt it a duty to talk on serious subjects; and found him, I
    trust, teachable, and I promised to send him J. J. Gurney’s
    Letters and others. He was so delighted! but, poor thing, he was
    full of hopes of recovery. I have been tolerably tranquil for
    some days; and to-day I visited my dear father’s grave! he hoped
    I would sometimes do so! I felt _peace_ both for him and myself,
    while I looked on it, and looked forward with cheerfulness to
    sleeping beside him! H. Girdlestone comforted me much, the other
    day, by reminding me how often in _mercy_ the child was summoned
    away soon after the parent! The idea brought closer the
    prospects of eternity, and the necessity, therefore, of
    preparation, as more urgent, that the day’s work may be done in
    the day. May my attention be fixed on present duty, that my
    remaining time may be usefully and well spent, and that I may be
    ready when the summons shall come to call me hence.

    J. J. Gurney is on a long and distant journey; when he returns,
    and when we meet, which may not be for two months, if I can say
    ought to him for thee, command me.

                     Farewell, write soon, thine affectionately,
                                                          A. OPIE.

In the autumn of this year, Mrs. Opie went on a visit to some friends
residing near the Lakes. The change of scene, and friendly intercourse,
were beneficial to her; and she returned refreshed to her now solitary
home.

From this time she kept an occasional diary, in which she noted the
events of each day; from these records we select some portions,
commencing with one headed,

    _1827, My Journal, New Year’s Day._—Too unwell to venture to
    the Sick Poor Committee to-day. Sorry to begin the year with the
    omission of a duty. My aunt and other friends called; also the
    dear Earlham children—welcome visitants! Day calm, on the
    whole, but was not quite satisfied with myself; nay, was far
    otherwise. Read the 46th psalm to the servants; felt the force
    of “Peace, be still, and know that I am God,” and also the
    comfort of “God is our refuge,” &c.

    (2nd of 1st mo.)   Rose better in health, after a peaceful
    night, and felt calm and thankful. Walked to Bracondale and made
    calls there, and attended the Infant School Committee. Was, in
    the evening, at a party; the conversation not general, but
    rather pleasant. I could have wished not to have left the
    vicinity of ——, who always talks well, but was obliged,
    through courtesy, to change my seat. I believe things and public
    persons, not private individuals, were talked of; this is always
    desirable, but rare. Had only time to read a psalm to the
    servants, being so late, which I regret. On looking over the
    day, I am not sure it was better spent; in one respect, I had,
    indeed, more self-blame to undergo. Night peaceful and favoured,
    when I awoke, which was not often; but my morning thoughts full
    of painful recollections of little slights and trials. Oh! my
    pride of heart! not subdued yet: “Oh! for a broken contrite
    heart.”

    (4th.)   Had a sweet, sleepful, and favoured night; but have
    passed a self-indulgent day. Read F. Hemans’ poetry; it is
    unique and exquisite, and breathing always of salvation and
    heaven. How have I thrown away my time to-day; done nothing of
    my book, except writing the introduction to a fable for it; but
    have written two necessary letters. Felt comfort while reading
    A. L. Barbauld’s beautiful hymn on charity, “Behold where
    breathing love divine!” I hoped I was not slow to kind offices;
    but other convictions kept me full of counteracting humility.
    Sent dear S. M. B. some pomegranates. How pleased I am when I
    can shew her and dear A. G. any attention. How much were they to
    me in my darkest hours; how true and tender their sympathy!
    never to be forgotten. How can I help feeling for them who felt
    so much for me?

    (4th day.)   Rose calm and comforted; had, on the whole, a good
    and comforting meeting, though no ministry; called on my aunt
    and the N. Whites. A very unprofitable day, meeting time
    excepted; I grow worse, I fear, rather than better. I am so
    dissatisfied with myself, that I dare hardly ask or expect a
    blessing on my labours. How cold and dead in the spirit I feel
    to-night; but I know “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
    Christ, the righteous,” and how I need one!

    (5th.)   A good and comfortable night, and rose in spirits, but
    felt unwilling to work at my book. Dear friends called; had a
    kind odd letter from H. T., and so characteristic! _Made_ myself
    finish another fable for my work, and liked it. Just come from
    dining at Neville W.’s with his mother and sisters—enjoyed my
    visit. On the whole, more satisfied with this day than the
    preceding one; but I am very lazy, and like in spirit to Festus,
    of whom I have just been reading, when he said to Paul, that he
    would send for him, and hear him, at a convenient season. Oh!
    that deferring.

    (6th.)   Rose, refreshed by a good night, and willing to perform
    my duties. Wrote some verses for a friend’s album, and improved
    my fable of the Lapdog and the Ass. Went to the jail, and found
    the woman in bed: read to and exhorted her. She _seemed_ in a
    promising state of mind. Went next to visit a poor woman, but
    felt she and her husband were not so much interested as when I
    was there before. Called on my aunt: she gave a poor account of
    my uncle. Poor M. B.! his interesting son Edward _worse_, and no
    chance of aught but a protracted life of suffering, likely to
    end in early death: may he be preserved in his day of trial.
    Have passed this evening in alternate reading and writing, but
    not of a profitable nature; however, I like my verses very well.
    This day there has been some performance of duty, but, on the
    whole, it marks no progress in grace. To-morrow is first day;
    may I keep it holy.

    (7th of the month, 1st day.)   A quiet night, and very
    satisfactory morning meeting. J. S. had to speak in rather long
    quotations from the Scriptures, and spoke, I think, to
    edification. No other ministry—felt no want of any. Afternoon
    meeting still, but not long, like the morning one. Read dear S.
    M. B. on the Sabbath; then read the first part of Mary Dudley’s
    Life; felt true unity with her experience when first called to
    the ministry. What a bright course was hers! Wrote a serious
    letter, with Scripture quotations, to L. E., with two copies of
    J. J. Gurney’s letter: may the gift be blessed to him! Read
    about eighty pages of a book lent me by Dr. Ash, called “The
    Grounds of a Holy Life.” Believe the author to be a Friend in
    principle, if not in profession. Read Paul’s fine address to
    Agrippa to the servants, and remarks on Paul’s letter to Titus,
    by H. Tarford; hope they understood it; it explains the nature
    of grace, and clearly. Cough very troublesome. Now to bed,
    thankful for the mercies and favours of the day. The poor Duke
    of York! would I knew what his death-bed feelings and hopes
    were, and _on what grounded_.

    (8th.)   Rose unwell; but my mind was particularly calm.
    Finished M. R. Mitford’s pretty book, and wrote out my new
    fable. After tea wrote two sheets of my new book. Heard of poor
    Lady H.’s death. How I feel for her childless, fond mother! and
    how thankful that I was permitted to live to cheer my dear
    father’s age, and attend his dying bed, much as I have suffered,
    and still suffer, for his loss.

    (9th.)   Wrote a good deal in the morning. Lady H. _not_ dead;
    how glad I am! Too hoarse at night to read much to the servants.
    On the whole went to bed rather pleased with my day, but
    expecting to cough.

    (11th.)   Meeting a very satisfactory one. C. came and sat an
    hour or two. Got, alas! on religious subjects; a most painful
    conversation; but I was made, I hope, beneficially sensible, how
    poor a pleader I am, as yet, in the best of causes; but I tried
    to do it justice. Went to my uncle’s at nine; passed a pleasant
    evening, but was detained by a dangerous accident to H. P.’s
    coachman, and I waited to hear how he was. Did not get home till
    half-past eleven. Read to the servants, and sent them to bed.
    Sat up in my own room and read the second volume of A.’s, that
    it might not encroach on the business of the morrow. Read a
    psalm and went to bed, not dissatisfied with my day; but feeling
    how wrong it is to let a day pass without employing it really
    well. Mem. made a resolution not to speak slightingly again of
    —— if I can _help it_. (12th.)   Had a bad night, but rose
    with a thankful spirit, I trust. Staid at home all the morning,
    and wrote some of my book. Had the joy of hearing of E. P.’s
    safe confinement. Went to Lady J. W.’s, met several friends, and
    had a pleasant evening; E. M. played admirably. Read as usual,
    and to bed, thankful that I had passed so favoured a day.
    (13th.)   Rose late, and was the better for my morning sleep.
    Wrote to several friends, and in the evening had a small party.
    Made two good likenesses, as they said.[26]

    (14th.)   A night of cough, but of comfort; and rose in spirits;
    a painfully windy walk to meeting; an agreeable surprise there.
    J. J. G. returned this morning unexpectedly from London. He was
    much favoured in his ministry to-day, morning and evening.
    Called on poor old B., and read the 43rd of Isaiah to him.
    Called on poor P. U., found her very low indeed, and no wonder;
    these are early times with her yet, poor bereaved being! The
    sight of such upsetting and destroying grief is very affecting,
    and I have only too much sympathy with her. We have both lost
    our earthly all! Was prevented, by the weather, from calling on
    the M.s, and it was fortunate, as the wind had brought down
    their chimnies in a most destructive manner, though
    providentially no lives were lost, as they had taken alarm and
    removed the children. “His tender mercies are over all his
    works!” A quiet evening; read to the servants; hope they
    understood. (15th.)   Coughed all night, and unable, alas! to go
    to E., but when I had recovered the disappointment, passed some
    tranquil and agreeable hours. I read “Galt’s Life of Wolsey”
    with interest. To bed thankful, and rather better; could only
    read a psalm to the servants. (16th.)   Rose rather better, but
    not well enough to go to E.; wrote a great deal of my book, to
    carry to-morrow, if well enough to go. Read through my own
    “Temper,” never saw so many faults in it before; still I like
    some of the remarks on detraction so well, that I think of
    inserting them in my new book. Shall lay my head on my pillow
    with less self-blame for the faults of the day than usual.
    (17th.)   Rose refreshed, and better than for many days; went to
    E., and enjoyed being with my dear friends again. I had a long
    _tête à tête_ with J. J. G., and read my MS. to him, he did not
    approve it as a whole; thought the tone too low generally, but
    liked parts of it; I shall leave out and amend much. Read a
    psalm in my own room to my maid, and went to bed full of good
    resolutions, and ardent desires and prayers to be satisfied in
    them. (18th.)   Rose refreshed, not _gay_, but very peaceful;
    went to meeting, very still and solemn; a time of precious,
    conscious favour to me. J. J. G. spoke quite to my state, the
    first time he rose; and I felt the force of the admonition the
    second time; but _I_ had had _no work to do_, and left meeting,
    so far, with a clean conscience. I called on friends, and sat
    some time with my aunt, E. A.; to bed with much comfort and
    thankfulness. (19th.)   To Earlham with J. J. G., and read my
    MS. to him and the sisters; they were all very encouraging; with
    what a thankful heart I am going to rest! (21st.)   Left Earlham
    grateful for many happy hours spent there. Came to meeting; J.
    J. G. particularly favoured in his ministry; painful to me to
    break up. Alone all the afternoon and evening; read in the
    Italian Bible; am going to bed comforted and thankful; but had,
    at morning meeting, one of my paroxysms of regret for
    ill-fulfilled duties, and was brought very low; “but He helped
    me,” and all is peace again, and I shall lie down in quiet.
    (22nd.)   An unsatisfactory day, except as I read in my Italian
    Bible, and to the servants. (23rd.)   Tranquil at rising, and
    wrote all the morning, till I went to E., where I met Lady H.
    G., D. G., and dear A. G.; a happy day! and am going to bed
    thankful. (24th.)   Obliged to leave E., preferred doing so; I
    wanted to go home to draw U. M. for her dying lover; I succeeded
    entirely, they thought; felt thankful to be so enabled. (25th.)
      To meeting, a marriage there. I went a round of visiting
    invalid friends, and a poor woman; in the afternoon, went out
    again and visited another afflicted invalid. Felt my mind
    tenderly impressed with pity, and with thankfulness for my own
    health. Saw dear O. A. Woodhouse, glad to see him for _many_
    sakes; evening, wrote, and to bed at eleven, most thankful and
    peaceful. (26th.)   Going to dine at E. with a crowd.—The party
    tolerably agreeable, considering its size; a day, not entirely
    lost, I trust. (27th.)   Went to the jail, and had a
    satisfactory meeting with the women there. To bed not satisfied
    with myself. (28th.)   Meeting a most favoured one; dear J. J.
    G. very impressive and affecting, with a view to his departure
    for Ireland; wrote to H. G., and received from him a most
    satisfactory answer, authorizing me to draw on him for ——’s
    wants; how kind! like him! thankful am I, that I have been the
    means of serving her! to bed peaceful and thankful. (30th.)
      Rose well and happy, and settled my weekly accounts; in the
    evening wrote letters. I have been comforted all day through the
    tender sorrowful remembrance of him who is gone; and the memory
    of his deep and ever-enduring and _unselfish_ love, is
    frequently recurring and _clinging_ to me; and death alone, I
    believe, can ever banish him from my daily and fond, grateful
    recollection; but, “it is well;” I can say so, from the bottom
    of my heart, and though I remain, I murmur not—now to bed, with
    thankfulness, though with tears.

    (1st February, 2nd mo.)   Not much sleep in the night; a
    pleasant breakfast, and most refreshing sweet meeting. Tears
    would flow, but was able to supplicate for our dear departing
    friends, and to return thanks for being able to part with them
    so cheerfully. _Two years ago_, how I should have felt it, on
    mine and my dearest father’s account; but I feel indifferent
    whether he be here when _I_ die, or not. * * Now to bed, calm
    and thankful. An _idle_, I fear, and, so far, a sinful day; gave
    £1 to a case that _touched_ me; was I fear, too much, but could
    not help it. (2nd.)   O. Woodhouse here; glad to feel that a son
    of my beloved cousin, and bearing his name, is under my roof!
    Our evening has been placid, part spent in talk, and part in
    reading. Now to bed, rather depressed that I have done nothing
    to-day to improve myself, except reading in the Bible—I begin
    to feel that my time must be made profitable, or I cannot be
    happy; my solitary evenings are my happiest time, and shortest,
    because employed! Oh! that I had earlier thought thus. Then
    would “my peace have been as a river, and my righteousness as
    the waves of the sea”—perhaps—but I am, and was, vile. (3rd.)
      Forced myself to go and see, and minister to the wants of,
    some poor people. (4th.)   Meeting, a mixed one of favoured and
    wandering thoughts; L. A. very sweet in her ministry. (5th.)
      Rose cheerful, went to visit various friends. To my dear
    father’s grave, and the other graves of those dear to me; how I
    wished he might see me, and read my heart. Went and read to the
    poor widow B., and visited others. (6th.)   Rose well, and
    cheerful. Went to call on that wretched girl in the workhouse.
    She cried, but I believe she wished to see me only to get money.
    Mean to get the prayer-book I gave her out of pawn. The
    committee of the new Magdalen met here to-day. I like the
    matron.

On the 7th inst., Mrs. Opie went to visit her friends at Northrepps;
each day has its entry. She was evidently cheered, and her spirits
revived and braced by this visit. Returning home on the 23rd of the
month, her last entry there is—“I leave N. C. with a heart full of
grateful love to its dear possessors. Alas! to bed for the last time
here this year, and, perhaps, for ever! Peace be to this house!”

(Journal resumed at home.)

    (Norwich, 24th.)   Had, as usual, some paroxysms of agonizing
    feeling, at missing the object once there to meet me, yet
    grateful to find kind and affectionate friends here. All things
    here, right and well; to bed, with a grateful heart for the
    mercies shewn me, and the blessings that remain. (25th.)   A
    good night, and a thankful waking. Enjoyed meeting much, called
    at the workhouse, &c. Afternoon meeting silent, but I trust
    refreshing.  Evening a comfortable reading to the servants.
    (26th.)   A good and favoured night, rose happy. * * * Wrote
    letters. A time of storm and calm; one of my paroxysms of grief
    for the dead, and self-blame for omitted duty, succeeded by calm
    and peacefulness. (27th.)   Paid three visits of charity. Went
    to the workhouse; saw the child, and thought her, perhaps
    obstinate, but quite an object of pity and interest; thought
    her, too, going into a decline; carried her coquilles and
    oranges. Saw P. C.; death was in her face, seemingly, and
    seemingly contrite; but even then, I find, she told me _a lie_.
    Not to be believed for a word’s speaking! Oh that workhouse!
    “There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark!” Spent a
    happy evening; good intentions, if not good deeds. (28th.)   A
    good night and bright awaking. * * Dined at Earlham. Next day
    very pleasant. (2nd.)   A good night, and much thankfulness on
    waking. Wrote a “Tale of Truth.” To the workhouse. After a happy
    evening _alone_, to bed, in great peace of mind. (4th.)
      Meeting very still and refreshing; L. A. much favoured. Wrote
    several verses to the memory of Bishop Heber. (5th of the 3rd
    mo.)   Had a good night, and peace of mind, when awake. Visited
    poor B., and admired his thankfulness for living where he can
    see the blue sky, and the birds, and a rainbow, as he lies in
    bed! Went to Sick Poor Committee. Monthly Meeting, too low to
    enjoy it. One of my sad, sad fits of regret for omitted filial
    duties, and for things done and undone, said and unsaid; but
    feel this ever recurring trial to be inflicted in mercy, and to
    keep me lowly and humble before my Creator. Fear, however, that
    the feeling increases, and that it may be a temptation. Find
    what H. Girdlestone said to me once, the most comforting reply
    to my fears of omitted duty, “You seem to have expected that a
    sinful being should have performed a duty perfectly; but it was
    not in nature to do it.” Well! I have only to hope that my
    agonies and tears may be an accepted sacrifice, and that they
    may keep me humble, as they spring from a sense of my own
    vileness. To bed early, as I dare not risk a recurrence of my
    lowness, and sleep may come soon. (6th.)   A good night, rose
    cheerful. Went to the Committee of Infant School, and took the
    week’s visiting there. S. Rose with me in the evening. Calm and
    thankful. (7th.)   Infant School; thought the children improved,
    but yet troublesome and disobedient. To the Magdalen
    Committee—not quite satisfied. (8th.)   Rose cheerful, and
    eager for meeting. On the whole, satisfactory; Monthly Meeting,
    though, rather long. Read some books from London in the
    evening—did not like them; dissatisfied with _so_ employing my
    time. (10th.)   Rose early. Bought cakes for the children, and
    went to Infant School. Thence to the jail: found two new women
    there; read and talked to them seriously. Had tea alone. Cucchi
    called in the evening; read two psalms aloud, in Italian, to
    him, and translated them. (13th.)   To the School: class
    attentive and orderly; a cake each, to the children; sale of
    work afterwards. Came home to dress. Both my friends looking
    well and in high spirits; felt thankful to see them so; all good
    be with them! Dined at my uncle’s at six. * * * Finished reading
    the “Hedge of Thorns” to the servants. (14th.)   To Earlham; a
    most happy time there. (15th.)   Ditto.

(Journal discontinued, till the 13th April.)

    (April 14th.)   Rose low and self-abased. At the jail, read
    tracts to the women, and the Prodigal Son; was satisfied with
    the manner of two of them; but have no faith in their amendment,
    in one way, while the turnkeys are men, and men on business are
    admitted, where women could do as well; but this is, I fear, a
    thing which will never be remedied. * * (15th, 1st day.)   A
    sweet, favoured meeting. Silence, I trust, blest to me; the
    ministry lively and touching. My Cousin R. to tea; went over his
    sermon with him; time went unconsciously. (16th.)   Letters and
    calls. After dinner went to sit by poor E. D.’s bedside, read
    several hymns to her; she bade me, I believe, what she thought,
    a last farewell! She is on the Rock, and one ought not to regret
    her. What a sweet letter Edward Irving has written to her! * * *
    * To bed, thankful, instructed, I hope, and cheered. (19th.)
      Rose before seven, and lighted my fire; wrote till half-past
    eight. Meeting a favoured one.—“The fire on the altar.” Called
    on A. B., an interesting woman, and wish I could do more for
    her. She has been used to such excellent society, and an object
    of interest and kindness to so many. She talks rapidly, and
    raises her voice sometimes, as all nervous people do; I wonder
    whether checking her, and saying “do not talk so fast!” would do
    her good. Not intimate enough yet to _risk_ it. Lost a great
    deal of time to-day reading an old favourite—displeased and
    shocked even, at my waste of time, and my life so far spent!
    “God be merciful to me a sinner!” my constant and necessary
    close of every day’s and night’s prayer. (21st.)   Went out on
    H. G.’s business. How pleasant to have to give pleasure, whether
    with my own or others’ money! Poor —— might indeed be grateful
    to him. Went after a poor man, but could not find him; probably
    only a street beggar. Went to poor A. B.; what a sufferer! but
    resigned. Called on my aunt, sorry I could not stay with her. To
    bed, with many pleasing feelings, thankful for unmerited
    mercies. What a generous Master we serve!

    (6th of the 5th mo.)   What indolence and neglect! from 21st of
    last mo. not a line written in my journal! Oh for power to be
    more diligent in future; but how soon, through life, have I been
    weary in well doing! To-day, felt solemnly and deeply engaged,
    in secret prayer, at meeting. Yesterday —— and —— to dinner;
    how little either of them, poor things, seemed to think of their
    great change! though one is 76, the other 73. Dress, cards, the
    world! But let me look to my own blindness and worldliness, and
    not censure theirs; and to me the voice has spoken, “Come,” and
    how have I obeyed it? Alas! Visited a sick friend and a poor
    _lost_ girl, just released from jail; read Rutherford’s letters
    all the afternoon: wrote for votes for a charity-boy; read to
    the servants, and to bed, not so dissatisfied as usual with my
    day’s work; may I be humbled, and enabled to rise early to my
    work to-morrow, and may the labours of my pen be blest!

    (3rd day, 7th.)   Rose early; to Infant School; little boys idle
    and ignorant in my class! _one_, however, good and diligent;
    then called on A. B., found her low for her dear sister’s death,
    but enjoyed my call. Went to the jail, have hopes of one woman;
    the other is sorry for detection, not for sin; but these are
    early times yet; her temper seems bad, _i.e._ if _expression_ is
    to be trusted; two calls on my way home. Tired, but not
    displeased with my day. * * *

The Journal here breaks off, not to be renewed (as a note, added at the
close, tells us) until 1829, “in another book.” We shall close this
chapter with an extract from a letter written in the autumn of this
year, to her friends at Northrepps Cottage.

    * * * How every day teems with eventful changes; F. and C., dear
    ones, have to inhabit a new abode; but death, _death_ is the
    change of changes! How trumpery, how unimportant, seem all
    changes compared to _that_; and how _that_ changes even the very
    look of existence to many of us! Sometimes it is almost
    unbearable to me; and I could run into the next room to look for
    what I cannot find, and cannot see again, and which yet seems
    blooming beside me, and cheerful, and living, and likely to
    live! and then I think how little I prized him while I had him
    with me! Oh! you know some of these feelings, and can deeply
    sympathize with me in what a child alone can feel. How deeply
    have I entered into the feelings of my estimable friend T. R.,
    (an only child,) on the loss of his mother, who lived with him;
    I expressed my feelings as follows:—

            At length, then, the tenderest of mothers is gone!
            Her smile, her love-accents, can glad thee no more;
            That once cheerful chamber is silent and lone,
            And, for thee, all a child’s precious duties are o’er.

            Her welcome at morning, her blessing at night,
            No longer the crown of thy comforts can be;
            And the friend seen and lov’d, since thine eyes first saw
              light,
            Thou can’st ne’er see again! thou art orphan’d like me.

            O change! from which nature must shrink overpower’d,
            Till faith shall the anguish remove and condemn,
            For the change to those blest ones “who die in the Lord,”
            Though to us it brings sorrow, gives glory to them.
                  9th mo., 1827.

-----

[26] Mrs. Opie is constantly mentioning the likenesses she takes of her
various friends. It was her custom, from a very early period, to take
profile likenesses, in pencil, of those who visited her. Several
hundreds of these sketches were preserved in books and folios.



                              CHAPTER XV.


    YEARLY MEETINGS; LETTER FROM LONDON; LETTERS FROM LADIES CORK
    AND CHARLEVILLE; “DETRACTION DISPLAYED;” LETTER FROM ARCHDEACON
    WRANGHAM; CROMER; DIARY FOR 1829.

From the time Mrs. Opie joined the Friends, she regularly attended the
Yearly Meetings of the Society, held in London during the month of May.
At these seasons she met numerous friends and acquaintances, and had an
opportunity of attending the meetings of various societies, in whose
objects she sympathized, and of which the Bible, and the British and
Foreign School, and Anti-Slavery Societies, were among the most valued.
What cordial interest she always evinced on these occasions, and with
how much animation and lively description, she loved to detail,
afterwards, what she had heard and seen! Her eye kindled as she recalled
the eloquent address of some friend of the wronged and helpless, and her
delighted approval was a meed which a good man might well rejoice to
have earned.

Shortly after the entry in her journal, with which the preceding chapter
concluded, she went to London, for the purpose of attending the Yearly
Meeting. Many painful regrets and memories of the past were unavoidable;
but she bore up against them, and the effort was beneficial. Solitude,
prolonged solitude, preyed upon her spirits, and her essentially social
nature languished and pined under it. One letter to the friend before
alluded to, contains some interesting particulars of her proceedings
during this visit.

                                Bradpole, Bridport, Dorsetshire,
                                              6th mo., 29th, 1827.
    MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,

    * * * Pray excuse my long silence. I know nothing of N. since I
    left it. I have had a feeling which has made me indifferent, not
    only to writing letters, but to receiving them. It was so
    different once; and my life, during the last three weeks in
    London, has realized my loss to me more than ever. I have had
    pleasing and gratifying things to relate; but, alas! he, to whom
    the relation would have given such pleasure, is gone; and even
    on the instant my pleasure has been swallowed up in pain;—but
    this is weak and earthly, and I will forbear. My life in London,
    during and after the Meeting, has been very happily spent. My
    lodgings were too far from Devonshire House; but I always got
    there in time, and when meeting was over, T. R. generally came
    home with me. Yearly Meeting was peculiarly sweet to me this
    year, and satisfactory to Friends. I attended the African
    Meeting at the Freemason’s Tavern: it was this year quite thin.
    Spring Rice, Chas. Barclay, and the Duke of Gloucester, were
    among the speakers. I saw Lady S. and her daughter, and gladly
    acceded to their request that I would sit by them. The Duke of
    Gloucester spoke to them, coming and going; but though he bowed
    to me, I was sure he did not know me; so on his returning, I
    begged Lady S. to name me, and he seemed so glad to see me, and
    talked some time, retaining my hand in his. (I hope friends
    behind were not scandalized.) There was an American lady who
    came up and introduced herself to me, and begged me to call on
    her, adding that Sir W. Scott’s niece was staying with her;
    accordingly, I called on them at Ellis’s Hotel, St. James’
    Street, when my new friend (sweet food for vanity, and I hope
    also for some better feeling) told me that my “Odd-tempered Man”
    had reformed a dear friend of hers, and she seemed to remember
    far more of it than I do. * *

    I promised to call at Lady Cork’s and ask leave to introduce the
    two ladies to her: and I did so, their footman attending me, to
    hear Lady C.’s reply. She sent a gracious message back, and
    accordingly they came, just as Lady C. Lamb had arrived, so they
    saw _her_; but so changed! I should hardly have known her.

    On 6th day morning, I went to Lord Roden’s, to hear him read and
    expound the Scriptures. At two o’clock every Friday he had this
    meeting, during his stay in London. The company was numerous,
    and several persons of quality among them. He is, indeed, a
    highly gifted man; but, my dear, I have since been at a meeting
    which will interest thee more. Since I came to London I have
    heard of many whom I left in the world, being come _out_ of it;
    amongst the rest, Thos. Erskine and his wife. At a bazaar for
    the schools in St. Giles’, held at the Hanover Square Rooms, (at
    which many of the sellers were Irish nobility,) I saw some
    friends, who prevailed on me to go and dine with them, and there
    I met Caroline Fry, with whom I talked of thee. At dinner they
    spoke of Mrs. Stephens, who, they said, was to expound that
    evening, at a friend’s house near, and I consented to go with
    them to hear her. It was a large assembly, and I found there
    many of my bazaar friends. I was warmly welcomed, especially by
    the fair expounder. Sir James Mackintosh’s daughter (the widow
    of M. Rich) introduced me to Lady G. Wolff. Her spouse did not
    come till late. Though tired with the bazaar, &c., and as sleepy
    as possible, that extraordinary and gifted being kept my
    attention fixed an hour and a half. How eloquent and touching
    were her words!

    When it was over, I went up to her; and, as I could not express
    my feelings, I gave her a kiss, and she afterwards embraced me,
    and we promised to meet if ever we came near each other’s
    habitation. I then stole away. It is certainly an extraordinary
    power, and many of the clergy who disapprove of woman’s
    ministry, have been brought round to approve; but I do not call
    hers _ministry_, except in prayer. She has done this twenty-two
    years, and still she does not seem old. How I wish thou hadst
    been there!

    I came here, quite knocked up; but this green flowery
    sequestered nest, amongst hills, and the sweet society of dear
    friends, will, I trust, soon restore me. Pray write to thy
    attached friend,

                                                          A. OPIE.

In this letter Mrs. Opie mentions having called on Lady Cork; their
friendship had been of long standing, and not even the great change in
Mrs. O.’s habits and opinions could estrange from her this early friend.
Soon after she joined the Friends, Lady Cork wrote to her thus:—

    “_Si vous êtes heureuse, je ne suis pas malheureuse_,” used to
    be my motto to you. I must be glad that you are happy; but I
    must confess I have too much _self_, not to feel it a tug at my
    heart, the _no-chance_ I have of enjoying your society again.
    Will your primitive cap never dine with me, and enjoy a quiet
    society? but really, am I never to see you again? Your
    parliament friend does not wear a broad-brimmed hat; so pray,
    pray, _pray_ do not put on the bonnet. So come to me and be my
    love, in a dove-coloured garb, and a simple head-dress. Teach us
    your pure morals, and your friend of the lower House shall join
    us, and approve of your compliance. He will agree with me, that
    good people, mixing with the world, are of infinitely more use
    than when they confine themselves to one set. Pray treat me with
    a letter sometimes; and when you do write, (if you happen to
    think of it,) say whether your Norwich goods are cheaper upon
    the spot than I can get them in town—this is of no consequence.
    Cannot you give me one of your 200 pictures? you’re welcome to
    my phiz, if you will come and paint it, or shall I step to you?
    I could fill a paper with fun, but the cold water of your last
    makes me end my letter. God bless you! Adieu.

                                  Yours ever, sinner or saint,
                                               M. CORK AND ORRERY.

    What! do you give up Holkham, your singing and music, and do you
    really see harm in singing? Now F. sings all day long, and
    thinks it her duty.

Her friend Lady Charleville, too, wrote kindly and feelingly:—

                                      London, le 10me Avril, 1828.

    Pour avoir le plaisir de te tutoyer, je t’écris, ma chère, en
    François, ou l’on tutoye naturellement celles que l’on aime. * *
    *

    Et je te jure que, quand tu te ferois Bramine, cela me seroit
    égale, tant que tu conserverais pour moi la même bonté que
    jadis! Le prince C. m’a parlé de la mort de ton cher père, mais
    il m’a assuré que je ne devois point t’écrire à ce sujet, pour
    te rappeller l’abîme de douleur où tu étois dans le premier
    temps.

    Ma chère Madame Opie, j’ai partagée la douleur, et je sais ce
    que c’est d’être privée de l’objet qui nous est cher.

    * * Pour la secte dont tu fais partie,—je la respecte au-de-là
    de toutes les autres. Je ne vois rien d’outré dans leur façons
    de penser, et je voudrais être assez bonne pour me conduire
    comme eux.

    Viens nous voir—j’en serai trop enchantée; ton cœur n’est point
    changé, et je suis sure que ta costume ne te rendra pas moins
    intéressante pour tes amis. Comptez, ma chère, que le temps ne
    fait nul effet sur moi, pour changer à l’intérêt que je prendrai
    toute ma vie à toi.

                                                E. M. CHARLEVILLE.

There is something in the evident truthfulness and genuine feeling of
these letters, which convinces one that there were many sacrifices of
feeling, and poignant regrets to be felt, in parting from the companions
and sympathies of the past.

In 1828 “Detraction Displayed” was published. Among the many
acknowledgments Mrs. O. received from her friends on this occasion, was
a letter from Archdeacon Wrangham, to whom she had alluded in this work.
He writes:—

                                             September 10th, 1828.
      DEAR MRS. OPIE,

    Having now read by snatches, as my little leisure has permitted,
    “Detraction Displayed,” I hasten to acknowledge the pleasure
    (and I trust I may also add profit) which I have derived from
    it. It is the conscientious work of a very gifted writer, and
    cannot be read without producing, by God’s accompanying
    blessing, excellent effects. The subtilty of the spirit, which
    you have endeavoured to lay, is such, that even the worthy, in
    many cases, inhale and exhale it, almost unawares;—persons who
    require only putting upon their guard, to avoid it scrupulously
    for the future. I don’t believe the Greek Alphabet, if such be
    the probable result of your volume, and its Alphas and Betas,
    &c., ever accomplished a more valuable service, since the days
    of Cadmus, its reputed inventor. So far do morals outgo mere
    literature.

    I cannot be insensible to your kind compliment in p. 231, and I
    am happy to be able to say, that none of my epigrams have had
    malice as their motive, though some, perhaps, a little
    _méchanceté_ in their composition. I rejoice to see your
    compliment to Mrs. Hemans, who is indeed a “charming writer,”
    and I would send you my Latin version of the two epigrams of pp.
    227, 228, as, having been made some years ago, (the latter
    upwards of thirty,) they prove that my taste on the subject
    concurs with your own,—if I did not fear that it might look
    like pedantry. * * *

                       Yours, dear Mrs. Opie, most faithfully,
                                                    JOHN WRANGHAM.

In the month of June Mrs. Opie, writing from Upton, to Miss Buxton and
Miss Gurney, gave them an account of her proceedings during her sojourn
in town; and thus records her impressions of a scene which greatly
interested her:—

    * * * I wished for you both, the other evening, when I had the
    inexpressible delight of hearing and seeing some of the very
    first men in the country, assembled to celebrate the Repeal of
    the Sacramental Test. One of the select committee, (Henry
    Waymouth,) kindly saved a ticket for me; which admitted me into
    a gallery just over the table where they sat; a private gallery,
    holding only twelve. We entered our box at half-past four,
    before the company came, having to go through the room to it.
    However, the time did not seem long, although the tables were
    not covered till half-past six. When the company was assembled,
    the Duke of Sussex arrived, and many with him. Previously,
    however, the clapping of hands had announced some one of
    consequence, and this was Sir F. Burdett, who took his seat
    under us, and so near, that we saw him always. I never heard
    acclamations and applause before this evening, (I may say.) The
    sounds were deafening. When the Duke was seated, the gallant
    band and true was arranged, beside and around him. Lord J.
    Russell on the right hand; Lord Holland on the left. Brougham,
    announced by loud clapping, sat where we saw him always and
    perfectly; but I wished him nearer. I suppose my friend Gurney
    told him I was to be there, for he put his hand to his cheek,
    and looking up at me, gave me one of his comical looks of
    recognition. * * * I was disappointed at F. Buxton’s not being
    there; however, I heard admirable speaking from Lord Holland
    particularly, and Brougham, Burdett, Lord Carnarvon, and every
    one, indeed, did well. Brougham, however, deservedly, my
    favourite speaker. Sir Francis spoke well, and gracefully, but
    with a tone. Brougham has such a voice! and his action is
    _perfect_, I think. In common speaking his voice is not very
    sweet; but in haranguing it is exquisite. Durham, fine also; and
    deep. Oh! it was one of the greatest treats I ever had; and in
    proportion was my sadness when I remembered that I had no one to
    relate it to, who would, as formerly, have doubled my pleasure
    by reflecting it perfectly. It was _one_ in the morning before
    the Duke departed, having well performed his duty. I had been so
    absorbed in attending, that I did not suppose it was eleven
    o’clock! I could have sat all night. We had ice, fruit,
    champaign, hock, tea, and coffee sent up to us; and in the lady
    behind me I found a most pleasant companion, and every minute
    told.

In the autumn of this year, Mrs. Opie repaired to her much-loved Cromer;
her notes contain some poetical pieces, written during this visit, from
which we select the following lines,

      WRITTEN ON THE SEA SHORE.
                                                       11th mo., 1828.

        Above, lo! cloud to cloud succeeds,
        Below, the waves in surges roll,
        Bounding and white as Grecian steeds,
        That bore their monarch to the goal.

        Now, his swift wings the sea bird lowers,
        For well he reads the angry skies,
        And ere the storm its fury pours,
        For shelter to the rock he flies.

        Bird of the wave! when dangers threat,
        When life looks dark and conflicts roar,
        Should deep remorse and vain regret
        Rouse in my heart desponding fear;

        May I for shelter seek, like thee,—
        Shelter, which can all fears remove,
        And to my rook of refuge flee;
        A dying Saviour’s pardoning love!

From Cromer Mrs. Opie went to Northrepps, on a visit to her friends at
the Cottage, and, while there, she resumed the Journal which had for a
time been discontinued.

    _New Year’s day_, 1829. Rose at seven o’clock, after a good
    night; feeling thankful for being once more under the hospitable
    roof of friends, so very dear, and so very kind. * *

    At the close of the day went to my room, grateful for the
    enjoyment I have had; but, as far as Christian duty goes, I fear
    it has been a day of selfish enjoyment only,—a day for time,
    but what for eternity? however, if I have not performed one good
    action, I trust I have not committed any great offence; but
    then, are not sins of omission as bad as sins of commission? If
    so, alas for me and myriads of others!

    (3rd.)   Rose very thankful for a refreshing night. But my
    dreams were affecting in the retrospect; they carried me back to
    the second house I ever lived in, and where my mother died. I
    saw her, and my dear father, and the room so plainly! and all
    the past came rushing over me;—both gone! What a comfort to
    remember what my father said to me, when he announced her death
    to me: “she is gone! and may you, Amelia, never have cause to
    blush when you see her again!” How often, during my succeeding
    years, did those words of parental warning recur to me, and
    pleasantly! The _dearest wish_ of my heart is to see both my
    parents again; and perhaps it will one day be gratified. Surely,
    where parents do their _duty_, children can never know a tie
    stronger, or as strong, as their _earliest_ dependence on a
    parent’s love produces! and, after the lapse of many years, how
    fresh and vivid still are the recollections of parental and
    filial love! At least, _I_ feel them to be so.

    (4th.)   A night to be thankful for. Snow on the ground and
    trees, when I rose; happily, I had given up all idea of going to
    S. Meeting, for fear of making myself ill again. My dear friends
    and the family gone to church; I going to keep my meeting in my
    own room. The snow is falling from the trees, and taking away
    the beauty it gave; but the sky seems likely to bring it again.
    The wind is to the N.E. and high, and one cannot but fear for
    ships at sea; so my benevolent friends have ordered out the
    fishermen who look after the gun, to keep watch along the cliff.
    May He, who rules the waves, watch over the endangered! * * *

    I have enjoyed my first day, even though I have not been to
    meeting. It is sweet to know one is in a worshipping family!

    (6th.)   Sleet and snow abounding; made drawings of three of my
    friends, and rode out in a snow storm, and enjoyed it. * * * To
    bed latish, with pleasant recollections of the day, though
    burdened with the sin of having desired the accession of _great
    wealth_—that is, of _power_, and the means of
    self-gratification. Who is to be trusted with such a gift? Not
    I, I am sure; and ought I not to know that _wishes_ are a
    species of _murmurs_, and that “nevertheless, Thy will not mine
    be done,” is the only proper language? (9th.)   Reading
    Washington Irving’s Columbus—how interesting! As well satisfied
    as I can be, while doing nothing for the good of others. (10th.)
      Drove to Sheringham, and returned in a storm of sleet, just in
    time to keep my engagement at H. B.’s; and arrived there as _the
    clock struck five_, punctual, to my heart’s content. * * To bed
    grateful for much, but most, for having been able, in some
    instances, during the evening, to speak according to my own
    moral standard, whether vainly or not. (14th.)   A good night;
    was dressed by eight, but so absorbed in the psalms, and in
    making extracts from Columbus, that I did not hear the reading
    bell, and lost the reading, which I regretted. * * After dinner
    we drove out; but previously I wrote a little account of cruelty
    to a dog. We had a most charming drive. It was a bright
    afternoon, and the sky over the sea was full of tints, and such
    a glorious setting sun, which clothed the church steeple, and
    many other prominent objects in sunshine, as we came down the
    road from Roughton! But, welcome were our home, and our smiling
    fire, and welcoming friend! (16th.)   Drove out to D. B.’s, to
    see my epitaph on the stone. Thankful to have given pleasure to
    the son, by these lines. Oh that, like the epitaph named by Legh
    Richmond, in his Young Cottager, they may be made the means of
    good! A happy evening, to bed thankful for much, though not
    satisfied with my own conduct. (17th.)   A good night to return
    thanks for. Drove to see _that_ house, where I had so often been
    with those most dear, now in their graves—my husband, and my
    cousin Olyett Woodhouse! Dear O! when he went away and sold this
    estate, he hoped to repurchase it, and return; but he is in his
    Indian grave! What a trial his death was to me! but my _last_
    loss annihilated, in a great measure, the sense of every other.
    (18th, first day.)   _Grieved_ I could not get to meeting, but I
    must bear it as well as I can. My own sitting, a favoured and
    comforting one. After dinner, set off to see the poor widow
    Green, a blind woman of 89; read to her a long time, and gave
    her money. Went to the cliff; the sea and sky truly interesting.
    * * To bed with sabbath feelings. (19th.)   Went to see the
    skaters. Lord Suffield came up to us; and, while we admired the
    tints of the sky,—which were pale green over the sea, melting
    into pale blue, and then gradually deepening, till they became
    the deepest, richest, indigo and purple, over our heads,—he
    observed, that he had often, but vainly, tried to convince
    distant friends that our skies in Norfolk, near the sea, have
    the finest tints he ever saw, and pale green particularly.

    (22nd.)   A most comfortable sitting of two hours in my own
    room. Thought of dear N. friends, and wished myself there, (at
    meeting,) but was thankful for my lonely opportunity. * * * If I
    were not so idle, and were nearer a meeting, my happiness could
    know no drawback; especially when we three are alone together.
    (23rd.)   Such a good night! We read as usual; afterwards dear
    A. was dragged in her hand-chair, to visit the cottages and the
    sea. The cold, on going out, was intense; the snow in our faces;
    but I got warm with walking, and enjoyed the scene and the
    visits. Went to the cliff, and saw, on the shore, planks and
    baulks, which a most angry sea had washed up; a wreck, no doubt,
    somewhere, the fishermen said. Fresh barley had floated to land
    also, and we went to a farm yard near, to see a ladder, bearing
    the inscription of Exmouth, Hull. My dear friend ordered the men
    to be on the alert, and watch, lest any vessel should be in
    distress on the coast, that the mortar might be used. Happily,
    however, we heard of none being in sight. Drew three likenesses;
    two, reckoned very good. Alas! it was my last evening at the
    dear cottage! and it was one of love and interest; and, to me,
    of thankfulness that I have such friends.

Of this walk in the snow, Mrs. Opie afterwards wrote a pleasing account,
part of which we subjoin:—

    * * * Snow had continued to fall, and I to admire; but we became
    impatient of keeping the house, and resolved to go out in some
    way or other. Accordingly, as to use the horses was impossible,
    I equipped myself for walking, and one of my friends for going
    in a chair on wheels. But when the moment for our departure
    arrived, I felt very loth to leave the fire-side, and envied the
    dear companion, who, not daring to brave the cold, was left to
    enjoy its cheering precincts. However, though casting “a longing
    lingering look behind,” both on my friend and the fire, I
    sallied forth. The wind was a keen north-easter, and blew full
    in our faces, while I, though shuddering in the blast, ankle
    deep in snow, and with fingers in agony, romantically attempted
    to convince myself how delightful the walk was, by repeating a
    sonnet to winter, written in the days of my youth. But even my
    own fictions had not power to warm me; and as, with blue and
    quivering lip, I spouted my tuneful admiration of what was
    taking away my breath, and inflicting pain on me besides, I
    ended in a hearty laugh at my own absurdity; in which, as my
    companion was not sensible of what I was doing, since the wind
    blew my words away from her, she happily could not join, and I
    kept my own counsel.

    I then tried to beguile my sense of cold, by admiring the group
    before me. Methought we should have made a figure in a
    landscape—not that there was aught picturesque in my dress;
    still, my full long cloak was blown by the wind into folds,
    which would, in a picture, have turned, I flatter myself, to
    some account; but my friend in her chair, the servants and the
    dogs who accompanied us, made a group which, as I said before,
    might have employed the pencil to advantage. Yes, we had three
    dogs with us, one of them was a fine black curly Newfoundland
    dog, called Charley; and his companion was a small terrier. The
    Marquise de Sevigné said of a friend of hers, that he abused the
    privilege which men have to be ugly—and I think poor Hefty has
    abused the privilege which terriers have to be so; _au reste_,
    he is a good dog, but, like his species, high-minded and
    aristocratic. Every one knows that dogs do not like the poor, or
    their houses; probably there is something in the smell of
    poverty which displeases their nice organs.

    The terrier in question, when, to his great annoyance, one day,
    I forced him into a cottage, got under my chair, and would not
    stir from it while I staid, wrapping himself up meanwhile, in
    the train of my silk gown.

    The servants were forced to keep a sharp look out after Hefty
    and Charley, because they knew there were plenty of pheasants
    and hares in the coverts, alongside of which we passed, and
    seemed to think a chase after them would be an agreeable
    pastime; while their bounding feet, ever and anon on the verge
    of trespassing, and the exemplary readiness with which, better
    taught than most children, they obeyed the calling voice to
    return, gave interest and cheerfulness to our walk.

    The third dog was a short-legged, big-bodied, over-fed, tiny,
    pet spaniel, with brown ears, that almost swept the snow as he
    waddled along. Why he came out at all I know not, as he has no
    vocation for any exertion save that of eating, lapping, and
    barking; and, I believe, if Jackey could have spoken, he would
    have begged Charley and Hefty not to walk quite so fast, but
    wait for _him_. At last, the poor little body was so tired, that
    his mistress took him on her lap, and, while his really pretty
    head peeped over her arm, he added to the picturesqueness of our
    group.

    We had some way to go, before we came to a habitation, and the
    “untrodden snow,” extending on all sides, made the scene appear
    unusually desolate. The Parish Church, too, which we passed,
    added to the desolation. The greater part of it, that is, the
    whole body, is a ruin; but part of the nave is still entire, and
    able to hold the population of O——. It is, perhaps, one of the
    smallest churches in England, but I doubt whether there be one,
    in which the service is performed with more exemplary zeal and
    heartfelt sincerity, or where the worshippers, (chiefly
    fishermen and their families,) are more truly and fervently
    devotional. Tradition says, that every evening, at twilight, the
    _ghost of a dog_ is seen to pass under the wall of this
    churchyard, having begun its walk from the church at B——, a
    village between Cromer and Sheringham. It is known by the name
    of Old Shock, and is said to be very like Charley, the companion
    of our walk, by those who have seen, and _felt_ him; for this
    four-footed ghost, unlike all human ones, is not only visible,
    but tangible. A worthy, sensible gamekeeper, now no more,
    declared, and believed, to the day of his death, that one
    evening it ran under his hand, and “though ready to face any
    earth-born poacher, four-legged or two-legged, at dawn or at
    dusk,” he owned he was so frightened, for he knew what it was he
    saw glide on before him in the moonlight! Its back, as he
    described it, was rough, hard, and shaggy.

    Old Shock walks sometimes with a head, sometimes without, but,
    be that as it may, the villagers, when questioned, assert that
    his eyes are “always as big as saucers.”

    He is supposed to be a relic of the Danes, because Norfolk was
    long their abode—so long, that many Danish words are left in
    use amongst us, especially on the coast of which I am writing;
    and a similar story of a spectre dog is current in Denmark.
    There was one also in the Isle of Man, so long under the
    Northmen’s sway.[27] This spectre dog of ours is certainly an
    animal of taste, to judge by his choice in walks.

The following day (the 24th instant) Mrs. Opie returned to Norwich, and
the next entry in her Journal is made from her own house:—

    Returned in safety to my lonely home. What a contrast to the
    scene I left! but I am deeply thankful for three weeks and two
    days so happily spent, and for the real and many comforts to
    which I return.

Shortly after, she records the illness and death of one of her early
friends, the daughter of Mrs. Colombine, (to whom she addressed a letter
of friendly sympathy, in 1803, from which an extract is given in chapter
xiv.) Most tenderly did she watch beside the bed of the poor sufferer,
minister to her wants, and, at length, close her eyes. A day or two
after her death, she writes:—

    She begged me not to leave her—but how could I? I resolved to
    sit up with her. I went home to my tea, and then came back. She
    had slept in my absence; when she woke, and saw me, she was so
    glad; and when I assured her I would not leave her, she kept
    saying, trying to smile, (a ghastly smile indeed,) “God bless
    you! bless you! bless you!” After a night of great conflict on
    her part, and deep feeling on mine, she breathed her last, at
    five minutes past five; and I had the melancholy office of
    closing her eyes. How thankful was I, as I stood by her
    breathless clay, to know, that she, who had shed so many tears,
    was gone where “tears are wiped from all eyes,” and to picture
    the reunion of mother and daughter, where _separation_ comes
    not! She survived her mother only a fortnight—oh! what a mercy;
    blessed be He who willed it so to be!

    Next day I rose at one, and visited the poor, bereaved aunt;
    staid some hours, became ill, oppressed, and nervous, and called
    on Dr. Ash, who prescribed for me. Met H. G., who went home with
    me, and staid two or three hours; and when he left me, I had not
    a complaint in the world! Went to bed so thankful, even for the
    trials of the night and day. (4th day.)   Went in the mourning
    coach, with Dr. Sutton and J. Beecroft, to the house. How the
    French Church, where the dear sufferer was laid, on her mother’s
    coffin, called back the days of my childhood, and French School!
    Dr. S. read the service _well_. Went to Magdalen, committee long
    and interesting; called at my uncle’s. (6th.)   Catherine G. to
    dinner; did _so_ enjoy her company. Went to bed very happy.
    (7th.)   My uncle’s birthday, (seventy-six;) dined with him; a
    pleasant day; my uncle in spirits. To bed thankful and
    contented.

Here the Journal abruptly breaks off.

In May of this year, Mrs. Opie was, as usual, in London, and writing to
her friends at Northrepps Cottage, she says:—

                                              5th mo., 11th, 1829.
      MY VERY DEAR FRIENDS,

    I would write “histories” if I could, but for even short tales I
    have no time; and I am always led to feel myself very “infirm of
    purpose,” when I come to London. I meant to have written down
    what I composed on the road, and to send it to dear Northrepps
    Cottage, but I have not had any adequate leisure. I was ill all
    the way hither, with a feverish cold, and kept the house next
    day; but was well enough, by dinner, to enjoy our admirable
    guest, Baptist Noel, and he was our only one; and we did indeed
    enjoy him; one word is sufficient to express him, and includes
    his mind, heart, manners, conversation, and
    character—Delightful!

    In the evening came the T. Erskines. Without any affectation, B.
    N. leads the conversation to religious subjects, and happy the
    young, as well as the old, who can frequently associate with
    such a man! It was a rich day. The next morning we drove to
    Christie’s; he was very kind; and on the 23rd my pictures, which
    now I rather pine after, are to be exhibited, and sold, with
    some by Ward and Gainsborough. He advises immediate sale, as
    times grow worse and worse.

    Henrietta Erskine having given me a reserved ticket for the
    Jews’ Meeting, I then drove to the Freemasons’ Hall, which I
    found nearly full. As they passed, I had an opportunity of
    shaking hands with F. Cunningham, Wilberforce, and Simeon. Sir
    Thos. Baring was in the chair; and I heard twelve speakers, and
    was there from twelve to near half-past five! but I was so
    deeply interested that I was not tired. There was much
    eloquence, and, what was better, a christian spirit, and
    christian humility, I think, pervading all, and manifested very
    visibly. You will read the whole proceedings in the Record,
    therefore I will not name the speakers. We are going now to the
    British and Foreign School Society Meeting.

In the month of June following, Mrs. Opie visited Paris, and spent some
months there. An account of this trip is given in the next chapter.

-----

[27] See the Notes to the Lay of the Last Minstrel.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


    VISIT TO PARIS; JOURNAL DURING HER STAY THERE; LETTER FROM
    THENCE; RETURN TO ENGLAND; LETTER FROM LAFAYETTE; SONNET “ON
    SEEING THE TRICOLOR;” SOUTHEY’S “COLLOQUIES;” LETTER FROM MRS.
    FRY; “NURSING SISTERS.”

Mrs. Opie had for some time been projecting a visit to Paris; and she
now found an opportunity of indulging that desire for travelling, which,
as we have seen, she entertained before the death of her father. With
mingled emotions she anticipated revisiting a place she had formerly
seen under such different circumstances, and she thus expressed her
feelings on the occasion:—

    It was with twofold sensations, of which, _at last_, pleasure
    predominated, that I decided on revisiting Paris. * * When I
    last saw it, I was accompanied by my husband, as well as
    endeared friends, and my pleasant experiences were then
    communicated to my beloved father. _Now_ I am alone in the
    world, affording, not receiving, protection; and in every way my
    position in life is changed. Yet, while my self-consciousness
    and selfish feelings vent themselves in silent but heartfelt
    regrets, I cannot but recollect that France has undergone
    changes of far greater importance to itself and the world. The
    France which I left a Republic, in 1802, has become a Monarchy
    again, under the dominion of a Bourbon! and I can hardly help
    smiling at my own engrossing egotism. * * *

During this, and her subsequent Parisian visit, Mrs. Opie kept a daily
journal, (as indeed was her wont during all her journies,) in which she
recorded events of interest, and carefully noted the attentions shewn
her, of however trifling a character, whether by friends or strangers.
The following extracts from the journal of this second visit to the
French capital, may interest the reader.

    * * * * Went on board the Lord Melville steamboat, at half past
    four in the morning of the 10th of the 6th mo., accompanied by a
    young lady whom I promised to see safe to Paris. My spirits
    neither high nor low, and I resolved to keep recollections at
    bay. * * *

    The passage was rough, but I did not suffer from sea sickness.
    The next day, after a good night, we started at nine o’clock in
    the diligence, and had a pleasant journey to Abbeville; one of
    our companions, a pretty Frenchwoman of twenty-five, surprised
    me by her ignorance and excessive curiosity, and interested me
    by her evident family attachment. She travelled without a
    bonnet, (in a very becoming cap,) and told me she rarely wore
    one, but worked, and walked, and went to mass, without. At sight
    of her brother, who came to meet her, her fine eyes overflowed
    with tears.

After a pleasant journey, the traveller reached Paris on the 12th, and,
being welcomed by her friends, says:—“I shall like my _séjour_ with
them while I stay, and am thankful for everything—all so much more than
I deserve.” Next day, on the Place de Grêve, she beheld a crowd
gathering round the guillotine! a man was about to suffer death for
murder.

    * * * For a curious traveller it was an opportune circumstance,
    and we got out and drew near to examine the awful instrument; a
    _gendarme_ told me “_d’éntrer, et faire la tour_.” I found it
    was the same in form and size as that _d’autrefois_. Thence we
    proceeded to the Jardin des Plantes, which was delightful; I saw
    the elephant bathe, and admired the splendid giraffe, and one
    bird, the _aigle destructeur_, which alone, it was worth coming
    to see. (1st day.)   Went to the Champs Elisées, to Meeting at
    T. S.’s—situation charming—we met only seven persons, and sat
    only one hour. (15th.)   Went to the Duchess de Broglie’s, and
    had an interesting conversation with her. Thence went to the
    Hall of the Institute, and was much pleased. (17th inst.)   Went
    this morning to the Marquis de Lafayette’s, found him at home;
    was most kindly received, and presented my letter, and begged
    him to read it; he said he was glad to know me, and his
    daughters would call on, and invite me. A delightful loveable
    man! a handsome blooming man of seventy-two. My hero through
    life! How my dear father would have rejoiced in my knowing him.
    Came home pleased, and bought some confitures. (18th.)   Had
    tickets for the Chamber of Deputies, and was admitted to the
    _Tribune des Dames_ at twelve. At two the chamber
    assembled—noise, of the _côté droit_ especially, _astonishing_.
    Did not understand much, but enjoyed what I did, and was
    excessively interested. Saw Benjamin Constant, and heard and
    understood him. Saw Berard. House up at six. (20th, Saturday.)
      Lafayette sent me tickets for the Chamber again, with an
    English note sealed with the head of Washington: precious! At
    nine went to Baron Cuvier’s, and stayed till half past
    eleven—amused and flattered. (1st day.)   To the Champs
    Elisées; a short, but most interesting, sitting. It was the
    _fête Dieu_, and we should all have liked to have seen the
    procession, but could not, without giving up meeting. (2nd day,
    22nd.)   Went to see the glass manufactory in the Faubourg St.
    Antoine, and on my way saw le Café Turque, full of glasses and
    bouquets; it must be very pretty lighted up. At the manufactory,
    the largest glass 130 inches (French) long, and 63 in width.
    Being near Vincennes, went thither in a _cabriolet de remise_,
    and ascended 250 steps to the tower of the dungeon. Was repaid
    by the view from the top and the fine fresh air, but a tempest
    came on so violently we could only get to the chapel, and not to
    the ditch, where the poor d’Enghien was shot. Part of his
    monument is very fine, and the painted window very much so, the
    designs are from Raphael. All the way home it rained in our
    faces; I held _mon petit chapeau_ on my lap, and put my shawl
    round my head, and the hat escaped unhurt.[28]

On the 23rd. The evening was spent at Lafayette’s, where she found many
Americans, to whom she was presented, and Mr. Benjamin Constant, who
addressed her “politely but coldly.” With her distinguished host and his
family she was “delighted,” and two days after, says, “I went at half
past ten to Gen. Lafayette’s to sit with him, while he sat for his
picture to Davis; Lady Morgan was also there, and I enjoyed my visit.
Returning home I went to the Luxembourg gardens, ‘the gardens of Roses!’
and afterwards to La Morgue, whence I hastily withdrew, feeling that I
could not bear it.”

The Journal continues:—

    (7th day, 27th.)   To the General’s, and staid till past twelve,
    then to the Tuilleries’ palace, which much delighted me with its
    grandeur and beauty. My evening was spent at Madame la Baronne
    Cuvier’s _soirée_, where I met David, and returned home by
    twelve, much pleased. (2nd day, 30th.)   David came to me and I
    sat for my medal; afterwards spent the day in visiting various
    places.

The next few days record sittings to David for her medal, and visits to
the General’s, to be present while his portrait was proceeding.

    (5th day, 2nd of mo.)   Breakfasted at the Hôtel des Isles
    Britanniques, and went with my friends to _le Palais_ * * * saw
    fine pictures, and fine furniture and rooms; and the bed where
    Napoleon slept, the last night he passed in Paris, and the table
    on which he signed his second abdication! The same day went to
    the Hospital for incurables, and was delighted with _Sœur
    Angelique, sœur de la Charité_; I must go again; it is a most
    perfect Institution. Went afterwards to the Maison de Santé, in
    the Rue du Quartier St. Denis; and dined at the Café de Paris,
    on the Boulevards; dinner excellent, and the room so pretty.
    (7th day, 4th.)   Went to Père la Chaise, and being forced by
    rain into the chapel, saw a young woman give money to have a
    candle lighted; then she took a chair, and knelt on it and
    prayed; no doubt it was for the soul of one lost and loved! We
    were twenty-two in company, of all ranks and conditions, but she
    alone proved herself devout; soon after, as we were walking
    along, we saw a young lady in deep mourning, beside a newly-made
    grave, sobbing violently and wringing her hands, while a
    gentleman with her begged her to come away and be consoled. I
    wished to stop and ask him what friend they had lost, but
    _dared_ not; if I had been alone, I think I should. The view of
    Paris from this interesting spot is delightful; I felt much
    interested in this singular scene, and shed many tears at sight
    of one inscription, in particular. I envied the _power_ of
    planting flowers on the graves of those we love. We could not
    find poor George Blackshaw’s grave, nor his son’s. I must come
    again.

Short entries for several days succeed, recording the events of each
day; the completion of her profile medal, by David; her visits to La B.
Cuvier; to San Lazare and la Salpétriere; to the General Lafayette’s; to
Sèvres and St. Cloud, &c.

    (11th, 1st day.)   After meeting, David took me to l’Abbé
    Gregoire’s and I was delighted with my visit, and next day he
    accompanied me to Père la Chaise; we had a most interesting walk
    of four hours, but could not find G. B.’s tomb. In the evening I
    received a letter from De Bardelin, dated _Paris_, and, glad
    surprise! he came and took tea with us. The next evening went to
    Gen. Lafayette’s for the last time, and he invited me to go to
    La Grange.

On the 17th, she went with a party of friends to Montmorency, and was
charmed with the country, but “saw Rousseau’s tomb and the Hermitage
_unmoved_!” Each day bears a record of some visit or excursion, with the
many friends who gathered around her. On one of these occasions, at
Bishop Luscombe’s she “met a lady whom she had known in 1806;” and
beheld with much pleasure, a picture by her husband, which her friend
David “thought very good, taking it for a Spanish picture; it is
reckoned like Murillo.” A visit to the _atelier_ of the sculptor also
draws forth her warm encomiums; she says, “_delighted_ with his General
Foy; the statue admirable, the bas-reliefs excellent; also I liked
Gregoire’s bust much.” Shortly after she went to see a somnambule, and
was “put _en rapport avec elle_—_she_ very complimentary—I not
satisfied; am to see another; my companion was in ecstacies about
nothing.” Her journal continues—

    (22nd.)   Went to l’Hôtel Dieu, was satisfied; went next to
    Nôtre Dame, and saw, in the sacristy, the things used at the
    coronation of Napoleon; also, in boxes, the relics—_le porte
    Dieu_, used at Napoleon’s coronation; and the _glory_ of rare
    diamonds; also the robes of Napoleon and Josephine, and the
    _robes brodées en fleurs_, which he had made for the pope; and
    the robes of Charles X, _bleu et argent_. Went next to the
    Palais de Justice, and heard pleading and judgment given in the
    Cour Royale and the Cour de Cassation. Went afterwards to the
    flower market—delicious! and so home, well satisfied with my
    morning.

The following letter is selected from amongst several written at the
time:—

                                Rue Cadet, 11, F. S. Montmartre.
                                      Ce 24me., du 7me mois, 1829.

    At length my too long neglected friend, I sit down to write to
    thee; a duty and a pleasure, which I have found it easier to
    contemplate in prospect, than to fulfil and procure—but _trêve
    d’excuses_. Here I have been six weeks! I came for _four_, but
    how could I quit this _beau Paris et les amiables Parisiens, que
    j’ai trouvés ici_? Dear friend, were I not, as I hope, too old
    to have my head turned, I think it would have been turned here,
    by all the attentions and flatteries I have received; but it was
    humbling, in some measure, to find that I was courted for my
    _past_, not my _recent_ writings. The latter are not in the
    French style; I fear I must own that their moral standard is not
    as high as ours; but there are here, I fully believe, men, and
    women too, holy enough to save the city. My experiences have
    been various, and among all classes; from the sceptic who owns
    to me, that when he dies, he expects to go into entire
    nothingness; to the exemplary and pious catholic, who, believing
    in his own salvation, is kindly and fervently anxious for
    _mine_; but I wish my two Generals—one known to thee
    personally, the other by reputation, to be the chief heroes of
    this letter. After a month’s residence here, I wrote to
    Bardelin, at St. Germain’s, where I fancied he was, to tell him
    I was coming thither, and hoped to see him. He answered me that
    evening, from _Paris_, and came to see me soon after; and I find
    him out of the service, a Maréchal-de-camp; General chevalier
    décoré! How glad it made me!

    The other general is Lafayette; the hero of my childhood, the
    idol of my youth! And I have found him far beyond my idea of
    him, high raised as it was! He is a handsome man of seventy-two,
    humble, simple, and blushing like a girl, at his own praises,
    with manners the most perfect possible; and his _bonhommie_ is
    so striking, that one almost forgets his greatness and his fame.
    I brought a letter to him from my friend, Dr. H., which I
    delivered in person—I shall never forget his reception!

    His daughters called on me the next day, and I had a note from
    him, inviting me to his _soirée_. [The letter goes on to
    describe what is related in the journal.] * * * The great
    delight was my friend M. S.’s having sent over Davis to paint
    Lafayette, and Davis wishing me to be present to animate the
    General! Accordingly I was there five mornings, having his
    conversation to myself. I was also at his house in the evening,
    five times. * * *

    I have another General to tell about, one of the first men in
    France as to family; the Marquis de Clermont Tonnerre, (who as a
    boy was known to thee;) he gave me a dinner the other day, the
    most beautiful little French dinner I ever saw. Dusgate is a
    complete _savant_, shut up, studying mathematics, and, for
    health’s sake, living on bread and water!! He is, however, very
    clever and agreeable. The Marquis and I were soon acquainted,
    and agreed to go together to see sights; we were together some
    hours, during which I was delighted and edified by his deep
    piety, (he is a _bon Catholique_,) and he gratified me by his
    desire, that I who am “_si bonne, et si dévouée aux bonnes
    œuvres_,” (according to him,) should be “_entièrement
    Catholique_.”

    My next hero is no General, but a _sculpteur libéral_, the first
    man of his class here; who, before I saw him, was desirous of
    making a medal of me, for having made him _cry his eyes out_ by
    my works. _Malgré moi_, he has made me _en medaille_, me and my
    _petit bonnet_, which the artists here say looks like a Phrygian
    helmet, and has _un air classique_; but, though young and
    flattered, the thing is _like_, and David satisfied.[29] To this
    gentleman I owe some of the most interesting hours I have passed
    here; with a mind in some respects analogous to my own, he has
    my husband’s _poetical views_ of his art. He has given me much
    of his precious time; we spent some hours at Père la Chaise,
    vainly seeking my poor friend’s grave. Père la Chaise is a
    lovely place. This morning I have been to see an Infant School;
    very good. Yesterday I saw the lady who is one of the chief
    directors; she excels all the women I have yet seen here, the
    Duchess de Broglie excepted. I believe I love her already! In
    about ten days I expect to set off for England, by Dieppe. I
    shall leave Paris with regret, and deep gratitude. We have a
    nice quiet meeting in the Champs Elisées on the first day
    morning. * * Now for noble monuments, (principally by my
    companion,) fine trees, a blue sky, and affecting recollections.

                        With love, I am thy affectionate friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

The same day (the 24th) Mrs. Opie visited the Bibliothèque du Roi, and
was much amused, “but too late to see the manuscripts:” the succeeding
four days were spent in visiting, and on the 28th she writes:—

    Up at five, and off to Fontainebleau, enjoying the day
    excessively; the palace almost painfully interesting, from
    association; splendid and beautiful; and the forest unique and
    delightful. It was night before we left it; on the 29th up again
    at five, and by six off, along the forest ride, to where we must
    take boat;—too soon for it, and had to walk two hours, so
    climbed a rock in the forest, and went to see a curious
    water-mill; took boat at nine, nearly constant rain, but not
    disagreeable; the voyage seven long hours; the coffee excellent
    and eggs ditto, and I got a good breakfast, and am writing on
    board the boat, to keep myself awake; have read nearly three
    books of De Lisle’s poem on Imagination, some parts of it are
    excellent.—Reached Paris before four, the rain having ceased.

A succession of daily visits and friendly greetings followed, during the
first week in August, (on the 7th she “heard the ministry was changed,
and nothing talked of but this change,”) and on the 13th and 14th saw
the prizes distributed at the Sourds Muets, (“excessively interested”)
and went to a _séance_, at the Ecole de Commerce et d’Industrie, where
she heard La Fitte, Charles Dupin, &c., and was much delighted. She
continues:—

    (11th.)   Went to Nôtre Dame to see the King and Royal Family,
    and saw them also walk in the street. (25th.)   I went to the
    Institute and heard two _prix de vertu_ adjudged, and saw the
    prize given for the best poem on the art of printing; the prize
    poem was read by Le Mercier after the young man had received the
    prize, and Baron Cuvier delivered a most excellent discourse. My
    pleasure was increased by seeing Lally Tollendal opposite me,
    whom I recognised and was glad to see so young and well looking,
    still. Next day (26th.)   Went with Victor Sauce to the Palais
    de Justice, and heard Dupin plead for Berton, and admirably, but
    he was condemned! In the evening at Gérard’s, the sentence was
    much talked of and condemned. On 1st day to Meeting, a solemn
    and favoured one, to me at least. 2nd day evening to the
    Missionary Meeting.

Early in September she mentions the arrival of her friend Mrs. Austin,
and her cousin, Mr. Briggs, with many others, in company with whom she
paid visits and made excursions, each day giving a note of where and
with whom, in her journal. On the 21st she paid her promised visit to La
Grange, of which she writes:—

    Started _par la diligence_, with a very agreeable companion, T.
    B., with whom on my return I am to visit the _ateliers_ of
    artists. At Rosoy, found the General’s cabriolet waiting;
    thought the approach to La Grange beautiful; an ancient castle,
    lawn _à l’Anglaise_. The General as usual, fresh, benevolent
    looking, and admirable, in all ways. His uncle, the celebrated
    Ségur, there; his daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren all
    to my mind; a most happy day. (22nd.)   Rose early with much
    thankfulness for unmerited mercies. (23rd.)   At ten we
    assembled in the _salon_; at half-past the General led me down
    to breakfast, a breakfast of hot meat and pottage, wines and
    fruit, ending with coffee and dry toast. After breakfast the
    weather cleared, and the General shewed us, and many
    newly-arrived guests, his farm, all but the Norfolk and other
    cows; they were out. Enjoyed our walk, afterwards went to see
    _le jardin potager_. At dinner, led, and placed as usual; the
    evening most interesting! The General gave us an account of some
    of the early events of the revolution, the other gentlemen
    assisting. The evening ended only too soon, but I read in my own
    room the Memoirs of Ségur, and with a curious feeling lay down,
    knowing I should see him and Lafayette next day!!

    (5th day, 25th.)   Much pleased with Madame de L.’s schools, and
    walked in the park till the General admitted us into his
    library. What a library, full of interest! The _swords_ he has,
    especially. The room round, and commanding his farm, as well as
    some beautiful willows, and points of view of home scenery. The
    dinner interesting, the evening not so much so: and it was my
    last!

Mrs. Opie’s stay in Paris was extended some weeks longer, during which
she appears to have enjoyed, with great satisfaction, the opportunities
for intercourse with her friends, and for seeing objects of interest
around her. She mentions sitting to an artist, for Galignani, and also
to her cousin, H. P. Briggs. On the 20th of October, “_the saddest of
anniversaries_,” (that of her father’s death,) she left Paris, and on
the 23rd went on board the King George, for England, and after a sixteen
hours’ passage, arrived, “thankful for safe return,” in her native
country.

Shortly after her return, she received the following letter from General
Lafayette:—

                                    La Grange, November 5th, 1829.

    Your kind letter, (17th of the 10th month,) dear and respected
    friend, for want of being directly sent to la Grange, has
    remained some days unreceived, and three days more unanswered,
    on account of an invitation to Provins, the mention of which you
    may have seen in the _Courier Française_, or _Journal de Paris_,
    November 3rd; so that I remain acquitted for the delay, and am
    anxious to acquit myself with a due tribute of gratitude, for
    these last testimonies of your indulging kindness. You don’t say
    whether the distinguished artist, your friend, remains in town.
    I hope I shall have the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with
    him. Remember me very kindly to your young cousin. The whole
    family at la Grange join in friendly compliments and good wishes
    to him and to you, dear Madam, and I am most cordially, Your
    obliged friend,

                                                        LAFAYETTE.

    P.S. With much pleasure I have read the appeal in behalf of the
    Greeks. The 200 sets of plates delivered to Doctor Temple,
    cannot be in better hands. The Rev. Jonas King is my particular
    friend. I much wish the religious zeal in behalf of Greece may
    have some influence on the policy of your government; when the
    Christian powers have it in their power, and it has become their
    duty, as well as their true interest, to insure, upon a large
    and liberal scale, the independence, liberty, and consequence,
    of that so very interesting nation.

We add here some verses written by Mrs. Opie during this visit;
inscribed,

          ON SEEING THE TRICOLOR AGAIN.

        At sight of thee, O! Tricolor,
        I seem to feel youth’s hours return;
        The lov’d, the lost, those hours restore,—
        Again for freedom’s cause I burn!

        When last those blended tints I saw,
        Napoleon’s laurell’d brow they grac’d,
        Ere, in despite of freedom’s law,
        The crown that simple badge displaced.

        But now a different scene is nigh,
        Lo! freedom’s sons once more are met!
        See, patriots lift those colours high;
        Who leads them on?—their Lafayette!

        See him, from dangers, dungeons, death,
        Escap’d through heaven’s almighty hand,
        To win again the civic wreath,
        And sav’d, to save his native land!

        Hail! freedom’s dearest, purest son,
        What honours now adorn thy brow;
        Thou hast the _hardest_ conquest won,
        The victor o’er thyself art thou!

        Thy country’s good thy only aim,
        Thou couldst thy life’s loved dream resign;—
        Then take the meed thy virtues claim,
        And be the world’s loud plaudit _thine_!

Shortly before Mrs. Opie left England, she had written to Mr. Southey,
who answered her in a letter which was published in his “Memoirs.” In
this letter he mentioned that he had sent her a copy of his
“Colloquies,”—in which he had referred to her in these terms:—

    “I have another woman in my mind’s eye; one who has been the
    liveliest of the lively, the gayest of the gay; admired for her
    talents by those who knew her only in her writings, and esteemed
    for her worth by those who were acquainted with her in the
    relations of private life; one who, having grown up in the
    laxest sect of semi-christians, felt the necessity of vital
    religion, while attending upon her father with dutiful
    affection, during the long and painful infirmities of his old
    age; and who has now joined a sect, distinguished from all
    others by its formalities and enthusiasm, because it was among
    its members that she first found the lively faith for which her
    soul thirsted. She has assumed the garb and even the shibboleth
    of the sect, not losing, in the change, her warmth of heart and
    cheerfulness of spirit, nor gaining by it any increase of
    sincerity and frankness; for with these, nature had endued her,
    and society, even that of the great, had not corrupted them. The
    resolution, the activity, the genius, the benevolence, which are
    required for such a work, are to be found in her; and were she
    present in person, as she is in imagination, I would say to her
    * * Thou art the woman!”[30]

“The work” in which Mr. Southey was anxious to engage the sympathies and
aid of Mrs. Fry and Mrs. Opie, was the establishment of Societies for
reforming the internal management of Hospitals and Infirmaries; so as
“to do for the hospitals what Mrs. Fry had already done for the
prisons.”

On her return to England, Mrs. Opie wrote to Mrs. Fry, communicating Mr.
Southey’s letter; she replied:—

                                      Upton, 12th, 12th mo., 1829.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    I only yesterday heard from Catherine thy wish to have R.
    Southey’s letter returned. I now therefore send it thee at once;
    being in London I could not do it yesterday.

    Pray, dear friend, let me have a copy of it, because I think
    that there is much truth in its contents. I also wish thee
    seriously to weigh the subject, and if thou feelest, as well as
    seest, thy road to open in it, I shall be glad; because I have
    seen the thing wanted to be done, ever since the days of my
    youth. Is not London the place to begin such a work—or is the
    country? I think what has been accomplished in Liverpool is very
    important. Let me have thy sentiments upon all the points in
    question, and believe me,

                                 Thy very affectionate friend,
                                                           E. FRY.

From a passage in Mrs. Fry’s Life (vol. 2, p. 383) we find that, some
years subsequently, her thoughts reverted to the subject; and the
results are thus recorded.

    “Mrs. Fry’s habitual acquaintance with the chamber of sickness,
    and with scenes of suffering and death, had taught her the
    necessity that exists for a class of women to attend upon such,
    altogether different and superior to the hireling nurses that
    are generally to be obtained. Her communications with Mr.
    Fliedner, and all she learned from him personally, of his
    establishment at Kaiserswerth, stimulated her desire to attempt
    something of the kind in England. Her own occupations being too
    urgent and numerous to allow of much personal attention, the
    plan was undertaken, and on a small scale carried into effect,
    by her sister, Mrs. S. Gurney, with the assistance of her
    daughters and some other ladies.”

Some misconception having arisen as to this institution, it was thought
desirable to change the original designation of “Protestant Sisters of
Charity,” for that of “Nursing Sisters.”

    “The exertions of this little society (continues the Memoir)
    have been hitherto greatly circumscribed, and it may be looked
    upon more as an experiment, than as an object attained. The help
    of the “nursing sisters” has been sought and greatly valued by
    persons of all classes, from royalty to the poorest and most
    destitute.”

-----

[28] She mentioned afterwards, that the driver was much amused at seeing
her do this, and at last said, “really, madame, you must be very fond of
your _petit chapeau_, to give yourself so much trouble about it.” To
which I replied, “_oui, j’aime beaucoup mon petit chapeau—c’est mon
petit Buonaparte_.” Oh! what a look the man gave me! his fine dark eyes
were almost fearfully bright, as, with a smile of delight, he cried,
“_vous êtes une brave femme, d’avoir osé me répondre de la sorte, et je
vous jure, madame, que je vous menerais même en Angleterre!_”

[29] The engraving which forms the Frontispiece to this volume is taken
from this medal.

[30] Second volume of Southey’s “Colloquies,” at the 322nd page.—On
reading this eloquent eulogium, Mrs. Opie observed, “It so overpowered
me, that I could not read it through at first, and wept because the eye
it would most have pleased, would not see it.”



                             CHAPTER XVII.


    REVOLUTION OF “THE THREE DAYS;” MRS. OPIE GOES TO PARIS AGAIN;
    HER JOURNAL THERE.

The fearful events which transpired at Paris, in the summer of the year
1830, deeply and painfully interested Mrs. Opie. She wrote to her
friends at Northrepps in the month of August, and an extract from her
letter will best shew her feelings under the excitement of the time.

                                      Norwich, 8th mo., 2nd, 1830.

    Dr. Ash shall not go to Northrepps without a letter. I think you
    will like to know how I am, under existing circumstances. I went
    to Wroxham on the election day, and should have enjoyed, even
    more than usual, the exquisite, and even increased stillness of
    that place, (as it appeared to me,) had not my calm been
    interrupted by the inquietude of mind, induced by the alarming
    news from Paris. The Chamber of Deputies dissolved for ever, and
    the liberty of the press abolished!! We saw the results of this
    news in the fearful perspective; and yesterday came the
    affecting tidings, that the National Guard had re-organized
    themselves; that Lafayette was at their head; that the Chamber
    had assembled, and voted their sitting _perpetual_, and had
    declared the throne _vacant_; that the king, ministers, court,
    and ambassadors, had left Paris, and were at Vincennes, or
    Brussels; that cannon was planted against the city; that it had
    fired, and killed 5000 persons, and the beautiful Rue de Rivoli
    was running with blood; and that they are to be _starved_ into
    submission.

    I humbly hope I shall be enabled to pray for my friends there,
    which is all I _can_ do. “Whom the Gods mean to destroy they
    first make mad,” says some Latin proverb, and this seems
    illustrated now.

    You will readily believe how anxious, interested, and excited I
    feel. I was, and am, writing on the scenes of the Revolution in
    1802, little dreaming that another was so near, in which some I
    love and reverence must be actors! * * *

    I am reading “Lafayette en Amerique!” Such a book! it fills me
    with untellable wonder and admiration of him, that such
    _worship_ should not have turned his head, and that he is still
    simple and seemingly humble-minded; and secondly, because his
    _youth_ in America was evidently marked, not only by courage and
    talent, but by kind, generous actions, privately performed; and
    because it was his nature to do them. He gave them his money, I
    find by another work, as well as his time and exertions;
    therefore the gift of money and land to him, in his
    (comparative) poverty, was only a debt, repaid with interest.
    And how they honoured him! He was passed on from one State to
    another, almost through an unbroken chain of triumphal arches!
    But he always, amidst all his career, kept the Sabbath day holy.
    And this man, as it were miraculously preserved through two
    revolutions, and in chains, and in a dungeon, is now again the
    leading mind in another conflict, and lifting, I trust, not only
    an armed, but a restraining hand in a third revolution! May He
    who alone can save and direct, watch over and direct _him_! How
    many other now familiar faces, and I may add, dear also, do I
    see engaged in this awful struggle, and on different sides!
    Well, I must turn away from it as much as I can! Farewell my
    dear friends.

Unable, probably, to keep the prudential resolve, with which she
concludes this letter, Mrs. Opie, full of irrepressible anxiety to be on
the scene of action, very shortly came to the resolution to repair to
Paris. She seems to have allowed very few of her friends to know of her
determination, perhaps anticipating their remonstrances and objections.
Her anxiety, however, was so great as to affect her health and spirits;
and after a few weeks’ irresolution, her determination was made, and she
was on her way to Paris. Her stay proved, in the event, longer than she
had perhaps intended or anticipated. During the former part of the time
she kept a Journal, from which selections are given in the following
pages:—

                               Hôtel de Breteuil, Rue de Rivoli,
                                                   5th of 11th mo.

    I arrived at this charming residence on fourth day last, and the
    trees had nearly lost their leaves, and the gardens their
    flowers. I gazed on the prospect around me with still increasing
    delight. On the side near me was the palace of the Tuilleries,
    with the tricolor flag hanging on its centre dome; and, to the
    right, the fine dome of the Invalides. But oh! the people—the
    busy people—of all ranks probably, and of various costumes,
    passing to and fro, and soldiers, omnibuses, cabriolets,
    citadines, carts, horsemen, hurrying along the Rue de Rivoli,
    while foot passengers were crossing the gardens, or loungers
    were sitting on its benches, to enjoy the beauty of this
    May-November! But what was become of the Revolution? Paris
    seemed as bright and peaceful as I had left it thirteen months
    ago! And the towns too, through which we had passed on our road,
    bore no marks of change. We did not see the tricolor till we
    reached a village on the morning of our second day’s journey,
    (it was the _fête_ of Le Toussaint,) when I remarked, not only
    the tricolor flag, on a pump in the middle of the small _place_
    opposite the inn, but the colours, exhibited with no little
    grace and coquetry, on a very handsome youth, probably the
    _beau_ or _coq_ of the village.

    As to the country, it appeared to me even less populous than
    ever; and I almost wondered where there could ever be found
    hands enough to cultivate the wide spreading hills and vales.
    “Well, but to be sure we shall see some obvious changes in
    Paris,” my travelling companion and I observed to each other;
    but alas! we did not reach Paris till two in the morning, when
    even its lowest and fiercest inhabitants might be expected to be
    asleep; and, without any let or hindrance, we arrived at the
    Messagerie; and, at three in the morning, a commissioner
    conducted us on foot to the Hôtel de Lisle, Palais Royal, the
    only one open. “And we are going to the Palais Royal! the very
    focus of everything!” observed my companion (who was a Royalist)
    bidding me at the same time remark the tricolor floating behind
    us on the Palais d’Orléans. I did so, but my attention was soon
    directed to another quarter; I saw two men advancing, as we
    crossed the Place Royale, who were singing the new national
    song, by Casimir de la Vigne, called the “Parisienne;” and just
    as they drew near, they sung the most interesting line in the
    whole song to me.

            “Pour briser leurs masses profondes,
            Qui conduit nos drapeaux sanglants?
            C’est la liberté des deux mondes,
            C’est Lafayette, en cheveux blancs!”

    What a thrill of emotions those words excited in me! how many
    recollections of former days and former friends those few words
    recalled! recollections of those dear ones, who had first taught
    me to love the name, and admire the character, of Lafayette; and
    who would have enjoyed, like me, the brightness of that setting
    sun, which they had hailed at its dawning! And how long was the
    course of time which those little words marked out! “_Lafayette
    en cheveux blancs!_” And what a number of years did I,
    unconsciously to my companion, retrace in a moment! But why, as
    I thought on the man of two worlds, and recollected what and
    where he now was; why was my pleasure overclouded with sadness?
    because, though still in the splendour of his fame, that of his
    days was past; and though still Lafayette, it was Lafayette “_en
    cheveux blancs_.” I cannot describe the feelings with which I
    have always read those words; but now that I heard them, I felt
    them still more; and then, by a very natural process, I began to
    imagine the feelings of the General himself, when he hears them:
    but he, I dare say, hears them with less emotion than I do—his
    well poised mind, satisfied with being at what he believes to be
    the post of duty, looks back on the past with thankfulness, and
    to the future with hope.

    But how I have wandered from the Hôtel de Breteuil! As I stood
    on the balcony, gazing with admiring eyes, my obliging landlady
    told me that many ladies, English and others, having first
    closed the _croisées_, had stood there to see the battle of the
    three days. As the balcony is _au troisième_, they could do so
    no doubt without danger, except from the _mitraille_; still I
    did not envy them their post, and earnestly desired, in my time,
    no such awful scenes might pass beneath the windows.

    “Well,” (said I to myself when I was left alone,) “here I am,
    actually at Paris! and alone at Paris: few of my friends in
    England knew I was coming, and none in France know that I am
    here! A new and strange position; but the _incognito_ is not
    without its charms!” And, though excessively fatigued, for two
    nights, I felt an extraordinary elevation of spirit, as well as
    a sense of deep thankfulness; not only because I was in the most
    interesting of all cities, at the present moment, but because I
    was capable of feeling enjoyment in being alone, and alone in a
    strange land, _alone in Paris_! But I was conscious that my
    trust was placed in Him, whose protecting eye is everywhere; and
    though my thoughts might recur affectionately and frequently to
    the dear relatives and friends whom I had quitted, the
    uneasiness of mind, and indisposition of body, which had
    attended my irresolution whether to stay at home, or depart, had
    entirely vanished; and the future seemed arrayed in smiles.

    Having dined early, I sallied forth to the Boulevards, just as
    the sun was beginning to sink behind the trees of the gardens;
    and, though I was walking towards the east, when I reached that
    pleasant spot, the western rays were so beautifully reflected on
    the upper part of the white buildings before me, that, for a
    little while, I was unconscious of the loss of the trees on the
    Boulevards; but, suddenly recollecting myself, I stopped to look
    round in painful astonishment, till I remembered it was for _la
    patrie_, and to save lives;—then I could regret no longer! I
    was on my way to M.’s to subscribe to his library; and on my
    expressing to his wife my regret at missing the fine trees, I
    found that her patriotism was strong enough to console her; and
    I believe that I shall not pay my court well, to the residents
    on the Boulevards, by expressing any regret for the sacrifice
    which was required for the cause of liberty and the country. I
    next bent my steps to the gardens of the Tuilleries, in hopes to
    overtake the setting sun. The seats were many of them still
    occupied by well dressed men and women, three of whom I observed
    reading by the red and sinking light. I do not remember to have
    seen such a sight in my own country; and I should have stopped
    and lingered to observe the group, had I not been impatient to
    renew my acquaintance with the statues on the Pont Louis quinze;
    but I arrived too late to distinguish their countenances, though
    the grand outlines were clearly to be seen. I was disappointed
    also to observe, that thirteen months of exposure to the air,
    had deprived them of that striking whiteness, in complete
    contrast to the dingy hue of the surrounding stone, which had
    formerly given them in my eyes (at the hour of twilight) the
    appearance of unearthly beings—the ghosts of the departed
    great, standing there to watch over the destinies of that
    country for which they have laboured both in arts and arms!

    I looked on the _Condé_ of my friend David with added pleasure,
    from having recently heard its merits so eloquently described by
    Lady Morgan; and lingered long on the bridge, watching the last
    beams of the setting sun, till I saw I was alone, and remembered
    I had some way to walk. I found the gardens nearly deserted on
    my return, except by a few soldiers on duty; and therefore
    hastened to my new home, refreshed by my walk, pleased with my
    new position, and saying to myself, “How difficult should I find
    it, to make some of my friends in England believe that I could
    be walking alone in Paris, at twilight, in perfect peace and
    security.”

    The next day, after _fifteen_ hours’ repose, I awoke refreshed,
    (as I well might,) and resolved that I would still keep my
    arrival in Paris unknown to my friends.

    I proceeded to walk out, accompanied by Manuel, _a
    valet-de-place de l’hôtel_. My first visit was to the Louvre,
    not to see the pictures, but to inquire concerning _le Suisse_,
    or porter, who was so civil and attentive to me last year. I had
    thought it only too likely that he had been amongst the killed,
    when the Louvre was assailed; and could hardly speak, from
    strong emotion, when I saw him alive and well, and looking as if
    nothing had happened! I expressed, as calmly as I was able, my
    fears for his life, and my joy to see him as I had left him. He
    seemed gratified; and thanked me in a manner very creditable to
    himself.

    I have always observed a civility in the lower orders in France,
    as remote from coarseness as from servility, which did not, I
    suspect, distinguish them previous to the revolution of 1789.
    “If our revolution has done nothing else for us,” said General
    Lafayette last year, “it has, at least, done this; it has taught
    men to look their fellow-men in the face, and feel their own
    dignity.”

    I next went to see the ravages which civil war had made, and
    which are now nearly repaired; but my valet pointed out the
    mark, yet remaining, of a bullet, fired by one of the Swiss,
    from a window of the Louvre, which hit one of the columns of the
    Palais des quatre Colonnes, across the water. We were, at that
    moment, standing on the _nameless_, _unhonoured_ graves of the
    Swiss who had fallen in the action, and by the ornamented and
    hallowed graves of their victims. “Take your hats off,” was the
    cry, as the latter were approached; and there stood men of all
    ages, with their heads uncovered, (besides rows of women and
    children,) all gazing, with mournful interest, on the place
    where lay the ashes of those _morts pour la patrie_, on the
    memorable three days!

    My next course was to the Palais Royal, which seemed as when I
    last saw it; its beautiful fountain was still playing, its shops
    looked as tempting as ever; but the Tricolor floated on the
    Palace of the King, and the National Guard (a large detachment)
    were on duty there. I must confess to looking on these men with
    great complacency; they had so recently shewn their forbearance
    in the midst of great provocation; they really reasoned, and
    joked, and wheedled the agitators in the late tumult, into quiet
    and dispersion. The citizen was not forgotten in the
    soldier;—theirs was the victory of good sense and self
    government, over the excitement of ignorance and passion; and be
    their country’s confidence and gratitude their well-earned
    reward!

    * * * This morning I have received a note of welcome, like
    herself, from Sophie de V. She will not invite me to the
    Saturday _soirée_, at the Jardin des Plantes, (Baron Cuvier’s)
    which takes place every week, because she says, “_vous êtes
    invitée née_”—a compliment prettily expressed.

    (7th day, 6th of November.)   A bright day; the statues in the
    Tuilleries gardens looking _so_ white, and what remains of the
    foliage on the trees so richly tinted! The right side of the
    prospect (that is, the Invalides and other lofty buildings) is
    clothed in sunshine; the palace is in shade—but even while I
    write the scene is changing, and all behind the palace is
    becoming a sheet of silver! May this be emblematical of the
    future prospects of its present owner, and of all to whom he
    belongs! * * * *

    The light has now passed entirely away from the _côté droit_ to
    the _côté gauche_; a little breeze is getting up, and the
    gorgeous autumnal leaves are waving in it to and fro.

    Then * * * * * but I will not indulge my fancy—a truce to
    metaphors and types; my object is matter of fact. I have just
    read the speeches of our Parliament, in the _Journal des
    Débats_. How entirely I agree with Lord Grey; but the bare
    _possibility_ of war with France is insupportable! I cannot hate
    and condemn war more than I do, else this fear would make me.
    Brougham does not mention such a possibility, and I think his
    opinion nearly as good as Lord Grey’s.

    I have engaged lodgings for a month, at the Hôtel de Douvres; my
    apartment looks on the Rue de la Paix, and I can also see the
    Boulevard des Capucins! an excellent situation, but the rooms so
    small!—Well! a month is soon gone, and at the end of it I may
    be gone too; who knows?

    I dine at five, and at eight shall go to M. Cuvier’s * * *
    Though I went early, the room was full enough to make me feel a
    wish I had come earlier; most of the faces were unknown to me.
    By half-past nine the room was almost full, of, I believe,
    persons all distinguished in some way or another. “Who is that
    gentleman?” said I, “Oh! nothing particularly distinguished, he
    is only _un homme d’esprit_,” “only _un homme d’esprit_!”
    replied another, what a compliment! when wit is so scarce. * * *
    *

    Soon, Baron de Humboldt was announced, and I was looking eagerly
    round for my old and valued acquaintance, when M. Cuvier led him
    to me. I was very glad to see him, but sorry to hear he was
    going to England. We had not met for sixteen years. “You find
    him then grown grey,” (said la Baronne.) True, but he was
    embellished, for he was grown fat, and really is now good
    looking.

    Another pleasure awaited me, in the entrance of my friend David,
    who did not know of my arrival; he was indeed surprised, but
    hurt, (and perhaps with justice,) that I had not let him know I
    was come or coming.

    David speaks highly of the king, and says, while mounting guard
    the other morning, he saw him in his night-cap, walking on the
    terrace. Poor man! I dare say he cannot sleep much!

            “Happy low, lie down,
            Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

    David has sent me the bust of Lafayette,[31] and some other
    things to England! Well! they will be there, I trust, to cheer
    me when I return, (if in mercy permitted to do so,) and have
    bidden to Paris a probably eternal adieu!

    “By all means go to Lafayette’s on Tuesday,” (said two or three
    gentlemen to me.) _Nous verrons_,—he does not receive at his
    own house now, but in his staff house, in the Montblanc.

    * * * I certainly much enjoyed la Baronne’s party, and her tea,
    and her cakes. I came home a little past midnight.

    (1st day, 7th.)   A night of wind! a day of rain! went to the
    Champs Elisées. Our sitting was still, and, I trust, favoured.

    I expect to be alone all to-day—what a great privilege it is,
    not to feel solitude a trial, but a pleasure! The first thing I
    heard on waking this morning was _la Parisienne_, sung, I
    concluded, by passing soldiers. I checked the internal reproof
    rising to my lips, on remembering that the military band plays,
    as it returns with the soldiers from church, in my own city, and
    in all others; and most probably these soldiers were returning
    from early mass.

    (2nd day, 8th.)   I cannot but wonder at my own stillness, and
    the stillness of all that surrounds me in this busy city; the
    depository at this moment probably of all the springs and
    agencies, which, set in motion, must act upon, and decide, the
    destinies of Europe! At this moment (10 o’clock) even the
    Tuilleries are deserted; the fountain played yesterday, but it
    is quiet to-day; it only works on a Sabbath day! The morning is
    dark, and the view therefore is not as lovely as usual; I can
    sit by my fireside, instead of going to my balcony; so much the
    better, as I must leave it to-morrow, for a less lovely
    prospect. * * * * A sense of my inability to do the subject
    justice has alone kept me from committing to paper what passes
    in my mind, and is always uppermost in it, on the subject of
    politics, but I must relieve my mind by doing so very soon. The
    _Journal des Débats_ has, to-day, some admirable remarks (in my
    opinion) on the liberty of the press. * * *

    How impossible it is to know what is usually going on in any
    country without being in it, and even then how difficult! I see
    and feel, even from my short and limited experience, more of the
    real state of Paris at this moment, than I could have taken in,
    for months, at home!

    I thought while I was observing, the other day, the mark of the
    bullet on the column of the Palais des quatres Nations, and saw
    the eagerness with which my _valet-de-place_ pointed it out to
    me, how wise it would be to efface that striking provocation to
    a continuance of popular resentment; and rejoiced to see the
    other traces of civil war disappearing so fast.

    I spoke and felt like a lover of peace, and a hater of all
    discord and all war; and I was painfully convinced how right I
    was in my ideas on the subject, by hearing a reputed Jacobin
    say, at M. Cuvier’s, “how sorry I am to see the traces of our
    three days so quickly disappearing! I wish them to remain for
    ever, to keep up the _spirit of just indignation in the
    people_!” I heard, sighed, and shuddered, and then, as well as I
    could, combated the frightful and fearful observation. The
    speaker was one of the National Guard, and in that Guard how
    many may there not be whose desire is for war, rather than
    peace; and republicanism, before royalty, even though the king
    be a citizen king! And there are pictures of Napoleon, at all
    ages of his life, exhibiting at the Luxembourg, with other
    pictures, for the benefit of the widows of the wounded: and
    Napoleon brought on the stage at the minor theatres, and
    applauded, and extolled, and mourned and wept over, on his bed
    of death and in his grave! If I were a royalist, and an
    intriguist, I would bring forward and support this Napoleon
    drama, which will, no doubt, end by bringing the young Napoleon
    before the minds of the people.

    (3rd day, 9th.)   I and my baggage arrived, this morning, at my
    new apartments, at the Hôtel de Douvres. * * * I have bought an
    orange tree full of flowers! how it embellishes and perfumes my
    little room! it is quite an acquisition! At eight I shall go to
    the General’s, to catch him before he is _entouré_, if possible;
    but alas! he receives at the État Major of the _Garde Nationale_
    now; I shall feel as if going to court! * * * * * * Dressed all
    in my best, and going off! the house is only across the
    Boulevards—my valet seems rather pleased, I think, to be going
    to Lafayette’s; he is a most pleasing servant, and it is as
    cheap, and certainly better, for me to have a valet than a
    maid-servant. * * * Well;—the _fiàcre_ is here—not a word more
    till to-morrow.

    (4th day, 10th.)   * * Though, at one period of my life, I was
    accustomed to follow my name into rooms filled with lords and
    ladies, and perhaps princes,—the confidence which custom gives
    was so annihilated in me by long disuse, that, as I ascended the
    wide staircase of the splendid hotel of the État Major, I
    desired that my name might not be announced; and I was the more
    satisfied that it was not, when I found the general was not
    arrived, and there were many gentlemen whom I did not know,
    assembled in both the apartments, or (as the French call them)
    _les salons de reception_. I know not when I have felt more ill
    at ease; and, feeling myself in a sort of Court, and waiting the
    appearance, if not of a king, of a much greater man, and one
    whose influence was nearly supreme over France—I sighed, as I
    looked at my simple Quaker dress, and considered whether I had
    any business there; and shrunk into a corner,—for the first
    time in my life wishing the apartment I was in less brilliantly
    lighted. The ladies of the family, as the General dined out, did
    not think it necessary to come as early as usual, and thus was
    my painful solitude, in the midst of a crowd, unusually
    lengthened; at length a small door, at one corner of the room
    opened, and the Commander-in-chief appeared; a sort of circle
    instantly formed around him, he shook each individual of it by
    the hand, and then made his way up to where I stood, and
    welcomed me most kindly to Paris; but he could not tarry with
    me, and was soon again surrounded. A young man, (name unknown)
    feeling for the awkwardness of my position, then entered into
    conversation with me, and I was contentedly chatting with him,
    when Madame G. Lafayette, and the rest of the General’s amiable
    and lovely family came in, and I went forward to meet them. Soon
    after, the room was filled; the officers of the National Guard,
    Americans of both sexes, deputies, ladies, men of letters,
    artists—the distinguished and the non-distinguished, thronged
    both the saloons; while the General passed from room to room,
    with a smile and a profferred hand to each in turn. I felt the
    scene a royal one, as it were, but there was one marked
    difference to those at which I have been present, when I met the
    late king, (then Prince of Wales and Regent,) in the London
    assemblies. The prince never went to the company, _they_ came to
    him; Lafayette, on the contrary, assumed no state, but was as
    simple-mannered as usual, and apparently as unconscious of his
    increased consequence, as he was in his assemblies of last year;
    and I believe that there was scarcely an eye present, that did
    not follow him with love, nor a heart that did not rejoice in
    the seeming perfection of his strength, and the enduring
    freshness of that cheek, which a life of temperance and
    usefulness has preserved in lasting freshness.

    I know not when I have seen so much beauty in the youth of both
    sexes, as I saw last night. The young men, particularly those in
    the National Guard, looked so very animated, so very happy! and
    their uniform was so simple, and so becoming therefore; but,
    plain as it generally was, that of the Commander-in-chief was
    plainer still. The evening was only too short and pleasing. I
    felt elated, but at the same time overwhelmed, with the kind
    attentions and flatteries, which, as a woman of letters, I
    received; and again queried whether I ought to be there; but I
    knew I had a duty to fulfil, a sort of commission to execute,
    and I resolved not to leave the house till I had done it.

    Accordingly, when it was past midnight, I watched the General to
    a seat, and begged an audience of him, putting into his hand a
    little paper, containing an extract from a letter, (from a dear
    friend of mine, a member of our society,) wishing Lafayette to
    request the abolition of slavery and the slave-trade, and also
    an expression in writing, of my valued friend Fowell Buxton’s
    wishes, that he would lend all his powerful aid to this great
    cause.

    He took my paper and assured me he had already talked with the
    minister _de la marine_ on the subject; and that they were going
    to declare the trade _piracy_, as we had done in England, and as
    the Americans had done also. Alas! how little is this! and we
    know how the law is evaded! I took my leave, saying, that while
    liberty was in so many places the order of the day, and would
    probably be over all Europe, I did hope that the cause of Africa
    would at length triumph also—but when?

    I feel, and own, that France has yet much work to do at home,
    and interests nearer and dearer to attend to; but I, for one,
    shall be sadly disappointed if she does not ultimately take up
    this long-neglected cause, and set a great example to other
    nations.

    Amongst the crowd I saw, for a moment, Benjamin Constant; and
    saw, with pain, that his truly valuable health has suffered
    since last year, but his noble mind seems as vigorous as ever!
    how just are his views, and how eloquent his expressions of
    them!

    Among those also present were the Baron de Humboldt, General
    Carbonnel, David the sculptor, Le Brun the dramatic poet, &c.,
    &c.

    Having executed my commission to the General, and also given him
    the purse, I had felt such pleasure in netting for him, I
    withdrew; his son attending me to my coach.

    (4th day, 10th.)   Soon after I had breakfasted, General de B.
    called to ask me to go with him to the Luxembourg, to see the
    exhibition of pictures there, for the benefit of the wounded. I
    gladly complied, and we set off in a _fiàcre_ the driver of
    which told us the _ex-ministers_ were expected: we did not
    believe it, but it gave me a queer sensation.

    How fine the day was! how bright the sun! how blue the sky! It
    was curious to see a large square place in the gardens, just
    before the front of the palace, absolutely filled with men,
    women, and children, of all ranks, sitting on benches and
    chairs, and on the ground, crowded together, enjoying the winter
    sunshine!

    The exhibition was a curious one also. The walls of the long
    vaulted gallery were covered chiefly with pictures of Napoleon;
    Napoleon in situations the most interesting and recommendatory
    to the nation; conquering at Aboukir, Marengo, and Austerlitz;
    saving the life of a whole family at Cairo; visiting the sick in
    the hospital of Jaffa; in short, there he was, usually as large
    as life, surviving in his military glory, on the animated
    canvass, and recalling to the Parisians the splendour of their
    arms under their victorious leader; but the most interesting
    picture was Napoleon on his death-bed, or rather, Napoleon dead;
    the different expressions of the grief of the bystanders was
    well expressed. The likeness of Antommarchi (the only one I
    could judge of) was striking, and I daresay so were the others:
    above it hung the picture of his tomb, from the hand of Gérard.

    Coming home I heard, with pain, the news from England! Our
    monarch and his queen, so justly popular, to be kept from going
    to the city feast, to receive the respect due to them, by the
    unpopularity of a minister! Oh! shame! * * * Again alone, but
    busy, and happy therefore.

    (6th day, 12th.)   My birthday! I dare not be guilty of the
    egotism of committing to paper my feelings, when I recollect
    that on this day, so many years ago, I saw the light; and that
    the recollection comes over me that I heard my dearest father
    say, on his death-bed, it was the happiest day he had ever
    known! To _one_ being, then, it had been an important day; but
    _he_ is gone, and what is it now become? of consequence to no
    one; and I shall spend it alone in a foreign land! unwelcomed
    and unheeded, save by myself. But these feelings have been
    succeeded by wiser and more beneficial ones! Oh! that the
    resolutions I have this day formed, may make my next birthday,
    if I am permitted to see one, a day of less condemnatory
    feelings! * * * Went out to the Jardin des Plantes, and found
    only la Baronne at home. She made an observation, the result of
    experience. Speaking of the new animals which had lately been
    sent, as a present, to the menagerie, and mentioning the
    excessive tameness of one of the tigers, she said that it would
    allow her brother-in-law to play with it, and even would court
    his caresses. “I should, notwithstanding, be much afraid of a
    _coup de patte_,” said I. “Not with as much reason,” she
    replied, “as if you were caressing a ruminating animal; they are
    much more dangerous and difficult to tame; besides, when a wild
    animal grows tired of you, he lets you know it, by a certain
    restlessness and little cry that he makes, therefore you are on
    your guard; but with the others there is no preparation, and one
    of the stag species did a very serious injury the other day.”

    (7th day, 13th.)   At eight I went to the Jardin des Plantes, in
    my muff and tippet, and most winterly gown. Found Sophie in
    muslin, and wondering at my Siberian appearance. “Come,” said
    she, speaking in my ear, “I must name to you all the celebrated
    persons present.” De Humboldt I knew, but I should vainly tax my
    memory to name the rest; one of them, a handsome
    delicate-looking young man, with brown and curling hair, was, I
    found, Mignet, author of the “History of the French Revolution,”
    in 2 vols., which I have bought, and which made the delight of
    my last winter’s solitude. Another of the circle was Salmady,
    one of the Chamber of Deputies, and whose conversation was so
    eloquent and animated, that Baron Cuvier said, with his meaning
    and intelligent smile, _voilà la jeune France_.”

    (1st day, 14th.)   A wet Sabbath day, but I contrived to walk to
    the Champs Elysées; to bed _not_ satisfied with myself, but in
    peace with all the world, I trust.

    (6th day, 19th.)   Quatrefuges had procured tickets for the
    Chamber of Deputies, and as the business between Ch. de Lameth
    and the Procureur du Roi was to come on this day, I was very
    glad to go, and he was to call me.

    When ready expecting him, I heard a ring at the door, and
    concluded it was he, but was most agreeably surprised to see, on
    entering the _salon_, David and _Cooper_, he whom I so much
    wished to see! I was very glad, but sorry I was going out
    directly. C. had only time to promise me that he would come and
    see me whenever I liked, and would introduce me to his wife. * *
    * Went to the Chamber, too late for choice places, but heard and
    saw well. Much pleased with the change in the new Chamber, in
    the situation of the Tribune des Dames; it is now near the
    Tribune. The debates were very interesting; the first was on the
    liberty of the press. Count de T. charmed me, both by his
    delivery and sentiments. The next debate, relative to the
    Procureur du Roi, was opened by a paper, read by Benjamin
    Constant, with whose opinions I have usually much unity; the
    question seemed to me to lie in a small compass, but it
    occasioned long discussion. The result was that Ch. de L. was
    _right_ in not obeying the summons of the Procureur du Roi, and
    the latter, not meaning to attack the privileges of the Chamber,
    was _not wrong_ in summoning him!!! We got away at a little past
    five.

    (7th day.)   Prepared for my company; the room looked neat and
    comfortable. Dr. Bowring and his wife came first, followed by
    other friends. In the evening to B. Cuvier’s.

    (1st day, 20th.)   A very comforting Meeting; called on the
    Bowrings again; saw where a bullet on the 29th of July had
    broken a pane in the window, just after he had shut it!
    Description of the dying and wounded beneath them, most
    affecting! At six some friends came, with whom I had a sitting
    after tea; to _me_, a favoured one. Read to them afterwards some
    lines of mine, serious enough to end the evening satisfactorily;
    to bed with a thankful heart for all the favours of the day.

    (2nd day, 22nd.)   Had engaged to go to David’s _atelier_, and
    to Antommarchi’s, to see the mask of Napoleon, when C. Moreau
    called early to say he had intended to take me to call on Madame
    de Genlis, who had promised, if it was fine, to dine with him,
    but as it rained, he feared she would not come; however, we
    could call on her.  I told him I was engaged till four, but
    would then call at his house, to go or not as he pleased. Went
    to D.’s and was delighted with all I saw. Goethe, General Foy,
    and a brilliant, &c., &c. Went to A.’s _au quatrième_—very high
    and fatiguing; but remembered the reward of my toil—the cast,
    and the fine view from his windows, the cast was there, the view
    gone, walled up! poor man! I would not, _could_ not stay there;
    the cast more than ever recalled to me Napoleon when First
    Consul! There was also there a fine print from the picture of
    Napoleon on his death-bed. Antommarchi so like! I then drove to
    Moreau’s; the weather was become fine, and we went to la
    Comtesse de Genlis’; she received me kindly, and I, throwing
    myself on my feelings, and remembering how much I owed her in
    the days of my childhood, became enthusiastically drawn towards
    her, very soon. She is a really pretty old woman of
    eighty-seven, very unaffected, with nothing of smartness, or
    affected state or style, about her. We passed through her
    bed-room (in which hung a crucifix) to her _salon_, where she
    sat, much muffled up, over her wood fire; she had dined at three
    o’clock, not expecting to be able to go out; but as the weather
    was fine, she soon consented to accompany us, but she laughing
    said, she must now go without “_sa belle robe_.” We said in
    _any_ gown she would be welcome; she then put on a very pretty
    white silk bonnet and a clean frill, and we set off. I set them
    down at C. Moreau’s, and came home to dress, but long before the
    dinner hour, I was at C. M.’s again, and took my post at the
    side of Madame de Genlis. A party of distinguished men came to
    dinner. The table was spread with a mixture of excellent English
    as well as French dishes; roast beef, boiled turkey, plum
    puddings, and _mince pies_! the latter the very best of the
    sort! Madame M. is an Englishwoman.  As usual, St. Simon, and
    his preaching and doctrines were discussed, and at my end of the
    table, laughed at. Madame de G. did not talk much at dinner, but
    by her attention to what passed, and an occasional remark, it
    was evident nothing was lost upon her. After C. Moreau had given
    her health, with a most appropriate and flattering speech,
    wishing her to live many, many years, Julien, l’Encyclopèdiste,
    gave the health of the King.

    I thought Madame de G. conducted herself on this occasion with
    much simple dignity; yet it was a proud moment for her. She
    murmured something (and looked at me) about wishing the health
    of Madame Opie to be drunk; but no one heard her but myself, and
    I was really glad. When we rose from table, most of the
    gentlemen accompanied us. The room now filled with French,
    English, and Americans; many were presented to the venerable
    Countess, next to whom I sat, and then to me; she seemed to
    enjoy a scene, to which for some time she had been a stranger. I
    found, while I was conversing on some interesting subjects, she
    had been observing me. Afterwards she said, “_Je vous aime!_”
    she then added with an archness of countenance and vivacity of
    manner, the remnant of her best days, “_je vous sême_,”
    (imitating the bad pronunciation of some foreigner.) At
    half-past ten I saw C. Moreau lead Madame de G. out, and I
    followed them, and paid her every attention in my power, for
    which she was grateful; when I had wrapt her up, and put on her
    bonnet for her, my servant got a coach, and C. M., another
    gentleman, and myself, conducted her home.

-----

[31] This Bust she left in her will to T. Brightwell.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.


    LETTER ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES AT THE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS;
    CONTINUATION OF JOURNAL; LETTER GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF HER VISIT
    TO THE FRENCH COURT.

Mrs. Opie’s next entry in her journal contains an account of the
distribution of prizes at the Catholic Schools of the _Halles aux
draps_, in the _4me arrondissement_. The accompanying letter enters into
some particulars of this visit, and gives other details of interest.

                               Hôtel de Douvres, Rue de la Paix,
                                             11me mo., 30me, 1830.

    This _shall_ be a letter-writing day, my dear friend, and I will
    at least begin my letter to thee, though it will not go till
    sixth day by the ambassador’s bag. I was truly sorry not to see
    thee before my departure, and equally so not to be able to write
    thee.

    Hitherto all has prospered with me, and I trust will continue to
    do so; we are more quiet here than you seem to be in my dear
    native land; even the ex-ministers seem forgotten, the people
    threaten them no longer—audibly at least. It is thought they
    will soon be transferred to the Luxembourg, guarded by several
    troops of the National Guard; when there, I should not be
    surprised if the duty of watching over them became a very
    difficult and anxious one; but _nous verrons_; violent
    excitements, if not kept alive, soon wear themselves out. I had
    such an interesting morning yesterday at _les Halles aux draps_!
    It was the distribution of prizes at the boys’ and girls’
    schools. I went alone, and had time to contemplate, with great
    interest, the young population before me! The boys were dressed
    in a dark brown tunic a little _à la Grecque_, and this added to
    the illusion, when I fancied that I beheld a race of young
    republicans. “_Voyez vous cette jeune population?_” said an old
    man near me, “_et en quinze ans ils seront hommes!_” It was only
    a truism, but it made me think; and when, after a very good
    liberal address from the mayor of the _arrondissement_, in a
    tricolor sash and scarf, those young voices burst into songs of
    joy and praise, I felt my eyes fill and my heart beat! * * *
    Interrupted by Quatrefuges du Fesq, _Commandant de la Garde
    Nationale, du département du Gard!_ a protestant gentleman of
    large estates. He came to take me to the Chamber of Deputies,
    but, as I dine out, and go to Lafayette’s, (if a cold will let
    me,) I refused to go, and after a visit of an hour and a half he
    has just quitted me; he seems a worthy man, and has lavished on
    me a great deal of useless eloquence to persuade me not to go
    out at all, and threatening to keep guard always at my door! he
    was in his full military dress, and when two plain Friends came
    in, to call on me, they looked so surprised to see such a
    warlike man by my side! I said, “_que je présente un homme de
    paix à un homme de guerre!_”—I was glad to find that he belongs
    to a Bible Society _chez lui_; and he is going to present me to
    its president. He is delighted at being one of my agents, and I
    have met two English clergymen who are equally willing. To go on
    with my schools—the Comtesse de St. Aulaire, one of the
    committee, introduced herself to me, and hoped I approved what I
    saw and heard; I was glad to be able to express my unqualified
    approval. When the crowns of flowers and greens, and the books,
    were all distributed, a letter from Appert was read, announcing
    one prize from the Queen, which was given to the girl who had
    already gotten the prize for good conduct, and she came looking
    so meek and pretty in her crown of white roses. One child who
    got a prize, was, the Comtesse told me, only six years old! When
    the Mayor told them, at the close, that their industry should be
    rewarded by ten days of holidays, the little girls clapped, and
    shouted “_Vive le Roi!_”—“The boys did not do that,” said I to
    a gentleman near me. “No, but it was in their hearts to do it,”
    he gravely replied.

    I then drove to Bowring’s lodgings, where I found the wife of
    the Spanish General Mina; she was on her way to him; he has been
    very ill. In the evening I saw Napoleon’s Count Bertram; which
    completed the pleasurable sights of the day. I had the pleasure
    of presenting to the dear General two members of our Society, J.
    B. and his young nephew, and H. S.; they were much pleased.

    I have dined at de Bardelin’s twice, and yesterday I met him at
    Mrs. D.’s. One of the dishes was a _canard aux olives_; very
    peculiar, but very good. I live _quite to my mind_; I have my
    dinner from the _restaurateur_ belonging to the hotel, which is
    the cheapest way, as firing is very dear, and I should have a
    dinner’s worth expended in the kitchen; but I have a kitchen to
    myself, and the whole floor, that is, the _entresol_ to me
    exclusively; a great comfort. The parties on a seventh day eve,
    at the Jardin des Plantes, (Baron Cuvier’s,) are pleasanter than
    ever; ambassadeurs, savans, sages, deputés, historiens, &c., &c.
    The Paris intellectual world runs just now after a new sect, (a
    new religion, as they call it,) the Saint Simoniennes; the
    founder is a St. Simon, of the Duc de St. Simon’s family. His
    disciples preach up equality of property. The thing is, I
    suspect, more political than anything else, in its object; but
    on a first day there is religious preaching, and the room
    overflows; so it does on a week-day evening, when there are only
    lectures. The room is very near me, but I am in vain urged to
    go. “What a triumph it would be to them,” (said a Frenchman to
    me at Cuvier’s,) “to get off that little cap, and see it
    exchanged for their large black hat and feathers!” (the costume,
    with a blue gown, of the women.) But I, at present, hold out;
    because I have, in the first place, as I tell them, a scruple
    against going to any place of worship from curiosity merely; and
    also because I have vainly tried to read their book of
    doctrine—I could not get on with it; but as they agree with
    Friends on two points, I am sometimes tempted to go one
    evening;—_nous verrons_. * * *

    (12th mo., 1st, 1830.)   I passed a most pleasant day at Major
    M.’s; the only guest beside myself was a General Ferguson, well
    known for his sufferings in the cause of liberal opinions, as he
    was imprisoned through the jealousy and suspicion of the
    Austrian government some years ago, and liberated with great
    difficulty, by Canning. I do not remember his story, but it was
    before the House. My friends here have persuaded me to be at
    home on one particular day; so on the seventh day morning I
    receive from one to five, and I have _beaucoup de monde_.
    Farewell, till to-morrow.

    My friend E. M. is arrived. How good are her objects, how bright
    her zeal! She is a Christian indeed, and she says much good is
    doing; even that the St. Simoniennes are overruled for good. She
    wishes me to go one evening. She says one or two pious preachers
    mean to go and answer them, (for they put questions on a
    week-day, and _wish_ for discussion.)

                  With love to all, I am, thy very affectionate,
                                                          A. OPIE.

The Journal continues:—

    I went in the evening, at eight o’clock, to Lafayette’s, and had
    a kind reception from the dear and venerated host; the rooms
    were very full, and some Americans were introduced to me. The
    officers of artillery and cannoneers, bearing their plumed caps
    all the evening, have an odd effect.

    (24th of the mo.)   Received some visitors unexpectedly this
    morning; one of them, in conversation, mentioned a remark by
    Prudhomme, the editor of a Jacobin journal, in former days,
    which struck me; “_Les grands sont hauts, parceque nous sommes à
    genoux! levons nous!_” what an axiom! My evening solitary, but
    pleasant; occupation is not only happiness itself, but it makes
    one forget unhappiness.

    (26th.)   Went to St. Cloud. It is a splendid place, but I
    thought not of its last owner, but of Napoleon; and while I
    gazed on its magnificence, and thought of that and other
    palaces, and of supreme and imperial dominion being so suddenly,
    as it were, obtained by a soldier of fortune,—it seemed as if I
    was contemplating not a reality, but a dream; and yet it
    happened in _my_ time. If then I, who know it _did_ happen, and
    who even saw some of the splendours of the Consulate, have
    difficulty in believing that such things were, I must think the
    next generation will suppose the accurate historian, even,
    writes with the pen of exaggeration. And then to leave it all as
    suddenly! Were he not exhibited here in public, in pictures in
    the morning, and on the stage at night, even his memory perhaps
    would pass away like a tale that is told! The column on the
    Place Vendôme is, however, his most enduring monument.

    Returning to Paris, we drove to the Palais Royal, and dined at
    Richard’s in the grand _salon_. The charge there is two francs
    per head, wine included; but if you drink no wine, you are
    allowed another dish: we drank no wine, therefore were allowed a
    third dish for our two francs; but we finished with a bottle of
    champagne, price five francs, (4s. 2d. English.) Still, our
    dinner did not cost us much, and it was varied and excellent. To
    bed delighted with my day. How I wish, where it is not the
    custom to introduce, that every one was ticketed.

    (28th.)   Went to Meeting; we had a comfortable sitting. Dined
    at the Champs Elysées; read aloud two letters from a pious book;
    after tea we fell into silence unexpectedly, and sat near an
    hour; a great comfort—pleased with my day.

    (4th day, 1st of 12th mo.)   Ill, and at home all day alone; had
    a most welcome and unexpected visit from E. M. Her account of
    the state of the religious world here was cheering; I am so
    glad! May her hopes for this great, but, on some points, _blind_
    country, be realized; and may the prayers of her Christian heart
    be fulfilled! There are many labourers in the field, oh! may it
    really be white for the harvest. Wrote letters, and to bed
    unwell, and rather depressed.

    C., the Italian, called to thank me; poor man! he is welcome to
    my money, but not my time; besides, I hate to be thanked.

    (7th day.)   Rose refreshed, and comparatively well. I had
    several callers; F. remained after the rest, and gave me a
    curious account of the causes of the difference which I observe
    in the American accent, or dialect. He himself has no accent, (a
    Philadelphian,) nor had F. Cooper, (a New York man,) and the
    inhabitants of New York are said to speak better English than
    those of other cities. Enjoyed my quiet evening alone.

    (1st day, 5th.)   To Meeting: a quiet refreshing sitting. Went
    afterwards, with my friends, to call on l’Abbé Gregoire;[32]
    found him looking so well and bright! He was eighty the day
    before, and said he had not slept much in the night for thinking
    of his father and mother, and of the hope to be reunited to them
    soon, in another world. He said he did not go out, except to
    visit the sick, or he would call on me; he also goes to walk in
    the cemetery of Mont Parnasse, where he shall himself lie. We
    left him, much pleased with our visit; and then drove to my
    hotel, and dined together. I read to them a MS. of mine. Before
    we parted, we fell into silence, and sat an hour; and then I
    read two psalms. The day a very satisfactory one.

    (2nd day, 6th.)   Went to St. Sulpice, to hear a charity sermon,
    preached by l’Abbé Faisan, for the benefit of the schools of St.
    Nicholas. The beginning of the discourse was excellent, the end
    extraordinary. He said if he had his choice of the power and
    will, to give alms or to work miracles, he should prefer the
    former, because the latter would not do him good; but the former
    would win the favour of God, and procure him heaven! Almsgiving
    alone was the means of salvation—not the blood of Christ! poor
    man! M. Guizot and V. de L. held the bag at the door; we gave
    our mite, and afterwards went to the cemetery of Vaugirard. It
    was a touching spectacle! how many tricolor flags were waving,
    like so many butterflies, over the graves of those killed, in
    their country’s cause, on the memorable three days! Suddenly the
    sun burst forth from a cloud, and darted its golden rays on some
    of the white tombs and columns; the effect of the catching
    lights was indescribable! The abode of death was suddenly
    illuminated, emblematic, as it were, of those hopes of
    immortality which illumine the bed of death of the pious: and,
    as the flags waved in the breeze triumphantly, (as fancy
    thought,) they seemed indicative of that victory which has
    robbed death of its sting. And close by us stood a father and
    mother, weeping over the grave of their son, a boy of fourteen,
    and weeding his flowery turf! and he had been dead nine months!
    I thought they would be relieved by talking of him, so I spoke
    to them; and I found he was such a wonder of learning, for he
    could read and write so well, and he was so good! I wished that
    He who could alone comfort them might be near them; they said I
    was ‘_très honnête_’.

    (Third day, 7th.)   Went to the Musée Grec. What changes had
    taken place in thirteen months! Many beautiful things had been
    removed, because the glass of the frames which held them had
    been broken by the bullets, and others for fear they should be
    so. There was a meaning smile (which I returned) on the faces of
    the attendants, while I asked reasons for such and such a
    change. We went to see where the people had entered, and the
    damage done. It was very little, considering; and as we were
    looking out of the window, we found we were over the graves
    which I had visited the day after my arrival; and there, as
    usual, stood men uncovered, and women and children. They were
    now surrounding a tricolor flag, newly raised to one of the
    victims; the groups were picturesque, and the feeling that had
    assembled them was honourable! but what a shuddering sensation,
    what painful thoughts of _civil war_; what _horrors_ did the
    sight occasion.

    In the evening I accompanied Madame M. to Lafayette’s. I cannot
    reconcile myself to the _cannon_ at the door; but they were made
    for the general, and presented to him by the people of Paris,
    since the Revolution of this year, as the engraving on them
    states.

    We could scarcely enter the second room, it was so full! and the
    military caps and plumes in the midst of it were like a forest!
    Count de L. came up to us, “Observe the Prince de Salms,” said
    he, “in a splendid scarlet and silver uniform: he is come to pay
    his court to the General; he wants to be king of Belgium!” I
    _did_ see him, a lively-looking, short young man, dazzling in
    silver embroidery. How different the costume of a Polish
    Palatine, who soon after entered! dignified in his carriage, but
    looking like a priest, rather than a soldier; his tunic was
    black; the tops of the sleeves were full; round his waist was a
    girdle of gold lace, full four inches deep; and I think his
    gold-handled sword and dagger were fastened with something of
    gold fringe. His hair, of a reddish brown, was cut square on the
    forehead, and hung _squared_ also, below the nape of his neck;
    he was young and remarkable looking, and the tone of his voice
    deep, rich, and sweet. I should have liked to have talked to
    him, and tell him I knew Kosciusko; I saw _my_ dress excited his
    curiosity as much as _his_ did mine. The evening was
    interesting. I talked with Americans who were named to me, and
    with Frenchmen, who neither knew me nor I them; but we were
    jumbled together in the crowd, and politics and the _great days_
    are themes which naturally occur. I saw also, with interest, the
    Prince of Moskowa, the eldest son of Maréchal Ney. We did not
    get home till twelve.

    (4th day, 8th.)   Went in search of lodgings; called at poor B.
    Constant’s house, to inquire for him, as I heard at the
    General’s he was in danger. I heard he was worse; what a loss to
    France! * * * *

    B. Constant is no more! I hope to have the melancholy
    satisfaction of attending his funeral.

    (1st day, 12th.)   Breakfasted at De B.’s to see the funeral
    procession pass; I gave up going to Père la Chaise, as I could
    not be easy to give up Meeting, and said I should be at the
    Champs Elysées by half-past twelve; it was _impossible_. The
    convoi, which set off at ten, from the Rue d’Anjou, did not pass
    our windows till one; there were at least 80,000 men in it! Had
    it not been first day, I should have taken a coach, and followed
    it to the Temple, and to Père la Chaise.

    (14th.)   In the morning Cuvier’s lecture; in the evening with
    some Friends to Lafayette’s. The General received us in his
    usual kind manner; they were pleased, and so surprised at his
    youth and beauty! It was a gratifying evening to me. A number of
    Americans were introduced to me, who had read my works, and
    admired them, particularly the book on _Lying_; and a young lady
    said, “our youth bless your name, you have done us so much
    good!” I was affected, and, as usual felt but half gratified,
    because my dear father could not know it also.

    (1st day, 19th.)   After Meeting went to call on la Comtesse de
    Genlis; enjoyed my interview, and met a French lady who had read
    my works in English; was flattered, as usual. The trial of the
    Ministers is going on, and disturbances are feared.

    (20th.)   Fenimore Cooper called on me; a most interesting
    interview! I read him a manuscript. He is a charming man; he
    said things looked gloomily at the Luxembourg. * * * *

    (12th mo., 21st.)   Rose at half-past seven. I went to the T.s
    to dinner, and heard, from undoubted authority, (that of Le
    Dieu, editor of the “Revolution,”—a journal so called,) that
    there were serious disturbances expected at the Luxembourg; and
    that, not only the prisoners, but the peers were in danger;
    however Le D. had promised to come in the evening, if he could,
    and tell us what was passing in that quarter. Anxiously did we
    look towards the door, whenever it opened; however, when we had
    dined, and were talking over the cheerful fire, ceasing to watch
    for his entrance, he was announced, and we crowded round him.
    His news was indeed alarming! He was just come from the
    Luxembourg; the people had assembled in thousands, had made
    three attacks on the gates; had at last “_enfoncé la Garde
    Nationale_” and forced the gates. They could not, however, make
    their way to the prisoners or the peers, because the National
    Guards had, instead of forming in lines, fallen back in a mass
    before the doors, holding their arms as when exercising; the
    people then attempted to seize their arms, but they said, “take
    care! we will not fire, but, if you do not desist, we will use
    the bayonet.” Soon after, some one (probably to produce a change
    of place and object) said, “while you are stopping here, the
    Peers will escape the other way;” this produced a diversion, and
    they dispersed. Le D. then went on to say, that the people
    continued to increase, till, he believed, there were 60,000, and
    30,000 _Gardes nationaux_; that the guards had formed cordons
    round certain streets and _quais_ to keep off the people, and
    that he had advised some one to propose sending off the
    prisoners to Vincennes in the night. He said he had had
    conversation with the chiefs of the people, who were
    deliberating together in some Café; and that their demand is,
    that the Chamber of Peers should be _dissolved_, as well as the
    prisoners condemned. He added he had advised the people to
    assemble in the Champs de Mars, and decide to petition the King
    for justice and redress; that at last they were angry with him,
    and accused him of being the friend and defender of the
    criminals; that he eagerly repelled the charge, and that
    promising his friends to return at eleven o’clock, he came to
    us! I staid listening to his various anecdotes, some grave, some
    gay, till near eleven o’clock, and returned home to my new
    apartments, anxious for the results of to-night and the
    prospects of the morrow.

    (21st.)   Could not sleep. The _Journal des Débats_, which I had
    at half-past eight, was at once alarming and tranquillizing; it
    confirms the dangers and disquietudes of yesterday, but, at the
    same time, it assures us that very strong means are taken to
    resist the revolutionary spirit. It says that Lafayette went to
    the Luxembourg, and put himself at the head of the _Garde
    Nationale_, and was well received. Le D. represented him as
    become very unpopular, and his excellent “_ordre du jour_,”
    (which is on the walls,) as having been torn down and trodden
    underfoot.

    I wonder whether he will receive this evening! Perhaps the
    ladies will receive, whether he be there or not, that the rooms
    may appear lighted up, as if there was not much to fear. General
    de B. came just now, in kindness, to advise me not to go out
    to-day. I want to go to the lecture, but I could not get him to
    say positively whether he thought it probable, or possible, for
    Cuvier to lecture to-day, as that quarter of the town is the
    disturbed one; if the cordon be there, that was there yesterday,
    no _fiàcre_ can pass, but whether or not, he advises my staying
    at home. I cannot yet determine what to do. The people and their
    leaders in this _mouvement_ (that is the word in use) do not
    consider the chamber of peers as a legal body according to
    _existing circumstances_; they consider it as a child of the
    Restoration, and think it should have followed its parent, and
    _disappeared_. Nor has the conduct of the peers, on this trial,
    done aught but considerably increase their unpopularity. The
    people have their spies in the chamber; and, in reply to my
    observation—“they are anticipating the judgment of acquittal,
    was it not time enough to act when it was given?”—he said, they
    knew from their friends how things were going; they felt
    themselves betrayed, and therefore could forbear no longer, and
    nothing but their dissolution, as a chamber, can satisfy them.
    If _now_ they dissolve themselves, they may yet be saved! I
    think I shall venture out at two; and towards the rue St.
    Jacques. * * H. L. came at two, to say that he dared not take me
    thither, the streets around, and that where the Baron lectures,
    being filled with men and soldiers, and that it might be
    difficult to get back. We went however to the État Major, to ask
    whether the General received that evening.—Not allowed to enter
    the gates, and found that the État Major was no longer there;
    that seemed answer sufficient. To bed, “anxious for to-morrow’s
    dawn.”

    (4th day, 22nd.)   At eight o’clock Manuel knocked at my door,
    and told me that judgment had been pronounced the preceding
    evening, and that Polignac and Peyronet were condemned to death,
    and the others to exile! It was a terrible moment! and I dressed
    myself hastily, and in no small emotion; but my mind was
    relieved when I saw the _Journal des Débats_, and saw that P.’s
    death was only _mort civile_. While reading the deeply
    interesting narrative of their being carried to Vincennes, I
    heard the drums beating in an unusual manner, and found it was
    the _Générale_ calling all the soldiers to arm and assemble in
    haste. At eleven I sallied forth to call on the Coopers, and
    spent a most agreeable hour with him and his wife. I left them,
    to go to the Duchess de Broglie’s; and he was going to see what
    was passing at the Palais Royal, for the continued beating of
    the _Générale_ was alarming. When I reached the Rue de Rivoli, I
    saw General Fergusson, who advised me, on second thoughts, as he
    said, not to go to the Rue de l’Université, but to defer my
    calls till next week; and, as the Duchess might be fearing for
    her husband’s life, I thought my call, long deferred, might be
    deferred a little longer. I then went to the Place du Carousel,
    and saw an awful scene to me: national guards, bivouacking
    before the Tuilleries palace, and the people looking at them
    through the _grille_, in silence but not in love; disappointment
    and deep resentment seemed lowering on their brows—I never saw
    such expression before! Tears filled my eyes as I gazed on them!
    In the place itself there was a considerable number of soldiers
    also, and the people were outnumbered. I had satisfied my
    curiosity, and I retired, and next traversed the whole garden of
    the Tuilleries alone! Near the terrace, to the west, I saw the
    _Garde Nationale_ stretching in a line before the _Garde
    Meuble_, and others exercising, as I believed. Soon after, I saw
    a very long line of guards coming along the _quai_. I was
    pursuing my walk; and, by the time I got to the gates and the
    streets, this body of men passed me; and, as I was crossing to
    go to the Hôtel Breetuil, I was stopt, and a little alarmed by
    seeing a long line of men approaching, _en habit bourgeois_, and
    on their meeting the guards I heard violent shouting, but I knew
    not what it was! I stood by while they passed—they walked, the
    tricolor in the midst, and in great order, and on their hats was
    a card or paper, and they were all young. I was told they were
    the different schools, but whither they were going, and why,
    none knew; still I thought they looked too happy to be
    insurgents and “_jeunes insensés_,” as I heard them called.
    Being told the Place Vendôme was full of soldiers, I resolved to
    get home as fast as possible, and it was near four o’clock. I
    found the guard bivouacking in the Rue Castiglione, and their
    fires along the street; but in the Place Vendôme there was no
    crowd, only soldiers preparing to bivouac. I learned that the
    young men were the scholars, who, having been falsely accused of
    conspiring and insubordination, had come forward, begging to
    have arms and uniforms, to give the lie to their accusers. This
    was quite a relief to my mind, and I found the dear young men
    did not look so happy for nothing. After dinner C. M. came to
    take me out, and shew me Paris. I said “it is now too
    late”—“not if you will venture;” it was nine o’clock, and the
    weather rather rainy; but I am a curious and sentimental
    traveller, and I went.

    (5th day, the 23rd.)   Now to relate my adventures of last
    night—went first to look at the bivouacs on the Place Vendôme;
    was forcibly reminded of Salvator Rosa’s pictures of banditti,
    as the fire-lights glanced on the helmets and fire-arms, and the
    faces of men were seen in shadow—passed on—(no one was
    suffered to linger there) and went to the Place du Carousel.
    Along the Tuilleries were fires and soldiers; and, while we were
    warming ourselves at one of them, a horse _patrouille_ passed
    us, some of whom cried, “_Vive le Roi!_” but, (as I observed,)
    “_j’ai entendu mieux crier_.” The people, chiefly boys, with us,
    at one of the deserted fires, did not join the cry—poor things!
    they seemed to enjoy the warmth. We then went to the Palais
    Royal, our steps constantly impeded by companies of soldiers: as
    we approached this focus of _émeute_, we saw the surrounding
    houses were, in a measure, illuminated. When we got to the
    outside _grille_, we saw women and men clinging to it, while
    inside and outside were continued and loud cries of “_Vive le
    Roi!_” and we found he was shewing himself in the balcony. Soon
    after, it was said he was coming out, and to-day I find he did
    come down amongst them. Once the gates opened, and we found it
    was the Duke de Nemours, going out with the cavalry guards to
    _patrouiller_ the city. Redoubled shouts now greeted a coming
    body of men, and they proved to be the schools I had seen in the
    morning. At length we went through a shop into the galleries (as
    they are called) of the Palais Royal; they were lighted up as
    usual; but in the square of the fountain were various fires for
    the bivouac, and round them were soldiers of the line and
    National Guards intermixed, dancing _à la mode_, and singing the
    songs of liberty! The people outside were looking on delighted.
    We soon entered the lighted and vaulted passage which leads out
    of the Palais Royal; and at length, through new and beautiful
    passages, (where we saw many _gens d’armes_ and National Guards,
    quietly reading the papers and taking refreshments,) we reached
    the Boulevard through the passage Panorama; quite convinced that
    order for _that night_ was re-established. On the Boulevard we
    met one of the _aides de camp_ of Lafayette. My companion stopt
    and introduced him to me, as the very man who conducted the
    transfer of the prisoners to Vincennes; what a pleasing
    opportunity for me! I asked him how they looked? He said they
    looked “_défaits, pâles, abattus, et comme des hommes qui
    s’attendaient à chaque instant d’être mis en morceaux_;” and so,
    added he, they _would have been_, if we had set off half an hour
    later. He described the awful moment thus:—“_A la petite porte
    du guichet, au petit Luxembourg_, there was _no one_; there the
    _Garde Nationale_ formed ‘_une haie_;’ it was three in the
    afternoon, the judgment not given. There the _calèche_ with two
    horses drove up, the prisoners were waiting at the _guichet_,
    and we put them in the _calèche_.’” “_En silence?_” “_Oui,
    Madame, tout c’est passé dans le silence le plus profond._ At a
    certain distance the _calèche_, and the fifty guards who
    accompanied it, set off ‘_au grand galop_.’ In the villages we
    were recognised, and terrible cries of vengeance were heard; but
    we went too quick to be stopt, else all would have been over
    with them. So sure indeed were they, that they should not reach
    Vincennes alive, nor quit Paris alive, that they made some
    arrangements before they set off; and the happiest moment of
    their lives was that of their arrival at their prison, ‘_pour
    n’en plus sortir!_’” It is curious that this gentleman was one
    of those whom Polignac had set down in the list, to be arrested,
    and probably condemned. He is the editor of a journal, and wrote
    against the Ordinances. He said he had not had his boots off for
    days and nights, and was then going back to mount guard. “But
    all is quiet now, all is _over_, all danger?” “All is _reprimé
    maintenant_,” was his answer, but his countenance was _triste_,
    and the word _reprimé_ did not satisfy _me_.

    When we came again in sight of La Place Vendôme, which we left
    full of soldiers, we went to ascertain the fact of their being
    there no longer, and so it was; only two or three soldiers
    remained to see that the fires were put out. One woman was
    collecting some of the fire into an iron pot: “it would be lost,
    you know, (she said) if I did not take it,” and an officer (as I
    believe he was,) came up and said, “_elle fait bien_.” In reply
    to our inquiries, he said:—“All is far from being _terminé_.
    _Ah Madame! demain à trois heures, je vous conseille de rester
    chez vous, et de ne plus sortir de toute la journeé: bon soir!
    voilà un petit avis que je vous donné!_” I went home almost
    sorry to have received this _rabat joie_.—However, though (from
    reading the journal of to-day) I am almost sure the man only
    wished to alarm me, or perhaps to reprove my venturous walk of
    last night, I have given up my intention of going to walk in the
    gardens, where yesterday I saw ladies and gentlemen _as usual_.

    (Christmas day.)   Had many visitors—several Americans—dined
    with my friends on turkey and plum pudding. Went at half-past
    nine to the Cuviers’; how I repented going! I had seen in the
    _Journal des Débats_ the discussion, relative to the Commandant
    Generalship, and felt it an intended blow to General
    Lafayette—the discussion being such that it would lead him to
    resign; and lo! M. de M. came, and said a most important event
    had taken place, which might have _de grand résultats_; M. de
    Lafayette had sent in his _démission_! This was accompanied with
    remarks and a manner which gave me a feeling not only of sorrow
    but of speechless indignation! Came home uneasy, angry, and
    anxious. What a Christmas evening! however, I had a pleasant
    dinner with kind friends.

    (3rd day, 28th.)   Found Lafayette had positively refused to
    continue, and was to receive at the rue d’Anjou. There are
    different opinions on the subject, as usual; I think him quite
    right. His speech in the tribune on the subject, was admirable,
    and its _truth_ undoubted. Went to the rue d’Anjou; the room
    crowded to excess, the street also; 1000 persons at least, first
    and last—he _en habit bourgeois_—calm, dignified, kind, as
    usual. I felt pleased to see the General so _clung to_.

    (4th day.)   Q. came and persuaded me to go with him to the
    Hôtel de Ville, to see, and be introduced to, that admirable
    man, Odillon Barrot. I went, and was much pleased with him, and
    promised to go to a _soirée_ next fifth day.

    (5th day.)   Rose anticipating much enjoyment, but heard almost
    the most overwhelming news I could receive, from England. My
    eldest and almost my dearest friend, Joseph Gurney, dead in a
    moment, and in his wife’s presence! but to him what a merciful
    dispensation! On her sorrow I cannot dwell.[33]

    (6th day, 31st.)   I did not go out the whole day. Had some
    callers at night. Went with Manuel to see the shops, and buy
    some presents on new year’s eve. At five o’clock, while I was
    dining, C. M. came in to tell me poor Madame de Genlis was that
    morning found dead in her bed!! How I regretted not going to see
    her last first day!

    (New Year’s day.)   Had many cards, and sent many also. Some
    callers; several Americans; I gave some my autograph, and lines
    to Lafayette. * * * What a longing though I fear vain desire do
    I feel, to do good to those over whom I have any influence. J.
    J. G.’s “Letter”[34] was my new year’s gift both to men and
    women.

    (1st day, 2nd.)   Went to Meeting, afterward to see poor Madame
    de Genlis in her coffin! Happily arrived too late! was
    introduced to some dear friends of the deceased, who for her
    sake received me _à bras ouverts_, because she loved me! I
    promised to go to her interment.

    (3rd day, 4th.)   Went to meet the mourners assembled for poor
    Madame de Genlis’ funeral; General Gérard was presented to me.
    At night went to Lafayette’s as usual, and was introduced to
    many persons.

    (5th day, 13th.)   Went to see the diorama of the three days;
    got there just as Lafayette left it!—In the evening to Mark
    Wilks’s; a delightful evening! met the Duchess de Broglie.

    (28th.)   Had a brilliant party of distinguished persons. It was
    rich in characters; Baron Cuvier, Gérard and his wife, Firman
    Rogier, the Belgic deputy; General Pépé, the famous Neapolitan
    chief, who brought with him Count de Almeyda, a Portuguese
    minister to Donna Maria; Cooper, Koseff, the witty physician of
    Talleyrand; H. Chuter, a man of letters, Colonel de Kay, a young
    and gallant _chef d’escadre_, who distinguished himself for his
    skill and bravery in Buenos Ayres. There were persons of ten
    nations present. It was a choice party and pleasant evening; I
    hope I was not improperly elated, and was certainly thankful for
    this, amongst other favours.

    (6th day, 4th.)   In the evening Firman Rogier called; it was
    near ten. “What news from Belgium?” “None to-day, I expect
    dispatches to-morrow.” “Who will be king?” “No doubt the Duke de
    Nemours.”—He staid till half-past ten, then said he was going
    to make another visit.

    (7th day, 5th.)   The first thing I saw in the papers to-day
    was, that at _six_ the preceding evening, the telegraph had
    announced that the Duke de Nemours was elected king! and the
    Belgic Envoyé knew it _not_, but was making calls! how strange!
    he must explain this to me when we meet. Had nearly twenty
    callers. Unwell.

                       *    *    *    *    *    *

We shall not pursue the Journal further, but conclude this chapter with
a letter, in which Mrs. Opie relates her visit to the French court.

                             Hôtel de la Paix, 3rd mo., 7th, 1831.

    * * * At least I will begin a letter to thee, my dear friend,
    to-day, _reste à savoir_ whether I shall be able to finish it. I
    am amused (yet that is not the word) at seeing the formidable
    appearance which the little disturbances here make in the
    papers. I, living in the Rue and Hôtel de la Paix, know nothing
    of them, therefore they are certainly local, and nothing of
    consequence. We are most anxiously expecting the news from
    Poland. One of my most agreeable associates here, Count de
    Platen, left Paris, as he said, for London; but he is fighting
    at Warsaw! having been obliged to enter Poland in disguise. I am
    glad now I was not at home when he called to take leave. * * But
    to a less painful theme.—I had the pleasure of spending the
    evening of last first day week, seated _en famille_ by the side
    of Marie Amèlie, Reine des François, in other words, I have been
    to court; and, as the phrase is, most graciously received. La
    Marquise de D., _dame d’honneur de la Reine_, came to my morning
    reception the day before, and told me the Queen desired to see
    me the next evening. I said I went nowhere on first day, but
    this should be an exception to a general rule. She replied, that
    if I had a scruple, she would ask the Queen for another day; I
    told her I had _no_ scruple, for I felt sure there would be less
    company than usual. “No one scarcely, but the family.” This was
    just what I hoped and wished, and we parted.

    I wanted to go at half-past eight, but my man was so sure they
    could not be risen from dinner, that he persuaded me not to set
    off till twenty minutes before nine, by which delay I failed to
    see the King, who, tired out with business, was gone to bed
    before I arrived. I was _alone_, and I really thought the long
    suite of rooms would have no end. At last I was shewn into a
    long room, at the end of which I saw some ladies sitting round a
    table; as I entered, an English lady, coming out, caught my
    hand, and said, “I must speak to you.” I returned the pressure,
    saying, “I remember thee;” and then saw la Marquise de D. coming
    to meet me. “_Je viens à vôtre secours_” said she, and we
    approached the table, on which the Queen, and la Princesse
    d’Orléans, rose, and said, “_bon jour, Madame Opie_,” the Queen
    adding, “Sit down by me, I am glad to see you, I have read your
    works,”—and so forth. My friend, the Marquise, sat on the other
    side; round the table, sat two of the princesses, and some
    _dames d’honneur_, and the Dukes of Orléans and Nemours were
    standing near it. I cannot tell thee all the conversation that
    ensued, nor all the interesting questions which I had to answer;
    but I found the Queen a very pious-minded woman, and thou wilt
    think so, when I tell thee one of her _most favourite works_,
    and one she has given to her daughters, is the life of Mary
    Fletcher, the methodist, lately translated into French. The
    Queen, at length, resumed her work, (making a sort of silk
    _charpie_ or lint, to stuff _chauffe pieds_ with.) “As it is
    Sunday (said she) I cannot do any other work; but I do not like
    to sit idle, and when one works it is pleasant to know one is
    working for the poor—this is for a lottery for the poor.” I
    asked the Marquise the name of the lady I had met going out.
    “Walker.” “Then I was right,” I cried. “_Oui Madame Opie_,” said
    the Queen, “I knew her well.” “And she was one of my most
    intimate friends,” said Mademoiselle d’Orléans. “And she was
    very good to me,” said I, instantly recollecting (what I did not
    choose to mention, namely,) that being in the habit of singing
    Italian duos formerly, with that very lady, and going one night,
    by invitation, to a musical party at her house, when I entered,
    she came up to me, saying, “Oh! my dear, I am so sorry: I
    invited you this evening in order to present you to the Count
    d’Artois, (Charles Dix,) I wanted him to hear you sing, but he
    is ill, and can’t come!” I do not know how _many_ years
    afterwards, and after a long separation, I met my singing
    friend, her daughter, in the palace of Louis Philippe! * * * *

                            I am thine, with love to distribute,
                                                          A. OPIE.

-----

[32] The Abbé Gregoire, who, with Lafayette, and thirty-eight more, is
the only survivor of the twelve hundred (I think) who formed the first
National Assembly. I knew him twenty-seven years ago, here.—A. O.

[33] One of the “Lays for the Dead” (page 63) commemorates this event.

[34] Mr. J. J. Gurney’s “Letter to a friend on the Authority, Purposes,
and Effects, of Christianity.” This Tractate Mrs. Opie had translated
into French during her stay in Paris.



                              CHAPTER XIX.


    INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP; MRS. OPIE RETURNS TO ENGLAND;
    GIVES UP HOUSEKEEPING; JOURNEY INTO CORNWALL; LETTERS AND
    JOURNAL DURING HER RESIDENCE THERE.

Some of Mrs. Opie’s most sincere and attached friends felt a degree of
anxiety, lest her protracted sojourn in the gay capital of France, where
she was surrounded by admirers, and found so much to gratify and charm
her taste and feelings, should be injurious to her best and highest
interests. They feared lest she should be “drawn away from the
simplicity” of faith and manners, which must characterize the true
Christian, in his intercourse with the world. These anxieties were
natural, and the expression of them salutary. The knowledge that such
care was felt on her behalf, that such watchful eyes of love were upon
her movements, awakened her gratitude, and influenced her conduct. The
union that subsisted between her and the Friends, with whom she had
“cast in her lot,” was a true and beneficial one; exerting an abiding
and useful influence, and having a hold upon her affections, as well as
her principles. In her journals, she continually refers to the happy and
comforting experiences of her first day services, with the “two or
three,” who met together for religious fellowship and sympathy; and her
heart yearned towards those whom she had left behind in her dear native
city, when “vexed” with the ungodliness and carelessness of heart which
she saw around her.

But her nature was many-sided and elastic; she could, and did, take a
living interest in all the varied forms of life and society; and could
be _in_ the world though she was not _of_ it. She was able to turn with
undiminished interest, from scenes of high excitement, to small and
apparently uncongenial subjects. To each claim she responded in turn,
and the tale of every human heart had power to interest her. Hence, when
she returned to her solitary home, and the quiet and comparatively
monotonous life she led there, she lost none of her spring, nor appeared
in the slightest degree less keenly alive to all that claimed her
attention. The society of her friends, and the works of charity which
she had relinquished for a season, were returned to and resumed with
warmth and diligence. She was especially interested about this time, in
the cause of the Ladies’ Branch Bible Society, in Norwich. Mr. Charles
Dudley was anxious to effect an improvement in its management, and there
were meetings and committees at the Friends’ meeting-house, at which
Mrs. Opie assisted. She also took a district, and visited among the
poor, receiving their weekly pence as a collector, and thus coming into
contact with many scenes of sorrow and want, that awakened her kindly
feelings, and found employment for her charitable dispositions. She
mentions, in her diary, the pleasure she felt at being welcomed on her
return after her long absence, by the poor people whom she met. This was
a reward quite after her own heart!

In the year 1832, Mrs. Opie sold her house in St. George’s, which she
had been desirous to do from the time of her father’s death. During Dr.
Alderson’s life, many of Mr. Opie’s pictures were in his possession, and
adorned the walls of the rooms in which he lived. There were two of
large size over the mantel-piece in the dining and drawing rooms; one,
the well-known picture of the Secret Correspondence, or Love letter, the
other was the Shepherd Boy, in Gainsborough’s style. There were beside
these, many others, including the portraits, which formed the subjects
of six of her “Lays for the Dead.”—The latter Mrs. Opie retained in her
possession, taking them with her when she went into lodgings, and
eventually to her house on the Castle Meadow.

Having completed all her arrangements, disposed of her house, and
dismissed her servants, she resolved to give up housekeeping for some
time, that she might be entirely at liberty to wander at will; and, in
the autumn of this year, at length found herself able to accomplish a
desire, which (she said) had for many years been near her heart; viz. to
visit Cornwall, her husband’s native county, intending to make her stay
there as long as she found desirable; and on the 20th of September she
left London for Falmouth, _viâ_ Plymouth. On finding herself in
Cornwall, she wrote:—

    I cannot describe the sensation I felt at being in my poor
    husband’s native county, which I had so often heard him lavish
    in praise of; but _his_ part of the county was bold and rocky,
    and without trees; _this_ was rich and wooded, though rocky, and
    the low walls, made of a red stone, appeared to me particularly
    picturesque. Indeed, at every moment, scenery of increasing
    beauty presented itself to the view. Before we arrived at Truro,
    I was extremely pleased with a long dell, called the Forest,
    extending to a considerable length; across this dell very large
    forest trees bent over, forming a natural bower, beautiful and
    magnificent, and, as I concluded must be the case, a fine stream
    ran through the hollow, and, at its termination, there is a
    gentleman’s seat; I fear that I _envied_ the owner his
    delightful residence.

    Rocks, woods, and river, were the constant succession of objects
    which my delighted eyes gazed on, as we proceeded on our way;
    and the vale of Perran fully equalled my expectations, though I
    could not explore its heights and look down on its lovely
    valley. Penryn is a striking scene, from the business going
    forward there, and the romantic scenery around its river. Next
    came the beautiful harbour of Falmouth, on which we looked down
    as we drew near; it fully realized my high-raised expectations!

    At the inn, I found my friend awaiting my arrival; he drove me
    up an almost perpendicular street, which reminded me of Whitby,
    where the streets are all precipitous. When I reached W. Place,
    and the kind inhabitants introduced me into the house, I was
    _overpowered_, as it were, by the sense of beauty with which the
    view from the window impressed me! The bay was blue as heaven!
    and there seemed nothing between us and that, but a gently
    undulating lawn, enamelled with flowering shrubs. To the left,
    rose the castle of Pendennis, on its high and verdant
    promontory, and the whole was so like an Italian scene, that I
    could scarcely fancy myself in England. I felt deep thankfulness
    when I retired to my charming room at night, not only for my
    safe arrival, but that the lines were fallen to me in such
    pleasant places!

Mrs. Opie, after remaining a month at Falmouth, left her friends there
on the 22nd of October, and proceeded to Perran, on a visit to another
branch of the same family, and from this time she seems to have kept a
journal, from which we purpose making occasional extracts. On her way to
Perran she visited a mine, which she describes thus:—

    There is here the largest steam engine, perhaps, in Europe; when
    I entered the room I went up to see the immense beam, or bob,
    that opened and shut, and looked like a great whale, opening its
    jaws to devour me. The whole thing was vast, even to sublimity.
    We then went below, and a little steam was let off, for me to
    hear the roar; they went on to increase it for my amusement, but
    I had enough at the _third_ roar, which, from its extraordinary
    noise, made me feel ready to faint; a fourth increase of sound
    would, I believe, have made me fall to the ground. We then went
    to see the women at work. The first sight of the mining district
    exceeded all my ideas of its desolation—a desolation only
    equalled by its population.

    On the 21st, (she says,) I bade a sorrowful farewell to dear
    Perran, and drove off with a heavy heart, at leaving my friends,
    to St. Agnes. The drive was interesting while the light lasted,
    and I was kindly welcomed on my arrival, by my worthy relatives.

From hence she wrote the following letter:—

                  TO SARAH ROSE, BRACONDALE, NORWICH.
                                  St. Agnes, 11th mo., 26th, 1832.
      MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,

    I shall begin by what is uppermost with me just now. Last night,
    in the papers, I had the shock of seeing the death of Lady
    Stafford, at Brighton! what a loss! what a wide-spreading loss!
    What did she die of? how sudden her removal! but it is those who
    are left who have to mourn. One cannot think but all is well
    with _her_, poor dear! I used to lament I knew so little of her,
    but now I rejoice! I am sorry to think, dear friend, what a
    gloom the death of this noble and excellent lady will cast over
    thy circle, and, consequently, over thyself. * * *

    I am here, with my poor husband’s nephew, and his wife and
    family, which consists of Edward Opie the painter; a boy of ten;
    and of a gentle and pleasing young woman, named Amelia, after
    me, at the desire of my poor sister. They have just lost a
    lovely, gifted girl, of thirteen, whose loss has sunk deep into
    the hearts of her parents. The whole family have soft pleasing
    manners; in short, I like them all. From the summer house in the
    garden, there is a view of rock and ocean, seen over a thick
    wood, which I should always like to look upon; but alas! the
    parlour window looks only on a narrow road, and a high house
    opposite. Such an exchange for beautiful Falmouth bay and
    harbour, and Perran vale, whence I now come! Yesterday I dined
    at Harmony Cot, where my husband and all the family were born
    and bred. It is a most sequestered cottage, whitewashed and
    thatched; a hill rising high above it, and another in front;
    trees and flower-beds before it, which in summer must make it a
    pretty spot. _Now_, it is not a tempting abode; but there are
    two good rooms, and I am glad I have seen it.

    I have here the most delicious bread, butter, and clotted cream,
    possible. I have luxuriated in this latter article since I
    reached Cornwall, and also in sweetwort, at Falmouth. A kind old
    friend there always keeps a store ready for me; for, strange to
    say, one can buy it at Falmouth a penny per pint, and the man
    brews almost every day. I was at Falmouth one month, at R. W.
    Fox’s, and at his mother’s at Perran and Falmouth another month,
    and came hither last fourth day from Redruth monthly meeting,
    and I go to Truro next fourth day, to stay till the beginning of
    next month, when I go to Burncoose, and I _hope_ to take up my
    abode, in lodgings of my own, at Penzance, by the second of the
    next year, if not before—but I have so many invitations! I was,
    on fifth day, up St. Anne’s beacon. Such a magnificent sea view!
    We hope to get to Perran Path, to see rocks and caverns, on
    second day. * * * Enter a _sweet giblet pie_. Farewell.

    After dinner.—When I am at Penzance I mean to go on excursions
    from that town; the neighbourhood is very interesting, and rocks
    and sea do not lose, but gain, in beauty and sublimity, from
    rough weather.

    How many persons have died even during the short time of my
    absence! and I _have_ had to fear for dear Dr. Ash! I am truly
    thankful he is restored. I have good accounts of my aunt and J.
    Sparshall and of all (save Henry Bidwell) in whom I am
    interested. May such accounts continue! I have had a letter from
    Lady Milman to-day; like herself, admirable! In much love, and
    with messages of love to Whites, yourselves, Beecrofts, and Anne
    Bevan,

                             I am, thy ever affectionate friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

    How I wish I were, what I am not, and fear I never may be,
    _weaned_ from the pleasures of this life, and given only to
    preparation for another! I sometimes reprove myself for the
    happiness I feel; and my health so perfect!

The Journal proceeds:—

    (7th day, 1st of 12th mo.)   Went to see the market, and
    institution or museum. _En route_ met the Wesleyan minister, and
    went to his house to ask C. Cook’s address at Paris, and to
    speak to him on the necessity of a Temperance Society at St.
    Anne’s, as spirits are the universal drink among _temperate_
    people, and who see not the danger of such a habit. Had letters
    from J. J. G. and H. G. Wrote to the latter, for the _last_ time
    by a frank to him!

    (1st day, 2nd.)   Got to meeting; snowy. In the evening came on
    an awful storm; thunder loud, lightning vivid! When it subsided,
    W. T. opened the windows for me to see what he called his
    _illumination_. It was the large Methodist meeting house lighted
    up, and towering in radiance in the valley on the left!

    (3rd day, 4th.)   Monthly meeting day—time to go and prepare. *
    * A most satisfactory meeting; much dropt that was interesting
    and instructive.

    (4th day, 5th.)   Quarterly meeting. A full attendance of
    Friends from all parts of the country. S. and C. Abbot, to me
    unknown before, amongst them. The meeting still, and evidently
    _owned_. Several friends spoke to great edification; but C. A.,
    for voice, manner, and matter, delightful! Such sweetness of
    voice, united to such compass, I never heard before; and then
    her communication! I wish I could hear her often. The meeting
    well attended in the evening. Next morning our friends left,
    with a solemn, sweet, though short, parting benediction.

    (1st day, 9th.)   Heard a good account of dear M. Fox and her
    children. Lodgings suitable procured for me, at Penzance; much
    pleased to hear it. Walked after dinner up the hill beyond the
    house, to see to advantage the remarkable and sublime appearance
    of the clouds, which resembled the glaciers, and formed ridges
    of ice, like those on the Mer de Glace! It was a sublime
    spectacle; and, if it had not left us, we should have found it
    difficult to leave _it_.

    (6th day.)   Shocked to find that Gurney and Ker had lost their
    election! Heard from S. Austin. Rolfe in for Falmouth; good! P.
    W. drove me to see the pit where Wesley preached; a hallowed
    spot—now made into a circle of turf seats, and will hold 12,000
    persons. Interesting indeed!

On the 10th of January, (1833,) her Journal continues:—

    Rose at five, and off at seven for Penzance; a day of incessant
    wind and rain! looked for the mount and its bay to the _right_,
    but happening to turn to the left window, I just did so in time
    to see it in all its glory, and quite near me, the billows
    lashing its rocky sides! Kind Lord de D. has procured me the
    means of sleeping there at the next full moon! * * My lodgings
    pleasant; a good drawing-room, a decent bed-room, and a fine sea
    view, are my possessions here, and _leisure_. May I employ it
    well! Dear S. and A. Fox! they were so kind, that I was _very_
    loth to quit them! but here I am.

A touching mention follows of the tidings she received of the death of a
sweet child of some of the friends she had left.

    (11th.)   Walked on the shore after dinner—the Mount very dark
    when we first saw it, then it was sunlit, then dark and misty,
    then light again, and green as an emerald was the flood swelling
    against it, and edged with snow-white feathers. Beautiful Mount,
    I long to be better acquainted with thee!

    (18th.)   The day lovely; walked to find the tombs of my
    cousins. Such a walk! the air balmy, the bay blue and gold, the
    Mount darkly grand! saw it almost all the way. The churchyard
    pretty; the tomb simple; in its railing is another like it, over
    a mother and son, _friends_ of Philothea.[35] On our return the
    Mount was bright—saw the granite rocks: and the sea was first
    green and then a bright blue! so lovely! not at all tired.
    Enjoyed my walk and my dinner. Wrote in the evening to General
    Lafayette and E. M.

                  TO SARAH ROSE, BRACONDALE, NORWICH.
                                     Regent’s Terrace, Penzance,
                                              1st mo., 14th, 1833.

    It is long since the receipt of any letter has given me so much
    pleasure as the one I received to-day from thee, my beloved
    friend. * * * I intend to write to my friend, Judith Beecroft,
    but I defer writing till I have visited St. Michael’s Mount. She
    and Laura, who have passed a night with the monks, at the
    convent of Great St. Bernard, will still look down on poor me,
    who shall, when I write, have passed a night in that _rocky
    wonder_. But I am to enjoy the great pleasure of visiting the
    rock and ramparts by moonlight, and I am to sleep there;—_par
    conséquent_, I shall also see the sun rise and set there—a
    great privilege; whether I may have the bells set a ringing or
    not, I can’t tell, but I should like to judge of all the effects
    _possible_ in that unique spot.

    I have lately been staying at Lord de Dunstanville’s, and he it
    was who wrote to Sir John St. Aubyn’s housekeeper, desiring a
    bed to be prepared for me, whenever I chose to go; and that is
    at the _next full moon_, (a suspicious circumstance, _n’est ce
    pas_?) But, dear me! how should there be any moon where there is
    _no sun_? only once have I seen the latter since I came hither,
    last fifth day, the 10th. Wind, rain, and no fish! and I usually
    _live_ on fish; but then in two minutes I can be on the beach,
    and see the Mount. * * * Oh! what a blessing is leisure, and its
    promoter, solitude! I can say, with deep thankfulness, that I
    have been only _too_ happy with my dear Cornish friends; _too_
    happy, because, I have been idle and useless; but, much as I
    have enjoyed this very precious society, I cannot express my
    delight at feeling that I have fourteen hours before me when I
    rise, or more, to do what I will in, and write and read as I
    choose.

    * * * At Paris the glass is many many degrees below freezing
    point; here, there is rain and wind, but no frost. I fear,
    indeed _know_, that you have frost, but I hope thou feelest it
    not. I will add that my health is perfect, and I need the
    sorrows of my friends to _sober_ my spirits. My drawing-room
    commands the bay, and on one side the town and hills of N.,
    washed by the sea.

    Now to talk of thyself. I am cheered much by thy letter, and I
    humbly trust that the best of all cheerfulness, that which
    results from entire resignation, is thine now, and will be to
    the end. “If we live to the Lord, we shall also die to the
    Lord;” and I believe persons afflicted with incurable complaints
    are permitted to live on and suffer, that they may be made
    profitable examples. * * * To-morrow I am going to dine and
    sleep at Sir Rose Price’s. I have many letters yet
    unacknowledged; I like to put my friends in _my debt_. I am
    paying off mine; I sent seven yesterday to the post.  Farewell!
    remember I must hear from thee again.

                                      Thine affectionate friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

    (5th day, 24th.)   A bright and dazzling sun, silvering over the
    bellowing sea, like great wit and talent, throwing a lustre over
    turbulent passions, under an agreeable surface. This day four
    months I came to dear Falmouth; what happy months! Blessed be
    His goodness who willed them so to be. I hope for some letters
    to day * * * one from S. Rose, franked by H. Jerningham, the
    first catholic frank I have had. Poor dear Mary White! H. K.
    W.’s mother. She is gone, full of years and honour; and no doubt
    gone to glory! What a meeting will hers be with her blessed son,
    if, (as I trust,) the “raised again” know each other. (1st day,
    27th.)   To meeting; silent, as usual, both morning and
    afternoon, still it was refreshing. In the evening read some
    pages of S. Crisp’s Sermons—admirable! Read Newton’s
    “Cardiphonia,”[36] and in the Acts; an edifying evening, still
    to bed discouraged, though much enabled to pray during the day.
    (28th.)   A disturbed night, but woke with “My grace is
    sufficient for thee” on my lips. Hoped it was an answer to
    prayer. Slept again, and woke with the same text. Rose
    encouraged. * * * This evening went on with my remarks on the
    sons of Eli and the Rechabites. Read Carne’s “Letters from the
    East,” which, though not new to me, were most pleasing; so
    absorbed with his accounts of the Holy Land, I could scarcely
    quit them to go to bed.

    (5th of 2nd mo.)   * * * * Received a very good and civil note
    from the housekeeper. (4th day, 6th.)   Packed up and ready at a
    quarter before ten, for Marazion. Meeting satisfactory. Sent my
    parcel before me to the Mount. Ascent very steep; surprised at
    the difficulty and pain of the effort. Housekeeper very civil.
    Saw all the _prime_ of the house. Walked round the ramparts. No
    moon; she rose, however, and was fine at midnight. A bad night,
    but enjoyed the novelty of my situation.

                         TO THOMAS BRIGHTWELL.
                                     Regent Terrace, Penzance.
                                     2nd mo., 11th, 1833, evening.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    If I were now at my dear old house at Norwich, I should,
    perhaps, have the pleasure of passing this evening with thee;
    but as we are separated by a distance of nearly 400 miles, this
    pleasure I cannot have. I am therefore desirous to make myself
    amends for a privation which I frequently regret, by holding
    with thee that communication, imperfect though it be, I _can_
    enjoy through the medium of pen, ink, and paper. * * * One of
    the most interesting sights that I have seen, is THE PIT where
    Wesley, almost at the hazard of his life, addressed the Cornish
    men, for the first time. It is now an immense punch bowl of
    green turf, cut into circular seats from the top to the bottom;
    steps, left to ascend and descend, dividing the area into four
    parts; at the top of the last one are two posts of granite, on
    which, when any one preaches, there is laid a board, to support
    whatever the preacher may require. On every Whit Sunday one of
    their most distinguished ministers holds forth to an immense
    congregation—immense indeed! for the place holds above 10,000
    persons, and it is often quite full. I could fancy, as I stood
    there, those thousands of uplifted faces, wrapt in devout
    attention, and, as I hope, drinking in waters from the well of
    salvation.

    The greatest sight, and perhaps one of the most unique in
    Europe, is St. Michael’s Mount, as it is stupidly called, for
    the term _mount_, gives one no idea of _vastness_, but the
    contrary; and who would expect to find a place called a mount—a
    rock, a mountain, and a castle? Yet, such is St. Michael’s
    Mount; one of the seats of Sir John St. Aubyn; where I passed
    two days and two nights _alone_, last week; and where I had
    leave to stay as long as I liked, but I felt a scruple against
    taking possession of a man’s house in his absence, and putting
    his housekeeper to the trouble of waiting upon me, and cooking
    for me; she said she wished me to stay a week, but I thought she
    would, in her heart, be very glad to get rid of a crazy old
    gentlewoman, who came to look at the moon from the ramparts of
    the castle, as if she had no moon in her own country! and I
    don’t doubt but she fancied me moonstruck, which idea was, I
    dare say, confirmed, by her catching me drawing the faces and
    figures I saw in the fire; a new, but I assure thee, a very
    amusing occupation. I advise Lucy to set about it directly. The
    sea is closed round this magnificent mountain, with its masses
    of rock frowning midway down its verdant sides, during greater
    part of the day, and such a sea as it is in winter! They are
    shipless waters, for no vessel could live in them; and I did
    enjoy to see the waves of the Atlantic rolling proudly on, on
    one side of the castle, telling of greater and more fearful
    power beyond, where my eye could not penetrate. The first night
    I was there, the weather was so rough, that I went to bed
    supposing the moon would not shine; but when the tide
    _unclosed_, as the saying is, the moon shone, and I, on waking
    past midnight, saw her light, but could not see her; so the next
    night I sat up till she rose, and, leaning on the balcony,
    witnessed her fight with the wind and rain, and her ultimate
    victory. Such was the roughness of the sea, that the white foam
    made the “darkness light about it,” without the aid of the moon;
    but where she did not shine on their jutting points, dark as
    Erebus were the turrets, the ramparts, and the walls of the
    castle; while the little town at the foot of the mountain, and
    the more distant town beyond, lay in a sort of half tint of
    moonshine, and the noble rocks over which I leaned, were
    softened into beauty by the mellowing rays that rested on them!
    It was interesting to watch the lights from the habitations, far
    and near, as they gradually disappeared; and to feel that I,
    probably, was the only being awake and moving, in that vast
    space of land and water. I walked and gazed, and leaned on the
    ramparts, till the consciousness of my solitude became
    oppressive to me, and I hastened along that corridor, so often
    trodden, in times long past, by the monk or the warrior, to my
    repose. This castle was once a monastery, and I entered a
    dungeon which was found, a few years ago, bricked up, and the
    skeleton of a large man in it, no doubt that of an offending
    monk, left there to die by inches. * *

                                            Thy attached Friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

    (2nd mo. 10th.)   A day of storm and rain. To meeting, which was
    still and solemn, though a very small gathering. I was there
    _first_, and enjoyed the opportunity of solitary worship. Anne
    T. was favoured much in her ministry. It was a privilege which
    it is long since we enjoyed before. At three, to meeting again;
    a notice given to those not in society with us; afterwards all
    came to me—a pleasant evening. (13th.)   Went to meeting, a
    quiet one, only four persons present. Afternoon netted, and sat
    watching the sun, and the heavens, and the sea; the sun setting
    in radiance though not in glory; rain, like hail, pattering
    against the window at the same time, and the wind roaring as
    loud as the foaming sea.

    (15th.)   Rose early, and again worked on my Lays. Letters.
    Shocked to hear of my dear friend, Sarah Rose’s death; but, a
    mercy to her! Still, I _grieve_ to see her no more, a friend so
    long attached. I long to hear more, and expect to learn that she
    had _more_ than a peaceful end. (17th.)   Can’t sleep after
    five, till time to rise; a bad habit. Forgot it was the day of
    Marazion meeting, so I went _here_; quite alone, but I did so
    enjoy it! Wrote _all_ my Lays on my six pictures—very poor, but
    hope to improve them. To bed much cheered.

    (19th.)   Finished my purses—packed up; a day of fearful wind
    and rain! forced to have a chaise to get to the coach for
    Falmouth. Felt glad, on arriving, to be in this kind home again.
    Drew all the evening.[37]

After a short stay with her friends, Mrs. Opie returned to her solitary
lodging, and in her diary, records her progress with her “Lays,” and
some short pieces; there are frequent notices too of the domestic joys
and sorrow of friends with whom she corresponded, and verses addressed
to them on these events. The weather was exceedingly stormy during the
latter part of her stay; she writes:—

    (2nd mo., 28th.)   Rose amidst such a storm of wind and rain;
    the maid fears for the chimney, so do I! The sea a succession of
    foaming billows, and the white horses galloping towards us. * *
    What a change since the scene of an hour ago! The sea a
    succession of circling green waves, seemingly flowing the
    _other_ way; and the sun in dazzling brightness, edging every
    wave with silver. Oh! the ever-varying beauty of the ocean. I
    think I must live near it whenever I fix again. If the
    brightness did not make my eyes ache, I could not keep from the
    window. * * The beauty all gone again. Now to work on my Lays. I
    have added to, and corrected, and written in my book, all my
    lines on my portraits; 192 lines of blank verse; and I think I
    must add a few more to those on my dear father. I fear no one
    will read them! * * The wind, rain, and hail are all abroad
    again, spite of the moon and stars. * * No, there they are
    again, making the bay so bright! * * To bed peaceful, _grâce à
    Dieu_. (1st day.)  A good night, but dared not go to the
    meeting, so went here, knowing I should be alone—enjoyed it.
    Rain again! “The rain it remaineth every day!” (2nd day.)   Went
    to the workhouse and jail; found one of the committee there, who
    was very civil, and, with the governor, went about with me. The
    workhouse well-conducted and comfortable indeed—mad patients
    there also; saw one poor woman. In the prison not _one_ person,
    but a woman debtor—going out soon. Gave 5s. to the fund and 2s.
    6d. to the poor woman; they promised to send me an account of
    the average expense of the establishment per week, to the fund
    collected by poor’s rates; he thinks it not more than two
    shillings and a few pence, each person. This gentleman called to
    tell me that what I had given, with a little added, would give
    the poor people a treat of cake and tea, at five, next fourth
    day, and asked me to go and see them enjoy it. It was kindly
    meant, but I should think it ostentatious. * * Went to the
    shore, to see the Mount by moonlight. I saw that poor young
    Irishman, A., at No. 1, walk to-day, and I met him; he looks
    thinner and weaker, but, his colour grows more and more
    brilliant! how I wish I dare speak to him, and ask him how he
    does; he comes from the north of Ireland. It is a comfort his
    brother is with him. I have read through “Anecdotes of the Court
    of Napoleon,” some of them true, I doubt not, but many
    disgusting! To bed, so low, and haunted with painful images.
    (5th.)   Read the paper of yesterday; what times! what speeches!
    admired many, but most Sir R. Peel’s, I think. Still, am
    incompetent to judge on the propriety, or rather absolute
    necessity, of the Irish Bill. (6th.)   An almost sleepless
    night, the storm raging! Thought of the poor souls at sea; hoped
    Captain Rosewall had not sailed. A day of incessant rain and
    howling. This weather is very trying to the nerves, and will
    reconcile me to leaving Penzance! The sounds of wind and rain
    are bad companions for a lone person, and impede one’s progress
    in anything; still I am sometimes too much absorbed to mind
    them. (9th.)   A fine, blue, windy, frosty day. Went to the
    Land’s end, to the Logan-rock first, a magnificent amphitheatre
    of rocks indeed! walked up to it with my nephew, Tom Opie;
    ascended, and proved it. The position and the movement, make
    this piece of rock (which weighs 92 tons) very curious; but the
    fine sight is the mass of varied rocks around! The Land’s End in
    _sea_, was a grievous disappointment; no swell at all; the wind
    blew from land, but the sea was green and blue and beautiful,
    and Cape Cormorant grand; and the strange rock in the sea,
    called the Prisons, very fine; and the the very _Land’s End_,
    and its rocks—oh! it was very fine; and I consoled myself on
    hearing that had there been a great swell and wind, we could not
    have approached as we did. We then drove to Whitsand bay; the
    hills that guard it are strewed with immense pieces of rock,
    some worn round like a bowl; I never saw grander desolation. The
    sand there is _white_, and the little shells which abound there
    are beautiful. (19th.)   Set off in a heavy, dark, dirty
    vehicle, with Thomas Opie, for St. Ives! day bright, but cold;
    hills steep, rocky, rugged! car jolting; horse going a foot’s
    pace; and two hours and a half going through a barren, rocky
    country, full of mines, and desolate. Sublimely ugly! Halstown,
    a curious place; four and thirty double cottages of white stone,
    abodes of miners, placed in shelves on the edge of a rocky,
    steep, high hill. The bay and sea at St. Ives lovely. (22nd.)
      My last day at Penzance! I felt quitting a spot so endeared to
    me by hours of refreshing, and, I trust, beneficial solitude. A
    pleasing note from poor young B. A., (the lame invalid I saw
    daily from my window,) returning my books and regretting my
    departure.[38]

Mrs. Opie returned from Penzance to Falmouth, where she remained for
some weeks, visiting her friends, and enjoying their kind hospitality
and true friendship. She makes daily entries in her Journal, and details
the domestic every-day life, and the occasional _fêtes_ or troubles of
her friends. Especially she dwells, with evident delight and cordial
satisfaction on the religious services of the Friends, and expresses her
“entire unity” of sentiment with them.

At length, on the 29th of April, she writes:—

    Alas! the day of my departure from dear Cornwall, therefore
    unwelcome. I bade a reluctant adieu to all my dear Cornish
    friends, deeply thankful for the happiness I had enjoyed, during
    seven months, in this interesting county, and with this
    interesting family and others; and endeavouring to prepare
    mentally for other scenes and other persons.

She spent a few days with friends, at Combe, on her way to Bristol,
where she arrived on the 4th instant, and closes her diary, shortly
after, thus:—

    Here ends my Journal of my Cornish visit, (and its appendix at
    Combe,) for the health, safety, benefit, and enjoyment of which,
    I feel deep thankfulness to the Giver of all good!

-----

[35] In her “Lays,” p. 72, there are some lines “on a mother and
daughter, relations of mine, who died at Penzance within a short time of
each other;” beginning:—

        Pure, lovely, learned, gifted, pious, wise,
        Here, by her mother’s side, Philothea lies.

[36] In one of Mrs. O.’s notes, she writes, “Of all the books I ever
read, Newton’s ‘Cardiphonia’ (the Bible excepted) did me the most good.”

[37] Likenesses of her friends.

[38] He afterwards corresponded with Mrs. Opie on religious subjects;
and she lent him books, and wrote, giving him christian advice and
instruction. He eventually died in Cornwall, and there is reason to
believe that her efforts were not in vain, and that she was instrumental
in leading him to the only “hiding place from the wind, and covert from
the tempest.”



                              CHAPTER XX.


    RETURN TO NORWICH; EXTRACTS FROM HER DIARY; DR. CHALMERS AND
    MRS. OPIE AT EARLHAM; LINES ADDRESSED BY MRS. OPIE TO DR.
    CHALMERS; “LAYS FOR THE DEAD;” VISIT TO LONDON; JOURNEY TO
    SCOTLAND; HER JOURNAL THERE; THE HIGHLANDS; HER VISIT TO
    ABBOTSFORD.

After her long absence, Mrs. Opie, on her return to Norwich, took up her
abode in lodgings, in St. Giles’ street. We find her note book with its
daily entries, from which we give a few extracts:—

    Arrived at 70, St. Giles’ street, on fourth day, 25th of the 6th
    mo., 1833; having paid for my fare, (from London,) £2, and for
    coachman and guard, 8s. 6d. Breakfasted and went to bed,
    thankful for my safe arrival, and also that I did not feel _not_
    coming to my own home and servants. At three, I rose, and went
    to call on my aunt, whom I found drest to go out, and looking
    well and happy; then went to the Sparshalls’ and E. Martineau’s,
    thence to the Willetts’, and found them well; gave her the
    handkerchief and bag, and left the dandy pocket handkerchief for
    Joseph S.; then went to the burying-ground; found my dear
    father’s grave well done, and the “Forget-me-not” on it, in full
    bloom! thankful for that; next I went to my uncle’s; home tired,
    and went to bed; on my way, I was kindly greeted by some poor
    people, and welcomed home. I must call on poor Lizzy’s parents
    as soon as I can—her death _me tient au cœur_: I know she was
    well cared for in temporals, but more I know not. (5th day,
    26th.)   Went to meeting; a full attendance. Friends very kind
    in their welcome home. R. Dix stood some time, and afterwards
    was engaged in prayer. R. Holmes spoke a few words, and dear
    Lucy Aggs, both in the meeting for worship and discipline, was
    highly favoured indeed. Dined at the Grove. Sat by H. Birkbeck
    at dinner, according to his request and my own inclination—a
    pleasant day. Went home by the Ashs’, and learned there the
    death of poor S. J.; how thankful I am that before I went away I
    put her under the care of C. A. and M. G., so I know all was
    done for her that she needed. She was a truly pious Methodist,
    and needed not the preparation of a death-bed, I believe, to fit
    her to meet the Lord. (3rd day evening.)   Having dined, I went
    out at seven, took tea at my own dear _ci-devant_ house! and saw
    the improvements—it is now perfect. (28th, 7th day.)   A letter
    franked; a note from Lady Cork, enclosing one from Mrs. T. Read
    M. Henry’s Life; drank tea at Dr. Ash’s; calling at S. Wilkin’s
    and T. Brightwell’s _chemin faisant_; enjoyed my visit; to bed
    thankful, but low. (1st day, 29th.)   Rose after a restless
    night; Meeting at the Gildencroft; felt favoured, still, and
    encouraged. Went with S. Mackie to visit the graves; forbad the
    culture of that yellow flower (name unknown to me) on them, in
    future. After dinner called on A. Bevans, surprised and pleased
    to find her so well in body; her mind is always well. He is the
    great Physician of souls! Fire in my room; read again M. Henry’s
    Life. (2nd day, 30th.)   H. Girdlestone called; wrote to Paris;
    room north and cold; I have a fire. Called on poor —— at her
    desire; she thought I should do her good. I did my best, having
    asked Divine assistance; sent her Wesley’s Hymns for all states,
    and Worthington on “Self-resignation.” What a dreadful feeling
    for any one to feel themselves spiritually deserted and unable
    to pray! but then the case is one of physical, as well as moral
    disease. May I be permitted to do her good, by leading her to
    throw herself wholly on her Saviour. Called on my dear old
    friends, the Rogers. (3rd day 1st of mo.)   Went to the Infant
    School, called on the Whites, the Candlers, and the Wagstaffes.
    To tea at the Martineaus. (5th day, 3rd.)   Came to the Grove
    for a week. * * * *

The “Lays for the Dead,” many of which had been written during her stay
in Cornwall, were now completed and prepared for publication. Among them
are many which have reference to friends and events connected with the
history of her life through successive years, and some are very touching
tributes to the memory of those she had loved and lost. This little
volume concludes with a series of “Sketches of St. Michael’s Mount,”
inscribed to Lord de Dunstanville and Sir John St. Aubyn. When it was
published, she wrote, “I have humbly endeavoured to school my mind
against the trial of its failure, by meditation and prayer; sadly
monotonous it must be; the St. Michael’s Mount Lays are less gloomy, but
all are tinged.”

In the month of July, of this year, Mrs. Opie enjoyed the great pleasure
of meeting Dr. Chalmers, who was then on a visit to Mr. J. J. Gurney. In
his Journal, Dr. C. gives a pleasing account of this occurrence, from
which we select an extract.[39]

    “Friday, July 26th. * * * Last of all, I must mention another
    lady, who dined and spent the night—one who, in early life, was
    one of the most distinguished of our literary women, whose
    works, thirty years ago, I read with great delight—no less a
    person than the celebrated Mrs. Opie, authoress of the most
    exquisite feminine tales, and for which I used to place her by
    the side of Miss Edgeworth. It was curious to myself, that
    though told by Mr. Gurney in the morning, of her being to dine,
    I had forgot the circumstance; and the idea of the accomplished
    novelist and poet was never once suggested by the image of this
    plain-looking Quakeress, till it rushed upon me after dinner,
    when it suddenly and inconceivably augmented the interest I felt
    in her. We had much conversation, and drew greatly together,
    walking and talking with each other on the beautiful lawn after
    dinner. She has had access into all kinds of society, and her
    conversation is all the more rich and interesting. I complained
    to her of one thing in Quakerism, and that is the mode of their
    introductions: that I could have recognised in _Mrs. Opie_ an
    acquaintance of thirty years’ standing, but that I did not and
    could not feel the charm of any such reminiscence, when _Joseph
    John_ simply bade me lead out _Amelia_ from his drawing-room to
    his dining-room. I felt, however, my new acquaintance with this
    said Amelia to be one of the great acquisitions of my present
    journey; and this union of rank, and opulence, and literature,
    and polish of mind, with plainness of manners, forms one of the
    great charms of the society in this house. Had much and cordial
    talk all the evening; a family exposition before supper, and at
    length a general breaking up, somewhere about eleven o’clock,
    terminated this day at once of delightful recreation and needful
    repose.

    “Saturday, July 27th. Mrs. Opie left us early, and we parted
    from each other most cordially.”

Mrs. Opie was much gratified with this meeting, and afterwards addressed
these lines

                            TO DR. CHALMERS.
On reading his description of Dr. Brown, in his Chapter on the connexion
                  between the Intellect and the Will.

        When Eve (by Milton’s magic muse pourtray’d)
        In the clear stream her new-born self survey’d,
        Surpriz’d she gaz’d, with admiration fir’d,
        Nor knew she _was_ the being she admired;
        And while describing what had charm’d her view,
        Suspected not, she her own portrait drew.
        Chalmers, however strange the thought may be,
        To our first mother I resemble _thee_!
        In what, with all thy generous warmth of praise,
        Thy pen lamented Brown’s vast powers displays;—
        Paints him, diffusing Fancy’s genial hue
        O’er the cold paths philosophers pursue;
        Intent to bid round Reason’s thoughtful brow
        Imagination’s varying garlands glow,
        Till “Intellectual Power” attention lends,
        And from its “awful throne” soft “smiling bends;”
        Paints him, on mind’s most “arduous” summit plac’d,
        The scene still decking with the flowers of taste
        As if, call’d forth by wand of fairy elf,—
        Then, trust me, Chalmers, thou describ’st _thyself_;
        And all the charms which in Brown’s picture shine,
        By thy unconscious hand pourtray’d, are _thine_.

Mrs. Opie’s health was already impaired, and she suffered from attacks
of the disorder which afflicted her throughout the remainder of life.
She walked _lame_, and was under medical treatment; but still her spirit
was buoyant, and she wrote, “I am full of hope; and after all, it is no
bad thing for any of us to feel the time for positive preparation come.
Life, indeed, ought to be a constant state of preparation for death; but
few make it so, and I feel I have not so done.”

In the spring of 1834, she went to London.

    I do love home better than any other place, and also solitude,
    (she says,) which is indeed a mercy, considering my lone
    condition; and I almost dread the idea of London, but “such is
    the sweet pliability of woman’s spirit,” that I dare say, when I
    get there, I shall be pleased. * * * This winter has been one of
    much physical trial, but I believe I can say, without
    affectation, it has been one of the happiest and most beneficial
    of my life.

Sir B. Brodie’s opinion, that there was no radical disease, relieved
“her mind of its burden;” although she still suffered from pain. “But,
(she says,) Yearly Meeting is an excellent cordial; I forget all my
ailments there, and could almost wish life itself were one Yearly
Meeting!”

The month of August found her on her way to Scotland. Eighteen years had
past since she was there, and it had been a long-anticipated purpose
some day to revisit it, and to see the Highlands. On the 9th inst. she
went on board the “Monarch” steamer; her Journal gives an amusing
account of the scene she witnessed when she woke up during the night,
and of the inconveniences of the crowded vessel. The next day was the
sabbath, and service was performed by a clergyman on board. “Afterwards,
(she says,) I read some psalms, and have been in spirit with my
afflicted friends the Candlers, at their mother’s interment, and have
thought of them and other friends there; I hope I too have been thought
of and remembered before the throne of grace.” The terror of
sea-sickness was upon her, but a quiet and refreshing night restored
her; and in the afternoon of the day the Scottish coast was visible. On
arriving at Edinburgh, she established herself in lodgings, and writes
thus in her note book:—

    Deeply thankful do I feel for the mercy that has hitherto
    attended and watched over me! Oh, that beautiful and sublime
    castle and rock, on which I gaze from my sitting-room window,
    how I delight to see them again!

On the 14th she left Edinburgh to attend a General Meeting of Friends,
at Aberdeen.

    Seven miles from Edinburgh we took boat and steamed over the
    beautiful Forth into Fifeshire; the sky blue, the water calm,
    the hills fine, and the corn golden. Before we reached Dundee,
    we had to cross another water; it was the Firth of Tay; one of
    my fellow travellers, who had lived many years in India, said it
    reminded her of the Ganges. (16th.)   Had a beautiful drive to
    Aberdeen, through corn fields sloping down to the sea; their
    golden hue finely contrasting with the deep blue waters. The
    approach to Montrose very lovely—a succession of pretty
    cottages on one side, standing in gardens full of flowers, and
    the blue waters behind them. As we passed along we saw many
    gentlemen’s seats; the distant hills formed a fine back ground.
    The Dee was now the river in sight, when we lost the Firth of
    Tay.

After attending General Meeting at Aberdeen, Mrs. Opie proceeded to
Stonehaven, from whence she says:—

    I walked to Ury, a long two miles, but the walk is beautiful,
    and Ury is a lovely place. M. B. drove me to S. to take a boat
    and go to see the ruins of Dunotta Castle, but we sailed past
    it, and went out to sea to tack, in order to view a most
    magnificent ridge of rocks, where the sea fowl live. I was wrapt
    in a sort of devout astonishment at the size and height of the
    rocks—the highest on the coast—and pleased with the novel
    sight of the countless sea anemones, just under the waves, like
    a varied flower garden, pink, lilac, purple, white, yellow,
    orange, and variegated. Nor was the sound of the birds, as they
    winged their flight over our heads, without its appropriate
    charm in such a scene. I was too tired to visit the Castle that
    day; Captain Barclay dined with us, and was kind and agreeable.
    (21st.)   The Laird with us. Saw the Apologist’s study; and
    leaned on his cane. Drove to Dunotta Castle. The ruins grand and
    vast, and the rock, of which they form a part, sublime.

Returning to Aberdeen, our traveller started again, by the “Highlander”
coach, for Braemar.

    Words _can’t_ do any justice to the magnificence of the drive by
    the Dee all the way after the first fifteen miles. The
    Grampians, and “their dark Lognegan,” sung by Lord Byron in his
    first poems, defy description.

    (24th, 1st day.)   Went to kirk; interesting to see the groups
    of men and women in the highland costume, and children also. I
    was impressed and pleased with the whole scene. The lords and
    ladies sat in the gallery—I below. The sermon was excellent,
    the preacher evidently zealous—it was a keeping holy the
    sabbath day. Next morning I set off again, after giving good
    advice to the Scotch girl, Agnes Mackay, who waited on me.

    The most remarkable objects on my way were the immense rocks and
    mountains around; the Grampians in all their magnificence! Oh!
    it was at times a fearful pass! the road wound round the edge of
    a precipice spirally, and there was no fence! (at least at the
    worst part there was none.) They were, however, so sublime, that
    I was sorry to part with them for tamer scenery. The Spittal of
    Glenshee is a desolate, wild, savage looking place indeed!
    nothing could make me like to abide there, except the wish to do
    good to some one. (26th.)   Rose cheerful, and thankful, and
    hopeful. Drove to Craig Hall. The scenery is just what I like
    beyond all other. Steep, rocky banks, wooded by the hand of
    nature, enclose a clear, rapid stream, breaking over rocky
    masses as it rolls, and forming tiny cataracts. The walk is a
    mile long, and ends in a semicircle of rocks, shutting the
    valley in. It moved my envy more than anything I ever saw. I was
    sorry to come away.

    * * * * From Blair Gowrie I went on to Dunkeld. At length the
    Grampians reappeared, and at first in _bare_ grandeur, but ere
    we reached D., which lies sweetly at their feet, they became
    feathered with trees up to the top. * * What an agreeable
    surprise! Sir Charles Lemon is here—he tells me the Lord
    Chancellor will be here to-morrow; I hope to see him too; he
    also is on his way to Taymouth. It _is_ a refreshment to see
    well-known faces anywhere—especially when alone, and far from
    home—but two such men! That is a treat. To bed, pleased and
    thankful. (27th.)   Set off on my return to D.; next day left
    for Perth, rest and fire welcome, when I arrived—landlady a
    Norfolk woman, glad to see me for my _county’s_ sake and my
    _own_, as she knows my works. (29th.)   Went to see Scone in a
    gig. The _Old Cross_ to be seen where the kings were proclaimed.
    Only a doorway remains of the old Palace; but the furniture and
    bed and cabinets _all_ used in the new one, which is built of
    pinky granite, beautiful to my eye. I saw a bed and a screen
    worked by poor Mary when a prisoner at Lochleven, and her odious
    son’s bed, &c. Went next to Kinfauns, a beautiful place built of
    a white and better granite; but I prefer the other. There is a
    terrace here, and beautiful and grand wooded rocks to be seen
    from it, and from the windows, and the Tay glides through the
    vale beneath. The house too is evidently built and furnished by
    a man of taste and virtu. I am sure I remember Lord Gray, by his
    _picture_, an officer at N. when I was quite young—_not out_. I
    saw, and lifted with great difficulty, the sword of W. Wallace.
    My landlady sent me in, a Norfolk paper; I have cut out S.
    Wilkin’s affecting letter to show John Sheppard, if I see him at
    Edinburgh. (30th, 1st day.)   Heard, from one of the waiters,
    that there were Friends opposite; wrote a note to invite myself
    to sit with them, as the man said they met privately. They
    received me, and we sat an hour and more, in silence; I think
    they expected I had a religious concern to visit them.

    This has been a ruinous week! shocked at the amount of my bill,
    and I so abstemious too!

    The next day I committed the great imprudence of going in an
    open carriage to Crieff, and got wet through; but I was a little
    comforted by seeing the paragraph in the paper on _myself_! * *
    * Thence I posted to Loch Earne Head, the most beautiful of
    drives—thence to Callander, but could not get taken in there.
    (3rd day, 1st Sept.)   Embarked on Loch Katrine, and after
    visiting the Isle resumed our boat, and soon landed at a point
    whence we had a walk of about four miles, returning very wet and
    weary, but _delighted_.

At this point Mrs. Opie became really ill; the cold she had taken was
succeeded by fever, and her night was one of “pain, choking, and
distress.” Happily some benevolent strangers (Dr. now Sir J. Richardson,
the well known arctic traveller, and his lady) came to her assistance,
and rendered her all necessary succour. She mentions that Professor
Whewell walked ten miles, giving her his seat in a carriage, and at
length she reached Callander again; “deeply thankful for the aid
received.” Her Journal continues:—

    Off, on the fourth, at six, for Stirling; in the coach were some
    Americans, who overwhelmed me with thanks and praises for the
    good derived from my works. I was fool enough to be pleased!
    Stirling Castle on the whole disappointed me. Took boat for
    Edinburgh at twelve.

She remained at Edinburgh about three weeks, and records in her note
book many events of interest; visiting Dr. Chalmers, pleasing meetings
with numerous friends, &c. On the 22nd of September she departed, to
carry into effect her proposed journey to the Highlands. A few extracts
from her note book will enable the reader to trace her route.

    On the 22nd of September I left Edinburgh for Glasgow, and dined
    at the house of Sir W. Hooker, with whom I had the pleasure of
    renewing acquaintance at the Scientific Meeting at Edinburgh, a
    short time previously. My day at Glasgow is dear to my
    recollection. Next morning I set off, per steam boat along the
    Clyde, to Dumbarton; from thence, by coach, to Loch Lomond. How
    glad was I to find myself at last gliding up that “Lake full of
    Islands.” One of these is appropriated to the use of harmless
    insane people, who are permitted to wander about it at will: had
    I known this at the time, my interest would have been greatly
    enhanced. * * * It was a lovely afternoon, the sky was blue, and
    the clouds floated in silvery brightness above the mountains,
    and even the lofty head of Ben Lomond was unveiled! As I gazed
    upon his grandeur, and listened to the gentle ripplings of the
    waters of the lake as they broke against the shore, I felt a
    soothing calm and a devotional enjoyment.

    When a girl, I had delighted to read “Gilpin on Picturesque
    Scenery,” and particularly had admired the coloured print of the
    Castle of Inverary, with the sun setting behind it: now I had
    come to see it! As we rowed over the clear and lovely waters,
    skirting the proud domains of the house of Argyle, how busy was
    my memory! The waters were so transparent that I could see to
    the bottom, which in the mid-day sun, seemed paved with
    emeralds, and I could also see shells and seaweed of varied
    sorts.

    * * * * The morrow came, and what a lovely scene did I gaze upon
    when I entered my sitting room. The sea was so smooth that the
    vessels on it, though all the sails were up, appeared quite
    motionless, when first beheld. The top of Mull was cloudless,
    but the mists of night were slowly and gracefully unwinding
    themselves from the verdant sides of Morven, and I was indeed
    gazing on the Western Isles, so often imaged to my fancy, so
    full to me of Ossian and poetical associations. But regret
    mingled with my pleasure, as I knew I was come too late in the
    year to visit Staffa and Iona. Still it was satisfaction to look
    at them, and I could not long keep away from the window.

    * * * As we steamed past “rocky Morven” it was clothed in
    lights, shadows, and tints which no pencil could paint, nor pen
    describe. I gazed, almost spell bound, as I floated by. There
    was an unearthly hue over the western side of the scene, which
    would soon have assisted the fancy to trace on it the forms of
    the heroes of Ossian. The declining sun, while scattering over
    surrounding objects the brightest tints, threw, at the same
    time, over the Western Isles, and their lofty boundary of rocks,
    a mysterious, faintly coloured mantle of ever vanishing, yet
    ever renewed, vapour; the rippling waves were bright with gold
    and silver; the black shadows of the rocks of Morven were
    reflected in the glassy bosom of the sea; and the magic
    colouring of the western vales, mountains, and waters, rendered
    me insensible to the attractions of the eastern shore, till
    there was pointed out to me the land of “Selma and of song.”

    * * * * It was a bright, blue, and nearly cloudless day, and the
    waters of Lochleven, though motionless, glistened in places,
    with the rays of the early morning, as I approached the darkly
    frowning entrance of Glencoe, which reminded me of that of
    Borrowdale; but Glencoe is formed of higher rocks, and shapes
    more strangely fantastic. How congenial to such scenes are the
    deep solitude and stillness that reigns here! In the Glen of the
    massacre especially, the ruined walls, and cottages destroyed,
    and the absence of the once cheerful population, tell, without
    language, a tale of death and destruction, on which silence and
    desolation are the heart-touching comments! I could apply to
    Glencoe, with justice, the description “beauty in the lap of
    horror!” I was in the midst of precipitous and bare mounts, and
    of peaked rocks, some of which shewed indelible marks of
    mountain torrents; while below them were gracefully swelling
    hillocks, which appeared to smile away the gloom of the awful
    creations above them. The recollection of the horrible crime
    committed here, thrilled through my heart. Why is it one
    lingers, as if reluctant to leave a scene of powerful and even
    painful emotion? It must be from the love of excitement; a love
    which few outgrow.

    * * * From Dalmally I retraced my steps to Strongmachran. My way
    lay up a very steep, high hill, called the “hill of surprise,”
    from whence I beheld Loch Awe, with its twenty-four islands,
    lying in its watery grandeur before me. It _was_ a surprise, and
    I was sorry that I was unable to stop, and visit some of the
    ruins on the Islands: I was on the wrong side, too, for seeing
    the magnificent pass of Awe.

The notes of this Journal are closed with the following lines:—

    How congenial to the Highlands are solitude and silence! We may
    deplore the present desolateness and depopulation of those most
    interesting scenes, but they certainly increase their beauty and
    solemnity. I always admire the ocean most when there are no
    vessels whatever on its waves; and the solitude, stillness, and
    depopulation of the Highlands, were to me, heighteners of their
    charms.

Mrs. Opie also visited Abbotsford, and thus describes what she saw and
felt:—

    Eighteen years had passed since I first crossed the Tweed; and
    Abbotsford, an entirely new creation since that time, was
    already without inhabitants, and the burial-place of the Scotts,
    already tenanted! “Well, (said I to myself,) I will see the
    wonderful man’s house in life, and his house in death.” And at
    length, at six o’clock on a misty wintry morning, I reluctantly
    bade farewell to the kindest of friends, and set off for
    Melrose, where, as soon as I arrived, I ordered a post-chaise
    and drove to Abbotsford.

    It was with considerable emotion that I beheld the gates of this
    far famed, but now untenanted, house!—but the mind of Walter
    Scott still seemed to pervade everything around. All the
    objects, all the furniture, spoke of him, and realized, as it
    were, all the creations of his pen—nay, evidently had helped to
    create them. It was action and reaction. He began to write with
    warlike weapons, and things of auld lang syne about him, and
    these stores, accumulating, impressed themselves powerfully on
    his imagination, and his imagination in turn stamped them upon
    his paper, till his pages resembled his rooms, and his rooms
    resembled his pages.

    How much was I interested in examining the varied curiosities
    which the rooms contained—the beauty of the apartments
    themselves—the pictures—the gate of the Tolbooth and its massy
    keys—the silver vase, the gift of Lord Byron, containing the
    ashes of the Greeks, found under the walls of the Acropolis—and
    the various other objects around me!

    But the sight of all these things did not tend to elevate my
    spirits, and I quitted the place with feelings suited to a scene
    more melancholy still. As I drove past Melrose Abbey, the rain
    prevented me from stopping to see those picturesque ruins again;
    but they seemed changed since I saw them in 1816, and less in
    size—nor was I mistaken, for part of the ruin had fallen down.
    I also thought that the red colour of the stone was faded; but
    then, when I saw them before, they were lighted up by a summer
    sun, and now I beheld them through a thick-falling rain in
    winter.

    The fatigue of my journey from Edinburgh had disposed me to
    sleep, but I was aroused from my slumbers by a strange
    sensation, like that produced by the motion of a steam vessel.
    We were fording the Tweed, and going against a very strong
    current, and, in spite of my admiration of that river, I did not
    relish the idea of being drowned, even in its classic waters;
    not that there was any real danger, but the tide rolled darkly
    and powerfully along, and I was tired and depressed.

    I soon found a guide to the ruins,[40] and followed her along a
    narrow path covered with fallen leaves, the emblems of decay; a
    fitting carpet for the road to the abode of death, which now met
    my view in unmitigated dreariness. For though the carved roof of
    the crypt remained entire in its beauty, the sides of the ruin
    were open to every wind that blew. The graves of Sir Walter and
    Lady Scott, raised several feet from the ground, were placed
    immediately beneath the arch of the building, and therefore, in
    a degree, sheltered from the weather. But not one blade of grass
    grew on those graves of clay; and, giving the unconscious dead
    my own feelings, I was weak enough to wish, while the rain fell
    and the wind whistled around, that their last dwelling had been
    warmed, at least, by a covering of vegetation. To my judgment,
    this seemed indeed an idle desire, but feeling, or rather folly
    perhaps, was predominant. It was with many affecting
    associations that I gazed on the grave nearest me, that of Sir
    Walter Scott, and it was some minutes before I could prevail on
    myself to quit the spot, and go to the burying-ground of Lord
    and Lady Buchan, where I experienced an absurd feeling of
    satisfaction in finding that their remains were deposited under
    stones of memorial, and in a building covered in from the
    weather. But the sight of these tombs did not call forth in me
    either regret or emotion. Their inhabitants had died at a good
    old age, surviving even the usual term of man’s existence; but
    their far-famed neighbour, in the abode of death, had fallen a
    victim to premature decay! * * * *

-----

[39] See “Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers.”

[40] Dryburgh Abbey.



                              CHAPTER XXI.


    JOURNEY TO BELGIUM; VISIT TO GHENT; JOURNAL OF HER TRAVELS;
    LETTER FROM THE RHINE FALLS; HOMEWARD JOURNEY; ARRIVAL AT
    CALAIS.

In 1835, Mrs. Opie again visited the Continent. As on former occasions,
she kept a daily Journal, which is written in very fine characters and
in pencil. Her route was directed through Bruges and Ghent to Brussels,
where she was to join her friend Madame M., with whom she purposed
making a trip up the Rhine.

The earlier part of this Journal, giving an account of her visit to the
various charitable institutions in the city of Ghent, Mrs. Opie
published in _Tait’s Magazine_ for 1840. From Ghent, she proceeded to
Brussels; and at this point of her journey we invite the reader to
accompany us, as we follow her steps; occasionally making an extract
from her note book. Her friend not having arrived, Mrs. Opie, awaiting
her coming, established herself at the Hôtel de France; she says:—

    (First day, 2nd of 8th mo.)   I have not been out, and perhaps
    shall not stir; yesterday I read a good deal of dear
    Mackintosh’s life. How rare is truth! _All_ relative to me,
    except M.’s strictures and opinion of my Memoir of my husband,
    _is erroneous_. W. Ashburner, called my cousin!—the
    “Forget-me-not,” which I wrote years after W. A. died, and I was
    a wife, said to be addressed to him! That song was written to
    _no one_. It is a most interesting memoir, and Sir J.’s praises
    and just appreciation of my husband delight me, his praise of me
    is welcome also; but I shed tears while I read, for past joys,
    and for those who live no more! How have I wept over what I
    could not but turn to, an account of the dear man’s death. Yes!
    it is, I am sure it is, satisfactory. He was no daring sceptic,
    but a _seeker_ to the last, and fully do I believe he _found_
    and was accepted in the Redeemer! And he was kind to every
    one;—oh! so truly kind. He loved to give pleasure certainly,
    and those who do this, have _something_ at least, that was in
    Christ Jesus.

Who that reads these last touching words can fail to apply them to the
dear, loving, and beloved writer? alas! now those who loved her must
weep, because she, too, lives no more.

Madame M. having arrived, they went by the _chemin de fer_, (which they
did not find so swift a passage as they expected,) to Anvers, and next
day, (the 8th) proceeded to visit the citadel, and walked over every
part of it, and also saw the Scheldt and its banks, Flemish and Dutch;
thence to Nôtre Dame to see the pictures by Rubens.

    Words cannot express (she says) my feelings at sight of the
    Descent from the Cross, _in the light_ which it was painted for
    probably. What grand conception! What motion in all the figures!
    The scene, the subject, the sense of surpassing genius, and the
    living effect of everything, quite overcame me, even unto tears.

On Sunday, after a “sitting,” in her own room alone, she went with her
friend to see several churches, and at one of them the _concierge_, on
their approaching the altar,

    * * * made a dreadful noise, with something in his hand, to
    forbid it, and as we did not immediately leave the church he
    cried “_allez!_” and when we came to the door, which he held in
    his hand, his look at me was fierce and appalling, and in
    Flemish (as I suppose) he said something which seemed to me
    _trembleurs; il avait l’air si menaçant que, si javois tardé de
    quitter la porte, je crois qu’il m’auroit donné un coup
    quelconque, ses lêvres etoient pâles, comme la mort!_

From Antwerp the travellers returned to Brussels, whence they started on
the 12th, for Namur, going “unconsciously by the road, _not_ over the
plain of Waterloo—a disappointment, but we saw distinctly the mound and
the white lion on it, which mark the _spot_.” From Namur, they proceeded
to Huy and Liège, and on the 13th, visited Chaude Fontaine, with which
Mrs. Opie was rather disappointed, and “one thought of dear Scotland”
dimmed the beauty of this pretty vale in her eyes. Of the cathedral at
Liège, she says, “the roof curious, the whole a grandly simple edifice,
sculpture in wood excellent; pictures good for little.”

On the 16th they were at Spa, of which she writes:—

    This is a lovely spot indeed; to me, how does it bring back my
    earliest recollections! Poor Amisant used to give me _bons bons_
    and toys from Spa, and tell me stories of it! dined at the
    _table d’hôte_; forty persons present—good company. Next day
    went to see a famous cascade; the drive thither through a deeply
    wooded ravine, was beautiful; the cascade itself trumpery. We
    came back by Malmedy, a pretty town in Prussia, picturesque in
    buildings and lovely in situation. On the 20th we were to have
    seen a curious grotto, but could not get horses on account of
    the odious races. Well! money saved, and fatigue avoided; a
    hundred persons dined at the _table d’hôte_.

They left Spa for Aix la Chapelle, on the 21st, and though disappointed
in the country around, were surprised at the width of streets and beauty
of the buildings in Aix. Of the cathedral at Aix, Mrs. Opie writes,
“outside, in parts, it is beautiful, light, and imposing; and the Hôtel
de Ville, old and grand, (when _entire_,) as a palace. The fountain
opposite to it, with a statue of Charlemagne, in complete armour, with
the crown on the head, is curious and interesting, but the passages for
the water are small, and have a bad effect.” On the 23rd, her Journal
proceeds:—

    Rose depressed, Sunday no sabbath for me! This is an odious
    place. I enjoyed my quiet sitting at home, and was with my dear
    and endeared brethren and sisters at N. meeting in spirit; in
    the afternoon drove to Louisberg, an exquisite drive and
    beautiful walks, commanding the forest _des Ardennes_, (no doubt
    that of the Duke, Rosalind, &c.,) a splendid view; saw, too, the
    ever-boiling fountain at the village called Bouille; I hope it
    was not a profanation of the sabbath to go to these places.
    (24th.)   All noise, bustle, and carriages, come in for the
    races. No one seems to think of anything but _les courses_. We
    have _bitten_ all nations now, with this vicious folly! We went
    to see the _Trésor_ at the cathedral; the relics encased in
    gold; was glad to see them, but the priest was evidently
    disappointed at not seeing any marks of homage and reverence
    about me, for what I saw! Afterwards went to see the church; but
    was led away from attention to things of man’s creation, by the
    sight and hearing of a man, in a blouse, who was kneeling before
    the altar, and in a loud voice doing penance, his arms extended
    in the form of a cross; so he remained at least half an hour,
    and from the gallery above I watched him; as he went out, he
    passed us, pale and feeble from his exertions. M. M. says she
    has seen such a sight in Ireland, and that when he paused, there
    were persons answering him from behind the confessional. (25th.)
      Went to the cathedral, to see, and sit in, Charlemagne’s
    chair. The man there again, _doing as before_: the sacristan
    said it was no penance, it was a voluntary action; and he had an
    idea of getting by that means to paradise, and that he _came
    every day_ and staid near an hour! This sight interests me much,
    be it how it may. After dinner went to shew myself, and be
    _described_ at the passport office. Alas! could not get places
    in the diligence for Cologne, till sixth day. Two more days in
    this sink of dissipation! Really I turn from the scenes of
    gambling, vice, and evil around me, with a feeling of comfort,
    to the poor, _mistaken_, but pious man, and penitent conscious
    sinner, in the cathedral!

On the 28th the travellers proceeded to Cologne, and next day the
Journal proceeds:—

    My window looked on the river, and I rose at half-past four to
    gaze at the Rhine; the sun was breaking behind a church, with
    fine towers, and the water reflected objects. No one seemed
    waking but myself. It was a still, sublime, and solemn moment.
    At seven we came on board the steamer, where I now write; the
    Rhine, broad and rapid, spreading around me. The banks are tame,
    and fog hides the hills, but the voyage is truly pleasant, and
    we are on the Rhine!

Landing at Bonn, they proceeded to Godesberg, lying at the foot of the
Drachenfels, which they ascended on asses, on the 1st of September; she
says:—

    It was an exquisite day, and exquisite was the ascent. I enjoyed
    it, in spite of the disagreeable way of going. We were so high,
    that the many, and I may say, tall, vineyards, which we had
    passed on our way, looked only like a carpet beneath us. The
    lights on the mountains and on the river were very fine, and
    Rolandseck and Roland tower were the finest features in the
    scene. On the 2nd we were towed across to the island of
    Nonningwerth, where was the nunnery, a fine establishment for
    nuns indeed, and one for noble ladies. It would have delighted
    me to have passed some time there, making excursions on the
    Rhine from thence.

    I had forgotten to mention our most interesting visit to
    Kreuzberg, a high hill, rising near Bonn. There we saw the
    buried monks, in a vault near the church; their bodies in a
    wonderful state of preservation; the lids of the coffins are
    decayed, and there they lie by each other’s side, some with the
    nails, toes, and fingers, still fleshed, and so are parts of the
    knees and legs. I do not remember to have seen any features
    perfect. It was a curious sight, but did not affect me as I
    expected it would have done. One thing strikes me on
    recollection, which I did not think about at the moment, viz:
    the great length of the limbs. We stay here a day to rest. The
    students are very picturesque in their appearance, but they have
    not long hair, at least, we have seen none. Oleanders are
    everywhere here, like meaner flowers elsewhere, and so fine; one
    of the students whom I saw, wore a straw hat, with bunches of
    oleander stuck in it; this, with the naked throat, looked so
    effeminate! I write this in a chair in the garden. Two days of
    rain chilled the air, but then it _laid the dust_. There is
    always in the physical, as well as in the moral world, some good
    coming out of evil! (4th.)   Took the steam-boat for Coblentz,
    my heart full of thankfulness; after a _glorious_ voyage we
    arrived, when it was quite dark. Our chambers looked on the
    Rhine, and the moon shone on it, and the lights of the city on
    the opposite shore (for we were at Ehrenbreitstein, whose grand
    fortress towered behind us) added to the beauty of the scene. I
    was loth to go to bed.

After two days’ stay at Coblentz they proceeded by the Rhine to Bingen,
and on the 7th ascended the Rüdesheim mountain, from the summit of which
they had “a glorious view indeed of the mighty river, into which the
river Nahe was seen sending its pale brown waters, contrasting with the
soft pale green of its superior neighbour. Eleven green islands in the
Rhine were visible from this high point.” Thence their way led to
Mayence; they stopped at one place to change horses, when Mrs. Opie
says: “I strolled down to the Rhine, where were peasants gaily dressed,
_en bateau_, singing and chorussing their national air, and then raising
a cry like that of our harvestmen, only sweeter.” Next day they saw
Mayence, and proceeded on to the Duke of Nassau’s palace, which she
calls “exquisitely handsome;” thence to Wiesbaden. On the 14th they were
at Frankfort, and went to church twice, being “charmed with the
preacher, Bonnet;” and after two days exploring in this city, they
proceeded on the 16th to Heidelberg, where, the Journal continues,—

    We arrived late, after an exquisite drive; the castle grows on
    one, the more one looks at it; its vastness is surprising, and
    the beauty of its site, and trees, and gardens, and terraces, is
    striking; but the Neckar, though pretty, is not large enough for
    such an edifice, it should have been the Rhine. One view, up the
    river, is the most advantageous to the castle. * * * The great
    tun is not worth seeing by English persons, who know there are
    such things as brewers’ tuns so much larger! Came home delighted
    with all our sights. On the 19th to Manheim, a lovely drive, the
    Rhine in all its beauty. We stopped at Schwetzingen, to see the
    beautiful gardens; at M. we saw the grand Duke’s handsome
    palace, 400 rooms in it; we did not see all, certainly. (20th,
    Sabbath day.)   Alas! at home till after dinner. (21st.)   At
    Carlsruhe. (23rd.)   Set off at eight for Baden, the approach to
    it is beautiful! that evening I drest and walked to the post,
    and found a letter telling me of the death of E. B.; oh! her
    poor mother. We then walked to Chabert’s, and sat under the
    portico, and ate ice; and saw, but scarcely entered, the grand
    room, where, all day, men and women are playing _rouge et noir_.
    English most of them! (22nd.)   Walked after dinner to see a
    waterfall, the walk was exquisite along the edge of what is, and
    in what was, the Black Forest. High indeed were the mountains
    and rocks on either side, and on one towered the black pines of
    the far-famed forest; the path was steep but gradual, along a
    narrow murmuring torrent, which in a wet season must have been
    very fine. After a mile’s walk, at least, we reached the wooden
    bridge and the cascade, which was well worth coming to see, and
    we did indeed enjoy our walk. (29th.)   To church; it was nearly
    full of English; a good sermon by an English gentleman. After
    service walked in the burying-ground; the place was full of
    crosses, fancies, and flowers, and of some pretty memorials.
    After dinner at the _table d’hôte_, went to my room. (28th.)
      Went to see the chateaux; the first, that of the Duchess
    Stephanie; nothing remarkable externally, but there, beneath,
    were the chambers of the secret tribunal! Alas! our guide was a
    youth who could only speak German; however, he knew what we
    wanted to see, and taking a lantern himself and giving us a
    candle, he led us from the bright rooms and daylight into utter
    darkness! we saw the _oubliette_, the room of judgment, and the
    tribunal, or rather, place of it; the massy stone doors; the
    dark airless cells; and what Mrs. Trollope has so well
    described. We then drove to the ruins on the rock, a painfully
    steep ascent for the horses, but they did it well! It is an
    exquisite ruin, and from its top we beheld the valley of the
    Rhine, lying shining and winding beneath, and to the east a mass
    of beautiful mountains.

On the 30th the travellers left Baden, in company with friends, (and
friends and acquaintances they met at every turn,) and on the 1st of
October reached Friburg; with the interior of the cathedral they were
much struck, and its “windows, all of painted glass, such as I never saw
before;” the Journal proceeds;—

    From thence we set off for Boldbach, _en route_ to the Falls,
    and soon turning into a valley, went up, on foot, a very steep,
    narrow, rocky defile, the river rolling and talking beneath, the
    rocks and mountains so high, that in the carriage it was
    difficult to see to the top, the vale was so narrow! It was
    sublimely grand to look back, and so repeatedly did the road
    wind, that it seemed we were blocked in by rocks! this was the
    Black Forest, and the famous _gorge d’enfer_. The next thing,
    worthy of equal admiration, was the Black Forest itself, through
    which we passed, and the latter part of it we had the moon to
    light us through. Before we reached the forest, we saw the Alps,
    and, for _some time_, some nearer and plainer than others. Oh!
    it was glorious!

    (3rd of 10th mo.)   Rose at five, but not off till past seven;
    and I was going to the Falls of the Rhine! At length I heard
    them roar, and saw them smoke! and as soon as the _voiture_
    stopped at the inn, I ran off to the Falls.

                         TO THOMAS BRIGHTWELL.
                                       Hotel of the Rhine Falls,
                                              10th mo., 3rd, 1835.

    I think, my dear friend, thou wilt not be sorry to hear a little
    of my goings on. * * Thou didst not come as far as this spot,
    and my journey has been extended much beyond my original plan;
    but I am so delighted with the Rhine, that I could not resist
    the temptation and opportunity—one which cannot occur again—of
    seeing it in its wondrous beauty here. Three times have I
    visited the Falls to-day, and, if the moon rises bright, I am to
    visit them again. We came yesterday from Friburg, and to that
    place we went from Baden Baden—a beautiful spot, but there is
    no water except in the environs, and I admire no place where
    water is not. Friburg Cathedral is most beautiful; they say
    Strasburg is finer—_nous verrons_. From F. our route lay
    through a very steep mountainous country, and through the Black
    Forest, that haunt of banditti in former times, and the scene of
    so many tales and romances. It is sublime in its dark-browed
    beauty still, and a fine moon added to the solemn calm of the
    scene. But the Alps! long before we saw the Forest the snow
    mountains were in sight—and also long before we were in
    Switzerland, Swiss cottages, Swiss chalets, and Swiss costumes,
    met our eyes at every turn. We went, just after we left Friburg,
    up a steep rocky defile, and up mountains, and through forests,
    to the top of which our eyes could scarcely reach, and in which
    the exquisite beauty of foliage and colouring went _de pair_
    with sublimity—and from the top of these passes the snow
    mountains first met my eager gaze. This morning we set off at
    six precisely; we are at present travelling in a returned
    carriage—which holds us and our luggage, and we find such modes
    of conveyance the cheapest and best. It was half-past twelve
    when we reached this hotel: _chemin faisant_ I heard the roar of
    the Falls, and saw them smoke, and while my friend staid to eat
    her breakfast, I (who had had coffee before starting) could not
    delay my visit to this long-desired scene, and I hurried down a
    steep path to it, which, if under less powerful influences, I
    should have cautiously trodden—but I arrived safe at a railing
    near the fall, and was awhile satisfied! but I soon changed my
    place, and walked till I came in front of the mighty torrent.
    Oh! those busy restless waters—no one can fancy what they are!
    they must be seen to be conceived of! Some persons are
    disappointed when they see them, and, in one respect, so should
    I have been, had not prints prepared me for what I was to
    expect. I am used to see and admire cascades that fall from a
    height, over one narrow rock, and then over another—and perhaps
    over another still; but _this_ is, I may say, like Niagara, a
    _table_ or flat fall. It is a wide river, coming to an edge or
    wall of rocks, and leaping over them—then gracefully rolling
    on, like liquified _aqua marine_—that beautiful green stone of
    such exquisite tint and clearness. The _chute_ itself is like
    the purest snow; but, ever and anon, as the sun shone on it,
    some of the tumbling masses, falling over the rocks below the
    great fall, were like liquid sapphires and of the palest purest
    blue. Still the Rhine here is, as a river, unlike its usual
    self, of the full green blue, like the precious stone named
    above. In its _best_ dress, where the boats go, thou mayst
    remember, it is of that undefinable light, pale-blueish green,
    the colour of Dresden china. When it flows smoothly on at this
    place, it turns up a narrow channel, and glides along through
    richly wooded rocks, and is seen no more! Oh! it is a glorious
    river! and had it no banks, I should love it for itself alone!
    There is something awful in the constant roar and eternal motion
    of these waters! The sea is sometimes calm, and its roar becomes
    a gentle murmuring, but these rolling waterfalls seem to know no
    change, but fall and roar for ever, exempt from the common doom
    of created things, which is to alter and to end. There is an
    inhabited castle on a rock beside the Rhine-falls; I should like
    to know whether its inhabitants have, of necessity, acquired the
    habit of speaking so loud as to break the drum of the ears of
    their acquaintances!

    We go on improving in our enjoyments. I mean, the natural
    beauties we see, go on increasing in sublimity and charm; and so
    they had need, to console me for my trying absence from my
    religious duties and opportunities, and my religious friends—my
    sabbath days—ah! there is the trial. But I dare not repine, I
    have put myself in the situation, and I often say to myself,
    like the man in the play, “_tu l’as voulu, George, tu l’as
    voulu!_” but I never contemplated so long a tour. We did mean to
    go back by Holland, but have given that up. * * I am very, very,
    home sick; however, if permitted to return in health and safety,
    I shall do so with a deeply thankful heart, and I can also add,
    with a heart still more attached to the friends I have so long
    deserted. We have associated occasionally with some pleasant men
    and women, and have occasionally travelled with them, but I have
    not desired to form acquaintances. We have mounted the
    Niederwald, and we visited the Brunnens. We liked Heidelberg
    much; we were there five days. Chaude Fontaine we liked; but
    Spa, Weisbaden, and Aix la Chapelle, I _hated_; they are sinks
    of dissipation, gambling, and vice, and even English ladies game
    there, at the public table and the public rooms, at all hours;
    and nowhere, and by _none_, is the first day of the week kept
    holy. True, the English as well as the Germans, go to church,
    after the Lutherans and Catholics are come out of it; but _cela
    suffit_.

    We occasionally see an English newspaper, or rather,
    _Galignani’s Messenger_, and are amused at O’Connell’s progress,
    but alarmed at Spanish affairs. * * Farewell, till I return from
    my walks, or find I cannot go. I hear the waters roaring most
    invitingly. * * Just returned—the moon shewed herself _de temps
    en temps_, but not enough; however, I dare say she is now
    gilding the waters well; but I had no right, I thought, to keep
    my poor guide out of his bed for my pleasure, so I came away,
    having seen her rays sparkling on one side of the river, but I
    doubt whether her beams would ever reach the fall so as to
    convert it into diamonds; thus I console myself. Farewell, with
    love to your circle; let my aunt, E. Alderson, know of this
    letter from her vagrant, and as yet far distant, niece. I
    thought of you all in the Bible week, and wished myself with
    you. I shall write to my dear friends, the Sparshalls and
    Willetts, and my beloved friends at Earlham and the Grove. I
    hope J. Fletcher and wife are well, &c.

                                    Thy truly attached friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

From the Falls the journey was continued to Zurich, (“a noble lake, the
banks all studded with country houses and gardens,”) and Lucerne. Her
Journal continues:—

    Arrived by twilight (on the 5th) at beautiful Lucerne! The Righi
    was before us, unveiled almost all the way, and now we found him
    on the banks of the lake, _as it seemed_; on either side were
    snow mountains, in rows, one behind another, filling up the lake
    in one place, so as to make it seem impassible by boat. The moon
    was rising—the sun setting—a neck of green land covered with
    flowers, was shooting into the lake, near where I was, and the
    whole scenery was lovely beyond description. Our inn was eight
    stories high! my room five, but then it commanded the lake and
    its beauties, and I was never tired of looking out of my window.
    From the balcony I saw the moon rolling its flood of light into
    the bosom of the lake, the Righi in deep shadow, the snow hills
    of a ghostly white, and the rays just catching on some of their
    sharp peaks. (6th.)   Mont Pilate, which rises just behind our
    hotel, is the most beautifully outlined and grandest mountain I
    have yet seen. We rowed on the lake to where the rocks and hills
    formed a complete cross; four cantons at the end of the four
    arms, Uri, Friburg, Unterwald, and Lucerne; the wooded rocks
    come down straight into the lake, and the effect is fine, but
    there is no walk on the banks, as at Zurich. Dined at the _table
    d’hôte_, dinner excellent; in short this hotel both in rooms,
    situation, attendance, and fare, is perfect. In the morning we
    went to see the famous lion, sculptured in a rock near, from a
    model by Thorwaldsen; the model is _exquisite_. We went then to
    the fair, and were amused with the different costumes. In the
    twilight we walked along the lake, and through the cloisters of
    the church of the Jesuits, and lingered on the shore as long as
    we could. (7th.)   Saw the sun rise at six, behind the Righi,
    from my window, and fill the lake below with crimson light; oh!
    it was glorious; but so fleeting! It was beautiful to see the
    mists rolling off the mountains. We were very sorry to come
    away.

The next two days rain and mist prevailed, and the mountains were closed
in; no Jungfrau visible! At Berne, at the _table d’hôte_, Mrs. Opie
found herself placed beside a _marquise_, whom she supposed from her
accent must be English; “she said she was born English, but was the
widow of a French peer, the Marquis Lally Tollendal!” At length, on the
10th, the sun shone; it was Sunday, and after attending church, the
travellers walked on the ramparts, and saw a “piece of the Jungfrau, and
one or two snow hills, but no more.” On the 11th, weary of waiting, they
proceeded to Thun; but were still pursued by rain and mist. However, at
Interlachen, a gleam of sunshine lighted up the prospect, and they saw
the distant Alps “in beautiful and glorious succession—a scene never to
be forgotten.” On the 14th, Mrs. Opie was greatly distressed at reading
the announcement of Mrs. J. J. Gurney’s death, in Galignani. Of this
painful event she writes:—

    A most afflicting and unexpected event! the death of my beloved
    young friend, Mary, the wife of my dearest and best friend, J.
    J. Gurney. I had learnt to love her dearly; by constant and
    never-failing experience I knew the generosity of her heart, and
    the openness of her hand in giving! Her will to do good, was
    even greater than her power! To her husband she was the
    heightener of his joys, the soother of his trials, the sharer,
    and I may say assistant, of his literary labours; to his
    children she was a most affectionate, kind, and judicious
    mother; to me she was ever a kind, attentive friend, and I
    looked forward to her as one of the comforts of my old age! but
    she is gone before me, and has left a blank which cannot be
    filled up. Alas! how many are mourning with me for her loss! but
    it is my misery to deplore her alone in a foreign land!
    deplore—I mean for the sake of others; for she, I can have no
    doubt, is gone to glory! to that Redeemer through whom alone she
    hoped for acceptance, and for the joys of the world to come!

Mrs. Opie ceased to make any entry in her Journal for many days after
this. She proceeded to Basle and Friburg, and thence to Strasburg and
Manheim, where she found letters that cheered and relieved her.

Here she enters in her note book:—

    So thankful to be here! To-morrow I hope to be on the Rhine, and
    my face turned towards home. May I not be disappointed! I hope
    fearfully, and I trust humbly.

On the 22nd they were at Mayence; thence they went on board the boat.
She says:—

    We went down into the handsome cabin, but were most civilly
    requested to leave it, as it was engaged for the Princess of
    Saxony. We went on board again, and I soon forgot even my
    sorrow, in the lovely scenery around. On the deck I had a
    flattering _rencontre_ with the Princess, who, attracted by my
    singular dress, opened a conversation with me. At last she asked
    my name; and when I said Amelia Opie, “Madame Opie,” she
    exclaimed, “_quoi! auteur célèbre!_” and then she was kinder
    still, had one of her own stools brought for me, and made me sit
    beside her.

At Cologne she took her leave of the Rhine:—

    I rose (she says) in the night to look at the river, &c., and
    for the last time gazed on its beauty, from the spot where I
    first saw it. How much had I undergone of trial, in many ways,
    since I saw it last! I felt humbled, but resigned and contented,
    and, I trust, _taught_.

On the 27th they reached Brussels, and the next day, Ghent. On the 1st
November the two friends parted at Lisle, and Mrs. Opie, travelling all
night, reached Calais, where she closes her Journal with the following
words:—

    So ends my Journal of my journey; would it were a better record
    of better things! But I am returned; _good things_ more endeared
    to me than ever; and when I saw Calais to-day, and remembered
    what I was when I first saw it, in 1802, I felt overwhelmed and
    humbled with a sense of being richer, wiser, and happier, in one
    sense, than I was then; for I had learned to know my Saviour,
    and not as a teacher and a prophet only, but as the Redeemer, as
    He who died that I might live, and through whose merits alone I
    am to be saved. Glory be to the most High for this greatest of
    all His mercies!

                                     A. O., 2nd of 11th mo., 1835.



                             CHAPTER XXII.


    MRS. OPIE’S REMOVAL TO LADY’S LANE; LETTERS, VISITORS, AND
    WRITING; SPRING ASSIZES OF 1838; MEMOIRS OF SIR. W. SCOTT;
    VISITS TO LONDON AND NORTHREPPS; DEATH OF FRIENDS; ANTI-SLAVERY
    CONVENTION; WINTER AND SPRING OF 1840-41; VISITS TO TOWN AND
    LETTERS FROM THENCE IN 1842-43; ILLNESS; CLOSE OF 1843; LETTER
    OF REMINISCENCES OF THOMAS HOGG.

Mrs. Opie returned from her trip up the Rhine at the close of November,
1835. This was her last journey; from this time her absences from home
were never of long duration, but limited to a few weeks in London, and
occasional visits to friends in the neighbourhood of Norwich. She did
not remain many months in the lodgings in St. Giles’ Street, but
transferred herself to Lady’s Lane, where she had commodious apartments,
and in which she remained until her final removal to the Castle Meadow
House. In this home she settled herself, surrounded by her Lares, the
“Portraits,” which hung around her, and appeared to great advantage,
when lighted up, at night, by wax-lights in branch lamps. The most
beautiful of them, the portrait of herself, is not described by her pen.
It was painted soon after her marriage, and was engraved (though very
indifferently) for the No. of the “Cabinet,” in which Mrs. Taylor’s
memoir of her appeared. This picture is certainly very charming, and is
also admirable as a work of art.

Bright colours Mrs. Opie delighted in, and she had a sort of passion for
prisms. She had several set in a frame, and mounted like a pole-screen;
and this unique piece of furniture stood always in her window, and was a
constant source of delight to her. “Oh! the exquisite beauty of the
prisms on my ceiling just now, (she writes) it is a pleasure to exist
only to look at it. I think that green parrots and macaws, flying about
in their native woods, must look like that.” Flowers, too, were her
constant companions; she luxuriated in them, and filled her window-sills
with stands of them, and covered her tables with bouquets; their most
luscious scents seemed not too strong for her nerves. Light, heat, and
fragrance, were three indispensables of enjoyment for her.

It has been said, with truth, that her mornings, during the latter years
of her life, were spent in an almost constant succession of receiving
visitors, and writing letters. Everybody who came to Norwich sought her;
old friends, acquaintances, and strangers hastened to pay her their
respects, and she loved to welcome all, and to give a cordial greeting
to each. The extent of her correspondence was such, that it would have
been a burden, had it not been a delight. In a letter written, in 1849,
to her friend, Miss Emily Taylor, she said, “if writing were even an
effort to me, I should not now be alive, but must have been _absolument
epuisée_; and it might have been inserted in the bills of
mortality—‘dead of letter-writing, A. Opie.’ My maid and I were
calculating the other day, how many letters I wrote in the year, and it
is not less than six in a day, besides notes.”

Her pen was also diligently employed in writing articles for various
periodicals of the day. She regretted afterwards that she had not kept a
list of the publications to which she had sent contributions, as she was
frequently applied to by friends, anxious to identify her verses, &c.
The “reminiscences,” to which reference has been occasionally made,
published in Tait and in Chambers, were written about this time.

The year 1836 seems to have been unproductive of change. We find her
recording visits to Keswick, to Northrepps, to Swanton Morley; and (as
always) to Earlham. In the following year, her revered friend, J. J.
Gurney, went on a religious visit to the United States, and was absent
nearly three years. On his return he printed, for circulation among his
friends, an account of this journey, “described in Familiar Letters to
Amelia Opie.” This interesting volume is very scarce, as only a limited
number of copies was printed, and given by the author to his friends.
This year Mrs. Opie mentions the arrival of Bishop Stanley and his
family in Norwich, as “a great acquisition;” and their friendship proved
indeed a source of much happiness to her.

The farewell letter from her venerable friend Lady Cork, written in the
spring of this year, will be read with interest.

                                               London, March 15th.

    One thousand, eight hundred, and thirty-seven. Thanks dearest
    dear friend, for your cordial letter. Yes, thank God! 91 is
    quite well in health, and if my beloved friends enjoyed the same
    blessing, would be perfectly content in mind. Nephews and nieces
    whom you are not acquainted with, are suffering. They are folks
    whose virtues you must esteem, and some whose wit you would
    admire. Oh! why do you not come to town earlier in the season?
    Our dear Lady Frederick is not yet in town, but there are many
    of your playfellows. Yesterday dined with me, Rogers, Sydney
    Smith, Granby, and more wits and worthies, such as you would
    relish. * *

    The picture of Hannah More is by Gainsborough; I think it a
    little like her; when she was young she could not afford to have
    very fine, _long, diamond_ ear-rings; nor were they the fashion
    when I saw her flirting with Garrick; however, all the
    connoisseurs agree that it is an excellent painting. N.B. There
    is a ring on the wedding-finger, which does not resemble blessed
    Hannah.

    Poets are springing up like mushrooms, but the novels are sad
    trash. Lord Carnarvon’s new publication much admired.

                        Yours more than words can express, says,
                                                      OLD M. CORK.

A short note in her pocket book written by Mrs. Opie about this time, so
much illustrates one of her peculiar excellencies, that we venture to
give it.

    _J’ai toujours attaché une importance extrême à ce qu’on appelle
    vulgairement les petites choses; des attentions delicates, quand
    elles sont persistantes, prouvent la constante occupation de la
    pensée._ “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care
    of themselves,” says the proverb; and it is applicable to
    everything, I think, and particularly to human conduct, and the
    formation of character. Take care of indulging in little
    selfishnesses; learn to consider others in trifles; be careful
    to fulfil the _minor_ social duties; and the mind, so
    disciplined, will find it easier to fulfil the greater duties,
    and the character will not exhibit that trying inconsistency
    which one sees in great, and often in pious, persons.

At the Spring Assizes (1838) Mrs. Opie was, as usual, in the Nisi Prius
Court, she writes:—

    Much did I enjoy it; one day I was there eleven hours, and all
    one cause, so that I could not leave it; the next day I was in
    from nine to seven again. Baron Parke was the judge, and an
    admirable one he is; and he was very kind to me, having a place
    saved for me, and I was admitted through the private room. I
    remembered _the days of Judge Gould_. Baron Bolland was equally
    civil, but to his court I could not get before the last day; and
    grandly beautiful does he still look, though he has had a
    paralytic stroke.

In July, writing from London, she says:—

    I am here in perfect health, and much enjoying myself; yesterday
    we dined at S. Hoare’s. The other day I went to call on the Miss
    Berrys, the wits and beauties of former days, at their cottage
    at Richmond, and they made me stay dinner, tempting me with Lord
    Brougham. I had really a delightful day!

The autumn and winter, however, brought returns of her malady, and her
medical attendants said that she must expect such attacks, in which she
acquiesced, saying, “no doubt I must.” A confinement of some weeks to
her bed-room, was found so irksome, that she gladly had recourse to an
ottoman couch bed, on which she could recline, and receive her visitors,
as she said, “in state.”

The “Memoirs of Sir Walter Scott” were published at this time, and with
deepest interest did Mrs. Opie peruse these records of one whom she had
so much honoured and admired. Among her papers is one containing some
remarks upon them, written shortly after, from which we select a few
passages.

    No pages of fiction, not even his own, ever excited in me more
    deep interest than did the sixth and seventh volumes of the
    Memoirs. I knew he was aware while writing his journal, that it
    would one day meet the eye of the world, and that therefore it
    must have been written with caution and under some restraint;
    yet, it had to me the charm of unfettered ingenuousness. There
    is through the whole of it a mournful reality, which I could not
    read without intense sympathy. It is a remarkable circumstance
    that he should have begun it almost at the time when he first
    had reason to suspect that his commercial engagements might
    possibly involve him in difficulties.

    I own that in spite of the drollery, the bursts of jollity and
    mirth, the wit, the humour, and all its pleasing variety, the
    journal is rarely divested to me of the signs of secret
    suffering. It reminds me of the royal castle at Baden Baden,
    where all is splendour and gay decorations above, while beneath
    lie the deep dark dungeons, concealed from the eye of day,
    telling of the terrors of the secret tribunal.

    After that awful year, 1825, marked in the commercial world by
    the ruin of thousands, the diary becomes more a work of art,
    through which nature still forces itself. He writes gaily, but
    feels more and more joylessly. Never after 1826 and ’27, could
    any one fancy it, in my opinion at least, the journal of a happy
    man. Certainly he was not warmed by his own brilliancy, nor
    enlivened by his own pleasantries; and though it was a relief to
    him to write his journal, and it might be an accurate transcript
    of his own sad feelings, there was “a lower deep,” a deeper
    current still, which he did not allow any human eye to
    penetrate, that was bearing him on its fatal tide, to imbecility
    and death.

    I may be wrong, but I believe Sir Walter Scott’s horrible dread
    of the trials hanging over him and others, had an instantaneous
    effect on his mind, and that his judgment was impaired, and his
    power of self-control gone, while his imagination and invention
    remained in full vigour.

    Judgment is the quality which enables us “to decide on the
    propriety, or impropriety of an action,” and had not Sir
    Walter’s judgment been weakened, he never could have sinned so
    much against propriety, (to use the gentlest word,) as to pen
    down so many oaths in his diary; but had the irritation of the
    moment led him so to err, he would have effaced the offensive
    words, and regretted his want of self-government, if his power
    of judgment had not been obscured. It his said he never swore
    with his _tongue_, but in his Journal he frequently swore with
    his pen, wounding alike the pious and the refined.

    But, as I attribute this fault to an impaired judgment and a
    weakened power of self command, the consequences of his bitter
    trials, my conviction of the depth of his religious feelings
    remains undiminished. He somewhere says, that such was his fear
    of “becoming an enthusiast,” that he was very careful over “the
    state of his mind,” (or words to that effect,) whenever, while
    in a time of affliction, he was in “communion with his God”—a
    proof that such communion was well known to him; and I humbly
    trust that “lower deep” to which I have alluded, was illumined
    and cheered by that blessed influence which devotion is
    permitted to shed over the broken and supplicating heart. The
    satisfaction with which he listened to the Scriptures, his
    strong desire to have them read to him in his last days, and his
    parting words to his son-in-law, are chiefly valuable as
    indications of previous religious convictions, surviving, though
    in a shattered state, the wreck of mind; and are precious as are
    the broken pieces of carving from off some fine marble column in
    ruins, because they give evidence of its perfection in former
    days.

Early in 1839 Mrs. Opie visited her beloved friends at Northrepps, and
on her return wrote:—

    I had a pleasant journey home; found my page waiting with a fly,
    a fire in my chamber, and a “Sally-Lunn” cake and tea ready, and
    the last number of Nickleby, such a treat! besides the _Evening
    Chronicle_, full of amusing speeches. I have much enjoyed my
    visit to you;

            A circle may be still complete
            Although it be but small!

That summer, one of these friends, Miss Buxton, died; and long and
lovingly was she remembered. This event was followed by the death of her
cousin, Mrs. Briggs, which occurred in the month of September, of the
same year. Mrs. Opie was with her during her last hours, and her
distress and grief at this painful loss were very great. She
says;—“these are the trials which make lengthened life, or long life,
so undesirable; but it is the Lord, let him do that which seemeth him
good.”

In the spring of 1840, writing to Miss Gurney, who was at that time in
Rome, she says:—

    My mind ever since your departure, has been dwelling on Peter
    and Paul; till I have quite convinced myself that, were I to go
    to Rome, my first desire would be to see the house where Peter
    lived, the place where he was crucified with his _head
    downwards_, and then the house where Paul lived with the
    soldier, and the rest of his _locale_: they both suffered in 66.
    I love Peter better than I do Paul; and I cannot read without
    tears those words of our Saviour, where He foretells his having
    to undergo a violent death. Peter, by his occasional lapses,
    seems to me to be the David of the disciples. * * * I am reading
    with delightful interest and edification a new “Memoir of George
    Fox,” the introduction to it is said to be written by Samuel
    Tuke.

The month of June, in this year, was the time appointed for the Meeting
of the Anti-Slavery Convention in London; the announcement of this
proposed Meeting had excited great interest in the friends of Abolition,
and more than four hundred delegates assembled on the occasion. Mrs.
Opie was present, and among her papers is one giving an account of the
proceedings in the first day’s sitting, in which she enters at
considerable length into the addresses of the various speakers, and the
measures they proposed, and ends by saying:—

    Thus concluded the first day’s meeting, and if the benefits
    resulting from it be in any proportion to the intense interest
    which (as I believe) it excited in all who were present, then

            Millions yet unborn may bless
            The meeting of that day.

The introductory remarks prefixed to her account of the second day’s
sitting of the Convention are interesting, as they contain her own
personal impressions of some of the actors in the scene, in short and
graphic sketches, she writes thus:—

    I entered the Hall of the Convention at so early an hour this
    morning, that I was able to obtain the same advantageous
    situation as on the preceding day.

    By arriving so early, I was enabled to see each delegate take
    his seat, and I observed the entrance of some of the Americans
    with more interest than I did the preceding day, because I had
    learnt more of their personal history.

    To Henry Grew my attention had been particularly drawn on the
    first day of the meeting, even before he had addressed the
    chairman; because the arrangement of his hair, and the
    expression of his countenance, realized my idea of the
    Covenanters of old, and his speech did not weaken this
    impression; therefore I was not surprised when I was assured, by
    a countryman of his, that he not only resembled in appearance
    one of those pious men, but that, under similar circumstances,
    he would probably have acted and died as they did.

    But, till this second morning, I did not know, that in Wendell
    Phillips, the young Secretary with the pale golden hair parted
    on his open forehead, I beheld “the very young speaker”
    mentioned in the “Martyr Age” of America, “on whose lips hung,
    for the space of three minutes, the fate of the Abolitionists in
    Boston.” The dark eyed, dark bearded, intelligent looking young
    Secretary opposite to him, was pointed out to me as being one of
    the fifty young men, students in the Lane Seminary at
    Cincinnati, in Ohio, who left that College, because the
    president and professors thought proper to prohibit all free
    inquiry among the students in their leisure hours, and had more
    particularly forbidden them to discuss the question of Slavery.

    In J. G. Birney, the American gentleman sitting to the left hand
    of the President’s chair, with the thoughtful brow, the
    dignified and manly bearing, and with an expression of calm
    deliberate firmness in his countenance, I now knew that I beheld
    one of whom his country might indeed be proud. He was once a
    slave-holder; but, being convinced, at an early age, that the
    religion of Jesus forbade him to remain so, he emancipated his
    slaves and had them educated; and when, on the death of his
    father, he became entitled to half of the paternal inheritance,
    he chose to take that half in the slaves his father had left;
    and when they became his, he emancipated them also.

    “But who is that,” said a friend to me, “with the dark, thick,
    curly hair, and a plain brown frock coat, who, though he looks
    somewhat like a Quaker cannot be one, because he answers to the
    title of Colonel?” “That is,” replied I, “Colonel Jonathan
    Miller, from Vermont, who, though he looks like a man of peace,
    in some measure is, or has been, a man of war, as he fought for
    the Greeks at Missolonghi, and has in his possession the sword
    of Lord Byron. That broad, brown beaver hat of his, might be
    worn by a plain Friend; still, I must say that I have seen him
    wear it on one side, in a manner rather unusual in our meetings;
    but I have looked upon that hat with much respect, as well as on
    himself, since I have been informed that he wears it in order
    that a runaway slave in his own country may know, if he sees it,
    that he has a friend, and protector nigh.”

    It were tedious to enumerate all those whom I was now able to
    point out to others, and was interested in observing myself;
    among these, however, I must name the learned Professors Deane
    and Adam, and J. C. Fuller, an Englishman by birth, but now an
    American citizen; a delegate, whose short, but shrewd and pithy
    speeches often amused the hearers. Nor can I omit to mention,
    with more especial notice, Captain Charles Stuart, one of the
    delegates from Jamaica, with his fine picturesque head, covered
    with clustering curls of iron grey, and his deep toned powerful
    voice, sounding like a minute gun, when he rose from his distant
    seat, and said, “No,” or “Chair;” but when he spoke at some
    length, his voice seemed to be a sort of musical thunder. He is
    honourably distinguished as being one of the most devoted
    friends of the oppressed. There was, sitting near this
    gentleman, one from Ohio, whom I had long known and esteemed; a
    tall, mild looking man, with finely chiselled features, and an
    expression which, in that convention at least, seemed often to
    denote he had less communion with earthly things, than “with
    things above.” He, and the serious, sensible looking man beside
    him, a minister, and his colleague, came over to England more
    than a year ago, to plead in behalf of the Oberlin Institute: a
    blessing has attended their labours; and humble as their
    demeanour is, there were no men in that meeting more worthy to
    be welcomed by their oppressed countrymen, as friends and
    benefactors, than William Dawes and John Keep.

Mrs. Opie afterwards sat to Haydon, who was then painting his picture of
the Convention. In the life of the painter we find the following entries
in his diary:—

    “(July 31st.)   A. Opie sat, and a very pleasant hour and a half
    we had. (Again, the following day,) A. O. sat, a delightful
    creature; she told me she heard Fuseli say of Northcote, ‘he
    looks like a rat who has seen a cat.’”

Mr. Haydon, as he looked at the assemblage of portraits in this picture,
pronounced it to be his opinion that “such a number of honest heads were
never seen together before.”

The winter and spring were passed by Mrs. Opie much as usual. While
suffering from occasional attacks of pain, nevertheless her constant
thought and care were exerted in behalf of others. That she sometimes
felt these claims too much, is evident from many of her notes. In one of
them dated 3rd mo., 1841, she says:—

    I am weary of having to give the little time I may have yet to
    live, to the business of others; it saddens me. (And again.) Two
    letters, involving me in writing and trouble; but be it so! it
    is a favour to be made useful to others, and my life here seems
    passing away in writing letters on others’ business; well, the
    time may soon come, when I cannot work.

That this was not imaginary pressure, was abundantly evident to those
who saw her day by day; and among her papers, after her decease, were
found an inconceivable multitude of applications for charity, or
acknowledgments of favours received, &c., &c.

During her customary visit to London this year, she wrote home:—

                             33, Bruton Street, Berkeley Square,
                                       5th mo., 14th, 1841, night.
      MY DEAR C. L.,

    * * * * * * We had such a charming meeting at Exeter Hall last
    second day, (Monday,) Lord John Russell in the chair! it was the
    British and Foreign School Meeting. I never saw or heard Lord
    John to such advantage, and all the speakers (except Clay, the
    M.P. for the Tower Hamlets) spoke exceedingly well; indeed Lord
    John was excessively applauded, and he felt it at his heart, I
    am sure. Even Burnet, the witty and sarcastic, was courteous on
    this occasion; and, with tact and courtesy, contrived, while
    returning thanks to the Duke of Bedford for his annual £100, and
    eulogizing the late Duke for the same, and the House of Russell
    generally, to let the audience know that the Duchess of Bedford
    was present, in one of the galleries; on which she was cheered
    and applauded, and had to rise and curtsey, and she was cheered
    again when she went away.

    I have dined with Sydney Smith at the Bishop of Durham’s, and
    breakfasted with him at Miss Rogers’, (breakfasts are the _ton_
    now,) and he, Rogers, and Babbage kept up a pleasant running
    fire. I sat between S. S. and his more charming brother, and
    wished to hear the latter, but in vain. At my cousin Edward’s, I
    sat by Lockhart, who is always charming in my eyes, and was
    then, particularly agreeable. To-day was the Anti-Slavery
    meeting, to which I looked forward with interest, mixed with
    dread; and not without reason, for Chartists were there, and
    some climbed upon the platform, and one was allowed to speak.
    The last speaker had to be silenced by a policeman; at length,
    generally called for, rose O’Connell, in his might and majesty,
    and the magical music of his voice hushed the jarring elements
    to peace. He is a marvellous person! But how I took myself in; I
    had a ticket for a side gallery, and I chose the one nearest to
    that side of the platform where O’Connell usually sits. Alas!
    when the _thunder_ proclaimed his approach, I saw him come in at
    the other side. He never sat there before; and he had a lady
    with him, his own dear daughter. However, when he spoke, he came
    near the middle of the platform; but, had I been in my usual
    place, I should have always seen him and heard every word, which
    I could not do to-day. He certainly must have been ill, though
    he looks blooming; for he is excessively shrunk: but he looks
    all the better for it. He spoke admirably, but I thought his
    voice less powerful than usual. To-night he holds, at the Crown
    and Anchor, a meeting for Repeal. He said several unguarded
    things, but still the charm predominated.

    I found a friend at the door when I went out, who took me to see
    the Reform Club House, that splendid erection, which will cost
    £70,000, and the first person I saw there was O’Connell! To be
    sure we had a cordial meeting and shaking of hands. He said he
    had seen me at the meeting, and I had heard him, as well as seen
    him. By the bye, Lucy, he would have made such a fine drawing!
    He had wrapt a cloak round his manly form; and his loss of flesh
    (of which he had far too much) makes his neck look longer; and
    his cheeks being less round, his face appears less flat; the
    nose is much handsomer than I thought it was. I reckon on
    hearing him again on the 17th, at the Aborigines’ Protection
    Society.

    On the 18th I dine at Lord Stanley’s, (of Alderley,) and on the
    19th Yearly Meeting begins, and will probably last nine days or
    ten. I have now been well some days. I threw physic to the dogs
    last week, and felt my lassitude go with it; and now, I trust,
    the fatigues of our Holy Week will prove none to me; but that it
    will be as reviving and welcome as the Holy Week, at Rome and
    Edinburgh, to those who keep it holy, and are, during its term,
    devoted to their duties.

    Farewell! Please, Miss, to answer this.

                                           Affectionately thine,
                                                          A. OPIE.

Again, June 26th, she wrote:—

    * * * I was at the House of Lords. The Queen’s reading was more
    perfect than ever, and her quiet, self-possession, her grace and
    dignity, are beyond praise. She wore a circlet of diamonds only,
    no crown, and she looked so well! It was pretty to see Prince
    Albert hand her up and down the Throne, and lead her in and out.
    There were seventy-six Peeresses. It was a fine sight
    altogether.

In the spring of 1842 Mrs. Opie was again in London. Her notes give a
lively record of the two months she spent there. Yearly Meeting she
attended as usual; and on the 10th May she writes:—

    I dined to-day in company with Lord Brougham, and sat between
    him and my cousin Edward; he was in high spirits, and talked
    incessantly and well, and was very entertaining and interesting:
    I never saw him pleasanter. We were, indeed, evidently so merry
    and happy at the bottom of the table, that those at the top sat
    silent, and endeavouring to catch the words that fell from the
    eloquent man’s lips. Again. (6th mo., 11th.)   Every night this
    week I shall have dined out, and in parties of a most agreeable
    description; of my visit to the Duke of Sussex, and our
    interesting _tête à tête_, I can’t write. The Duchess shewed me
    all over the Palace, and the long row of Bibles. The room is
    fifty feet long, and the Bibles are in all languages.

Shortly after (June 24th) she wrote, referring to the general state of
want and suffering then prevalent:—

    Appeals to national generosity, for aught but national distress
    and starving populations, in our three countries, ought, in my
    opinion, to be now suspended, and speculations, however
    benevolent, also; we are, I think, accountable to our distressed
    countrymen for expenditures of the sort. The accounts from
    Ireland, which I read the other day, brought tears into my eyes.

This summer Mrs. Opie paid her usual visits to the coast, and, after her
return home, we find in one of her notes the following entry:—

    The weather seems so hot here! I pine almost for the fresh sea
    breezes. I like the book I borrowed, (Lives of Physicians,) it
    delights me to read how generous those great physicians were;
    how patriotic, and full of care for others! I feel proud of the
    faculty!

This is quite a characteristic touch. She was almost jealous for the
credit and good name of the medical profession; and very anxious that
its members should be held in high esteem, and their services liberally
remunerated.

The winter of this, and the early spring of the following year, found
Mrs. Opie occasionally suffering from her disorder; but enjoying the
supports and consolations of christian faith and trust.

In one of her notes she says:—

    My trials are afflictive to nature; but I have long known and
    experienced that there is support in entire submission to God’s
    will, in little as well as in great trials; and, when I can
    buckle on that armour, I feel as if I could walk erect and
    securely.

In May she was, as usual, in London; and, writing thence, says:—

    Yearly Meeting has engrossed me as much as ever, for I never
    missed _one_ sitting since I obtained the great privilege of
    belonging to it; one which I feel more and more every year, is
    the last thing increasing age will cause me to forego.

In a note, dated July 12th, she says:—

    I have struck up a friendship with “Sam Slick,” alias Judge
    Haliburton; but, alas! one of the American delegates carries
    away with him a large piece of my heart! It is grievous to make
    acquaintances with people, learn to love and admire them, and
    then bid them farewell for ever! Almost all the American
    delegates, and their wives, came to me on the 10th, to tea and
    supper. I had Colonel Thompson, and Serjeant Thompson, and an
    Andalusian traveller to meet them, and willing to be pleased,
    they were so.

This summer seems to have been a very happy and busy one; the following
extract, from a note, gives a peep at one of her mornings:—

    (8th mo., 16th.)   I have seemed lately to want for many
    necessary and proper purposes, the most precious of all
    things—time. Other people’s business, and my own pleasures have
    prevented my writing before. At ten I must be out shopping; at
    eleven to the Magdalen; at two I must drive to see my aunt and
    say farewell! and then I am off to Ketteringham, to a five
    o’clock dinner, as E. Sidney lectures at seven.

At the close of the year, she suffered again from an attack of her old
disorder. One of her latest notes, (12mo., 11th,) says:—

    Alas! I am in my room still, forbidden to leave it. Dr. Hull
    attributes my relapse to my efforts of last week; I had hoped I
    was out of the wood, but no such thing. Long live Don Jorge! he
    is my delight both night and morning, and my happiest hours are
    spent in his society.[41]

The following letter of “Reminiscences” was written to her friend at
Northrepps at this time:—

                                    Norwich, 12th mo., 16th, 1843.
      MY DEAREST A.,

    * * * * I will begin, if I do not finish my account of poor
    Thomas Hogg, in whose christian end I rejoice. I think it was in
    1816, ’17 or ’18, that Lady Cork was full of a sort of holy man,
    a poet, whom she had picked up in a ditch, a poor, half-starved
    man, whom she and Mrs. B. invited to their houses, and fed and
    clothed; and Lady C. prevailed on him to come to London, and she
    made up a bed for him in her stables.

    He did come, and his arrival was made known to me. He had
    written a poem on Hope, in heroic verse, and I was to see it. I
    think he was a hedger and ditcher, and made verses while he
    worked. I had, then, the worldly custom of receiving company on
    a first day morning, after I returned from church; and a full
    _levée_ I had, consisting of persons on their way to the parks
    and gardens, whither, on that day, I never went myself. Well, my
    friends were beginning to come, on first day, when my astonished
    footman (a better sort of butler) came up to me, and said,
    “Ma’am, here is Lady C. has sent her footman with a man in a
    slop, who is, she says, to come up and see you.” Quite right,
    (said I,) shew him up; and I told my wondering guests who was
    coming.

    The poor man entered; he was a short, thick, middle-aged, ruddy
    looking man, clad in a very handsome slop of unbleached linen,
    very handsomely worked round the neck and at the wrists; and I
    received him very kindly, and seated him by me. Perry, of the
    _Morning Chronicle_, was one of my visitors, and some half dozen
    ladies and one or two gentlemen, who seemed inclined to laugh.
    Perry and Hogg nodded at each other, and P. said, “I have just
    been seeing Mr. Hogg at Lady Cork’s; and Mr. H., I find has a
    kind of divining power—he knows who persons are, by their
    countenances. On the Countess of Mornington’s (Duke of W.’s
    mother) asking him what he thought she was, he said she was, he
    saw, a woman of great courage. ‘I am the mother of a _Hero_,’
    was her reply.” Still I saw Hogg did not like Perry, and he soon
    interrupted him, saying to me, “I am come to read you a poem of
    mine, for I hear you are a poet—a poem on Hop.” (I ought to say
    his dialect was quite new to me.) “Oh! by all means,” I replied,
    “ah! a poem on _hops_; you are a Kentish man perhaps.” “No,” he
    thundered out, “on Hop, Hop.”—and I had then wit enough to
    understand he meant _Hope_. “Better and better, (said I,) where
    is your poem?” “I will go fetch it—it is outside the door;” and
    he went for it. When he was gone, Perry took his seat, by me,
    and we were talking of this strange visitant, when he returned,
    and instantly exclaimed to P. “that’s _my_ place;—what do you
    mean by taking it? get up!” and really, had P. resisted, it
    seemed likely that a blow would have followed the words; but
    Perry obeyed, and while Hogg was reading his manuscript, I went
    to the chimney-piece and took down a large bottle of lavender
    water, which, as it was a hot day, I carried round to the
    company, and then offered it to him also, to smell at. “No, no,”
    said he, “if I took any it would be in a glass;” evidently
    taking it for a dram: and I had difficulty in keeping my guests
    from indecorous mirth; at last the poor man (in whose bright eye
    I thought I read more than incipient insanity) began to read;
    but with such difficulty, (for it was not in his own
    hand-writing,) that I humbly requested to be allowed to read it
    for him, and he consented; and I did read it, and really was
    surprised to find how good many of the lines were; and I own, I
    did improve some of them, when the measure halted, by adding
    words. He seemed much pleased, poor man, and we got through the
    whole. Some of the guests who were there at the first, stole
    away, ’ere I had done; and others coming in, I pointed them to a
    chair, while they listened, and looked, in utter astonishment!
    It was a scene indeed! When the MS. was returned, my servant
    came up to tell Mr. H. that Lady Cork had sent her servant to
    see him back to her house; “tell the fellow I will not go yet,
    and I can go alone;” and he re-seated himself. Not long after,
    came in my cousin T. A. The servant had told him Lady C. had
    sent a poor crazy man to me, and I could not get rid of him; so
    he hastened up, to rid me of the guest he supposed to be forced
    on me, by the Countess; but when I met him smiling, and told him
    Mr. H. had come to read me a pretty poem, he with difficulty
    suppressed a laugh, and sat down meekly. But soon after came up
    another message, “Madam, Lady C. has sent another servant for
    Mr. H.; and says he must come directly!” “Must! I won’t come; I
    know my way,” was Hogg’s reply; and the bard of Hope had almost
    thrown me into Despair—the despair of getting rid of him,—when
    I bethought me to try to convince him civility obliged him to go
    to Lady C., as I was sure she wished much to introduce him and
    his poem to others of her friends; and, at last, I prevailed on
    him to go, my cousin most politely seeing him downstairs. I saw
    him no more; and, I think, two days afterwards, the poor man,
    sick to death of London, and of being made a show of, took
    French leave, one morning early; and I believe he took with him
    both Lady C.’s gifts, the _blanket_ and the _blouse_.

    It was a pleasure to me, in after years, to read an account of
    the poor wanderer’s having found pious friends in the last days
    of his life, and that he died the death of a Christian.[42]

-----

[41] The “Bible in Spain” was published this year.

[42] In the 23rd volume of the “Christian Observer,” No. 1, there is a
“Brief Memoir of Thomas Hogg,” giving an affecting account of this poor
and pious man’s end: he died in great want, but full of christian hope
and peace in believing. That he was no common man, is apparent from the
few details there recorded. One remark he made may, perhaps, be deemed
worthy of record here. The divisions unhappily prevalent in the Church
of Christ, being lamented in his hearing, he said, in his native
sprightly manner, “No matter, there are two sides to the river.” Some
parts of his Poem are given in the article from which we quote. He died
at the age of 65, in 1818.—E.



                             CHAPTER XXIII.


    DEATH OF MR. BRIGGS; SUMMER ASSIZES, 1844; “REMINISCENCES OF
    JUDGES’ COURTS;” “REMINISCENCES OF GEORGE CANNING.”

The spring of the year 1844 was overclouded by domestic affliction. Mr.
Briggs, the much esteemed relative of Mrs. Opie, had, for some time
past, been suffering from pulmonary disorder; and as he expressed a
desire to see her, she was prepared to expect the summons, which was not
long delayed. On the 9th of January she wrote:—

    I do so enjoy my home. In a morning I am only too full of
    company; but when at nightfall I draw my sofa round, for a long
    evening to myself, I have such a feeling of thankfulness!—and
    so I ought. It is well to see how the burden is fitted to the
    back by our merciful Father. I have been a lone woman through
    life; an only child! a childless widow! All my nearest ties
    engrossed by nearer ones of their own. If I did not love to be
    alone, and enjoy the privileges leisure gives, what would have
    become of me!—but I love my lot, and every year it grows dearer
    still—though parting with beloved friends throws, for a while,
    a deep shadow over my path. * * *

And even now the shadow was upon her. Six days after she writes:—

    I go on my melancholy journey to-morrow, scarcely expecting to
    see my poor cousin alive; but he wishes to see me, and it is
    therefore my duty to go.

She remained with him to the last, and touchingly describes the closing
scenes. When all was over, she said:—

    Going into his gallery of pictures, where so many, alas! are
    unfinished, reminds me so powerfully of bygone days, when I
    stood in my _own_ gallery, where finished and unfinished
    pictures abounded!

This melancholy visit was the last Mrs. Opie paid to the metropolis for
a long period. During the next four years she was closely engaged in
attendance upon her aged aunt, Mrs. E. Alderson, and seldom left Norwich
for more than a few days at a time.

After her return home she wrote to Miss Gurney:—

                                                      5th mo. 7th.
      MY DEAREST A.,

    * * * I fear that I shall feel the loss of London and the
    Meeting, but at present I do not; for the duty and necessity of
    staying where I am, is more evident every day, because my aunt
    is become so dependent upon me, that I could trust no one to
    attend to her wants but myself. I have sent a large box full of
    repository purchases to M. G. to-day. I kept shop.[43] I have
    seen A. Hodgkin at Meeting and at the Grove; her husband had a
    public meeting last night, and has again to-morrow. _Such_
    ministry as J. H.’s last night is what is _rarely_ heard, and
    never, I believe, but in a Friends’ Meeting! It was
    soul-searching; and I only wished hundreds could have heard it.
    * * *

Mrs. Opie was present in court, during the summer assizes of this year.
She writes:—

    I heartily enjoyed the Courts, the Judges, and the High Sheriff,
    and every part of my _entourage_. I was more in the Nisi Prius
    Court than in the Criminal; but the last morning I found myself
    let in, to hear a woman tried for poisoning her baby with
    laudanum. I should have fled instantly, had I not been assured,
    by the chaplain of the jail, and others, that, on the plea of
    insanity, she would be found not guilty; and, to my speedy
    relief, the Judge would not allow the trial to go on. By the
    bye, he is a very pleasing and clever Judge, (Williams,) and
    cordially humane; and, though a little man, he has a remarkable
    degree of dignity in his appearance and manner on the Bench; his
    eye, too, is very fine in shape and expression. In the year ’20
    I said to Sir G. Phillips, at a party at his house, “who is that
    little man in the window-seat, with those very fine eyes?” “That
    little man, it is expected, will prove himself a great man
    to-morrow; for he is the third counsel employed to defend the
    Queen, and his turn comes to-morrow morning.” I then little
    thought I should see him here so frequently as Judge.

    The other evening, while Baron Alderson and the High Sheriff and
    I were talking together, in the Judges’ room, (they waiting for
    the other Judge’s finishing a trial he was engaged upon,) Sir E.
    asked me how I was going home? on which the High Sheriff,
    seizing my hand, said, “Oh! she shall go with us, we will take
    her home.” I drew back, of course, not believing he could be in
    earnest! but the Judge said “yes! let us take her.” I still
    resisted, but Edward pulled me on, saying “come brother Opie!”
    as he tucked me under his arm; the High Sheriff led the way, and
    into the carriage I jumped, ashamed, but pleased; and I sat by
    my cousin, and the astonished chaplain sat opposite the Judge,
    wondering and laughing. We set the Judge down first, then the
    High Sheriff set me down, and went back for Justice Williams.
    Little did I think I should ever ride behind four horses,
    harnessed, and two outriders, with trumpets, &c.! But I must own
    that the Judge ordered the trumpets to remain behind, as they
    were not going in state, and to drive fast in order to come back
    soon. So much for the escapade of a grave Judge and High
    Sheriff.

Here is a note in which Mrs. Opie invited the writer to accompany her to
the scene she afterwards described.

      MY DEAR C. L.,

    The Judges always, as I believe, go to church first, and take
    the sacrament afterwards. But I _always_ go early, to be sure of
    a good seat, so I mean to call thee at nine, and we can talk
    there as well as here—and the time will soon fly! I went in a
    chariot-fly to see them come in. Farewell! little dear; I fear
    thou art a lazy-bones—but _indeed_—by ten I have often seen
    the best places filled. Often, _how_ often, both as a young and
    old woman, have I been in that court by half-past seven in the
    morning—was this time twelvemonth.

                                                             A. O.

Among Mrs. Opie’s papers left in an unfinished state, was one headed
“Reminiscences of Judges’ Courts,” written in 1844. It was probably
intended for publication, but never completed; in the following pages
the reader will find the principal parts of it.

    Hark! the bells are ringing their loudest, merriest peal, and at
    intervals are heard the deep tones of trumpets! Those sounds
    proclaim that the Judges have entered the city, and are about to
    open their Commission in the Court of our ancient Castle, and
    that the next day they will begin their momentous task.

    Alas! I lament that the ringing of bells, which usually
    proclaims a wedding, and other joyful events, should be employed
    to welcome those who come to fulfil the painful office of
    sitting in judgment on their fellow creatures, and condemning
    many of them, perhaps, to long imprisonment, exile, or death.

    Would that this custom were always discontinued, and trumpets
    heard alone; because the sound of the latter is _not_ that of
    rejoicing, but of solemn preparation. It is _a call_, a summons,
    and one sometimes of fearful augury.

    It is calculated also to excite in the minds of the prisoners
    salutary emotions, and prepare them for the scene that awaits
    them; while the joyful peal, which makes itself heard into their
    cell, drowning all other sounds, and seeming to insult their
    misery, calls forth in them feelings of indignant bitterness.

    Let me add, that while the higher orders seem to consider the
    assize week as a time for public amusements, though many of the
    lower classes are undergoing every variety of anxious suspense,
    and some perhaps awaiting the terrors of the Law, the
    consciousness of this painful truth may have a hardening effect
    on the surrounding population, whose sympathies are with their
    poorer brethren at the bar, not with those in the theatre or the
    ball-room; and whatever has a tendency to excite, among the
    former, a belief that their sufferings are forgotten, or viewed
    with indifference by their superiors, may lessen that love and
    confidence in the higher ranks, on which so much of the safety
    of society depends.

    That week has always possessed for me an attraction of an
    intellectual kind, which at present I still feel irresistible; I
    mean attendance in the Nisi Prius Court—a love for which has
    “grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength;” and
    certainly it has not become weaker since I have had the
    gratification of seeing on the judgment seat a near and dear
    relative, and sometimes also a highly esteemed friend.

    The interest excited by the Criminal Court is often painfully
    strong, even though such a blessed change has taken place in the
    penal law.

    Horace Walpole (who hated capital punishments) says in one of
    his letters, that whenever he heard any one was being tried for
    his life, he always earnestly desired he might be acquitted; and
    so strongly do I compassionate the prisoner, that I never attend
    a trial for murder, and am only at my ease in the Civil Court.
    And there I am, at a very early hour, in order to secure my
    favorite place in it, and before any preparations for business
    are begun. Nor is it without interest that I look round the
    empty Hall, and at the large table covered with green cloth,
    where the barristers and attornies sit, and think that soon the
    vacant seats will be filled with busy, anxious life, and the
    stillness exchanged for the hum of many voices! and absorbed and
    amused in the contemplation of the coming scene, I find the time
    of waiting pass almost imperceptibly away. But at length the
    solitude ceases—the necessary preparations are made by the
    attendants, and soon the bells and trumpets announce the
    approach of the great functionaries. To greetings, and the hum
    of voices, succeeds the silence of expectation; for silent
    become the bells and trumpets; and, in another moment, the Judge
    is in the Court; the barristers rise, as he courteously salutes
    them, and the business begins.

    After a short process, twelve jurymen are sworn in—to me a most
    disagreeable ceremony—though the oath is repeated now with less
    rapidity than it used to be; still I always rejoice when it is
    over.

    The leaders now take their places—a cause comes on—the junior
    counsel employed in it reads aloud to the jury the particulars
    of the case. The leader then rises, explains and comments on its
    merits, artfully warning the jury against the eloquence and
    sophistical arguments which his learned brother will, he knows,
    bring forward for the defence; but which he is very certain of
    proving vain and nugatory by the witnesses whom he can, without
    fear, expose to the powerful battery of his learned brother’s
    cross-examination. After a long and often eloquent speech, the
    counsel for the plaintiff calls his witnesses; by each of them,
    when called into the witness box, the oath is taken, and each in
    his turn is subjected to the fiery ordeal of cross-examination.
    Then rises the counsel for the defendant, hoping, and sometimes
    very justly, that cross-examination has shaken the testimony of
    the plaintiff’s witnesses; he tells the jury that though his own
    eloquence has been so warmly lauded by his obliging and learned
    brother, he has himself too mean an opinion of it to presume to
    rest on _that_ his client’s cause; nor does he rest it on his
    arguments alone, though they are not sophistical, as his learned
    friend calls them. No! his only weapon will be the force of
    truth; for he shall bring forward _facts_; facts which he shall
    prove by witnesses, whose evidence not even his brother’s
    well-known power of cross-examination can shake; and he shall
    also prove that, whether from unintentional inaccuracy in their
    statements, from defective memory, or an utter disregard to
    truth, the plaintiff’s witnesses have borne testimony which was
    utterly _false_; he is _sure_, he says, to obtain a verdict for
    his client. Then comes “the tug of war,” and such a view of the
    case is presented, that it changes, no doubt, the opinion of
    many minds, (my own, for instance,) and of the probable result
    we form a very different expectation to what we previously
    entertained. But the first speaker, having left himself a right
    to reply, then rises again; after having opened on the
    defendant’s witnesses, the formidable field-piece of his
    cross-examination; and, that done, he is doubtless, not the less
    warm and powerful in argument, now that he feels his client’s
    cause is in more danger than when he opened the case, and that
    for the last time he fights for ultimate victory; at length he
    sits down, expressing his certainty of obtaining it!

    Oh! bloodless fights! would that we should never hear again of
    any battles but these!

    But now another interesting period has arrived—the judge is
    about to speak: he has not been silent during the proceedings;
    but has made many observations, and asked questions of the
    witnesses on both sides; and now, much to the refreshment of
    short memories, he sums up the whole proceedings, and delivers
    his charge to the jury; going over every tittle of the evidence
    with surprising accuracy. The Clerk of Arraigns then says,
    “Consider your verdict, gentlemen!” the jury then turn their
    faces to the wall, and form so peculiar a group, that were an
    artist to draw them, no one could imagine, I think, what they
    were meant to represent, unless well acquainted with courts of
    justice. * * *

    There are certain persons at the barristers’ table, whose
    position is calculated to excite the sympathy of observers, and
    who have often awakened mine on their behalf; namely, the young
    lawyers, who have, perhaps, gone circuit after circuit, and
    still remain briefless barristers. This must be a painful
    situation; and I have been much gratified, when it has
    occasionally happened to me to see a usually unemployed
    barrister, with flushed cheek, opening, it may be, his first
    brief in that court, and, with beating heart, preparing to enter
    the legal arena. Gratifying indeed must it be, to a young man of
    talent, when at length some fortunate circumstance gives him the
    long-desired opportunity to distinguish himself, which was all,
    perhaps, that he required to rise in a short time to the head of
    his profession; and how enviable must be his feelings, when he
    looks back to departed hours, passed in vain expectation of
    business, sitting unobserved at that crowded table, making to
    himself employment by nibbing his pen, or cutting his pencil to
    write notes to a brother barrister, at a distance; and then,
    contrasts with that trying period, his present position, when he
    has scarcely time to sit, except when his opponent in a cause is
    speaking. Now, he is the “observed of all observers,” and feels
    that on his skill in argument, and on his powers of elocution
    and persuasive appeal, depend, perhaps, the future well being
    and happiness of many of his fellow-creatures, who have
    entrusted to him the vindication of their rights, and sometimes
    of their reputation. Anxiety must indeed be felt by barristers
    on every circuit, even whether they have attained, or not, the
    greatest eminence; since it is as necessary for them to retain,
    as to gain, that eminence. The advocate, therefore, pleads for
    his own as well as his client’s cause, when he puts forth all
    the energies of his voice, his gesture, and his mind, on the
    legal stage; and could address his audience in the words of the
    poet: “Alas! I feel I am no _actor_ here!”

    One of the attractions in the Nisi Prius Court is the agreeable
    surprises which one experiences in it. I have known a cause,
    promising at the beginning, to be very dull and uninteresting,
    become, as it went on, one of great interest and entertainment;
    for instance, a horse case, where the warranty of the horse is
    the subject brought forward, and many amusing witnesses are
    examined; or a right of way cause, as I believe it is
    technically called.

    On such occasions I have seen the old, and even the infirm, put
    into the witness box to give evidence, neatly dressed in their
    Sunday clothes, and seeming to enjoy their temporary importance;
    and I have gazed with interest, which at length, perhaps, became
    painful, on the sharpened features, almost seeming prepared for
    death; and listened to the feeble voice striving in vain to
    perform the required task, and make the testimony it bore heard
    by the judge.

    I have often asked myself why it is that I, and many others, can
    sit from early morning till evening in a court of justice, with
    still increasing interest? and the answer has been, that it
    proceeds from that general and enduring passion, the love of
    excitement.

    Those courts are epitomes of human life, and their walls, within
    their bounded space, contain beings full of the passions,
    infirmities, resentments, self-deceits, self-interests, fears,
    hopes, triumphs, and defeats, incident to our common nature, and
    the proofs and results of which are there painfully brought
    before us.

    A court of justice may be likened to a stage, the principal
    performers on which are the barristers; and happiest are they
    who have the most frequent opportunities of moving the feelings,
    and influencing the convictions, of that respectable audience—a
    British jury.

    A Nisi Prius cause is a new drama, brought before the jury as
    the audience; but with this great difference between a play and
    a cause—the actors in it, on one side only, are interested in
    its success.

    One great advantage which assize courts possess over the
    theatre, is the certainty we have, that all the emotions we
    behold are real, not acted, and springing from the exigences of
    the moment; that the eloquent energy of the pleaders, the
    replies of the witnesses, and, alas! the fearful perjury
    sometimes elicited by cross-examination, together with every
    outbreak of tongue, are not only like the representations of
    great actors, “faithful to nature in the mimic scenes,” but are
    nature itself!

    There is another reason why, in my opinion, the interests in a
    Court of Justice come more forcibly to the heart than that of
    representations on the stage. It is that, while contemplating
    the dramas of real life, as exhibited in a Court of Law, we have
    an undefined consciousness that we are liable to be ourselves,
    one day, performers in similar scenes, and worried by the same
    difficulties, experiencing, either in our own person or that of
    those dear to us, the trials and anxieties we see there endured
    by others.

    My theories on this subject may be deemed fanciful and untrue,
    and the charge may be a just one; but, whatever be the cause of
    the pleasure which I take in attending Courts of Justice, I hope
    it is an innocent gratification, and no undue waste of time, as
    the opportunities occur only twice in the year, and rarely last
    longer than a week. It is also my conviction that whatever
    brings us acquainted with, and interested in the affairs and
    well being of our fellow creatures, in their varied stations and
    positions in society, may have a beneficial influence on our
    hearts, minds, and characters.

Another short “Reminiscence,” which was written about this time, will
show how her thoughts went back to the days of her youth, and with what
tenacity her memory retained the most minute details of bygone scenes
and events.

    I was never (she writes) so fortunate as to be in company with
    that celebrated man George Canning, but at a very early period
    of his life and mine, he was brought, by circumstances, under my
    admiring observation. An aunt of his was married to a clergyman
    in Norwich, and lived there, and when he was at Eton he used to
    pass part of his holidays at her house.

    He had already distinguished himself by his poetical talents,
    and the Eton boy had given promise of what the man might be.
    During one of his visits to his aunt, there was a benefit
    concert given at our Assembly Rooms, to which I was _chaperoned_
    by an old lady of my acquaintance. Till the middle of the first
    Act we were able to hear and enjoy the music, but then our
    attention was disturbed by the entrance of George Canning’s
    aunt, with a large party. Unfortunately, they took their seats
    before us, and instead of listening to the music, began to
    converse, as if nothing was going on. I was not so much annoyed
    as I otherwise should have been, because I was told that the
    young man before me was the Eton boy, whose productions had been
    so much admired. I was, therefore, interested in examining his
    countenance, and was pleased to hear his voice, though exerted
    during a violin concerto!

    But I shared at length in the displeasure of my companion, who,
    finding the predestined orator becoming more and more
    vociferous, gave him a rap on the shoulder with her fan, and
    when he turned round, astonished at the blow, shook her head at
    him reproachfully. He understood the appeal, and bowed his head
    gracefully and respectfully in return; nor did he offend again,
    but evidently reproved the talkativeness of his party. This
    delighted my old lady and still more myself. The feeling and
    well-bred youth, did not yet think he had made sufficient
    amends; and as soon as the Act was concluded he came up to my
    aged friend, and, with an ingenuous blush on his cheek, he said,
    “I am very sorry, ma’am, that I interfered with your pleasure by
    my talking just now, and am really ashamed of myself, pray
    excuse me; I assure you I will not offend again.” The old lady
    received the apology as graciously as it was made; and my young
    heart rejoiced to find that this boy, in spite of the
    head-turning honours which were his at this early period, was
    possessed of, what a long life’s observation has taught me to
    believe is almost the rarest quality, namely, a due
    consideration for the rights of others in _little things_. From
    that time he possessed a higher _niche_ in my esteem, than his
    successes at Eton could have given him.

    Many years elapsed before I saw him again; for though I became
    rather intimate with his aunt, he never visited at the house
    while I happened to be one of the guests; and at an early period
    of my life, the family quitted Norwich. But I saw him soon after
    he obtained a seat in Parliament, (1793,) and when the Pitt
    administration had won the young orator from his early political
    friends, and ranked him amongst their adherents. At the time to
    which I allude he was standing on Windsor Terrace, bare headed;
    his cheek evidently flushed with pleasurable emotion, and
    listening to George the Third, who, with the Queen, and the
    Royal Family, was taking his evening walk there. The Royal party
    stopped some time before the young member, and it was with an
    emotion of pleasure that I saw him thus publicly distinguished
    by his Sovereign.

    The last time I beheld him, was in the Hall of Buckingham House,
    when the Queen and Regent received at that palace, and he was
    returning from a _levée_. With what increased interest did I
    then behold him; he was then in middle life, but I saw the same
    character of face, and features, as when I was interested in the
    Eton boy. How different was now his bearing; how different the
    character of his person altogether! There was a degree of
    dignity in his mien, and a loftiness in the carriage of his
    head, which a well-founded consciousness of his importance in
    the scale of society would naturally give, at the same time,
    there was a slight expression of sadness in his smiles; yet he
    might be justly called the child of prosperous ambition! His
    talents had raised him to the highest offices of the state; his
    eloquence was the delight of his friends, and the terror of his
    enemies; he had formed a high and happy connexion in marriage;
    he was admired by his opponents, and loved by his intimates; and
    it seemed as if this world could bestow on him nothing more!

    But even then, the corroding cares of public life and their
    awful responsibilities, were, no doubt, preparing to fasten on
    his heart, and gradually destroy the functions of life. Stormy
    grew the political horizon during the years that ensued; though
    on the whole, he may be said (to use his own words) “to have
    weathered the storm;” and, at the period of his untimely death,
    he seemed to have overcome every prejudice against him; and when
    he fell a victim to his public duties, a universal lamentation
    attended his exit, and a universal plaudit!

    Among his mourners, none was more sincere than myself, and
    rarely, even yet, do I pass his statue, without breathing a sigh
    to his memory, and exclaiming, as I gaze on that sculptured
    form, “Oh rare George Canning!”

-----

[43] This alludes to Mrs. Opie’s keeping a table at the yearly sale of
the Repository, for the Norwich Sick poor Society; this she did during
many years, and an admirable saleswoman she was. On one of these
occasions she wrote to a friend, “Simeon’s Life is most precious to me.
I have had extracts from it made, and printed, to be sold at the
Repository.”



                             CHAPTER XXIV.


    THE SEVENTY-FIFTH YEAR; NOTES AND INCIDENTS, IN THE YEARS
    1845-46; DEATHS OF MR. J. J. GURNEY AND OF DR. CHALMERS; LETTER
    FROM CROMER; DEATH OF MRS. E. ALDERSON; MRS. OPIE’S VISIT TO
    LONDON IN THE SPRING OF 1848; LETTER FROM THENCE.

Mrs. Opie was now entering upon her seventy-fifth year; confinement and
pain were her portion during a large part of her remaining days; and
yet, on the whole, she was remarkably free from most of the infirmities,
bodily and mental, usually attendant upon such an advanced age. Her
sight was perfect, and even excelled in keenness; so that she read
without difficulty the finest print, and wrote in the same minute and
delicate characters to the last. Her sense of hearing, too, though less
acute, was not perceptibly impaired; and her carriage was as erect, and
indicative of vigour and energy, as of yore. But it was her soul—the
mind within her—that never felt the frosts of age. Her heart beat warm,
her eye kindled with living joy, her spirit responded like a well-tuned
lyre, to every breath that passed over it; and she was, too, such a very
woman in all her sympathies and antipathies. Such quick sensibilities
and vivid perceptions, such appreciation of little attentions, and
cordial interest in that which touched the hearts of others—no wonder
the young loved her! Perhaps, never were so many young and fair faces
seen clustering around an old one, as were to be found in her room, week
after week. They came, and made her their confidante;—and she liked so
well to hear the tales, and to enter into the hopes and pleasures of
youth!

Her love of fun,[44] too, her merry laugh, her ready repartee, made one
forget that she had numbered three-score years and ten. If we should
ask, whence came this bright and joyous old age? we may trace it partly
to natural temperament; her nature was genial, her temper sweet, and,
until a late period, her health was excellent. But, great as these
natural advantages were, more yet was owing to religious principle, and
self-discipline. She was not kind and forbearing merely because her
temper was sweet: she was so on principle; in obedience to the great
command of the gospel, “Love one another.” Her readiness to pass by an
unkind or slighting action, did not spring from easy indifference; none
was more keenly sensitive to these things. When she was deeply wounded
on one occasion, and could find no excuse for the offender, she looked
sad and disquieted, and at length said, “I hope I shall be able in time
to _forget_ this.” It pained her to think otherwise than well of any
one; it was a real _pang_ to be obliged to believe that he had acted
unworthily. She wept over the misdeeds of others, and rejoiced when they
acted well and nobly. She was “tender-hearted” towards the failings of
others, and _would_ not believe an evil report. There was really nothing
which roused her anger so much as for any one to spread a report to the
disadvantage of another; it seemed an offence done to herself: and is
not this the spirit of Christianity, akin to the “mind that was in
Jesus?”

It were easy to give instances proving these to be no exaggerated
statements. It may be permitted to mention one illustration of her
humble-minded ingenuousness in acknowledging herself to have done wrong.
The writer of these lines was one day calling on Mrs. Opie, when some
one who was very deaf, and talked in a loud, harsh voice, was visiting
her. After he had left the room, chancing to refer to something that had
passed, she repeated the words of her visitor in his dissonant tones—in
fact, mimicked him to the life! Almost immediately after reaching home,
the writer received a note from Mrs. O., saying how much self-reproach
she was suffering, in the thought of the “unchristian and vulgar action”
of which she had been guilty, and begging it might be forgiven.

We have seen that the loneliness of her lot was felt increasingly, as
her years multiplied, but happily, most happily for her, she was
sustained by the consciousness of the Divine presence; and it was this
which cheered her lonely hours, and inspired the sentiment with which we
find her entering upon the new year; she thus writes:—

    (2nd mo., 4th, 1845.)   I can say with truth that I am never
    _less_ alone than when alone: home is becoming daily more and
    more the place that suits me best. I have many cares and some
    trials; but I feel, in the depths of my heart, that all is
    right; and that all has been, and will be, for my good. “Shall
    not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

This month occurred the death of Sir T. F. Buxton, causing another gap
in the circle of Mrs. Opie’s intimate friends. She had been long and
greatly attached to him, and all his family; and cordially united in his
views for the abolition of slavery, and in his desires and plans for the
improvement of Africa.

During the storms of the winter, great inroads had been made at Cromer
by the sea, and referring to this she wrote to her friend at Northrepps,
at this time, saying:—

    I am very sorry for that dear West Cliff,

            “Where once my careless childhood strayed, a stranger yet to
              pain.”

    There used to be, I am sure, a field before one comes to S.
    Hoare’s field, where I used to gather the blue bugloss, and deck
    myself out in it. Such is my love of Cromer, I sometimes think,
    when I lost my dear father, I should have settled myself there,
    or very near it, (on the West Cliff, most probably,) had I not
    joined Friends.

In the same letter she speaks of several books she was reading, and
says:—

    * * * I have read two volumes, (the last two, I think,) of Lord
    Malmesbury’s Diaries, and with intense interest. I knew so many
    of the men he writes about, and lived on the spot where they
    acted. But, be not angry, as well as surprised, when I tell
    thee, that, of the fourth volume, William Pitt is my hero, and
    eke George III; their characters and powers come out there in
    such high relief! * * I am also reading Carlyle’s history of the
    French Revolution—full of genius, pathos, and pictures; with
    all its faults, (and it has great ones,) still, I can hardly lay
    it down!

Shortly after, recurring to the subject of the weather, she wrote:—

    I try not to be impatient of the duration of this winter, and I
    rejoice at the belief, (probably, however, an erroneous one,)
    that my _only_ tree, an elm, in my south garden, into which my
    sitting room looks, is budding! It is a pain to me to think of
    the sufferings of inanimate nature, as well as of human nature.
    I grieve for the cruel sea’s inroads at Cromer! But, as almost
    all things “work together” for some “good,” these dangers give
    rise to circumstances, honourable to one’s species; for
    instance, the pious child that would not be saved till his
    father’s safety was secured. Generally speaking, I have long
    thought that in these days filial piety was at a low ebb; but,
    in this instance, assuredly, the high tides have floated it into
    my good opinion again. I am just returned from Earlham, where I
    have been passing a happy day and a half, with J. J. Gurney and
    Eliza; no other guest there but myself. We called at dear W.
    Forster’s door on our way home.

Mrs. Opie made frequent visits, in the course of this year, to her
friends; and mentions with peculiar pleasure meeting Mr. Hallam, during
her stay at Ketteringham. Although occasionally suffering from accesses
of her old disorder, she was, upon the whole, free from pain. Her notes
refer to the great enjoyment she felt in attending various religious
meetings, and also the course of lectures at the Museum, delivered by
Professor Sedgwick.

On the return of the autumnal season her malady distressed her much, and
during her stay at Northrepps she was quite confined to the house;
“never quitting it after I entered it, till I got into the carriage
which took me away; but though unwell during the eighteen days I spent
there, I had much enjoyment.” In October of the following year, writing
to her friend there, she said:—

    Oh! how sorry I am that I cannot come to thee next week, even in
    a carrier’s cart; but I cannot. Dr. Hull says “it would be
    madness;” and Mr. Crosse says, “he hopes my finger may allow me
    to go to Keswick;” but I have so much cold and cough besides,
    that I fear I shall not be able to leave the house at all. It
    _is_ a disappointment to me not to have paid my usual visit to
    Cromer, and to feel there the gratitude due to Him who has in
    unmerited mercy spared me, that I might have been enabled once
    more to enjoy the society of my dear friends at that place, so
    full to me of early and pleasant recollections.

In the course of the summer of 1846 she was cheered by a visit from Mrs.
Backhouse, the daughter of Mr. J. J. Gurney, (whom Mrs. Opie always
called her grandchild,) bringing with her her infant son, who was
greeted as great-grand-child, and pronounced a darling. “I love all
babies,” she said, “but this one excels them all in my eyes.” Her
cousin, Mr. R. Woodhouse, also visited her in the month of August. But
amid all her cheerful and sympathizing enjoyment, she suffered
grievously. A sorrowful note, written about this time, tells how much.

    * * * You will be glad to hear I am better. This day week I was
    in great pain for hours! How thankful I ought to be; nothing can
    have exceeded Dr. Hull’s attention; he came twice every day to
    me; and I am sure his medicines have done me much good.

    P.S. Sir R. Peel’s heart has stolen _mine_; that exquisite
    self-oblivion, and that prompt sympathy with poor Haydon’s
    sorrows, even only four days before his death: and then the
    feeling and immediate reply to the hopes of the poor suicide in
    his letter in his dying moments; and the prompt help, and the
    promised succour of his purse and influence at a future time,
    and when he (Sir Robert) was not himself lying on a bed of
    roses! Oh! he is a good, as well as a great man, and God’s
    blessing must rest on him.

On the 4th of January, 1847, died Mr. J. J. Gurney. Three weeks before,
he had been thrown from his pony, while crossing Orford Hill. At first
he appeared not to have sustained much injury; and, with thoughtful
love, he hastened to Lady’s Lane to inform his dear friend of the
accident, saying that he could not bear she should hear of it from any
other but himself, that he might assure her with his own lips of his
safety. Alas! how little did either of them imagine that ere that moon
had waned he would be sleeping the sleep of death! but so it was. This
was indeed a heart-blow; and, shortly after, his beloved daughter, Anna
Backhouse, followed him to the grave. It was an entire breaking-up of
the much and long-loved circle at Earlham. Mrs. Opie attended the
funeral of her friend. She saw him laid low in the midst of his
usefulness; cut down while there was, as yet, no shadow o’er his path to
tell of coming night. Honoured and beloved he was, and a blessing to
thousands. Doubtless in her heart she said, “would God I had died for
thee!” but she remembered her favourite text, “shall not the judge of
all the earth do right;” and bowed, and worshipped in silence and
submission.

There is no dwelling on these things. Each one, as he passes along on
the road of life, experiences like sorrows, and learns from his own
trials to realize the feelings of his fellow sufferers.

The following note, written shortly after this event, shews her state of
mind.

                                     Norwich, 1st mo., 29th, 1847.
      MY DEAR C. L.,

    * * * * Thanks for thy kind inquiries, and still more for thy
    graphic description of the Cambridge show; it made me long to
    have been there! thy account of the behaviour of the students
    carried me back to 1810, when I was at Oxford, at Lord
    Grenville’s installation, and was excessively amused by the
    thundering and hissing of the students for some time; but the
    third day I grew tired of the noise. The Proctors _there_ were
    treated, one excepted, with great indignity. How I did rejoice
    in the first wrangler’s success; when I found he was a boy of
    obscure birth, educated by a benevolent individual on whom he
    had no claims, and that he had been enabled to repay his
    benefactor!

    The dear Bishop came yesterday afternoon, and was so kind and
    sympathizing! I _could_ see him, for I was in my drawing-room
    again. My doctors are just gone. I hope I am improving, and
    expect to be allowed to get out next week to see my aunt; but I
    shall be slow in returning my calls, and slower still in paying
    any visits. I do so _dread_ the convincing myself, when I go
    out, that there is one whom if I look for him, I shall never,
    _never_ find! But no more of that, I can’t bear it.

                           Believe me, thy ever attached friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

Her grief did not, however, prevent her taking an active interest in the
sorrows and sufferings of others. She was engaged in collecting for the
relief of the poor Irish, and says:—

    Oh! the horrible state of things in that country; without our
    aid they say the poor people must perish! I am collecting for
    the Ladies’ Committee at Dunmanaway, near Cork; a very
    distressed district, but small and with few rich residents in
    it, therefore the more needing help. I let no day pass without
    having, in the course of it, begged of some one. I take sixpence
    or a shilling with thanks; and I have accepted twopence from a
    little boy, who sent it to me because he knew what it was to be
    hungry himself. I have a humble agent at work to procure small
    sums, as my Irish ladies advise; and have a little money still
    in hand, which I hope to make more. We shall one day perhaps
    know scenes here like those in Ireland, and trials which
    _wealth_ cannot help us to avoid or remove, but “shall not the
    judge of all the earth do right?”

In the spring of this year Mrs. Opie paid her usual visit to Cromer.
While there, the tidings of Dr. Chalmers’ death reached her. She wrote
home requesting to have the lines she had addressed to him in 1833 sent
to her; and acknowledged the receipt of them in the following letter:—

                          TO MRS. BRIGHTWELL.
                                       Cromer, 6th mo., 5th, 1847.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    * * * I do not exactly know to whom I was indebted for the great
    kindness of copying for me my lines to poor dear Dr.
    Chalmers,[45] but perhaps the same pen (it was thine I think)
    would do me the same favour again. I am very desirous of having
    them, though ashamed of troubling thee.

    Poor dear man! on his way home to Edinburgh he could not be easy
    without going to Darlington, to see dear J. J. Gurney’s daughter
    once more. In his letter to me he said that he hoped one day “to
    see him _before the throne_,” or words to that effect; how soon
    (as I trust) the hope has been fulfilled.

    I am here in such a lovely lodging! my sitting-room has a
    bay-window that looks _on_ the sea and _up_ the shore and on the
    jetty and the breakwater. I am at Randall’s bath house, and the
    hot bath is delightful indeed! I think I am better, in spite of
    visitors. I have had eleven callers already, since ten o’clock!

    When I came, the sea was beautiful! yesterday it was awful to
    look at! the white horses, the cavalry of the sea, were all out
    yesterday. Alas! their appearance was signalized by death; a
    boat was capsized, and a poor old man drowned, in sight almost
    of my window. At twilight I looked on the sea, which appeared
    terribly sublime! The hue grew darker and darker, as the mass of
    waters seemed sloping _upwards_ as they went, till they looked
    like a dark mountain bounding forth to engulph us—and I
    retreated almost in fear. I hope this evening to see the sun set
    from the western cliff. How beautiful, in my eyes, were the
    hedges as I came! such a profusion of germander, bright red
    bachelor’s buttons, the golden furze, and broom, in luxuriant
    blossom, and the may, only too much laden with flowers;
    Farewell; with love to thy spouse and bairn,

                                            Thy attached friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

Mrs. Opie returned from Cromer in the middle of June; in her notes we
find the following entries:—

    I am come home, not the better for the sea and baths, though
    _much_ so in mind and feelings for the great attentions and
    kindnesses I received. A lame old woman is, however, best at
    home. Poor dear Dr. Chalmers! he passed four or five as happy
    days as he _could_ pass there, with the daughter of J. J. G.; he
    would not rest without going, and was so charming! he died two
    days after. He left Darlington well, but went home as it
    proved—to die! He was every day, when there, going to write to
    me, and I was just about to write to him, from Cromer, when he
    died. (6th mo., 18th.)   In the year 1809 I began to write lines
    to Mrs. Lemaistre, on her birthday, and ever since, from 1809 to
    the fifth of this month, 1847, I have never omitted writing the
    accustomed verses. I wonder whether any king’s laureat ever
    wrote so many to one potentate; perhaps Colley Cibber did to
    George III. (19th.)   I have been reading the life of Sarah
    Martin; it made me shed many tears, from the sense of her
    superior virtue, and my own inferiority. What an example she
    was, and how illustrative her life, of what that of a humble,
    but real, and confiding Christian should be! and her end was one
    of intense bodily suffering! as Pope says of some one:—

            “Heav’n, as its purest gold, by torture tried—
            The saint sustain’d it, but the _woman_ died!”

    W. Allan’s admirable Life I have read quite through, with
    delight, and, I hope, instruction.

Mrs. Opie visited her friends at Brooke in the following month, and
writing shortly after to Miss Gurney, she says:—

    * * * I received, before I went to Brooke, a very valuable
    present from Lord Brougham, which he had ordered to be sent two
    months ago, and I expected. It arrived at last, and is a folio
    volume, two nails thick, containing the evidence before the
    select committee of the House of Lords, appointed to inquire
    into the execution of the criminal law, especially respecting
    juvenile offenders and transportation. It interests me, and I
    daresay I shall read it through. When I came home I found a very
    interesting letter from Lord B.—that letter I am answering
    to-day. I am glad he has renewed correspondence with me; he
    often wrote during last autumn, and he is one of the pleasantest
    recollections of my early days, when I was first in London
    society.

    My head is full of this horrible, _most_ horrible of murders, at
    Paris! I am glad I do not know the parties concerned. I
    earnestly hope that if he must die, he will be allowed no
    privileges on account of his rank; the people would not bear it!
    and the Most High “is no respecter of persons.” We purse-proud
    English are a sadly aristocratic nation, and want humbling. * *
    * If my aunt’s health allow, I intend to go to the Birkbecks’
    ere long for a few days, but yesterday I conceived an alarm
    concerning her, poor dear, and I must talk to her medical man on
    the subject.

This alarm proved to be well grounded. Mrs. E. Alderson sank gradually,
and at length expired on the 10th of January, 1848. Mrs. Opie says:—

    When I looked upon my dear aunt, just after I had closed her
    eyes, she was, to me, the image, almost, of my father.

The time was now come, when Mrs. Opie was able to carry into effect an
intention she had long entertained. She felt very desirous to have a
house of her own; it had become, indeed, necessary to her comfort; and,
after long consideration, at length she fixed upon the house on Castle
Meadow, which she inhabited during the remainder of her life. Before
removing, or rather preparatory to doing so, she went up to London, to
spend some months there, according to her old usage. Four years had
elapsed since she visited the Metropolis, and the present occasion
proved one of much enjoyment. She bade adieu to Lady’s Lane on the 6th
of April, and journeyed to town, availing herself there of the cordial
invitations given her by her friends in Russell Square and Langham
Place. Much occurred, during her stay, to interest and cheer her, of
which she wrote accounts to her friends at home. She made short
excursions to Hampstead, Hornsey, Wandsworth, and Tottenham, and went to
hear the speeches at Harrow. She also attended all the Friends’
Meetings, and was present as well at the Missionary and Bible Meetings,
in all which she took a lively interest. Her letters shew that she still
retained much of her wonted energy, and interested herself in the
stirring events going on around her. In one of them she refers, very
characteristically, to the alarm excited by the threatened outbreak of
the Chartists—

    I _would_ come home (she says) from Wandsworth on the Sabbath
    day night, because I could not bear the anxiety I should feel
    while being six miles from the scene of action on the Monday.
    How agreeably disappointed every one was who was not
    disaffected! Nothing ever was better managed: and I hear that
    the Duke of Wellington was so delighted because all was effected
    without a single soldier’s having been seen! but great was the
    alarm, particularly of the Ministers. It is now clear that the
    respectable middle classes are _not_ with the ultra chartists.
    It was an interesting sight to see noblemen and their sons,
    artizans, and men of all grades in society, sworn in as special
    constables, and patrolling the streets.

The following letter is selected from among others, written at this
time, as being of most general interest:—

                         TO THOMAS BRIGHTWELL.
                              Russell Square, 5th mo., 22nd, 1848.
      MY DEAR FRIEND,

    I have been intending to write to thee for some time past, but
    was prevented. My career has been a very pleasant one, spite of
    occasionally _great_ lameness; but though I always limp, I am
    not always in pain; and I find it possible to bear, with
    patience, the ill which can’t, I fear, be ever cured.

    I will, as briefly as possible, give thee a sketch of my goings
    on; a dinner at Lord Denman’s was my pleasantest; I met Lady C.
    L., Lord N.’s daughter, a dear old friend of mine; Mr. Justice
    Earle, the new judge; and Mr. Warren, the author of “Ten
    Thousand a Year.” These gentlemen and my host talked _across the
    table_ and most pleasant were the dinner hours, as well as those
    which succeeded. * * * More of this when we meet, if I am
    permitted to return in health and safety. The next prosperity,
    was, my going to a private view at the Society of Arts and
    Sciences, in the _Adelphi_, where Barry’s pictures were lighted
    up, and the rooms opened to receive so many and _no more_; that
    is, twenty noble Ladies got leave to have so many tickets each,
    to give, in order that the wonderful and beautiful specimens of
    new English arts and manufactures, might be seen and known, to
    those able and willing to purchase; and it was to be, that
    unusual thing, an evening private view, beginning at ten
    o’clock. My kind friend, Lady C. B., gave me a ticket, and after
    _hours_ at the Bible Meeting, and a dinner at Baron Alderson’s,
    I went to the place of rendezvous; I was the first person there,
    so I could survey all the lovely things, and exquisite pictures,
    long and well known to me, before any one came: but the room
    filled at length, and the Bishop of Norwich told me he never saw
    more of the nobility assembled. I saw many old acquaintances and
    made many new * * *

    Once, as I was walking round the room, the Duchess of S.,
    leaning on a gentleman’s arm, curtsied to me, (for the first
    time in her life,) with a most sweet smile. I acknowledged her
    curtsey, regardless of the gentleman with her, and, indeed, not
    seeing him; but he said, “what! do you not choose to see and
    acknowledge an old friend?” I started, and beheld Lord Morpeth!
    Surprized, and thrown off my guard, I exclaimed, “Oh! _dear_
    Lord Morpeth! how glad I am to see thee!” eagerly accepting his
    proffered hand. “Then you have not forgotten old times?” * * * I
    then told him I had heard him speak in the morning, and we
    talked of the meeting, as very interesting: “but,” I said, “I
    thought it was rather _venturesome_, if I may so say, to allude
    so much to the state of affairs in France.” He gave me a look I
    did not quite understand, but replied, “perhaps there was
    somewhat too much of that;” and I was told by the Bishop of
    Winchester, (with whom I dined the next day) that Lord M. in his
    speech, had _given the tone_ to the other speeches; but Lord
    M.’s speech was not such, as to have drawn forth what I
    disapproved,—the speeches of La Harpe, and others; however,
    everything was approved by the meeting, and the French goings-on
    _delighted_ in, as leading to an increased spread of the Bible!
    We then talked a little more, and parted. Lord M. insisting on
    it, that I used to be at Milcham School with Mathews, the great
    ventriloquist, and I saying, “no, no, I disown Mathews
    entirely!” Long have I wished to renew acquaintance with this
    _good_ man, and at last I have, under pleasant circumstances. At
    the B. and F. School Meeting, where he was chairman, I sat
    nearly under the chair, and had a most kind bow from him, which
    I as cordially returned.

    Last sixth day (yesterday week) I dined at Sir J. Boileau’s, and
    met Guizot, the American Ambassador, and our Bishop. After
    dinner, we all went to the Royal Institution, to hear a Lecture
    on the Greek Anthology, by a Mr. Newton, and I had the pleasure
    of taking the Bishop with me, in my carriage.

    Lady C. B. and I sat on a form near the lecturer; in front of
    him was another chair, for the President, the Duke of
    Northumberland; and on a chair, placed on his _right_ hand, was
    Guizot; on his left the American Ambassador—_par conséquent_,
    we conceived this was meant as a compliment to Guizot, who seems
    much noticed. The private view of the Exhibition I rejoiced in,
    till the people came, (but I believe I wrote an account of all
    this to Lucy,) Sir R. Inglis followed up his kindness to me
    there, by calling; and Lady Gurney, myself, and Russell, were
    there this day week; a most pleasant evening to me, for I met
    old friends, and among them, the British Minister, Morier, and
    his family, whom I first knew at Paris, as Consul-General, and
    afterwards, as our Envoy at _Berne_.

    Now, to finish with my visit at Claremont. The ex-Queen fixed
    the day and hour, by Madame de Montjoye, her Lady; I hired a
    clarence and two horses, and borrowed J. Bell’s servant; and, in
    a broiling day, set off on my fifteen miles’ journey! Madame de
    M. came to me _first_, and said the Queen would soon come to me;
    she did, and I cannot express my feeling, when I thought of the
    change in her position since we met! I could scarcely speak,
    while she pressed my hands most affectionately, and called me
    “_ma chère, bonne Opie, que vous êtes bonne, de venir me voir_!”
    at last, she sat, and desired I would do the same. Madame de M.,
    had previously told me they had heard of the Duchess of Orléans
    that day, and that she was in Germany. I can’t _now_ tell you
    all the conversation. The first question was, “I hope you are
    writing? you know I read and like all you write.” I replied that
    I did _not_ write, and so on. * * * After half an hour, she
    rose, and said she was very sorry to go, but she must, because
    she had letters to write, which were to go to Paris that
    morning; again she took my hands and pressed them to her heart;
    I not being able to speak, from rising tears. At length I got
    out, that “_les paroles me manquoient et que je ne pouvais pas
    exprimer les sentiments que j’eprouvois_;” and I almost wished
    to kiss, as well as press the hand I held; as she disappeared,
    she said, “_souvenez vous, et ecrivez encore, ecrivez
    toujours_!” Madame de Montjoye gave me her arm, to the other
    room, and we parted most cordially. * * *

                                          Thy attached friend,
                                                          A. OPIE.

Mrs. Opie’s stay in London was cut short by her increasing
indisposition. She had prepared to go on a visit to Mr. S. Gurney, when
(on the 7th July) she had a severe access of her disorder, and Sir
Benjamin Brodie recommending rest and quiet, after a week’s nursing, she
returned to Norwich.

-----

[44] She patronized the old custom of sending valentines, (which is much
kept up in Norwich,) and on one occasion, wrote some droll verses, which
she got copied and sent to some young friends, who, presently after,
hastened with their puzzling _billet-doux_ to her, that she might help
them to guess who could possibly have sent them! She did so enjoy the
fun of mystifying them with her guesses!

[45] The lines alluded to in this letter are given in chapter XX. Mrs.
O. had forgotten that she had written them until reminded of them by her
friend.



                              CHAPTER XXV.


    THE CASTLE MEADOW HOUSE; INDISPOSITION; INCREASE OF CRIME;
    RUSH’S TRIAL; SUMMER ASSIZES OF 1849; DEATH OF BISHOP STANLEY;
    SUMMER AND AUTUMN OF 1850; FAREWELL VISIT TO LONDON; THE GREAT
    EXHIBITION; SUMMER OF 1852; RHEUMATIC GOUT; NOTES; LAST VISIT TO
    CROMER; THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 1853; SUDDEN ILLNESS, OCTOBER
    23RD; PATIENCE AND CHEERFULNESS; INCREASING SICKNESS; LEAVE
    TAKING; DEATH.

Returning from London on the 14th of July, 1848, Mrs. Opie took
possession of her new house, on the Castle Meadow. She looked back with
pleasure upon the time she had passed in town, and said, “never indeed,
did I have a more gratifying reception, than I met with from all my
friends, of different ranks, this time of my being there.” Fortunately
her choice of an abode proved satisfactory, she thoroughly liked it from
the first, and conceived the happy idea that Dr. Alderson would have
been pleased with it, “for (she said) he would have enjoyed this lively
scene, and he often wished to have a house in this locality.” When she
had become quite settled in it, she wrote:—

    * * * * I am every day more charmed with my new house and home.
    I feel it a very desirable house to die in, that is to be ill
    in; a “pleasant cradle for reposing age;” and I do so love to
    look at my noble trees and my castle turrets rising above them;
    and when the leaves fall off, I shall still have the pleasure of
    seeing the green and grassy mound of the Castle. From one of my
    drawing room windows I see the woods and rising grounds of
    Thorpe. I neither hear nor see the cattle on market days, and I
    am quite happy in my choice, and deeply thankful that “the lines
    have fallen to me in pleasant places.” Indeed I have no
    _désagrémens_ at all, that I am conscious of, in my new abode.

In the month of October, Mrs. Opie made a short stay at Lowestoft; but
the fatigue brought on a return of her malady, and in one of her notes
she says:—

    I came from Lowestoft apparently well, but soon became ill, and
    was obliged to send for Dr. Hull, who was, at first, alarmed at
    my symptoms; but I was not, as he kept his fears to himself. My
    sufferings were great indeed, and I never was so conscious of
    his judgment, as while observing the truly efficacious manner in
    which he treated me. I rallied directly, and was able, with his
    leave, to go to Sir J. Boileau’s to stay two days and nights. I
    was charmed with M. Guizot, who was one of the guests; his
    manners are very simple, and he played at “_jeux de societé_”
    with us _young_ people, at night, and enjoyed it as much as we
    did! It is, indeed, a great favour to be permitted to enjoy life
    still, so much as I do, in company; but it is a far greater one
    to be able to enjoy equally my lonely hours. * * * How fearful
    is the state of things on the Continent, and who knows what the
    result will be? but I read the 46th psalm, and remember who
    reigneth, and I trust in Him, and am at peace.

At Michaelmas, of this year, Mrs. J. J. Gurney left Earlham Hall for the
Grove, and before she removed, Mrs. Opie went over to take a last look
at the place which was endeared to her by the recollections of so many
bygone years. During the two years longer that Mrs. Gurney remained in
England, Mrs. Opie had the comfort of her society, and it was with
sorrow that she bade her farewell when she departed for America, in the
summer of 1850.

A note, written shortly after this time, refers to the fearful crimes
which were committed during that autumn. She says:—

    I heard, at that _blessed_ City Mission meeting, which I
    attended the other evening, that our county is reckoned one of
    the worst for crime and ignorance. Now comes that murder, by
    wholesale, at Stanfield, and every week I read of two or three
    murders. Still, as Dean Swift sarcastically wrote,

            “And hell, to be sure, is at Paris or Rome,
            What a blessing for us, that it is not at home.”

    France and Ireland do not, I think, much suffer in comparison
    with us. Truly, we English improve rapidly in virtue!

Mrs. Opie, latterly, took a somewhat morbid view of the existing state
of things, supposing that instead of improving they became worse. She
read the daily papers, in which the same crime is repeatedly brought to
notice, week after week; and became possessed with the idea that murders
and horrors were multiplied in proportion to the publicity given them.
In the month of March she went to visit Miss Gurney, and returned from
Northrepps on the morning of the Lent assizes, when Rush’s trial came
on. She did not attend on that occasion, adhering to her constant
determination, never to be present in the Criminal Court in a capital
case. But in one of her notes she gives a lively picture of her feelings
while the trial was going on:—

    I know not what to do to-day except look at the castle and watch
    the crowds on the plain, and the people continually passing, few
    walking, but most running, as if too much excited to do
    otherwise. Rush is on his defence! * * I dread to hear the
    verdict, and yet I wish all was over. (The evening of the second
    day.)   On my castle turrets, to the west, the sun set
    gloriously this evening, converting it into a mass of red
    granite; and while I write the moon is shining into my room,
    “looking tranquillity.” But what is passing within those castle
    walls? A man, fierce as a tiger, is struggling for life at the
    awful bar of justice. * * * *

    What hundreds are passing to and fro; and what various sounds I
    hear! now children and boys laughing and shouting; then men,
    congregated under my windows, and talking: but always, within
    those walls, _I_ see that wretched man, writhing in mental
    agony, and against what, I fancy, he now _believes_ inevitable
    doom!

In the Summer Assize Mrs. Opie was in her usual place in court, and with
how much lively interest she watched the proceedings, is evident in the
following letter:—

                                Castle Meadow, 8th mo., 4th, 1849.

    Well C. L. how art thou? * * * * and so thou hast trodden where
    Robin Hood did! He was one of my heroes when I was young; and at
    sixteen, when driving through Sherwood Forest, I insisted on
    getting out, to walk through it, and tread where he and his
    merry men had trodden. Thy papa has been very kind to me; he
    gave me his arm, and saw me safe home, when I walked, two
    evenings together, from the Shirehall, where I, the poor,
    limping invalid, (no _appropriate_ name that,) was, from nine to
    six, on the sixth day, and from nine to nine the following day;
    that is, twelve hours on Saturday, and without refreshment of
    any kind save two gingerbread cakes; but I wanted nothing, so
    completely did mind conquer matter. It was _one_ cause only
    which lasted from twelve on Friday, to six that evening, and the
    next day from nine to nine; and so interesting it was to me, my
    attention never flagged a minute, and when I got home I was
    quite as able and bright as when I went into court. It was Lord
    W. Poulett’s action against our Railway Company for damage done
    to his property and his tenants’, by the fire emitted from the
    train. I never saw a clearer case proved. I had no bias either
    way; if I had any leaning it was to the Norwich persons, the
    defendants; but I felt sure the verdict was a just one. It was
    for the plaintiff. The fire may be kept in, but they must take
    more trouble and go to more expense; and I believe this action
    will save property if not _lives_. Byles spoke admirably, and
    the judge was excellent also. I assure thee this calling up of
    all my energies has done me great good. Except in my lameness, I
    am as well as ever I was in my life; and at the Palace, the
    other evening, (last Wednesday,) I walked across that room, and
    to my fly, hold of Arthur Stanley, and did not limp. I heard thy
    father’s voice last evening, but did not see him; for I was just
    getting into bed at nine o’clock: but the last time I saw him,
    he walked off, at half-past ten o’clock, from my house, with a
    pretty young lady hanging on either arm, to their hotel. I was
    at Paris when the sister of these ladies was married, and was
    present at the wedding, and a pleasant sight it was. The
    marriage took place at the ambassador’s chapel, and the bride
    and her husband were a sight to see, as they knelt before Bishop
    Luscombe, picturesque from his fine face and large sleeves!

    It is, to my feelings, so cold a day, that I am sitting by a
    large fire in my smaller drawing room * * * * There, my letter
    is longer than thine, and I have written four besides this, so
    hasten to conclude.

                            Thine faithfully and affectionately,
                                                          A. OPIE.

In August Mrs. Opie spent a week in Cambridgeshire, visiting some kind
friends at Melbourne-Bury, and returning home shortly before the
lamented death of Bishop Stanley. This was a grief which, (as she
herself expressed it,) cast a shadow over the remainder of her days, and
to which she could never refer without deep emotion. How many hearts
grieved when the solemn sound of the bell announced to the inhabitants
of the city this melancholy event! Every one felt that it told of a
general loss, and that a good and holy man had been taken from amongst
them. And when, in compliance with the wish of the honoured and beloved
prelate, his remains were brought to rest in that cathedral where his
voice had so often been heard, there was a mournful satisfaction in the
conviction that his heart had loved the people for whom he had laboured,
with an unfailing charity, and with a ceaseless zeal.

Several references are made in Mrs. Opie’s notes to this event. At the
time it happened she was surrounded by a large circle of her relatives,
and while they remained with her she said—“I was taken from myself; but
now regret is uppermost again. How I feel for the dear bereaved ones!”
Again she says:—

    (9th mo., 20th.)   * * I cannot reconcile myself to this great
    loss to me; and as yet can scarcely believe I am awake and not
    in a delirium. I can’t believe he can be gone for ever! he came
    to take leave of me, and I am recalling all his looks and words.
    I followed him to the top of the stairs; he said he was to be
    gone a month, and that he wanted _rest_—and I would not call
    him back if I could; he was weary, and is gone to his rest—the
    rest of the people of God.

In the course of this autumn Mrs. Opie paid several short visits to her
friends in the neighbourhood of Norwich; the last of which was to
Keswick Hall. On her return home she was attacked with a severe
inflammation of the right eye, which caused her much pain, and compelled
her to sit in a darkened room. During this confinement, (and indeed
during the latter period of her life,) she was much indebted to the kind
offices of her friend, Miss Brownson, who was indefatigable in reading
to her, and otherwise ministering to her comfort.

On the 6th of April, (1850,) Mrs. Opie went to Lowestoft to spend a few
days with her young relatives, the children of Mr. Briggs; and this
visit she spoke of with much satisfaction. On the 25th she proceeded to
Northrepps, where she remained until the 16th of May.

At the Midsummer assizes, Baron Alderson and Mr. Justice Patteson being
on the Norfolk circuit, Mrs. Opie went into court, accompanied by some
of her relatives; and, not being able to walk, (from her increased
lameness,) was carried in a sedan chair. It was her last visit to that
court in which for so many years she had been present! She did not
neglect on this occasion to make her usual offering of a bouquet to the
judge.

In September she attended the Annual Meeting of the Bible Society in St.
Andrew’s Hall; and in November she was present at the meeting of the
City Mission. These meetings cheered her spirit, and she “closed another
year very happily.”

In 1851, after a visit at Keswick, Mrs. Opie, on the 7th of May,
travelled to London, and took up her residence with her friends in
Russell Square. During her stay she attended several meetings at
Devonshire House and Westminster Meeting, and paid numerous visits to
her friends and acquaintances. She felt that it was her _last_ visit,
and seemed desirous to take a farewell look at all her old haunts; she
would go to the various shops she had been wont to frequent, and at
every turn was met by some one who recognised and welcomed her. (At
Swann and Edgar’s she saw the Duchess of Orléans.)

Her visit to the Great Exhibition was quite a delight to her. She was
among the few privileged persons who, from age or infirmity, requiring
chairs, were admitted an hour before the usual time. She saw there many
whom she knew; among others, her very old acquaintance, Miss Berry, also
in a wheelchair. Mrs. Opie’s carriage attracted the notice of her
friends, by its superiority. The wheels had a coating of Indian-rubber,
and sprang forward at a touch. At length Miss B. exclaimed, “where did
you get that chair Mrs. Opie? I quite envy it;” on which Mrs. O.
playfully proposed a chair race! After the public were admitted, she
remained sitting in the Transept an hour, enjoying the sight of the many
hundreds who rushed in; among whom were several of the Society of
Friends, and others known to her, who gathered around her chair and
cordially greeted her.

Mrs. Opie left Russell Square on the 19th June for Ham House, (Mr. S.
Gurney’s,) where she staid two days. Her homeward journey was rendered
uncomfortable by some derangement of the railway engine; so that they
were twice stopped on the road, and had to change carriages. On arriving
safely at home, she expressed her gratitude for journeying mercies; and
added, “these alarms have been warnings to me, that in my infirm state I
must not venture on the line again. So, railway, farewell!”

In the course of the autumn Mrs. Opie paid short visits to her friends
in the neighbourhood of Norwich, (at Berghapton, Ketteringham, Brooke,
and Keswick,) and, though almost constantly in pain, was bright and
cheerful. The death of Lady Charleville, which happened about this time,
much affected her; this event was probably hastened by a severe domestic
calamity, which occurred early in the same year, on which occasion Mrs.
Opie wrote:—

    My dear old friend of forty-one years, Lady C., has lost her son
    by her first husband, and she has written me a _touching_ note
    indeed, and as well composed as in her young days, pious too,
    and satisfactory; and the day after this beloved son’s death,
    was that of her 89th birthday! She is a wonder, and yet, as her
    amiable daughter wrote to me, “there she is, still well and
    intellectual, and even capable of business!”

She said on one of these occasions, “it is a heavy trial to be called on
to survive so many dear ones, some younger than myself; it has been my
fate to do so, and seems likely to continue to be so; but still I think
and feel, that He doeth all things well, and I hope to be always able to
say with the Patriarch, ‘though He slay me yet will I trust in Him.’”

Mrs. Opie attended (for the last time) the Annual Meeting of the Bible
Society, in St. Andrew’s Hall, in the month of September, and says:—

    I had been nursing for it two days, and was so glad to be able
    to go. I did so enjoy it, in spite of certain reminiscences of
    auld lang syne! The Bishop’s speech was charming and judicious,
    and to me, so affecting, that it brought me to tears. He paid a
    just and touching tribute to the memory of Andrew Brandram. Last
    year he (A. B.) came to me, while I waited for my chair, and I
    congratulated him on his good looks: he looked ten years younger
    than when I saw him last: and there was I, yesterday, years
    older than himself, sitting there, in health, (though not with
    my once active limbs,) and _he_ was in his grave!

In November her last visit to Northrepps Cottage was paid. On the 2nd of
January following, (1852,) she was attacked with rheumatic gout in her
feet, which confined her to her bed two months, and never afterwards
entirely left her.

The following note to Miss Gurney, written shortly after this time,
shows her happy resignation and cheerful spirit amid increasing
infirmities.

                                Castle Meadow, 3rd mo., 5th, 1852.
      MY DEAREST A.,

    I was very sorry not to be able to see R. yesterday; but I was
    denied to every one while Mrs. F. Kemble was with me, as I had
    much to say to her. The cold of this day has kept me in bed, and
    one of my feet has been very painful. I much enjoyed F. K.’s
    conversation. She is gone to-day on her way to London. How many
    things I want to say to thee, but can’t say them! but I am very
    thankful for what I _can_ do, and I do not repine at what I
    can’t do; and life flies only too fast. I do not see, at
    present, any chance for my speedy recovery; but life has still
    its charms. I am so glad to have an excuse for lying in bed all
    day: it is so troublesome to move from bed to chair, and thence
    to sofa.

                              Thine ever, most affectionately,
                                                          A. OPIE.

A few passages from her notes will be read with pleasure.

    (4th mo. 18th.)   My prisms are, to-day, quite in their glory.
    The atmosphere must be very clear, for the radiance is brighter
    than ever I saw it before. Surely the mansions in heaven must be
    draped with such unparalleled colours! (5th mo. 4th.)   Oh!
    Captain Gardener and his crew! how I have cried over their
    death; and yet how enviable was the state of their minds; how
    meek and entire their resignation how blessed their entrance
    into the Redeemer’s kingdom, and their awaiting welcome there! I
    have read it through three times, as though fascinated.—Poor
    John Dalrymple, cut off when he had _attained_ the height of his
    profession! (5th mo. 18th.)   No one surely ever had so many
    kind friends as I have! I can truly say that I have every
    alleviation of my suffering that I can have, and have every
    comfort that I desire, and I do not want any nursing but what I
    have. Mine has been a lonely lot through life; but I have never
    felt it painfully so; and I believe the happiest persons are
    those who have the fewest wants. The great I AM, is more
    even-handed than we think Him.

In the month of September, Mrs. Opie made her last visit to Cromer. She
remained there for a fortnight, and had two rooms on a ground floor of
the house in which she lodged, where she could lie in bed, and watch the
billows as they rolled. Numerous friends flocked around her; amongst
them her very old and valued ones, Mrs. and Miss Hoare, whose daily
visits cheered her; and many were the little kindnesses she received,
which, small in themselves, were yet valued as tokens of love; and they
were mentioned with grateful remembrance. On reaching home she was
carried upstairs in her basket-chair, never to go down again!

Shortly after her return she wrote to Miss Gurney,

                                              9th mo., 26th, 1852.
      DEAREST ANNA,

    I had a pleasant journey home, arriving safely at my own door;
    but not quite so pleasant an one as I went upstairs. * * It
    grieves my heart to think that I am not any nearer at present
    than I was to get to the Bible Meeting, and my _Quarterly_
    Meeting! but I find I am not up to the exertions necessary. It
    is heart-breaking to me, almost, to miss a Bible Meeting; this
    is the _first_ I ever omitted, and I did not with any certainty
    look forward to another; I can truly say that I give it up most
    unwillingly, but “His will be done!”

    I am come home with a cold, but nothing to make me regret one
    hour spent at Cromer; so many dear friends to see, some new ones
    to welcome, and more enamoured of Cromer than ever. Farewell! I
    must lie down and hope to sleep.

                                        Thy ever affectionate,
                                                          A. OPIE.

Three months later she wrote:—

    I shall probably never be able to go out again; and the idea of
    being confined to my bed is anything but disagreeable, what a
    mercy this is! but thankfully as well as reverently, I can
    repeat, “His mercies are new every morning.” I must, however,
    own, that being unable to go to meeting is a continually
    recurring trial; but I hope by spring, if I live so long, I may
    have contrived a way to get there again. All I ask is to be made
    more and more resigned to the Divine will, whatever it may be.

In January, 1853, her long-loved and honoured friend, Lucy Aggs, died;
she writes of this event in one of her notes:—

    (1st mo. 23rd, 1853.)   She is indeed _gone home_; this morning
    she slept her last, like a wearied child; how sudden her
    removal! This day month she was with me, and at meeting twice!
    how trying to me and to others is this event; but how blest to
    her. I am grieved more than I can express; and am almost selfish
    enough to forget that our great loss is her abundant gain.

During the course of the summer many of Mrs. Opie’s relatives visited
her; their presence seemed greatly to cheer and comfort her; and she
frequently spoke of the pleasure it gave her to see them all; on one
occasion particularly, she remarked, “I know not how it is, but my
cousins and friends seem as though they felt their leave-taking were the
last. My cousin R. W. came back twice to shake hands with me. Would that
the Baron had been with them!”

The strong feeling of family attachment which characterized Mrs. Opie
through life, was retained to the last. She evinced the deepest sympathy
with her beloved cousin, Lady Milman, whom she knew to be dying, (and
who, in fact, survived her but a very short time,) constantly inquiring
for her, and suggesting anything which occurred to her mind as likely to
contribute to her comfort, expressing her joy that the confidence of
this dear relative was like her own, placed in the blessed promises of
the gospel, and thus secure for eternity.

We add a few closing passages from her notes.

    (5th mo. 30th.)   Again I am forced to feel the pain of not
    being able to go to Yearly Meeting, a great loss to me; and I
    have lost an opportunity of seeing H. B. Stowe; but I heartily
    rejoice in the reception she has met with: well has it been
    deserved, in my opinion; and well has she performed the work
    delegated to her from above. I am very glad dear H. Birkbeck has
    a son; and very glad also, that dear L. B. will soon be home;
    for I had feared I should not live to see her again. I rejoice,
    too, to hear such good accounts of the dear Cunninghams.

Another note, dated 7th mo. 18th, records the visit of her cousin, Mrs.
Vincent Thompson, with warm affection, and expresses the happiness she
had experienced in her society, concluding, “I am indeed delighted to
have seen her once more.” Shortly after this time she mentions the
expected departure to America of the lamented William Forster; he had
been her friend and counsellor; one to whom she looked for help and
support; and from whose lips she had drunk in truth and wisdom. It did
indeed cost her heart a severe pang to part from him; and the more so,
as she felt she “should see his face no more.” She writes:—

    (7th mo. 28th.)   How very much I feel the return of this
    season, this year. The dead have been more present with me than
    the living; but that is very natural. I am writing in bed, the
    place I love best. Alas! to the house of the Lord I _cannot_ go,
    and that is an evil. Dearest W. Forster! going away, not to
    return again, I fear, till I am no more; but I shall not own
    that to him.[46]

On the 21st of October Mrs. Opie appeared much as usual; during that
morning she received several friends, and was highly interested by a
visit from Lieutenant Cresswell, who had recently returned to England
with dispatches from the Investigator, to tell of the discovery of the
north-west passage, though not, alas! of the finding of Sir John
Franklin. His communications excited her lively sympathy; and, as the
grandson of Mrs. Fry, his presence alone awakened the slumbering
remembrances of the past.

The following day she was evidently somewhat fatigued, but was able to
write several notes. In one, addressed to Miss Gurney, after expressing
her joy at hearing a good account of her dear friend Mrs. Hoare, she
mentions the pleasure she had enjoyed in seeing Mrs. Cunningham and Mr.
John Gurney, who had dined at her house, and attended the Bible Meeting;
she says:—

    I could not accompany them, nor can I perhaps expect to go out
    again. Well! all good and all _evil_ here will soon be over with
    me now. I am abundantly thankful for everything; for I feel that
    “His mercies are new every morning.” How I wish thou and dear
    Lady Buxton could have been my guests yesterday. It was really a
    very enjoyable time, and the only drawback was my being unable
    to go to the meetings, and to dine below stairs.

The next day was Sunday; early in the morning she was taken ill; and her
maid, S. Nixon, observing symptoms unusual with her mistress, sent
immediately for Dr. Hull, who desired she might be kept perfectly quiet.

The writer of these memoirs had been in the habit, since Mrs. Opie’s
confinement to the house, of spending an hour with her, on Sunday
morning. On that day there was not the usual influx of visitors, and she
seemed to enjoy having a quiet chat. The usual call was made that
morning, but the mandate of the doctor was communicated, and, of course,
obeyed. It was with a strange feeling of alarm, that turning away from
the door-step, the writer began to think over the past few months. Yes,
there had certainly been some tokens of enfeebled powers—a partial
failure of memory—an occasional loss in the thread of her conversation;
and at times an inability to express clearly her meaning. For the last
few weeks the newspapers had been neglected; and, once or twice, an
ominous sentence had been dropped, that startled her friends. “When I am
gone.”—“I feel I shall not be here long.” To her faithful friend of
many years’ standing, the Rev. H. Tacy, she had said, shortly before,
“Do not be long before you come again; for I am on the wing!”—But, her
aunt had lived more than ninety years, and Mrs. Opie was so cheerful and
bright, her carriage so erect, and she looked so much as she had long
done, that, after all, these occasional symptoms were probably merely
the inevitable results of advancing age, and her foreboding expressions
the effects of confinement and seclusion!

So whispered Hope; and the writer, for one, did not realize the idea
that the end was at hand. On the evening of that Sunday, a message from
Dr. Hull was sent to her friend and professional adviser, Thos.
Brightwell. Mrs. Opie was very ill—might not, perhaps, survive many
hours; and, as she had desired, in case of any sudden attack of illness,
that “Thomas Brightwell and Mary Brown” should be sent for, he had felt
it his duty to inform them of her condition.

In a few hours, however, the alarming symptoms subsided, and the gout
appeared externally, and fixed itself in the right heel.

Mrs. Opie survived nearly six weeks from that day, being unable to leave
her bed, and suffering greatly. At first, there was much of her usual
cheerfulness and buoyancy of spirit about her; and she evidently
entertained no apprehension of the fatal nature of the attack. She took
an interest in the events occurring around her, and frequently made
inquiries and remarks that shewed her sympathies were lively, and her
recollection unimpaired. Her constant patience and endurance under
suffering, were truly exemplary. To one friend who asked her, after she
had been talking with great vivacity, whether she suffered much pain;
she replied, “Oh! yes, I am scarcely ever free from it, and it is often
severe; but I am so used to pain, I have learned not to mind it;” and,
on another occasion, when her sufferings were spoken of, she said, she
thought “more of her mercies than of her trials.” During the last three
or four weeks of her life, she became greatly worse; her weakness
increased; she took little nourishment, and suffered much distressing
pain in the hip and in the heel. Throughout this trying season, her
kind, gentle, and watchful friend, Mary Brown, remained in constant and
unwearying attendance beside her, ministering to her wants, and
answering the numerous inquiries, personal, and epistolary, of her
friends. Having, like herself, joined the Society of Friends, she was
the more able to sympathize with her feelings; and to _her_ it was, that
she expressed her constant adherence to the religious tenets of Friends,
and the satisfaction she experienced in looking back upon the time when
she joined their communion.

The frequent presence and devoted attention of her cousin, the Rev. R.
Alderson, was another great comfort to Mrs. Opie; happily, he was able
to give much of his time to her; and she missed him if he left her, and
anxiously inquired when he would return. It was doubtless, a great
satisfaction to him to render these last and important services to his
honoured relative.

Mrs. Opie had expressed, on more than one occasion, the hope that her
friend William Forster, would be with her during her last hours. But
this wish was not granted her. His sisters, who were then in Norfolk,
assiduously visited her, as did also Mrs. Birkbeck; and John Shewell, a
Minister of the Society, paid her a religious visit, shortly after the
commencement of her illness, and was enabled to speak to her comfort and
satisfaction; and her kind and highly esteemed friend, the Rev. J.
Alexander, saw her, and his spiritual aid was “refreshing” to her. But,
soothing as are the offices of friendship, and precious the prayers of
the righteous under such circumstances, how unavailing is all human
ministry when heart and flesh are failing! _Then_ the soul realizes her
independence, and the inefficiency of earthly help, and feels with whom
she has to do; and knows that for herself, and alone, she must stand in
the presence of the Holy One. And so it was, in this instance. Alone, in
the night season, her voice was heard in supplication, pouring out the
desires of her soul to her Redeemer. The pathetic utterances of
resignation, amid pain and anguish, were heard, by those who watched
beside her couch; “what am I (she said, thinking aloud) that I should
expect to escape suffering? this, also, is meant for my good.” Often
too, she was heard repeating to herself texts of Scripture, and hymns;
and on more than one occasion, she called for her Bible, and for
Wesley’s Hymn Book, (her much used copy of which is full of her marks,
and turned down at her favourite hymns,) and, sitting up in her bed,
read aloud to her maids, as it had been her constant habit to do.

Mrs. Opie often spoke of the kindness of her friends, and evinced the
most tender interest in them; weeping as she mentioned the proofs of
their affectionate remembrance, and sending touching messages in reply
to their inquiries. “Tell them (she said) I have suffered great pain;
but I think on Him who suffered for me.”—“Say that I am trusting in my
Saviour, and ask them to pray for me.” And when told by one of those who
visited her, that many prayers were offered for her, she said (and a
tear glistened in her eye) “it were worth while to be ill, to have the
prayers of our friends.”

Latterly there was a striking change in her personal appearance. So
completely was her countenance altered, that it would have been
impossible for any one, even of those who knew her best, to recognize
her. The only vestige remaining of her former looks, was a peculiar
uplifting of the eye, accompanied by a slight shake of the head. Her
articulation also became so imperfect, that it was very difficult to
distinguish what she said; and for very weakness, her head lay, bent
sideways, apparently powerless, on the cushion.

Her debility prevented her seeing more than two or three most intimate
friends; and one of the last visitors she received, and the sight of
whom evidently afforded her the most heartfelt satisfaction, was the
friend of her early days, Mrs. Gurney, of Keswick; who, herself an
invalid, made a considerable effort to reach her bedside and bid her
farewell. “How much she loved me!” was her whispered expression, when
she afterwards mentioned this interview. Shortly before her death, the
Rev. H. Tacy called to see her, not knowing of her illness; and little
thinking that the words she had spoken when they last parted, were so
soon to be fulfilled. His visit, painful as it was, was opportune, and
appeared to comfort her much. On another day, she desired that parts of
the Litany and the other prayers should be read to her, which was done;
Mrs. Opie, with clasped hands, repeating all the responses.

Her debility now visibly and rapidly increased. She refused almost all
nourishment, and seemed to crave no other refreshment than “cold water,”
for which she frequently called. It was evident that her end was
approaching.

On the last Sunday of Mrs. Opie’s life, (the 27th November,) the writer
of these lines accompanied her father to pay a farewell visit to the
bedside of their dying friend. She lay propped up on pillows and
cushions, extremely feeble, but perfectly clear in her intellect, calm,
and composed. She had become conscious of her danger, and anticipated
her approaching departure. This she intimated by saying “the last few
days I have been preparing to go.”[47] In reply to the inquiry, what she
meant to convey by these words, she said, “why, to die, child, to be
sure!” “You have long been prepared to die, we hope.” “I hope so
indeed,” she replied, “there is only _one_ way.”

There she lay! helpless, dying, alone. Could all those whom she had
loved and served been permitted to gather around her couch, what a cloud
of witnesses, circle within circle, had thronged that small chamber with
looks of tender sympathy! Impelled by some such thought, the writer bent
over her and said, “it is a great thing to be loved as you are loved.
How many ask anxiously for tidings of you.” She raised her eyes to those
of the speaker, and seemed as though awaiting confirmation of the
assurance, and looked satisfied on receiving it. She responded too, with
evident earnestness of feeling, to the expression of the hope that she
was soon about to rejoin those dear ones whom she had loved so well, and
who were gone before.

From time to time she uttered a few broken words; and once, with a
piteous look, said, “I am very thirsty; but her weakness was too great
to allow of more than an occasional sentence. It was truly distressing
to gaze upon her entirely changed countenance, and exhausted frame, and
to feel the sad conviction that one was looking on her for the last
time!

At the former part of her illness, Mrs. Opie’s natural warmth of
affection, and lively interest in those whom she loved, seemed to induce
her still to cling to life; and while she said that on looking back and
contemplating the past, the time seemed long in the review, yet she
intimated it would be sweet to live a little longer, if permitted to do
so, “were it not still better to depart.” But, as the end approached,
there appeared to be a gradual giving up her hold on the present life,
and the few words she uttered shewed that her thoughts were on heavenly
things.

On the night of the 30th she said to her cousin “all is peace;” and
afterwards, when Mr. S. Gurney was present, she gave it as her dying
testimony “all is mercy.”

During the last five days of her life her sufferings were protracted and
severe. Hers were “the groans and pains and dying strife” of a mortal
conflict. But her faith and patience failed not; and at length the Angel
messenger came, and she was released!

At midnight, on Friday the 2nd of December, 1853, Amelia Opie breathed
her last.

-----

[46] He died soon after in Tennessee, while on a mission on behalf of
the slave.

[47] The preparation to which she referred had reference to some small
directions she had dictated to her maid a few evenings before, to be
communicated to her executor; at the close of which she said, “I should
have liked to give little remembrances to all my friends, and have taken
leave of them, but I have done the best I can.”



                              CONCLUSION.


“Death is something so strange, that, notwithstanding all experience,
one thinks it impossible for it to seize a beloved object; it always
presents itself as an incredible and unexpected event; and this
transition, from an existence we know, to one of which we know nothing,
is something so violent that it cannot take place without the greatest
shock to survivors.”

Who has not experienced, to some extent, the feelings thus expressed by
Goethe? The immediate results of death, no less than the actual event,
excite the most perplexing and distressing ideas. All is unwonted and
unnatural. One’s thoughts are compelled to take a new and strange turn.
They are occupied henceforth, about that which _was_, and is not; it is
the “history of a life,” not a living, sentient, beloved being, that
occupies them now. Fancy, having tried in vain to “paint the moment
after death,” gives place to Memory and Love, which busily go o’er the
past, and trace, again and again, each step.

One glance at the forsaken “tabernacle,” lately the dwelling-place of
that soul beloved, renews the sad conviction, that what you once had,
you have no more, and ne’er can have again. Then, after a time, the
sarcophagus—the chest, that shuts in and confines what loved to be
free, and _would_ not be held in durance;—it is all unnatural! the
result of some infringement of the original intent.

So felt the writer when next she entered the house on the Castle Meadow;
now no longer Mrs. Opie’s house; for she lay dead therein. Yes! she lay
dead; placed in her coffin, in the lower chamber, beneath the one in
which she had breathed her last; surrounded by the portraits of her
friends, which, hanging upon the walls of the room, used so often to
attract her notice, and win from her some expression of remembrance and
regard. Men of all views, political and religious, were there; all
known, and having earned a niche there, by some superiority of natural
or acquired excellences. There Lafayette, Cooper, David, Madame de
Staël, and others, of her foreign friends, hung side by side. There J.
J. Gurney and his brother, Elizabeth Fry and Lucy Aggs, and close by
them the Bishops of Norwich and Durham, and Professors Sedgwick and
Whewell; there the poets and statesmen, whose genius had charmed her;
and last, though not the least, Mrs. Siddons, in her glory, as Queen
Catherine.

It was an affecting and instructive sight to look upon—very sad; and
yet, after a time, reason and faith suggested soothing and happy
reflections. She, who lay there, had died in a good old age, full of
years and honour; had finished her earthly course in peace, and now, the
end was known, and all was “well.” She had died in the faith and hope of
the gospel; her feet had not fallen, for God had held up her goings; and
her spirit, though no longer permitted to sojourn among the living, had
joined the “great crowd of witnesses,” which is ever multiplying its
hosts, and securely awaiting its ultimate completion and triumph.

The 9th of December was the day appointed for the funeral of Mrs. Opie;
she was interred in the Friends’ burying ground, at the Gildencroft; in
the same grave with her father. About two hundred persons, assembled in
solemn silence, stood there to meditate: one voice alone was heard; that
of a venerable Friend, who uttered a few simple scriptural words. It
seemed strange to miss from among the sorrowing group around, so many
who had loved and honoured her. But the eye had only to glance over that
green enclosure, and one was reminded that they lay _there_, beside and
around her. Rich, indeed, is that small plot of ground. The good, the
honoured, the lovely, and beloved, lie there;—some of the best of men
and saints, whose prayers drew blessings down from heaven,—awaiting the
day when “the secrets of all hearts shall be made known.” It is a
hallowed spot; consecrated to holy memories.

Should any wanderer, at some future day, desire to visit the grave of
Amelia Opie, he will find, at the extreme left side of the ground,
beneath an elm tree that overshadows the wall, a small slab, bearing the
names of James Alderson and Amelia Opie, with the dates of their births
and deaths.

Among those present on this occasion, was one, long and well-known to
Mrs. Opie, and of whom she has spoken in terms of warm praise, in one of
her notes; Mr. Hodgkin, a minister of the Friends, who, addressing those
around, invited them to accompany him to the Meeting House; where, after
a short time spent in silence and in prayer, he rose, and spoke, in
words very pleasant and judicious, of the dear departed friend, whom
they had lost. He had known her, he said, from his own earlier days, and
when she was very different from what she afterwards became. He believed
that the ruling principle in her mind, and that which, being implanted
there by Divine grace, had remained the dominant one in her soul, was
the love of Christ; constrained by the sweet influence of which, she had
been enabled to maintain much consistent Christian deportment, amid
snares and temptations of peculiar fascination for one, endowed by
nature, and trained by early habit, as she had been.

Much more he added, of a nature to impress his hearers with a deep sense
of thankfulness for the Divine goodness, and to urge them to pursue,
with humble and pious zeal, the path of Christian devotedness and
obedience.

It may seem natural and desirable that a few words should be said
touching the personal appearance of the subject of these memoirs, during
the latter period of her life.—How difficult, and indeed _impossible_
it is, to satisfy yourself, when attempting to portray the form and
features of those you know most intimately, and have been constantly in
the habit of seeing! This you feel in trying to describe the members of
your own family; in the mind’s eye their image lives, ’tis true; but it
is rather as a _consciousness_; something, as it were, that is
interwoven with the secret and hidden ideas of your soul. In a degree,
this is the case with all those most familiar to you; and perhaps the
reason is, that the whole idea of their personality has been formed by
degrees—shade after shade, as the events of passing years have left
their impress upon them.

Be that as it may; the difficulty is known, and will be acknowledged.
Yet, for the sake of strangers, rather than to assist the recollections
of the friends of Mrs. Opie, the following slight sketch may be
permitted.

She was of about the standard height of woman; her hair was worn in
waving folds in front, and behind, it was seen through the cap, gathered
into a braid; its colour was peculiar—’twixt flaxen and gray; it was
unusually fine and delicate, and had a natural bend or wave.  Her Quaker
cap was of beautiful lawn, and fastened beneath the chin with whimpers,
which had small crimped frills: her dress was usually of rich silk or
satin, often of a fawn or grey colour; and over the bust was drawn a
muslin or net handkerchief, in thick folds, fastening into the waist,
round which was worn a band of the same material as the dress; an apron,
usually of net or muslin, protected (or _adorned_) the front of the
gown. Her feet, which were small and well formed, peeped out beneath the
dress. On her hands she wore small, black, netted muffatees, (she
sometimes repaired them while talking to her friends,) and the cuffs of
her gown were secured by a small loop at one corner, which she wore
passed over the thumb, so as to prevent them from turning back or
rucking upon the arm; her figure was stout, the throat short; her
carriage was invariably erect, and she bore her head rather thrown back,
and with an air of dignity. Her countenance, in her later years, lost
much of that fire which once irradiated it; but the expression was more
pleasing; softer, more tender, and loving. Her eyes were especially
charming; there was in them an ardour mingled with gentleness, that
bespoke her true nature, and occasionally they were raised upwards with
a look most peculiar and expressive, when her sympathy was more than
usually excited. Her complexion was fair, and the kindling blush mantled
in her cheek, betraying any passing emotion; for, like her friend
Lafayette, she “blushed like a girl to hear her own praises.” Altogether
she attracted you, and you drew near to her, and liked to look into her
face, and felt that old age, in her, was beautiful and comely.

Often, very often, has the writer, while listening to her lively
anecdotes, and watching her animated countenance, drawn her chair closer
and yet closer, and at length, slipping down, rested on one knee, in
order the better to see her; and after bidding her farewell again and
again, returned to the same position and “staid a little longer.”

How lively were her narratives; and with what minute touches she gave
the details of the scene she was describing. What spirit and life did
she breathe into the portraits of those whom she admired! Certainly her
conversation was superior to her writing; perhaps the charms of manner
and voice aided to enhance the effect of her words.

The peculiar virtues and excellencies of Mrs. Opie’s character have been
manifested (as it were unconsciously) in the notes and diaries given in
these pages; and it would be unbecoming, and is unnecessary, for the
writer to enumerate them. Her foibles, too, are shewn by her own hand;
and happy they who have so few; happier still, they, who exercise the
same watchfulness against their easily besetting faults. In one of her
earlier notes, she says, “My practice every night is to examine all my
actions, and sift all my motives during the day, for all that I have
said or done. I make sad discoveries, by that means, of my own
sinfulness; but I am truly thankful that this power has been given me,
and lay my head on my pillow with much gratitude.”

Seneca accounted the remembrance of his departed friends amongst his
solemn delights; not looking upon them as lost, for, he said, “the
thought of them is sweet and soothing to me; while I had them I expected
to lose them; and having lost them, I still feel that I have them;” and
if it were so with the pious heathen, with how much more confidence may
the Christian cherish delightful thoughts of the friends he has lost;
and, indeed, it is the will of God, and part of the favour which He has
promised to His servants, that “the memory of the just shall be
blessed.”

To many the remembrance of Amelia Opie will long be dear. Would that
these memorials of her life, (imperfect alas! and unsatisfactory as they
are,) might be the means of animating some by her example, to pursue the
things “which are true and lovely and of good report.”

                                THE END.
               FLETCHER AND ALEXANDER, PRINTERS, NORWICH.



[Illustration]

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    of London society, and found a welcome, through her own natural
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    remonstrance from her friend Joseph John Gurney, was everywhere
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