All Rights Reserved.
Site last updated
13 January, 2012
Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Chapter X: From Over the Sea, 1853.
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
ROSE COTTAGE, WALWORTH, LONDON, May 2, 1856.
MY DEAR,--This morning Mrs. Follen called and we had quite a chat. We
are separated by the whole city. She lives at the West End, while I am
down here in Walworth, which is one of the postscripts of London, for
this place has as many postscripts as a lady's letter. This evening we
dined with the Earl of Carlisle. There was no company but ourselves,
for he, with great consideration, said in his note that he thought a
little quiet would be the best thing he could offer.
Lord Carlisle is a great friend to America, and so is his sister, the
Duchess of Sutherland. He is the only English traveler who ever wrote
notes on our country in a real spirit of appreciation.
We went about seven o'clock, the dinner hour being here somewhere
between eight and nine. We were shown into an ante-room adjoining the
entrance hall, and from that into an adjacent apartment, where we met
Lord Carlisle. The room had a pleasant, social air, warmed and
enlivened by the blaze of a coal fire and wax candles.
We had never, any of us, met Lord Carlisle before; but the
considerateness and cordiality of our reception obviated whatever
embarrassment there might have been in this circumstance. In a few
moments after we were all seated, a servant announced the Duchess of
Sutherland, and Lord Carlisle presented me. She is tall and stately,
with a most noble bearing. Her fair complexion, blonde hair, and full
lips speak of Saxon blood.
The only person present not of the family connection was my quondam
correspondent in America, Arthur Helps. Somehow or other I had formed
the impression from his writings that he was a venerable sage of very
advanced years, who contemplated life as an aged hermit from the door
of his cell. Conceive my surprise to find a genial young gentleman of
about twenty-five, who looked as if he might enjoy a joke as well as
After the ladies left the table, the conversation turned on the Maine
law, which seems to be considered over here as a phenomenon in
legislation, and many of the gentlemen present inquired about it with
After the gentlemen rejoined us, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll came
in, and Lord and Lady Blantyre. These ladies are the daughters of the
Duchess of Sutherland. The Duchess of Argyll is of slight and fairy-
like figure, with flaxen hair and blue eyes, answering well enough to
the description of Annot Lyle in the Legend of Montrose. Lady Blantyre
was somewhat taller, of fuller figure, with a very brilliant bloom.
Lord Blantyre is of the Stuart blood, a tall and slender young man
with very graceful manners.
As to the Duke of Argyll, we found that the picture drawn of him by
his countrymen in Scotland was in every way correct. Though slight of
figure, with fair complexion and blue eyes, his whole appearance is
indicative of energy and vivacity. His talents and efficiency have
made him a member of the British Cabinet at a much earlier age than is
usual; and he has distinguished himself not only in political life,
but as a writer, having given to the world a work on Presbyterianism,
embracing an analysis of the ecclesiastical history of Scotland since
the Reformation, which is spoken of as written with great ability, and
in a most liberal spirit. He made many inquiries about our
distinguished men, particularly of Emerson, Longfellow, and Hawthorne;
also of Prescott, who appears to be a general favorite here. I felt at
the moment that we never value our own literary men so much as when we
are placed in a circle of intelligent foreigners.
The following evening we went to dine with our old friends of the
Dingle, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cropper, who are now spending a little
time in London. We were delighted to meet them once more and to hear
from our Liverpool friends. Mrs. Cropper's father, Lord Denman, has
returned to England, though with no sensible improvement in his
At dinner we were introduced to Lord and Lady Hatherton. Lady
Hatherton is a person of great cultivation and intelligence, warmly
interested in all the progressive movements of the day; and I gained
much information in her society. There were also present Sir Charles
and Lady Trevelyan; the former holds an appointment at the treasury,
and Lady Trevelyan is a sister of Macaulay.
In the evening quite a circle came in, among others Lady Emma
Campbell, sister of the Duke of Argyll; the daughters of the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who very kindly invited me to visit them at
Lambeth; and Mr. Arthur Helps, besides many others whose names I need
May 7. This evening our house was opened in a general way for
callers, who were coming and going all the evening. I think there must
have been over two hundred people, among them Martin Farquhar Tupper,
a little man with fresh, rosy complexion and cheery, joyous manners;
and Mary Howitt, just such a cheerful, sensible, fireside companion as
we find her in her books,--winning love and trust the very first
moment of the interview.
The general topic of remark on meeting me seems to be, that I am not
so bad-looking as they were afraid I was; and I do assure you that
when I have seen the things that are put up in the shop windows here
with my name under them, I have been in wondering admiration at the
boundless loving-kindness of my English and Scottish friends in
keeping up such a warm heart for such a Gorgon. I should think that
the Sphinx in the London Museum might have sat for most of them. I am
going to make a collection of these portraits to bring home to you.
There is a great variety of them, and they will be useful, like the
Irishman's guide-board, which showed where the road did not go.
Before the evening was through I was talked out and worn out; there
was hardly a chip of me left. To-morrow at eleven o'clock comes the
meeting at Stafford House. What it will amount to I do not know; but I
take no thought for the morrow.
MY DEAR C.,--In fulfillment of my agreement I will tell you, as nearly
as I can remember, all the details of the meeting at Stafford House.
At about eleven o'clock we drove under the arched carriage-way of a
mansion externally not very showy in appearance.
When the duchess appeared, I thought she looked handsomer by daylight
than in the evening. She received us with the same warm and simple
kindness which she had shown before. We were presented to the Duke of
Sutherland. He is a tall, slender man, with rather a thin face, light-
brown hair, and a mild blue eye, with an air of gentleness and
Among the first that entered were the members of the family, the Duke
and Duchess of Argyll, Lord and Lady Blantyre, the Marquis and
Marchioness of Stafford, and Lady Emma Campbell. Then followed Lord
Shaftesbury with his beautiful lady, and her father and mother, Lord
and Lady Palmerston. Lord Palmerston is of middle height, with a keen
dark eye and black hair streaked with gray. There is something
peculiarly alert and vivacious about all his movements; in short, his
appearance perfectly answers to what we know of him from his public
life. One has a strange, mythological feeling about the existence of
people of whom one hears for many years without ever seeing them.
While talking with Lord Palmerston I could but remember how often I
had heard father and Mr. S. exulting over his foreign dispatches by
our own fireside. There were present, also, Lord John Russell, Mr.
Gladstone, and Lord Granville. The latter we all thought very
strikingly resembled in his appearance the poet Longfellow.
After lunch the whole party ascended to the picture-gallery, passing
on our way the grand staircase and hall, said to be the most
magnificent in Europe. The company now began to assemble and throng
the gallery, and very soon the vast room was crowded. Among the throng
I remember many presentations, but of course must have forgotten many
more. Archbishop Whateley was there, with Mrs. and Miss Whateley;
Macaulay, with two of his sisters; Milman, the poet and historian; the
Bishop of Oxford, Chevalier Bunsen and lady, and many more.
When all the company were together, Lord Shaftesbury read a very
short, kind, and considerate address in behalf of the ladies of
England, expressive of their cordial welcome.
This Stafford House meeting, in any view of it, is a most remarkable
fact. Kind and gratifying as its arrangements have been to me, I am
far from appropriating it to myself individually as a personal honor.
I rather regard it as the most public expression possible of the
feelings of the women of England on one of the most important
questions of our day, that of individual liberty considered in its
On this occasion the Duchess of Sutherland presented Mrs. Stowe with a
superb gold bracelet, made in the form of a slave's shackle, bearing
the inscription: "We trust it is a memorial of a chain that is soon to
be broken." On two of the links were inscribed the dates of the
abolition of the slave-trade and of slavery in English territory.
Years after its presentation to her, Mrs. Stowe was able to have
engraved on the clasp of this bracelet, "Constitutional Amendment
(forever abolishing slavery in the United States)."
Continuing her interesting journal, Mrs. Stowe writes, May 9th:--
DEAR E.,--This letter I consecrate to you, because I know that the
persons and things to be introduced into it will most particularly be
appreciated by you.
In your evening reading circles, Macaulay, Sydney Smith, and Milman
have long been such familiar names that you will be glad to go with me
over all the scenes of my morning breakfast at Sir Charles Trevelyan's
yesterday. Lady Trevelyan, I believe I have said before, is a sister
We were set down at Westbourne Terrace somewhere, I believe, about
eleven o'clock, and found quite a number already in the drawing-room.
I had met Macaulay before, but being seated between him and Dean
Milman, I must confess I was a little embarrassed at times, because I
wanted to hear what they were both saying at the same time. However,
by the use of the faculty by which you play a piano with both hands, I
got on very comfortably.
There were several other persons of note present at this breakfast,
whose conversation I had not an opportunity of hearing, as they sat at
a distance from me. There was Lord Glenelg, brother of Sir Robert
Grant, governor of Bombay, whose beautiful hymns have rendered him
familiar in America. The favorite one, commencing
"When gathering clouds around I view,"
was from his pen.
The historian Hallam was also present, and I think it very likely
there may have been other celebrities whom I did not know. I am always
finding out, a day or two after, that I have been with somebody very
remarkable and did not know it at the time.
Under date of May 18th she writes to her sister Mary:--
DEAR M.,--I can compare the embarrassment of our London life, with its
multiplied solicitations and infinite stimulants to curiosity and
desire, only to that annual perplexity which used to beset us in our
childhood on Thanksgiving Day. Like Miss Edgeworth's philosophic
little Frank, we are obliged to make out a list of what man
must want, and of what he may want; and in our list of
the former we set down, in large and decisive characters, one quiet
day for the exploration and enjoyment of Windsor.
The ride was done all too soon. About eleven o'clock we found
ourselves going up the old stone steps to the castle. We went first
through the state apartments. The principal thing that interested me
was the ball-room, which was a perfect gallery of Vandyke's paintings.
After leaving the ball-room we filed off to the proper quarter to show
our orders for the private rooms. The state apartments, which we had
been looking at, are open at all times, but the private apartments can
only be seen in the Queen's absence and by a special permission, which
had been procured for us on that occasion by the kindness of the
Duchess of Sutherland.
One of the first objects that attracted my attention upon entering the
vestibule was a baby's wicker wagon, standing in one corner. It was
much such a carriage as all mothers are familiar with; such as figures
largely in the history of almost every family. It had neat curtains
and cushions of green merino, and was not royal, only maternal. I
mused over the little thing with a good deal of interest.
We went for our dinner to the White Hart, the very inn which
Shakespeare celebrates in his "Merry Wives," and had a most
overflowing merry time of it. After dinner we had a beautiful drive.
We were bent upon looking up the church which gave rise to Gray's
"Elegy in a Country Churchyard," intending when we got there to have a
little scene over it; Mr. S., in all the conscious importance of
having been there before, assuring us that he knew exactly where it
was. So, after some difficulty with our coachman, and being stopped at
one church which would not answer our purpose in any respect, we were
at last set down by one which looked authentic; embowered in mossy
elms, with a most ancient and goblin yew-tree, an ivy-mantled tower,
all perfect as could be. Here, leaning on the old fence, we repeated
the Elegy, which certainly applies here as beautifully as language
Imagine our chagrin, on returning to London, at being informed that we
had not been to the genuine churchyard after all. The gentleman who
wept over the scenes of his early days on the wrong doorstep was not
more grievously disappointed. However, he and we could both console
ourselves with the reflection that the emotion was admirable, and
wanted only the right place to make it the most appropriate in the
The evening after our return from Windsor was spent with our kind
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Gurney. After breakfast the next day, Mr. S.,
C., and I drove out to call upon Kossuth. We found him in an obscure
lodging on the outskirts of London. I would that some of the editors
in America, who have thrown out insinuations about his living in
luxury, could have seen the utter bareness and plainness of the
reception room, which had nothing in it beyond the simplest
necessaries. He entered into conversation with us with cheerfulness,
speaking English well, though with the idioms of foreign languages.
When we parted he took my hand kindly and said, "God bless you, my
I have been quite amused with something which has happened lately.
This week the "Times" has informed the United Kingdom that Mrs. Stowe
is getting a new dress made! It wants to know if Mrs. Stowe is aware
what sort of a place her dress is being made in; and there is a letter
from a dressmaker's apprentice stating that it is being made up
piecemeal, in the most shockingly distressed dens of London, by poor,
miserable white slaves, worse treated than the plantation slaves of
Now Mrs. Stowe did not know anything of this, but simply gave the silk
into the hands of a friend, and was in due time waited on in her own
apartment by a very respectable-appearing woman, who offered to make
the dress, and lo, this is the result! Since the publication of this
piece, I have received earnest missives, from various parts of the
country, begging me to interfere, hoping that I was not going to
patronize the white slavery of England, and that I would employ my
talents equally against oppression in every form. Could these people
only know in what sweet simplicity I had been living in the State of
Maine, where the only dressmaker of our circle was an intelligent,
refined, well-educated woman who was considered as the equal of us
all, and whose spring and fall ministrations to our wardrobe were
regarded a double pleasure,--a friendly visit as well as a domestic
assistance,--I say, could they know all this, they would see how
guiltless I was in the matter. I verily never thought but that the
nice, pleasant person who came to measure me for my silk dress was
going to take it home and make it herself; it never occurred to me
that she was the head of an establishment.
May 22, she writes to her husband, whose duties had obliged him to
return to America: "To-day we went to hear a sermon in behalf of the
ragged schools by the Archbishop of Canterbury. My thoughts have been
much saddened by the news which I received of the death of Mary
"May 30. The next day from my last letter came off Miss
Greenfield's concert, of which I send a card. You see in what company
they have put your poor little wife. Funny!--isn't it? Well, the Hons.
and Right Hons. all were there. I sat by Lord Carlisle.
"After the concert the duchess asked Lady Hatherton and me to come
round to Stafford House and take tea, which was not a thing to be
despised, either on account of the tea or the duchess. A lovelier time
we never had,--present, the Duchess of Argyll, Lady Caroline Campbell,
Lady Hatherton, and myself. We had the nicest cup of tea, with such
cream, and grapes and apricots, with some Italian bread, etc.
"When we were going the duchess got me, on some pretext, into another
room, and came up and put her arms round me, with her noble face all
full of feeling.
"'Oh, Mrs. Stowe, I have been reading that last chapter in the "Key";
Argyll read it aloud to us. Oh, surely, surely you will succeed,--God
surely will bless you!'
"I said then that I thanked her for all her love and feeling for us,
told her how earnestly all the women of England sympathized with her,
and many in America. She looked really radiant and inspired. Had those
who hang back from our cause seen her face, it might have put a soul
into them as she said again, 'It will be done--it will be done--oh, I
trust and pray it may!'
"So we kissed each other, and vowed friendship and fidelity--so I came
"To-day I am going with Lord Shaftesbury to St. Paul's to see the
charity children, after which lunch with Dean Milman.
"May 31. We went to lunch with Miss R. at Oxford Terrace,
where, among a number of distinguished guests, was Lady Byron, with
whom I had a few moments of deeply interesting conversation. No
engravings that ever have been circulated in America do any justice to
her appearance. She is of slight figure, formed with exceeding
delicacy, and her whole form, face, dress, and air unite to make an
impression of a character singularly dignified, gentle, pure, and yet
strong. No words addressed to me in any conversation hitherto have
made their way to my inner soul with such force as a few remarks
dropped by her on the present religious aspect of England,--remarks of
such quality as one seldom hears.
"According to request, I will endeavor to keep you informed of all our
goings-on after you left, up to the time of our departure for Paris.
"We have borne in mind your advice to hasten away to the Continent.
Charles wrote, a day or two since, to Mrs. C. at Paris to secure very
private lodgings, and by no means let any one know that we were
coming. She has replied urging us to come to her house, and promising
entire seclusion and rest. So, since you departed, we have been
passing with a kind of comprehensive skip and jump over remaining
engagements. And just the evening after you left came off the
presentation of the inkstand by the ladies of Surrey Chapel.
"It is a beautiful specimen of silver-work, eighteen inches long, with
a group of silver figures on it representing Religion, with the Bible
in her hand, giving liberty to the slave. The slave is a masterly
piece of work. He stands with his hands clasped, looking up to Heaven,
while a white man is knocking the shackles from his feet. But the
prettiest part of the scene was the presentation of a gold pen
by a band of beautiful children, one of whom made a very pretty
speech. I called the little things to come and stand around me, and
talked with them a few minutes, and this was all the speaking that
fell to my share.
"To-morrow we go--go to quiet, to obscurity, to peace--to Paris, to
Switzerland; there we shall find the loveliest glen, and, as the Bible
says, 'fall on sleep.'
"Paris, June 4. Here we are in Paris, in a most charming
family. I have been out all the morning exploring shops, streets,
boulevards, and seeing and hearing life in Paris. When one has a
pleasant home and friends to return to, this gay, bustling, vivacious,
graceful city is one of the most charming things in the world; and we
have a most charming home.
"I wish the children could see these Tuileries with their statues and
fountains, men, women, and children seated in family groups under the
trees, chatting, reading aloud, working muslin,--children driving
hoop, playing ball, all alive and chattering French. Such fresh,
pretty girls as are in the shops here! Je suis ravé, as they
say. In short I am decidedly in a French humor, and am taking things
quite couleur de rose.
"Monday, June 13. We went this morning to the studio of M.
Belloc, who is to paint my portrait. The first question which he
proposed, with a genuine French air, was the question of 'pose' or
position. It was concluded that, as other pictures had taken me
looking at the spectator, this should take me looking away. M. Belloc
remarked that M. Charpentier said I appeared always with the air of an
observer,--was always looking around on everything. Hence M. Belloc
would take me 'en observatrice, mais pas en curieuse,'--with
the air of observation, but not of curiosity. By and by M. Charpentier
came in. He began panegyrizing 'Uncle Tom,' and this led to a
discussion of the ground of its unprecedented success. In his thirty-
five years' experience as a bookseller, he had known nothing like it.
It surpassed all modern writings! At first he would not read it; his
taste was for old masters of a century or two ago. 'Like M. Belloc in
painting,' said I. At length he found his friend M., the first
intelligence of the age, reading it.
"'What, you, too?' said he.
"'Ah, ah!' replied the friend; 'say nothing about this book! There is
nothing like it. This leaves us all behind,--all, all, miles behind!'
"M. Belloc said the reason was because there was in it more genuine
faith than in any book; and we branched off into florid eloquence
touching paganism, Christianity, and art.
"Wednesday, June 22. Adieu to Paris! Ho for Chalons-sur-Saône!
After affectionate farewells of our kind friends, by eleven o'clock we
were rushing, in the pleasantest of cars, over the smoothest of rails,
through Burgundy. We arrived at Chalons at nine P. M.
"Thursday, 23, eight o'clock A. M. Since five we have had a
fine bustle on the quay below our windows. There lay three steamers,
shaped for all the world like our last night's rolls. One would think
Ichabod Crane might sit astride one of them and dip his feet in the
water. They ought to be swift. L'Hirondelle (The Swallow) flew at
five; another at six. We leave at nine.
"Lyons. There was a scene of indescribable confusion upon our
arrival here. Out of the hold of our steamer a man with a rope and
hook began hauling baggage up a smooth board. Three hundred people
were sorting their goods without checks. Porters were shouldering
immense loads, four or five heavy trunks at once, corded together, and
stalking off Atlantean. Hat-boxes, bandboxes, and valises burst like a
meteoric shower out of a crater. 'A moi, à moi!' was the cry,
from old men, young women, soldiers, shopkeepers, and frères,
scuffling and shoving together.
"Saturday, June 25. Lyons to Genève. As this was our first
experience in the diligence line, we noticed particularly every
peculiarity. I had had the idea that a diligence was a ricketty, slow-
moulded antediluvian nondescript, toiling patiently along over
impassable roads at a snail's pace. Judge of my astonishment at
finding it a full-blooded, vigorous monster, of unscrupulous railway
momentum and imperturbable equipoise of mind. Down the macadamized
slopes we thundered at a prodigious pace; up the hills we trotted,
with six horses, three abreast; madly through the little towns we
burst, like a whirlwind, crashing across the pebbled streets, and out
upon the broad, smooth road again. Before we had well considered the
fact that we were out of Lyons we stopped to change horses. Done in a
jiffy; and whoop, crick, crack, whack, rumble, bump, whirr, whisk,
away we blazed, till, ere we knew it, another change and another.
"As evening drew on, a wind sprang up and a storm seemed gathering on
the Jura. The rain dashed against the panes of the berlin as we rode
past the grim-faced monarch of the 'misty shroud.' It was night as we
drove into Geneva and stopped at the Messagerie. I heard with joy a
voice demanding if this were Madame Besshare. I replied, not
without some scruples of conscience, 'Oui, Monsieur, c'est
moi,' though the name did not sound exactly like the one to which
I had been wont to respond. In half an hour we were at home in the
mansion of Monsieur Fazy."
>From Geneva the party made a tour of the Swiss Alps, spending some
weeks among them. While there Charles Beecher wrote from a small hotel
at the foot of the Jura:--
"The people of the neighborhood, having discovered who Harriet was,
were very kind, and full of delight at seeing her. It was Scotland
over again. We have had to be unflinching to prevent her being
overwhelmed, both in Paris and Geneva, by the same demonstrations of
regard. To this we were driven, as a matter of life and death. It was
touching to listen to the talk of these secluded mountaineers. The
good hostess, even the servant maids, hung about Harriet, expressing
such tender interest for the slave. All had read 'Uncle Tom;' and it
had apparently been an era in their life's monotony, for they said,
'Oh, madam, do write another! Remember, our winter nights here are
Upon their return to Geneva they visited the Castle of Chillon, of
which, in describing the dungeons, Mrs. Stowe writes:--
"One of the pillars in this vault is covered with names. I think it is
Bonnevard's Pillar. There are the names of Byron, Hunt, Schiller, and
ever so many more celebrities. As we were going from the cell our
conductress seemed to have a sudden light upon her mind. She asked a
question or two of some of our party, and fell upon me vehemently to
put my name also there. Charley scratched it on the soft freestone,
and there it is for future ages. The lady could scarce repress her
enthusiasm; she shook my hand over and over again, and said she had
read 'Uncle Tom.' 'It is beautiful,' she said, 'but it is cruel.'
"Monday, July 18. Weather suspicious. Stowed ourselves and our
baggage into our voiture, and bade adieu to our friends and to
Geneva. Ah, how regretfully! From the market-place we carried away a
basket of cherries and fruit as a consolation. Dined at Lausanne, and
visited the cathedral and picture-gallery, where was an exquisite
Eva. Slept at Meudon.
"Tuesday, July 19. Rode through Payerne to Freyburg. Stopped at
the Zähringer Hof,--most romantic of inns.
"Wednesday, July 20. Examined, not the lions, but the bears of
Berne. Engaged a coiture and drove to Thun. Dined and drove by
the shore of the lake to Interlachen, arriving just after a brilliant
"We crossed the Wengern Alps to Grindelwald. The Jungfrau is right
over against us,--her glaciers purer, tenderer, more dazzlingly
beautiful, if possible, than those of Mont Blanc. Slept at
>From Rosenlaui, on this journey, Charles Beecher writes:--
"Friday, July 22. Grindelwald to Meyringen. On we came, to the
top of the Great Schiedeck, where H. and W. botanized, while I slept.
Thence we rode down the mountain till we reached Rosenlaui, where, I
am free to say, a dinner was to me a more interesting object than a
glacier. Therefore, while H. and W. went to the latter, I turned off
to the inn, amid their cries and reproaches.
"Here, then, I am, writing these notes in the salle à manger of
the inn, where other voyagers are eating and drinking, and there is H.
feeding on the green moonshine of an emerald ice cave. One would
almost think her incapable of fatigue. How she skips up and down high
places and steep places, to the manifest perplexity of the honest
guide Kienholz, père, who tries to take care of her, but does
not exactly know how! She gets on a pyramid of débris, which the edge
of the glacier is plowing and grinding up, sits down, and falls--not
asleep exactly, but into a trance. W. and I are ready to go on: we
shout; our voice is lost in the roar of the torrent. We send the
guide. He goes down, and stands doubtfully. He does not know exactly
what to do. She hears him, and starts to her feet, pointing with one
hand to yonder peak, and with the other to that knife-like edge that
seems cleaving heaven with its keen and glistening cimeter of snow,
reminding one of Isaiah's sublime imagery, 'For my sword is bathed in
heaven.' She points at the grizzly rocks, with their jags and spear-
points. Evidently she is beside herself, and thinks she can remember
the names of those monsters, born of earthquake and storm, which
cannot be named nor known but by sight, and then are known at once
perfectly and forever."
After traveling through Germany, Belgium, and Holland, the party
returned to Paris toward the end of August, from which place Mrs.
"I am seated in a snug little room at M. Belloc's. The weather is
overpoweringly hot, but these Parisian houses seem to have seized and
imprisoned coolness. French household ways are delightful. I like
their seclusion from the street by these deep-paned quadrangles.
"Madame Belloc was the translator of Maria Edgeworth, by that lady's
desire; corresponded with her for years, and still has many of her
letters. Her translation of 'Uncle Tom' has to me all the merit and
all the interest of an original composition. In perusing it, I enjoy
the pleasure of reading the story with scarce any consciousness of its
ever having been mine."
The next letter is from London en route for America, to which
passage had been engaged on the Collins steamer Arctic. In it Mrs.
"London, August 28. Our last letters from home changed all our
plans. We concluded to hurry away by the next steamer, if at that late
hour we could get a passage. We were all in a bustle. The last
shoppings for aunts, cousins, and little folks were to be done by us
all. The Palais Royal was to be rummaged; bronzes, vases, statuettes,
bonbons, playthings,--all that the endless fertility of France could
show,--was to be looked over for the 'folks at home.'
"How we sped across the Channel C. relates. We are spending a few very
pleasant days with our kind friends the L.'s, in London.
"On board the Arctic, September 7. On Thursday, September 1, we
reached York, and visited the beautiful ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, and
the magnificent cathedral. It rained with inflexible pertinacity
during all the time we were there, and the next day it rained still,
when we took the cars for Castle Howard station.
"Lady Carlisle welcomed us most affectionately, and we learned that,
had we not been so reserved at the York station in concealing our
names, we should have received a note from her. However, as we were
safely arrived, it was of no consequence.
"Our friends spoke much of Sunmer and Prescott, who had visited there;
also of Mr. Lawrence, our former ambassador, who had visited them just
before his return. After a very pleasant day, we left with regret the
warmth of this hospitable circle, thus breaking one more of the links
that bind us to the English shore.
"Nine o'clock in the evening found us sitting by a cheerful fire in
the parlor of Mr. E. Baines at Leeds. The next day the house was
filled with company, and the Leeds offering was presented.
"Tuesday we parted from our excellent friends in Leeds, and soon found
ourselves once more in the beautiful "Dingle," our first and last
resting-place on English shores.
"A deputation from Belfast, Ireland, here met me, presenting a
beautiful bog-oak casket, lined with gold, and carved with appropriate
national symbols, containing an offering for the cause of the
oppressed. They read a beautiful address, and touched upon the
importance of inspiring with the principles of emancipation the Irish
nation, whose influence in our land is becoming so great. Had time and
strength permitted, it had been my purpose to visit Ireland, to
revisit Scotland, and to see more of England. But it is not in man
that walketh to direct his steps. And now came parting, leave-taking,
last letters, notes, and messages.
"Thus, almost sadly as a child might leave its home, I left the shores
of kind, strong Old England,--the mother of us all."