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Title: Memoirs of Eighty Years
Author: Hake, Thomas Gordon
Language: English
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   “Could we elude the fiat,—all must die,—
   Men would become their own posterity.”


Richard Bentley and Son,
Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.

(All rights reserved.)




    My birth and parentage—My education, beginning eighty-four
    years ago, still incomplete—Death of my father                   1


    Obscure origin of Hakes and Gordons                              3


    My sister and my brother—Mischief, a sign of health in
    children—Friendship, a graft that can only be made while we are
    growing                                                          6


    My aunt Wallinger—My vivid memory—Our relations in Yorkshire,
    the Rimington family—My mother’s uncles, the Clarkes             8


    The Clarkes and the Pollocks—William Clarke a governor of St.
    Paul’s and of Christ’s Church Schools—He gave Sir Frederick
    Pollock a presentation to the one and me to the other. My first
    school-days at Hertford, and how after measles and scarlet
    fever I was sent home in order to die                           11


    My rapid recovery and return to mischief after my illness,
    and the brutal treatment I received from the boys while I was
    falling sick                                                    15


    From school to Seaford for the holidays, spent by me and my
    cousin, a Shore, with the Wallingers—The rotten borough, its
    owners and surroundings—My aunt Shore, a sister of my mother,
    and the Shore family—Mrs. Wallinger’s despotic kindness to her
    nephews—Our Denton cousins, the Gwynnes—The Reverend William
    Gwynne and his lady, also my mother’s sister                    17


    The Gwynne family—Character of Mrs. Gwynne, and of her
    husband—The training of their offspring                         21


    My monastic life in London—The cloisters, the dormitories, the
    playground—The influence of their history on the boyish mind—I
    am ordered to fight                                             24


    Influence of Shakespeare and Virgil over me—“Cozing” after
    bed-time; story-telling; the reading of forbidden books; the
    novels of the past; the new novel now worn out—The great
    epochs, all of a transitory duration, except that of religion   27


    The classical masters—The dress of the clergy—The writing
    masters—The lower officials—steward, beadles—No teaching except
    Greek, Latin, writing and arithmetic. Religion not taught, only
    heard                                                           30


    On bishop, priests, and deacons                                 34


    Henry William Gordon, my uncle, mixes his blood with that of
    Enderby, whence sprang a giant of middle stature, Chinese
    Gordon                                                          36


    My last holiday spent in the mediæval city of Exeter—The
    dead weight of the clergy relieved by Yates acting
    Falstaff—Professor Shelden and his mummy—Squire Northmore and
    his great discovery—Gifford and his Mastership of the Rolls     39


    Lifelong friendships, their physiology—The king’s
    ward—Games—Handsome boys, and others                            43


    Boys of some mark—Christ’s unrevisited—Life at
    Woolwich—Drawing-room manners—Colonel Wylde—Soldiers the best
    servants                                                        47


    Seaford revisited—The Wallinger family—A domestic seaside
    season of relatives and friends not unknown to fortune          50


    Vaulting ambition, a retrospect—Gravitation of my mother
    from west to south—She settled at Lewes—My intellect, dieted
    on its sense of nothingness, takes growth—The process of
    brain-culture, and its accessories                              53


    Youth—Our first recognition of Nature as something more than
    ourselves—My modesty always in proportion to my ignorance—My
    early habit of pumping those who knew more than myself—A
    country town, a cemetery in which great men are buried
    alive—Gideon Mantell, prince of geologists—Sir John Shelley
    and Sir George Shiffner, the last of the pigtail wearers—They
    represent Lewes in those Tory times                             56


    A county town has many mansions, in which the small succeed
    to the great—Mantell, surgeon-apothecary: his struggles—Lord
    Egremont’s bounty—He removes to Brighton, sells his museum,
    vanishes again—The liberality of Government to art, but not to
    science—Minor celebrities of Lewes                              59


    I become a student of medicine under Thomas Hodson, a great
    operator—The superior skill of the surgeon, who knows exactly
    what he is about—Hodson’s strange character—His pre-eminence
    in county practice—Glynde, Lord Hampden, John Ellman, and
    south-down mutton                                               62


    John Ellman, a sketch—The south-down sheep not extinct—Lord
    Hampden’s funeral—Southover—The three weird sisters—My studies
    continued in London at St. George’s—Dr. Thomas Young, the
    greatest of theorists                                           65


    The order of physicians—Halford, Warren, Chambers—The heavy
    costs of getting to the front of the profession—The difference
    between the old and new physicians, how brought about—Dr.
    James Clark made master of the situation—I become a pupil of
    Faraday, the eminent lecturer of the day—Family deaths and
    changes—St. George’s Hospital in the olden time                 68


    In due course I proceeded to Edinburgh to visit the Scotch
    Universities—I made the acquaintance, on board the steamer,
    of a “young fellow”—Dr. Greville, the botanist: his great
    work on the _Cryptogamia_—Dr. Robert Knox, whose calling
    and whose hobby were one—His enthusiasm and geological
    foresight—Physic is seldom a hobby—Aberdeen and Principal
    Jack—St. Andrew’s—Glasgow College and its professors            72


    The Glasgow theatre and Edmund Kean—A tour to the lochs and
    bens with my brother—Wrote poetry, sent it to Sir Walter Scott
    on the chance of his being an Edmund Burke—Poetry and its
    patrons in the past—What a poet is for: _nascitur, non fit_     75


    Breadalbane Castle—Hospitality in the shepherd’s cot—We
    traverse Loch Long, we become footpads—My brother returns
    southwards, I remain at Glasgow to pursue my studies—I graduate
    there—Impressions of Scotch character                           79


    A retrospect through a long avenue of time to when studies
    were no longer compulsory—A sixty years’ view—Taking stock
    of my knowledge—I feel the want of foreign languages—I
    return to London, and my next important step is to visit
    Italy—Calais—Paris—Colonel de Courcy—Geneva—The Simplon—Milan


    Styles and stylists—Why no author has described a perfect
    gentleman or a perfect lady—The temporary gentleman—Ladies
    in high office not to flirt, ugliness essential to their
    success—Women mistresses of the nervous style of writing—The
    muscular style best suited to men—The scientific style a good
    model                                                           85


    Nature is the only true stylist; I take my first lesson
    of her on the summit of the Alps—The English then in
    Florence—Landor—Trelawny—Colonel Burdett—Bankhead               90


    William IV. and Queen Adelaide—Sir William Martens—The
    Marchioness of Waterford—Sir Herbert Taylor—Sir Andrew
    Buchanan; anecdote of the Court                                 95


    Brighton; a string of anecdotes                                 96


    The Earl of Elgin my friend—His marbles—He was a great
    and patient sufferer from _tic douleureux_—Hahnneman and
    homœopathy—The earl’s amiable family—Mr. Bruce, the ambassador
    at Pekin—Lady Elgin and the ladies Charlotte and Augusta
    Bruce—The earl’s first family—The next Earl of Elgin—My drama,
    called the “Piromides”                                          99


    A tirade on friendships—Sir David Scott at Brighton—His
    interview with George IV.—A passage of snuffs                  101


    The Countess de Montalembert; her versatility—Strange effect
    on the understanding when those who were in full vigour on our
    last seeing them, grow feeble and die—The Rev. H. M. Wagner—His
    labours—Horace Smith—Dr. George Hall—The Smith family—Evening
    receptions of Lady Carhampton and of the Hon. Mrs. Mostyn, a
    daughter of Thrale                                             106


    The human race not purposed to be very intellectual—The
    clergy interpolate Nature with dogma—Count Pepoli, professor
    of Italian at University College—His opera of “I Puritani,”
    written for Bellini—He was robbed and exiled by Pius IX., who
    did not set the Tiber on fire, hard as he tried to astonish
    feeble minds—Sir Matthew Tierney—Dr. Bankhead and the other
    king’s physicians at Brighton                                  111


    The charm of Brighton in the olden time before railways—The
    “Age” coach—Sir St. Vincent Cotton and the Marquis of
    Worcester—The Dispensary, the Sussex County Hospital, and its
    noble patrons—Essay on manners—The dandy—The triumph of the
    cigar over women—Essay on vanity—Vain to the last—Addison—Vain
    in death—The least vain of men is the suicide—His anomalous
    character portrayed—Too systematic to be insane—His courage
    inscrutable                                                    116


    There is no such thing as merit; it is not boastful in any
    man to describe his own capabilities correctly—Delinquencies
    most objected to by delinquents—Those who try to define
    genius are too clever to succeed—Being a little less clever
    myself, I give its definition—If I appear too clever at any
    time, the corrective is close at hand—My early exertions—The
    enormous increase of good writing in the country—Criticism the
    profoundest of studies                                         122


    Liars, their division into three classes—No man is truly
    great unless a love of truth places his mind parallel
    with nature—Its immense use in criticism—A new criticism
    discoverable in Shakespeare on this basis, illustrated by three
    parallels—Nature’s mysterious number—Shakespeare’s thirty-third
    sonnet—Coleridge’s “Time, Real and Imaginary”—His “Work without
    Hope”—The three parallels rarely found except in authors of the
    highest genius                                                 126


    Wordsworth tried and found wanting—The parables of the
    Lord examined and found absolutely free from metaphor—The
    poetic mind never fully matures—The Fame Insurance Company’s
    proceedings—Shakespeare a master of simplicity, and
    comparatively free from metaphor, which is not strictly
    sincere—The Prodigal Son and the Ten Virgins, perfect
    models—Milton’s style magnificent and insincere—The
    retrospective and prospective imagination of the parables; the
    introspective only belongs to the poet who substitutes himself
    for Nature, of whom he knows little                            132


    I spend a year in Paris, then take up my residence in London,
    publishing work there in 1839—I resolve on country life,
    and settle down at Bury St. Edmunds—The residents there—Its
    celebrated school, where a bishop of London, a lord chancellor,
    and a president of the College of Physicians were educated,
    and were still living—The Marquis of Bristol and Ickworth
    Building—The singular history and will of the previous earl,
    Bishop of Derry—An account of Ickworth—The unparalleled career
    of the earl-bishop—The Hervey family                           138


    Culture in the Suffolk families—Sir Henry Bunbury—His
    character—The son of H. B., the eminent caricaturist and friend
    of Sir Joshua Reynolds—Barton Hall: among several of Reynolds’s
    works there is Venus sacrificing to the Graces, a full length
    portrait of Lady Sarah Lennox, wife of Sir Charles Bunbury, and
    the most famous beauty of her day—Her after marriage to the
    Hon. Colonel Napier, and she becomes the mother of a family of
    heroes—The Napier family—The second Lady Bunbury, a daughter
    of Lady Sarah, marries Sir Henry; and Cecilia Napier, her
    grand-daughter, marries his son, Colonel Bunbury—Sir Henry’s
    mission to Bonaparte—Sir George Napier—Sir Charles, the hero of
    Scinde—Sir Charles Fox Bunbury married to Miss Horner, sister
    of Lady Lyell                                                  147


    The Duke of Norfolk; his simple life—The Earl of Surrey—Lord
    Fitzalan, who marries Admiral Lyons’ daughter—The beneficent
    character of that lady—The family seat of Fornham All
    Saints sold to a Lord Manners—Hengrave Hall and Sir Thomas
    Gage—Culford, formerly the seat of the Cornwallis family, then
    of Mr. Benyon de Beauvoir and his nephew                       152


    The Wilsons of Stowlangtoft—Their circle—Samuel Rickards,
    rector of the parish, and the Tractarians, Newman, Manning—Sir
    John Yarde Buller—Sir Richard Kindersley—The Porchers—Mrs.
    Henry Wilson, daughter of Lord Charles Fitz-Roy; her admirable
    character—A dinner at Trinity College, Cambridge—Kindersley,
    Professor Sedgwick, and Dr. Donaldson—Henry Wilson’s generous
    character—Anecdote of Sir George Wombwell, former owner of
    Stowlangtoft—The Thornhills of Riddlesworth—The character of
    Rickards; his charming wife—The death of friends               155


    The Rickardses at home—Miss Rickards paints and glazes new
    windows for the church—The Rev. Mr. Mozley, a Tractarian and
    a writer on the _Times_ paper—A _Times_ Commissioner—Lord
    Thurlow—The Oakes family of Newton Court—Great Saxham Hall and
    the Mills family—Barrow rectory; the Rev. Arthur Carrighan; his
    remarkable history—Mrs. Mills; her daughters—George Borrow     160


    Borrow’s contradictory character—His fine person; Mr. Murray’s
    portrait of him—As my guest he accompanies me to a dinner at
    Sir Thomas Cullum’s—The party present—Borrow and Thackeray the
    lions—Milner Gibson—Borrow accompanies me to a dinner at Mr.
    Bevan’s, a truly awkward occasion for all parties—Anecdote of
    Borrow and Miss Agnes Strickland, told me by Mr. J. W. Donne,
    the Censor                                                     164


    Charles Buller, the pet of the House of Commons, secretary
    to Lord Durham in Canada, and one of a Whig clique, himself
    a charming person—The parsonage of Rickards on the whole the
    best literary centre—Hospitality of Riddlesworth Hall—Lord
    Sandwich there; anecdote of his father-in-law, the Marquis
    of Anglesey—Colonel Keppel, the late Earl of Albemarle; his
    charm of manner—One misses the society of one’s own class in
    high circles, but there are many compensations—The decline of
    influence in men of rank as well as of position—Mrs. Thornhill,
    a daughter of Mrs. Waddington, and sister of Moncton Milnes—Our
    parishes, with their resident squires, like happy republics—The
    Newtons of Elvedon and Duleep Singh—The Duke of Grafton and
    Euston Hall—Mr. Angerstein; his family and their princely home
    in Norfolk                                                     168


    The clergy of Bury—The Church the only profession in which
    practitioners do not get their own living, being already
    endowed—It will last their time—A parsonic anecdote            176


    The Cookesley family—Dr. Cookesley attacks Dr. Donaldson’s
    work, “Jashar”—Donaldson, the head-master of Bury school, a man
    of complicated character, governed by overweening vanity—He
    wished to be the Christian Voltaire and the Bentley of his
    day—The true origin of “Jashar” was Knights’s book on “Phallic
    Worship”                                                       180


    Perowne’s attack on Donaldson, as champion of orthodoxy—A clear
    line drawn between physics and metaphysics                     184


    I tire of country life, and visit America, and its principal
    cities—I return to England; make an excursion to Jersey, then
    settle down in Grosvenor Street—I am invited to take charge of
    Lord Ripon’s health and move to Putney Heath—At his death I
    take a house in Spring Gardens—Later, I settle at Roehampton,
    for some years, and for some more years in Parson’s Green;
    finally I move to St. John’s Wood, and there I remain—Such are
    the gaps to be yet filled in with travels many, and adventures
    few, of forty more years—Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence at Boston—Their
    ministerial residence in London—Mr. Lawrence a man of the
    world, Mrs. Lawrence a lady of the United States—Her estimate
    of Sir Charles Lyell’s progress towards civilization—Mr.
    Prescott—I am asked to give a lecture—The medical men of
    Boston—Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft—A visit to Quebec—A party at
    the Governor-General’s—Mr. Lawrence—Messrs. Middleton at New
    York—_Terrapine_ at Philadelphia                               188


    The death of Lord Ripon—Spring Gardens—The West London
    Hospital—I continue my medical services with Lady Ripon—The
    noble character of that lady—The Disbrowes—The Gordons of
    Ellon—Mr. Wellesley, afterwards Lord Cowley—Count Pozzo di
    Borgo—A young Buonaparte—The Duchess of Somerset—Lord Edward
    and the Earl St. Maur—I prove myself a good diagnostic, when
    agnostics were in their infancy                                196


    My researches on the bones in scrofula—Dr. Baly—The
    Medico-Chirurgical Society—The Earl and Countess de Grey and
    Ripon—The present Lord Ripon’s public services—His descent
    from both Hampden and Cromwell—Other representatives of
    Cromwell—Mr. Field and Count Palavicini—Dr. Marcet—The Chemical
    Society—Dr. Faraday—Mr. Davies Gilbert—My paper on “Vital
    Force”—Contributions to the medical press—My research on the
    powers of the alphabet—A new cosmogony—On Drapery—My work
    on “Varicose Capillaries,” published in 1839, and forgotten,
    resuscitated in 1890 by the Pathological Society               201


    Lady Ripon’s declining health—I frequently visit her at Putney
    Heath, and I settle at Roehampton—Her friends and guests—Sir
    Charles and Lady Douglas—Mrs. Charles Lushington—George Borrow
    my frequent guest—Dr. Robert Latham—D. G. Rossetti—My visits to
    Nocton Hall, the country place of Lady Ripon—My poem of “The
    Lily of the Valley” describes Nocton Wood—How I came to write
    “Old Souls”—A volume printed for private circulation, called
    “The World’s Epitaph,” sprang from these poems—How the work
    fared—The impression it made on Rossetti                       204


    Dr. Latham—He brings Mr. Theodore Watts to see me—I introduce
    Watts to George Borrow—We stroll over Richmond Park—Latham
    has a wish to meet Borrow, which I arrange—Latham’s behaviour
    towards my guest—His assumption—The finale                     208


    A dinner at Rossetti’s—Mr. W. B. Scott, Mr. Sidney Colvin,
    Mr. Joseph Knight, Mr. William Rossetti, Dr. Hüffer, Dr.
    Westland Marston and his son Philip, Mr. Madox Brown and Dr.
    Appleton—Rossetti’s poetry, his life, the artistic colouring of
    his mind—The nobility of his nature while in health, his change
    of character through disease—His poetry and paintings are one;
    both suffer by separation—The cause of his success as a poet—A
    critical view of his “Blessed Damozel”                         213


    Opinion of “Sister Helen”—The “lascivious pleasing” of the
    sonnets—Rossetti’s poetry introspective—His companionable
    nature, his justice, freedom from jealousy and readiness
    to serve a friend—Residence in Perthshire with Rossetti in
    1872—Stobbs Castle—Crieff—Rossetti at Kelmscott—At Bognor      218


    Mr. Noble, the sculptor—His recumbent statue of Lord Ripon
    in Nocton church—My visits to Nocton—The healthiness of
    Lincolnshire and the Eastern counties in summer—Rossetti’s
    generous review of “Madeline” in _The Academy_—He introduces
    my work to Dr. Westland Marston, who reviews it in _The
    Athenæum_—The costs of publication—Mr. Eden—“Madeline” and
    Theodore Watts                                                 230


    The origin of “Madeline”—Theodore Watts—His many endowments—Now
    a leading critic—His review of my work, “New Symbols,” in
    the _Examiner_—Harrison Ainsworth—The novel in general—The
    origin of “Parables and Tales”—Rossetti, Hüffer, and “The
    Cripple”—“The Blind Boy,” and Morley’s _Fortnightly Review_—I
    go to Bath—Beckford’s cemetery and tomb—Proceed to Germany—The
    wonders of Stassfurt—The old Saxon church—Dr. Dupré, my
    son-in-law, at Stassfurt                                       233


    My daughter’s marriage—The breakfast and the wedding guests—The
    likeness of Mr. Dupré, the elder, to the Bonapartes—His
    relationship to that family by descent—The French family
    of Dupré; the Buckinghamshire branch—Salt-water in England
    confined to the coast—Germany soaked in it—The drinking
    pilgrims—Their bodily sins—Family rambles—My youngest son,
    Henry, a student at Giessen, joins me in Turin—An autumn in
    Genoa                                                          241


    The Riviera Levante—Nervi—Its charm of scenery and colour,
    which commissions me to write “The Painter”—The Palazzo
    Rosso—The coast of Genoa spoilt by its fortifications—The
    vineyards and villas—The Villa Paganini—A feast of grapes—A
    knife-fight—The Via Nuova—The statue of Columbus—We proceed
    to Spezia—Lerici, Shelley’s last home but one—The Temple of
    Venus—The marble hills of Carrara—Florence once more—Old
    friends replaced by new—Madame Mazzini, now the wife of Signor
    Villari, a senator and Minister of Education—My longings to see
    Florence again—The Tuscans—Their bright intellects and fine
    faces—The kindness and attentions of the Italians to strangers


    At Florence after forty years—My pleasant apartments on the
    Lungarno—I repeat my old walks—I still receive reviews of
    “Parables and Tales,” always in their favour—My visit to
    Rossetti at Kelmscott—I describe his home while there in a
    poem—“Reminiscence”—My next work, “New Symbols”—Rossetti’s
    remarks on certain stanzas of “The Birth of Venus,” and
    “Michael Angelo”—William Rossetti reviews “New Symbols” in _The
    Academy_, in 1876                                              248


    The music of sympathy—Friends at Florence—Professor
    Schiff—Capponi and a dog that would bay the moon—Madame Schiff
    and her circle—I prepare “Ecce Homo” here, also “Lucella”—My
    studies for “Michael Angelo”—My poem of “Pythagoras”—In 1874,
    still at Florence, I wrote an article on Schiff’s work for _The
    Practitioner_—My correspondence—The friends I leave behind     251


    I take train for Venice—Every one on first seeing it says he
    shall stay a long time; no one stays more than a fortnight—The
    Piazza San Marco; all peace and quiet; no sound of voices, or
    wheels, or hoofs—One’s coffee turns to nectar as one feeds
    on the Duomo—The palace of the Doges more majestic than
    Man—How to imagine what Venice is—The _calle_ and dainty
    marble bridges—The little canals, where some keep their own
    gondola as we do our own carriage—One takes a gondola at the
    Piazzetta—One sweeps by lovely palaces on a Grand Canal—One
    gets out at the Rialto—This fine old palace is the General Post
    Office, that is the Fondaco dei Turchi—Then the Palazzi Pesaro,
    La Ça Doro, Guistiniani, and Foscari—The Arsenal—The Gallery
    of Art—Churches angular—Churches domed—The Via Garibaldi—The
    squares of St. Maurizio and St. Stephano—Venice very cold
    in March—San Marco the most perfect square on earth—The two
    Othello families—No fear of being run over by cabs—The opera
    at Venice—The island of Lido—Venice compared to a picture
    book—Across the Brenner by way of Verona—Munich—Stassfurt
    again—Excursions to the Harz—The Brocken, the Affenthaler
    valley—The castle of Falconstein—Proposal for a monument
    to Goethe—Return to Italy over the Brenner—My travelling
    companions—Florence, the Perseus and the Loggia dei Lanzi—The
    inspired evangelists of art—I saw my estimable friends the
    Villaris again—On my way to Rome                               255


    A young Jesuit—The lake of Perugia and the hill cities—_Urbs
    recondita, cittá rovinata_—The Pantheon, the palace of the
    Cæsars that was—The skeleton of the Forum—The antiquarian
    genius—The transfiguration of Rome and the Transfiguration
    of Raphael—The Laocoon—The Apollo Belvidere, _alias_ Lord
    Chesterfield’s transfiguration—The Ariadne—The Athlete, at the
    end of a Via di Scolpitura—The Barbarini Palace and Beatrice
    Cenci—The Ghetto, the Cenci palace—The Romans proud of Rome—A
    worn-out pedigree—The Corso, the Piazza Colonna—St. Paul
    replaces Marcus Aurelius Antoninus—The obelisk in the Piazza
    di Monti Clitorio—The Palazzo Doria Pamfili—Upstairs to the
    Capitol—Stopped on one’s way by two lions spurting water—Castor
    and Pollux; their nags—The Campidoglio—Marcus Aurelius taking
    his ride into future times—The museum of the modern Capitol    265


    “What come ye for to see?”—The graves of Keats and Shelley—The
    church of San Paolo _fuori_—St. Peter’s rise from the dead—The
    tomb of the Scipios—The catacombs of the early Christians—The
    old cloisters of San Paolo—St. Peter’s palace, the Vatican—The
    Sixtine Chapel in which Michael Angelo re-creates the world    275


    Faithful to England for a time—A summer passed at
    Ballenstedt—The castle of Blankenburg, the billiard-room
    and chapel—The situation of Ballenstedt: forest, hills, and
    lakes—Its vicinity to the Affenthaler valley—Reflections on
    paper—I am my own posterity—My writings since my eightieth
    year have delivered my message—The human comedy—I insinuate
    that I am the only English epigrammatist, _par excellence_—The
    general incapacity of appreciation—Short poems have often a
    biographic flavour—Further useless reflections—The almost
    imperceptible difference between man and man                   280


    The importance of religion, being a sermon preached to stones—I
    essay to hope backwards, and fail                              286


    Philographs of eminent medical men known to me in my day—Some
    of our scientists—The weak side of our great theorists,
    concerning the sun and conservation of energy                  292

    POSTSCRIPT                                                     299


[Transcriber’s note: the errata have been corrected.]

    Page 45, line 28, _for_ “that” _read_ “those.”
      ”  49, line 25, _for_ “equery” _read_ “equerry.”
      ”  79, line 1, _for_ “Breadalbine” _read_ “Breadalbane.”
      ”  89, line 2, _for_ “Tristam” _read_ “Tristram.”
      ” 147, line 10, _for_ “Lover” _read_ “Lever.”
      ” 158, line 6, _for_ “_vertueuse_” _read_ “_vertueuses_.”
      ” 202, line 18, _for_ “Marcel” _read_ “Marcet.”



Several literary men of eminence have from time to time suggested to me
that I ought to write my memoirs, but I have long held the opinion that
such works have scarcely a legitimate interest for one’s contemporaries.
Now, however, that I have exceeded, by fourteen years, the age of man, I
begin to regard the opinion of others, and to look upon myself as a sort
of incipient posterity, and am disposed to make the experiment of placing
some portion of my life on record.

Most people who attain to birth, parentage, and education, find the
latter the most doubtful of the three, even the first being somewhat
uncertain. For myself, there is a tradition in my family that I was born
by candle-light on the 10th of March, 1809: it was at midnight, and in
the town of Leeds.

To keep those in order who believe too much, Nature has issued a series
of minds that believe too little, and I am one of these; I could prove
to the satisfaction of any free metaphysician that I have never existed
at all, and that I am a mere optical illusion, like the rest of my

As to my parentage, I believe in that implicitly. But who else would be
so credulous, if it were to his interest to prove the reverse?

As to my education, it has been as scanty as that of the best of us; it
would be too great a joke to suppose that eighty years is a sufficient
time for the acquisition of any knowledge worth naming. Herschel, for
example, discovered the planet Uranus; that educated him, though it had
been in the place where he found it for countless millions of years.

The educated are those who appreciate things at their true value; culture
does not merely signify knowledge, but its acquisition in the utmost

My father was said to have a musical genius, and rumour handed down
that my mother fell in love with him on that account. She was the most
emotional woman that I ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I can
understand her marrying at the age of thirty-three a youth of nineteen,
which she did; but I cannot understand my father at his age marrying her.

I had a sister; she was the firstborn, and a brother who came after me.

My father died at the age of twenty-six; he got his feet wet in the snow,
took a chill, and went regularly through all the stages of inflammation.

I was three years and three months old when my father died; I remember
him, also his house, both inside and out, and the square where it stood,
at Sidmouth. But I have only one vision of these things; it is always the
same, that of the father, the house, and the square.


It is as well to know how one’s family dovetails into the community of
such a mosaic work as the British, so I will set down what information
I have on the subject. I presume that a band of Hakes quitted Prussian
Saxony in the olden time for a less sandy soil, and that some of them
settled on the old red sandstone of Devon. The name of Hache gave
itself to a town in the region of Broadcliss, and received a notice in
Doomsday-book. The family no doubt occupied the soil thereabout for
centuries, the name being noticeable in the Broadcliss Register in the
time of Queen Anne. The name, too, is rife in Saxony; at Stassfurt there
is a Hake’s Bridge; besides this there are numerous workmen of the name,
engaged in the salt factories, not to mention a general and count who
commanded the army against the Danes in the Schleswig-Holstein affair.
In England, too, this family name has belonged to all classes, from a
viscount in the time of Edward I., an M.P. for Windsor and a poet, in the
reign of Henry VIII., down to some, who, being in trade, my mother used
to call “the scum of the earth.”

My great-grandfather is reputed to have had land and a mansion called
Bluehayes, hard by Broadcliss; and tradition says it got merged into the
family of Acland by a successful mortgage on their part. My family lived
on the soil for many centuries without being distinguished in any branch
of science, literature, or art.

My mother’s family have had a different career: her father was a soldier,
and the son of one; they were Gordons of the Huntly stock, and came
directly from the Park branch of that house, but how little meaning is
there in a name! Truth to tell the only male descendants of the first
Gordon are the Aberdeen family. In the reign of one David, King of
Scotland, a Norman prince of name forgotten, settled on a territory
called Gordon, north of the Tweed. The elder branch failed after three or
four generations; an only daughter succeeding to the territory, married
a Seton, of Seton, who took the name of Gordon, so that this branch, the
most successful one, having become barons, earls, marquisses, and finally
dukes, are a younger branch of the Setons; baronets of Touch, still
existing, while the Aberdeens, the second branch of Gordon, are the true

The centuries that have elapsed must have wholly eradicated the blood of
Gordon in this family that still bears the name, and had the marquisate
from early Scottish kings, whose daughter one of them married: Arabella.

There is something very dry in family history, because no one cares for
other people’s relations. What I note down is to show that I belong to
all classes. I have a cousin who is a baronet named Key; another who
is an earl named Ranfurly; and, as I was told, one of my family was a
butcher named Bedford. In fact, while not a true Briton, which I am glad
of, I have a full share to my name of the Saxon blood. As regards my
mother’s family, they were comparatively obscure in the middle of this
century, and are so still, except in the instance of one individual who
has a statue in Trafalgar Square, set up by the Conservative Government
in perpetual disapproval of the neglect which the hero of Khartoum
experienced at the hands of the Gladstone-Granville administration. But
for that he would have been, like Cromwell, without a statue. Of him I
shall give my opinion in the proper place; and as his name is public
property, I shall trace some of the families from which, in common with
him, I have derived my origin.

I may say, then, that our grandfather, Captain William Augustus
Gordon, was an officer somewhat distinguished in the service. He was
at the taking of Moro Castle, Havanna, Louisburg, and Quebec. At the
siege of Quebec he was on the staff of General Wolf, and saw him die
happy. He retired early from the army, in which he made many powerful
friends—married a lady of many high qualities and great personal beauty,
named Clarke, whose family belonged to Hexham, in Northumberland, the
sister of the Rev. Slaughter Clarke, incumbent of that place, at whose
house he first met her while stationed in the town on military duty. He
had a family by her of four daughters and three sons, of which my mother
was the firstborn.


I had a sister; she came two or three years before me, and died at the
age of four or five and twenty, of typhoid fever. She was attended, but
in vain, by men of skill—Dr. J. A. Wilson, physician to St. George’s, and
Mr. Nussey, the king’s apothecary.

Then I have a brother, who came last—two years after me—my oldest friend.

We both had good abilities, as time has since shown, but being let to run
wild, we had no serious use for them, so we devoted them to mischief.
It seems a settled purpose in nature for children to destroy whatever
things they can lay their hands on, by way of testing the strength of
materials, and to privately annoy all who come within their reach, not
out of wickedness, but for fun. I and my brother fully entered into these
views, and did all in our power to assist them; the consequence was, we
were a good deal disliked. Another failing that we indulged in was a
love of the village boys’ society, and this caused us to be looked down
on by gentlemen’s sons. The street boys we found the best company, and
they were amenable to our orders, which could not be said of the genteel

All this is defensible in children who are allowed to follow their own
devices, and is a sign of health, for good little boys and girls are
never very well. There is no intellectual endowment of such value as a
sense of the ridiculous; it argues the existence of imagination, to which
it is a supplement and corrective.

Can any one say he has more than one friend who makes him part of
himself? I have one—my brother. I used to say once, “If you want friends,
you must breed them;” but experience tells us that this method has
only an average success. Acquired friends must be engrafted in youth,
or before, while growth is going on. Friendships made later are only
impressions; they are not an integral part of us; and, though they may
flourish, are liable to be overturned. Stately as they may become, like
the elm, they have no tap-root.

I said, the other day at dinner, before one of my brother’s sons, but
playfully, “I and my brother are fonder of each other than we are of our
own children; but we have known each other longer than we have known

A child to be healthy should not be too clever; he should only have
receptive power and humour. How grown-up children even differ in this


Soon after I was seven I went away to school. My mother had inherited a
small income in bank-stock, and was able to go where she liked, which
she did freely. It was now Exmouth, now Teignmouth, Dawlish, Budleigh
Salterton, Tiverton, and other places, but she never found peace of mind
in any. She was throughout a long life in search of the Ideal which she
never found, and she handed the passion with the same result down to me.
She had a married sister, named Wallinger, at Gainsborough; so she took
us there. This sister, a year younger than herself, played the great lady
throughout as long a life as my mother’s: her husband, Captain Wallinger,
was the son of the Wallinger of Hare Hall in Essex, a county family; he
had been in the Dragoon Guards, and at a venture might be called the
finest and handsomest man of his time.

I remember the house where we lived at Gainsborough, and that of the
Wallingers, so well, that I could describe both to the satisfaction of
an artist, together with the surroundings, and the roads leading to
them, not forgetting a white wooden bridge that spanned the Trent, and
which we crossed in due time in a post-chaise into Yorkshire, where we
visited relations, the Rimingtons of Hillsborough, near Sheffield, the
beautiful grounds of which are now, perhaps, cut up for buildings by a
knife-grinding population. A descendant of this family is Rimington
Wilson of Bromhead, a famed grouse manor; another is Lord Ranfurly. I
remember even sitting on the left side of the carriage, and looking out
of the window at the water as we crossed the Trent.

One does not read faces from an early age, but I have a good recollection
of certain features; for instance, I can recall our “cousin” Rimington’s
powdered head. But after I was seven, I never forgot a face, and often
knew schoolfellows again, despite the changes time had worked, whom I had
not met for half a century.

It is not the features one recollects, but the demeanour and general
expression. One does not, as a rule, observe the features of others. A
man who had seen me every day for a year, said, “Well, I always imagined
your eyes were blue, but I now observe that they are hazel.”

In his novel of “Coningsby” Disraeli has introduced the character of Sir
Joseph Wallinger, the same Christian name as my uncle’s. There being
no other family of that name, I have often felt curious to learn what
circumstance led him to its selection. He may have been a visitor at Hare
Hall in his younger days. I shall have occasion to revert frequently to
the Wallingers.

We made a long visit to the Rimingtons; I retain the recollection of it
as one of much enjoyment. I remember the housekeeper promising me a penny
if I would sit still for an hour, which I did, and lost my money five
minutes after while rolling it about the floor; a suggestive episode. I
remember Mr. Rimington giving me sixpence, which I no sooner got than I
dropped it into a water-tank beyond recovery, as many have done since who
have shares in submarine telegraph companies.

This wealthy family, which must still dwell in the memory of many
Sheffielders, had only one son, whose three children may still live, with
the exception of Lady Ranfurly; the eldest is Rimington of Bromhead Hall,
with the suffix of Wilson.

Bromhead Hall manor must have the best grouse shooting in Yorkshire,
except that of Studley Royal. My grandmother’s sister, Mrs. Wilson, was
our cousin Rimington’s mother, and was a very stately lady. She lived
at Upper Tooting, where I once spent my holidays with her when I was at
school in London. One day, after a drive with her, she said, “Remember,
you have had a ride in your aunt Wilson’s carriage;” and these are the
only words of hers that I have borne in memory.

My grandmother, Mrs. Gordon, had two brothers besides the one already
named—William and Henry Clarke, of the City of London. William was one
of the Mercers’ Company, and is buried in their ground at Mercers’ Hall.
He lived at 72, Gracechurch Street, with his brother, who carried on
a business in the stationery trade, and made money. His elder brother
was rich, leaving over a hundred thousand pounds, but was never in
trade. These brothers died unmarried, and their wealth reached the next
generation, the elder attaining the age of ninety-five.


That uncle of mine, William Clarke, whom I never saw but in the back
room on the first floor of 72, Gracechurch Street, had a proud temper.
His father went into business in King Street, Guildhall, and was cut
by the father before him for so doing, which father was a general, and
paymaster to Queen Anne’s forces, with a residence in Kew Palace. My
mother’s immediate uncle was introduced into his father’s business, that
of a whalebone merchant, but quitted it suddenly on being asked by a
customer to abate a price; his reply being, “Do you think it was stolen?”
He played a part in life which still influences posterity, and will do
so more and more, if only through one act of his life, that of giving a
presentation to the first Sir Frederick Pollock for St. Paul’s School.
Proud as he was, he had a good heart, though a churl; he was careful
even to meanness; he was charitable towards those who needed it most,
preferring the poor to such of his own kith and kin as were not well off.
Indeed he left thousands to charitable institutions, and very little to
any of his relations except one, the only nephew who preserved his name,
though his intentions were ultimately frustrated by the death of his
heir, and that, at a period of his life when he was no longer competent
to design a will. But he did a great thing in sending the young Pollock
to St. Paul’s School, whence the boy proceeded to Cambridge, and became
one of the hundred senior wranglers of his own century. The genius of
the Pollock family was ripe for breaking out; the brother of the future
Chief Baron, Sir George Pollock, became a distinguished general, and, I
think, died a field-marshal, a rank borne for a long time by the Duke of
Wellington alone, who could tolerate no rival. Sir Frederick Pollock was
_facile princeps_ in his profession, and from him have sprung lawyers
of mark for three generations, not the least promising of these, as
report goes, the present or third baronet, son of a good, great, and
noble-minded sire, lately lost to the world; and it must not be forgotten
that the name is great in medicine, that profession which is more
enlightening than all the others put together, involving, as it does, an
adequate knowledge of every science. It is not to be forgotten, either,
that one of the most cultivated men of the day, a true poet and the
possessor of a unique literary talent in fantastic caricature, is to be
found in Walter Herries Pollock, a younger brother of the present baronet.

Either William Clarke or his brother Henry, who were both governors of
Christ’s Hospital, supplied me with my early education by nominating me
to that remarkable school. They might have put me also to St. Paul’s,
though I might not, certainly, have done them the credit they must have
enjoyed from giving a presentation to the young Pollock. What the elder
did for my mother was always with a high hand; if he sent her money it
was with covert insult, nevertheless circumstances compelled her to be
grateful and to say as much in return, and she certainly had the best
of it in so doing. I must acquit all who act in like manner of wanting
spirit, in accepting needful favours done with an ill grace. None of us
feel resentful towards Nature for giving us our carrots, our turnips, our
potatoes, covered with dirt!

I was given in charge of a clergyman from Exeter to London, the Rev. Mr.
Back, who took his own son to the school at the same time. I remember
absolutely nothing of my journey, over 173 miles, except that on the road
the coach met a drove of cows, and that I said to myself, “This will be
something to tell my mother.” This occurrence has stuck to my memory
ineradicably, like a daub of paint. But I remember the date without ever
having refreshed it: the 20th of June, 1816.

In those days the journey occupied twenty-four hours; as I started in the
morning I must have reached town in the morning, and being destined for
Hertford, where the younger boys of my tender age were sent, I must have
been conveyed there the same day, but I recollect nothing that happened
till in bed at No. 1 ward, under Nurse Merenith.

But the almost regal school and oblong gravelled ground, with buildings
in front and on each side, faced with trees, and enclosed in lofty iron
railings, I see still; as I saw on being turned loose the next day.

When at home in the enjoyment of freedom, I was riotous; when at school,
in the hands of strangers, I was meek. I feared my writing and cyphering
master, Mr. Whittle. The usher, who took a dislike to me, never missed an
opportunity of striking me a blow. Less I feared my classical master, Dr.
Franklin, a tall man of noble deportment, with a florid complexion, and
a face that never relaxed during school hours, but was full of play the
moment school was over. I recollect well my astonishment at seeing the
boys following him in crowds as he marched to his house in his doctor’s
gown, while they tugged at his robes, seized on his hands, and made free
with him as if he were their father; he enjoying these liberties not less
than the boys themselves.

I was at once put into Greek and Latin grammar, with delectuses; and then
into Æsop. But while on those amusing fables I sickened of measles; from
this I had scarcely convalesced when I was down with scarlet fever. This
burnt itself out of my blood, but left me prostrate, and, as I learned,
I was sent home to my mother to die; all of which seemed to me very


Let me here remark, as a physician, that, had not my constitution been
faultless, the scarlet fever would have seized on my kidneys or my
heart, and have maimed me for life, allowing me, perhaps, twenty years
in which to complete my survey of the world. But I passed unscathed
through the ordeal, a sort of inoculation that renders one death-proof
so long as it is not worth while to die. How did I get home through that
long journey? In doing so I anticipated a two days’ instalment of my now
near-approaching oblivion.

My recovery was rapid, and, now that I had a brother as my familiar, I
was ready to set him a bad example, and to perpetrate whatever mischief
our united talents could invent. Our most obvious opportunity was, after
we had watched our neighbour at Heavitree sweeping his gravel walks, to
throw rubbish on them over the fence, that he might have the labour in
which he delighted, over again. We would then retire unseen, and, as we
thought, into the security of non-detection, too young to know the value
of circumstantial evidence. But the nonsense of children is little worth
repeating, except to babes, and I cannot emulate those wonderful geniuses
who can even turn metaphysics into fairy tales. I cannot resist giving an
account of the finest ride I ever had in my life.

It was at Heavitree, where, near the churchyard and parsonage, there
was a large meadow, which I and my brother often crossed on our rambles.
One day we encountered a large sow there. I coaxed my way up to it, and
leapt on to its back, when it started off at a tremendous gallop, needing
neither whip nor spur. My seat kept safe, and I was carried round the
meadow at a fabulous pace, no doubt amid gruntings the most terrific.
This ride seemed to realize in me a state of existence surpassing all
common pleasure; it was a taste of glory.

My leave of funereal absence, which was so soon converted into a holiday,
was prolonged without difficulty on the certificate of Mr. Harris, a
leading surgeon of Exeter, who was good nature itself; but he must
have seen that I was malingering. I must have remained at home nearly
a year. By this time I was intelligent enough to understand my mother
and her history, and my brother was not behind me in that respect. She
instilled into our minds a contempt for the Hake family, some of whom
were in trade; but this was most unjust, for their moral tone was high,
and they were a credit to the middle class. Their position in life had
changed since the generation previous; but family pride had remained to
them, and that is sometimes the parent of honour—if not its father, its
mother at least. On the other hand, she was never tired of her own family
distinction; her father and two of her brothers, the third being still a
boy, had in her eyes the attributes of nobility. But all this was in the
warmth of her own imagination and love; for no one else thought so. They
were respectable and respected—that was all. Those who are really great
are not aware of it, for it never occupies their thoughts.

The time came for me to be returned to my owners, the masters of the
school—a change that gave me neither pleasure nor pain. I cannot recall
the time when I did not feel myself the subject of destiny against which
I had no instinct of resistance. So amenable was I to the mastery of
circumstances, that all things happened as a matter of course, and I
knew no protest. When my illnesses began, I was the subject of diarrhœal
disorder, and I was brutally treated. I was put into a room with a tub
of cold water to cleanse my miserable self, when the boys, hearing of
my wretched plight, broke in upon me with a broom, and did the work of
scrubbing me. My feeling was that I must bear it; my consolation was
that it would not last. Soon afterwards I was taken to the sick ward and
treated with humanity.


My governor, as was called the one who gave a boy his presentation, made
an attempt to have me kept in London, but I was still thought too young,
and I reached Hertford again, where I remained for perhaps another year;
but after the August holidays, I was established in the Newgate Street

The Wallingers had settled at Seaford, in a house on the Crouch, to which
a good garden was attached, and in this my uncle plied the spade and grew
vegetables. It was a gentlemanly residence, standing high and overlooking
the sea.

At Seaford I spent my first holidays, and made a large acquaintance
there. It was the property of the Earl of Chichester and Mr. Ellis, and
it returned two members to the House of Commons at the dictation of its
owners. Mr. Canning once had the honour of representing, I cannot say the
borough, but the gentlemen to whom it belonged. During his proprietorship
Mr. Ellis was created Lord Seaford; he afterwards succeeded to the family
title of Howard de Walden.

A row of houses led from the beach up to the Crouch on the left side;
opposite to this was an open field. One of these houses Mr. Ellis kept as
his occasional residence. It was entirely in the French style, had a long
walled garden, and was very picturesque. The man cook of this gentleman
sometimes visited Seaford, and took up his abode in the family house,
bringing with him his hounds and horses.

A cousin of mine, Henry Shore, who was also in the school, passed the
August holidays at Seaford with our relations. His mother was the
youngest of the four Miss Gordons. She married into a very considerable
family, the Shores of Maresbrook Park, near Sheffield, an elder branch,
of which the younger was Shore of Tapton, who took the name, afterwards,
of Nightingale. He had two daughters, Florence and Penelope. The first of
these, as is well known, remained single; the second married Sir Harry

It may be of interest to mention that these ladies took their names from
the country of their birth, the one being born at Florence, the other at

This was my first opportunity of learning my aunt’s character, which
was a very singular one. It was necessary to her that she should be the
first person in her circle, wherever that lay. At Seaford she found no
difficulty. It was then an obscure town with a few good families in it,
among them the clergyman, the Reverend Mr. Carnegie and his wife; Mr.
Verral, the surgeon, a man of great talent and skill, with his wife and
children; and Captain Evans, the agent of the borough owners, whose
business it was to see that the taxes were paid up, or to pay them
himself, ready for an election, and never to press for rent. Then there
were gentlemen farmers in the neighbourhood, a peculiar class—men of
capital and education, devoted chiefly to the breeding of sheep. Every
one has heard of Southdown mutton; in those days it was in plenty. Ellman
of Glynde and Lord Chichester were great among its producers, and it
was never killed till it was six years old. No venison equalled it in
flavour, and, regrettable to say, it is now unknown in the market; if it
still exists in perfection, it may be at Stanmer Park and at Glynde.

The greatest of our aunt’s accomplishments was keeping house—of all else
she was ignorant in the extreme; but, by the aid of a small dictionary,
she kept the spelling of her letters pretty correct, and by tact she
concealed her ignorance of all human knowledge. She expected to be
looked up to by her neighbours, and she required this homage of her
relations, one and all. I and my cousin had to meet a heavy tax to retain
her favour. She would spoil our morning by sending us on errands to
her tradesmen, not in one round, but to one at a time, with a written
order, which held us on the trudge up to the time of luncheon. She made
us her _pensionnaires_, and she had the firm belief that she honoured
and delighted us in thus keeping us employed. Her remaining sister, Mrs.
Gwynne, lived at Denton, a village on the Newhaven side of the downs,
three miles off. The Rev. William Gwynne, the husband of this lady, was
the rector of the parish.

Mrs. Wallinger was very fond of this sister, who was a cautious and
sentimental flatterer, and witty beyond all common measure. She was
never at a loss for anecdotes of the most amusing kind. Her husband was
a stout, showy man, a good talker and a lover of wine, which did not
suffice him without a long double nightcap of brandy, gin, or rum. He and
Captain Wallinger adapted themselves admirably to each other, and the
two families met at each other’s table often.

There was a houseful of children at Denton Rectory, ending in five sons
and two daughters, brought up without a view to education, both boys and
girls. Notwithstanding this, one of the five sons became an Australian
judge, and another entered the Church, though at first an M.D. Mr. Gwynne
had a passion for shooting; he cared more for his dogs than for his own
cubs. He was, however, a kind man, with a manner that made him appear
interested in every one he met with.


As I have got so near to the remarkable family of Gwynnes, I must say a
few more words about them.

Mr. Gwynne was one of six brothers and two sisters. One brother was a
very artful lawyer of imposing demeanour, and was highly respected by all
who did not know him.

Another brother, whose position in life—the head of the Legacy Office—was
so good that all men spoke well of him, married a not good-looking
Jewess. A third brother was also in the law, but the time came when
he forewent his licence, perhaps owing to some irregularities in his
practice; but he was the most true-hearted of the lot, and had one of the
sweetest of daughters. He had a practice still, but it was attended with
certain disabilities. Two brothers remained; both attained rank in the
East India Company’s service. They were, like the rest, very fine men,
and, being soldiers, they were of unimpeachable honour.

Then there were two sisters, who, as is always the case in slack
families, were a credit to society. These two ladies were both well
settled in life.

My uncle was the most unfortunate of the family; too much for the day
was the good thereof, so he allowed his affairs to drift in whatever
direction they liked, and that was towards bankruptcy, of course.

He was indulgent towards his family, though perhaps a little ironical
towards his wife, who would repeat all that passed concerning him with
the greatest glee. After a quarrel, in which he said ill-natured things,
she would say, “If that is your opinion of me, Gwynne, why did you marry
me?” “My dear Henrietta,” he would reply, “it was for your present beauty
and your future expectations.” And she would tell this story with fits of

These, my uncle and aunt, were frequent guests at Glynde, the residence
of a Lord and Lady Hampden, who took much pleasure in Mrs. Gwynne’s
society on account of her great wit.

One evening, after dinner, Lady Hampden spoke warmly in favour of one of
the farmers, dwelling on his truthfulness and honesty.

“My dear Lady Hampden,” said Mrs. Gwynne, “you do not know that man; I
can assure you that, with the exception of my dear husband, he is the
greatest liar in the county.”

My uncle, Captain Wallinger, would sometimes drive me over to Denton,
and we generally reached the parsonage in time to see a general rush of
the boys from the house and premises. They were so dirty, so ill-clad
and unkempt, they did not dare to face their uncle. Mr. Gwynne was
seldom at home; his time was fully employed in keeping appointments with
dog-fanciers, horse-dealers, gunsmiths, and the like. He allowed the
parish to take care of itself, or to be cared for by the farmers or his
wife; and as he preached _extempore_, he had no sermons to prepare. He
was very fluent, which he accounted for by saying that he looked at the
congregation as he would do on a field of cabbage-stalks. I have no doubt
that, when preaching to others, he was sincere, and that he preached to
himself at the same time. But he was not one of those self-martyrs who
annoy themselves through life with religious dogmas. Still, he was not a
mere agnostic in canonicals, but true to his belief, though he did not
avail himself personally of this advantage.

There was not a tree in the village, except a willow that wept over a
mud pond on the roadside by the church, as some sanctified parties do
over the worthless dead; yet Denton could be compared to nothing but the
backwoods of a colony, so rugged an aspect did the Gwynne boys give to
the place. They were the talk of the neighbourhood for miles around.
They could, nevertheless, satirize and very cleverly mock those who
looked down on their doings. One or two of them, once on a visit at the
Wallingers’, followed their aunt, by invitation, up to the drawing-room.
She knew them of old, and while they ascended the stairs she turned round
suddenly, when she met the sight she expected—one was making hideous
faces at her, the other was squaring his fists at her back.

“Dear me! You seem amused,” was her only reproof; but she secretly
enjoyed it, for everything was grateful to her that stamped others as her


I was now to enter on a new life. My home was to be a monastic one, which
three hundred years before had been the residence of mitred abbots. A
king had expelled these from their Gothic dominion; another and a better
king had given it to his children, among whom in these latter days were
Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, and Charles Lamb. And now I was to be there, to
tread in their steps, to pace the same ancient cloisters, to catch the
same earnest mood in pacing them.

The place was more like a university than a school. Four classical
masters to teach us the languages of Athens and Rome; two
writing-masters, who themselves wrote like copper-plate, and made us do
likewise, besides teaching us figures.

Then we had playgrounds by the acre. One looking on Little Britain
through lofty palisades, on which same ground were the residences of the
masters and of certain dignitaries, among them that of the treasurer,
always a City magnate, and to us inscrutably great. The counting-house
was in the grounds, as well as the head and junior master’s houses,
together with the office and house of the steward. With all these
buildings, the playground was not crowded; and apart, in the large open
space on the north side, stood the grammar school.

Now that the institution is to be removed, the character of the boys
will change, and all its traditions end. The cloisters and garden within
their quadrangle, with the monkish dormitories and other old places, have
hitherto shaped the minds of the boys, and this influence will cease, and
the feeling will vanish that the school owed its foundation to a king.
It was in this feeling that the pride of the boys lay; it indulged them
in the belief that they were superior to all other boys. They thought
of their royal founder almost as if they were descended from him, and
honoured their very dress from its similarity to that which the youthful
sovereign himself wore.

In my time the cloisters were Gothic, as originally built; half a century
ago they were reconstructed into Saxon or some other contemptible
pattern, which has perpetuated the architect’s ignorance, insensibility,
and bad taste up to the present. But it signifies little; all will be
swept away and covered with shops, where the name of Homer will nevermore
be heard. But Parliament, in sympathy with open spaces, may grant the
necessary million. Not they!

But nothing was intended to last for ever, if we except—what?

The genius of the place affected me very soon, I felt myself growing into
monkhood. I preferred the sombre cloister to the playground, and for that
reason I often had to be alone there, not in steady thought, but under
involuntary emotions which ran through me like an underground current.
Then, the suggestiveness of some of the inscriptions on the walls, thus,
“Here lies a benefactor, let no one move his bones.” This I used to
regard as a very pathetic appeal, as if the bones were very comfortable
where they were yet in constant dread of being disturbed. Had nothing
been said they might have been safer from the antiquarian.

But I should mention that the first ordeal I was put through was to
fight. Every boy knew whom he could fight; this was required of him for
the benefit of his public. A boy named Yardley was selected to test my
pugnacious powers. We were of a height, both tall, and of about the same
age. We were taken into a private yard. Of fighting I knew nothing; but
I had a quick eye and was quick of limb. More than this I had dramatic
imagination, and to this it was that I owed my victory. I pictured to
myself a tiger springing at his prey, and with this example I leapt at
my antagonist from some distance, and my fists covered his face and eyes
almost before he knew that I was upon him. He had not a moment’s chance,
he floundered each time that I was upon him.

This encounter was never forgotten by the boys, and I was never asked to
fight again.


Theodore Watts, as he told me twenty years ago, holds the opinion that
Shakespeare wrote private poetry in a separate book while composing his
dramas, and that he gave such portions of it as he could make fit, to
certain of his characters. He thought, if I remember aright, that the
soliloquy and the dagger-scene were morsels of this sort. It certainly
must strike one that “the law’s delay” and “the insolence of office” were
not prominent grievances in Hamlet’s career.

When I was about eleven years old I became owner of Rowe’s “Shakespeare,”
which has in it a wonderful little life of the bard. He quotes the
marvellous passage beginning with—

    “She never told her love,”

and, as far as memory serves me, it was to declare that poetry of such
exquisite beauty was not to be found in any other writer, ancient or
modern. I have since often thought that nothing in the context fairly
led up to an idea of such magnitude, and that the passage was one of
Shakespeare’s interpolations. Be this as it may, it had an elevating
effect on me which has lasted me for life; it gave me a sense of perfect
excellence. It may appear ridiculous to say that it not only made me
envious of the greatest of writers, but that it depressed me, in turn,
with the feeling that I could never equal it, however long I might live!

No other writer at that time affected me similarly, except Virgil, when
I came to that passage which depicts the breaking of the waves on the
prow of the vessel and the receding of the cities and lands (_terræque
urbesque recedunt_). After we reached our beds at night the boys were
wont to “coze” in literary cliques round some favourite tale-teller,
who would relate marvellous stories of knights and ladies, with much
about genii, fairies, and witches. Though I never heard anything to that
effect, I have always thought that Coleridge must have lent himself to
such delights for the pleasure of others, and that “Christabel” was
unconsciously an outcome of these romantic entertainments.

Many of the boys were great readers of forbidden story, and smuggled
books into the school, the penalty of which, on being found out, was
a flogging. The books in question were romances of enchanted castles;
of beautiful young women, the prisoners of tyrants; of subterraneous
passages and solitary cells. I would give much to possess a circulating
library of that day. Such a one I found at Seaford, and devoured whenever
my holidays came round. The novel, as reintroduced by Plumer Ward, and
imitated greedily by Bulwer and Disraeli, was then unknown.

“Tremaine,” like all new conceptions which are accordant with the average
mentality of great Britons, became epidemic, and floated over the reading
world as a new sensation. It was succeeded by “De Vere,” while Walter
Scott was winding up the business of romance. The success of these works
started a fresh “novel” epoch, now, too, worn out, only lingering till
such successors as Walter Besant and Louis Stevenson are ready to sweep
them from view. This is so true that it is almost a disgrace to write a

It must not, however, be forgotten that Dickens fired a bomb into library
shelves, and that Thackeray gave us his own character in novelistic shape.

All great things appear in epochs, which hitherto have had a limited
duration. Witness the rise and fall of sculpture in Greece, of epic and
drama there; of painting in Italy, beginning with Titian and Raphael as
late as the sixteenth century; of music in Germany and Italy, now on the
point of extinction. Poetry, too, has had its day from Shakespeare to
Coleridge, and is now dead. The present is the epoch of invention, and
that will die out.

Music has never been of the highest quality in a free country. The
northern nations, England, America, the great Colonies, produce no
musical genius; Italy and Germany have ceased to do so since they came
into the enjoyment of freedom.

Science itself, now rampant, is but of an epoch. But, amid all this,
religion is enduring.

Some will say, We now have the Press; that will maintain and resuscitate
all that is good or beautiful! Not so; it is but of an epoch, and is
already _blasé_. It does not lead; it only “follows the leader,” as in a
game played by a child.

Nothing that has been and has died out, will be revived. The skeleton, an
osseous Apollo, will remain, and that is all.

These dry bones cannot live, O son of man!


The masters of the school in my time were a certain set of reverends
named Rice, Lynam, and the Trollopes. I was more or less under all, none
of whom were in sympathy with boys. Rice was called “cuddy,” a word in
our vocabulary signifying “severe.” He beat the boys with a fury worthy
of a bastard son of the Eumenides.

To see that man of the fist, rod, and cane spending his force on a little
boy, now leaving the autograph of his four fingers, in red and white, on
the infant’s cheek, sending him reeling half-way up the room, while the
robes he wore were flung fluttering into the air, was a sight worthy of
the demons, and would have made for them a _matinée_.

Lynam was a quiet man. He heard the boys their lessons, but never
explained them. Under him I had the Greek and Latin grammars so well by
heart, that, give me a week to look them over, I could repeat them now!
We had to say them, year after year, but there was no teaching. When he
got rid of a class he was at once at his own work, and that probably was
“The Lives of the Roman Emperors,” published after his decease.

Trollope was of the neuter gender. He must have been paralyzed at some
period of his life, for his articulation was jumbled; he rolled one
word into another before it took sound, and he dragged a leg after him
as a Scotchman would a haddock. But his father, the doctor, carried the
divinity, in which he had graduated, about his person. His shovel hat,
his robes, all bespoke that heavenly dandy, a dignitary of the Church
Catholic and Apostolic. He looked worthy the order of the black silk

In those days, and long after, an English clergyman dressed like a
gentleman; he now wears a black livery, and he looks like a bishop’s
footman, in mourning, with his master, for some dead archbishop.

The school was truly classical and nothing else, except for the teaching
of “spongy” Reynolds and “hacky” Clark—the writing and arithmetic
masters—the affix of this first being due to a nose which was amorphous
and appeared to belong to the class _Porifera_, or sponges, while that
of the second was due to a guttural crackling sound of the man’s voice.

To do Reynolds justice, he was not impatient, and he was painstaking with
his pupils. To facilitate his arithmetical instruction he wrote two lines
of verse which were _naïve_—they ran thus:—

    “Profit and loss accounts are plain;
    We debit loss and credit gain.”

But his supreme merit was that of substituting geographical for moral
texts in our copy-books. One I remember, for small text, was, “Batavia in
Java, capital of the Dutch settlements.”

Reynolds was somebody. He married his daughter to Thomas Hood, and his
son was, I believe, the Reynolds of Sunday newspaper fame.

With this exception the school was purely classical; nothing whatever was
taught but Greek and Latin. History, geography, English, and its grammar,
were unheard of. We had to teach ourselves to read and spell, and none
will dispute that the prayers before scanty meat were beautifully given
by the Grecians, those head boys who proceeded to the University.
Grammar we learnt only from the Greek and Latin, but it was sufficient;
composition we derived from the same source, whence, perhaps, our habit
of inversion, so offensive nowadays to poetic dribblers, who doat on
Wordsworthy prose.

The steward of the school, who was ruler, a sort of president of the
growing-up republic, named Higgins, was an oldish man, grey-pated, with
a youthful slim figure, fair skin, and a straight disciplinarian mouth.
He presided at meal-time, seated at a desk on the large daïs at the upper
end of the hall, like a modern Pontius Pilate. There he was, to receive
criminals led to judgment by the monitors, and to flog them without
mercy. He was greatly feared and, of course, greatly hated. He reminded
one of a snake in his movements, which were rapid and flexible. No
complaint was made to him of the boys, by beadles or monitors, but what
was believed by him; he required no proof.

It was a sort of Russian system; every official, every monitor, was a
spy, and the steward was the willing knout, a creature emotional as a
reptile, servile as a dog, and as a cat cruel.

Nevertheless, there was one extenuating circumstance—he had a pretty
daughter, with whom a friend and school-fellow of mine was in love.

I have remarked on the strictly classical character of the school; but,
after all, if one learns only one good thing well, one wishes to know
others, and can teach one’s self. Then, classics have another advantage:
Horace alone can make a gentleman. But what is more remarkable than
all the other omissions in the school is, that the boys were never,
individually, taught a word of religion. When it is remembered what a
powerful influence the wealth of the clergy exercises, one must pause
in wonder over the fact of religious teaching being a thing unknown.
Religious machinery was everywhere visible. There was a grand organ in
the gallery at one end of the dining-hall, over the doorway; there was
an organist, Mr. Glen, to accompany the hymn or psalm during the daily
services before meat, consisting of a bit of Bible and a thanksgiving,
the Grecians being pro-chaplains. There was a form of prayer read by any
boy in the wards who was handy at bed-time, and a chapter selected at his
option; but no teaching of the Scriptures or of the Church dogmas, if
we may except the services at Christ Church on Sundays. There may have
been such an appointment as chaplain to Christ’s Hospital; if so it was
strictly honorary, and kept a profound secret.

By the way, there was some religious improvement to be derived personally
through the committing of a misdemeanour, the punishment for which was
the getting a chapter in the Bible by heart. I profited by this myself in
a curious manner, for, being a very sensitive boy, I made a bad reader,
so, when called upon to perform the evening service, I always read the
chapter which I knew by heart, and that so impressively and faultlessly,
that I came off with much _éclat_.

I can still repeat that chapter, but no other.


Perhaps ten thousand boys have passed through the school since I bade
farewell to its cloisters, but I am unable to say whether the system
of non-religious teaching has been changed. Our reverend classical
masters manifested no religious tastes; it may be due to their not having
imbibed any when they were pupils like ourselves in the school. I do
recollect Mr. Lynam, of whom I was a pupil for several years, correcting
my pronunciation of _Jōb_, which I called _Jŏb_. If we were reading
something from Scripture before him, I have wholly forgotten it; the
occasion must have been so rare.

What the effect of religious ignorance may have been on so many before
and after me, it is difficult to surmise. I have no recollection of any
boy, in after-life, becoming a bishop or a millionaire. Nature was open
to them; she is constantly carrying on revelations, and all must begin
with these before entertaining Divine ones. The greater our acquaintance
is with natural teaching, the better we are able to judge of religious.
A well-educated scientific man would decide a religious question in
five minutes which would take five hundred years for all the doctors
of divinity to get to the bottom of. A large knowledge of Nature is
requisite even to find a meaning for any inspired passage, and it is
doubtful if any divine ever had training enough to understand fully
any one important passage of Holy Writ. Those men who are recognized
as having undergone inspiration were never able to state lucidly what
they heard, but recorded it in such shape as must for ever puzzle the
brains of the priesthood. If such men as the Herschels had been made the
vehicles of a revelation, it would have been expressed to the world in
such tangible language as shuts out all dispute.

The advantages of knowledge derived from observations made within the
sacred precincts of Nature is that there is always a revelation going
on, made by a silent, invisible power that we can question without
offence. But the custodes of the holy archives greatly disapprove of such
proceeding. The Catholic forbids the perusal of Scripture; the Protestant
the perusal of Nature; and that reverend gorilla, the agnostic,
inculcates the wisdom of studying all things and learning nothing. Surely
he is the missing link!

I admire the clergy as gentlemen and men of education, but the fault is
that they proceed from the university to the Church, and drop science
and literature out of their daily life, returning to ignorance at the
same pace as they quitted it as children. The cultivated class find it
impossible to converse with them on any profitable grounds.


My mother’s youngest brother was an officer of artillery, and, as
adjutant, was always stationed at Woolwich. He had married the daughter
of a Mr. Samuel Enderby, an oil-merchant, and a man of great wealth,
living on Croom’s Hill, Greenwich, when first I knew his family, and
afterwards moving to a mansion on Blackheath.

When a day’s holiday occurred, I and my cousin walked down to my
uncle’s house, taking that of the Enderbys on our way. We were paid our
travelling expenses both ways, though we never rode, but kept the money
in our pockets, together with the heavy tips that we got at both houses.

My uncle did not attain the rank of captain, even, till middle age.
Promotion in the artillery, going by rotation, was slow, and so long
remained, owing to the Duke of Wellington’s narrow ideas, and _brevet_ at
last had to be substituted for real rank.

My uncle, however, died a lieutenant-general, with a good-service
pension, followed by the command of a brigade.

My son, Alfred Egmont Hake, has given a true and pleasing account of
my uncle, Henry William Gordon, and his family relations, derived from
information supplied by me for his “Story of Chinese Gordon,” who was one
of my uncle’s younger sons.

I had a strong love for this uncle, and he reciprocated the feeling; nay,
more, he always overlooked my faults, which were not a few in the eyes
of those relatives who were incompetent to judge me, and expected me to
play the commonplace game in life for which, unfortunately, I was wholly

Charles Gordon’s education was military only. His rapidity of perception
and combination, so conspicuous in his command of an army, were left
otherwise barren; he was, therefore, unable to grasp the great truths
that surround our actual being, sacrificing their beauty and enjoyment
to a meaningless superstition. He had even humour of the most delicate
kind, without which no man of genius is ever born, for it is the crowning
faculty of man’s intellect.

As possessing a judgment myself which reaches no conclusion before
passing through an unprejudiced analysis of all things great and small
concerning it, I have never been able to conceive a soldier’s duties
accordant with a Christian’s, or to realize such an idea as that of a
man leading one army of paid assassins against another, with a love of
Christ, or of his Maker, or of mankind in his heart. The fact that men
offer their own lives only shows how earnest they are in the profession
of shedding blood. Those of the Mahometan class might infuse religion
into slaughter; but not one of the disciples or evangelists could have
done it, except one.

    “Rich must a hero be in superstition
    Who deems ’twas God who gave him his commission.”

Throughout his childhood and youth, Charles Gordon associated with
soldiers. His family were of the military class; he imbibed the love of
their profession. He had an acute mind, with faculties which, if trained,
would have served for a philosopher; but he had not the originality that
leads a man to educate himself, and to cast all falsehood out of his
nature. A slight knowledge of physiology would have sufficed to root out
most of his theological ideas; but that slight knowledge, even, he did
not possess; and what he most wished might be, he believed. His name is
great, but his reputation will rest finally on his military genius and
his many virtues.

But to return to my subject. A day’s holiday at Woolwich was a pleasant
pastime. It sometimes included a visit to Greenwich Hospital, sometimes a
review, and more than once a sight of Richardson’s Theatre at Greenwich
Fair-time, when all that is tragical in the world was enacted with all
the rant that tradition had handed down from stage to stage.


I passed my last remaining holidays with my mother at Exeter, the old
dean and chapter town of the west. Exeter continues in my mind to be a
mediæval city, its inhabitants a people of the middle ages. To enjoy the
height of respectability it was necessary to have a visiting connection
with the bishop of the diocese, and this secured the unenviable
acquaintance of the dean, the Mr. Dean, the divinest of doctors, and the
whole chapter, which, judging from its antecedents, owed its importance
to and was in itself a mere Chapter of Accidents. To think how men,
ignorant of all things save privilege and dogma, can testimonialize
their fellow-citizens by means of a nodding smile! To be admitted into
the close to eat mutton and red-currant jelly with the canons of the
cathedral was a fortune of social rank, sufficiently ample to confer
honour on the dozens who knew them. How strange is all this to minds of
any magnitude! A string of minor infallibles, each the owner of dearly
beloved brethren whom he condescends to despise, ruling over the pauper
intellects and imaginations of a city!

Yet all these idolaters are great economists; instead of earning their
own respectability, they seek to get it dirt-cheap by having it conferred
upon them.

I found my mother in better circumstances; her younger uncle had died,
and as he could not take his hoard away with him, he left it to be
divided among his near relations, but the only one, the Rev. Robert
Clarke, who bore his name, came best off; and he deserved it, not only
for his own sake, but because he was already better off than most of
those who profited under the will! This cousin was the kindest, the most
clerically gentlemanlike of the cloth he favoured. The name of Clarke is
on record at Hexham as that of liberal Church patrons.

But mediæval cities and people of the middle ages, still playing out the
ancestral game, have their theatres. To that of Exeter I went to see
Yates perform the part of Falstaff. I was deeply bitten by the fun, and
the next day performed much of the character myself before my mother, and
kept her in a continual roar of laughter.

The eminent surgeon, Mr. Shelden, was, in times preceding, a
practitioner in the place; as such he was a friend of the Gordons. He
left a relict, whom my mother often took me to see—a charming lady, who
knew how to make herself delightful to a child. Mr. Shelden was Professor
of Anatomy at the College of Surgeons in London. In the museum of the
college there is a mummy which he made, and which he called “Madame
Mahogany.” It excited much curiosity at one time. On visiting the museum,
I readily found it on the left of the entrance door. There is a portrait
of this eminent man in the Devon and Exeter Hospital, painted by the
artist from memory after Shelden’s death, and it was said to be an
excellent likeness by those who remembered him.

It may interest some to know that my grandfather resided for many years
at Bowhill House in St. Thomas’s. The place was purchased over his head,
and made the county lunatic asylum, which purpose I believe it serves to
this day.

With this place were associated some of my mother’s happiest as well
as most miserable recollections. The names of those who were known to
her family are still rife in the old red sandstone country, and have
been distinguished in the new generation. I must mention that of Mr.
Northmore, of Cleve, who was a generous-minded reformer in days when to
be a radical was worse than to lead a life of blasphemy. He was the first
scientific man who succeeded in condensing a gas. The one he operated on
was chlorine; his results were published in _Nicholson’s Journal_ in the
year 1809. So little interest attached to great discoveries in those days
that his researches were forgotten, and Faraday long afterwards succeeded
in the same work. He had never heard the name of Northmore, and published
his own results as the first obtained in that direction. This I learned
from Mr. Northmore himself, when I was grown up. That philosopher did
not even claim his discovery when the scientific world was ringing with
Faraday’s praise.

Among other friends of her youth my mother long remembered with affection
her school-fellow, Ann Gifford, the daughter of a grocer in Exeter. The
name was afterwards known through the brother becoming master of the
rolls and obtaining a peerage as counsel for great George our king,
during the prosecution of the queen.

In those days counsel were at their boldest, when Denman, who had to
examine the Duke of York, could say to him in open court, “Stand forth,
thou slanderer!”

I have heard say that one of the most amusing transfigurations ever
produced, without a miracle, was that of Mr. Wareman Gifford, from a
grocer behind the counter to the brother of a lord.


At school was laid the foundation of two lifelong friendships; one with
Henry Edmondes, who afterwards was a barrister, and became deputy clerk
of the peace for Middlesex during Sergeant Adams’s chairmanship—another
with Hugh Worthington Statham, who proceeded to medicine, finally
occupying the mastership of the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries.
Edmondes was of short stature, with an intellect the better of which I
have never known. He had all the humour of Charles Dickens, and, had he
lived, might have proved a closer rival than Thackeray to that inimitable
writer. He had advantages that Dickens never acquired; he was a scholar,
well read in English, French, and Italian, as well as in classics, and
was free from that silly sentimentalism which at times placed Dickens
below par.

Statham, like myself, is still alive: never losing sight of the _literæ
humaniores_, he threw his excellent abilities into the healing art, and
touched the first place in his branch of the profession. Next to my
brother, he is my oldest friend. Our first meeting must have been seventy
years ago.[1]

I have not yet alluded to the King’s Ward, a sort of aristocratic
section of the school, in which the boys were trained for the navy.
Candidates were received into it at their own option. They formed a
society apart, not associating with the other boys; consequently their
deeds were traditional, relating to how in times past they had been in
revolt, defying their masters, escaping from the school, and, after being
retaken, how they were locked up in the prison cell and tamed on bread
and water.

Their studies were under a mathematical master, apart from the other
boys. They were distinguished by a metal badge with some emblem upon it,
which was worn by them on the left shoulder.

They were always considered a very “gallous” set, which, in the school
vocabulary, signified “daring.”

I preferred my solitary walks in the cloisters to joining in the games,
and this secluded habit sometimes raised a faction against me, and I
had only the choice left me of yielding or of being mobbed. There was a
game in which some hundreds held on to each other by the tails of their
coats, while the leader determined the direction they should take by
going himself the way which pleased him. I was always a candidate for
the leadership, and my plan was to drag the long chain of boys through
segments of circles to left and back to right; the effect of this was,
by a swift and sudden turn, to throw half the boys off their legs to the
ground, the hinder ones coming in for the fall as the impetus given by
the foremost reached them.

It appears remarkable, at first thought, that with so many hundreds one
should learn the name of every boy; but it is nothing compared with
what is achieved by study. Some forty years ago I had a conversation
with Professor Henslow, of Cambridge, on the subject of getting names
by heart. At that time there were sixty thousand plants classified. He
said that a botanist would by degrees fix all these names on his memory
without any effort.

A memorable group among us was that of three brothers named Leighton,
a family of such beauty as can only be rarely seen. Two of them were
Grecians. The eldest, James Leighton, was tall, with dark hair and
complexion, and of a graceful figure. He proceeded to the university
early in my time, so I saw little of him, but that little has lasted my
memory for seventy years. David Leighton came next; he was of a fair
complexion, with large grey eyes, with nose and lips exquisitely curved,
and a countenance expressive of talent and good nature.

The Grecians might reach their twentieth year at the school, and, as
men, had the advantage of their dress being made of fine cloth; it was
otherwise the same as that of the boys, except that they had broad red
girdles, stamped like those of the monitors. In such dress the Grecians
had a truly noble appearance; one might think of them as high officials
at the court of Edward the Sixth.

The youngest of the group was Frederick Leighton, my junior, and my
particular friend. He had dark and refined features, with curling hair.

I met David Leighton again at Baden Baden in 1832, among the fashionable
crowds from all nations. He was chaplain to the English residents of the
place. I have heard nothing more of this fine family from that time to

I asked him what he had done at Cambridge. His answer was, that he had
disgusted his whole family.

Another contemporary, one who made some figure in professional life, was
Lawson Cape. As a boy he was the greediest of readers. His father brought
him historical works week after week, and he devoured their contents as
fast as they reached him. He was short, fair-haired, freckled, quick at
reading, quick at learning, quick at looking about him. It was difficult
to follow his movements, so excited were they on all occasions. I met him
again at Florence, during the carnival. I saw him abroad once more at
Baden Baden, after which he settled in London as an accoucheur, when I
came across him for the last time.

He was related to Sir Charles Locock, and through his influence acquired
an obstetric practice in town.

[1] He died at the beginning of 1892, after entering his eighty-fourth
year. He was two months my senior. I have later on made a distinction
between early friends and later ones, dwelling on the fact that what
happens to us before we have attained our full growth is nourished as
a part of us, and so becomes ingrained in our natures.


Dr. Basham, physician to the Westminster Hospital, was another of us. I
lost sight of him between the years 1824 and 1860, when I met him in the
laboratory, and knew him again at a glance.

Sir Henry Cole, whom I had not seen for five and thirty years, another
boy, came across me at one of Lady Ripon’s receptions; I recognized him
too, though he was disguised in the broad red ribbon and star of the Bath.

These two men reached notoriety, each in his calling, Basham as a
physician, Cole as an official in the office of Records. But they and
their like were of the vanishing class, their names are disappearing;
they filled only a little space in their own generation, which they
accompany to oblivion.

My school days are a memory that I have never refreshed by visiting
those ancient halls and cloisters; once only since I left them have I
passed through from Newgate Street to Little Britain. I found all there
was doubly dead. It was dead in its own past, and dead in mine. I saw a
moral blank in which love was absent, absent as it had ever been between
the pupil and his masters. During my holidays at Seaford, I experienced
thirty days at a time of love and kindness; the recollection of this drew
me to it again. I was seldom at Brighton without going over there with my
brother and his wife, or with his children and mine, to look once more
at the house on the Crouch, and to walk over that beautiful south down
that ascends from the beach and the sea to Cuckmere.

When we no longer knew one living creature there, we still found pleasure
in asking the oldest inhabitants if they remembered Captain and Mrs.

When I quitted school and gave up the mediæval costume, I was put into
fine clothes, and spent a fortnight at Woolwich, taken about from sight
to sight by my uncle, dining often at the artillery mess, taking a spare
bed at the quarters of Colonel Wylde, and waited on by his man, when I
learned, and have since often found, that a soldier makes the best valet
in the world. Whatever familiarity you may show him, he never becomes
familiar with you; he is always respectful. No one knew this better
than my famed cousin, Charles Gordon. He, when at home, would talk to
the soldier-footman of certain members of his mother’s family, who were
expected as guests, and, calling them good-naturedly by opprobrious
names, would ask if they were in the house; but the servant, however hard
driven by the persistency of his young master, would to the last pretend
not to understand to whom he made allusion.

I did not like that visit to Woolwich: my uncle was very severe, though
only at the moment, on the faults of young people, though a kinder heart
could not well be. The evenings were formal; we sat round a table, every
one in some manner occupied. Unused to fine furniture I kicked the leg
of the table. The uncle showed anger on his expressive face, while he
asked, “Can’t you reconnoitre?” I was given an elegant copy of “Gil Bias”
to read; unused to such editions, unused to reading in the presence of
fine people, I damped my finger at my lips. “Give me the book,” shouted
the good uncle; “I’ll show you how to turn over the leaves!” In this he
performed the feat as any other gentleman would do, and handed the book

This and similar incidents so troubled me that I contemplated taking
flight; but my patience under trial prevailed, and I bided the time for a
visit to Seaford, which soon came about.

This was in 1824, when Charles Gordon was not yet a denizen of our world.

Colonel Wylde, my host at the barracks when the family house on the
common was full, played a part which relieved him from the humdrum of
military life. He spoke Spanish fluently, and, at a time when such a man
was much wanted by the Government, he was employed on a mission to Spain;
and afterwards, when Prince Albert became one of our royal family, he
was appointed as his equerry, and became a great favourite at court. He
was my uncle’s closest friend; but on the command of a brigade falling
vacant, Wylde, then general, was given the appointment, though one below
my uncle in seniority, on whom by custom it should have devolved, and
this one incident cooled the warm friendship of a long life.

Owing to his urbanity, his knowledge of life, and his pleasant face,
Wylde became a great favourite with the royal family, the queen, the
princes and princesses, all of whom loaded him with presents. Prince
Albert pressed on him a baronetcy, which, from a mistake in the bestowal
of his early affections, he could not accept. It was an arbitrary act of
the Duke of Cambridge to break through the rules of the service and give
him a brigade which was due to another, to a friend; perhaps he should
have refused, but doubtless the pressure on all sides was heavy, not to
mention that Wylde had a family which would have been large if divided
between two.

What made this brigade business more aggravating was, that the duke had
contracted an intimacy with my uncle and his family, and was really his


Leaving Woolwich, I went on a long visit to my relations, the Wallingers,
with whom I had passed so many happy holidays while at school.

Seaford occupies a line on the southern coast most charming to the eye,
but its beauty has been its ruin. A picturesque expanse of back water
extends from its magnificent cliff to Newhaven, and the time came when
its decaying vegetation generated typhoid fever, which destroyed the
reputation of the place, while it decimated the inhabitants.

Another calamity followed: a high spring tide, not so many years ago,
washed away the houses in front of the sea, and overflowed the streets.
Repairs have been made, new structures raised, private houses, hotels,
and a convalescent hospital; but it is no longer the Seaford it was of
old, in its rotten-borough days.

I was once more there with my kind aunt, and an uncle whose brow smiled
while it frowned. There were two branches of Wallinger; my uncle was a
cadet of the elder branch, then represented by the Rev. John Wallinger,
the disinherited heir of Hare Hall, who went from the law to the Church
for the love of Calvin.

The younger branch was represented more to one’s taste by the Rev.
William Wallinger and his brother Arnold, a sergeant-at-law. John was
too busily engaged on Calvin’s affairs to visit Seaford at this time,
but William was in a manner settled there with his pupil, the young Lord
Pelham. Other members of the family came there to make up a seaside
season; among them the wife and daughters of William Roberts, who was
Teller of the Exchequer, an office held by his father before him, both
renowned epicures, who held to the axiom that a good cook was three
hundred and sixty-five blessings a year. Mrs. Roberts was a sister of the
Rev. John, and brought with her a string of seven daughters, all less
beautiful than their mother. Then the family of Mr. Nussey, the king’s
apothecary, added to the list of visitors, he being an old friend of all.

Mrs. Nussey was a very lovely woman. She was the daughter of Mr. Walker,
her husband’s predecessor at court; in fact, the Walkers and Nusseys, in
turn or together, had been apothecaries to the royal family time out of
mind, and it was said that the late Mr. Walker was the only man who knew
how to reach the vein in George the Fourth’s fat arm.

Nussey, whom I knew very intimately later in life, told me that the king
confided to him all his secrets, and that the knowledge, if written down,
would set all England in a blaze. He was with the royal patient to the
last, the king never letting go of his hand for twenty-four hours, which
gave him an agony of cramp all but insupportable.

Nussey was a man deservedly esteemed; he had that gracious manner which
comes often from enjoying the confidence of the great.

I must say a few words more about William Wallinger. Any attempt to
describe his countenance would be made utterly in vain; it is in this
that the artist may assert his superiority to the writer. No one ever
saw him without surprise to find himself in company with so much grace
and manly beauty. He was too gentlemanly for a king, too quietly
self-possessed for a noble, too impressive in manner for any other
human being but himself. He inherited a good fortune; he might have had
the pick of the country in preferment had he so chosen, but he refused
profitable livings, among others that of Stanmer, a village in Lord
Chichester’s park, preferring modest pulpits and independence. He was
much thought of by the people at Hastings for a period. There Lord
Chichester had a chapel built for him; but he often changed his residence
and varied his duties. He was attached to Tunbridge Wells, where his
sister, Mrs. Jederé Fisher, resided at her seat called Great Culverden.
She was the widow of Mr. Jederé Fisher, of Ealing Park, Middlesex, a
charming residence, sold later on to Sir William Lawrence, the eminent
surgeon, now cut up into streets and villas.

Her son is a well-known Kentish magnate.


As a rudiment of that vaulting ambition and its consequences which grew
up in me by degrees, and has, I lament to say, remained with me, though
now grown prudent and steady, the better aims of which I have striven to
fulfil, I may mention here, in taking leave of my boyhood, that there
was a bath at Islington called Peerless Pool, to which in summer the
boys of the school were sent to bathe. It was a large mass of water,
oblong in shape, with a wide promenade. There we would spend a whole
afternoon, sent there by the authorities when the half-holiday was at
hand. There, to excite the wonder and applause of the other boys, I
punished myself by taking the longest run to the water’s edge that was
obtainable within the enclosure, and leaping somersault fashion into
the air to a great height, and reaching the water in a seated posture.
In doing this I entailed on myself a punishment equal to being flogged.
Being somewhat sheepish at the age of fifteen, I did not stand very high
in the estimation of my uncle, General Gordon, while staying with him at
Woolwich, when one day he took me down to the Thames to bathe. There was
a platform, probably for the soldiers to jump from into the water; this
afforded me a long run, and I resolved on performing my feat. My uncle
was perfectly amazed at it, and often alluded to it with surprise in
later years.

After this display of my pluck, he was much in favour of my going into
the army.

By this time my mother was gravitating southwards with my sister and
brother, that she might be near her sisters; she accordingly took a house
at Lewes, where there was a good grammar school suitable for my brother.

The process of intellectual growth in all probability differs in
individuals; what it was in me I am able to state. It is my opinion that
with the same organism as I now have, with which I can grasp and master
any subject, not much matter what it is, I should have made but a poor
show of intellect but for certain elements of a moral nature. The first
of these is a sense of one’s own nothingness without knowledge; the
second is a desire for even more knowledge than most persons possess.

All this is emotional, but it supplies an impulse to intellectual motor
power, which, when traced out, proves to be of a very simple kind,
consisting of impressions derived from without being reiterated within,
and inspected over and over again. Take several brains of the same
capacity: one man has not the impulse of ambition or desire. Say to him—

“All the world’s a stage.” His ear takes the words to his brain, and they
are lodged there; he can repeat them from memory of sound. Say to another—

“All the world’s a stage.” He will be impressed, first by words, on
receiving them, and will repeat them mentally, and in doing so will see
that he is reiterating a pre-existing mental impression; one which at
some time he had derived through the eye; he will see a stage with men
and women on it—the players. He will see these making “their exits and
their entrances,” and by reiterated observation of old impressions,
which run parallel, he will observe men and women actively employed in
the world. By a like process of observing old impressions mentally, he
will not only witness the phenomena of human life, but will undergo the
appropriate emotion even before the phenomena are realized, the emotion
leading up to the idea.

Now all this requires previous knowledge, without which no extended
train of thought can be effectively carried out; whence it is that those
who are ambitious and have a desire for knowledge, will acquire it at
every expense, both of time and labour, and will so become accustomed to
keeping their native intellect in play.


I had taken leave of boyhood and entered on the period of youth—a time
when neither children nor men were found to be suitable companions. The
three epochs in our lives are pretty equally divided: that of childhood,
owing to the feebler action of the forces, appears to pass away very
slowly, and ending at our fifteenth or sixteenth year seems interminable;
longer than the time it takes to advance from forty to seventy years of
age, and quite as long as to go onwards from fifteen to forty years.

Of course there is an earlier and a later youth, and it is to the first
that the preceding remark chiefly applies, the period when ignorance is
not strange.

At this early time we do not recognize nature otherwise than as being
ourselves, or in any way apart from us; it is later that the line of
demarkation draws itself between the inner and outer world; and it is
then that time seems to move.

I suppose it was owing to a species of honesty, but I found, very
tryingly, at this time, that my self-assurance and my knowledge were in
strict proportion; I was not, in fact, presumptuous; but of great modesty.

I must put to my credit a habit of not allowing a moment of ignorance to
pass by without rectifying it by questioning either books or persons, and
I often learnt more from others than from books. To this day I never
come across a man possessed of special experience without questioning him
as if I were engaged in a research. Not long ago, a gentleman who had
been twenty years in the Fiji Islands, said of me that I had extracted
more information from him respecting the people and country in an hour’s
conversation, than had been elicited from him by all his friends put
together, during the year he had spent in London as commissioner from the
islands during the Colonial Exhibition.

I trace the increase of this habit upon me to the practice of minute
diagnosis which belongs to the physician. By its means, at all events, I
accumulated corners of knowledge, which few appeared to possess besides

In a country town there is often a man or two of eminent attainments who
is buried alive. It was so at Lewes, a feeble, antiquated presentiment
of civilization in itself; but it contained Gideon Mantell, the great
geologist, who, searching Tilgate Forest, became the discoverer of the
Iguanodon, which is now visible in the South Kensington Museum.

In those days all county towns were alike in essentials, and Lewes was
not a bad typical example. With a small population it returned two
members to Parliament, both baronets, both wearing pigtails, both having
parks within a drive. There was Sir John Shelley of Maresfield Park, and
Sir George Shiffner of Combe Place. Great men were greater in those days
than they are now, or will ever be again. Sir John looked a great man.
Sir George looked only an important one.

Sir John was tall, slim, upright, with the look of a diagnostic, in
whose presence a horse resolved itself into its elements. The whip in
his hand told the man. When either of these worthies appeared in the
quiet streets—and quiet they were, except on market days—the shop-keepers
were seen standing at their doors as if they were their own customers.
The apparition of Sir John or Sir George was like that of Hermes, when,
formerly, the god visited Athens.

Like everything else that is worn out, Lewes was discontented with
its lot. Not many miles south was Seaford, a rotten borough, and, in
the distance, Old Sarum, and this was more than the less prosperous
inhabitants of Lewes could endure. They must have reform, and it came.

Like many individuals, they did not know when they were well off.

After having two baronets at their command, both with pigtails, they are
no longer a parliamentary borough; even their ancient grammar school is
turned into a commercial Academy, no longer a Plato at its head.

What need is there of eternal retribution when men are everlastingly
punishing themselves?


Like most other county towns Lewes had many mansions. These in olden
times were the winter residences of nobles and squires, and, at their
death, of their relicts, for the women always survived the men. It
was considered in those days that the taste of port wine struck the
highest note on the palatal gamut, and that gout, though painful, was
a distinction. The best lives seldom exceeded sixty-nine. The vesical
and gall compartments at that age, generally, had completed their
mineralogical collection, and death was not pleasant.

Many of these mansions had the charms of not having been decorated or
repaired for a hundred years, whence they looked much the same as when
inhabited by the dowagers of bygone generations. So sensible were some of
the later occupants of this, that they preserved them in their pristine
state, and sat in them in old armchairs till they imagined themselves to
be ancestors; and in an instance or two donned the pigtail to complete
the illusion. So honourable was this emblem, that no tradesman, however
mean his calling, could wear it without being spoken of as the old
gentleman, and he doubtless felt himself to be such, though he might be
serving a customer with a jar of spermaceti oil.

As aforesaid, Gideon Mantell was an inhabitant of Lewes, struggling for
fame by his researches within the chalk strata, and for a livelihood by
his practice as a surgeon and apothecary, in which he had a fair amount
of success, no doubt due to his great abilities, but in the estimation
of many to the flash of his surroundings. His gig and groom were models
as they waited at his door. His coat of arms embraced your vision as it
shone in the fan-light and whispered of greatness within. He was tall,
graciously graceful, and flexible, a naturalist, realizing his own
lordship of the creation.

Mantell had a brother in his business, a man, short and deformed, of
a quiet, obliging manner. His name was Joshua. He had a son who also
made himself heard in later times from the wilds of New Zealand, as a
successful scientific explorer.

Some years later the good Earl of Egremont, lord of Petworth Castle,
great in his generosity, presented Mantell with a large sum of money to
start him in a spacious mansion at Brighton, where he might set up his
fine museum, and pursue his profession in a wider field. Removing to this
from Lewes he still pursued his science, but the sort of ground he needed
was preoccupied, and, disposing of his collection to the trustees of the
British Museum, he migrated finally to a suburb of London, I think it was
to Clapham.

Had Government allowed such a man as Mantell a thousand a year for the
purposes of science, he would have brought the geology of his day to
perfection! How creditably they might have amended the sacrifice by
withholding the £70,000 from the British Gallery for the purchase of a
sham Raphael, and a preposterous Rembrandt, which the pencils of those
artists never touched—an invalid housemaid on a throne as Virgin, and a
Charles the King on a cart-horse! Raphael painted only beauty, Rembrandt
only grace. But the English are the meanest judges of art in Europe. An
Italian picture-dealer would have set them right in a few minutes.

What have the trustees done with those fabulous Correggios, which once
made such a figure and were shelved to the entrance passage, when the
National Gallery was still in Mr. Angerstein’s mansion in Pall Mall?

    “Per arte e l’inganno,
    Si vive mezzo l’anno;
    Per inganno e l’arte
    Si vive l’altro parte.”

There were other worthies in this town of Lewes: Mr. Horsfield, author of
the “History and Antiquities of Lewes;” Mr. Lower, a stationer, who wrote
on Sussex worthies; and the master of the Grammar School, Dr. Proctor,
whose voice crackled emphasis and accent. He was one of the rolling
stones that gather no moss; Lewes failed him and he took a mansion
towards Kemp town; he was tempted from his school there to Jersey, and
became Principal of its College, but this did not fit him for any length
of time. My brother, who was his pupil, met him now and then in after
days in the streets of London; he was then always on his way to see the


All this time I was a student of medical science under a truly eminent
man, Thomas Hodson, the highest authority in his profession within
the bounds of Sussex. His career and station gave him every claim
to be classed with the worthies of his age. He was the friend and
fellow-student of Astley Cooper, and the other aristocrats of surgical
art. All acknowledged him as their equals, though his skill and abilities
were in a measure hidden from the admiration of the world. He was
numbered among the leading lithotomists, having extracted the stone by
means of the greatest operation in surgery, somewhere about a hundred
times, with unvarying success.

It was in reflecting on the skill of such men that I always regarded
surgery as a science far above all that physic can attain to.

Thomas Hodson is a name not to be forgotten. He loved his art
passionately, and he would discourse on it with all the fervour it
deserved. It is an art; but look at its foundation! The human frame is a
transparency to the surgeon’s eyes. He is never in the dark, but sees his
way clearly, with a perfect knowledge of what has to be done from first
to last. It is otherwise with physic: the physician can fulfil certain
indications, with certain remedies; these very few in number. For the
rest, how these operate, what work they perform in modifying function
he can never fully foresee. Nor will science ever reach such a pitch as
to enable him to trace the changes which occur in the system, under the
influence of a single dose.

He can swim, but he is mostly out of his depth, and that too often in
troubled waters.

On the other hand, physicians generally used to receive a better
education than surgeons; such of them as respect their position, make
themselves acquainted with every branch of knowledge, whether in
literature, science, or art; in social life all doubtful questions, when
all others are at a loss, are referred to them; and it is fully expected
of them that they will have a ready reply.

Hodson was one of the most amiable men I ever knew, and his manners were
sweet and elegant to such a degree as to make it deserving of mention
that on being thwarted he became the most passionate of men. The world,
then, seemed hardly large enough to hold him. Such a trifle as the loss
of a letter, or of a book, would set him off. Smiling, pale with anger,
he would exclaim, “Will you look about for me?” Then, rapping on the
table with his bent forefinger, forcibly enough to crack the mahogany,
he would shout, “I have looked high, I have looked low; I have looked
uphill, I have looked downhill, and I have looked on level ground. Help
me for my sake; if you won’t do so for my sake, help me for God’s sake;
and if you won’t help me for God’s sake, do so for Jesus Christ’s sake;
for they say he was a good ⸺!”

Hodson was a man of middle stature, fair, although old; bald, with a
finely shaped head, and silvery hair; with classic features, and a most
intelligent expression. His manner was courteous and, in its particular
fashion, graceful. It is no wonder that such a man, gifted as he was,
should have been the delight of the neighbouring gentry, and of the
greater men of the town. When summoned to Glynde or Firle, the residences
of Lords Hampden and Gage, he was always a desired guest at the table of
those nobles; and no more genial and amusing one was anywhere to be found.

Glynde, the inheritance of the late Speaker, Lord Hampden by creation,
sad to say at this hour dead, a descendant of the great patriot, is the
most charming house, perhaps, of any in the south. A large Elizabethan
mansion, a pleasant park, downs covered with the choicest breed of sheep
in the known world, was even made more celebrated by the tenant farmer
John Ellman, than by the lords of the soil.

In those times there was such a thing as south-down mutton!

John Ellman, of Glynde, was a man known to the whole agricultural world.
To those who never saw him, he was known by his full-length portrait, as
was Coke of Norfolk, and other celebrities of his day, to be seen in the
window of a corner shop, between St. James’s Street and Pall Mall, kept
by a gentleman who had the aspect of George the Fourth, and was supposed
to be a son of the monarch; giving one a good idea of what the king would
have been, had he been born a commoner.


Ellman, of Glynde, was a knee-breeches man, with top-boots, tall, coated
for horseback, and with a characteristic farmer’s hat, not scanty of
brim. As such I remember him; but when alone, or even speaking to
another, there seemed something wanting to him, and this was a—Cattle

I recollect his daughter—an extremely pretty girl, sixty-five years ago.
I used to wonder how such a delicacy could come of so purely masculine a
breed of men.

The south-down sheep is no doubt fully kept on at Glynde; the late Earl
of Chichester, too, is said to have kept up the breed, but it is to be
feared that it is less profitable than the fat, or wool-growing sorts,
which yield the worst mutton to the market, and the best wool; matured
for the butcher within a year.

    “Sic transit gloria brebis.”

Mr. Hodson took me with him to the funeral of the then last Lord Hampden,
who only enjoyed his estate for twelve months. I entered the vault; the
crimson velvet and gilt nails were as fresh on the coffin of the previous
lord as on the one now placed by its side. All the other red velvet
coffins had gone brown.

A gentleman, it was Mr. Cumberland, of the mint, who was related to
Lord Hampden, and used to stay with him at the old family seat in
Buckinghamshire, told me that there was always a table in the family pew
on Sunday morning, with wine glasses on it, and a bottle of port wine,
with which the friends regaled themselves during the weary service at
church, which, as a duty, they attended, so setting a good example to the
village folk.

It is a useless fashion to bury the dead in red velvet, as a finish off
to the oak, and the leaden coffins. However, all this cost is met out of
the pockets of the dead, who can no longer manage their own affairs, and
have all the appearance of bearing it with patient submission, whatever
their last wish might be!

Lewes stands on a spur of the downs, the river Ouse runs at its base.
Between this and the ascent, School Hill, a turning to the left leads to
an adjoining village, Southover, deserving of mention, as once the seat
of a monastery of historic interest. There, too, is what was Mr. Newton’s
residence, the Priory, a fine old Gothic structure, that is to say, if it
still is there.

In the parish of St. Anns, there are the remains of a castle, worthy the
attention only of antiquarians, and thence the road leads on to Brighton,
a journey of eight miles; but all this is sixty-five or sixty-six years

My uncle and aunt, Captain and Mrs. Wallinger, at this time left Seaford
and settled at Southover, where Mrs. Gwynne, having become a widow,
settled likewise. So there were three weird sisters who had never lived
in the same place since their marriage, once more grouped together.

I had acquired some anatomical knowledge, Mr. Hodson having recently
purchased a new skeleton, a very gentlemanly one, which gave one the idea
of its having been in very good society. I had induced it to yield me a
very substantial knowledge of its bones.

I had also fully mastered the “Pharmacopœia Collegii Regalis Medicorum
Londinensis,” not only the last but some preceding issues of the work. I
knew all the drugs, and the tinctures, and the spirits; so I was in some
measure prepared to study disease, and learn the uses of medicines. This
was in 1827, when I entered myself at St. George’s Hospital, and took a
room at 191, Sloane Street, over a hair-dresser’s shop. The name of my
landlord was Bloxup; of my landlady, Jones; from which it may be inferred
that it was Bloxup and Co., Limited.

I have noticed that happy couples who marry themselves to each other
often lead a more decent life than those who take the pledge. I never
lodged with a better conducted couple than the Bloxup-Joneses. Mrs. Jones
had all the ready ways of handling fronts for lady-customers, while Mr.
Bloxup attended to the hair-crop in a room behind.

Dr. Thomas Young, the illustrious inventor of the Undulatory Theory of
Light, was then a physician at St. George’s. I used to go round the wards
with him. He was thought to be very undecided in his opinions of a case;
the fact is, medicine is so uncertain a science, it was not good enough
for such an intellect as his to work on. Pupils learnt very little by
going round with the physicians; they heard nothing from them, and it
was regarded as a somewhat daring venture to put a question. The best
plan was to go round with the house-physician early in the day; he would
explain to the pupils the nature of the cases and what was being done
for their cure. A friend of mine told me that he asked Dr. Warren, while
going the round of the wards, what was the name of a skin-disease for
which he was prescribing; and that the doctor looked at him blandly, and
replied, “I am sure I don’t know, do you?”


In those palmy days the physicians formed a very aristocratic class as
constituting the gentlemanly branch of the profession. Halford, Warren,
Chambers, and their compeers, were dictators. When out of town they
left a list of names in the order in which another should be sent for
in their absence when any patient summoned them, not knowing they were
away. They began practice with a house and a carriage, prepared to spend
ten thousand pounds, and wait; having nothing to do, except to dance
attendance at the hospital from year to year, until their turn came round
for election. They never wrote a book, that would have been to give
their knowledge away, whereas, what they wanted was, to be paid. The
public at that time was fully of opinion that a man who wrote had nothing
else to do. Their turn came as soon as could be expected. Among these
tide-waiters some were left fortunes and retired, while some were worn
out and gave up the contest.

These men were often fellows of their college, always from Oxford or
Cambridge; a degree from either qualified them to become fellows of the
college of physicians, while all others were only licentiates.

The revolution came, and all this was overthrown. The young and active
physicians reported cases, and advertised their abilities by writing
books. To crown all, the queen succeeded to the throne, and Dr. James
Clark, her physician, only a licentiate of the college, had all the royal
appointments of the profession placed in his hands! With this, nepotism
was at an end. It may be boasted that free-trade in physic came before
free-trade in corn, and from that time medical science began to flourish
in this country.

There was no medical school at St. George’s; the anatomical students
went to Great Windmill Street, where Mr. Cæsar Hawkins lectured and
taught. The chemical students went to the Royal Institution in Albemarle
Street, where Faraday and Brand were professors. The lectures there were
delivered at eight in the morning; beautiful and perfect they were; the
attendance was very thin. I am proud to remember that I imbibed my first
ideas of chemistry at such a fountain head. Faraday was most charming,
most unpretending; his experiments never failed, nor did those of his
colleague, who was a model lecturer; gentlemanly, perfect of expression,
exact of execution.

While attending the prescribed courses, I went often to hear the eminent
lecturers of the various schools. Sir Astley Cooper was the popular man,
but neither he, with his noble figure, nor Green, with his oratory,
approached Abernethy, who was by nature a perfect master of the comic.

There was an unassumed drollery and archness in his way of looking up
with his head bent down, in the absence of a smile, nay in the solemnity
of his face, while he narrated cases in all the humour of circumstance
and situation. It was his own unstudied manner, and great would the actor
have been who could have imitated it.

Mr. Abernethy found his match in a friend of mine, Sir David Scott, then
a young baronet just beginning to enjoy his position in life. Visiting
the great surgeon, he was received with the usual contempt that was
bestowed on patients by him, who remarked, “I suppose you are an idle man
about town, perhaps an officer in the Guards?” He asked a few questions,
prescribed and told the patient, as usual, to read his book. Sir David
rose and depositing the fee, crumpled up the prescription and flung it in
the air.

“Why do you do that?” asked Abernethy.

“Because,” answered Scott, “you have not gone into my case.”

On this Abernethy called him back, investigated his complaint carefully,
and gave him a fresh prescription, saying, “Excuse me, but I cannot tell
you with what nonsense I have to bear from the fools who come here for my

I heard this from Sir David, one of my earliest friends, whom I shall
have occasion to speak of at large.

It was now that my uncle, Captain Wallinger, died, and the four sisters
were all widows. Close upon this the great event in their family
happened; the death of the uncle, William Clarke, who left considerable
wealth which was divided among his nephews and nieces, of which my mother
was one.

William Clarke reached the age of 95; he was well known in the city, but
he had no calling except that of belonging to the Mercers’ Company in
whose grounds in Cheapside he rests.

My mother, with my brother and sister, came to town and we settled in a
house in Chapel Street, Grosvenor Place, at which time Belgrave Square
was in the course of being built. Grosvenor Place was at that period a
picturesque row of brick-built houses, which have since been replaced by
others of a more stately kind. No. 1 was Tattersall’s, approached by an
archway at the side of the front door, the house being occupied by Mr.
Lane, who had been house-surgeon at St. George’s, next door. The hospital
itself was of old brick, but occupied its present large area with one
entrance in Grosvenor Place and another at Hyde Park Corner.

The Iron Duke’s house opposite, which was the said corner, was of as
dingy a brick as the hospital. His good taste encased it in stone on his
own account, and employed the architect, Mr. Burton, to erect the fine
entrance to the park adjoining on account of the Government.


I was in London more or less until I reached my 21st year (1830); by that
time the hospital and its teachers had gone stale, when the idea occurred
to me to visit the Scotch Universities. I took my way to Edinburgh by
steamer, and very pleasant the voyage was. There were pretty young ladies
on board, who soon became as friendly as if they had been relations. But
not to be forgotten was a gentleman who had wit and vivacity; I remember
his name quite well. He told me that he was crossing to get out of the
way of his creditors for a little time, and to visit his kinsfolk. He
looked to me about 45 years old, when he told me, as a sort of joke, that
he was a classical tutor in London and had been spending too much money,
adding, with self-apologetic glee, “You see what it is to be a young
fellow!” I did not know at the moment that he had been spending five
pounds of mine, nevertheless such proved to be the case before we parted,
for that was the trifle he—“by-the-bye”—wanted of me for a few days, his
days very much resembling the six notable ones during which the world was
created. He took me to Ambrose’s Hotel, a very comfortable one, the scene
of Wilson’s drunken _Noctes Ambrosianæ_, and we had a double-bedded room.
I was in bed first and it was left to him to extinguish the light, which
he did by blowing it out. It was a candle of tallow, and, to my disgust,
the stench of it soon filled the room. I protested vehemently against his
proceeding, when his reply was, “You don’t know now what you may get to
like in time!”

I acquired the friendly acquaintance, at Edinburgh, of Dr. Greville,
the eminent author of a work on the _Cryptogamia_; he was married to an
Eden, the sister of Mrs. Northmore of Cleve, whose husband I have already
spoken of, a noble old Devonshire squire.

Dr. Robert Knox was in his glory in those days, the greatest anatomist of
the time, whose splendid intellect, in opposition to Lyell and the rest,
foresaw that we had only to abide scientific progress to discover that
man belonged to an early period of time.

I am sorry that I never saw Dr. Knox; he was an enthusiast in his
devotion to anatomical science; it was his calling and his hobby in
one. A dentist once remarked to me that every man should have a hobby
besides his profession, and smilingly admitted that his was “making
money.” I have observed that surgery has engaged many enthusiasts in
its pursuit—anatomy and pathology may be added; but I do not remember
a physician of whom this could be so flatteringly said, unless it were
Sydenham, a true devotée. But formerly the practice of medicine was in
the dark: not altogether so now, since the introduction of physical and
chemical diagnosis, the work of Laenec and Bright. It is no want of
enthusiasm in character itself; it is not so very long since all the
science of the country was carried out and sustained by physicians.

At Aberdeen I enriched myself with the acquaintance of Principal Jack,
who showed me many attentions—not the least of which was that of
introducing me to his charming wife and daughter. Our acquaintance did
not then cease, but continued for some years.

I visited St. Andrews. What distressed me there, was to see a large
college building without windows or roof, announcing itself to be a ruin.
It is true the university is very old, but a seat of learning ought to
last for ever, and not be allowed to become a mere memorial of some
intellectual famine.

I then went to Glasgow, where Dr. Hooker was the professor of botany
in the university, and where Dr. Badham—a scholarly gentleman—was the
professor of physic, an appointment which, as I understood, was in the
gift of the London College of Physicians. Except Dr. Thompson, who had
the chair of chemistry, the other professors were of no account.

The college, a double quadrangle, stood in the middle of the town, where
it was established by an edict of the Pope in one of the middle ages.
It was a quaint old building, a credit to the learning of the city:
the present building being more a credit to its wealth. The ancient
structure, I presume, was pulled down and the site disposed of.


The manager of the Glasgow theatre was one Alexander, a long-legged,
long-armed Scotchman of great mobility. He pleased the public, so I
suppose he had a fairly good troupe of actors. However that may be, he
had Edmund Kean with him for two nights, once as Richard III., once as
Macbeth. I was deeply impressed by the acting of this great tragedian,
though I believe he was on his last legs. It was said that he was dosed
with brandy every time he went on the stage, and that on quitting it he
sank exhausted into another’s arms; yet, once on the boards, he was firm
of step and voice. Knowing his condition, the pathos of the scene was the
more touching, though no one could have judged that he was a sick, much
less a dying man. His voice now clear, soft, touching; then stentorian
and explosive in its rattle, according to the necessity of the situation.

With what an eye he gazed! And his demeanour! He could bring more tragic
feeling out of stillness, and the silence of deep thought, than was
to be found in the play he performed in. It was as if the persons he
represented had escaped the grave and thrown themselves once more into
the struggle.

At an advanced period of the summer, my brother came to Glasgow, and very
wisely proposed that we should make a tour; and this we did principally
on foot. We visited some of the lochs and bens, climbed Grampian hills,
and worked our way to Breadalbane Castle, returning by Loch Long. This
I mention merely to note an incident connected with it which was, that
by the action of the fresh air, the exercise, and the scenery on mind
and body, I imagined my emotions had a poetic cast, and accordingly I
composed verses. These my brother, who was as little experienced in human
affairs as myself, though he was deep in the study of law, proposed my
sending to Sir Walter Scott, the all-powerful author, soliciting his
perusal, with the hope of being taken heed of as a poet. What led to
this folly on our part was, the facility with which Crabbe rose to fame
and fortune by a similar act of impertinence. All know that he sent
some verses to the generous Burke, which were very fresh, asking for
the patronage of that great statesman, to whom he was utterly unknown.
Burke, wonderful to relate, took him under his notice, and finally
procured him a living in the gift of the Duke of Rutland. This was very
noble of Burke, but it did a great deal of harm by leading innocent young
authors, like myself, to suppose that the nobility and other powerful men
were still the patrons of literary men, especially of the useless poets.
If one looks back, one perceives that the majority of our poetic authors
owed their success to patrons who made their works a fashion. Chaucer,
Spenser, Shakespeare, had noble or royal patrons; Milton there was no
one to patronize, whence the market value of “Paradise Lost” rose only
to ten pounds. Dryden belonged to the upper class, so he had a patron in
himself; Pope was made a fashion through patronization: Bolingbroke alone
would have sufficed to lift him up into fame.

In modern times poetry became noble itself. There was Byron, a peer;
Shelley was a sprig of baronetcy, and a rebel in Church and State, which
was a great assistance; while Keats, being a vulgarian, was left out in
the cold to die for want of flattery and flannel.

Coleridge never met with a patron; he who surpassed every poet but one in
genius; so he famished, exclaiming, “Work without hope, draws nectar in a

And Wordsworth, with his narrow intellect and wide emotions,—he had
patrons; the cloth took him up, and the public followed suit, an act
they could only have performed for a third-rate poet, the first and
second-rate being much above their comprehension.

The course of such human events will not have the slightest influence
on men endowed with true poetic genius. They know the wording of their
commission; they know its signature, written as it is in invisible ink;
they know its seal, on which the six days of creative work is engraved,
with Some One resting on the seventh.

The upshot of all this is, a poet is born to celebrate Nature, who
is everlasting. He informs himself that nations fulfil only a given
series of events, and that all concerning them, except their history
and literature, is lost. He makes himself acquainted with the bulky
circumstance that Greece and Rome were once as lively and self-confident
as ourselves, as frivolous and as fashionable, but that in the midst of
their greatness and their rubbish there were predestined poets; that
Homer was one and Horace another, and that the legacy of their work
is the only legacy they could leave us. He tells himself that he is
appointed to do certain work that shall hereafter celebrate the existence
of his own beloved and glorious land, the country, the beloved country of
his birth and death!


We found ourselves in the park at Breadalbane, where there was no living
being in sight. The handsome castle stood silent and solitary, as if it
had been erected for its own accommodation. It was a large, elegant,
white structure, but had an architectural expression not sufficiently
imposing to contend with the bold scenery around. There was the river,
making a rush for Loch Long; there were the mountains;—these were masters
of the situation and of the castle, which seemed more like a looker-on.

This was my impression then; it might not be so now.

We had passed the night in the cottage of a shepherd which we entered,
and we asked the gudewife to give us food and lodging; this she did,
adding to them a hearty welcome, uncertificated as we were. She gave
us of what she had—a good mess of porridge and milk, with oat cakes as
a second course, for porridge makes one hungry, as we found the next
morning and the next day. We slept in beds built into recesses. On
the morrow, after our breakfast, we asked the hostess what we were in
her debt; but she scouted the idea of any payment, so we adopted the
alternative of guessing our hotel-bill, and paying it by placing a few
shillings on the table.

We proceeded for some hours along Loch Long, and by noon found hunger
growing upon us to a ravenous degree. There were no habitations, much
less shops, on the way, till at length we saw a villa. A maid-servant
stood at the door with her broom. I approached her, saying we were very
hungry, and asked her to sell us a loaf. She received my petition with
contempt, entered the villa and unsympathetically added the slam of the
door to her refusal. To be treated as the tramps which we were, was a new

That evening we ceased to be footpads, and reached home.

At the end of summer, which was near, my brother returned southwards,
while I remained through the winter session to obtain more chemistry and
to complete my study of natural philosophy and physics. In the spring,
having completed my twenty-second year and passed the last six ones in
the study of the sciences, I thought it a good opportunity to graduate
on the spot, which I did accordingly, and was highly complimented on my
anatomical examination by that delightful gentleman, Dr. Badham. I had
answers to all his questions on the tip of my tongue. I may mention that
I had acquired anatomy at the then University of London, under Granville
Sharpe Pattison, at the first opening of that great institution.

The Scotch character is of a very mixed kind, perhaps too well known to
need comment. It is thrifty and extravagant, dissipated and religious,
sober and drunken, generous and mean in more striking contrast than
that of the English people, because it runs into greater extremes, the
opposite qualities being often united in the same individual. I met with
an instance in which even a decent respect for death was wanting. A
physician told me he had just left a dying patient who said to him, while
breathing gutturally, “I say, doctor, isn’t this the death-rattle?” The
doctor answered, “No, my dear sir, it is not that quite yet.” To which
the rejoinder was, “Well, if it isn’t, it is damned like it!”

A Scotchman whom I met before long at Florence—he had been one of George
the Fourth’s physicians—told me, not with a view to his credit, that he
was whistling as he entered a notorious den in Edinburgh on one Sunday
morning, when the landlady, to use a mild term, accosted him with the
words: “Dr. B⸺, I won’t have any whustling in my house on the sabbath

I have twice been in Scotland since; a country one never tires of unless
one is a native.


While my eighty-fourth year has commenced I look back over more than
sixty years to the time when studies had ceased to be obligatory. I then
took a survey of my stock of knowledge: it was small, but it embraced the
rudiments of all that was necessary to progress. A classical education
gave me access to the ancients, but I wanted French, which was the key
to modern science. This determined me to pass some time on the Continent,
and to get acquainted with other literatures than our own, as well as
with other manners and customs.

I returned to London by stage; it was in the cold of the spring season.
Two things only left a permanent impression on my mind of that journey.
One is that I travelled with Mr. Orby Hunter, and that we were the only
two inside passengers on the route. He was a neighbour of my mother;
she, after a long visit to her beloved and hated Exeter had grown sick
of it and of every one there, and had gone back to town, taking up her
residence with my sister and brother in a small house, No. 49, Grosvenor

Mr. Orby Hunter, a great politician of the day, was a gentleman of
high caste, which made all he said the more impressive. He was greatly
disturbed at the course events were taking. It was the eve of a general
election, and a reform bill was hanging in the balance of parties.

From Mr. Orby Hunter I learnt much of the state of feeling in the
country, the resolute fight against Peel, Wellington, and the Tories,
conducted by Grey and John Russell.

I did not remain long in town, but soon made my way to Italy, remaining
the best part of a year at Florence, visiting Paris, Geneva, Milan, and
other cities on my way there and back. I shall not give an account of
my journey, but only my experiences of it, such as having learned what
coffee was for the first time in my life, and what _fricandeau de veau
lardé_ meant, at Calais. As to the latter, I have not tasted the equal of
it since. In those days there was not a railroad on the Continent, and
one travelled by diligence, vetturino, or post.

My sensations were new as I trod on the pavement of Paris for the first
time. I felt myself somewhat great, and I entered a glover’s shop and
bought an elegant pair of gloves to add to my delusion.

I stayed at Meurice’s hotel in the Rue Rivoli. There I got acquainted
with Colonel de Courcy, to whom I had a letter of introduction in my
portmanteau for Florence, not knowing it then, but there are persons who
can make friends with each other without the assistance of a third party.
Colonel de Courcy was one of the few extremely charming men that one
meets with in the course of a long life, by which I mean gay, amusing,
good-natured, gentlemanlike, free from reserve; men who after a few
minutes you seem to have known always and would wish to go on knowing to
the end.

The late Earl of Albemarle was such a man; I refer to him later in these

Colonel de Courcy was the brother of Lord Kinsale, whose patent of
nobility was over seven hundred years old, the most ancient in the Dublin
College of Arms. George IV., on hearing about it, greatly desired to see
the treasured document, but so precious was it that the heralds would
only entrust it to certain commissioners, who were not allowed to part
with it for an hour.

The colonel was on his way to England, but lingered at Paris for his
pleasure, the invitation to which also detained me, in the company of my
new acquaintance.

Leaving Paris in a dreadful diligence by way of Dijon and the golden
grapes, I traversed the Jura range and entered Geneva. I stayed there
too, for of course I had to set myself up in a musical box that played
the “Parisienne” and the “Marseillaise,” as well as in a watch and chain,
besides looking at Mont Blanc and sailing on the lake to see where the
Rhone rushed in, and to visit Lausanne in memory of Gibbon. Nor did I
fail to see the prison of Chillon in compliment to the poet Byron.

My jeweller at Geneva was a very earnest mechanic. He had studied the
art of watchmaking in London and in Paris, he had made a chronometer
to compete for some great prize and had failed, entirely to his own
satisfaction, assuring himself that his work was of the best, but that it
was impossible to make allowance for the wear and tear of the sun!

The journey from Geneva to the Simplon I found very romantic. The valley,
in which lies Martigny, was marked by driftways that looked like roads
excavated from solid snow, cut out from the heights to the level, and
which, never traversed by travellers, appeared to lead to lands unknown.

At Martigny there had been a deluge, by which every house was dislocated
with the exception of the church. The flood was caused by the bursting
of a mountain lake; the clever priests, foreseeing what would one day
happen, so constructed the church, with a prow towards the threatening
lake, as to enable it to resist a torrent.

I passed over the Simplon; I saw the Borromean Islands on the other side,
and, proceeding to Milan, paid their old owner, the great cardinal, a
visit in the cathedral. He was lying, as so many have beheld him, in his
comfortable coffin.

Milan even then was a most elegant city, and most tastefully paved. I was
so fortunate as to have a letter from Sir James Clark to Dr. Ciceri, who
showed me everything, and there is no guide like a native one; but I say
now that all I care for in the Lombard capital is the fresco of Leonardo
da Vinci.


When a man begins to write and finds he can hardly spell his name, he
looks at Bolingbroke for style, or at Goldsmith, and gets help from both;
but woe to him if he falls in love with such rickety writers as were De
Quincy, or Carlyle! Both had bandy pens. As a man gets older, if he has
anything to say, he is contented with being himself, and covering his
thoughts with words that exactly fit them, as the skin fits a race-horse.
An affected style betrays an affected character, with its self-respect in
abeyance. He finds that some long words contain his idea ready made, but
he does better to shun them, and express it in his own way, and this I
have done in writing these my memoirs.

Whatever my style was before visiting Italy, I cannot now say; probably
the word did not then apply. I think that a man who is an agreeable
companion should write as he would talk to himself; by such means only
can he be what is called a stylist.

Macaulay wrote as he would have preached, had he been a parson; but, as a
layman, he used stilts for a pulpit.

Thackeray spent a good deal of his time on stilts. He wrote, too, as he
talked; but, then, he was a very disagreeable companion to those who
did not want to boast that they knew him. In his society people had to
do two things when one would have been quite enough; they had to smile
titteringly as well as to listen.

Perhaps the reason why no author has hitherto described a perfect
gentleman is, that it would require his being one himself; and some
people think that no perfect gentleman ever lived except—not irreverently
speaking—the Christian founder. Richardson’s Sir Charles was a muff,
Bulwer’s Pelham a prig, Thackeray’s Major a fop, Dickens’s Mr. Dean an
unfinished portrait.

Was the true gentleman ever meant to be? The only one accredited with
that character—the only Lord—was not unacquainted with the use of irony,
even with invective itself which served his end, and that with far
greater effect than remonstrance.

I conceive the gentleman, like genius itself, to be fragmentary. How men
differ in their conception of the character!

A lady whom I knew at one time very intimately, conceiving that her
husband was on his death-bed, asked him to have his sons before him,
and to give them some good advice before he died. The husband readily
consented. “My sons,” he said, “your dear mother wishes me to say a few
words that may be of benefit to you when I am gone, and I am most anxious
to acquiesce in her desire. If there is anything that I can advise to
your advantage, it would be this: never to repel the advances of women;
it is not gentlemanly.”

But a perfect lady—has such a thing ever been? Who has described it?

No one; it is indescribable!

But even the temporary gentleman has a great charm; it is based on
a model which may last for an hour, even a day; and then crumble.
Amiability goes a long way in constructing this model; it is so
conciliating, and sometimes so gentle, that it seems to purr. Henry VIII.
no doubt handed Woburn Abbey over to Lord John’s ancestor in a most
gentlemanly style; yet, what a wild beast he was; his mouth was always
daubed with human blood.

It was amiable of Lord John to bring in the first Reform Bill, because
one of its effects will ultimately be to make Henry-Eighths of the
people, who will re-confiscate all the Woburns in the land, and all the
Convent Gardens.

I was on intimate terms with a man who was private secretary to Lord
John, and who obtained a baronetcy of him. That appreciative individual
told me that no one knew, really, what a kind, amiable, and gentlemanly
man the Lord John Russell was. No one knew it! Did he imply that he was
himself no one?

But, happily for us, we have still George IV. left us as a study.

Is it true that the women are to have the franchise—will it come true?
Is it true that they are to have cushions in the Houses of Commons and
of Lords, because they are fitted for the highest offices of State;—will
it come true? If so, it is to be hoped that the perfect lady will be
evolved; one who even, for purposes of policy, will not exercise her
charms; such a one might be trusted, because, in negotiating with a
foreign plenipotentiary she would not use her eyes.

Until that happy evolution is achieved, one might certainly appoint ugly
women; they would be obliged to rely on their intellectual gifts alone.

A woman’s style of speaking in private is often very pleasant; less so in
public, unless she is a Siddons.

Everything will happen in turn, and awkward things will even come about.
The Press might have to hint that Lady Mary, our minister for foreign
affairs, has been much talked about of late, as giving too frequent
interviews to the Home Secretary, Mr. Tristram Shandy; that it is even
insinuated, at present only in private circles, that the husband of the
right honourable lady contemplates taking law proceedings. This would
prove a heavy blow to petticoat government: it would inevitably lead to
the breaking up of the administration.

Thus demeanour has its peculiar style, as well as writing.

Women are often great stylists; they have the merit of writing as they
would talk. Every one knows when a book is written by a woman; she is so
good at drapery, still more at male beauty.

There are two styles of writing derived from anatomy—the nervous, and
muscular. Trelawny, about whom I would say something, for his book has
come out afresh, had both of these in one—he made them dramatic and

Women are the best mistresses of the nervous style; they supply its
instances at first hand, from flirting to hysterics; while men, like
Borrow and Trelawney, are masters of the muscular style.

I could give a valuable hint to writers who would be effective, exact,
and pleasing; let them master the methods followed in the scientific
style, as in an article on “Light,” by Herschel in the “Encyclopædia


Before I went to Italy I could not write; after I had crossed the Simplon
I could: the wonders I saw wholly revolutionized my soul. There was
height above height of snow that disregarded the sun; or, if it yielded
to its insinuations, it was only to drip into bayonets of ice. There were
cataracts that had so far to fall, that the eyes reached the bottom of
the gulph first, and seemed only overtaken by the waters with which they

I had nothing more to do with Bolingbroke or with Goldsmith, in style; I
had seen Nature play the great idea and express herself. I learned that
she was the true stylist, and that she was not inimitable.

I lingered at Florence and made acquaintance with many there—native,
English, and foreign. Among these were Trelawny and Landor, whose names
still continue remarkable. Of the last I saw little; he was preparing
to drive himself to England in his gig. He had greatly offended the
Government of Tuscany by the freedom of his speech, and he became
intolerable. This resulted in his being served with an order to quit
the country. When matters came to so serious a pass, he was taken by
surprise. He called on the Grand Duke to remonstrate; he told that
amiable prince that it was an honour to the country to have such a man as
himself residing in it; on which subject the Grand Duke agreed with him,
and the edict of expulsion was withdrawn.

He, too, was one of the artificial stylists.

People went little abroad in those days for want of travelling
accommodation, and the English generally in Florence, were not of a kind
to make a favourable impression; many of them were ill-disciplined in
principle, and had become dregs who reached the bottom, though there were
many who were quite as respectable at home as a thousand miles off, and
were absent on business only, economy, or pleasure. Colonel Burdett, a
friendly and agreeable man, heir to the prince of Radicals, Sir Francis,
was a traveller on his way to Rome, and invited me to accompany him; but
I desired to be stationary for a time, that I might acquire the lingua
Toscana, which I was learning under the Abbé Caselli.

Landor was not a nice man; he was violent in his conversation: he thought
it worth saying that his ancestors were statesmen when Lord Mulgrave’s
were working in a ditch, forgetting that his descendants in the course of
things might be working in a ditch while Lord Mulgrave’s were statesmen.

Then there was Dr. Bankhead, who was the newsman of the fashionable past
in all instances where slander mostly fitted in. There was a divorced,
re-married countess who, as the wife of a rich parson, was a leader, but
whose story he ripped open for the delight of all comers, at the same
time the nearer he might venture to England himself the worse he would
have fared.

The relief in acquiring such companions is that one never expects to meet
them again.

I am probably the only one living who was acquainted with Trelawny in
his younger days. It was during my first residence in Florence in the
years 1831-32. He was of a strong, noble build, of quiet, gentlemanly
demeanour, and of a manner of conversation free from all display. He
was much courted by the English residents. His adventures, his marriage
with the maid whose father’s life, the Greek chief Ulysses, he had
defended and saved, his connection with Byron, his cremation and burial
of Shelley, were in every mouth, and he is undoubtedly one of the
celebrities of our time. His likeness was taken by Kirkup, an English
artist who lived and died at Florence, and who was the discoverer of
Dante’s portrait, now universally known.

I knew Kirkup well. He was a pleasant companion in those early days, over
sixty years ago; he afterwards became entangled in the superstitions
of spiritualism, all through lack of that physiological training which
should be given to all, and but few enjoy. These shocking errors of the
mind, to which not even the cattle are liable, appear to gratify their
slaves for a time; but they have no ultimate value, only encouraging the
clear-sighted to look down on their fellow-creatures.

It is only due to the memory of Trelawny as a hero to record here that
the English women, married or single, old or young, were crazed as
Juliets about him, at the same time that they were gushing over with
stories of his cruelty to his lovely wife, whose hair, trailing on the
floor of Ulysses’ cave, he was said to have stripped off to the roots in
a moment of anger.

There was a good anatomical school at Florence, of which I did not fail
to profit.

On this my first visit to Florence I got to know many new things—the
meaning of the fine arts, the beauties of Michael Angelo, Cellini,
and Bruneleschi; the mysteries of Dante, Boccacio, Petrarch, Alfieri,
Ariosto, Tasso; so I returned richer than I went. But of all the persons
I remember, Madame Catalani is foremost in my memory; she is never to be
forgotten. And till I returned to the city again, I lived within sight of
the Palazzo Vicchio, the Duomo, and the Campanile.

Lord and Lady Holland occupied the British Ministry at Florence. Among
other English families resident there were Lord Burghersh; Lord Mulgrave,
a great musician; Sir Henry Floyd, Lady Peel’s brother; Dr. Bankhead;
Kirkup, the artist; the Perrys, the Losacks, and several others with and
without handles to their names; Mr. Hare among them, still guessing at
Truth. Among natives was the incomparable Catalani. The English, or most
of them there, were awaiting events, making pleasant homes, until future
prospects came closer and within reach.

At Sir Henry and Lady Floyd’s I met with Colonel Burdett, the brother of
our best lady, the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, whose estimable acquaintance
I made more than half a century later.

The Marquis Spinelli was very fond of the English and a great favourite
with them, acting as a medium between our countrymen and his own.

What an experience and toning a young man gets from a residence of this
sort, in a favourite foreign city, at an age when his sap is rising, and
has yet to burst out and congeal into full leafage!

I am not going to describe Florence; my love of it will come out better
when I visit it again.

All was new to me then! Imagine only what it is for such sweet little
cities as Piacenza, Parma, and Modena to be new; imagine Milan to be seen
for the first time, after architectureless Brighton!

I remained at Florence, a voluntary seeker after knowledge, a great part
of 1831 and 1832. I then went into Switzerland by way of Milan, Como,
Lugano, Bellinzona, Zug, Zurich, Schaffhausen; made acquaintance with
Strasburg, Stutgard, and several other German cities, not omitting the
Rhenish and other German towns, ultimately reaching Brussels and home.

Before long I was at Brighton again on a visit to the widow Wallinger, my
faithful and generous aunt.


I once was spoken to by a king; I had great anticipations. When I saw
him, I found, to my astonishment, that he was only a man. I had to go on
a knee and show my affection for him, which I did not feel, by kissing
his hand, which was large and flabby. This gentleman was named William;
there had only been three of that name before him.

The next day I saw a queen; her name was Adelaide. This lady bowed to me,
smiled at me.

This introduction did not lead to any intimacy, as may be supposed, but
it entitled me to the acquaintance of our ambassadors abroad, and to the
_entrée_ at foreign courts.

On the evening of the Drawing-Room, my friend Mr. Nussey took me to dine
with Sir William Martens, at St. James’s Palace. He belonged to the
Court, and on the subject of royalty was emotional.

The conversation turned on the ladies at the Drawing-Room. I spoke
of a daughter of Lord Stewart de Rothsay as the one great object of
admiration. He went into raptures over the name, and congratulated me on
having seen the most beautiful woman of the day.

This lady married the Marquis of Waterford, and is the mother of our
naval hero, Lord Charles Beresford.

An old friend of mine, Madame Gandillot, whom I knew at the late Lady
Ripon’s, was brought up by Sir Herbert, the Privy Purse, and Lady Taylor.
I heard from her many amusing anecdotes of the king and queen, one of
which I may relate. Sir Andrew Buchanan had just returned to England,
and was at Brighton, where the Court was staying. It was suggested by
Queen Adelaide to dress Sir Andrew as a Turk, and to inform the king
that the Turkish ambassador, whom he expected, but did not then know,
desired an audience of him. This, by the assistance of the Taylors, was
fully carried out, and Sir Andrew, fully disguised, was introduced by Sir
Herbert; the queen, Lady Taylor, and my friend being the only persons

The king received the supposed ambassador graciously, but looked puzzled;
he received his message in due form, but still had a puzzled look, as
if, as was surmised, the face of the envoy was not new to him. So the
interview passed off, to the great amusement of the queen, followed by no
remark from the king either then or after.


Again at Brighton. I may here say, the delight of myself and brother to
this day is the recollection of Mrs. Wallinger, our aunt, long gone, and
of the eccentricity of her mental powers, increasing as time went on.

I have spoken of her often in an earlier page, but her sayings were
really droll enough to be put on record. I often make the new generation
laugh by repeating them.

When she had done anything that gave her a triumph, she would say to one
of us, “Did I not, my dear, show my great good sense? Am I not always
right?” Of course we assented with a smile of mental reservation.

As she grew old and less capable, and ceased to feed her friends, she
dropped into a more melancholy mood, and, looking upwards with her fine
large eyes, and a sigh, would say, “What a world it is, isn’t it, my
dear? Here we are, my dear, all alone, one with another.”

She did everything in her power for her relations with kindness of heart
and ample means, but it only made her feel that she was everybody’s
victim, so all her good deeds made her sorrowful.

She reached to a very advanced age, when her decay of memory showed
itself in a curious manner; she would forget, in part, the very subject
she was dwelling upon. Thus, when the sad story of Sir Thomas Troubridge
was made public, that he lost both arms and legs in the Crimea; that
the lady he was engaged to marry before the war did not shrink from her
pledge on his return, she was greatly impressed by the circumstance, and
would say, “If it had been me, my dear, I could not have married him. I
know it would have been very dishonourable of me, but I should have said,
‘Sir, I can’t!’ Only think, my dear, how dreadful it would have been, he
in so helpless a condition, not able even to wash his own hands!”

Some in this mental state will in speaking forget even their last word,
when it has served as a clue to the one that comes next. Thus, such a
person repeating Lord Lytton’s earlier names, Sir Edward _Lytton Bulwer
Lytton_, would never stop, because after Lytton he is necessitated to say
Bulwer, after Bulwer, Lytton, after Lytton, Bulwer again, and so on for

When the memory begins to fade, the ghost of a word sought still haunts
the mind, and by dwelling on it for some time, the substance will return
to the shadow, and the word again lives. The memory must be far gone
to encounter total obliteration—threads to every subject long remain;
but the difficulty, then the impossibility of finding and taking up
the thread at last follows. The lady of whom I have spoken, the kindly
aunt, was brought up at Exeter. I once asked her if she remembered
Northern-hay. Her reply was, she had never heard the name. I spoke of
other places, beginning with St. Bartholomew’s. We lived there, she said,
after we left Bowhill House, and we used to walk up Fore Street to St.
Sidwell’s, and then across Northern-hay Hill.

I have mentioned how in her better days this generous, kind-hearted lady
felt herself the victim of her family, spontaneous as was her interest in
all that concerned them. My mother, while we were at Brighton, had a fall
on the stairs, which produced a severe dislocation of the hip-joint. I
hastened to Mrs. Wallinger’s house to acquaint her with the distressful
news. She evidently took in all at a glance, with the weeks of kindness
she would be compelled to bestow on the sufferer, and her first remark,
accompanied with a sigh and upturned, pathetic eyes, was, “Is it not very
hard on me, my dear? To think of my family!”

I must not omit a very frequent saying of this lady. Her house was a
model of cleanliness, and to that virtue she would allude with pride.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” she would say; “for what else is
there, my dear?”

I cannot resist noting another favourite exclamation of hers, always
uttered when any event, serious and unexpected, transpired. On such
occasions, she would look piously upwards, and say, “Does it not show how
true everything is, my dear?” just as if the whole of the holy Scriptures
had suddenly flashed across her mind.


In my earlier days I was intimately acquainted with the Earl of Elgin,
whose name is co-immortal with the marbles of ancient Greece. It shows
what an amiable man he was to have taken so much notice as he did of a
young man so insignificant as myself, and to have introduced me on equal
terms to his wife and family.

How fortunate is London to contain the Elgin Marbles and the Raphael
Cartoons, which, exclusive of the Venus of Milo, and the Last Supper of
Leonardo da Vinci, are of greater worth than all the other sculptures and
paintings in Europe.

I knew Lord Elgin in London and Paris; it was when his great diplomatic
career was ended. He was a patient sufferer from facial neuralgia, and
was under the treatment of Hahnneman. He was unable to speak, for the
motion of his lips left a new paroxysm of pain. So he wrote what he would
have said, and on one occasion he placed the words on paper that violent
as his suffering was it was due no longer to the disease, but to the
medicine that was administered. A remedy in homœopathic hands is thought
to occupy the disease, and by slightly exaggerating it to effect its cure.

Lord Elgin would have liked to see me one of Hahnneman’s party; he
introduced me to the physician. I saw some of the practice, but always
left in exactly the same state of mind as I went.

I sometimes joined the family party at dinner in Paris, so I knew Lady
Elgin and her two daughters who were then single. I think the eldest was
called Lady Charlotte, the youngest was Lady Augusta, who became the wife
of Dean Stanley.

The manner and ways of this family were of the simplest; there was not
the slightest show of rank in anything they did or said.

Afterwards, in London, the earl brought his son, Mr. Frederick Bruce,
to see me, and this visit afforded me a pleasant recollection; for Mr.
Bruce, Sir Frederick afterwards, became a distinguished public servant,
and, when ambassador in China, took a keen interest in Charles Gordon,
and assisted him in every manner in his power. He was tall of stature,
and a much finer looking man than his eminent eldest brother.

Lady Matilda Bruce, afterwards Maxwell, through her marriage, was the
eldest daughter of Lord Elgin by his first wife, and was the heiress
of her mother’s large fortune. I did not meet her, but she showed me
kindness through a common friend, and when I visited Canada she gave me
a cordial introduction to her brother who was Governor-General of that
colony at the time.

There was a drama published by me in 1839, called the “Piromides,” which
many members of this noble family took a pleasure in reading. It was my
first serious work, and was inscribed to the Earl of Elgin, the late
ambassador at the court of the Sultan.


As our latter end comes about, we reason on and take stock of our
friendships, chiefly those of our youth. Our statistics, accumulating
with time, enable us to grasp the subject in its fulness.

People are apt to call their acquaintances their friends because it
sounds more important, but this is a mistake; if I am known to have been
on intimate terms with a man for twenty or thirty years and I speak of
him as an old acquaintance, I have at least the satisfaction of telling
the truth.

A community of interests may last a lifetime, and it may be as strong as
that of the banks, which would argue efficiency. Such is the friendship
of circumstance, but should the conditions change it would vanish.

It seems to be a moral law of our species that new friends, however
gratefully they accept one’s services, so long as they are needed, have
a disposition to drop off when they can no longer profit by them. Such
friendships are like a fever which runs its course; a fever sometimes
affecting a whole family, and then not leaving a symptom behind.

Nevertheless, a good acquaintance is a very pleasant thing, even though
its benefits on both sides may balance and explain each other.

There are some who practice friendship quite naturally, others who are
only skilled in it as a game. It would prove amusing to make a good
classification of one’s friends, as is done of the animal kingdom, by
dividing them into warm-blooded, (hæmatotherma) and cold-blooded friends
(hæmatocrya). We are all too fond of forming friendships. I have often
observed that nothing is more fatiguing than what is generally called a
night’s rest, unless it be the dream and its final result, that we have
made friends! Dreams are as laborious and realistic as realities; the
nervous powers are put through walks and conversings with strangers,
as well as acquaintances, some dead long ago. One has introductions,
dialogues as with the living; but what is so amusing and ludicrous, many
dream that they have made new friends, to find it was in their sleep!

Regarding friendship, how often it is only theoretic; intimacy without
intercourse; instead of active only passive sympathy, the philosophical
equivalent of cement, such as isinglass or glue! When friends have a
common interest, how they stick to each other! There is still another
kind of friendship of an agueish type, which one might call intermittent.
It has some foundation in a community of nature, but is unable to sustain
itself continuously, showing itself in fits. It is the most aggravating
of all social alliances, and would be better extinct.

At Brighton I enjoyed the inestimable friendship of Sir David Scott,
a leading magistrate there, of very high social rank—in fact, the
most important personage of the place at a time when it needed men of
influence to direct it towards its present unrivalled position.

As a young man, Sir David Scott succeeded to the baronetcy of Sir James
Sibbald, of Sillwood Park, and he bore the addition of K.H.G., an order
that was extinguished with the severance of Hanover from our ruling
sovereigns, on the accession of Victoria. This order, the use of which
has been very much replaced by that of the Bath, was conferred on Sir
David by George the Fourth, whose life he probably saved by having a
madman arrested at Brighton, who was provided with pistols to shoot the
king. Sir David, a true gentleman without being a courtier, and therefore
at home in all that related to good breeding, once gave me an amusing
account of his interview with the “first gentleman in Europe,” telling
with much gusto an anecdote of the king’s studied elegance even in taking
a pinch of snuff. “I perceive, Sir David,” he said, “that you take snuff;
allow me to offer you a pinch from my box.” This Sir David took, shaking
his thumb and finger over the box, as one ordinarily does, not to waste
any of the precious powder on withdrawing the hand.

This was the king’s opportunity of showing himself more advanced in
gentility than his subject. He said, “Now, Sir David, permit me to try a
pinch from your box.” The baronet drew forth his box and presented it to
the king, who, having secured his pinch, withdrew his thumb and finger
with careful rapidity, evidently lest any particles that had been touched
should fall back into the box, and so render the remainder unfit for use.

Sir David gave me an amusing account of how the official who received him
at court and introduced him to the king’s presence became the great man
that he was. It was Sir William Knighton, who had accompanied the Marquis
of Wellesley as his physician to Spain. It was said that Dr. Knighton
would never draw his salary, which he evidently did not wish to be paid
in money. So at the conclusion of his service the marquis sent him to the
king with important documents, which exactly suited him for the exercise
of his effrontery and self-assurance. The gentleman-in-waiting, having an
appreciative and loyal mind, said, “You will be very much surprised when
you come to see the king.” Dr. Knighton replied, “He will be very much
surprised when he comes to see me!”

So it turned out. The king was very much struck with the physician’s
manner and aptitude for affairs, and before long made him his “Privy

At a time when the now proud town of Brighton was only half built, Sir
David purchased the estate of an Oriental Company on the west cliff,
facing the sea. A building that was already erected on it before the
project failed, he converted into a mansion, which he called Sillwood
House: this he occupied himself, with his family. On the ground in front
were built two elegant streets, called Sillwood and Oriental Places.
Later, on a portion of the ground, he erected for himself a villa with
an entrance on the Western Road, and laid out a charming garden and
shrubbery there, where he lived for many years, making his home the
resort of a fashionable and cultured circle. He was often spoken of as
the “King of Brighton,” and he certainly exercised great influence there
as a Conservative leader. At the same time, he supported every charity
in the place, and materially assisted the Rev. H. M. Wagner, the then
all-powerful vicar, in planting the town with churches.

Sir David Scott had a pension given him by the Government for saving
the king’s life; this the Liberal Parliament, on coming into power,
withdrew—sorry, perhaps, that such a life had been saved.


A very remarkable character who used to visit Brighton was the Countess
de Montalembert, mother of the nobleman of that name who made himself
known in France. She was the daughter and heiress of Mr. Forbes, whose
“Oriental Memoirs” were much esteemed in his time. This lady had friends
among all sorts of people. While chuckling over scandalous and not decent
letters from Lady Aldeburgh, she would be receiving the visits of such
uncontaminated beings as Lady Mary Pelham, and conferring with her on
religion. In her invitations to me she would one day say, “I want you
this evening to come and meet the religious set:” this would be such men
as the Robert Andersons. Another time it would be the worldly set that
she was to receive and I was to meet; and this was certainly the most
pleasant set of the two.

She had great _naïveté_, and was full of fun, trenching often on
those sources of humour which are forbidden to delicate minds. Her
literary occupation at the time when I saw most of her (in 1837) was
in writing a “Life of King David”—a work that she completed with great
self-gratulation, and which, at her death, her executors burned without
estimating its worth, the quicker to dispose of her numerous papers.

Her husband was a baron at Louis Philippe’s court, and received the
higher title from that temporary king. His wife, being a Protestant,
was not admissible at court—a difficulty which she readily overcame by
crossing over the way to the Catholic faith; and this she quitted when it
was no longer for her interest to remain in it.

She had two sons. She cared only for the elder one. He lived in Paris,
and at her death inherited her fortune. She died of a quinsy at her house
in Curzon Street, about a year after the time when I saw most of her.

She was sprinkled and crossed, at baptism, by the name of Rose, which
name may have suited her well in her bloomy days, for late in life she
had a pleasing face, full of lively expression, with a fine portly
figure. She was fond of sketching herself seated on a music-stool, which
she called a Rose sitting on a Thorn.

In the death of friends whom one sees from first to last, witnessing
their gradual rise and fall simultaneously with our own, there is nothing
striking; but how different the effect on our minds when we lose sight
of them in their prime, and reflect that their sturdy figures, seeming
to be still unobnoxious to change, lie prostrate in their graves! We
recall them, and see them still in full activity; they appear to have
only gone away! So was it with the kindest of men, my best of friends,
Sir David Scott, whose name and goodness deserve a better monument. So it
was with Mr. Wagner, whose quick limbs and upright pleasant face appear
to be moving through the streets of Brighton at this hour! I see him now
rapidly turning the corner of Castle Square into the Old Steyne! Then
comes back into view the rapid step of Horace Smith, another celebrity
of the place, with a pun almost out of his mouth before we were within
hearing of each other! They all seem still alive!

Wagner walked through the streets as if they were his own, reviewing
the people as he passed as a general would an army, now stopping,
speaking, laughing, now pushing on again. He had been tutor in the Duke
of Wellington’s family. The wonder is that, with his firmness of purpose
and successful handling of men, he did not reach a bishopric up to that
of Canterbury itself. He might have led even the House of Lords by the
nose. But Brighton was to him an episcopal see. He enjoyed the patronage
of nearly all the livings there, with the monopoly of marriages, births,
and deaths; building church after church himself out of his own large
resources and the pockets of willing or unwilling friends.

There was an abomination of doctors at Brighton in those days, potent
firms, chiefly on the Steyne; but the class is soon forgotten, since they
leave nothing behind them but their patients and their shops.

Among apothecaries, Newnham was prince. One saw him walking across the
Steyne, then red-bricked for foot-passengers only, he wagging his head
with a look of triumph, and in gaiter attire; his face nearly six feet
above his shoes, with an expression on it of the miracles that may be
achieved by salted senna alone, not to mention the openings artificially
made in veins with the mere thumb and finger. But Newnham was a friendly,
knowing character. I think often of the advice he tendered me as a young
physician, “Never dine with a patient. Such has been my rule through
life; for if you do, sooner or later you are sure to let out the fool!”

I must not omit the name, in these brief memorials, of my cultured
friend, George Hall, a physician and still more than that, a gentleman.
As travelling Redcliffe Fellow, he spent ten years in visiting Greek
and Italian and Turkish cities, and the chief courts of Europe. He was
too refined for a Brighton physician; few of his patients were to his
taste. When summoned to those who suited him best, he passed hours with
them instead of sharing his time fairly among all. He had some noble
blood in him, according to rumour; but it was of a sinister strain.
This held possession of him secretly, and influenced his life; but he
found consolation in marrying Lady Hood, a peeress of very considerable
fortune, and in retiring from the vulgarity of physic.

The pun sacrifices the sense and purport to the playful analogy. In the
practice of this Horace Smith expended the conversational portions of
his life. I told him, at one of Mrs. Smith’s evening receptions, that a
man known to us had injured a limb while travelling in Norway. His reply
was, “I suppose a bear came and Gnaw’wayed his arm.” His daughter, Miss
Smith then, and I believe so for life, was a quick and clever match for
her father in drawing him out. She had an open, good-tempered face, with
the eyes well apart, to which her nose, following suit, owed a flatness.
Most auditors must have observed that all whom Nature has favoured with
a lying-down nose were let fall by their nurse when babies in arms.
Thackeray was one of these. One would have thought they would have fallen
on their backs; but no, they all fall on their noses.

The only authority for punning that I know of is Aristotle; he recommends
it to a pleader. Horace Smith’s puns are yet remembered; the one on
elder-flower water was his best.

The evening receptions at Brighton were pleasant pastimes, especially
those of Lady Carhampton and the Hon. Mrs. Mostyn, daughter of Mr.
Thrale, of Johnsonian memory. This lady, in Sillwood or Oriental Place,
near the Horace Smiths, had a suite of receiving-rooms winding all round
the mansion, hung with pictures. In one room was a couch enclosed by a
silken canopy within a recess, above which was gilded in large letters,


Any one who has enjoyed the help of an acute mind in life must
have concluded that the human creature was not designed to be very
intellectual. It has great faculties, but these can do little more than
provide munificently for its wants. It solves with facility all the
problems of luxury and amusement, but can for the most part no further
go. Nevertheless, there are a few of an intellectual caste, living apart
from the vulgar and ostentatious; these force their thoughts on unwilling
recipients, and in what they produce give intimations of a higher race
than that of man being still possible, though scarcely to be expected to
spring from the few, since the grovellers have so immense a majority.

The clergy of Brighton were adapted more to the wants of the
congregations than to those of religion. One likes the clergy. They
have a good education up to the age of one or two and twenty, and their
profession is gentlemanly. If they renewed their knowledge of science
from time to time, they would not interpolate nature with dogma, the
effect of which is more damaging than they can conceive. To the eye
clarified by impartial thought, it is like a pimple on the face of a
pretty girl; but it will run its little course.

While at Brighton I first knew Count Pepoli, the head of an illustrious
Bolognese family. He was the author of some pleasant works, and wrote
the opera of “I Puritani” for his friend Bellini, the composer who
furnished the music. He was banished from his country, and had his
estates put under forfeiture by Pius IX., whose utmost science could
do no better than proclaim the dogma of an immaculate conception, and
announce himself infallible, as occupying upon earth the rotten throne
of an Almighty. Yet this gentleman, by the aid of his superstitious
adherents, was able to expel the best families from Bologna, for not
wishing to retain him in his place of civil chief—put into that place by
those supernatural chemists, the cardinals, who, by mumbling cabalistic
words over a drink of wine, could turn it into blood, and, by showing the
whites of their eyes, could metamorphose a mouthful of dry bread into the
flesh of Christ. They mean well, they administer to existing wants; but
the drinking and the eating of these would be cannibalism of the worst
description, and this they have not the imagination to perceive.

Pepoli reached England a poor man, though the owner of many palaces and
lands. He supported himself by becoming, almost at once, Professor of
the Italian Language, Literature, and Antiquities at the University of
London, in Gower Street; and he retained this post for some twenty years.
When the pope was shown the shortest cut out of Rome, Pepoli rushed
back to Bologna, and got hold of his magnificent palaces once more, and
recovered his lordly position.

Some twenty years after this, when I last visited Italy, on my way to
Rome I stopped at Bologna, and inquired of my landlord, Pellagrini, the
way to the Palazzo Pepoli, which I accordingly sought and found. It was a
massive, ancient structure, and on inquiring of the janitor if the count
was at home, was informed that his kinswoman, the Countess Maria Pepoli,
lived there; and I was directed to his residence, which was a large
building occupying one side of an open _Place_, and which seemed only to
need a sentinel to complete its pretensions to being a royal palace.

Unfortunately for me, the count was at his country seat.

This nobleman, while in London, married a Scotch lady. My old friend, Mr.
Plattnaur, kept up a constant correspondence with the count, informing
him of all that happened to his English friends. Plattnaur was very
intimate with Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle. The lady once asked when he would
join them at dinner. He replied, “If you please, to-morrow.” “Yes,” she
answered, “do come to-morrow: it will be the first day of the chicken.”

I have not spoken of Sir Matthew Tierney, a physician of Irish
extraction, a good-looking plausible man, always equal to the occasion,
whatever might fall in his way. He had the look of a baronet when once
you knew he was one—a title that he won easily, by a stroke of worldly
wisdom. When George No. 4 was a Brighton man, reposing under that Chinese
umbrella, the Pavilion, he was surrounded by physicians, one of whom,
Dr. Bankhead, I was intimately acquainted with in Italy during 1831 and
1832. Bankhead was a powerful-looking Scotchman, with a large red face
and hair to match, living abroad for reasons, and practising among the
English residents at Florence, by whom he was much liked and courted, and
as little respected as many of them were respected by themselves. But all
liked his anecdotes of life high and low, more especially so did the men
after dinner, when the ladies had left the table.

He told me that he used to meet the king’s physicians every morning
before visiting the royal patient, and that he and the others invariably
passed away an hour in inventing scandalous stories about the
aristocracy, calculated to give amusement and pleasure to their patient.
He had been Lord Londonderry’s physician; with him he had lived in town
and country, and so had become acquainted with the noblest in the land,
and with all their foibles.

Bankhead knew the history of Tierney’s rise to the summit, which had a
very humble beginning. The king, always self-indulgent, was of course
always ill. At that time his favourite groom, who was suffering under
circumstances similar to those of his master, and could get no attention
from the medical men of the palace, consulted Tierney. That astute
physician saw his chance, and giving the groom as much care as he would
have bestowed on royalty itself, effected a cure, which, commending
itself to the king, led to Tierney being summoned, and to his advice
being followed with marked advantage.

Sir Matthew kept up a handsome house at Brighton, on the Grand Parade,
where he resided in the season, living in London during the fashionable
months. He was a favourite, and a man of very pleasant manners.

As to manners, they make the man more than doth the tailor, though he
be a Stultz or a Poole. Sir Matthew had the manner of a man of mark,
which consisted in his looking as if he had an answer ready to any
question before it was asked. When he came into the committee-room of
the hospital, it was as if he had entered to do all the business of the
meeting, and to put everything right, taking it as granted that confusion
was in the ascendant.

It was so with Sir David Scott. His quiet, pleasant face was a signal for
all to look at him, and to feel that what he had to say would be more
refreshing than anything they could utter themselves.

Horace Smith’s face was of that free, smileless expression, which clearly
asked, “Do you want to laugh? for, if so, I’ll make you do so without
further notice.”

As to Wagner’s face, it was one not easily defined. The expression was
pleasing without being quite agreeable. It bore the candid threat of
entering on some business transaction, useful in itself, but declining
in interest the nearer it approached the amount of subscriptions still
necessary to carry out as it deserved his beneficent scheme. Wagner in
one thing only was unscrupulous and devoid of mercy—it was in ordering
money out of one pocket into another for the general good, as if parting
with it was the chief object in life, and to assist another in doing so
was benevolence itself, such as few were capable of feeling towards a

How successful he was in taking every one into partnership with him in
such matters!


In those days Brighton was full of charm, more so than now by a long
measure. There was no three-shilling railway; you went to and from London
with blood horses, driven by those nimble whips, Sir St. Vincent Cotton
one-half of the way, and by the Marquis of Worcester the other half,
within five hours. A crowd saw your splendid equipage start, whether from
Piccadilly or Castle Square. It was called “The Age,” and was a wonder of
the age.

Brighton then had a season; November was the choicest month. The weather
then was delicious, and the upper stratum of society, by a mild upheaval,
was moved bodily from the metropolis to the sea, without even a dress
being crumpled or a lace torn.

There were good angels in those days, as there are now; and if one
was not privileged, as I was not, to see them under cover in such a
conservatory as the mansion of the Duchess of St. Albans, one could meet
them in full bloom out of doors on the esplanade.

That beneficent duchess and her worthy successor, Miss Burdett-Coutts,
were constant visitors at Brighton during the autumn.

I had many inducements to be at Brighton. I was acquainted with all
the medical profession there; Dr. Price and the skilful Mr. Taylor,
Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Furner, were my particular friends, and I knew the
principal residents of the place.

I undertook the work of the dispensary, to which I was physician for five
years, and I joined the Committee of the Sussex County Hospital, which
was the pet establishment of such men as Lords Egremont and Chichester
and Munster, of the Duke of Devonshire and Mr. Lawrence Peel, all of whom
would spend a pleasant gossiping hour in the committee-room from time to
time; none of whom forgot the wants of the institution.

While I was chairman of the committee it fell to me to read out a letter
from Mr. Lawrence Peel, announcing his gift of, I think, two thousand
pounds, as a mark of gratitude for Lady Jane Peel’s recovery from illness.

When I see a portrait of Lord Hartington, the massive countenance brings
the Duke of Devonshire back into my mind. I need no portraiture, but the
name to bring the Earl of Munster back to memory. These great men were as
much at home with us all as they were with each other, enjoying the chat
and the laugh without mannerism or _hauteur_.

It is through manners that all our intercourse is carried on, and one
would suppose that they strictly represented the person. It is not so to
any great extent; fashion influences them, and they become modified by
imitation, so that they cease to be anything very different from current
coin; like it, having the different qualities of silvery, coppery, or
golden; the same person expressing himself in all three to different
sorts of men—a guinea’s worth to the physician, a shilling’s worth to the

In my early days the tumid young men, rigged out in newest apparel,
would go up and down Bond Street at a snail’s pace, doing no better than
advertising their tailors. Like handsomely bound volumes, the contents
inane, they were just as contemptible as the “sandwichers” who now take
their place, bound in boards. None of these tumefied gentlemen ever
walked in a hurry, confessedly because they would not have it supposed
that they had anything to do. But they had; they smoked cigars in the
open air, holding them in two fingers out of five, the other three spread
out like a fan, the hand encased in lavender-tinted gloves guiltless of
a crease. They smoked weeds which were lighter in weight than the silver
they cost; they smoked them in Bond Street, they smoked them in the park;
but as any lady of their acquaintance approached, they ostentatiously
flung them into the road before raising the host—that is to say, the
hat—a couple of inches nearer heaven.

I remember well the time when no gentleman was supposed to smoke; the
habit was fit only for the vulgarian. By degree the young officer, the
young squire, and the delicate-minded _parvenu_ was seduced into the
allurements of tobacco.

The introduction of the cigar into society was a great trial to the
womenkind. At first a smoker was no gentleman, and he only became
one when no gentleman did otherwise than smoke. The Sybarites at the
commencement of their new epoch smoked only out of doors or in a room
set apart for the purpose; this was still a reason for the separation of
the sexes, but at length some beauties of independent spirit assured the
youth of their set that they liked the perfume of a cigar, and from that
time the revolution set in.

The puppyism of that day was mere fashion, the exercise of the imitative
faculty which the monkey is supposed to still retain. But fashion is not
a very durable religion.

The novelists, clever creatures, have shown a fondness for making such
inanities as I have depicted very heroic on occasions, and as coming out
in quite a new character; but they have not said why. The truth is that
the vanity which begets a dressy snob will ferment itself up into the
leader of a forlorn hope, and be thankful for the chance of a Victoria
Cross instead of the praises of the giggling sex, whose blessedness
threatens to keep them single.

Some men are vain to the last; Addison was when he invited a nobleman to
come and see how a Christian could die; Dr. Donne was before parting with
his last breath but one or two—he was laid out by himself. Women, too,
are supposed to be not free from vanity, not only up to the last, but a
little after, desiring to be called “beautiful corpses;” and to this end
they have directed their maids to rouge their cheeks when they are no

These are the true lovers of art.

As we are on the topic, one may say the least vain are those who die by
their own hand, especially with the aid of a pistol. These instruments
do the work of suicide with a very ill grace; the effect is that however
much the relatives may have wished for a photograph to be taken after
death, even that consolation is forbidden them.

It takes two or three generations for the world to forget it when a great
man kills himself.

    “Life is a handsome present—no man earns it;
    Ungracious therefore is he who returns it.”

I could never regard a suicide otherwise than as a very remarkable
person, with inscrutable traits of character; in truth, as a singular
anomaly. Napoleon, the most noticeable, perhaps, of men, because the
worst among conspicuous ones, could not reach the courage to kill
himself; bravery seems inadequate to such a purpose. Butcher as he was,
there was not a sprinkling of self-destruction in him; his life was more
to him than the empire of the world which he had lost, though that life
was one of cancer.

I knew a man, a captain in the navy, retired, a C.B., with a private
income of £1200 a year, with no expenses but those of a lodging, no wife
or family, who drowned himself because he was going blind, and this being
so he could no longer superintend his affairs, and felt himself liable
to be cheated, which was more than he could endure—and it certainly is a
trial! This man was old and infirm, cool, unimpassioned, not wanting in
even spirits, and fond of a joke. He had the full use of his faculties,
and had frequent conversations with a weak-minded medical man, in
the club-room over which he lodged, on the nature of various poisons
without his purpose being suspected. It ended in his creeping into a
water-cistern under the boards of an adjoining room.

Most of us grow tired of living, but we prefer the fatigue to nothing,
though we may suffer pain that is all but insupportable.

A man who takes his own life may be mad in some respects, but not in
committing the act, for he always does it in the right way. If he fired
at his own bust instead of at himself, if he swallowed the bottle instead
of the laudanum within it, if he cut his dog’s throat instead of his
own, with a view to self-destruction, it would be madness itself. But he
performs the act rationally and perpetrates it in a strictly methodical

There must be two kinds of courage, one of which is common to most men,
and one which few possess and none comprehend.

I am told that when a certain reporter attends a meeting on behalf of a
journal and finds out, from the speaker’s address, that the purpose for
which the assembly is convened is worthless, he retires; and on taking
up his note-book, looks at the person speaking and says, “Go home and
cut your throat,”—words that might have well been addressed to the Bond
Street swells.


A steam-engine may be called the greatest of inventions, and could the
best one as yet constructed have sufficient consciousness to register its
excellencies and defects, according to its own knowledge and experience,
it could not be accused of boastfulness or self-depreciation. Again, if
a dog could be endowed, in addition to its faculties, with the power of
expression, and could define in exact terms its sense of smell and so
announce it more keen than that of all other animals, it could not be
accused of vanity.

The steam-engine in its revelation might reflect credit on its designer
and on the man who constructed it, and these might reflect credit on
their maker, but not on themselves; they had no hand in the acquisition
of their faculties. So with the dog, it would simply make its statement,
and in so doing communicate a phenomenon that the science of man would
otherwise be slow to reach.

As it is with the dog, so it should be with men in giving expression to
their natural gifts. A Shakespeare, knowing and avowing himself to be a
vehicle constructed of phosphorized brain and ozonized blood, through
which the higher revelations of nature are poured out on the senses of
men, might describe the glorious machinery as it worked within him;
might declare himself to be the most highly perfected of human beings,
and that without vanity or boast, but not without a benefit to others,
affording them details concerning himself absolutely unattainable by
ordinary means; for no one has yet fathomed him as he did himself, and
his knowledge died with him.

If Lord Bacon had taken the trouble to explain to us all about the
wheels that moved his apparent delinquencies, it would have afforded a
scientific lesson, and have ranked with his other essays. He would have
lost nothing by it; minds of the size of his suffer nothing from opinion,
and can be as indifferent to it as a cat, or a dog, or a horse, or a
cow is to what we call decency. The degree of energy people display in
vociferating against the anomalies of morals is the best measure one
can have of their own failings. If I were to hear a man rail vehemently
against a swindle, I should at once conclude that the machinery of
cheating within him was in good working order, unless it had been his lot
to be the party swindled.

There is no genius without humour, at least no literary genius, for that
differentiating faculty is the basis of all self-criticism. Men have
been challenged to define genius, and they have tried to do it without
being asked. The fact is that clever people can do nothing unless it
is a little difficult; they cannot see what lies directly under their
noses, and one of the truths so situated is that perfect genius has
never existed. Such genius as a man can possess is fragmentary, never
whole. He may have literary genius, and that is enough for one. He may
have scientific genius, like Goethe, Oken, Lamark, Geoffrey St. Hilaire,
Darwin, Helmholtz, Davy, Faraday, Hunter, Cuvier, Laenec; but many of
these were poor creatures in other branches than their own. He may have
genius in mathematical philosophy, like Newton; but that great man had
an intellectual weakness. Real genius of the perfect kind would be more
than one man could carry; the ideal whole is broken up and distributed in
fragments, some immense, like that falling to Leonardo da Vinci’s share,
some small and constituting mere talent.

I have somewhere a list of men of genius who were originators, beginning
with Homer as the father of Poetry, and coming down to Goethe who began
the transcendental philosophy of to-day in his “Metamorphoses of Plants;”
and I could never get beyond sixty or seventy names.

Any one giving an estimate of his own capabilities, whether favourable
or unfavourable, or both, without illustrating what he states by his
own work, and by the opinions of competent critics, is an egotist. If
hereafter I should enter on the subject of my mental capabilities, it
will be on the principle not of self-consciousness, but of mechanical
candour. Having never ceased my work up to the age of eighty-four, I
may have within me an ample experience of my mental operations; but any
account of these the reader has the advantage of testing with what he
finds his own superior judgment.

I produced very little in my early days, though a passion for literary
success then governed me, alternating with a passion for scientific.
A career in the direction of either was impeded in middle life by
professional practice, which had its fascinations. But the young have not
really much that is worth saying to the middle-aged or old. I had been
nourished on the Greek and Roman classics; under the special influence
of Herodotus I composed an Egyptian drama of the time of Cambyses, and
it cost me much labour and greatly improved me in the art of composing;
but not having read it for more than half a century I am quite unable now
to judge of it. The flight I know to have been high, but whether through
clear atmosphere or fog I cannot say. Sir Sibbald Scott, son of my friend
Sir David, told me that he had seen the authorship of “The Piromides”
inquired for in _Notes and Queries_ at two different times. It was
received by the press as a work of solemn purpose throughout.

I may mention that Lord Elgin, to whom I inscribed this play, thought it
betrayed poetic taste, and he expressed his opinion in warmer terms than
I cite.

It is surprising to witness how many good writers of their own language
there are in this country: in reading the papers this is extensively
seen; the leading articles appear equal, all marked by idiomatic
clearness of expression. Then, in literary criticism, it is noticeable
how much deeper the writers penetrate into the arcana, perceiving what
is rendered, and what is left wanting, in a poetic composition, and that
with a psychological acuteness much more general than was met with a
generation or two ago. This is the more valuable, since criticism is the
profoundest of studies; it demands an adequate knowledge of every science
and art, as well as a competent observation of nature.

In speaking of my own intellectual mechanism, this I say once more is
none of my own, but an instrument placed temporarily among visible
things, to reveal what it may to the less knowing.


It is my purpose in writing these Memoirs to adhere rigidly to truth,
at least in its essence. Should I succeed in this, my work will be a
very remarkable one, almost unique. But, being a close observer, I have
noticed that those who always tell the truth obtain immense credit, no
matter how much they say that militates against themselves. The pleasure
of speaking the truth at all times is immense. Lying is a very peculiar
art: some use it merely as a convenience, and often have not the ability
to forge a lie without including in it the contradiction. One takes
pity on this class, endowed only with a pauper intellect and a pauper

Exaggerative liars are of a common class; it is somewhat difficult to
reach their motive, because they neither serve themselves nor others.
What they chiefly exaggerate is incomes; it must be due to a sanguine

The decidedly despicable liars are those who lie about themselves; but
these have not the shrewdness to see their way safely. A man told me
that he had been dining with a distinguished party at a certain club.
He had not the knowledge necessary to give his lie substance; he was
not aware that the rules of the club he named did not admit of a member
entertaining any stranger there.

These are the three sorts of everyday liars; it is astonishing how
completely every one knows them as such without their being in the least
aware of the fact themselves, for we all pretend to believe liars to
their face!

It is like possessing a fortune to be endowed with a love of truth for
its own sake, and I doubt if any man was ever truly great without it. The
mind of the truly gifted appears to me to lie parallel with nature, so
that if an idea comes into being, all other ideas related to it are close
at hand, and in a line with it.

The value of this view to the science of criticism is incommensurable:
this I will now illustrate. The idea and its relations, which increase
its intensity and beauty, may be variously expressed. Say Shakespeare
knew a girl who was in love but concealed it, and so, pining, grew
hectic and sallow; but bore it with patience. Such would be the prose
version of the fact, and is not very emotional. But the poet would look
as steadfastly at the sufferer as would a lover, then his sympathy would
inflame, and in the developing of his mental vision he would see a rose
that must prematurely perish through the cankering worm that gnaws at
its heart. That rose is the hectic blush, its damask is reflected on the
maiden cheek as she pines. But such an image cannot end here, this image
of death in life; and in the next parallel appears a living monument of
immortalizing sculpture beyond which the mind cannot rise.

    (1) She never told her love—
    (2) But let concealment, like a worm in the bud,
          Feed on her damask cheek.
    (3) She pined in thought,
        And with a green and yellow melancholy
        She sat like Patience on a monument,
          Smiling at grief.

Poetry is co-extensive with Nature, but cannot exceed her limits. She
has her mystical number, which is three. Her suns rise; they reach their
zenith; they have their setting: it is their morning, their noon, and
their night. The earth has its three dimensions; the elements and all
the things it consists of can assume but three forms, the solid, the
liquid, the gaseous. Her productions have their three stages, and,
running through these, they begin again. Man, in common with all that is
organic, is born, he lives, he dies; the plant yearly has its growth,
its flowering, its seed-time. This is the trinity of Nature; and poetry,
which is her vocal manifestation, has its three parallels.

This truth, instances of which the reader himself may multiply at will,
serves to illuminate the poetic argument which is to follow. An idea in
imaginative poetry, which is the greatest and the only truly great, has
three parallels as already exemplified; it cannot have more, and to be
of the highest quality it cannot have less. There are as many sources of
these parallels as there are objects in the three natural kingdoms, that
most marvellous of the threefold series, the conjoint animal, vegetable,
and mineral, in which all things subsist; in which every object is an
ante-type of the poetic evolution just defined.

It is not necessary that these parallels should be separated by
intervening details of any length, whence it is that short passages,
or short poems like the sonnet, when woven with a due regard to their
effectiveness, become poetic gems. Such are the first four lines of
Shakespeare’s thirty-third sonnet; such are Coleridge’s lines on “Time
Real and Imaginary,” and those on “Work without Hope.” All these I will
now cite, numbering the parallels in their gradual ascent from the
subject to its evolution, and thence into its transcendental expression
in the ideal.


    (1) Full many a glorious morning have I seen
        Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye;
    (2) Kissing with golden face the meadows green;
    (3) Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.


    (1) Two lovely children ran an endless race,
            A sister and a brother!
    (2) She far outstripped the other;
        Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
        And looks and listens for the boy behind;
    (3) For he, alas! is blind.


    (1) All nature seems at work:
    (2) Slugs leave their lair;
        The bees are stirring, birds are on the wing,
    (3) And Winter, slumbering in the open air,
        Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
    (1) And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
    (2) Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
        Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
        Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
    (3) Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may;
        For me ye bloom not. Glide, rich streams, away!
        With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll;
        And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
        Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
        And hope without an object cannot live.

Shakespeare, in the citation “She never told her love,” gives out his
subject in five words; from this he rises into the amplification of it
through an exquisite metaphor and thence inters its divine ideal in
imagery that can never be surpassed. Such is the working principle in
imaginative verse, and it may be readily found that the principle does
not pervade narrative poetry except in authors of the very highest class.
It is the sure test of genius, so sure that a classification of the
poets, in the order of their merit, might be based upon it.

It may be perceived that these poetic gems are as perfect in themselves
as any epic of many pages. But as gems differ, so do these: the citations
from Shakespeare and from Coleridge have their parallels in the line of
ascent; they rise into their climax. The question whether the expression
“slugs leave their lair,” should not be “stags leave their lair,” might
surely be decided by reference to the first edition of “Work without
Hope.” I possessed Gagliani’s reprint of Coleridge in 1832; if “slugs”
in that issue stood as a printer’s error, the author was alive to
protest against it. However, in an early edition of his poems, edited
by Coleridge, I find it is “stags.” I feel that it was consonant with
Coleridge’s mind to have begun the poem with “Slugs leave their lair;” it
is not only more musical than “stags” through the triple alliteration,
but more orderly, beginning with the slowest of animated creatures as
typical of the condition of apathy that he was himself consigned to.


There are three lofty and emotional verses in Wordsworth’s “Intimations,”
which should be spoken of. The first of these is a gem, and would have
been without flaw but that it begins in the climacteric, while the
subject and development of it, which should come first, begin at the
sixth line, thus:

    “It is not now as it hath been of yore,”

down to the end.

It is almost sad to observe what splendid material Wordsworth sacrifices
through his want of poetic art.

The stanza needs no verbal correction; its fault is in the misplacement
of the lines. It is one of the most important verses in the language, or
I would not trouble the critic about it, but I will ask him to read it
thus by transposing the lines:


    It is not now as it hath been of yore;


    Turn wheresoe’er I may,
    By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


    There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The earth and every common sight
    To me did seem
    Apparelled in celestial light,
    The glory and the freshness of a dream!

The qualifications of one who could be classed with the greatest of poets
are deducible from Shakespeare alone; they are as follows:—

    1. Imagination.
    2. Philosophic vision.
    3. A sense of the ludicrous.
    4. An emotional perception of beauty.
    5. Harmony.
    6. Art.

All of these might be dilated on, but not here.

It is a notable truth that the poetic mind never appears fully to mature.
A man often writes a whole bible of verses, of which but one per cent.,
or from that to ten, is worth preserving. If he produces one or two
favourite poems, a mild people accepts the whole, but only feeds on the
little income of its large capital. A voluminous writer may succeed in
yielding a fine harvest on the whole; the wheats beyond all praise, the
barleys good, the oats plentiful; but the roots indifferent and the
potato crop decidedly bad.

It would be a curious sight if one could inspect the proceedings of Fame
Insurance Companies, in which Shakespeare had a policy for millions all
paid up, and invested in the hearts of generations unborn; in which,
if Coleridge has not a tithe of the amount, he is yet rich with the
well-earned increment ever increasing; and Wordsworth, who teaches moral
as well as poetic divinity, is not very far behind him. There I pause,
accepting contemporary poets as more or less life-annuitants.

There is, perhaps, no example of retrospective imagination (it is at once
so dramatic, so poetic) like the opening words of Gloucester in the play
of _Richard III_.

Before Shakespeare’s day, drama and poetry lived very much apart—one may
say entirely separate in the Greek; no less so than chemical science and
geology may do at the present time: Shakespeare, in much of his work,
made them one.

    “Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;”

in this the action is dramatic, the verbal structure metaphoric.

The same is true of—

    “Nor made to court an amourous looking-glass;”

while the words,

    “He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber,
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute,”

surpasses both, as not being metaphoric, yet poetic as well as dramatic.

Furthermore, the latter line—

    “To strut before a wanton, ambling nymph,”

is most perfect in drama-poetic expression. It is exquisite in its
contempt; it is ever visible in its movement; it is ludicrous too. Here
lies the highest triumph of poetry, to do that which ordinary speech
can barely effect in any single sentence—to attain to the most beautiful
expression without a single metaphor; that is, by absolute simplicity of

Of course, metaphor is a great resource in composition; it involves not
only the fact, but its simile in one and the same epithet.

The line in Hamlet—

    “Whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul,”

has as strong a simile in it, through “harrow up,” as is contained in the

    “Thy matted and combined locks to part …
    Like quills upon a fretful porcupine.”

But the last is pure poetry; the other is dramatic poetry.

Of course, pure poetry has the highest quality of all; it is so sincere,
so convincing, that it requires no help to render it beautiful and

The whole address in _Hamlet_ delivered by the Ghost is free from
metaphor with few exceptions towards the end, as—

    “Make thy two eyes like stars dart from their spheres;”


    “Like quills upon a fretful porcupine.”

These two lines are the only exceptions. They are mighty, and at the very
summit of human art, but in this respect do not actually reveal more than
may be set forth in a pure simplicity of diction.

This great truth of truths was known to David and Solomon. It came to
them as the only means through which the interests of a pure humanity
could be enlarged on, and made to reach the heart.

Moses enjoyed the art, as shown in his account of the creation; so
likewise did the authors of Esther, Ruth, and Job. It came to them
because their poetry was so human, and consisted not, as it did with the
Greeks, in exalting heroes and conquerors.

It is easy enough to use simple language in descriptive poetry or in
prose; not so easy to attain to sublimity by its means. To do this
demands genius of the first order. Shakespeare, the most gifted of men,
was not too great to employ it in his highest achievements. He was a
perfect master of simplicity; he knew that there was but one simple
thing, and that was truth.

    “The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,”

and the lines that follow, are entirely free from metaphor, yet no purer
and nobler description ever found utterance. The more a writer deviates
from simplicity, the less sincere he appears. Let every man of genius
mark my words, that He who delivered the parables to the multitude was
Sincerity itself; that His teachings were allegories, but that metaphor
never crossed His lips. Take as examples those exquisite poems—for such
they are, unfettered by artificial metre—the parables of the Prodigal
Son, and of the Ten Virgins: a critical reading of them will readily
reveal that not a single metaphor exists in either, and yet what an
elevated poetry pervades them! After perusing them, turn at once to
Milton and read his account of Satan’s exaltation in hell—

    “High on a throne of royal state which far
    Outshone the wealth of Ormus, or of Ind,
    Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
    Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
    Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
    To that bad eminence.”

This is great language, is marvellous, high-sounding, impressive, but is
it sincere? Would an angel sent from heaven to report on the proceedings
in hell, have brought back such a description as this of what he had

It is grand, as is Homer’s exaltation of his heroes; but does it touch
the innermost heart?

This is said not to find fault; not to withdraw admiration from one of
the few who have made their country famous before all other lands, for
there is time for all things; for

    “The pomp and circumstance of glorious war,”

and for sadness at the sufferings of humanity.

In writing about Shakespeare and Coleridge, I have showed that poems from
their hand, however short, had the three essentials of art—that is, the
three parallels, not more or less—namely, the statement of the subject,
the development of it in detail, and the climax. The bare statement
of the subject is the basis of the whole; the development employs the
retrospective imagination which embraces an acquaintance with all
nature and human life; finally, the climax involves the moral by means
of the prospective imagination or the circumspective, and rises into the

An analysis of the parables shows that these three parallels are
invariably to be found in each. A poet who cares little or nothing for
nature uses the introspective imagination, substituting himself for the
universe, whence his climax often sinks into a mere reflection.

I would say a few more words on the subject of parables.

Dr. Angus, the masterly author of an English Grammar, defines the
allegory, parable, and fable. He says of the parable that it is an
allegory of something that might happen, written in metaphoric language.
This is an instance in which a great scholar may err by dispensing with
scrutiny and relying on his instinctive belief.


But I must not forget that these records are meant to be about myself,
the author of poems and other effusions let loose when from time to time
he drew out the spigot. The author’s insurance policy is still under
discussion. His trial is still going on, as did that of Warren Hastings;
it has gone into a new generation, and some say that when, like the
traditional door-nail, he is dead, it will terminate in his acquittal,
it being found at last that he did not make himself, but was planned out
by Nature to serve her purpose; having fulfilled which, she withdrew the
chemical compound of which he consisted, and utilized his waste materials.

As said before, I had the “Piromides” printed and published; it was
by Saunders and Ottley, in 1839, while I resided in Gordon Square on
my return from Paris, where I had spent twelve months in making the
acquaintance of scientific physicians, naturalists, and others; going
round the wards of La Charité with Andral every morning at six o’clock;
attending the lectures on chemistry of Thénard at a later hour, and
revelling in the bones of Cuvier’s osteological museum. I was much with
Milne-Edwards; and with Dujardin, whose _éclairage_ for the microscope I
introduced into London, lending mine to Ross and to Powell as a pattern,
and these opticians and their successors have supplied the scientific
profession with it ever since. It consisted of an achromatic illuminator,
the invention of which Wollaston pronounced impossible, and which
Dujardin achieved.

In that year I made the discovery of an animalcule in the liver; it was a
time when such things were unknown, now fifty years ago. This discovery
has recently attracted the attention of the Pathological Society, who
have given an account of it in their “Transactions” for 1890, in a
eulogistic tone.

In that year, too, I published “Vates.”

From 1839 to 1853, living in East Anglia, I was engaged in an art-novel
or romance, called “Valdarno,” taking it up only from time to time,
as Goethe did his “Faust.” I began its foundations in Florence, and
published four numbers under the title of “Vates,” illustrated by Charles
Landseer, and I then dropped it, as in costing too much money it became
a gift to the world. Dante Rossetti, whose father was a professor at
King’s, like Pepoli at University College, used, as a student-boy at the
first-named, to purchase “Vates,” and devour it eagerly; so he told me
when many years later we met.

Leaving the arena of letters and art for country life, which is, however,
worth seeing once, I settled myself down in the monastic borough of Bury
St. Edmunds. Like all the old county towns, it was formerly the little
metropolis of a squirearchy, where the dowagers retired for life into the
family mansions. The place has great architectural features in the shape
of abbey ruins, still haunted by the ghost of Abbot Sampson; of noble
churches, such as are not built now; of Norman tower and Gothic gateway,
such as may never be built again.

There was no lord in the place to adorn it, but there was a great plenty
of the kind to bless it and conserve it within reach—the Duke of Norfolk,
the Marquis of Bristol, and baronets sufficient in number to engage
the fingers of one hand when counted up. But the town itself had its
magnates; there was an honourable Mr. Petre, brother of a lord of that
name, and an honourable Mr. Pellew, son of the naval hero, and my own
familiar friend, not to mention an admiral of the great name and family
of Wollaston, and a post-captain, with a C.B. that he never wore; and it
must not be forgotten that the august mother of the Bishop of London, Dr.
Bloomfield, also resided there, among others of great worth, including a
solitary baronet and his lady, Sir John Walsham.

There was a famous grammar school, too, with Dr. Donaldson of classic
fame as head master, which had supplied England with a president of
the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Thomas Watson; a lord chancellor,
Sir Robert Rolfe, Lord Cranworth; besides a bishop of London, whose
scholarship was on a par with that of the most learned of the day; and
all these alive at the same time.

The Marquis of Bristol was the younger son of the earl of that house,
who was also Bishop of Derry, and owing to his elder brother’s early
death, he became the owner of Ickworth, a park within a short drive of
Bury, which, including all the parish and part of the one adjoining, lies
within a circuit of eleven miles. It is said that the father disliked the
son, probably owing to some act of disobedience, and exercised his power
of depriving the inheritance of its charm. He destroyed all the fine old
timber in the park, but nearly a hundred years have sufficed to restore
it; and he left the plan of a colossal palace, of which he himself
erected the central shell, and laid the whole of the foundations. I was
credibly informed that ten thousand a year was to be spent for fifty
years, according to the bishop’s will, to complete the structure.

The building was completed on the original grand scale about fifty
years ago, and it took fifty years to finish. In the drawings of this
marvellous structure it is designated Ickworth Building, and it bears
that name, which, given it by Time, it will always retain, for people
call it by no other.

Ickworth Building was the design of a Mr. Sandys, I believe a clergyman,
not an architect by profession. He had been much in Rome, as had the
bishop, who loved Italy, and lived more in that country than elsewhere;
and, though an absentee bishop, the beneficence he exercised in his see
was so great that at his death the people of Derry subscribed to raise
a monument of their gratitude to him, which stands near the building in
Ickworth Park.

There must be descriptions of Ickworth Building in works on architecture,
and I think one will be found in Mr. Rookwood Gage’s fine “History of
Suffolk;” but I do not possess such, and what I say is from memory.

I have heard Lord Bristol say that often when he looked out of window
in the morning on the new building from the old, he wished the earth
would swallow it up. One knows the feeling of something always hanging
over one; it is like that of a man sitting underneath a gallows after an

The marquis might doubtless have eluded the burden imposed on him
by his father’s will, but _je noublieray jamais_ was the motto he
inherited, and he lived to finish his task and to enjoy the magnificent
dwelling-place as a home. The building itself, wholly unique in grace
and beauty, consists of a central structure, almost circular, surmounted
by a dome, intended to represent the Coliseum; its summit is belted by
sculptures of the Homeric legends, the work of Flaxman. There are two
square wings at a proportionate distance from the body of the building,
connected with it by corridors, each being the segment of a circle,
with its concavity to the front. The left wing was designed for a
picture-gallery, the right one for a gallery of sculpture, intended by
the bishop to receive his collections of art.

The building is of white material externally; its area is planted with
cedars alone. Of all the palaces and mansions I have ever beheld, it is
the most surprising; perhaps equalled only, though not in grace, by the
temples of India, with the designs of which one is familiar.

The Pavilion at Brighton should not be forgotten in such a comparison,
but that is semi-barbarous, while Ickworth is classic, of the Ionic and
Corinthian orders.

Approached by a serpentine road, its perspective conveys the impression
of a moving object; it seems to swing round, as on a pivot, at every
turn one takes in driving towards the portico, now slowly, now rapidly
revolving, on its aërial axis, now remaining still.

I am not aware of it, if what follows has ever been put on record
authentically, though it may have been so in part. The earl-bishop
lived much at Rome and spent his large income in making a collection of
pictures and sculptures to fill the galleries at Ickworth. It was at the
time when we were at war with France on account of Napoleon Bonaparte’s

The bishop having completed his collections of sculptures made his
arrangements for transmitting them to England, when they were seized
on their way by Bonaparte as belonging to a British subject. This act
aroused a strong feeling of indignation in the minds of the Italian
artists, who had met with so generous a patron in the bishop, and, that
he might not be a sufferer, they subscribed a large sum of money and
offered it to Bonaparte as a ransom for the treasures he had put under
confiscation. Bonaparte took the money and set the collection free,
restoring it to their owner, when it was no sooner despatched a second
time than he seized it again.

No more fortunate fate awaited the pictures. The bishop succeeded in
having them safely conveyed to Dover, but while in the custom house
the building was burnt down, and the fine collection of paintings was
destroyed in the flames.

I was told by one of the family a singular anecdote of the bishop. When
at Rome he was invited to a banquet by the cardinals, and, while the
company gathered, he learnt accidentally that the dining-hall was over
the debtor’s prison. His anger at once burst forth and knew no bounds.
He, a prelate of the Church of England, was insulted; he had been asked
to dine over the heads of those wretched prisoners who, during the feast,
would be pining in their narrow cells. His hosts naturally explained that
such an affront was unintended by them; but he was not to be pacified. At
length his course was determined on: he would remain where he was until a
full list of all the prisoners’ debts was brought him. For this he waited
sulkily, and when it arrived he wrote a cheque for the entire amount.

The prison doors were opened, and he sat down.

The private history of a country has not the same interest as the public,
which is enduring; but it has a charm and is instructive. Biology profits
by observing the influence of a higher life on the temperaments of men,
on their principles, their manners, and their views. How different all
these become to what we meet with in the common working men, from whom
the best of us are descended!

The bishop was for some time confined by the republicans in the castle
of Milan, and afterwards still remained in Italy, where he died in 1803.
Except the central shell and the foundations, Ickworth was left for the
next successor to erect: a gigantic undertaking.

The Herveys were always distinguished by their manners; Lord Hervey, in
Pope’s time, was so conspicuous on this ground as to be called “Fanny
Hervey.” It was with him, probably, the saying arose that the human race
was divided into men, women, and Herveys.

The present Lord Arthur, now bishop of Bath and Wells, has a manner
which, once seen, could never be forgotten. The same might be said of
Lord Charles Hervey, who, however, had taken a different polish from
having been a member of the Spanish embassy.

Lord Bristol was at Ickworth chiefly at Christmas, when he packed his
house with all his descendants, having a separate table for those who
were yet children.

Unfortunately, the offices being in the basement, half a mile distant, as
people said, the dinner had plenty of time to cool before it reached the

Lord Bristol was always very pleasant with his guests: after dinner he
would sit with his legs crossed and enter into familiar chat on political
matters. He had veered a good deal towards the Liberal side. I remember
his saying to me, “It is incumbent on us to move with the times; it was
very easy to govern when there was only a population of eleven millions,
but it is a different matter now.”

Earl Jermyn was very unlike his younger brothers and his father. He had
a manner peculiarly his own, a politeness so mingled with shyness that
one could not distinguish the one from the other, but withal a commanding
air. His countess, Lady Catherine Jermyn, sister of the present Duke of
Rutland, had a most imposing figure, and was both beautiful and full
of charm. She died in London in her prime, so absolutely the prey of
small-pox that no feature was longer recognizable.

Lord Alfred was member for Bury at one time, with Earl Jermyn, but he
made no place for himself in political life.

I was informed that the earl-bishop had built himself a residence in
Ireland, similar to the Ickworth Building, but on a greatly reduced
scale. When I read Lever’s novel of “The Bishop’s Folly,” I wondered
whether its plot was laid in the place in question. I quite read the work
with the impression that it was so.


Much culture shows itself in the families of Suffolk. I often thought it
was owing to the vicinity of Cambridge, which is not more than a drive
of thirty miles from Bury. This remark applies to many of the resident
gentry, and notably to two sons of Sir Henry Bunbury: to his eldest, Sir
C. F. Bunbury, the late baronet and a distinguished botanist, who was
only debarred from a Fellowship of Trinity by his being an heir to an
estate and title; an honour which his next brother, Sir Edward, received,
and who sustained his reputation in becoming the most learned ancient
geographer of the day.

Sir Henry, a lieutenant-general, was a man not to be readily forgotten.
He had a sound judgment, was a constant reader of books, old and new, a
clear-headed critic of art productions, and he held temperate opinions
on national affairs; in fact, he encouraged the repeal of the corn laws,
though at Barton and Mildenhall the owner of over fifteen thousand acres
of land. He was the son of a famous man, the greatest of caricaturists,
Henry Bunbury, whose initials of H. B. were adopted by one who came later
and who reaped fame on the bold impersonation.

Henry Bunbury was the friend of Sir Joshua, and there are several
Reynoldses at Barton Hall; one of priceless value, a full-length
portraiture of Lady Sarah Lennox as Venus sacrificing to the Graces—a
lady destined to perform a notable part in life.

It was said that her beauty was the exciting cause of her sovereign’s
madness, for it was well-known that she smote him to the quick; but she
was fated to a higher lot, though her path to it was thorny.

Lady Sarah Lennox was married to Sir Charles Bunbury, the uncle of Sir
Henry, a man in whose life the world can take no interest, for he was
simply of the horse-racing class, the least admirable of shrewd, clever

One may imagine the kind of character Sir Charles was when it is told
that he grew tired of his lovely wife! She was finally divorced from so
unworthy a partner, and retired to Ireland, in the bitterness of her

After a lapse of several years, Lady Sarah met with a Colonel Napier, who
belonged to the historical family of that name, and she married him. From
that date her better destiny began. She became a mother, but of such a
family! Of her five sons, three were Peninsula heroes, with the friendly
eye of Wellington always upon them. Sir Charles Napier, the first general
of his day; Sir William, the historian of the Peninsular War; and Sir
George, a brave, good man, who was governor of the Cape.

Another son of this great lady was a barrister, and a fifth was a

But to one, the only daughter, the sister in so bright a galaxy, one may
readily credit the charm that attached to her! To complete the romance,
she became the second wife of Sir Henry Bunbury, coming to Barton Hall,
to find her beautiful mother’s image there, where it had remained over
the great library mantelpiece, sacrificing to the Graces still.

Barton was a comfortable home, and Providence, to make perfection joyous,
bestowed on Lady Bunbury a niece whose countenance was the daylight,
whose voice was the music of all around. This was Cecilia Napier, the
only living child of Sir George. She inherited the beauty and grace of
Lady Sarah, whose portraiture by Reynolds was hers also. The family of
Sir Henry came of a first marriage, but he loved the adopted one of his
second wife as his own. This lovely girl became the wife of his third
son, Henry, a colonel in the army.

One would almost think that Providence was the near relation of some
families—it appoints them to such pleasant places, makes them so welcome
upon earth, lets them want for nothing. So it was apparently at Barton
Hall, on which the divine patronage was very generously bestowed.

As we learnt at school, _Natura beatis omnibus esse dedit_. Still, as a
physician would say, this is only the predisposing cause; exciting causes
must follow. And here Providence steps in, with the patronage of a prime
minister, which is not, in appearance, dealt out disinterestedly; but
there is not enough for all.

Sir Henry, on account of his conciliatory manners, was selected after the
war to communicate to General Bonaparte his pending sentence of lifelong
exile. Sir Hudson Lowe might perhaps have been as well appointed to the
task, for the ex-emperor simply burst out into a torrent of abuse and
rage, which not all the persuasiveness of the baronet could soften.

Sir Henry began military life at the battle of Maida, under General
Stuart, and wrote an account of it in pamphlet form, but I think not
for general circulation. He also similarly described his interview
with Napoleon. It gave a fuller account of what passed than appears in
Sir Walter Scott’s work, which was borrowed from it by Sir Henry’s

Sir George Napier I knew very well; he was sometimes at Barton. Sir
Charles I saw only once, and was charmed by the gentle and unpretending
manner of the man who had performed such marvels of valour. When last
in India, at the conquest of Scinde, he contracted a dysentery, which
afterwards returned and proved fatal. He annexed Scinde, in violation
of the orders from home. Lady Bunbury told me she had heard, but could
not vouch for the truth of it, that in his despatch to the Government he
announced what he had done in one apologetic word—_peccavi_.

It was said that the moral influence enjoyed over the troops by this
great soldier even exceeded that of his command as general.

It may be interesting to note that Sir Henry’s successor, the late
Charles Fox Bunbury, married a daughter of Leonard Horner, a sister of
Lady Lyell. They lived at the old mansion at Mildenhall.

I knew Sir Charles Lyell in 1839, when I was the bearer to him of some
fossils; and I met him with Lady Lyell and her sisters in 1853, when I
delivered a lecture to a select company in the house.


One’s memoirs never seem to end; the more one advances the more one seems
to remember. It is like living over again on somewhat easy terms, for a
repetition of the reality would by all, if offered it, be respectfully
declined, even by those who have passed through it the most smoothly. But
this revival of a long life in memory itself is a good; one can set aside
and suppress the bad feelings that have had their place in alternate
succession, and can so purify being, though too late, as one passes
through it over again. We have all had friends, and in thus reviving
their recollection we feel how far less stable within us are their
failings than their kindly deeds. The models of good men are those who
never speak ill of others; there are many such, and in passing once more
from childhood to old age we may imitate them at last.

The Duke of Norfolk was a friend of mine, for he sent me game at a time
when he did not even know me, with his compliments; the only man who
ever did so before or since. This good duke, this most high and puissant
prince, resided in a pleasant, not pretentious mansion near Bury, from
which he drove in an open carriage with one horse on a Sunday to his
Catholic Church. It was said that neither he nor his predecessor, known
as Jockey of Norfolk, were acquainted with their near relationship. The
duke whom he succeeded was said to have once determined to invite all
who were descendants of his house to a banquet at Arundel, but that when
the number of claimants reached two hundred, he paused and abandoned his
purpose. His next of kin, on whom I am now engaged, was a man of business
in the City; had his office, and responded to orders for wine. While thus
honourably occupied he had to be looked up, and was credibly informed
that he was wanted, not by the law only, but to take over the lordship
of Arundel Castle, together with the premier dukedom, besides earldoms
enough, and over a dozen baronies; a number of peerages sufficient to
constitute a full committee of the House of Lords.

This nobleman thus entered on many homes, but he preferred his own
country seat, to which he had been accustomed, to castle and palace, and
there, full of years and honours, he suddenly died. His heir had gone by
the historical name of the Earl of Surrey, and his grandson by that of
Lord Fitzalan; but the latter at the duke’s death assumed the earldom of
Arundel and Surrey.

Lord Fitzalan, travelling in the Mediterranean, had fallen ill. He was
the guest of Admiral Lyons, and became attached to the daughter of that
heroic seaman. This lady, who only died lately, was justly beloved; her
charity to the poor had no bounds. A priest at Lymington, who was one of
her almoners, told me he could ask her for whatever he saw needed by the
poor, and, no matter what the cost, it was given. The present duke is her
worthy son.

The residence of the old duke, who lived there now three generations
ago, was at Fornham All Saints, in a good park. After his death it was
purchased for a young man named Lord Manners, the son of an Irish lord
chancellor, and has been resold. This fortunate youth had all his work
done for him beforehand. I met him at dinner often at Culford Hall, and
I recall my amused state of mind at seeing him lean back in his chair
and play with a feather from the dress of a lady at his side, which he
peacefully blew up in the air.

In close vicinity to Fornham Park was another, where stood a mansion
which, if anything can do so, must last for ever, not because of its
strength, but its beauty. This is Hengrave Hall, a proud example,
almost unique, of our domestic architecture. It is very fully displayed
in Rookwood-Gage’s work, which I was once permitted to devour on the
premises. Sir Thomas Gage was the owner, but he was very little there,
preferring the society of Vienna to that of his eastern county home.
He was of a knightly family, and himself an elegant man of fashion;
he represented the elder branch of the Gages, the lord of that name
notwithstanding. His ancestor conferred a benefit on his country as
durable as sunshine and time, one that every Englishman profits by and
enjoys from childhood to old age; he introduced the greengage from Vienna
into this country, and it has ever since borne his name.

I was just now speaking of Culford Hall, which the press, no doubt on
intimate terms with its present proprietor, Lord Cadogan, and acquainted
with all his movements, calls Culford Abbey. It is a modern, monkless
building, and the parish was once a lordship of Bury Abbey; nothing
more. The place has an exemplary record; it was purchased more than
half of this century ago, of Lord Cornwallis’s daughters, by Mr. Benyon
de Beauvoir. For several years he spent the rental of the estate, some
eleven thousand acres, in rebuilding all its farmhouses and cottages,
which done he entailed it on his nephew, the Rev. Edward Benyon. It was,
like most of the great dwellings in the county, the home of good company,
hospitality, and sport: and for pheasant and partridge shooting Suffolk
is not unfamed.

Mr. Benyon had no heir, and the estate went, with another vast property
of sixty thousand acres, to the present Mr. Benyon, of Berkshire.


A family with which I was in close intimacy, indeed on affectionate
terms, was the Wilsons, of Stowlangtoft Hall. Let those who from their
disappointments in life have formed a bad opinion of mankind go among
such people as these!

The father of Henry Wilson resided on his estate at Highbury; he had
been a great merchant, a calling from which so many great things have
emanated in our country, and one which will cease to exist when we reach
our socialistic days; for who would give the energy of his commercial
genius as a servant of the State, and pile up tens of thousands to enrich
Cabinets whose members had better have remained prize-fighters and the

Mr. Wilson purchased two baronets’ estates in Suffolk—one of Sir George
Wombwell, the historic seat of Stowlangtoft; one, Langham Hall, the
property adjoining, of Sir Henry Blake. He also held lands in Norfolk.

Henry Wilson, his son and my kindest and best of friends, resided always
at Stowlangtoft; at one time he represented the county in Parliament.
He was educated at Oxford, where he made friends enough to last for a
lifetime, all of whom, like himself, were thoroughly good men, and many
of them fellow-students of Oriel. There was Rickards, who became his
rector, a college-friend; and one of those who joined the set of Newman
and Manning for a time. There was Porcher, Yarde Buller of Downs,[2]
Kindersley, Mozley; nearly all these were guests from time to time of
Rickards and Wilson; in fact, the only one I do not recall as having met
at the hall or rectory was Newman.

It was a deadly surprise to Rickards when Newman and Manning kicked
against the Reformation and became inceptor-candidates for the Papacy.
The Church, from its own point of view, may have deemed it fortunate that
these two gentlemen took their stroll from Oxford to Rome, or they might
have become Anglican archbishops, and have looked the Holy City up later
in life.

Sir R. Kindersley was a most genial man, quiet and sensible, like most
of those who rise to eminence. He gave his daughter in marriage to
Wilson’s eldest son, and Wilson gave one of his daughters to Kindersley’s
eldest son, and a daughter by this marriage is now Lady Herschell. Miss
Wilson had been long adopted by the Porchers, who wished her and young
Kindersley to be their heirs.

Henry Wilson had a large family by his first wife, who was a Maitland.
He married a second time, the daughter of Lord Henry Fitz-Roy, a son of
the Duke of Grafton. This lady brought him several children. She was a
devoted mother to both families; as conscientious a lady as was ever born
to fulfil great duties. She not only treated her stepchildren exactly as
she did her own, but acquired for them the same affection as she felt for
those which she had brought into the world.

Those who knew her may think themselves happy if they ever see her like

My first acquaintance with Sir R. Kindersley was at a dinner at Trinity
College, which I went to with Dr. J. W. Donaldson, the Greek scholar and
philologer. Donaldson was then head-master at the Bury School. It was my
good fortune on the same occasion to meet Professor Sedgwick, some of
whose anecdotes have served my purpose ever since. A very good one was of
a French general who visited England and enjoyed Sedgwick’s attentions,
among those of many others. On taking final leave of the general he
asked him how he liked the English ladies. After some hesitation the
answer came. It was: “I like them very much. They are very beautiful,
but they have one great fault; they are too virtuous. _Elles sont trop

I reminded Kindersley of that pleasant dinner when I met him again, and
he remembered it well.

Wilson was boundless in his hospitality to his neighbours, poor and rich.
Could every parish be under the management of such a squire and such a
rector, poverty would cease to be an evil. Wilson may have felt this
organically; it may have been under its influence that he desired to
establish his family on the soil during succeeding generations. He was an
ardent admirer of enterprise and self-aid; he turned his own name into
his motto—“Will soon will.”

He was bent on building a mansion on the Stowlangtoft estate, and this
he did ultimately on a larger scale than had sufficed for the home of
Sir George Wombwell or of Sir Simonds d’Ewes, his predecessors; but not
before his father died, who left him a purse of twenty-four thousand
pounds a year.

The old Wilson, the London merchant, told me that he met Sir George
Wombwell at his bankers’ to pay him the ninety thousand pounds in notes
which he gave for the Stowlangtoft estate, and that the baronet stuffed
the money into his hinder coat pocket, and so walked away.

The old hall was a very comfortable one, commodious, picturesque. A man
does no good to his family in replacing old mansions by new in country
places, to which the owner resorts, often, only for the shooting season.
This adding on to and rebuilding often ends in disappointment to those
who follow later. I saw recently an advertisement in the paper—“To be
let, Stowlangtoft Hall, with the shooting over seven thousand acres
of land.” My friend Mr. Thornhill, of Riddlesworth Hall, Norfolk,
enlarged his mansion, which had sufficed for his wealthy father; he
wished his descendants to reside there for generations, but his son has
thought differently. I saw an advertisement immediately under the above
concerning Stowlangtoft, which ran thus—“To be sold, the property of Sir
Thomas Thornhill, Bart., the well-known sporting estate of Riddlesworth
Hall.” How little influence can the dead exercise over the living!

We must now speak of old Rickards, a name he had gone by all his life,
with the many who loved him. His hair had always been white, his
complexion red, and he always blushed heartily when he laughed. He had
been a Fellow of Oriel till he wedded Miss Wilmot, a daughter of Sir
Robert Wilmot, of Chadsden Hall, Derbyshire, the liveliest, brightest,
tenderest, sweetest of women; a girl to the last; and I hope still alive,
though all this was fifty years ago. But every one is dead nowadays. Time
was when I saw in the paper the death of some acquaintance almost weekly,
then it got to monthly, then perhaps once in a year, but never now, for
every one I ever knew seems dead and gone. I have a brother left, and a
school-fellow and friend;[3] all others appear children.

But how the newly dead who have lived in us half a century and much more
still survive and perform their parts within us, still laughing, still
blushing, still merry, still sensible and intelligent there, telling us
all they ever told us over again: still glad at seeing us, still shaking
us by the hand, still bidding us welcome. Yes, the obituary notices of
them were premature; they live while we live, they die only when we die.

There is one soothing circumstance, however, attendant on death: we
do not miss ourselves when we are dead; not so much even as we do a
shirt-button when we are alive!

[2] Afterwards Lord Churston.

[3] H. W. Statham, since dead.


Mrs. Rickards was a pretty creature, her husband was plain, her daughter
was plainer, but when one looked at them, in the magic of the moment,
they all looked alike,—happy and good. One forgot that beauty existed
elsewhere, save as an art.

They were of course constant guests at the hall. Miss Rickards herself
painted, baked, and glazed every window in Stowlangtoft Church.

The Rev. Mr. Mozley, well-known as belonging to the Tractarian
reformation, was an intimate friend of the Rickards and Wilsons. He was
one of three or four who wrote the leaders for the _Times_. His account
of the duty, told only in confidence to private friends, was that he and
his colleagues attended at the office every night at twelve o’clock,
one day excepted; and that a committee was there, at the same hour,
to discuss the subjects of the articles for the day following, and to
determine the line to be taken. Then a subject thus selected was handed
to each of the writers who were in waiting, in separate rooms.

On one occasion when Mr. Mozley was staying at the hall, a _Times_
commissioner was present at the dinner. He was the bearer of
introductions to the various landowners; his mission was to obtain
information on subjects connected with the land. He was not what one
calls refined, and he spoke with great freedom on the affairs of the
journal, not knowing that Mr. Mozley was connected with the _Times_, but
who was greatly amused at this gentleman’s pretended knowledge about the
most secret details of the paper.

I was myself of the party, and, knowing the situation, was equally
amused, with the rest of the company.

It occurs to me that the commissioner was named Foster. He was sent
about the country at the time of the incendiary fires. The circumstance
brings to my mind a character living at Ashfield, near Stowlangtoft—Lord
Thurlow, grandson of the great chancellor. He was a very shy man, and
at the same time very able, being a good chemist. He conversed well, but
with diffidence; the researches of Liebig, then fresh, made a strong
impression on his mind, and I was able to draw him out, being equally
interested in them myself. He had a fire-engine, and whenever a fire
broke out, he mounted his engine and took the direction of the flames.

I am chary of introducing the names and places of men who lived only for
themselves. There are families without any link between them and the
world at large who fill up certain gaps, but when they die they seem to
have been even of less use than they were. These are not only in the
majority, but they constitute the bulk of the social class.

I must not omit the name of Henry Oakes, the Suffolk banker, who,
though not a public man himself, gave his son to the Parliament as a
Conservative member. He lived at Nowton Court, the residence of his
father before him.

Henry Oakes was of a generous, confiding character in proportion to his
means. His son, the borough member, inherited a kindly disposition not
only from him, but from his truly amiable mother, the daughter of a
bishop; and she, like her husband, was well beloved.

The charming daughter of the house was married to the son of Sir Henry
Blake, whose title she now shares, if, as I trust, she still lives.

I have not yet spoken of the Mills family of Great Saxham Hall, which I
do now out of pure affection. They were connections of mine by marriage,
as were also the Carrighans of the adjoining parish of Barrow. Mr. Mills
and Mrs. Carrighan were brother and sister. The Rev. Arthur Carrighan had
the rectory; it was in the presentation of St. John’s College, and was
once held by Dr. Francis, the noted translator of Horace, and father of
Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of the “Junius Letters.”

Carrighan was a student and Fellow of St. John’s, under the name of
Gosli—a name adopted by his father as a Sligo man, he reversing the
syllables. The history of this singular proceeding is associated with a
duel in which Mr. Carrighan, the father, was led to believe he had killed
his opponent. He thereupon changed his name, and in an unhappy state of
mind wandered over the Continent for twenty years more or less; when, one
day, he met the very man whom he supposed had received a death-blow at
his hands. On this important discovery he restored his true name to his

Carrighan had many charms, but it will suffice to say he was a gentleman
and a scholar, which includes all that is good besides. Sir Thomas
Watson, his fellow-collegian, was his attached friend; I received
the hearty thanks of that great physician for my attention to Arthur
Carrighan in his last illness.

When one has been long on the Continent, he no sooner reaches Dover
than every woman looks beautiful. How would it have been with him if
the first one whom his eyes fell upon had been Mrs. Mills? She had
a daughter, Susan, as lovely as herself, who married Mr. Skrine, a
considerable Somersetshire squire, whose estates are within a ride of
Bath. Susan Mills had a most engaging expression. A neighbouring squire,
in his simple way, said, “One can’t help falling in love with her, she
holds her head on one side, so pretty!”

I took Mr. Borrow, who was my guest, to Saxham Hall with me to dinner
once, but it was the black eyes of another daughter that played their
conjuring trick on him. Long afterwards, his inquiries after the black
eyes were unfailing. Saxham adjoins Ickworth, and Lord Bristol always
found it a very pleasant place of call, on account of the charm which
surrounded the family.


George Borrow was one of those whose mental powers are strong, and whose
bodily frame is yet stronger—a conjunction of forces often detrimental
to a literary career, in an age of intellectual predominance. His temper
was good and bad; his pride was humility; his humility was pride; his
vanity, in being negative, was of the most positive kind. He was reticent
and candid, measured in speech, with an emphasis that made trifles

Borrow was essentially hypochondriacal. Society he loved and hated
alike: he loved it that he might be pointed out and talked of; he hated
it because he was not the prince that he felt himself in its midst. His
figure was tall, and his bearing very noble: he had a finely moulded
head, and thick white hair—white from his youth; his brown eyes were
soft, yet piercing; his nose somewhat of the “semitic” type, which gave
his face the cast of the young Memnon. His mouth had a generous curve;
and his features, for beauty and true power, were such as can have no
parallel in our portrait gallery, where it is to be hoped the likeness of
him, in Mr. Murray’s possession, may one day find a place.

Borrow and his family used to stay with me at Bury; I visited him, less
often, at his cottage on the lake at Oulton, a fine sheet of water
that flows into the sea at Lowestoft. He was much courted there by his
neighbours and by visitors to the seaside. I there met Baron Alderson
and his daughters who had ridden from Lowestoft to see him, and I had a
long talk with the judge on wine. Borrow, being a lion, was invited to
accompany me to some of the great houses in the neighbourhood. On one
occasion we went to dine at Hardwick Hall, the residence of Sir Thomas
and Lady Cullum. The party consisted of Lord Bristol; Lady Augusta
Seymour, his daughter; Lord and Lady Arthur Hervey; Sir Fitzroy Kelly;
Mr. Thackeray, and ourselves. At that date, Thackeray had made money by
lectures on the Satirists, and was in good swing; but he never could
realize the independent feelings of those who happen to be born to
fortune—a thing which a man of genius should be able to do with ease. He
told Lady Cullum, which she repeated to me, that no one could conceive
how it mortified him to be making a provision for his daughters by
delivering lectures; and I thought she rather sympathized with him in
this his degradation. He approached Borrow, who, however, received him
very dryly. As a last attempt to get up a conversation with him, he said,
“Have you read my Snob Papers in _Punch_?”

“In _Punch_?” asked Borrow. “It is a periodical I never look at!”

It was a very fine dinner. The plates at dessert were of gold; they once
belonged to the Emperor of the French, and were marked with his “N” and
his Eagle.

Thackeray, as if under the impression that the party was invited to look
at him, thought it necessary to make a figure, and absorb attention
during the dessert, by telling stories and more than half acting them;
the aristocratic party listening, but appearing little amused. Borrow
knew better how to behave in good company, and kept quiet; though,
doubtless, he felt his mane.

Lady Cullum was a young woman of high principle; she became a firm friend
of Borrow for many years after, looking him up in London when he moved to
Hereford Square. Sir Thomas Cullum was a quiet, kind-hearted man; he was
the father-in-law of Mr. Milner Gibson, who married his only daughter,
born of a first marriage. Gibson was a man of pleasing manners; I
remember his saying that parliamentary life enabled one to bear anything
of an adversary with temper, except being touched by him.

But I am sorry to say Borrow was not always on his best behaviour in
company. He once went with me to a dinner at Mr. Bevan’s country house,
Rougham Rookery, and placed me in an extremely awkward position.

Mr. Bevan was a Suffolk banker, a partner of Mr. Oakes. He was one of
the kindest and most benevolent of men. His wife was gentle, unassuming,
attentive to her guests. In fact, not only they, but their sons and
daughters were beloved on account of their amiable dispositions.

A friend of Borrow, the heir to a very considerable estate, had run
himself into difficulties, and owed money, which was not forthcoming, to
the Bury banking house; and in order to secure repayment, Mr. Bevan was
said to have “struck the docket.” I knew this beforehand from Borrow,
who, however, accepted the invitation, and was seated at dinner at Mrs.
Bevan’s side.

This lady, a simple, unpretending woman, desirous of pleasing him, said,
“Oh, Mr. Borrow, I have read your books with so much pleasure!” On which
he exclaimed, “Pray, what books do you mean, madam? Do you mean my
account books?” On this he fretted and fumed, rose from the table and
walked up and down among the servants, during the whole of dinner, and
afterwards wandered about the rooms and passage, till the carriage could
be ordered for our return home.

Mr. J. W. Donne, the librarian of the London library, and afterwards
reader of plays, told me, while he was a resident at Bury, that Borrow
had behaved in a somewhat like manner to Miss Agnes Strickland, who,
hearing that Borrow was in the same room with her, at a reception, urged
him to make her acquainted with her brother-author. Borrow was unwilling
to be introduced, but was prevailed on to submit. He sat down at her
side; before long, she spoke with rapture of his works, and asked his
permission to send him a copy of her “Queens of England.” He exclaimed,
“For God’s sake, don’t, madame; I should not know where to put them or
what to do with them.” On this he rose, fuming, as was his wont when
offended, and said to Mr. Donne, “What a damned fool that woman is!”

The fact is that, whenever Borrow was induced to do anything unwillingly,
he lost his temper.


The Bullers, a political family, had a son who filled the rectory of
Troston, and were often on a visit to him there. They were the parents
of Charles Buller, Lord Durham’s secretary in Canada, afterwards member
for Liskeard, and the pet of the House.

These Bullers were much of the Lord John Russell set; were friends of
the Grotes, the Nussau Seniors, the Thackerays, the Sidney Smiths, the
Walshams, and their like, not to mention the Bunburys, all more or less
_philosophers_ of the advanced type.

I liked Charles Buller’s company. He was good-natured, moderate in his
views, the friend of the opinionated without being conceited himself. He
was a fine speaker, but afflicted with asthma, the greatest curse that
can befall a rising statesman.

I heard much about Whigism in this circle, and always with disgust; they
were too autocratic, too grasping, too well off to obtain the confidence
of those who, at a glance, could see behind their scenes.

There was Lord John, who began life as the fool of the family; and this
character in the Alabama business reached its highest pitch. He was a
sprig of the dukedom, so he did not like that Mr. Delane (the editor
of the _Times_), and would not invite him to his receptions. So _that
Mr. Delane_, who knew his own value, ordered the lord-John speeches in
Parliament to be only indicated in brief, not reported. On this Lord John
did like that Mr. Delane, and sent him invitations; so his speeches were
reported once more in full.

He, too, must be an earl, and what are these beggars on England-back
going to do with their titles after all? One would think that a true man
would shrink from being mylorded by his filthy valet; but they can bear

Charles Buller was a man for every one to love, and he died too soon.

On the whole, Samuel Rickards’s parsonage was the most literary house
to be at, though his knowledge was a good deal confined. But he and
his wife were open to everything, botany especially, and antiquities.
I recollect their showing me an iron ring that had been dug up on the
glebe, which had an inscription on it that Rickards could not interpret.
It was _Bertus beriori_. I suggested that it was monkish latin, and might
signify _A greatest to a greater warrior_, assuming it to be derived from
_berus_, _berior_, _bertus_, and this pleased him much.

Who, belonging to the days of which I write, does not remember the
cheery voice and the bright, handsome face of Tom Thornhill, the son of
the first winner of the Derby, and the inheritor of the Norfolk estate,
Riddlesworth Hall! Who has forgotten his hospitality, and the famous
still champagne, the bountiful stock of which was left by the father, and
kept up by the son!

I often stayed at Riddlesworth with the Thornhills; they saw a good deal
of company there, both from Norfolk and from town. Lord Sandwich was very
fond of talking to doctors, so they said; and he often talked to me. I
recollect his saying that his father-in-law, Lord Anglesey, forgot, not
unfrequently, that he had only one leg (for the sensation of every part
of the body is cerebral), and he would sometimes jump out of bed in the
morning as if he had two, and fall on the floor.

I once accidentally met Colonel Keppel, the late Earl of Albemarle,
at the same house. I was then staying at Riddlesworth, but there was
no company there, when Colonel Keppel was announced. This caused some
perturbation, as only a family dinner was prepared. It appeared that the
colonel was to be of a party there on the morrow, but had mistaken the
day. All, however, went off well; and since, when I heard of the homage
paid him on his almost last birthday, as almost the last survivor of the
battle, on the field of Waterloo, it recalled to me the charm of his
manner and conversation.

At the time his father and brother were still alive, residing at
Quiddenham Hall.

What one missed in these great houses was the company of one’s own class,
men in the pursuit of literature or science; but such things are of
no use in the patrician circles, they would only be in the way. These
lords of the soil love horses, carriages, plate, all of which one can
see in great perfection in the parks, and at the silversmiths’, as well
as in private houses, and the pleasure in any case is but momentary.
In justice, however, it must be said that high-class people are often
capable of conversing with those who have little to show besides their
brains; and are not slow in eliciting information from them. Lord
Sandwich was a good example of such; but Lord Albemarle had a _naïveté_
and an intelligence so delightful as to need nothing at another’s hands.
Then, a rich aristocracy has opportunities which do not belong to the men
who have their money to make. The one class has not to consider in his
dealings with others how he can make the most out of them, but is able to
be generous; this alone has an ennobling influence. An American made the
remark that, many as are the faults of the English nobility, they always
kept their promise.

The reason why authors, deserving of encouragement from the intrinsic
value of their work, are no longer patronized and brought into notice by
the great, is that the influence of the nobility has wholly died out.
The literary leaders, great editors, and the like, play but a minor
part; they are not enough looked up to by the people at large, who do
not understand them. They can confer fame on men among their own select
class, but that fame cannot over-leap its boundary, and reach even the
intelligent vulgar.

Even the Royal Society, begun by a king, was long afraid to venture in
its career with anything less than a royal or noble president, and this
within the memory of man; but happily it now runs alone, as do all the
other learned bodies in its track.

The truth may lie here—though scientific men are not growing rich, rich
men are growing scientific.

I must not leave Riddlesworth without a tribute to Mrs. Thornhill, a lady
so conscientious; and that means gentle, kind and full of charity. She
was the daughter of Mr. Waddington, of Cavenham Hall, the county member;
a devoted mother, a constant friend.

I suppose, like everybody else, except myself, she is dead; that class of
people live too luxuriously to last very long.

Mrs. Thornhill’s mother, Mrs. Waddington, was a lady of extraordinary
beauty. She was of the Milnes family of which Moncton Milnes was the
recent head, a wit and writer who tried to legitimize bad grammar on the
liberal principle that every one had a right to do what he liked with
his own language. He, too, like the brewers, could not do without being
a lord, though already a patrician, which is greater, and which a king
cannot create. He was called the “Cool of the Evening,” which must imply
that he was a very pleasant guest on a hot summer’s night.

Our country parishes, with their resident squires, are really little
republics with the squire himself at their head as president, and
the clergyman acting as his prime minister. It is a form of paternal
government without the despotism. The parish clerk, humble as he is,
fills the office of a secretary of state, the rest are the people. Where
the squire lives on his estate, how many of these happy republics may be
seen! All the parishes, pretty much, that I have described are of this
category, and I hold it beyond human wit to improve them. All are free!

Mrs. Newton of Elvedon was the sister of Mrs. Waddington. The place of
that name has since become the property of Duleep Singh. In the time of
the Newtons it was no exception to the happily-governed squirearchies of
East Anglia.

Two or three places of mark remain to be mentioned, and as many to be
omitted, before quitting the subject. One is the seat of the Duke of
Grafton, Euston Hall, inherited by the family from Lord Arlington, in the
time of Charles II. The duke, who was Earl of Euston when I first knew
him, lived much on his Northamptonshire property, but was a good deal in
Norfolk too, where his interests were large. He showed me the principal
rooms in his fine mansion, which, though large, bespoke great comfort.
The drawing-room, which was very long, had bay-windows, with a daïs under
each for seats. There is a grand staircase; on one wall of this was hung
a portrait of the duchess, mother of the first duke, then seven or eight
generations ago, a lapse of time when the bar-sinister had ceased to
cross the shield; nevertheless, it was retained in the armorial bearings
of the house, and this may be regarded as a proper pride.

I was shown a picture of the hall as it was originally, with gilded
pinnacles, but these had disappeared.

The usual entrance was at the back of the building, flanked by the
stables; the front entrance was approached through the park gates,
which, as was an old custom, were never opened except to royalty.

The duke, regardless of the example set by his ancestors in contenting
themselves with a life interest in so fine a property, for the good of
those to come, was quite willing to sell Euston if he could have got his
price, but it did not change hands.

I was not acquainted with the duke in fashionable life, so I know little
of his character there; but I believe he was thought to be eccentric.
All I know is that he was a benevolent and kind-hearted president of
his village republic. He was married to the daughter of the last Earl
of Berkeley—a sister of the famed colonel of that name—a lady of great
worth. My acquaintance with the family was professional only; in this
way. I had to advise several members of the house, and this sufficed
to confirm me in the opinion that the higher you go the greater is the
amiability you encounter. It may be good breeding only, but whatever its
source may be, it is deserving of admiration.

One more place I will mention in Norfolk to which I was summoned, the
seat of Mr. Angerstein. In point of decoration, it was a gilded palace,
the most superb in its interior that I had ever seen. I remained there
for the night, and had a most agreeable conversation with the head of the
house and his two sons, the general and the member for Greenwich.

Some very fine pictures remain in the mansion. The one I was most
gratified in seeing was a Rembrandt, the finest almost of that artist’s
work; it was a Charles I., on horseback, under an archway. I never met
with the equal of this fine painting, except in the equestrian figure
of the Duke of Galiere,—Brignole Sale,—by the same hand, in the palazzo
Rosso at Genoa.

I remember being told by General Angerstein that his father had always
regretted the sale of the pictures to the nation, which was, however,
made compulsory by the terms of his predecessor’s will.


As the Lady Abbess of St. Albans might have said, there was an
abomination of parsons in the county town; some schoolmasters who were
not in clerical practice, but cleric; some in actual service. They did
not in those days wear livery as servants, not necessarily apostles, of
I.H.S. Two of them I still see talking automatically, faster than they
could think; one of these with the nose and mouth of Punch. I still see
another, a pale-faced pulpiteer and a screamer; the confidence-reservoir
of single ladies turned forty odd; a man who met you with a twirl of his
glove by its finger, and a sort of whistling smile that seemed to say to
itself, “I have done him before I have begun.” The men did not care for
him because what gossip is to some was censoriousness in him; still the
women liked him, and thought five of his ten toes were already in heaven.

The parsonics are the only professionals who do not seem able to get
their own living by going into practice—they like to be endowed. Some are
glad to get a hundred pounds per annum for life; some, doing the same
work as they do, bid for two, four, six, eight, and ten hundred; others,
with yet less work, accept much more than this; but they have uncles. Why
don’t these guaranteed rats set up for themselves in practice like the
nonconformists? They would be found churches. Doctors do so, and lawyers.
They should obtain the licence like these, then preach what they liked
within limits, prescribed by the Royal Church. Doctors do all this within
the rules of their royal colleges.

Imagine the great profession of physic endowed, and its baronets,
arch-doctors of Canterbury and York, giving away livings to their nephews
and nieces: the doctor of St. James’s £1000 per annum, the doctor of
St. Giles’s £150. It is a little so with the law—the chancellors,
attorney-generals, and judges are endowed, but not so the barristers,
except with wit; and what poor creatures would these be compared to what
they are, if they had to begin on curacies, and, perhaps, end on them,
say of £100 per annum, unless they had influence enough to get themselves
made vicars of law, rectors of law, as well as deans of arches?

But no Church has ever reformed itself: _non possumus_ is the motto of
them all.

But the Church has got its large fortune safely invested, and in the best
order, as if to make confiscation easy. Its proprietary consists of human
beings not differing from others, and rich in worldly wisdom. If they
really wished to save the Church, they would do their utmost to throw
off the State and take their money with them, and reform themselves on
the model of the civil service and the army, dividing the revenues into
livings of equal amount, to be gained by competitive examinations. But
human nature must have its way; it will last their time, and after them
the deluge. In two or three more new parliaments they will be too late.

In the present condition of clericism, many do not know what to be at. An
intimate of mine who would have liked to steal a spiritual march on me,
which no man ever did yet, was a curate of twenty years’ standing, and
so far a perpetual one in the sense of being the hireling of vicars and
subject to a month’s warning, like the moon. He had subscribed his mite
of belief to the doctrine of eternal punishment.

This good personification of humanity had a vivid notion, together with
an unwholesome fear, of our modern Hades, formed originally out of a few
metaphors of Scripture, and improved by Dantesque and Miltonic talent,
though its latitude and longitude is still undiscovered among the
heavenly bodies.

This well-meaning teacher, some two or three years after my accident (a
leg divided against itself so that it could not stand, and made into two
unequal halves at the socket), suggested persuasively that I must have
felt very grateful to the Almighty at not being killed outright. But he
was so much at fault that I avoided the discussion, and answered, “I am
my own chaplain, and transact all my spiritual business myself, under my
own frontal bone (_os frontis_); but should I be in want of spiritual
assistance, my inclination would be to apply to the Archbishop of
Canterbury or to the Bishop of London as the best authorities in Divine
practice. However, not to be over reticent, I may tell you that no sense
of future favours as regards gratitude arose in my mind; for we cannot
entertain two ideas at once, and mine was to ask myself, as a scientific
physician would do, whether my leg was as I last left it, or whether the
head of the femur and the shaft had parted company. As to thankfulness at
not having lost my life, that would have involved an emotion functionally
incompatible with the faintness and pain that got hold of me. The pain
has continued; I am taken prisoner by it, and condemned to an armchair
for life. Not unfrequently, therefore, I think how much better it would
have been for me had I been killed off at once. So you must perceive that
your forecast is made without any knowledge of the facts.”

A doctor never gives his opinion of another without being called in; why,
then, should a parson? But it was well meant, though deficient in the
greatest of delicacies, called tact.


Among the clergy of Bury was a curate, I think of St. Mary’s, who was
named Cookesley. His mother was a school-fellow of my mother at Exeter,
now about a hundred years ago! He became intimate with me, and was
often my guest. He was a son of Dr. Cookesley, D.D., and a brother of
a well-known man who was long an assistant-master at Eton, and was
as such spoken of with great favour by Beaconsfield in his novel of
“Coningsby.” Afterwards he had a church at Hammersmith, St. Peter’s, and
lived in that place, where I knew him, and attached much interest to his
acquaintance. He used to dine with me at Alton Lodge, Roehampton, which
was within a walk of his house. Cookesley was, above all things, a good
fellow, besides being a good scholar and a most amusing companion. He was
a sturdy Churchman, and much mixed up with the writers of “Essays and
Reviews”—Dr. Temple (now Bishop of London), Dr. Williams, and their set.

I introduce the name here on account of Cookesley having attacked
Donaldson’s work, by pamphlet, on the subject of “Jashar,” the name of a
Latin book of great pretensions and no authority.

Donaldson, previously mentioned by me, was in many things a good fellow
too, but owing to his overweening vanity, which had no repose, he was
incapable of the higher virtues. That vanity which stands in the way
of friendship, even of truth itself, was his to a degree that may be
pronounced abnormal. He wanted to be thought the greatest of Bentleys,
the cleverest of Christian Voltaires, the choicest of wits; but a man
who is now two-thirds a scholar and one-third a wit may, if very vain,
conceive himself to be a Dr. Parr.

I liked Donaldson much, not very much, and as character is of no use
after a man is dead, it no longer subserving his human interests, I wish
to do him justice, for better as well as for worse, since he was a man
to be biographized for the common good. For some years I associated with
him almost daily, walked and talked with him, dined with him in many
houses, in his as well as my own, knew his thoughts, his opinions, and
was conversant with whatever he was about.

His disposition was candid, genial, good-natured. He was a child in his
love of fun, and had laughter enough in him to respond to all the humour
ever uttered by word of mouth, from Rabelais to Molière. I was going to
say he had not a bad heart; I will go further, and say that I am sure he
had a good one for an occasion, but not one of a serious and responsible

But these excellent qualities were marred in him, not unfrequently, by a
vanity which was incommensurable.

I would not undertake to pronounce him blamable in anything he did, said,
or wrote; I am a physiologist in judging of good deeds, a pathologist
in judging of bad. When I call up Donaldson’s head and face, and see
a large, wide, overhanging forehead, big enough to be hydrocephalic, a
forehead such as one meets with in cases of epilepsy and in cases of
genius alike, I pause before criticising its function; and such was
Donaldson’s forehead, while his mouth was the mouth of Punch. Its laugh,
almost always silent, seemed loud, and suppressed only to make it last
the longer. There was more going on always under that forehead of his
than in any half-dozen brains of the common type. Fortunate for him was
it that the mental workings are inaudible, or he would have been stunned
by his own thoughts; so busy were they at all times, and so noisy.

He was a work of Nature, a thinking and sensitive machine, which set
going must work on like the rapidest wheel moved by steam; so rapid
sometimes as to acquire invisibility as it revolved before your eyes.

The fly-wheel—that wonderful invention of machinery that carries the
largest wheel over the dead point—in him was vanity, and it never allowed
its machinery to pause; it was, therefore, quite impossible for it to ask
itself if it went wrong when it never stopped. All Donaldson knew about
right and wrong was that what he achieved was perfect—that, even if a
little wrong, the reason was not quite within reach of vulgar scrutiny.

Cookesley was the first to take unfavourable notice of his “Jashar;”
Perowne was the next. Neither wrote of it dispassionately, but this was
in no very unkind spirit. Their criticism was as they felt to be just.
The origin of “Jashar” was partly told by Donaldson in his reply, but he
was not over-candid in his details. From his account he was only going
to pursue a course that others had taken: Welcker, in collecting the
fragments of Æschylus; Meinche, in doing the same for the Comœdians; and
so on for Alcæus and the Lyric Poets, without a thought, he said, on
their part of also doing what he had done for Jashar—an omission at which
he expressed his great surprise.

Now, the surprise he here expresses is not a real transcript from his
memory; the labours of which he speaks he had been long acquainted with.
He had himself edited the works of Pindar, _with the fragments of his
lost compositions_; which circumstance would have included him among
those at whose shortcomings his astonishment was expressed. But I may say
he only imagined himself so astonished, on writing his _Præfatio_; for I
know perfectly well that one evening, when dining with Sir Thomas Cullum,
the worthy baronet showed him Knights’s volume, with plates, “On the
Worship of Priapus,” and that it so attracted his fancy that he borrowed
it and took it home. He showed it to me soon after—it might have been the
next day—and told me that he had caught from it an interpretation of a
certain text of Scripture, viz. Genesis iii. 8-15.

Out of this, and a certain plate, came “Jashar,” which, whether true
or false, scholarly or unscholarly, is a wonderful intellectual feat;
and if the subject is susceptible of treatment under new accretions of
knowledge, justice must be accorded it as a first and bold attempt. The
part relating to the worship of Priapus, which immediately follows the
Prolegomena, is a marvellous evolution of the verses cited.

The details would be in place if printed in an anatomical work; perhaps
next to that they are best buried in Latin.


It was an easy task for a scholar like Perowne to penetrate Donaldson’s
plot, but the marvel is that it should have deceived its author, who
had so acute a mind. The pointing out of its obvious fallacies was
a vexation, but the replying was a pleasure, and was intended for a
fresh literary feat. The worst of it for Donaldson was that the day of
invective had gone by; the finest satire that could be written would have
remained unread. It was therefore a poor substitute in the case for a
sound refutation, which alone could have extricated the offending scholar
from his dilemma.

Perowne almost justly accused Donaldson of maliciousness; but I believe
that it was boast, an attempt of the criticised to establish his
superiority to criticism itself, unaware of the weakness of his weapon,
the use of which a century before might have led to his being called the
greatest controversionalist of his day; and, though his invective was
powerless, he believed that he should be so esteemed in a century to come.

Donaldson had immense merit. While an articled clerk he attended lectures
at University College, and, so disclosing a facility in acquiring
Greek, went to Cambridge instead of pursuing law any further; and, in
the short period of his terms, not only did the work necessary for the
examinations, but came out the second classic, beaten only by Kennedy.

Such men should reap all their fame in their lifetime, like men of
science. Their names are soon lost in the history of the knowledge
wherein alone they survive, unless they are Scotts and Liddells, to be
hourly referred to. Donaldson was a lifelong student, impelled by vanity,
the motor-power of all noble work, but which, as in his case, often
breaks up the brain prematurely. By his “Jasher” and his “Varronianus,”
he was accused of striking a blow at the Church. He may have done so
against its dogmatists and bigots, but he broke his knuckles even in that
slight aim. They would have liked to have received him as Professor of
Greek at Cambridge; they told him so, but they did not dare elect him.

Donaldson, as the world goes, was a good citizen, and unexceptionable as
a husband and parent. He was not sympathetic; the advancement of friends
delighted him as gossip, but did not touch him much within.

He was too active in his movements, mental as well as bodily, to be
profound; he had not sufficient pause. Expediency with him did not go
against the grain. In matters of religion he was fully aware that,
though the thumb-screw, rack, and faggot had fallen into disuse, their
office was exercised by public feeling as their successor, through
which men stood in terror, not of their lives, but of their living. On
these grounds only Donaldson quoted Scripture against Perowne in his
controversy with him. This served his purpose, as he had no other moral
philosophy to quote. But he did not give the slightest adhesion, really,
to any kind of dogma. Science alone will reveal to great and modest
minds the truth that the best of men cannot credit themselves with their
own goodness They might as well assume that they made themselves; but
religion has to teach this to common understandings.

I can assert of Donaldson that what he says in his “Reply” is most
strictly true of himself—

“Doubtless it is the duty of Christians to be patient under injuries. But
our Saviour has expressly said (Luke xvii. 3), ‘If thy brother trespass
against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.’ On this rule I
shall always endeavour to act. I bear no malice against any man in this
world. And those who are acquainted with my life, know that, when I have
been wronged, I have always been willing to welcome the first advances
towards reconciliation.”

I said to Donaldson once, “Why in your laborious efforts do you refute
the fallacies of our Church by learned quotation, when they are so
obvious to the simplest reason?” His reply was, “You forget that I am a
Doctor of Divinity.”

Verily the divines are the most potent of metaphysicians. What beautiful
systems have come down to them from the ages that produced a Pythagoras
and an Epicurus! They now anticipate all things, interpolating Nature at
every point with dogma, to satisfy the desires of the millions in every
new generation!

One cannot but admit that metaphysicians are clever, but they have not
the active industry of the experimental classes, who realize that there
is nothing for them beyond the actual phenomena, although it demands the
most effective operation of their intellects to arrange these in the
order of their succession.

The why and the wherefore of the universe, and of Nature as its
conductor, is, for a very simple reason, quite impenetrable; so
completely so that the uneducated peasant will always know as much about
it as the president of any learned society.

For the benefit of those who do not quite see this, and who think that
things may be one day cleared up, on this one spot, it cannot be too
definitively stated what a human intellect is at the utmost, and within
what limits its activity lies.

This intellect is a mere organic tool. It can only operate on efficient
causes, which here mean the moving functions of a universal machine in
full activity already. It can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch; it can
set the results of sensation in order, and observe them as a whole, and
choose a line of action coincident with them. It is a mere instrument for
effecting these ends.

This is the whole story of Nature. She reveals herself as a function,
acting continuously before senses which are mirrors; and here lies the
absolute limit. She reveals her Efficient Causes without affording the
remotest glimpse of her Predisposing Causes.


All know how tired the patrician gets of perpetual country life; and in
that one respect I was a patrician. I had seen the things most worth
seeing in the leading towns of Europe in my early days; and had a longing
to witness how forty or fifty millions of people got on in the new
country of Canada and the United States. I had a fancy to see Quebec.
I had a grandfather who was on the staff of General Wolfe, and who saw
him die. I had a great-grandfather, also a British officer, father of
the above, one David Gordon, of Park, who was on duty at Halifax and
there met his death and burial. Not that I would cross the waves on
these accounts; I simply wanted change, so sought it in New-idea-land,
U.S. I went to Philadelphia, thence to Columbus and Galena; from Galena
round about, crossing the Mississippi on foot over its admirable
winter pavement when boats change places with sledges. Then I went to
Boston, thence to Quebec; from Quebec to New York, not to mention all
the stoppages at intervening places; from New York, after not a few
circumgyrations, I found my way back to London again.

I saw a large portion of the New World; it proved to be exactly what
a hundred people had described already, and I do not care to add my
account, only to make up a hundred and one American nights entertainments.

My ghost of travel not being yet laid, I took to the waves again and
sojourned for a while at Jersey, where I had relatives and friends.
At length I settled down in Grosvenor Street, Park Lane; when I was
invited to take charge of the Earl of Ripon’s health at his villa on
Putney Heath. After a lapse of time, I took a small house in Spring
Gardens; later on, I built myself a villa on three acres of park land
at Roehampton; then, still later on, I lived for some years at Parson’s
Green, Fulham; and after some more movements, in separate years, now to
Florence, now to German-Saxony, now to Venice and Rome, which last visit
was eighteen years ago, I am settled, perhaps for good, in St. John’s
Wood, where I am within an easy distance of Highgate Cemetery; so I hope
a one-horse coach will end my journeys.

On looking for the moss I have gathered I find its quantity very small.

At my leisure I hope to fill up the gaps left between the skeleton
outlines of my map of life—what remains to be said, extending over the
nett balance of my years, of which I seem to have more to say than can
reasonably be expected of a man past his eighty-third birthday. But I
have been asked to write a memoir, first by one, then by another; by
one who has long been, and who continues to be, the greatest master of
heart-finding fiction in our time. One comes to me and asks how I get on
with it. One reads a portion and calls it interesting; so, in a way, I am
urged on with my task.

At Boston I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence; he formerly filled the
United States Embassy at our Court. He was gentleman enough to have been
an English duke. He had nothing to say about the old country that was not
good and admiring, and told me many anecdotes of his own country people
while in London.

Remarking on the strict etiquette observed by us, in never addressing
a man you are not introduced to, he observed that he sat opposite to
another every morning at breakfast in the Athenæum Club, for two years,
without their exchanging a word, when, one day a carriage called to
take him to a country house, and he found his silent companion already
seated in it. In this way they became known to each other and entered
into conversation. To give effect to his own story, a countryman of
his own, he said, came to England and travelled all over it without
introductions, and calling on him he said that he had not been able to
speak to any one for months, and being one day on the chain pier at
Brighton, he could bear it no longer, and observed to a gentleman there:
“It’s a fine day, sir!”

But Mr. Lawrence, instead of condoling with him in his trials, replied:
“I wonder at your impudence!”

Mrs. Lawrence did not appear to have been at all Anglicized; she
rather looked for perfection in the English undergoing the process of
Americanization. Sir Charles Lyell had been a good republican when in
the new country, she said, and had greatly improved through his visits,
but not so fully as she should have liked; and this she emphasized in
good Yankee brogue. I was acquainted with Sir Charles; it was on his
introduction that I came to know the Lawrence family; and I never saw a
sign in him of such improvement. I was among his friends in Boston; on
his introductions I saw Mr. Prescott, but he did not impress me.

My experience of Americans is that they are less advanced in the art of
humbug, and therefore more earnest and sincere than the British. They,
therefore, perform the duties of friendship with great thoroughness.

An interesting feature of immorality has often struck me: it consists in
the never-failing breach of promise made in all the apparent sincerity
felt by men who do not fail to keep their word. Such men—I could give
the names of many for recognition—are very peculiarly framed. They are
contented with the thanks one feels on a kindly proposition being made
by them while they are with you; not caring to gather the gratitude
attendant on the completion of a promise. I know men who play this
skeleton part every day of their lives, and I class them with swindlers.

As one advances in life one gets to know the sowers of this harvest
of tares, and to separate them from those of the wheat crops, without
fouling one’s barn with the results of their labour; the effect of it
being merely amusing at last. What cruelty it can inflict is practised
on children and young people. They are born with implicit confidence: to
them it acts educationally. It affords them a most thorough teaching of
mistrust, which, more than any other branch of education, makes a bad

Some evils in life are unavoidable, but the training that comes from
behind the falsehood habitually worn by an amateur friend is not one of

These moral ornaments of the social system have a game of their own
to play; they know no other, and they play it with all the _finesse_
exercised over a game of whist.

This recalls Mr. Stillman to my mind, almost the only one of Rossetti’s
set whom in this sense I can refer to with unmixed pleasure—Stillman, an
American gentleman of high culture, and his faultless lady, a Greek by
birth! He is now the _Times_ correspondent in Rome. I have met him and
lost sight of him often, and when I meet him after an interval of years,
he is always the same kind, attentive friend, though we have no interests
in common beyond each other.

It having been made known at Boston that I had certain scientific
tendencies, I was invited to deliver a lecture there. It was not the
season for such a purpose, but the influence of the Lawrences sufficed
to get an audience together of about fifteen hundred. I gave a choice of
some subjects, as “The Correlation of Forces, Physical and Vital,” “The
Cyclical Phenomena of the Universe,” and “Sleep, Dreams, Somnambulism,
Sleep-talking, and the Mesmeric State.” The last subject was selected,
and the lecture was received with great politeness by an attentive

I had intercourse with several leading medical gentlemen at Boston,
and was treated by them with much hospitality. They have a method of
maintaining hospitals peculiarly their own, much of the money being
subscribed out of their own pockets—all for the good of their science.

Dr. Warren was at that time the most noted physician in Boston. He gave
me some brochures of his writing, one alluding to the reflex actions of
the great sympathetic nerve. I found it very suggestive. He had taken the
trouble to collect all that had been written on the sea-serpent, and to
sift the statements of travellers by sea, with a resulting belief in its

It was at New York that I made the valued and intimate acquaintance of
Mr. Bancroft, the historian, and his lady, a truly noble pair. Mr.
Bancroft was a man of universal knowledge. This he showed conspicuously
in a lecture, the title of which I have forgotten, but not the contents.
Its purpose was to show the rapid and far-reaching advance that science
had made up to that day.

I met again at New York that gifted artist, Mr. Lawrence, whom I had
known in England. He preceded Richmond, and was his equal in drawing
likenesses in chalks—works which are much prized—among them those of
Thackeray, Tennyson, and other celebrities.

I visited Quebec, and at Lord Elgin’s, the governor-general’s, had the
pleasure of meeting the present Lord Albemarle, then a youth. At the
same party I became acquainted with Mr. Lawrence Oliphant, who, later,
becoming a writer, I may as well depict the impression he made on me.
He was a little man, his manner very gentle and sympathetic, with such
amiability of countenance as to leave little room for intellectual
expression, though no doubt his abilities fell little short of his good

I must mention the kindness shown me at New York by the eminent house of
Middleton and Co., whose friendship in financial matters I have availed
myself of to this day. The family belong to the West Indian islands and
are British.

I pass over my explorations in the south and west; they were the same as
other people’s, now well known to book-life; but I do not forget that
I once walked across the Mississippi, a mile wide, on the ice, from
Wisconsin into Minnesota. There is another thing ever to be remembered:
while at Philadelphia I was treated with a dish of _terrapine_, a small
sort of turtle, surpassing the gigantic species in flavour to such a
degree as to wholly eclipse its merits. Why is it not imported? The very
taste of it would raise the feeblest palate from the dead!

It is nearly forty years since I saw the United States: I have had plenty
of time to think over what I thought of them then. The enthusiastic
admirers of America are men who, being a little eminent before going,
receive an ovation on their arrival. These men adore the worthy
republicans, write about them, mention their names in print in the order
in which they bestowed their attentions on them. If these men who, being
a little eminent, went to ever-glorious France and received an ovation,
which they don’t, their enthusiasm would alike tingle at the roots of
their hair.

The Americans are nearly as good as older states, perhaps better than
some. As three hundred years of civilization is, say, to six hundred, in
that proportion they are as good as Europeans.

But the greatness of America has to come. Time will be when America,
perhaps with Australian lands, will be arbiter of the civilized world—if
it likes.

With some exceptions, if we take any one of the United States, it will be
found to be monotonous; there is as much variety in an English county as
in any one of these.

I compare the United States to a book: it is a new and cheap edition of
England in one volume; price, one almighty dollar.

Altogether, there is no difference of moment between the best English and
the best Americans, or the worst English and worst Americans.

Lawrence and Bancroft would have made good dukes!

I remember dining with a great merchant at Philadelphia, who told me that
after receiving a classical education at the University of Dublin, he
emigrated and became a clerk in an American house, and that after a time
he saw his way to establish a business for himself, and had realized a
large fortune. He told me this that he might add the singular assurance
that he never once, in his almost lifelong residence in America, had an
opportunity of showing how good his education had been, or of using a
single Latin word.


It was after the good Lord Ripon’s death, which happened only too soon,
that I went to Spring Gardens to live, purposing to resume my medical
connection with the public, and to continue my duties as physician at the
West London Hospital, to which I was attached. It then had not long been
instituted, but it is now an extensive and flourishing establishment in
a populous suburb, where it is much needed.

Mr. Cowell, a good and chivalrous benefactor of the sick poor, now senior
surgeon of the Westminster Hospital, was resident surgeon of the West
London at that time; and Mr. Bird, who, in conjunction with his father,
was its founder, was one of the surgical staff.

The Countess Dowager of Ripon spent the season at Carlton Gardens, in the
family mansion; and, continuing my professional engagement, after the
earl’s death, to her, I had the pleasure of visiting her daily.

Lady Ripon was a woman who deserved to be remembered as long as the lives
of the good and great have an interest for mankind, and let us hope that
may be as long as the human race endures. Her belief was as implicit in
a happy future, as it was in the morrow of every day; and she regulated
her actions accordingly, as inseparable from the duties devolving on her
responsible position.

There are many such women in every class who, if they changed places,
would remain the same; but they have not an equal opportunity of making
it manifest how true they are. The countess felt her position as the
daughter and the wife of an earl; it made her feel the more for those
whom circumstances made dependent on her. She had been a great heiress,
born to the inheritance of Nocton and other estates, in Lincolnshire; and
she firmly regarded herself as appointed by Heaven, or rather entrusted,
to administer the large means that belonged to her for the good of those
who had a claim on her for support.

When at Stutgard in 1833, during a wide continental tour, not so commonly
made in those days as now, I became acquainted with Sir Edward Disbrowe,
the British minister, and the other members of the embassy. These were
Mr. Wellesley, the eldest son of Lord Cowley, and Mr. Gordon, the eldest
son of Gordon, of Ellon Castle. At that house I met Count Pozzo di Borgo,
and a young Buonaparte, who was a guest of the King of Wurtemburg.

Mr. Wellesley was quite a young man and very sociable; Mr. Gordon was
yet younger, and of very engaging ways. Count Pozzo di Borgo was getting
on in life, but very upright, and, with his orders on, made a brilliant
show. He was perfectly free in his conversation, and spoke on political
matters without any reserve. He remarked pretty plainly, but with a
playful _naïveté_, to the young Prince Buonaparte, who was present,
that if his advice had been followed in the days of Elba, the battle of
Waterloo would not have been fought.

Some say how small the world is: certainly, in its fortuitous concourse
of live atoms. There is not so much room but that many meet after long
intervals again. So, after a lapse of some thirty years, the youthful
Gordon, whom I knew so well as Sir Edward Disbrowe’s _attaché_, then as
much boy as man, turns up again on a visit to Lady Ripon, with a grisly
beard, and a face that showed no marks of having once been young. But
this is not all: on a similar visit appeared two young ladies of fashion
as daughters of Sir Edward Disbrowe. They were either babes or not born
at the time when I knew their father so well.

The Gordons were cousins of Lady Ripon. A Colonel Gordon, the brother of
Gordon who was soon to be Gordon of Ellon, was my particular friend as
long as he lived. He had retired from active service on returning finally
from India, but his desire was to die in the army, though, by not selling
out, he was the loser by several thousand pounds.

I would mention one lady in particular, who consulted me while I was in
Spring Gardens, because she was the Queen of Beauty at Lord Eglinton’s
tournament, besides being the grand-daughter of Sheridan, and the wife
of the Duke of Somerset. A beautiful youth, Lord Edward St. Maur, one
afternoon drove up to my house and asked me if I would go with him to
the Admiralty and see his mother, the duchess. It was on a slight matter
affecting her daughter, and she afterwards asked me to see her son, Lord
St. Maur. All this was easy work, but I was pleased at seeing another
grandchild of Sheridan, for I had known Mrs. Norton over a quarter of a
century before.

But the young man, Lord Edward, for him a sad fate was in waiting; more
sad than that which later befel his elder brother.

The sons of great houses have few means of distinction, however
ambitious, except in politics, which many of them abhor. They are shut
out from the nobler professions. Lord Edward, a young man of courage,
sought excitement in the jungles of India, and this ended in his being
torn to pieces by a tiger.

Having an acute mind, which at all times lay parallel with truth, I was
a good diagnostic of disease (agnostics were then in their infancy),
and I was able to weigh a good many experiences under one in the same
balance. I made this remarkably evident during the last illness of Lord
Ripon, which was a very costly one, for all the celebrities in Physic
were in attendance at Putney. Perhaps I took an unfair advantage, for
I was so absolutely independent in my position that I could give an
unbiassed opinion, while the physicians and surgeons, under the influence
of expediency, agreed on a still favourable view of the case. That such
could happen is the fault of the patient’s friends. If the physicians
abandon hope while there is life, others are uselessly called in. After
they left, with the assurance that the patient was all right, Lord
Goderich and Sir Charles Douglas, who was a friend of the family, asked
me to take a turn with them in the grounds, wishing to hear my opinion,
which I frankly gave, to the effect that in a fortnight the earl would no
longer be living.

But I was wrong, too, in my way, for he lived just seventeen days from
that time.


While in Spring Gardens—this was in 1860—I got together my researches
on “The Bones in Scrofula,” which Dr. Baly presented to the
Medico-Chirurgical Society, before which it was read, and a very full
abstract of it was published in their “Proceedings,” and in all the
medical journals of the day.

Lord Goderich, a young man of great promise, then member for one of the
Yorkshire Ridings, succeeded his father in the House of Lords, very
unwillingly, as he liked the Commons better, and he humorously declared
himself disfranchised. Three months later his uncle, Earl de Grey, died,
whose title he took, and he then became sole owner of Studley Royal,
which before him belonged to the two brothers.

Lord Goderich was married to a young lady who, to save time, I may say
was possessed of every charm—animation, beauty, simplicity, humour, a
hearty ringing laugh—and these shaped themselves into countless groups,
all equally pleasing.

Now that I am unable to visit her, I have her promise of seeing her yet
again, from time to time, and this alone is enough to keep me alive.

The present earl, now Marquis of Ripon, soon became a useful public
servant under Lord Palmerston, as an under-secretary, first of the Local
Government Board, then of the India Office, and rose ultimately to be
Viceroy of India, by the Queen’s express wish, her Majesty having known
him when he was a child, and the playmate of the Prince of Wales. He has
always been in sympathy with the classes beneath him, and his strictly
conscientious character affords the clue to every action of his life.

He is a descendant both of Hampden and Cromwell. The head representative
of the Cromwell family was Mr. Field, in my time the apothecary to
Christ’s Hospital; the next is the Count of Palavicini, of Genoa; and
then comes the Marquis of Ripon.

The Fields, I believe, are the same as those of Ozokerit fame.

In London I frequented the laboratory of my old friend, Dr. Marcet, at
the Westminster Hospital, where he was the chemical professor; and I
attended the meetings of the Chemical Society, which I belonged to, and
there met again Dr. Faraday, whose lectures I had followed in early life.
I had met him, too, at Brighton, at a scientific meeting. He was then
asked to say something by way of an address, which he did, but told us
that he was so accustomed to speak with apparatus in his hands, that he
found it difficult to say anything without it. At that time I met Mr.
Davies Gilbert. Seated by him and talking with him on the advanced state
of knowledge, he remarked that all that was known of the sciences in his
early days was contained in Boyle’s Dictionary. This was at a dinner
given to the great geologist, Gideon Mantell.

During my visit to America, I read before a medical society at Boston a
paper “On Vital Force, its Pulmonic Origin, and the General Laws of its
Metamorphosis.” It was founded on a lecture that I delivered in 1853 at
Bury, at the Young Men’s Institution, of which I was the president. This
paper, which showed that carbon was the element out of which this force
arose during its combustion at the lungs, was published in an American
journal in 1854, and republished in London. This I mention because I was
the first to take that view. Mayer saw it later, and I think has all the
credit of it. I added to this republication some scientific views of
interest, especially one on the water of organization.

While on these subjects I may as well mention that, between the years
1839 and 1853, I contributed largely to the medical press; my papers
are noted from time to time in the Directory of those years. In one
series that I gave to the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal of the
Association, then edited by Dr. Streeter, “A Critical Analysis of the
Principal Facts of Disease,” I showed by elaborate experiments that the
movement of the blood in the capillary vessels was due to the spinal
nerves, and not to the great sympathetic.

In the same series I pointed out the importance of taking the temperature
of the body, internal and external, in disease, and constructed tables
for noting the variations, and this at a time (about 1840 or 1841) when
the thermometer had not come into use in medical practice.

I would allude here to a physiological inquiry made by me, and which
occupied much of my time for twenty years or more, on a grammatical
subject, that of the sequence of sound in speech, with the laws of
diphthongism and accent.

There is another work I would make a record of, it is unpublished, “A New

Stray papers, published or unpublished, I need hardly note, except one
on Drapery, which sculptors and artists would do well to study. It was
published not so very long ago in _Merry England_, a monthly magazine.

I have already alluded to the resuscitation of my work on Varicose
Capillaries by the Pathological Society; it had been in a state of
suspended animation for fifty-one years.


Circumstances connected with the increasing delicacy of Lady Ripon’s
health brought me into nearer relations with the family, and although I
kept up my own establishment, I lived much at Putney Heath. I may say I
was made a friend of by this good lady, whom it was a pleasure to serve,
and was engaged by her often in matters pertaining to her private life.
She liked me sometimes to visit Nocton, her paternal home, and report to
her of people and things which, on account of her inability to visit the
place herself, were drifting from her, though her interest in them was

She was gifted with a very fine intellect: she had been carefully
trained in her childhood, and given all the knowledge that is becoming
in a woman. She had a natural wit, and her conversation was much to be
desired, full of anecdotes on past events in which she had taken part.
When I came to know her she lived retired, at the same time exercising
hospitality without limit towards many pleasant guests. When she returned
from Carlton Gardens to Putney Heath for the winter, I found it difficult
to go to and fro from town, so I settled down at Roehampton, which was
near. Among those who visited her were Sir Charles and Lady Douglas and
Mrs. Charles Lushington, sister of Sir Stafford Northcote, all very old
friends, and these would be with her for the week or month together. Lord
and Lady de Grey, too, were, of course, much with her.

At this time George Borrow, having sickened, like myself, of the charm of
country life, was living in Hereford Square; so we met again and had many
dinners together, and as many pleasant walks; these chiefly in Richmond
Park, which my home overlooked, being close to the Robinhood Gate.

While at Roehampton I accidentally made the acquaintance of Dr. Robert
Latham, the grammarian; not exactly a nice person to see much of, though
a good companion, and one overflowing with every sort of knowledge.

While at Roehampton, too, it was that I called on Rossetti. I saw him
then for the first time, and was received by him very warmly, so much so
that he accepted my invitation to dine with me the next day, and many
hours were passed in conversation of the most exhilarating kind.

A generation before, Rossetti had written to me regarding my “Valdarno,
or the Ordeal of Art Worship,” then appearing in _Ainsworth’s Magazine_.

Before that visit to him I had returned to Poetry, my first and last
love, having plenty of leisure, with my imagination unemployed. Spending
some weeks at Nocton, where I went by Lady Ripon’s request, to look over
her beautiful estate and visit the tomb of the late earl, I was often
of a morning in the ancient wood, revelling in it for hours, the ground
covered with hyacinths and lilies of the valley, the stock doves pouring
out their sweet notes from every bough. It was there, to commemorate my
visit, that I committed to paper my pastoral poem of “The Lily of the
Valley,” which will take any one who reads it into Nocton Wood.

“Old Souls” I wrote while staying in Lady Ripon’s house at Putney: Mrs.
Lushington and her beautiful family of daughters were guests. One Sunday,
on returning from church with her to lunch, the idea of that poem crossed
my mind, impressed by the finely dressed crowd that was chatting and
laughing on the way to the fashionable villas in Wimbledon Park.

These two poems were the beginning of a volume named “The World’s
Epitaph,” which was printed anonymously and distributed at random among
friends and strangers, as well as editors of the press, and apparently
it attracted no sort of notice, except from the librarian of a Cambridge
college, who said that he had made it his companion during a pleasant

I have forgotten the name of this gentleman, and of his college, but I
will one day try to recall it. I must have distributed over a hundred

One copy, sold at W. B. Scott’s sale, the words “D. G. Rossetti, with the
author’s compliments,” written on the title-page, found its way into a
bookseller’s, who advertised it in his catalogue, price eight shillings
and sixpence. A relative of mine, who called to see it, was informed that
it had been purchased for the library of the British Museum.

Evidently Rossetti had lent the volume to Scott; in his keeping it shared
the lot of so many borrowed books, in being never returned.

A literary celebrity once pointed out to me four hundred books on his
shelves, all of which, he said, had been borrowed.

Mr. Buxton Forman told me only the other day (Nov. ’91), that he was one
evening at Madox Brown’s, when Rossetti entered in a state of excitement,
with the “World’s Epitaph” in his pocket, which he produced, and did
little but talk about “Old Souls.” It must have been the copy of which I
have spoken, dated 1866, a beautifully printed little book from the press
of Woodfall and Kinder.

Dr. R. Latham was good enough to send some copies of the book to his
friends, and they took it as his in their reply, which he regarded as too
good a joke to disturb.


Latham was a singular anomaly of our organization. No one could help
liking and disliking him. He was logical in mind, illogical in action.
As captain of Eton College, he became a Fellow of King’s, and before
long was the greatest authority on English grammar. He was Physician
to the Middlesex Hospital; he was Professor of the English Language at
University College. He dressed like a respectable clergyman. Then, from
being a great man, he gradually became a little man, and dressed like a
clergyman of a less reputable type; his white necktie unlaundressed, his
fine chin ill-shaven, his black coat unskilfully brushed, if at all; but
his eye and tongue continued in full practice for satire or fun. Unable
to finance in his own affairs, he thought his true function in life would
have been that of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that he had so missed
his mark. A common saying of his, with an earnest look and his hand on
a friend’s shoulder, was, “Will you lend me a sovereign that you will
never see again?” An acquaintance of his, feeling touched at his outward
display of poverty, almost amounting to boastfulness, inwardly gifted as
he was, on putting gold apologetically on his table, received the reply:
“I am glad you are in a position to do it; what may your income be?”
Another, treating him similarly, heard a laugh, with the words, “It is
very nice to put your hand in your waistcoat pocket and do that. What
income tax do you chance to pay?”

Nature ought not to put such organic prescriptions through the process of
being dispensed.

He was heir-presumptive to a fine landed property, the reversion of which
he sold for a sum not larger than a year of its rental. The heir-apparent
died, and the estate fell in, never to reach him. His wife said she
thought it a pity to have lost the property as he had done. He answered,
“But, my dear, you cannot say you have lost what has never been yours!”

Like a good chancellor of the exchequer, he had the habit of assessing
people’s incomes at a guess, for the purpose of determining what they
ought to give towards the subscriptions so constantly on foot for his

Latham once made the effort to ask Mr. Gladstone for a pension. The
minister said that it was a matter resting with Lord Palmerston, the
premier, who was very jealous of his rights, and advised the applicant to
state his claim in the proper quarter.

On this, Latham let the subject drop, when some time afterwards he
received a notice that he was placed on the civil list for £100 a year,
and received, according to custom, the amount in advance.

His difficulties occupied the attention of many, and he was made more
easy in his circumstance as age overtook him; but on his pension being
alluded to, he related, as a joke, that he had sold that before its first
year had expired.

Latham had a very handsome person, with a smiling, knowing look, the most
knowing I ever saw.

He was decidedly of a kindly nature: fond of his family, genial to
excess, recognisant of his friends. He was probably spoiled by falling
into the worst habits of college life, instead of the best.

Nothing that I have written would offend his shade. He was proud
intellectually, but he abandoned position, and, I really believe,
purposely exhibited himself as poor, when he would walk home with a
cabbage balanced upon his arm. It was meant as a reproach to the world,
on which he had so decided a claim.

One day Latham called on me and brought Mr. Theodore Watts with him,
an old friend of his, and the son of a yet older friend. Watts and I
came into concord on the same octave, and we soon attuned ourselves in
friendly duets.

Later on, George Borrow turned up while Watts was there, and we went
through a pleasant trio, in which Borrow, as was his wont, took the first
fiddle. The reader must not here take metaphor for music. Borrow made
himself very agreeable to Watts, recited a fairy tale in the best style
to him, and liked him.

This was not their only meeting, for both came often to my house, from
which we strolled for an hour or two into the park—strolls deserving of
remembrance, as shown in sonnet form by me in my “New Day.”

Latham wanted much to meet Borrow at my table; I told him it would not
do. He said he would be on his best behaviour, and promised to say
nothing that could offend the most sensitive.

I proposed it to Borrow; he was willing, and they met.

All, like most things else that are planned, began well. But with Latham
life was a game of show. He had to put forth all his knowledge of
subjects in which he deemed Borrow an adept. He began with horse-racing.
Borrow quietly assented. He showed off all he knew of the ring. Borrow
freely responded. He had to show what he knew of publishers, instancing
the Longmans. Borrow said, “I suppose you dine with your publishers
sometimes?” It was Latham’s opportunity; he could not resist it, and
replied, “Never; I hope I should never do anything so low. You do
not dine with John Murray, I presume?” “Indeed, I do,” said Borrow
emotionally. “He is a most kind friend. When I have had sickness in my
house, he has been unfailing in his goodness towards me. There is no man
I value more.”

Latham’s conversation was fast falling under the influence of wine; with
this his better taste departed from him. “I have heard,” he said, “that
you are a brave man over a bottle of good wine. Now, how many bottles can
you get through at a sitting?”

Borrow saw what the other was; he was resolved not to take offence at
what was only impertinent and self-asserting, so he said, “When I was in
Madrid, I knew a priest who would sit down alone to his two bottles.”

“Yes,” replied Latham, with his knowing look, and his head on one side
like a bird, “but what I want to know is, how many bottles you can manage
at one sitting?”

“I once knew another priest,” said Borrow. “It was at Oporto; I have seen
him get through two bottles by himself.”

By this time Latham was a little unsteady; he slipped from his chair as
if it had been an inclined plane, and lay on the carpet, on which he
made his mark as betokening more than nausea. He was unable to rise, but
he held his head up, with a cunning smile, saying, “This must be a very
disreputable house.”

Borrow saw Latham after this at times on his way to me, and always
stopped to say a kind word to him, seeing his forlorn condition.


It must have been in 1871 that I made the acquaintance of Rossetti. This
was some time after Lady Ripon’s death, on which I visited my married
daughter in Germany, but finally returned to Roehampton. It was then that
I called on the poet-painter, as described. After dining with me, he was
so good as to send me a note, in which he said he should like to ask some
of his friends to meet me at dinner. In reply, I said that it would be
a pleasure to me to dine with him, but begged him not to inconvenience
himself on my account, as it would suit me at any time to visit him.

On the day finally fixed there were many at dinner, and as many later.
Many of these, at the time, had good positions as editors, writers, and
painters. W. B. Scott was at the table, also Mr. Sidney Colvin, Mr.
Joseph Knight, Dr. Hüffer, Mr. William Rossetti, and so on; and in the
evening, Dr. Westland Marston, Mr. O’Shaugnessy, Philip Marston, Madox
Brown, Dr. Appleton, a wife or two, and not a few besides.

Some of these have increased in fame since then, some are dead, some
are forgotten. Madox Brown, a painter with a fine historic imagination,
flourishes still.

Rossetti’s topic was still “Old Souls;” Scott was his echo. They said it
was a subject that could never be written on again.

At this date Rossetti’s poems were passing through the press, and I had a
bundle of verse myself ready for it.

I was very much moved by the contents of Rossetti’s volume. I still
admire it much, but with a severer criticism than then.

I could say much of Rossetti’s later life, but am compelled to omit all
such details, for they are intimately mixed up with illness, which to
a physician the witness of it, is sacred ground. Then again, friends
are bad biographers, because they know too much and cannot shape the
character to that ideal which those personally unknown to a great poet
might expect.

Rossetti’s intellectual force was not of a striking order, but it was
adequate; his charm lay in the artistic colouring of his mind, arrayed as
it was in the fascinations of a Provençal attire. This is very different
to the charm in which Nature invests her lovers; and yet it is so
bewitching as to claim a rivalry, and to almost appear the subject of her
inspirations in some enchanted guise.

I had heard that paintings were leaving Cheyne Walk, such as in
colouring had not been seen since Titian lived; and, with a claim on his
acquaintance, I was induced to visit him.

What Reynolds’s faded works once were we no longer know, but when I saw
Rossetti’s paintings I was reminded of what was said of one—the Infant
Hercules, sent to Russia—that it looked as if it had been boiled in

It is a pleasure to me to think that I was once a comfort to Rossetti
in his trying illness. I went to him on his summoning me to Scotland. I
passed six weeks with him there; first at Stobbs Hall, afterwards outside
Crieff, to which place, among others, I travelled to find him a suitable
abode. I walked with him by day, I sat at his bedside by night, relating
to him the history of almost every one I had ever known, and by diverting
his mind from itself, I left him comparatively restored.

If he forgot all this, it was no fault of his own making; his illness
never fully subsided. But I was among the favoured still who had known
him in his best days, and was appointed to serve him in his most trying

I can further say that when I saw Rossetti in his prime, a healthy man,
he was the noblest of men, and had a heart so good that I have never
known a better, seldom its equal.

Illness changed him, but then he was no longer himself.

Taking Rossetti’s pictures and his verse together as one, he was a great
poet; his poetics and paintings help each other, as did Blake’s in a
vastly inferior degree, but their separation shows faults in each with
distinctness. When one reads his poems, one thinks of his paintings; when
one looks at his paintings, one thinks of his poems; whence the charm
that surrounds all his work.

The celebrity that awaited Rossetti’s poems among critics was latent in
his paintings, which were already famous for their emotional colouring
and fine portraiture of women; and, being in intimate social relation
with many leading members of the press, his poetical pretensions were
accepted by acclamation. Then he had a powerful _clientèle_ among buyers.
Those who possessed his pictures were very ready to receive and admire
the poems of their favourite artist, and to push them about in the
fashionable and the wealthy world, as the works of the poet-painter, a
title rarely obtained, so many gifts does it imply.

It was this that at once secured him his deserved success. He had
published the “Blessed Damozel,” one of the poems on which his reputation
rests, when a young man unknown to art, and it attracted no attention in
the world at large; for justice is not done to merit of any kind unless
it can pay its way.

The “Blessed Damozel” may be characterized as a drawing with tender
descriptions of convent life, with the Virgin Mary as lady abbess; the
whole lifted into remotest space, where lies the boundary-line of Heaven;
the damozel being a sort of nun living among the holy, while all her
reflections are human; the burden of them from first to last on love for
an absent one, without whose presence she can find no happiness in her
purgatorial heaven. It reads like the suggestion of a picture done in
mediæval times—as old as the court cards in the pack used by players—at a
period when the glory of saints and of christs was symbolized by a sort
of curtain-ring round the head, or by circular fireworks which emitted
sparks in perpetual corruscation.

I do not feel that the antique moulding of this poem is a fair excuse
for its being illogical in places. The sun was so far off that it was
scarcely visible—say two billion miles or so, like Uranus or Neptune; but
that it looked like a bridge, is a simile that cannot be made suggestive
of any round body save the moon. That she can see the earth spin like a
fretful midge, does not please the logical understanding, when that body
is at least as far off as the scarce-visible sun. We are comparatively
close to our neighbouring orbs, Venus and Mars, which do not exhibit the
slightest motion to our eyes—how then should a world as remote from the
damozel as Uranus is from us be seen in motion?

We are made to realize that the “Blessed Damozel” is of flesh and blood;
she stoops and bends forward until her bosom makes the bar she leans on
warm. But the souls mounting up to God were spirits; they passed by her
like thin flame. This does not show the logical consistency which poetry
demands even more rigidly than prose.

The poem is strictly sentimental. The one feeling of love-longings runs
through every stanza.

The subject was painted for Lord Mount Temple. I have not seen the work,
but doubtless it is composed of the three first verses of the poem,
which must have been painted on the author’s mind long before it reached
the canvas. The poem, which is not very musical or imaginative beyond
the _motif_ it carries out, has a great charm for many. It is simple in
diction and emotional, and a merit not often found in Rossetti’s love
poetry is its spiritual character, the lover not being near to incite the
girl to passion of the naked kind which pervades his sonnets.

The author cannot be said to exhibit himself personally in this poem, nor
in the other with which his fame is equally bound up, namely, “Sister
Helen.” Both appear to tell their own story, which is the perfection of
narrative, a truth which critics cannot too forcibly insist on. It is no
easy matter for a writer himself to appear beautiful in the midst of his
beautiful verses, unless his subject and its treatment is of the most
elevated kind, as in Coleridge’s “Love,” which is so deliciously pure,
and in the first verse or two of Wordsworth’s “Intimations.”


A subject overwrought, like the sermon of a Calvin, must verge on the
satanic. The poem of “Sister Helen” escapes this only through the pangs
of hate being mollified in every verse by the despairing, heart-broken
utterance of a refrain addressed to the Virgin Mother, and poured out
in the agony of a once-religious, still-believing, soul, wailing with a
bitterness which nothing can soften—an eternal hatred of her seducer;
nothing short of seeing him in the flames of hell,—willing herself to
suffer in them a torment that is only less than her thirst of revenue.

That she should breathe forth all this in a subdued voice of sorrow in
the ear of the blessed Mary Mother is almost too touching for perusal;
yet the pathos of the situation is even further enhanced by the tender
and sad replies she gives to her innocent little brother, from whom she
struggles to conceal, almost vainly, the anguish of her heart and its
wicked aim. The refrains, for the most part full, are not always equal
to the occasion, but might easily have been so rendered by so feeling a

Of course the time must come when the poetry of England is melted down
and merged into an anthology, and it is probable that the “Sister Helen,”
as being the strongest emotional poem, as yet, in the language, will be
among the most lasting works, and escape dissolution for a long time to
come; perhaps will survive all change. And here a very remarkable fact
thrusts itself before the mind; a representative one, which is that if
Rossetti had written not another line besides this poem, his genius would
have appeared all the greater: for lesser work is a fatal commentary on

All suffer from this comparison with themselves except Gray, who wrote so
little; and even he, after his Elegy, is scarcely saved the self-reproach.

Rossetti, in his writings, did not exercise much imagination, and none
of the philosophic kind, by means of which the idea ascends, metaphor
above metaphor, as high as the perspective of thought can attain. He did
not look to musical sonance in his metre and his choice of words. He did
not realize that love, to be acceptable in verse to the higher orders of
mind, must be spiritual and chaste, that when carnal we possess it only
in common with the beasts of the field. He could not have put on canvas
the scenery of his fifth sonnet for exhibition, except in contravention
of Lord Campbell’s Act.

From what I have read of his sonnets in his first edition, the vehicle of
expression which such composition should formulate was beyond his reach.
Above all other forms it demands the philosophic imagination, which
scarcely any poet has enjoyed, because its possessors revert to science,
as being within their compass, and as subject to higher reward. In
Rossetti’s sonnet the expression of the thought rises no higher than its
first statement, it has no grand climacteric. His imagination, in fact,
was introspective rather than retrospective, and was scarcely prospective
at all.

Rossetti was a charming companion: he spoke well and freely on all
subjects, literary and artistic, and with much knowledge of contemporary
writings. His studio was a favourite resort of men whose names were
on title pages, to whom he showed the work he had in progress; and,
to his intimate friends, he would sometimes read a poem in a rich and
sonorous voice. He had a very just mind. When an author was discussed,
whatever might be said against him, he would insist on his merits being
remembered. From rivalship and its jealousies he was absolutely free, and
his hospitality was without limit. Above all, he was ready at all times
to serve a friend, and to exert his influence to that end.

Interesting as Rossetti must always be to a large section of society, I
have not considered myself justified in entering at any length on his
domestic life, intimately as at one time it was mixed up with my own.
Still, without impropriety, I may rest lightly on it, in such manner as
to contribute some touches towards the picture of a man whose influence
on art will last longer than the canvas on which his ideas are so
brilliantly spread. I, therefore, propose to myself the task of narrating
my visits to him, in Perthshire, and afterwards at Kelmscott, and at

One morning I visited him at Cheyne Walk, when I saw that the
restlessness of the past night had pursued him into daytime. Qualifying
his request with an expression of great regard, he asked me not to stay.
His medical attendants were consulting in another room: I joined them
there, and told them that my house at Roehampton was open to Rossetti if
they decided that he needed change.

On the same evening, in company with his brother and Mr. Madox Brown,
he came to Roehampton, and I remember well his saying, as he sat in my
quiet drawing-room, that he was enjoying what he had so long ceased
to feel, and that was peace. He sat up late in conversation with his
brother on various family matters, but his night was the most troubled
one that he had hitherto passed through. The next day he was visited by
his mother, and other members of his family, his medical attendant from
town preceding them. Miss Rossetti, the gifted author of “The Shadow of
Dante,” and her brother, took a walk with me in Richmond Park, while the
mother remained with her son.

Mr. Madox Brown joined us later, and the party left the invalid in the

But when the mind is restless, a sick man imagines there is relief to be
found in change, and, after a few days, Rossetti returned to town, not
to his own house, but to that of Madox Brown, where I saw him again, his
restlessness unrelieved.

He had a good friend in Mr. Graham, the member for Glasgow. That
gentleman rented two sporting seats in Perthshire, and he placed them
at the disposal of Rossetti, who then went to Scotland. But he soon
moved from one of these mansions to Stobbs Castle, the other, a place
belonging to Lady Willouby de Eresby. While there he felt the want of
my assistance, and urgently requested that I would leave without delay.
I had a garden-party for the next day from London; this I left to my
housekeeper and sons to conduct, and went by the next train.

W. B. Scott and Madox Brown, two faithful friends, were at the castle,
ministering to their brother artist. My son George, who had finished his
terms at Oxford, and had no present engagement, was there too, and I
found all so far satisfactory that Rossetti was contented, enjoying the
quiet which was not to be found in his own home.

Stobbs Hall is an ancient inheritance of the Drummonds, a solitude on the
heights over-reaching the Tay, with a parapet wall and a Dutch garden,
in which is a sundial erected on masonry, which might have been there
before the invention of clocks. Below and to the right is a fine reach of
the river; on the opposite side is a vast plain of cornfield, planted at
intervals, and stretching on northwards to the forest and Grampian hills.
On that side, the lords Mansfield enjoy the salmon fisheries; their lands
extending eastward to Scone Palace. The two families take it by turns to
fish both sides of the river.

Any one wishing to read an account of this scenery in poetic form, can
turn to a sonnet called “Rest,” in “New Symbols.”

Scott and Brown soon left the castle, a place with not too much furnished
accommodation. Over the mantelpiece, in the one sitting-room, hung a
framed set of verses by Drummond, the Scotch poet.

It was not very long before Rossetti’s occupation of the place came to a
close. He was fast improving in health; he took long walks, but without
any enjoyment of the scenery which was made romantic by water-fall and
splashed leaves, ever fresh, the elastic boughs bending under the weight
of a torrent. So far recovered, he desired to remain in Perthshire, but
still craved for the utmost solitude. In search of such a home I took the
train to Perth, visited St. Andrews, returned to Perth, and proceeded to
Crieff, where I remained for some days and scoured the environs. At last
it occurred to me to call on the leading practitioner, Dr. Gairdner, and
was directed by him to a farm-house two or three miles from the town,
on the river side. The house had every requirement, and was kept by a
lady-farmer, whose manner and person had every agreeable trait. On this,
I telegraphed to Rossetti and my son to follow me at once to Crieff, and
at the right time I met them at the station there, and we drove to the
new home.

It was a pleasant spot, with a walk into Crieff by the river-side, down
to a wilderness of waters. There was plenty of mountain scenery in view,
with pine forest to the summits, and lake not remote; not to forget the
sky-threading mists and the abundance of water from above. Descriptive of
this aspect is my sonnet called “Unrest.” Rossetti rapidly improved in
health, stumping his way over long areas of path and road, with his thick
stick in hand, but holding no intercourse with Nature. It was not long
before he summoned his assistant, with the implements of his art, and he
was once more happy.

At this time he made a chalk drawing of me, and one of my son.

The first of these was reproduced in a volume of sonnets, called by me,
“The New Day.”

The portrait of George was somewhat peculiar; the neck was outstretched,
and the expression was heightened by the face being free of hair, which
elicited from Latham one of his quaint remarks. He gazed at it for some
time with his head like a connoisseur’s on one side; then said, “Yes, a
South American slave-driver, who had returned to Portugal to be shaved.”

There are very few male portraits by Rossetti: the only three others are
one of Mr. Stillman; one of a youth, in his large picture of Dante’s
Dream; and one of Theodore Watts, which is a very good one, but more
vivacious than the original, and there is more of the military air than
was ever assumed by that peaceful citizen, which makes him look at least
a lieutenant-colonel.

As a domestic trait, I would mention that Rossetti was very hearty at all
times over his meals. He would wear out three knives and forks to my one;
and to me, whose breakfast seldom exceeded one cup of coffee, his plate
of bacon, surrounded by eggs that overlapped the rim, was amazing. I may
further truly say that he, not being a believer in physiological things,
did not regard tea as possessing the attributes of Totality.

While at this farm residence, he read with great eagerness and delight
the newly published life of Edmund Kean.

By a careful treatment of him I procured him good nights, effecting
this object chiefly by remaining at his bedside and draining my memory
of every anecdote I had ever heard, and relating to him every amusing
incident that I had encountered during life in my intercourse with the

Finding him so well recovered, I left him in the hands of his assistant
and of my son, after an absence of many weeks.

Towards the end of the year—it was 1872—Rossetti, with my son, left
Scotland and proceeded to Kelmscott Manorhouse, which he tenanted with
his friend Mr. Morris. I visited him there, and found him in good health
and spirits, after a journey spent, as I heard, with great joviality, the
travellers taking a third-class carriage to themselves. He was already
settled down to his art in a pleasant studio, loving to talk while he
painted; at other times deep in the works of Dumas. In the afternoon he
took vigorous walks in the meadows which one after another stretch out in
front of the mansion.

The next day we went over the house and grounds. It is an old place, with
its seven or rather twelve gables—such a sample of antiquity as you don’t
meet with often. The windows are square casements with stone mullions,
and the walls very thick. The garden has its yew-tree hedges, cut into
fantastic shapes. The river is flooded like a lake, so that old Thames
don’t know itself again. It is a most primitive village that surrounds
the place—a few scattered free-stone habitations, some ivy-covered. There
are no neighbours to interfere with the liberty of the subject.

George was a good boatman, and he often rowed me up the river, which
half-way was spanned by an elegant arched bridge, and bounded further
on by a weir. The scenery was very satisfying: on the left bank one
overlooked a gay meadow, the cattle crowding to the bank to stare us out
of sight; on the other side were lofty trees, while in midstream we had
often to cut our way through islands of weed. The memory of this and
of a later visit to the place was embodied in a poem, which I called
“Reminiscence,” in which the scenery lives.

I found opportunities of talking with Rossetti about Mr. Theodore Watts,
whose acquaintance I wished him to make more fully, for I had already
introduced them to each other. While leading a country life Watts had
not only acquired a knowledge of books, but had written poetry, and had
thought out many literary problems for himself.

The Manorhouse was adequately furnished, but some exquisite chalk
drawings, one especially, of female heads, gave it a charm. I thought
that no one ever could paint a woman’s eyes like Rossetti. There was a
softness, a delicacy, a life, a soul in them, never seen elsewhere but in
living beings, and that how rarely!

Rossetti was unwilling to separate himself from George, and I consented
to his retaining him as his secretary, for such a one was very necessary
to him at that time.

I saw Mr. Morris at Kelmscott, and afterwards in society; he was
inscrutable then, and has since been inscrutability in his career. W.
B. Scott was also there, and when I left it was with him. Like his
countrymen, he practised an exemplary carefulness in money matters, a
habit which makes every Scotchman well off. In the train he counted his
money with the dry remark, “One does not save anything by making a visit
to a friend!”

A letter from my son George, dated December 19, 1875, written at Aldwich
Lodge, Bognor, begins by a rejoicing to hear that I had accepted
Rossetti’s invitation to spend Christmas with him at the seaside.

I sometimes look at the bottom of an antique silver snuff-box, a
reservoir more than two hundred years old, the lid of elephant’s tooth,
and I read—

“T. G. H., from D. G. R., 1875.”

A memorial to me of better things than an old-fashioned Christmas

And I use this snuff-reservoir every day; it affords me nasal recreation.

Snuff-taking did not go out with the pigtails, but it is on the wane; it
has given way to smoking: and diminished is the number of gifts, such
graceful objects for monarchs to present to men like myself—if they did
but know me!—of platinum or golden boxes set in diamonds. And would you
know the reason of my persistence in taking snuff? It not only wakes up
that torpor so prevalent between the nose and the brain, making the
wings of an idea uncurl like those of a new-born butterfly, but while
others sneeze, and run at the eyes and nose, my schneiderian membrane is
impervious to weather, or, to be explicit, I never take cold in my head.

Bath was my tarrying-place when Rossetti’s invitation came to me, and I
went to Bognor. The great poet-painter occupied a commodious villa and
grounds in a lane, west of the town, and near to the roughest bit of
beach on the Sussex coast.

Rossetti had packed his house. Mrs. Rossetti, the mother; Miss Maria and
Miss Christina, the sisters; Misses Polidori, who were the aunts; and
Watts, who was the friend, were there, together with my sons, Edmund and
Henry, for the festive week. The villa had good rooms; upstairs was a
gallery with bedchambers on both sides, and ending in a large apartment
which became a studio. There Rossetti worked, and liked to be read to
while he improved his canvas, till the afternoon, when he took a violent
walk over the boulders by the sea, towards Selsey Bay, among the ruined
wooden groynes which had become seaweed gardens, hideous of aspect, as if
invented and laid out by fish made man.

I walked with Rossetti daily over this penal shore, reflecting on absent
pleasure, he unconscious of present pain. He talked but little while his
feet crunched the boulders, and took no heed of the aspects of the scene,
but seemed to be stamping health out of what was left unused for the six
days’ creation.

Mrs. Rossetti was a sweet lady, and Christina, who still lives, a higher
poet than her brother, is of the noblest brand. The family, one and all,
are almost purely Italian. The father, a poet, was a Neapolitan; the
mother was a Tuscan, with some Scotch blood. Rossetti may be regarded,
not as English, but as one of those powerful leavens with which the
genius of one country sometimes ferments that of another, to give it a
new vitality.

Watts, who was now on terms of brotherly intimacy with him, bore him
through any passing difficulties that needed only better guidance than
his own.

That holiday was made cheerful, less perhaps by the host himself than by
his guests. In truth, I saw regretfully that Rossetti was much unstrung;
as so many do, even when in health, he got tired of his visitors, and ere
long the party dispersed.


Circumstances brought me into intimate association with Mr. Noble, a most
excellent and useful sculptor. He was employed in producing a recumbent
statue of Lord Ripon. This memorial figure was placed in Nocton church,
the more welcome there since the structure, a design of Gilbert Scott,
was due to Lady Ripon’s bounty. He also made a fine bust of the deceased
earl, all of which work was done by order of his devoted countess, whose
name and the date of whose death are inscribed on the tomb beneath his.

During the lifetime of the good Lady Ripon, I spent several weeks from
year to year during the summer at Nocton Hall, by her wish, having some
of my family with me, and, on one occasion, the boy Lord Goderich. During
these visits I looked well over the estate and reported my observations,
or any suggestions for changes, with Lord de Grey’s approval.

The climate of the eastern country, from my experience in East Anglia,
and later in Lincolnshire, I pronounce the best in England during the
warm season, when the air is well “cooked” by the sun. I once wrote to
Lady Ripon from Nocton, that it was as if cod-liver oil was floating in
the air. But I must say that in the early months of the year, when the
east wind is “raw,” the climate is not fit for a pet dog.

This very summer of ’91, when rain has turned all our houses in the south
and west into arks, and ourselves into Noahs, I have said to friends,
some going to the Isle of Wight, others still farther into the wet lands
towards the Atlantic, “Go eastward as far as you can away from the rain;
go to Aldeburgh; go to Cromer; go to Lowestoft; go to Mablesthorpe, where
wind and rain part company before reaching so far.” They abided by my
advice; and while the millions on the west side were soaked through,
those on the east had not a wet day once a week, and, departing in sickly
condition, came back in health too good to last!

Ask the people on the west and on the east of Scotland what sort of
weather they have had in any summer. When I was in Perthshire for six
weeks, it rained pretty well every day; and as I left by the train I saw
the September harvest between Crieff and Perth cut and afloat on the

A fearful loss of oats! I had a friend that very same season living on
the coast of Fifeshire. It was a lady. She informed me that all was
sunshine, scarce a drop of rain, during the period I speak of.

Why should Egypt be said to monopolize all the dry weather!

“Madeline and other Poems” appeared not long after Rossetti’s volume.
I kept myself clear of all models and other modes of thought—a fact
recognized by every writer that reviewed my book. Rossetti was the
first to say this, which he did in the Academy, the generosity of which
proceeding cannot be too strongly put forward when one recollects that
his own poems were in the hands of the critics at the same time. He read
the poem before publication, and from what he wrote to me I learned that
the metre itself in “Madeline” had a great charm for him.

I became known to Theodore Watts about the time “Madeline” came out.
He was then comparatively young, and had formed for himself, in the
country, certain poetic tenets which twenty years of experience have
since greatly enlarged. He did not then think that “Madeline” had the
elements of success within it. In intellect, in isolated quotable
passages, according to his view, it abounded; for the rest it came
strange to him.

Twenty years of experience and change of feeling affects us all; we
become _blasé_ for better or worse; authors in whom we revelled go stale;
others, that we found it hard to bite at, seem to yield a light that was
but a spark before. The change is in ourselves.

Not many months ago, after the publication of “The New Day,” Watts was
with me, and said, “I have been reading ‘Madeline’ again; for sheer
originality, both of conception and of treatment, I consider that it
stands alone.”

I do not intend to submit this sentence to him for further consideration;
it was once in his mouth, and thence it issued!


I may tell the origin of “Madeline” in a brief sentence. I had framed
and delivered a lecture, scientifically treated, on “Sleep, Dreams,
Sleep-walking, Sleep-talking and the Mesmeric State,” which last I
explained by the facts of hypnotism. It was many years after this that
I conceived the idea of conducting a character, in metre, through all
these states of the human soul, and “Madeline” became that character.

Dr. Marston said, and I think truly, that the poem had too much
machinery—a mistake which I have now corrected by erasure, in case an
edition of the work should ever be required.

Watts is a man of many rich endowments; he has a fine poetic faculty,
logical, yet warm; with an imagination not introspective only, but one
that ranges over nature, and which might be called circumspective. His
sonnets will bear the analysis to which I have submitted Shakespeare,
Coleridge, and Wordsworth, in a previous page.

Watts is now one of our most esteemed critics.

I had a close acquaintance with Harrison Ainsworth among novelistic
editors; he tried to obtain for me the separate publication of
“Valdarno,” and, failing, wrote me his confident belief that it must be
resuscitated one day.

Ainsworth was a manly and handsome-looking person. His romances gave
great pleasure to the readers of his time, which showed how willing
people are to live others’ lives without the penalties, though they would
very firmly decline living their own over again, without the experience
they had too late acquired.

I suppose, in reading every novel, one tastes of all the vices and
virtues that have ever been indulged in. One likes to be great and
generous vicariously; one even enjoys the sufferings of the wicked at
second hand, and to commit even murder on the like terms.

We have all the character, in _substrata_, not only of the savage, but
of the wild beast, of the vulture, of the shark, of the boa constrictor,
of the clawed crab, of the animalcule itself. Some feel this, some are
wholly unconscious of it until it is accidentally roused, some possess it
only in a state of inanimate suppression.

A novel founded on vulture life would have a great run. It should dwell
on the domestic virtues of the bird, and show how it held an appointment
under Providence to follow in the wake of armies.

One of the finest novels I have read of late years is that of Mr.
Eden, entitled “George Donnington,” a work replete with experiences,
sympathetic in character, in purpose wise; less a fiction than a
narrative of true Russian life, and written with as firm a hand as was
ever trained for literary success.

Though I could wish to have done with the “strange eventful history” of a
life, thus lived over again, I must not rush on too fast, but must revert
to “Parables and Tales.”

The publisher of “Madeline” asked me to add four more poems to “Old
Souls,” and the three others of the same metre, for an illustrated
work; accordingly, I gave him “Mother and Child,” “The Blind Boy,” “The
Cripple,” and “Old Morality.”

One morning at Cheyne Walk I read “The Cripple” to Rossetti and Hüffer,
and saw them both in tears.

I had written “The Blind Boy” before the new volume was contemplated, and
I sent it to Rossetti. In answer he wrote to me, saying that he was on
the point of going out when it reached him, but that he stayed in to read
it, and was so impressed on doing so, that he at once sat down and wrote
to Mr. John Morley, advising its insertion in the _Fortnightly Review_.
But Morley had recently printed in that vehicle a long poem of W. B.
Scott’s, and had thereupon resolved never to admit again another verse of
any author whatsoever.

When “Parables and Tales” appeared Rossetti selected the _Fortnightly_
for his review of the new volume. He never wrote any reviews except of my
poems. All the notices I ever received of my writings were by strangers,
except those kindly given of them by Rossetti and his brother: that is
all I owe to friendship.

At this time I was personally free from professional engagements. Lady
Ripon was no more, greatly to my sorrow, so I went for a few weeks to

It was a great pleasure to me when staying in that beautiful and
healthful city to visit the grave of Beckford, the wonderful author of

The cemetery and tomb of Beckford would have been a scene for Volney,
though it is not a ruin, unless it be regarded as one of human vanity.
“Vatec” is monument enough without a sarcophagus of polished porphyry,
and a tower lined with the same costly stone.

A medical friend of Mr. Beckford’s told me some curious details
respecting that gentleman’s will. He had sunk his remaining property in
an annuity, with the exception of a unique collection of pictures and
statues valued at £100,000, destined for Hamilton Palace, his daughter’s
home. The result is one of many instances which show how little influence
the dead exercise over the living.

There was an insuperable difficulty in the dead being buried in his own
beautiful cemetery, which was unconsecrated ground, so the heir, the
then Duke of Hamilton, had the sarcophagus deposited in the cemetery on
the opposite side of the river. The grounds of the one laid out with so
much loving care by the deceased, with their tower and exquisitely carved
gateway and their finely wrought palings, the porphyry of the tower alone
having been brought from Egypt at an expense of £50,000, were sold for
£1500, and were about to be converted into a tea-garden for the Lansdown
races held hard by.

These preliminaries got through, of course by the duke’s agents,
preparations were made for the removal of the pictures and sculptures,
but the executors of the will stepped in, and announced that those
treasures were not to be given up until Mr. Beckford’s cemetery held his

This was a cruel dilemma, for the property had to be repurchased at an
enormous advance on the price paid; but it was done, and the terms of the
bishop to consecrate the soil, previously declined, were acceded to.
These were that the cemetery should become the property of the Church!

The game was thus cleverly won and profitably; the cemetery is
fashionable, people pay high prices for being buried in such good
company. Every one visits Beckford’s tomb, and the Church, in acquiring
the freehold, will be thought by many to have done well for religion.
But my mind is of a perverse nature, and is apt to wander. It sometimes
comes across the word “infernal,” in relation to things on high, and is
sometimes arrested, as by an erratic block, by the word “humbug,” but
it would not like to see the two words in juxtaposition in reference to
Church doings.

Beckford had desired that his sarcophagus should be placed on the summit
of his tower, whence, should he open his eyes again, and be able to see
through porphyry, he would behold Fonthill Abbey.

But this pleasure was denied him, and he only lies above the grass
instead of below.

On the tomb one reads—

                  “Eternal Power,
    Grant me through obvious clouds one transient glimpse
    Of thy bright presence in my dying hour.”

After some weeks at Bath I went to Germany, staying with my daughter,
Mrs. Dupré, at Stassfurt, where, underground, had been achieved one
of Nature’s most wonderful geological operations. A tidal sea, once
extending over many hundred square miles of Prussian Saxony, was
gradually blocked out from its connection with the Baltic, and had
evaporated, depositing its salts in the order of their solubility, but
still replenished at high tide through countless ages, until at last, cut
off from its connection with the main waters, it dried up, and during
other countless ages became covered two hundred feet deep with soil.
The first deposit in this vast bed of salts was common salt (chloride
of sodium), a deposit so thick that it has been drilled to a depth of
one thousand feet, and not yet pierced through. On the surface of this
deposit is found a considerable bed of chloride of potash, with boracic
salts, bromides, and others of great commercial value.

Stassfurt is an ancient village some twenty miles from Magdeburg. It has
a fine old church, unwittingly founded on a rock of salt, or at least
above one; not the same thing as a rock, for the miners have been under
the church’s foundations, and the earth has quaked and the walls have
been split and shaken, almost to falling. The stork has built its nest
upon its tower from time immemorial, and is the sacred bird of Stassfurt.

And that vast salt bed, now a mine whose streets reach for miles under
the town and country! By torchlight it glitters with reflected flame,
surpassing in brilliancy all fairy land! There lies a dead sea, with salt
enough to supply the world for ever.

Thirty or forty lofty chimneys are erected over it, and are, as new
monuments, strangely marking the spot where a sea had laid buried for
ages unknown.

This is in Prussian Saxony, whence came our invaders in the olden time.
There is to be seen an old Saxon church in a village just outside the
town; one descends into it by steps. A dust of ages, vagrant as the wind,
but which loves to take shelter against walls, and to bury them as time
goes on, has settled itself for the time to come. Churches exactly like
this church are to be seen on the hills of Bath, with their Saxon tower.
Inside it are the high pews and the gallery, at one end of which, on
the right, near the pulpit, is the pew of the squire. It is old England
before it migrated to our shores.

Thus our ancestors brought their institutions here; so we in turn take
them with us to newer lands.

My son-in-law was Professor of Chemistry at the Westminster, in
succession to the gifted Dr. Marcet, whose assistant he had been for some
years. He resigned his place, and his brother Augustus Dupré was elected
in his stead, while he went to Stassfurt to do chemistry on a larger
scale, extricating tens of thousands of tons of potash from its chlorine.
He was then the father of a baby, he has now two grown-up daughters and
three grown-up sons.

I stayed several weeks at Stassfurt. My son Cecil was there under Dupré.
He had been a student at the Westminster laboratory; he is now Chief
Inspector of Explosives at Melbourne in Victoria.


My daughter was very happy in her domestic life in Stassfurt. She was
married from Lady Ripon’s house on Putney Heath, where a grand breakfast
was provided for a large party of friends. Lady de Grey, Lord Goderich,
Colonel Bertie Gordon, Mr. and Mrs. Dupré, my sons, George, Egmont and
Henry, Mr. and Mrs. William Hake (my brother and his wife) and other
members of my family and friends, with myself, were there, the good
countess presiding with her usual kindness and grace.

The tables were hung round with festoons of grapes, beneath which the
guests were seated.

Every one was struck by the likeness of Mr. Dupré to Bonaparte without
any knowledge of the reason, which was that they had a common ancestor in
the female line of Feisch, mother of the cardinal of that name. When Mr.
Dupré was page to the King of Wurtemberg, Jerome Bonaparte, through this
connection, the guard often presented arms as he passed, mistaking him
for one of the royal house.

He belonged to an old French family, that of Dupré de St. Maur, with
the rank of marquis, a title never entirely dropped, and to which my
son-in-law now stands next in succession, though he may never use it.

There was once an event of moment to the Protestants of France, the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes: this drove my son’s branch of the
Duprés into Germany and another to England, whose descendants are settled
in Buckinghamshire.

I went with all my family to the Harz, a mountain which is like a large
purse full of uncoined money; it is said to contain every metal. Men
whistle when they have nothing better to do, and they puff out their
cheeks when they are hot. This they are taught by Nature: she whistles
and behold a Vesuvius in full blast; she puffs out her cheeks and behold
the Harz mountains.

In England no place is more than 100 miles from the sea; but except
a strip of the Baltic all the salt water of Germany is inland, and
where its waves spout out, the people have towns, which, like our
horse-troughs, are called Watering Places. In Germany those who can
afford the luxury of gradual suicide, caused by over-good drinking and
eating, go there yearly to settle accounts with their system.

These towns have their pilgrims from many lands, who go as to Æsculapian
Temples to repent of their Hoch: but their sins are very curious; they
break out all over and all inside their bodies. There are reddish and
purple sins; these do penance sometimes on the nose, sometimes on the
large toes, and other joints; sometimes they blossom all over the skin.
Then there are sins of the stomachic, hepatic, renal, and pulmonic kind,
each symbolizing local contrition; and the penitents, with their sins
thus upon them, go every season to drink of those holy waters, and some
of them, for a time, are forgiven.

Midway between Stassfurt and Magdeburg there is a sort of park, called
Schönebeck, where people go for an idle day. It is bounded by a noted
salt-water evaporator which is a wall a mile long. There is an hotel, and
stalls for the sale of ephemeral goods, as books, toys, and drinks, and a
band plays all day the music of the best composers. George, who went with
me by way of Hamburg, returned with me to England by way of Cologne and

My Roehampton days were now over. After a stay in London, Brighton,
and elsewhere, I went to Bath early in 1873, and spent the August of
that year at Dover in company with my son Egmont; I then went to Paris,
where my eldest son, Thomas St. Edmund, joined me, making the very naïve
remark during our walks, that one learns a good deal of French out of
doors. This I capped by saying that English, too, might be learnt on the
shop-windows; but it was broken English, for the gold letters stuck on
the glass, of “English spoken here,” often got loose, while some were
missing. My next movement was through the Cenis Tunnel to Turin, where
I met my youngest son, Henry, who was a student of chemistry at the
University of Giesen, under Dr. Will.

After some stay at Turin we visited Genoa; passing the month of November
there, during which I was bitten by mosquitos over the face in a manner
expressive of small-pox.


The most pleasurable recollection of this period was a day spent at
Nervi, ten miles from Genoa on the _Riviera Levante_.

The lovely bay of Nervi, on a sunny day, is enriched with every colour:
the steep shores of black, veined with white, a magnesian limestone,
worn by the waves into waves; the blue waters breaking over projecting
rocks, curdling into white, while pools of foamy green fill the basins.
It was here that I collected my colours and ideas for “The Painter”
in “New Symbols,” which I wrote on returning to Genoa, a place not so
attractive as some Italian cities, though the Palazzo Rosso, with its art
collection, is never to be forgotten.

There is no sea coast worth visiting at Genoa, scarcely a bathing place;
all occupied and spoilt by fortifications. Nevertheless we wandered among
the vineyards and villas, our eyes doing honour to the one that had
belonged to Paganini.

On a descending road we walked along a festooned vineyard, regarding
the ripe fruit with longing eyes, for it was sultry weather, and our
great contribution to it was thirst. At the bottom of the hill was a
fruiterer’s shop, where a barrowful of grapes had just arrived, and we
gained permission to eat. Our thirst was slaked and we asked what we
owed in payment; it was a few coppers, and we took from our pockets at
random, a good half-dozen times the amount demanded. For such small pay,
we witnessed a rapture such as no stage exhibits.

On reaching the streets of the city we encountered a crowd, in the midst
of which two men, a large and a small one, were wrestling in an agony of
rage. The big man suddenly wrested a knife from the hand of the little
one, and flung it far from him, pointing at it in triumphant scorn.

The little man, all over in a fury that actor never attained to, rushed
to his house close by, imploring his wife, who was at the door, to give
him another knife; but she refused, so the fight was over.

We have not forgotten the Via Nuova, that narrow street of palaces of
which our Pall Mall is a resemblance; and we have not forgotten the
statue of Columbus,—it was nearly opposite our hotel.

More of Genoa I do not care to note, except that the villas of various
colours, red, blue, green, and yellow, surrounding it, look suited to the
climate; that of Novello more picturesque than the shop in London where
he gathered together all his money.

Henry toiled up the hill to inspect the cemetery.

It is a saying, rife at Genoa, that it takes three Jews to cheat one
Genoese. The inhabitants are, certainly, a very business-like people.

The remembrance comes up in my mind that the cactus grows wild here on
the old crumbling walls; as the houseleek does on our tiles.

We crossed the mountain that separates Genoa and Spezia—a picturesque
journey, with frequent sea-views. The only conveyance was by Diligence,
and there is danger; the driving becoming furious as soon as the descent
into Spezia begins; nevertheless, we entered the town in safety.

Spezia has its charm; the old streets at the back, the new ones in front
near the sea, the temple of Venus on the hill to the right of the shore,
Lerici on the left, where Shelley died. But those marble hills that
surround the place! As the sun sets, they and the sea become of one pink
colour; as the sun sinks deeper, the brilliance quits the water, except
where the little waves rise and just dip their crests into it once more.

We took the train to Florence, Henry getting out at Pisa to join me again.

I had returned to Florence after over forty years. Not a soul that I
formerly knew was there; all had vanished, lost in the crowd of the
absent or dead.

I felt like the last man! But I met with new friends there; the truest
of all, Madame Mazzini, was almost the first of these. During my forty
years’ absence she had been born, had married, and become a mother, and
then a widow, afterwards to become the wife of an illustrious Italian,
Signor Villari, senator, and now, in ’91, a member of the Government, as
Minister of Education.

She, like her husband, a distinguished author, has been my sincere friend
for twenty years.

There was nothing to take me to Florence, nothing but a longing that
time could not extinguish, a longing to see again its palaces, its
churches, its Palazzo Vecchio in its over-powering might of grandeur
embossing architecture on the sky; the Palazzo Strozzi, so defiant of
all that is plebeian; the Casa Ricarsoli, so graceful as almost to say a
house may be of the fairer sex! The Duomo, the Campanile, not yet under
a glass case, as Michael Angelo said playfully, it was worthy to be; and
the Sacristy at its side. These and more I longed to see again, with a
passion that impels the wanderer to return to his native land. And those
delicious walks to Fiesole and Bellosguardo, whence, from summits, one
gazes on Florence as on an enchanted city!

Then the Tuscans, with their bright intellects and fine faces, from
prince to peasant; their gentleness towards the stranger; their
melodious, grammatical enunciation of the one sweet language perfected in
the course of ages out of the beautiful words handed down from Greece and

I had thus reached Florence by Mont Cenis, Turin, Alexandria, and Pisa.
At Genoa I inquired of a peasant my way; he took me to the place I
wanted, a steep ascent. I offered him a gratuity, which he refused,
saying, “The signor is a stranger!” Forty years before, one dark night, I
asked a Prince Corsini, not knowing whom he was, to direct me to the Via
Maggio where I lived. He turned out of his path and escorted me home.


It was in September, ’73; I had much worldly business on hand for present
time, and much that was prospective. I was sixty-three years old, yet
in my prime; for I felt as if what Montaigne said was my case: every
man thinks he has twenty years more to live—and I have done it, so at
eighty-three, I have yet twenty before me! Yet, four days ago, December
4, ’91, was the third anni-_re_-versary of my broken leg, which will
imprison me (without hard labour, unless word-picking and hemp-picking
are one) for the term of my natural life!

Henry’s stay with me in Florence was short, but he went over the
galleries with me, and the walks, then returned to Germany, while I
settled myself down in pleasant rooms on the Lungarno Acciajoli (No. 18),
overlooking river, bridges, heights of Boboli, Bellosguardo, and St.
Miniato, my new and cheerful winter home, the air bright, the temperature
68° F., sun shining all day on my delightful windows.

What walks I thence took; often to the Boboli Gardens, whence falls on
the vision a superb view of the city with its various tints of brown and
white, so chaste, so compact, as to look like a massive cameo!

And I walked to all the old places, to Fiesole and back, the walk of many
hours, but enchanting all the way; now past the villa of Walter Savage
Landor, now the Villa Palmieri, the scene of the Decameron.

Then the walk over the Viale, then the walk along the sweet, soft Certosa
Road, the monastery now inhabited by a single monk, the caretaker of the
past. These walks and many others made Florence an ideal native land.

Then I settled down to my table to take stock of my work. I had, while at
Bath, received many reviews of my last volume, always favourable; and I
now contemplated a further adventure.

During a visit to Kelmscott, I wrote “Reminiscence,” a poem describing
the manor-house, the river, and surrounding scenery.

I took this to Florence with me, together with “Ecce Homo,” “The Exile,”
and “Ortrud’s Vision;” there I added others, “The Painter,” “Michael
Angelo,” and one or two besides, to my little store; and some I wrote on
my return to London, the next year, making in all a dozen poems, which
came out, not before 1876, as “New Symbols.”

My correspondence with Rossetti from Florence was constant; it was after
his reading “The Painter” that he offered a suggestion to me to write
“The Sculptor,” which I did, giving it the name of his idol, “Michael

This poem I sent to Rossetti in manuscript, and he was pleased to return
me the following gracious reply, which I extract from a long letter.

“I read ‘The Sculptor,’ which may perhaps rank as the most masterly of
your poems; some passages (as stanza three) having absolutely a new and
valuable image in every couplet, and being as perfect in expression as
words can make them. I found the poem still further a gainer on being
submitted to the ordeal of _vivâ voce_ reading, on the occasion of
Brown’s being here lately, when the whole was encored and several stanzas
more than encored.”

I sketched out the “Birth of Venus” while in Italy; this time I had seen
that imaginary drama acted, in the waters of Nervi. In reply to a copy
I sent Rossetti of it, he remarked on two lines in the thirty-eighth
stanza, where the goddess sees herself reflected in the water. “It is an
idea so beautiful,” he said, “as to seldom occur to any poet during a
lifetime.” The lines are—

    “Under her rose-dipped feet, the mirror shows
    A form divine, enamelled in the sky.”

He wrote in exactly the same tone of a verse in “Michael Angelo,” the
four last lines of stanza three.

Should the reader trouble himself to run his mind over the early stanzas
he will recall the writer’s visit to Spezia, among the marble hills:
before then he had no conception of the mountains themselves being of
that precious stone; he had only pictured to himself the quarries whence
it was drawn.

Mr. William Rossetti, in a review in the _Academy_, of 1886, was so
complimentary as to call “Michael Angelo” “a sculptured poem.” The
introductory lines preceding stanza one greatly pleased Dante Rossetti.

I visited the monument of the Duke d’Urbino in the Capella dei Medici,
until I had well mastered Angelo’s greatest work, and interpreted and
translated it into metaphoric thought. I went to the opera to set my
thoughts to music, the language of verse.


We are all musicians, not that we all compose or play—except on each
other’s feelings. The nervous system is the one marvellous harmonium. Its
strings are more in number than those of a thousand harps, and all that
is most exquisite, most exalted, and beautiful, can be performed upon it
with a vehemence that incites to merriment or rends the heart. It can
receive and realize the concert of a thousand voices!

All this we experience in our intercourse of every day; at the sight of a
beloved one, we extemporize some pleasing harmony.

But this human harp has not all its rich notes attuned and struck by
others; it is more often Eolian, and spontaneously pours out its emotions
in the solitude of its sorrow and its joy; and it is not always music
set in words or confined to our own sphere of being. This the poet feels
when, resting in his chamber, his spirit passes into that of others,
drawn by a divine sympathy. It becomes a concert then with many others’
trials. The sufferings are reverberated within him, like the sound of
distant music.

How easy is it in this way to enter another’s soul, to share in its
tribulation, to sink as deeply into it as to reach its self-love, and
learn how like it is to our own!

My friend Dr. Ewart, a physician now to St. George’s Hospital, and a
distinguished writer on chest-affections, sent me a friendly letter to
Professor Schiff of Florence, of which I availed myself largely. It was
at that time, too, that Madox Brown sent me a letter to Colonel Gillum,
at whose house I first met Madame Mazzini. Dr. Schiff had the lead in
science on nerve-function, and I constantly attended his demonstrations.
They were always performed on anæstheticized dogs. I learned much of him.
He was greatly esteemed by the Florentine Government, by whom he was
given apartments in the vacated convent of Sta. Annunciata, together with
the extensive garden.

Professor Schiff was not a man of the Majendie kind who could drown all
consciousness of animal suffering in the pleasure of reading science
out of a living book; he was benevolent, and he guarded carefully
against the creature on which he operated being alive to pain. But his
emotional enemies were too strong for him; they were chiefly some English
of fashion, and they got Capponi on their side; the most deservedly
esteemed of Florentine nobles, whose residence was opposite to that of
the professor.

This led to a correspondence between the neighbours, which ended for a
time in Schiff convincing Capponi that no cruelty was practised, and that
the operations on animals were painless.

However, Schiff had many animals; the municipality had ordered the
police to supply the professor with all stray dogs, for which they could
discover no owner. There was one dog amongst these that would bay the
moon in spite of every effort to silence its superstitious moanings; and
the enemy hearing this, interviewed Capponi again, and told him that
Schiff was known to torture his dogs in the night season.

Capponi, in his palace opposite, had only too surely heard those midnight

The appointment of Professor Schiff to a chair of physiology and to the
hospital was a Government one; his diagnosis of disease was regarded as
remarkably rapid and successful. At his house, which was graced by Madame
Schiff and her daughter, ladies of high culture, I met many interesting
persons, one especially, a Moscow lady, who every year went to St.
Petersburg, thence to Florence, thence to the Isle of Wight, where she
had grandchildren at school and where she visited her friends, Lord and
Lady Cottenham.

I speak of this lady because her love of our country almost amounted to
a passion. The people, she said, were so kind; strangers would stop to
help her from a railway carriage! Then the Isle of Wight, how lovely!
Fuchsias flowering in the hedgerows, and climbing up the cottage walls!

As in Germany the “Vicar of Wakefield” is in every cottage, so, she said,
is “Paradise Lost” in every Russian home.

I wish that I could give her name.

The last I heard of Professor Schiff was that his enemies had prevailed,
and that he had returned to Berne, welcomed by his own people.

In the November of this year, I revised “Ecce Homo,” and composed the
“Double Soul,” both of which are in “New Symbols.” I also wrote “Lucilla,
the First Saved,” at that time, a favourite of the good and gifted
Christina Rossetti.

It was at this period that I was engaged on “The Sculptor” (M. Angelo). I
sat in the Hall of Niobe for the manner, and stood in the Chapel of the
Medici for the matter, of this little poem. I sent it as aforesaid, to
Rossetti, who was at Kelmscott.

“Pythagoras,” too, was of this period.

In February, 1874, I wrote an article on some of Professor Schiff’s work,
and sent it to Dr. Anstey, to be inserted in _The Practitioner_, in which
it shortly appeared, giving much satisfaction to Schiff himself.

During this visit to “Florence my Fair,” I was in constant correspondence
with D. G. Rossetti, Theodore Watts, and other friends; and I left behind
me many there whom I had reason to esteem. Colonel and Mrs. Gillum
showed me many kindly attentions, not the least of which was that of
asking me to meet Madame Mazzini at their table. He, in common with that
lady, took a deep interest in a recently deceased friend, Miss Blagden,
who, through Mr. Watts, had appointed to meet me at Florence. She was
an authoress of promise. But, before I reached Italy, she was lying in
the English cemetery at Florence, where, with her friends, I visited her

It was, however, as a social centre that she took her high position in
Florence. She was the intimate friend of Mr. and Mrs. Browning, and she
is the heroine of Madame Villari’s novel, “In Change Unchanged.”


I left Florence for Venice on the 2nd of March, 1874.

In leaving Florence I seemed to be leaving home; on reaching Venice I
seemed only on a visit, and so I felt as long as I was there. So striking
is this city, that all who reach it determine to remain for a length of
time; but it palls upon them, and a fortnight is generally the limit of
their stay.

But it is always great in memory.

Venice! One sits in peaceful repose, no sound of voices, or wheels, or
hoofs, in the Piazza San Marco, over coffee, which the place turns to
nectar. One swallows with insatiate mental appetite the Duomo; and what
a breakfast it is for hungry eyes! One walks round the palace of those
Doges, more majestic than man ever was or can ever be; a prison on the
right side for the commission of cruel sins, a cathedral round the corner
for their pardon, and that even up to plenary indulgence.

What a curious thing it is not to be at home, but how most curious of all
it is to be at Venice! Would you know what it is to be there, imagine
such a town as Brighton, with all the streets filled with water and
changed to canals, with little bridges everywhere to enable you to cross
from one side of the way to the other! Then, to turn the sea into a Grand
Canal, imagine a row of palaces outside the piers, from Hove to Kemptown,
and you are at Venice!

I walked all over Venice, where walking was possible: down _calle_, or
lanes, with opposite houses so near to each other that a good harlequin
might turn a somersault across from one window to another!

Edmund Kean would have done this, though the windows were closed.

One gets from _calle_ to _calle_ over the daintiest little bridges,
some of white chiselled marble; from these you look up and down a canal
between towering houses, and here and there see a family keep its
gondola, as some of us at home keep our carriage. There the gondolas are
tethered to the house steps, as our horses are to the manger.

When there is no more walking possible, one takes to a gondola at the
Piazzetta, which sweeps by palaces of loveliest architecture on both
sides of the Grand Canal. A sort of Thames, down stream, reaches the
Rialto bridge, not built so early as Shakespeare’s time; still, there was
a bank of that name, Riva Alto, where the merchants of Venice met, close
by; but it is a scanty spot, and little suited to business transactions.

At the Rialto one gets out of the gondola and crosses the bridge. It has
paltry shops on either side, that might have been stocked from the vast
surplus of Manchester or Birmingham. One returns to one’s gondola, ready
to drop a mean opinion, and resume one’s sense of beauty. “What palace is
this, O songless Signor Gondolier?” “The General Post Office, signor,”
answers the gondolier. We glide to and fro, we pause before the Fondaco
dei Turchi, and look at it until we feel that its beauty can never be
erased from our mental vision.

We pause before the Palazzo Pesaro, before La Ça Doro, Il Palazzo
Guistiniani, Il Palazzo Foscari. We think we should like to live in them
all, and we think what a great lord it would take to live in any one of

A tremendous organization is that of Venice still. The fine arsenal that
stands boldly out, as one looks down the canal, might say _aut pax, aut
bellum_! The Gallery, a convent turned into a palace of art. It supplied
me with an answer once, when I was shown a property in Titians by a
friend in London. He confidently inquired of me if I did not think they
were genuine works. My answer was, “Go to Venice, look at the Titians
there, and on your return ask me the question again.”

Then the churches; they are of course noble, but I cannot love anything
that is angular, which to me—but I am only one!—is the fault of
ecclesiastical architecture in Italy. I could say much of angularity:
all that ranks beneath the human form is angular. As a type, study the
features of a cat! Its ears are angular, its eyes are angularly set, its
nose, its mouth all form angles. I love the dome,—my own St. Paul’s,
St. Peter’s at Rome, S. Maria del Fiore at Florence, the Basilica di
San Marco, and the S. Maria della Salute at Venice—all noble churches;
and yet the wonderful St. Mark’s is provokingly like the Pavilion at
Brighton, only it is not Chinese but Byzantine.

The Doge’s palace, empty but full of reminiscences! Art there takes the
place of old Reality: it laughs at the security of living queens and
kings. St. Mark’s Square is like another and more charming Palais Royal;
its arched windows soothe and fascinate the eyes.

There is a long, broad street in Venice—the Via Garibaldi. It is sixty of
my feet wide; and there are two good squares, the Piazza Santo Maurizio
and the Piazza Santo Stefano.

I had a very odd sensation on reaching these squares: I felt just as if I
was on dry land!

When one thinks of a city of solid houses situated on a network of water,
it may naturally recall the moats that surround fortified castles. But an
enemy could cross a moat: could he riddle his way through the countless
canals of Venezia? How safe must the inhabitants of the interior feel in
time of war! If an army starting from the square of St. Marco reached the
_calle_, it would have to march in single file between windows that might
be used as loopholes.

Venice was very cold in the month of March. I complained. “Never mind,”
was the reply; “we shall have the mosquitoes in April, and they will
bring six months of warm weather!”

This is Italy: cold winters and no provision against cold! The natives
get hot-through in the six spring and summer months, and it takes the
remaining six to cool them.

If I ascended in a captive balloon which broke loose, making me a
prisoner, to undergo the sentence of transportation with hard-breathing
in the cold, scant air; and if offered a ticket-of-leave and a parachute,
with a choice of where I would descend, it would be in St. Mark’s Square,
the sun shining, the band playing, the cup of hot coffee on the table
just poured out. It is the only perfect square upon earth—no dust, no
noisy cabs to run over your toes as you stretch out your legs on the
smoothly paved ground.

Seated in the Piazza San Marco over coffee and cigar, one reflects how
Venice has more than one Shakespearian interest: how the Rialto, now a
bridge, was in our dramatist’s day a bank of the Grand Canal, the _riva
alto_. But a yet greater interest attaches to the circumstance which led
him wrong, yet right, in his not knowing that there were two Othello
families, one of which was distinguished as Il Moro, the Mulberry,
because they held estates in the Morea.

And this was Shakespeare’s Moor!

London is dusty, every other town is dusty; Venice is not. London
registers a good one death per diem under cab wheels. In Venice a cab
wheel is never seen; but whether the bicycle has reached it now I do not

I went one evening to the Malibran theatre, and on Sunday to the Fenice
opera house. I had indulged my eyes to the full, so I gave my ears a
turn, and they were gratified in hearing William Tell. I did not fail to
visit the island of Lido in a steam ’bus to see the true Adriatic. The
clean sands, whence no land is visible, is all that is to be seen there,
though, as I did, you walk across from shore to shore.

I scarcely completed the traditional fortnight at Venice, but it was not
my last visit there. What had I seen? It was like something colossal,
though only human; it was like having turned over a huge book of
wonderful pictures, leaf after leaf: the first an enchanted square, its
mosque, its more than kingly palace, its obtrusive campanile; lastly,
a wonderful line of arches, a mile long between Venice and the coast,
along which glided a railway train.

When I had dwelt on every page of the volume and reached the end, I had
no desire to begin again, but took the treasured-up remembrance of it
across the Brenner.

Sleeping at Verona, I stayed there for a day that I might see the great
fortress, which forms part of the quadrilateral, and also the Roman
coliseum there, which is in a very perfect state. The town must have
suffered much from time, even since Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen” left it
to make the acquaintance of Sylvia. As I stood on the bridge and looked
about me, the houses seemed to be crumbling before my very eyes. This
done, I proceeded to Stassfurt, taking Munich on my way.

I remained for several months at Stassfurt, the summers in Germany
always being for the most part fine. I made excursions with some of my
family into the Harz, went up and round the mountains, spent a night on
the Brocken, witnessed the sun rise from beneath my feet, and made a
stay afterwards at Thale, ascending the picturesque heights from that
locality. We took our route to the Harz by the weird Affenthaler valley,
visiting the admirable old lordly castle of Falconstein on our way, and
not for the last time. The sombre hills, the narrow pass, the pine forest
on either side, the river, once seen can never but be recalled to mind

The Brocken is covered with huge masses of stone, evidently the work of
a volcano. Other masses have been hurled downwards, rudely paving the
pine-covered descent. I suggested that the scattered heaps on the summit
should be piled up as a rude and lasting monument to Goethe.

I had yet to make my visit to Rome; it was from Stassfurt again. The
weather in October was getting cold over the plains of Saxony, and my
son-in-law, Dr. Dupré, reminded me that it would be still colder on the
Alps. He went with me on part of my journey; we took train from Leipsic
to Munich, arriving at dark, and renewed our tickets for Botzen. There we
had supper in company with a smart English-Greek, a native of Corfu, and
his friend, together with a French lady of fine proportions and laughing
face, besides a young Bavarian officer of the rapid-mannered kind.

There were other rooms in the hotel besides the one in which we supped,
and to which the three gentlemen described followed the lady wherever she
went, her laughter taking the form of fits. And such is the politeness
of what we call foreigners, they accompanied her even to her chamber
door. She returned to the supper-room after all this. Dr. Dupré was there
alone, and she told him, half in complaint, the other half in fun, what
had been going on.

With this company of three I found myself in the same carriage the next
day, the Greek and his friend leaving us the following day, at noon, at
a house in that wonderful Alpine gorge between Botzen and Verona.

Dr. Dupré was on his return home, _viâ_ Strasburg, where he went to
purchase a horse from the king’s stables. I proceeded with the young
officer and the lady.

The journey to Bologna which we made together was a comedy in a hundred
acts, as long as a great Chinese drama. The gentleman perched himself on
the arm of the seat, and took out a well-thumbed book of conversations
in the usual four languages, to practise himself in the Italian, and
from this he read aloud to the lady, who sat opposite to him, in the
tone of one earnestly addressing another, now on business as if she were
hotel-keeper, waiter, chambermaid, jeweller, dressmaker, or barber. She
heartily enjoyed his frankness, and laughed over every question and

That night we slept at Bologna, the lady proceeding to Naples, the
officer taking down her address and promising to pay her a visit there
before long.

When I left the German side of the Brenner it was in the cold season; the
leaves were colouring, drooping, and falling. When I reached the plain of
Lombardy the summer had not stirred, all was green and warm.

I went from Bologna to Florence (the beloved) with my Bavarian. There
were two English ladies and their brother, a surgeon-major of artillery,
in the same carriage with us, and we entered into a rapid acquaintance,
I and the gentleman through professional, and the young officer and the
ladies through moral, sympathy. He amused them as effectually as he had
done the madame. We proceeded to the same hotel at Florence, the Porta
Rossa. My German took the ladies about, with his open Bädeker, and showed
them all the sights. They were single ladies, and, therefore, very much
charmed. One day, walking with them on a country stroll, it evidently
occurred to him that it was his duty to tell them who he was, and his way
of doing this afforded them much amusement. He suddenly stopped before a
cluster of violets, and bending his head to address them, said, “Sweet
flowers, I dare say you would be pleased to know my name, who and what I
am. My name is ⸺, and I am a captain in the Bavarian army!”

I lingered at Florence for a month, looking at my favourite models of
art, the chief of which now was the Perseus, by Cellini, and what I loved
to linger over, never tiring, the Six Vestals, of Greek sculpture in the
Loggia dei Lanzi.

But to dwell too long on such exquisite works of man’s genius almost
infatuates; whilst gazing on a single object one seems to frame from
memory an old and new testament of the inspired artists, and to call some
of them evangelists, and some apostles.

Look at Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at Milan, in the refectory of
Santa Maria delle Grazie: it is amongst the finest pictures in the
world. And was it not inspired?

Look at the Twilight and the Dawn, the Night and Morning, of Michael
Angelo: would it not illustrate the book of the creation?

Look at the Paradiso of Fra Angelico for a new art testament, and for an
old one go back to the Parthenon, to the sculptures of ancient Greece.

During my short stay I visited all my most valued friends, and on the
21st of November I took train to Rome.


It is an amusing journey from Firenze to Rome. The Apennines, no longer
imposing to one familiar with the Alps, spin with you; arches that you
see above you go round and return nearer to you; then, swinging round
once more, you are upon them, and finally above them.

A young Jesuit sat in the corner of the carriage opposite to my corner.
On my first sight of him his eyes were closed, and his lips were moving
as one sees in the low muttering delirium of the semi-conscious sick.
In due time he took out a breviary, counted the beads on a string that
hung from him, played with them as a child with sugar-plums, and pursued
the silent muttering, as if reading a delirious dream. This went on for
a fatiguing length of time. Being unaccustomed to religious manners, I
felt sorry, because I thought the good man was fatuously disposed, when
suddenly he, having counted his last bead, shut his book joyfully, and
his intellect seemed restored.

He addressed me in sweet Italian, in _la lingua Toscana in bocca Romana_.
We were gliding alongside the lake of Perugia, and from that time he did
not cease to instruct me until our journey’s end.

A Jesuit is never wanting in knowledge, whatever a priest may be.

If we swept by a ruined bridge, he told me to what period of history it
pertained, and to what event it owed its smashed condition; if we came
to a hillside town, I heard from him its name, and for what it had been
famed. So, as if school itself had become a delicious holiday, we passed
by Perugia and Assisi and Terni, and other of these storied towns.

Italians tell one what they are. He was a Jesuit; he had found shelter
among the nobles of Florence, who loved their old Government and hated
their new, and who were generous to the clergy who had been turned out of
their monasteries, then all empty. But a few months of employment awaited
him; the libraries had been removed from the monasteries to the capital,
and he had been summoned to assist in their arrangement.

“_Non mi piace la vostra Roma_,” said Victor Emmanuel, after his first
session there as king. It gave great offence; yet must I humbly repeat
his words on my own account.

I have imagined ancient Rome; I have seen a picture of it restored in
all its grandeur. What does it look like now? A grand city that had been
lifted bodily from the seven hills and valleys into the air, and let to
fall, smashed in pieces, like a service of crockery.

“_… Non mi piace la vostra Roma_” were the words of the king, so I may
venture to repeat them.

The place is very disappointing at first, but they say it grows upon you.
The misfortune is that it is called Rome instead of Popesburg—ancient
Rome is squeezed out; but Popesburg is a picturesque old Italian town,
interspersed scantily with remains yet older. The Pantheon stands up
complete on its old pillars, only stripped of all its outside marble;
then, near Santa Maria in Cosmedia, there is a lovely little temple of
Vesta, encircled by its Corinthian marble columns, but its surroundings
are of mud and slush at this hour.

These interspersed antiquities, of which there are many in the form of
columns, with a pediment sadly bruised and broken through age and fight,
are the most picturesque of the remains. Where they turn up as forums,
the wreck is exhibited some twelve or twenty feet deep in large walled-in
pits, like outdoor museums—bits of columns arranged in old order, like
skittles, ready to be bowled over again. Perhaps the most curious thing
of all is to see modern Rome from the bridges, itself decaying and
crumbling, when the ancient city has already crumbled and decayed.

During the last eight hundred years there has been a sort of rebuilding,
but it is not the _urbs recondita_ of Augustus, whose Pantheon is still
standing to connect the present with the past. Why, the columns of
that temple, as I paced them, measured a diameter of eight feet! Where
other temples had stood, churches have sprung up; and where the sherds
of foundations remained, there are palaces now; but the palace of the
Cæsars is empty space; the Forum is a skeleton exhumed for show. The gaps
will never be filled again; Rome will remain a ruin; its architectural
condition only such as one might conceive of Hades, where Hercules
wanders still in disaffection. How unlike its later contemporary, Venice,
that has been preserved, perfect, under a blue-glass sky!

The antiquarian genius is always very busy at Rome, because its
exhumations supply food to greedy minds bent on recovering the earliest
history of our race, as if the future of mankind would one day turn up
engraved on tiles. These sort of enthusiasts do not comprehend that the
further they go back, the greater grows the historic lie, and that as
far as it concerns true knowledge, their labours are utterly fruitless.
Antiquarians and geologists are both earth-searchers; but does the
ruin-grubber deem himself on a par with the inspector of organic remains?

I took my view of the Transfiguration of Rome, moulded by the avenger
in a way no man could paint or model. I wanted to see the other
Transfiguration, which art-genius pronounced the finest picture in the
known world, as if it were as great a miracle as the one it represents.

Rome is rich in metamorphoses, besides being one itself: the fine bronze
statue in the cathedral, a figure of Jupiter, has been transfigured into
Peter, who reigns in its stead.

But the most valued Transfiguration of all is Raphael’s: it has a fault
of the first magnitude, a ghastly fault that hands it over to the ruins.

The great painter was but a fragmentary genius, or he would not have made
that hideous epileptic the conspicuous rival of Christ. Our eyes join the
eyes of the painted crowd in looking at a sight so loathsome, and that in
so healing a Presence.

But let us be thankful: Raphael has left us his mighty cartoons, his
portraits, his Madonnas.

There were other treasures of art in the Vatican, notably the Laocoon,
that I desired earnestly to examine. I had need to speak of it in my
“sculptured poem,” but could draw no inspiration from it in the copy at
Florence. Strange to say, though the copy and the original are so alike,
the moment I saw this last its life passed into me. I required also to
look at the Apollo Belvidere, but found it to be only Lord Chesterfield
during his apotheosis.

In the Doge’s palace in Venice there is a striking picture of Ariadne. I
knew there was a sculpture of the same in the Vatican gallery, a place
which may be called an indoor street of marbles: this, too, I found. Then
I made my way to the very end of this Via di Scolpitura, where stood
the Athlete. How long I stayed with my eyes and heart upon it, I know
not; but while looking at that most natural of all marble wonders, every
Apollo had disappeared from mythology, from this world itself.

But now to the Barberini Palace, to visit the apocryphal portrait of
Beatrice Cenci. We could kiss the very canvas did we not know that her
tragedy is but a myth. She breathed into Shelley her tragic breath, so
we all go to see the familiar face; and, hard by the Ghetto, the Cenci
palace, too. But this, how changed. It was let out to the dirtier class
by its then owner—a cardinal, too; and I saw that the grand entrance at
the back was used for a dust-heap. All the property of a cardinal, all
going to decay; yet is there a cleanly church opposite, built at the cost
of a Cenci.

It is with some loss of equanimity that one thinks of Roma and finds that
its citizens are proud of it in its humbled and chastised condition.
It is like the worn-out pedigree of a once illustrious name. They may
be proud of their tombs, for one is of the Scipios, of Seneca another;
but their ruins are a disgrace, the work of their avenging, conquering
foes, such as Guiscard in the eleventh century, who battered down every
wall that it might never be defended again. But they are proud of their
ruins! Their Forum, a bit of Palmyra; their Coliseum, a broken cup; their
ghost of the palace of the Cæsars, its own burial-place; of their Baths
of Caracalla, an artificial desert; of their Theatre of Marcellus, in
one of the fine arches of which I saw a flourishing blacksmith’s forge,
blazing to the memory of a glorious past.

Imagine the Florentines proud of their Palazzo Vecchio, with its mighty
tower on the pavement; imagine the Venetians proud of a once Doge’s
palace, the magnificent court where it was with only a wall or two
standing, and the giant’s staircase, like Goliath, in the dust!

There are some old words that one likes better than the new ones:
the name of the gate, now _del Popolo_, does not, to me, sound so
æsthetically as _Flaminia_, its ancient name! Yet it took centuries to
turn the one into the other for the worst, with the patriotic intention
of being for the best! The popes do not pretend to be Cæsars, like the
latter-day Napoleon, with his Dutch physiognomy; but they have now and
then done their best to rebuild. Pius VII., so heavily handicapped by the
Corsican _parvenu_, did much to lay the saddened ghost of Cæsarean times,
by beautifying the Piazza del Popolo. Through him, Augustus might have
looked on it again with composure. Its semicircular form, its fountains,
its statues, would pacify the imperial rebuilder.

From the Porta del Popolo to the Capitol is a line ending in a steep
ascent, one of the seven hills, the Capitoline: this long street is
the backbone of Rome, from which its ribs more or less radiate. It is
not gigantic with a broad stride, like the Via Larga (now Cavoura) at
Florence; it is not beautiful, like the Genoese Via Nuova; it is more of
a Bond Street, but a long one, with some fine buildings, and, as all long
streets should be, it is cut in half by a good big square, the Piazza
Colonna. Here we stumble against a column, look up, and for a minute or
two we are in ancient Rome. It was set up by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus,
a man of fight, in order that his victories might not be forgotten. Its
inside is hollow, except that it has steps up it, nearly two hundred—for
we always count. We go up these steps, full of the Roman sensation, when,
lo, and behold! (En et ecce! as Marcus Aurelius would now say with a
stare), St. Paul has got up before us; has been turned into bronze, and
gilded! Still there is something in it; he has made conquests over the
Germans better than those of Marcus, so we may let him stay at the top,
and be thankful; odd as it seems.

The obelisk which we come upon in the square of Monte Clitorio, was
brought to Rome by Augustus, as Cleopatra’s Needle was brought to London
by Sir Erasmus Wilson, Kt., F.R.C.S.; the one set up in the Campus
Martius, the other on the Thames Embankment. That of Augustus got buried,
and by a sort of lucky miracle was raised again by the sixth of the Pius

But now stop a little longer than usual: this is the Palazzo Doria

One wants all the time to get up to the top of the Capitoline Hill; so,
seeing a tremendous flight of steps, one goes upstairs. The things stuck
in one’s way to arrest one’s progress towards the square at the top are
first of all two lions. These, notwithstanding they are created out of
black granite, and are therefore really dumb animals, unlike live lions,
spout water at you, by way of making themselves heard: and this Keats
should have done into the public ear, instead of letting his name be writ
in the water itself.

But even now we cannot leave the last step to the Campidoglio; we are
arrested by Castor and Pollux, two giants. We then look with much
interest to see what sort of horses theirs were, and they rise in our
estimation, tall as they are already, when we find that their nags are of
the true Arab breed, thick-necked and straight-backed, not a bit like the
flesh and blood abnormals of Newmarket Heath.

The Campidoglio is a fine square, and one has at least the satisfaction
of feeling that the hill it surmounts is a part of ancient Rome. But
where is the old Temple of Jupiter? we ask.

No answer.

However, here is something Roman: it is the equestrian statue of Marcus
Aurelius—a survival.

There are other things up here of the Antonine brand, to show that
Rome was once Rome; but there is such a variety of job lots here, all
curiosities, swept by time into heaps, that the best course is not to
puzzle one’s brains about them.

I, for one, wanted to see three things in this Capitol, still so called,
but not recalling anything that existed under that name before Boniface
IX. took to rebuilding. It is a museum containing a good deal of the
private property of the old Roman lords, which belongs now to their
natural heirs, and farthest off of kin, the people.

These people had ancestors who were the hereditary property of some
seventy or eighty emperors. They are now owners of all these emperors’
heads, and of the heads of all these emperors’ families, which they
keep on shelves in their Capitol museum, in a room that makes a sort of

At last we come upon the Dying Gladiator, one of the three figures I was
in search of. We have all seen its shadow in casts and engravings; this
is the unique original.

Another figure that I had occasion to see was La Bacchante, a marble
figure, which is locked up and only shown on the payment of a fee; it is
a most expressive statue.

These two figures I have delineated in my “sculptured poem” of Michael

A third figure, the Faun, I readily found. It is a celebrated statue,
and I desired to ascertain whether the ears were formed correctly; but
they were not. In accordance with anatomical structure they should have
pointed backwards, but they are erect. Some would say, “Yes; for the ears
of lower animals at times are pricked.” But I say (it is in “Valdarno”),
the end of all art is repose.

In the human ear may be seen a small rudiment of the elongated ear; it is
so placed that, if redeveloped, it would point posteriorly, after the
fashion of the lower animals, to the cervix, beneath the occipital bone.

Was it prophetic that, in digging the foundations of the Capitol, when it
was first designed, a skull was turned out (caput), whence the name.

Nevertheless, the Capitol was founded upon a rock, though it was the


“What come ye for to see?” It is a wider question than was intended
on its first ironical utterance, and many answers are always ready. A
medical ignoramus of ability was asked if there was any danger. His
answer was, “That depends on the event.” So it is in museum life; the
majority know nothing of what they go to see, and what they do see
depends on the event. But the specialists know exactly what go they for
to see; and I am one of these. Relying on presumptive evidence, if a “Sir
Leighton,” as the French would say, goes to Rome, it may be for to make
a study of painted eyes, in some ten or a dozen galleries, to determine
whether black, brown, or blue predominates. If a “Sir Boehm” goes to
Rome, it may be for to inspect the lost head and legs of a Farnesian
Hercules. If a “Sir Barry” goes to Rome, it is for to examine which of
the stones in the Palazzo di Venezia were stolen by a pope from the
Coliseum, and which were honestly got. However, we have no “Sir Barry”
nowadays; premiers do not build houses, so that they do not baronetize
architecture in lieu of fees. They take physic; they stand in need of
bulletins when, on the eve of an unpleasant debate, a strong voice is
weak. Being ourselves of physic and a little deaf, a clergyman once
bawled into our best ear, in a voice so thunderous yet so piercing that
had it been a prayer it might almost have been heard in heaven, “Doctor!
can you give me something to strengthen my voice?”

Premiers are perfect artists in the baronetizing line; nay, they can
even chisel a peer in invisible gold. A president of a royal academy, of
a royal society, of a royal college of surgeons or physicians, fills a
genteel trade; rank fits him well.

An oculist, if a premier has bad eyes and is going blind, may, like
other professionals, be ennobled; but an aurist and a dentist, there is
something in these—it is hard to say what—that does not ennoble well,
which shows how greater are eyes than ears or teeth.

If a premier is not a teetotaler, he makes lords out of brewers, and yet
not out of distillers, whose images are quite as golden. He does not mind
it being thought that he takes a glass of pale ale, but whisky—that would
not do.

All these industries, like myself, go to Rome chiefly on their own
business. But what a wonderful crowd there is flocking there to see all
that is left—the fragments of Cæsar’s lost compositions.

We business men, when we have found all we want, go the round; it is like
walking through the street, looking at everybody, sometimes stopping to

We meet a picture, a statue, a vase, an arch, a column, a palace, as
we might do a friend; but those who undertake to see all might as well
undertake to read the two or three billion letters that pass through the
post-office in a year.

I set myself to visit the grave of poor Keats. He was sick of many
griefs, but the greatest of these was that he could not make the vulgar
howl their applause. He had all the enjoyment of a Divine gift; it could
only be the bodily sickness affecting the mind when his heart was bitter,
and he exclaimed his name was writ in water. Yet they have graved those
feeble words on his tombstone!

Were I dying for praise, I should show my insight into man, and say, “My
name is writ in brandy and water.” How that would be swallowed down!

I visited Keats’s grave from very mixed motives; life is sad enough
without being sentimental. To stand before the grave is a little
dangerous; if one walked backwards for a short distance in an absent
fit, he would precipitate himself over a sunk wall into the adjoining
cemetery, and lie there for good, like Shelley.

As in duty bound, I visited the tomb of Shelley also.

I was on my way to the church of St. Paolo _fuori_, a sight not to be
neglected by any species of pilgrim whatever.

On one’s way one can leave a card on the Scipios; their tomb is handy,
but they are always out, those wonderful people called the “authorities”
having removed the sarcophagi and busts. But you will be asked in; and
you can go down the windings by torchlight, and say you did it. Then, _en
route_, one can pay one’s respects to the early Christians who owned some
uncomfortable catacombs hereabout, in which they resided.

For an account of these and of how they shelved their dead, _vide_ some
more gushing writer.

St. Paolo is too magnificent for a church. It has a fine architectural
pedigree up to Constantine, having endured all the horrors for
generations of decay and fire, to be only rebuilt at greater cost than

I did not go on purpose to behold the church, but to almost adore the
ancient cloisters at the back. The delicately twisted columns of the
arches are so winning, they actually awake one’s affections; and if
thinking of a thing ever after is love, they fill you with this fondest
of recollections.

A good many of us rise in life. Wolsey, he rose; the Bonapartes rose;
Coke rose (upon Littleton); the Gladstones rose; Lazarus rose; but no
man, priest, soldier, lawyer, M.P., or resurrect, ever rose in death,
as did St. Peter. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; writers as eminently
inspired as Isaiah; Paul, the most gifted of apostles, whose ideas on
charity lifted Christianity miles over the heads of all other religious
or moral founders, had no such rise in death as Peter; but it was the
keys that did it.

Peter has a palace, and a church, and a museum, such as monarchs envy in
vain. Let us hope, pray, and entreat that it may never be demolished,
like the palace of the Cæsars; that no republican Guiscard may arise; but
that the President of the Future may take up his residence there, should
the popes vacate it.

My friend, Theodore Watts, was at Rome with me a part of the time. I
forget what he thought of it all; it is so long ago. I know we visited
the poets’ tombs together, and St. Paolo _fuori_.

Pio Nino must have had a temper, because he studied the inconvenience
of strangers by making them take tickets of admission in front of the
Vatican, while he vaticinated that the back entrance not being handy, but
involving a long walk, would excite irritation, so he admitted visitors
only at his back door. The elliptical columns forming the portico in the
Piazza S. Pietro, look like out-bent arms for receiving and hugging the

I was with Watts, one day in December, on this little round. We stood
with our backs against a wall, for shelter against a bitter wind, the
sun shining through snow, and the warmth, so long as we remained there,

We went the usual round of the loggie, Raphaelizing, and of the indoor
statuary squares and streets; and got into the Sixtine, on the roof of
which Michael Angelo re-created the world.


I have left England twice since my visit to Rome: once in 1878, to stay
at Ballenstedt, near the Harz, for a summer; once more to Stassfurt,
for a prolonged sojourn. In my own country, Bath has been my favourite
place, where I have been for several seasons. Brighton, too, I have often
visited, having my brother there. Neither have I neglected the Isle of
Wight, my favourite spot being on the unfashionable West, at Totland’s

There is, however, little left to say about England, by a native,
therefore little to record; but I have found plenty to do at home.

Among other sights, while at Ballenstedt—it was in 1878—we went to the
Duke of Brunswick’s castle of Blankenburg; not going over its four
hundred chambers, but confining ourselves very much to the billiard-room
and chapel. In that apartment the walls were decorated with engravings of
race-horses, and of British sports of every kind—fox-hunting, cricket,
and other games—all that are ever seen in shop-windows or elsewhere. A
billiard-table occupied a corner of the room, with the rules of the game
hung near it. The ducal family were Anglicized by the war, and the black
dress of the troops is still worn. The chairs in the room were all backed
by the arms of England and the Order of the Garter.

In the chapel there is an ivory crucifix attributed to Michael Angelo.
The floor is, in one place, ostentatiously unboarded, to show the
foundation to be rock.

Ballenstedt is a pleasant summer town. There is a fine avenue leading to
the castle, and to the public gardens; the forest is close at hand, and a
chain of trout streams and lakes descends from the neighbouring hills.

The Affenthaler valley, too, abuts on the place, leading to Falconstein,
in whose castle are some of the noblest stag-antlers ever seen.

All that is written, all that comes to pass, has its concluding chapter;
I am fast approaching mine.

In writing these memoirs, a love of my fellows has dominated my pen, as
it does, always, in what I compose, for serious perusal. I am sometimes
surprised at finding how this feeling keeps the upper hand, as, in the
ordinary sense, it is not always deserved, nor always quite felt at
starting: but it warms. As I began by saying, so I repeat, that, in a
certain way, I am my own posterity; and, perhaps, I revive in myself the
better feelings that a dead man would assuredly experience if he came
suddenly to life.

I may end by saying yet a few more words about myself in concluding. As
a sort of posterity I may allude even to the circumstance that my memory
serves me as well as ever, as this memoir shows, and that, but for my
disaster, I could give myself a certificate of health that would satisfy
the most prying of life insurance companies.

I have all the buoyancy of youth! As a sort of posterity I have almost
a disposition, in some things, to appreciate myself; but at this point
decency forbids. I have quite recently written, 1st, a volume of
“Epigrams,” from an experience quite deserving the attention of every
innocent novice who looks up to mankind; 2nd, a volume of “Sonnets”; 3rd,
my “Memoirs”; 4th, “Miscellaneous Essays and Verse.”

My mind holds out; it has increased in accuracy up to the present time,
now that my 84th year has set in with a rush. But I find that my eyesight
deteriorates, though slowly, and that, like everything else that is
inevitable, I can bear it, though I should like to have my observers
back, so lovely is the clear light of day!

I would altogether cease from work, but that time would hang so heavily.
I shall be as idle as I can, and so end mine as Byron began his “Hours.”

In writing my memoirs the years have shrunk into days, but they
fairly depict my part of Nature’s message of which she made me a
_commissionaire_. She has told through me, in the fragmentary form of
opinion, what her purpose is after being filtered through my brain, not
what it is prior to the process of filtration, which leaves behind the
insoluble matters, which, try as one will, are not to be got at. All
things are comical in the process of production—the furnaces, the looms,
the raw material, now a fibre, now a thread dipped in dye, now in mad
haste rolling into a texture, now snipped with scissors into a man’s or
woman’s shape, now on their backs as they make each other a bow, or kiss
hands across a street, the bricks of which a year before were in a clay
field growing wheat.

The epigrams that I have ready for the press, whenever the public may be
disposed for a fresh _jeu d’esprit_, are three hundred and sixty-six in
number, to correspond with leap-year.

They more or less pourtray the laughing side of life, but are not
without their earnest moments, and they have references of ludicrous

It may be remarked that while that species of humour is liked and largely
pervades our best authors, epigram has never been made a specialty by any
one of them. There exists, therefore, a blank under this heading; and my
attempt is to fill this vacancy in our literature, strange as it is that
such should still be left among its crowded pages.

A poem, of whatever length, should start vividly, so as to wind up the
ear and set the mind ticking. I have known poems with much latent beauty
in them, set aside as rubbish, from failing to wake up the thoughts at
starting. I remember a sonnet which an admirer pronounced the finest in
the language (with about as much sense as George No. IV. called himself
the first gentleman in Europe), and which had a clear-cut symmetry and
depth, being called trashy by one who had critical power, but who did not
warm his wax before taking its impression. Short poems have value to the
author of them as being written on passing occasions, and thus becoming
biographic. I possess a volume of this sort, called “Many Moods,” some of
which have had publication.

Life is a comedy during this filtration, by means of which it receives
its mysterious consciousness through a vulgar brain; death would be a
comedy but that the joke is stale.

Nature seems as opinionated as she is universal. She uses millions of
millions of brain-filters, all different, and all at the same time, in
her thought-factory; the results some of us refilter to render them
purer! The proceeding is ludicrous in the extreme at first sight, but it
is amusing; and, strange to say, like the uproar of a mob, or sounds from
a thousand blacksmiths’ forges, they unite into final harmoniousness.

Of my latter works above named, “The New Day” only has passed from
darkness through man’s cerebral filter into the light. They have all been
written during the mental cheerfulness of much bodily suffering, of which
I have a pretty good twinge as I now scribble. A cracked hip never ceases
to reproach me for having fallen on it, and cracked dreams pursue me
through the night; but I can still smile, though I have no teeth to add
grace to that labial twist which is so expressive of contentment.

All is for the best, devils on ticket-of-leave notwithstanding. Apparent
evil generates and brings about good. Could we only obtain one glimpse
of the invisible, which is so vast in comparison with all we dream of,
how amazingly concurrent in this my view would men become. All would be
judges; as on the delivery of a judgment from a full bench, all would
say, “I concur.”

Evil has no place in the _ultimatum_, as will be found when that great
diplomatic document is pronounced.

I reverence Nature, though she is wholly unaware of the homage I pay her.
She is president of the abeternal, adeternal commonwealth, in which every
atom exercises its vote, and yields her the beneficent despotism over
all, that can be never shaken.

Those who can climb, in mental sight, their pleasant little knoll, and
survey the surroundings, are burdened not with reverence for their
fellow-men. They are conscious of no inferiority in the presence of their
betters, so slight is the difference between the great and small; and
they are conscious of no superiority in the presence of their inferiors.

All are so alike in actual importance among the so mighty things around,
that were all who have lived, or are yet existing, to be arranged in
a line, beginning with Shakespeare and Newton, Homer and Pythagoras,
Phidias and Aristotle, Bacon, John Hunter and Goethe, followed by
professors and students, labourers and mendicants, and ending with those
who slobber while they talk,—and were the best made to stand forward
in advance of the others in a degree proportioned to their excellence,
the line of human beings, viewed at no great distance, would appear as
straight as a ray of light.


Wisdom is an attribute of old age; not because the faculties grow keener,
but rather because the feelings are less vivid, whence there is less
bias. By this change the mind becomes more patient, more just, therefore,
towards those of opposite opinions; and this should, above most other
things, bring toleration to bear on religion.

Men like Disraeli, who are a creed unto themselves, are strongly
impressed with the importance of religion to an ignorant country. They
are aware that it is unlike what is discovered to us by Nature, that it
is a sort of distinguished stranger in the great system of things, of so
highly impressive a presence as to be a rival force.

In truth, religion is, in every respect, a power; and in relation to
Nature it is _imperium in imperio_, and is even more strong than Nature
in the minds of men.

It is more strong in its affinity to vast numbers, men and women, than
the dictates of nature; so strong is its hold that it more frequently
culminates in madness than does any other passion.

This should be a warning to the highly endowed intellectual and less
emotional class, not to regard religious belief as a subject of too
severe analysis and correction. Let them bear in mind that when it is of
a kind to restrain evil, to paralyze with fear the murderer’s hand, to
overawe the adulterer, to intimidate the unjust in their dealings, to
make them do unto others as they would be done by themselves, it is not
only a grand factor for good in human affairs, but that it is a better
teacher than Nature herself, except in the most elevated minds.

Religion has its little hypocrites, so has irreligion: which of the two
gives shelter to the largest number?

Whom do the benevolent intellects desire to teach? There are two classes
for them to look down upon. The credulous are the happiest of the two
and the best off; then why teach them to be incredulous, when there are
millions for whom even their credulity is too good?

No one who has an acute mind should suppress his view of religious
affairs, provided he is not offensive, because religion, though, like
music, susceptible of variations, will survive all else, as it has ever
done. Its durability belongs to the fact that it is emotional, and so is
spontaneous, while intellectual development necessitates labour.

Its variations have always been adapted to the character and capacity
of a people, and its trustees have always proved ready to effect this
adaptation; not always because it pays better, for what pays best is that
which is suitable.

In England there is a great variety of emotional character, and as great
a variety of creeds—some say a hundred;—so religion among us is like a
centipede, so many legs has it to go on.

What suits one people does not suit all others. Leo III. established
plenary indulgence and the release of souls from purgatory through the
virtue of a mass. This does not suit many of the English or Scotch;
indeed, should any Leo III. set up a profitable business here on the
same grounds, he would be prosecuted for obtaining money under false
pretences. But it suited the Italians at the time, and is held in favour
by many of them still.

The religion of the Irish appears to require some re-adjustment; it does
not in its present form give the Divine sanction to murder.

The most truly religious ought to be a middle class, who have a
sufficiency of good things to supply their wants in moderation. One does
not quite understand how the poor can work themselves up into gratitude
to Heaven in the midst of want, or how the rich can work themselves down
to it in the midst of superabundance.

There is one bit of advice, too, that one might give to the clergy, which
is, not to waste too much time in trying to evangelize their betters, but
rather to improve their own health by taking a course of moral mud baths
in what is understood by the East End of London.

It would cost them less in dress.

Alas! for the West and the East—the gorgeous East changed from the sunny
land into the home of the homeless, the paradise of ancient Adam yielding
them only a rotten apple off the old tree of knowledge, while the West
feeds on golden pippins! The clergy are endowed; they can afford Eastern
travel; but less than O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! they love the slums of

There is something tickling in the phrase, “the fashionable clergy.” One
meets them at the receptions of a minister of State; but they do not seem
wanted there, and they stand with their hands before them as if they had
done preaching. The same congregation will listen to them at a distance
in their box at the holy opera. But why do these good men trouble
themselves with those gilt-edged Bible-bearers, who are gathered together
in unconscious advertisement of the newest fashions from trans-Eastern
looms, and the newest feathers from the accommodating bird of paradise,
that shed them for their use?

Certainly the clergy waste their time on these delicacies of a
perfected race; they are only courtiers, clergy of the bed-chamber,
clergy-in-waiting. It is not a nice calling for one who is manly and

But they are not all alike. Many begin by being honest, and remain so for

Among the more recent events which have been of interest to me, I would
mention that, in 1885, on the eve of a general election, my son Egmont
engaged to deliver a lecture on Gordon in the chief cities; and very
efficiently he performed his task. He concluded the work at St. James’s
Hall, where I was present. I dined with the Walter Pollocks and we went
together to the lecture, at which Lord Cranborne took the chair.

The audience was much moved during the recital of those circumstances
which, easy to have been avoided, led to Gordon’s death.

After the lecture, Mrs. Pollock introduced me to Lady Wentworth and
then to Lord Wentworth, the grandson of Byron; also to the Baroness
Burdett-Coutts, the worthy daughter of our noblest patriot, Sir Francis
Burdett. This lady feelingly expressed to me her regard for Gordon, and
invited me to a pleasant luncheon at her house the next day, with Mrs.
Pollock and my son and daughter.

But I must not go on talking for ever; my only excuse is, as I have
already hinted, I am in my fourteenth year over death-time, and so far
belong, in a way, to posterity, in the name of which I have occasionally
ventured to opine. With this advantage over many contemporaries, some of
whom were once of my own age, and some who were younger, I have a right
to consider myself as my own posterity too; indeed, being fourteen years
old, as such, I may regard myself as one of the Youths of the Future.

Yet there is something wanting to me in this peculiar situation. Things
do not pass for the same as they did in one’s first youth: then I looked
forward, now I look back.

But even this living backwards is more curious than may appear at a first
glance. It is like taking up, let us say, some seven photos of one’s
self with a ten-years’ interval between each. The last is wrinkled and
bald; one looks at it and wonders how a countenance could have reached so
dilapidated a stage.

One takes up the one before; gazing at it, one tries to hope backwards,
but is not much encouraged; it is still wrinkled and bald in its sixtieth

The third manifests a slight gain—the wrinkles are in part removed, as if
they had been under the beneficial influence of cosmetics.

Then comes the fourth in the order of precedence, and it is not so bad;
it has all the promise of youth.

We go back a little further; the previous likeness has kept its word—it
restores us to what we have been missing so long—our early prime.

But here sets in a most strange mental confusion. Up to this time
we have been hoping backwards; we have looked over a past life with
ever-increasing hope of the yet better days; our hair has been restored
to its pristine beauty, our wrinkles are as if they had never been, our
eyes are lustrous, our first youth returns; we shall soon be fourteen
years of age once more. Of a sudden, after hoping backwards all this way
and becoming our former selves more and more, we encounter our old hopes;
so we are hoping both ways—backward, to our beautiful first childhood,
forward to our second, in the midst of a mental hurricane, whirling us in
an instant into old age again. So ends the pleasing retrospect—our second
youth as far off as ever from our first.


Photographs in my early days were not in use: so philographs must be
produced in their stead. Daubs were as common as they are now, so we have
a national portrait gallery. Some sort of likeness should be preserved,
too, of men who have figured in physic, not so much for their own sake as
for the dramatic addition they make to the age; so engaging is it to know
how noted people have acted in the private play.

Among medical men, _Sir Charles Clark_ was the best actor: he was every
man’s equal. Gay, upright in figure, graceful, of middle stature, he
seemed always ready. He acted the least joke, and so made it a good one.
He told of how one day in his garden he had a fit and fell on the gravel
walk, but jumped up directly and ran away for fear of his being caught by
it again.

_Sir Astley Cooper_, when I knew him, was somewhat aged; he had returned
from the fatigues of rest to practice again, much blamed by those who
had succeeded him in his position. He had a grand figure; his face was
flabby, his manner quiet, commanding, kindly. Every word he said to those
who consulted him was treasured up as worth the guinea they put down. He
had a laugh that removed any ill-founded fancy at one stroke.

_Sir Benjamin Brodie_ was a little man, thin of feature, with a diffused
acuteness of look that rather glowed because earnest. It demanded a good
forehead, like his, and a clear eye to carry off this bright expression.

_Dr. Chambers_ was a large, heavy man, with thick lips, full face, prompt
though bulky, seeming to carry his advice in his whole body, and taking
his fees as if he were relieving his patient.

_John Nussey_, the court apothecary, was a man who had the confidence
of dukes. He was of large figure, doughy complexion, attentive manner:
listening all over. He spoke good sense, and slowly, conveying the
feeling that he had much more to say if it so pleased him. Not being
wastefully communicative, he was sought after for what he yet had to say.

_Sir Richard Quain_ was of a large countenance; his head heavy, but
only because it was full. He had a quiet, not uncheerful, but almost
complaining way, at times, as if the sick world expected more of his time
than he had to give. He almost appeared injured towards evening, in being
too much in demand. Without being deaf, his manner was a little like that
of one who was: it was so gentle.

_Dr. William Gairdner_, a good man within himself, had a select practice
among such high people as would allow a free-spoken physician to say
what he liked to them. He was of the Scotch blood, with not well-shaped
features, and with nose not well finished; but a face altogether
good-natured, and a smile that drew your chair close up to his. To use
an expression that dropped from my clever nurse, he seemed to listen
with his eyes. He once said to a man who proposed to settle in London,
as physician, “It will not suit you; it is not in you to do as I did the
other day, to put your hand on the Lord Chancellor’s shoulder and tell
him he was incapable of speaking truth.”

_Dr. J. W. B. Williams_, great lung-diagnoser as he was, had a busy,
moving manner, which was more like that of a manager than of the head of
a firm.

_Mr. Robert Liston_, the surgeon, was as playful in private as a gigantic
kitten, and liked to hear his pretty daughter call him silly. He gave one
the impression that he could do everything, and knew nothing. It was not
very incorrect; his operating powers were due to a wrist with which he
could have screwed off a man’s head in the days of decapitation.

_Dr. Mark Latham_ had the knowing head and look peculiar to those of his
name. His face was aquiline in its totality, and, like a bird, he thought
on both sides of his head, turning it first on one side, then on another,
instead of on the simultaneous mean. He received one very heartily; if
it were about a consultation the tone was maintained, but if not, he
suddenly appeared busy.

_Mr. Stone_ was a delightful family practitioner, with no end of good
recipes for the nursery or lady’s chamber. He was a very friendly,
considerate man, well up to every mark; and, being already confided in by
all, he was without pretension.

_Sir Thomas Watson_ was what may be called a learned physician. He had a
nice, clever, collegiate face, quite gentlemanly and good looking, with
a show of languor over his town practice, but very bright when summoned
to the country, as if the air did him good. He was quite the head of his

_Dr. Richard Bright_ bore a name that covered his entire nature. His
countenance and his mind seemed one: the acuteness, humour, brightness
of his inner character lost nothing in flowing to his face, and even
hands. His words were so exactly like his thoughts, that on our hearing
them they became thoughts again, losing nothing in their passage; their
self-conservation of force being unfailing.

_Dr. J. A. Wilson_ (he sometimes latinized his initials to Maxilla) was
a man to know, to esteem, to honour. He must have improved many a man’s
memory to this day, for he was one who could never be forgotten.

_Benjamin Travers_ was a great thinker, and a perfect surgeon. It is
difficult to describe him personally, because he was so gentlemanly, so
handsome, of such noble bearing.

One may say the same of _Sir William Lawrence_, his aspect and his work
were so classic. Besides, to describe very great men, like him, is an
affront to all the rest.

_Sir Henry Acland_, an Oxford professor, I knew in my time. He had
all the graces peculiar to his family. How delightful it must be for
a physician, like him, to pass through life in learned elegance and
successful ease!

Then there was _Dr. Baly_, with his round head, and a face that would
cheer any man who had still an hour to live. He was a true man, and had
all the medical science of the day at his command. But, even more than
this, he knew how to manage the sick, how to give them every advantage
that tact could devise; in a word, how to save a life if that life was to
be saved.

One more, the one whose name among anatomists is the most enduring of
all: _Dr. Robert Lee_. He discovered a new nervous system when anatomy
was held to be complete. Some men are a disgrace to society, some
societies are a disgrace to men. So was it with the Royal Society in not
recognizing Lee’s merit when the Continent was ringing with his name.

These are a few of those whom I knew and esteemed in my day.

Among medical men, I think Stone was the best at anecdote. He might have
written another “Gold-headed Cane.” He was fond of his friends, and was
hospitable. He enjoyed his profession, his consultations, and he told
a story well. As a sample, Dr. ⸺ was called at night to an old lady’s
bedside, but was so inebriated as to do little towards ascertaining the
state of the case. He retired to the table to prescribe, but he could
not; he was too far gone to commit any remedial measures to paper.
He tried over and over again, when, in despair, he described his own
condition—“D—drunk, by G⸺!” and left. Early on the following day he
received a summons to the lady. “Doctor,” said she, “how did you know
what was the matter with me? and why were you so imprudent as to commit
it to paper?”

Amongst scientific men of the century we have had Faraday, _facile
princeps_—a man who, when he was doing nothing at all, always looked to
me as if he was putting something in its place.

Stokes is the only man who has vied with Faraday, and touched Newton in
revealing to us the invisible spectrum.

Then there is Tyndall still, an industrious peeper behind the scenes.
It was kind of Faraday to leave him his old coat; but no man could wear
it—no tailor could ever make it fit another.

And there is Huxley, who is so great in science, not satisfied with the
comfort of believing in nothing himself, but he must strive to share the
blessing with all—the blessing of believing in nothing but himself.

Then Darwin, who has been able to climb the hill safely, and reach the
summit, with Goethe, Oken, Lamarc, and Geoffrey St. Hilaire on his back.

Then there are scientific men almost too great to be mentioned by name.
These tell us the sun will wear out within the period they assign. If I
saw them, I should suggest that the sun could not lose energy, because
its elements are indestructible. If they asked me what I meant, I should
reply that when oxygen and carbon produced heat, and lost it to the
earth, they could produce just as much heat again, and that for ever.

“Matter and force,” I should say, “are one, and that one cannot lose or

If they made no answer, I should add, and then walk away—

“The materials of the sun cannot be diminished, as they can reach no
other centre of gravity. But I admit that the sun is open to collision;
not, however, within any calculable period of time.”

We should then both speak to some one else.

I now conclude.

In these my reminiscences I have made very free with my reader, and now I
heartily wish him “Good day.”


My respected publishers, now that my “Memoirs” are in print, have asked
me if I wish to precede them by any prefatory remarks; this I have no
need of doing, since the first paragraph in the work is a sufficient
explanation of why the book was written. But an event having happened
which has put half the nation in mourning, and perhaps most of all
our august sovereign herself, I feel impelled to utter a few words of
sympathy on that sad occasion to her, the loss of a deserving Poet

The time has come when the nation’s trust is no longer reposed in any
party, but it is to be hoped that its confidence in the throne is
unabated. It has taken centuries to produce a sovereign Power whose
unbiased will has become moulded to the English idea of rule, and which
is in perfect accord with the desires of our now vast numbers; and it
is ardently to be wished that a great people may realize, under every
change, that they possess one true friend who occupies the first of the
three estates of the realm.

As an individual, part owner of these three estates for yet a little
while, I desire to leave behind me, not the words of a laureate, but of
a loving subject of the best of sovereigns and the best of women. If
I, as a poet, have a wish that I would see gratified, it is to hear my
“Ode,” written and published during the year of the Jubilee, sung by
loyal voices to the sound of trumpets and to the beating of the drum! It
may come in appropriately, as by an amateur, during the present little
_interregnum_. For the perusal of those who partake of my love for, my
faith in, the throne, I give it here entire, and once more to my readers
say, “Farewell!”



    _Statecraft and kingly power for ages schooled_
    _The nations will; the rod of genius ruled;_
    _At last, glad day, a maiden’s gentle hand_
    _Sufficed to guide the reins of state by sea and land._
    _Then said a voice from heaven, “Her lengthened reign_
    _Is to eclipse the pride of kings;_
    _A virgin queen has come again,_
    _And to all loving homes her blessing brings._
    _Soon this queen shall be a bride,_
    _And with her faithful prince her state divide,_
    _His virtues matched by hers alone,_
    _A fitting glory to her throne._
    _So shall their perfect lives be blest_
    _Till Heaven, who knows our welfare best,_
    _Calls him the earliest to his rest.”_

      Since hath the gracious sun
      Fifty times his year begun,
      And she remains, our hope and hourly care,
      Her children round her, many a happy pair!
      England, be this a day of mirth
        From dawn to utmost even!
      It is a day to keep on earth;
        This day is kept in heaven.
      Partake the wine and break the bread;
      This day shall all her poor be fed.

    There is joy o’er the blessings her reign has showered down,
    Yet lone is the star that shines in her crown.
    Though sickness and sorrow are common to all,
    In our joy let our hearts the departed recall;
          Let us think of the friend
            In her youth so beloved;
          May our blessing attend
            On his home far removed!
    His name, held so dear, to our children be told!
    He loved her, revered her, in days that are old.
    He blesses her still, her children among;
    For the days that are old are the days that were young.
    O the days of our youth, what memories they fill!
    We looked on her then, and we look on her still.
    Who now blind once beheld her, to her are not blind,
    They treasure their queen in their innermost mind;
    Who deaf once gave ear to the tones of her voice,
    Remember them still, in her accents rejoice.


      Since hath the gracious sun
      Fifty times his year begun,
      And she remains, our hope and hourly care,
      Her children round her, many a happy pair!
      England, be this a day of mirth
        From dawn to utmost even!
      It is a day to keep on earth;
        This day is kept in heaven.

      Rejoice, the heart from labour free;
      It is a holy Jubilee!
      Where grief does not sadden
      Let mirth the heart gladden;
      Where our wanderings have been,
        Where our footsteps may stray,
      Remember the Queen
        On her Jubilee day.
      Rejoice, O brave legions
      In the sun-gilded regions!
        There reigns she afar.
      Rejoice, O brave souls
      At the furthermost poles!
        Her children ye are.

    May no grief her heart sadden,
    May this day her heart gladden;
    Victoria sits on her earth-rounded throne!
    From the waters that freeze into mountains of stone
    To the fire-flashing shores of the tropical zone,
    When a soldier has fallen a tear can she shed,
    With the widow she knows how to mourn for the dead;
    She makes all the cares of her kingdom her own.
    Though the touch of the monarch no longer heals,
    As balm to the heart her sympathy steals.
          ’Tis her own Jubilee!
        Where her ships plough the deep
        Let no memories sleep;
        Where the thunder hangs mute
        Let her cannon salute
          Every wave of the sea.

    Musicians, whose glory it is to control
    Our hearts, and to sunder our cares from the soul,
    Strike deep where hope’s solace we seek for in vain;
    Strike deep, though of ills hard to bear we complain;
    Strike deep to the hearts of the soldiers who guard
    The precincts of freedom, our love their reward;
    Strike chords that in battle their sufferings appease,
    Till their banners seem floating in victory’s breeze.

    It is summer, the June of the Jubilee year,
    The month when the first-fruits of spring-time appear,
    The month when the lark thrills the sky with a song
    Where the blue-bells hang silent the moorlands along.
    It is June, glorious June, the month of the Queen!
    The cornfields are paling, the pastures are green,
    The ferns are uncurling, the hedgerows are gay
    With wild roses as welcome as blossom of May.
        The trees are swelled out
          In the foliage of spring,
        The cuckoo’s about
          With its voice on the wing.

    The morning has come, the churches pour forth
    The battling of bells from the south to the north;
    The peals from the belfries are merrily rung,
    All hearts are rejoicing, all nature is young.

    The joys of the earth while they last are our own;
    Let us give them to her, to her hearth, to her throne.
    Victoria, loved Queen! We proclaim thee again;
    May the trust we repose ever sweeten thy reign!

    Loud and deep are the cheers ’neath the old village oak;
    The health, the long life of the Queen they invoke.
    A fife at the lips and a drum all their band,
    The villagers gladden the length of the land:
    The bunting from gable to gable is swung,
    The casements with flags and fond mottoes are hung.
    In the love-threaded dance their steps are not tired
    As they weave them to tunes by affection inspired.
    The children are shouting and romping in throngs,
    Like anthems seem holy their merriest songs;
    The wayfarer pauses in crossing the stile,
    And lists in a dream to their voices awhile:
    The voices of children a stranger may win,
    Through them are our hearts with the angels akin.
    ’Twas so on the day she ascended the throne;
    We live o’er again the days that are gone.
    The days of our youth—what memories they fill!
    We looked on her then, and we look on her still.

               GRAND CHORUS.

      Victoria sits on her earth-rounded throne!
      From the waters that freeze into mountains of stone
      To the fire-flashing shores of the tropical zone,
          Her kingdoms are free.
        Where her ships plough the deep
        Let no memories sleep;
        Where the thunder hangs mute
        Let her cannon salute
          Every wave of the sea.
        Rejoice, O brave legions
        In the sun-gilded regions!
          There reigns she afar.
        Rejoice, hardy souls
        At the furthermost poles!
          Her children ye are.


_D. & Co._

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