Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe Chapter XII: Dred, 1856.
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
After reaching England, about the middle of August, 1856, Mrs. Stowe
and her husband spent some days in London completing arrangements to
have an English edition of "Dred" published by Sampson Low & Co.
Professor Stowe's duties in America being very pressing, he had
intended returning at once, but was detained for a short time, as will
be seen in the following letter written by him from Glasgow, August
29, to a friend in America:--
DEAR FRIEND,--I finished my business in London on Wednesday, and
intended to return by the Liverpool steamer of to-morrow, but find
that every berth on that line is engaged until the 3d of October. We
therefore came here yesterday, and I shall take passage in the steamer
New York from this port next Tuesday. We have received a special
invitation to visit Inverary Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll,
and yesterday we had just the very pleasantest little interview with
the Queen that ever was. None of the formal, drawing-room, breathless
receptions, but just an accidental, done-on-purpose meeting at a
railway station, while on our way to Scotland.
The Queen seemed really delighted to see my wife, and remarkably glad
to see me for her sake. She pointed us out to Prince Albert, who made
two most gracious bows to my wife and two to me, while the four royal
children stared their big blue eyes almost out looking at the little
authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Colonel Grey handed the Queen, with
my wife's compliments, a copy of the new book ("Dred"). She took one
volume herself and handed the other to Prince Albert, and they were
soon both very busy reading. She is a real nice little body with
exceedingly pleasant, kindly manners.
I expect to be in Natick the last week in September. God bless you
C. E. STOWE.
After her husband's departure for the United States, Mrs. Stowe, with
her son Henry, her two eldest daughters, and her sister Mary (Mrs.
Perkins), accepted the Duke of Argyll's invitation to visit the
Highlands. Of this visit we catch a pleasant glimpse from a letter
written to Professor Stowe during its continuance, which is as
INVERARY CASTLE, September 6, 1856.
MY DEAR HUSBAND,--We have been now a week in this delicious place,
enjoying the finest skies and scenery, the utmost of kind hospitality.
>From Loch Goil we took the coach for Inverary, a beautiful drive of
about two hours. We had seats on the outside, and the driver John,
like some of the White Mountain guides, was full of song and story,
and local tradition. He spoke Scotch and Gaelic, recited ballads, and
sung songs with great gusto. Mary and the girls stopped in a little
inn at St. Catherine's, on the shores of Loch Fine, while Henry and I
took steamboat for Inverary, where we found the duchess waiting in a
carriage for us, with Lady Emma Campbell. . . .
The common routine of the day here is as follows: We rise about half
past eight. About half past nine we all meet in the dining-hall, where
the servants are standing in a line down one side, and a row of chairs
for guests and visitors occupies the other. The duchess with her nine
children, a perfectly beautiful little flock, sit together. The duke
reads the Bible and a prayer, and pronounces the benediction. After
that, breakfast is served,--a very hearty, informal, cheerful meal,--
and after that come walks, or drives, or fishing parties, till lunch
time, and then more drives, or anything else: everybody, in short,
doing what he likes till half past seven, which is the dinner hour.
After that we have coffee and tea in the evening.
The first morning, the duke took me to see his mine of nickel silver.
We had a long and beautiful drive, and talked about everything in
literature, religion, morals, and the temperance movement, about which
last he is in some state of doubt and uncertainty, not inclining, I
think, to have it pressed yet, though feeling there is need of doing
If "Dred" has as good a sale in America as it is likely to have in
England, we shall do well. There is such a demand that they had to
placard the shop windows in Glasgow with,--
"To prevent disappointment,
Not to be had till," etc.
Everybody is after it, and the prospect is of an enormous sale.
God, to whom I prayed night and day while I was writing the book, has
heard me, and given us of worldly goods more than I asked. I
feel, therefore, a desire to "walk softly," and inquire, for what has
He so trusted us?
Every day I am more charmed with the duke and duchess; they are
simple-hearted, frank, natural, full of feeling, of piety, and good
sense. They certainly are, apart from any considerations of rank or
position, most interesting and noble people. The duke laughed heartily
at many things I told him of our Andover theological tactics, of your
preaching, etc.; but I think he is a sincere, earnest Christian.
Our American politics form the daily topic of interest. The late
movements in Congress are discussed: with great warmth, and every
morning the papers are watched for new details.
I must stop now, as it is late and we are to leave here early to-
morrow morning. We are going to Staffa, lona, the Pass of Glencoe, and
finally through the Caledonian Canal up to Dunrobin Castle, where a
large party of all sorts of interesting people are gathered around the
Duchess of Sutherland.
>From Dunrobin Castle one of his daughters writes to Professor Stowe:
"We spent five most delightful days at Inverary, and were so sorry you
could not be there with us. From there we went to Oban, and spent
several days sight-seeing, finally reaching Inverness by way of the
Caledonian Canal. Here, to our surprise, we found our rooms at the
hotel all prepared for us. The next morning we left by post for
Dunrobin, which is fifty-nine miles from Inverness. At the borders of
the duke's estate we found a delightfully comfortable carriage
awaiting us, and before we had gone much farther the postilion
announced that the duchess was coming to meet us. Sure enough, as we
looked up the road we saw a fine cavalcade approaching. It consisted
of a splendid coach-and-four (in which sat the duchess) with liveried
postilions, and a number of outriders, one of whom rode in front to
clear the way. The duchess seemed perfectly delighted to see mamma,
and taking her into her own carriage dashed off towards the castle, we
following on behind."
At Dunrobin Mrs. Stowe found awaiting her the following note from her
friend, Lady Byron:--
LONDON, September 10, 1856.
Your book, dear Mrs. Stowe, is of the "little leaven" kind, and must
prove a great moral force,--perhaps not manifestly so much as
secretly, and yet I can hardly conceive so much power without
immediate and sensible effects; only there will be a strong
disposition to resist on the part of all the hollow-hearted professors
of religion, whose heathenisms you so unsparingly expose. They have a
class feeling like others. To the young, and to those who do not
reflect much on what is offered to their belief, you will do great
good by showing how spiritual food is adulterated. The Bread from
Heaven is in the same case as baker's bread. I feel that one perusal
is not enough. It is a "mine," to use your own simile. If there is
truth in what I heard Lord Byron say, that works of fiction
lived only by the amount of truth which they contained,
your story is sure of long life. . . .
I know now, more than before, how to value communion with you.
With kind regards to your family,
A. T. NOEL BYRON.
>From this pleasant abiding-place Mrs. Stowe writes to her husband:--
DUNROBIN CASTLE, September 15, 1856.
MY DEAR HUSBAND,--Everything here is like a fairy story. The place is
beautiful! It is the most perfect combination of architectural and
poetic romance, with home comfort. The people, too, are charming. We
have here Mr. Labouchere, a cabinet minister, and Lady Mary his wife,--
I like him very much, and her, too,--Kingsley's brother, a very
entertaining man, and to-morrow Lord Ellsmere is expected. I wish you
could be here, for I am sure you would like it. Life is so quiet and
sincere and friendly, that you would feel more as if you had come at
the hearts of these people than in London.
The Sutherland estate looks like a garden. We stopped at the town of
Frain, four miles before we reached Sutherlandshire, where a crowd of
well-to-do, nice-looking people gathered around the carriage, and as
we drove off gave three cheers. This was better than I expected, and
looks well for their opinion of my views.
"Dred" is selling over here wonderfully. Low says, with all the means
at his command, he has not been able to meet the demand. He sold fifty
thousand in two weeks, and probably will sell as many more.
I am showered with letters, private and printed, in which the only
difficulty is to know what the writers would be at. I see evidently
happiness and prosperity all through the line of this estate. I see
the duke giving his thought and time, and spending the whole income of
this estate in improvements upon it. I see the duke and duchess
evidently beloved wherever they move. I see them most amiable, most
Christian, most considerate to everybody. The writers of the letters
admit the goodness of the duke, but denounce the system, and beg me to
observe its effects for myself. I do observe that, compared with any
other part of the Highlands, Sutherland is a garden. I observe well-
clothed people, thriving lands, healthy children, fine school-houses,
and all that.
Henry was invited to the tenants' dinner, where he excited much
amusement by pledging every toast in fair water, as he has done
invariably on all occasions since he has been here.
The duchess, last night, showed me her copy of "Dred," in which she
has marked what most struck or pleased her. I begged it, and am going
to send it to you. She said to me this morning at breakfast, "The
Queen says that she began 'Dred' the very minute she got it, and is
deeply interested in it."
She bought a copy of Lowell's poems, and begged me to mark the best
ones for her; so if you see him, tell him that we have been reading
him together. She is, taking her all in all, one of the noblest-
appointed women I ever saw; real old, genuine English, such as one
reads of in history; full of nobility, courage, tenderness, and zeal.
It does me good to hear her read prayers daily, as she does, in the
midst of her servants and guests, with a manner full of grand and
Thursday Morning, September 25. We were obliged to get up at
half past five the morning we left Dunrobin, an effort when one
doesn't go to bed till one o'clock. We found breakfast laid for us in
the library, and before we had quite finished the duchess came in. Our
starting off was quite an imposing sight. First came the duke's
landau, in which were Mary, the duke, and myself; then a carriage in
which were Eliza and Hatty, and finally the carriage which we had
hired, with Henry, our baggage, and Mr. Jackson (the duke's
secretary). The gardener sent a fresh bouquet for each of us, and
there was such a leave-taking, as if we were old and dear friends. We
did really love them, and had no doubt of their love for us.
The duke rode with us as far as Dornach, where he showed us the
cathedral beneath which his ancestors are buried, and where is a
statue of his father, similar to one the tenants have erected on top
of the highest hill in the neighborhood.
We also saw the prison, which had but two inmates, and the old castle.
Here the duke took leave of us, and taking our own carriage we crossed
the ferry and continued on our way. After a very bad night's rest at
Inverness, in consequence of the town's being so full of people
attending some Highland games that we could have no places at the
hotel, and after a weary ride in the rain, we came into Aberdeen
To-morrow we go on to Edinburgh, where I hope to meet a letter from
you. The last I heard from Low, he had sold sixty thousand of "Dred,"
and it was still selling well. I have not yet heard from America how
it goes. The critics scold, and whiffle, and dispute about it, but on
the whole it is a success, so the "Times" says, with much coughing,
hemming, and standing first on one foot and then on the other. If the
"Times" were sure we should beat in the next election, "Dred" would go
up in the scale; but as long as there is that uncertainty, it has
first one line of praise, and then one of blame.
Henry Stowe returned to America in October to enter Dartmouth College,
while the rest of the party pursued their way southward, as will be
seen by the following letters:--
CITY OF YORK, October 10, 1856.
DEAR HUSBAND,--Henry will tell you all about our journey, and at
present I have but little time for details. I received your first
letter with great joy, relief, and gratitude, first to God for
restoring your health and strength, and then to you for so good, long,
and refreshing a letter.
Henry, I hope, comes home with a serious determination to do well and
be a comfort. Seldom has a young man seen what he has in this journey,
or made more valuable friends.
Since we left Aberdeen, from which place my last was mailed, we have
visited in Edinburgh with abounding delight; thence yesterday to
Newcastle. Last night attended service in Durham Cathedral, and after
that came to York, whence we send Henry to Liverpool.
I send you letters, etc., by him. One hundred thousand copies of
"Dred." sold in four weeks! After that who cares what critics say? Its
success in England has been complete, so far as sale is concerned. It
is very bitterly attacked, both from a literary and a religious point
of view. The "Record" is down upon it with a cartload of solemnity;
the "Athenaeum" with waspish spite; the "Edinburgh" goes out of its
way to say that the author knows nothing of the society she describes;
but yet it goes everywhere, is read everywhere, and Mr. Low says that
he puts the hundred and twenty-fifth thousand to press confidently.
The fact that so many good judges like it better than "Uncle Tom" is
In my journal to Henry, which you may look for next week, you will
learn how I have been very near the Queen, and formed acquaintance
with divers of her lords and ladies, and heard all she has said about
"Dred;" how she prefers it to "Uncle Tom," how she inquired for you,
and other matters.
Till then, I am, as ever, your affectionate wife,
H. B. STOWE.
After leaving York, Mrs. Stowe and her party spent a day or two at
Carlton Rectory, on the edge of Sherwood Forest, in which they enjoyed
a most delightful picnic. From there they were to travel to London by
way of Warwick and Oxford, and of this journey Mrs. Stowe writes as
follows to her son Henry:--
"The next morning we were induced to send our things to London, being
assured by Mr. G. that he would dispatch them immediately with some
things of his own that were going, and that they should certainly
await us upon our arrival. In one respect it was well for us that we
thus rid ourselves of the trouble of looking after them, for I never
saw such blind, confusing arrangements as these English railroads
"When we were set down at the place where we were to change for
Warwick, we were informed that probably the train had gone. At any
rate it could only be found on the other side of the station. You
might naturally think we had nothing to do but walk across to the
other side. No, indeed! We had to ascend a flight of stairs, go
through a sort of tubular bridge, and down another pair of stairs.
When we got there the guard said the train was just about to start,
and yet the ticket office was closed. We tried the door in vain. 'You
must hurry,' said the guard. 'How can we?' said I, 'when we can't get
tickets.' He went and thumped, and at last roused the dormant
intelligence inside. We got our tickets, ran for dear life, got in,
and then waited ten minutes! Arrived at Warwick we had a very
charming time, and after seeing all there was to see we took cars for
"The next day we tried to see Oxford. You can have no idea of it. Call
it a college! it is a city, of colleges,--a mountain of museums,
colleges, halls, courts, parks, chapels, lecture-rooms. Out of twenty-
four colleges we saw only three. We saw enough, however, to show us
that to explore the colleges of Oxford would take a week. Then we came
away, and about eleven o'clock at night found ourselves in London. It
was dripping and raining here, for all the world, just as it did when
we left; but we found a cosy little parlor, papered with cheerful
crimson paper, lighted by a coal-fire, a neat little supper laid out,
and the Misses Low waiting for us. Wasn't it nice?
"We are expecting our baggage to-night. Called at Sampson Low's store
to-day and found it full everywhere of red 'Dreds.'"
Upon reaching London Mrs. Stowe found the following note from Lady
Byron awaiting her:--
OXFORD HOUSE, October 15, 1856.
DEAR MRS. STOWE,--The newspapers represent you as returning to London,
but I cannot wait for the chance, slender I fear, of seeing you there,
for I wish to consult you on a point admitting but of little delay.
Feeling that the sufferers in Kansas have a claim not only to
sympathy, but to the expression of it, I wish to send them a donation.
It is, however, necessary to know what is the best application of
money and what the safest channel. Presuming that you will approve the
object, I ask you to tell me. Perhaps you would undertake the
transmission of my £50. My present residence, two miles beyond
Richmond, is opposite. I have watched for instructions of your course
with warm interest. The sale of your book will go on increasing. It is
beginning to be understood.
Believe me, with kind regards to your daughters,
Your faithful and affectionate
A. T. NOEL BYRON.
To this note the following answer was promptly returned:--
GROVE TERRACE, KENTISH TOWN, October 16,1856.
DEAR LADY BYRON,--How glad I was to see your handwriting once more!
how more than glad I should be to see you! I do long to see
you. I have so much to say,--so much to ask, and need to be refreshed
with a sense of a congenial and sympathetic soul.
Thank you, my dear friend, for your sympathy with our poor sufferers
in Kansas. May God bless you for it! By doing this you will step to my
side; perhaps you may share something of that abuse which they who
"know, not what they do" heap upon all who so feel for the right. I
assure you, dear friend, I am not insensible to the fiery darts
which thus fly around me. . . .
Direct as usual to my publishers, and believe me, as ever, with all my
H. B. S.
Having dispatched this note, Mrs. Stowe wrote to her husband
concerning their surroundings and plans as follows:--
"Friday, 16th. Confusion in the camp! no baggage come, nobody
knows why; running to stations, inquiries, messages, and no baggage.
Meanwhile we have not even a clean collar, nothing but very soiled
traveling dresses; while Lady Mary Labouchere writes that her carriage
will wait for us at Slough Station this afternoon, and we must be off
at two. What's to be done? Luckily I did not carry all my dresses to
Dunrobin; so I, of all the party, have a dress that can be worn. We go
out and buy collars and handkerchiefs, and two o'clock beholds us at
the station house.
"Stoke Park. I arrived here alone, the baggage not having yet
been heard from. Mr. G., being found in London, confessed that he
delayed sending it by the proper train. In short, Mr. G. is what is
called an easy man, and one whose easiness makes everybody else un
easy. So because he was easy and thought it was no great matter, and
things would turn out well enough, without any great care, we
have had all this discomfort.
"I arrived alone at the Slough Station and found Lady Mary's carriage
waiting. Away we drove through a beautiful park full of deer, who were
so tame as to stand and look at us as we passed. The house is in the
Italian style, with a dome on top, and wide terraces with stone
balustrades around it.
"Lady Mary met me at the door, and seemed quite concerned to learn of
our ill-fortune. We went through a splendid suite of rooms to a
drawing-room, where a little tea-table was standing.
"After tea Lady Mary showed me my room. It had that delightful,
homelike air of repose and comfort they succeed so well in giving to
rooms here. There was a cheerful fire burning, an arm-chair drawn up
beside it, a sofa on the other side with a neatly arranged sofa-table
on which were writing materials. One of the little girls had put a pot
of pretty greenhouse moss in a silver basket on this table, and my
toilet cushion was made with a place in the centre to hold a little
vase of flowers. Here Lady Mary left me to rest before dressing for
dinner. I sat down in an easy-chair before the fire, and formed
hospitable resolutions as to how I would try to make rooms always look
homelike and pleasant to tired guests. Then came the maid to know if I
wanted hot water,--if I wanted anything,--and by and by it was time
for dinner. Going down into the parlor I met Mr. Labouchere and we all
went in to dinner. It was not quite as large a party as at Dunrobin,
but much in the same way. No company, but several ladies who were all
"The following morning Lord Dufferin and Lord Alfred Paget, two
gentlemen of the Queen's household, rode over from Windsor to lunch
with us. They brought news of the goings-on there. Do you remember one
night the Duchess of S. read us a letter from Lady Dufferin,
describing the exploits of her son, who went yachting with Prince
Napoleon up by Spitzbergen, and when Prince Napoleon and all the rest
gave up and went back, still persevered and discovered a new island?
Well, this was the same man. A thin, slender person, not at all the
man you would fancy as a Mr. Great Heart,--lively, cheery, and
"Lord Alfred is also very pleasant.
"Lady Mary prevailed on Lord Dufferin to stay and drive with us after
lunch, and we went over to Clifden, the duchess's villa, of which we
saw the photograph at Dunrobin. For grace and beauty some of the rooms
in this place exceed any I have yet seen in England.
"When we came back my first thought was whether Aunt Mary and the
girls had come. Just as we were all going up to dress for dinner they
appeared. Meanwhile, the Queen had sent over from Windsor for Lady
Mary and her husband to dine with her that evening, and such
invitations are understood as commands.
"So, although they themselves had invited four or five people to
dinner, they had to go and leave us to entertain ourselves. Lady Mary
was dressed very prettily in a flounced white silk dress with a
pattern of roses woven round the bottom of each flounce, and looked
very elegant. Mr. Labouchere wore breeches, with knee and shoe buckles
sparkling with diamonds.
"They got home soon after we had left the drawing-room, as the Queen
always retires at eleven. No late hours for her.
"The next day Lady Mary told me that the Queen had talked to her all
about 'Dred,' and how she preferred it to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' how
interested she was in Nina, how provoked when she died, and how she
was angry that something dreadful did not happen to Tom Gordon. She
inquired for papa, and the rest of the family, all of whom she seemed
to be well informed about.
"The next morning we had Lord Dufferin again to breakfast. He is one
of the most entertaining young men I have seen in England, full of
real thought and noble feeling, and has a wide range of reading. He
had read all our American literature, and was very flattering in his
remarks on Hawthorne, Poe, and Longfellow. I find J. R. Lowell less
known, however, than he deserves to be.
"Lord Dufferin says that his mother wrote him some verses on his
coming of age, and that he built a tower for them and inscribed them
on a brass plate. I recommend the example to you, Henry; make yourself
the tower and your memory the brass plate.
"This morning came also, to call, Lady Augusta Bruce, Lord Elgin's
daughter, one of the Duchess of Kent's ladies-in-waiting; a very
excellent, sensible girl, who is a strong anti-slavery body.
"After lunch we drove over to Eton, and went in to see the provost's
house. After this, as we were passing by Windsor the coachman suddenly
stopped and said, 'The Queen is coming, my lady.' We stood still and
the royal cortege passed. I only saw the Queen, who bowed graciously.
"Lady Mary stayed at our car door till it left the station, and handed
in a beautiful bouquet as we parted. This is one of the loveliest
visits I have made."
After filling a number of other pleasant engagements in England, among
which was a visit in the family of Charles Kingsley, Mrs. Stowe and
her party crossed the Channel and settled down for some months in
Paris for the express purpose of studying French. From the French
capital she writes to her husband in Andover as follows:--
PARIS, November 7, 1856.
MY DEAR HUSBAND,--On the 28th, when your last was written, I was at
Charles Kingsley's. It seemed odd enough to Mary and me to find
ourselves, long after dark, alone in a hack, driving towards the house
of a man whom we never had seen (nor his wife either).
My heart fluttered as, after rumbling a long way through the dark, we
turned into a yard. We knocked at a door and were met in the hall by a
man who stammers a little in his speech, and whose inquiry, "Is this
Mrs. Stowe?" was our first positive introduction. Ushered into a
large, pleasant parlor lighted by a coal fire, which flickered on
comfortable chairs, lounges, pictures, statuettes, and book-cases, we
took a good view of him. He is tall, slender, with blue eyes, brown
hair, and a hale, well-browned face, and somewhat loose-jointed
withal. His wife is a real Spanish beauty.
How we did talk and go on for three days! I guess he is tired. I'm
sure we were. He is a nervous, excitable being, and talks with head,
shoulders, arms, and hands, while his hesitance makes it the harder.
Of his theology I will say more some other time. He, also, has been
through the great distress, the "Conflict of Ages," but has come out
at a different end from Edward, and stands with John Foster, though
with more positiveness than he.
He laughed a good deal at many stories I told him of father, and
seemed delighted to hear about him. But he is, what I did not expect,
a zealous Churchman; insists that the Church of England is the finest
and broadest platform a man can stand on, and that the thirty-nine
articles are the only ones he could subscribe to. I told him you
thought them the best summary (of doctrine) you knew, which pleased
Well, I got your letter to-night in Paris, at No. 19 Rue de Clichy,
where you may as well direct your future letters.
We reached Paris about eleven o'clock last night and took a carriage
for 17 Rue de Clichy, but when we got there, no ringing or pounding
could rouse anybody. Finally, in despair, we remembered a card that
had been handed into the cars by some hotel-runner, and finding it was
of an English and French hotel, we drove there, and secured very
comfortable accommodations. We did not get to bed until after two
o'clock. The next morning I sent a messenger to find Mme. Borione, and
discovered that we had mistaken the number, and should have gone to
No. 19, which was the next door; so we took a carriage and soon found
ourselves established here, where we have a nice parlor and two
There are twenty-one in the family, mostly Americans, like ourselves,
come to learn to speak French. One of them is a tall, handsome, young
English lady, Miss Durant, who is a sculptress, studying with Baron de
Triqueti. She took me to his studio, and he immediately remarked that
she ought to get me to sit. I said I would, "only my French lessons."
"Oh," said he, smiling, "we will give you French lessons while you
sit." So I go to-morrow morning.
As usual, my horrid pictures do me a service, and people seem relieved
when they see me; think me even handsome "in a manner." Kingsley, in
his relief, expressed as much to his wife, and as beauty has never
been one of my strong points I am open to flattery upon it.
We had a most agreeable call from Arthur Helps before we left London.
He, Kingsley, and all the good people are full of the deepest anxiety
for our American affairs. They really do feel very deeply, seeing the
peril so much plainer than we do in America.
Sunday night. I fear I have delayed your letter too long. The
fact is, that of the ten days I have been here I have been laid up
three with severe neuralgia, viz., toothache in the backbone,
and since then have sat all day to be modeled for my bust.
We spent the other evening with Baron de Triqueti, the sculptor. He
has an English wife, and a charming daughter about the age of our
girls. Life in Paris is altogether more simple and natural than in
England. They give you a plate of cake and a cup of tea in the most
informal, social way,--the tea-kettle sings at the fire, and the son
and daughter busy themselves gayly together making and handing tea.
When tea was over, M. de Triqueti showed us a manuscript copy of the
Gospels, written by his mother, to console herself in a season of
great ill-health, and which he had illustrated all along with
exquisite pen-drawings, resembling the most perfect line engravings. I
can't describe the beauty, grace, delicacy, and fullness of devotional
feeling in these people. He is one of the loveliest men I ever saw.
We have already three evenings in the week in which we can visit and
meet friends if we choose, namely, at Madame Mohl's, Madame Lanziel's,
and Madame Belloc's. All these salôns are informal, social gatherings,
with no fuss of refreshments, no nonsense of any kind. Just the
cheeriest, heartiest, kindest little receptions you ever saw.
A kiss to dear little Charley. If he could see all the things that I
see every day in the Tuileries and Champs Elysées, he would go wild.
All Paris is a general whirligig out of doors, but indoors people seem
steady, quiet, and sober as anybody.
November 30. This is Sunday evening, and a Sunday in Paris
always puts me in mind of your story about somebody who said, "Bless
you! they make such a noise that the Devil couldn't meditate." All the
extra work and odd jobs of life are put into Sunday. Your washerwoman
comes Sunday, with her innocent, good-humored face, and would be
infinitely at a loss to know why she shouldn't. Your bonnet, cloak,
shoes, and everything are sent home Sunday morning, and all the way to
church there is such whirligiging and pirouetting along the boulevards
as almost takes one's breath away. Today we went to the Oratoire to
hear M. Grand Pierre. I could not understand much; my French ear is
not quick enough to follow. I could only perceive that the subject was
"La Charité," and that the speaker was fluent, graceful, and earnest,
the audience serious and attentive.
Last night we were at Baron de Triqueti's again, with a party invited
to celebrate the birthday of their eldest daughter, Blanche, a lovely
girl of nineteen. There were some good ladies there who had come
eighty leagues to meet me, and who were so delighted with my miserable
French that it was quite encouraging. I believe I am getting over the
sandbar at last, and conversation is beginning to come easy to me.
There were three French gentlemen who had just been reading "Dred" in
English, and who were as excited and full of it as could be, and I
talked with them to a degree that astonished myself. There is a review
of "Dred" in the "Revue des Deux Mondes" which has long extracts from
the book, and is written in a very appreciative and favorable spirit.
Generally speaking, French critics seem to have a finer appreciation
of my subtle shades of meaning than English. I am curious to hear what
Professor Park has to say about it. There has been another review in
"La Presse" equally favorable. All seem to see the truth about
American slavery much plainer than people can who are in it. If
American ministers and Christians could see through their sophistical
spider-webs, with what wonder, pity, and contempt they would regard
their own vacillating condition!
We visit once a week at Madame Mohl's, where we meet all sorts of
agreeable people. Lady Elgin doesn't go into society now, having been
struck with paralysis, but sits at home and receives her friends as
usual. This notion of sitting always in the open air is one of her
I must say, life in Paris is arranged more sensibly than with us.
Visiting involves no trouble in the feeding line. People don't go to
eat. A cup of tea and plate of biscuit is all,--just enough to break
up the stiffness.
It is wonderful that the people here do not seem to have got over
"Uncle Tom" a bit. The impression seems fresh as if just published.
How often have they said, That book has revived the Gospel among the
poor of France; it has done more than all the books we have published
put together. It has gone among the les ouvriers, among the
poor of Faubourg St. Antoine, and nobody knows how many have been led
to Christ by it. Is not this blessed, my dear husband? Is it not worth
all the suffering of writing it?
I went the other evening to M. Grand Pierre's, where there were three
rooms full of people, all as eager and loving as ever we met in
England or Scotland. Oh, if Christians in Boston could only see the
earnestness of feeling with which Christians here regard slavery, and
their surprise and horror at the lukewarmness, to say the least, of
our American church! About eleven o'clock we all joined in singing a
hymn, then M. Grand Pierre made an address, in which I was named in
the most affectionate and cordial manner. Then followed a beautiful
prayer for our country, for America, on which hang so many of the
hopes of Protestantism. One and all then came up, and there was great
shaking of hands and much effusion.
Under date of December 28, Mrs. Perkins writes: "On Sunday we went
with Mr. and Mrs. (Jacob) Abbott to the Hôtel des Invalides, and I
think I was never more interested and affected. Three or four thousand
old and disabled soldiers have here a beautiful and comfortable home.
We went to the morning service. The church is very large, and the
colors taken in battle are hung on the walls. Some of them are so old
as to be moth-eaten. The service is performed, as near as possible, in
imitation of the service before a battle. The drum beats the call to
assemble, and the common soldiers march up and station themselves in
the centre of the church, under the commander. All the services are
regulated by the beat of the drum. Only one priest officiates, and
soldiers are stationed around to protect him. The music is from a
brass band, and is very magnificent.
"In the afternoon I went to vespers in the Madeleine, where the music
was exquisite. They have two fine organs at opposite ends of the
church. The 'Adeste Fidelis' was sung by a single voice, accompanied
by the organ, and after every verse it was taken up by male voices and
the other organ and repeated. The effect was wonderfully fine. I have
always found in our small churches at home that the organ was too
powerful and pained my head, but in these large cathedrals the effect
is different. The volume of sound rolls over, full but soft, and I
feel as though it must come from another sphere.
"In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Bunsen called. He is a son of Chevalier
Bunsen, and she a niece of Elizabeth Fry,--very intelligent and
Under date of January 25, Mrs. Stowe writes from Paris:--"Here is a
story for Charley. The boys in the Faubourg St. Antoine are the
children of ouvriers, and every day their mothers give them two
sous to buy a dinner. When they heard I was coming to the school, of
their own accord they subscribed half their dinner money to give to me
for the poor slaves. This five-franc piece I have now; I have bought
it of the cause for five dollars, and am going to make a hole in it
and hang it round Charley's neck as a medal.
"I have just completed arrangements for leaving the girls at a
Protestant boarding-school while I go to Rome.
"We expect to start the 1st of February, and my direction will be, E.
Bartholimeu, 108 Via Margaretta."