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Title: What I Remember, Volume 1
Author: Trollope, Thomas Adolphus
Language: English
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                            WHAT I REMEMBER


                                VOL. I.

                [Illustration: THOMAS ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE

                   _From a painting by Maria Taylor_

                     London: Richard Bentley & Son

                          _Printed in Paris_]



                            WHAT I REMEMBER


                                  BY
                       THOMAS ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE


                       [Illustration: colophon]


                           _IN TWO VOLUMES_

                                VOL. I


                           _SECOND EDITION_


                                LONDON
                        RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON
            Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen
                                 1887



                        RICHARD CLAY AND SONS,
                          LONDON AND BUNGAY.



                          OMNIBUS WICCAMICIS


                         T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE

                  B. M. DE WINTON PROPE WINTON COLL.

                             OLIM ALUMNUS

                              GRATO ANIMO

                               D. D. D.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.
                                                                    PAGE
EARLY DAYS IN LONDON                                                   1

CHAPTER II.
EARLY DAYS IN LONDON                                                  28

CHAPTER III.
AT HARROW                                                             57

CHAPTER IV.
AT HARROW                                                             81

CHAPTER V.
AT WINCHESTER                                                         94

CHAPTER VI.
AT WINCHESTER                                                        125

CHAPTER VII.
VISIT TO AMERICA                                                     150

CHAPTER VIII.
VISIT TO AMERICA                                                     168

CHAPTER IX.
AT OXFORD                                                            190

CHAPTER X.
OLD DIARIES                                                          221

CHAPTER XI.
OLD DIARIES                                                          228

CHAPTER XII.
OLD DIARIES                                                          243

CHAPTER XIII.
OLD DIARIES.--AT PARIS                                               261

CHAPTER XIV.
AT BRUGES.--AT HADLEY                                                290

CHAPTER XV.
GERMAN TOUR.--IN AUSTRIA                                             306

CHAPTER XVI.
IN AUSTRIA                                                           328

CHAPTER XVII.
AT BIRMINGHAM                                                        344

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS                                              355

CHAPTER XIX.
MESMERIC EXPERIENCES                                                 362

INDEX                                                                397



WHAT I REMEMBER



CHAPTER I.


I have no intention of writing an autobiography. There has been nothing
in my life which could justify such a pretension. But I have lived a
long time. I remember an aged porter at the monastery of the “Sagro
Eremo,” above Camaldoli, who had taken brevet rank as a saint solely on
the score of his ninety years. His brethren called him and considered
him as Saint Simon simply because he had been porter at that gate for
more than sixty years. Now my credentials as a babbler of reminiscences
are of a similar nature to those of the old porter. I have been here so
many, many years. And then those years have comprised the best part of
the nineteenth century--a century during which change has been more
rapidly at work among all the surroundings of Englishmen than probably
during any other century of which social history has to tell.

Of course middle-aged men know, as well as we ancients, the fact that
social life in England--or rather let me say in Europe--is very
different from what it was in the days of their fathers, and are
perfectly well acquainted with the great and oftentimes celebrated
causes which have differentiated the Victorian era from all others. But
only the small records of an unimportant individual life, only the
memories which happen to linger in an old man’s brain, like bits of
drift-weed floating round and round in the eddies of a back-water, can
bring vividly before the young of the present generation those ways and
manners of acting and thinking and talking in the ordinary every-day
affairs of life which indicate the differences between themselves and
their grandfathers.

I was born in the year 1810 at No. 16, Keppel Street, Russell Square.
The region was at that time inhabited by the professional classes,
mainly lawyers. My father was a barrister of the Middle Temple to the
best of my recollection, but having chambers in the Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn. A quarter of a century or so later, all the district in
question became rather deteriorated in social estimation, but has, I am
told, recently recovered itself in this respect under the careful and
judicious administration of the Duke of Bedford. The whole region
appeared to me, when I was recently in London, about the least changed
part of the London of my youthful days. As I walked up Store Street,
which runs in a line from Keppel Street to Tottenham Court Road, I spied
the name of “Pidding, Confectioner.” I immediately entered the shop and
made a purchase at the counter. “I did not in the least want this tart,”
said I to the girl who was serving in the shop. “Why did you take it,
then?” said she, with a little toss of her head. “Nobody asked you to
buy it.” “I bought it,” rejoined I, “because I used to buy pastry of Mr.
Pidding in this shop seventy years ago.” “Lor’, sir!” said the girl,
“did you really?” She probably considered me to be the Wandering Jew.

I remember well that my father used to point out to me houses in Russell
Square, Bedford Square, and Bloomsbury Square in which judges and other
notable legal luminaries used to live. But even in those days the
localities in question, especially the last named of them, were
beginning to be deserted by such personages, who were already moving
farther westward. The occasion of these walks with my father through the
squares I have named--to which Red Lion Square might have been
added--was one the painful nature of which has fixed it in my memory
indelibly.

     “Infandam _memoria_ jubes renovare dolorem.”

For the object of these walks was the rendering an account of the
morning’s studies. I was about six years old, when under my father’s
auspices I was first introduced to the _Eton Latin Grammar_. He was a
Wykehamist, had been a fellow of New College, and had held a Vinerian
Fellowship. And his great ambition was, that his eldest son, myself,
should tread in his steps and pursue the same career. _Dîs aliter
visum!_--as regards at least the latter stages of that career. For I did
become, and am, a Wykehamist, as much as eight years at _Coll. B. M.
Winton prope Winton_ can make me.

Of which more anon.

For the present I see myself alone in the back drawing-room of No. 16,
Keppel Street, in which room the family breakfast took place--probably
to avoid the necessity of lighting another fire in the dining-room
below--at 7 A.M., on my knees before the sofa, with my head in my hands
and my eyes fixed on the _Eton Latin Grammar_ laid on the sofa cushion
before me. My parents had not yet come down to breakfast, nor had the
tea urn been brought up by the footman. _Nota bene._--My father was a
poor man, and his establishment altogether on a modest footing. But it
never would have occurred to him or to my mother that they could get on
without a man-servant in livery. And though this liveried footman served
a family in which two tallow candles with their snuffer dish supplied
the whole illumination of the evening, had the livery been an _invented_
one instead of that proper to the family, the circumstance would have
been an absurdity exciting the ridicule of all the society in which my
parents lived. _Tempora mutantur!_ Certainly at the present day an
equally unpretending household would be burthened by no footman. But on
the morning which memory is recalling to me the footman was coming up
with the urn, and my parents were coming down to breakfast, probably
simultaneously; and the question of the hour was whether I could get
the due relationship of relative and antecedent into my little head
before the two events arrived.

And that, as I remember it, was the almost unvaried routine for more
than a year or two. I think, however, that the walks of which I was
speaking when this retrospect presented itself to me must have belonged
to a time a little, but not much later; for I had then advanced to the
making of Latin verses. We used to begin in those days by making
“nonsense verses.” And many of us ended in the same way! The next
step--_Gradus ad Parnassum_--consisted in turning into Latin verse
certain English materials provided for the purpose, and so cunningly
prepared as to fall easily and almost inevitably into the required form.
And these were the studies which, as I specially remember, were the
subject of rehearsal during those walks from Lincoln’s Inn to Keppel
Street.

My father was in the habit of returning from his chambers to a five
o’clock dinner--rather a late hour, because he was an industrious and
laborious man. Well! we, that is my next brother (not the one whose name
became subsequently well known in the world, but my brother Henry, who
died early) and myself, used to walk from Keppel Street to Lincoln’s
Inn, so as to arrive in time to walk back with my father. He was a fast
walker; and as we trotted along one on each side of him, the repetition
of our morning’s poetical achievements did not tend, as I well remember,
to facilitate the difficulty of “keeping our wind.”

But what has probably fixed all this in my mind during nearly three
quarters of a century was my father’s pat application of one of our
lines to the difficulties of those peripatetic poetizings. “_Muse and
sound of wheel do not well agree_,” read the cunningly prepared
original, which the _alumnus_ with wonderful sagacity was to turn into,
“_Non bene conveniunt Musa rotæque sonus_.” “That,” said my father, as
he turned sharp round the corner into the comparative quiet of
Featherstone Buildings, “is exactly why I turned out of Holborn!”

I do not know whether children of eight years old, or thereabouts, would
at the present day be allowed to range London so freely as we were. But
our great amusement and delight was to take long exploring walks in as
distant parts of the huge (though then comparatively small) city as
could be compassed within the time at our disposition. One especially
favourite excursion, I well remember, was to the White Horse Cellar in
Piccadilly to see the coaches start or arrive. I knew all their names,
and their supposed comparative speed. By this means, indeed, came my
first introduction to English geography. Formal lessons on such a
thoroughly “commercial academy” subject were not, of course, thought of
for an aspiring Wykehamist. But for the due enjoyment of the White Horse
Cellar spectacle it was necessary to know the whereabouts of the cities,
their distance from London, and the routes by which they were reached.
It thus came to pass that our geographical notions were of a curiously
partial description--tolerably copious and accurate as regards the south
and west of England, far less so as regards the north. For the north
country coaches did not start from Piccadilly. On the opposite side of
the way to the White Horse Cellar there was another coaching inn, the
White Bear, on which I remember we used to look with much contempt, from
the belief, whether in any degree well founded I know not, that the
coaches which stopped there on their way out of town, or arrived there,
were mainly slow coaches.

One does not traverse well nigh four score years without having
experienced longings for the unattainable on several occasions. But I
have no remembrance of any such eager, craving longing as the chronic
longing of those days to make one of the great-coated companies who were
departing to their various destinations by those “Telegraphs,”
“High-Flyers,” “Magnets,” and “Independents.” (The more suggestive names
of the “Wonder,” and its rival the “No Wonder!” once celebrated on the
north-western road, belonged to a later day.) Had I been offered a seat
on any of these vehicles my choice would have been dictated solely by
considerations of distance--Falmouth for choice, as the westward Ultima
Thule of coaching experience. With what rapture should I have climbed,
in my little round jacket as I was, and without a thought of any other
protection, to the roof of the Falmouth mail--_the_ mail for choice, the
Devonport “Quicksilver” being then in the womb of the future--and
started to fetch a forgotten letter (say) of the utmost importance, with
strict injunctions to bring it back by the returning coach! I don’t
think my imagination had yet soared to the supreme glories of the box
seat. That came later. To have been a booked passenger, that that horn
should have sounded _for me_, that I should have been included in the
guard’s final and cheery assurance, that at length all was
“right”--would have been ample enough for an ecstasy of happiness. What
an endless vista of ever-changing miles of country! What an infinite
succession of “teams!” What a delicious sense of belonging to some
select and specially important and adventurous section of humanity as we
should clatter at midnight, or even at three or four o’clock in the
morning, through the streets of quiet little country towns, ourselves
the only souls awake in all the place! What speculations as to the
immediate bestowal and occupation of the coachman, when he “left you
here, sir!” in the small hours! What a delightful sense of the possible
dangers of the undertaking as testified by many eagerly read narratives
of the disasters of the road. Alas! I had no share in it all, save to
stand on the curbstone amid the crowd of Jew boys selling oranges and
cedar pencils sixpence a dozen, and hurrying passengers and guards and
porters, and look on them all with envious longing.

_Nota bene._ On such an occasion at the present day--if it be possible
to conceive such an anachronism--the Jew boys above referred to would
be probably Christian boys, and the object of their commerce, the
evening papers. But I have no recollection of any such element in the
scene at the White Horse Cellar some sixty-eight years since.

Occasionally when a holiday from lessons occurred--I am afraid most
probably in consequence of my father being confined to his bed with
headaches, which even at that early day, and increasingly, as years went
on, afflicted him--we, my brother Henry and I, obtained permission for a
longer ramble. I have no recollection that on these occasions either the
parks (unless perhaps sometimes St. James’s Park), or Kensington
Gardens, or Hampstead, or Highgate, or any of the places that might be
supposed to be attractive had any attractions for us. Our faces were
ever turned eastward. The city with its narrow mysterious lanes, and
still more mysterious wharves, its quaint secluded churches, its
Guildhall, and its Gog and Magog, the queer localities of the halls of
its Companies, and specially the abstruse mystery of that venerable
Palladium, the London stone, excited in those days an irresistible
influence on my imagination. But above all else the grand object of a
much-planned eastern pilgrimage was the Docks!--with the out-going ships
bearing, tied to their shrouds, boards indicating their destinations.
Here again was unsatisfied longing! But it was a longing more tempered
by awe and uncertainty. I am not sure that I would, if it had been
offered to me, have stepped on board an East Indiaman bound for Bombay
as eagerly as I would have climbed a coach starting for the Land’s End.
But it was a great triumph to have seen with our own eyes the _Agra_ (or
some other) _Castle_ majestically passing through the dock gates, while
passengers on deck, men and women, whose feet would absolutely touch
land no more till they stopped at far Bombay on the other side of the
world, spoke last farewells to friends standing on the dock walls or
even on the gates themselves.

But I can recall no less vividly certain expeditions of a kind which
appeared to our imaginations to be--and which perhaps really were in
some degree--fraught with a certain amount of peril. Stories had reached
us of sundry mysteriously wicked regions, where the bandit bands of the
great city consorted and lived outlaw lives under circumstances and
conditions that powerfully excited our young imaginations. Especially
accounts of a certain lane had reached us, where it was said all the
pocket handkerchiefs stolen by all the pickpockets in London were to be
seen exposed in a sort of unholy market. The name of this place was
Saffron Hill. Whether any such place still exists, I know not. It has
probably been swept away by the march of recent improvement. But it did
in those days veritably exist. And to this extraordinary spot--as remote
and strange to our fancy as the realms of Prester John--it was
determined after protracted consideration by my brother and myself, that
our next long ramble should be devoted. We had ascertained that the
dingy land of our researches lay somewhat to the westward of
Smithfield--which had already been the object of a most successful,
adventurous, and delightful expedition, not without pleasurable perils
of its own from excited bullocks, still more excited drovers and their
dogs--and by dint of considerable perseverance we reached it, and were
richly rewarded for our toil and enterprise. Report had spoken truly.
Saffron Hill was a world of pocket-handkerchiefs. From every window and
on lines stretched across the narrow street they fluttered in all the
colours of the rainbow, and of all sizes and qualities. The whole lane
was a long vista of pennon-like pocket-handkerchiefs! We should have
much liked to attempt to deal in this strange market, not so much for
the sake of possessing any of the articles, as with a view of obtaining
experience, and informing ourselves respecting the manners and customs
of the country. But we were protected from the possibly unpleasant
results of any such tentative by the total absence from our pockets of
any coin of the realm. We doubtless had pocket-handkerchiefs, and I have
no recollection of their having been stolen. Probably it was ascertained
by the inhabitants that they were not worth their notice.

But the subject reminds me of an experience of the pocket-picking world
which occurred to me some twenty years later. It was at Naples. People
generally in those days carried silk pocket-handkerchiefs instead of the
scraps of muslin which are affected nowadays. And five silk
pocket-handkerchiefs were abstracted from my pockets during my walks
abroad in as many days. I then took to wearing very common ones, and
lost no more! An American then at Naples, whose experiences of the
proclivities of that population had been similar to mine, was not so
fortunate in the result of the defensive measures he adopted. He sewed
strongly into the interior of his pocket a large fish-hook. The result
which he anticipated followed. The thief’s hand was caught, and the
American, turning sharply, seized him by the wrist and held him in a
grasp like a vice till he could hand him over to a gendarme. But within
a fortnight that American was stabbed to the heart one night as he was
going home from the theatre. The light-fingered fraternity, it would
seem, considered that such a practice was not within the laws of the
game; whereas my more moderate ruse did not offend their sense of
justice and fair play.

My brother and I reached home safely enough after our expedition to
thief-land; and were inexhaustible in our accounts of the wonders we had
witnessed. For it formed no part of our plan, and would not have been at
all in accordance with the general practice of our lives to conceal the
facts from our parents. Probably we had a sufficient suspicion of the
questionable nature of the expedition we contemplated to prevent us from
declaring it beforehand. But our education and habits would have
forbidden any dream of concealing it.

As far as my recollection serves me, our moral and religious education
led us to consider the whole duty of boy to be summed up in the two
precepts, “obey,” and “tell no lies.” I think there was a perfunctory
saying of some portion of the catechism on a Sunday morning. But I am
very sure that in our own minds, and apparently in those of all
concerned, the vastly superior importance of the Virgil lesson admitted
of no moment’s doubt. But it must not be imagined from this that my
parents were more irreligious people than their neighbours; still less
that they were not most affectionately and indeed supremely solicitous
for the well-being and education of their children. My father was the
son of a priest of the Church of England, and my mother the daughter of
another, the Rev. William Milton, Vicar of Heckfield, a New College
living not far from Reading. Their associates were mainly barristers or
clergy. My father was wholly and absolutely free from the prevailing
vice of the time, and I never remember to have seen him in any slightest
degree the worse for drink. And in the whole _manière d’être_ of the
house and home there was no note or symptom of any life save one of the
most correct respectability and propriety, fully up to the average of
the time. But my parents were by no means what was called in the
language of the time “evangelicals.” And in the social atmosphere of
those days, any more decided and marked amount of religious instruction
and teaching would have unmistakably indicated “evangelical tendencies.”
Moreover, though I cannot remember, and it is exceedingly improbable,
that any ideas were directly instilled into our minds on the subject, it
certainly is the fact that I grew into boyhood with the notion that
“evangelicalism” or “low churchism” was a note of vulgarity--a sort of
thing that might be expected to be met with in tradesmen’s back
parlours, and “academies,” where the youths who came from such places
were instructed in English grammar and arithmetic, but was not to be met
with, and was utterly out of place, among gentlemen and in gentlemanlike
places of education, where nothing of the kind was taught.

All this to mark the change of _tempora_ and _mores_, in these as in so
many other respects, since George the Third was king.

Among the few surviving remembrances of those childhood’s years in
Keppel Street, I can still recall to the mind’s eye the face and
features of “Farmer,” the highly trustworthy and responsible middle-aged
woman who ruled the nursery there, into which a rapid succession of
brothers and sisters was being introduced in those years. Farmer, as I
remember her, inspired more awe than affection. She was an austere and
somewhat grim sort of body. And somehow or other the obscurely terrible
fact that she was an Anabaptist (!) had reached the world of the
nursery. I need hardly say that the accusation carried with it no sort
of idea whatever to our minds. I don’t think we had any knowledge that
the mystic term in question had reference to any forms or modifications
of religious belief. But we were well assured that it implied something
mysterious and terrible. And I am afraid that we gracelessly availed
ourselves of what we should have considered a misfortune, if we had at
all known what it meant, to express on occasions of revolt against
discipline, our scorn for an individual so disgraced by nature. I have
still in my ear the lilt of a wicked chorus the burthen of which ran:--

“Old Farmer is an Anabap_tist_!
When she is gone, she will not be missed!”

I remember in connection with poor Farmer and her heresies, an incident
which must have been ridiculous enough to the adult actors in it. Dr.
Nott, one of the prebendaries of Winchester, was an old and intimate
friend of my mother’s--had been such I believe, before her marriage. The
mention of this gentleman recalls to my mind--but this recollection
dates from a later day,--that it used to be said satirically, with what
truth I will not attempt to guess, that there was a large Chapter at
Winchester and _Nott_, one of them, a clergyman: the intention being to
insinuate that he was the only properly clerical character among them.
At all events, Dr. Nott was an exemplary dignitary of the Church, not
only in character, tastes, and pursuits, but in outward presentment
also. I remember well his spare figure, his pale and delicately cut
features, his black gaiters to the knee, and his elaborate white
neckcloth. He was a competent, and what would have been called in that
day an “elegant” Italian scholar. It was wholly under his supervision,
that a few years subsequently the extensive restoration and repair of
Winchester Cathedral was executed; a supervision which cost him, in
consequence of a fall from a ladder in the nave, a broken leg and
subsequent lameness for life. He had, if I mistake not, been one of the
tutors of the Princess Charlotte.

Well, upon one occasion of a visit of Dr. Nott’s in Keppel Street, we
children were summoned to the drawing-room for his inspection; and in
reply to a variety of questions as to progress, and goodness in the
nursery, etc., I, as the eldest, took courage to reply that if we were
not always as good and obedient in the nursery as might be desired, the
circumstance was to be attributed to the painful fact that our nurse was
an Anabaptist! Whether Dr. Nott was selected as the recipient of this
confidential communication because I had any vague idea that this
disgraceful circumstance had any special connection with his department
of human affairs, I cannot say. We were however told that the fact was
no wise incompatible with Farmer’s character as an excellent nurse and
good servant, and least of all could be considered as absolving us from
the duty of obedience. I remember that I wondered then,--and I wonder
still--what passed upon the subject between my mother and the Doctor
after our dismissal to the nursery.

Another intimate friend of my mother’s and frequent visitor in Keppel
Street was Lady Dyer, the wife, and subsequently widow of General Sir
Thomas Dyer. Sir Thomas resided on his estate of Ovington, near
Winchester; and I take it that my mother’s intimacy with Lady Dyer had
been brought about by the friendship existing between both ladies and
Miss Gabell, the eldest daughter of Dr. Gabell, the Head Master of
Winchester College. Lady Dyer, after several years of widowhood, married
the Baron de Zandt; and I remember, very many years subsequently to the
time that I am here writing of, visiting her with my mother at her
_schloss_, near Bamberg, where she lived in the huge house alone after
losing her second husband.

I fancy it was mainly due to her intimacy with my mother during those
years in Keppel Street that the house was frequented by several
Italians; exiles from their own country under stress of political
troubles. Especially I remember among these General Guglielmo Pepe,
subsequently the hero of the hopeless defence of Venice against the
Austrians. Of course I was too young to know or see much of him in the
Keppel Street days; but many years afterwards I had abundant
opportunities of knowing Pepe’s genuine nobility of character, high
honour, and ardent patriotism. He was a remarkably handsome man, but not
a brilliant or amusing companion. I remember that his sobriquet among
the three ladies mentioned together above was _Gateau de Plomb_! But
none the less was he highly and genuinely respected by them. He had a
kind of simple, dignified, placid manner of enunciating the most
astounding platitudes, and replying to the laughter they sometimes
produced by a calm, gentle smile, which showed how impossible it was for
his simple soul to imagine that his hearers were otherwise than
delighted with his wit and wisdom. How well I can remember the pleasure
his visits were wont to afford in the nursery by reason of the dried
Neapolitan figs and Mandarin oranges, which he used to receive from his
brother, General Fiorestano Pepe, and never failed to distribute among
his English friends. His brother, when Guglielmo threw in his lot with
the “patriots,” never forfeited his allegiance or quarrelled with the
King of Naples. Yet the two brothers continued on affectionately
fraternal terms to the last.

The quiet course of those Keppel Street years was, as I remember, once
or twice broken by the great event of a visit to Heckfield to my
maternal grandfather, the Rev. William Milton, a _ci-devant_ Fellow of
New College. He had at that time married a second wife, a Miss
Partington, his first wife, a Derbyshire Gresley, my maternal
grandmother, whom I had never seen, having died young. As my grandfather
Milton was the son of a Bristol saddler (who lived to the age of
ninety-nine), I suppose his marriage with a Gresley must have been
deemed a _mésalliance_ for the lady. But her death having occurred
before my time, I never heard anything of this.

The vicar of Heckfield held the adjoining chapelry of Mattingly, at
which place the morning service was performed on alternate Sundays. He
was an excellent parish priest after the fashion of his day;--that is
to say he was kindly to all, liberal to the poor to the utmost extent of
his means, and well beloved by his neighbours, high and low. He was a
charming old man, markedly gentlemanlike and suave in his manner; very
nice in his person; clever unquestionably in a queer, crotchety sort of
way; and thoroughly minded to do his duty according to his lights in
that state of life to which it had pleased God to call him. But he would
have had no more idea of attempting anything of the nature of active
parochial work or reform, as understood at the present day, than he
would have had of scheming to pay the National Debt. Indeed, the latter
would have been the more likely to occupy his mind of the two, for he
was crotchety and full of schemes. Especially he was fond of mechanics,
and spent much money and much labour during many years on a favourite
scheme for obviating the danger arising from the liability of a stage
coach to be upset. He published more than one pamphlet on the subject,
illustrated--I can see the pages before me now--by designs of various
queer-looking models. There was a large coach-house attached to the
vicarage, and it was always full of the strangest collection of models
of coaches. I remember well that they all appeared to me hideous, and as
æsthetically inferior to my admired “Telegraphs” and “High-Flyers” as a
modern ironclad seems to the three-decker of his youth in the eyes of an
old sailor. But, as may be imagined. I never ventured to broach any
such heresy in my grandfather’s hearing! I should unquestionably have
done so had it been my father. But lesser acquaintanceship and the
venerable age of my grandfather checked my presumption.

There was--and doubtless is--a very pretty evergreen-embowered lawn at
the vicarage, and on this also there always used to be some model or
other intended to illustrate the principles of traction. One I
especially remember which was called (not, it may seem, very
grammatically) _rotis volventibus_. This machine consisted of two huge
wheels, some ten feet high, joined together by a number of cross-bars at
a distance of a foot or so from each other. It will be understood what a
delightful amusement it must have been to creep into the interior of
this structure, and cause it to roll over the smoothly shaven turf by
stepping treadmill fashion on the cross-bars one after the other. But
unfortunately in one part of the lawn there was a steep declivity, and
one day, when the idea of making _rotis volventibus_ descend this slope
became irresistible, there was a tremendous smashing of the evergreen
hedge, and a black-and-blue little body, whose escape without broken
bones was deemed truly prodigious.

“Never, Tom,” said my grandfather, “put in motion forces which you are
unable to control!”

The words remained implanted in my memory. But I do not suppose they
carried much instruction with them to my mind at the time.

I believe my grandfather spent more money on his mechanical fads than
was quite prudent, and took out patents which were about as remunerative
and useful as that which Charles the Second is said to have granted to a
sailor who stood on his head on the top of Salisbury steeple, securing
to him the monopoly of that practice!

I remember another eccentricity in which the vicar indulged. He said the
contact of a knife’s edge with earthenware, or porcelain, was extremely
disagreeable. He caused, therefore, a number of dinner plates to be made
with a little circular depression some two inches in diameter and about
as deep as a crown piece in the centre, and had some round pieces of
silver to fit into these receptacles, on which he cut his meat.

He was withal a very popular man, a good scholar, with decidedly
scholarly tastes, much of a mathematician, a genuine humourist, with a
sort of Horatian easy-going geniality about him, which was very charming
even to us boys.

My brother Henry was one year my junior; my brother Anthony, with whom
the world subsequently became acquainted, was five years younger than I.
Henry, therefore, was the companion of all the London rambles which have
been mentioned. I think we were tolerably good boys, truthful and
obedient to legitimate authority. I was, however, if nursery traditions
of a somewhat later day may be accepted as embodying real facts, rather
too much given to yielding obedience only on reason shown; to “argify,”
as certain authoritarians are wont to call it; and to make plenary
submission only when consciously defeated in argument.

We had little or nothing of the “amusements” nowadays so liberally
supplied to children. There was the pantomime at Christmas, intensely
enjoyed. And I remember well pondering on the insoluble question, _why_
my parents, who evidently, I thought, could if they chose it, go to the
theatre every night of their lives, should abstain from doing so.

I do not remember any discontented longings for more or other amusements
than we had. I was a thoroughly well constituted and healthy child, but
without the smallest pretention to good looks, either _in esse_ or _in
posse_; sturdily built, with flaxen head, rosy cheeks, and blue eyes;
broad of hand and foot; strong as a little pony--a veritable Saxon in
type. I seem to my recollections to have been somewhat bravely ready to
accept a life, in which the kicks might be more superabundant than the
halfpence, not without complacent mental reference to the moral and
physical breadth of shoulders, ready for whatever fate might lay on
them. The nature of my childish mind, as I remember, was to place its
ideas of heroism in capacity for uncomplaining endurance, rather than in
capability for mastering others.

All the usual childish complaints and maladies touched me very lightly.
I was as indifferent to weather, wet or dry, wind or shine, as a
Shetland pony. Feet wet through had to remain _in statu quo_ till they
were dry again. Assiduously taught by my mother, I read at a very early
age. Her plan for teaching the letters was as follows. She had a great
number of bone counters with the alphabet in capitals and small letters
on either side printed on them; then having invited a charming little
girl, the daughter of a neighbour--(Katie Gibbon, laid to rest this many
a year under the yew tree in the churchyard of the village of Stanton,
near Monmouth)--who was just my own age, she tossed the counters
broadcast over the floor, instituting prizes for him, or her, who should
in crawling races over the floor, soonest bring the letter demanded.
Reading thus began to be an amusement to me at an unusually early age. I
believe I gave early indications of possessing a certain quantum of
brain power; but had no reputation for cleverness. Indeed, had my
parents ever formed the opinion that any one of their children was in
any way markedly clever, they would have carefully concealed it from the
subject of it. I take it, I was far from being what is called a
prepossessing child. I had, I well remember, a reputation for an
uncompromising expression of opinion, which was not altogether
admirable. My mother used to tell in after years how, when once I had
been, at about four years old, attentively watching her dressing for
dinner, while standing on a chair by the side of her dressing table, I
broke silence when the work was completed to say very judicially, “Now
you have made yourself as fine as poso--(possible)--and you look worse
than you did when you began!”

I am tempted to insert here a letter to my father from Dr. Williams, my
old Winchester master, which (amusingly to me) illustrates what I have
here written of my nursery tendencies. It belongs to a later date, when
I was within half a year of leaving Winchester. I had not found it among
my papers when I wrote the passage to which it is now appended. But I
place it here in homage to the dictum that the child is father to the
man.

“I have the pleasure,” Dr. Williams writes, “to express my approbation
of your son’s conduct during the last half-year. His firmness in
maintaining what was right and putting down what was wrong was very
conspicuous in the early part of that time; not that I imagine it was
less afterwards, but occasion did not call it forth so much.”

What the occasion was I entirely forget; evidently he refers to some
exercise of my power as a Prefect.

“I have remarked to you before that he is _fond of having a reason_
assigned for every thing; but he must take care that this do not
degenerate into captiousness. His temper is generally good, but a little
too sensitive when he fancies a smile is raised at his expense.”

I feel no confidence that years have rendered me safe from the first
fault which my excellent master thus warned me against; but I am sure
they have cured me of the second.

I remember too, in connection with those Keppel Street days, to have
heard my mother speak of an incident which somewhat curiously
illustrates the ways and habits of a time already so far left behind us
by a whole world of social changes. It was nothing more than a simple
visit to the theatre to hear Mrs. Siddons in Lady Macbeth. But this
exploit involved circumstances that rendered it memorable for other
reasons besides the intense gratification derived from the performance.
In the first place “the pit” was the destination to which my father and
mother were bound; not altogether, I take it, so much for the sake of
the lower price of admission (though my father was a sufficiently poor
and a sufficiently careful man to render this a consideration), as from
the idea that the pit offered the best vantage ground for a thoroughly
appreciative and critical judgment of the performance. For when we
children were taken to see a pantomime we went, as I remember, to the
boxes. But this visit to the pit involved the necessity of being at the
theatre at two in the afternoon, and then _standing_ in the crowd till,
if I rightly remember, six in the evening! Of course food had to be
carried. And each man there did his best to support and assist the lady
under his charge. But the ordeal must have been something tremendous,
and the amount of enthusiasm needed to induce a lady to face it
something scarcely to be understood at the present day. My mother used
to relate that sundry women were carried out from the crowd at the
theatre door fainting.

Before closing this Keppel Street chapter of my existence I may mention
one or two circumstances of the family life there which illustrate the
social habits of those days. The family dinner-hour was five. There were
no dinner napkins to be seen; they were perhaps less needed by
clean-shaven chins and lips. Two tallow candles, requiring to be snuffed
by snuffers lying in a little plated tray _ad hoc_ every now and then,
partially illumined the table, but scarcely at all the more distant
corners of the room. Nor were any more or better lights used during the
evening in the drawing-room. The only alternative would have been wax
lights at half-a-crown a pound--an extravagance not to be thought of.
Port and sherry were always placed on the shining mahogany table when
the cloth was withdrawn, and no other wine. Only on the occasion of
having friends to dinner, the port became a “magnum” of a vintage for
which my father’s cellar was famous, and possibly Madeira might be
added.

Perhaps it may be worth noting here as an incident illustrating change
of manners that I vividly remember my mother often singing to us
children in Keppel Street an old song about an “unfortunate Miss Bayly,”
who had been seduced by a “Captain bold of Halifax, who dwelt in country
quarters.” Now a purer or more innocent-minded woman than my mother did
not live, nor one less likely to have suffered aught that she imagined
to be unfitted _virginibus puerisque_ to reach the ears of her children.
Nor do I suppose that we had the faintest notion of the nature of the
evil inflicted on the unfortunate Miss Bayly by the Captain bold, nor
that we were in any degree scandalised by the subsequent incident of the
parish priest being bribed by “a one pound note” to accord Christian
burial to the corpse of a suicide, which he had previously refused to
bury. It may be feared that quite as many “unfortunates” share the fate
of Miss Bayly either in town or country quarters at the present day as
in the early days of the century. But I take it that the old world ditty
in question would not be selected for nursery use at the present day.

I could chatter on about those childish days in Keppel Street, and have
been, I am afraid, too garrulous already. What I have said, however, is
all illustrative of the social changes seventy years have wrought, and
may at the same time serve to show that I started on my octogenarian
career a sturdy, hardy little mortal, _non sine Dîs animosus infans_.



CHAPTER II.


These fragmentary recollections of our childish days may have served to
suggest some hints of the changes which have made the London of the
present day almost--perhaps quite--as different from the London of the
second decade of this century as the latter was from “the town” in the
days of George the First. But it is difficult for middle-aged people of
the present day to form any vivid and sufficient conception of the
greatness of them. Of course the mere material ameliorations and
extensions have so metamorphosed the localities that I, on returning
after long years to the London I once knew, topographically at least, so
well, find myself in a new town of which the geography is in some parts
strange to me, with just so much of the old landmarks remaining as
serves to suggest false clues to the labyrinth and render the matter
more puzzling. But the changes in ways and habits and modes of living
and feeling and thinking are still greater and of much more profound
significance.

To say that there were in those days no omnibuses and no cabs, and of
course no railways, either under ground or over it, is a simple matter,
and very easily stated. But it is not easy to picture to oneself the
whole meaning and consequences of their non-existence. Let any Londoner,
with the exception of the comparatively small number of those who use
carriages of their own, think what his life would be, and the
transaction of his day’s work or of his day’s pleasure, without any
means of locomotion save his own legs or a hackney coach, which, at a
cost of about five times the cab hire of the present day, used to shut
him up in an atmosphere like that of a very dirty stable, and jolt him
over the uneven pavement at a pace of about four miles an hour. Dickens
has given in his own graphic way more than one sketch of the old hackney
coach. I do not think that I ever saw a hackney coach that had been
built for the work it was engaged in as such. They were heavy,
old-fashioned, rickety vehicles, which had become too heavy, too
old-fashioned, too rickety to be retained in the service of the families
to which they had once belonged. They were built for the most part with
hammer cloths, and many of them exhibited huge and gorgeously-painted
armorial bearings on the panels. (By the by, why did not the officials
of the Inland Revenue come down on the proprietors of these venerable
vehicles for the use of armorial bearings? I take it that the march of
modern intelligence, _acuens mortalia corda_, would impel their
successors of the present day to do so.) The drivers of those carriages
were “in a concatenation accordingly”--shabby, slow, stupid, dirty, and
often muddled with drink. We hear occasionally nowadays of a cabman
“driving furiously” when drunk. The wording of the charge smacks of
another era. Not all the gin in London could have stimulated the old
“Jarvey” to drive his skeletons of horses furiously. He was not often
incapacitated by drink, but very frequently muddled. If it was necessary
for him to descend from his hammer-cloth for the purpose of opening the
door of his carriage, which the presence of the “waterman” of the stand
for the most part rendered unnecessary, he was a long time about it, and
a longer in clambering back to his seat, loaded as he generally was in
all weathers with an immense greatcoat of many capes, weatherbeaten out
of all resemblance to its original colour. The “watermen,” so-called, as
we know from high authority, “because they opens the coach doors,” were
nevertheless surrounded by their half-a-dozen or so of little shallow
pails of water, as they stood by the side of the curbstone near a coach
stand. They were to the hackney-coachman what the bricklayer’s labourer
is to the bricklayer. And a more sorry sight can hardly be conceived
than the “stand” with its broken-down carriages, more broken-down
drivers, and most of all broken-down horses, which supplied us in the
days when we “called a coach, and let a coach be called, and he that
calls it, let him be the caller,” as it stands written in a page almost
as much (but far less deservedly) forgotten as the hackney coach.

Already in my boyhood “Oxford Road” was beginning to be called “Oxford
Street.” But my father and his contemporaries always used the former
phrase. At the end of Oxford Street was Tyburn turnpike; not a mere
name, but a veritable barrier closing not only the continuation of the
Oxford Road but also the Edgware Road, turning at right angles to the
north of it. And there stood _one_ turnpike-man to receive the toll and
give tickets in return for the whole of the Oxford Street traffic! I can
see him now, with his low-crowned hat, a straw in his mouth, his
vigilant eye, and the preternatural quickness and coolness, as it seemed
to me, with which, standing in the centre between his two gates, he took
the halfpence and delivered the tickets. He had always an irreproachably
clean white apron with pockets in the front of it, one for halfpence and
one for tickets.

I have spoken of my delight in the spectacle of the coaches starting
from and arriving at the White Horse Cellar in Piccadilly. But there
were many other aspects of London life in the days before railroads in
which the coaches made a leading feature. One of the sights of London
for country cousins was to see the mails starting at 8 P.M. from the
Post Office. To view it under the most favourable circumstances, one
went there on the anniversary of the king’s birthday, when all the
guards had their scarlet coats new, and the horses’ heads were all
decked with flowers. And truly the yard around the Post Office offered
on such an occasion a prettier sight than all the travelling
arrangements of the present day could supply. Of course I am speaking
of a time a little subsequent to my earliest recollections. For I can
remember when the huge edifice in Saint Martin’s le Grand was built; and
remember well, too, the ridicule and the outcry that was raised at the
size of the building, so enormously larger, it was supposed, than could
possibly be needed! But it has now long since been found altogether
insufficient for the needs of the service.

A journey on the box of the mail was a great delight to me in those
days--days somewhere in the third decade of the century; and faith! I
believe would be still, if there were any mails available for the
purpose. One journey frequently performed by me with infinite delight
was to Exeter. My business was to visit two old ladies living there,
Miss Mary and Miss Fanny Bent. The Rev. John Bent, rector of Crediton,
had married the sister of my grandmother, the Rev. William Milton’s
wife. Miss Mary Bent was his daughter by a second wife; but her
half-sister, Fanny Bent, as we and everybody else called her, was thus
my mother’s first cousin, and the tie between Fanny Milton and Fanny
Bent had always from their earliest years been a very close one.

And that is how I came on several occasions to find myself on the box of
the Exeter mail. A new and accelerated mail service had been recently
established under the title of the “Devonport Mail.” It was at that time
the fastest, I believe, in England. Its performances caused somewhat of
a sensation in the coaching world, and it was known in those circles as
“the Quicksilver Mail.” Its early days had chanced unfortunately to be
marked by two or three accidents, which naturally gave it an increased
celebrity. And truly, if it is considered what those men and horses were
required to perform, the wonder was, not that “the Quicksilver” should
have come to grief two or three times, but rather that it ever made its
journey without doing so. What does the railway traveller of the present
day, who sees a travelling post office, and its huge tender crammed with
postal matter, think of the idea of carrying all that mass on one, or
perhaps two, coaches? The guard, occupying his solitary post behind the
coach, on the top of the receptacle called, with reference to the
constructions of still earlier days, the hinder _boot_, sat on a little
seat made for one, with his pistols and blunderbuss in a box in front of
him. And the original notion of those who first planned the modern mail
coach was, that the bags containing the letters should be carried in
that “hinder boot.” The “fore boot,” beneath the driver’s box, was
considered to be appropriated to the baggage of the three outside and
four inside passengers, which was the mail’s entire complement. One of
the former shared the box with the driver, and two occupied the seat on
the roof behind him. The accommodation provided for these two was not of
a very comfortable description. They were not indeed crowded as the
four, who occupied a similar position on another coach, often were; but
they had a mere board to sit on, whereas the seats on the roof of an
ordinary stage coach were provided with cushions. The fares by the mail
were always somewhat higher than those by even equally fast, or in some
cases faster, coaches; and it seems unreasonable, therefore, that the
accommodation should be inferior. I can only suppose that the patrons of
“the mail” were understood to be compensated for its material
imperfections by the superior dignity of their position. The box seat,
however, was well cushioned.

But if the despatches, which it was the mail’s business to carry, could
once upon a time be contained in that hinder boot, such had ceased to be
the case before my day. The bulk of postal matter which had to be
carried was continually and rapidly increasing, and I have often seen as
many as nine enormous sacks heaped on the coach roof. The length of
these sacks was just sufficient to reach from one side of the coach to
the other, and the huge heap of them, three or even four tiers high, was
piled to a height which was sufficient to prevent the guard, even when
standing, from seeing or communicating with the coachman. If to the
consideration of all this the reader will add (if he can) a remembrance
of the Somersetshire and Devonshire roads, over which this top-heavy
load had to be carried at about twelve miles an hour, it will not seem
strange to him that accidents should have occurred. Not that the roads
were bad; they were, thanks to Macadam, good, hard, and smooth; but the
hills are numerous, and in many cases very steep.

But the journey, especially on the box seat, was a very pleasant thing.
The whole of the service was so well done, and in every detail so
admirable. It need hardly be said that the men selected for the drivers
of such a coach were masters of their profession. The work was hard, but
the remuneration was very good. There were fewer passengers by the mail
to “remember the coachman,” but it was more uniformly full, and somewhat
more was expected from a traveller by the mail. It was a beautiful thing
to see a splendid team going over their short stage at twelve miles an
hour! Of course none but good cattle in first-rate condition could do
the work. A _mot_ of old Mrs. Mountain, for many years the well-known
proprietress of one of the large coaching inns in London, used to be
quoted as having been addressed by her to one of her drivers: “You find
whipcord, John, and I’ll find oats!” And, as it used to be said, the
measure of the corn supplied to a coach-horse was his stomach.

It was a pretty thing to see the changing of the horses. There stood the
fresh team, two on the off side, two on the near side, and the coach was
drawn up with the utmost exactitude between them. Four ostlers jump to
the splinter-bars and loose the traces; the reins have already been
thrown down. The driver retains his seat, and within the minute (more
than once within fifty seconds by the watch in my hand) the coach is
again on its onward journey.

Then how welcome was breakfast at an excellent old-world country
inn--twenty minutes allowed. The hot tea, after your night’s drive, the
fresh cream, butter, eggs, hot toast, and cold beef, and then, with
cigar alight, back to the box and off again!

I once witnessed on that road--not quite _that_ road, for the
Quicksilver took a somewhat different line--the stage of four miles
between Ilchester and Ilminster done in twenty minutes, and a trace
broken and mended on the road! The mending was effected by the guard
almost before the coach stopped. It is a level bit of road, four miles
only for the entire stage, and was performed at a full gallop. That was
done by a coach called the Telegraph, which was started some years after
the Quicksilver, to do the distance from Exeter to London in the day. We
left Exeter at 5 A.M., and reached London between nine and ten, with
time for both breakfast and dinner on the road. I think the performance
of the Exeter Telegraph was about the _ne plus ultra_ of coach
travelling. One man drove fifty miles, and then meeting the other coach
on the road, changed from one box to the other and drove back again. It
was tremendously hard work! I once remarked to him as I sat beside him,
that there was not much work for his whip arm. “Not much, sir,” he
replied; “but just put your hand on my left arm!” I did, and felt the
muscle swollen to its utmost, and hard as iron. “Many people think,” he
said, “that it is easier work to drive such a coach and such a team as
this, than to have to flog a dull team up to eight miles an hour. Nobody
would think so that had ever tried both!”

I once persuaded my mother, who was returning with me from Exeter to
London, to make the journey on the box of the Telegraph, while I sat
behind her. She had been a good deal afraid of the experiment, but
admitted that she had never enjoyed a journey more.

But having been led by my coaching reminiscences to speak of my visits
to Exeter and to Fanny Bent, I must not turn that page of the past
without dedicating a few lines to one to whom I had great cause to be
gratefully attached, and whose character both in its high worth and its
originality and singularity was a product of that day hardly likely to
be reproduced in this.

Very plain in feature, and dressed with Quaker-like simplicity and utter
disregard for appearance, her figure was as well known in Exeter as the
cathedral towers. She held a position and enjoyed an amount of respect
which was really singular in the case of a very homely-featured old maid
of very small fortune. She affected, like some other persons I have
known both in the far west and the far north of England, to speak the
dialect of her country. Though without any pretension to literary tastes
or pursuits, she was a fairly well-read woman, and was perfectly able to
speak better English than many a Londoner. But she chose _when in
Devonshire_ to speak as Devonshire folks spoke. She was a thoroughgoing
Churchwoman and Conservative, though too universally popular with all
classes to confine her sympathies within any party bounds. She had a
strong native sense of humour, and despite the traditions and principles
which taught her to consider “Peter Pindar” as a reprobate, she could
not resist the enjoyment of his description of the king’s visit to
Exeter. It was a treat to hear her read the verses in her own Devon
vernacular. And I shall never forget her whispering to me as we walked
up the nave of the cathedral, “_Nate, nate! Clane, clane!_ Do ye mop it,
mop it, Mister _Dane_?” And how _Dane_ Buller replied, “In all our
Ex’ter shops we do not meet with such long mops. Our mops don’t reach so
high!” I quote possibly incorrectly from the recollections of some sixty
years ago; and I have never studied Mr. Woolcott’s works since. But the
very tones of the dear old lady’s voice, as she whispered the words,
bursting the while with suppressed laughter, remain in my ears.

A pious Churchwoman of these improved days would not, I take it, select
such a place and such a time for such whisperings. But I am sure it
would be difficult to find a better or more sincere Christian than dear
old Fanny Bent. And the anecdote may be accepted as one more
illustration of change in manners, feeling, and decencies.

Then there were strawberry and cream parties at a place called, it I
remember right, Hoopern Bowers, always with a bevy of pretty girls, for
attracting whom my plain old spinster cousin seemed to possess a special
secret; and excursions to Marypole Head, and drives over Haldon Down.
When I revisited Exeter some months ago Hoopern Bowers seemed to have
passed from the memory of man! And whether any one of the laughing girls
I had known there was still extant as a grey-headed crone, I could not
learn! Marypole Head too has been nearly swallowed up by the advancing
tide of “villas” surging up the hill, though the look-down on the other
side over Upton Pynes and the valley of the Exe is lovely as ever. And
Haldon Down at all events is as breezy as of yore!

Dr. Bowring--subsequently Sir John--was at that time resident in Exeter
with his two daughters. The doctor was hardly likely to be intimate with
Fanny Bent’s Conservative and mainly clerical friends, but, knowing
everybody, she knew him too, and rather specially liked his girls, who
used to be of our Hoopern Bower parties. Lucy Bowring was some years my
senior, but I remember thinking her very charming; she was a tall,
handsome, dark-eyed girl, decidedly clever, and a little more inclined
to be _emancipée_ in matters ecclesiastical than were the others of the
little world around her. Then there was gentle Rachel Hutchinson! How
strangely names that have not been in my mind for half a century or more
come back to me! Rachel was the daughter of a retired physician, a
widower, whom I recognised as a man of elegant and refined culture,
somewhat superior to the majority of the local clergy among whom he
lived. I can see him now, a slender, somewhat daintily dressed figure,
punctiliously courteous, with a pleasant old-world flavour in his
manner; with carefully arranged grey hair, double gold eye-glass, a blue
swallow-tailed coat, nankin trousers and polished shoes. But he did not
come to Hoopern Bowers. His daughter Rachel did; and was curiously
contrasted with Lucy Bowring in every respect. She was a small
sylph-like little figure, with blue eyes, blond hair, very pretty and
very like an angel. She was also very, very religious after the
evangelical fashion of that day, and gave me a volume of Low Church
literature, which I preserved many years with much sentiment, but, I
fear, no further profit. I think that the talks which Lucy and Rachel
and I had together over our strawberries and cream must have had some
flavour of originality about them. I do not imagine that Lucy thought or
cared much about my soul; but I fancy that Rachel felt herself to be
contending for it.

And now, all gone! Probably not one of all those who made those little
festivities so pleasant to me remains on the face of the earth! At all
events every one of them has many many years ago passed out of the
circle of light projected by my magic lanthorn!

And how many others have passed like phantasmagoric shadows across that
little circle of light! It is one of the results of such a
rolling-stone life as mine has been, that the number of persons I have
known, and even made friends of for the time, has been immense; but they
all pass like a phantom procession! How many! How many! They have
trooped on into the outer darkness and been lost!

I suppose that during the half century, or nearly that time--from 1840
to 1886--that I knew little or nothing of England, the change that has
come upon all English life has been nearly as great in one part of the
country as another. But on visiting Exeter a few months ago I was much
struck at its altered aspect, because I had known it well in my youth.
It was not so much that the new rows of houses and detached villas
seemed to have nearly doubled the extent of the city, and obliterated
many of the old features of it, as that the character of the population
seemed changed. It was less provincial--a term which cockneys naturally
use in a disparaging sense, but which in truth implies quite as much
that is pleasant, as the reverse. It seemed to have been infected by
much of the ways and spirit of London, without of course having anything
of the special advantages of London to offer. People no longer walked
down the High Street along a pavement abundantly ample for the traffic,
nodding right and left to acquaintances. Everybody knew everybody no
longer. The leisurely gossiping ways of the shopkeepers had been
exchanged for the short and sharp promptitude of London habits. I
recognised indeed the well-remembered tone of the cathedral bells. But
the cathedral and its associations and influences did not seem to hold
the same place in the city life as it did in the olden time of my young
days. There was an impalpable and very indescribable but yet
unmistakably sensible something which seemed to shut off the
ecclesiastical life on one side of the close precincts from the town
life on the other, in a manner which was new to me. I have little doubt
that if I had casually asked in any large--say--grocer’s shop in the
High Street, who was the canon in residence, I should have received a
reply indicating that the person inquired of had not an idea of what I
was talking about; and am very sure that half a century ago the reply to
the same question would have been everywhere a prompt one.

The lovely garden close under the city wall on the northern
side,--perhaps the prettiest city garden in England--with its remarkably
beautiful view of the cathedral (which used to belong to old Edmund
Granger, an especial crony of Fanny Bent’s) exists still, somewhat more
closely shut in by buildings. We were indeed permitted to walk there the
other day by the kindness of the present proprietor, merely as members
of “the public,” which would not have been dreamed of in those old days
when “the public” was less thought of than at present. But I could not
help thinking that “the public” and I, as a portion and representative
of it, must be a terrible nuisance to the owner of that beautiful and
tranquil spot, so great as seriously to diminish the value of it.

Another small difference occurs to me as illustrative of the changes
that time and _the rail_ have brought about. I heard very little of the
once familiar Devonshire dialect. Something of intonation there may yet
linger, but of the old idioms and phraseology little or nothing.

But I have been beguiled into all these reminiscences of the fair
capital of the west and my early days there, by the quicksilver mail,
itself a most compendious and almost complete illustration of the nature
of the differences between its own day and that of its successor, the
rail!

To the rail is due principally much of the changed appearance of London.
Certainly the domestic architecture of the Georgian period has little
enough of beauty to recommend it. It is insignificant, mean and prosaic
to an extraordinary degree, as we all know. But it is not marked by the
audacious, ostentatious, nightmare-hideousness of the railway arches and
viaducts and stations of modern London. It is difficult to say whether
the greatest change in the daily life and habits of a Londoner has been
produced by gas, by Peel’s police, electric telegraphy, modern postal
arrangements, or the underground railway. Can the present generation
picture to itself what London was and looked like when lighted only by
the few twinkling oil lamps which seemed to serve no other purpose save
to make darkness visible? Can it conceive a London policeless by day,
and protected at night only by a few heavily great-coated watchmen, very
generally asleep in their “boxes,” and equipped with a huge rattle in
one hand and a large stable lanthorn in the other? The twopenny post was
considered an immense boon to Londoners and their needs of quick
communication between the different districts of their even then
overgrown town. But what would they have thought of an almost hourly
postal delivery, and of the insufficient quickness of that being
supplemented by telegraphic messages, to be outstripped in their turn by
telephony? And what would the modern Londoner think of doing without all
these things?

But perhaps the underground railways have most of all revolutionised the
London habits of the present day. Why, even to me, who knew cabless
London, they seem to have become indispensable. I loathe them! The
hurry-scurry! The necessity of “looking sharp!” The difficulty of
ascertaining which carriage you are to take, and of knowing when you
have arrived at your journey’s end! The horrible atmosphere! All strong
against the deed! And yet the necessities of time and place in the huge
overgrown monster of a town seem to compel me to pass a large portion of
my hours among the sewers, when I find myself a dazed and puzzled
stranger in the town I once knew so well.

Another very striking change in the appearance of London in the jubilee
year of Queen Victoria as contrasted with the London of George the Third
and the Regency, is caused by the preposterous excess of the system of
advertising. Of course the practice is deeply rooted in causes which
profoundly affect all the developments of social life and modes of
thought, as Carlyle well understood. But I am now speaking merely of the
exterior and surface effect of the ubiquitous sheets of paper of all
colours of the rainbow, with their monstrous pictorial illustrations. I
know that to say that it vulgarises the town to a quite infinite degree
may be thought to be mere meaningless cant, or illiberal affectation,
itself truly vulgar. Yet surely the accusation must be allowed to be a
just one. If brazen-faced self-assertion, frantically eager competition
in the struggle for profit, and the persuasion that this can best be
attained by the sort of assertions and inducements with which the walls
are covered, be not vulgar, what is? And what of the public which is
attracted by the devices which the experience of those who cater for it,
teach them to employ? I miss in the London of the present day a kind of
shop which was not uncommon in the days when I first knew the
town--shops at which one description of article only was sold, and where
that one was to be had notoriously of the best possible quality; shops
that appeared to despise all the finery of glass and brass and mahogany;
where prices were not cut down to the lowest possible figure by the
competitive necessity of underselling, but where every article could be
trusted to be what it pretended to be. Shops of this kind never
advertised at all, but were content to trust for business to the
reputation they had made for themselves. I am told that everything is a
great deal cheaper than it used to be, and truly find that such is the
case. But I am not at all persuaded that I get better value for my
money. To tell the truth, it seems to my old-fashioned notions and
habits that in commercial matters we have arrived at the cheap and nasty
stage of development. I am a poor man--far too poor a man to drink
Lafitte Bordeaux. But that need not compel me to drink cheap claret or
any abomination of the kind! Good ale is far better than bad wine, and
good water better than bad beer! At least that is what the experience of
well nigh four score years has taught me!

One of my earliest strolls in London revisited lately, was to the old
haunts I had once known so well at Lincoln’s Inn. I had walked along the
new embankment lost in wonder and admiration. The most incorrigible
_laudator temporis acti_ cannot but admit that nineteenth century London
has there done something and possesses something which any city on this
earth may well be proud of! And so I came to the Temple, and rambling
through its renovated gardens and courts thought how infinitely more
inviting they looked than anything in Belgrave Square, or Mayfair!
_Templa quam dilecta!_ Why, if only a wall could be built around the
precincts high enough and strong enough to shut out London sounds and
London smells and London atmosphere, one might be almost as well there
as in Magdalen at Oxford!

And Alsatia too, its next door neighbour to the eastward, all ravaged
and routed out, its mysterious courts and light-abhorring alleys exposed
to the flouting glare of a sunshine baking a barren extent, devoted
apparently to dead cats and potsherds! That Whitefriars district used to
be a favourite exploring ground of mine after the publication of _The
Fortunes of Nigel_. How the copper captains, if condemned to walk their
former haunts, would slink away in search of the cover of darksome nooks
no longer to be found! What would Miss Trapbois’s ghost, wandering in
the unsheltered publicity of the new embankment, think of the cataclysm
which has overwhelmed the world she knew!

Then, marvelling at the ubiquitous railway bridges and arches, which
seem to return again and again like the recurring horrors of a nightmare
dream, I passed westward, where the Fleet Prison is not, and where even
Temple Bar is no more, till I came to Chancery Lane, which seemed to
retain much of its old dinginess, and passed thence under the unchanged
old gateway into Lincoln’s Inn Old Square, where my father’s chambers
were, and where I used to go to him with my nonsense verses.

Old Square looks much as it used to look, I think. And the recollection
darted across my mind--who shall say why?--of a queer-looking shambling
figure, whom my father pointed out to me one day from the window of his
chambers. “That,” said he, “is Jockey Bell, perhaps the first
conveyancer in England. He probably knows more of the law of real
property than any man breathing.” He was a rather short, squab-looking,
and very shabby figure, who walked, I think, a little lame. He came, I
was told, from the north country, and spoke with a strong Northumbrian
accent. “It is a dreadful thing to have to decipher an opinion of his,”
said my father; “he is said to have three handwritings--one when he is
sober, which he can read himself; one when he is drunk, which his clerk
can read; and one next morning after being drunk, which no human being
can read!”

And I looked for the little shabby stuffy court, in which I had so often
watched Eldon’s lowering brow, as he doubted over some knotty point. My
father had the highest opinion of his intellectual power and legal
knowledge. But he did not like him. He used to say that his mind was an
instrument of admirable precision, but his soul the soul of a pedlar. I
take it Eldon’s quintessential Toryism was obnoxious to my father’s
Liberalism. He used to repeat the following “report” of a case in the
Court of Chancery:--

    “Mr. Leech[A] made a speech;
       ’Twas learned, terse, and strong.
     Mr. Hart on the other part,
       Was neat and glib, but wrong.
     Mr. Parker made it darker;
       ’Twas dark enough without!
     Mr. Cook cited a book;
       And the Chancellor said, I doubt.”

_Una omnes premit nox!_

Of course among the other changes of sixty years language had changed.
There had been a change especially in pronunciation, a little before my
time. Only very old and old-fashioned people continued in my earliest
years to say _Room_ for Rome; _gould_ for gold; _obleege_ for oblige;
_Jeames_ for James (one of our chaplains at Winchester, I remember,
always used to speak of St. _Jeames_); a beef-_steek_ for a beef-steak;
or to pronounce the “a” in danger, stranger, and the like, as it is in
“man.” But it is a singular fact, that despite the spread, and supposed
improvement of education, the literary--or perhaps it would be better to
say the printed--language of the earlier decades of the nineteenth
century was much more correct than that of the latter part of it. I
constantly find passages in books and newspapers written with the
sublimest indifference to all grammatical rules, and all proprieties of
construction. A popular writer of fiction says that her hero “rose his
head”! And another tells her readers that something happened when “the
brunt of the edge had worn off”! There are certain words, such as
“idiosyncrasy,” “type,” “momentary,” and many others which I cannot
while writing recollect, which are constantly used, not by one writer
only, but by many, to express meanings wholly different from those which
they really bear. There is another word which is worth mentioning,
because the misuse of it is rapidly becoming endemic. I mean the verb
trouble; which it seems to me all the world before the birth of the
present generation very well knew to be an active not a neuter verb. Now
scarcely a day passes without my meeting with such phrases as “he did
not trouble,” meaning, trouble himself; “I hope you won’t trouble,”
instead of trouble yourself. To old-fashioned ears it seems a detestable
vulgarism. But as far as I can gather from observing books that have a
greater, and books that have a lesser degree, of success, and from the
remarks of the critical journals, a book is in these latter days deemed
none the worse, nor is at all less likely to find favour with the
public, because it is full of grammatical or linguistic solecisms. Now
certainly this is an instance and indication of changed ideas; for it
assuredly was not the case when George the Third was king.

Another difference between that day and this of very considerable social
significance may be observed in the character and development of the
slang in use. There was at the former period very little slang of the
kind that may be considered universal. Different classes had different
phrases and locutions that were peculiar to them, and served more or
less as a bond of union and exclusiveness as regarded outsiders. The
criminal classes had their slang. The Universities had theirs. There was
costermongers’ slang. And there was a slang peculiar to the inner
circles of the fashionable world, together with many other special
dialects that might be named. But the specialities of these various
idioms were not interchangeable, nor for the most part intelligible
outside the world to which they belonged. Nor--and this difference is a
very notable one--did slang phrases grow into acceptance with the
rapidity or universality which now characterises their advent--a notable
difference, because it, of course, arises from the increased rapidity of
communication and from the much greater degree in which all classes and
all provincial and town populations are mixed together and rubbed
against each other. It used to be said, and is still said by some old
world folks, that the use of slang is vulgar. And the younger
generation, which uses it universally, ridicules much the old fogey
narrowness which so considers it. But the truth is, that there was in
the older time nothing really vulgar in the use of the slang which then
prevailed. Why should not every class and every profession have its own
shibboleths and its own phrases? And is there not real vulgarity in the
mind which considers a man vulgar for using the language of the class to
which he really belongs? But the modern use of slang is truly vulgar for
a very different reason. It is vulgar because it arises from one of the
most intrinsically vulgar of all the vulgar tendencies of a vulgar
mind--imitation. There are slang phrases, which, because they vividly or
graphically express a conception, or clothe it with humour, are
admirable. But they are admirable only in the mouths of their inventors.

Of course it is an abuse of language to say that the beauty of a pretty
girl strikes you with awe. But he who _first_ said of some girl that she
was “awfully” pretty, was abundantly justified by the half humorous half
serious consideration of all the effects such loveliness may produce.
But then, because this was felt to be the case, and the _mot_ was
accepted, all the tens of thousands of idiotic cretins who have been
rubbed down into exact similarity to each other by excessive locomotion
and the “spread” of education--spread indeed after the fashion in which
a gold-beater spreads his metal--imitate each other in the senseless use
of it. They are just like the man in the _Joe Miller_ story, who,
because a laugh followed when a host, whose servant let fall a dish with
a boiled tongue in it, said it was only a _lapsus linguæ_, ordered his
own servant to throw down a leg of mutton, and then made the same
remark!

There was an old gentleman who had a very tolerable notion of what is
vulgar and what is not, and who characterised “imitators” as a “servile
herd.” And surely, if, as we are often told, this is a vulgar age, the
fact is due to the prevalence of this very tap-root of vulgarity,
imitation. Of course I am not speaking of imitation in any of the
various cases in which there is an end in view outside the fact of the
imitation. The child in order to speak must imitate those whom it hears
speaking. If you would make a pudding, you must imitate the cook; if a
coat, the tailor. But the imitation which is essentially vulgar, the
very tap-root, as I have said, of vulgarity, is imitation for
imitation’s sake. And that is why I think modern slang is essentially
vulgar. If it is your real opinion--right or wrong matters not--that any
slang phrase expresses any idea with peculiar accuracy, vividness, or
humour, use it by all means; and he is a narrow blockhead who sees any
vulgarity in your doing so. But for heaven’s sake, my dear Dick, don’t
use it merely because you heard Bob use it!

Yet there is something pathetically humble too about a man so conscious
of his own worthlessness as to be ever anxious to look like somebody
else. And surely a man must have a painful consciousness of his
inability to utter any word of his own with either wit or wisdom or
sense in it, who habitually strives to borrow the wit of the last
retailer of the current slang whom he has heard.

In some respects, however, this is, I think, a less vulgar age than that
of my youth. Vulgar exclusiveness on grounds essentially illiberal was
far more common. It will perhaps seem hardly credible at the present day
that middle-class professional society, such as that of barristers,
physicians, rectors, and vicars, should sixty years ago have deemed
attorneys and general medical practitioners (or apothecaries, as the
usual, and somewhat depreciatory term was) inadmissible to social
equality. But such was the case. My reminiscences of half a century or
more ago seem to indicate also that professional etiquette has been
relaxed in various other particulars. I hear of physicians being in
partnership with others of the same profession--an arrangement which has
a commercial savour in it that would have been thought quite _infra
dig._ in my younger day. I hear also of their accepting, if not perhaps
exacting, payments of a smaller amount than the traditional guinea.
This was unheard of in the old days. An English physician is a member of
the most generously liberal profession that exists or ever existed on
earth. And it was an every-day occurrence for a physician to think more
of the purse of his patient than of the value of his own services. But
he did this either by refusing to accept any fee whatever, or by
declining it on the occasion of subsequent visits: never by diminishing
the amount of it. In some other cases professional dignity had to be
maintained under circumstances that entailed considerable sacrifices on
those who were called upon to maintain it. It was not etiquette, for
instance, for a barrister going on circuit to travel otherwise than by a
private conveyance. He might hire a post chaise, or he might ride his
own horse, or even a hired one, but he must not travel by a stage coach,
or put up at an hotel. I have heard it said that this rule originated in
the notion that a barrister travelling to an assize town by the public
coach might fall in with some attorney bound on a similar errand, and
might so be led, if not into the sin, at least into temptation to the
sin of “huggery.” I dare say many a young barrister of the present day
does not know what huggery means or meant!

Among the sights and sounds which were familiar to the eye and ear in
the London of my youth, and which are so no longer, may be mentioned the
twopenny postman. Not many probably of the rising generation are aware,
that in their fathers’ days the London postal service was dual The
“twopenny postman,” who delivered letters sent from one part of London
to another, was a different person from the “general postman,” who
delivered those which came from the country. The latter wore a scarlet,
the former a blue livery. And the two administrations were entirely
distinct. In those days, when a letter from York to London cost a
shilling, or not much less, the weight of a single letter was limited
solely by the condition that it must be written on one sheet or piece of
paper only. Two pieces of paper, however small, or however light,
incurred a double postage. I have sent for a single postage an enormous
sheet of double folio outweighing some ten sheets of ordinary post
paper. Of course envelopes were unknown. Every sheet had to be folded so
that it could be sealed and the address written on the back of it.

Another notable London change which occurs to me is that which has come
to the Haymarket. In my day it was really such. The whole right hand
side of the street going downwards, from the Piccadilly end to the Opera
House, used to be lined with loads of hay. The carts were arranged in
close order side by side with their back parts towards the foot
pavement, which was crowded by the salesmen and their customers.

I might say a good deal too about the changes in the theatrical London
world and habits, but the subject is a large one, and has been
abundantly illustrated. It is moreover one which in its details is not
of an edifying nature. And it must suffice, therefore, to bear my
testimony to the greatness of the purifying change which has been
brought about in all the habits of playgoers and playhouses mainly and
firstly by the exertions of my mother’s old and valued friend Mr.
Macready.



CHAPTER III.


I was, I think, about eight years old when my parents removed from
Keppel Street to Harrow-on-the-Hill. My father’s practice, I take it,
was becoming less and less satisfactory, and his health equally so. And
the move to Harrow was intended as a remedy or palliation for both these
evils. My father was a very especially industrious and laborious man.
And I have the authority of more than one very competent judge among his
professional contemporaries for believing that he was as learned a
Chancery lawyer as was to be found among them. How then was his want of
success to be accounted for? One of the competent authorities above
alluded to accounted for it thus: “Your father,” he said to me many
years afterwards, when his troubles and failures had at last ceased to
afflict him, “never came into contact with a blockhead without insisting
on irrefutably demonstrating to him that he was such. And the blockhead
did not like it! He was a disputatious man; and he was almost in
variably--at least on a point of law--right. But the world differed
from him in the opinion that being so gave him the right of rolling his
antagonist in the dust and executing an intellectual dance of triumph on
his prostrate form.” He was very fond of whist, and was I believe a good
player. But people did not like to play with him. “Many men,” said an
old friend once, “will scold their partners occasionally. But Trollope
invariably scolds us all round with the utmost impartiality; and that
every deal!”

He was, in a word, a highly respected, but not a popular or well-beloved
man. Worst of all, alas! he was not popular in his own home. No one of
all the family circle was happy in his presence. Assuredly he was as
affectionate and anxiously solicitous a father as any children ever had.
I never remember his caning, whipping, beating or striking any one of
us. But he used during the detested Latin lessons to sit with his arm
over the back of the pupil’s chair, so that his hand might be ready to
inflict an instantaneous pull of the hair as the _pœna_ (by no means
_pede claudo_) for every blundered concord or false quantity; the result
being to the scholar a nervous state of expectancy, not judiciously
calculated to increase intellectual receptivity. There was also a
strange sort of asceticism about him, which seemed to make enjoyment or
any employment of the hours save work, distasteful and offensive to him.
Lessons for us boys were never over and done with. It was sufficient for
my father to see any one of us “idling,” _i.e._ not occupied with book
work, to set us to work quite irrespectively of the previously assigned
task of the day having been accomplished. And this we considered to be
unjust and unfair.

I have said that the move to Harrow was in some degree caused by a hope
that the change might be beneficial to my father’s health. He had
suffered very distressingly for many years from bilious headache, which
gradually increased upon him during the whole of his life. I may say
parenthetically that from about fifteen to forty I suffered
occasionally, about once a fortnight perhaps, from the same malady,
though in a much less intense form. But at about forty years old I
seemed to have grown out of it, and since that time have never been
troubled by it. But in my father’s day the common practice was to treat
such complaints with calomel. He was constantly having recourse to that
drug. And I believe that it had the effect of shattering his nervous
system in a deplorable manner. He became increasingly irritable; never
with the effect of causing him to raise a hand against any one of us,
but with the effect of making intercourse with him so sure to issue in
something unpleasant, that unconsciously we sought to avoid his
presence, and to consider as hours of enjoyment only those that could be
passed away from it.

My mother’s disposition on the other hand was of the most genial,
cheerful, happy, _enjoué_ nature imaginable. All our happiest hours were
spent with her; and to any one of us a _tête-à-tête_ with her was
preferable to any other disposal of a holiday hour. But even this under
all the circumstances did not tend to the general harmony and happiness
of the family circle. For of course the facts and the results of them
must have been visible to my father; and though wholly inoperative to
produce the smallest change in his ways, must, I cannot doubt, have been
painful to him. It was all very sad. My father was essentially a good
man. But he was, I fear, a very unhappy one.

He was extremely fond of reading aloud to the assembled family in the
evening; and there was not one individual of those who heard him who
would not have escaped from doing so, at almost any cost. Of course it
was our duty to conceal this extreme reluctance to endure what was to
him a pleasure--a duty which I much fear was very imperfectly performed.
I remember--oh, how well!--the nightly readings during one winter of
_Sir Charles Grandison_, and the loathing disgust for that production
which they occasioned.

But I do not think that I and my brothers were bad boys. We were, I take
it, always obedient. And one incident remains in my mind from a day now
nearly seventy years ago, which seems to prove that the practice of that
virtue was habitual to me. An old friend of my mother’s, Mrs. Gibbon,
with her daughter Kate, mentioned on a former page as the companion of
my lessons in the alphabet, were staying with us at Harrow. Mrs. Gibbon
and Kate, and my mother and I were returning from a long country ramble,
across some fields in a part of the country my mother was not
acquainted with. There was a steep grassy declivity, down which I and
the little girl, my contemporary, hand in hand were running headlong in
front of our respective parents, when my mother suddenly called out,
“Stop, Tom!” I stopped forthwith, and came to heel as obediently as a
well-trained pointer. And about five minutes later, my mother and Mrs.
Gibbon, following exactly in the line in which we had been running,
discovered a long disused but perfectly open and unfenced well!

If I had not obeyed so promptly as I did, I should not now be writing
“reminiscences,” and poor “Katy ’Bon,” as I used to call her, would have
gone to her rest some ten years earlier than she found it. My mother
always said that she could in no wise account for the impulse which
prompted her to call to me to stop!

The move to Harrow was as infelicitous a step in the economic point of
view as it was inefficacious as a measure of health. My father took a
farm, of some three or four hundred acres, to the best of my
recollection, from Lord Northwick. It was a wholly disastrous
speculation. It certainly was the case that he paid a rent for it far in
excess of its fair value; and he always maintained that he had been led
to undertake to do so by inaccurate and false representations. I have no
knowledge of these representations, but I am absolutely certain that my
father was entirely convinced that they were such as he characterised
them. But he was educated to be a lawyer, and was a good one. He had
never been educated to be a farmer; and was, I take it, despite
unwearied activity, and rising up early and late taking rest, a bad one.

To make matters worse moreover he built on that land, of which he held
only a long lease, a large and very good house. The position was
excellently chosen, the house was well conceived and well built, and the
extensive gardens and grounds were well designed and laid out; but the
unwisdom of doing all that on land the property of another is but too
obvious.

The excuse that my father might have alleged was that he was by no means
wholly dependent either on his profession or on his farm, or on the not
inconsiderable property which he had inherited from his father or
enjoyed in right of his wife. He had an old maternal uncle, Adolphus
Meetkerke, who lived on his estate near Royston in Hertfordshire, called
Julians. Mr. Meetkerke--the descendant of a Dutchman who had come to
this country some time in the eighteenth century as diplomatic
representative of his country, and had settled here--lived at Julians
with an old childless wife--the daughter, I believe, of a General
Chapman--and my father was his declared heir. He had another nephew, Mr.
John Young, as flourishing and prosperous an attorney as my father was
an unsuccessful and unprosperous barrister. John Young, too, was as
worthy and as highly-respected a man as any in the profession. But my
father, as settled long years before, was to be the heir; and I was in
due time shown to the tenantry as their future landlord, and all that
sort of thing. I suppose my grandfather, the Rev. Anthony Trollope, of
Cottenham in Hertfordshire, married an elder sister of old Adolphus
Meetkerke, while the father of John Young married a younger one. And so,
come what might of the Harrow farm and the new house, I was to be the
future owner of Julians, and live on my own acres.

Again, _Dîs aliter visum_!

I well remember more than one visit to Julians with my parents about
this time--visits singularly contrasted with those to my Grandfather
Milton, the vicar of Heckfield. The house and establishment at Julians
were on a far more pretentious scale than the home of the vicar, and the
mode of life in the squire’s establishment larger and freer. But I liked
Heckfield better than Julians; partly, I think, even at that early age,
because the former is situated in an extremely pretty country, whereas
the neighbourhood of the other is by no means such. But I please myself
with thinking, and do really believe, that the main reason for the
preference was that the old Bristol saddler’s son was a far more
highly-cultured man than the Hertfordshire squire.

He was a good man, too, was old Adolphus Meetkerke; a good landlord, a
kindly natured man, a good sportsman, an active magistrate, and a good
husband to his old wife. But there was a sort of flavour of roughness
about the old squire and his surroundings which impressed itself on my
observation even in those days, and would, I take it, nowadays be deemed
almost clownish rusticity.

Right well do I remember the look and figure of my Aunt Meetkerke,
properly great-aunt-in-law. She was an admirable specimen of a squiress,
as people and things were in that day. I suppose that there was not a
poor man or woman in the parish with whose affairs of all sorts she was
not intimately acquainted, and to whom she did not play the part of an
ever-active providence. She always came down to breakfast clad in a
green riding-habit, and passed most of her life on horseback. After
dinner, in the long low drawing-room, with its faded stone-coloured
curtains and bookless desert spaces, she always slept, as peacefully as
she does now in Julians churchyard. She never meddled at all with the
housekeeping of her establishment. That was in the hands of “Mrs. Anne,”
an old maiden sister of Mr. Meetkerke. She was a prim-looking,
rosy-apple-faced, most good-natured little woman. She always carried a
little basket in her hand, in which were the keys, and a never-changed
volume of Miss Austen’s _Pride and Prejudice_, which she always
recommenced as soon as she had worked her way to the end of it. Though a
very precise sort of person, she would frequently come down to breakfast
a few minutes late, to find her brother standing on the hearth-rug with
his prayer-book open in his hand waiting for her arrival to begin
prayers to the assembled household. He had a wonderfully strong rasping
voice, the tones of which were rarely modulated under any circumstances.
I can hear now his reverberating, “Five minutes too late again, Mrs.
Anne; ‘Dearly beloved brethren,’” ... etc., the change of person
addressed, and of subject, having been marked by no pause or break
whatever save the sudden kneeling at the head of the breakfast table;
while at the conclusion of the short, but never missed prayers, the
transition from “Amen” to “William, bring round the brown mare after
breakfast” was equally unmarked by pause or change of voice or manner.

The parish in which Julians is situated is a small vicarage, the
incumbent of which was at that time a bachelor, Mr. Skinner. The church
was a very small one, and my great-uncle and his family the only persons
in the congregation above the rank of the two or three small farmers and
the agricultural labourers who mainly composed it. Whether there was any
clerk or not I do not remember. But if any such official existed, the
performance of his office in church was altogether not only overlaid but
extinguished by the great rough “view-halloa” sort of voice of my uncle.
He never missed going to church, and never missed a word of the
responses, which were given in far louder tones than those of the vicar.
Something of a hymn was always attempted, I remember, by the rustic
congregation; with what sort of musical effect may be imagined! I don’t
think my Uncle Meetkerke could have distinguished much between their
efforts and the music of the spheres. But the singers were so well
pleased with the exercise that they were apt to prolong it, as my uncle
thought, somewhat unduly. And on such occasions he would cut the
performance short with a rasping “That’s enough!” which effectually
brought it to an abrupt conclusion. The very short sermon--probably a
better one for the purpose in hand than South or Andrews would have
preached--having been brought to an end, my uncle would sing out to the
vicar, as he was descending the pulpit stairs, “Come up to dinner,
Skinner!” And then we all marched out, while the rustics, still
retaining their places till we were fairly out of the door, made their
obeisances as we passed. All which phenomena, strongly contrasted as
they were with the decorous if somewhat sleepy performance in my
grandfather’s church at Heckfield, greatly excited my interest. I
remember that I had no dislike to attending service either at Heckfield
or Julians, while I intensely disliked making one of a London
congregation.

If I remember right there were two or three Dissenters and their
families at Heckfield, generally considered by their neighbours much as
so many Chinese settled among them might have been--as unaccountably
strange and as objectionable. But nothing of the sort existed at
Julians; and I take it, as far as may be judged from my uncle’s general
tone and manner in managing his parish, that any individual guilty of
such monstrous and unnatural depravity would at once have been consigned
to the parish stocks.

Mr. Meetkerke was, as I have said, an active magistrate. But only one
instance of his activity in this respect dwells in my recollection. I
remember to have seen, in the nondescript little room that he called his
study, a collection of some ten or a dozen very nasty-looking pots, with
some white pasty looking substance in each of them, and to have wondered
greatly what mystery could have been attached to them. I learned from
the butler’s curt word of information that they were connected with my
uncle’s magisterial duties, and my mind immediately began to construct
all kinds of imaginings about wholesale poisonings. I had heard the
story of the “Untori” at Milan, and had little doubt that we were in the
midst of some such horrible conspiracy. A few days later I learned that
the nasty-looking pots were the result of a magisterial raid among the
bakers, and contained nothing worse than alum.

These reminiscences of Julians and its little world recurred to me when
speaking of my father’s financial position at the time he took a farm at
Harrow and built a handsome house on another man’s land. He was at that
time Mr. Meetkerke’s declared heir, and would doubtless have inherited
his property in due time had childless old Mrs. Meetkerke lived. But one
day she unexpectedly took off her green habit for the last time, and in
a day or two was laid under yet more perennial green in the little
churchyard! Mr. Meetkerke was at that time over sixty. But he was as
fine an old man physically as anybody could wish to see. Before long he
married a young wife, and became the father of six children! It was of
course a tremendous blow to my father, and never, as I can say from much
subsequent information, was such a blow better or more bravely borne. As
for myself, I cannot remember that the circumstance impressed me as
having any bearing whatsoever on my personal fate and fortunes. In after
years I heard it asserted in more than one quarter that my father had in
a great measure himself to thank for his disappointment. He was a
Liberal in politics after the fashion of those days, (which would make
excellent Conservatism in these,) while Mr. Meetkerke was a Tory of the
very oldest school. The Tory uncle was very far indeed from being an
intellectual match for his Liberal nephew, and no doubt used to talk in
his fine old hunting-field voice a great deal of nonsense which no
consideration of either affection, respect, or prudence, could induce my
father to spare. I fear he used to jump on the hearty old squire very
persistently, with the result _à la longue_ of ceasing to be a _personâ
gratâ_ to the old man. It _may_ be that had it been otherwise he might
have sought affection and companionship elsewhere than from a young
wife. But ...!

My father, as I have said, struggled bravely with fortune, but as far as
I have ever been able to learn, with ever increasing insuccess. His
practice as a barrister dwindled away gradually till it became not worth
while to keep chambers; and his farming accounts showed very
frequently--every year, I suspect--a deficit.

One of the reasons for selecting Harrow as his scene of rustication had
been the existence of the school there. I and my brothers were all of us
destined from our cradles to become Wykehamists, and it was never my
father’s intention that Harrow instead of Winchester should be our
definitive place of education. But the idea was, that we might, before
going to Winchester, avail ourselves of the right to attend his parish
school which John Lyon bequeathed to the parishioners of Harrow.

I went to Winchester at ten years old. The time for me to do so did not
wholly depend on the will of my parents, for the admission in those
days, as in all former days up to quite recent times, was by nomination
in this wise. There were six electors:--1. the Warden of New College,
(otherwise more accurately in accordance with the terms of Wykeham’s
foundation, the College of St. Mary Winton _prope_ Winton); 2. the
Warden of Winchester College; 3. the Sub-Warden of Winchester; 4. the
“Informator” or head master of Winchester; and 5. and 6. two “Posers”
sent yearly by New College, according to a certain cycle framed _ad
hoc_, to the Winchester election. It was at the election which took
place in July that all vacancies among the seventy scholars, who
together with the warden, fellows, two masters, chaplains, and
choristers constituted the members of Wykeham’s foundation, were filled.
The vacancies were caused either by the election of scholars to be
fellows of New College, or by their superannuation at eighteen years of
age, or by their withdrawal from the school. The number of vacancies in
any year was therefore altogether uncertain. The first two vacancies
were filled by boys who came in as “College Founders,” _i.e._ as of kin
to the founder. Of course the bishop’s kin could be only collateral; and
I remember that “the best blood,” was considered to be that of the
Twistletons. Originally there had been an absolute preference for those
who could show such relationship. But as time went on it became apparent
that the entire college would thus be filled with Founder’s kin; and it
was determined that two such only should be admitted to Winchester every
year, and two only sent out to fellowships at New College. Even so the
proportion of fellowships at the Oxford College awarded to Founder’s kin
was large, for it was reckoned in those days that the average vacancies
at New College, which were caused only by death, marriage, or the
acceptance of a college living, amounted to seven in two years, of which
the Founder’s kin took four. And this rule operated with certain
regularity. For the superannuation at eighteen did not apply to
Founder’s kin, who remained in the school, be their age what it might,
till they went to New College.

These two boys of Founder’s kin were admitted by the votes of the six
electors. After them came the boy nominated by the Warden of New
College; then the nominee of the Warden of Winchester; and so on till
the eighth vacancy was filled by the nominee of the junior “Poser.” Then
a ninth vacancy was taken by the Warden of New College’s second
nomination, and so on. Of course the vacancies for Winchester were much
more numerous than those for the Oxford College; and it often happened
that the “Poser’s” second or sometimes even third nomination had a very
good chance of getting in in the course of the year. The cycle for
“Posers,” which I have mentioned, allowed it to be known who would be
“Poser” for a given year many years in advance; and the senior “Poser’s”
first nomination for 1820 had been promised to me before I was out of my
cradle. He was the Rev. Mr. Lipscomb, who subsequently became Bishop of
Jamaica. It was written therefore in the book of fate that I was to go
to Winchester in the year 1820, when I should be ten years old.

That time, however, was not yet; but was looked forward to by me with a
somewhat weighty sense of the inevitability of destiny. And I can well
remember meditating on the three fateful epochs which awaited me--to
wit, having certain teeth taken out in the immediate future; going to
Winchester in the _paulo post futurum_; and being married in the
ultimate consummation of things. All three seemed to me to need being
faced with a certain dogged fortitude of endurance. But I think that the
terrors of the first loomed the largest in my imagination, doubtless by
virtue of its greater proximity.

I remember, too, at a very early age maintaining in my own mind, if not
in argument with others, that to be brave one must be very much afraid
and act in despite of fear, and uninfluenced by it and that not to fear
at all, as I heard predicated of themselves by sundry contemporaries,
indicated simply stupidity. And when the day for the dentist came my
heart was in my boots, but they carried me unfalteringly to St. Martin’s
Lane all the same.

At present, however, we are at Harrow getting into my father’s new
house, and establishing ourselves in our new home. It was soon arranged
that I was to attend the school, scarcely, as I remember, as a regular
inscribed scholar attending the lessons in the school-room, but as a
private pupil of the Rev. Mark Drury. I was about eight years old at the
time; and I suppose should hardly have been accepted as an admitted
member of the school.

At that time Dr. Butler, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough, was the head
master. He was not the right man in the right place. He was, I take it,
far more adapted for a bishop than a schoolmaster. Moreover, there were
certain difficulties in his position not necessarily connected with the
calling of a head master. He had succeeded Dr. Drury in the head
mastership, and he found the school full of Drurys. Mark, the brother of
Dr. Drury, was the second master; a Mr. Evans, a respectable quiet
nonentity, was the third; Harry Drury, a son of the old doctor, was the
fourth, and was the most energetic and influential man in the place;
William Drury, the son of Mark, was the fifth; and two young men of the
names of Mills and Batten were the sixth and seventh masters. They were
all in priests’ orders, and all received as many boarders as they could
get. For the objectionable system, which made the fortunes of the
masters far more dependent on their trade as victuallers than on their
profession as teachers, had been copied from Eton, with the further evil
consequence of swamping John Lyon’s parochial school by the creation of
a huge boarding school. This, however eminently successful, has no
proper claim to be called a “public school,” save by a modern laxity of
language, which has lost sight of the fact that the only meaning or
possible definition of a “public school” is, one the foundation of which
was intended not for a parish or other district, but for all England. If
merely success, and consequent size, be held to confer a claim to the
title, it is clear that there is no “private” school which would not
become a “public school” to-morrow if the master and proprietor of it
could command a sufficient amount of success. And even then the question
would remain, _What_ amount of success must that be?

The world in general, however, dislikes accuracy of speaking. And Harrow
was then, and has been since, abundantly large enough and successful
enough to be called and considered a “public school” by the generality,
who never take the trouble to ask themselves, What makes it such?

Dr. Butler was eminently a gentleman, extremely suave in manner, gentle
in dealing with those under his authority, mild and moderate in his
ideas of discipline, a genuinely scholarly man in tastes and pursuits,
though probably not what experts in such a matter would have called a
profound scholar. But he had not the energetic hand needed for ruling a
large school; and his rule was not a success. Mark Drury, though from
the old Drury connection his house was always full of pupils, cannot be
said to have exercised any influence at all on the general condition and
management of the school by reason of the extraordinary and abnormal
corpulence which kept him pretty well a prisoner to the armchair in his
study. He had long since, at the time when I first knew him, abandoned
the practice of “going up,” as it was technically called, _i.e._, of
climbing the last portion of Harrow Hill through the village street. On
this topmost part of the hill are situated the church, the churchyard,
and the school-house, rebuilt, enlarged, beautified, since my day; and
this “going up” had to be performed by all the masters and all the boys
every time school was attended. But of this climb Mark Drury had been
incapable for many years, solely by reason of his immense corpulence.
Naturally a small delicately-made man, with small hands and feet, he had
become in old age the fattest man I think I ever saw. He used to sit in
his study, and there conduct the business of tuition, leaving to others
the work of hearing lessons in school.

His house had the reputation of being the most comfortable of all the
boarding houses--a fact due to the unstinting liberality, careful
supervision, and motherly kindness of “Mother Mark,” an excellent and
admirable old lady, than whom it would be impossible to conceive any one
more fitted for the position she occupied. The unstinting liberality, it
is fair to say, characterised all the Drury houses; and probably the
others also. But for truly motherly care there was but one “Mother
Mark.” “Old Mark” was exceedingly popular, as indeed he deserved to be,
for a more kindly-natured man never existed. He had an old-fashioned
belief in the virtues of the rod; and though his bodily infirmity
combined with his good nature to make him sparing in the application of
it, a flogging was at his hands sufficiently disagreeable to make one
desirous of avoiding it. “Your clock,” he would say, “requires to be
wound up every Monday morning,” meaning that a Monday morning flogging
was a good beginning of the week. But the rods were kept in a cupboard
in the study--how well I remember the Bluebeard-closet sort of
reputation which surrounded it!--and the cupboard was always kept
locked. And very often it happened that somehow or other the key was in
the keeping of Mrs. Drury. Then a message would be sent to Mrs. Drury
for the key, and very probably the proposed patient was the messenger,
in which case--and it is strange that the recurrence of the fact did not
suggest suspicion to old Mark--it almost invariably happened that Mrs.
Drury was very sorry, but she could not find the key anywhere! There
never surely was a key so frequently mislaid as the key of that terrible
cupboard!

Well, it was arranged that I was to go every day to Mark Drury’s study,
not, as I have said, as a regular member of the school, but to get such
tuition as might be picked up from the _genius loci_, and from such
personal teaching as the old man could bestow on me at moments
unoccupied by his own pupils. And this arrangement, it must be
understood, was entirely a matter of friendship--one incident of the
many years’ friendship between my parents and all the Drurys. There was
no question of any honorarium in the matter.

My father’s appetite for teaching was such that he would, I am very
sure, have much preferred keeping my brother and myself under his sole
tuition. But he used to drive up to London in his gig daily to his
chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, for he still struggled to hope on at his
profession. (I remember that these drives down in the dark winter
evenings became a source of some anxiety when a messenger travelling
with despatches for the French Minister, who at that time rented Lord
Northwick’s house at Harrow, was mysteriously murdered and his
despatches stolen.) And it thus became necessary that some means should
be found for preventing us boys from making _école buissonière_ in the
fields and under the hedgerows.

I do not think I profited much by my attendance at old Mark’s
pupil-room. The boys whose lessons he was hearing stood in a row in
front of his armchair, and I sat behind him, supposed to be intently
occupied in conning the task he had set me, in preparation for the
moment, when, the class before him having been dismissed, he would have
little me, all alone, in front of him for a few minutes, while another
class was mustering.

How I hated it all! How very much more bitterly I hated it than I ever
hated any subsequent school troubles! What a Pariah I was among these
denizens of Mark’s and other pupil-rooms! For I was a “town boy,”
“village boy” would have been a more correct designation; one of the
very few, who by the terms of the founder’s will, had any right to be
there at all; and was in consequence an object of scorn and contumely on
the part of all the _paying_ pupils. I was a charity boy. But at
Winchester subsequently I was far more of a charity boy, for William of
Wykeham’s foundation provided me with food and lodging as well as
tuition; whereas I claimed and received nothing save a modicum of the
latter at the hands of those who enjoyed and administered John Lyon’s
bounty. Yet, though at Winchester there were only seventy scholars and a
hundred and thirty private pupils of the head master, or “commoners,”
there was no trace whatsoever of any analogous feeling, no slightest
arrogation of any superiority, social or other, on the part of the
commoner over the collegian. In fact the matter was rather the other
way; any difference between the son of the presumably richer man, and
the presumably poorer, having been merged and lost sight of entirely in
the higher scholastic dignity of the college boy.

I remember also, more vividly than I could wish, the bullying to which I
and others were subjected at Harrow. There was much of a very brutal
description. And in this respect also the difference at Winchester was
very marked. The theory of the two places on the subject was entirely
different, with the result I have stated. At Harrow, in those days--how
it may be now I know not--no “fagging” was authorised or permitted by
the masters. No boy had any legitimate authority over any other boy. And
inasmuch as it was, is, and ever will be, in every large school
impossible to achieve such a Saturnian state of things, the result was
that the bigger and stronger _assumed_ an authority supported by sheer
violence over the smaller and weaker. At Winchester, on the other hand,
the subjection of those below them in college to the “prefects” or upper
class, was not only recognised but enforced by the authorities. It thus
came to pass that many a big hulking fellow was subjected to the
authority of a “prefect” whom he could have tossed over his head. It was
an authority nobody dreamed of resisting; a matter of course; not a rule
of the stronger supported by violence. And the result--contributed to,
also, by other arrangements, of which I shall speak hereafter--was that
anything of the nature of “bullying” was infinitely rarer at Winchester
than at Harrow.

Despite old Mark’s invariable good-nature and kindness, my hours in his
study were very unhappy ones; and I was hardly disposed to consider as a
misfortune a severe illness which attacked me and my brother Henry, and
for the nonce put an end to them. Very shortly it became clear that we
were both suffering from a bad form of typhus. How was such an attack to
be accounted for? My father’s new house was visited, and examined, and
found to be above suspicion. But further inquiry elicited the fact that
we boys had passed a half hour before breakfast in watching the
proceedings of some men engaged in cleaning and restoring an old drain
connected with a neighbouring farm house. The case was clear! It would
seem, however, that the proper mode of treatment was not so clear to the
Harrow general practitioner--a village apothecary of the old school,
who, strange as it may seem, was the only available _medico_ at Harrow
in those far off days. He treated us with calomel, and very, very nearly
let me slip through his hands. It would have been _quite_, but for a
fortunate chance. Among our Harrow friends was a Mrs. Edwards, the widow
of a once very well known bookseller--not a publisher, but a scholarly,
and indeed learned, seller of old books--who had, I believe, left her a
considerable fortune. She was a highly cultured, and very clever woman,
and a special friend of my mother’s. Now it so happened that a Dr. Butt,
a physician, her brother, or brother-in-law, I forget which, paid her a
visit just at the time we boys were at the worst. Mrs. Edwards brought
him to our bedsides. I was altogether unconscious, and had been raving
about masters coming in at the window to drag me off to the pupil-room.
My knowledge of what followed therefore is derived wholly from my
mother’s subsequent telling. Dr. Butt, having learned the treatment to
which we had been subjected, said only “No more calomel, I think. Let me
have a glass of port wine immediately.” And with his finger on my wrist,
he proceeded to administer a teaspoonful at a time of the cordial. A few
more visits from Dr. Butt set us fairly on the way to recovery; and from
that day, some sixty-eight years ago, to the present, I have never
passed one day in bed from illness.



CHAPTER IV.


Another incident of these boyish years of a very different complexion
has made a far deeper impression on my memory. It must have been, to the
best of my remembrance, about the same time, probably some six months
later in the same year, that it was decided that I was to accompany my
father and mother in a “long vacation” ramble which had long been
projected. My father’s method of travel on this excursion, which was to
include parts of Sussex, Hampshire, Wilts, Devon, Somerset, and
Monmouth, was to drive my mother and myself in his gig, accompanied by a
servant riding another horse, who was provided with a pair of traces to
hook on as tandem whenever the nature of the road required such
assistance. I think that this tour afforded me some of the happiest days
and hours I have ever known. I can never forget the ecstasy of delight
with which I looked forward to it, and the preparations I
made--suggested probably, some of them, by the experiences of Robinson
Crusoe. The distance and differentiation between me and other boys of my
acquaintance which was caused by my destination to this great adventure
I felt to be such as that which may be supposed to exist between
Livingstone and the stay-at-home mortals who read his books.

We started after breakfast one fine morning, “George,” the footman,
turned into groom and courier, riding after the gig. I considered this a
disappointingly tame proceeding. I had been up myself considerably
before daylight, and considered that, looking to the arduous nature of
the journey before us (we were to sleep at Dorking that night), we ought
at least to have been on the road while the less adventurous part of the
world were still asleep.

We had not proceeded many miles before an _amari aliquid_ disclosed
itself of a very distressing kind. I was seated on a little box placed
on the floor of the gig between the knees of my father and mother, and
was “as happy as a prince,” or probably much happier than any
contemporaneous prince then in Christendom, when my father produced from
out of the driving seat beneath him a Delphin _Virgil_, and intimated to
me that our journey must by no means entail an entire interruption of my
education; that our travelling was not at all incompatible with a little
study; and that he was ready to hear me construe. It may be readily
imagined how much such “study” was likely to profit me. Every incident
of the road, every waggon, every stage coach we met, every village
church seen across the fields, every milestone even, was a matter of
intense interest to me. Had I been Argus-eyed every eye would have been
busy. I remember that my mother remonstrated, but in vain. And an hour
or two of otherwise intense delight was turned into something which it
is scarcely an exaggeration to call torture. I think, however, that my
mother must have subsequently renewed her pleadings, for on the second
day’s journey the _Virgil_ was not brought out. It was reserved for the
days when we were stationary, but no longer poisoned our absolute
travel.

If I never became a distinguished scholar it was assuredly from no want
of urgency in season and out of season on the part of my poor father.
But not even _Virgil_ himself, backed by an _Eton Latin Grammar_ and a
small travelling dictionary, could altogether destroy the manifold
delights of that journey. I must not inflict on my reader all or a tithe
of my topographical reminiscences: but I will relate one little
adventure which went near to saving him not only from this volume but
from all that half a century, and more, of subsequent pen-work may have
inflicted on him. It was at Gloucester. My parents and I had gone to the
cathedral about a quarter of an hour before the time for service on a
Sunday morning. The great bell was being rung--an operation which was at
that time performed by seven bell-ringers down in the body of the
church. One large rope, descending from an aperture in the vault, was,
at some dozen or so of feet from the pavement, divided into seven--one
for each of the bell-ringers. Now it so happened that on that day one of
the men was absent from his post, and one rope hung loose and
unoccupied. No sooner had I espied this state of things than I rushed
forward and seized the vacant rope, intending to add my efforts to those
of the six men at work. But it so happened that at the moment when I
thus clutched the rope the men had raised the bell, and of course at the
end of their pull allowed the ropes to fly upwards through their hands.
But I, knowing nothing of bell-ringing, clung tightly to my rope, and
was of course swung up from the pavement with terrific speed.
Fortunately the height of the vault was so great as to allow the full
swing of the bell to complete itself without bringing me into contact
with the roof. The men cried out to me to hold on tight. I did so, and
descended safely--so unharmed that I was very desirous of repeating the
experiment, which, as may be supposed, was not allowed. I can pull a
bell more knowingly now.

The charming old church at Gloucester was not kept and cared for in
those days as it is now--a remark which is applicable, as recent visits
have shown me, to nearly all the cathedral churches in England. I may
observe also, since one object of these pages is to mark the social
changes in English life since my young days, that the improvement in the
tone and manner of performing the choral service in our cathedrals is as
striking as the increased care for the fabrics. It used for the most
part to be a careless, perfunctory, and not very reverent or decorous
performance when George the Third was king. Those were the days when one
minor canon could be backed to give another to “Pontius Pilate” in the
Creed, and beat him! Other times, other manners!

I think that the points in that still well-remembered tour, that most of
all delighted me, were, first of all, Lynton and Lynmouth, on the north
coast of Devon; then the banks of the Wye from Chepstow to Ross; and
thirdly, Raglan Castle. I had already read the _Mysteries of Udolpho_,
with more enjoyment probably than any other reading has ever afforded
me. It was an ecstasy of delight, tempered only by the impossibility of
gratifying my intense longing to start forthwith to see the places and
countries described. And when I did in long after years see them! Oh,
Mrs. Ratcliffe, how could you tell such tales! What! this the lovely
Provence of my dreams? But I was fresh from _The Mysteries_, and full of
faith when I went to Raglan, and strove to apply, at least as a matter
of possibility, the incidents of the romance to the localities of the
delightful ruin.

Nor was Raglan in those days cared for with the loving care now bestowed
on it by the Duke of Somerset. I have heard people complain of the
restrictions, and of the small entrance fee now demanded for admittance
to the ruins, and regret the days when the traveller could, as in my
time, wander over every part of it at will. All that was very charming,
but the place was not as beautiful as it is now. The necessary expense
for the due conservation of the ruins must be very considerable. And
when one hears, as I did recently at Raglan, that steam and
bank-holidays have brought as many as fifteen hundred (!) visitors to
the spot in one day, it may be easily imagined what the condition of the
place would shortly become if careful restrictions were not enforced. Of
lovely--ever lovely--Tintern, the same remarks may be made. Certainly
there was a charm in wandering there, as I did when a boy, almost
justified by the solitude in feeling myself to be the discoverer of the
spot. Now there is a fine hotel, with waiters in black-tailed coats, and
dinners _à la carte_! And huge vans pouring in “tourists” by the
thousand. Between four and five thousand persons, I was told, visited
Tintern in one August day! Scott tells those who would “view fair
Melrose aright” to “visit it by the pale moonlight.” But I fear me that
no such precaution could secure solitude, though it might beauty, at
Tintern in August. But the care bestowed upon it makes the place more
beautiful than ever. The guardians by dint of locked gates prevent the
lovely sward from being defiled by sandwich papers and empty bottles, as
the neighbouring woods are. But he who would view fair Tintern aright,
had better _not_ visit it on a bank holiday.

A similarly striking change between the England of sixty years since and
the England of to-day may be observed at beautiful Lynmouth and Lynton.
The place was a solitude when my parents and I visited it in, I think,
1818. We had a narrow escape in driving down from Lynton to the mouth
of the little stream. A low wall of unmortared stones alone protected
the road from the edge of a very formidable precipice; and just at the
worst point the horse my father was driving took fright at something,
and becoming unmanageable, dashed at the low wall, and absolutely got
his fore-feet over it! “George,” riding the other horse behind, was at
an hundred yards or so distance. But my father, with one bound to the
horse’s head, caught him by the bridle, and, by the sheer strength of
his remarkably powerful frame, forced him back into the road. It was not
a _mauvais quart d’heure_, but a very _mauvais quart de minute_--for it
was, I take it, all over in that time. Now the road is excellent, and
traversed daily in the summer season by some half dozen huge vans
carrying “tourists” from Ilfracombe to Lynton.

At the latter place, too, there is a large and extremely prettily
situated hotel, where, on the occasion of my first visit, I remember
that we obtained a modicum of bread and cheese at a lone cottage. Even
the Valley of Rocks is not altogether what it was, for the celebrated
“Castle Rock” has now well contrived paths to the top of it. I wrote a
few months ago in the book kept at the hotel, _ad hoc_ that I had
climbed the Castle Rock more than sixty years ago, and had now repeated
the feat. But in truth, the “climb” was in those days a different
affair. I remember my mother had a story of some old friend of hers
having been accompanied by her maid during a ramble through the Valley
of Rocks, and having been told, when she asked the maid what she thought
of it, that she considered it was kept very untidy! And truly the
criticism might be repeated at the present day not altogether
unreasonably, for the whole place is defiled by the traces of feeding.

Truly England, whether for better or worse, “_non è più come era
prima!_”

That was my first journey! Has any one of the very many others which I
have undertaken since equalled it in enjoyment? Ah! how sad was the
return to Harrow and lessons and pupil-room! And how I wished that the
old gig, with me on the little box between my parents’ knees, could have
been bound on an expedition round the world!

A leading feature, perhaps I should say _the_ leading feature, of the
social life of Harrow in those days consisted in a certain antagonism
between the vicar, the Rev. Mr. Cunningham, and the clerical element of
the school world, or perhaps it would be more correct to say, the Drury
element. Mr. Cunningham was in those days rather a man of mark among the
Low Church party. He was an ally of the Venns, of Daniel Wilson, and
that school, and was well known in his day as “Velvet-Cushion
Cunningham,” from a little book with that title which he had published.
He was of course an “evangelical” of the evangelicals; and among the
seven masters of the school there was not the slightest--I must not say
taint, but--savour of anything of the kind. Dr. Butler probably would
have found no difficulty in living in perfect harmony with the vicar;
but the latter--he and his ways and his doctrines--were especially
abhorrent to the Drurys. Of course they were not High Churchmen in the
sense which the term has acquired in these latter days, for nothing of
the kind was then known. They were of the old-fashioned sort, which had
come to be somewhat depreciatingly spoken of as “high and dry”!--though
in truth it is difficult to see with what justice the latter epithet
could be applied to many of them.

Harry Drury, who was perhaps foremost in his feeling of antagonism to
the vicar, was a man of decidedly literary tastes, though they shared
his devotion with those of a _bon vivant_. He was a ripe scholar, and
undoubtedly the vicar’s superior in talent and intellect. But he was
essentially a coarse man, coarse in manner and coarse in feeling.
Cunningham was the reverse of all this. He was, I believe, the son of a
London hatter, but in external manner and appearance he was a more
gentlemanlike man than any of the Harrow masters of that day, save Dr.
Butler. He had the advantage, too, of a handsome person and good
presence. But there was a something _too_ suave and _too_ soft, carrying
with it a certain suspicion of insincerity which prevented him from
presenting a genuine specimen of the real article. I believe his father
purchased the living for him under circumstances which were not
altogether free from suspicion of simony. I know nothing, however, of
these circumstances, and my impressions on the subject are doubtless
derived from the flouts and skits of his avowed enemies the Drurys.
There was, I remember, a story of his having, soon after coming to
Harrow, in conversation with some of his new parishioners, attributed
with much self-complacency his presentation to the living to his having
upon some occasion preached before Lord Northwick!--a result which no
Harrow inhabitant, clerk or layman, would have believed in the case of
his lordship, then often a resident on his property there, if the
preacher had been St. Paul. But again, _Audi alteram partem!_ which I
had no chance of doing, for we, though living on terms of neighbourly
intercourse with the vicar, were of the Drury faction.

I remember well an incident which may serve to illustrate the condition
of “tension” which prevailed during those years in the little Harrow
world. Mark Drury had two remarkably pretty daughters. They were in all
respects as thoroughly good and charming girls as they were pretty, and
were universal favourites in the society. Now Mark Drury’s pew in the
parish church, where of course he never appeared himself, for the reason
assigned on a former page, was situated immediately below the pulpit.
And on one occasion the vicar saw, or thought he saw, the two young
ladies in question laughing during his sermon, and so far forgot
himself, and was sufficiently ill-judged, indiscreet, wrong-headed, and
wrong-hearted to stop in his discourse, and, leaning over the pulpit
cushion to say aloud that he would resume it when his hearers could
listen to it with decency! The amount of ill-feeling and heart-burning
which the incident gave rise to may be imagined. Harry Drury, the cousin
of the young ladies, and, as I have said, Cunningham’s principal
antagonist, never for a long time afterwards came within speaking
distance of the vicar without growling “Brawler!” in a perfectly audible
voice.

I well remember, though I suppose it must be mainly from subsequent
hearing of it, the storm that was raised in the tea-cup of the Harrow
world by the incident of Byron’s natural daughter, Allegra, having been
sent home to be buried in Harrow Church. A solemn meeting was held in
the vestry, at which the vicar, all the masters (except poor old Mark),
and sundry of the leading parishioners were present, and at which it was
decided that no stone should be placed to commemorate the poor infant’s
name or mark the spot where her remains rested, the principal reason
assigned being that such a memorial might be injurious to the morals of
the Harrow schoolboys! Amid all this Cunningham’s innate and invincible
flunkeyism asserted itself, to the immense amusement of the
non-evangelical part of the society of the place, by his attempts to
send a message to Lord Byron through Harry Drury, Byron’s old tutor and
continued friend, to the effect that he, Cunningham, had, on reading
_Cain_, which was then scandalising the world, “felt a profound
admiration for the genius of the author”! “Did you indeed,” said Harry
Drury; “I think it the most blasphemous publication that ever came from
the pen.”

The whole circumstances, object, and upshot of this singular vestry
meeting were too tempting a subject to escape my mother’s satirical
vein. She described the whole affair in some five hundred verses, now
before me, in which the curiously contrasted characteristics of the
debaters at the meeting were very cleverly hit off. This was afterwards
shown to Harry Drury, who, though he himself was not altogether spared,
was so delighted with it, that he rewarded it by the present of a very
remarkable autograph of Lord Byron, now in my possession. It consists of
a quarto page, on which is copied the little poem, “Weep, daughters of a
royal line,” beginning with a stanza which was suppressed in the
publication. And all round the edges of the MS. is an inscription
stating that the verses were “copied for my friend, the Rev. Harry
Drury.”

Of course all this did not tend much to harmonise the conflicting
partisans of High and Low Church in the Harrow world of that day.

I may add here another “reminiscence” of those days, which is not
without significance as an illustration of manners.

Among the neighbours at Harrow was a Mr. ---- (well, I won’t print the
name, though all the parties in question must long since, I suppose,
have joined the majority) who had a family of daughters, the second of
whom was exceedingly pretty. One day this girl of some eighteen years or
so, came to my mother, who was always a special friend of all the young
girls, with a long eulogistic defence of the vicar. She was describing
at much length the delight of the assurances of grace which he had given
her, when my mother suddenly looking her straight in the eyes, said,
“Did he kiss you, Carrie?”

“Yes, Mrs. Trollope. He _did_ give me the kiss of peace. I am sure there
was no harm in that!”

“None at all, Carrie! For I am sure you meant none!” returned my mother.
“_Honi soit qui mal y pense!_ But remember, Carrie, that the kiss of
peace is apt to change its quality if repeated!”



CHAPTER V.


Meanwhile the fateful year 1820, when I was to be translated from the
world of Harrow, and know nothing more of its friendships, quarrels, and
politics, was at hand. At the election of July in that year was to begin
my Winchester life. I certainly looked forward to it with a feeling of
awe approaching terror, yet not untempered by a sense of increased
dignity and the somewhat self-complacent feeling of one destined by fate
to meet great and perilous adventures, and acquire large stores of
experience.

The sadness of departure was tempered also, as I remember, by the
immediate delight of a journey to be performed. Certainly it was not the
unmixed delight with which Rousseau contemplated his _voyage à faire et
Paris au bout_. Something very different lay at the end of my _voyage_.
Nevertheless, so intense was my delight in “the road” at that time (and
to a great degree ever since), that the sixty miles journey to be
performed was a great alleviation.

The expedition was to be made with my father in his gig. A horse was to
be sent on to Guildford, and by dint of starting at a very early hour,
and there changing horses, the distance was to be performed in one day.
We were to travel, not by the more generally used coach road by Hounslow
and Bagshot, but over the district called the Hog’s Back from Guildford
to Farnham--chiefly, as I remember, for the sake of showing me that
beautiful bit of country. For to my father beautiful scenery was as
great a delight as it has always been to myself.

At Farnham there was time, while the horse was being baited at “The
Bush,” for us, after snatching a morsel of cold meat, to visit hurriedly
the park and residence of the Bishop of Winchester. I, very contentedly
trotting by the side of my father’s long strides, was much impressed by
the beauty of the park. But, as I remember, my mind was very much
exercised by the fact, then first learned, that the Bishop’s diocese
extended all the way to London. And I think that it seemed somehow to my
child’s mind that the dignity of my position as one of William of
Wykeham’s scholars was enhanced by the enormous extent of the diocese of
his successor.

We reached Winchester late in the evening of the day before the
election, putting up, not at “The George,” or at “The White Hart,” as
most people would have done, but at the “Fleur de Lys,” pronounced
“Flower de Luce,” a very ancient, but then third-rate hostelry, which my
father preferred, partly probably because he thought the charges might
be less there, but mainly because it is situated in the vicinity of the
college, and he had known and used it of old. We spent the evening at
the house of Dr. Gabell, the head master, an old friend of my father’s,
where his eldest daughter, an intimate friend of my mother’s, who had
often been a visitor in Keppel Street, made much of me.

And the next day I became a Wykehamist! And the manner of so becoming
was in this wise. The real serious business of the six electors--three
sent from New College, and three belonging to Winchester, as has been
set forth on a previous page--consisted in the examination of those
scholars, who, standing at the top of the school, were in that year
candidates for New College. All the eighteen “prefects,” who formed the
highest class in the school, were examined; but the most serious part of
the business was the examination of the first half dozen or so, who were
probably superannuated at the age of eighteen that year, and who might
have a fair chance of finding a vacancy at New College (if there were
not one at that present moment) in the course of the ensuing twelve
months. And this was a very fateful and serious examination, for the
examiners in “the election chamber” would, if the examination disclosed
due cause, change the order of the roll as it came up to them, placing a
boy, who had distinguished himself, before another, who had not done so.
And as the roll thus settled was the order in which vacancies at New
College were taken, the work in “the chamber” was of life-long
importance to the subjects of it.

Very different was the “election” of the children, who were to go into
Winchester. Duly instructed as to the part we were to play, we went
marvelling up the ancient stone corkscrew stair to the mysterious
chamber situated over the “middle gate,” _i.e._ the gateway between the
outer court and the second quadrangle where the chapel, the hall, and
the chambers are. The “election chamber” always maintained a certain
character of mystery to us, because it was never opened or used save on
the great occasion of the annual election. In that chamber we found the
six solemn electors in their gowns waiting for us; especially the Bishop
of Hereford, who was then Warden of Winchester College, an aged man with
his peculiar wig and gown was an object of awe. No Bishop had in those
days dreamed as yet of discarding the episcopal wig.

And then the examination began as follows: “Well, boy, can you sing?”
“Yes, sir.” “Let us hear you.” “‘All people that on earth do dwell,’”
responded the neophyte--duly instructed previously in his part of the
proceeding--without attempting in the smallest degree to modify in any
way his ordinary speech. “Very well, boy. That will do!” returned the
examiner. The examination was over, and you were a member of William of
Wykeham’s college, _Sancta Mariæ de Winton prope Winton_. “_Prope_
Winton,” observe, for the college is situated outside the ancient city
walls.

The explanation of this survival of the _simulacrum_ of an examination
is that the ancient statutes require that candidates for admission as
scholars must be competently instructed _in plano cantu_--in plain
chant; the intention of the founder being that all his scholars should
take part in the choral service of the chapel.

I and my fellow novices thus admitted as scholars in that July of 1820
were not about to join the school immediately. We had the six weeks
holidays before us, the election taking place at the end of the summer
half year. Election week was the grand festival of the Wykehamical year.
For three days high feast was held in the noble old hall. The “high
table” was spread on the dais, and all old Wykehamists were welcome at
it. The boys in the lower part of the hall were regaled with mutton pies
and “stuckling.” That was their appointed fare; but in point of fact
they feasted on dishes or portions of dishes sent down from the
abundantly-spread high table, and the pies were carried away for the
next morning’s breakfast. I do not think anybody ate much “stuckling”
beyond a mouthful _pro formâ_. It was a sort of flat pastry made of
chopped apples and currants. And the specialty of it was that the apples
must be that year’s apples. They used to be sent up from Devonshire or
Cornwall, and sometimes were with difficulty obtained. Then there was
the singing of the Latin grace, with its beautiful responses, performed
by the chapel choir and as many others as were capable of taking part in
it. The grace with its music has been published, and I need not occupy
these pages with a reprint of it. And then in the afternoon came the
singing of “Domum” on the fives court behind the school, by the whole
strength of the company.

Nine such election weeks did I see, counting from that which made me a
Wykehamist in 1820 to that which saw me out a superannuate in 1828. I
did not get a fellowship at New College, having narrowly missed it for
want of a vacancy by one. I was much mortified at the time, but have
seen long since that probably all was for the best for me. It was a mere
chance, as has been shown at a former page, whether a boy at the head or
nearly at the head of the school went to New College or not.

The interesting event of a vacancy having occurred at New College,
whether by death, marriage, or the acceptance of a living, was announced
by the arrival of “speedyman” at Winchester College. “Speedyman,” in
conformity with immemorial usage, used to bring the news on foot from
Oxford to Winchester. How well I remember the look of the man, as he
used to arrive with all the appearance of having made a breathless
journey, a spare, active-looking fellow, in brown cloth breeches and
gaiters covered with dust. Of course letters telling the facts had long
outstripped “speedyman.” But with the charming and reverent spirit of
conservatism, which in those days ruled all things at Winchester,
“speedyman” made his journey on foot all the same!

Of course one of the first matters in hand when this fateful messenger
arrived was to regale him with college beer, and right good beer it was
in those days. In connection with it may be mentioned the rather
singular fact, that, whereas all other supplies from the college buttery
to the boys--the bread, the cheese, the butter, the meat--were
accurately measured, the beer was given absolutely _ad libitum_. In fact
it was not _given_ out at all, but taken. Thrice a day the way to the
cellar was open, a back stair leading from the hall to the superb old
vaulted cellar, with its central pillar and arches springing from it in
every direction. All around were the hogsheads, and the proper tools for
tapping one as soon as another should be out. And to this cellar the
boys--or rather the junior boys at each mess--went freely to draw as
much as they chose.

And the beer thus freely supplied was our only beverage, for not only
was tea or coffee not furnished, it was not permitted. Some of the
prefects (the eighteen first boys in college) would have “tea-messes,”
provided out of their own pocket money, and served by their “fags.” But
if, as would sometimes happen, either of the masters chanced to appear
on the scene before the tea-things could be got out of the way, he used
to smash them all, using his large pass key for the purpose, and saying
“What are all these things, sir? William of Wykeham knew nothing, I
think, of tea!”

We used to breakfast at ten, after morning school, on bread and butter
and beer, having got up at half-past five, gone to chapel at half-past
six, and into school at half-past seven. At a quarter to one we again
went up into hall. It was a specialty of college phraseology to suppress
the definite article. We always said “to hall,” “to meads” (the
playground), “to school,” “to chambers,” and the like. The visit to hall
at that time was properly for dinner, though it had long ceased to be
such. The middle of the day “hall” served in my day only for the purpose
of luncheon (though no such modern word was ever used), and only those
“juniors” attended whose office it was to bring away the portions of
bread and cheese and “bobs” (_i.e._ huge jugs) of beer for consumption
in the afternoon.

Sunday formed an exception to this practice. We all went up into “hall”
in the middle of the day on Sunday, and dined on roast beef, the
noontide dinner consisting of roast beef on that day, boiled beef on
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and baked plum pudding on
Friday and Saturday. But the boiled beef, with the exception of certain
portions reserved for the next morning’s breakfast of the seniors of the
messes, or companies into which the “inferiors” (_i.e._, non-prefects)
were divided, was not eaten, but given away. During the war Winchester
had been one of the depots of French prisoners, and the beef in question
was then given to them. When there were no more Frenchmen it was given
to twenty-four old women who were appointed to do the weeding of the
college quadrangles. It must be understood that this arrangement was
entirely spontaneous on the part of the boys, though it would have been
quite out of the question for any individual to say that he for his part
would eat his own beef. How all this may be now I know not. Probably the
college, under the enlightened guidance of Her Majesty’s Commissioners,
have seen the propriety of providing the youthful Wykehamists with table
napkins and caper sauce, while the old women go without their dole of
beef. On the Friday and Saturday the pudding was carried down out of
hall by the juniors for consumption during the afternoon.

At about a quarter-past six, at the conclusion of afternoon school, we
went up into hall for dinner--originally, of course, supper. This
consisted of mutton, roast or boiled, every evening of the year, with
potatoes and beer. But it was such mutton as is not to be found in
English butchers’ shops nowadays, scientific breeding having improved it
from off the face of the land. It was small Southdown mutton, uncrossed
by any of the coarser, rapidly-growing, and fat-making breeds. And that
it should be such was insured by the curious rule, that, though only a
given number of pounds of mutton were required and paid for to the
contractor, the daily supply was always to be one sheep and a half. So
that if large mutton was sent it was to the loss of the contractor.

Furthermore it was the duty of the “prefect of tub” to see that the
mutton was in all ways satisfactory. The “prefect of tub” was one of
the five boys at the head of the school; another was the “prefect of
hall”; a third “prefect of school”; and the fourth and fifth “prefects
of chapel.” These offices were all positions of emolument. That of the
“prefect of tub” was far the most so, and was usually held by the senior
college “founder,” or boy of “founder’s kin,” during his last year
before going to New College. The titles of the other offices explain
themselves, but that of “prefect of tub” requires some elucidation.

In the hall, placed just inside the screen which divided the buttery
hatches from the body of the hall, there was an ancient covered “tub.”
In the course of my eight years’ stay at Winchester this venerable
tub--_damnosa quid non diminuit dies?_--had to be renewed. It was
replaced by a much handsomer one; but, as I remember, the change had
rather the effect on the popular mind in college of diminishing our
confidence in the permanency of human institutions generally. The
original purpose of this tub was to receive fragments and remains of
food, together with such portions--“dispers” we called them--of the
evening mutton supper as were not duly claimed by the destined recipient
of them at his place at the table, that they might be given to the poor;
and the “prefect of tub” was so called because it was part of his office
to see that this was duly done. It was also his duty to preside over the
distribution of the aforesaid “dispers”--not _quasi dispars_, as might
be supposed by those who can appreciate the difference between a prime
cut out of a leg of mutton and a bit of the breast of a sheep, but
“_dispers_” from _dispertio_. Now the distribution in question was
effected in this wise. The joints were cut up in the kitchen always
accurately in the same manner. The leg made eight “dispers,” the
shoulder seven, and so on. The “dispers” thus prepared were put into
four immense pewter dishes, and these were carried up into hall by four
choristers under the superintendence of the “prefect of tub” and
distributed among the fifty-two “inferiors”--_i.e._, non-prefects. The
eighteen prefects dined at two tables by themselves. Their joints were
not cut into “dispers,” but were dressed by the cook according to their
own orders, paid for by themselves according to an established tariff
drawn with reference to the extra expense of the mode of preparation
ordered. The long narrow tables were six in number, ranged on either
side of the noble hall, exactly as in a monastic refectory. The dais was
left unoccupied, save at election time, when the “high table” was spread
there. At the first two tables on the left hand side as one entered the
hall, the eighteen prefects dined.

This bloated aristocracy was supplied with plates to eat their dinner
from. The populace--mere mutton _consumere nati_--the fifty-two
inferiors, had only “trenchers,” flat pieces of wood about nine inches
square. These fifty-two “inferiors” were divided into eight companies,
and occupied the remaining four tables. But this division was so
arranged that one of the eight seniors of the “inferiors” was at the
head of each company, and one of the eight juniors at the bottom of
each, the whole body being similarly distributed. And each of these
companies occupied a different table every day, the party who sat at the
lowest table on Monday occupying the highest on Tuesday, and so on. So
that when the “prefect of tub” entered the hall at the head of the
procession of four choristers, carrying the four “gomers” (such was the
phrase) of dispers, he proceeded first to the table on the opposite side
of the hall to that of the prefects, and saw that the senior of the mess
occupying that table selected as many of the most eligible dispers as
there were persons _present_. If any junior were absent by authority of,
or on the business of, any prefect, his disper was allowed to be taken
for him. This senior of the mess, it may be mentioned _obiter_ was
called, for some reason hidden in the obscurity of time, the
“candlekeeper.” Assuredly neither he nor his office had any known
connection with the keeping of candles. Any dispers remaining unclaimed
at the end of his tour of the hall belonged to “the tub.”

In return for the performance of this important office, the “prefect of
tub” was entitled to the heads, feet, and all such portions of the sheep
as were not comprised in legs, shoulders, necks, loins, and breasts, as
well as to the dispers of any individuals who might from any cause be
absent from college. Of course he did not meddle personally with any of
these perquisites, but had a contract with the college manciple, the
value of which was, I believe, about £80 a year. Such was the “prefect
of tub.”

Orderly conduct in hall generally, which did not imply any degree of
violence, was maintained by the “prefect of hall,” the dignity of whose
office, though it was by no means so profitable as that of the “prefect
of tub,” ranked above that of all the other “officers.” No master was
ever present in hall.

But the most onerous and important duty of the prefect of hall consisted
in superintending the excursion to “hills,”--_i.e._ to St. Catherine’s
Hill, which took place twice on every holiday, once on every
half-holiday during the year, and every evening during the summer
months. On these occasions the “prefect of hall” had under his guidance
and authority not only William of Wykeham’s seventy scholars, but the
whole of the hundred and thirty pupils of the head master, who were
called commoners. The scholars marched first, two and two (with the
exception of the prefects who walked as they pleased), and then followed
the commoners. And it was the duty of the prefect of hall to keep the
column in good and compact order until the top of the hill was reached.
Then all dispersed to amuse themselves as they pleased. But the prefect
of hall still remained responsible for his flock keeping within bounds.

St. Catherine’s Hill is a notably isolated down in the immediate
neighbourhood of Winchester, and just above the charming little village
of St. Cross. There is a clump of firs on the top, and the unusually
well marked circumvallation of a Roman (or British?) camp around the
circle of the hill. The ditch of this circumvallation formed our
“bounds.” The straying beyond them, however, in the direction of the
open downs away from the city, and from St. Cross, was deemed a very
venial offence by either the prefect of hall or the masters. But not so
in the direction of the town. It was the duty of the three “juniors” in
college--one of whom I was during my first half-year--to “call _domum_.”
When the time came for returning to college one of those three walked
over the top of the hill from one side to the other, while the other two
went round the circumvallation--each one half of it--calling perpetually
“_Domum ... domum_” as loudly as they could. All the year round we went
to “morning hills” before breakfast, and to afternoon hills about three.
In the summer we went, as I have said, every evening after “hall,” but
not to the top of the hill, only to the water-meads at the foot of it,
the object being to bathe in the Itchen.

Many of the Winchester recollections most indelibly fixed in my memory
are connected with “hills.” It seems impossible that sixty years can
have passed since I stood on the bank of the circumvallation facing
towards Winchester, and gazed down on the white morning mist that
entirely concealed the city and valley. How many mornings in the late
autumn have I stood and watched the moving, but scarcely moving masses
of billowy white cloud! And what strange similitudes and contrasts
suggested themselves to my mind as I recently looked down from the
heights of Monte Gennaro on the Roman Campagna similarly cloud hidden!
The phenomenon exhibited itself on an infinitely larger scale in the
latter case, but it did not suggest to me such thick-coming fancies and
fantastic imaginings as the water-mead-born mists of the Itchen!

There were two special amusements connected with our excursions to St.
Catherine’s Hill--badger baiting and “mouse-digging,” the former
patronised mainly by the bigger fellows, the latter by their juniors.
There was a man in the town, a not very reputable fellow I fancy, who
had constituted himself “badger keeper” to the college. It was his
business to provide a badger and dogs, and to bring them to certain
appointed trysting places at “hill times” for the sport. The places in
question were not within our “bounds,” but at no great distance in some
combe or chalk-pit of the neighbouring downs. Of course it was not
permitted by the authorities; but I think it might easily have been
prevented had any attempt to do so been made in earnest. It seems
strange, considering my eight years’ residence in college, that I never
once was present at a badger baiting. I am afraid that my absence was
not caused by distinct disapproval of the cruelty of the sport, but
simply by the fact that my favourite “hill-times” occupations took me
in other directions.

Nor, probably for the same reason, was I a great mouse-digger. Very many
of us never went to “hills” unarmed with a “mouse-digger.” This was a
sort of miniature pickaxe, which was used to dig the field-mice out of
their holes. The skill and the amusement consisted in following the
labyrinthine windings of these, which are exceedingly numerous on the
chalk downs, in such sort as to capture the inmate and her brood without
injuring her, and carry her home in triumph to be kept in cages provided
_ad hoc_.

There was--and doubtless is--a clump of firs on the very centre and
summit of St. Catherine’s Hill. They are very tall and spindly trees,
with not a branch until the tuft at the top is reached. And my great
delight when I was in my first or second year was to climb these. Of
course I was fond of doing what few, if any, of my compeers could do as
well. And this was the case as regarded “swarming up” those tall and
slippery stems. I could reach the topmost top, and gloried much in doing
so.

But during my later years the occupation of a hill morning which most
commended itself to me was ranging as widely as possible over the
neighbouring hills. Like the fox in the old song, I was “off to the
downs O!” As I have said, the straying beyond bounds in this direction,
away from the town, was considered a very light offence; but I was apt
to make it a somewhat more serious one by not getting back from my
rambling, despite good running, till it was too late to return duly with
the main body to college. It was very probable that this might pass
without detection, if there were no roll-call on the way back. But it
frequently happened that “Gaffer” (such was Dr. Williams’s sobriquet
among us) on his white horse met us on our homeward march, and stopped
the column, while the prefect of hall called names. As these escapades
in my case occurred mainly during my last three years, I being a prefect
myself owed no allegiance to the authority of the prefect of hall. But
the roll-call revealing my absence would probably issue in my having to
learn by heart one of the epistles of Horace. Prefects learned their
“impositions” by heart, “inferiors” wrote them.

Every here and there the sides of these downs are scored by large
chalk-pits. There is a very large one on St. Catherine’s Hill on the
side looking towards St. Cross; and this was a favourite scene of
exploits in which I may boast myself (’tis sixty years since!) to have
been unrivalled. There was a very steep and rugged path by which it was
possible to descend from the upper edge of this chalk-pit to the bottom
of it. And it was a feat, in which I confess I took some pride, to take
a fellow on my shoulders (not on my back), while he had a smaller boy on
_his_ shoulders, and thus with two living stories on my shoulders to
descend the difficult path in question. And the boy in the middle--the
first story--could not be a very small one, for it was requisite that
_he_ also should hold and balance his burthen thoroughly well. I think I
could carry _one_ very _little_ boy down now!

It was the “prefect of hall” who managed the whole business of our
holidays--as they would be called elsewhere--which we called “remedies.”
A “holiday” meant at Winchester a red-letter day; and was duly kept as
such. But if no such day occurred in the week, the “prefect of hall”
went on the Tuesday morning to the head master (Wiccamice “informator”)
and asked for a “remedy,” which, unless there were any reason, such as
very bad weather, or a holiday coming later in the week, was granted by
handing to the prefect a ring, which remained in his keeping till the
following morning. This symbol was inscribed “_Commendat rarior usus._”

But in addition to these important duties the “prefect of hall”
discharged another, of which I must say a few words, with reference to
the considerable amount of interest which the outside world was good
enough to take in the subject a few years ago, with all that accurate
knowledge of facts, and that discrimination which people usually display
when talking of what they know nothing about.

It was the “prefect of hall,” who ordered the infliction of a “public
tunding.” The strange phrase, dropped by some unlucky chance into ears
to which it conveyed no definite meaning, seems to have inspired vague
terrors of the most terrific kind. Very much nonsense was talked and
printed at the time I refer to. But the following simple and truthful
statement of what a public tunding was, may enable those, who take an
interest in the matter, to form some reasonable opinion whether the
infliction of such punishment were a good or a bad thing.

At the conclusion of the evening dinner or supper, whichever it may be
called, the “prefect of hall” summoned the boys to the dais for the
singing of grace. Some dozen or so of boys, who had the best capacities
for the performance, were appointed by him for the purpose, and the
whole assembly stood around the dais, while the hymn, _Te de Profundis_,
was sung. When all were thus assembled, and before the singers
commenced, the culprit who had been sentenced to a tunding stepped out,
pulled off his gown, and received from the hands of one deputed by the
“prefect of hall,” and armed with a tough, pliant ground-ash stick, a
severe beating. I never had a tunding; but I have no doubt that the
punishment was severe, though I never heard of any boy disabled by it
from pursuing his usual work or his usual amusements. It was judiciously
ordered by the “prefect of hall” for offences deemed unbecoming the
character of a Wykehamist and a gentleman, and _only_ for such. Any such
petty larceny exploits as the scholars at some other “seats of learning”
are popularly said to be not unfrequently guilty of, such as robberies
of orchards or poultry-yards or the like, would have inevitably entailed
a public tunding. Any attempt whatsoever to appropriate unduly either
by fraud or violence anything sent to another boy from home--any portion
of a “cargo,” as such despatches were called--and _à fortiori_ any money
or money’s value, would have necessitated a public tunding. The
infliction was rare. Many half years passed without any public tunding
having been administered. And my own impression is, that the practice
was eminently calculated to foster among us a high tone of moral and
gentlemanlike feeling.

These reminiscences of the penal code that was in vigour among ourselves
are naturally connected with those referring to the subject of corporal
punishment in its more official form.

On one of the whitewashed walls of the huge schoolroom was an
inscription conceived and illustrated as follows: “_Aut disce!_” and
there followed a depicted book and inkstand; “_Aut discede!_” followed
by a handsomely painted sword, as who should say, “Go and be a soldier!”
(offering that as an alternative for which no learning was needed, after
the fashion of a day before examinations for commissions were dreamed
of!); and then lastly, “_Manet sors tertia cædi_,” followed by the
portraiture of a rod.

But this rod is of so special and peculiar a kind, and so dissimilar
from any such instrument as used elsewhere, that I must try to explain
the nature of it to my non-Wiccamical readers. A stick of some hard
wood, beech I think it was, turned into a shape convenient to the hand,
about a yard long, and with four grooves about three inches long and as
large as a cedar pencil, cut in the extremity of it, formed the handle.
Into these four grooves were fitted four slender apple twigs about five
feet long. They were sent up from Herefordshire in bundles, cut and
prepared for the purpose, and it was the duty of the “prefect of school”
to provide them. These twigs, fitted into the grooves, were fixed by a
string which bound them tightly to the handle, and a rod was thus
formed, the four-fold switches of which stood out some foot--or more
than that towards the end--from each other.

The words “flog,” or “flogging,” it is to be observed, were never heard
among us, in the mouth either of the masters or of the boys. We were
“scourged.” And a scourging was administered in this wise. At a certain
spot in the school--near the seat of the “informator,” when he was the
executioner, and near that of the “hostiarius” or under master when he
had to perform--in front of a fixed form, the patient kneeled down. Two
boys, any who chanced to be at hand, stepped behind the form, turned the
gown of a collegian or the coat tails of a commoner over his shoulders,
and unbuttoned his brace buttons, leaving bare at the part where the
braces join the trousers a space equal to the diameter of a
crown-piece--such was the traditional rule. And aiming at this with more
or less exactitude the master inflicted three cuts. Such was a
“scourging.”

Prefects, it may be observed, were never scourged.

The “best possible instructors” of this enlightened age, who never treat
of subjects the facts of which they are not conversant with, have said
much of the “cruelty,” and the “indecency” of such infliction of
corporal punishment, and of the moral degradation necessarily entailed
on the sufferers of it. As to the cruelty, it will be readily understood
from the above description of the rod, that it was quite as likely as
not that no one of the four twigs, at either of the three cuts, touched
the narrow bare part; especially as the operator--proceeding from one
patient to another with the utmost possible despatch, and with his eyes
probably on the list in his left hand of the culprits to be operated
on--had little leisure or care for aiming. The fact simply was that the
pain was really not worth speaking of, and that nobody cared the least
about it.

The affair passed somewhat in this wise. It is ten o’clock; the morning
school is over; and we are all in a hurry to get out to breakfast. There
are probably about a dozen or a score of boys to be scourged. Dr.
Williams, as well beloved a master as ever presided over any school in
the world, has come down from his seat, elevated three steps above the
floor of the school, putting on his great cocked hat as he does so. He
steps to the form where the scourging is to be done; the list of those
to be scourged, with the reasons why, is handed to him by the prefect,
charged for the week with this duty, together with the rod. He calls
“Jones” ... swish, swish, swish!... “Brown” ... swish, swish, swish!...
“Robinson” ... swish, swish, swish! as rapidly as it can be done. Each
operation takes perhaps twenty seconds. Having got through the list, he
flings the rod on the ground, makes a _demi-volte_ so as to face the
whole school, taking off his hat as he does so, and the “prefect of
school” who has been waiting on the steps of the master’s seat, with the
prayer-book open in his hand, instantly reads the short prayer with
which the school concludes, while those who have been scourged stand in
the background hurriedly readjusting their brace buttons so as not to be
behind hand at the buttery hatch for breakfast. Of any disgrace attached
to the reception of a scourging, no one had any smallest conception.

Of the cruelty of the infliction the reader may judge for himself. Of
the indecent talk about indecency he may also know from the above
accurate account what to think. The degree of “moral degradation”
inflicted on the sufferers may perhaps be estimated by a reference to
the roll of those whom Winchester has supplied to serve their country in
Church and State.

The real and unanswerable objection to the infliction of “corporal
punishment,” as it was used in my day at Winchester, was that it was a
mere form and farce. It caused neither pain nor disgrace, and assuredly
morally degraded nobody. I have been scourged five times in the day;
not because, as might be supposed, I was so incorrigible that the master
found it necessary to go on scourging me, but simply because it so
chanced. I had, say, come into chapel “tardè,” _i.e._ after the service
had commenced; I had omitted to send in duly my “vulgus”; I had been
“floored” in my Horace; I had missed duly answering “sum,” when on
returning from “hills” “Gaffer” had met the procession on his grey horse
and caused the “prefect of hall” “to call names,” the reason being that
I had been far away over the downs to Twyford, and had not been able to
run back in time; and an unlucky simultaneousness of these or of a dozen
other such sins of omission or commission had occurred, which had to be
wiped off by a scourging by the “hostiarius” at the morning school, and
another by the “informator;” by a third from the former at “middle
school,” when the head master did not attend; by a fourth from the
“hostiarius” at evening school, and a fifth from the “informator” the
last thing before going out to dinner at six. But this was a rare _tour
de force_, scarcely likely to occur again. I was rather proud of it, and
wholly unconscious of any “moral degradation.”

I have spoken of the “informator” putting on his cocked hat when about
to commence his work of scourging. I am at a loss to account for his
having worn this very unacademical costume. It was a huge three-cornered
cocked hat very much like that of a coachman on state occasions; and
must, I take it, have been a survival from about the time of Charles
the Second. It has, I believe, been since discarded.

The mention above of a “vulgus” requires some explanation. Every
“inferior,” _i.e._ non-prefect, in the school was required every night
to produce a copy of verses of from two to six lines on a given theme;
four or six lines for the upper classes, two for the lowest. This was
independent of a weekly “verse task” of greater length, and was called a
“vulgus,” I suppose, because everybody--the _vulgus_--had to do it. The
prefects were exercised in the same manner but with a difference.
Immediately before going out from morning or from evening school, at the
conclusion of the day’s lesson, the “informator” would give a theme, and
each boy was expected then and there without the assistance of pen,
paper, or any book, to compose a couple, or two couple, of lines, and
give them _vivâ voce_. He got up, and scraped with his foot to call the
master’s attention when he was ready; and as not above five or ten
minutes were available for the business, a considerable degree of
promptitude was requisite. The theory was that these
compositions--“varying” was the term in the case of the prefects, as
“vulgus” in that of the inferiors--should be epigrammatic in their
nature, and that Martial rather than Ovid should be the model. Of course
but little of an epigrammatic nature was for the most part achieved; but
great readiness was made habitual by the practice. And sometimes the
result was creditable to something more than readiness.

I am tempted to give one instance of such a “varying.” It belonged to an
earlier time than mine--the time when _Decus et tutamen_ was adopted as
the motto cut on the rim of the five-shilling pieces. The author of the
“varying” in question had been ill with fever, and his head had been
shaved, causing him to wear a wig. _Decus et tutamen_ was the theme
given. In a minute or two he was ready, stood up, and taking off his
wig, said, “_Aspicite hos crines! duplicem servantur in usum! Hi mihi
tutamen nocte_”--putting the wig on wrong side outwards; “_Dieque
decus_,” reversing it as he spoke the words. The memory of this
“varying” lives--or lived!--at Winchester. But I do not think it has
ever been published, and really it deserves preservation. I wish I could
give the author’s name.

When at the end of the summer holidays in that year, 1820, I returned to
college, again brought down to Winchester by my father in his gig, I
confess to having felt for some short time a very desolate little waif.
As I, at the time a child barely out of the nursery, look back upon it,
it seems to my recollection that the strongest sense of being shoved off
from shore without guidance, help, or protection, arose from never
seeing or speaking to a female human being. To be sure there was at the
sick-house the presiding “mother”--Gumbrell her name was, usually
pronounced “Grumble”--but she was not a fascinating representative of
the sex. An aged woman once nearly six feet high, then much bent by
rheumatism, rather grim and somewhat stern, she very conscientiously
administered the prescribed “black-dose and calomel pill” to those under
her care at the sick-house. To be there was called being “continent;” to
leave it was “going abroad”--intelligibly enough. Tea was provided there
for those “continent” instead of the usual breakfast of bread and butter
and beer; and I remember overhearing Mother Gumbrell, oppressed by an
unusual number of inmates, say, “Talk of Job indeed! Job never had to
cut crusty loaves into bread and butter!”

I saw the old woman die! I was by chance in the sick-house kitchen--in
after years, when a prefect--and “Dicky Gumbrell,” the old woman’s
husband, who had been butler to Dean Ogle, and who by special and
exceptional favour was allowed to live with his wife in the sick-house,
was reading to her the story of Joseph and his Brethren, while she was
knitting a stocking, and sipping occasionally from a jug of college beer
which stood between them, when quite suddenly her hands fell on to her
lap and her head on to her bosom, and she was dead! while poor old Dicky
quite unconsciously went on with his reading.

But I mentioned Mother Gumbrell only to observe that she, the only
petticoated creature whom we ever saw or spoke with, was scarcely
calculated to supply, even to the imagination, the feminine element
which had till then made so large a part of the lives of ten-year-old
children fresh from their mother’s knee.

Perhaps the most markedly distinctive feature of the school life was the
degree in which we were uninterfered with by any personal
superintendence. The two masters came into the school-room to hear the
different classes at the hours which have been mentioned, also, when we
were “in chambers” in the evening, either during the hour of study which
intervened between the six o’clock dinner and the eight o’clock prayers
in the chapel, or during the subsequent hour between that and nine
o’clock, when all went, or ought to have gone, to bed; and subsequently
to that, when all were supposed to be in bed and asleep, we were at any
moment liable to the sudden unannounced visit of the “hostiarius” or
second master. The visit was a mere “going round.” If all was in order,
it passed in silence, and was over in a minute. If any tea-things were
surprised, they were broken, as before mentioned. If beer, or traces of
the consumption of beer, were apparent, that was all right. The supply
of a provision of that refreshment was recognised, it being a part of
the duty of the bedmakers to carry every evening into each of the seven
“chambers” a huge “nipperkin” of beer, “to last,” as I remember one of
the bedmakers telling me when I first went into college, “for all
night.” The supply, as far as my recollection goes, was always
considerably in excess of the consumption. If all was not in order,
“the prefect in course”--_i.e._ the prefect who in each chamber was
responsible for due order during the current week--was briefly told to
speak with the master next morning. And this comprises about all the
personal intercourse that took place between us and the masters.

Not that it is to be understood that any hour of our lives was left to
our own discretion as to the employment of it; but this was attained by
no immediate personal superintendence or direction. The systematised
routine was so perfect, and so similar in its operation to the movements
of some huge irresistible machine, that the disposal of each one of our
hours seemed to be as natural, as necessary, and as inevitable as the
waxing and waning of the moon. And the impression left on my mind by
eight years’ experience of such a system is, that it was pre-eminently
calculated to engender and foster habitual conceptions of the paramount
authority of _law_, as distinguished from the dictates of personal
notions or caprices; of self-reliance, and of conscious responsibility
in the individual as forming an unit in an organised whole. Of course
the eighteen prefects were to a much smaller degree coerced by the
machine, and to a very great degree active agents in the working of it.
And I was a prefect during three years of my eight in college. But at
first, when a little fellow of, say, ten years old, entered this new
world, it was not without a desolate sensation of abandonment, which it
needed a month or two’s experience to get the better of.

All this, however, was largely corrected and modified by one admirable
institution, which was a cardinal point in the Wiccamical system. To
every “inferior” was appointed one of the prefects as a “tutor.” It was
the duty of this tutor to superintend and see to the learning of his
lessons by the inferior, and the due performance of his written “prose”
and “verse tasks,” to protect him against all ill-usage or “bullying,”
and to be in all ways his providence and friend. These appointments were
made by the “informator.” The three or four senior prefects had as many
as seven pupils, the junior prefects one or two only; and the tutor
received from the parents of each pupil, by the hands of the master, two
guineas yearly.

In order rightly to understand the working of all these arrangements, it
must be explained that each individual’s place in “the school” and his
place “in college” were two entirely different things. The first
depended on his acquirements when he entered the college and his
subsequent scholastic progress. The latter depended solely on his
seniority “in college.” The junior in college was the last boy whose
nomination succeeded in finding a vacancy in any given year; and he
remained “junior” till the admission of another boy next year, when he
had one junior below him, and so on. Thus it might happen, and
constantly did happen, that a boy’s junior in college might be much
above him in the school, either from having come in at a later age, or
from being a better prepared or cleverer boy. And all the arrangements
of the domestic college life, the fagging, &c., depended wholly on
juniority “in college,” and had no reference to the place held by each
in the school. But all this seniority and juniority “in college” ceased
to operate in any way as soon as the individual in question became a
prefect. He had then equal authority over every “inferior,” whether such
inferior were his senior or junior in college.

It is evident, therefore, that the prefect’s authority was frequently
exercised over individuals older, bigger, stronger than himself; and for
the due and regular working of this system it was necessary that the
authority of the prefect should be absolute and irresistible. It was
traditionally supposed in college that for an “inferior” to raise his
hand against a prefect would be a case of expulsion. Whether expulsion
would have actually followed, I cannot say, for during my eight years’
residence in college I never remember such a case to have occurred. I
have heard my father and other old Wykehamists of his day declare that
no such absolute authority as that of a prefect at Winchester existed in
England, save in the case of the captain of a man-of-war. It should be
observed, however, in modification of this, that any abuse of this
authority in the way of bullying or cruelty would at once have been
interfered with by that other prefect, the victim’s tutor. An appeal to
the master would have been about as much thought of as an appeal to
Jupiter or Mars.



CHAPTER VI.


When I went into college in 1820, at ten years old, Dr. Gabell was the
“informator,” and Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Williams the “hostiarius,” or
second master. When I quitted it in 1828, Dr. Williams was head master,
and Mr. Ridding second master. I do not know that Gabell was altogether
an unpopular man, but he never inspired that strong affection that his
successor did. His manner was disagreeable. In short, he was not so
completely a gentleman as Williams was.

I am tempted to give here an anecdote that was currently told of
Gabell--though I cannot say that it occurred within my
knowledge--because it is at all events a very characteristic one.

Some boy or other--he was, I fancy, a “commoner,” or one of Dr. Gabell’s
private pupils--was guilty of some small delinquency which had the
unfortunate effect of especially angering the Doctor, who, in his rage,
without giving a second thought to the matter, wrote off a hurried
letter to the boy’s father, telling him that if his son continued his
present conduct he was on the high road to ruin.

Unfortunately, the parent lived in one of the far northern counties. In
extreme distress he at once left home and posted to Winchester.

Rushing, in agitation and anxiety, into Gabell’s study, he gasped out,
“What is it? Tell it me at once! What has my unhappy boy done?”

“What boy?” snorted Gabell. “What do you mean? I don’t know what you are
talking about!”

The father, much relieved, but more amazed, pulls out the terrible
letter which had summoned him, and puts it before the much crestfallen
“informator.”

“I had forgotten all about it!” he was compelled to own. “The boy is a
good boy enough. You had better go and talk to him yourself, and--and
tell him not to miss answering his name again!” The parent’s feelings
and his expression of them may be imagined.

It used to be said, I remember, that of the two masters of Winchester,
one snored without sleeping (Gabell), and the other slept without
snoring. Gabell was, in truth, always snorting or snoring (so to call
it); but the accusation against Williams of sleeping was, I think,
justified only by his peculiarly placid and quiet manner. He was a
remarkably handsome man; and his sobriquet, among those of the previous
generation rather than among us boys, was, “The Beauty of
Holiness”--again with reference to the unruffled repose of his manner.
We boys invariably called him “Gaffer.” Why, I know not.

Gabell, I think, had no nickname; but there was a phrase among us, as
common as any household word, which was in some degree characteristic of
the man. Any conduct which was supposed likely to turn out eventually to
the detriment of the actor was called “spiting Gabell;” and the
expression was continually used when the speaker intended no more
reference to Dr. Gabell than a man who orders a spencer has to the first
wearer of that garment.

Mr. Ridding was not a popular master, though I do not know that he had
any worse fault than a bad manner. It was a jaunty, jerky, snappish
manner, totally devoid of personal dignity. It was said that in school
he was not impartial. But by the time he became second master, on the
retirement of Gabell, I had reached that part of the school which was
under the head master, and have no personal knowledge of the matter. I
do not think any boy would have gone to Ridding in any private trouble
or difficulty. There was not one who would not have gone to Williams as
to a father.

But in my reminiscences of the college authorities, I must not omit the
first and greatest of all--the Warden. Huntingford, Bishop of Hereford,
was Warden during the whole of my college career. He was an aged man,
and somewhat of a valetudinarian. And to the imagination of us boys, who
rarely saw him, he assumed something of the mystic, awe-inspiring
character of a “veiled prophet of Khorassan.” The most awful threat that
could be fulminated against any boy, was that he should be had up
before the Warden. I do not remember that any boy ever was. He alone
could expel a boy; and he alone could give leave out from college; as
was testified by the appearance every Sunday of a great folio sheet, on
which were inscribed, in his own peculiar great square characters, each
letter standing by itself, the names of those who had been invited by
friends to dine in the town, and who were thereby permitted to go out
from, I think, one to five. To go out of the college gates without that
permission was expulsion. But it was a crime never committed. There were
traditional stories of scaling of walls, but I remember no case of the
kind.

There was one occasion on which every boy had an interview with the
Warden--that of taking before him the “college oath,” which took place
when we were, as I remember, fourteen. On a certain day in every year
the “prefect of hall” made inquiry for all of that age who had not taken
the oath, and required them to copy a sheet of writing handed to them. I
cannot remember the words in which the oath was couched, but the main
provisions of it were to the effect that you would never by word or deed
do aught to injure the college or its revenues; that you would be
obedient to the authorities; and that you would never in any way by word
or deed look down on any scholar of the college, the social position of
whose family might be inferior to your own. And I remember that there
was appended to the oath the story of a certain captain in Cromwell’s
forces, who, when the Parliament troopers were about to invade, and
probably sack, the college, so exercised his authority as to prevent
that misfortune, being influenced thereto by the remembrance of his
college oath. Before swearing, which we did with much awe, we had to
read over the oath. And I well remember that if a boy in reading
pronounced the word “revenue” with the accent on the first syllable (as
it was already at that time the usual mode to do), the Warden invariably
corrected him with, “Revènue, boy!” It was, I suppose, an
exemplification of the _dictum_ “No innovation,” which (with the “a”
pronounced as in “father,”) was said to be continually the rule of his
conduct.

Probably it did not occur to him that the Herefordshire people might
have considered it an innovation that Herefordshire candidates for
orders should be obliged to come to be ordained in Winchester College
Chapel, as was the case, instead of finding their Bishop in his own
cathedral church!

Bishop Huntingford was a notable Grecian, and had published a
rudimentary book of Greek exercises, which was at one time largely used.
I take it he was not in any larger sense a profound scholar. But I
remember a story which was illustrative of his grammatical accuracy. The
Dean of Winchester, Dr. Rennell, was an enthusiastic Platonist, and upon
one occasion in conversation with the Warden and others, quoted a
passage from Plato, in which the adjective “παντων” occurred. Upon
which the Bishop promptly denied that any such words were to be found in
Plato. The controversy was said to have been remitted to the arbitrament
of a wager of a dinner and dozen of port, when the Warden, who in fact
knew nothing of the passage quoted, but knew that the Dean had said
“παντων” in the masculine, when the substantive with which it was made
to agree required the feminine, said, “No! no! πασων, Mr. Dean, πασων!”
and so won his wager.

The Warden’s nickname, borne among sundry generations of Wykehamists,
was _Tupto_ (τυπτω), as we always supposed from that Greek verb used as
the example in the Greek grammar. But I have heard from those of an
earlier generation that it was _quasi dicas_ “tiptoe,” from the fact of
his father having been a dancing-master. The former derivation seems to
me the more plausible.

“Tupto” very rarely came to college chapel, and when he did so in his
episcopal wig and lawn sleeves, it was felt by us that his presence gave
a very marked additional solemnity to the occasion. Though assuredly far
from being a model bishop according to the estimate of these latter
days, I believe him to have been a very good man. He lived and died a
bachelor, having at a very early period of his life undertaken the
support of a brother’s widow and family, who had been left unprovided
for. And it was reported among Wykehamists of an earlier generation than
mine that never was husband so severely ruled by a wife as the Bishop
was by his sister-in-law. “Peace to his manes,” as old Cramer, the
pianist, used to say, always pronouncing it monosyllabically, “mains”!
His rule of Winchester College was a long and prosperous one; and as
long as it lasted he was able to carry out his favourite maxim, “No
innovation!”

But when old Tupto went over to the majority, the spirit of innovation,
so long repressed, began to exert itself in many directions. I am told
for instance that it has been found too much for young Wykehamists of
the present generation to wait for their breakfasts till ten in the
morning, and that the excursion to “morning hills” before breakfast is
declared to be too much for their strength. Well, I wish it may answer,
as Sterne’s Uncle Toby said. But I do not think that the college during
the latter years of our century can show better bills of health than it
did in its earlier decades.

The dormitory arrangements are much changed, I believe, and it may be
worth while to record a few reminiscences of what they were in my day.

The second or inner quadrangle of the college buildings was formed by
the chapel and hall and kitchen on one side, and on the other three by
the lodgings of the fellows and the “hostiarius” on the first floor, and
the “chambers” of the scholars on the ground floor. These chambers were
seven in number. They contained therefore on an average ten beds each.
But they were by no means equal in size. The largest, “seventh” (for
they were all known by their numbers), held thirteen beds; the smallest,
“fifth,” only eight. A few years before my time, that side of the
quadrangle under which were situated the “first” and “second” chambers
was burned. And the beds and other arrangements in these two chambers
were of a more modern model. In the other five the old bedsteads
remained as they had been from time immemorial. They were of solid oak
of two to three inches thickness in every part, and were black with age.
The part which held the bed was a box, about six feet and a half long,
by three wide, with solid sides some six inches deep, and supported on
four massive legs. But at the head for about eighteen inches or so these
sides were raised to a height of about four or five feet, and covered
in. The whole construction was massive, and afforded an extremely snug
and comfortable sleeping place, which was much preferred to the iron
bedsteads in the two new chambers. Older bones might perhaps have found
the oak planking under the bed somewhat hard, but we were entirely
unconscious of any such objection.

The door in every chamber was well screened from the beds. There was a
huge fireplace with heavy iron dogs, on which we burned in winter large
faggots about four feet long. Four of such faggots was the allowance for
each evening, and it was abundantly sufficient. It was the duty of the
bedmakers, whose operations were all performed when we were in school,
to put four faggots in each chamber, which we used at our
discretion--_i. e._ at the discretion of the prefects in the chamber. As
the eighteen prefects were distributed among the seven chambers, there
were three prefects in each of the larger, and two in each of the
smaller chambers. By the side of each bed was a little desk, with a
cupboard above, which was called a “toys,” in which each boy kept the
books he needed for work “in chambers,” and any other private property.
For his clothes he had also by his bedside a large chest, of a make
contemporary with the bedstead, which served him also for a seat at the
desk of the “toys.” In the middle of the chamber was a pillar, around
which were hung our surplices. Over the huge fireplace was an iron
sconce fixed in the wall, in which a rushlight, called by us a
“functure” was burned all night. And the “prefect in course” was
responsible for its being kept duly burning. The nightly rounds of the
“hostiarius” were not frequent, but he might come at any minute of any
night. Suddenly his pass key would be heard in the door--for it was the
rule that every chamber door should be kept locked all night; he came in
with a lanthorn in his hand, and if all was right, _i. e._ if the
functure was duly burning, every boy in his bed, and his candle put out,
he merely looked around and passed on to another chamber. If otherwise,
the “prefect in course” had an interview with him on the following
morning. These chamber doors, which, as I have said, it was the rule to
keep always locked during the night, were exceedingly massive,
ironbound, and with enormous locks and hinges. Now there was a tradition
in college that a certain former “senior prefect in third” (_subaudi_
chamber) had carried the door of that chamber round the quadrangle. The
Atlas thus remembered was a minor canon of the cathedral, when I was
“senior prefect in third,” and the tradition of his prowess excited my
emulation. So I had the door in question taken from its hinges and laid
upon my bent back, and caused the door of “fourth” to be carefully
placed on the top of it, and so carried both doors round the quadrangle,
thus outdoing the minor canon by a hundred per cent. In due proportion
the feat should surely have made me in time a canon! But it has not done
so. I think, however, that I might challenge any one of my schoolfellows
of the present generation, whose constitutions are cared for by the
early breakfasts, which we did not get, to do likewise--supposing, that
is, the old doors to be still in existence, and _in statu quo_. From
seven to eight we were, or ought to have been, at work, seated at our
“toys” in chambers. And during that hour no “inferior” could leave the
chamber without the permission of the “prefect in course.” At eight we
went into chapel--or rather into the ante-chapel only--for short
prayers, and after that till nine we were free to do as we pleased. Some
would walk up and down “sands,” as the broad flagstone pavement below
the chapel wall was called.

Each prefect in the chamber had a little table, at which he sat during
the evening, and which in the morning served as a washing-stand, on
which it was the duty of the “junior,” who was his “valet,” to place his
basin and washing things. But all “inferiors” had to perform their
ablutions at the “conduit” in the open quadrangle. In severe or wet
weather this was not Sybaritic! But again I say that it would have been
difficult to find a healthier collection of boys than we were.

The discipline which regulated that part of college life spent “in
chambers,” must have been, I think, much more lax at a former day, than
it was in my time, for I remember to have heard my father, who was in
college under Dr. Warton, say that Tom Warton, the head master’s brother
(and the well-known author of the _History of Poetry_) used frequently
to be with the boys “in chambers” of an evening; that he would often
knock off a companion’s “verse task” for him, and that the Doctor the
next morning would recognise “that rascal Tom’s work.” Now in my day it
would have been altogether impossible and out of the question for any
outsider, however much an old Wykehamist, and brother of the master, to
be with us in chambers.

There was an anecdote current I remember among Wykehamists of that
generation respecting “that rascal Tom,” to the effect that he narrowly
missed becoming head of Trinity, of which college at Oxford he was a
fellow, under the following circumstances. There was a certain fellow of
the college, whose name need not here be recorded, rather famous among
his contemporaries for the reverse of wisdom or intelligence. Upon one
occasion, Tom Warton, sitting in his stall in chapel close to the
gentleman in question, who was reading the Psalms, and when the latter
came to the verse, “Lord, thou knowest my simpleness,” was so indiscreet
as to mutter in an almost audible tone, “Ay! we all know _that_!” But it
so chanced that not very long afterwards there was an election for the
presidentship of the college, and Warton, who was a very popular man,
was one of two candidates. The college, however, was very closely
divided between them, and “that rascal Tom” had to apply to his “simple”
colleague for his vote. “Not so simple as all that, Mr. Warton!” was the
reply; and the story goes that the historian of poetry lost his election
by that one vote.

And this college chapel anecdote reminds me to say, before concluding my
Wiccamical reminiscences, a few words about our chapel-going in the
olden time. In this department also very much of change has taken place,
doubtless here at least for the better.

But it must be remembered that any change of this sort has been
contemporaneous with change, at least as strongly marked in the same
direction, in the general tone of English manners, sentiments, and
habits. We English were not a devout people in the days when George the
Third was king, especially as regards all that portion of the world
which held aloof from evangelicalism and dissent. We were not altogether
without religious feeling in college, but it manifested itself chiefly
in the form of a pronounced abhorrence for those two, as we considered
them, ungentlemanlike propensities. For about three weeks at Easter time
the lower classes in the school read the Greek Testament instead of the
usual Greek authors, and the upper classes read Lowth’s _Prælections on
the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews_--a book unimpeachable in point of
Latinity and orthodoxy, for was not the author a Wykehamist? But I do
not remember aught else in the way of religious instruction, unless it
were found in the assiduity of our attendances at chapel.

We went to chapel twice (including the short evening prayers in the
ante-chapel) every day. On Fridays we went three times, and on Saturdays
also three times; the service in the afternoon being choral. On Sundays
we went thrice to chapel, and twice to the cathedral; on red-letter days
thrice to chapel, and as often on “Founder’s commemoration,” and
“Founder’s obit.” These latter services, as also those on Sundays and
holidays, were choral. We had three chaplains, an organist, four vicars
choral, and six choristers for the service of the chapel. The
“choristers,” who were mentioned at a former page as carrying the
“dispers” up into hall, though so called, had nothing to do with the
choral service. They were twelve in number, were fed, clothed, and
educated by a master of their own, and discharged the duty of waiting on
the scholars as messengers, etc., at certain hours.

Our three chaplains were all of them also minor canons of the
cathedral. Very worthy, good men they were--one of them especially and
exceptionally exemplary in his family relations; but their mode of
performing the service in the chapel was not what would in these days be
considered decorous or reverential. Besides the chaplaincy of the
college, and the minor canonry of the cathedral, these gentlemen--all
three of them, I believe--held small livings in the city. And the
multiplicity of duty which had thus to be done rendered a decree of
speed in the performance of the service so often a desideratum, and
sometimes an absolute necessity, that that became the most marked
characteristic of the performers. In reading, or rather intoning the
prayers, the habit was to allow no time at all for the choir to chant
their “Amen,” which had to be interjected in such sort that when the
tones of it died away the priest had already got through two or three
lines of the following prayer. One of our chaplains, who had the
well-deserved character of being the fastest of the three, we called the
diver. For it was his practice in reading or intoning to continue with
great rapidity as long as his breath would last, and then, while
recovering it, to proceed mentally without interruption, so that we lost
sight (or hearing) of him at one point, and when he came to the surface,
_i.e._, became audible again, he was several lines further down the
page; and this we called “diving.” It was proudly believed in college
that this was the gentleman of whom the story was first told, that he
was ready to give any man to “Pontius Pilate” in the Creed, and arrive
at the end before him. But however worthy competitor he may have been in
such a race, I have reason to believe that the chaplain of a certain
college in Oxford was the original of the story.

Another of our three chaplains was a great sportsman. It was the
practice that the lessons were always read in chapel by one of the
prefects.

I remember by the bye (but this is parenthetical), that one of our
number was unable to pronounce the letter “r,” and we used to scheme
that it should fall to his lot to tell us that “Ba_w_abbas was a
_w_obber.”

Now the boy who read the lessons, sat, not in his usual place, but by
the side of the chaplain who was performing the service. And it was the
habit of the reverend sportsman I have referred to, to intercalate with
the verses of the Psalm he was reading, _sotto voce_, anecdotes of his
most recent sporting achievements, addressed to the youth at his side,
using for the purpose the interval during which the choir recited the
alternate verse.

As thus, on one twenty-eighth evening of the month, well remembered
after some sixty years:

     “Who smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Then aside, in the well-known great rolling, mellow voice (I can hear it
now):

“On Hurstley Down yesterday I was out with Jack Woodburn” (this was
another minor canon of the cathedral, but not one of our chaplains)....

     “Sehon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

“My black bitch Juno put up a covey almost at our feet.”

     “And gave away their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth
     for ever.”

“I blazed away with both barrels and brought down a brace.”

     “Who remembered us when we were in trouble: for his mercy endureth
     for ever.”

“But Jack fired too soon and never touched a feather.” And so on.

Now there would be no sort of interest in recording that we
unfortunately chanced to have at one time a very graceless chaplain, if
such had been the case, which it was not. The interest lies in the fact
that the gentleman in question was a worthy and excellent man in all the
relations of life; that he was absolutely innocent of intentional
impropriety; and that, as far as I can remember, we had none of us the
faintest idea that we ought to have been shocked or scandalised. Such
was the state of things and men’s minds “sixty years since.”

The brother of this chaplain was the manciple of the college, and was
known among us as “Damme Hopkins,” from the following circumstance. His
manner was a quaint mixture of pomposity and _bonhomie_, which made a
conversation with him a rather favourite amusement with some of us. Now
the manciple was a very well-to-do man, and was rather fond of letting
it be known that his independent circumstances made the emoluments of
the place he held a matter of no importance to him. “Indeed,” he would
say, “I spoke to the Bishop [the Warden] a few months ago of resigning,
but the Bishop says to me, ‘No, no, Damme Hopkins, you must keep the
place.’” And I have no doubt that the deficiency of dramatic instinct
which thus led the worthy manciple to transfer his own phraseology to
his right reverend interlocutor rendered him quite unconscious of any
inaccuracy in his narration.

We used to go twice every Sunday, as I have said, to the cathedral. But
we did not attend the whole morning service. We timed our arrival there
so as to reach the cathedral at the beginning of the Communion service,
and to be present at that and at the sermon which followed it. We had no
sermons in college chapel, save on certain special occasions, such as
5th of November, “Founder’s commemoration,” or “Founder’s obit.” On the
former of these occasions a sermon used to be preached with which we had
become familiar by the annual repetition of it during a succession of
years. I wonder how many there are left who will remember the words, “A
letter was sent, couched in the most ambiguous terms, and who so likely
to detect it as the King himself?”

At the cathedral a series of benches between the pulpit and Bishop’s
throne and the altar were reserved for us, so that the preacher was
immediately in front and to the right of us. The surplice was used in
the cathedral pulpit at the morning service, the Geneva gown at that in
the afternoon. At the former one of the prebendaries or the dean was
the preacher, at the latter a minor canon.

I remember that we used to think a good deal of the dean’s sermons, and
always attended to them--a compliment which was not often paid, to the
best of my recollection, to the other preachers. Dean Rennell was a man
of very superior abilities, but of great eccentricity, mainly due to
extreme absence of mind. It used to be told of him that unless Mrs.
Rennell took good care, he was tolerably certain, when he went up to his
room to dress for a dinner-party, to go to bed. It will be understood
from what has been said of the accommodation provided for us in the
cathedral, that in order to face us, the preacher, addressing himself to
the body of the congregation in the choir, must have turned himself
round in the pulpit. And this Rennell would sometimes do, when he
thought what he was saying especially calculated for our edification. He
was, as I have already mentioned, a great Platonist, and when he
alluded, as he not unfrequently did, to some doctrine or opinion of the
Grecian philosopher, he would turn to us and say, in a sort of
parenthetical aside, “Plato I mean.”

Among the stories that were current of Rennell I remember one to the
effect that when upon one occasion he was posting from Winchester to
London he stopped at Egham for luncheon. A huge round of boiled beef,
nearly uncut, was placed upon the table. But the dean found it was, as
he thought, far too much boiled; so without more ado he cut the huge
mass into four quarters and helped himself to a morsel from the centre!
The landlady, when the mutilated joint was carried out, was exceedingly
indignant, and insisted that a guinea should be paid for the entirety of
it. The dean, much against the grain, as the chronicle goes, paid his
guinea, but packed up the four quarters of the round and carried them
off with him.

Further indication of his eccentricity might be seen, as I remember, in
his habit of wearing in the cathedral pulpit in cold weather, not a
skull cap, but a flat square of velvet on his head, with which
occasionally he would in the heat of his discourse wipe his face, then
clap it on his head again.

The cathedral, as I have had occasion to mention in a former chapter,
had been undergoing a very extensive restoration, one operation in the
course of which had been the removal of the organ from over the screen;
and the question whether it should be replaced there or be transferred
to the north transept was very earnestly, and, it was said, somewhat
hotly debated by the chapter. The dean was exceedingly vehement in
supporting the latter course, which was eventually adopted, it can
scarcely be doubted by those who see the church as it now is, with
entire judiciousness.

I could, not without gratification to myself, chatter much more about
reminiscences of the years I passed at Winchester. But I feel that the
only excuse for having yielded to the temptation as far as I have must
be sought in the illustrations afforded by what I have written of the
large changes in habits, thoughts, customs, feelings that have been
wrought in English society and English institutions by the lapse of some
sixty years.

And now the time had come when I, having attained the age of eighteen,
was superannuated at the election in the July of 1828. It was not at
that time certain whether I should or should not succeed to a fellowship
at New College, for that depended upon the number of vacancies that
might occur in the year up to the election of 1829. Eventually I missed
it by, as I remember, one only. One more journey of “Speedyman” before
July, 1829, announcing the marriage or the death of a fellow of New
College, or the acceptance of a college living by one of them, would
have made me a fellow of New College. But “Speedyman” did not make his
appearance.

I left Winchester a fairly good Latin scholar, and well grounded--I do
not think I can say more--in Greek; and very ignorant indeed of all
else. According to what I hear of the requirements at the present day, I
had no scholarly knowledge whatever of my own language. I knew nothing
whatsoever of Anglo-Saxon, or of mediæval English. I had never--have
never, I may rather say--had any English grammar in my hand from my
cradle to the present hour.

It is certain, however, that the enlarged requirements in this
department, to which I have referred, have somehow or other failed to
banish from the current literature of the day a vast number of
solecisms, vulgarisms, and grammatical atrocities of all sorts, which
defile the language to a much greater degree than was the case at the
time of which I have been writing, and which would have been as
abhorrent to me when I left Winchester as they are now.

Of arithmetic I knew nothing--I should write “know”--and of all that
arithmetic should be the first step to, _à fortiori_, still less. In the
art of writing I received the best possible instruction, for I was
licked by my tutor and scourged by the masters if my writing was
illegible. Of less indirect tuition I had none.

There was a writing master--one Mr. Bower, Fungy Bower he was called,
why, I know not--who sat at a certain low desk in the school during;
school hours. I never received from him, or saw any one else receive
from him, any instruction in writing. Nor did he, to the best of my
knowledge and belief, form any part of William of Wykeham’s foundation.
The only purpose his presence in school appeared to serve was to mend
pens and make up the weekly account of marks received by each boy which
regulated his place in the class.

The register containing the account of these marks was called the
“classicus paper,” and was kept in this wise. All the members of each
“class”--or “form” as it is called in other schools--continually changed
places while proceeding with the lesson before the master, each, if able
to answer a question which those above him could not answer, passing up
above them. And part of the punishment for failing altogether in any
lesson, for being as the phrase was “crippled in Virgil,” or “crippled
in Homer,” was to go to the bottom of the class. Thus the order in which
the class sat was continually changed. And the first business every
morning was for the two boys at the head of the class to take the
“classicus paper,” and mark 1. against the name of the boy at the
bottom, 2. against the next, and so on; so that the mark assigned to him
at the head was equal to the number in the class. And this record of the
marks was handed every week to Fungy Bower to be made up, so as to
indicate the place in the class held by each member of it. But though
this was done weekly the account was carried on during the whole half
year, so that a boy’s final place in the class was the accurate result
of his diligence and success during the whole “half.”

Of course I was a cricketer--we all were, and were indeed obliged to be,
whether willingly or not, until we became prefects, when, of course,
those only who loved the game continued to practise it. I never was a
great cricketer, but have been “long stop” quite often enough to know
how great is the nonsense talked by those of the present generation, who
maintain that all the elaborate precautions against being hurt which are
so abundantly taken by the players of these latter days are necessitated
by the greater force of the bowling as now practised. In simple truth
this is all _bosh_! though I can hardly expect a generation _in cute
curandâ plus æquo operata_ to believe a very old batter and fielder when
he tells them so!

My favourite game was fives. We had a splendid fives court, and the game
was played in a manner altogether peculiar to Winchester; now I
believe--like so much else--abandoned. We used a very small ball, hardly
bigger than a good-sized walnut, and as hard as if made of wood, called
a “snack.” And this was driven against the wall by a bat of quite
peculiar construction. It was made, I think, of ash, and there were only
two men, rivals, who could make it. It was about a yard long, the handle
round, and somewhat less than an inch in diameter. It then became
gradually thinner and wider, till at about the distance of six inches
from the extremity it was perhaps an inch and a half wide, and not
thicker than half-a-crown. Then it expanded and thickened again into a
head somewhat of the shape of an ace of spades, some three inches across
and half an inch thick. The thin part was kept continually well
oiled--in such sort that it became so elastic, that the heavy head might
almost be doubled back so as to touch the part nearer the hand. It will
be understood both that the difficulty of striking a bounding ball with
this instrument was considerable, and that the momentum imparted to the
small hard ball by the blow was very great indeed. It is true that
accidents occasionally, though very rarely, happened from a misdirected
blow. But it does not seem necessary that the old bat should be
abandoned, for our judicious grandsons might play with great comfort and
safety in helmets!

Of course I, like most of my contemporaries, left Winchester--and indeed
subsequently left Oxford--as ignorant of any modern language, save
English, as of Chinese! And as for music--though Oxford and Cambridge
are the only universities in Europe which give degrees in music--it is
hardly an exaggeration to say that, with very rare exceptions, to have
taught an undergraduate, or a boy at a public school, music, would have
been thought much on a par with teaching him to hem a
pocket-handkerchief. And here the present generation has the pull to a
degree which it perhaps hardly sufficiently recognises!

It was during my last year at Winchester that I made my first attempt at
authorship. Old Robbins, the grey-headed bookseller of College Street,
who had been the college bookseller for many years, had recently taken a
younger partner of the name of Wheeler, and this gentleman established a
monthly magazine, called the _Hampshire and West of England Magazine_,
to which I contributed three or four articles on matters Wiccamical. I
have the volume before me now--perhaps the only extant copy of that long
since forgotten publication. The Rev. E. Poulter, one of the
prebendaries of Winchester, who had a somewhat wider than local
reputation as a wit in those days, was the anonymous contributor of a
poetical prologue of such unconscionable proportions that poor Wheeler
was sadly puzzled what to do with it. It was impossible to refuse or
neglect a reverend prebendary’s contribution, besides that the verses,
often doggerel, had some good fun in them. So they were all printed by
instalments in successive numbers, despite the title of prologue which
their author gives them.



CHAPTER VII.


I came back from Winchester for the last time after the election of
1828, to find a great change at home. My father, pressed more and more
by pecuniary difficulties, had quitted Harrow, and established himself
at Harrow Weald, a hamlet of the large parish in the direction of
Pinner. He had not given up his farm at Harrow. He would have been only
too glad to do so, for it involved an annual loss undeviatingly; but
that he could not do, for his lease tied him to the stake. But he took
another farm at Harrow Weald, on which there was an old farm-house,
which had once been a very good one, and, living there, carried on both
farms. How far this speculation was a wise one I have no means of
judging. Doubtless he took the Harrow Weald farm upon very largely more
advantageous terms than those which he had accepted from Lord Northwick
for the farm at Harrow; but having been absent all the time at
Winchester, I knew so little about the matter that I do not now know
even who his Harrow Weald landlord was. Possibly I did know but have
forgotten. But I think I remember to have heard my father say that the
Harrow Weald farm did in some decree alleviate the loss sustained by the
larger farm at Harrow, and that, could he have got rid of the latter,
the Harrow Weald farm might have paid its way. The excellent house he
had built at Harrow was in the meantime let to Mr. Cunningham, the
vicar.

The change from it to the old farm-house at Harrow Weald, as a home, was
not a pleasant one; but a very far worse and more important change
awaited my home coming, in the absence of my mother. She had gone to
America.

Where, or under what circumstances, my parents had first become
acquainted with General La Fayette I do not know. I myself never saw
him; but I know that it was during a visit to La Grange, his estate in
France, that my mother first met Miss Frances Wright, one of two
sisters, his wards. I believe she became acquainted with Camilla Wright,
the sister, at the same time.

It is odd, considering the very close intimacy that took place between
my mother and Frances Wright, that I never knew anything of the
parentage and family of these ladies, or how they came to be wards of
General La Fayette. But with Miss Frances Wright I did become
subsequently well acquainted. She was in many respects a very remarkable
personage. She was very handsome in a large and almost masculine style
of beauty, with a most commanding presence, a superb figure, and stature
fully masculine. Her features both in form and expression were really
noble. There exists--still findable, I suppose, in some London _fonds
de magasin_--a large lithographed portrait of her. She is represented
standing, with her hand on the neck of a grey horse (the same old gig
horse that had drawn my parents and myself over so many miles of
Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Monmouthshire roads and cross roads--not
that which so nearly made an end of us near Lynmouth, but his
companion), and, if I remember rightly, in Turkish trousers.

But these particulars of her bodily form and presentment constituted the
least remarkable specialties of her individuality. She was
unquestionably a very clever woman. She wrote a slender octavo volume,
entitled _A Few Days in Athens_, which was published by Longman. It was
little more than a _brochure_, and it is many years since I have seen
it, but the impression that it was very clever abides in my mind. I
remember the fact that the whole edition was sold. And the mention of
this book reminds me of a circumstance that seems to show that my
parents must have become to a considerable degree intimate with these
wards of General La Fayette at some period preceding the visit to La
Grange, which exercised in the sequel so large an influence over my own,
and my mother’s, and brothers’ future. This circumstance is that I
recollect my father to have been in communication with the Longmans on
behalf of Miss Wright in respect to her work.

Be this how it may, at the time of that visit to La Grange spoken of
above, Miss Wright’s thoughts and aspirations were directed with a
persistent and indomitable enthusiasm, which made the groundwork of her
character, to doing something for the improvement of the condition of
the slave populations in the southern states of the great transatlantic
republic. Both Frances and Camilla Wright were ladies of considerable
fortune; and I believe that General La Fayette wished much to induce his
ward Frances not to employ her means in the scheme she was now bent on.
But she was of age,--I fancy some six or seven years more than that--and
he had no authority to interfere with her purpose, with which besides,
otherwise than as likely to be pecuniarily disastrous to her, he
entirely sympathised.

Her purpose was to purchase a property in the valley of the
Mississippi--in Alabama I think it was--with the slaves upon it, to free
them all immediately, and to cultivate the estate by their free labour,
living there with them in a sort of community, the principles and plan
of which were, I fancy, very largely based upon the ideas and schemes of
Mr. Owen of Lanark. His son, Robert Dale Owen, subsequently well known
in Europe as the author of sundry works on spiritualism and political
speculations, and as United States Consul at Naples and perhaps other
cities, was a life-long friend of Miss Wright’s.

Now, my parents had taken with them to La Grange my next brother, Henry,
who has been mentioned as the companion of my early London rambles, and
who was then rapidly approaching manhood without having found for
himself, or having had found for him, any clear prospect of earning the
livelihood which it was clearly enough necessary that he should earn in
some way; and Miss Wright proposed to my mother to bring him to America
to join in her projected establishment and experiment at “New
Harmony”--such I believe to have been the name which Miss Wright gave to
her property. The original name, I think, was Nashoba, but my knowledge
of any of these matters is very imperfect. I know that the whole scheme
ended in complete disappointment to all concerned, and entire failure.
To Miss Wright it involved very considerable pecuniary loss, which, as I
learned subsequently from my mother, she bore with the utmost fortitude
and cheerfulness, but without any great access of wisdom as regarded her
benevolent schemes for the political and economical improvement of
human, and especially black, society. I never saw her again; but
remember to have heard of her marrying a French teacher of languages at
the close of a course of lectures given by her against the institution
of matrimony. All that I heard from my mother and my brother of their
connection with Miss Wright, of her administration of affairs at New
Harmony, and her conduct when her experiment issued in failure and
disappointment, left with me the impression of her genuinely highminded
enthusiasm, her unselfishness, bravery, and generosity, but, at the same
time, of her deficiency in the qualities which can alone make departure
from the world’s beaten tracks--mill-horse tracks though they be--either
wise, profitable, or safe. She had a fine and large intelligence, but
not fine or large enough for going quite unpiloted across country.

Whether my mother resided any time at Nashoba I am not sure, but I think
not. At all events, very shortly after her arrival in America she
established herself at Cincinnati. And when it became evident that there
was no prospect of permanent work for my brother in the business of
regenerating the negroes, it was determined--by the advice of what
Cincinnati friends I know not--that he should join my mother there, and
undertake the establishment and conduct of an institution which, as far
as I was able to understand the plan, was to combine the specialities of
an Athenæum, a lecture hall, and a bazaar! And it was when this
enterprise had been decided upon, but before any steps had been taken
for the realising of it, that I accompanied my father on a visit to
America.

When I returned from Winchester in July, there were still many months
before me of uncertainty whether I might get a vacancy at New College or
not, and my father, having determined on going for a short visit to
Cincinnati, proposed to take me with him. After what I have written in a
previous chapter of my early tastes and proclivities, I need hardly say
that the prospect of this travel was in the highest degree delightful to
me. I am afraid that, at the time, any call to New College, which
should have had the effect of preventing it, would have been to me a
very unwelcome one. Our departure was fixed for September, and the
intervening time was spent by me in preparations for the great
adventure, very much such as Livingstone may be supposed to have made on
quitting England for the “dark continent.”

I was, as it seems to me now, still a very boyish boy, all ex-Wiccamical
prefect as I was, and, I cannot help thinking, younger and more childish
than the youngsters of equal age of the present generation.

The voyage, however, really was a bigger affair in those days than it
has become in these times, for it was before the iron horse had been
trained to cross the Atlantic. And my father made it a very much more
serious business still by engaging for us berths in the steerage of a
passenger ship. I hardly think that he would have done so had he been at
all aware of what he was undertaking. It is true that he was undoubtedly
hard pressed for money, though I have not now, and had not then any such
knowledge of his affairs as to enable me to judge to what degree he was
straitened. But there was also about my father a sort of Spartan
contempt for comfort, and determination not to expend money on his own
personal well-being, which was a prominent feature in his character, and
which, I have no doubt, contributed to the formation of his resolution
to make this journey in the least costly manner possible.

But, as I have said, I think that he had no very clear notion of what a
steerage passage across the Atlantic implied. As for me, if he had
proposed to make the voyage on a raft I should have jumped at the offer!
It was, in truth, a sufficiently severe experience. But, as I was then
at eighteen, I should have welcomed the chance of making such an
expedition, even if I had accurately realised all the accompaniments and
all the details of it.

We went on board the good ship _Corinthian_, Captain Chadwick, bound for
New York, in the September of 1828. Ship and captain were American.

I confess that my first feeling on entering the place which was to be my
habitation during the next few weeks was one of dismay. It was not that
the accommodation was rough. I cared little enough about that, and
should have cared as little had it been much rougher. But it was the
first time in my life that I had had any experience of the truth of the
proverb that misfortune makes one acquainted with strange bedfellows! Of
course there was in that part of the vessel allotted to the steerage
passengers no sort of enclosure for the different berths, some dozen or
score of them, in which the steerage passengers had to sleep. No sort of
privacy either by day or by night was possible; add to which, the
ventilation was very insufficient, and the whole place was, perhaps
unavoidably, dirty to a revolting degree. My father almost at once
betook himself to his berth, and rarely left it during the entire
voyage--indeed he was for the most part incapable of doing so, having
been suffering from his usual sick headache more or less during the
whole time. If the voyage was a bad time for me, it must have been far
worse for him. Indeed I was scarcely ever below, except when attending
on him.

Before the first night came, I declared my intention of making no use of
the berth assigned to me. Where was I to pass the night then? I said I
should pass it on deck. I had a huge great coat, a regular
“dreadnought,” so called in those days, and made with innumerable capes;
and with that I thought I should do well enough during the September
night. My declared intention brought an avalanche of ridicule down on my
head, not only from my fellow inhabitants of the steerage, but from the
captain and his mates. A night on deck, or at the very most two, would
make me glad and thankful enough for the shelter of my berth. I did not
know what I was talking of, but should soon find out, &c.

Well, the first night passed! It was a fine moonlight. And I enjoyed it
and the novelty of my surroundings keenly. I slept, wrapped in my
capacious great coat, two or three hours at a time, and morning found me
none the worse. The second night was less delightful! I was weary and
began to feel the need of sleep after a fashion to which I was more
accustomed. And then came bad weather, wet and cold! I got some shelter
in an erection on the deck called the “round house;” but the want of
proper rest was beginning to tell upon me, and the fatigue was very
severe. I think that, despite my horror of the steerage and the world
that inhabited it, I should have succumbed and accepted its shelter, if
my determination not to do so had been confined to my own breast; and no
necessity had existed for triumphing over the ridicule and the unanimous
prophecies of the other passengers and the ship’s officers. As it was, I
was safe not to yield!

I did not yield! Our voyage was rather longer than an average one, and
during all the thirty-eight days that it lasted, I never passed a night
below, or went there at all save for the purpose of changing my clothes,
or attending on my father, who lay sick and suffering in his berth
during almost the whole time. It was a severer experience than it may
seem probably to the imagination of those who never made a similar
experiment. When I reached New York, I felt as if it would be heaven to
go to sleep for a week.

We had one short spell of very bad weather; and were, as I subsequently
learned, in considerable danger for an hour or so. We had been running
all day before a fair wind exactly aft, which, continually increasing in
violence, assumed at sun-down the force of a gale. Nevertheless Captain
Chadwick, against the advice of an old English merchant captain, who was
a passenger, could not prevail on himself to lose the advantage of so
good a wind, and determined to “carry on.” But as the night advanced
the wind continued to increase and the sea to rise, till the danger of
being “pooped,” if we continued to run before it, became too great to be
neglected. But the danger of putting about, “broaching-to” I believe is
the correct term, was also great.

It became necessary however to do this about midnight, and I was the
only passenger on deck during the operation. The English merchant
captain mentioned above kept running up for a few minutes at a time
every now and then. But he had a wife and young children aboard, and
would not remain long away from them. The good ship as she came round
into the trough of the sea, lay down on her side to such a degree that
my body as I clung to the bulwark on the weather-side swung away to the
leeward in such sort that I was for a minute hanging from a hold above
my head, instead of clinging to one at my side. And I saw and
heard--very specially heard--every sail blown away from the yards. I
heard, too, the shout of the men on the yards, “We can’t get an inch,”
as they strove to reef. Much danger was occasioned to the men by the
block at the foot of the mainsail remaining attached to the sail, which
was blown about, before it could be secured, with a violence which
knocked the cook’s galley to atoms.

And all this I saw to my great delight. For I considered a storm at sea
as a part of the experiences of a voyage which it would have been a
great pity to have missed, and was altogether unaware that we were in
any real danger. Towards daybreak the gale moderated, and before noon it
was perfectly calm, and all hands were busy in bending a new suite of
sails.

With all this I should have enjoyed the voyage immensely had it not been
for the nature of the companionship to which I should have been
condemned if I had not escaped from it in the manner I have described.
The utter roughness of the accommodation, the scanty and not very
delicate food, would all have signified to me in those days absolutely
nothing. But I could not tolerate the companionship of the men and women
with whom I should have lived. I could have no doubt tolerated it some
twenty years later, but it was at that time too new to me. I take it
that ill-luck had given us a rather specially bad lot as our destined
companions in the steerage. I had seen quite enough of the labourers on
the farm at Harrow to know what a man living with his family on a pound
a week was like, and I could have managed to live if necessary with such
men for a week or two without any insuperable repugnance. But some of
the denizens of that steerage _bolgia_ were blackguards of a description
quite new to me.

Two figures among them are still, after nearly sixty years, present to
my mental vision. One was a large, loosely-made, middle-aged man, who
always wore a long grey serge dressing-gown. He was accompanied by
nobody belonging to him, and I never had the least idea what grade or
department of life he could have belonged to. His language, though
horrible, as regards the ideas conveyed by it, was grammatically far
superior to that of most of those around him; and he was very clever
with his hands, executing various little arrangements for his own
comfort with the skill of a carpenter, and almost with that of an
upholsterer. His face was thoroughly bad, with loose, baggy, flaccid,
pale cheeks, and a great coarse hanging under lip. He always looked
exceedingly dirty, but nevertheless was always clean shaved. He was
always talking, always haranguing those who would listen to him; always
extolling the country for which we were bound, and its institutions, and
expressing the most venomous hatred of England and all things English. I
used to listen to him during my hours of attendance on my father with an
excess of loathing, which I doubt not I failed to conceal from him, and
which, acting like a strong brine, has preserved his memory in my mind
all these years.

The other was much less objectionable. He was a younger man, and called
himself a farmer, but his farming had evidently run much to
horse-dealing, and he dressed in a horsey style. He had a miserable
sickly wife with him, who had once upon a time been pretty. She wore the
remains of dresses that had once been smart, and was by far the most
slatternly woman I ever saw. Her husband, so far as I could observe,
did not ill-treat her, but he was constantly saying unkind things in
language which should have made her blush, if she had not left all
blushes far behind her, and at which the other worse brute used to laugh
with obstreperous approbation. He could sing too, as I thought at that
time very well, and used to sing a song telling how “The farm I now hold
on your honour’s estate, is the same that my grandfather held,” &c. &c.
The tune of it runs in my head to this day; and I remember thinking that
if the song related the singer’s own fortunes, “his honour” must have
gained by the change of tenant, however many generations of ancestors
may have held it before him.

By the time our voyage came to an end I was pretty nearly worn out by
want of rest and night and day exposure to the weather. But to own the
truth honestly, I was supported by a sense of pride in having sustained
an amount of fatigue which none other in the ship had, and few probably
could have, sustained, and which I had been defied to sustain. And after
I had had a sleep “the round of the clock,” as the phrase goes, I was
none the worse. Moreover, it was a matter of extreme consolation to me
to think that I was accumulating a store of strange experiences of a
kind which nothing in my previous life had seemed to promise me. But
above all the approach to New York, and the sight of the bay, was, I
felt, more than enough to repay me for all the discomfort of the voyage.
I thought it by far the grandest sight I had ever seen, as indeed it
doubtless was.

I do not remember to have been much struck by the town of New York. I
remember thinking it had the look of an overgrown colossal village, and
that it was very different in appearance from any English city. It
seemed to me too that there was a strange contrast between the roomy,
clean, uncity-like appearance of the place, and the apparent hurry and
energetic ways of the inhabitants. I remember also remarking the very
generally youthful appearance of those who seemed to be transacting most
of the business of the place.

We were received most kindly by an old friend of my parents, Mr. Wilkes,
the uncle, I think, or perhaps great-uncle of him who as Commodore
Wilkes of the _Trent_ subsequently became known to the world, as having
very nearly set his country and England by the ears! How and why old Mr.
Wilkes was a friend of my father’s I do not know, but suspect that it
was through the medium of some very old friends of my grandfather
Milton, of the name of Garnet. Two very old ladies of that name,
spinster sisters, I remember to have seen at Brighton some twenty or
five and twenty years ago. I remember that Mr. Wilkes struck me as a
remarkably courteous and gentlemanlike old man, very English both in
manners and appearance, in a blue dress coat and buff waistcoat, and
long white hair. I fancy that he was connected in some way (by old
friendship only, I imagine,) with the Misses Wright, and I gathered
that he altogether disapproved of Frances Wright’s philanthropic Nashoba
enterprise, and consequently of the share in it which my father and
mother, on behalf of my brother Henry, had undertaken. Of the wisdom of
his misgivings the result furnished abundant proof.

My recollections of the journey from New York to Cincinnati are of a
very fragmentary description, those of so very many other journeys
during the well nigh sixty years which have elapsed since it was
performed have nearly obliterated them. I remember being struck by the
uncomfortable roughness of all the lodging accommodation, as contrasted
with the great abundance, and even, as it appeared to me, luxury of the
commissariat department.

We passed by Pittsburg and crossed the Alleghany Mountains, the former
remaining in my memory as a nightmare of squalor, and the latter as a
vision of beauty and delight. We travelled long days through districts
of untouched forest over the often described “corduroy” roads. I was
utterly disappointed by the forests; all that I saw of them appeared to
me a miserable collection of lank, unwholesome-looking, woebegone stems,
instead of Windsor Forest on a vastly increased scale, which was, I take
it, what I expected. I remember, too, being much struck by the
performance of the drivers of the stages over the corduroy roads
aforesaid, and often over boggy tracts of half reclaimed forest amid the
blackened stumps of burned trees. The things they proposed to
themselves to accomplish, and did accomplish without coming to grief,
other than shaking every tooth in the heads of their passengers, would
have made an English coachman’s hair stand on end! To have seen them at
their work over a decent bit of road would on the other hand have
provoked the laughter and contempt of the same critics. Arms and legs
seemed to take an equal part in the work; the whip was never idle, and
the fatigue must have been excessive. I do not think that any man could
have driven fifty miles at a stretch over those roads.

Cincinnati was reached at last. The journey to me had been delightful in
the highest degree, simply from the novelty of everything. As things
were done at that time it was one of very great fatigue, but in those
days I seemed to be incapable of fatigue. At all events it was all
child’s play in comparison with my crossing the ocean in the good ship
_Corinthian_.

We found my mother and two sisters and my brother Henry well, and
established in a roomy bright-looking house, built of wood, and all
white with the exception of the green Venetian blinds. It stood in its
own “grounds,” but these grounds consisted of a large field uncultivated
save for a few potatoes in one corner of it; and the whole appearance of
the place was made unkempt-looking--not squalid, because everything was
too new and clean looking for that--by uncompleted essays towards the
making of a road from the entrance-gate to the house, and by fragments
of boarding and timber, which it had apparently been worth no one’s
while to collect after the building of the house was completed. With all
this there was an air of roominess and brightness which seemed to me
very pleasant. The house was some five or ten minutes’ walk from what
might be considered the commencement of the town, but it is no doubt by
this time, if it still stands at all, more nearly in the centre of it.



CHAPTER VIII.


My father and I remained between five and six months at Cincinnati, and
my remembrances of the time are pleasant ones. In the way of amusement,
to the best of my recollection, there was not much besides rambling over
the country with my brother, the old companion of those London rambles
which seemed to me then almost as far off in the dim past as they do
now. But we were free, tied to no bounds, and very slightly to any
hours. And I enjoyed those rambles immensely. I do not remember that the
country about Cincinnati struck me as especially interesting or
beautiful, and the Ohio, _la belle rivière_, distinctly disappointed me.
But it was a new world, and every object, whether animate or inanimate,
was for us full of interest.

Looking back to those Cincinnati days, I have to say that I liked the
Americans, principally, I think, at that time, as far as my remembrances
serve, because some quality in their manners and behaviour had the
effect of making me less shy with them than with others. I was then, and
to a great degree have never ceased to be, painfully shy. How miserably
this weakness afflicts those who suffer from it, how it disqualifies
them and puts them at a disadvantage in circumstances constantly
recurring, those who are free from it cannot imagine. And they glorify
their superiority by saying all sorts of hard things of those who suffer
from shyness--very unjustly in my opinion. Shyness proceeds in almost
all cases, I should say probably in all, from diffidence. A man who
thinks sufficiently well of himself is never shy. Did any one ever see a
vain man shy? I do not think the Americans are an especially vain
people; but there are specialties of their social condition which lead
to every American citizen’s estimate of himself, from the cradle
upwards, being equal to his estimate of any other man. And one
consequence of this is a certain frank and unconstrained manner in their
intercourse with strangers or new acquaintances which is invaluable to a
shy man.

I remember an incident of my first year at Winchester, when I was
between ten and eleven, which is illustrative of the misery which
shyness may inflict. A boy about a year my senior, and taller than I,
was constantly annoying and bullying me, and one day in the presence of
a considerable number of onlookers challenged me to fight him. I
refused, and naturally of course was considered a coward, and had to
endure the jibes and taunts due to one. The explanation of my refusal of
my enemy’s challenge however--never offered to mortal ear before the
confiding of it to this page--was not that I was afraid to fight, but
was too shy to do so. It was not that I could not face all that his
fists could do to me, as I shortly afterwards showed him; but I could
not bring myself to face the publicity of the proposed contest--the
formality of it, the ring, in the centre of which I should have to
perform, and to be a spectacle, and have my performance criticised. All
this was too absolutely intolerable to me. But early the next morning,
chancing to catch my adversary “in meads” with only one or two others
near him, I attacked him to his utter astonishment and dismay, and
without very much difficulty gave him as good a pummelling as my heart
desired.

Whether this incident originated the nickname “Badger,” which I bore at
Winchester, as being one indisposed to fight, but likely to prove
dangerous if “drawn,” I do not know.

It was during our stay at Cincinnati that my father and I paid a visit
to an establishment of “Shaking Quakers,” as they were called, and I
believe called themselves at Mount Lebanon, about five and twenty miles
from Cincinnati. We were hospitably received, paying a moderate
remuneration for our lodging and food. Both these were supplied of
exactly the same kind and quality as used by the inmates of the
establishment, and were, though very simple and plain, admirable in
quality. The extensive farm, on which the Shakers lived, and which they
cultivated by their own labour, was their own property, having been
originally purchased at a time when land was of very small market
value, and brought under tillage by the labour of the members. But
nothing in the nature of private property was held or retained by any
one.

The number of women was about equal to that of the men. But there were
no children. None were born in the establishment, and no man or woman
joining it was allowed to bring any. Nor was marriage or connubial life
in any sort recognised or permitted. And of course these conditions
rendered the whole experiment wholly useless as an example for the
conduct of any ordinary community, or for an indication of what may be
economically accomplished for such.

We did not eat in company with the members, though faring, as I have
said, exactly as they did, but we were present at their religious
worship, or at what stood in the place of such. This consisted in a
species of dance, if the uncouth jumping or “shaking” which they
practised could be so called. The men and women were assembled and
danced in the same room, but not together. They jumped and “shook”
themselves in two divided bodies. Any spectator would be disposed to
imagine that the whole object of the performance was bodily exercise. It
seemed to be carried on to the utmost extent that breath and bodily
fatigue would permit. Many were mopping the perspiration from their
faces. No laughing or gladness, or exhilaration whatever appeared to
accompany or to be caused by the exercise. All was done with an air of
perfect solemnity.

All the men and all the women seemed to be in the enjoyment of excellent
health. Most of them seemed to be somewhat more than well
nourished--rather tending to obesity. They were florid, round-faced,
sleek and heavy in figure. I observed no laughter, and very little
conversation among them. The women were almost all in the prime of life,
and many young. But there was a singular absence of good looks among
them. Some had regular features enough, but they were all heavy, fat,
dull-looking, like well-kept animals. I could not spy one pair of bright
eyes in the place. All, men and women, were quite simply but thoroughly
well and cleanly dressed, not altogether, as I remember, in uniform, but
with very great uniformity. Grey cloth of very fair quality was the
prevailing material of dress for both sexes.

Various articles useful for country life of the simpler sort were
manufactured by them for sale. And I learned that all the articles so
made had throughout the country side a high reputation for excellence in
their kinds. And there could be no doubt that the Shaker community was
thriving and probably accumulating money. To what object they should do
so seems a difficult question.

I heard of no sickness or infirmity among them. Such there must of
course have been occasionally, and I presume that the infirm, the sick,
and the dying must have been cared for.

These people lived in perfect equality; and their community proved that
a community of men and women (unburthened with children) could by an
amount of labour by no means excessive, or even arduous, provide
themselves with an ample sufficiency of all things needful for their
material well-being and comfort. It is true that they paid no rent, but
I am disposed to think, from what I heard, that they might have paid a
moderate rent for the land they cultivated, and still continued to do
well. But it was impossible to avoid the reflection that this well-being
was merely that of well-kept animals. There was an air of unmistakable
stupidity over the whole establishment. Nobody laughed. Nobody seemed to
converse. There was excellent lodging, clothing, and food in plenty till
they died! And that was all. Perhaps it may be fairly assumed that no
one, save people of very mediocre powers and intelligence, had ever felt
tempted to become a Shaking Quaker. But it can hardly be said that their
experiment exhibited a very tempting sample of a world to be modelled
after their fashion!

It has been said by some observers that this materially flourishing
establishment has so many points of similarity with the conventual
institutions of Roman Catholicism that it may be considered as supplying
the same natural want to which those institutions are supposed to
correspond, an asylum, that is to say, for those of either sex, who,
from various circumstances of fortune, or of temperament, are unfitted
for the struggles of the world, and find themselves left stranded on
the banks of the great social stream. The impressions I received from
my visit to Mount Lebanon do not dispose me to accept any such
explanation of the Shaking Quaker _raison d’être_. I saw no signs
whatever, among either the men or the women, of individuals who had been
tempest-tossed in any of the world’s _maelstroms_, or of temperaments
for which the contemplative life might be supposed to have had greater
attractions than the active life of the world. The characteristics which
were most notably observable were of a diametrically opposed kind. One
would say that they were men and women thoroughly and unanimously minded
to make for themselves in the most judiciously contrived manner a
comfortable and clean sty, with abundant and perennial supply of
everything needed for their bodily wants. Whether love or hatred, as
they are found to exist in monastic communities, existed among them, of
course I had not sufficient opportunity for even guessing. But assuredly
it may be said with some confidence of not being mistaken, that neither
those nor any other passions had left any of their usual marks on those
sleek bodies and placid meaningless faces. One would have said that the
main and engrossing object of existence at Mount Lebanon was digesting.

I have recently learned that the community continues to exist under the
same conditions as those under which I saw it.

I made acquaintance, I remember, at Cincinnati, with Mr. Longworth, who
was, or became well known throughout America for his successful efforts
in viticulture. He was one of those men who, being by no means
entertaining companions on any other subject, become so, if you will
talk to them upon their own. I have often thought that the “sink the
shop” maxim is a great mistake. If I had to pass an hour with a
chimney-sweep, I should probably find him very good company if he would
talk exclusively about sweeping chimneys. Mr. Longworth was extremely
willing to talk exclusively on schemes for the introduction of the vine
into the western states, and on that subject was well worth listening
to. I find a note in a diary, written by me at that time, to the effect
that he was then (1828) employing a large number of Germans on his
estate at Columbia near Cincinnati at a little less than one shilling a
day and their food. I remarked that this seemed scarcely in accord with
the current accounts of the high price of labour in the states, and was
answered that his--Mr. Longworth’s--bailiff had said to him the other
day, “If those men get to Cincinnati they will be _spoiled_”--a little
touch which rather vividly illustrates one phase of the difference made
in all things by railway communication.

But the most remarkable acquaintance we made at Cincinnati was Hiram
Powers, the subsequently well-known sculptor, with whom I again fell in
many years afterwards at Florence, when he was living there with his
large family, having just acquired a large and lucrative degree of
celebrity by his statue of “The Greek Slave,” purchased by an
Englishman whom my mother had taken to visit his studio. I do not know
by what chance she had first become acquainted with him at Cincinnati.

He was at that time about eighteen years old, much about my own
contemporary; and my mother at once remarked him as a young man of
exceptional talent and promise. He was at that time seeking to live by
his wits, with every prospect of finding that capital abundantly
sufficient for the purpose. There was a Frenchman named Dorfeuille at
Cincinnati, who had established what he called a “museum,”--a show, in
fact, in which he collected anything and everything that he thought
would excite the curiosity of the people and induce them to pay their
quarter dollars for admission. And this M. Dorfeuille, cleverly enough
appreciating young Powers’s capabilities of being useful to him, had
engaged him as factotum and general manager of his establishment.
Powers, casting about for some new “attraction” for the museum, chanced
one evening to talk over the matter with my mother. And it occurred to
her to suggest to him to get up a representation of one of Dante’s
_bolgias_ as described in the _Inferno_, The nascent sculptor, with his
imaginative brain, artistic eye, and clever fingers, caught at the idea
on the instant. And forthwith they set to work, my mother explaining the
poet’s conceptions, suggesting the composition of “tableaux,” and
supplying details, while Powers designed and executed the figures and
the necessary _mise en scène_.

Some months of preparation were needed before the work could be
accomplished, and Dorfeuille, I remember, began to have misgivings as to
recouping himself for the not inconsiderable cost. But at last all was
ready. A vast amount of curiosity had been excited in the place by
preliminary announcements, and the result was an immense success. I have
preserved for nearly sixty years, and have now before me, the programme
and bill of the exhibition as it was drawn up by my mother. It is truly
a curiosity in its kind, and I am tempted to reproduce it here. But it
is too long, occupying four pages of a folio sheet. There are quotations
from the _Inferno_, translated by my mother (no copy of any published
translation being then and there procurable), explanations of the
author’s meaning, and descriptions in very bugaboo style, and in every
variety of type with capitals of every sort of size, of all the horrors
of the supposed scene.

The success was so great, and the curiosity, not only of the Cincinnati
world but of the farmers round about and their families, was so eager,
that the press of spectators was inconveniently great, and M. Dorfeuille
began to fear that his properties might be damaged by indiscreet desires
to touch as well as see. So Powers arranged a slight metal rod as a
barrier between the show and the spectators, and contrived to charge it
with electricity, while an announcement, couched in terrible and mystic
terms and in verse, by my mother, to the effect that an awful doom
awaited any mortal rash enough to approach the mysteries of the nether
world too nearly, was appended to the doors and walls. The astonishment
and dismay felt, and the laughter provoked, by those who were rash
enough to do so, may be imagined!

Upon the whole those autumn and winter months passed pleasantly, and
have left pleasant recollections in my memory. Doubtless there were many
causes of anxiety for my elders; but to the best of my remembrance they
touched us young people very lightly. We had many more or less agreeable
acquaintances, and I have a vivid recollection of the pleasure I
received from the fact that they all belonged to types that were
altogether new to me--if indeed it could be said of people, to me so
apparently unclassifiable, that they belonged to any type at all. The
cleverest among them was a Dr. Price, a very competent physician with a
large practice, a foolish friendly little wife and a pair of pretty
daughters. He was a jovial, florid, rotund little man who professed,
more even, as I remember, to my astonishment than my horror, perfect
Atheism. His wife and daughters used to go to church without apparently
producing the slightest interruption of domestic harmony. “La! the
Doctor don’t think anything more of the Bible than of an old newspaper!”
Mrs. Price would say; “but then doctors, you know, they have their own
opinions!” And the girls used to say, “Papa is an Atheist,” just as they
would have said of the multiform persuasions of their acquaintances,
“Mr. This is a Baptist,” and “Mrs. That is a Methodist.” And I remember
well the confusion and displacement occasioned in my mind by finding
that Dr. Price did not seem on the whole to be an abandoned man, and
enjoyed to a high degree the respect of his townsmen.

The two pretty daughters, girls of eighteen or nineteen, used to have at
their house frequent dances. We were constant and welcome guests, but
alas! I was not--either then or ever since--a dancer; the reason being
precisely the same as that which prevented my fighting at Winchester, as
above recorded. I was too shy! In other words I had too low an opinion
of myself, of my performance as a dancer, should I attempt it, and above
all of my acceptability as a partner, ever to overcome my diffidence.

I was, as I have said when speaking of my earliest years, by no means a
prepossessing child, and as a young man I was probably less so. I had
never any sort of pretension to good looks, or to elegance of figure. I
was five feet eight in height, and thick, sturdy, and ungainly in make,
healthy and pure in complexion and skin as a baby, but with an
“abbreviated nose”--as George Eliot says of me in finding me like a
portrait of Galileo--and pale coloured lanky hair. All which would not
have signified a button, if I could have been as ignorant of the facts
in question as hundreds of my contemporaries, labouring under equal
disadvantages, were in their own case; but I was _not_ ignorant of these
facts, and the consciousness of them constituted a most mischievous and
disqualifying little repast off the tree of knowledge. It has, among
many other results, prevented me from ever dancing. I should have liked
much, very much to do so. I was abundantly well disposed to seek the
society of the other sex. Though I never had a very perfect ear for
tune, I had a markedly strong perception of time, and feeling for
rhythm, and therefore should probably have danced well. But the
persuasion that any girl, whom I might have induced to dance with me,
would have far rather been dancing with somebody else, was too much for
me!

I should unquestionably have been a far happier young fellow, if I had
undoubtingly believed myself to have been adapted in all respects to
attract the favourable attention and conciliate the liking of all I met.
But can I even now, looking back over the vista of sixty years, regret
that I was able to see myself as others saw me, and wish that I had
inhabited that fool’s paradise, which is planted with conceits in place
of insights?

So I got no dancing with the Cincinnati girls. But there were
theatricals, also at the house of Dr. and Mrs. Price, and in those I did
not refuse to join. It may seem that this would have been at least as
great a trial to a shy man as any other form of self-exhibition; but it
was not so. I think, so far as I am able at this distance of time to
examine my mind upon the subject, it would have been impossible for me
to attempt the representation of any personage intended to be attractive
to the spectator, or such as to be confounded in his mind with my own
personality. But it was proposed that I should act Falstaff in the
_Merry Wives of Windsor_, and to this the difficulties referred to did
not apply. I played Falstaff with immense success to an assuredly not
very critical audience. My own impression however is, that I did it
well. I think that I had reason to flatter myself, as I did flatter
myself at the time, that all those, who heard me, understood the play,
and enjoyed the humour of the situations better than they had done
before.

I have played many parts since on various stages in different parts of
the world, but that, I think, was my sole Shakesperian attempt. And the
members of that merry and kindly theatrical company! They have made
their last exit from the larger boards we are all treading, every man
and woman, every lad and lass of them. Not one but the old Falstaff of
the company remains to write this chronicle of sixty years since!

There were very few formal meetings among the notabilities of the little
Cincinnati world of that time, but there was an amount of homely
friendliness that impressed me very favourably; and there was plenty of
that generous and abounding hospitality which subsequent experience has
taught me to consider an especially American characteristic. I have
since that time shared the splendid hospitality of splendid American
hosts, and I have been under American roofs where there was little save
a heartfelt welcome to offer. But the heartwarming effect produced by
the latter was the same in both cases. How often have we all sat at
magnificent boards where the host’s too evident delight consisted in
giving you what you could not give him, and in the exulting
manifestation of his magnificence. This is very rarely the feeling of an
American host. He is thinking not of himself, but of you; and the object
he is striving at when giving you of his best is that you should enjoy
yourself while under his roof; that you should have, as he would phrase
it, “a good time.” And upon my word he almost invariably succeeds.

Nor were the Cincinnati girls in 1829 like the New York belles of 1887.
But there was much of the same charm about them, which arises from
unaffected and unself-regarding desire to please. American girls are
accused of being desperate flirts. But many an Englishman has been
deceived by imagining that the smiles and cheerfulness and laughing
chatter of some charming girl new to Europe were intended for _his_
special benefit, when they were in truth only the perfectly natural and
unaffected outcome of a desire to do her duty in that state of life to
which it had pleased God to call her! Only beams falling, like those of
the sun, upon the just and the unjust alike!

There is another point on which Americans, both men and women, are very
generally called over the coals by English people, as I think somewhat
unreasonably. They are, it is said, everlastingly talking about the
greatness and grandeur of their country, and never easy without
extorting admissions of this. All this is to a great extent true--at
least to this extent, that an American is always pleased to hear the
greatness of his country recognised. But when I remember the
thoroughness with which that cardinal article of an Englishman’s faith
(sixty years ago!), that every Englishman could thrash three Frenchmen,
was enforced with entire success on my youthful mind, I can hardly find
it in my conscience to blame an American’s pride in his country. Why,
good heavens! what an insensible block he would be if he was _not_ proud
of his country, to whose greatness, it is to be observed, each
individual American now extant has contributed in a greater degree than
can be said to be the case as regards England and every extant
Englishman; inasmuch as our position has been won by the work of, say, a
thousand years, and his by that of less than a century. Surely the
creation of the United States as they now exist within that time _is_
such a feat of human intelligence and energy as the world has never
before seen, and is scarcely likely to see again. I confess that the
expression of American patriotism is never offensive to me. I feel
somewhat as the old Cornish wrestler felt, who said with immense pride,
when he was told that his son had “whopped” the whole parish, “Ay, I
should think so! Why, he has whopped _me_ afore now!”

Yes! I liked the Americans as I first made acquaintance with them almost
among the backwoods at Cincinnati sixty years ago; and I like them as I
have since known them better. For I have seen a great deal of them; far
more than an Englishman living at home would be likely to do, during my
many years’ residence in Italy. The American “colony,” to use the common
though incorrect phrase, is large both at Florence and in Rome--of late
years fully as large, I think, as that from England. And not only do the
two bodies associate indiscriminately with each other in perfect
neighbourliness and good fellowship, but they do so, forming one single
oasis in the midst of the surrounding continental life, in a manner
which makes one constantly feel how infinitely nearer an American is to
an Englishman in ideas, habits, ways, and civilisation, than either of
them are to any other denizen of earth’s surface.

I was sorry when the time came for us to leave Cincinnati, though as
usual with me, the prospect of the journey, which we were to make by a
different route from that by which we had travelled westward, was a joy
and a consolation. My father and I returned, leaving my mother, my two
sisters still quite children, and my brother Henry at Cincinnati. The
proposed institution--bazaar, athenæum, lecture-hall, or whatever it was
to be, or to be called--had been determined on, and the site, to the
best of my recollection, selected and purchased; but nothing had yet
been done towards raising the building. Contracts had been entered into,
and my father was on his return to London to send out a quantity of
goods for the carrying out of the commercial part of the scheme.

He did so. But I had no share in or knowledge of the operations
undertaken for this purpose, and may therefore as well relate here the
upshot of the ill-fated enterprise. I learned subsequently that very
large quantities of goods were sent out, of kinds and qualities totally
unfitted for the purpose. The building was duly raised, and I have been
told by Americans who had seen it, that it was a handsome and imposing
one. But the net result was disaster and ruin. My father having been
educated to be a Chancery barrister, was a good one. He became a farmer
with no training or knowledge necessary for the calling, and it proved
ruinous to him. He then embarked on this commercial speculation, which,
inasmuch as he was still more ignorant of all such matters, than he was
even of farming, turned out still more entirely disastrous.

My father and I, as I have said, did not return from Cincinnati to New
York by the same route by which we had travelled westward. We went by
the lakes and Niagara, visiting also Trenton Falls _en route_. Had I
written this page immediately after my journey, instead of sixty years
after, I might have been justified in attempting--and no doubt should in
any case have attempted--some description of the great “water
privilege,” which I saw as it will never be seen again. The two great
cataclysms which have occurred since that time, have entirely changed,
and in a great measure spoiled, the great sight. And now, I am told,
this “so-called nineteenth century” (as I read the other day in the
fervid discourse of some pessimist orator) intends before it closes to
utilise the lake as a milldam and the fall as so much “power.”

I remember that I enjoyed Trenton most. It appealed much less, of
course, to the imagination and the sense of wonder, but far more to
one’s, appreciation of the beautiful.

Our Niagara visit was in great measure spoiled by my father’s illness.
He was suffering from one of his worst sick headaches. He dragged
himself painfully to the usual spot near the hotel whence the fall is
commanded, and, having looked, got back to his bed. I had plenty of
hours at my disposal for rambling in all directions, but, as usual with
me, had not a coin of any sort in my pocket. The fall and its environs
were not as jealously locked and gated and guarded as has been the case
since; but I was assured that I should be very unwise to attempt to
penetrate below and behind the fall without a guide, and I should have
been most willing to employ one had I possessed the means. But to lose
the opportunity of enjoying a sight to which I had so eagerly looked
forward, was out of the question; and I did succeed in making my way by
the slippery and rather terrible path behind the fall, rewarded by an
effect of the sun on the sheet of falling water as perfect and admirable
as if it had been ordered expressly for me, and none the worse for the
enterprise save returning to the inn as thoroughly drenched as if I had
been dragged through the fall! Little enough I cared for that--in those
days!

I may mention here one of those singular coincidences which, though in
reality so frequently occurring, are objected to in a novelist’s pages
as passing the bounds of credibility. Many years after the date of my
visit to Niagara the mother of my present wife was there, and saw from
the balcony of the hotel a boat with two rowers in it, who had
incautiously approached too near the fall, carried over it! Her account
of the horror of the sight, and of the sudden and evident despair of the
frantically struggling rowers was very impressive, and hardly less so
when I heard it for the second time from an American met by chance in
Italy, who, sitting in that same balcony at that same hour, had
witnessed the same catastrophe!

At New York we were again most kindly and cordially received by Mr.
Wilkes, who gave my father much advice respecting his projected
Cincinnati venture--advice wholly, as I take it, ignored.

Taught by experience, however, my father did not attempt a second
steerage passage. We came back comfortably enough, and had an entirely
prosperous voyage, the result being that my remembrances of it are very
far less vivid than those of my steerage experience. We reached England
in March, and again took up our abode at Harrow Weald, where I, with
such very imperfect means and appliances as were at my disposition, was
to employ the abundant hours in preparing, in accordance with my own
unassisted lights, for the university.

Bad, however, as my father’s circumstances were at this time, and little
pleasant in any way as was our life in the farm-house at Harrow Weald, I
remember an excursion made by him and me, the only object of which, I
think, could have been amusement. My father had an old friend named
Skinner (no relative of the vicar of my uncle Meetkerke’s parish of
Julians, of whom I have spoken in a former chapter), who was the rector
of a parish near Bath. He was a widower, living with an only daughter,
and was, I remember, an enthusiastic student of ancient British history
in connection with the localities around him. One of the two days we
remained with him was devoted to a visit to Cheddar Cliffs. Mr. Skinner
mounted us, and we rode a _partie carrée_, he and my father, Miss
Skinner and I, some twelve or fourteen miles to Cheddar. She was a
pretty, bright girl, and I found her a charming companion in a scramble
to the top of the cliffs overlooking the gorge through which the road
runs. We became, indeed, such good friends, that, on our homeward ride,
we gradually drew away from our respective parents and reached home a
good half hour before they did--which procured for us both a scolding
for knocking the horses up.

It was roughish riding, too, as I remember, for the road was very
different from what I found it some months ago, when, revisiting
Cheddar, I saw on the top of the hill a notice to bicycle riders that
the descent is dangerous for them.



CHAPTER IX.


As the year wore on without any prospect of a vacancy at New College, it
became necessary to decide what should be done as regards sending me to
the university. My father was very ill able to support the expense of
this. But I had received from Winchester two exhibitions--all that the
college had in its power to bestow--and he was very unwilling that I
should be unable to avail myself of them.

Concomitantly with continued increase in the frequency and intensity of
his headaches, my father’s irritability of temper had increased to a
degree which made him a very difficult man to live with. For simple
assent to his utterances of an argumentative nature did not satisfy him,
he _would_ be argued with. Yet argument produced irritability leading to
scenes of painful violence, which I had reason to fear hastened the
return of his suffering. But the greatest good, in his opinion, that
could then be achieved for me, was, that I should have an university
education; and this he was steadfastly minded to procure for me at any
cost of pressure and privation.

And then the question arose, at what college should I matriculate?

My father eventually selected Alban Hall--a singular and hardly a
judicious choice in any case, but which under the circumstances, as they
subsequently arose, proved a disastrous one. My father’s financial
position was at the time such, that it would have seemed reasonable that
he should have been in a great measure guided in his choice by the
consideration of expense. But such was not the case. For Alban Hall was
at that time by no means a specially inexpensive place of academical
residence. No! the ruling motive was to place me under Whately, who had
about four years previously been appointed by Lord Granville Principal
of Alban Hall. My father, as I have mentioned, was a “Liberal,” and
Whately’s Liberalism was the point in his character by which he was most
known to the world in general. I do not think that any personal
acquaintance, or even contact, had ever existed between my father and
Whately. The connecting link I take to have been Whately’s friend
Senior. Whately’s Liberalism certainly, and, I think I may say, my
father’s also, would have made excellent Conservatism at the present
day. But in those days the new Principal of Alban Hall stood out in
strong contrast with the intellectual attitude and habits of thought of
Oxford, And this was the leading motive of my father’s choice.

I know not how the case may be now, but in those days it was a decided
disadvantage socially and academically to belong to any one of the
“halls,” instead of to a college. But of all this side of Oxford life,
my father, who had been a New College man in the days when New College
exercised its ancient privilege of presenting its members for their
degree without submitting them to any examination in the schools, knew
nothing. In his day the New College man before the Vice-Chancellor for
his degree, instead of using the formula prescribed for every other
member of the university to the effect that having satisfied the
examiners he begged his degree (_peto gradum_), said, “Having satisfied
my college, I demand my degree” (_postulo gradum_). This has long been
voluntarily abandoned by New College, which on the enactment of the new
statute for examinations of course saw that the retention of it
necessarily excluded them from “honours.” But in the old day it had
inevitably the effect of causing New College men to live very much in a
world of their own.

Alban Hall had been, previously to Whately’s time, a sort of “refuge for
the destitute” intellectually, or academically: as were for the most
part the other halls at that period. This reproach Whately at once set
himself to remove from Alban Hall, and had altogether removed by the
time I joined the society. It would be difficult to say what generally
operating influence had brought together the score or so of members who
then constituted that society. They were certainly not intellectually
superior to the average undergraduate of the time. Neither were they in
any wise inferior in general respectability. But there was no cohesion,
no general prevailing character. We seemed like a collection of waifs
thrown together by as many different sets of circumstances as there were
individuals. I suppose all had been brought there by some personal
connection with, or respect for, either Dr. Whately, or for Mr. Hinds,
the excellent Vice-Principal, who subsequently became Bishop of Norwich.
There was, I remember, a knot of some three or four West Indians, who
formed some little exception to what I have said of a general absence of
cohesion.

The time which I spent under Dr. Whately’s authority and tuition led me
to form a very exalted opinion of his intellectual capacity, high
principle, and lofty determination to do what he deemed to be his duty.
But I do not think that he was the right man in the right place.

His daughter, Miss Jane Whately, in her excellent and most interesting
life of the Archbishop, published some twenty years ago, writes:---

“Teaching was indeed the occupation most peculiarly suited to his powers
and tastes. He had a remarkable faculty of drawing out the mind of the
learner, by leading him step by step, and obliging him to think for
himself. He used to say that he believed himself to be one of the few
teachers who could train a young person of retentive memory for words,
without spoiling him. The temptation to the student in such cases is to
rehearse by rote the rules or facts he has learned, without exercising
his powers of thought; while one whose powers of recollection were less
perfect, would be forced to reflect and consider what was _likely_ to be
written or said on such or such a point by the writer, and thus to learn
more intelligently and less mechanically. The cure for this tendency in
young persons who learned quickly by rote he effected by asking them
questions, substantially the same as those in the textbook, but which
they must answer in their own words, making them draw conclusions from
axioms already laid down. In this manner he was able successfully to
teach mathematics to many who had been apparently unable to master the
first principles, and often to ground them in the elements of Euclid,
better than some mathematicians whose actual attainments were far beyond
his own. Both in this branch and in logic, as in all other studies, he
always commenced analytically and ended synthetically; first drawing out
the mind of the learner, by making him give the _substance_ of the right
answer, and then requiring the exact technical form of it in words.”

This must strike all, who remember Whately’s teaching, as evidently
true. But it in no wise leads me to modify the opinion above expressed
as to his adaptation for the position in which I knew him. The style of
teaching described by his biographer, if ever suitable at all for a
college lecture-room, could only be so in the case of a collection of
pupils far superior intellectually to those, with whom (with one or two
exceptions, notably that of Mr. Wall, whose subsequent career at Oxford
did credit to his Alban Hall training) Dr. Whately had to deal. Miss
Whately describes a teacher whose influence in _tête-à-tête_ teaching
over a clever pupil would be quite invaluable. But he was always firing
far over the heads of his hearers; and I do not think that his method
was adapted to driving, pushing, hustling an idle and very backward and
unprepared collection of youths through their “little-go” and “pass,”
_quod erat in votis_. Most of this necessary driving fell to the share
of Hinds, who was fitted for far higher work, but was patient, kind,
laborious, and conscientious to the utmost decree.

Miss Whately’s book, mainly by virtue of the great number of the
Archbishop’s letters contained in it, succeeds in giving a very just and
vivid notion of her father’s character and tone of mind. She is hardly
justified, I think, by facts, in speaking of the “delicacy of his
consideration for the feelings of others.” A little circumstance that I
well remember scarcely seems to indicate the possession of any such
quality. It was about the time when the then burning question of
Parliamentary Reform was exercising the minds of all men. A large party
of undergraduates were dining at Whately’s table--such invitations were
usually given by him in every term--and Mrs. Whately at the head of the
long table was asking the young man who sat next her what was the
general opinion in the hall on the Reform question, when Whately, who
at the bottom of the table had overheard her, called out, “Why don’t you
ask what the bedmakers think?” I have little doubt that the opinion of
the bedmakers might have been ascertained with an equal, or perhaps
greater, degree of profit. But I cannot think that the Principal showed
much “delicacy of consideration” for the feelings of his guests.

Perhaps a degree of roughness akin to this, though hardly altogether of
the same sort, contributed to increase that strong feeling of dislike
for Whately which, outside his own Oriel, was pretty generally felt in
Oxford, and which was mainly caused by more serious objections to his
political, and in some degree religious, Liberalism.

I fear that I profited very little by his tuition at Alban Hall,
doubtless chiefly from my own fault and idleness. But other causes
contributed also to the result. The classical lectures were such as I
had left a long way behind me. No study on my part was necessary to hold
my own in the lecture-room by the side of my fellows in the team. Yet,
of course, it was easy for such a teacher as Whately to perceive that I
was trusting to Winchester work rather than to his instruction. And
naturally this did not please him. I think too that he had a prejudice
against public schools in general, and that for some reason or other he
disliked Winchester in particular. I remember his saying to me
once--though I totally forget on what occasion--“We don’t want any New
College ways here, sir!” I told him that I feared I did not deserve the
compliment of being supposed capable of bringing any such there. And the
reply failed to mollify him.

Those who are old enough to remember anything of the social aspects of
Oxford at that day, and indeed any who have read the excellent biography
of Archbishop Whately by his daughter, know that he was exceedingly
unpopular among “the dons,” his contemporaries. This was due partly to
the opinions he held on matters social, political, and religious, partly
to those which prejudiced minds far inferior to his own supposed him to
hold, but partly also to his own personal ways and manners. I think I
know, and indeed I think I knew when I was his pupil, enough of the
fibre and calibre of his mind to feel sure that he was greatly the
intellectual superior to most of those of similar position around him.
And I suppose that the world in general has by this time come to the
conclusion that in respect of most of those opinions, which were then
most obnoxious to the world in which he lived, Whately was right and his
adversaries wrong. But he was not the man to win acceptance for new
ideas in any society. The temper of his mind was in a high degree
autocratical. He was born to be a benevolent and beneficent despot. His
daughter, speaking of the painful experiences that awaited him when he
became Archbishop of Dublin, says that “opposition was painful to his
disposition.”

Doubtless the Principal of Alban Hall, thoroughly congenial to him as
was at that time the social atmosphere of the common room of his own
Oriel, would have felt himself much out of his element in most of the
common rooms of Oxford. I remember a dear old man, Dr. Johnson, of
Magdalen, who was greatly beloved by his own society, and an universal
favourite with all who knew him. He was a high, though not altogether
dry, right divine man (_divino_ rightly spelled, be it understood, and
not with an “e,” as in _jure de vino_), and used to maintain that the
lineal descendants of the last Stuarts were still the rightful
sovereigns of England. Sometimes a knot of youngsters would cluster
around him, with, “But now, Dr. Johnson, do you really and truly believe
that the present Duke of Modena is your lawful sovereign?” “Well, boy,”
the doctor would say when thus pressed, “_after dinner I do_.”

This was not the sort of man whom Whately would have tolerated, for
though full of wit, as I have said, he was utterly devoid of any
tincture of humour.

Those were the days when it used to be said that the rule at Magdalen
respecting preferment tenable together with a fellowship, was, “Hold
your tongue, and you may hold any thing else.”

It was supposed, I remember, at that day that there was to a certain
special degree an antagonism and dislike between him and Dr.
Shuttleworth, the Warden of New College. There was a story current to
the effect that the brusquerie of the Principal of Alban Hall was upon
one occasion exhibited in an offensive manner in the drawing-room of
the Warden of New College, when not only men but ladies were present.
Whately had a habit of sitting in all sorts of uncouth postures on his
chair. He would balance himself, while nursing one leg over the knee of
the other, on the two hind legs of his chair, or even on one of them,
and was indulging in gymnastics of this sort when the leg of the chair
suddenly snapped, and he, a large and heavy man, rolled on the floor. He
was a man of far too much real pith and _aplomb_ to be unnecessarily
disconcerted at such an accident. But the story ran that he manifested
his disregard for it by simply tossing the offending and crippled chair
into a corner, and taking another as he proceeded with what he was
saying without one word of apology to his hostess.

If it was true that there was any such special feeling of antagonism
between Whately and Shuttleworth it was a pity; for assuredly there were
very few, if any, men among the heads of colleges of that day, better
calculated by power and originality of mind, and in many respects by
liberality of thinking, to understand and foregather with Whately than
the Warden of New College.

Shuttleworth was, and had the reputation of being an especially witty
man. And I consider Whately to have been the wittiest man I ever knew.
But it is true that their wit was of a very different character. Whately
was not a man fitted to shine in society, unless it were the society of
those prepared by knowledge of and regard for him to recognise his
undisputed right to be the acknowledged leader of it. Shuttleworth was,
on the contrary, eminently calculated to contribute more than his share
to the most brilliant social intercourse. He had, with abundance of
solid sweetmeat at the bottom of the trifle, a sparkling store of that
froth of wit which is most accepted as the readiest and pleasantest
social small change. Whately’s wit was not of the kind which ever set
any “table on a roar.” It was of that higher and deeper kind, which
consists in prompt perception, not of the superficial resemblances in
dissimilar things, but in the underlying resemblances disclosed only to
the eye capable of appreciating at a glance the essential qualities and
characteristics of the matter in hand. I have heard Whately deliciously
witty at a logic or Euclid lecture.

An admirable specimen of this highest description of wit is given--among
dozens of others indeed--by his daughter in her biography of him, which
delighted me much when I read it, and which may be cited because it is
very brilliant and may be given shortly. It will be found at the 38th
page of the first volume of Miss Whately’s work. The Archbishop, writing
of the controversy respecting the observance of the Sabbath, says, “This
is a case in which men impose on themselves by the fallacy of the
thaumatrope. On one side are painted (to obviate the absurdity of a
probable law) the plain, earnest, and repeated injunctions to the Jews
relative to their Sabbath; on the other side (to obviate the consequence
of our having to keep the Jewish Sabbath) we have the New Testament
allusions to the Christian assemblies on the first day of the week. By a
repeated and rapid twirl these two images are blended into one picture
in the mind. But a steady view will show that they are on opposite sides
of the card.”

I remember a favourite saying of Whately’s to the effect that the
difficulty of giving a good definition of anything increased in
proportion to the commonness of the thing to be defined. And he would
illustrate his dictum by saying “Define me a teacup!” A trial of the
experiment will probably convince the experimenter of the correctness of
Whately’s proposition.

Whether it may have been that any antagonism between Whately and
Shuttleworth caused the former to be prejudiced against Wiccamical
things and men, or whether the relationship of the two feelings were
_vice versâ_, I cannot say. But I certainly thought and think still,
that I suffered in his estimation from the fact that I was a Wykehamist.
In writing on educational matters in or about 1830 (p. 79 of Miss
Whately’s first volume), Whately says: “To compare schools generally
with colleges generally may seem a vague inquiry, but take the most in
repute of each--Eton, Westminster, Harrow, etc., v. Oriel, Brasenose,
Balliol, Christchurch, etc., etc.” Now, I cannot but feel that so
singular an omission of Winchester from so short a list of the schools
“most in repute,” glaringly in contradiction as it was with all that the
whole English world--even the non-academical world--knew to be the
fact, could have been caused only by preconceived and unreasoning
prejudice. Of course to me the utterance above quoted comes only as a
confirmation of what the personal observation of my undergraduate days
led me to feel, for I knew nothing of it till I read Miss Whately’s
volumes published in 1866.

Yet I do not doubt that I may have occasionally “rubbed Whately the
wrong way,” as the phrase goes. He was, as I have said, a most
autocratically minded man. And we Wykehamists, as the reader may have
perceived from my Winchester reminiscences, were not accustomed to be
ruled autocratically. We lived under the empire, and I might almost say,
in an atmosphere of law, as distinguished from individual will. It was
constantly in our minds and on our tongues, that the “informator” or the
“hostiarius” _could_ or _could not_ do this or that. We lived with the
ever-present consciousness that the _suprema lex_ was not what this
master or the other master, or even the Warden might say, save in so far
as it coincided with the college statutes. And I doubt not that Whately
perceived and understood the influence of this habit of mind in
something or other that I might have said or done. It was probably
something of the sort which led to his telling me that he wanted no New
College manners at Alban Hall.

My “Winchester manners” however, enabled me I remember to understand him
when some of his own flock could not. He would at a Euclid lecture say,
“Take any straight line,” scrawling, as he said the words, a line as far
from straight as he could draw it, to the utter bewilderment of some
among his audience, who, I believe, really thought that the Principal
was a shocking bad draughtsman, while the despised Wykehamist perfectly
understood that his object was to show that the process of reasoning to
be illustrated in no wise depended on accuracy of lines or angles.

There is another passage in one of the letters published by his
biographer, which illustrates Whately’s aversion from all Wiccamical men
and things, and at the same time his utter ignorance of them. “It is
commonly said at Oxford,” he writes, “at least it used to be, that it
was next to impossible to make a Wykehamist believe that any examination
could be harder than that which the candidates for New College undergo.”
My reader has already been told in some degree what that examination
was, and the nature of it. It was a real and serious examination,
whereas that of candidates for admission to Winchester College was a
mere form; and it was certainly a searching examination into the
thoroughness with which schoolboys had done their schoolboy work. But
the supposition that any New College man ever imagined his examination
in election chamber to be of equal difficulty with the subsequent work
at the university, or with that in the schools for honours, is an
absolute proof that the person so supposing never knew anything about
them, or had come much into contact with them.

I have said that Whately’s reputation for a very pronounced Liberalism,
certainly at that time unparalleled among his brother heads of houses at
Oxford, had been my father’s reason for placing me at Alban Hall. And
all that reached the undergraduate world in connection with him was of a
nature to lead the academic mind to regard him as a phenomenon of
Radicalism. And it is curious to recall such impressions, while reading
at the present day such a passage as the following (_Life of Whately_,
vol. i., p. 302). The Archbishop is writing about the schemes then in
agitation for the application of a portion of the revenues of the Irish
Church to the purposes of national education. The italics in the
following transcription are mine.

“It is concluded, first, that in parishes where there is a very small or
no Protestant population, the revenues of the Church will be either
wholly or in part, as the case may be, transferred to the education
board, as the incumbents drop, their life interests being reserved;
secondly, that in the event of an increase of the Protestant population,
such portion of the funds thus alienated, as may be thought requisite,
shall be drawn from the education board, and restored to the original
purpose; thirdly, that in the event of a further diminution of the
Protestants, a further portion shall be withdrawn from the Church, and
applied to the purpose of general education. This last supposition is
merely conjectural, but is so strictly the converse of the preceding,
that every one at once concludes, and must conclude by parity of
reasoning, that it must be contemplated. Now it will not be supposed by
any one, who knows much of the state of Ireland, that we contemplate as
probable any such increase of the Protestant population as to call for
the restoration of a considerable portion of the alienated funds. In a
few places, perhaps, attempts may be made, I fear with disastrous
results, by some zealous Protestant landlords to increase with this view
the proportion of Protestants on their estates; but on the whole we
neither hope nor fear any such result. What alarms us is, the holding
out the principle of such a system as the apportioning the revenues of
the Church and of the education board to the varying proportions of the
Roman Catholic population to the Protestant; and again the principle of
making the funds for national education contingent upon the death of
incumbents. The _natural_ effect of the latter of these provisions must
be to place the clergy so circumstanced in a most invidious, and _in
this country a most dangerous situation. No one who knows anything of
Ireland would like to reside here surrounded by his heirs, on whom his
income was to devolve at his death. And such would be very much the case
with an incumbent, who was regarded as standing between the nation and
the national benefit_, viz., of provision for the education of their
children. _Then in respect of the other point, every Protestant who
might come to settle, or remain settled in any parish, would be regarded
as tending towards the withdrawing or withholding, as the case might be,
of the funds of the national education, and diverting them to the use of
an heretical establishment._

“_The most harassing persecutions, the most ferocious outrages, the most
systematic murders, would in consequence be increased fourfold. Bitter
as religious animosities have hitherto been in this wretched country, it
would be to most persons astonishing that they could be so much
augmented, as I have no doubt they would be, by this fatal experiment.
When instead of mere vague jealousy, revenge and party spirit, to prompt
to crime and violence, there was also held out a distinct pecuniary
national benefit in the extermination of Protestants, it would be in
fact a price set on their heads, and they would be hunted down like
wolves...._ Better, far better, would it be to confiscate at once and
for ever all the endowments held by the clergy, and leave them to be
supported by voluntary contribution, or by manual labour. However
impoverished, _they and their congregations would at least have security
for their lives._”

“_To seek to pacify Ireland_,” he writes a little further on, “_by
compliance and favour shown to its disturbers would be even worse than
the superstitious procedure of our forefathers, with their weapon salve,
who left the wound to itself, and applied their unguents to the sword
which had inflicted it._”

Writing to his friend Senior on Parliamentary Reform he says that a
system of £10 qualification “could not last, but must go on to universal
suffrage.” His own plan would be universal suffrage with a plurality of
votes to owners of property in proportion to the amount of it, and a
system of election by degrees--parishes _e.g._ to elect an elector.
“Some may,” he concludes, “perhaps think at the first glance that my
reform is very democratical. I think that a more attentive mind will
show that it is calculated to prevent in the most effectual way the
inroads of excessive democracy. I can at least say that no one can dread
more than myself a democratical government, chiefly because I am
convinced it is the most warlike.”

Such were the utterances of an advanced Liberal in the first half of
this century. Was I far wrong in saying that Whately’s Liberalism would
have made very good modern Conservatism?

There was a story current, I remember, not long after Whately’s
acceptance of the see of Dublin, which, as I do not think it has been
told in print, and as it is very significant, I may tell here--observing
that all I know is, that the story _was_ current.

It was at the time when one of the great transatlantic passenger ships
had been destroyed by fire with the loss of many lives. One of those
saved was a Dublin clergyman of the Low Church school of divinity, who,
returning to Dublin, and finding himself the hero of many tea-tables,
was wont to moralise down the great event of his life after the fashion
of those who will have it, _quand même_, that the tower of Siloam _did_
fall because of the wickedness of those whom it crushed. And one day, at
one of those _levées_ of which Miss Whately speaks, he was improving his
usual theme, the centre of a knot gathered around him, when the
Archbishop strolled up to the group, according to his fashion, and
having heard, said: “Yes, truly Mr. ----, a most remarkable experience!
But I think I can cap it” (a favourite phrase of Whately’s, who was fond
of the amusement of capping verses). “It is little more than a month ago
that I crossed from Holyhead to Kingston, and by God’s mercy _the vessel
never caught fire at all_!”

I cannot bring to an end my reminiscences relating to so remarkable a
man as Whately without relating a story, which he told me, as having
been told him by his old and highly valued friend and _protégé_, Blanco
White, once so well known a figure among all the Oriel set of that
period. The story was introduced, I remember, as an illustration of a
favourite (and doubtless correct) theory of Whately’s to the effect that
the popular English “hocus pocus,” as applied to any sleight of hand
deception, is simply a derisory corruption of the “_hoc est corpus_”
used in the Romish liturgical formula for the consecration of the
eucharistic elements. It may be that the story in question has been
told in print before now, but I have never met with it.

“A priest,” said Blanco White, “was for some heinous crime condemned to
capital punishment at Seville. But of course before he could be
delivered over to the secular arm for the execution of the sentence, a
ceremonial degradation from his sacerdotal character had to be
performed. And this was to be done at the place appointed for his
execution immediately before that was proceeded to; and for the greater
efficacy of the terrible example to be inculcated on the people, the
market day at Seville had been chosen for the purpose.

“The criminal priest accordingly, as he was led to the place of
execution, was still to all effects and purposes a priest, with all the
tremendous powers inherent in that character, of which nothing save
formal ecclesiastical degradation could deprive him. Now it so happened,
or perhaps was purposely arranged, that the way from the prison to the
place of execution lay through the market place, where all the
provisions of all sorts for the Sevillians for that day were exposed.
And as the yet undegraded, and it must be feared unrepentant, priest
passed among all the various displays of food thus spread out before
him, the devil, seizing an opportunity rarely to be matched, entered
into the unhappy priest’s mind, and prompted him to deal one last
malicious, and sacrilegious, blow at the population about to witness his
miserable end. Suddenly, in the mid-market, he stretched out his arms,
and pronounced with a loud voice the uncancellable sacramental words,
‘HOC EST CORPUS!’ And all the contents of that vast market were
instantaneously transubstantiated! All the food in Seville was forthwith
unavailable for any baser than eucharistic purposes, and Seville had to
observe the vindictive priest’s last day on earth as a very rigorous
fast day!”

Whether Blanco White told this as absolutely having occurred within his
own knowledge, or only as a Seville legend, I do not know, but in any
case the story is a good one.

I have said that when I entered Alban Hall I was not in a position to
obtain much profit from the classical lectures, the main object of which
was to drive those who attended them through the examination for the
“little go.” I was better able to pass that examination when I first
went to Oxford, than when the time came for my doing so. But the
examination in question required that the candidate for passing should
take up either logic or Euclid (four books only, as I remember), and of
neither of these did I know anything. And there the Alban Hall lectures
profited me. The admirably lucid logic lectures of both the Principal
and Vice-Principal to my surprise soon rendered the rationale of the
science perfectly comprehensible to me, and even Aldrich became
interesting. I selected logic for my “little go,” and Whately made me
abundantly able to satisfy the examiners.

But, as I said a few pages back, my membership of Alban Hall was, for
more reasons than those which have been already given, disastrous to me,
and the disaster came about in this wise.

Whately was rightly and judiciously enough very particular in requiring
that his men should return after vacation punctually on the day
appointed for meeting. Now, unfortunately, my father on one occasion
detained me until the following day. What the cause may have been I
entirely forget, but remember perfectly well that it was in no way
connected with any plans or wishes of mine. I returned a day late, and
the penalty which Whately had enacted for this laches was the payment of
a certain sum to his servant, the porter, buttery man, and factotum at
the hall. What the amount of this penalty was, and whether it were large
or small, I have entirely forgotten, if I ever knew, for the whole
matter in dispute passed between my father and Whately. The former
maintained, whether rightly or wrongly I have not the means of knowing,
that the latter acted _ultra vires_ in making any such _motu proprio_
edict. There was no likelihood that Whately would yield in the
matter--indeed it would have been out of the question that he should
have done so. My father had quite as little of yielding in his nature,
and kicked against the pricks determinedly. The result was, that I was
one morning summoned to the presence of the Principal and told to take
my name off the books! My father was at first disposed to forbid me to
do so, but the result of refusal would have been expulsion, which would
have entailed ruinous consequences much worse than the already
sufficiently injurious results of being compelled to quit the hall. I
should immediately have lost the two valuable exhibitions which I held
from Winchester, besides incurring the very damning stigma that through
life attaches to a man who has been expelled. Eventually I took my name
off the books under menace of expulsion if I did not.

The case attracted a good deal of attention in the university at the
time, and I think the general feeling among the heads of colleges was
that Whately was wrong. At all events, without going into the question
as between my father and him, it was emphatically a case of _Delirant
reges, plectuntur Achivi_. From beginning to end the whole matter passed
over my head. I had neither fault nor option in the matter. And Whately
knew perfectly well how very great was the injury he was inflicting on
me. It was nearly impossible to get admission under the circumstances to
any college. The great majority of them could not possibly, even if any
one of them had wished to do so, receive a man at a minute’s notice,
from absolute want of room, and the wrong that would have been done to
others who were waiting for admission. But it would have been entirely
contrary to the rules and practice of almost, if not quite, every one of
them to receive a man compelled to leave another college, even with a
formal _bene decessit_. And the interval of a term (or even of a day, I
take it in strictness) would have necessarily involved the forfeiture of
my exhibitions. All which Whately also knew; but all which, as he might
have fairly answered, my father knew also!

Eventually I was received at Magdalen Hall, which has since that day
become Hertford College, of which Dr. Macbride was then Principal. Dr.
Macbride was one of the kindliest and best men in the world, and he was
one of those who most strongly felt that I was being very hardly used.
It was with difficulty that it could be managed that I should be
received into his society at a day’s notice; but looking to the urgency,
as well as to the other circumstances of the case, it _was_ managed
somehow, and I became a member of Magdalen Hall.

But the mischief done to my university career was fatal! Magdalen Hall
was at that time a general refuge for the destitute! Dr. Macbride, well
known for his active benevolence and beneficence in various spheres of
well-doing on the outside of his academical character, was hardly well
adapted for the position he held in the university. Anything of the
nature of punishment seemed impossible to the gentleness of his
character; and I fancy he held theoretically that it was desirable that
a place such as his hall should exist in the university to serve as a
refuge for those who, without being black sheep, were for a variety of
reasons pushed aside from the beaten tracks of the academical career.

I made very little acquaintance with the men there; but I do not think
there were many, though no doubt some, black sheep among them. There was
another hall in the university at that time famous for the “fastness” of
its inmates. But the “shadiness” of Magdalen Hall was of a different
kind. There were many middle-aged men there--_ci-devant_ officers in the
army, who had quitted their profession with the intention of entering
the Church; schoolmasters, who, having begun their career in some
capacity which did not require a degree, were at a later day anxious to
obtain one in order to better themselves. In general, the object of all
there was not education or any other object save simply a degree needed
for some social or economical purpose. “Honours” were of course about as
much aspired to as bishoprics! And it was the business of Mr. Jacobson,
the gentle, kindly, patient, and long-suffering Vice-Principal to secure
“a pass” for as many of his heterogeneous flock as possible.

Of discipline there could hardly be said to have been any! When other
men of the kick-over-the-traces sort told their stories of various
surreptitious means of entering college at all sorts of hours, Magdalen
Hall men used to say that their plan was to ring at the gate and have it
opened for them! I remember upon one occasion, when I had shown myself
in chapel only on the Sunday morning during an entire week, the
Vice-Principal mildly remarked, “You have reduced it to a minimum, Mr.
Trollope!” I suppose that in classical attainments I was much superior
to any man in the place. There were many, it is true, who were never
seen at lecture at all--not probably from idleness, but because they
were obtaining from a private tutor a course of cramming more
desperately energetic than even kindly, patient Jacobson’s elementary
lectures could supply. For me the _res angusta domi_ forbade all idea of
employing a private tutor. But as for a “pass” degree, I was just as
capable of taking it when I left Winchester (with the exception of
logic, and what was called “divinity”) as when I did take it; and as
regards logic, I was sufficiently capable when I left Whately’s hands.
If my “divinity” examination had consisted of as searching an inquiry
into my knowledge of the contents of the Old Testament as was required
from many men, I should infallibly have been “plucked.” But, as it
chanced, it consisted solely of construing two verses of the New
Testament. I remember that the examiner had been hammering away at the
man next before me for an inordinate time, and as I construed my Greek
Testament glibly enough, he was glad to make up for lost time.

As for Jacobson’s lectures they were absolutely useless to me, and he
never in the slightest degree pressed me to attend them. I remember,
however, that he desired an interview with me on the morning I was to go
into the schools, for the purpose of testing in some degree the
probability of my passing. And it is a singular circumstance
that--Horace having been one of the books I was taking up--he put me
on, as a trial, at the very passage selected for the same purpose by the
examiner in the schools an hour or two later! Jacobson found me able
enough to deal with the passage he selected. But had it been otherwise
he would have secured my passing--as far as Horace was
concerned--despite any amount of ignorance of the author, if only I had
the wit to remember his cramming for an hour or two.

Eventually, though I had in no wise aimed at anything of the sort, a
third class was awarded to me--wholly, as I was given to understand, on
account of my Latin writing. The examiners had given--hardly
judiciously--so stiff a passage from one of the homilies to be
translated into Latin that the majority of the men could not understand
the English; which to a certain extent interfered with their translation
of it into another language. They were “pass men!” With the candidates
for honours it would doubtless have been otherwise. But I _did_
understand it, and I took it into my head to translate it twice--once
into Ciceronian and once into Sallustian Latin. And this was rewarded by
a third class. _Valeat quantum!_

And thus ended my academical career in a comparative failure, the
conclusion of which seemed to have been rather a foregone one. I had no
private tutor, and, with the exception of Whately’s logic lectures, no
college tuition of any value to me at all. And in addition to all this I
was pulled up by the roots and transplanted in the middle of my career.
No doubt I was idle, and might have done better. I read a good deal,
but it was what I chose to read and not what I ought to have read with a
view to the schools. I had no very unacademical pursuits save one. I
used occasionally to hire with a friend a gig with a fast horse, drive
out to Witney, dine there, wait till the up mail came through, and then
run back to Oxford, tormenting the coachman and his team by continually
running by him, letting him pass me, and then _da capo_. But these
escapades were rare.

A great deal more wine, or what was supposed to be such, was drunk at
Oxford in those days than was desirable, or than, as I take it, is the
case now. But I never was much of a wine drinker. I think I have been
drunk twice in my life, but not oftener. Very little credit, however, is
due to me for my moderation, from the fact, which I do not think I ever
met with in the case of any other individual, that the headache which to
most others comes the next morning as the penalty of excess, always used
to come to me, if I at all exceeded, _séance tenante_, and almost
immediately. Nor did wine ever pleasurably raise my spirits, nor did my
palate care for it. To the present day as a simple question of
_gourmandise_ I would rather drink a glass of lemonade than any
champagne that was ever grown--lemonade, by the bye, not such liquid as
goes by that name in this country, but lemonade made with lemons fresh
and fragrant from the tree. Under these circumstances I can make small
claim to any moral virtue for my sobriety.

I used to be a good deal upon the water either alone or accompanied by a
single friend with a pair of sculls. But I was a great walker, and
cultivated in those days, and, indeed, during most of the many years
that have passed since, a considerable turn of speed. In those days
Captain Barclay was called the champion pedestrian of England, and had
walked six miles within the hour. I hear people talk of eight and even
nine miles having been done within the hour. But I absolutely refuse to
believe the statement. I dare say that the ground may have been covered,
but not at a fair _walk_--at what used to be called, and perhaps is
called still, a toe-and-heel walk, _i.e._ a walk in performing which one
foot must touch the ground before the other leaves it. I tried very hard
to match Captain Barclay’s feat, but my utmost endeavours never achieved
more than five miles and three-quarters--I could never do more; and of
course that last quarter of a mile just made all the difference between
a first-rate and a second-rate walker. The five and three-quarters I
have often done on the Abingdon Road, milestone to milestone. And at the
present day I should be happy to walk a match with any gentleman born in
1810.

The longest day’s walk I ever did was forty-seven miles, but I carried a
very heavy knapsack, making, I take it, that distance fully equal to
sixty miles without one. How well I remember walking one fair frosty
morning from Winchester to Alresford, seven miles, before breakfast. I
asked at the inn at which I breakfasted for cold meat. They brought me
an uncut loin of small Southdown mutton, of which I ate the whole. And I
can see now the glance of that waiter’s eye, accusing me, as plainly as
if he had spoken the words, of pocketing his master’s provisions! _Eheu!
fugaces, Posthume, Posthume, labuntur anni_, and I never shall again eat
a loin of mutton at one sitting!--partly though because scientific
breeding has exterminated the good old Southdown mutton.

One other reminiscence occurs to me in connection with the subject of
walking. While I was living with my parents at Harrow, my mother’s
brother, Mr. Henry Milton, was living with his family at Fulham. And one
Sunday morning I walked from Harrow to Fulham before breakfast on a
visit to him. As may be supposed, I was abundantly ready to do ample
justice to the very solid and varied breakfast placed before me, but,
after having done so, was hardly equally ready to accompany my uncle’s
family to Fulham Church to hear the Bishop of London preach. This,
however, it behoved me to do, not without great misgiving as to the
effect that the Bishop’s sermon might have on me after my twelve miles
walk and very copious breakfast--especially as my uncle’s pew was
exactly in front and in the vicinity of the pulpit! So, minded to do my
best under the difficult circumstances, I stood up during the sermon.
All in vain! Nature too peremptorily bade me sleep. I slept, with the
result of executing an uninterrupted series of profound bows to the
preacher, the suddenness and jerky nature of which evidently betokened
the entirety of my agreement with his arguments. I feared the
reproaches, which I doubted not awaited me on my way home. But my uncle
contented himself with saying, “When you go to sleep during a sermon,
Tom, never stand up to do it!”

To sum up the story of my certainly unsuccessful, but not entirely
profitless life at Oxford, I may say that I was not altogether an idle
man, nor ever in any degree a sharer in any of the “faster” phases of
academical life. I was always a reader. But what academical good could
come to a man who was reading _The Diversions of Purley_, or Plot’s
_Oxfordshire_, or Burton’s _Anatomy of Melancholy_, or Brown’s _Vulgar
Errors_, when he ought to have been reading Aristotle’s _Ethics_? Among
other reminiscences of the sort, my diary accuses me, for instance, for
having taken from the library of Magdalen Hall (and read!) a volume
called _Gaffarel’s Curiosities_. I suppose no other living man has read
it! The work contains among other “curiosities,” a chapter “of
incredible nonsense,” as my diary calls it, on the construction and
proper use of Talismans!

Alas, no “honours” were granted for proficiency in such studies!



CHAPTER X.


Before quitting a phase of my life, which many, if not most, old men are
wont to look back on as their happiest time, but which I, by so
considering, should grievously wrong many a subsequent period, I may
string together at random a few notes from my diaries, which may seem to
contribute some touch or trait to the story of the way we lived sixty
years since.

The way men lived in Germany at that date, I find given in a letter from
the Baron de Zandt to my mother, as follows: “In many parts of Germany,”
says the Baron, who, as I very well remember, understood what good
living was, “a man may be boarded and lodged comfortably for £26 a year.
If he prefers economy to comfort, it might be done for considerably
less.”

From the journal of a walking tour in South Devon, performed in the year
1831, I take the well-nigh incredible statement, that no tobacconist _ex
professo_ could at that date be found in Plymouth! “I succeeded after
some research,” says the diary, “in getting some tolerable tobacco from
a chymist.” Doubtless plenty of tobacco was to be had, _if_ I had known
where to look for it--at chandlers’ shops and taverns. But I have no
doubt that the statement in the fifty-five-year-old “text” is correct.
No tobacconist’s shop was then to be found in Plymouth.

In July, 1832, I was walking in Wales, and reaching Caermarthen in
assize time (where Judge Alderson, as is recorded, was trying prisoners
on the Crown side), found much difficulty in getting any accommodation
for bed or even board. But at length a commercial gentleman at the Ivy
Bush, the principal inn, “entering into conversation in a patronising
sort of way, told me it was a _h_error to suppose that commercial men
were _h_adverse to gentlemen making use of the commercial room provided
they _was_ gentlemen. For himself, he was always most ’appy to associate
with gentlemen;” and, in fine, invited me to join their table, which I
did at two o’clock. One of the assembled party--there were some fifteen
or sixteen of them--was formally named president for the day, and took
the head of the table. We were excruciatingly genteel. I, in my
ignorance, asked for beer, but was with much politeness informed that
malt liquor was not used at their table. Every man was expected to
consume a pint of most atrocious sherry at 5_s._ 6_d._, which I suppose
compensated the landlord for the wonderfully small price of the dinner.
A dinner of three courses, consisting of salmon, chicken, venison, three
or four made dishes, and pastry, was put before us. I was surprised at
the gorgeousness of this feast, and began to have alarming anticipations
of the _amari aliquid_ which must follow. But I was assured that this
was the ordinary every-day fare of the “commercial gentlemen,” and the
bill for the repast was two shillings! My diary records that the
conversation at table in no wise savoured of trade in any of its
branches. Shakespeare and Walter Scott were descanted on in turn, and
one dapper little man, who travelled in cutlery, averred that Sir Walter
had on one occasion been exceedingly polite to him, and he should always
say to the end of his life that he was a gentleman.

At Dolgelly I was struck by the practice prevailing there of tolling,
after the ringing of the curfew, a number of strokes on the biggest bell
equal to the number of the days which had elapsed of the current month.
I wonder whether they do so still?

I went out of my way, I find, in the course of the same journey, in
order to go from Liverpool to Manchester by the new railway, which to
me, as to thousands of others, was an object of infinite curiosity and
interest. My diary notes that there were fifteen carriages attached to
the engine, each carrying twelve passengers. Two of these were
first-class, and the fare for the journey to Manchester in them was
5_s._; in the others the fare was 3_s._ 6_d._ The train I was to travel
by was called a second-class train. The first-class trains carried no
second-class passengers, and did the journey of fifty-two miles in one
hour and a half. They stopped only once on the way. The second-class
trains stopped frequently, and were two hours on the road. I estimated
the speed at something over twenty-five miles an hour, and remark in my
diary that “that immense rapidity was manifested to the senses only by
looking at the objects passed.”

At Manchester I find myself to have been much scandalised at a scene
which I witnessed in the Collegiate Church there. There were seventeen
couples to be married, and they were all married at once, the only part
of the service individually performed being the “I take thee,” &c. &c. I
perfectly well remember at this distance of time the bustling about of
the clerk among them to insure that every male should be coupled to the
right female. “After this wholesale coupling had been completed,” says
my diary, “the daily service was begun, and was performed in a more
indecent and slovenly way than I ever before witnessed, which is saying
a great deal! While the Psalms were being sung the priest, as having
nothing to do, walked out, and returned just in time to read the
Lessons.” Such were the manners and habits of 1832.

A few weeks later I find an entry to the effect that, “while my father
was reading _Grandison_ to us in the evening I got M. Hervieu (the
artist who did the illustrations for my mother’s _Domestic Manners of
the Americans_ and other books, and who chanced to be passing the
evening with us _en famille_) to draw me a caricature illustrating the
following passage of Beattie’s _Minstrel_:--

    “And yet young Edwin was no vulgar boy;
     Deep thought would often fix his youthful eye.
     Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
     Save _one short pipe_!”

I possess this remarkable work of art to the present day!

At another page I stumble on the record of a conversation with the
sexton of Leatherhead, whom, in one of my rambles, I found digging a
grave in the churchyard there. Three shillings, I learned, was the price
of a grave of the ordinary depth of five feet. Those, however, who could
afford the luxury of lying deeper paid a shilling a foot more.

One more note from the diaries of those days I will venture to give,
because it may be taken as a paraleipomenon to that _Autobiography_ of
my brother, which the world was kindly pleased to take some interest
in:--

“Went to town yesterday [from Harrow], and among other commissions
bought a couple of single-sticks with strong basket handles. Anthony
much approves of them, and this morning we had a bout with them. One of
the sticks bought yesterday soon broke, and we supplied its place by a
tremendous blackthorn. Neither of us left the arena without a fair share
of rather severe wales; but Anthony is far my superior in quickness and
adroitness, and perhaps in bearing pain too. I fear he is likely to
remain so in the first two, but in the third I am determined he shall
not.”

Thus says the yellow fifty-seven-year-old page!

And I have literally thousands of such pages; voluminous records--among
other matters--of walking excursions in the home counties, in Devon, in
Wales, in Gloucestershire, and the banks of the Severn and Wye, not a
page of which fails to bear its testimony to the curiously changed
circumstances under which a pedestrian would now undertake such
wanderings. I find among other jottings--deemed _memorabilia_ at the
time--that I carried a knapsack weighing twenty-eight pounds over the
top of Plinlimmon, because I considered seven and sixpence demanded by
the guide for accompanying me, excessive.

But _ohe! jam satis_. I will inflict no more upon the patient
reader--the impatient will have skipped much of what I have already
given him.

Alas! the _amari aliquid_ of these old records is the unblushing
chronicle of _intentions_, enough to have paved all Acheron with a
durability unachieved by any highway board! The only comfort for
diarists so imprudently candid as to record such aspirations, and so yet
more imprudent as to read them half a century after the penning of them,
is the consideration that _au bout des comptes_ the question is, not
what one has done, but what one has become. If one could flatter oneself
that one has the _mens sana in corpore sano_ at seventy-seven years,
one might accept and condone the past without too much regret; and at
all events it is something to have undeniably brought the latter to its
seventy-eighth year.



CHAPTER XI.


I came down from Oxford to find my mother and my two sisters returned
from America, and living in that Harrow Weald farm-house which my
brother Anthony, in his _Autobiography_, has described, I think, too
much _en noir_. It had once been a very good house, probably the
residence of the owner of the small farm on which it was situated. It
certainly was no longer a very good house, but it was not “tumble-down,”
as Anthony calls it, and was indeed a much better house than it would
have been if its original destination had been that of merely a
farmhouse. But it and “all that it inherited” was assuredly shabby
enough, and had been forlorn enough, as I had known it in my vacations,
when inhabited only by my father, my brother Anthony and myself.

But my mother was one of those people who carry sunshine with them! The
place did not seem the same! The old house, whatever else it may have
been, was roomy; and a very short time elapsed before my mother had got
round her one or two nice girl guests to help her in brightening it.

I may mention here a singular circumstance, which furnished me with
means of estimating my mother’s character in a phase of her life which
rarely comes within the purview of a son. Some years ago, not many years
I think after my mother’s death, an anonymous stranger sent my brother
Anthony a packet of old letters written by my mother to my father
shortly before and shortly after their marriage. He never was able to
ascertain who his benevolent correspondent was, nor how the papers in
question came into his possession. There they are, carefully tied up in
a neat packet, most of them undated by her, but carefully docketed with
the date by my father’s hand. The handwriting, not spoiled as it
afterwards became by writing over a hundred volumes, is a very elegant
one.

There is a singularly old-world flavour about them. There is a staid
moderation in their tone, which a reader of the present day, fresh from
the perusal of similar literature, as supplied by Mr. Mudie, would
probably call coldness. In the few letters which precede the marriage
there are no warm assurances of affection. After marriage the language
becomes more warm. I am tempted to transcribe a few passages that the
girls of the period may see how their great-grandmothers did these
things.

“It does not require three weeks’ consideration, Mr. Trollope”--thus
begins the first letter, undated, but docketed by my father, “F. M.
undated, received 2nd Nov., 1808”--“to enable me to tell you that the
letter you left with me last night was most flattering and gratifying to
me. I value your good opinion too highly not to feel that the generous
proof you have given me of it must for ever, and in any event, be
remembered by me with pride and gratitude. But I fear you are not
sufficiently aware that your choice, so flattering to me, is for
yourself a very imprudent one.” And then follows a business-like
statement of possessions and prospects, which the writer fears fall much
short of what her suitor might reasonably expect.

But none of my father’s faults tended in the slightest degree to lead
him to marry a millionnaire, whom he cared less for, in preference to a
girl without a sixpence, whom he loved better.

“In an affair of this kind,” the letter I have cited goes on to say, “I
do not think it any disadvantage to either party that some time should
elapse between the first contemplation and final decision of it. It
gives each an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the other’s
opinion on many important points, which could not be canvassed before it
was thought of, and which it would be useless to discuss after it was
settled.”

Could Mrs. Chapone have expressed herself better?

I find in another letter, dated (by my father) 6th December, 1808, the
following George-the-Thirdian passage: “The most disagreeable of created
beings, Col. ---- by name, by profession Sir ----’s led captain, is,
while I am writing, talking in an animated strain of eloquence to Mrs.
Milton” (my grandfather the vicar’s second wife and the writer’s
stepmother), “frequently seasoning his discourse with the polished
phrase, ‘Blood and thunder, ma’am!’ so if I happen to swear a little
before I conclude, be so good as to believe that I am accidentally
writing down what he is saying.... Poor dear innocent Dr. Nott! His
simplicity is quite pathetic! I am really afraid that he will be taking
twopence instead of two pounds from his parishioners, merely because he
does not know the difference between them. I cannot help feeling a
tender interest for such lamb-like innocence of the ways of this wicked
world. I dare say the night I saw him at the opera, he thought he was
_only_” (note the distinction) “at the play, nay, perhaps believed they
were performing an oratorio.”

In one letter of the 9th of April, 1809, I find a mention of “a frank”
sent by Mr. Mathias with a translation by him into Italian of the “Echo
Song” in _Comus_, of which the writer says that it is “elegantly done,
but is not Milton.”

In another of the 18th of May, 1809--the last before the marriage took
place--I find the following, which may interest some people. “I wish you
could be here to-morrow,” she writes, “we are going to see the prisoners
of war at Odiam (near Reading) perform one of Molière’s plays. Two years
ago we attended several of them, and I never enjoyed anything more.”

More than a score of these faded eighty-year-old letters are before me;
and I might perhaps have gleaned from them some other little touches
illustrative of men and manners when George the Third was king, but were
I to yield to all the temptations of the sort that beset the path on
which I am travelling, I should try my readers’ patience beyond all hope
of forgiveness.

My mother had brought home with her the MS. of a couple of volumes on
America; and the principal business on hand when I came home from Oxford
was the finding a publisher for these. In this quest she was zealously
and very energetically assisted by Captain Basil Hall, himself the
author of a work on America and sundry other books, which at that time
had made a considerable reputation. Basil Hall’s book on America did not
take a favourable view of the Americans or their institutions; and it
had been mercilessly attacked and accused of misrepresentation by all
the critics of the Liberal party. For Hall’s book, and everything else
concerning America, was in those days looked at from a political party
point of view. America and the Americans were understood to be
anti-everything that was dear to Conservatives. They were accordingly
the pets of the Whigs (Radicals and Radicalism had not yet emerged into
the ken of respectable folk, either Whig or Tory), and Hall’s book had
been abused accordingly. He was very sore about the accusations of
untruthfulness, and was delighted with a book which supported his
assertions and his views. How my mother came to be introduced to him,
and how it came to pass that the MS. of her work was shown to him, I do
not remember, but the result was that he was zealously eager for the
publication of it. The title, if I recollect rightly, was proposed by
him. _The Domestic Manners of the Americans_ was published, and made an
immediate and great success. It was emphatically the book of the season,
was talked of everywhere, and read by all sorts and conditions of men
and women. It was highly praised by all the Conservative organs of the
press, and vehemently abused by all those of the opposite party. Edition
after edition was sold, and the pecuniary results were large enough to
avert from the family of the successful authoress the results of her
husband’s ruined fortunes.

The Americans were made very angry by this account of their “domestic
manners”--very naturally, but not very wisely. Of course, it was
asserted that many of the statements made were false and many of the
descriptions caricatured. Nothing in the book from beginning to end was
false; nothing of minutest detail which was asserted to have been seen
had not been seen; nor was anything intentionally caricatured or
exaggerated for the sake of enhancing literary effect. But the tone of
the book was unfriendly, and was throughout the result of offended taste
rather than of well-weighed opinion. It was full of universal
conclusions drawn from particular premises; and no sufficient weight, or
rather no weight at all, was allowed to the fact that the observations
on which the recorded judgments were founded had been gathered almost
entirely in what was then the Far West, and represented the “domestic
manners” of the Atlantic states hardly at all. Unquestionably the book
was a very clever one, and written with infinite _verve_ and brightness.
But--save for the fact that censure and satire are always more amusing
than the reverse--an equally clever and equally truthful book might have
been written in a diametrically opposite spirit.

No doubt the markedly favourable reception of the book was what mainly
irritated our American cousins. But they certainly were angry far beyond
what the importance of the matter would seem to have justified. I
remember that Colley Grattan, whose fame as the author of _Highways and
Byways_ was then at its zenith, in writing to me from Boston, where he
resided for many years as British Consul, inviting me to visit him
there, went into the question of the reception I might be likely to meet
with on that side of the Atlantic. “I think,” he wrote, “that to come
over under a false name would be _infra dig_. But really I fear that if
you come under your own, you may be _in for a dig_!”

Whether Grattan exaggerated the wrath of his Bostonian friends for the
sake of his joke, I do not know. Unquestionably the Americans, even
speaking of them as a nation, were made very angry by my mother’s book.
But the anger was not of a very spiteful or rancorous description, for
from that day to this I have never met with anything but kindness and
cordial friendliness from all the Americans I have known--and I have
known very many.

The return of my mother, and the success of her book, produced a change
in the condition and circumstances of affairs at home which resembled
the transformation scene in a pantomime that takes place at the advent
of the good fairy. Even the old farm-house at Harrow Weald was
brightened up physically, and to a far greater degree morally, by her
presence. But we did not remain long there. Very shortly she took us
back to Harrow, not to the large house built by my father on Lord
Northwick’s land, but to another very good house on the same farm--not
above a stone’s throw from the previous one, which he had made (very
imprudently) by adding to and improving the original farm-house--a very
comfortable residence. This was the house which the world has heard of
as “Orley Farm.”

And there my mother became immediately surrounded by many old friends
and many new ones. I remember among the latter Letitia Landon, better
known to the world as “L. E. L.” She was a _petite_ figure, very
insignificant-looking, with a sharp chin, turn-up nose, and on the whole
rather _piquante_ face, though without any pretension to good looks. I
remember her being seated one day at dinner by the side of a certain
dignitary of the Church, who had the reputation of being more of a _bon
vivant_ than a theologian, and who was old enough to have been her
father; and on my asking her afterwards what they had been talking about
so earnestly, as I had seen them, “About eating, to be sure!” said she.
“I always talk to everybody on their strong point. I told him that
writing poetry was my trade, but that eating was my pleasure, and we
were fast friends before the fish was finished!” Her sad fate and tragic
ending, poor soul! attracted much attention and sympathy at the time.
And doubtless fate and the world used her hardly; but she was one of
those who never under any circumstances would have run a straight and
prosperous course.

Another visitor whom I remember well at that and other times was the
Rev. Henry Milman, the third son of Sir Francis Milman, who was, if I
rightly recollect, physician to Queen Charlotte. I remember hearing him
say (but this was long previously) that no man need think much about the
gout, who had never had it till he was forty. His widow, Lady Milman,
lived with her daughter many years at Pinner, near Harrow, and they were
very old friends of my mother. She was a dear old lady with certain
points of eccentricity about her. She used always to carry a volume of
South’s sermons with her to church for perusal during the less
satisfactory discourse of her more immediate pastor; and I am afraid was
not sufficiently careful to conceal her preference. It must be over
sixty years since, lunching one day at Pinner, I was much amused at her
insisting that Abraham, the old one-eyed footman, who had lived in the
family all his life, should kneel before the dining-room fire to warm
her plate of pickled salmon! I remember walking with her shortly before
her death in the kitchen garden at Pinner, when Saunders, the old
butler, who had developed into a sort of upper gardener, was pruning the
peach trees. “Oh! don’t cut that, Saunders,” said my lady; “I want to
see those blossoms. And I shall never see them another year!” “Must come
off, my lady,” said Saunders inexorably, as he sheared away the branch.
“He never will let me have my way,” grumbled the little old lady, as she
resumed her trot along the gravel walk under the peach wall. My lady,
however, could assert herself sufficiently on some occasions. I happened
to be at Pinner one day when Mrs. Archdeacon Hodgson, a neighbour,
called somewhat earlier in the day than the recognised hour for morning
visits. “Very glad to see you, my dear,” said my lady, rising to meet
her astonished visitor, who was at least twice as big a woman as
herself, I mean physically, “but _you must not do this sort of thing
again_!”

Her third son, Henry Milman, who, having begun his career as the author
of perhaps the best “Newdegate” ever written, was famous during the
earlier part of it as a poet and dramatist, and during the latter
portion of it (more durably) as an historian, was, with his very
beautiful wife, one of our visitors at this period. He was at that time
certainly a very brilliant man, but I did not like him as well as I did
his elder brother, Sir William. I give only the impressions of an
undergraduate, who was, I think, rather boyish for his age. But it
seemed to me that the poet had a strain of worldliness in his character,
and a certain flavour of cynicism (not incompatible, however, with
serious views and earnest feeling on religious subjects), which were
wholly absent from the elder brother, who wrote neither poems nor
histories, but was to my then thinking a very perfect gentleman. “_Nec
vixit male qui natus moriensque fefellit._”

I find recorded in a diary of that time (November, 1832) some notes of a
conversation with Henry Milman one evening when I, with my parents and
sister, had been dining with Lady Milman at Pinner, which are perhaps
worth reproducing here.

I asked him in the course of a long after-dinner conversation what he
thought of Shuttleworth’s book on the _Consistency of Revelation with
Itself and with Human Reason_, which formed the second volume of the
series called the “Theological Library,” and which I had recently been
reading. He said the work had a great many faults, one of the principal
of which was its great difficulty. On this point I find, from other
entries in my diary, that my undergraduate experience fully coincided
with his more valuable judgment. The reasoning in a great many places
was, he said, false; and in that part which treated of the Mosaic
account of the creation of the world, the great question was entirely
blinked. The abstract of moral duties appeared to him, he said, to be by
far the most able part of the book. He considered Shuttleworth “a man
of very limited reading.” And this perhaps he may have seemed to one of
whom it used to be said jocosely in his own family that “Henry reads a
book, not as other mortals do, line after line, but obliquely, from the
left hand upper corner of a page to the right hand lower corner of the
same!”

Milman, on the same occasion, spoke much of the decay of a love of
learning in England generally, and particularly at Oxford. He said that
no four men could be found there who were up to the European level of
the day in any branch of learning--not even in theology. And speaking of
England generally, he said that in no one public library in the country
could the books requisite for a man, who wished to write a learned work
on any subject whatever, be found. Germany was, and was, he thought,
likely to remain, the great emporium of all learning.

As for the Church, he said that it would never be the profession that it
had been--that it would not be his choice for a son of his; and that the
law was the only profession for talent in these days. He observed that
it was very remarkable that no change--no revolution--had ever passed
over this country without adding power and wealth to that profession.

Here, also, I may record, if the reader will pardon the abruptness of a
transition that hurries him from scholarly disquisition to antipodean
regions of subject and social atmosphere, an expedition I and my
brother Anthony made together, which recurs to my mind in connection
with those days. But I think that it must have belonged to the Harrow
Weald times before the return of my mother from America, because the
extreme impecuniosity, which made the principal feature of it, would not
have occurred subsequently. We saw--my brother and I--some advertisement
of an extra-magnificent entertainment that was to take place at
Vauxhall; something of so gorgeous promise in the way of illuminations
and fireworks, and all for the specially reduced entrance fee of one
shilling each person, that, chancing to possess just that amount, we
determined to profit by so unique an occasion. Any means of conveyance
other than legs, ignorant in those days of defeat, was not to be thought
of. We had just the necessary two shillings, and no more. So we set off
to walk the (at least) fourteen miles from Harrow Weald to Vauxhall,
timing ourselves to arrive there about nine in the evening. Anthony
danced all night. I took no part in that amusement, but contented myself
with looking on and with the truly superb display of fireworks. Then at
about 1 A.M. we set off and walked back our fourteen miles home again
without having touched bite or sup! Did anybody else ever purchase the
delight of an evening at Vauxhall at so high a price?

I did, however, much about the same time a harder day’s walk. I was
returning from Oxford to Harrow Weald, and I determined to walk it,
not, I think, on this occasion, _deficiente crumenâ_, but for pleasure,
and to try my powers. The distance, I think, is, as near as may be,
forty-seven miles. But I carried a very heavy knapsack--a far heavier
one than any experienced campaigner would have advised. This was the
longest day’s walk I ever achieved; and I arrived very tired and
footsore. But the next morning I was perfectly well, and ready to have
taken the road again. Upon this occasion I walked my first stage of
twelve miles before breakfast; absolutely, that is to say, before
breaking my fast. I think that not very many persons could do this, and
I am sure that the few, who could do it, had much better not do so.

I have spoken of the immense change operated in the circumstances and
surroundings of all of us by my mother’s return from America and the
success of her first work, the _Domestic Manners of the Americans_. But,
efficacious as this success was for producing so great a change, and
sufficient as the continued success of her subsequent works was to
rescue the whole of her family from the slough of ruin, in which my
father’s farming operations, and to some extent, I suppose his
injudicious commercial attempt at Cincinnati, had involved him, the
results of this success were very far from availing to stem the tide of
ruin as regarded his affairs. They were sufficient to relieve him from
all expenses connected with the household or its individual members, but
not to supply in addition to all these, the annual losses on the Harrow
farm. Hence the break-up described by my brother Anthony in his
_Autobiography_, and my father’s exodus from Harrow as there narrated.



CHAPTER XII.


Of all that Anthony there describes I saw nothing. I was attending the
“divinity lectures” in Oxford. But as soon as the short course of them
was completed, I left England to join my parents at Bruges. And here is
the condensed record of the journey as performed in 1834. I suppose that
I went by the Thames to Calais, instead of by Dover, as a measure of
economy. I left Oxford by the “Rocket” at three in the morning on
Tuesday, the 20th May, and on reaching London found that there was no
packet to Ostend till the following Saturday. I determined, therefore,
to go to Calais by that which left Tower Stairs on the Wednesday. It was
the first time I had ever crossed the Channel. The times I have crossed
that salt girdle subsequently must be counted by hundreds! I observe
that having begun my journey at 3 A.M. did not prevent me from finding
“Farren admirable” in both _The Minister and the Mercer_ and in _Secret
Service_, at Drury Lane that Tuesday evening. I slept at the Spread
Eagle in Gracechurch Street that night, and left Tower Stairs at 10
A.M. the next morning in the _Lord Melville_, Captain Middleton (names
of ship and captain duly recorded), and had a rough passage of thirteen
hours; all hands sick, “even I a little at last,” says the veracious
chronicle. I was taken by the victor in a sharp contest with half a
dozen rivals over my body, to the Hôtel de Londres, a clean,
comfortable, and quiet, but, I suppose, quite second-rate inn. There was
no conveyance to Dunkirk before one the next day. So, “after a delicious
breakfast on coffee.” (Ah! how _la belle France_ has _dégringoléd_ in
respect to coffee and some other matters since those happy days! Then
coffee really was _always_ good everywhere in France. Now England has no
cause whatever to envy her neighbour in that respect.) I spent the
intervening hours in going (of all things in the world) to the top of
the church tower. The diligence brought me to Dunkirk in time for supper
at the Tête de Flandres Hôtel, at which “a Frenchman, who sat next me,
insisted on my sharing his bottle of vin de Bourdeaux, and would not
hear of my paying my share of the cost, saying that he was at home in
his own country.” I find that I went after supper “to the top of a fine
tower” (my second that day! I had a mania, not quite cured yet, for
ascending towers), and started at five the next morning for Nieuport “in
a vile little barge, in company with two young pedestrianising
Belgians,” and arrived there about noon, after a most tedious voyage,
and changing, without bettering, our barge three or four times. At
Nieuport we found “a sort of immense overgrown gig with two horses,
which conveyed eight of us to Ostend.”

There I was most kindly and hospitably received by Mr. Fauche, the
English Consul, and his very lovely wife. Mrs. Fauche had been before
her marriage one of my mother’s cohort of pretty girl friends, and was
already my old acquaintance. She was the daughter of Mr. Tomkisson, a
pianoforte manufacturer, who had married the daughter of an Irish
clergyman. Their daughter Mary was, as I first knew her, more than a
pretty girl. She was a very beautiful and accomplished woman, with one
of the most delicious soprano voices I ever heard. I was anxious to join
my mother at Bruges, who, despite her literary triumphs, had passed
through so much trouble since I had seen her. But it needed the
reinforcement of this anxiety by a sense of duty to enable me to resist
Mrs. Fauche’s invitation to remain a day or two at Ostend.

I found my father and mother, and my two sisters, Cecilia and Emily,
established in a large and very roomy house, just outside the southern
gate of the city, known as the Château d’Hondt. It was a thoroughly good
and comfortable house, and, taken unfurnished, speedily became under my
mother’s hands a very pleasant one. Nor was it long before it became
socially a very agreeable one, for the invariable result of my mother’s
presence, which drew what was pleasant around her as surely as a magnet
draws iron, showed itself in the collection of a variety of agreeable
people--some from the other side of the Channel, some from Ostend, and
some few from Bruges.

All this made a social atmosphere, which with the foreign flavouring so
wholly new to me, was very pleasant; but it seems not to have sufficed
to prevent me from seizing the opportunity for a little of that
locomotive sight-seeing, the passion for which, still unquenched,
appears to have been as strong in me as when I hankered after a place on
some one of the “down” coaches starting from the “Cellar” in Piccadilly,
or gazed enviously at the outward bound ships in the docks. For I find
the record of a little week’s tour among the Belgian cities, with full
details of all the towers I ascended, observations of an ecclesiological
neophyte on the churches I everywhere visited, and remarks on men and
manners, the rawness of which does not entirely destroy the value of
them, as illustrating the changes wrought there too by the lapse of half
a century.

In one place I find myself tasting the contents of the library of a
Carmelite monastery, and remarking on the strangeness of the _sole_
exception to the theological character of the collection having
consisted in a _Cours Gastronomique_, which appeared to me scarcely
needed by a community bound by its vows to perpetual abstinence from
animal food.

Some pages of the record also are devoted to the statement of “a case”
which I lighted on in some folio on casuistry, on the question “whether
it is lawful to adore a crucifix, when there is strong ground for
supposing that a demon may be concealed in the material of which it is
constructed!”

It seems to me on reading these pages (for the first time since they
were written), that I was to no small degree seductively impressed by
the music, architectural beauties, and splendid ceremonial of the Roman
Catholic worship, seen in those days to much better effect in Belgium,
than at the present time in Rome. But amid it all, the sturdy
Protestantism of Whately’s pupil manifests itself in a moan over the
pity, the pity of it, that it should “all be based on falsehood.”

All the pleasant state of things at the Château d’Hondt at Bruges,
described above, was of short duration however, for disquieting accounts
of the health of my brother Henry, who had been staying at Exeter with
that dear old friend, Fanny Bent, to whom the reader has already been
introduced, began to arrive from Devonshire.

It was moreover necessary that I should without loss of time set my hand
to something that might furnish me with daily bread. So on the 21st of
June I “went on board Captain Smithett’s vessel the _Arrow_ and had a
quiet passage to Dover.” On arriving there I “hastened to secure my
place on a coach about to start, and the first turn for having my
baggage examined at the custom-house. This examination was rather a
rigid one, and they made me pay 4_s._ 7_d._ for two or three books I had
with me. We reached Canterbury about nightfall, breakfasted at
Rochester, and arrived at Charing Cross at six.” My diary does not say
“six P.M.,” and it seems incredible that any coach--though on the
slowest road out of London, as the Dover road always was--should have
breakfasted at Rochester, and taken the whole day to travel thence to
Charing Cross; but it is more incredible still that we should have
stopped to breakfast at Rochester, and then reached London at 6 A.M.

It must have been 6 P.M.; but I read that “I started at once to walk to
Harrow by the canal (!) where I was received with more than kindness by
the Grants.”

I had come to London with the intention of giving classical teaching to
any who were willing to pay about ten shillings an hour for it. I had
testimonials and recommendations galore from a very varied collection of
pastors, masters, and friends. Several of the latter also were actively
eager to assist my object, foremost among whom I may name with
unforgetting gratitude Dr. David Williams, my old master at Winchester,
then Warden of New College. Thus furnished, pupils were not wanting, and
money amply sufficient for my immediate needs seemed to come in easily.
I did my best with my pupils during the short hours of my work; but much
success is not to be expected from pupils the very circumstance and
terms of whose tuition gives rise to the presumption that they are
irremediably stupid or idle, and the hired “coach” a _dernier resort_.
Such employers as I had to deal with, however, if they assigned you
somewhat hopeless tasks, appeared to be satisfied with an infinitesimal
amount of results, and I believe I gave satisfaction in all cases save
that of a lady, the widowed mother of an only son, a very elegant and
fashionable dame in Belgrave Square, who complained once to the
clergyman who had recommended me to her, that I had come to her house
one Monday morning “in a very dusty condition.” I fear she might have
said every Monday morning, for my custom was to walk up to my lesson
from Harrow, where I had been spending the Sunday with the Grants, and
“_immer noch stäuben die Wege_” hardly less on the Harrow road, than
Goethe found them to do in Italy! I had to tell her that the dust on my
shoes had not reached my brain, and that I had no pretension, and
entirely declined, to be an exemplar to her son in the matter of his
toilet. We parted very good friends however at the end of my engagement.
When she said some complimentary words about my work with her son, I
could not refrain from saying that I had done my best to prepare myself
for it by having my shoes carefully blacked. She laughed, and said, “I
could not find fault with your Latin and Greek, Mr. Trollope. And would
it not be better if people always confined their criticism to what they
_do_ understand?”

I was living during these months in Little Marlborough Street, in a
house kept by a tailor and his mother. It was a queer house,
disconnected with the row of buildings in which it stood, a survival of
some earlier period. It stood in its own court, by which it was
separated from the street. I found all the place transmogrified when I
visited it a year or two ago. During the latter part of my residence
there the lodgings were shared by my brother Anthony, who, as related by
himself, had accepted a place in the secretary’s office in the Post
Office. The lodgings were very cheap, more so I think than the goodness
of them might have justified. We were the only lodgers; and the
cheapness of the rooms was, I suspect, in some degree caused by the fact
that the majority of young men lodgers would not have tolerated the
despotic rule of our old landlady, the tailor’s mother. She made us very
comfortable; but her laws were many, and of the nature of those of the
Medes and Persians.

Meantime matters were becoming more and more gloomy in the Château
d’Hondt, outside the St. Peter’s Gate, at Bruges. My brother Henry had
returned thither from Devonshire; and his condition was unmistakably
becoming worse. While I was still living in Little Marlborough Street,
my mother came over hurriedly to London, bringing him and my sister
Emily with her. They travelled by boat from Ostend to London to avoid
the land journey, I take it poor Henry was led to suppose that the
journey was altogether caused by the necessity of interviews between my
mother and her publishers. But the real motive of it was to obtain the
best medical advice for him and (as, alas! it began to appear to be
necessary) for my sister Emily.

All kinds of schemes of southern travel, and voyages to Madeira, &c.,
had been proposed for Henry, who, having himself, with the hopefulness
peculiar to his malady, no shadow of a doubt of his own recovery,
entered into them all with the utmost zest. A kind friend, I forget by
what means or interest, had offered to provide free passages to Madeira.
Alas! the first consultation with the medical authorities put an end to
all such schemes. And my poor mother had the inexpressibly sad and
difficult task of quashing them all without allowing her patient to
suspect the real reason of their being given up.

She had to take him back to Bruges; and I accompanied them to the boat
lying off the Tower, and remained with them an hour before it weighed
anchor. And then and there I took the last leave of my brother Henry, I
well knowing, he never imagining, that it was for ever.

And now began at Bruges a time of such stress and trouble for my mother
as few women have ever passed through. The grief, the Rachel sorrows of
mothers watching by the dying beds of those, to save whose lives they
would--ah! how readily!--give their own, are, alas, common enough. But
no account, no contemplation of any such scene of anguish can give an
adequate conception of what my mother went through victoriously.

Her literary career had hitherto been a succession of triumphs. Money
was coming in with increasing abundance. But these successes had not yet
lasted long enough to enable her, in the face of all she had done for
the ruined household to which she had returned from America, to lay by
any fund for the future. And though the proceeds of her labour were
amply sufficient for all current needs, it was imperative that that
labour should not be suspended.

It was under these circumstances that she had to pass her days in
watching by the bedside of a very irritable invalid, and her
nights--when he fortunately for the most part slept--in composing
fiction! It was desirable to keep the invalid’s mind from dwelling on
the hopelessness of his condition. And, indeed, he was constantly
occupied in planning travels and schemes of activity for the anticipated
time of his recovery, which she had to enter into and discuss with a
cheerful countenance and bleeding heart. It was also especially
necessary that my sisters, especially the younger, already threatened by
the same malady, should be kept cheerful, and prevented from dwelling on
the phases of their brother’s illness. This was the task in which, with
agonised mind, she never faltered from about nine o’clock every morning
till eight o’clock in the evening! Then with wearied body, and mind
attuned to such thoughts as one may imagine, she had to sit down to her
desk to write her novel with all the _verve_ at her command, to please
light-hearted readers, till two or three in the morning! This, by the
help of green tea and sometimes laudanum, she did daily and nightly till
the morning of the 23rd of December of that sad 1834; and lived after
it to be eighty-three!

But her mind was one of the most extraordinarily constituted in regard
to recuperative power and the capacity of throwing off sorrow, that I
ever knew or read of. Any one who did not know her, as her own son knew
her, might have supposed that she was deficient in sensibility. No
judgment could be more mistaken. She felt acutely, vehemently. But she
seemed to throw off sorrow as, to use the vulgar phrase, a duck’s back
throws off water, because the nature of the organism will not suffer it
to rest there. How often have I applied to her the words of David under
a similar affliction!

My brother died on the 23rd of December, 1834, and was buried at Bruges,
in the Protestant portion of the city cemetery. Had his life been much
prolonged, I think that that of my mother must have sunk under the
burthen laid upon it. I hastened to cross the Channel as soon as I heard
of my brother’s death, but did not arrive in time for his funeral.

A few days later I was, I find, consulting a Bruges physician, a Dr.
Herbout, whom I still remember perfectly well, about the health of my
father, which had recently been causing my mother some anxiety. Herbout
was an old army doctor who had served under Napoleon. It is probable
that he was more of a surgeon than a physician. His opinion was that my
father’s condition, though not satisfactory, did not indicate any cause
for immediate alarm.

I remained at Bruges till the first week in April. That is to say, the
Château d’Hondt was my home during those months, but the monotony of it
was varied by frequent visits to Ostend, which Mrs. Fauche always found
the means of making agreeable. One week of the time also was spent in a
little tour through those parts of Belgium which I had not yet seen, in
company with my old friend, and the reader’s old acquaintance, Fanny
Bent. It was an oddly constituted travelling party--the young man full
of strength, activity, and eagerness to see everything that
indefatigable exertion could show him, and the very plain, Quaker-like,
middle-aged old maid, absolutely new to Continental ways and manners and
habits. Yet few people, I think, have ever seen the many interesting
sights of the region we travelled over more completely than I and Fanny
Bent. The number of towers (Antwerp among them) to the tops of which I
took her, as recorded in my diary, seems preposterous. But Fanny Bent
bravely stuck to her work, and where I led she followed. I have since
squired many fairer and younger dames, but never one so bravely
determined on doing all that was to be done. And very much we both
enjoyed it.

Almost immediately after my return from this little excursion I received
a letter from an old Wykehamist schoolfellow, the Rev. George Hall, of
Magdalen, son of the head of Pembroke at Oxford, offering me a
mastership in King Edward’s Grammar School, at Birmingham. The head
master of that school was at that time Dr. Jeune, a Pembroke man, and
thence a close friend of George Hall, who himself held one of the
masterships, which he was about to resign. The salary of the mastership
offered me was 200_l._ a year, with, of course, prospects of
advancement. I at once determined to accept it, and with the promptitude
which in those days characterised me (at least in all cases in which
promptitude involved immediate locomotion), I decided to leave Bruges
for Birmingham on the morrow. I slept at Ostend the next night, and the
following day crossed to Dover with my friend Captain Smithett, of the
_Arrow_, “the only other passengers,” says my diary, “being a maniac and
a corpse.”

Smithett was a remarkably handsome man, and the very _beau-idéal_ of a
sailor. For many years he was the man always selected to carry any royal
or distinguished personage who had to cross the Channel from or to
Dover. He was an immense favourite with all the little Ostend
world--with the female part of it, of course, especially. I remember his
showing me with much laughter an anonymous _billet doux_ which had
reached him, beginning, “_O toi qui commandes la Flèche, tu peux aussi
commander les cœurs_,” &c., &c. I discovered the writer some time
subsequently in an extremely pretty _baigneuse_, the wife, I am sorry to
say, of a highly respected Belgian banker. Perhaps all his Ostend
admirers did not know that he had a charming wife at Dover. He was all
the more an object of our admiration from the singular contrast between
him and his colleague, a certain Captain Murch. Between them they did
in those days the whole of the Ostend and Dover mail business. Poor
Murch was much of an invalid, and, strange as it may seem, suffered
invariably on every passage, from year’s end to year’s end, from sea
sickness. Think of the purgatory involved in the combination of such a
constitution with such a profession! The port of Ostend was at that time
somewhat difficult to enter in heavy weather, and bad fogs were very
frequent on that coast. Poor Murch was always getting into difficulties
which involved “lying to,” and reaching his destination long after time;
whereas we held that the dashing _Arrow_ would go wherever the _Flying
Dutchman_ could. And indeed I have seen her come in when I could only
remain at the pier-head by lashing myself to a post. So much for “_le
beau, Capitaine Smitète_.”

Losing no time in London I reached Birmingham on the evening of Sunday
the 5th, and found my friend Hall quite sure of my election by the
governors of the school on the recommendation of _his_ friend Jeune. But
then began a whole series of slips between the cup and the lip! There
appeared to be no doubt of their electing me if they elected anybody;
but a part of the board wished, on financial grounds, to defer the
election of a new master for a while. The governors at their meeting put
off the decision of the matter to another meeting on the 24th. On the
24th the matter was again put off. I had left Birmingham on the 12th,
with the promise from Jeune, in whom on that, and on subsequent
occasions, I found a most kind friend, that he would do all he could to
urge the governors to a decision, and lose no time in letting me know
the result. On the 24th the election of a new master was again
“deferred” by the governors, and the prospect of their coming to a
decision to elect one shortly seemed to become more uncertain. Many
other meetings of the board took place with a similar result. On one
occasion Jeune told me that, had he been in Birmingham at the time of
the meeting, he felt sure that he could have induced them to come to an
election; but he had unfortunately been absent. At another meeting I was
told that I should have been elected had not Sir Edward Thomason, one of
the governors who wished to elect a master, run away to a dinner party,
thus leaving the non-content party in the majority.

Meantime I took my degree at Oxford on the 29th of April, which was
needed for holding the appointment in question, and waited with what
patience I could in London, dividing my time between the dear and ever
kind Grants, and my brother Anthony, who was doing--or rather getting
into continual hot water for not doing;--his work at the Post Office. He
was, I take it, a very bad office clerk; but as soon as he was appointed
a surveyor’s clerk became at once one of the most efficient and valuable
officers in the Post Office.

Leaving Oxford on the night of the 29th I returned to Birmingham, and
was again tantalised by repeated inconclusive meetings of the school
governors, till at last, on the 6th of May, Jeune told me that he
thought that they would not come to an election till midsummer, but that
in any case there was another of the masters whose resignation he had
reason to believe would not be long deferred, and I should assuredly
have his place. On this I returned to London, and on the 8th of May left
it for Dover on my way to join my mother in Paris.

Having spoken of Anthony’s efficiency as an officer of the Post Office,
I may, I think, in the case of so well known a man, venture to expend a
page in giving the reader an anecdote of his promptness, of which, as of
dozens of other similar experiences, he says nothing in his
_Autobiography_. He had visited the office of a certain postmaster in
the south-west of Ireland in the usual course of his duties, had taken
stock of the man, and had observed him in the course of his interview
carefully lock a large desk in the office. Two days afterwards there
came from head-quarters an urgent inquiry about a lost letter, the
contents of which were of considerable value. The information reached
the surveyor late at night, and he at once put the matter into the hands
of his subordinate. There was no conveyance to the place where my
brother determined his first investigations should be made till the
following morning. But it did not suit him to wait for that, so he hired
a horse, and, riding hard, knocked up the postmaster whom he had
interviewed, as related, a couple of days before, in the small hours.
Possibly the demeanour of the man in some decree influenced his further
proceedings. Be this as it may, he walked straight into the office, and
said, “Open that desk!” The key, he was told, had been lost for some
time past. Without another word he smashed the desk with one kick,
and--there found the stolen letter!

I have heard from him so many good stories of his official experiences,
that I feel myself tolerably competent to write a volume of “Memoirs of
a Post Office Surveyor.” But for the present I must content myself with
one other of his adventures. He had been sent to South America to
arrange some difficulties about postal communication in those parts
which our authorities wished to be accomplished in a shorter time than
had been previously the practice. There was a certain journey that had
to be done by a mounted courier, for which it was insisted that three
days were necessary, while my brother was persuaded it could be done in
two. He was told that he knew nothing of their roads and their horses,
&c. “Well,” said he, “I will ask you to do nothing that I, who know
nothing of the country, and can only have such a horse as your post can
furnish me, cannot do myself. I will ride with your courier, and then I
shall be able to judge.” And at daybreak the next morning they started.
The brute they gave him to ride was of course selected with a view of
making good their case, and the saddle was simply an instrument of
torture. He rode through that hot day and kept the courier to his work
in a style that rather astonished that official. But at night, when they
were to rest for a few hours, Anthony confessed that he was in such a
state that he began to think that he should have to throw up the sponge,
which would have been dreadful to him. So he ordered two bottles of
brandy, poured them into a wash-hand basin, and _sat in it_! His
description of the agonising result was graphic! But the next day, he
said, he was able to sit in his saddle without pain, did the journey in
the two days, and carried his point.

But I must abstain from further anticipations of the memoirs above
spoken of, the more especially as I left my own story at the point where
I had before me, like Rousseau--and probably with no less rose-coloured
anticipations--_un voyage à faire, et Paris au bout_, and that for the
first time in my life!



CHAPTER XIII.


I observe that I left Calais in the _banquette_ of the diligence at 6
P.M. on the Friday night, May 8th, 1835, and reached Paris at 3 A.M. on
Sunday morning--thirty-three hours. I remember my great surprise at
finding the entire way paved after the fashion that I had been
accustomed to consider proper only for the streets of towns. We used for
by far the greatest part of the way the unpaved spaces left on either
side of the paved causeway. But the conductor told me that in winter
they were generally obliged to keep on the latter the whole way. The
horses, two wheelers and three leaders abreast, were almost--indeed I
think quite--without exception grey. They were also all, or almost all,
stallions. The style of driving struck me as very rough, awkward,
violent, and inelegant, but masterful and efficacious. The driver was
changed with every relay; and it seemed to me very probable that it was
expedient that each man should know such cattle, not only on the road
but in the stable.

We breakfasted at Abbeville, and dined at Beauvais. And I find it
recorded that I contrived at both places to find time for a flying
visit to the cathedral, and was highly delighted with the noble fragment
of a church at the latter city.

I went to bed on arriving at the Hôtel de Lille et d’Albion, which was
in those days a very different place from its noisy, pretentious, and
vulgar successor of the same name in the Rue St. Honoré. The old house
in the Rue des Filles de St. Thomas has long since disappeared, together
with the quiet little street in which it was situated. Like its
successor it was almost exclusively used by English, but they were the
English of the days when personally conducted herds were not. The
service was performed by handmaidens in neat caps and white bodices over
their coloured skirts. There were no swallow-tail-coated waiters, and
the coffee was exquisite! _Tempi passati, perchè non tornate più?_

At ten the next morning I went to No. 6, Rue de Provence, where I found
my parents and my sisters at breakfast.

The object of this Paris journey was twofold--the writing a book in
accordance with an agreement which my mother had entered into with Mr.
Richard Bentley, the father of the publisher of these volumes, and the
consultation of a physician to whom she had been especially recommended
respecting my father’s health, which was rapidly and too evidently
declining. They had been in Paris some time already, and had formed a
large circle of acquaintance, both English and French. I was told by my
mother that the physician, who had seen my father several times, had
made no pleasant report of his condition. He did not apprehend any
immediately alarming phase of illness, but said that had he been left to
guess my father’s age after visiting him, he should have supposed him to
be more than four score, the truth being that he was very little more
than sixty.

This, my first visit to Paris, lasted one month only, from the 9th of
May to the 9th of June, and many of the recollections which seem to me
now to be connected with it very probably belong to subsequent visits,
for my diary, re-opened now for the first time after the interval of
more than half a century, was kept, I find, in a very intermittent and
slovenly manner. No doubt I found very few minutes for journalising in
the four-and-twenty hours of each day.

I well remember that my first impression of _Lutetia
Parisiorum_--“Mudtown of the Parisians,” as Carlyle translates it--was
that of having stepped back a couple of centuries or so in the history
of European civilisation and progress. We are much impressed at home,
and talk much of the vastness of the changes which the last fifty years
have made in our own city, but I think that which the same time has
operated in Paris is much greater. Putting aside the mere extension of
streets and dwellings, which, great as it has been in Paris, has been
much greater in London, the changes in the former city have been far
more radical. Certainly there are many quarters of London where the eye
now rests on that which is magnificent, and which at the time when I
knew the town well, presented nothing but what was, if not sordid, at
least ugly. But to those who remember the streets of Louis Philippe’s
city, the change in the whole conception of city life, and the _manière
d’être_ of the population, is far greater. With the exception of the
principal boulevards in the neighbourhood of the recently completed
“Madeleine,” and its then recently established flower market, the
streets were still traversed by filthy and malodorous open ditches,
which did more or less imperfectly the duty of sewers, and Paris still
deserved its name of “Mudtown”. Wretched little oil lamps, suspended on
ropes stretched across the streets, barely served to make darkness
visible. Water was still carried at so much the bucket up the
interminable staircases of the Parisian houses by stalwart Auvergnats,
who came from their mountains to do a work more severe than the
Parisians could do for themselves.

But another specialty, which very forcibly struck me, and which cannot
be said to have been any survival of ways and habits obsolete on the
other side of the Channel, was the remarkable manner in which the
political life of the hour, with its emotions, opinions, and passions,
was enacted, so to speak, on the stage of the streets, as a drama is
presented on the boards of a theatre. Truly he who ran through the
streets of Paris in those days might read, and indeed could not help
reading, the reflection and the manifestation of the political
divisions and passions which animated the reign of the _bourgeois_ king,
and ended by destroying it.

And in this respect the time of my first visit to Paris was a very
interesting one. The Parisian world was, of course, divided into
Monarchists and Republicans, the latter of whom laboured under the
imputation, in some cases probably unjust, but in more entirely merited
(as in certain other more modern instances), of being willing and ready
to bring their theories into practice by perpetrating or conniving at
any odious monstrosity of crime, violence and bloodshed. The Fieschi
incident had recently enlightened the world on the justice of such
accusations.

But the Monarchists were more amusingly divided into “_Parceque_
Bourbon,” supporters of the existing _régime_, and “_Quoique_ Bourbon,”
tolerators of it. The former, of course, would have preferred the white
flag and Charles Dix; but failing the possibility of such a return to
the old ways, were content to live under the rule of a sovereign, who,
though not the legitimate monarch by right divine, was at least a scion
of the old legitimate race. The “_Quoique_ Bourbon” partisans were the
men who, denying all right to the throne save that which emanated from
the will of the people, were yet Monarchists from their well-rooted
dread of the intolerable evils which Republicanism had brought, and, as
they were convinced, would bring again upon France, and were therefore
contented to support the _bourgeois_ monarchy “although” the man on the
throne was an undeniable Bourbon.

But what made the streets, the boulevards, the Champs Elysées, and
especially the Tuileries garden peculiarly amusing to a stranger, was
the circumstance that the Parisians all got themselves up with strict
attention to the recognised costume proper to their political party. The
Legitimist, the “_Quoique Bourbon” bourgeois_, (very probably in the
uniform of the then immensely popular National Guard) and the Republican
in his appropriate bandit-shaped hat and coat with exaggeratedly large
lappels, or draped picturesquely in the folds of a cloak, after a
fashion borrowed from the other side of the Alps, were all
distinguishable at a glance. It was then that deliciously graphic line
(I forget who wrote it) “_Feignons à feindre à fin de mieux dissimuler_”
was applied to characterise the conspirator-like attitudes it pleased
these gentlemen to assume.

The truth was that Paris was still very much afraid of them. I remember
the infinite glee, and the outpouring of ridicule, which hailed the
dispersion of a Republican “demonstration” (the reader will forgive the
anachronism of the phrase), at the Porte St. Martin, by the judicious
use of a powerful fire-engine. The heroes of the _drapeau rouge_ had
boasted they would stand their ground against any charge of soldiery.
Perhaps they would have done so. But the helter-skelter that ensued on
the first well-directed jet of cold water from the pipe of a fire-engine
furnished Paris with laughter for days afterwards.

But, as I have said, Paris, not unreasonably, feared them. Secret
conspiracy is always an ugly enemy to deal with. And no violence of mere
speculative opinion would have sufficed, had fear been absent, to cause
the very marked repulsion with which all the Parisians, who had anything
to lose, in that day regarded their Republican fellow citizens.

Assuredly the Conservatives of the Parisian world of 1835 were not “the
stupid party.” Both in their newspapers, and other ephemeral literature,
and in the never-ending succession of current _mots_ and jokes which
circulated in the Parisian salons, they had the pull very decidedly. I
remember some words of a parody on one of the Republican songs of the
day, which had an immense vogue at that time. “_On devrait planter le
chêne_,” it ran, “_pour l’arbre de la liberté_” (it will be remembered
that planting “trees of liberty” was one of the common and more harmless
“demonstrations” of the Republican party). “_Ses glands nouriraient sans
peine les cochons qui l’ont planté._” And the burthen of the original
which ran, “_Mourir pour la patrie, C’est le sort le plus beau le plus
digne d’envie_,” was sufficiently and very appositely caricatured by the
slight change of “_Mourir pour la patrie_” into “_Nourris_ par _la
patrie_,” &c.

To a stranger seeing Paris as I saw it, and frequenting the houses which
I frequented, it seemed strange that such a community should have
considered itself in serious danger from men who seemed to me, looking
from such a stand-point, a mere handful of skulking melodramatic
enthusiasts, playing at conspiracy and rebellion rather than really
meditating it. But I was not at that time fully aware how entirely the
real danger was to be found in regions of Paris, and strata of its
population which were as entirely hidden from my observation, as if they
had been a thousand miles away. But though I could not see the danger, I
saw unmistakably enough the fear it inspired in all classes of those
who, as I said before, had anything to lose.

It was this fear that made the National Guard the heroes of the hour. It
was impossible but that such a body of men--Parisian shopkeepers put
into uniform (those of them who would condescend to wear it; for many
used to be seen, who contented themselves with girding on a sabre and
assuming a firelock, while others would go to the extent of surmounting
the ordinary black coat with the regulation military shako)--should
afford a target for many shafts of ridicule. The capon-lined paunches of
a considerable contingent of these well-to-do warriors were an
inexhaustible source of not very pungent jokes. But Paris would have
been frightened out of its wits at the bare suggestion of suppressing
these citizen saviours of society. Of course they were petted at the
Tuileries. No reception or _fête_ of any kind was complete without a
large sprinkling of these shopkeeping guardsmen, and their presence on
such occasions was the subject of an unfailing series of _historiettes_.

I remember an anecdote excellently illustrative of the time, which was
current in the salons of the “_Parceque_ Bourbon” society of the day. A
certain elderly duchess of the _vieille roche_, a dainty little woman,
very _mignonne_, whose exquisite _parure_ and still more exquisite
manners scented the air at a league’s distance, to use the common French
phrase, with the odour of the most aristocratic salons of the Quartier
St. Germain, was, at one of Louis Philippe’s Tuileries receptions, about
to take from the tray handed round by a servant the last of the ices
which it had contained, when a huge outstretched hand, with its five
wide-spread fingers, was protruded from behind over her shoulder, and
the refreshment of which she was about to avail herself was seized by a
big National Guard with the exclamation, “_Enfoncèe la petite mère!_”

Nevertheless, it may be safely asserted that the little duchess, and all
the world she moved in, would have been infinitely more dismayed had
they gone to the Tuileries and seen no National Guards there.

Among the many persons of note with whom I became more or less well
acquainted during that month, no one perhaps stands out more vividly in
my recollection than Chateaubriand. He also, though standing much aloof
from the noise and movement of the political passions of the time, was
an aristocrat _jusqu’au bout des ongles_, in appearance, in manners, in
opinions, and general tone of mind. The impression to this effect
immediately produced on one’s first presentation was in no degree due
to any personal advantages. He was not, when I knew him, nor do I think
he ever could have been, a good looking man. He stooped a good deal, and
his head and shoulders gave me the impression of being somewhat too
large for the rest of his person. The lower part of his face too, was, I
thought, rather heavy.

But his every word and movement were characterised by that exquisite
courtesy which was the inalienable, and it would seem incommunicable,
specialty of the _seigneurs_ of the _ancien régime_. And in his case the
dignified bearing of the grand seigneur was tempered by a _bonhomie_
which produced a manner truly charming.

And having said all this, it may seem to argue want of taste or want of
sense in myself, to own, as truthfulness compels me to do, that I did
not altogether like him. I had a good deal of talk with him, and that to
a youngster of my years and standing was in itself very flattering, and
I felt as if I were ungrateful for not liking him. But the truth in one
word is, that he appeared to me to be a “tinkling cymbal.” I don’t mean
that he was specially insincere as regarded the person he was talking to
at the moment. What I do mean is, that the man did not seem to me to
have a mind capable of genuine sincerity in the conduct of its
operations. He seemed to me a theatrically-minded man. Immediately after
making his acquaintance I read the _Génie du Chrétienisme_, and the book
confirmed my impression of the man. He honestly intends to play a very
good and virtuous part, but he _is_ playing a part.

He was much petted in those days by the men, and more especially by the
women of the _ancien régime_ and the Quartier St. Germain. But I suspect
that he was a good deal quizzed, and considered an object of more or
less good-natured ridicule by the rest of the Parisian world. I fancy
that he was in straitened circumstances. And the story went that he and
his wife put all they possessed into a box, of which each of them had a
key, and took from day to day what they needed, till one fine day they
met over the empty box with no little surprise and dismay.

Chateaubriand thought he understood English well, and rather piqued
himself upon the accomplishment. But I well remember his one day asking
me to explain to him the construction of the sentence, “Let but the
cheat endure, I ask not aught beside.” My efforts to do so during the
best part of half an hour ended in entire failure.

He was in those days reading in Madame Récamier’s salon at the
Abbaye-aux-Bois (in which building my mother’s friend, Miss Clarke, also
had her residence), those celebrated _Mémoires d’Outretombe_, of which
all Paris, or at least all literary and political Paris, was talking.
Immense efforts were made by all kinds of notabilities to obtain an
admission to these readings. But the favoured ones had been very few.
And my mother was proportionably delighted at the arrangement that a
reading should be given expressly for her benefit. M. de Chateaubriand
had ceased these _séances_ for the nonce, and the gentleman who had been
in the habit of reading for him had left Paris. But by the kindness of
Miss Clarke and Madame Récamier, he was induced to give a sitting at the
Abbaye expressly for my mother. This arrangement had been made before I
reached Paris, and I consequently to my great regret was not one of the
very select party. My mother was accompanied by my sisters only. I
benefited however in my turn by the acquaintance thus formed, and
subsequently passed more than one evening in Madame Récamier’s salon at
the Abbaye-aux-Bois in the Rue du Bac.

My mother, in her book on _Paris and the Parisians_, writes of that
reading as follows:--“The party assembled at Madame Récamier’s on this
occasion did not, I think, exceed seventeen, including Madame Récamier
and M. de Chateaubriand. Most of these had been present at former
readings. The Duchesses de Larochefoucauld and de Noailles, and one or
two other noble ladies, were among them. And I felt it was a proof that
genius is of no party, when I saw a grand-daughter of General Lafayette
enter among us. She is married to a gentleman who is said to be of the
extreme _coté gauche_.” The passage of the _Mémoires_ selected for the
evening’s reading was the account of the author’s memorable visit to
Prague to visit the royal exiles. “Many passages,” writes my mother,
“made a profound impression on my fancy and on my memory, and I think I
could give a better account of some of the scenes described than I
should feel justified in doing, as long as the noble author chooses to
keep them from the public eye. There were touches that made us weep
abundantly; and then he changed the key, and gave us the prettiest, the
most gracious, the most smiling picture of the young princess and her
brother that it was possible for pen to trace. And I could have said, as
one does in seeing a clever portrait, ‘That is a likeness, I’ll be sworn
for it.’”

It may be seen from the above passage, and from some others in my
mother’s book on _Paris and the Parisians_, that her estimate of the man
Chateaubriand was a somewhat higher one, than that which I have
expressed in the preceding pages. She was under the influence of the
exceeding charm of his exquisite manner. But in the following passage,
which I am tempted to transcribe by the curious light it throws on the
genesis of the present literary history of France, I can more entirely
subscribe to the opinions expressed:--

“The active, busy, bustling politicians of the hour have succeeded in
thrusting everything else out of place, and themselves into it. One
dynasty has been overthrown, and another established; old laws have been
abrogated, and hundreds of new ones formed; hereditary nobles have been
disinherited, and little men made great. But amidst this plenitude of
destructiveness, they have not yet contrived to make any one of the puny
literary reputations of the day weigh down the renown of those who have
never lent their voices to the cause of treason, regicide, rebellion, or
obscenity. The literary reputations both of Chateaubriand and Lamartine
stand higher beyond all comparison than those of any other living French
authors. Yet the first, with all his genius, has often suffered his
imagination to run riot; and the last has only given to the public the
leisure of his literary life. But both of them are men of honour and
principle, as well as men of genius; and it comforts one’s human nature
to see that these qualities will keep themselves aloft, despite whatever
squally winds may blow, or blustering floods assail them. That both
Chateaubriand and Lamartine belong rather to the imaginative than to the
_positif_ class cannot be denied; but they are renowned throughout the
world, and France is proud of them. The most curious literary
speculations, however, suggested by the present state of letters in this
country, are not respecting authors such as these. They speak for
themselves, and all the world knows them and their position. The
circumstance decidedly the most worthy of remark in the literature of
France at the present time is the effect which the last revolution
appears to have produced. With the exception of history, to which both
Thiers (?)[B] and Mignet have added something that may live,
notwithstanding their very defective philosophy, no single work has
appeared since the revolution of 1830 which has obtained a substantial,
elevated, and generally acknowledged reputation for any author unknown
before that period--not even among all the unbridled ebullitions of
imagination, though restrained neither by decorum, principle, nor taste.
Not even here, except from one female pen, which might become, were it
the pleasure of the hand that wields it, the first now extant in the
world of fiction,” (of course, Georges Sand is alluded to,) “has
anything appeared likely to survive its author. Nor is there any writer,
who during the same period has raised himself to that station in society
by means of his literary productions, which is so universally accorded
to all who have acquired high literary celebrity in any country.

“The name of Guizot was too well known before the revolution for these
observations to have any reference to him.” (Cousin should not have been
forgotten.) “And however much he may have distinguished himself since
July, 1830, his reputation was made before. There are, however, little
writers in prodigious abundance.... Never, I believe, was there any
period in which the printing presses of France worked so hard as at
present. The revolution of 1830 seems to have set all the minor spirits
in motion. There is scarcely a boy so insignificant, or a workman so
unlearned, as to doubt his having the power and the right to instruct
the world.... To me, I confess, it is perfectly astonishing that any one
can be found to class the writers of this restless clique as ‘the
literary men of France.’... Do not, however, believe me guilty of such
presumption as to give you my own unsupported judgment as to the
position which this ‘new school,’ as the _décousu_ folks always call
themselves, hold in the public esteem. My opinion on this subject is the
result of careful inquiry among those who are most competent to give
information respecting it. When the names of such as are best known
among this class of authors are mentioned in society, let the politics
of the circle be what they may, they are constantly spoken of as a
pariah caste that must be kept apart.

“‘Do you know ----?’ has been a question I have repeatedly asked
respecting a person whose name is cited in England as the most esteemed
French writer of the age--and so cited, moreover, to prove the low
standard of French taste and principle.

“‘No, madame,’ has been invariably the cold answer.

“‘Or----?’

“‘No; he is not in society.’

“‘Or----?’

“‘Oh, no! His works live an hour--too long--and are forgotten.’”

Now, are the writers of French literature of the present day, whose
names will at once present themselves to every reader’s mind, to be
deemed superior to those of Louis Philippe, who “lent their voices to
the cause of treason, regicide, rebellion, or obscenity,” and were
unrestrained by either “decorum, principle, or taste”? For it is most
assuredly no longer true that the writers in question are held to be a
“pariah caste,” or that they are not known and sought by “society.” The
_facilis decensus_ progress of the half century that has elapsed since
the cited passages were written, is certainly remarkable.

There is one name, however, which cannot be simply classed as one of the
_décousus_. Victor Hugo had already at that day made an European
reputation. But the following passage about him from my mother’s book on
_Paris and the Parisians_ is so curious, and to the present generation
must appear so, one may almost say, monstrous, that it is well worth
while to reproduce it.

“I have before stated,” she writes, “that I have uniformly heard the
whole of the _décousu_ school of authors spoken of with unmitigated
contempt, and that not only by the venerable advocates for the _bon
vieux temps_, but also, and equally, by the distinguished men of the
present day--distinguished both by position and ability. Respecting
Victor Hugo, the only one of the tribe to which I allude who has been
sufficiently read in England to justify his being classed by us as a
person of general celebrity, the feeling is more remarkable still. I
have never mentioned him or his works to any person of good moral
feeling or cultivated mind who did not appear to shrink from according
him even the degree of reputation that those who are received as
authority among our own cities have been disposed to allow him. _I might
say that of him France seems to be ashamed._” (My italics.) “‘Permit me
to assure you,’ said one gentleman gravely and earnestly, ‘that no idea
was ever more entirely and altogether erroneous than that of supposing
that Victor Hugo and his productions can be looked on as a sort of type
or specimen of the literature of France at the present hour. He is the
head of a sect, the high priest of a congregation who have abolished
every law, moral and intellectual, by which the efforts of the human
mind have hitherto been regulated. He has attained this pre-eminence,
and I trust that no other will arise to dispute it with him. But Victor
Hugo is NOT a popular French author.’”

My recollections of all that I heard in Paris, and my knowledge of the
circles (more than one) in which my mother used to live, enable me to
testify to the absolute truth of the above representation of the
prevalent Parisian feeling at that day respecting Victor Hugo. Yet he
had then published his _Lyrics_, _Notre Dame de Paris_, and the most
notable of his dramas; and I think no such wonderful change of national
opinion and sentiment as the change from the above estimate to that now
universally recognised in France, can be met with in the records of
European literary history. Is it not passing strange that whole regions
of Paris should have been but the other day turned, so to speak, into a
vast mausoleum to this same “pariah,” and that I myself should have
seen, as I did, the Pantheon not yet cleared from the wreck of garlands
and inscriptions and scaffoldings for spectators, all of which had been
prepared to do honour to his obsequies?

But it must be observed that the violent repulsion and reprobation with
which he was in those days regarded by all his countrymen, save the
extreme and restless spirits of the Republican party, cannot fairly be
taken as the result and outcome of genuine literary criticism. All
literary judgments in France were then subordinated to political party
feeling, and that was intensified by the most fatal of all
disqualifications for the formation of sound and equable estimates--by
fear. All those well-to-do detesters of Victor Hugo and all his works,
the “_Quoique_ Bourbons” as well as the “_Parceque_ Bourbons,” the
prosperous supporters of the new _régime_ as well as the regretful
adherents of the old, lived in perpetual fear of the men whose corypheus
and hierophant was Victor Hugo, and felt, not without reason, that the
admittedly ricketty throne of the citizen king and those sleek and
paunchy National Guardsmen alone stood between them and the loss of all
they held dearest in the world. Nevertheless, the contrast between the
judgments and the feeling of 1835 and those of fifty years later is
sufficiently remarkable.

Much has been said, especially in England, of the great writer’s
historical inaccuracy in treating of English matters. But an anecdote
which my mother gives in her book is worth reproducing for the sake of
the evidence it gives that in truth Victor Hugo was equally ignorantly
and carelessly inaccurate when speaking of home matters, on which, at
least, it might have been thought that he would have been better
informed.

“An able lawyer, and most accomplished gentleman and scholar, who holds
a distinguished station in the _cour royale_” (in all probability
Berryer), “took us to see the Palais de Justice. Having shown us the
chamber where criminal trials are carried on, he observed that this was
the room described by Victor Hugo in his romance, adding, ‘He was,
however, mistaken here, as in most places where he affects a knowledge
of the times of which he writes. In the reign of Louis XI. no criminal
trials ever took place within the walls of this building, and all the
ceremonies as described by him resemble much more a trial of yesterday
than of the age at which he dates his tale.’”

Georges Sand, certainly upon the whole the most remarkable literary
figure in the French world at the time of my visit to Paris, _vidi
tantum_. That I had an opportunity of doing on various occasions. She
was a person on whom, quite apart from her literary celebrity, the eye
of any observer would have dwelt with some speculative curiosity. She
was hardly to be called handsome, or even pretty, but was still
decidedly attractive. The large eyes _à fleur de tête_, and the mobile
and remarkably expressive mouth rendered the face both attractive and
stimulative of interest. The features were unmistakably refined in
character and expression, and the mouth--the most trustworthy
evidence-giving feature upon that point--was decidedly that of a
high-bred woman.

She was at that period of her varied career acting as well as writing in
a manner which attracted the attention of Louis Philippe’s very vigilant
and abnormally suspicious police. She had recently left Paris for an
excursion in the _tête-à-tête_ company of the well known Abbé de
Lamenais, who was at that time giving much trouble and disquietude to
the official guardians of the altar and the throne. His comings and
goings were the object of vigilant supervision on the part of the police
authorities; and it so happened by a strange chance that the report of
the official observers of this little excursion, which reached the
official head-quarters, reached me also. And all the watchers had to
tell was that the abbé and the lady his companion shared the same
bedchamber at the end of their first day’s journey. Now the Abbé de
Lamenais was an old, little, wizened, dried-up, dirty--very
dirty--priest. It is possible, but I have reason to think highly
improbable, that economy was the motive of this strange chamber
comradeship. But I was then, and am still, very strongly convinced that
the sole purpose of it was to outrage the lady’s (and the priest’s)
censors, to act differently from everybody else, and to give evidence
of superiority to conventionality and “prejudice.”

I wrote very carefully and conscientiously some few years subsequently a
long article on Georges Sand in the _Foreign Quarterly_ which attracted
some attention at the time. I should write in many respects differently
now. The lady in subsequent years put a considerable quantity of “water
into her wine”--and though not altogether in the same sense,--I have
done so too.

To both Guizot and Thiers I had the honour of being introduced. If I
were to say that neither of them seemed to me to have entirely the
manners and bearing of a gentleman, I should probably be thought to be
talking affected and offensive nonsense. And I do not mean to say so in
the ordinary English every-day use of the term. What I mean is that they
were both of them very far from possessing that grand seigneur manner,
which as I have said so markedly distinguished Chateaubriand, and many
another Frenchman whom I knew in those days; by no means all of them
belonging to the aristocratic caste, party, or class. Guizot looked for
all the world like a village schoolmaster, and seemed to me to have much
the manner of one. He stooped a good deal, and poked his head forwards.
I remember thinking that he was, in manner, more like an Englishman than
a Frenchman; and that it was a matter of curious speculation to me at
the time, whether this effect might have been produced by the fact that
he was a Protestant, and an earnest one, instead of being a Roman
Catholic. Possibly my impression of his schoolmaster-like deportment may
have been the result of his manner to me. I was but a boy, with no claim
at all to the honour of being noticed by him in any way. But I remember
being struck by the difference of the manner of Thiers in this respect.

All my prejudices and all that I knew of the two men disposed me to feel
far the higher respect for Guizot. And my opinion still is that I judged
rightly, whether in respect to character or intellectual capacity. Not
but that I thought and think that Thiers was the brighter and in the
ordinary sense of the term the cleverer man of the two. There was no
brightness about the _premier abord_ of Guizot, though doubtless a
longer and more intimate acquaintance than was granted to me would have
corrected this impression. But Thiers was, from the bow with which he
first received you to the latest word you heard from him, all
brightness. Of dignity he had nothing at all. If Guizot might have been
taken for a schoolmaster, Thiers might have been mistaken for a
stockbroker, say, a prosperous, busy, bustling, cheery stockbroker, or
any such man of business. And if Guizot gave one the impression of being
more English than French, his great rival was unmistakeably and
intensely French. I have no recollection of having much enjoyed my
interview with M. Guizot. But I was happy during more than one evening
spent in Thiers’s house in Paris.

Of Madame Récamier I should have said the few words I have to say about
the impression so celebrated a woman produced upon me, when I was
speaking of her salon in a previous page. But they may be just as well
said here. Of the beauty for which she was famed throughout Europe, of
course little remained, when I saw her in 1835. But the grace, which was
in a far greater degree unique, remained in its entirety. I think she
was the most gracefully moving woman I ever saw. The expression of her
face had become perhaps a little sad, but it was sweet, attractive, full
of the promise of all good things of heart and mind. If I were to say
that her management of her salon might be compared in the perfection of
its tactical success with that of a successful general on the field, it
might give the idea that management and discipline were visible, which
would be a very erroneous one. That the perfection of art lies in the
concealment of it, was never more admirably evidenced than in her
“administration” as a _reine de salon_. A close observer might perceive,
or perhaps rather divine only, that all was marshalled, ordered, and
designed. Yet all was, on the part at least of the guests, unconstrained
ease and enjoyment. That much native talent, much knowledge of men and
women, and exquisite tact must have been needed for this perfection in
the art of _tenir salon_ cannot be denied. Finally it may be said that a
great variety of _historiettes_, old and new, left me with the
unhesitating conviction that despite the unfailing tribute to an
_éclat_ such as hers, of malicious insinuations (all already ancient
history at the time of which I am writing), Madame Récamier was and had
always been a truly good and virtuous Christian woman.

Miss Clarke, also, as has been said an inmate of the Abbaye-aux-Bois,
and a close friend of her celebrated neighbour, I became intimate with.
She was an eccentric little lady, very plain, brimfull of talent, who
had achieved the wonderful triumph of living, in the midst of the
choicest society of Paris, her own life after her own fashion, which was
often in many respects a very different fashion from that of those
around her, without incurring any of the ridicule or anathemas with
which such society is wont to visit eccentricity. I remember a
good-naturedly recounted legend to the effect, that she used to have her
chemises, which were constructed after the manner of those worn by the
grandmothers of the present generation, marked with her name in full on
the front flap of them; and that this flap was often exhibited over the
bosom of her dress in front! She too was a _reine de salon_ after her
fashion--a somewhat different one from that of her elegant neighbour.
There was, at all events, a greater and more _piquant_ variety to be
found in it. All those to be found there were, however, worth seeing or
hearing for one reason or another. _Her_ method of ruling the
frequenters of her receptions might be described as simply shaking the
heterogeneous elements well together. But it answered so far as to make
an evening at her house unfailingly amusing and enjoyable. She was
very, and I think I may say, universally popular. She subsequently
married M. Mohl, the well-known Orientalist, whom I remember to have
always found, when calling upon him on various occasions, sitting in a
tiny cabinet so absolutely surrounded by books, built up into walls all
round him, as to suggest almost inevitably the idea of a mouse in a
cheese, eating out the hollow it lived in.

Referring to my mother’s book on _Paris and the Parisians_ for those
extracts from it which I have given in the preceding pages, I find the
following passage, the singular forecast of which, and its bearing on
the present state of things in France, tempts me to transcribe it.
Speaking in 1835, and quoting the words of a high political authority,
whom she had met “at the house of the beautiful Princess B----”
(Belgiojoso), she writes: “‘You know,’ he said, ‘how devoted all France
was to the Emperor, though the police was somewhat tight, and the
conscriptions heavy. But he had saved us from a Republic, and we adored
him. For a few days, or rather hours, we were threatened again five
years ago by the same terrible apparition. The result is that four
millions of armed men stand ready to protect the prince who chased it.
Were it to appear a third time, which Heaven forbid! you may depend upon
it, _that the monarch who should next ascend the throne of France might
play at “le jeu de quilles” with his subjects and no one be found to
complain_.’” (My italics.) On the margin of the page on which this is
printed, my mother has written in the copy of the book before me, “_Vu
et approuvé._ Dec. 10th, 1853. F. T.”

The mention of the Princess Belgiojoso in the above passage reminds me
of a memorable evening which I spent at her house, and of my witnessing
there a singular scene, which at the present day may be worth
recounting.

The amusement of the evening consisted in hearing Liszt and the princess
play on two pianos the whole of the score of Mozart’s _Don Giovanni_!
The treat was a delightful one; but I dare say that I should have
forgotten it but for the finale of the performance. No sooner was the
last note ended than the nervous musician swooned and slid from his
seat, while the charming princess, in whom apparently matter was less
under the dominion of mind, or at least of nerve, was as fresh as at the
beginning!

My month at Paris, with its poor thirty times twenty-four hours, was all
too short for half of what I strove to cram into it. And of course I
could please myself with an infinitude of recollections of things and
places, and occasions, and above all, persons, who doubtless contributed
more to the making of that month one of the pleasantest I have to look
back on, than any of the celebrities whom I had the good fortune to
meet. But it may be doubted whether any such rambling reminiscences
would be equally pleasing to my readers.

There is one anecdote, however, of a well remembered day, which I must
tell, before bringing the record of my first visit to Paris to a
conclusion.

A picnic party--rather a large one, and consisting of men and women of
various nationalities--had been organised for a visit to the famous and
historic woods of Montmorenci. We had a delightful day, and my memory is
still, after half a century, crowded with very vivid remembrances of the
places and persons, and things done and things said, which rendered it
such. But as for the places, have they not been described and
re-described in all the guide books that were ever written? And as for
the persons, alas! the tongues that chattered so fast and so pleasantly
are still for evermore, and the eyes that shone so brightly are dim, if
not, as in most instances, closed in their last sleep! But it is only
with an incident that formed the finale of our day there that I mean to
trouble the reader.

Thackeray, then an unknown young man, with whom I that day became
acquainted for the first time, was one of our party. Some half-dozen of
us--the boys of the party--thinking that a day at Montmorenci could not
be passed _selon les prescriptions_ without a cavalcade on the famous
donkeys, selected a number of them, and proceeded to urge the strongly
conservative animals probably into places, and certainly into paces, for
which their life-long training had in no wise prepared them. A variety
of struggles between man and beast ensued with divers vicissitudes of
victory, till at last Thackeray’s donkey, which certainly must have
been a plucky and vigorous beast, succeeded in tossing his rider clean
over his long ears, and as ill luck would have it, depositing him on a
heap of newly broken stones. The fall was really a severe one, and at
first it was feared that our picnic would have a truly tragic
conclusion. But it was soon ascertained that no serious mischief had
been done, beyond that, the mark of which the victim of the accident
bore on his face to his dying day.

I think that when I climbed to the _banquette_ of the Lille diligence to
leave Paris, on the morning of the 7th of June, 1835, it was the first
time that the prospect of a journey failed in any way to compensate me
for quitting what I was leaving behind.



CHAPTER XIV.


I left Paris a day or two before my father, mother, and sisters, though
bound for the same destination--Bruges. My object in doing so appears to
have been to get a sight of some of the towns of French Flanders by the
way. But I was not many days after them in reaching the Château d’Hondt,
outside the Porte St. Pierre at Bruges; and there I remained, with the
exception of sundry visits to Ostend, and two or three rambles among the
Flemish cities, till the 3rd of October.

One used to go from Bruges to Ostend in those days by “Torreborre’s”
barge, which was towed by a couple of horses. There was a lumbering but
very roomy diligence drawn by three horses abreast. But the barge,
though yet slower than the diligence, was the pleasanter mode of making
the journey. The cost of it, I well remember, was one franc ten
centimes, which included (in going by the morning barge, which started,
if I remember rightly, at six A.M.), as much bread and butter and really
excellent _café au lait_ as the traveller chose to consume--and I chose
in those days to consume a considerable quantity. What the journey cost
without any breakfast, I forget, if I ever knew. I fancy no such
contingency as any passenger declining his bread and butter and coffee
was contemplated, and that the charge was always the same whether you
took breakfast or not. It was not an unpleasant manner of travelling,
though specially adapted for the inmates of the Castle of Indolence. The
cabin was roomy and comfortably furnished, and infinitely superior to
the accommodation of any of the Dutch _trekschuyts_ of the present day.
One took one’s book with one. And a cigar on the well-seated cabin roof
was in excellent keeping with the lazy smoothness of the movement, and
the flat sleepy monotony of the banks.

And these visits to Ostend were very pleasant. Consul Fauche’s
hospitable door was always open to me, and there was usually sure to be
something pleasant going on within it--very generally excellent music. I
have already spoken of Mrs. Fauche’s charming voice. Any pleasant
English, who might be passing through, or spending the bathing season at
Ostend, were sure to be found at the Consul’s--especially if they
brought voices or any musical dispositions with them. But Mary Fauche
herself was in those days a sufficient attraction to make the whitest
stone evening of all that when no other visitor was found there. _Noctes
cœnæque Deûm!_

But those pleasant Ostend days were before the summer ended overshadowed
by a tragedy, which I will not omit to record, because the story of it
carries a valuable warning with it.

We had made acquaintance at Paris with a Mrs. Mackintosh and her
daughter, very charming Scotch people. Mrs. Mackintosh was a widow, and
Margaret was her only child. She was an extremely handsome girl,
nineteen years of age, and as magnificent a specimen of young womanhood
as can be conceived. “More than common tall,” she showed in her whole
person the development of a Juno, enhanced by the vigour, elasticity and
blooming health of a Diana. She and her mother came to Ostend for the
bathing season. Margaret was a great swimmer; and her delight was to
pass nearly the whole of those hot July days in the water. Twice, or
even thrice every day she would return to her favourite element. And
soon she began to complain of lassitude, and to lose her appetite and
the splendour of her complexion. Oh! it was the heat, which really only
the constant stimulus of her bath and swim could render tolerable. She
was warned that excess in bathing, especially in salt water, may
sometimes be as dangerous as any other excess, but the young naiad, who
had never in her life needed to pay heed to any medical word or warning,
would not believe, or would not heed. And before the September was over
we followed poor Margaret Mackintosh to the little Ostend cemetery,
killed by over bathing as decidedly as if she had held her head under
water!

This sad tragedy brought to a gloomy end a season which had been, if
not a very profitable, a very amusing one. There was a _ci-devant_ Don
Quixote sort of a looking man, a Count Melfort, whose young and buxom
wife boasted some strain of I forget what noble English blood, and who
used to give the Consul good dinners such as he particularly affected,
which his wife was neither asked nor cared to share, though the ladies
as well as the gentlemen were excellent good friends. There was a
wealthy Colonel Dickson who also used to give dinners, at one of which,
having been present, I remember the host fussing in and out of the room
during the quarter of an hour before dinner, till at last he rushed into
the drawing-room with his coat sleeves drawn up to his elbows, horror
and despair in his mien, as he cried, “Great heaven! the cook has cut
the fins off the turbot!” If any who partook of that mutilated fish
survive to this present year of grace (which, I fear, is hardly likely
to be the case) I am sure they will recall the scene which ensued on the
dreadful announcement. There was the very pretty and abnormally silly
little banker’s wife, who supplied my old friend, Captain Smithett, with
_billets doux_ and fun, and who used to adapt verses sent her by a still
sillier youthful adorer of her own to the purpose of expressing her own
devotion to quite other swains.

It was a queer and not very edifying society, exceedingly strange, and
somewhat bewildering to a lad fresh from Oxford who was making his first
acquaintance with Continental ways and manners. All the married couples
seemed to be continually dancing the figure of _chassée croisez_, and I,
who had no wife of my own, and was not yet old enough to know better,
thought it extremely amusing.

When October came, and I had not heard anything from Birmingham of the
appointment to a mastership in the school there, for which I had been
all this time waiting, I thought it was time to look up my Birmingham
friends and see how matters stood there. At Birmingham I found that the
governors of King Edward’s School were still shilly-shallying; but I
heard enough to convince me that no new master would be appointed till
the very fine new building which now ornaments the town, but was then in
course of construction, should be completed.

Having become convinced of this, in which it eventually turned out that
I was right, it only remained to me to return to Bruges, with the
assurance from Dr. Jeune and several of the governors that I and nobody
else should have the mastership when the appointment should be made. I
returned to Bruges, passing one day with the dear Grants at Harrow, and
an evening with my brother Anthony in London by the way, and reached the
Château d’Hondt on the 15th of October, to find my father very much
worse than I had left him. He was in bed, and was attended by the Dr.
Herbout of whom I have before spoken. But he was too evidently drawing
towards his end; and after much suffering breathed his last in the
afternoon of the 23rd of October, 1835. On the 25th I followed his body
to his grave, close to that of my brother Henry, in the cemetery outside
the Catherine Gate of the town.

The duty was a very specially sad one. When I followed my mother to the
grave at Florence many years afterwards my thoughts were far from being
as painfully sad, though she was, I fear, the better loved parent of the
two. She died in a ripe old age after a singularly happy, though not
untroubled, life, during many years of which it was permissible to me to
believe that I had had no small share in ministering to her happiness.
It was otherwise in the case of my father. He was, and had been, I take
it, for many years a very unhappy man. All had gone wrong with him;
misfortunes fell on him, one on the back of the other. Yet I do not
think that these misfortunes were the real and efficient causes of his
unhappiness. I do not see what concatenation of circumstances could have
made him happy. He was in many respects a singular man. Ill-health and
physical suffering, of course, are great causes of an unhappy life; but
all suffering invalids are not unhappy. My father’s mind was, I think,
to a singular degree under the dominion of his body. The terrible
irritability of his temper, which sometimes in his latter years reached
a pitch that made one fear his reason was, or would become, unhinged,
was undoubtedly due to the shattering of his nervous system, caused by
the habitual use of calomel. But it is difficult for one who has never
had a similar experience to conceive the degree in which this
irritability made the misery of all who were called upon habitually to
come into contact with it. I do not think that it would be an
exaggeration to say that for many years no person came into my father’s
presence who did not forthwith desire to escape from it. Of course, this
desire was not yielded to by those of his own household, but they were
none the less conscious of it. Happiness, mirth, contentment, pleasant
conversation, seemed to fly before him as if a malevolent spirit
emanated from him. And all the time no human being was more innocent of
all malevolence towards his fellow creatures; and he was a man who would
fain have been loved, and who knew that he was not loved, but knew
neither how to manifest his desire for affection nor how to conciliate
it.

I am the more convinced that bodily ailment was the _causa causans_ of
most, if not of all, of this unhappy idiosyncrasy, that I have before me
abundant evidence that as a young man he was beloved and esteemed by his
cotemporaries and associates. I have many letters from college friends,
fellows of New College, his cotemporaries, several of them thanking him
for kindnesses of a more or less important kind, and all written in a
spirit of high regard and esteem.

What so grievously changed him? I do not believe that he was soured by
pecuniary misfortune, though he had more than enough. His first great
misfortune--the marriage of his old widower uncle, whose heir he was to
have been--was, I have the means of knowing, borne by him well, bravely
and with dignity. I believe that he was destroyed mind and body by
calomel, habitually used during long years.

Throughout life he was a laborious and industrious man. I have seen few
things of the kind with more of pathos in it than his persevering
attempt to render his labour of some value by compiling a dictionary of
ecclesiastical terms. He had quite sufficient learning and sufficient
industry to have produced an useful book upon the subject if he had only
had the possibility of consulting the, of course, almost innumerable
necessary authorities. The book was published in quarto by subscription,
and two or three parts of it had been delivered to the subscribers when
death delivered him from his thankless labour and his subscribers from
further demands on their purses. I do not suppose that any human being
purchased the book because they wished to possess it. And truly, as I
have said, it was a pathetic thing to see him in his room at Château
d’Hondt, ill, suffering, striving with the absolutely miserable,
ridiculously insufficient means he had been able with much difficulty to
collect, to carry on his work. He was dying--he must, I think, have
known that he was; he had not got beyond D in his dictionary; all the
alphabet was before him, but he would not give up; he would labour to
the last. My mother was labouring hard, and her labour was earning all
that supplied very abundantly the needs of the whole family. And I
cannot help thinking that a painful but not ignoble feeling urged my
poor father to live at least equally laborious days, even though his
labour was profitless.

Poor father! My thoughts as I followed him to the grave were that I had
not done all that I might have done to alleviate the burthen of
unhappiness that was laid upon him. Yet looking back on it all from the
vantage-ground of my own old age (some fifteen years greater than that
which he attained) I do not see or think that any conduct of mine would
have made matters better for him.

My father’s death naturally made an important change in my mother’s
plans for the future. The Château d’Hondt was given up, adieus were
said, not without many _au revoirs_, to many kind friends at Bruges, and
more especially at Ostend, and we left Belgium for England. After some
time spent in house-hunting, my mother hired a pleasant house with a
good garden on the common at Hadley, near Barnet, and there I remained
with her, still awaiting my Birmingham preferment, all that winter and
the following spring. The earlier part of the time was saddened by the
rapid decline and death of my younger sister, Emily. We knew before
leaving Bruges that there was but a slender hope of saving her from the
same malady which had been fatal to my brother Henry. But the medical
men hoped or professed to hope, that much might be expected from her
return to her native air. But the mark of the cruel disease was upon
her, and very rapidly after our establishment at Hadley she sank and
painlessly breathed her last.

Poor little Emily! She was a very bright _espiègle_ child, full of fun
and high spirits. There is a picture of her exactly as I remember her.
She is represented with flowing flaxen curls and wide china-blue eyes,
sitting with a brown holland pinafore on before a writing-desk and
blowing a prismatically-coloured soap-bubble. The writing copy on the
desk lying above the half-covered and neglected page of copy-book bears
the legend “Study with determined zeal!”

Her youngest child had ever been to my mother as the apple of her eye,
and her loss was for the passing day a crushing blow. But, as usual with
her, her mind refused to remain crushed, any more than the grass is
permanently crushed by the storm wind that blows over it. She had the
innate faculty and tendency to throw sorrow off when the cause of it had
passed. She owed herself to the living, and refused to allow unavailing
regret for those who had been taken from her to incapacitate her for
paying that debt to the utmost.

And once again, as was usual with her, her new home became a centre of
social enjoyment and attraction for all, especially the young, who were
admitted to it. I do not remember that with the exception of the family
of the rector, Mr. Thackeray, we had many acquaintances at Hadley. I
remember a bit of fun, long current among us, which was furnished by the
reception my mother met with when returning the call of the wife of a
wealthy distiller resident in the neighbourhood. The lady was of
abnormal bulk, and when my mother entered the room in which she was
sitting, she said, “Excuse me, ma’am, if I keep my chair, I never
_raise_. But I am glad to see you--glad to see anybody,” with much
emphasis on the last word. I wish every caller was received with as
truthful an expression of sentiments.

Our society consisted mainly of friends staying in the house, or of
flying visitors from London. As usual, too, my mother soon gathered
around her a knot of nice girls, who made the house bright. For herself
she seemed always ready to take part in all the fun and amusement that
was going; and was the first to plan dances, and charades, and picnics,
and theatricals on a small and unpretending scale. But five o’clock of
every morning saw her at her desk; and the production of the series of
novels, which was not brought to a conclusion till it had reached the
hundred and fifteenth volume, though it was not begun till she was past
fifty, never ceased.

The Christmas was, I remember, a very merry one. We were seeing a good
deal of a young fellow-clerk of my brother’s in the secretary’s office
at the Post Office, who was then beginning to fall in love with my
sister Cecilia, whom he married not long afterwards. He was then at the
beginning of a long official life, from which he retired some years ago
as Sir John Tilley, K.C.B. Among others of our little circle, I
especially remember Joseph Henry Green, the celebrated surgeon,
Coleridge’s literary executor, who first became known to us through his
brother-in-law, Mr. Hammond, who was in practice at Hadley. Green was an
immensely tall man, with a face of no beauty, but as brightly alive with
humour as any I ever saw. He was a delightful companion in a walk; and I
remember to the present hour much of the curious and out-of-the-way
information I picked up from him, mainly on subjects more or less
connected with his profession--for he, as well as I, utterly scouted the
stupid sink-the-shop rule of conversation. I remember especially his
saying of Coleridge, _à propos_ of a passage in his biography which
speaks of the singular habit (noticed by his amanuensis) that he had of
occupying his mind with the coming passage, which he was about to
dictate, while uttering that with which the writer was busy, that he
(Green) had frequently observed the same peculiarity in his
conversation.

Some few of our guests came to us from beyond the Channel, among them,
charming Mrs. Fauche, with her lovely voice and equally lovely face,
whose Ostend hospitalities my mother was glad to have an opportunity of
returning.

Among these visitors from the other side of the Channel, I remember one
elderly lady of the Roman Catholic faith, and a strict observer of its
precepts, who was pleased to express a very strong approbation of a
certain oyster soup, which made its appearance one day at my mother’s
table. She was charmed at the idea of being able to eat such soup for a
_maigre_ dinner, and begged that the receipt might be written out for
her. “Oyster soup! Just the thing for a Friday!” So the mode of
preparing the desired dainty was duly written out for her. But her face
was a study for a physiognomist when she read the first line of it, to
the effect that she was to “Take of _prime beef_” so much. Oyster soup,
indeed!

It was a pleasant time--so pleasant that I am afraid that I did not
regret perhaps so much as I ought to have done the continued delay of
the Birmingham appointment for which I was all this time waiting. But
pleasant as it was, its pleasantness was not sufficient wholly to
restrain me from indulging in that propensity for rambling which has
been with me the ruling passion of a long life-time.

It was in the spring following that merry Christmas that I found time
for a little tour of about three weeks in Normandy. The reader need not
fear that I am going to tell him anything of all I did and all I saw,
though every detail of it seemed to me at the time worthy of minute
record. But it has all been written and printed some scores of times
since those days--by myself once among the rest--and may now be
dismissed with a “See guide-books _passim_.” The expenses of my travel
accurately recorded I have also before me. There indeed I might furnish
some facts which would be new and surprising to tourists of the present
day, but they would only serve to make him discontented with his
generation.

There is one anecdote, however, connected with this little journey,
which I must relate. I was returning from southern Normandy and reached
Caen without a penny in my pocket. My funds, carefully husbanded as they
had been, had sufficed to carry me so far and no further. There were no
such things as telegrams or railways in those days; and I had nothing
for it but to go to an hotel and there remain till my application to
Hadley for funds could be answered--an affair of some ten or twelve days
as things then were. While I was waiting and kicking my heels about the
old Norman city, from which I had already extracted all the interest it
could afford me, I lounged into the shop of a bookseller, M. Mancel. I
revisited him on a subsequent occasion, and find the record of this
second visit in the first of two volumes which I wrote, and entitled _A
Summer in Brittany_. There I find that M. Mancel is “the publisher of
numerous works on the history and antiquities of Normandy.... M. Mancel
has also an extensive collection of old books on Norman history; but the
rarest and most curious articles are congregated into a most
bibliomaniacal looking cabinet, and are _not_ for sale.”

Well, this was the gentleman into whose very tempting shop I strayed
with empty pockets. He was extremely civil, showed me many interesting
things, and finding that I was not altogether an ignoramus as regarded
his specialty, observed ever and anon “That is a book which you ought to
have!” “That is a work which you will find very useful!” till at last I
said “Very true! There are two or three books here that I should like to
have; but I have no money!” He instantly begged me to take any book or
books I should like to buy, and pay for them when I got to London.
“But,” rejoined I, “I don’t know when I shall get to London, for I have
no money at all. I reached Caen with my purse empty, and am stranded
here!” M. Mancel thereupon eagerly begged me to let him be my banker for
my immediate needs, as well as for the price of any volumes I chose to
purchase. And though he had never seen my face or heard my name before,
he absolutely did furnish me with money to reach home, and gave me
credit for some two or three pounds’ worth of books, it being arranged
that I should on reaching London pay the amount to M. Dulau in Soho
Square.

A few years ago on passing through Caen I went to the old book shop; but
M. Mancel had long since gone to join the majority, and his place knew
him no more. His successor, however, on my explaining to him the motive
of my visit, remarked with a truly French bow, “My predecessor seems to
have been a good physiognomist, monsieur!”

I returned to Hadley to find my mother eagerly occupied with the scheme
of a journey to Vienna, and a book as the result of it. She had had,
after the publication of her book on _Paris and the Parisians_, some
idea of undertaking an Italian tour, but that was now abandoned in
favour of a German journey, whether on the suggestion of her publisher,
or from any other cause of preference, I do not know. Of course I
entered into such a scheme heart and soul. My only fear now was that
news of my appointment to a mastership at Birmingham might arrive in
time to destroy my hopes of accompanying my mother. But no such tidings
came; on the contrary, there seemed every reason to suppose that no new
master would be appointed till after the following Christmas holidays.
My mother was as anxious as I was that I should be free to act as her
courier, for in truth she could hardly dispense with some such
assistance; and I alone remained who could give it to her. My sister
Cecilia was to accompany my mother. She wished also to take with her M.
Hervieu, the artist who illustrated her former books; and I obtained her
permission to ask an Oxford friend to make one of the party. We were
thus a party of five, without counting my mother’s maid, an old and
trusted servant, the taking of whom, however, she subsequently
considered so great a mistake that she never fell into it on any other
occasion.

My delight at the prospect of such a journey was intense. I surrounded
myself forthwith with an amazing supply of maps and guide-books, and was
busy from morning to night with the thoroughly congenial task of
studying and preparing our proposed route.



CHAPTER XV.


That I started on this occasion even more than on any other with the
greatest delight “goes without saying.” A longer and more varied journey
than I had ever before enjoyed was before me. All was new, even more
entirely new to the imagination than Paris; and my interest, curiosity,
and eagerness were great in proportion. We travelled by way of Metz,
Strasbourg, and Stuttgardt, and, after reaching the German frontier, by
_Lohnkutscher_ or _vetturino_--incredibly slow, but of all modes of
travelling save the _haquenée des Cordeliers_ the best for giving the
traveller some acquaintance with the country traversed and its
inhabitants.

A part of the journey was performed in a yet slower fashion, and one
which was still richer in its opportunities for seeing both men and
things. For we descended the Danube on one of those barges which ply on
the river, used mainly for cargo, but also occasionally for passengers.
When I look back upon that part of our expedition I feel some
astonishment at not only the hardihood of my mother and sister in
consenting to such an enterprise, but more still at my own--it really
seems to my present notions--almost reckless audacity in counselling and
undertaking to protect them in such a scheme.

Whether any such boats still continue to navigate the Danube, I do not
know. I should think that quicker and better modes of transporting both
human beings and goods have long since driven them from their many time
secular occupation. In any case it is hardly likely that any English
travellers will ever again have such an experience. The _Lohnkutscher_
with his thirty or forty miles a day, and his easy-going
lotus-eating-like habitudes is hardly like to tempt the traveller who is
wont to grumble at the tediousness of an express train. But a voyage on
a Danube carrier barge would be relegated to the category of those
things which might be done, “could a man be secure, that his life should
endure As of old, for a thousand long years,” but which are quite out of
the question in any other circumstances.

Here is the account which my mother gives of the boat on which we were
about to embark at Ratisbon for the voyage down the river to Vienna.

“We start to-morrow, and I can hardly tell you whether I dread it or
wish for it most. We have been down to the river’s bank to see the boat,
and it certainly does not look very promising of comfort. But there is
nothing better to be had. It is a large structure of unpainted deal
boards, almost the whole of which is occupied by a sort of ark-like
cabin erected in the middle. This is very nearly filled by boxes, casks,
and bales; the small portion not so occupied being provided with planks
for benches, and a species of rough dresser placed between them for a
table. This we are given to understand is fitted up for the express
accommodation of the cabin passengers.”

In point of fact, we had, as I remember, no fellow passengers in any
part of our voyage. I take it that nobody, save perhaps the peasants of
the villages on the banks of the stream, for short passages from one of
them to the other, ever thought of travelling by these barges even in
those days. They were in fact merely transports for merchandise of the
heavier and rougher sort. The extreme rudeness of their construction,
merely rough planks roughly nailed together, is explained by the fact
that they are not intended ever to make the return voyage against the
stream, but on arriving at Vienna are knocked to pieces and sold for
boarding.

“But the worst thing I saw,” continues my mother, “is the ladder which,
in case of rain, is to take us down to this place of little ease. It
consists of a plank with sticks nailed across it to sustain the toes of
the crawler who would wish to avoid jumping down seven or eight feet.
The sloping roof of the ark is furnished with one bench of about six
feet long, from which the legs of the brave souls who sit on it dangle
down over the river. There is not the slightest protection whatever at
the edge of this abruptly sloping roof, which forms the only deck; and
nothing but the rough unslippery surface of the deal planks, of which it
is formed, with the occasional aid of a bit of stick about three inches
long nailed here and there, can prevent those who stand or walk upon it
from gently sliding down into the stream.... Well! we have _determined_,
one and all of us, to navigate the Danube between Ratisbon and Vienna;
and I will neither disappoint myself nor my party from the fear of a fit
of vertigo, or a scramble down a ladder.”

But if the courage of the ladies did not fail them, mine, as that of the
person most responsible for the adventure, did! And I find that, on the
day following that on which the last extract was written, my mother
writes:

“At a very early hour this morning T. [Tom] was up and on board, and
perceiving by a final examination of the deck, its one giddy little
bench, and all things appertaining thereto, that we should inevitably be
extremely uncomfortable there, he set about considering the ways and
means by which such martyrdom might be avoided. He at last got hold of
the _Schiffmeister_, which he had found impossible yesterday, and by a
little persuasion and a little bribery, induced him to have a plank
fixed for us at the extreme bow of the boat, which we can not only reach
without difficulty, but have a space of some nine or ten feet square for
our sole use, on condition of leaving it free for the captain about five
minutes before each landing. This perch is perfectly delightful in all
respects. Our fruit, cold meat, wine, bread, and so forth are stowed
near us. Desks and drawing books can all find place; and in short, if
the sun will but continue to shine as it does now, all will be well....
Our crew are a very motley set, and as we look at them from our
dignified retirement, they seem likely to afford us a variety of very
picturesque groups. On the platforms, which project at each end of the
ark, stand the men--and the women too--who work the vessel. This is
performed by means of four immense oars protruding lengthwise [_i.e._ in
a fore and aft direction], two in front and two towards the stern, by
which the boat is steered. Besides these, there are two others to row
with. These latter are always in action, and are each worked by six or
eight men and women, the others being only used occasionally, when the
boat requires steering. It appears that there are many passengers who
work for their passage [but this I take to have been inference only], as
the seats at the oars are frequently changed, and as soon as their
allotted task is done, they dip down into the unknown region beyond the
ark and are no more seen till their turn for rowing comes round again. I
presume the labour, thus divided, is not very severe, for they appear to
work with much gaiety and good humour, sometimes singing, sometimes
chatting, and often bursting into shouts of light-hearted laughter.”

It was a strange voyage; curious, novel, and full of never-failing
interest; luxurious even in its way, in many respects; which may now be
considered an old world experience; which probably has never been tried
since, and certainly will never be tried again, however many wandering
young Englishmen (of whom there are a hundred now for every one to be
met with in those days) might fancy trying it. No danger whatever of the
kind which my mother appears to have anticipated threatened any of the
party. But the adventure was not without danger of another kind, as the
sequel showed.

Of course all the people with whom we were brought into contact--the
captain and crew of the boat, the riverside loungers at the
landing-places, the hosts and households of the little inns in the small
places at which the boat stopped every night (it never travelled save by
daylight)--were all mystified, and had all their ideas of the
proprieties and the eternal fitness of things outraged by the phenomenon
of a party of English ladies and gentlemen--supposed by virtue of
ancient and well recognised reputation to be all as rich as Crœsus, and
who were at all events manifestly able to pay for a carriage--choosing
such a method of travelling. Nor had English wanderers at that time
earned the privilege since accorded to their numerousness, of doing all
sorts of strange things unquestioned on the score of the well-known
prevalent insanity of the race. _All_ who came within sight of us were
utterly puzzled at the unaccountableness of the phenomenon. And one does
not mystify the whole of a somewhat rude population without risking
disagreeables of various sorts.

On looking back on the circumstances from my present lofty and calm
observatory, I am disposed to wonder that nothing worse betided us than
the one adventure of which I am about to speak. But, as I remember, the
people generally were, if somewhat ruder and rougher than an English
population of similar status, upon the whole very kindly and
good-natured.

But at one place--a village called Pleintling--we did get into trouble,
which very nearly ended tragically. The terms upon which we were to be
housed for the night, and the price to be paid for our accommodation of
all sorts had been settled overnight, and the consciousness that we were
giving unusual trouble induced us to pay without grumbling such a price
for our beds and supper and breakfast as the host had assuredly never
received for his food and lodging in all his previous experience. But it
was doubtless this very absence of bargaining which led our landlord to
imagine that he had made a mistake in not demanding far more, and that
any amount might be had for asking it from so mysterious a party who
parted, too, so easily with their money. So as we were stepping on board
the next morning he came down to the water’s edge, and with loud
vociferation demanded a sum more than the double of that which we had
already paid him. The ladies, and indeed all the party save myself, who
was the paymaster, had already gone on board, and I was about to
follow, unheeding his demands and his threats, when he seized me by the
throat, and dragging me backwards, declared in stentorian tones that he
had not been paid. I sturdily refused to disburse another kreutzer. The
other men, who had gone on board, jumped back to my assistance. But
suddenly, as if they had risen from the earth, several other fellows
surrounded us and dragged down my friends. The old landlord, beside
himself with rage, lifted an axe which he had in his hand, and was about
to deal me a blow which would probably have relieved the reading world
of this and many another page! But my mother, shrieking with alarm, had
meantime besought the captain of the boat to settle the matter by paying
whatever was demanded. He also jumped on shore just in time, and
released us from our foes, and himself from further delay, by doing so.

At the next place at which we could go on shore we made a complaint to
the police officials; and it is not without satisfaction even after the
lapse of half a century that I am able to say that a communication from
the police in an Austrian town some days subsequently, and after we had
crossed the Bavarian frontier, informed us that the old scoundrel at
Pleintling had not only been made to disgorge the sum he had robbed us
of, but had been trounced as he deserved. I suspect that he had imagined
from the strangeness of our party, and our mode of travelling, that
there were reasons why we should not be inclined to seek any interview
with the officers of the police.

With that sole exception our voyage from Ratisbon to Vienna was a
prosperous, and on the whole, pleasant one, varied only by not
unfrequently recurring difficulties occasioned by shoals and sandbanks,
when all hands, save the non-working party in the bow, would take to the
water in a truly amphibious fashion to drag the boat off.

But I must not be led by these moving accidents by flood and field to
forget a visit paid to the sculptor Dannecker in his studio at
Stuttgardt. There is in my mother’s book an etching by M. Hervieu of the
man and place. I remember well the affectionate reverence with which he
uncovered for us his colossal bust of Schiller, as described by my
mother, and the reasons which he assigned (mistaken as they appeared to
me, but it is presumptuous in me to say so) for making it colossal.
Schiller had been his life-long friend, and these reasons, whether
artistically good or not, were at all events morally admirable and
pathetically touching as given by the old man, while looking up at his
work with tears in his octogenarian eyes. I do not think the
reproduction of the bust in M. Hervieu’s etching is a very happy one,
but I can testify to the full-length portrait of the aged sculptor being
a thoroughly life-like one. It is the old man himself. He died a year or
two after the date of our visit.

Uhland too we visited, and Gustav Schwab. Of the former I may say
literally _vidi tantum_, for I could speak then no German, and very few
words now, and Uhland could speak no other language. And our interview
is worth recording mainly for the case of the noticeable fact that such
a man, holding the position he did and does in the literature of his
country, should at that day have been unable to converse in French.

Gustav Schwab, though talking French fluently, and, as I remember, a
little English also, impressed me as quintessentially German in manner,
in appearance, and ways of thinking. He was one of the kindliest of men,
contented with you only on condition of being permitted to be of service
to you, and at the end of half an hour making you somehow or other feel
as if he must have been an old friend, if not in your present, at least
in some former state of existence.

My journey among these southern Germans left me with the impression that
they are generally a kindly and good-natured people. A little incident
occurred at Tübingen which I thought notably illustrated this. The
university library there is a very fine one; and while the rest of our
party were busied with some other sight-seeing, I went thither and
applied to the librarian for some information respecting the departments
in which it was strong, its rules, &c. He immediately set about
complying with my wishes in the most obliging manner, going through the
magnificent suite of rooms with me himself, and pausing before the
shelves wherever he had any special treasure to show. All of a sudden,
without any warning, just as we were passing through the marble jambs of
a doorway from one room to another, my head began to swim; I lost
consciousness, and fell, cutting my head against the marble sufficiently
to cause much bloodshed. When I recovered my senses I found the
librarian standing in consternation over me, and his pretty young wife
on her knees with a basin of water bathing my head. She had been
summoned from her dwelling to attend me, and there was no end to their
kindness. I never experienced such a queer attack before or since. I
suppose it must have been occasioned by too much erudition on an empty
stomach!

Our route to Vienna was a very devious one, including southern Bavaria,
Salzburg, and great part of the Tyrol. But I must not indulge in any
journalising reminiscences of it. Were I to do so in the case of all the
interesting journeys I have made since that day how many volumes would
suffice for the purpose! When calling the other day, only two or three
months ago, on Cardinal Massaia at the Propaganda in Rome in order to
have some conversation with him respecting his thirty-five years’
missionary work in Africa, on returning from which he received the
purple from Leo XIII., he obligingly showed me the MS. which he had
prepared from his recollection of the contents of the original notes,
unfortunately destroyed during his imprisonment by hostile tribes in
Africa, and which is now being printed at the Propaganda Press in ten
volumes quarto. His Eminence was desirous that it should be translated
into English, and published in London with the interesting illustrations
he brought home with him, and which adorn the Roman edition. But as the
wish of his Eminence was that it should be published unabridged (!) I
was obliged to tell him that I feared he would not find a London
publisher. We parted very good friends, and on taking my leave of him he
said, pressing my hand kindly, that we should shortly meet again in
heaven--which, considering that he knew he was talking to a heretic, I
felt to be a manifestation of liberal feeling worthy of note in a
cardinal of the Church of Rome.

Will the kind reader, bearing in mind the recognised and almost
privileged garrulity of old age, pardon the chronology-defying
introduction of this anecdote here, which was suggested to me solely by
the vision of what _my_ reminiscences would extend to if I were to treat
of all my wanderings up and down this globe _in extenso_?

The latter part of our voyage was especially interesting and beautiful,
but tantalising from the impossibility of landing on every lovely spot
which enticed us. Nevertheless, we at last found ourselves at Vienna
with much delight, and our first glimpses of the city disposed us to
acquiesce heartily in the burthen of the favourite Viennese folk-song,
“_Es ist nur ein Kaiserstadt, es ist nur ein Wien_!”

I remember well an incident which my mother does not mention, but which
seemed likely to make our first _début_ in the Kaiserstadt an
embarrassing one. There was in some hand-bag belonging to some one of
the party an old forgotten pack of playing cards, which the examining
officer of the customs pounced on with an expression of almost
consternation on his face.

“Oh, well, throw them away,” said the spokesman of our party airily,
“or, if the regulations require it, we will pay the duty, though we have
not the least desire to retain possession of them.”

But this we soon found did not meet the case by any means. We had been
guilty of a serious misdemeanour and offence against the law by having
such things (undeclared too) amongst our baggage! There must be a
report, and a written petition, setting forth with due contrition, and
humble _peccavi_ admissions, our lamentable ignorance, and perhaps the
enormity might be condoned to a foreigner! After a little talk, however,
and the incense of a little consternation on our faces, duly offered to
the official Jove (who entirely spurned any offering of another sort),
the said Jove wrote the petition for us himself, carried it somewhere
behind the scenes, and shortly announced that it was benignly granted:
as I believe, by himself! The accursed thing was ceremoniously destroyed
before our eyes, and we were free to walk forth into the streets of the
Kaiserstadt.

I revisited Vienna two or three years ago, and found that “_ein Wien_”
had become at least three! If the increase and changes of London and
Paris have made my early recollections of those cities emphatically
those of a former age, the changes at Vienna, though of course smaller
in absolute extent, have yet more entirely metamorphosed the character
of the place. The abolition of the wall, which used to shut in the
exclusive little city, and placed between it and the suburbs not only a
material barrier, but a gulf such as that which divided Dives from
Lazarus, has changed the social habitudes and even the moral
characteristics of the inhabitants.

In the days of my first visit, now just a little more than fifty years
ago, nobody who was anybody would have dreamed of living on the outside
of the sacred barrier of the wall, any more than a member of the
fashionable world of London would dream of living to the eastward of
Temple Bar. I think, indeed, that the former would have been more
utterly out of the question than the latter. I remember that even in the
case of foreigners like ourselves, it was deemed, in accordance with the
best advice we could procure on the subject, necessary, or at least
expedient, that we should find lodgings _in the city_, despite the
exceeding difficulty and the high price involved in procuring them. The
division of the society into classes, still more marked in Vienna than
probably in any other city of Europe, at that time almost amounted to a
division into castes; and in the case of the higher aristocracy to have
lived in any one of the suburbs would assuredly have involved a loss of
social caste.

Mainly this arose of course from the inappellable law of fashion that so
it should be. But in part also it probably arose from the little social
inconveniences arising from mere distance. The society of Vienna at that
day--society _par excellence_--was a very small one. Everybody knew
everybody, not only their pedigree and all their quarterings (very
necessary to be known), but the men and women themselves personally. I
forget entirely what were the introductions which placed my mother and
her party at once in the very core of this small and exclusive society.
But we did find ourselves so placed, and that at once. Probably the
general notion in England was then, and may be still, that the
aristocratic society of Vienna would be less likely to open its doors to
one who had no title whatever to enter them save a literary reputation,
than the corresponding classes in any other European capital. But
whatever was the “Open Sesame” my mother possessed, the fact was that
all doors were open to her with the most open-handed hospitality. And,
as I have said, to know one was, even in the case of a stranger, pretty
nearly equivalent to knowing them all.

The by far greater number of this small society of nobles were, as was
to be expected, wealthy men; some, more especially the Hungarians, were
such even if estimated by English standards. But there were some among
them who were very much the reverse. And my opportunities of
observation were abundantly sufficient to enable me to perceive without
any fear of being mistaken, that the terms of intimacy and equality upon
which these latter lived with their wealthier neighbours were no whit
affected by their comparative impecuniosity. One single lady of very
noble birth I well remember, who to a great pressure of the _res angusta
domi_ added no small spice of eccentricity; but there was no mansion so
magnificent that did not open its doors very widely to her. No _fête_
was complete without her. She always wore a turban, and always carried
it about with her in her pocket. And I have seen her pause in the midst
of a splendid entrance hall, with half a dozen lackeys standing around,
while she took her turban from her pocket, adjusted it on her head, and
changed her shoes.

The ladies of the _grand monde_ in Vienna in those days had the queer
habit of writing no notes. Their invitations and the answers to them,
and the excuses, or any other communications arising from the social
intercourse of the day, were all sent by word of mouth by footmen.
Whether the highest _bon ton_ required an affectation of not being able
to write, I cannot say! But such was the practice.

Another specialty consisted in a practice of the young men of the same
world. Every man of them retained in his special pay and service one of
the (very excellent) hackney coaches of the city, which he always
expected to find ready for his service, and the driver of which was
trusted by him as much, or more perhaps, than a man is in the habit of
trusting his own servant.

The social division between the different castes--between the noble and
the non-noble--was absolute in those days; and of course both parties
were the losers in sundry respects by such separation. But the results
were not bad in _all_ respects. One was an exceeding simplicity and
absence of any affectation of finery or _morgue_ on the part of the
noble class, and a corresponding easy-going freedom from the small forms
of social ambition on the part of the non-noble. There was among the
latter no attempt or thought of attempting to enter the noble society.
It was out of the question; and as far as I could see such entry did not
appear to be an object of ambition, or the impossibility of it to
occasion either heart-burning or jealousy. In the case of the ladies of
the _deux mondes_, the separation was absolute and without exception.
But I was told that in some few cases the _young_ men of the upper class
might be seen in the houses of certain of their non-noble
fellow-citizens, but never with any reciprocity of toleration. In
respect of mere wealth and luxury in the manner of living, there were
many _bourgeois_ families on a par, and in many cases on far more than a
par, with those of the nobles. And no doubt it frequently occurred that
the social law which forbade all intercourse between the two septs, was
felt to be as inconvenient and as much a matter of regret on one side of
the barrier as on the other. But, _noblesse oblige_, and the law was not
transgressed.

In the case of foreigners, however, or at least of English foreigners,
we were very soon given to understand that the law in question was not
applicable. We were perfectly free to make acquaintances in either
world, and some of the most valued friends we made in Vienna, and some
of the pleasantest hospitalities we accepted, were found in _bourgeois_
houses. I remember two different instances of a very amusing curiosity
on the part of certain noble ladies, which prompted them to avail
themselves of our chartered liberty in the matter, for the obtaining of
tidings of the ways and manners of the inmates of certain houses, which
there was no possibility of their ever having an opportunity of
observing for themselves. But on ransacking my memory for instances of
the kind, I must say that all that occur to me, refer to curiosity of
the upper respecting the nether world; and that I do not recollect any
_vice versâ_ cases.

I have said that the rule of exclusion as regards all that part of the
Vienna world not nobly born was absolute. But if absoluteness can be
conceived as ever becoming more absolute, the social law did so in the
case of Jewish families. These were numerous, and many of them in
respect of wealth, and more in respect of culture, were on a par with
the best and highest portion of the Viennese society. I remember one
Jewish family in particular, consisting of a widow and her daughter and
her niece, with whom we became intimately acquainted, and in whom and
whose surroundings we found a level of high culture (taking that word
in its largest extension to all that goes to form the idiosyncrasy of a
human being), far in advance of anything we met with among their social
superiors.

In fact the _grand monde_ of that far distant day in Vienna was
frivolous, unintellectual, and, I am afraid I must say, uneducated to a
remarkable degree. It had its own peculiar charm, which consisted in the
most perfectly high-bred tone of manner combined with complete
simplicity, the absolute absence of any sort of affectation whatever,
and great good-nature. But in all my experience of them there was not to
be found a salon among them of equal social attraction to that of my
above-mentioned Jewish friends.

But all this refers to the social conditions of a day, which, as my
recent visits to Vienna have shown me, is one passed away and gone. It
belongs to the days when “Vater Franz” was, or, to be accurate, had only
two years previously ceased to be, the idol of Austrian, and especially
Viennese loyalty and affection. The most striking instances of the
devotion of all classes of the population to their emperor were
constantly narrated to me. I specially remember the tale of one
occasion, when the emperor had remained shut up in the palace for three
or four days--or perhaps the period was somewhat longer--because he had
caught a cold. A cloud seemed to have passed over the blue Vienna sky.
The occasion of his first drive through the streets of the city after
his little indisposition was an ovation! The people filled the streets,
and hung about his carriage. Market women poked their faces in at the
window to assure themselves that “Vater Franz” was restored to them none
the worse for his confinement. It was, to the best of my remembrance, on
every Thursday, at that time, that it had been the emperor’s practice to
devote a certain number of hours in the day to receiving _any_ one of
his subjects who had notified in the proper quarter a desire to speak
with him. But might not some socialist or nihilist, or other description
of radical, have easily shot him at one of those entirely unguarded
interviews? Aye! but I am writing of half a century ago, before such
things and persons had appeared upon the scene. And assuredly the
possibility of such a catastrophe had never entered into the brain of
any man, woman, or child in the Kaiserstadt.

There was one among the many acquaintances we made at Vienna who
belonged in nowise to any division of its society, but who was, like
ourselves, to be met with among them all. This was old John Cramer the
pianist. I took a great liking to him. The mingled simplicity,
_bonhomie_, shrewdness, and old-world courtesy of the old man delighted
me. He was full of old-world stories, generally ending any anecdote of
some one of the many notable personages he had known with a sigh, and
“Well, peace to his _manes_!” pronounced as one syllable, as I have
mentioned in an earlier page. For old John Cramer had lived in the days
before the schoolmaster had gone “abroad” so widely as in these latter
times. The old _maestro_ had just written a monody to the memory of
Malibran, then recently lost to the world of music prematurely. “It is
full of feeling,” writes my mother, “and, as I listened to this veteran
pianist, as he performed for me his simple and classic little
composition, and marked the delicacy and finish of his style,
unincumbered by a single movement in which the conceptions of a
harmonious genius are made to give way before the meretricious glory of
active fingers, I felt at the very bottom of my heart that I was
_rococo_, incorrigibly _rococo_, and that such I should live and die.”

Another specialty, which in those days gave to Vienna much of the
physiognomy which made it different in outward appearance from any other
of the great capitals of Europe, and which would not be observed there
at the present time, was caused by the heterogeneousness of the
countries which compose the empire, and the very motley appearance of
the specimens of all of them which might be found in the capital. A
Parisian tells you in France that a provincial in the streets of Paris
is as recognisable at a glance as if he were ticketed on the forehead.
And so he may be to a Parisian. But the eccentricities of his appearance
are not such as to impart any variety to the moving panorama in the
streets of Paris as it appears to a stranger. The Breton, the Provencal,
the Bearnais makes himself look, when he visits Paris, as much like a
Parisian as he can, and flatters himself no doubt that he succeeds
perfectly. But Croatians, Bohemians, wild-looking figures from
Transylvania might be seen in the streets of Vienna, precisely as they
might have been seen in their own distant homes. Strange and not a
little sinister looking groups of Hungarian gipsies, encampments outside
and at the foot of the walls, of Bohemian waggoners, caftaned Jews from
the distant parts of Galicia, all added to the strangeness and much to
the picturesqueness of the city. I remember one especial group, the
extreme barbarism of whose appearance, incredible filthiness, and wild,
picturesque, but very forbidding physiognomies, particularly attracted
my attention. I was told that they were gipsies from Croatia.

On the whole it is--or rather I should say was--evident that one has
travelled far eastward to reach Vienna, and the whole physiognomy of the
place is modified by that fact.

I am unwilling to close this chapter of my Vienna reminiscences without
mentioning a lady, whose very exceptional histrionic talent had
impressed me as vividly as it did my mother, who has given an honourable
place in her volumes to Madame Rettich. I subsequently became intimate
with her very charming daughter in Italy, and it is from her that I
learned the fact that her mother had been the first actress to personate
Goethe’s “Gretchen” on the stage. Considerable doubt had been felt as to
the expediency of the attempt. But Madame Rettich made it--not for the
first time at Vienna, but at some provincial theatre--with entire
success.



CHAPTER XVI.


Of all my reminiscences of Vienna, and those I saw there, the most
interesting are those connected with my introduction to Prince
Metternich.

The present generation is perhaps hardly aware--or not habitually so--of
the largeness of the space Metternich occupied in the political world
half a century ago. It is not too much to say that Europe in those days
thought as much about Metternich as it does in these days about
Bismarck. Of course the nature of the two men, as of the circumstances
with which they were called on to deal, is far as the poles asunder. But
on the European stage--not, of course, on the English--no actor of that
day could compete with Prince Metternich in the importance of the
position assigned to him by the world in general, as no actor of this
day can with Prince Bismarck.

It is hardly enough to say, as is said above, that the nature of the two
men was as far as the poles asunder, it was singularly contrasted. To
both of them the _salus patriæ_ has ever been the _suprema lex_; and
both of them, with increasingly accepted wisdom; have sought that
supreme end in the strengthening of the principle of authority. The
history of human affairs has not yet sufficiently unfolded itself for it
to be possible to say in this year of grace, 1887, whether they have
done so with very different measures of success. But it is very curious
to mark the similarity thus far existing between the two great
ministers, chancellors, and statesmen, combined with such very marked
(though perhaps in fact more or less superficial) differences between
the two men.

Prince Bismarck has not been thought, even by those who have most
thoroughly admired and applauded his _fortiter in re_, to have very
successfully combined with it the _suaviter in modo_. The habit of
clothing the iron hand with a velvet glove has not been considered to be
among his characteristics. And these qualities were very pre-eminently
those of the other all-powerful minister.

And the outward and bodily presentment of the two men was as contrasted
and as expressive of this difference as that of two high-born gentlemen
could well be. I saw recently in Berlin a portrait by Lembach of the
great North German chancellor. It is one of those portraits which
eminently accomplishes that which it is the highest excellence of every
great portrait to achieve, in that it gives those who look at it with
some faculty of insight not only that outward semblance of the man,
which all can recognise, but something more, which it is the artist’s
business to reveal to those who have not the gift of reading it for
themselves. That portrait, in common with most of those by the great
masters in the art of portraiture, reveals to you, with an instantly
recognised truthfulness, the interior and intrinsic nature of the man,
with a luminousness which your own gaze on the living person would not
achieve for you. I have also before me a portrait of Prince Metternich,
made at the time of which I am writing by M. Hervieu in crayons for my
mother. And without of course claiming either for the artist or for the
style of work such power as belongs to the portrait of which I have been
speaking, I may say that it does very faithfully and expressively give
you the presentment of a man in whom strength of will, tenacity of
purpose, and high intellectual power are combined with suave gentleness
of manner and an air of high-bred courtesy.

_That_ is the man whose lineaments I look on in the sketch, and that is
the man with whom I had many opportunities of being in company, and had
on several occasions the high honour of conversing. Whether it might be
possible for a man devoid of all advantage of feature to produce on
those brought into contact with him the same remarkable impression of
dignity, the consciousness of high station, and perfection of courtly
bearing combined with a pellucid simplicity of manner, I cannot say. But
it is true that all this was rendered more possible in the case of
Metternich by great personal handsomeness. He was, of course, when I saw
him, what may be called an old man--a white-headed old man--but I doubt
if at any time of his life he could have been a better-looking man.

My mother notes in her book on _Vienna and the Austrians_, that as we
were returning from a dinner at the house of the English ambassador, Sir
Frederic Lamb, where we had just met Metternich for the first time, I
observed that he was just such a man as my fancy painted Sir William
Temple to have been, and that she thought the illustration a good one.
And I don’t think that any subsequent knowledge or reflection would lead
me to cancel it.

He was a man of middle height, slenderly made rather than thin, though
carrying no superfluous flesh; upright, though without the somewhat
rigid uprightness which usually characterises military training to the
last, however far distant the training time may have been; and
singularly graceful in movement and gesture. He must have been a man of
sound body and even robust constitution, but he did not look so at the
time of which I am speaking. Not that he had the appearance or the
manner of a man out of health; but his extreme refinement and delicacy
of feature seemed scarcely consistent with bodily strength. I remember a
man--the old Dr. Nott spoken of in the first chapter of this book--who
must have been about the same age with Metternich when I first saw him,
who equalled him in clear-cut delicacy and refinement of feature, who
was certainly a high-bred gentleman, not altogether ignorant of the
ways and manners of courts, and who was emphatically a man of
intellectual pursuits and habits. But there all equality and similarity
between the two men ends. Good, refined, elegant Dr. Nott produced no
such impression on those near him as the Austrian statesman did. There
must have been therefore a _something_ in the latter beyond all those
advantages of person and feature with which he was so eminently endowed.
And this “something” I take to have been produced partly by native
intellectual power, and partly by the long possession of quite
uncontested authority.

Upon that first occasion I had no opportunity of hearing any word from
Metternich save one gracious phrase on being presented to him. He took
my mother in to dinner. I was seated at a far distant part of the huge
round table, where I could see, but not hear. And it was the fashion in
Vienna for people to leave the house at which they had been dining
almost immediately after taking their cup of coffee. But before the
party separated it had been arranged that we were to dine at the
minister’s house on the following Monday.

But all this time I have said no word of the Princess Metternich, who
also dined with Sir Frederic Lamb on that, to me, memorable day. In one
word, she was one of the most beautiful women I ever looked on. She was
rather small, but most delicately and perfectly formed in person, and
the extreme beauty of her face was but a part, and not the most peerless
part, of the charm of it. To say that it sparkled with expression, and
an expression which changed with each changing topic of conversation, is
by no means enough. Every feature of her face was instinct with meaning
and intelligence. The first impression her face gave me was that of a
laughter-loving and _mutine_ disposition. But my mother, who saw much of
her--more, of course, than it was possible for her to see of the
chancellor (especially while the princess was sitting for her portrait
by M. Hervieu for her, during which sitting my mother, by her express
stipulation, was always with her), and who learned to love her dearly,
testified that there was much more behind; that her unbounded affection
and veneration for her husband was not incompatible with the formation
of thoughtful opinions of her own upon the questions which were then
exercising the minds of politicians, as well as all the higher topics of
human interest.

I dined at Metternich’s table on the day mentioned above as well as on
sundry other occasions; on some of which I was fortunate enough to make
one of the little circle enjoying his conversation. Of course the dinner
parties at the prince’s house were affairs of much magnificence and
splendour. But I had, on more than one occasion, the higher privilege of
dining with him _en famille_.

On both and all occasions, whether it was a grand banquet of thirty
persons or more, or a quite unceremonious dinner _en famille_, the
prince’s practice was the same, and was peculiar.

He did not in any wise partake of the spread before him. He had always
dined previously at one o’clock. But he had a loaf of brown bread and a
plate of butter put before him; and, while his guests were dining, he
occupied himself with spreading and cutting a succession of daintily
thin slices of bread and butter for his own repast.

Victor Emmanuel used similarly to dine in the middle of the day, and at
his state banquets used to take no more active part than was involved in
honouring them with his presence. But Metternich, I think, would not
have said what my friend G. P. Marsh, the United States minister, once
told me Victor Emmanuel said to him on one occasion. Mr. Marsh, as dean
of the diplomatic body (it was before any of the great powers sent
ambassadors to the court of the Quirinal), was seated next to his
majesty at table. Innumerable dishes were being carried round in long
succession, when the king, turning to his neighbour with a groan, said,
“Will this _never_ come to an end?” I have no doubt Marsh cordially
echoed his majesty’s sentiments on the subject.

The words of men who have occupied positions in any degree similar to
that of Prince Metternich are apt to be picked up, remembered, and
recorded, when in truth the only value of the utterances in question is
to show that such men do occasionally think and speak like other
mortals! And my notebooks are not without similar evidences of
_gobemoucherie_ on my own part. But there is one subject on which I
have heard Metternich speak words which really are worth recording. That
subject was the Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte.

Of course on such a topic the Austrian statesman might have said much
that he was not at liberty to say; and there was also much that he might
have said which could not have found place in one halfhour’s
conversation. The particular point upon which I heard him speak was the
celebrated interview, at which the emperor lost his temper because he
could not induce Austria to declare war.

Metternich described the way in which the emperor, with the manners of
the guard-room rather than those of the council-chamber, suddenly and
violently tossed his cocked hat into the corner of the room, “evidently
expecting that I should pick it up and present it to him,” said the old
statesman; “but I judged it better to ignore the action and the
intention altogether, and his majesty after a minute or two rose and
picked it up himself.”

He went on to express his conviction that all this display of passion on
the emperor’s part was altogether affected, fictitious, and calculated;
and said that similar manifestations of intemperate violence were by no
means infrequently used by the emperor with a view to produce calculated
effects, and were often more or less successful.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that the most cynical observer
could have detected the slightest shade of bitterness in the words or
the manner of Prince Metternich. On _that_ field of battle at all
events the honours did not fall to the share of Napoleon. And his aged
adversary spoke of the encounter with the amused pleasantry and easy
smile of a veteran who recounts passages at arms in which his part has
been that best worth telling.

But with a graver manner he went on to say, that the most unpleasant
part of the circumstance connected with dealing with Napoleon arose from
the fact that he was not a gentleman in any sense of the word, or
anything like one. Of course the prince, with his unblemished sixteen
quarterings, was not talking of anything connected with Napoleon’s
birth. And I doubt whether he may have been aware that Napoleon
Buonaparte was technically gentle by virtue of his descent from an
ancient Tuscan territorial noble race. Metternich, in expressing the
opinion quoted, was not thinking of anything of the kind. He was
speaking of the moral nature of the man. In these days, after all that
has since that time been published on the subject, the expression of
Metternich seems almost like the enunciation of an accepted and
recognised truism. Nevertheless, even now the judgment on such a point,
of one who had enjoyed (no, certainly not enjoyed, but we will say
undergone) so much personal intercourse with the great conqueror, is
worth recording.

My mother has given an account of the same conversation, which I have
here recorded, in the second volume of her book on _Vienna and the
Austrians_. Her account tallies with mine in all essentials (I did not
read it--in _this_ half-century--till after I had written the above
sentences); but she relates one or two circumstances which I have
omitted; and she apparently did not hear what the prince said afterwards
about Napoleon as a gentleman--or perhaps it was said upon another
occasion, which I cannot assert may not have been the case.

One point of my mother’s narrative should not be omitted. Metternich,
observing that it was impossible for any human being to have heard what
passed between him and Napoleon, but that everybody had read all about
it, said that Savary relates truly the incident of the hat, _which must
have been told him by Napoleon himself_. This is very curious.

Another amusing anecdote recounted by Metternich one evening, when my
mother and myself, together with only a very small circle of _habitués_
were present, I remember well, and intended to give my own reminiscences
of it in this place. But I find the story so well told by my mother, and
it is so well worth repeating, that I will reproduce her telling of it.

“During the hundred days of Napoleon’s extraordinary but abortive
restoration, he found himself compelled by circumstances, _bon gré mal
gré_ to appoint Fouché minister of police. About ten days after this
arch-traitor was so placed, Prince Metternich was informed that a
stranger desired to see him. He was admitted, and the prince recognised
him as an individual whom he had known as an _employé_ at Paris. But he
now appeared under a borrowed name, bringing only a fragment of Fouché’s
handwriting, as testimony that he was sent by him. His mission he said
was of the most secret nature, and in fact, only extended to informing
the prince that Fouché was desirous of offering to his consideration
propositions of the most important nature. The messenger declared
himself wholly ignorant of their purport, being authorised only to
invite the prince to a secret conference through the medium of some
trusty envoy, who should be despatched to Paris for the purpose. The
prince’s reply was, ‘You must permit me to think of this.’ The agent
retired, and the Austrian minister repaired to the emperor, and
recounted what had passed. ‘And what do you think of doing?’ said the
emperor.

“‘I think,’ replied the prince, ‘that we should send a confidential
agent, not to Paris, but to some other place that may be fixed upon, who
shall have no other instructions but to listen to all that the
Frenchman, who will meet him there, shall impart, and bring us
faithfully an account of it.’

“The emperor signified his approbation; ‘And then,’ continued the
prince, ‘as we were good and faithful allies, and would do nothing
unknown to those with whom we were pledged to act in common, I hastened
to inform the allied sovereigns, who were still at Vienna, of the
arrival of the messenger, and the manner in which I proposed to act.’
The mysterious messenger was accordingly dismissed with an answer
purporting that an Austrian, calling himself Werner, should be at a
certain hotel in the town of Basle, in Switzerland, on such a day, with
instructions to hear and convey to Prince Metternich whatever the
individual sent to meet him should deliver. This meeting took place at
the spot and hour fixed. The diplomatic agents saluted each other with
fitting courtesy, and seated themselves _vis-à-vis_, each assuming the
attitude of a listener.

“‘May I ask you, sir,’ said the envoy from Paris at length, ‘what is the
object of our meeting?’

“‘My object, sir,’ replied the Austrian, ‘is to listen to whatever you
may be disposed to say.’

“‘And mine,’ rejoined the Frenchman, ‘is solely to hear what you may
have to communicate.’

“Neither the one nor the other had anything further to add to this
interesting interchange of information, and after remaining together
long enough for each to be satisfied that the other had nothing to tell,
they separated with perfect civility, both returning precisely as wise
as they came.

“Some time after the imperial restoration had given way to the royal one
in France, the mystery was explained. Fouché, _cette revolution
incarnée_, as the prince called him, no sooner saw his old master and
benefactor restored to power, than he imagined the means of betraying
him, and accordingly despatched the messenger, who presented himself to
Prince Metternich. Fouché was minister of police, and probably all the
world would have agreed with him in thinking that if any man in France
could safely send off a secret messenger it was himself. But all the
world would have been mistaken, and so was Fouché. The Argus eyes of
Napoleon discovered the proceeding. The first messenger was seized and
examined on his return. The minister of police was informed of the
discovery, and coolly assured by his imperial master that he would
probably be hanged. The second messenger was then despatched by Napoleon
himself with exactly the same instructions as the envoy who met him from
Vienna, to the effect that he was to listen to all that might be said to
him, and when questioned himself, confess, what was the exact truth,
that all he knew of the mission on which he came was that he was
expected to remember and repeat all that he should hear.”

On the 30th of November in that year I witnessed the by far most
gorgeous pageant I ever saw--for I was not in Westminster Abbey on the
21st of June, 1887--the installation of eleven Knights of the Golden
Fleece. As a pageant, nothing, I think, could exceed the gorgeous and
_historic_ magnificence of this ceremony; but no “Kings of the Isles
brought gifts,” nor was the imperial body-guard composed of sovereign
princes or their representatives. In _significance_, that show and all
others such, even the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold itself,
is eclipsed by the ever-memorable day which England has just seen. But
it was not only a very grand but a very interesting sight, the whole
details of which may be found by those interested in such matters very
accurately described in the volume by my mother which I have so often
quoted.

On the very next day I saw another sight which I think it probable no
subsequent sight-seer in Vienna during all the half-century that has
elapsed since that day has seen, or any will see in the future. It was a
sight more monstrously contrasted with the scene I had yesterday
witnessed than it could well enter into the human mind to conceive. It
was a visit to the vast, long-disused catacombs under the cathedral
church of St. Stephen. It was then about sixty years, as I was told--now
more than a hundred--since these vaults were used as a place of
sepulture. Here, as in many other well-known instances, the special
peculiarities of soil and atmosphere prevent all the usual processes of
decay, and the tens of thousands of corpses which have been deposited
there--very many uncoffined and unshrouded during the visitation of the
plague in 1713--have become to all intents and purposes mummies. They
retain not only the form of human beings, but in many cases the features
retain the ghastly expression which was their last when the breath of
life left them. The countless forms, which never apparently from the day
they were deposited there had been subjected to any sort of arrangement
whatever, lay in monstrous confused heaps, mingled with shattered
remains of coffins. The skin in every case had become of the
consistency of very thick and tough leather, not quite so thick as that
used for the sole of a stout shoe, but a good deal thicker than what is
generally used for the upper leather even of the stoutest. There was not
the slightest disagreeable odour in any part of the vaults. In the
course of a long life I have seen very many strange sights, but never
any one to match that in weird strangeness and impressive horror. If any
sight on earth merits the degraded epithet “awful,” it must be that of
those fearsome catacombs.

What I have written here conveys but a very imperfect notion of all that
we saw and felt during our progress through that terrible succession of
vaults. But I abstain from chronicling the sights of this charnel-house
for the same reason that I refrained from any attempt at describing the
cloth of gold and the velvets and the silks and satins of the previous
day. The detailed description of them may all be found in my mother’s
book, in the fortieth chapter of which the reader so inclined may sup
full of horrors to his heart’s content. I will content myself with
testifying to the perfect accuracy and absence of exaggeration in the
account there given.

My mother expresses disapproval of the authorities who permit such an
exhibition, and she is very vague as to the means by which we obtained
admission to it. Nor does my memory furnish any clear information upon
this point, but I have a strong impression that it was all an affair of
bribery, managed “under the rose” (what a phrase for such an exploit!)
by backstairs influence in some way. I do not think that the first
comer, with however large a fee in his hand, could have caused the door
of that chamber of horrors to be opened to him. There are, it is true,
sundry words and incidents in my mother’s account which seem to indicate
that the showman guide, who attended us, was in the habit of similarly
attending others; but I am persuaded that my mother was in error in
supposing, if she did suppose, that to be the case. Unquestionably the
man was at home in the gruesome place, and well acquainted with all the
parts of it, but I have reason to be persuaded that his familiarity with
it arose simply from the habit of pillaging the remains of the coffins
for firewood!

Not long after this memorable expedition to the catacombs I received a
communication from Birmingham which rendered it necessary for me to
leave Vienna and turn my face homewards.



CHAPTER XVII.


I left Vienna by the carriage which carried the imperial mail, shortly
before Christmas, in very severe weather. It would be impossible to
construct a more comfortable carriage for the use of those to whom speed
is no object. It carried only two passengers and the courier, and was
abundantly roomy and well cushioned. It carried, of course, also all the
mails from Hungary and from Vienna to the north and westward, including
those to Munich and Paris and London. And to the best of my recollection
all these despatches, printed as well as written, were carried in the
hind boot of our conveyance. If they were not there I can’t guess where
they were!

I remember that I was tremendously great-coated, having, besides my
“box-coat,” a “buffalo robe,” which I had brought back with me from
America, and I have no recollection of suffering at all from cold. We
proceeded in very leisurely fashion; and I well remember the reply of
the courier to my question, how long we were to remain at the place at
which we were to dine, given with an air of mild surprise at my
thinking such a demand necessary. “Till we have done dinner!” said the
courier--“_Bis wir gespeist haben!_” The words seem still to echo in my
ears! To me, whose experiences were of the Quicksilver mail!

When we _had_ done dinner, and he asked me with leisurely courtesy if I
had dined well, he said, in answer to my confessing that I could have
wished nothing more, unless it were a cup of coffee, if perchance there
were one ready, “No doubt the hostess will make us one. It is best fresh
made!” And so, while the imperial mail, and all the Paris and London
letters, and the post-horses, waited at the door, the coffee _was_ made
and leisurely discussed!

I will upon this occasion also spare the reader all guide-book chatter,
and pass on to the arrival of myself and the friend who was with me, at
Dover, which arrival was a somewhat remarkable one.

We had travelled by Antwerp, which I wished to revisit for the sake of
the cathedral, and crossed from Ostend, where also I was not sorry to
pass a day.

We had a long and nasty passage, but at last reached Dover to find the
whole town and the surrounding hills under snow, and to be met by the
intelligence that all communication between Dover and London was
interrupted! Even the boat which used to ply between Dover and the
London Docks would not face the abominable weather, and was not running.
There was nothing for it but to take up our abode at the “King’s Head”
(no “Lord Warden” in those days!), and wait for the road to be opened.

We waited one day, two days, with no prospect of any amelioration of our
position. On the third day two young Americans who were in the house,
equally weather-bound with ourselves, and equally impatient of their
imprisonment, assured us that in their country the matter would speedily
be remedied, and declared their determination of getting to Canterbury
on a sledge. We had heard by that time that from Canterbury to London
the road was open. The people at the “King’s Head” assured us that no
such attempt had any chance of succeeding. But of course our American
friends considered that to be a strictly professional opinion, and
determined on starting. We agreed to share the adventure with them. Four
of the best post-horses we could find in Dover were hired, a couple of
postboys, whose pluck was stimulated by promises of high fees, were
engaged, and a sledge was rigged under the personal supervision of our
experienced friends.

On the fourth day we got ourselves and our respective trunks on to the
sledge, and started among the ill-omened prognostications of our host of
the “King’s Head” and his friends. I think the postboys did their utmost
bravely, but at the end of about five miles from Dover they dismounted
from their floundering horses and declared the enterprise an impossible
one. It was totally out of the question, they said, to reach Canterbury.
It would be quite as much as they could do to get back to Dover.

What was to be done? The boys were so evidently right that the Americans
did not attempt to gainsay their decision. A council of war was called,
the upshot of which was that our two American allies decided to return
to Dover with their and our baggage _and wraps_, while my friend and I
determined at all risks to push on to Canterbury on foot. We had eleven
miles of bleak country before us, which was simply one uniform
undulating field of snow. The baffled postboys gave us many minute
directions of signs and objects by which we were to endeavour to keep
the road. We had started from Dover about nine o’clock in the morning.
It was then not quite noon. The mail would leave Canterbury at ten at
night for London, and we had therefore ten hours before us for our
undertaking.

We thought that four, or, at the outside, five would be ample for the
purpose, if we were ever to get to Canterbury at all. But we did not
reach “The Fountain” in that much-longed-for city till past eight that
evening!

It was a terrible walk. Of course at no conceivable rate of progression
could we have been eight hours in walking eleven miles if we had
continued to progress at all. But we lost the road again and again!
sometimes got far away from it, and fought our way back to it by the
directions obtained at farm-houses or labourers’ cottages, from people
who evidently deemed our enterprise a desperate one. Mostly we were
struggling knee-deep in snow, once or twice plunging into and out of
drifts over our waists. We were not on foot quite all the time; for once
we rested in a hospitable cottage for an hour, when we were about six
miles from Canterbury. Our host there, who was, I take it, a waggoner,
strongly advised us to give it up, and offered to let us pass the night
in his cottage. We were already very much beaten, and were sorely
tempted to close with his proposal. Perhaps, if we had known that we
should never, as was the case, see those Americans again, we should have
done so. But much as our bodies needed rest, our souls needed triumph
more! So we turned out into the snow again, and--by eight o’clock did
reach the hospitable “Fountain”!

But we were in a sad plight, desperately wearied, a good deal bruised
and knocked about, and as thoroughly wet through literally as though we
had been walking in water instead of snow. Rest was delicious; a hot
supper was such delight as no “gods” had ever enjoyed. Good beds would
have been Elysium! But--the thought of the next morning gave us pause.
We had no rag of clothing of any sort save the thoroughly soaked things
on our backs. No boots or shoes! And how should we possibly put on again
those on our feet if once they were taken off? In London, if once
reached, all these troubles would be at an end!

Finally we decided to go on by the mail at ten that night. But here a
fresh disappointment awaited us. The mail was booked full inside! There
were two outside places, those on the roof behind the driver, available.
But we were dead beat, wet through to the bone, unprovided with any wrap
of any kind, and it was freezing hard!

But on to the mail we climbed at ten o’clock. I believe the good hostess
of “The Fountain” genuinely thought our proceeding suicidal, and the
refusal of her beds absolutely insane.

That journey from Canterbury to London was by far the worst I ever made.
It really was a very bad business. But at every change of horses I got
down, and holding on by the coach behind ran as far as my breath and
strength would allow me, and thus knocked a little warmth into my veins.
I could not persuade my companion to do likewise. He seemed to be
wearied and frozen into apathy. The consequence was that whereas I was
after some twelve hours in bed not a jot the worse, he was laid up for a
fortnight.

Shortly afterwards I assumed my new duties at Birmingham. The new
building had been completed, and was--or rather is, as all the world may
see to the present day--a very handsome one. The head master, whose
assistant I specially was, was Dr. Jeune, who became subsequently Bishop
of Peterborough. The second master, Mr. Gedge, had also an assistant
named Mason. Our duties were to teach Latin and Greek to any of the sons
of the inhabitants of Birmingham who chose to avail themselves of King
Edward’s benevolent foundation. None of the masters had anything to do
with the business of lodging or victualling boys. The boys were all day
boys, and our business was to teach them Latin and Greek during certain
hours of every day.

I soon became aware by a strangely subtle process of feeling rather than
observation that my eight years’ Winchester experience of schoolboy life
and ways had not constituted a favourable preparation for my present
work. I felt that I was working in an atmosphere and on a material that
was new to me. It would be absurd to imagine that all those sons of
Birmingham tradesmen were stupider or duller boys than the average of
our Winchester lads. But it appeared to me that it was far more
difficult to teach them with any fair amount of success. They were no
doubt all, or nearly all, the sons of men who had never learned anything
in their lives save the elements of a strictly commercial education. And
I felt myself tempted to believe that the results of heredity must
extend themselves even to the greater or lesser receptivity of one
description of teaching instead of another. I suppose that the
descendant of a long line of shoemakers would be more readily taught how
to make a shoe than how to build a ship. And it may be in like manner
that _ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes_ comes more readily to a boy
whose forefathers have for generations done the same thing than it would
to the descendant of generations unmoulded by any such discipline!

Corporal punishment was used, and naturally had to be resorted to much
more frequently by me than by my superior, whose work was concerned with
the older and better conducted portion of the boys. In fact as far as my
recollection at the present day goes, it seems to me that hardly any
morning or afternoon passed without the application of the cane. And
this corporal castigation, though devoid of all the judicial formality
which might have made our Winchester “scourging” a really moral
punishment if the frequency of it and the prevailing sentiment upon the
subject both of masters and scholars had been other than it was, was in
truth a very much severer infliction as regards the absolute pain to be
suffered by the patient. Three or four strokes with the cane over the
palm of the hand would be very much worse than the perfunctory swishing
with the peculiar Winchester rod. I do not remember that this caning was
ever judicially used as a sentence to be executed at any future time, or
that it was ever, for the most part, used to punish the idleness which
had prevented a boy from learning his lessons at his home. It was used
almost exclusively, as far as I remember, for the preservation of order
and silence during the school hours, and the correction of the offender
followed instantly on the commission of the offence.

And this necessity of enforcing order among a very undisciplined crew of
some forty or fifty lads of ages varying from perhaps twelve to about
fourteen or fifteen was by far the most irksome and difficult part of
my duty. I was accustomed to tuition. But the cumulation of the office
of beadle with that of teacher was new to me, and I did not like it. And
still less did I like the constant tendency of the urgent duties of the
first office to encroach upon those of the second.

My scholastic experiences had accustomed me to a state of things in
which idleness, violence, daredevil audacity, and neglect of duty had
been common enough, but in which organised trickery and deception had
been rarely seen. And I felt myself unfitted for the duties of a
policeman among these turbulent Birmingham lads. I never saw the face of
any one of them save during the school hours; and I remember thinking at
the time that, had this been otherwise, I might have obtained a moral
influence over at least some of them, which might have been more useful
than all my efforts during school hours to force the rules and
principles of syntax into unwilling brains, accustomed to the habitual
defiance of them during all the remainder of their lives.

It appeared to me that I was engaged in the perpetual, and somewhat
hopeless, task of endeavouring to manufacture silk purses out of sows’
ears; and I confess that I never put on my academical gown to go into
school without feeling that I was going to an irksome, and, I feared,
unprofitable labour. I tried hard to do my duty; but I fear that I was
by no means the right man in the right place.

No preparation of any kind, beyond assuming my gown and trencher cap,
before going into school was needed, and I had, therefore, abundance of
leisure, during which I did a considerable quantity of miscellaneous
reading, not perhaps altogether so unprofitable as the advocates of
regular study devoted to some well-defined end might suppose.

We endeavoured--my colleague Mason and I--I remember, to get up a
debating society among the few--very few--young men, with whom we had
become acquainted. But it did not succeed. Young Birmingham, intent on
making, and on its way to make, “plums” in hardware, did not think that
“debating” was the best way of employing the hours that could be spared
from the counting-house.

There might, no doubt, have been found a better element of social
intercourse in the younger clergy of the town; but they were all
strongly “evangelical,” which was at that time quite sufficient to
entail an oil-and-vinegar-like mutual repulsion between them and the
young Wykehamist. And this, involving as it does a confession of a
discreditable amount of raw young-man’s prejudice, I mention as an
illustration of the current opinions, feelings, and mental habits of the
time, for, after all, I was not more prejudiced and more stupid than the
rest of the world around me.

In fact my life at Birmingham was for the most part a very solitary one.
I used to come home tired and worn out to my lodgings with Mrs. Clements
in New Hall Street; and the prospect of a lonely evening with my book,
my teapot, and my pipe, was not unwelcome to me, for it was, at least,
repose and quiet after noise and turmoil. Every now and then I used to
dine and pass the evening with Dr. Jeune; and these were my red-letter
days. Jeune had married the daughter of Dr. Symonds, the Warden of
Wadham. She was a tall and very handsome woman, as well as an extremely
agreeable one. At first, I remember, I used to think that if she had
been the daughter of anybody else than the “Head of a House,” one just
emerging from _statu pupillari_ might have found her more charming. But
this soon wore off as we got to know each other better. And long talks
with Mrs. Jeune are the pleasantest--indeed, I think I may say the only
pleasant--recollections of my life at Birmingham.



CHAPTER XVIII.


I held my mastership in King Edward’s School at Birmingham a year and a
half--from shortly after the first day of 1837 to the 19th of June,
1838.

At the end of that time I went back to my mother’s house at Hadley. She
had in the meantime returned from Vienna, had completed her two volumes
on that journey, and published them with such a measure of success as to
encourage her in hoping that she might vary her never-ceasing labour in
the production of novels by again undertaking other journeys. But for
this, and still more for the execution of other schemes, of which I
shall have to speak further on, my presence and companionship were
necessary to her. And after much consultation and very many walks
together round the little quiet garden at Hadley, it was decided between
us that I should send in my resignation of the Birmingham mastership,
defer all alternative steps in the direction of any other life career,
and devote myself, for the present at least, to becoming her companion
and squire.

The decision was a very momentous one. As might have been anticipated,
the “deferring” of any steps in the direction of a professional career
of any sort turned out eventually to be the final abandonment of any
such. It could hardly be otherwise in the case of a young man of
twenty-eight, which was my age at the time. I was the son of a father
who had left absolutely nothing behind him, and I had no prospect
whatever of any independent means from any other source. It is true that
property settled on my mother before her marriage would in any case
suffice to keep me from absolute destitution, but that was about all
that could be said of it. And certainly the decision to which my mother
and I came during these walks round and round the Hadley garden was
audacious rather than prudent.

I have _never_ regretted it during any part of the now well-nigh half a
century of life that has elapsed since the resolution was taken. I have
been, I have not the smallest doubt, a much happier man than I should
have been, had I followed a more beaten track. My brother Anthony used
to say of me that I should never have earned my salt in the routine work
of a profession, or any employment under the authoritative supervision
of a superior. I always dissented, and beg still to record my dissent,
from any such judgment. But, as it is, I can say with sincerely grateful
recognition in my heart, that I have been a very happy--I fear I may say
an exceptionally happy--man. Despite this, I do not think that were I
called upon to advise a young man in precisely similar circumstances to
mine at that time, I should counsel him to follow my example: for I have
been not only a happy but a singularly fortunate man. Again and again at
various turning points of my life I have been fortunate to a degree
which no conduct or prudence of my own merited.

I was under no immediate obligation to work in any way, but I cannot say
of myself I have been an idle man. I have worked much, and sometimes
very hard.

Upon one occasion--the occasion was that of sudden medical advice to the
effect that it was desirable that I should take my first wife from
Florence for a change of climate, which I was not in funds to do
comfortably--I planned and wrote from title-page to colophon and sold a
two-volume novel of the usual size in four-and-twenty days. I had a
“turn of speed” in those days in writing as well as walking. I could do
my five miles and three-quarters in an hour at a fair toe and heel walk,
and I wrote a novel in twenty-four days--it was written indeed in
twenty-three, for I took a whole holiday in the middle of the work. Of
course it may be said that the novel was trash. But it was as good as,
and was found by the publisher to be more satisfactory than, some others
of the great number I have perpetrated. And I should like those who may
imagine that the arduous nature of the feat I accomplished was made less
by the literary imperfection of the work to try the experiment of
_copying_ six hundred post octavo pages in the time. I found the
register of each day’s work the other day. The longest was thirty-three
pages. It was no great matter to have written three-and-thirty pages in
one day, but I am disposed to think that few men (or even women) could
continue for as many days at so high an average of speed. My brother
used to say that he could not do the like to save his life and that of
all those dearest to him. And he was not a slow writer. Of course when
my book was done I was nearly done too. But I do not know that I was
ever any the worse for the effort. The novel in question was called
_Beppo the Conscript_.

No, I have not been an idle man since the day when my mother and myself
decided that I was to follow no recognised profession. The long, too
long, series of works which have been published as mine will account for
probably considerably less than half the printed matter which I am
responsible for having given to the world. Nor can I say that I was
driven to work “by hunger and request of friends.” During all my long
career of authorship there was no period at which I could not have lived
an idle man--not so well as I wished, certainly; but I was not driven by
imperious necessity.

Yet I have a very pretty turn for idleness too. It is as pleasant to me
“to smoke my canaster and tipple my ale in the shade,” as Thackeray
says, as to any man. Anthony had no such turn. Work to him was a
necessity and a satisfaction. He used often to say that he envied me the
capacity for being idle. Had he possessed it, poor fellow, I might not
now be speaking of him in the past tense. And still less than of me
could it be said of him that he was ever driven to literary work
_deficiente crumenâ_. But he laboured during the whole of his manhood
life with an insatiable ardour that (taking into consideration his very
efficient discharge of his duties as Post Office surveyor) puts my
industry into the shade.

Certainly we both of us ought to have inherited, and I suppose did
inherit, an aptitude for industry. My father was, as I have said, a
remarkably laborious, though an unsuccessful man, and my mother left a
hundred and fifteen volumes, written between her fiftieth year and that
of her death.

Shortly after my final return from Birmingham my mother had a bad
illness. It could not have been a very long one; the record of her
published work shows no cessation of literary activity. Whether this
illness had anything to do with the resolution she came to much about
the same time to change her residence, I do not remember, but about this
time we established ourselves at No. 20, York Street.

Here, as everywhere else where my mother found or made a home, the house
forthwith became the resort of pleasant people; and my time in York
Street was a very agreeable one. Among other frequenters of it, my diary
makes frequent mention of Judge Haliburton, of Nova Scotia, better known
to the world as Sam Slick, the Clockmaker. He was, as I remember him, a
delightful companion--for a limited time. He was in this respect exactly
like his books--extremely amusing reading if taken in rather small
doses, but calculated to seem tiresomely monotonous if indulged in at
too great length. He was a thoroughly good fellow, kindly, cheery,
hearty, and sympathetic always; and so far always a welcome companion.
But his funning was always pitched in the same key, and always more or
less directed to the same objects. His social and political ideas and
views all coincided with my own, which, of course, tended to make us
better friends. In appearance he looked entirely like an Englishman, but
not at all like a Londoner. Without being at all too fat, he was large
and burly in person, with grey hair, a large ruddy face, a humorous
mouth, and bright blue eyes always full of mirth. He was an inveterate
chewer of tobacco, and in the fulness of comrade-like kindness strove to
indoctrinate me with that habit. But I was already an old smoker, and
preferred to content myself with that mode of availing myself of the
blessing of tobacco.

“Highways and Byeways” Grattan we saw also occasionally when anything
brought him to London. He also was, as will be readily believed, what is
generally called very good company. He, too, was full of fun, and
certainly it could not be said that _his_ fiddle had but one string to
it! His fault lay in the opposite direction. His funning muse “made
increment of” everything. He was intensely Irish, in manner, accent,
and mind. He had a broken, or naturally bridgeless nose, and possessed
as small a share of good looks or personal advantages as most men. He
first urged me to try my hand at a novel. He had seen some of my early
scribblings, but repeated that “Fiction, me boy, fiction and passion are
what readers want!” But I did not at that time, or for many a long year
afterwards, feel within myself any capacity for supplying such want.



CHAPTER XIX.


On the 17th of August, in 1838, as I find by my diary, “I went with
Henrietta Skerret to see the Baron Dupotet magnetise his patients.” This
was my first introduction to a subject, and to a special little world of
its own, of which subsequently I saw a great deal, and which shortly
began to attract an increasing amount of attention from the greater
world around it. The Miss Skerret mentioned was the younger of two
sisters, the nieces of Mathias, the author of the once well known, but
now forgotten, _Pursuits of Literature_. Mr. Mathias and his sister,
Mrs. Skerret, had been old acquaintances of my mother from earlier days
than those to which any reminiscences of mine run back. And Maryanne and
Henrietta Skerret were life-long friends of my mother’s and of mine.
They were left at the death of their parents very slenderly provided
for, and Maryanne, the elder, became by the interest of some influential
person among their numerous friends, received into the service of the
Queen in some properly menial capacity. But of all those in the
immediate service of Her Majesty, it is probable that there was not
one, whether menial or other, equal to Miss Skerret in native power of
intellect, extent of reading, and linguistic accomplishment. And this
the Queen very speedily discovered, the result of which was that to her
particular service, which I believe consisted in taking charge of the
jewellery which the Queen had in daily use, was added that of marking in
the volumes which Her Majesty wished to make some acquaintance with,
those passages which she deemed worth the Queen’s attention. She
remained with the Queen many years, till advancing age was thought to
have entitled her to a retiring pension, which she was still enjoying
when I saw her, a very old woman, two or three years ago. I know that
she found her position in the household, as may be readily understood,
an irksome and materially uncomfortable one. But of her royal mistress,
and of every member of the royal family she came into contact with, she
never ceased to speak with the utmost affection and gratitude.

The younger sister, Henrietta, died some years before her. I had of late
years seen much more of her than of her sister; for of course the
position of the latter cut her off very much from all association with
her friends. Henrietta was as remarkably clever a woman as her sister,
but very different from her. She was as good a linguist, but her natural
bent was to mathematics and its kindred subjects rather than to general
literature. And whereas Maryanne was marked by an exquisite sense of
humour, and was always full of fun, Henrietta was, I think, the most
judicial-minded woman I have ever known. I have never met the man or
woman whom I should have preferred to consult on a matter of weighing
and estimating the value of evidence. She was for many years, as was my
mother also, an intimate friend of Captain Kater, who was in those days
well known in the scientific world as “Pendulum Kater,” from some
application, I fancy, of the properties of the pendulum to the business
of mapping, in which he had been engaged in India. Young, Woolaston, De
Morgan, and others _ejusdem farinæ_, were all Miss Skerret’s friends,
especially the last named. And I was brought into contact with some of
them by her means.

This was the lady who, in 1838, invited me to accompany her to a
_séance_ at the house of Baron Dupotet, a Frenchman, whose magnetising
theories and practice were at that time exciting some attention.

Here is an extract from my diary written the same evening.

“The phenomena I have witnessed are certainly most extraordinary and
unaccountable. That one young woman was thrown into a convulsive state,
is entirely undeniable. Her muscles, which we felt, were hard, rigid,
and in a state of tension, and so remained for a longer time than it is
possible for any person voluntarily to keep them so--for, I should say,
at least twenty minutes. A little girl became to all appearance
somnambulous. This, however, might more possibly be imposture. When the
little girl and the young woman were placed near each other, the effect
on both was increased, and the girl instead of being merely somnambulous
became convulsive. The little girl, _as far as the_ CLOSE _observation
of the onlookers could detect_ [underlining in original], saw the
colours of objects, &c., with her eyes closed. This, however, is
evidence of a nature easily deceptive. When waked from her magnetic
trance, she forgot, or professed to have forgotten, all that she had
said or done when in it. But when again put into a state of trance or
somnambulism, she again remembered and spoke of what had occurred in the
former trance.

“After these patients were disposed of, two young men of the spectators
offered themselves as subjects to the magnetiser. He said that they were
not good subjects for it, and that it would be difficult to affect them,
and would take a long time. He then tried me, and after a short space of
time, I think not more than half a minute, he said that I was _very_
sensitive to the magnetic influence, and that in two or three sittings
he could produce ‘_des effets extraordinaires_’ on me; but that he was
then tired, and that ‘_rien ne coule plus_’ from his fingers.”

It is not so stated in my diary, but I remember perfectly well that the
general impression left on my mind by the Baron was not a favourable
one. I find by my diary that I read his book, translated from the French
by Miss Skerret, a few days afterwards, and the result was to increase
the above impression. But I was far from coming to the conclusion that
his pretensions were all chimerical. As regards his dictum about my own
impressionability, I may observe, that on various occasions at long
distant times, I have been subjected to the experiments of several
professing magnetisers of reputed first-rate power, but that _never_ has
the slightest effect of any kind whatever been produced upon me.
Sometimes I was pronounced to be physically a bad subject; sometimes I
was accused of spoiling the experiment by wilfully resisting the
influence; sometimes the magnetiser was too tired.

I think I may as well throw together here the rest of my experiences and
reminiscences in connection with this subject--or rather some selections
from them, for I have at different times and places seen so much of it,
that I might fill volumes with the reports of my observations.

On the 13th of February, 1839, my mother and I dined with Mr. Grattan to
meet Dr. Elliotson, and on the following day we went by appointment to
meet him at the house of a patient of his, a little boy in Red Lion
Street. I saw subsequently a great deal of Dr. Elliotson, and I may say
became intimate with him. It needed but little intercourse with him to
perceive that here was a man of a very different calibre from Baron
Dupotet. Without at all coming to the conclusion that the latter was a
charlatan, it was abundantly evident to me that Elliotson was in no
degree such. He was a gentleman, a highly educated and accomplished
man, and so genuinely in earnest on this subject of “animal magnetism,”
as it was the fashion then to call it, that he was ready to spend and be
spent in his efforts to establish the truthfulness and therapeutic
usefulness of its pretensions.

Here is the account of what we--my mother and I--witnessed on that 14th
of February, as given in my diary written the same day:--

“He put the little boy to sleep very shortly, then drew him by magnetic
passes out of his chair, and caused him while evidently all the time
asleep, to imitate him [Dr. Elliotson] in all his attitudes and
movements. We both firmly believed that the boy _was_ asleep. We then
went to the house of another patient, Emma Melhuish, the daughter of a
glazier, sixteen years old, and ill in bed from cataleptic fits.”

This was a very remarkable case, and had attracted considerable
attention. Emma Melhuish was a very beautiful girl, and she was perhaps
the most remarkable instance I ever witnessed of a singular phenomenon
resulting from magnetic sleep, which has been often spoken of in
relation to other cases--the truly wonderful spiritual beauty assumed by
the features and expression of the patient during superinduced
cataleptic trance, which has never, I believe, been observed in cases of
natural catalepsy. I have seen this girl, Emma Melhuish (doubtless a
very pretty girl in her normal state of health, but with nothing
intellectually or morally special about her), throw herself during her
magnetic trance into attitudes of adoration, the grace and
expressiveness of which no painter could hope to find in the best model
he ever saw or heard of, while her face and features, eyes especially,
assumed a rapt and ecstatic expressiveness which no Saint Theresa could
have equalled. It was a conception of Fra Angelico spiritualised by the
presence of the breath of life. Never shall I forget the look of the
girl as I saw her in that condition! I can see her now! and can
remember, as I felt it then, the painfulness of the suggestion that such
an apparent outlook of the soul was in truth nothing more than the
result of certain purely material conditions of the body. But was it
such?

Here is my diary’s account of what I saw that first day:--

“We found her in mesmeric sleep, she having been so since left by Dr.
Elliotson in that condition the day before. We heard her predict the
time when her fits would recur, and saw the prediction verified with the
utmost exactitude. We heard her declare in what part of the house her
various sisters were at the moment, saying that one had just left the
counting-house and had come into the next room, all which statements we
carefully verified. My mother and myself came home fully persuaded that,
let the explanatory theory of the matter be what it might, there had
been no taint of imposture in what we had witnessed.”

On subsequent visits we assured ourselves of the entire truthfulness of
statements to the effect that Emma was conscious of the approach of Dr.
Elliotson, while he was still in a different street, and to the
punctuality with which she went to sleep and waked, at the hour she had
named herself as that when she should do so.

I remember Dr. Elliotson relating to me, as an instance of the utility
of the magnetic influence, a curious case to which he had been called.
The brother of a young girl had, as a practical joke, suddenly fired off
a pistol behind her head. She was of course painfully startled, with the
result of becoming affected by a fit of hiccough so persistent, that no
means could be found or suggested of making it cease. It was absolutely
impossible for the girl to swallow anything. She was becoming exhausted,
and the case assumed a really alarming aspect. It was at this
conjuncture that Elliotson was called in. He succeeded in putting her
into a magnetic sleep, with of course perfect calm, after which the
hiccough returned no more.

But by far the most curious and interesting of Elliotson’s cases was
one, of which a good deal was, I think, said and printed in those days,
but of which very few persons, probably, saw as much as I did--the case
of the two Okey girls. They were both patients, I believe for some form
of catalepsy, in a hospital of which Dr. Elliotson was one of the
leading physicians. Dr. Elliotson was obliged to throw up his position
there, because those who were in authority at the hospital were bitterly
opposed to his magnetising experiments and practice. And about the same
time, or shortly afterwards, the Okey girls were dismissed for a cause
which seems grotesquely absurd, but the story of which is strictly true.
These girls, of, I suppose, about thirteen and fourteen, being in the
very extraordinary condition which a prolonged course of magnetising had
produced (of which I shall speak further presently) were in the habit of
declaring that they “saw Jack” at the bedside of this or that patient in
the hospital. And the patients of whom they made this assertion
invariably died! That the presence of such prophetesses in the hospital
was undesirable is intelligible enough; but what are we to think of the
motives, presentiments, instincts, intuitions of mental or physical
nature which prompted such guesses or prophecies?

Much about the same time my brother had a serious and dangerous illness,
so much so that his medical attendants--of whom Dr. Elliotson was, I
know not why, not one, though we were intimate with him at the
time--were by no means assured respecting the issue of it. Now it is
within my own knowledge that the Okey girls, especially one of them
(Jane, I think, her name was), were very frequently in the lodgings
occupied by my brother at the time, during the period of his greatest
danger, and used constantly to say that they “saw Jack by his side, but
only up to his knee,” and therefore they thought he would recover--as he
did! I am almost ashamed to write what seems such childish absurdity.
But the facts are certain, and taken in conjunction with the cause of
the girls’ dismissal from the hospital, and with a statement made to me
subsequently by Dr. Elliotson, they are very curious. I may add that
when cross-examined as closely as was possible as to _what_ they saw,
the girls said they did not know--that they did know that certain
persons whom they saw were about to die shortly, and that was their way
of saying it. They, on more than one occasion, on reaching our house by
omnibus, said that they had seen “Jack” by the side of one of the
passengers--of course I cannot say with what issue.

The statement referred to was as follows:--Elliotson having been in some
sort the cause of the two girls being turned out of the hospital, and
being anxious, moreover, to continue his observations on them, took them
into his own house. There looking out one day from an upper window, they
saw across the street at the opposite window three fine healthy-looking
children. They were, said Elliotson, the children of a hairdresser, who
had a shop below. “What a pity,” said Jane Okey, “that that child in the
middle has Jack at him. He will die!” And so within a day or two--it
might have been hours, I am not certain--the child _did_ die! Believing,
as I do, Dr. Elliotson to have been a truthful and habitually accurate
speaker, I confess that it does not satisfy me to dismiss this story,
especially when taken in conjunction with the other anecdotes I have
related, as mere “coincidence,” though I have no shadow of a theory to
offer in explanation of it.

The purely physical experiments which were performed with these girls
before my eyes were curious and interesting. I have seen those Okey
girls, and they were slight small girls, lift weights, which it would be
quite impossible for them to lift normally, not by applying the whole
strength of the body and back to the task, but by taking the ring of an
iron weight in the hand, and so lifting it in obedience to the “passes”
of the magnetiser applied to the arm.

But decidedly the most singular and curious part of the case consisted
in the abnormal condition of mind and intelligence in which they lived
under magnetic influence for many weeks at a time. There were three
conditions, or, as it might be said, three stages of condition in which
I saw and studied them. Firstly--though it was lastly as regards my
opportunities of observation--there was their normal natural condition.
Secondly, there was a condition not of trance, or somnambulism, but of
existence carried on according to the usual laws and conditions, but
resulting apparently from the application of magnetism during prolonged
periods of time, during which complete interruption of conscious
identity seemed to have taken place. The third state was that of trance.
In the first state they were much such as children of that age taken out
of a workhouse, say, might be expected to be--awkward, shy, seemingly
stupid, and unwilling to speak much when questioned. In the second state
they were bright, decidedly clever, apt to be pert, and perfectly
self-confident. And in this condition they had no recollection
whatsoever of any of the circumstances, persons, or things connected
with their previous lives. It was in this state that they talked about
“Jack,” and in this state that we--my mother and myself--knew them for
weeks together. While in this state a very slight accident was
sufficient to produce cataleptic rigidity and trance; often one without
the other. I remember one of the girls dining once with us in the middle
of the day. A dish of peas was handed round, the spoon in which, it
being hot weather, was no doubt heated by the successive hands which had
used it. When Jane Okey grasped it in her hand to take some peas her
fingers became clenched around it, and she could not open them. But
there ensued no trance or other manifestation of catalepsy. On another
occasion she was in my mother’s house playing on the accordion, which
she did very nicely in her magnetic state, but could not do at all in
her normal state, and I, sitting at the other side of the room opposite
to her, and reading a book, was moving my hand in time to the music,
though not thinking of her or of it. Suddenly she fell back in a trance,
magnetised unconsciously by me by the “passes” I was making with my
hand. I have also produced a similar result by magnetising her
intentionally behind her back, while she was entirely unconscious of
what I was doing.

But perhaps the most singular and remarkable scene connected with these
girls was that which occurred when, their physical health having been
very greatly, if not perfectly, restored, it became necessary to take
them out of that “second state,” which has been above described, and to
restore them to their former consciousness, their former life, and their
parents. The scene was a very painful one. The mother only, as far as I
remember, was present. Memory seemed only gradually, and at first, very
partially, to return to them. The mother was a respectable, but poor and
very uneducated woman, and of course wholly different in intelligence
and manners from all the surroundings to which the girls had become
habituated. And the expression of repulsion and dismay, with which they
at first absolutely refused to believe the statements that were made to
them, or to accept their mother as such, while she, poor woman, was
weeping at what appeared to her this newly developed absence of all
natural affection, was painful in the extreme.

Subsequently the daughter of one of these girls lived for some years, I
think, with my brother’s family at Waltham, as a housemaid.

The next reminiscences I have in connection with this subject belong to
a time a few years later.

We, my mother and I, had heard tidings from America of a certain Mr.
Daniel Hume, of whom very strange things were related. It was no longer
a question of physical specialties and manifestations, which
unquestionably did tend, apart from their medical value, to throw some
gleams, or hopes of gleams of light on the mysterious laws of the
connection between mind and matter. The new candidate for the attention
of the world claimed (_not_ to have the power, as was currently stated
at the time but) to be occasionally and involuntarily the means of
producing visitations from the denizens of the spirit world. And before
long we heard that he had arrived in England, and was a guest in the
house of Mr. Rymer, a solicitor, at Ealing. We lost no time in procuring
an introduction to that estimable gentleman and his amiable wife, and
were most courteously invited by him to visit him for the purpose of
interviewing and making acquaintance with his remarkable guest. We went
to Ealing, were most hospitably received, and forthwith introduced to
Mr. Daniel Hume, as he was then called, although he afterwards called
himself, or came to be called, Home. He was a young American, about
nineteen or twenty years of age I should say, rather tall, with a
loosely put together figure, red hair, large and clear but not bright
blue eyes, a sensual mouth, lanky cheeks, and that sort of complexion
which is often found in individuals of a phthisical diathesis. He was
courteous enough, not unwilling to talk, ready enough to speak of those
curious phenomena of his existence which differentiated him from other
mortals, but altogether unable or unwilling to formulate or enter into
discussion on any theory respecting them. We had tea, or rather supper,
I think. There were the young people of Mr. Rymer’s family about on the
lawn, and among them a pretty girl, with whom, naturally enough, our
young “medium” (for that had become the accepted term) was more disposed
to flirt--after a fashion, I remember, which showed him to have been a
petted inmate of the household--than to attend to matters of another
world.

But other guests arrived, Sir David Brewster I remember among them, and
Daniel had to be summoned to the business of the evening. This was
commenced by our all placing ourselves round a very large and very heavy
old-fashioned mahogany dining table, where we sat in expectation of
whatever should occur. Before long little crackings were heard, in the
wood of the table apparently. Then it quivered, became more and more
agitated, was next raised first at one end and then at the other, and
finally was undeniably raised bodily from the ground. At that moment Sir
David Brewster and myself, each acting on his own uncommunicated
impulse, precipitated ourselves from our chairs under the table. The
table was seen to be for a moment or two hovering in the air, perhaps
some four or five inches from the floor, without its being possible to
detect any means by which it could have been moved.

I said to Sir David, as our heads were close together under the table,
and we were on “all fours” on the floor, “Does it not seem that this
table is raised by some means wholly inexplicable?” “Indeed it would
seem so!” he replied. But he wrote a letter to the _Times_ the next day,
or a day or two after, in which he gave an account of his visit to
Ealing, but ended by denying that he had seen anything remarkable. But
it is a fact that he did do and say what I have related.

This was the sum of what occurred. There was no pretence of the presence
of any spiritual visitor. I may observe that although an ordinarily
strong man might have lifted either end of the table while the other end
remained on the ground, I am persuaded that no man could have raised it
bodily, unless perhaps by placing his shoulders under the centre of it.

After the table exhibition Mr. Hume fell into a sort of swoon or trance.
And it was then that he uttered the often-quoted words, “When Daniel
recovers give him some bottled porter!” which was accordingly done! It
may be observed, however, that he _did_ appear to be much exhausted.

Various little fragments of experiences, and the increasing amount of
attention, which the world was giving to the subject, had kept the
matter in my mind, till some years afterwards I had an opportunity of
inviting Mr. Hume to visit me in my house in Florence. He came, and
stayed with us for a month. And during the whole of that time--every
evening as it seems to my remembrance, though I have no diary which
records the fact--we had frequent experiments of his “mediumship.”

Of course it is (happily for the reader) out of the question for me to
attempt to give any detailed record of the proceedings and experiences
of those repeated _séances_. I can only select a few facts which
appeared to me most striking at the time, and add the general result as
to the impression produced on my mind.

All our Florentine friends and acquaintances were eager to have an
opportunity of passing an evening with the already celebrated medium. We
generally limited our number to about eight persons; but pretty
regularly had as many as that every evening. The performance usually
began by crackings and oscillations of the round table at which we sat.
Then would come more distinct raps; then the declaration that a visitor
from the spirit world was present, then the demand for whom the said
visit was intended, to which a reply was “knocked out,” by raps
indicating the letters required to form the desired name as the letters
of the alphabet, always on the table, were rapidly run over. Sometimes a
mistake was made, and an unintelligible word produced in consequence of
too great haste in doing this. And then the process had to be gone
through again. The medium never corrected any such mistake at the moment
it was made, but seemed to await the completion of the process as the
rest did.

One or more “spirits” came, to the best of my recollection, every
evening. Nor could I detect any sort of favouritism, or motive of any
sort for the selection of the parties said to be visited. This is the
sort of thing that would occur: There was present a well known and much
respected English banker, established in Florence, a hale, robust,
cheery sort of man, and a general favourite--the last man in the world
one would say to be credited with nervous impressionability. A “spirit”
was announced as having “come for him.” Who is it? A name was rapped out
in the manner described. The elderly banker declared that he had never
had any friend or relative of that name, and had never heard it before.
A second time the name was spelled out while the banker sat thrashing
out his recollections. Suddenly he struck his forehead with his hand,
and exclaimed, “By Heaven! it is true! Nanny ----” (I forget the name.)
“She was my nurse in Yorkshire more than half a century ago!” Of course
those who do not understand that scepticism is frequently more credulous
than faith, say at once that Mr. Hume, in the exercise of his
profession, like the gipsies in the exercise of theirs, had made it his
business to discover the former existence of Nanny ----, and her
connection with the person he was bent on befooling. But taking into
consideration the total severance of the old banker’s infancy both as to
years and locality from any of his then surroundings; the fact that it
was so long since he had heard the name in question mentioned, that he
had himself entirely forgotten it; and the further fact that there was
nobody in Florence who had any connection with him or his family in his
early years, and the circumstance that he that evening saw Mr. Hume for
the first time, I confess that it seems to me that the improbability of
any proposed explanation of the mystery must be incalculably great
indeed, for a solution the improbability of which approaches so very
near to impossibility to be preferably accepted.

Here is one other case, which I will give both because the person on
whose testimony the value of it depends, was one on whose accurate
veracity I could depend as on my own, and because it illustrates one
specialty of Mr. Hume’s performances which I have not yet spoken of.
This was a sensation of being touched, which was frequently experienced
by many of those present. This touching almost invariably took the form
of a knee being grasped under the table, or a hand being laid upon it.
In the case I am about to relate this was experienced in a more
remarkable manner.

A very highly valued old female servant, who had lived in my then wife’s
family since her birth, and had followed her when she married me, had
some months previously died in my house. The affection which had
subsisted between her and my wife was a very old and a very strong one.
Now there was, it would seem, an old nursery pet name, by which this
woman had been long years before in the habit of calling my wife. I had
never heard it, or of it. My wife herself had never heard it for very
many years. She and the old servant had never for years and years spoken
on the subject. But one evening this pet name was very distinctly
spelled; and my wife declared that she at the same time felt a sort of
pressure at her side, as she sat in the circle, as if some person or
thing had been endeavouring to find a place by her side. But for all
that, my wife, though utterly mystified and incapable of suggesting any
theory on the subject, was a strong disbeliever in all Mr. Hume’s
pretensions. She strongly disliked the man. And were it not that, as we
all know, her sex never permits their estimate of facts to be influenced
by their feelings, it might be supposed possible that this biassed her
mind upon the subject!

I could add dozens of cases to the above two, but they were all very
similar; and it is sufficient to say that the same sort of thing
occurred over and over again.

I may mention, however, that I observed that any question addressed to
the supposed spirits bearing on theology and matters of creed were
invariably answered according to the views of the questioner. Catholics,
Protestants, materialists, were all impartially confirmed in the
convictions of their diverse persuasions.

Also I should not omit to mention that my wife, taking her occasion from
Mr. Hume’s complaints of his own weakness of lungs, spoke of my
brother’s death in Belgium and of my life at Ostend, and at a sitting
some few days afterwards asked if she could be told where I had last
seen my brother on earth. The answer came promptly, “At Ostend.” But the
truth is, as the reader knows, that I took my leave of him on board the
Ostend steamer in the Thames.

My account of these sittings would not be as judicially accurate as I
have endeavoured to make it, however, were I to omit the statement that
Mr. Hume on two or three occasions offered to cause “spirit hands” to
become visible to us. The room was darkened for this purpose; and at the
opposite side of a rather large table from that at which the spectators
were sitting, certain forms of hands did become faintly visible. To me
they appeared like long kid gloves stuffed with some substance. But I am
far from asserting that they were such.

On the whole, the impression left on my mind by my month-long
intercourse with Mr. Hume was a disagreeable one of doubt and
perplexity. I was not left with the conviction that he was an altogether
trustworthy and sincere man. Nor was I fully persuaded of the reverse. I
_saw nothing_ which appeared to me to compel the conclusion that some
agency unknown to the ascertained and recognised laws of nature was at
work. But I _did hear_ many communications made in Mr. Hume’s presence
in the manner which has been described, which seemed to me to be wholly
inexplicable by any theory I could bring to bear upon them. It may be
observed that no theory of thought-reading will serve the turn, for in
many cases the facts, circumstances, or names communicated were
evidently _not_ in the thoughts of the persons to whom they were so
communicated. Of course it may be answered, “Ah! but however ‘_evident_’
that may have seemed to you, the facts _were_ in the thoughts of the
parties in question.” To this I can only reply that to me, my very
complete knowledge of the persons in question, and of their
veracity--one of them, as in the case above related, being my own
wife--renders the explanation suggested absolutely inadmissible.

I have seen at various subsequent periods a great many professors of
“mediumship,” and their performances. I was present at many sittings
given by Mrs. G.----, a huge mountain of a woman, very uneducated,
apparently good-natured and simple, but with a tendency to become
disagreeable when her attempts at communication with the unseen world
were declared to be failures.

I will give here the copy of a letter which I wrote to the secretary of
“The Dialectical Society,” which had applied to me for my “experiences”
on the subject. I cannot at the present day sum up any better the
conclusions to which they led me.


                                      “FLORENCE, _27th December, 1869_.

     “SIR,--In reply to your letter of the 17th I can only say that I
     have but little to add to those previous statements of mine, of
     which you are in possession.

     “With regard to the sittings with Mrs. G., I can only say that the
     greatest watchfulness on the part of those sharing in them failed
     to detect (as regards the physical phenomena), any trace of
     imposture. These phenomena, which took place in the dark, such as
     the sudden falling on the table of a large quantity of jonquils,
     which filled the whole room with their odour, were extraordinary,
     and on any common theory of physics unaccountable. The room in
     which this took place had been completely examined by me, and Mrs.
     G.’s person had been carefully searched by my wife. With regard to
     metaphysical phenomena, an attempt to hold communication with
     intelligences other than those present in the flesh, was stated by
     a lady to whom a communication was addressed, to have been
     extraordinarily successful, and to have been proved by the event.
     In the case of myself and my wife all such attempts resulted in
     _total_ failure.

     “I have recently had a sitting with Dr. Willis of Boston. The
     physical manifestations (in the dark) were remarkable and
     perplexing. The attempts at spiritual communication were altogether
     failures.

     “In short, the result of my experience thus far is this--that the
     physical phenomena frequently produced are, _in many cases_, not
     the result of any sleight of hand, and that those who have
     witnessed them with due attention must be convinced that there is
     no analogy between them and the tricks of professed ‘conjurors.’ I
     may also mention that Bosco, one of the most accomplished
     professors of legerdemain ever known, in a conversation with me
     upon the subject, utterly scouted the idea of the possibility of
     such phenomena as I saw produced by Mr. Hume being performed by any
     of the resources of his art.

     “To what sort of agency these results are to be attributed I have
     no idea, and give no opinion; although (inasmuch as I consider that
     the word ‘supernatural’ involves a contradiction in terms) I hold
     that to admit that the phenomena exist, implies the admission that
     they are ‘natural,’ or in accordance with _some_ law of nature.

     “With regard to the metaphysical phenomena, though I have witnessed
     many strange things, I have never known any that satisfactorily
     excluded the _possibility_ of mistake or imposture.

                                           “Your obedient servant,

                                                “T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE.”


If I am asked what, upon the whole, is my present state of mind upon the
subject, I can only say that it is that unpleasant one expressed in Lord
Chancellor Eldon’s often-quoted words, “I doubt.”

Before, however, quitting the subject, my gossip about which has run to
a length only excusable on the ground of the very general interest that
has been attracted by it, I will give two more excerpts from my
recollections, which relate to cases respecting which I have _no_ doubt.
They both refer, however, to purely physical phenomena.

A French professor of “animal magnetism” came to Florence. His name, I
think, was Lafontaine. He had a young girl with him, his patient. He
brought her to my house, in which there was a long room, at one end of
which he directed me to stand, then put the girl immediately in front of
me, and told me to hold her, so as to prevent her from coming to him,
when, standing at the further end of the room, he should draw her to
him. I accordingly placed my arms around her waist, interlacing my
fingers in front of her. She was a small, slight girl, and I was at that
time a somewhat exceptionally strong man. The operator then standing at
the distance of some twenty feet or more made “passes” as it were,
beckoning her with his hands to come to him. She struggled forwards. I
held her back with all my force, but was dragged after her towards the
magnetiser. This may be accepted as an absolutely accurate and certain
fact.

This same Lafontaine had entirely failed in attempts to magnetise me,
and in telling me, as he promised to do, what I in my house was doing at
a given moment while he was absent.

My second excerpt concerns also my own experience, and shall be given
with equally truthful accuracy.

My wife, my wife’s sister, and myself, had been spending the evening in
the house of Mr. Seymour Kirkup, an artist, who, once well known in the
artistic world, lived on in Florence to a great age after that world had
forgotten him. A girl, his daughter by a servant who lived several years
in his house, and who also had pretended to very strongly-developed
spiritualistic powers, developed, as he asserted, similar powers in a
very wonderful degree. And during his latter years the old man
absolutely and entirely lived, in every respect, according to the advice
and dictates of “the spirits,” as oracularly declared by Imogene, for
that was her name. In short, she was a clever, worthless hussy, and he
was a besotted old man. Our visit to his house was to witness some of
Imogene’s performances. There was also present a Colonel Bowen, who was
a convinced believer.

I, my wife, and sister-in-law detected unmistakably the girl’s clumsy
attempts at legerdemain, but knew poor old Kirkup far too well to make
any attempt to convict her. But as we walked home with our minds full of
the subject, we said, “Let us try whether we can produce any effect upon
a table, since that seems the regulation first step in these mysteries;
and, at least, we shall have the certainty of not being befooled by
trickery.” So, on reaching home, we took a table--rather a remarkable
one. It was small, not above eighteen or twenty inches across the top of
it. But it was _very_ much heavier than any ordinary table of that size,
the stem of it being a massive bit of ancient chestnut-wood carving,
which I had adapted to that purpose.

Well, in a minute or two the table began to move very unmistakably. We
were startled, and began to think that the ladies’ dresses must have,
unconsciously to them, pressed against it. We stood back therefore,
taking care that nothing but the tips of our fingers touched the table.
It still moved! We said that some unconscious exertion of muscular force
must have caused the movement, and finally we suspended our fingers
about an inch or so above the surface of the table, taking the utmost
care to touch it in no way whatever. The table still turned, and that to
such an extent that, entirely untouched, it turned itself over, and fell
to the ground.

I can only observe of this, as the little boy said who was accused of
relating an impossibility as a fact, “I don’t say it is possible, I
only say it is true!”

In Kirkup’s case his entire and never-varying conviction of the
truthfulness of Miss Imogene’s material manifestations and spiritual
revelations was the more remarkable in that he had for many years--for
all his life, for aught I know to the contrary--entertained and
professed the most thorough persuasion of the futility and absurdity of
all belief that the soul of man survived material death. His tenets on
this subject are the more strongly impressed on my memory by an absurd
incident that occurred to my present wife in connection with his
materialistic theories.

He and she were one day talking upon the subject, as they sat
_tête-à-tête_ on opposite sides of a table. Now Kirkup was very
deaf--worse by a great deal than I am--and my wife failing to make him
hear a question she put to him, and having no other writing materials at
hand, hastily drew a card from her card-case, and pencilled on the back
of it: “What are your grounds for assurance that the visible death of
the body is the death of the spirit also?” He read, and addressed
himself to reply, letting the card fall on the table between them, which
she, thinking only of the matter in discussion, mechanically put back
into her card-case, and--left at the next house at which she happened to
be making a morning call!

Kirkup’s conversion to spiritualism was so complete that, as I have
said, his entire life was shaped according to the dictates which Miss
Imogene chose to represent as coming from her spiritual visitors. The
old man had lived for very many years in Florence. All the interests
which still bound him to life were there, and he was much attached to
the city in which so large a portion of his long life had been passed.
But Imogene one day announced that “the spirits” declared that he must
go and live in Leghorn! Of course the blow to the old man was a terrible
one, but he meekly and unhesitatingly obeyed, and submitted to be
uprooted when he was past eighty and packed off to Leghorn! I discovered
subsequently--what I might have guessed at the time--that the
good-for-nothing jade had a lover at Leghorn. Kirkup’s new faith in the
existence of a soul in man, separable from his body, continued firm, I
believe, till his death, which occurred shortly afterwards.

I have at various times and in various countries been present at the
performances of spiritualistic _mediums_ (a monstrous word, but one
can’t write _media_), and always with an uniformly similar result in one
respect. No non-material experience whatever has ever been vouchsafed to
me myself. _Material_ phenomena of a very surprising nature, and
altogether unaccountable in accordance with any received physical
theories, I have seen in great abundance. And I must in justice say that
the performances of Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke, which attracted so much
attention in Piccadilly, masterly as they were as exhibitions of
legerdemain, did not by any means succeed in proving the imposture of
the pretensions of Hume and others, by doing the same things. I think
the Piccadilly performances _did_ achieve this as regards the tying and
loosening of knots in a dark cabinet. But when one of the performers
above mentioned proceeded to “float in the air,” he only demonstrated
the impossibility of doing by any means known to his art, that which
Hume--or Home--was declared on the most indisputable testimony to have
done. Mr. Maskelyne certainly “floated in the air” above the heads of
the spectators, but I saw very unmistakably the wire by which he was
suspended. It may not have been _wire_, but I saw the cord, thread, or
whatever it may have been, by which he was suspended. Nor is it possible
to doubt that the gentlemen, who saw, or supposed themselves to have
seen, Mr. Hume floating in the air above them, would have failed to
detect any such artifice as that by which the professor of legerdemain
was enabled to do the same. And then we must not lose sight of the
all-important difference between the two performances, arising from the
fact, that the one performer has at command all the facilities afforded
by a _locale_ in which he has had abundant opportunity of making every
preparation which the resources of his art could suggest to him; whereas
the other exhibits his wonders under circumstances absolutely excluding
the possibility of any such preparation.

But _I_ never saw Mr. Hume float in the air! The only physical phenomena
which I saw produced by him consisted in the moving and lifting of
tables--in some cases very heavy tables. But I have witnessed in _very_
numerous cases, communications made by the medium to individuals who
have declared it to have been absolutely impossible that Mr. Hume should
by any ordinary means have known the facts communicated. And it has
appeared to me, knowing all the circumstances, to have been as nearly
impossible as can well be conceived without being absolutely so.

Here is one more remarkable case--one out of dozens of such. A
middle-aged Italian gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, asked that the
spirit of his father, who, it was stated by the medium, was present,
should mention where he and his son, then communicating with him, last
met on earth. It should be stated that the inquirer, having abandoned
the faith of his fathers, professed entire disbelief in any existence of
the soul, or any future life. The answer to his query was spelled out in
the manner I have already described, a certain Italian city being named.
I watched the face of the sceptical inquirer as the letters were “rapped
out” and gradually completed the name required. And I needed no
confession of the fact from him to know that the answer had been
correctly given. I thought the man would have fallen from his chair. He
became ghastly pale, and trembled all over. He was in truth very
terribly impressed and affected, but--and the phenomenon is a very
curious, though by no means an uncommon one--a few days afterwards the
impression had entirely faded from his mind. He continued fully to admit
that the fact which had occurred was altogether inexplicable, but wholly
refused to believe that it involved any supposition inconsistent with
his strictly materialistic creed.

In the above case, as in that of the banker given above, it may of
course be said that it was within the bounds of possibility that Mr.
Hume should have previously ascertained the fact that he stated. It is,
of course, impossible for me here to explain to the reader every detail
of the circumstances that seem to me to render such an explanation
wholly inadmissible. I can only say that to a mind as entirely open upon
the subject as I think my mind is, the supposition in question appears
so improbable, that it fails to impress me as a possibility.

On the other hand, I have to say that every attempt of a similar kind,
whether by Mr. Hume or by any other so-called medium, in which I myself
have been the subject of the experiment, has absolutely and wholly
failed. Mr. Hume never, to the best of my remembrance, introduced or
announced the presence of any spirit “for me.” I was like the boy at
school whom no relative ever comes to see! The Mrs. G---- who has been
mentioned at an earlier page, announced upon one occasion the presence
of my mother, with results which would have sufficed to prove very
satisfactorily that my mother’s spirit was not there, if I had
previously fully believed the case to have been otherwise.

I once went to visit the then celebrated Alexis in Paris. He knew that I
was a resident in Florence, and began operations by proposing to
describe to me my house there. Of course such an experiment admitted of
almost every conceivable kind of mystification and uncertainty. I told
him that the proposed description would necessarily occupy more of his
time than seemed to me needed for producing the conviction of the
reality of his power, which I was anxious to acquire; and that it would
be abundantly sufficient for that purpose if he would simply tell me the
number composed of four figures which I had written on a piece of paper,
and sealed in a (perfectly non-transparent) packet. He refused to make
the attempt.

Many years subsequently I attended the _séances_ of a gentleman in
London, whose performances attracted a good deal of attention at the
time--of an unfavourable description, for the most part--and whose chief
specialty consisted in enclosing a piece of slate pencil loosely between
two ordinary framed slates, securely tied together, and awaiting
communications to be made by writing produced on the slate by the pencil
thus enclosed acting automatically. I _did_ see written words thus
produced, where to the best of my observation there had been no words
before the slates were (quite securely) tied together. Nor could I form
any theory or guess as to the manner in which this writing was produced
under circumstances which seemed to make it perfectly impossible that it
should be so produced. But the words so written conveyed no remarkable
or surprising information--and indeed to the best of my recollection had
little meaning at all.

Thus once again that portion of the performance which was, or might have
been, of the nature of sleight of hand, was done so well as to cause
much puzzlement and surprise; while what may be called the spiritual
part of the promised phenomenon failed _entirely_.

I have witnessed the performances of sundry other medi_ums_--I hate to
write the word!--always with the same net result. That is to say, the
strictly physical phenomena witnessed were in very many cases--not in
all--utterly unaccountable and incomprehensible. The statement that the
performances of many masters of legerdemain are also unaccountable and
incomprehensible appears to me, while I fully admit the truth of it, to
be of very little value. The phenomena produced by these professors are
in almost every case totally different in kind, and are in every case
placed in a wholly different category by the fact that the performers of
them have the assistance of tools and means--the highly-skilled
preparation and combination of which constitute a very important (if not
the most essential) part of their professional equipment--and of the
resources of their own prepared _locale_. Furthermore, I cannot forget
the testimony of that “prince of conjurors,” Bosco, to the effect that
the phenomena, which I declared to him I had seen, were entirely
unachievable by any of the resources of his art.

Above all I have the certain knowledge (resting not only on my own very
perfect recollection, but on the unvarying testimony of the two other
persons engaged in the experiment) that a table did move much and
violently, as recorded above, while wholly and certainly untouched by
any human hands or persons, and uncommunicated with--if I may use such
an expression--save by the minds of the operators.

The net conclusion, therefore, of my rather extensive experience in the
matter is, that as regards phenomena purely physical, such have been and
are frequently produced by the practisers of “animal magnetism”--or by
whatever name it may be preferred to call it--of a nature wholly
inexplicable by any of the theories or suggestions which have been
adduced for the explanation of them.

With regard to _non-physical_ phenomena--that is to say, such as imply
the abnormal exercise of intelligences, whether incarnate or
disembodied, outside the intelligence of the individual experimenting--I
have to testify that I have _heard_ from many highly credible persons
the statement of their own experience of such communication with
intelligences other than their own. And I have heard such statements
immediately on the occurrence of the facts. But I have never in my own
person received or been made the subject of any such.



INDEX.


A.

Abbaye-aux-Bois, at the, 271, 273

Abingdon Road, pedestrian feat on, 218

Academical career, my, a failure, 216

Acheron pavement, 226

Adventure on the Danube, 312, 313

Advertising, modern, 45

Alabama, Miss Wright’s property in, 153

Alban Hall, I matriculate at, 191
  as it was under Whately, 192
  membership of, disastrous to me, 211
  cause of my quitting it, 211

Ale _versus_ claret, 46

Alexis; thought-reader of Paris, 393

Alleghany Mountains, beauty of, 165

American stabbed at Naples, 12

Americans, my experience of, 168, 169, 181-183
  rigging a sledge, 346

Amusements of childhood, 22

Anabaptist, 14, 15

Angelico, Fra, 368

Antwerp, from, to Dover, 345

Aristotle’s _Ethics_, 220

Arithmetic, ignorance of, 145

Atlantic, passage across, 156

Austen, Miss, 64

Austrian Empire, heterogeneousness of, 326

Authority of Prefects at Winchester, 124

Authorship, my first, 148

Autobiography, my brother’s, 228

Autograph of Byron, remarkable, 92

Auvergnats at Paris, 264


B.

Badger baiting, Winchester, 108

“Badger,” my nickname at Winchester, 170

Bamberg, 17

Barclay, Captain, 218

Barge, from Bruges to Ostend, 290

Bathing, death from excessive, 292

Batten, Rev. Mr., 72

Beattie’s Young Edwin, illustrated, 224, 225

Bedford, Duke of, 2

Bedford Square, 3

Bedsteads at Winchester, 132

Beer Cellar at Winchester, 100

Belgian cities, tour among, 246

Belgiojoso, Princess, 286, 287

Belgium, tour with Fanny Bent in, 254

Bell, Jockey, 47

Bent, Fanny, 32, 37, 247, 254

Bent, Mary, 32

Bent, Rev. John, 32

Bentley, Mr. Richard, 262

_Beppo the Conscript_ written in twenty-four days, 357, 358

Berryer, 280

Birmingham, mastership at, offered me, 255
  delays and disappointments
  about it, 256, 258
  continued disappointment, 294
  I assume my duties at, 349
  difficulties of them, 350, 352
  my life at, 353, 354
  I resign my position at, 355

Bismarck and Metternich, contrast between, 328, 329

Bismarck, Prince, 328, 329

Bloomsbury Square, 3

Boat on the Danube, description of, 308-310

Bohemian waggoners, 327

Bosco, the conjuror, 395

Bowen, Colonel, 386

Bower, Fungy, 145

Bowring, Lucy, 39

Bowring, Sir John, 39

Boy, whole duty of, 13

Brewster, Sir David, 376

Brittany, summer in, 303

Brown’s _Vulgar Errors_, 220

Bruges, I join my parents at, 242
  return to, June, 1835, 290
  my mother quits, 298

Buller, Dean, 38

Bullying at Harrow, 78

Burial of Byron’s daughter at Harrow, 91

Burton’s _Anatomy_, 220

Butler, Rev. Dr., 72, 73, 89

Butt, Dr., M.D., 79, 80

Byron, Lord, 91, 92


C.

Caen, bookseller at; anecdote of, 303, 304

Caermarthen in assize time, 222

_Cain_, Byron’s; Harry Drury and the Vicar on, 91

Calais, journey to, 243
  journey from, to Ostend, 244

Calling “Domum” at Winchester, 107

Calomel, use of, 59

Camaldoli, Sagro Eremo, porter at, 1

Cane _versus_ rod, 351

Canterbury, walk in snow to, 347

Carlyle, Thomas, 45, 263

Carmelite Monastery, library at, 246

Casuistry, extraordinary, 246

Catacombs at Vienna, 341

Cathedral service sixty years ago, 84, 85

Catherine’s, St., Hill, Winchester, 106, 107

Chadwick, Captain, 157, 159

Chalk pit on St. Catherine’s Hill, 110

Chambers at Winchester, 131

Chambers, discipline in, at Winchester, 133, 134

Chancery Lane, 47

Chancery report, extraordinary, 48

Changes, social, 25, 26, 28

Changing horses, coach, 35

Chapel-going at Winchester, 137

Chaplains at Winchester, 138

Chapman, General, 62

Chapone, Mrs., 230

Character from school, my, 24

Charity at Winchester and at Harrow, 77

Charles Dix, 265

Charlotte, Princess, 16

Charlotte, Queen, 136

Chateaubriand, 269, 271, 272, 274

Château d’Hondt at Bruges, 245

Cheddar Cliffs, excursion to, 188

Cincinnati, my mother’s house at, 166
  country around, 168
  Powers, Hiram, at, 176
  life at, 178, 181
  theatricals at, 181
  plans at, 184

Claret _versus_ ale, 46

Clarke, Miss, 271, 272, 285

Class third given me, 216

Classical lesson, giving, in London, 248

“Classicus paper” at Winchester 145

Clements, Mrs., 353

Clergyman’s escape from burning ship, 207

Coaches, names of, 7

Coachman, 35, 36

Cocked hat of master at Winchester disused, 117

Coincidence, singular, 187

Coleridge, S. T., 301

College and Commoners at Winchester, 77

Columbia, near Cincinnati, Mr. Longworth’s estate, 175

“Commercial gentlemen,” dinner with, 222

Confectioner, revisited, 3

“Continent” at Winchester, 120

Conversation sixty years since, anecdote of, 230

“Corduroy” roads, 165

_Corinthian_, the ship, 157

Corporal punishment, objections to, 115, 116

Courage, my boyish notion of, 71, 72

Courier, Austrian, 344, 345

Cousin, 275

Cramer, John, 131, 325

Crediton, near Exeter, 32

Cricket, changes in, 146

Croatian gipsies, 327

Cross, St., near Winchester, 107

Cunningham, Rev. Mr., 88, 91, 151


D.

Dannecker, sculptor, 314

Dante’s _bolgia_, representation of, at Cincinnati, 176, 177

Danube, boats on, 306, 307

Dean Rennell, a Platonist, 142
  anecdotes of, 143

Debating Society at Birmingham, 353

Deck, nights on, 158

Degree, examination for my, 215, 216
  I take my, 257

_Delirant reges plectuntur Achivi_, 212

Delirium, my, in typhus, 79

De Morgan, 364

Devonport Mail (Quicksilver), 32

Dialect, provincial affected, 37, 38
  Devonshire, 43

Dialectical Society, letter to the, 383

Dickens, Charles, 29

Dickson, Colonel, 293

Dinner in Hall at Winchester, 104

Dinner with the Austrian Mail, 344, 345

Discipline by night at Winchester, 121

Dispers at Winchester, 103

Dissenters sixty years ago, 66

Distribution of rations at Winchester, 105

Divinity lectures at Oxford, 242

Docks, the, 9

Dolgelly, ancient custom at, 223

Dons, Oxford, disliked Whately, 197

Door of Fourth Chamber, anecdote, 134

Dorfeuille, M. 176, 177

Dormitories at Winchester, 131

Dover to London in 1834, 247
  under snow, 345

Driving in America, 165, 166
  French, 261

Drury Lane in 1834, 243

Drury, Mrs. Mark, 74, 75

Drury, Rev. Mark, 72, 74, 76, 78, 90

Drury, Rev. Harry, 72, 89, 91, 92

Drury, Rev. William, 72

Dulau, M., 304

“Dulce Domum,” 99

Dunkirk, journey to, 244
  hospitable Frenchman at, 244

Dupotet, Baron, 364, 366

Dusty shoes, 249

Dyer, Lady, 16, 17

Dyer, General Sir Thomas, 17


E.

Echo Song in _Comus_, translation of, 231

Edgware Road, 31

Edwardes, Mrs., 79

Eldon, Lord, 48, 385

Eliot, George, 179

Elliotson, Dr., 366-371

English language not taught, 144

Evangelicalism, 14

Evans, Rev. Mr., 72

Events in life dreaded by me, 71

Exclusiveness, social, less common than formerly, 53

Exe, valley of the, 39

_Exemplum vitiis imitabile_, 357

Exeter Cathedral, 38
  changes in, 41, 42
  garden in, 42

Expectations, my, disappointed, 68

Experiences, new, 163


F.

Fads, the Vicar’s, 21

Fagging at Harrow, 78
  at Winchester, 78
  difference between the two, 78

Falstaff, my impersonation of, 181

Farmer, Nurse, 14, 15

Farnham, “The Bush,” 95

Farren, the actor, 243

Fauche, Mr., 245, 291

Fauche, Mrs., 245, 291, 301

Fayette, La, General, 272

Fellow passengers in steerage, 157, 161

Fieschi, conspirator, 265

Fifth of November in College chapel, 141

Fighting at Winchester, anecdote, 169

Firs on St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, 109

Fives at Winchester, 147

Fives bat, peculiar, 147

Flanders, French, visited, 290

Fleece, Golden, Installation of Knights, 340

Fleet Prison, 47

Flog, word not used at Winchester, 114

“Flower de Luce,” the, 95

Forest primeval disappoints me, 165

_Fortunes of Nigel_, 47

Fouché, police minister, 337-339

Founders’ Commemoration, 141

Founders’ Obit, 141

“Fountain” inn, Canterbury, at the, 347, 348

Franchise, the, Whately on, 207

Franz Vater, Austrian Emperor, 324, 325.

French prisoners, College dole to, 101

Fulham, walk to, 219


G.

Gabell, Miss, 17

Gabell, Dr., 17, 96, 125, 126

_Gaffarel’s Curiosities_, 220

Gaffer Williams, 110

Galicia, peasants from, 327

Gastronomy and “L. E. L.,” 236

Gedge, Mr., 349

Gennaro, Monte, near Rome, 108

Geography, early studies in, 6

Germany, life in, 221
  journey in, 306
  South, impression of, 315

Gibbon, Mrs., 60, 61

Gibbon, Kate, 60, 61

Gig, _Virgil_ lesson in the, 82
  escape in the, 87

Gloucester, adventure at, 83

Goethe, 327
  his _Gretchen_, first performance of, 327

Golden Fleece, Installation of Knights, 340

Gout, Sir F. Milman on, 236

_Grammar, Latin_, my introduction to, 4

_Grandison, Sir Charles_, readings in, 60

Grange, La, La Fayette’s estate, 151

Granger, Edmund, 42

Grant’s family, 257, 294

Granville, Lord, 191

Grattan, T. Colley, 234, 260, 366

Graves, price current of, 225

“Greek Slave,” Power’s statue of, 176

Green, Joseph Henry, 301

Gresley _mésalliance_, 18

Guard, National, in Paris, 268

Guildhall, 9

Guizot, 275, 282, 283

Gumbrell, Mother, 119, 120

Gumbrell, Dicky, 120


H.

Hackney coaches, 29, 30

Hadley, my mother settles at, 298
  life at, 300
  in the garden at, 356

Haldon Down, 39

Haliburton (Sam Slick), 359

Hall, Captain Basil, 232

Hall, Prefect of, at Winchester, 106, 111

Hall, Rev. George, 254, 256

“Halls” and Colleges at Oxford, 192

Hammond, Mr., 301

Hampstead, 9

“Harmony, New,” Miss Wright’s property, 154

Harrow, my father moves to, 61
  farm at, 61
  school, 69, 73, 77
  masters, 72
  my first appearance at, 72, 76
  antagonisms at, 88, 89
  vicarage of, 89, 90
  scandal in parish church of, 90
  extraordinary vestry meeting at, 91
  my parents quit, 228
  Weald, house at, 228
  farm at, 150, 151

Haymarket, the, sixty years ago, 55

Heckfield vicarage, 13, 20
  _versus_ Julians, 63

Herbout, Dr., 253, 294

Heredity, question of, 350

Hereford, Bishop of, 97, 130

Hertford College, 213

Hertfordshire squire, a, sixty years ago, 63

Hervieu, M., 224, 305, 314, 320, 333

Highgate, 9

Hinds, Mr., 193, 195

“_Hoc est Corpus_,” Blanco White’s anecdote of, 208

Hodgson, Mrs. Archdeacon, 237

Holborn, verse-making in, 6

Homilies, passage from, 216

Hoopern Bowers, 39, 40

“Hopkins, Damme,” 140

Hugo, Victor, 277-279
  anecdote of his historical ignorance, 280

Hume (or Home), Daniel, 374, 375, 377, 379-382, 384, 390-392

Hungarian Gipsies, 327

Hungarians, 320

Huntingford, Bishop of Hereford, 127, 129, 130

Hutchinson, Rachel, 39


I.

Ilchester to Ilminster, 36

Ilfracombe, from, to Lynton, 87

Indians, West, at Alban Hall, 193

_Infra dig._, or, _in for a dig_! 234

Innovations at Winchester, 131

Intentions, good, imprudence of registering them, 226

Ireland, Whately’s utterances on, 205, 206

Itchen water-meads, Winchester, 108


J.

Jacobson, Mr., 214-216

Jamaica, Bishop of, 71

Jeune, Dr., 254, 256-258, 294, 349, 354

Jeune, Mrs., 354

Jews at Vienna, 323

Johnson, Dr., of Magdalen, 198

Journey in West of England, 81
  from Vienna to England, 344, 345

Julians, visits to, 63


K.

Kater, Captain, 364

Keppel Street, 2, 4, 5, 16-18, 24-27, 57

Kensington Gardens, 9

Key of the birch cupboard and “Mother Mark,” 75

“King’s Head” Inn, Dover, detention at, 346

Kirkup, Mr. Seymour, 386-389

Kiss of peace, the vicar’s, 93


L.

La Fayette, General, 151, 152

Lafontaine, M., 385, 386

Lamartine, 274

Lamb, Sir F., 331, 332

Lamennais, Abbé de, 281

Landon, L. E., 235

Language, degradation of, 49

Larochefoucauld, Duchesse de, 272

Law, idea of, supremacy of, at Winchester, 202

Leatherhead, Sexton of, 225

“Leave out” at Winchester, 128

Lebanon, Mount, Shaking Quaker establishment, 174

Lectures, classical, Whately’s, useless to me, 196
  logic, Whately’s wit at, 200

Lembach, portrait painter, 329

Leo XIII., 316

Lesson giving in London, 248

Lessons in chapel, extraordinary, 139

Letters, single and double, 55

Librarian at Tübingen, 316

Lincoln’s Inn, 2, 5, 46, 47

Linguistic solecisms, modern, 50

Lipscomb, Rev. Mr., 71

Liszt, 287

Literary judgments of Paris in 1834, 275-277

Little Marlbro’ Street, Lodgings in, 249

Liverpool and Manchester railroad, 223

Livery servant, 4

Livingstone, 82

Lohnkutscher, German, 306

London, changes in, 28, 29, 43, 44

Longworth, Mr., 174, 175

Louis XI., 280

Louis Philippe, 264, 269, 277, 281

Lowth, Dr., 137

Lynmouth as it was, 86

Lynton, sixty years ago, 86, 87

Lyon, John, 69, 73, 77


M.

Macbride, Dr., 213

Mackintosh, Mrs., 292
  Margaret, 292

Macready, Mr. 56

Magdalen College, 46, 198

Magdalen Hall, 213
  society at, 214
  anecdotes of, 214

Magisterial duties, 67

Magnetism, animal, 364, 365
  experiences of, with Baron Dupotet, 365
  with Dr. Elliotson, 366-371
  with Daniel Hume, 374-382
  with Mrs. G----, 383, 384
  with Dr. Willis, 384
  with M. Lafontaine, 385
  with Seymour Kirkup, 386
  with my wife and sister-in-law, 387
  with Alexis, 393
  with performer with slates and pencils, 393

Magnetism, performances of Messrs. Maskelyne & Cooke, 389
  general impression left on my mind, 395

Mail coaches, 33, 34
  racing the, 217
  from Canterbury to London, 349

Malibran, 326

Mancel, M., 303, 304

Manchester, marriages at, 224

Manciple and Bishop, anecdote of, 141

Marriage Service extraordinary, 224

Marsh, G. P., 334

Maskelyne and Cooke, Messrs., 389, 390

Mason, Mr., 349, 353

Massaia, Cardinal, 316

Mathias, Mr. 362

Mattingley near Heckfield, 18

Matriculation, my, 191

Meetkerke, Adolphus, 62, 63, 67, 68
  Mrs., 64, 67
  Mrs. Anne, 64

Melfort, Count, 293

Melhuish, Miss Emma, 367

_Mémoires d’Outretombe_, Chateaubriand’s, 271
  readings from, 272

Metternich and Bismarck contrasted, 328, 329

Metternich, personal appearance of, 330, 331
  his habit at dinner, 333
  his account of his interviews
  with Napoleon, 335
  his story of Fouché, 337
  Princess, 332

Metz, 306

Middle Temple, 2

Middleton, Captain, 244

Mignet, M., 275

Milan, “Untori,” 67

Mills, Rev. Mr. 72

Milman, Lady, 236

Milman, Rev. H., 236-238

Milman, Sir William, 237

Milman, Sir. Francis, 236

Milton, Henry, 219

Milton, Mrs., 231

Milton, Rev. William, 13, 18, 63

Mohl, M., 286

Molière, 231

Montmorenci, picnic at, 288

Mountain, Mrs., 35

Mouse digging at Winchester, 109

Mudie, Mr., 229

Murch, Captain, 256

Music never taught, 148

Mutton at Winchester, 102
  loin of, anecdote of a, 219


N.

Naples, King of, 18
  pocket-picking at, 12

Napoleon, 337, 340

Narrow escape, my, in typhus fever, 79

Nashoba, Miss Wright’s property at, 154

New College, 18
  election to, from Winchester, 96
  privilege now abandoned, 192

New York, first impressions of, 164

Niagara, visit to, 185, 186

Nieufort, gig monstre, 245

Noailles, Duchesse de, 272

“No innovation!”, 129

Normandy, tour in, 302

Northwick, Lord, 61, 76, 90, 150

Nott, Dr., 15, 231, 331, 332


O.

Oath, College, at Winchester, 128

Obedience, anecdote of, 61

Odiam, theatricals at, 231

Offices of Prefects at Winchester, 103

Ogle, Dean, 120

Okey, two sisters, 369-373

Oratorio, Dr. Nott at an, 231

Ordinations by Bishop of Hereford, 129

Oriel College, Whately popular at, 196

_Orley Farm_, my brother Anthony’s, 235

Ostend, society at, anecdotes of 255
  pleasant days at, 291
  tragedy at, 292
  society at, 293

Ovington, 17

Owen, of Lanark, 153

Owen, Dale, 153

Oxford Road, 30, 31
  Street, 31

Oxford, my life at, 217, 220
  general habits at, 217

Oyster soup, anecdote, 301


P.

Pantomime, 22

_Parceque_, and _Quoique Bourbon_, 265

Paris, first visit to, 263
  changes in, 263, 264

Parish Church, sixty years ago, 65

Parodies and jibes ridiculing the Republicans, 267

Partington, Miss, 18

Passenger ship, burning of, 207

Passengers in steerage, 157

Paved roads in France, 261

Pedestrianism, my, 218, 219, 241
  in Wales, 226

Pepe, General Fiorestano, 18

Pepe, General Guglielmo, 17

Personal appearance, my, in youth, 22, 23

Personal superintendence, little, at Winchester, 121

Piccadilly, 6, 7

Picnic at Montmorenci, 288

Pidding, confectioner, 3

Pindar, Peter, 38

Pinner, Lady Milman’s house at, 236

Pittsburg, squalor of, 165

Pleintling, on the Danube, adventure at, 312, 313

Plinlimmon pedestrianism, 226

Plot’s _Oxfordshire_, 220

Plymouth, no tobacconist in, 221

Politics _al fresco_, 264
  at Paris in 1834, 265

Postman, twopenny, 54

Post Office, at the, 31

Poulter, Rev. E., 148

Powers, Hiram, 175-177

Practitioner, country, sixty years ago, 79

Prayer, family, sixty years ago, 64

Prefects, authority of, at Winchester, 124

Prefect’s table at Winchester, 104

Prester John, 10

Price, Dr., 178

Price, Mrs., 178, 180

Professional etiquette sixty years ago, 54

Pronunciation, changes in, 49

Propaganda, Roman, visit at, 316, 317

Provence, Rue de, at Paris, 262

_Purley, Diversions of_, 220


Q.

Quakers, Shaking, visit to, 170-174

Quicksilver mail, 33, 36

Quirinal, anecdote of dinner at, 334


R.

Raglan Castle, 85, 86

Railway, new, Liverpool to Manchester, 223

Ratcliffe, Mrs., 85

Rations at Winchester, 101

Ratisbon, 307, 309

Reading, early lessons, 23

Récamier, Madame, 271, 272, 284, 285

Red Lion Square, 3

Religious education, 13
  at Winchester, 136, 137
  indifferentism at Cincinnati, 178

Remedy ring at Winchester, 111

Rennell, Dean, 129, 142, 143

Republicans, Parisian, in 1834, 266
  feared, 267

Rettich, Madame, 327

Return to England from America, 187

Ridding, Mr., 125, 127

Robbins, Mr., 148

Rocks, Valley of, 87

Rod, Mark Drury and the, 75
  the Winchester, 113

_Rotis volventibus_, 20

Route through Germany, 316

Russell Square, 3

Rymer, Mr., 375


S.

Sabbath observance, Whately on, 200

Saffron Hill, expedition to, 10, 11

St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, 106

St. James’s Park, 9

St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 32

St. Martin’s Lane, pilgrimage to, 72

St. Stephen’s at Vienna, catacombs under, 341

Salisbury, 21

Sand, Georges, 275, 280, 282

Saunders, butler at Pinner, 237

Schiller, 314

School, public, what constitutes a, 73

Schools _versus_ colleges, Whately on, 201

Schwab, Gustav, 315

Scott, Sir W., 86, 223

Scourging, practice and method of, at Winchester, 115

Self-knowledge, disadvantage of, 179

Seniority in college at Winchester, 123

Sermons at the Cathedral, Winchester, 141, 142

Sermon by Bishop of London, 219

Severn, banks of, visited, 226

Seville, anecdote of scene at, 209

Shaking Quakers, visit to, 170-174

Shakespeare, 223

Shopkeepers, Parisian, 268

Shops, non-advertising, obsolete, 45

Shuttleworth, Warden of New
  College antagonism with Whately, 198, 199, 201
  his wit, 200, 238, 239

Shyness, my, 179

Siddons, Mrs., 25

Simon, Saint, 1

Singlestick practice with Anthony, 225

Skerret, Miss Henrietta, 362-365

Skerret, Mrs., 362

Skerret, Miss Maryanne, 362, 363

Skinner, Rev. Mr., 65, 66

Skinner, Rev. Mr., of Bath, 188

Skinner, Miss, 188

Slang, modern, 50
  progress of, 51
  when vulgar, 51;
    and why, 52
  humility in the use of it, 53

Sledge journey from Dover, 346

Smithett, Captain, 235, 247, 293

Snobbishness, absence of, among the Viennese, 321
  anecdote on this subject, 321

Sobriety, my, 217

Somerset, Duke of, 85

Speedyman at Winchester, 99

Spiting Gabell at Winchester, 127

Squire, country, sixty years ago, 64

Squiress sixty years ago, 64

Stage coaches, plans for improving, 19

Stanton, near Monmouth, 23

Steerage passage across the Atlantic, 156

Store Street, 2

Storm at sea, 159

Strasbourg, 306

Stuttgardt, 306

Superannuation at Winchester, 144

Symonds, Dr., 354

Systematic law, force of, at Winchester, 122


T.

_Tabula legum_ at Winchester, 113

Tea-things at Winchester, 100

“Telegraph,” Exeter coach, 36

Temple, the, 46

Temple Bar, 47

Temple, Sir William, 331

Thackeray, Rev. Mr., 299

Thackeray, William M., 288, 358

Thames Embankment, 46

Theatre, visit to, to hear Siddons, 25

Theatres sixty years ago, 55
  reforms in, 56

Theatricals at Cincinnati, 181

Theresa, Saint, 368

Thiers, Ad., 275, 282, 283

Thomason, Sir Edward, 257

Tilley, Sir John, 300

Tintern Abbey, 86

Tomkisson, Mr., 245

Torreborre’s barge, 290, 291

Tottenham Court Road, 2

Traffic between Dover and Canterbury
  stopped, 345

Trapbois, Miss, 47

Travel in West of England, my father’s mode of, 81, 82

Trenton Falls, visit to, 185, 186

Trollope, Thomas Anthony, my father, 2-5, 13, 20, 57, 59-62,
    67, 68, 76, 82, 87, 150, 156, 168, 184, 185, 190, 191
  at the whist table, 58
  his mode of teaching, 58
  his expectations disappointed, 62
  his dispute with Whately, 211
  no fortune hunter, 230
  his failures, 241
  at Bruges, 245
  consultations with French physicians, 263
  his declining health, 294
  his death, 295
  his _Ecclesiastical Dictionary_, 297
  his great industry, 297
  his New College friends, 296
  his unhappy life, 295
  his peculiar temperament, 296

Trollope, Frances, my mother, 59, 83
  journey from Exeter with, 37
  at Cincinnati, 176
  her letters to my father before marriage, 229
  her book on America, 232
    its truthfulness, 232
    its faults, 234
  at Harrow Weald, 235
  effects of her success, 241
  at Bruges, 245
  her terrible time there, 251-253
  her estimate of Chateaubriand, 273
  her _Paris and the Parisians_, 273
  her wonderful recuperative faculty, 299
  her industry, 300
  her account of Danube boat, 307, 308
  consultations with me, 355
  her illness, 359
  settles in York Street, 359

Trollope, Henry, my eldest brother, 21, 79, 153, 166, 184, 250, 251
  his illness, 247, 250, 251
  my last parting with him, 251

Trollope, Anthony, my younger brother, 21, 240, 242, 243, 250, 260, 294
  his autobiography, 228
  at the Post Office, 257
  in Ireland, 258
  in South America, 259
  his judgment of me, 356
  work a necessity to him, 358
  his industry, 359
  his illness, 370

Trollope, Cecilia, my elder sister, 245, 300, 305

Trollope, Emily, my younger sister, 245, 250, 298, 299

Trollope, Rev. Anthony, my grandfather, 63

Tub, Prefect of, at Winchester, 103, 105

Tübingen, adventure at, 315, 316

Tuileries, ball, anecdote, 269

Tunding at Winchester, 111, 112

Tupto, Warden’s nickname, 130

Turbot, mutilated, 293

Tutor and pupil at Winchester, 123

Twistleton family, 70

Tyburn turnpike, 31
  toll man at, 31

Typhus fever, I am attacked by, 79


U.

_Udolpho, Mysteries of_, and Raglan Castle, 85

Upland, 314, 315

Upton Pynes, 39


V.

Vacancies at New College, 99

Varying at Winchester, 119

Vauxhall, excursion to, 240

Verses, nonsense, 5

Vice-Principal’s examination, curious coincidence, 215

Victor Emmanuel, 334

Vienna, journey to, planned, 304,
  arrival at, 317
  Custom House, adventure at, 318
  changes in, 319
  from, to England, 344, 345

Viennese Society, 319
  exclusiveness of, 320
  habits of, 321, 322, 324
  loyal feeling of, anecdote of, 324

Vinerian Fellowship, 3

Voyage down the Danube, 311-313

“Vulgus” at Winchester, 118


W.

Wager between Bishop and Dean, 129

Wall, Mr., 195

Warton, Dr., 135

Warton, Tom, 135, 136

Ways, the parting of the, 356

Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, his liberalism, 191, 204, 207
  purges Alban Hall, 192
  biography of, by Miss Jane Whately, 193, 195, 197
  his methods of teaching, 194
  anecdotes of, 195, 199, 203, 207, 208
  disliked by the Oxford dons, 196
  I did not please him, 196
  his despotic temper, 197
  antagonism with Shuttleworth,
  warden of New College, 199
  his wit, 200;
    specimen of it, 200
  his dislike of Winchester and Wykehamists, 201, 203
  I rubbed him the wrong way, 202
  his remarkable utterances on state of Ireland, 205
  his logic lectures, 200, 203, 210
  his “Liberalism,” good modern “Conservatism,” 207
  his treatment of me, 212

Whately, Miss Jane, 193, 195, 200, 202, 208

Whately, Mrs., 195

Wheeler, Mr., 148

Whipcord and oats, 35

White Bear Inn, 7

White, Blanco, 208-210

Whitefriars, 47

White Horse Cellar, 6, 31
  scene at, 8, 9

Wilkes, Mr., 164, 187

Williams, Dr. David, 24, 110, 115, 125-127, 148

Willis, Dr., of Boston, 384

Wilson, Rev. Daniel, 88

Winchester, Cathedral, chapter of, 15
  restoration of, 16
  my first journey to, 94
  college electors, 69
    election, manner of, 69, 70, 97
    founders kin, 70
    election chamber, 97
      festivities, 98
    phraseology, 101
    rations, 101

Witney, drives to, 217

Woodburn, Rev. Jack, 139

Woolaston, Dr., 364

Work hard, 357

Wright, Camilla, 151, 153

Wright, Frances, 151, 152, 154, 165

Writing master at Winchester, 145

Wye, the, from Chepstow to Ross, 85
  banks of the river, 226

Wykehamists, Whately’s dislike for, 196, 201-203


Y.

York Street, my mother’s house in, 359

Young, Dr., 364

Young, John, 62, 63


Z.

Zandt, Baron de, 17, 221


END OF VOL I


RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LONDON AND BUNGAY.


FOOTNOTES:

[A] Subsequently Master of the Rolls.

[B] My query.





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