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Full text of "The autobiography of Jane Fairfield; embracing a few select poems by Sumner Lincoln Fairfield"

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THE 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

OF 

JANE FAIRFIELD; 

EMBRACING 

A FEW SELECT POEMS 

BY 

SUMNER LINCOLN FAIRFIELD. 



BOSTON: 
PUBLISHED BY BAZIN AND ELLSWORTH. 
1860. 



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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by 
JANE FAIRFIELD, 
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



STEREOTYPED AT THIS 
BOSTON - STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY. 



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TO 



MY NOBLE AND ENDEARED COUNTRYMEN, 

WHO HAVE SO LONG AND SO GENEROUSLY SUSTAINED ME,— 
FOB WHOSE SYMPATHY, CHEERFUL ENCOURAGE- 
MENT, AND UNFAILING KINDNESS, 
I AM EVER GRATEFUL,— 

THIS WORK IS RESPECTFULLY 



DEDICATED, 



JANE FAIRFIELD. 



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New Yokk, April 5, 1857. 



To Mrs. Sumner Lincoln Fairfield. 

Dear Madam .• Marked as your life has been by events and circumstances 
of no common order, an intimate acquaintance with the varied phases of 
society, — the little and deceitful, the highborn, the generous and the good, 
— basking, at times, in the sunshine of prosperity 5 at others sinking, from 
untoward circumstances, into the depths of despondency ; again rising from 
its descent by an innate and irresistible energy, breasting the storm, and 
riding securely through the whirlwind, your forthcoming volume cannot but 
be properly appreciated by good taste, fellowship, and generous and kindred 
feeling. 

That this souvenir to your country may, as I am sure it will, long outlive 
the ephemeral productions which dance their hour upon the stage, then pass 
to the land of neglect and oblivion— that it may form in the future a recom- 
pense for the past, — is the sincere desire of yours, 



Very truly, 



JNO. BAKBER. 




PREFACE. 



Justice to myself, and compliance with a long established 
and very proper custom, require that I should introduce my 
book to the public by a Preface. 

I style my work an " Autobiography,'' as it is written by 
its subject ; though the plan was complete, its execution is 
but partial, for reasons that will suggest themselves to the 
reader. 

The record of the life of an individual, and that too of a 
woman ! how pitiful the subject ! how insignificant the space 
of a lifetime, in comparison with that eternity to which we 
are all hastening ! and how slight the probability that the 
events of threescore years, or even of fourscore, in the passage 
of a soul across the stage of time, can interest or instruct 
the mass of readers ! With all the multitudinous events of 
childhood, maturity, and decline, — of love, marriage, and 
maternity, — of joy and sorrow, disease and death, — how 
few will dare to unveil to the eye of the world the complete 
record of a life ? Indeed, the lives of many, perhaps of most, 
of my sex, in the middling and upper ranks of society, con- 
sist of little but childish pleasures, transitory sorrows, flirta- 
tions, with their accompaniments of fashionable frivolity, 
envy, jealousy, and petty scheming, ending in disappointed 
single-blessedness, or a business-like, thoughtless marriage, 
with the monotonous routine of ordinary wedded life, and the 
closing of an eventless career in the family tomb. Even in 




vi 



PREFACE. 



the rare instances where the union of hands is also one of 
souls, the joys of true love and the scenes of a happy home 
are not the proper objects for the public gaze. 

The course of my life, at all events, is not open to the re- 
proach of being tame, spiritless, or void of incident. My 
life ! in these two little words, what a gulf of misery have I 
to look back upon ! the pain of the retrospect is almost as 
acute as that at the time of the actual suffering. 

Crushed in spirits and failing in health, — with a sick, 
mind-clouded, and perishing family dependent on me for sup- 
port, — with a sad and weary heart, I had reconciled myself 
to the idea of laying bare my very soul to the world's inspec- 
tion, as a last resource against the ruin which stared me in 
the face. The struggles of mind and the torturing anxiety 
through which I came to this desperate decision, will be ap- 
preciated by every noble and sensitive reader. I addressed 
myself zealously to the task of recording my varied expe- 
riences, and had written, in my anguish, an account, alas ! too 
complete ; it reflected severely, but justly, upon the principal 
authors of my life's bitterness, who have now passed beyond 
the boundaries of time to the eternal unknown ; but more 
mature reflection and the advice of friends induced me to 
blot out many a dark page of suffering and indignity, that the 
world might have no occasion to pass harsh judgment upon 
those whom even I, their victim, am forbidden to judge. For 
this partial disclosure, this fragmentary record, I may perhaps 
be censured ; but considerations of family ties, and an un- 
willingness to wound the feelings of innocent living kindred, 
forbid the moral wrong I should commit by rehearsing the 
whole story of my wrongs. 

" I could unclasp a secret book, 
And to your quick-conceiving discontent, 
Could read you matter deep and dangerous, — " 

but I refrain, not desirous of reopening wounds which, though 



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PREFACE. 



Vii 



never healed, at least have lost some of their sensitiveness. 
Suffering has been so long the normal condition of my life, 
that griefs which would wear out one accustomed to the hap- 
piness of this world rest kindly and even cheerfully upon me — 
the patient, scarred sufferer of more than twenty years. In- 
deed, were I to write all the interesting events of my life, I 
should fill volumes, whose sad and strange truths would ap- 
pear fabulous ; I should positively be accused of speaking 
untruths, were I to unfold my life in all its cruel disappoint- 
ments and wrongs ; and should render myself liable to the 
charge of attempting to excite, unworthily, the pity of my 
readers. Such, therefore, of my history as is here omitted, is 
better concealed in the most secret chambers of my heart, 
known only to the All-seeing Eye, which alone can read our 
thoughts, and pity and console. 

The great happiness of my life has been to provide for the 
wants of my unfortunate children, to whose still more unfor- 
tunate father I devoted the flower of my days and all the 
energies of my mind. Though anguish and injustice, poverty 
and affliction, have been my constant companions, I have 
hitherto been enabled to w r ear a smiling face, and to extract 
pleasure even from gall and bitterness, under the guiding star 
of Hope and the sustaining encouragement of my children's 
love. My eventful history, though it has modified, has never 
extinguished the naturally buoyant and cheerful element in 
my character ; • and it is my prayer that I may drain to the 
very dregs, if need be, my bitter cup with a smiling counte- 
nance, as long as any of my loved ones look up to it for solace 
and support. 

Of course, a work written amid such anxieties and inter- 
ruptions as was this, cannot be expected to present a uni- 
formly smooth current of narrative ; like my life, it is irregu- 
lar, startling, at times rambling and digressive, but never, I 
trust, dull or inanimate ; like my thoughts and acts, rendered 




viii 



PREFACE. 



mercurial by necessity, my pen cannot move within the nar- 
row lines of conventionalism, and may often have transgressed 
the limits of classical English style. Elegance of language 
and polished periods I have not aimed at ; but clearness and 
conciseness I have endeavored always to preserve. The cir- 
cumstances under which this work has been written, I am 
sure, will protect me from the keen shafts of learned criti- 
cism ; and will induce my readers to pardon much for the in- 
experience and natural emotion of the writer. 

Such as it is — with all its faults — I present this my life- 
picture, sombre though its colors be, to my generous coun- 
trymen. If it afford them even transitory amusement — and 
especially if it enable any of my countrywomen to avoid the 
rock upon which my happiness was wrecked — an ill-judged 
and thoughtless marriage, — I shall feel amply repaid for all 
the pain of its preparation. 

In obedience to a wish expressed by many kind friends, 
I add to my work some of the most popular pieces of my 
husband's composition, that strangers, while they read the 
record of my sufferings, may recognize and do justice to the 
genius which I claim for him. 

Adieu, kind reader. 



" Weave we the woof — the weh is spun — 
The web is wove — the work is done." 



Jane Fairfield. 



Boston, November, 1860. 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGH 

My Parents. — Their Ancestry. — Political Principles of my Father. 

— Childish Impressions. — My Sister. — Difference in our Natures. 

— Piety of my Mother. — Home Influences. 7 

CHAPTER II. 

Our House and Garden. — Fortune-telling. — Changes hegin. — A 
Lady Stranger. — First awakening of Romance. — Meeting with 
the Stranger, and Yisit to her House. — Books borrowed, and read 
to my Parents. — Village Gossips. — Severe Illness. — Taken from 
School. — Somnambulism. — My Sister. — Marie. — Failure of my 
Father. — A Change. — The Sorrow of my Mother, and her Conso- 
lation 11 

CHAPTER III. 

Farewell Consolations of Friendship amid the Scenes of Childhood. — 
My Mother's Sorrow at leaving the Home of her Youth. — The last 
sad Look at old familiar Faces and Places 22 



CHAPTER IV. 

The new Home. — Resolve to begin the Work of Life for myself. — 
Early literary Longings. — Residence with my Uncle, John Frazee, 
Esq., in New York. — His Fame as a Sculptor. — Anecdotes of Dr. 
Bowditch and Daniel "Webster, whose Busts he was commissioned 
to make. — Extracts from his Journal in Relation to distinguished 

(1) 



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2 



CONTENTS. 



Men in Washington, New York, and Boston. — His "Works in the 
Boston Athenseum. — Gay Life in New York, — Malibran. — Revisit 
Home after an Absence of four Years 26 



CHAPTER V. 

Insanity of my Sister. — Music "Worship. — Contrast between Christ 
and his Apostles and their Successors in the Priesthood. — My Re- 
ligious Sentiments. — Dangerous Illness . . 37 



CHAPTER. VI. 

Return to New York. — First Meeting with the Poet Fairfield. — His 
Appearance and Conversation. — Offer of Marriage. — Opposition 
of my Father and Uncle. — Preparation for my Marriage. — Sad 
Thoughts. — The Ceremony and its Festivities. — Bid Adieu to my 
Parents. — A Father's Prophecy and a Mother's Tears. — Arrival 
at Elizabethtown. — Unceremonious Visitors, and a new Phase of 
the " Honey Moon." — Sheriff's Sale. — Return to New York, and 
kind Reception by literary Friends. — Visit of my Uncle. — Genius 
a fatal Gift. — Preparation of my Husband for the Stage. — Appear- 
ance in Boston in the Character of "Norval." — The Tragedy ends 
in a Farce. — Mortification 42 



CHAPTER VII. 

Back to New York. — Accept the Hospitality of Mr. Bryan, of Alex- 
andria. — Attempt to establish a School in Charlestown, Va. — My 
Husband's Letter to my Uncle. — Another Financial Disaster. — 
Arrival at Philadelphia, where my Husband publishes " The Cities 
of the Plain." — "Willis Gaylord Clarke. — College Classmate. . . 57 



CHAPTER VIII. 

My first-born Boy. — Mean Attempts to injure my Husband's Reputa- 
tion, and their Effect on his Spirits. — Defence by George D. Pren- 
tice, Esq. — Mr. F. takes Charge of the Academy at Newtown, Penn. 
— Consolation in my darling Angelo. — Visit Mr. Prentice at Hart- 
ford, Conn. — Misfortunes of literary Marriages, as exemplified in 
Byron, Bulwer, and Dickens. — Death of one of his Pupils by 
drowning, and narrow Escape of my Husband. — The Rest of Death. 
—-My Husband reproaches himself, and gives up his School.— 
Again return to New York, where he obtains a fine Situation as a 



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CONTENTS. 



3 



Teacher. — The insane Poet, McDonald Clarke. — Signor Maron- 
celli. — The unfortunate Daughter of the Artist Stuart. — Lines to 
my sleeping Boy. — Anecdote of Rev. Mr. Dye. — False Position of 
the Clergy. — Introduction to Aaron Burr, and Anecdote of him. — 
My Husband's moody Temper. — His Suffering from Rheumatism. 
— Birth of my second Child, Genevieve. — Assistance from Dr. 
Francis and other Friends. — My Proposal to seek Subscriptions in 
Boston. — Kindness of the Agent of the Coach Line 63 



CHAPTER IX. 

Arrival in Boston. — Very cold "Weather. — Visit to Rev. Dr. Chan- 
ning, and truly Christian Reception by him. — Noble Response of 
Boston Merchants to my Appeal. — Kindness of Editors. — Return 
to New York by Coach, and Overturn in the Snow. — Joyful Meet- 
ing with my Children. — Noble Act of Col. Burr. — Publication of 
the "Last Night of Pompeii," in 1830. — Bulwer's Plagiarism. — 
My Husband's fitful Temper 84 



CHAPTER X. 

Night Musings. — Lovely Nature of my Son Angelo. — My Husband's 
Visit to Washington with his Prospectus of a Quarterly Magazine. — 
Illness and Death of our little Angelo. — Agony of his Father. — 
Return to Philadelphia. — My Determination to carry out the Plan 
of the Magazine. — Unexpected Success, and Issue of the first 
Number 92 

CHAPTER XI. 

My Success only among Gentlemen. —Women rarely Sympathize with 
their own Sex. — Unladylike Conduct of the Wife of a generous 
Husband. — Visit to James Gordon Bennett. — The Poet Halleck. 
— Great Success in New York 99 



CHAPTER XII. 

Debut of Fanny Kemble in Philadelphia. — Triumph over adverse 
Circumstances. — Visit Canandaigua. — Floral Compliment from 
Mr. Wood. — Return to Philadelphia. — Visit to Ex-Minister James 
Brown. — His kind Reception suddenly changed to icy Coldness. — 
His Promise of Relief, and generous Performance of it. — Expense 
of the Magazine. — Long Illness. 103 



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4 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Visit to the South. — The President and his Cabinet. — Hon. Mr. For- 
syth. — Eloquence at the Capitol. — Gen. Jackson's Reception, and 
Characteristic Anecdote. — Gen. Coffee. — Agreeable Reception at 
Savannah. — Courtesy and Kindness of Southern Manners. — Ball 
at Tallahassee, Florida. — Beautiful Ladies. — The Princess Murat. 110 



Arrival at New Orleans. — Flattering Notices from the Picayune, and 
the Press every where. — Agreeable Reception and remarkable Suc- 
cess. — Interview with Capt. M z. — His alarming Inquisitiveness. 

— Note from the Captain. — A Dilemma. — A Duel in Prospect. — 
Arduous Labors of my Husband. — Happiness in my Daughters. — 
Their Physical and Mental Characteristics. — Home Education. — 
My Husband smitten with Epilepsy. — His despondent Nature. — 
His fine Poem of the " Idealist." 117 



The Poet's Decline. — My Determination to collect and publish his 
Poems. — Visit, for this Purpose, Canada and the British Provinces. 
— Flattering Reception in Montreal. — Quebec, the Plains of Abra- 
ham, and the Falls of Montmorenci. — Canadian Traits. — Arrival 
at Halifax, and kind Reception by Mr. Bennet. — Judge Uniacke 
and Col. Starr. — Excitement at Fredericton, N. B., on Account of 
my Name. — Sir John Harvey and his Family. — His Friendship for 
Gen. "Winneld Scott. — Col. Maxwell. — Review of his Regiment in 
my Honor. — Judge Haliburton 130 



Return to Boston. — Visit to Longfellow, the Poet, at Cambridge. — 
Reception from my Children at their Philadelphia Home. — Publica- 
tion of my Husband's "Works in 1841. — Embark for England for 
the Purpose of there republishing my Husband's Poems. — Arrival 
at Liverpool with my Daughter Genevieve. — The Solitude of busy 
London. — Obstacles. — The impersonal Editor of the " Times." — 
Letter from Lady Blessington. — Visit to the Poet Rogers, and 
kind Reception by him. — Interview with Hallam, the Historian. — 
The solitary Life of a great Intellect 145 



CHAPTER XIV. 



CHAPTER XV. 



CHAPTER XVI. 




CONTENTS. 



5 



CHAPTER XVII. 



The Tower of London. — Westminster Abbey. —Lines on Queens 
Elizabeth and Mary. — The Royal Family. — Birth of the Prince 
of Wales. — Luxury and Poverty of London. — Contrast in Amer- 
ica. — Madame Tussaud's Exhibition. — Return Voyage to America. 

— Delay and visiting in the Channel. — Capt. Fitz-Clarence. — Cruel 
Treatment of Mrs. Jordan by William IV. — Genevieve and the Sail- 
ors. — Terrific Storm. — Illness from being thrown from my Berth. 

— Gratitude for my safe Return 158 



Illness at my Father's house in New Brunswick. — Departure for Cuba 
with Genevieve. — Pleasures of Cuba. — Love and Insanity. — Un- 
pleasant Night Drive for the Want of a little Spanish. — Consump- 
tives. — • A Week in the Town of Trinidad. — Fete of Queen Isabella. 
— St. Jago de Cuba. — Sail for Jamaica in a Spanish Man-of-war. — 
Wreck of the Vessel, and narrow Escape with our Lives. — A Boat 
Sail under a Tropical Sun. — Kindness of Mr. Armstrong. — Ar- 
rival at Kingston. — Decline of the Place, and evil Effects of Negro 
Emancipation. — Sail for New Orleans in an old Coal Vessel. — 
Amusement on Board. — Singular Way in which a young Man inher- 
ited an immense Fortune » . 168 



On Arrival first learn of the Death of my Husband and one of my Sons. 
— Happy Meeting with my Children. — My Husband's last Poem to 
me. — Return to New York. — Write my Husband's Biography, by 
the Sale of which to support and educate my Children. — Forebod- 
ings in regard to Genevieve. — Death of my Father and Insanity 
of my Sister. — Removal to Washington. — Genevieve's strange 
Nature. — Her Art Studies with Charles King. — Her Novel, " Genev- 
ra." — Letter from Eugene Sue. — Letters from the Historian Pres- 
cott and the Poet Longfellow in Praise of the Work. — Letters from 
W. B. Phillips in friendly Criticism. — Letters from Anna Cora 
Mowatt, Fitz Greene Halleck, and Rev. S. K. Lothrop 181 



Admiration of Genevieve. — Her Misanthropy and Sarcasm. — Fash- 
ionable and frivolous old Women. — " Irene," by my Daughter Ger- 
trude. — Increasing mental Disease of Genevieve. — Lines from her 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



CHAPTER XX. 



1* 




6 



CONTENTS. 



Father to her, an Infant.— Pass the Winter with her in New Orleans. 
— Leave for Boston, storing my Furniture and Paintings. — Their 
Destruction by Fire. — Flattering Reception of " Irene." — Visit to 
Nahant. — Hopeless and lonely Thoughts suggested by its distorted 
Shore. — Kindness and Characteristics of Bostonians. — Return to 
New York. — Letters from Hon. Alfred Iverson, Mr. S. D. Ander- 
son, and King the Artist. — Threatened Insanity of my youngest 
Son. — My Sorrows and hopeless Toil. — Marriage of Gertrude.-— 
Lines to " Hope," by my Husband. —Ill Luck attending the Acquain- 
tance of Poets. — The Poet North. — His Love for Genevieve. — His 
Suicide. — The " Slave of the Lamp." — " Odin " and the " Spirit's 
Comrade," by North. — Poetry and Fiction, and the dark Shades 
of Life 201 



Genevieve's State of Mind. — Thoughts of placing her in an Asylum. 
— Her Illness in Chicago on our Return from a Journey to Wiscon- 
sin. — Genevieve consigned to the Philadelphia Insane Asylum. — 
My Hopes for her Celebrity dashed to the Ground. — Submission un- 
der my heavy Bereavements. — Visit her after a Separation of sev- 
eral Months. — Apparent Amelioration, and her Return with me to 
my Home. — Hopes of her Recovery. — Relapse into still more violent 
Insanity, and her Return to the Asylum. — Marked Passages from 
Miss Landon, selected by and applicable to herself. — Melancholy 
and painful Nature of the Work now finished. — Evening Twilight 
of the Heart, and calm awaiting of the Time when I shall cast off 
the heavy Burden of my Cares and Sorrows 224 



CHAPTER XXI. 



POEMS. 



Olympiads. — Married Love and Marred Love. 

Sonnet. 

Pere La Chaise 

The Dirge 

The Hour of Death 

Grave Watching 

Sonnet 

The Poet's Night Solitude 

Sonnet. 

The Father's Legacy 

An Evening Song of Piedmont 



231 
237 
238 
241 
244 
247 
249 
250 
254 
255 
259 




THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

OP 

JANE FAIRFIELD. 



CHAPTER I. 



I was born in Rahway, New Jersey, of poor but 
industrious parents, noble by all the ennobling quali- 
ties of the heart, personal worth, and individual merit. 
Under Heaven, their home, their life, their lot, were 
all of their own making. They made for themselves a 
place in the new world. They began life together at a 
period when living, in its best sense, was rough and 
practical. My mother's name was Grummond, of 
French extraction : she was a native of South Orange, 
New Jersey, and the daughter of a farmer. My maid- 
den name was Frazee. 

My father was of Scotch origin ; he possessed equal- 
ly the philosophy, capacity, and genius of that noble 
and unswerving people. He believed that the super- 
structure of life for enjoyment must be a foundation 
for solid work. Thus, with my beloved mother, they 
set themselves together steadily to seek out and fulfill 
the universal law of life, which is labor, life's natural 




8 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



and indispensaole necessity. The better to assist them, 
love came ; not that wild passion or fancy miscalled 
love, but the fervent, the deep and hallowed worship 
of the heart, that finds its happiness, only, in kindness, 
unselfishness, and sympathy. 

My father was a true patriot ; and though he never 
cherished a thirst for war or military glory, he always 
possessed a warm and unwavering spirit of patriotism, 
which he inherited from his ancestors on both sides, 
who were all whigs during the American revolution, 
and who fought bravely and suffered much to wrest 
their beloved country from the iron grasp of intoler- 
ance and oppression. 

As time wore on, my parents found themselves 
quietly happy, surrounded by loving little ones, among 
whom I was the second daughter. 

My first impressions were of the diverse tastes and 
dispositions of the family. My sister being the eldest, 
I observed th& most her nature, which was pensive 
and sad. 

I was an impulsive and energetic child. It was 
this difference in our characters that made us com- 
petitors in affection for each other ; though this could 
hardly be otherwise, with the example set us by our 
beautiful and affectionate mother, whose sweet smiles 
acted as a charm upon our childish hearts, and made 
home the very nucleus of cheerfulness and happiness. 
Bitter or sweet as was her lot, no murmurs ever 
escaped her: no restless longings after what Heaven 
had denied her, of the superfluities of wealth, ever 
troubled her. Her life was a chronicle, the "title 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



9 



page " of which could be read upon her charming and 
benign countenance ; her manner gentle, cheerful, and 
at ease ; her unfailing interest in every thing around 
her, and in all people. Religion sat upon her soul, 
and her profession of it was neither hollow nor false. 
Single-hearted and pure-minded she walked through 
life, suffering as all must, but never defenseless, recog- 
nizing solely and above all her dependence upon God. 

In those days of frugality and self-reliance, people 
were sensible, and ignored extravagance ; they were not 
lavish on their dwellings, dress, and entertainments, 
but used their means in the cultivation of their rural 
homes and the education of their children. 

The household of my mother was conducted on 
quite a different plan from those of the present time. 
Quick and attentive in her simple home, making all 
matters straight, she was one of those whom the wise 
man delighted to praise. 

" She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands 
hold the distaff; she stretcheth out her hand to the 
poor ; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.'' 

Idleness was never known in my mother's dwelling. 
The taxation on all imported articles was so great after 
the war, that none except the most wealthy could fur- 
nish them. Industry, therefore, and prudence, were 
the words most in use in our little home. All articles 
of clothing for the male portion of the family, as well 
as bed and table linen, from the flax and wool to 
the material ready for use, were prepared by the inces- 
sant and individual energy of my mother.. This noble 
economy lessened the personal wants of many families 




10 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



in those days, and left the people free from the ridicu- 
lous and contemptible tyranny into which fashion and 
extravagance would otherwise have plunged them. 

The village of Rahway, at the time of my birth, was 
small. It contained a few wooden houses, distant 
neighbors, a physician, and a church. In this church 
I was baptized when a child. My mother had adopted 
its creed : it was orthodox; of course, her children, 
while young and under her control, bowed at its altar. 
The catechism was learned at an early age, and recited 
to the good old pastor ; but it had little effect upon my 
childish understanding. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



11 



CHAPTEE II. 



" I remember, I remember the house where I was born, 
The little window where the sun came peeping in at morn." 



Attached to the small two-story frame house was a 
finely cultivated garden, of fruit and flowers of every 
hue. Here my sister and myself, when we had finished 
our lessons and duties, repaired together ; and if there 
had been any thing to mar our happiness, here we 
would come to sympathize and encourage each other. 
She inherited a nature so pure and so innocent that she 
seemed incapable of a fault. 

Our garden was our paradise. My father had an 
aged gardener, a very old, faithful, and honest negro, 
who had lived in our family for years ; his name was 
Gray ; he derived his name from his age and his very 
gray hair. This old man was fond of children ; he had 
arrived at second childhood, and their prattle and sim- 
plicity suited him. 

It was his habit to get a number of us near him and 
tell our fortunes by palmistry. I well remember the 
delight he would manifest at our credulity. When it 
came to my turn, he would always repeat the same 
thing ; for he had told it many times. " Your path 
lies across the stormy waters, little missus ; great trav- 
eler — danger, and work, and trouble for you, little 




12 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



missus. 0, x can't tell you all I see — so much trouble; 
but faint not on the journey it is appointed for you to 
go." This man was nearly ninety years old, and had 
passed his life in the village, respected alike for his 
industry and honesty. 

We had now attained the ages of nine and seven. 
During those few years since our birth, there had been 
changes in our family ; human existence brings little 
else. My father had experienced losses — the same 
that every man meets who begins life with nothing but 
labor and luck to sustain him. As our family in- 
creased, perplexities, toils, and anxieties increased with 
it. These things change sometimes the most patient 
and lovely natures, and bring antagonisms of which we 
little dream. I pass over here many recollections of 
incidents so commonly known by all in the dawning 
of life. Childhood is a torturing and most bitter por- 
tion of our existence, from which all suffer nearly 
alike. Eeproof, inflicted mortifications, unanswered 
questions, heartaches and tears, are its guerdon. A 
few incidents, only, of my earlier life I shall note here, 
but pass on to years which brought their melancholy 
hues of experience and vicissitude. 

Though young, my mind had already caught a tone 
of romance. 

There had been living for some years near us a lady 
of great personal beauty and talent, whose beautiful, 
cultivated mind, gave something of romance and 

poetry to her appearance — a Mrs. N n, from 

Rhode Island. There was a mystery attached to her 
history, which caused her to leave her native homo 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



13 



and seek refuge among strangers. She had been liv- 
ing for several years in the neighborhood, unsought, 
and unseeking society. Silent and lonely, she was 
never seen except at church, where she had furnished 
herself with a pew, and sat quite alone. Her walks 
for exercise were through an avenue which led from 
her dwelling and back again. I had, though a child, 
strange and vague thoughts of this lady, and longed 
for nothing so much as to attract her attention. One 
day, late in the afternoon, in company with my sister, 
we took it into our heads to stroll near the avenue, so 
as to be seen by her. She at once spoke to us, with 
a very sweet and gentle tone, with a subdued and tran- 
quil air and manner, but her voice had something in 
it of sadness which affected me almost to tears. She 
said, " My dear children, will you come in with me ? 
I live alone with Annette, my adopted child ; perhaps 
you will join us in a cup of tea." I replied by thank- 
ing her, and said, " We shall be happy to do so, but 
must return hastily, as our mother may feel anxious 
concerning us." 

Her apartments, though plain and simple, were hal- 
lowed with the memories of other and happier years — 
books, music, paintings, and statues, the relics of the 
past. 

Born in a country town, among a people who had 
neither knowledge nor taste for the beautiful, this acci- 
dental and delightful visit was the opening of a new 
life, new influences ; and to this charming woman and 
this visit, in connection with my social intercourse with 
her in after years, I am indebted for the early sym- 



2 




14 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



pathy I felt for literature, poetry, and genius. Her 
reverence for the good and her perception of the gen 
erous were exalted and strong from nature's sympathy 
with her high-toned and ideal mind ; she was eminently 
calculated to win one of my excitable imagination. 
She loaded us with books, authors of whom I had 
never heard, of history, biography, and poetry : for 
these enchanting and soul-absorbing works I neglected 
my school lessons ; for these I was often punished, 
which caused me sadness and embarrassment. 

Among the works this lady wished me to read were 
Madame Oottin's beautiful work, "Elizabeth, or the 
Exile of Siberia," 44 Paul and Virginia," 44 Rasselas, or 
the Happy Yalley," and 44 Young's Night Thoughts." 
" These," she said, 44 will animate and stimulate your 
mind to self-dependence — to heroic and noble deeds." 

One cold and stormy night, after the toils and fret- 
tings of the day were over, I prevailed on my parents 
to allow me to read to them one of the books I had 
borrowed of the stranger. Though I had that morn 
ing wept bitterly over the sorrows of poor Elizabeth, 
to read it again would be a sweet task. Evening came ; 
the fire burned brightly, the old fashioned fire in the 
open chimney place, giving an air of cheerfulness and 
comfort to all around. Our little family drew near 
the hearth, around the little work table ; my father 
sat smoking his pipe, my mother with her knitting- 
work, — her favorite evening employment, — eagerly 
waiting the commencement of the story. I read on. 
When I came to the departure of Elizabeth with the 
old missionary, the farewell with her parents for her 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



15 



lonely pilgrimage through the cold snows of Siberia 
to obtain their release and pardon, we wept the sweet 
tears of sympathy. My father, especially, was deeply 
moved. 0, how I wished that future years might 
bring the trial of my affections in some such sacrifice ! 
Poor child as I was, I little dreamed these wishes, 
made in helplessness, would, in after life, become sadly 
fulfilled. 

In our village there lived the envious and the ill- 
natured ; they exist every where — people who are 
happy at the sorrows and misfortunes of others ; it 
gives them something to talk about. My charming 

friend Mrs. N- n was a subject for speculation : 

who she was, and where she came from, and why she 
came there, greatly interested the gossips and the scan- 
dal-mongers. Stories were circulated, and the gossips 
were busy ; for there, as every where, were not want- 
ing tongues to babble of the dead and wrong the liv- 
ing. Human nature revenges itself by suspicion. 

I think Byron says, or quotes, " Many people have 
the reputation of being wicked with whom we should 
be too happy to pass our lives ; " and so I felt toward 
this lovely woman. 

I was a fitful child, full of changes, passions, and 
sympathies. Eeading now became almost my only oc- 
cupation. I had been suffering with severe attacks of 
chills and fever, which lasted for two long years. This 
terrible illness had so broken my constitution as to 
render me unfit for study ; consequently I was taken 
from school. Half my time, during the long summer 
months, was spent in my little favorite grotto in the 




16 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



garden, reading to my sister and my friend Mary 
Marsh. She was the daughter of a sea captain. Our 
parents were near neighbors ; we were inseparable for 
years; she was the only girl I ever loved: we read 
together many volumes ; from these I contracted early 
in life an existence of my own. These works inspired 
me with love, courage, energy, and fidelity ; many were 
highly picturesque, and highly false. It was well, 
however, I could do so, for the true and the real 
came, alas ! too soon. 

The illness from which I had been suffering rendered 
my appearance shadowy, and greatly impaired my 
nervous system. These severe chills brought on that 
strange and mysterious affection of somnambulism, 
from which I suffered, and which often endangered my 
life. In those nocturnal seasons, although I was very 
feeble, I was stronger, and manifested my natural dis- 
position more than when awake ; I laughed, and sang, 
and danced, and was always merry, to the great dis- 
comfort of my parents. It was not so pleasant a thing 
to be kept awake night after night by such antics as I 
was accustomed to perform ; I was placed for safety 
in a small room from which there was no egress except 
through my parents' apartments, and generally per- 
formed my exploits in their presence ; my father's 
patience often became worn out ; he could not be per- 
suaded but that I knew what. I did. 

I had a horror of darkness, from having heard ghost 
stories repeated to me by a negress, a slave, who be- 
longed to the family of my young friend Mary, so that 
on no account could I be persuaded to enter a room at 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



17 



night, alone, even though I had a light. My eyes, my 
mother said, appeared of uncommon size, as though 
encased in glass, and never winked. To me there 
was always a mystery about one thing : unconscious 
entirely as I was of what I did, if my mother, on my 
going to bed, would remember to warn me against 
rising in my sleep, I never failed to have a quiet night ; 
but if she forgot to do so, I invariably arose. I recol- 
lect on one occasion of being awakened and forcibly 
dragged from off my sister's head, she screaming 
witli fright, I shouting and dancing. On another and 
last occasion of these night perambulations, I sprang 
from my bed, ran through the room to the top of a 
flight of winding stairs, crying fire at the top of my 
lungs. Before my mother could reach me I fell head- 
long to the bottom. I was taken up apparently life- 
less. This had the decided effect of curing me of 
this strange malady. I never more walked in my 
sleep. 

My father never made companions of his children; 
his impressions were, that they must be kept at a dis- 
tance ; there were six of us ; three noisy, mischievous 
boys, who were the youngest, did little else than pester 
and persecute their sisters, as boys usually do. My 
sister was shy and sensitive, and therefore not amusing ; 
a word of reproof or unkindness would chill her heart. 
When alone with her in our garden, among the fruit, 
the birds, and the green foliage, my heart beaming 
with joyousness, she would look into my face and won- 
der what could make me so happy; then a sudden grief 
would come over me at seeing her tears fall on the 




18 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



bright and shining leaves. I could not understand 
the difference in our natures. I received the same 
reproof and underwent the same corrections with her- 
self. It is true, I would suffer for a moment, then 
brush the tears away and turn a minuet, and off I 
would run, as happy as ever. How well I remember 
her sweet face, with her large black eyes, though 
always pensive, always sad. My first real sorrow was 
of my sister. 

The restraint we felt in our father's presence made 
us glad in his absence ; his business often called him 
from home, which always added to our delight, for then 
we could have a good time ; we were free to romp, 
laugh, sing, and tell stories, in all of which I was the 
happy ringleader. My parents were both musical ; my 
mother's voice had the sweetest melody in it, the very 
echo of the pensive airs she taught us ; my father's 
songs were more spirited and impassioned ; I admired 
his choice in all that pertained to cleverness ; his Scotch 
nature made him passionately fond of Burns. A 
thousand times have I sung sweet " Bonnie Doon," 
feeling all the helplessness and sadness its sentiments 
inspire. 

My uncle, my father's brother, possessed great genius 
for music and art ; he discovered my early taste for the 
beautiful, and when he had a leisure hour, would de- 
vote it cheerfully to my instruction. He had the finest 
tenor voice I ever heard ; joined to this was an impas- 
sioned, noble, and soul-stirring nature, which, when he 
sang, affected the heart to tears. My fondness was for 
the sentimental. Gay as was my nature, I could not 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



19 



bear the comic in music ; I loved the sad and plaintive. 
Tom Moore's songs enchanted me ; among these my 
favorite one was " The Meeting of the Waters." 

I have a thousand times blessed the opportunities I 
had in my youth to cultivate this divine — this soul- 
absorbing gift. It has whiled away many a wretched, 
many a desolate and sad hour. Dr. Watts inspired me 
with a love for sacred music — " not through his tame 
versions of King David, for in these he has abused the 
sacred Psalmist, by neutralizing, with his conventional 
metres and silly rhymings, the sublimity and poetic 
beauty of those divine compositions." It was his lyric 
poems that touched my heart for poetry ; there is in 
some of these pieces a sweet and touching truthfulness 
that I loved, and often, when strolling along by the 
streams and solitary places, I have sat down upon 
the green grass, or some rough stone, and sang them 
to the scenery around me. 

" The history of childhood images forth our after 
life ; " even such has been mine ; it has only repeated 
what it learned from the first, — sorrow and disap- 
pointment. Alas ! the familiar objects which surround 
poverty did not wait for me, but greeted me early with 
all its honors. 

I was called the sunny-eyed brunette ; the soft tinge 
of my complexion was the color of the rose-leaf; my 
dark-brown hair floated unbound in long, soft tresses, 
the eyes of those who loved me dwelt upon me with 
mingled pride and tenderness, for there was mind in 
the lofty brow, and heart in the warm, flushed cheek ; 
but what are beauty, mind, and heart to a poor girl 




20 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



but sad gifts, that in after life involve her in an infini- 
tude of trials ? That future lay before me like a vast 
desert. 

A change had come upon my father's fortunes, and 
we were about to leave the home of our birth and child- 
hood for new scenes and new associations. My father 
had for some time been preparing himself to reveal the 
unexpected news of his failure to my mother, who had 
already observed a change in him ; he grew petulant, 
abstracted, and nervous. 

September has always been a fatal month to me. I 
was born in it. Early one September morning, while 
my parents were seated at breakfast, I sat looking 
over my lessons, when on a sudden I heard my mother 
sigh. I looked up, and saw the big tears falling from 
her eyes. I never saw her weep, though ignorant of 
the cause, that I did not also weep with her. I would 
have flown to her and kissed them away, as often 
I had done before ; but my father, whose manner was 
stern toward us, and who always checked these sympa- 
thies by terming them weaknesses, prevented. 0, how, 
at that moment, every tear I had seen her shed, every 
sorrow of the past, seemed to rise up as a recollection 
of her sufferings, each of which, in my childish affec- 
tion, seemed an omen of what was before her. 

A fearful discontent had for some time been gnawing 
at my father's heart; he informed my mother that 
morning that all was lost ; he had failed in business ; 
that our home and lands together, all, had the day 
before been attached — that, in short, we must pre- 
pare as soon as possible to remove from the place, — 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



21 



as soon, at all events, as he could decide where to 
choose. 

We had, all of us, become heart and soul in love 
with our little home, — with its garden, grounds, and 
flowers. We had never seen any thing of life, or been 
farther from home than its environs. 

It was the dearest privilege of my mother to soothe 
the sorrowing, to renovate exhausted nature, by awak- 
ening it with hope and elevating it with the spiritual. 
Her faith in God was too strong ever to give way to 
emotions of despair. She sought her chamber, pecu- 
liarly appropriated to her own use. There, in my 
grief and heart ache, I found her seated by the win- 
dow, sunk into a state of sad and listless reverie. 



Hosted by G00gk 



22 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER III. 



Early the next day, as soon as I had breakfasted, I 
hastened to the house of my friend Mary, with a cloud 
upon my brow and heart, to inform her of our family 
misfortunes. I asked my mother's permission to pass 
the day with her. We immediately prepared to pass 
it in our accustomed rambles. We set off. We had 
not gone far on our way, when our attention was sud- 
denly arrested by a cat in the act of charming a bird. 
She sat crouching with a most strange and eager look, 
with ears erect, her eyes fixed upon those of the poor 
little trembling thing, quivering and coming nearer 
and nearer. In a moment more, but for our acci- 
dental interference, the little songster must have per- 
ished. So, like this little bird, my pathway, during 
helpless childhood, had been beset by dangers from 
which I had been saved by the kind interference of a 
watchful and overruling Providence. 

Proceeding in our walk, we passed through the or- 
chards and fields, where often our occupation had 
been to pluck the fruit and gather the luxuriant straw- 
berry, then onward beyond, a short distance, till we 
had gained the running brook. There, many a bright 
and clear morning, Mary, my sister, and myself had 
bathed in its stream with gladness and merriment in 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



23 



our young hearts. When we came here, we sat down 
upon the green earth, entwined our arms around each 
other, and wept the sincere and poignant tears of child- 
hood. Returning, we made our way home through a 
beautiful wood cleared of underbrush. Here Mary 
and myself had often come attired in simple white, re- 
clining on the green grass, reading some enchanting 
story. We were the happiest of the happy. How I 
realized the descriptions of romance, as we sat in the 
foreground, with our crooks by our side, fancying our- 
selves the shepherdesses we had read of! The sheep, 
however, could never be seen. They were somewhere 
in the background. We thought ourselves images of 
loveliness. 

We returned to our homes after having spent a sad 
but tranquil day amid the dear familiar scenes of child- 
hood. 

On entering the tea room, I found the family seated 
at table. My mother's eyelids were swollen and red ; 
they had evidently been talking over matters. " And 
yet," continued my father, after a pause, u it matters 
not in what shape our trials come to us. I am con- 
vinced that in this life there is no such thing as hap- 
piness. So, my dear wife, let us be as philosophical 
as we can for the sake of our children." I kissed them 
both good night. Weary and fatigued, I went to my 
room, feeling, for the first time in my life, that vague 
presentiment of evil which is its certain forerunner. 
The time drew rapidly near when we were to remove. 
My father had returned from New Brunswick, about 
twelve miles distant, where he had hired a house, and 




24 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



a building suitable to resume his business. I remember 
well the cloud of sadness that settled on my mother's 
face on his return, when she said, " Must we leave all 
to make our home among strangers ? Must we leave 
the home which smiled on us on our wedding day, and 
the dear friends and neighbors with whom 'we have so 
long exchanged kindnesses ? — the church, too, where, 
with our children, we have worshiped ; the graves of 
loved ones, never more to enjoy their sweet conso- 
lation and influences ? " 

My mother was not what is termed a " strong- 
minded woman," who, when shut out from the natural 
sphere of her affections, could resort for enjoyment to 
her consciousness of power ; her happiness was in the 
affections. It was a bitter trial to leave forever the 
home of her youth. To my young heart it was sadder 
than death to leave the paths that had been haunted 
by my childish dreams — to quit the green fields and 
the pleasant garden and grounds in which from infancy 
my heart delighted. It is true, in our home there had 
been sorrows. What cottage or palace is without 
them ? Long vigils, sickness, prayers, and tears had 
been there. My beloved mother, whose best affections 
were with the child most unhappy, most afflicted, — 
now perceived that the dejection of my sister had be- 
come a settled melancholy ; that the life-springs of 
life and thought of her dearest first-born had been 
crushed. Alas ! " the body and the soul are not 
friends, but enemies." The one curbs and confines; 
the other wears and shatters. Yet for all these asso- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



25 



ciations, we loved our abode, for here we had shared 
its joys and sorrows together. 

I passed my time, for the few days we had left us, in 
visiting the old familiar faces and places. I lingered 
for hours in the old churchyard, amidst the graves of 
departed loved ones, and in the church where my 
ancestors had prayed and worshiped. My visit to 
their graves awakened all my childish memories — the 
closing scenes in the lives of my grandparents, my 
cousins, and many of my schoolmates. They had gone 
beyond the scenes of that calm and quiet morning ; 
the breathing of a holy stillness rested upon their 
graves, where the green grass and the wild flowers, as 
they slept in repose, bloomed so sweetly above them. 



3 




26 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER IV. 



Arrived in our new home, it was the happiness of 
each to assist in arranging the affairs for a comfortable, 
if not a luxurious one. It was not long before all 
matters were adjusted, and we were again, each, pur- 
suing our avocations. 

New Brunswick contained at that time about seven 
thousand inhabitants, chiefly of a Dutch population, 
though mixed with others. 

After we had become settled, I rather liked the 
change. I had then just entered my teens. 

My father, who was a manufacturer, began business 
with a new zeal, determined not to retrace or think of 
the past. Novelty sometimes pushes us on. Obstacles 
increase the ardor of some natures. For myself, young 
as I was, I saw plainly that my parents were too poor 
for me to think of remaining as a burden to them, and 
I determined soon to begin the work of life for my- 
self. My education was very imperfect. The best, 
advantages in those days were bad enough. The 
teachers themselves knew but little, especially in those 
small places. 

In this interval of time, I occupied myself industri- 
ously by getting all the information I could from books. 
History, travel, and poetry, and biographies of great 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



27 



men and women were my delight. I loved antiquity, 
and always sought the oldest authors. The lives of 
poets enchanted me. The works of Petrarch, and 
Yirgil, and Torquato Tasso, and Alfieri, and Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu's Letters, I read with inex- 
pressible happiness. With the English poets, also, I 
had become quite familiar, so that my character was 
formed more from reading than any other opportunity 
I had had of improvement. 

I was, by nature, ambitious, and began thus early 
to feel an inexhaustible desire for the society of the 
great and intellectual. I loved my family, but I 
longed for intercourse and congeniality. The only 
persons I had ever met at that time who had inter- 
ested me, were my uncle, who was then living in New 
York, and Mrs. N n, who had evidently discov- 
ered in my young heart a strong desire for knowledge. 
My uncle, John Prazee, Esq., was fast gaining both 
wealth and fame as a sculptor. I had been long 
enough in New Brunswick to discover that it had no 
interest for me. Restless and impatient, feeling a cer- 
tainty that my path in life lay far apart from the dull 
monotony of the unambitious people that surrounded 
me, I proposed to my parents that they should per- 
mit me to reside with my uncle. Once there, I should 
be introduced into the society of his friends. I should 
find myself in an element better suited to my wishes 
and future success. 

There is nothing a firm and resolute mind can not 
accomplish. The moment for my departure was at 
hand. I embraced my dear sister and brothers, while 




28 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



we wept the bitter tears of parting for the first time in 
our lives. I then kissed my dear mother in silence, 
for words could not express the deep suffering I felt at 
parting with her. 

My father, according to my wishes, made ample prep- 
arations for my departure, and accompanied me to 
New York. Our journey thither was by the old turn- 
pike road, by stage coach, to Jersey City. At that 
time there were no steam conveyances. My uncle 
and his family received me with as much kindness as 
though I had been their daughter. This was, indeed, 
a change for me, in which my heart took intense de- 
light. My uncle was engaged in an extensive marble 
business, independent of his art. I took infinite de- 
light in going into his studio to watch the slow prog- 
ress of the busts on which he was at work. 

I now began to cultivate a taste for art, as I had for 
literature. • I was introduced to several celebrities in 
painting ; among them were Mr. Inman and Colonel 
Trumbull, both highly distinguished as artists. Colonel 
Trumbull was advanced in life, and did but little at 
that time. Among his finest productions is the Battle 
of Yorktown, and the surrender of Lord Cornwallis to 
General Washington at Saratoga. These paintings 
ornament the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington. 

The art of sculpture at that time was in its infancy 
in this country. My uncle was the first native Amer- 
ican artist in that line. Crawford, the sculptor, was a 
pupil of my uncle's. 

During the perils and misfortunes of my early life, 
he did so much' to relieve me, that I feel it obli- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



29 



gatory on me, since I have it in my power, to show 
some mark of my gratitude. I therefore extract here 
a few passages from a Journal kept by him. 

" At the instance of my friend, Mr. G. C. Verplanck, 
Congress, in 1831, appropriated five hundred dollars 
for a bust of Chief Justice Jay. In 1833, Messrs. 
Prime, Ward, and King gave me an order to execute 
the bust of Mr. Nathaniel Prime. This opened my 
way to Boston ; it having been seen while in progress 
by Mr. Thomas W. Ward, of that city, while on a 
visit here. Immediately on his return to Boston, he 
proposed to his friends to have the busts of Daniel 
Webster and Dr. Bowditch executed by me for the 
Athenaeum. I was sent for immediately, to proceed 
thither and take the models. Away I went, and soon 
found myself in the society of great and distinguished 
men. This was in October, 1833. When I arrived at 
Boston, and found Mr. Ward, he straightway took me 
to the house of Dr. Bowditch, where I was soon intro- 
duced to this great astronomer and mathematician. I 
found the doctor in fine health and spirits. He had 
not before, it seems, been apprised that I was a native 
artist ; but, from the orthography and sound of my 
name, he had believed that I was a sculptor of some con- 
siderable celebrity, from either France or Italy ; and 
when we came to converse upon the object of my mis- 
sion, and I was revealed to him as a native and self- 
taught artist, who had never trod a foreign soil, he 
began to show symptoms of uneasiness ; and the many 
interrogatories he put to me, concerning what works I 
had done, and with what success, clearly betrayed the 




30 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



anxiety of his mind. I saw plainly that he was fearful 
of being caught in the hands of a charlatan, whose 
unworthy chisel never sought integrity, and whose 
marble would be an enduring libel upon his finely 
formed head and features. Misgivings like these were 
not calculated to cheer the mind of an artist — a 
stranger, too, after being called a distance of two hun- 
dred and fifty miles from his home, upon an engage- 
ment like mine. Still, I could not say that the doctor's 
inquiries were by any means improper ; he made 
them, I am sure, with feelings of delicacy and reserve. 
But it wounded my pride to be obliged to speak for 
myself, or of my own works and their merits ; and, in- 
deed, I said little in reply to his questions, except 
to state the leading facts as to the number of busts I 
had made, leaving their merits to be discussed by my 
employer, Mr. Ward, who assured the doctor, that 
those of my works he had seen and examined gave 
him the fullest confidence in my ability and compe- 
tency as a sculptor. This seemed to reconcile the old 
gentleman, and brighten up his countenance with a 
more cheering and confiding aspect. In less than a 
week from this time, I had modelled the doctor's head 
in clay, to the entire satisfaction of himself and friends. 

" The Hon. Daniel Webster was now called upon to 
sit for his bust, which was completed with equal success 
and approbation. In commencing with Mr. Webster, 
I found him extremely solicitous in regard to his like- 
ness. He said, he hoped I might succeed in obtaining 
a good likeness, which had never been accomplished yet, 
in his own opinion, either by painters or sculptors; 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



31 



all that had hitherto been taken of him, he said, except 
the one by Stuart, were complete caricatures,, and the 
model of him in wax, by Hughes, was of the same 
stamp. He added, 6 1 am the more anxious that you 
should succeed, because this is the last time I ever in- 
tend to sit for my portrait to any one.' I replied that 
I had no fears of being able to do ample justice to the 
work ; and on we went very cheerfully together, until 
the third sitting, when he made use of a few expres- 
sions that did not please me. The truth is, his face is 
a peculiar one, and remarkably different when the 
muscles are in repose, from what it is when under the 
influence of inward emotion. To give myself full time, 
therefore, to study the best expressions which played 
around his mouth and changeable muscles of his face, 
I did not, in the first sittings, hasten to bring out these 
parts, but kept them back, while I worked up the cra- 
nium and less flexible parts of the head. This course 
gave nothing very promising as to the portrait of the 
face, even to the third sitting. Mr. Webster entered 
my room this morning with his usual salutations, and 
walked up to where the model stood, while I was pre- 
paring some clay at the other end of the room. 
6 Well,' said he, in a low tone, as if talking to himself, 
6 I can see no likeness there. I am afraid it is going 
to follow in the track of all the rest.' He then took 
his seat for the work, as usual. I distinctly heard 
every word, and felt somewhat touched that he should 
have expressed his opinion so prematurely, and, as I 
thought, invidiously. 

" I walked up to my work, and as I began to model, 




32 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



thus addressed him: 6 Now, sir, there is one thing 
about this work, which, to insure success, requires our 
mutual good faith and exercise ; that is, we must en- 
deavor to keep cool. If, sir, we but keep cool, there 
will be no sort of difficulty in this business, and suc- 
cess is sure.' 

"While uttering these words, I could discover by the 
flashing of his great dark eyes and the play of his 
lips, that he understood me, that we might pass re- 
ceipts ; and the moment I paused, he broke out very 
good humoredly in reply, thus :' 6 0, I'll keep cool, 
I'll keep cool, if that will do it ; I'll be as cool as a 
cucumber, sir.' And the joke passed off with a hearty 
laugh between us. I had no further trouble. The last 
sitting he gave was, at my request, by candlelight. He 
had been seated a while, when I observed to him how 
much I regretted my misfortune in never having seen 
him in public debate ; that could I have once seen him 
delivering a speech in the Senate Chamber upon some 
important topic, it would have enabled me to delineate 
with greater force the higher mental qualities. To 
this he quickly replied, < If that, Mr. Prazee, will be 
of any service to you, I can go through the business 
for you here right off ; I can show you how we do 
business down yonder' * I said it would oblige me 
very much ; when he at once arose and began, first, 
by stating the preliminaries by the clerk, on the open- 
ing of the Senate, and then the services of the chap- 
lain, personating himself as he usually stands during 
prayer. 



* Meaning at the Capitol. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



33 



" 6 Now,' said he, 4 it is my turn to speak.' He 
then put himself in a most grave and dignified atti- 
tude, looking as if he really saw the president of the 
Senate before him ; then, compressing his keen lips a 
moment, he began, ' Mr. President,' and went on in 
a very animated and impressive speech for a quarter 
of an hour, I working with my might the while in the 
clay, to catch, flying as it were, the vivid and noble 
traits as they flashed upon his strong features. It was 
well done ; and the inspiration of that hour lives, and 
may it long live, in the marble of Daniel Webster. 

" These were finished in last July. Previous to their 
completion, however, in the month of May, I received 
a letter from Colonel Perkins, of Boston, requesting me 
to repair to Richmond, and model the bust of Chief 
Justice Marshall. 6 We intend it,' said he, ' for our 
Boston Athenaeum.' I started immediately for Old 
Virginia, and reached Richmond on the 21st of May. 
I found Judge Marshall at his residence, where I met 
with a frank and friendly reception from him. The 
next day he commenced sitting for his bust. On the 
26th it was finished, packed up, and put on board a 
packet for New York, and I packed in the stage for 
home. I had some business to transact in Washing- 
ton for another person, which obliged me to remain 
there for a week ; and as much of that time was likely 
to be frittered away, I concluded to employ my leisure 
hours in taking the bust of President Jackson. I 
am certain of my complete success with the likeness. 
Shortly after my return home, I was called upon by 
Miss Ann Jay, who commissioned me to execute in 




34 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



marble a copy of the bust of her father, the late 
Chief Justice. It is now nearly finished. Having 
completed the busts of Webster and Bowditch, I 
started with them for Boston on the 26th of July ; 
and in a few days they were delivered safely at the 
Athenaeum. As an evidence of the approbation they 
received, I had not been in Boston a week before I 
was engaged to model and execute in marble four 
more busts, for the Athenaeum, of distinguished indi- 
viduals, namely, Judge Story, of the United States 
Court, Judge Prescott, Colonel Thomas H. Perkins, 
and Mr. John Lowell. Of all these gentlemen I have 
undoubted likenesses, acknowledged to be so by their 
friends, their families, and themselves. Thus, reckon- 
ing the head of C. D. Colden, Esq., I have, within the 
space of one year, modeled nine busts, — seven of 
which are for the Boston Athenaeum, — and have ex- 
ecuted four of them in marble." 

Thus much have I narrated of the life, of the indus- 
try and the success of my kind uncle, at whose house 
and with whose family I found much happiness and 
consolation during the few fleeting years of my girl- 
hood. 

The home of my uncle was always gay during the 
time of his prosperity. Conversational parties, sup- 
pers, musical soirees, — of which he was fond, — mirth, 
and jests, were his delight. His pleasantry, wit, and 
gayety were contagious. His nature was generous 
and free. He received his friends with the greatest 
empressement, and was always in excellent humor; 
added to this he never failed, when occasion required, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



35 



to feel deeply and with sympathy the sorrows of oth- 
ers, and was ever ready to assist when in his power. 

I occupied my time in study, and in rendering to 
my good aunt the assistance she needed in sewing and 
needlework, in which I was quite perfect. My uncle 
often improved on the patterns I had with his beauti- 
ful taste. If I were embroidering a rose, he would dis- 
cover some defect in the want of a bud or a leaf. "We 
were fond of the drama. Large parties of us often at- 
tended the Park, the Old Drury, as it was called. It was 
there I first saw the young, the beautiful Malibran, — 
that immortal songstress, — make her first appearance. 
I had never witnessed an opera before. She could not 
have been more than sixteen years old. The streets 
were lined with carriages, and a gay and fashionable 
crowd filled the house. I saw her years afterward, 
when she had been racked by mental agony and sor- 
row, which, with her genius, added, no doubt, greatly 
to her success. Her large, gleaming eyes, so passion- 
ate and so wild, the soft tones of her lute-like voice, 
have haunted me long after I have heard them. My 
impression is, that none who ever saw her forget her 
to their dying day. 

It was now the opening of the spring of 1826. Four 
years of my youth had passed since I had parted with 
my parents and family. I had written and received 
letters over which I had wept the scalding tears of 
sorrow. Early youth has a degree of acute anguish 
that after years can not know. A sweet instinct told 
me that I was beloved, that anxious and loving hearts 
were open to receive me. 




36 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



I had been long enough in New York already, and 
had seen enough of society, even thus early, to change 
my impressions of what I had fancied so truthful and 
so fascinating. 

I hastily made preparations to leave. I provided 
myself with sufficient wardrobe to remain with my 
mother during the summer. I left my uncle and 
family with regret, to return the following winter. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



37 



CHAPTER V. 



Arreted at New Brunswick, with a beating heart 
and with feelings no words can describe, I found 
myself once more beside my mother's hearth. Tears 
plentifully were shed at our first meeting. She had 
changed. Her sweet, lovely face bore the expression of 
heartache ; deep and bitter anguish sat upon it. She 
had avoided in her letters speaking of my sister ; she 
did not wish to give me pain. But the truth must 
come, and I was not unprepared to meet it. My sis- 
ter had lost her reason. " You would scarcely know 
her again," said my mother, "she is so altered. Some- 
times she raves, then she will sit and not speak for 
hours." She was placed in a room that had been ar- 
ranged for her, and seldom came out of it. 

My parents now found me a grown woman, altered 
in mind and manner, perhaps improved. My father 
questioned me as to my happiness and my liking for 
city life. He too seemed changed, but more contented 
than when I left him. He was again hopeful from busi- 
ness prosperity. 

My brothers had grown, and gone from home. In 
this dull, monotonous town there was nothing to vary 
the scene except church-going. Opposite our residence 
stood the old Episcopal church in which the Reverend 




38 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



Bishop Croise had long officiated. In this church my 
cousin, William Brookfield, Esq., held a pew; he 
kindly invited me to occupy a place in it whenever I 
felt disposed. "While in New York I had visited alter- 
nately churches of all denominations, after the Catho- 
lic Cathedral. If I had any preference for any, it was 
for these two, on account, chiefly, of the music. Like 
King David of old, the truest worship seemed to 
me that of " singing unto the Lord " — to praise him 
with the psaltery and harp. What worship is there so 
inspiring, so elevating, as music? It is intellectual, 
and therefore the heart and mind are in it. My mother 
had enforced upon me, from a child, much Bible read- 
ing. I was, therefore, thoroughly acquainted with its 
wonderful and inspired contents. Born with an inde- 
pendent nature, I was inclined, early, to think and 
seek out for myself — not to rely upon what others 
thought, said, or had done. 

The principles of Christianity my mother taught me 
were all good. To creeds, however, I could not sub- 
scribe. When I came to an age to think and reflect 
for myself, how changed I became ! One Sabbath 
morning, while listening to a sermon by the bishop, 
the life of Christ came to my mind in all its purity 
and simplicity ; all passed before me like a beautiful 
vision. The poverty of his birth, the manger in which 
he was laid — how different, thought I, from the birth- 
place of his successors in the priesthood ! — his after 
life, when he taught his pure and holy precepts to the 
poor people ! The temple in which he worshiped was 
not a costly edifice, but the holy temple of nature ; the 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



39 



mountains and hills echoed forth his divine teachings 
to the houseless poor, Alas ! thought I, the successors 
of poor fishermen have forgotten their origin. They 
march, covered with gold and with purple, proud of 
the spoils of the poor. Instead of the little boats in 
which those gained their living on the Lake of Genes- 
are th, these inhabit superb palaces. To the most simple 
repasts have succeeded the most sumptuous feasts ; 
and where the apostles went on foot, priests are now 
seen driving in ornamented carriages. 

I could never profess to be any thing. It is the 
same in friendship as religion ; although I knew my 
heart sincere, the moment I began to assert it I would 
doubt my sincerity. If I attended church or joined in 
church service, the moment I heard my voice repeating 
after the clergyman I doubted my sincerity, simply be- 
cause I was making a show of what ought to be done 
in my closet, in secret, before God. There was always 
an enthusiastic love which I felt for the Inexhaustible 
Goodness, — for the Supreme Being, — before whom, in 
my heart, I ever prostrated myself. When my thoughts 
take the highest flight of which they are capable, in 
gratitude they raise themselves in a sort of invocation 
with these words : Thy name, God, is wisdom. 
" Thy name is love." Have pity upon thy poor, de- 
pendent child. This is not precisely prayer, but rather 
homage. 

During the early spring of that year I did all I could 
to console my family, especially my poor, afflicted sister. 
She seemed to have thought me dead. She grieved 
and grew worse after I had left home. I could fill a 




40 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



volume with the intense sufferings I underwent during 
my short stay, from spring to the ensuing autumn ; 
there is enough before me without lingering long on 
the sorrows of the past. 

The July of that summer was an intensely hot 
month. I had taken a severe cold from walking out 
with my acquaintances during evenings, which, in a 
short time, laid me on a bed of illness ; a severe attack 
of bilious fever set in, which terminated in the dan- 
gerous type of typhoid. My father's family physician 
was called in, who informed my parents that my illness 
was a dangerous one. 

My dear mother's vigils and prayers for me were 
unremitting, as nightly she sat by my bed watching 
the short breathing occasioned by the burning fever 
that had prostrated me. In a few days I had become 
entirely insensible, and lay as one dying. So low was 
I, that my death had been circulated through the town. 
My physician, Dr. Jacob Dunham, to whose devoted 
attention and care (under Providence) I owe my life, 
when the crisis arrived, which, during the day, would 
decide my fate, came in the morning, and remained 
the entire day. He sat by my bedside with his watch 
in his hand, faithfully administering the medicine. 
My father and mother had retired to another room ; 
there, in hopelessness and grief, to await the will of 
Heaven toward their child. 

The doctor sat holding my hand, with his finger on 
my pulse, listening most intently to my breathing, 
when suddenly I opened my eyes ; consciousness was 
returning ; a perspiration was perceptible. I spoke 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



41 



for the first time for several days. I asked for my 
mother. My kind and endeared physician hastily arose 
and joined my parents, with the happy assurance that, 
with care and prudence, I should get well. 

My strength, with convalescence, gradually returned, 
so that in a few days the doctor thought I might ven- 
ture to walk with my mother a half a square. I took 
her arm, for I was too feeble to sustain myself. Nature 
never looked so lovely as it did at that moment ; the 
earth, the sky, — all things seemed so joyous ; the air 
that fanned my cheek seemed purer than I had ever 
felt it. The singing of the wind, like a natural lute, 
plaining through the leaves of some fine old trees 
we passed, — all combined to carry me out of myself. 
I felt grateful and subdued, as all do, coming out of a 
dangerous illness ; a thousand vague and sweet emo- 
tions came over me, and I was happier and better for 
this affliction. 

A few days in August had flown by, when I received 
an affectionate letter from my uncle, inviting my 
return. I again bade adieu to home and parents, but 
with less acute feelings than when I first left them. 




42 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



CHAPTEE VI. 



4< The maiden leaves her childhood and her home, 
All that the past has known of happy hours, — 
Perhaps. her happiest ones: well may there be 
A faint van color on those orange flowers." 



My aunt and uncle received me with caresses and 
open arms, for I had by some means won their sin- 
cere affections. Many inquiries had been made about 
me, and cards and notes had been left. Some months 
before I left my uncle's to visit my parents, I had been 
introduced to a Colonel S., a gentleman of talent and 
position as a lawyer. During our short acquaintance 
he had often spoken to me of a young friend of his, 
then traveling in Europe. This friend was the poet 
Fairfield. He had also presented me with the copies 
of a literary paper, which contained his letters of travel 
in England and France, which I had read with much 
interest. The periodical containing these letters was 
edited by the poet James G-. Brooks, Esq. Mr. Fair- 
field had arrived in New York, from Paris, during the 
month of July. The following August I was introduced 
to him at the house of a young friend I then had resid- 
ing at Jersey City. It was on the occasion of a small 
party given by the beautiful Miss Bucknor, who, at my 
request, had extended an invitation to the poet, through 
ColonelS. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



43 



A few moments only had passed after the introduc- 
tions were given, when the poet seated himself by me, 
at an open window, greatly to the chagrin of many of 
the young ladies present, who, like myself, had a pen- 
chant for poets. Our conversation was upon his travels. 
His eloquence and powers of description were so graphic 
as to enchant me ; his appearance I thought remark- 
able ; his complexion was dark, with strongly-marked 
features. It was one of those faces one might term 
great, without being fascinating. There was something 
wanting of softness in his countenance, as well as 
manner. I was captivated by his intelligence and 
genius. At eleven o'clock our party dispersed. We 
took the last ferry-boat for that night which crossed 
to the city. It was too late to find a carriage ; so we 
walked to my uncle's. As the gentleman left me, 
Mr. F. asked my permission to visit me the following 
morning, to which request I politely consented. 

The next morning the poet made his appearance, 
with a huge portfolio under his arm. Seating himself, 
he immediately presented me with a sonnet he had 
written the previous night after leaving me, addressed 
" to a lady's eyes." I thanked him, blushing, but did 
not read it in his presence. He appeared confused, as 
all do who are about to make a proposal on a grave 
subject, on doubtful grounds of acceptance. With a 
woman's instinct I saw it all. 

He sat a half hour without saying much, and left. 
I received a letter the next morning early, by post. I 
opened and read it. It was a proposal. I had not the 
slightest idea at that moment of accepting his or any 




44 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



other offer of marriage. I was young, and had thus 
early begun to prize my liberty too well to part with 
it so soon. 

I answered his letter, and told him so. So far from 
chilling, it only renewed his ardor. The day following 
he came again. We had a long conversation, in which 
I told him frankly my position and situation — that I 
was the daughter of poor but respectable parentage ; 
so that if he had entertained any thoughts of a pecu- 
niary advantage, he was at once undeceived. He then 
related to me his own prospects, which were chiefly 
dependent on his future literary career. 

I immediately informed my uncle of this strange 
offer of marriage. He seemed surprised, and did not, 
of course, on account of its suddenness, encourage me ; 
bade me ponder well before embarking on a voyage 
which, as he said, at best was rough enough. 

I then wrote to my father, stating the matter pre- 
cisely. His answer came as a veto to any such sud- 
den arrangement ; beside, he said, " the gentleman is 
too poor to support a wife, and can never do it by 
poetry." 

Human nature is so strange and unaccountable ! I 
had felt no fervent attachment for Mr. Fairfield ; the 
acquaintance had been too short, and most likely, if I 
had not met with opposition, I should have ceased 
thinking of him. 

My father wished me to marry a business man. Like 
all fathers, he felt anxious for the future of his child. 
I cared not for wealth. Money was a thing I never 
thought of. I lived in ethereal creations of love, hope, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



45 



and happiness ; these appeared to me actual existences. 
I felt that the future owed me happiness, and thought 
I was in a fair way to find it. I was an imaginative, 
romantic girl. Sweet dreams of life had I then. 
Health had returned ; once more my heart was light 
and gay. 

It was during September, the anniversary of my 
birth. The poet's visits were constant, beside the love 
epistles that I daily received. 

My mind was fully made up. In my infatuation, I 
said no more to my uncle or parents, but wrote a long 
letter to my cousin, at New Brunswick, William 
Brookfield, Esq., to which he at once replied, assuring 
me that his house was at my disposal ; that he would 
himself be most happy to supply all things for my 
wedding ; that all preparations should be made in any 
way that I might be pleased to suggest. All, so far as 
the wedding was concerned, was tastefully arranged, 
thanks to my cousin. 

The twentieth day of September was the day set 
for the ceremony. One hundred guests had been in- 
vited, few of whom I had ever seen. 

It was now the fifteenth of the month. I had five 
days left in which to prepare. All the fortune I had 
in the world was embraced in a few hundred dollars. 
This amount I had deposited in the hands of Mrs. 
Fairfield, the poet's mother, to furnish a small house 
he had taken in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. 

He had hastily chosen this place to establish an 
academy for young men. I had intrusted to his moth- 
er the purchase and arrangement of the furniture, 




46 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



so as to be able to enter our new home immediately 
after our marriage. 

The morning of the 20th dawned with that golden 
sunshine so usual in September ; happy voices greeted 
me on all sides ; but those who should have been the 
happiest — my loving parents — were lonely and anx- 
ious. This thought cast a shadow over my heart, which, 
with all my efforts at gayety, I could not well conceal. 
My spirits were forced. I requested to be left alone in 
my room. There, in the solitude of my heart, I sat 
down and wept bitterly. 

Late in the afternoon I heard a carriage stop before 
the door. I stepped hastily to the window of my room, 
and saw Mr. F. and his mother alight. I turned 
quickly away, and sat down. In that moment a sick- 
ness of the soul came over me ; my heart foretold 
me its doom. In a moment more they were at my 
side. 

The evening drew rapidly on. The noise and stir 
of the crowd below, the gathering of the people, re- 
minded me of the approaching hour. With the assist- 
ance of my cousin's wife I made my toilet. I had no 
bridemaids. I wished for none. My dress was simply 
white tulle, over white satin, looped with flowers, with- 
out a single ornament ; a small bouquet of orange blos- 
soms fastened in front of the low bodice, a wreath of 
the same in my hair, white kid gloves, and satin slip- 
pers completed my toilet. When all was finished, I 
turned from the mirror as I had from the window, 
with a deep feeling of desolation. 

At the hour of eight we were summoned to the 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



47 



drawing room ; the bishop was waiting ; all was ready. 
I took the arm of the groom. In company with a few 
dear friends, I walked slowly down the stairs with a 
beating heart. No one who had ever known me in my 
gay and happy moods could have believed me the 
same being. 

I will not stop here to describe what all have seen — 
a marriage. Suffice it to say, the ring had been placed 
on my finger, the ceremony over, many congratula- 
tions given, and many kind wishes for my future hap- 
piness. The good old bishop took my hand with emo- 
tion ; he kissed my brow, and said, with a tenderness I 
shall never forget, " God bless and keep you, my 
dear child ; look to him as your Guide and Coun- 
selor ; you will have need of such support." These 
words sank deep into my heart. 

Supper was now announced. I was seated between 
the groom and the bishop ; the guests followed and 
took their seats ; all seemed gayety and mirth, which 
were greatly increased after the wine had passed plenti- 
fully around ; many sparkling cups were drank to the 
health of the poet and myself. The supper was a 
sumptuous one, and all gave good evidence of their 
liking for the pleasures of the table. After this scene 
was over, the good bishop took his leave of the com- 
pany, at which time the gayeties of the night began in 
music, dancing, and conversation. It was to the guests 
a gay festival. 

Early the next morning our carriage was got ready 
for our departure for Elizabethtown, the place that I 
supposed would be my future home. We breakfasted 




48 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



with my cousin's family. Before taking my leave I 
had a duty to perform — to visit my parents and bid 
them adieu. In company with my cousin I set off for 
that most painful purpose, a distance of a quarter of a 
mile. I passed into the house trembling, though with 
a buoyant step, forcing a smile. I met my mother at 
the door. She kissed me with that same kindness of 
heart, that sweet, affectionate disposition, which noth- 
ing could change. My father's manner and look were 
so cold and stern that I did not approach nearer him, 
but sat by.my mother, feigning cheerfulness, when my 
inmost heart was ready to burst. My sister sat eating 
her breakfast, gazing at me with that vacant smile 
so painful to behold in one whose mind is extin- 
guished. 

I could bear it no longer ; tears and sobs burst forth. 
My mother wept with me, but there was no time for 
melancholy meditation. I arose to bid them adieu, 
when my father, who had not spoken before, said, " So, 
Jane, you have settled the business for yourself ; but 
mark my words : the day will come when, instead of 
despising your poor father's house, you will be glad to 
return to it, and will do so with broken hopes and 
heart." This, though a cruel prophecy, was spoken 
in. such a tone and manner, and with such an appeal 
to my feelings, my own sad heart secretly assenting to 
what he had said, that I turned mournfully away, 
deeply impressed with what I myself feared might be 
the result. I shall never forget the yearning, yet 
trusting and hopeful expression, of my mother's sweet 
face, when she impressed a kiss on my cheek, and said, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



49 



with that earnestness none but a mother can feel, 
" God' bless you, my dear child ; trust in Heaven." 
Volumes could not express all that was intended in 
that blessing. 

Returning, I found my party ready and waiting to 
leave. My kind cousin had witnessed all my sadness, 
and as if he wished to say something to create a smile 
at parting, (he had a jovial and happy nature,) said, 
" Coz, life is like a fairy tale, and it don't become 
a fairy to look sad ; so cheer up and laugh before you 
go." So drolly he said this that we all burst into a 
laugh together, and so drove off. 

The morning was beautiful. We chatted and 
amused ourselves with the scenery of country life. 
We passed through Rahway. I pointed out to my 
husband the house where I was born, and told him 
much of my early life. The distance to Elizabeth- 
town was only twenty miles ; we arrived early in the 
afternoon. I found the house a very comfortable one, 
two stories high, of brick, adjacent to the Episcopal 
church, on the main street; all things within were 
neatly adjusted ; to say the least, it was comfortable. 
I now decided in my own mind to make matters pleas- 
ant, and to be as happy as possible. My husband's 
mother hastened to prepare tea. I seated myself by an 
open window in the front parlor. I was admiring some 
sweet brier that stood within reach of the window, im- 
paled by a low fence, to secure its safety. I had not sat 
long, before a loud and repeated knocking came at the 
door — so loud that it startled me. Just at that instant 
I recollected the injunction that Mrs. Fairfield had given 



5 




50 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



me before leaving the room, " not to go to the door if any 
one came," adding, " it would not seem well for a bride 
to be seen opening the door." There was no servant. 
The knocking by this time became alarming. Neither 
my husband nor his mother made their appearance, and 
I sat petrified with terror. In a moment more, I saw 
two rough banditti-looking men come rapidly to the 
window, and before I had power to move from it, each, 
in succession, planted his feet on the little paling, 
and in an instant swept past me, through the window, 
landing in the center of the room. In their loud and 
rough voices, they demanded of me where Mr. Pair- 
field was. Almost fainting with fright, I could not 
speak. At that moment my husband and his mother 
made their appearance. In this bedlam let loose, I 
heard, amid the uproar, many violent expressions. By 
this time I saw how it was. The officers declared they 
would not leave the house without the money or secu- 
rity. At that moment I began to feel certain that Mr. 
Fairfield had not even the sum demanded, for that 
single debt, in the world. 0, how my romance of 
poetry, poets, and " love in a cottage," at that moment 
faded out ! To have a truce, and before I could know 
the cause of this sudden outbreak, my husband permit- 
ted these outrageous desperadoes to take an inventory 
of all in the house. If I had possessed a million I would 
have laid it quietly at the feet of these terrorists, to 
have been saved the shame and mortification I knew it 
would bring on us. This, thought I, is a new phase 
of " honey moon." I still think there never was an 
incident in any life precisely like it. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



51 



We were now in the midst of a dilemma. My hus- 
band begged -my forgiveness; he explained to me, as 
soon as his feelings would allow him, the cause of this 
scene. It was for a debt contracted after he had ar- 
rived in New York, from Europe, which, no doubt, 
would have been paid, had he been allowed sufficient 
time to have established the school he had in contem- 
plation. 'What I most blamed him for was, that, ex- 
pecting this trouble, or fearing it, — as evidently he 
did, — he should so thoughtlessly have taken all I had 
for the furnishing of a house, when the money would 
have made us comfortable for some time. 

The next thing to be considered was the debt, and 
the money with which it was to be paid. There was 
none, any where, at least within our reach. One 
trouble never comes alone ; the landlord, having heard 
of this affair, became alarmed for himself. The money 
could not be obtained, so that at the end of a fort- 
night, the time allowed by the officers, the furniture 
was sold under the sheriff's hammer. Feeling assured 
that this would be the result, we had made prepara- 
tions to give up all ; to go, we knew not where. 

The news flew swiftly, as bad news does. My par- 
ents and my uncle had heard of my misfortunes, but 
offered me no assistance, and I was too proud to ask it ; 
beside, I had no right to expect any favors after taking 
the independent course I had. I decided to bear si- 
lently all my trials, come what might. 

Homeless and penniless we arrived in New York ; 
we repaired to miserable lodgings, where, Mr. Fair- 
field said, we would remain until he could hear of 




52 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



something that might better our condition. So at the 
present -we lived upon 

"Nothing a week, and that uncertain — very." 

The hue and cry now was, that I had married impru- 
dently, and that I deserved all I got. Be it so ; it was 
myself who suffered. I never asked any favors of these 
croakers about imprudence. I believe that, taking 
life as a whole, it consists not in the abundance we 
have, but in the capacity of enjoying a little. There 
are nobler things, and dearer, than ease or wealth, or 
freedom from care. " How much of cowardly selfish- 
ness," says a writer, "weakness and falsehood are, 
in both sexes, under the names of ' prudence, honorable 
feeling, or obedience to parents" There is many an 
act petted under the name of virtue, which is a blacker 
crime before God, and of far more fatal results to soci- 
ety at large, than the worst of the so-called improvi- 
dent marriages. 

Never lived there a being who felt more deeply her 
situation than I at that moment. 

I caught an omen of what must be my ultimate 
wretchedness from what I had already suffered. 
Even so soon, my spirits began to sink, and hope only 
appeared a more gentle word for fear. 

Mr. Fairfield was greeted cordially by his literary 
acquaintances, among whom were General Morris, 
editor of the " New York Mirror," James G. Brooks, 
Esq., Dr. Bartlett, of the " Albion," and Major Noah. 
For these gentlemen he sometimes wrote articles and 
poetry. The remuneration, however, was very slight. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



53 



We occupied small and dreary-looking apartments in 
one of the retired streets, where all was quiet as if it 
had not been in the center of that busy metropolis. 
Here, one evening, as we sat talking over matters, 
what were best to be done, we were startled at a visit 
from my aunt and uncle, who had heard we were in 
the city, and sought out our lodgings. We passed a 
pleasant evening, had an animated conversation on 
those topics of art and literature, which delighted both 
parties. 

My uncle evidently was highly pleased with his visit, 
and charmed with the intelligence of my husband — 
so much pleased, that he ceased to be astonished at 
my preference. We were cordially invited to visit 
them, and my uncle nobly offered to do any thing in 
his power to serve us. 

If it were true that poets were actually what their 
genius, conversation, and writings seem to represent 
them, what irresistibly fascinating beings they might 
be ! In spite of all I could do to encourage Mr. F., 
he felt despondent, for he saw no cause for hope, from 
his pecuniary situation. The weeks passed like ghosts 
flitting by, till at length, and on a sudden, he deter- 
mined to make a change, and decided to go to Boston. 

I was for the first time impressed with the instability 
of genius — that a creative and poetical mind was a 
fatal gift. 

In one of the most original and thoughtful works of 
our day, it is said, — 

" It is a fatal gift ; for, when possessed in its highest 
quality and strength, what has it ever done for its vo- 



5* 




54 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



taries ? What were all those great poets of whom we 
talk so much ; what were they in their lifetime ? 
The most miserable of their species — depressed, 
doubtful, obscure — or involved in petty quarrels and 
petty persecutions ; often unappreciated — utterly un- 
influential ; beggars ; flatterers of men unworthy of 
their recognition. What a train of disgustful inci- 
dents, what a record of degrading circumstances, is 
the life of a great poet ! " 

A few weeks had passed. My husband began to 
think earnestly, and to hasten preparations to make 
his appearance, during that winter, on the Boston 
stage. 

I knew him to be unfitted, entirely, for the pro- 
fession. With his young and enthusiastic views, he 
only saw the bright spots of the picture. He had a 
passion for histrionic fame, but he little dreamed of 
the days and nights of painful toil, mortifications, and 
insults that awaited him, perhaps before he might at- 
tain even a moderate estimation. His nature was 
haughty, unbending, and reserved ; he could not 
brook personal or newspaper attacks. I have seen him 
writhe under mental pain even upon a criticism of a 
poem. How, then, with his quick sensibility, could he 
sustain the jeers and scoffs of public caprice ? Any 
little reputation he might gain in the profession, in an 
instant, with his uncontrolled temper, might be de- 
stroyed by even the slightest and most unintentional 
offense. These things I mildly suggested to him. 

The people now began to feel a sympathy for the 
poet. Frederic S. Hill, Esq., the actor, became his 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



55 



warm advocate and friend. The principal motive, it 
must be confessed, that induced him to try the stage, 
was his really melancholy pecuniary situation. He 
found literature a miserable dependence, and he was 
utterly without business faculties, or a profession of 
any kind. 

A list of characters was given to him, from which 
he chose " Norval," in the play of " Douglas," in 
which to make his appearance. Nathaniel Green, Esq., 
kindly presented him with his dress for the character. 

The night came. I was sick at heart, and would 
not have gone to witness the performance on any ac- 
count. I found a friend, who was kind enough to 
return from the theater at the end of each act, to in- 
form me of the events of the night. 

A large and elegant assemblage greeted the poet's 
appearance. The liberal and indulgent kindness of 
the people had enabled him to proceed well through 
this first effort, which would have been encouraging 
but for one of those blunders so common and so morti- 
fying to novices. In the closing scene, after Norval 
is dead, the curtain falls. Norval had died in the 
wrong place, and the heavy drop-curtain was falling 
across his body. Thump, thump, rap, rap, went the 
house. " Run, run," cried one. " He'll be killed," 
cried another. The curtain had now nearly reached 
him, before he discovered what all this noise was about. 
Then, with the agility of a deer, he was not long get- 
ting from under. For minutes after the shouting was 
vociferous. During the few moments they were enjoy- 
ing the death scene, my husband had rapidly changed 




56 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



his dress, and while they were calling him out, he was 
making a speedy exit to his lodgings from these unfor- 
tunate scenes. 

The gentleman whom I had commissioned to bear 
the news of the night to me had preceded him a few 
minutes. It is my nature to enjoy any thing so ridic- 
ulous, even though it be at my own expense ; and 
while my friend was relating to me, what I have nar- 
rated here, I was enjoying this rich scene hugely. 

In a moment more my husband opened the parlor 
door. Such had been the tragic scenes that had been 
enacted during the few months of my married life, 
that he had never heard me laugh, or seen me joyous. 
He stood a moment, looking at me in amazement, 
then, pointing to the door, requested me to leave for 
my room. He had no relish for farce occasioned by 
his own mistakes, either on or off the stage. He could 
not laugh over these things ; could he have done so, 
how different would have been his fate in life ! 

" So," said he, " you can rejoice over the ruin of 
your husband." He suffered so much under this mor- 
tification, — he seemed to take it so much to heart, — 
that I grew grave, and assured him that I was sorry to 
have been amused, since he felt so unhappy. I tried 
to console him by saying that such mstakes were com- 
mon to the stage, and begged him to think nothing of 
it. He wept the tears of mortification, and declared 
he would leave Boston, never to step a foot upon the 
stage again. 



Hosted by G00gk 



JANE FAIRFIELD, 



57 



CHAPTER VII, 



It was a cold and inclement winter. We took the 
route to New York by land, in the stage coach. We 
came to Providence. Here my husband's purse gave 
out, and he was obliged to leave me behind, and pro- 
ceed alone. I was to remain until he could remit the 
sum requisite to take me thither. He had a friend in 
Providence, to whom he was to send the money to de- 
fray my expenses. A few weeks passed lonely enough, 
when I received, through this gentleman, a letter from 
Mr. P., containing the funds to continue my journey* 
I was placed under the care of one of his acquaintances, 
and onward I journeyed to join my husband. 

During the interval of our separation, Mr. P. had 
advertised for a situation as preceptor, to go south. 
He soon received an answer from Mr. Bryan, post- 
master of Alexandria, Virginia. This gentleman 
stated that there was an opening of this kind in 
Charlestown, of that state, and invited us to leave New 
York, and' to accept his hospitality, until further 
knowledge could be obtained regarding the place and 
the school. 

It was now the beautiful summer. We had been 
joined in the holy bonds of wedlock nearly a year when 
we set out on this new expedition. Arrived at Alex- 




58 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



andria, we were kindly received by Mr. Bryan and 
his wife. I was pleased with her gentle Virginian air 
and manner, and for the short time we remained. I found 
in her a congenial and sympathizing friend. This 
lady was a sister to Governor Barbour, of Virginia. 

We had not been long at the house of Mr. Bryan 
before the two poets quarreled. Mr. B., I believe, 
prided himself as a poet, and member of that immortal 
fraternity ; they parted, however, apparently friends. 

We arrived in Charlestown, and were invited to 
remain at the house of a Mr. Gallagher, editor of a 
small village paper. The place was small and obscure, 
and the village poor. The spot Mr. F. had chosen 
to locate his school was five miles distant from the 
village, among the farmers, whose children had little 
opportunity of cultivation. Here he found a vacant 
log cabin, which he had fitted up for the purpose, about 
a half mile distant from the farm house where we 
boarded. So fatigued and disgusted had I become 
with the succession of trials I had had, that I longed 
for nothing so much as peace and quiet — for 

" Peace, O virtue, peace is all thine own." 

I verily believe I could have felt happy to have been at 
peace on an island lonely as that of Robinson Crusoe. 

The following is a letter from my husband to my 
uncle, in New York, written soon after our arrival in 
Charlestown : — 

Charlestown, July 23, 1827. 
My Dear Sir : Nearly a fortnight has elapsed since we left 
Alexandria. It was then my intention to proceed immediately to 



Hosted by G00gk 



JANE FAIRFIELD. 



59 



Frederick ; but a very violent attack of erysipelas confined me at the 
house of my friend Mr. Barry, of Georgetown, for several days of 
extreme suffering. The attack, however, was ordered in wisdom, 
not the less* consummate because inscrutable, for it saved me from 
a bilious fever, which, in this climate, is almost always either pres- 
ently or ultimately fatal. Copious bleeding relieved me, but left me 
in a state of debility from which I have not yet recovered. On our 
arrival at Frederick, it soon became apparent to me that the trus- 
tees w r ould consult much less the credentials submitted to them 
than the caprices of favoritism and the interests of party. There- 
fore, after a delay of two days in that place, we came hither, and 
have been very busy collecting scholars, making friends, and pur- 
chasing furniture for the house we shall rent at Bellefontaine. Mr. 
Bryan, of Alexandria, is a man of much merit in some respects, but 
by no means such a high-hearted fellow as Mr. Gallagher, who was 
the first to discover this situation, and has been the agent in all that 
has been done in relation to it. From all, however, with whom we 
have been associated since our arrival at the south, we were uni- 
formly met with a generous welcome. The utmost kindness has 
been extended toward us, and the greatest interest manifested in 
our success. The path, which has thus been opened, we shall now 
steadily pursue ; and I fervently hope that all things will advance 
according to the ardor of our industry, and the hopes we can not but 
consider well founded on rational plans. My school is situated in 
a beautiful country, and the plain people who will patronize it, if 
not much cultivated, are purely honest. 

The country is singularly luxuriant, the inhabitants warm-hearted 
and hospitable, and the means of living abundant and economical. 
Congratulate me, therefore, that the darkness of my fortune is dis- 
solving away, and that brighter prospects are unfolding before us. 

Your letter gratified and amused me. I regret that this search- 
ing weather has made me thoroughly prosaic, and that I can not 
return your song in kind. When the Muses favor me with their 
smiles again, however, I will endeavor to send you a few loose rhymes, 
which may repay the toil of perusal. All I can do now is to thank 
you for your affectionate prognostications of good, while I rationally 
hope that they may not, be falsified by any untoward events. 




60 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



We are going into the country this afternoon. I shall commence 
business on Monday next. Let us hear frequently from you, 
(direct as before ;) present our respects to Mrs. Frazee, our remem- 
brance to Anson ; and believe me, 



A few children were obtained, who knew nothing 
even of the rudiments. 

This was a trying situation for a poet and a scholar, 
to come down to an assemblage of stupid children ; his 
pride was wounded, and were it not that the place was 
far distant from his literary friends, he would have 
felt much mortification. His most flattering prospect 
did not exceed six hundred dollars a year ; then we 
found no domestic purpose in the arrangement of 
boarding. I had become, heart and soul, sick with 
this bond of union among boarding-house lodgers. 

I proposed housekeeping. Mr. F. seemed delighted 
at the idea of having a home of his own. He went at 
once to Charlestown, and purchased, on credit, articles 
to the amount of nearly a hundred dollars, with Mr. 
Gallagher's name as security. With this pittance we 
were about to commence housekeeping. We had been 
some weeks in the place. Our board bill had amounted 
already to more than we could command, and we were 
called upon to pay it. People took advantage of my 
husband's ignorance to do business ; human nature he 
could not comprehend. Instead of arranging with the 
farmer to pay his bill at the end of six months, giving 
himself time, he said nothing about it. This want of 
judgment brought on another disaster, and the articles 



Very affectionately yours, 



John Frazee, Esq. 



S. L. Fairfield. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



61 



we had purchased for housekeeping were taken for 
board. 

Thus it ever was with the poet. If unsuccessful in 
the execution of any plan he attempted, he would be- 
come disgusted, give up all, and leave. But dwelling 
on these trials was of no use. My heart was strong; 
my path was onward. 

" And if my voice break forth, 'tis not that now 
I shrink from what is suffered : let him speak 
Who hath beheld decline upon my brow, 
Or seen my mind's convulsion leave it weak : 
But in this page a record will I seek" 

I began to feel that human life had in reserve for 
me its darkest cup — that fate had predestined for me 
a path to weariness and sorrow. 

Arrived safely in Philadelphia, I begged Mr. F. to 
allow me to rest there, at least for a time ; he was as 
anxious as myself for repose. He set himself at work 
to prepare for the press a volume of his poems, — 
" The Cities of the Plain," — with a few fugitive pieces- 
He soon got the work under way, through the kind 
printer and publisher, Mr. Maxwell, then residing in 
that city. It was not long after his poems appeared, 
when several editors and well-known literary gentle- 
men found their way into our society ; among them 
was the talented poet, Robert Morris, Esq., the able 
editor of the " Pennsylvania Inquirer." About that 
time, there came a young poet here from New England, 
Willis Gaylord Clarke, Esq. This young man sub- 
mitted many of his earliest effusions to the inspection 
of my husband, before committing them to the public. 



6 




62 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



It can not be denied that Mr. Fairfield's genius 
was of a high and imaginative order, which was often 
a benefit to others — even his worst enemies admitted 
this truth. His knowledge of the literature and the 
history of all nations, and of all ages, was perfect. It 
was only the intellectual that enjoyed his society. 
Young and rising talent especially gained his sympathy 
and encouragement. 

His nature was generous toward his compeers. He 
loved all that was good of talent among all people, 
though always severe toward rhymesters and poet- 
asters. 

Our stay in Philadelphia lasted some months. The 
poems were out, and sold well, and brought us the 
comforts of life. Our acquaintances and friends in- 
creased. We had not long been in the city, when, one 
day, Mr, P. accidentally met with William Badger^ 
Esq., one of his college classmates. This was a pleasant 
reunion. An hour spent occasionally by this gentleman 
at our house was very agreeable. The two friends enter- 
tained each other with many recollections and incidents 
of college life. The tricks, fun, and frolic played upon 
each other were really immensely amusing. Humor 
and wit were my delight; and these were the first 
pleasant days I had passed since my marriage. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



63 



CHAPTER VIII. 

December had come. Nothing had occurred to 
mar, so far, our tranquillity. I was now a mother. A 
floo'd of happiness poured down upon my heart. I 
forgot the terrors and tumults of life, as I gazed into 
the face of my first-born boy. 

" A woman's character is developed by the affec- 
tions ; when once they come into action, how rapidly 
are the latent qualities called forth, and in how brief 
a time what a wonderful change is wrought ! " 

One morning, after I had become convalescent, I sat 
with my infant, looking from the window of my cham- 
ber, when I saw, on a lamp-post opposite, a large pla- 
card, and on it the name of my husband, in huge 
letters. I could not make out the smaller type. I 
informed Mr. F.'s motherland requested her to hasten 
and bring it to me, lest he should see it. It was a 
shameless, cowardly, and wicked attempt to ruin the 
poet. A more dark and demoniacal act was never 
perpetrated, than the circulation of this placard 
throughout the country. 

A few weeks before this placard appeared, my hus- 
band had met with a volume of poems, written by 
Daniel Bryan, Esq., the gentleman I have mentioned 
heretofore, at whose house we visited in Alexandria. 



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64 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



These poems he reviewed— the review was a sar- 
casm. It were better it had never been written. My 
husband was in the habit of using his pen in epigrams 
and satire for retaliation. To say the least, it was 
unwise and impolitic to make enemies, especially in 
his unfortunate situation. I had not dreamed these 
placards had been so extensively circulated in the city. 
I thought the one I saw had been placed there for the 
especial benefit of my husband. 

On his return home that day, he came into my 
room, holding one of them before me, and in a state 
of frantic despair, asked me to read it. I had hoped 
he might not see it, and so escape, the torture I knew 
he would feel. 

Mr. Gallagher, of Oharlestown, and Mr. Bryan, were 
friends. Mr. Bryan's vanity was piqued by the re- 
view, and Mr. Gallagher's purse had suffered by his 
friendly act of being security for the debt contracted 
by Mr. F. while we were in Oharlestown. Both 
these gentlemen sought revenge in the way I have 
mentioned. Alas, how poor a thing is retaliation ! 
It is but a wretched victory to those who suffer from 
wrong and persecution. I have no doubt that all par- 
ties, in their more dispassionate moments of reflec- 
tion, regretted these foolish and miserable proceedings. 

This persecution did not stop here.. The effects 
were felt long, long years. Attacks from all parts of 
the country were poured forth., until, by their effect 
on the mind of the poet, they had nearly destroyed 
him. It was at this crisis, broken in spirit, and lost 
to hope, that George D. Prentice, Esq., came out in 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



65 



the poet's behalf, in a paper he then edited at Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 

Never was there written a more consummate de- 
fensQ, The greatness and eloquence of these letters 
were proverbial. They had the effect to relieve the 
public mind from the painful impressions that had 
been made upon it by these wanton attacks, which had 
been so recklessly poured forth upon the poet. 

Mr. Prentice, whom at that time I had never seen, 
was a firm and warm friend of my husband. They 
had been boys together, and classmates in college. 
They had from early youth been endeared to each 
other by an ardent and affectionate friendship. 

Young as I was, my heart had become exhausted 
with life's absurdities and incongruities ; but I had 
one happiness left me ; my heart, with its affections, 
had become centered on my lovely boy. 

Sorrow and joy are strangely blended on this 
earth ; and though, according to the course of nature, 
the tie of parent and child is doomed to be severed, for- 
tunate and happy are those who have such ties. 

The mortifications my husband had endured from 
persecutions and trials, induced him to wish for a 
change. 

On the opening of the coming spring, there was 
found a vacancy in the Newtown Academy, Bucks 
County, Pennsylvania. Mr. F. visited the place, and 
found a warm welcome by the trustees, returned, and 
secured his credentials from several of the most prom- 
inent men in Philadelphia. Among them were Peter 
A. Browne, Esq., and David* Paul Brown, Esq. He 



6* 




66 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



soon took possession of the Academy. Already a num- 
ber of scholars had been secured. Two young gen- 
tlemen from Philadelphia, by the name of Straw- 
bridge, were to remain with us to complete their ed- 
ucation. They were nephews of one of the trustees, 
Dr. Gordon, who lived about a mile distant from the 
town. The Academy was a beautiful building. We 
lived in it. It stood on an eminence, in front , of which 
was a green lawn. In its rear were 'a fine garden, and 
a running brook, and foliage, and flowers. The poet 
had had no position equal, or in any way to be com- 
pared, to this. The building was furnished and made 
ready for our reception. The school opened prosper- 
ously. I had never passed so calm and happy a 
summer. The inhabitants of the village were plain, 
honest, and good people. My husband and myself, 
with our little son, in company with the young Straw- 
bridges, after school hours, amused ourselves by pleas- 
ant walks around the village. We congratulated each 
other upon what we believed and felt would be a per- 
manent support, and a safe retreat from the trials that 
had heretofore beset our path. Our visits were fre- 
quent to the beautiful and romantic dwelling of 
Dr. Gordon. In this family we found much that 
was congenial. The doctor had a fine library. His 
mind was highly cultivated. He had a sympathizing, 
noble, and generous heart. With the hospitality of 
the doctor and his excellent and lovely wife we were 
consoled. 

My little Angelo, my beloved boy, was an attraction 
to all. At least, my mother's heart thought so. Some 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



67 



declared he was the image of his father, but with his 
mother's eyes — a perfect picture! My own vanity 
and love of admiration, I think, increased after I be- 
came a mother. Perhaps vanity, after all, is the true 
source of the sublime, and, in many respects, it may be 
of the ridiculous. » Still it is our admiration of each 
other that has caused the accomplishment of many 
great events in this world. The possession of it 
doubtless produces emulation in talent and genius, 
"by it great deeds have been accomplished — great 
books have been written. It has congregated multi- 
tudes," and organized what we call society. 

The season for vacation had now come. Mr. Pren- 
tice had written to request my husband to bring me 
with him, and come on a visit to Hartford. I was 
delighted at the idea of seeing my husband's endeared 
friend. I longed, beside, to become acquainted with 
one who had written me so many beautiful sonnets and 
flattering poems. We made ready, and set out on 
our journey. Our visit was a flying one. I could 
not remain long from my child, nor Mr. P. from his 
scholars. 

It was like parting with my own identity to leave 
my child a day. On our arrival we hastily sent our 
cards to Mr. Prentice. It truly exhilarated my heart 
to see the meeting of these two poets. The spontane- 
ous joy felt by each was really quite overwhelming. 
Our visit extended to a few days. In that time, how 
much of conversation, of visits, and introductions, had 
been gone through with ! It was requested by many 
of my husband's friends, and insisted on by Mr. 




68 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



Prentice, that he should have the benefit of a poetical 
reading. Mr. Prentice made choice for that purpose 
of my husband's poem, entitled "The Cities of the 
Plain." This poem had gained him a reputation 
among the clergy while in England. It drew a crowded 
audience of the intelligent and elite of Hartford. 

The day after, Mr. Prentice called for us to pay a 
visit to Mrs. Sigourney, who, at that time, was the 
mistress of a beautiful residence a short distance from 
the town. 

Whenever I visit an author, I am more than ever 
convinced that such have no right to the marriage tie ; 
and I wholly believe this of authors of both sexes. No 
one has any right to involve another. 

The life of authors is one of suffering, and if they 
prefer that life, they should have it alone. We need 
to suffer to understand the language of suffering. And 
who, that ever married an author, has found his or her 
lot to have fallen in pleasant places ? Aiithors are 
wedded, heart and soul, to their productions. The so- 
ciety which delights others becomes wearisome to them ; 
even their wives, husbands, and children. They blend 
their existence with fame and the future. Let those 
who love Dreamland dream on, but let them dream by 
themselves. 

How many melancholy instances can I call up within 
my recollection of unfortunate literary marriages ! Per- 
haps Byron is one of the most prominent in my mind ; 
but there are many others. " You talk of marriage," 
said Byron, in a letter to Murray ; "ever since my own 
funeral, the word makes me giddy, and throws me 



Hosted by G00gk 



JANE FAIRFIELD. 



69 



into a cold sweat." When was there any thing" so 
absurd, in this respect, as the conduct of Bulwer and 
Dickens ? I might trace many such, to prove that my 
assertions are true. 

After a pleasant visit among the charming people of 
Hartford, which I shall long remember, we made haste 
to return. 

On reaching home, my heart bounded with joy to 
find all was right with my little boy. His infant 
smiles cheered my heart, and made me forget all my 
sorrows. 

Our two amiable young boarders, the brothers Straw- 
bridge, were glad to see us returned. The eldest was 
nineteen years old, and quite a favorite and companion 
with his preceptor. 

It was about a week after our return, when, on a 
very fine afternoon, they all three started off for a 
bathing amusement, of which Mr. Fairfield, as well as 
the young men, was very fond. They had often, dur- 
ing the heat of the summer, repaired to the same spot, 
about a mile distant from the academy, for that enjoy- 
ment. 

Evening came on. We had been waiting tea an 
hour. We vainly looked to see them descending the 
hill which led to the academy. It was not long, how- 
ever, before we heard the rapid tramp of a horse. I 
ran quickly to the door, feeling a presentiment of evil. 
The man on horseback had reached the academy gate. 
He informed me that one of the young gentlemen was 
drowned, and that my husband was taken out of 
the water, and lay on the shore, where he had left 




70 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



him. In a few minutes almost the entire village had 
assembled. 

It was not long before my husband was brought 
home, insensible and almost lifeless. They had not 
been long in the water when young Strawbridge was 
seized with the cramp. My husband hastened to assist 
him, while his poor brother stood on the shore, so 
frightened as to be unable to render the least assist- 
ance. The cramp was so violent that, with all the 
efforts of Mr. Fairfield, he could not be saved ; the poor 
fellow sank at last. 

It was with much difficulty they got my husband to 
shore. He remained insensible during the night. 
The next day he awoke to his own wretched and 
melancholy reflections. 

The body of the young man was recovered about 
twelve o'clock the same night, and taken to the house 
of his uncle, Dr. Gordon, for interment. As the car- 
riage passed with his remains, it stopped before the 
academy, for us to take the last look of our young 
friend. The moonlight was clear, and fell gently upon 
the face as they uncovered it. The countenance was 
one of sleep instead of death, calm and mild as in life. 
The lateness of the hour, the quiet of the place, the 
stillness unbroken by a sound — all seemed to whisper 
to my heart — he is at rest. So wearied and worn had 
I become with these interminable changes, that a long- 
ing for death seemed at that moment to take hold 
of me ; for in this life I felt that I was the mere play- 
thing of fate — of subtle and malignant chance. 

I never was morbid. My nature was as joyous as a 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



71 



bird's, and hopeful; nor did I sigh for splendor or 
wealth. I took no delight in what generally com- 
prises the happiness of women. Idle and useless visits, 
and small talk about little nothings, had no fascina- 
tions for me. My mind had been trained and tried lof 
suffering. My heart craved sympathy, peace, and rest ; 
above all, it yearned for what it now found too late to 
dream of — true affection, which is the highest, the 
noblest, and holiest part of our nature ; for some, I 
really believe, life is destined to be an unfinished ex- 
istence. Such I believe to be mine. But enough of 
this melancholy for the present. 

As soon as my husband had recovered from the severe 
shock he had suffered, he began to talk about giving 
up the academy. The scholars were waiting to return 
to their places ; they were all of them delighted with 
their teacher. Their parents, many of them, used 
every effort to induce Mr. Fairfield to continue, assur- 
ing him of their support and friendship, but all to no 
purpose. He loved young Strawbridge, and blamed 
himself for what he deemed a want of decision in so 
often gratifying his requests to visit this fatal spot. I 
made use of every argument in my power, reminding 
him of the scenes of want and suffering we had gone 
through, and that by remaining where we were we 
might at least be comfortable. He sallied forth into 
the garden, then the school room. Every spot seemed 
to haunt him with the loss of his young pupil. He 
could not bear the aspect that told of trial and death. 
He had not the mind which can bear trouble. He was 
always trying to rush from it, and therefore rushed in 




72 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



the face of it. He could not meet real affliction 
steadily, nor struggle with it patiently until the storm 
swept over, looking to that source on high which is 
never long invisible to the hopeful and trusting heart. 

It was useless for me to urge or insist. His feelings 
once ruffled, from any cause, he would not rest satisfied 
until he had left the scenes where the unpleasantness 
occurred. Alas for the poor poet, he could not 
escape from himself! 

New York, at this time, seemed, in his mind, to have 
more attractions than any other place. He thought of 
his early literary friends there. Thither we went. 
With what means he had, he hired a small house, and 
we soon became settled. I had a disposition to be 
content any where, provided I could live comfortably, 
without mortification. The rapid change of scenes 
which had heretofore affected me so sadly and tragi- 
cally, now began to assume the shape of comedy. 
Sometimes I would laugh at them, at ourselves, and 
at all the world. 

Mr. Fairfield had been for some time forming in his 
mind the plot for a new poem, entitled 6 6 The Last 
Night of Pompeii." He had now begun its composition. 
He also obtained, with his reputation as a teacher, a 
fine situation in a school, which had at its head a very 
charming and intelligent lady, a Mrs. Dunderdale. 
This lady, whose talents and manner had made her 
very popular, continued her school successfully for a 
number of years in New York. 

Again returned to the city, after an absence of 
nearly two years, we were greeted by old acquaintances 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



73 



with warmth and kindness. Fortune for a time treated 
us a little more favorably. Mr. Fairfield worked with 
ardor at his poem, expecting little pecuniary reward. 
For my part, I believe that true glory — I know it well 
— is the reward of virtue alone. To me the noble traits 
of a noble heart are of far more value than all the 
honors that can be bestowed by either birth, talent, or 
genius without them. 

It is somewhat singular, that through life it has 
been my fortune to attract and draw after me the 
most melancholy and unhappy. 

Our house soon became the receptacle of broken- 
down authors and persecuted clergy. Among them was 
the poor poet, McDonald Clarke, with whose homeless 
career the New Yorkers had been long familiar. This 
unfortunate poet came often, during the cold, bitter 
nights of winter, to share our fireside and partake of 
our comfortable cheer. How often I have been made 
sad by the recital of his sufferings and woes ! He was 
a most inoffensive person ; though insane, he was al- 
ways mild, always happy. He was very fond of my 
little Angelo ; he would seat him on his knee and 
talk for hours in broken sentences of the " ills which 
flesh is heir to." He had often, he said, when he had 
not a shilling in the world, sought a bed between two 
graves in Trinity churchyard, and when hungry made 
his meal of a cracker and a cup of milk. Just after 
the site for Greenwood Cemetery was selected, he came 
to see me one day, assuring me he had chosen his 
grave. He had in his hand a small placard on a board, 
containing the following line: " The poet's grave." 



7 




74 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



This placard he placed on a tree in the cemetery, to 
mark the spot for his final repose. The trustees had 
kindly presented him with this foot of earth, where, in 
a few years after, he was peacefully laid. His death, 
it will long be remembered, was occasioned by the wan- 
ton sport of a few thoughtless young men. 



" There is a little lonely grave 
Which no one comes to see ; 
The foxglove and red flowers wave 

Their welcome t6 the bee. 
There never falls the morning sun ; 

It lies beneath the wall : 
But there, when weary day is done, 
The lights of sunset fall, 
Hushing the warm and crimson air, 
As life and hope were present there." 



It often so happened that several of our friends 
would meet accidentally of an evening. It was amus- 
ing to mark their various characters. It had been our 
good fortune to have become acquainted with Signor 
Pietro Maroncelli, the friend and companion of Sil- 
vio Pellico. This interesting and accomplished gen- 
tleman and exile came to New York, and there taught 
school many years. He was a just man and a liber- 
alise My husband was always delighted with his 
society. His conversation was often on the bondage 
and suffering of his beloved country. I would listen 
to him as an oracle. He disputed on subjects with an 
inexhaustible storehouse of arguments. 

This good man was for a long time imprisoned, for 
his noble and generous sentiments, with Silvio Pellico, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



75 



at Spielberg, Germany. " I have engaged," said he, 
"in a war that will descend to my family after my 
death; an inheritance of hatreds, quarrels, and dan- 
gers, with which my country will always be agitated. 
The fates have ordained that order should be over- 
thrown, and the reign one of confusion in our beauti- 
ful Italy." I should never end my eulogies, were I to 
speak of his fidelity, loyalty, and eloquence. 

How true it is that distress softens the heart, and 
ties close bonds of affection between those who suffer ! 
Among our visitors was Mrs. Stebbins, the gifted but 
unfortunate daughter of the great artist Gilbert Stu- 
art. This lady had married unwisely, and, finding 
her sorrows too great to bear, parted from her hus- 
band, and devoted her attention to the composition of 
school books for a support. She did not long continue 
submissive to her trials. Her fortitude and health for- 
sook her, and the irregular life she led in a short time 
reduced her to a most pitiable state of want. In this 
melancholy situation, she was taken to the hospital, 
and treated in the character of a menial. She grew 
infirm before she had reached the middle age of life. 
One day she was ordered to perform the work of a 
servant — to scour a flight of stairs, from which she fell. 
She sustained an injury by this fall which caused her 
instant death. How often, in the bitterness of anguish, 
I have seen her weep! When referring to her gifted 
father, she would say, " What would my dear father 
say, were he now living, to behold the wrongs and 
grievances of his once favorite daughter ? " 

Thus suffered and died the child of a great artist. 




T6 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



For years she lived utterly isolated. The ties of blood 
or of early affections were all severed. The one to 
whose love she had a right had forsaken her. She 
was too delicate to appeal for charity. Often had she 
talked with me on the subject of asking for assistance, 
but her heart would fail her. She knew the cold re- 
pulses she must meet, and felt she could not brook 
them. There were many gentlemen of standing and 
wealth, at that time, who knew of her case, who might 
have saved her. 

" Ah, countrymen ! if, when you make your prayers, 
God should be so obdurate as yourselves, 
How would it fare with your departed souls ? " 

But I find myself wandering from my subject, which, 
unfortunately, is myself. 

What a change a little prosperity creates ! What 
an influence appearances have on the minds of those 
we call our friends ! 

I always dreaded these intervals of peace and quiet. 
With us they were sure indications of a coming sor- 
row — heralds of darker trials. 

One beautiful moonlight night I sat alone in my 
chamber, looking on the lovely and calm face of my 
sweet boy, who lay sleeping beside me, feeling those 
strange forebodings of sorrow so common to the heart 
of mothers. I wrote the following lines : — 



Sleep on, my babe, till the morning breaks, 
And thy spirit shall dream of bliss ; 

For my yearning heart a rapture takes 
From thy lovely smile and kiss. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



77 



Would I could know thy infant dreams, 

As thou ly'st by thy mother's side ; 
Mind o'er thy face like a sunbow gleams, 

Without its scorn or pride. 
Thy spirit in joy hath gone to roam 

With angels in yonder star : 
O, better and brighter would be thy home, 

Wert thou a dweller there. 
0, the tears of thy mother fall fast and free, 

As the rays of yon moon on thy face ; 
And the wish and the prayer of my heart for thee 

Are poured in a deep embrace. 
Sleep on, my boy, for thou can'st not know 

How my heart doth thrill for thee, 
As it looks on life and its frequent woe, 

The ills that shadow the days to be. 



James G. Brooks, Esq., the poet, and Mr. Losson, 
bis most intimate friend, were often visitors at our 
house. They were like the Siamese twins — always 
together. If you saw one you were sure to see the 
other. Mr. Brooks married a poetess, and, with their 
united efforts at authorship, gained little else than a 
life of misfortune.- Mr. Losson, being of the canny 
Scotch, left the literary for a more available business, 
and ensconced himself in Wall Street as a real estate 
broker. Surely a sensible man was this. 

The Rev. Richard Yarick Dye, the eloquent suc- 
cessor to Dr. Hooper Cummings, in the Vandewater 
Street Church, was another of my husband's devoted 
admirers. His rhetorical and classic discourses will 
lon&* be remembered. We uniformly attended his 
church, which was an independent one. Mr. Dye 
often returned with us, after evening service, to our 



7 * 




78 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



home. Then would commence the long train of 
anecdotes and witticisms of clerical life, than which 
nothing could be more amusing. 

I remember, on one occasion, of a Saturday night, 
he came, breathless, into our house, it being quite late, 
to implore Mr. 4 Fairfield to help him out with some- 
thing for his sermon the next morning. He had, he 
said, nothing prepared. It was too late to undertake 
a long, serious paragraph ; so, said he, " Dye, I have a 
couplet which I will give you, but which I think, with 
all your gravity in the pulpit, you will not be able to 
introduce." This was a challenge to his eloquence. 
He at once, and without knowing the character of the 
lines, consented. The next morning, on our way to 
church, we queried if it were possible for him to in- 
troduce these lines. His sermon was on the " Vanities 
of Life." It was near the close of the discourse, and 
they had, so far, been omitted, when, of a sudden, 
he came to a pause ; after having uttered a sublime 
thought, he continued, — 

" For why should we foam, and fret, and fume, and fidget; 
Earth and its glories are not worth a digit." 

I held my head down and shook with laughter, 
while Mr. Fairfield nearly pinched a piece of flesh from 
my arm, so fearful was he that I would disgrace myself. 
The gravity and eloquence with which he recited these 
lines made them appear sublime, and no one in the 
congregation could have thought else. This gener- 
ous and noble-hearted gentleman was not without his 
trials. He was often attacked, and called to an ac- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



79 



count, by those whose religion consisted in long faces, 
sermons, and hypocritical cant — whose hearts, be- 
fore high Heaven, could not bear the scrutiny with his 
own. It is but justice to him to note that he was 
" more sinned against than sinning." His nature was 
honest. If he had a fault, the world knew it. 

There is no tyranny, affectation, or cant in true re- 
ligion. When will the world learn to be just ? to know 
that there is no such thing as piety without its essence, 
which is charity ? that benevolence which suffereth long, 
and is kind and forgiving, is that which covereth a 
multitude of sins ? The fact is, I have often commis- 
erated the situation of some of the clergy. They are 
often forced into an unnatural and constrained man- 
ner, from false and erroneous impressions the world has 
formed of what they should be, how act, and how bear 
themselves. They are men tempted in all things like 
unto others. The same faults and worse, that we are 
willing- to watch for in them, can be found in our own 
hearts and deeds. 

The next event that had interested me was an in- 
troduction to Colonel Burr, the most extraordinary 
man, perhaps, of his time. At the poet's introduction 
of him, I was struck, old as he was, with his fine ad- 
dress. He took both my hands in his, and assured 
me that no tiling could render him more happy than 
that presentation, adding that, in the future, I must 
be entitled to the honor of being made the tenth muse. 
I had read his history, and was acquainted with all 
the events of his life. His visit to Blennerhasset's 
Island, its fatal results and consequences, were inci- 




80 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



dents I always thought of when in his presence. I 
could not help my admiration of his genius. His con- 
versation was fascinating and eloquent. He used to 
interest me greatly by his description of the beauties 
at the Court of St. James, during the time he was our 
minister to England. His admiration for beauty, as is 
the case with most men, exceeded that for mind. I 
never could see why it is that men should prefer the 
simpering of pretty silly women to the conversation 
of the intelligent and intellectual — for, really, it 
seems to me it would be a wiser plan to endeavor to 
raise the emulation (if possible) of the vain and igno- 
rant by giving the preference to the best informed. 

I was invited by Colonel Burr to visit a fair, which 
took place in the old Masonic Hall in Broadway. It 
was attended by the gay and fashionable of the city. 
As we were promenading around the hall, I saw 
nothing that attracted me so much as a painting of the 
head of Christ, said to have been done by one of the 
old masters. This, however, was doubtful. The pain- 
ful and agonized expression, the tears that fell 
trickling down his sorrowful face, impressed me so 
mournfully, that I stopped before it, and directed the 
colonel's attention to it ; to which he replied, " It is a 
fable, my child ; there never was such a being." This 
expression had such an effect upon me, that I was 
quite silent the balance of our visit. 

I always managed to keep in a state of content, as 
long as there was peace, though I can with truth 
assert, that I never awoke in the morning with the 
thought of what I had to enjoy, but of what, for the 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



81 



day, I had to do and to suffer. With my husband's 
salary we had been living for a time in tolerable com- 
fort. Though I had had my "own griefs and fears, I had 
suffered them uncomplainingly ; things wore so much 
better an aspect than they had at the first, that I hoped 
time would work wonders. I consoled myself, though 
I knew there was an habitual animosity toward me in 
the heart of my husband's mother. With this, and his 
strange nature to contend with, none knew what I had 
to endure. In his temper he was fitful and moody. 
Sometimes, sunk in melancholy, he would seek the 
lonely attic, and lock himself in, seat himself by a 
window, and remain the greater part of the night 
gazing at the heavens. If I interrupted him by any 
inquiries, he would command me to depart. If I took 
no notice of these attacks or words, he would accuse 
me of indifference, and a want of affection. These 
were scenes to which I was forced to accustom myself. 

In the month of May, after having exposed him- 
self by walking some distance in a drizzling rain 
one evening, he took a violent cold, which gave him a 
long and severe attack of rheumatism, and which 
entirely incapacitated him for attending to the duties 
of his school. 

This painful suffering continued during summer and 
autumn, and part of the winter. Having now no re- 
source whatever for means to sustain us, we were 
again in a state of helplessness and need. 

In the midst of this dilemma I was ill from the 
birth of my second child. 

We were obliged to give up the house we had occu- 




82 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



pied, to remove to cheap apartments, and sell part 
of our furniture to obtain the comforts we needed. 

Dr. John W. Francis was my husband's friend. He 
was kind to the poet. He admired his works, which 
gave him sympathy for his sufferings. It was difficult 
to know how to feel for one of his temperament. Un- 
der keen -sufferings, his patience and mildness would 
make one forget the wrongs and injustice he may 
have suffered. 

It was now by the assistance of friends that we were 
sustained. This was very galling to my pride. My 
nature was independent. I began to consider what it 
was possible for me to do. to effect a change, so sad 
had our condition become. 

The fatal months flew on. They had nearly reached 
the holidays. Fortunately, Mr. Fairfield had com- 
pleted his poem. I proposed to him that, if he felt 
able to travel, I should accompany him to Boston, to 
obtain the subscribers requisite to print the poem, and 
sustain us through the winter. This proposal aston- 
ished him. He could not believe me sincere — much 
less did he think me heroic enough to undertake with 
him, sick as he was, such a journey. The snow was 
very deep, the weather intensely cold. " Beside," 
said he, "the journey to Boston must be by stage 
coach, — a very expensive one, — and' we have no 
means ; then, if all could be arranged, how can we 
leave our little Genevieve, who would suffer without 
her mother's care ? Impossible," said he ; " we can 
not go." 

I had thought of all these obstacles ; but some- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



83 



thing — it was imperative — must be done. Death was 
preferable to the state of life we daily endured. I 
said no more. The next day I arose early, made my 
arrangements, and went forth to visit the agent of the 
line which left for Boston. 

A mother is always eloquent when pleading for her 
children. 

I found the agent, told him my story, and made my 
appeal for a free journey. He looked at me intently 
for some minutes without speaking a word. I be- 
lieve, for the time I was talking to him, he doubted my 
sanity. He asked me for my address, saying that he 
would visit my husband. I was not to be put off in 
this way. I begged him to accompany me. I feared, 
if I left him, the impression, if I had made any, for 
success might pass away. 

Forth we hastened. My husband looked amazed at 
seeing us march in together. He had given up the 
project as one impossible to be accomplished. 

The agent saw at a glance the situation of my fam- 
ily, and the ill health of my husband. He at once 
granted my request. The heart of my poor unhappy 
husband melted at this unexpected kindness. 

Some writer has said, " Our destiny is our will, and 
our will is our nature." Words fail to trace the lot 
of that future, of which this was the fatal beginning. 

On the third morning after the decision was made 
we got ready. The good agent sent a buffalo robe, by 
which to make us comfortable. I left my little ones 
in the care of my husband's mother, and off we 
started. 




84 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER IX. 



My husband rapidly gained strength after we left. 
The change of air and the excitement of travel was 
quite beneficial. He began to feel more cheerful at 
the prospect of restoration to health. Arrived safely, 
we were set down at a comfortable hotel, and shown 
to a delightful room, in which blazed a cheerful wood 
fire. All was as it should be. Now for the trial of 
my courage. A prospectus had been drawn up before 
we left home, and placed in a little book, in which I 
was to take the names of my patrons, if I got any. 
We came in town about ten in the morning. We 
took our breakfast in our room over a hot cup of 
coffee, and if ever I realized the comforts of an inn, I 
did that morning. 

My first thought was now, how to begin. To 
succeed well, I must begin right. So I called for the 
Directory, to cull out the most prominent names. 
The Rev. Dr. Ohanning I placed at the head. With 
this preparation I started to make my debut on the 
world's stage. The cold was piercing, the snow 
deep. The doctor's residence was on a hill, about 
half a mile from the city. The path that led to it 
had only the print of a few feet upon it, — the snow 
scarcely trodden. As I turned the bleak corner in 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



85 



the direction which led to the doctor's house, the raw, 
cutting wind blew full in my face. I was thinly clad, 
without overshoes. At every step I sank a foot deep 
in the snow. I had worried half my way through, 
when I fell, and had some difficulty to regain my feet. 
After falling several times, I managed to get on, but 
was nearly frozen. On reaching the doctor's gate, I 
saw some one looking from the window. It was him- 
self. He turned away in a state of apparent aston- 
ishment. In a moment a servant was at the gate, and 
assisted me in. The warm hall, as I entered, made 
me faint ; the reaction produced by the warm at- 
mosphere created intense suffering. It was some 
minutes before I was able to utter any thing but 
groans. As soon, however, as I was relieved, this 
good man invited me into his library, and on learning 
who I was, and my errand, he seemed intensely 
pained. He said, " You are young, indeed, to begin 
life's lessons; but you will have this consolation — 
the more you lose, in this life, of happiness, the less 
you will have to lose hereafter." After a visit of an 
hour, and a conversation I shall never forget, with his 
name on my book and a subscription for ten copies of 
my work, I was prepared to leave. He expressed the 
warmest sympathy for myself and my children, and 
with his blessing and wishes for my safety and success, 
we parted ; he insisted, in the mean time, that I should 
accept of a pair of his India rubber overshoes. The 
doctor had a tiny foot, and the shoes fitted me very 
well. On going out, I found a sleigh and servant 
waiting to take me back to town. Instead of returning 



8 




86 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



to the hotel, I hastened to Long Wharf ; over the door of 
the first warehouse I came to, I saw the name of John 
Fairfield ; in I walked, and found the gentleman in his 
counting room. I quickly introduced myself and my 
business. He seemed surprised and pleased. He 
added his name, and kindly offered to accompany and 
introduce me to the gentlemen through the wharf. 
My success was complete. I .returned to the hotel 
with such a bounding heart and step, a queen might 
have envied me my happiness, strength of soul, and 
purpose. I had been out nearly the entire day. On 
entering my room I found my husband pacing the 
floor in a terrible state of agitation, fearing I had per- 
ished, or that some evil had befallen me. I placed 
in his hands my roll of bills, which was ninety-five 
dollars, the reward of my day's labor. The gratitude 
and tender emotions he manifested at my willingness 
to serve him were enough of reward. 

"We had left our little ones with scarcely the means 
to sustain them three days. Our first anxiety was to 
hasten a remittance by the first maiL That done, I 
had nothing to think of but the accomplishment of 
my object- — to gain the means to publish my husband's 
poem, and as much beyond that as possible, to make 
my family comfortable and independent until the work 
was out. 

We remained two weeks in Boston ; each day 
brought me equal success with the first. Friends 
gathered around us. To the editors — God bless 
them — I am deeply indebted. My success from this 
visit amounted to twelve hundred dollars. With grate- 



Hosted by Google 



JANE FAIRFIELD. 



87 



ful hearts to the noble Bostonians, and with many and 
deep regrets, at parting with kind friends, we hastened 
our return by the same route we had come. 

The stage coach was crowded ; the route a danger- 
ous one. The snow was so deep, that it was impossi- 
ble to discover, even for our experienced driver, the 
undulations of the road. Among our passengers 
there was one so immense that it was impossible to 
place even an ordinary sized man on the seat with him. 
As there were six of us to go, it was proposed that I 
should share the back seat with him. I did not like 
the arrangement, but it seemed one of those things 
which impel us to make a virtue of necessity. I had 
taken such a dislike to this person, that I regretted 
not having waited another day for our journey. I 
said to him, on taking my seat, "I hope, if we 
should have the misfortune to upset, that the stage 
may go over on your side." He grumbled out some- 
thing in answer ; he seemed too fat and indolent to be 
able to enunciate distinctly. We had got on very 
well until night came, and we were somewhere in the 
vicinity of New Haven. I had become exhausted, and 
fell asleep — when over went the coach on my side. 
We were all injured, except this fat man, who came 
very near crushing me to death. 

This accident occurred near a small house, the occu- 
pant of which was a shoemaker, who, with his men, 
sat late at work. We were assisted into this place. 
The injury I had sustained was a severe one on my 
head; the shock was so great as to destroy for the 
time my memory. In the midst of the groans of the 




88 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY -OF 



passengers, I was wondering at the appearance of every- 
thing near me. On looking round I saw my husband 
bent over, suffering from an injury he had received on 
his arm. I asked him to tell me where we were ; at 
my question he seemed annoyed. I insisted upon know- 
ing ; he petulantly answered, " We have been to Bos- 
ton, going to New York." Not being able to make it 
out, and fearing to say any thing more, I repeated in 
a whisper several times what he said, still puzzled to 
comprehend any thing. In this state of anxiety I was 
placed in the coach, but at this time by the side of 
my husband, who was suffering much with his arm, 
but who sustained me as well as he could upon his 
shoulder. After getting on our way I soon recovered 
myself. 

The day dawned. We stopped to breakfast, and had 
a merry time of it. The fat man sat opposite me. 
We all joined in merriment over the accident of the 
night, and congratulated ourselves that it was no 
worse. The' fat man laughed immoderately, and apol- 
ogized, certainly for what he could not help. 

One thought alone interested me, and by its en- 
grossing influence sustained me under all sufferings 
— the love I felt for my children ; their helplessness, 
and the conviction that fate had little of good »in 
store for them, redoubled my vigor, and added fresh 
inspiration to my energy. 

With the blessing of Heaven my first efforts had 
been crowned, and I was now returned safe to my 
little ones, whose gentle caresses and sweet smiles 
would a thousand times repay me for all I had suf- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



89 



fered. They flew into my arms. 0, how their sweet 
prattle rejoiced my heart ! 

After the excitement of meeting was over, my first 
inquiry of my husband's mother was, how my children 
had fared before the remittance reached them. She 
replied, " Not very well ; the fuel gave out, and they 
suffered for fire." She could, she said, think of no 
one who, she believed, had a kinder heart toward the 
family than Colonel Burr. The cold was intense, and 
she feared to trust the children in any one's care. 
She wrapped them as warmly as possible, and started 
with them for the residence of Colonel Burr, in Reade 
Street. She found him at home. On being told we 
had gone to Boston, and of the situation in which she 
was left, the old gentleman wept, and replied, " Though 
I am poor, and have not a dollar, the children of such 
a mother shall never suffer while I have a watch." 
He hastened on this godlike errand, and quickly re- 
turned, having pawned the article for twenty dollars, 
which he gave to make comfortable my precious babes. 
This noble and Christian-like act is recorded above. 

" Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least 
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," said 
the immaculate Saviour. I never have thought of 
this pious act without the tears of gratitude gushing 
into my eyes. Peace and repose be to his spirit ! 

My husband hastened to prepare his new work. 
The difficulty attending his own publications was the 
impossibility (owing to the expense) of having them 
stereotyped. An edition of a few hundred copies 
was soon exhausted, and always left him in the same 



8 




90 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



emergency. His great poem, " The Last Night of 
Pompeii," was finished in eighteen hundred and thirty, 
and soon after its publication my husband sent copies 
to England, to Bulwer. He also wrote him a very 
long letter, but never received either an acknowl- 
edgment of the poem or the letter. 

Bulwer's novel of a similar title appeared about two 
years afterward, and, it is only justice to the poet to 
say, was in every respect an entire and most flagrant 
plagiarism. The Argument, the Introduction of the 
Two Lovers, Converted Christians, Forebodings of the 
Destruction, the Picture of Pompeii in Ruins, the 
Forum of Pompeii, the Manners and Morals of Cam- 
pania Portrayed, Diomede, the Praetor, the Night 
Storm, Vesuvius Threatening, Dialogue of the Chris- 
tians, — the scenes of the whole plot, even the names 
of characters, were all taken from this most grand and 
sublime poem* To steal a purse is to steal trash, 
but to rob one of his thoughts, genius, and fame, is a 
greater injustice. 

It is unnecessary to say that the edition was soon 
exhausted, and that the profits served to make our 
family comfortable for several months. 

The love with which my husband became inspired, 
as a father, seemed to change his nature. I have 
often thought, had it not been for his temper, living 

, * In Bulwer's reply to the charge of plagiarism that had been made 
against him, he says, that " the names of persons and scenes in the novel 
were taken from history." But is it not very strange that in so extensive 
a history as the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, containing, as 
it does, so many names and such a variety of scenes, that the two authors 
should have chosen precisely the same scenes, plot, and names? 



Hosted by G00gk 



JANE FAIRFIELD. 



91 



with him might, at least, have been made endurable. 
His heart was benevolent, and susceptible of the most 
lively impressions ; but his temper was easily wrought 
upon. Fitful by nature, he was often led to commit 
acts of sudden violence, which were followed with 
bitter repentance. With the world he was always at 
variance. It did not comprehend him, nor he it. He 
was often deceived, and mistook his friends for his 
enemies, and vice versa. His soul floated in per- 
petual uncertainties, and knew not where to fix. It 
was deplorable to observe the instability of his mind 
and conduct. 




92 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER X. 



It was one of those soft summer nights in July. 
We sat with our little ones upon the porch, talking 
over the past, and wondering if the future had any 
thing of happiness in store for us. All things around 
seemed to assume a calm repose. The full-orbed 
moon in pearly beauty walked the heavens. It was 
one of those hours of thoughtful loneliness which 
sometimes steal over the heart, and bear us back, on 
darkened wings, to earlier passages of grief and sor- 
row. I held in my arms my little Genevieve. My 
son Angelo, who was chatting with his father, sud- 
denly turned to me, and said, " Mamma, do you see 
that beautiful planet yonder, just over our heads ? 
That planet is my home. There, mamma, I shall 
live in my beautiful Orion" His father had taught 
him the names of the constellations and planets. He 
would often point them out to me in the heavens, and 
while directing my attention to them, he would elo- 
quently repeat Addison's most celebrated "Para- 
phrase on the Nineteenth Psalm " — 



This dear child had a seraph's spirit. He had en- 
tered his fifth year, with one of those lovely natures 



The spacious firmament on high." 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



93 



born of heaven to return thither. His mind, natu- 
rally matured and thoughtful, by being too early 
forced, had produced that insidious disease in the 
brain so common to such children, but which we 
had not suspected. His memory was so remarkable 
that in his recitations he never blundered. At five 
years old he had read the Bible and many story 
books. The sufferings and crucifixion of the Saviour 
so affected him as to cause him such excess of weeping 
that we were often alarmed, and kept the volume 
from his presence. The last year of his life, on seeing 
the unhappy scenes that so often occurred in our fam- 
ily, he would take my hand and lead me aside, kiss 
me, and say, " Dear mamma, you shed so many tears, 
and papa is so unhappy, that I wish to go and live 
with the dear Saviour. Mamma, the dear Saviour 
says, 6 Suffer little children to come unto me.' I 
wish to go and sit in his arms, where there will be no 
more trouble." He would plead with me to tell him 
what it was that made us so unhappy. With his 
sweet temper he could not understand why all were 
not happy ; for he loved all. He would plead with 
me for the poor beggar. Often on his way to school 
he would drop my hand, and run in advance of me, at 
the- sight of any unhappy child, man, or woman, and 
give them his pennies or his lunch, — to which, if I 
objected, he would, as he always did on such occasions, 
weep to excess. He would offer as an excuse for his 
charities, that he was not hungry — that he would wait 
until he got home. 

Again we began to feel anxioxis. For myself, I 




94 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



could never adopt the advice given, to " take no 
thought for the morrow," but was ever haunted by 
fears for the future. I advised my husband to fix his 
mind upon something permanent, that would give him 
stability, and insure us a support. I suggested the 
establishing a periodical — a quarterly work. At that 
time there was needed a work of this kind. He 
thought the idea a good one, embraced it at once, 
and issued his prospectus. 

The better to succeed in this enterprise, I proposed 
to him to visit Washington. 

Our president, General Jackson, had that year been 
inaugurated, with a new cabinet. To obtain promi- 
nent names at the beginning, I thought, would insure 
him success. For this purpose, he started in company 
with our little son, who began to show signs of ill 
health. A change of air, and the amusement of 
travel, I believed, might restore him. The following 
day after their arrival, my husband, with our little son, 
visited the president, who warmly urged the project 
of the work, and kindly introduced the poet to his 
friends. This outset, so cheering to his heart, gave 
him sanguine hopes of ultimate success. He returned 
to the hotel in fine spirits, to inform his mother of his 
prospects. An hour after dinner, our darling Angelo 
was suddenly seized with violent sickness and vom- 
iting. Severe spasms quickly followed, with short 
intervals of consciousness. 

On the fourth day after his illness, I received my 
husband's letter, breaking the news to me of his despair 
of the recovery of our idol. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



95 



Unaccompanied and alone, except with my little 
Genevieve, I set off. I reached Washington just in 
time to behold the dying agony of my child. He 
seemed to know me, and made an effort to speak to 
me. He lay in spasms until the closing of the day ; 
then, with the evening twilight, his angel spirit took 
its flight to the home it had so much longed for. 

With an agony too great for description, over the 
lifeless form of our child stood his poor father. He 
had not left his bedside day or night during his illness. 
He allowed no one to administer to his wants but him- 
self. He had not slept for several nights ; his reason 
seemed almost tottering. He would not allow the as- 
sistance of any one, but laid him in his shroud, and 
sat by him the livelong night, talking and sobbing to 
his lifeless form. 



A well of grief had opened in my heart, and nothing 
could stop its deep, still waters. I had little now to 
turn to for consolation. 

We began to make preparations to depart with the 
remains of our son to New York. All the kindness 
that could be manifested by mortals to mortals under 
deep affliction was shown toward us. This calamity 
took place at Brown's Hotel. By its noble and hospi- 
table keeper, Mr. Brown, nothing was omitted that 
could by any possible means contribute to our comfort. 

It was the last of July. The weather was very 
warm. We started for Baltimore in a carriage that 



And he found with the dead the only rest 
That o'er his heart could creep." 




96 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



had been provided for us. We reached Philadelphia 
the next day, in the afternoon. Finding it impossible 
to proceed to New York, owing to the illness of my 
husband, we stopped here at a boarding house. A 
post mortem examination was hastily made by Dr. 
Horner, after which the dear form I had so much 
loved was laid in its dark and silent sanctuary. Dr. 
Horner came to me in his kind and sympathizing man- 
ner, and said, " My dear madam, be grateful that your 
son has gone to rest : had he lived, such was the forma- 
tion and quantity of his brain, the overaction which 
had already begun must have continued, and probably 
at twelve years of age your son would have fallen into 
fatuity. Don't mourn ; it is all right." Surely, thought 
I, this information ought to console me, and I tried to 
be resigned ; not so with my husband. 

We decided to remain in Philadelphia. We sent 
for our furniture, and hired a very small house, into 
which we betook ourselves. Mr. Fairfield, not caring 
apparently for any earthly object, entirely relinquished 
his project of getting up the work he had projected. 
He did nothing but grieve and visit St. Stephen's 
churchyard. He would there seat himself on the slab 
of marble which*lay on the grave of Angelo, and weep 
for hours. 

Want again stared us in the face. Our house rent 
became due, with a prospect of being ejected, and 
losing what we had. With these dismal trials, I again, 
more than ever, saw the finger of fate pointing to me 
as the only deliverer. One day, while taking a scanty 
meal with our only little one, — each was silent, and 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



97 



seemed to have lost courage to speak, so desperate 
seemed our case, that a secret determination entered 
my mind. I looked upon my little one, and I vowed 
upon the altar of courage and energy, that she should 
never suffer while there remained within me the strength 
of a noble purpose. From that hour have I felt that 
the necessity which forced me to begin my exertions 
made it a still greater necessity to continue them. 

The next morning I arose strengthened in my decis- 
ion. I said not a word about my plans, opened my 
drawer, and took from it my prospectus, on which were 
the names of the president and cabinet at Washington. 
I bent my way into Market Street. 0, how little I felt 
like encountering new faces, or forcing my urgent 
appeal ! But it must be done, cost me what it might. 
I had vowed to be faithful to my impulse — to sacri- 
fice all for my family. 

The ancients have said that "impulse comes from 
the gods." In this emergency I felt that I was 
engaged in a good cause, which gave me confidence 
and courage. All were kind and exceedingly polite. 
I returned to my home after having obtained the num- 
ber of eight signatures, amounting to forty dollars. 
My husband took little notice of my success for a time. 
I paid the house rent, and secured the comforts of a 
home. Each day I set apart for my visits five or six 
hours. In this way I soon laid aside the means suffi- 
cient to issue the first number of the " North American 
Quarterly Magazine." When I had accumulated the 
sum of seven hundred dollars, I gave it into the hands 
of Mr. Fairfield. He seemed amazed at my success. 



9 




98 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



He left home for the first day, on business, since the 
burial of Angelo, awakened to a sense of duty, to 
look for an office to begin business immediately. He 
found a dwelling to rent on Tenth, near Chestnut 
Street. To this pleasant abode we immediately re- 
paired. The change was of service to us all. In a 
very short time the work was out, and once more my 
heart rejoiced. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



9& 



CHAPTER XI. 



The prospect of success, and the consciousness of 
the terrible destiny that awaited a failure, demanded 
of me all my energies. I lost not a moment. I began 
to feel certain of success, at least among gentlemen ; 
with women it was a failure. The sympathies can 
only be called into play by the opposite sex. I had 
made a few attempts, but always found their curiosity 
paramount to their sympathy — that, so far from a 
desire to assist me, they were always ready with their 
limited empire to prevent, if possible, their husbands 
from doing so. I remember on one occasion having 
called several times at the residence of a very wealthy 
gentleman in the city, without being able to find him 
at home ; feeling a certainty of his subscription, I was 
inclined not to give it up. Again I called. I discov- 
ered by the questions put to me by the girl who at- 
tended the door, that the lady of the house had felt 
unhappy at the anxiety I manifested to see her husband, 
and, refusing to see herself, I asked the girl at what 
hour they dined. At three, was her answer. I called 
precisely at that hour. I was invited in the parlor 
to be seated. In a moment the gentleman made his 
appearance through the folding doors which connected 
the drawing rooms, and closed them after him. I 




100 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



introduced myself, and the object of my visit, at which 
he expressed himself happy and honored. During the 
few moments of conversation that passed, I observed 
the folding doors move, and open a little. While the 
husband was placing his name on my list, the wife 
flung aside the doors with the velocity of lightning. 
The husband, nothing daunted, opened his purse, and 
took from it the five dollars, saying, 6i Madam, this I 
believe *is the amount. I shall be most happy to con- 
tinue a patron to the work as long as you shall have 
such labor to perform." 

"You will — eh?" said the partner of his bosom, 
looking a fit subject for a lunatic asylum, instead of 
the home circle. " Our house is already flooded with 
books; beside, it's no charity to give to this woman, 
whose dress (the first object of a woman's attention) 
is more expensive than you can afford your wife. Her 
work shall not come here ; if it does I'll throw it in the 
street." 

This woman, no doubt, had a plenty of every thing 
she could possibly desire to make her happy ; yet, like 
thousands of her sex, she withered in an atmosphere of 
unhappiness, of wretchedness, from her own irritable 
temper. There are many such, who, having no real 
trials, are not long in manufacturing them. 

This may be taken as a specimen of my reception, 
whenever, in my business, I have met a woman — but, 
for the honor of my sex, there have been some noble 
exceptions. 

I had been taught self-dependence from suffering 
more than from choice. How often have I felt a dis- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



101 



gust for those of my sex, who, surrounded with every 
thing that can and ought to make them grateful and 
happy, instead of being cheerful, mild, and kind, fret 
and fume over every little contemptible nothing, tak- 
ing pleasure in making their homes and those who 
labor to sustain them ivr etched ! 

These are the women who boast of their affections ! 
who would go into hysterics were you to doubt their 
love for their husbands and families. love ! " how 
many crimes are committed in thy name ! " 

Our new work was fast gaining celebrity, as well as 
the most gifted contributors in the country. My hus- 
band's labors became intense. Mental labor is the most 
wearing of all. I was the sole financier, and it was as- 
tonishing to see how we got on for a time. After hav- 
ing obtained many patrons among the noble people of 
Philadelphia, my next effort was in the gay metropolis 
of New York. 

On reaching the city, my first visit was to James 
Gordon Bennett, Esq., the gifted editor of the New 
York Herald. This gentleman received me with cour- 
tesy, and gave me, I will not say a flattering, but a 
just notice of my courage in projecting and carrying 
out , unaided, so herculean a task. 

This notice created a desire in the minds of the 
people to serve me. We had not been long in the 
city before we were visited by many of the most dis- 
tinguished and talented. The poet Halleck, our early, 
tried friend, came often to see us ; we always found in 
him a convivial and delightful visitor. I admired his 
good sense in remaining single. He was a happy 



9* 




102 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



poet — a rare thing to be met with. He had a con- 
tempt for such as are always groaning over " the 
slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." He be- 
lieved in the propriety of laughing at mishaps. It was 
truly refreshing to meet with one so gifted, who could 
turn tragedy into comedy with so much grace, wit, 
and abandon. 

After paying my visits and respects to the noble and 
princely merchants of New York, I next bent my 
steps into Wall Street, among the bankers and brokers. 
It seemed a carnival week, so delighted was I with 
the stir and excitement. Escorts gathered round to 
introduce me. I felt grateful for such wishes to serve 
me, though I much preferred to introduce myself. It 
was a delightful thing to get away from stilts and cere- 
mony. I liked to feel that every man was my friend. 
My business was a carte blanche every where. 

During my stay of > three weeks, though I was 
abundantly successful, I had left much undone. I 
felt anxious to return to my little girls, Genevieve and 
Gertrude. I left New York with regret. I had been 
greeted by all with feelings of interest and kindness ; 
it had been a continued ovation. My path, indeed, 
seemed strewed with flowers, in contrast with what it 
had been. 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



108 



CHAPTER XII. 



Winter had come. We returned from New York 
just in time to witness the debut of Fanny Kemble and 
her father. Mr. Fairfield, as an editor, had free ac- 
cess to the theatre. A portion of our Magazine was 
devoted to the criticism of the drama. Mr. Maywood, 
who was then manager of the Chestnut Street Theatre, 
kindly tendered to me a carte blanche for the season. 

I was present to witness the entire range of charac- 
ters performed by this great and beautiful actress. 
She was a radiant and gifted being. It was a delight- 
ful relief to repair for forgetfulness to witness these 
great performances. 

It is the adverse circumstances that give the tri- 
umph. Toil, exertions, and obstacles had now become 
utterly mine — obstacles which grew out of the very 
nature of my energies and exertions. My business 
was calculated to create public sympathy in my behalf, 
which often became the source of domestic suffering 
and tyranny ; so that, in my despair I often appealed 
to Heaven for assistance to guide my steps, and to 
know which way I should turn for consolation ; but the 
world was before me, and I never could understand 
sinking under any shape adversity could take. I be- 
gan to enjoy the struggle, in my strong belief of sue- 




104 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



cess. They who suffer, as has been my lot to suffer, 
have a right to speak of themselves. And if I have 
cause for pride or boasting, it is merely on account of 
my power of endurance. 

Bidding adieu to our little ones, and taking letters 
of introduction along our route of travel through the 
State of New York, thence into beautiful Canada, our 
visits to Geneva and Canandaigua were most gratifying. 
It is by no means wonderful that men of eminence 
should seek retirement in that lovely spot. As soon 
as we had made ourselves comfortable at Blossom's 
Hotel, I started off in pursuit of patrons, having pre- 
viously sent our letters of introduction to Mr. Greig 
and Mr. Granger. From these opulent and agreeable 
gentlemen I received a hearty welcome and encour- 
agement. 

The society in Canandaigua is excellent. Many in- 
vitations were sent to us, which, on account of my ex- 
cessive labor and the fatigue I suffered, I was obliged 
to decline. This village is luxuriant with shrubbe- 
ries, and beautiful foliage, and lofty trees. One inci- 
dent connected with my visit I can not forget. Adjoin- 
ing the hotel there lived a Scotch gentleman, a Mr. 
Wood, who was a bachelor, whose chief delight and 
happiness were in the cultivation of his flower garden. 
Mine host gave me some very curious anecdotes about 
this gentleman, and added, " He pays court to all fine 
women who visit this hotel, and you must not be sur- 
prised if in some way you receive a compliment from 



The next morning, when it was scarcely light, the 



him." 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



106 



chamber-maid knocked at our door with a message 
from Mr. Blossom. It being so early, I was startled. 
I opened the door in haste, fearing bad news from my 
family, instead of which she handed me, smiling, one 
of the most fragrant and beautiful bouquets I had ever 
seen. The dew was yet upon the flowers. A note 
was placed among its leaves. I opened it, and read, — 

" These flowers, which represent grace, beauty, love, 
devotion, and suffering, are sent from a Wood, by a 
Blossom, to a Fairfield." I was enchanted with the 
gift, and my husband delighted with this chaste and 
beautiful compliment. 

We hastened on our journey to Buffalo, a point to 
which we had ordered our letters ; on arriving there 
we found a letter had awaited us for several days with 
the information of the illness of one of our little daugh- 
ters. We rapidly retraced our journey home, and my 
visit to Canada was made alone in after years. 

Returned to Philadelphia, we found all right ; our 
little one had recovered from what had been thought 
a dangerous illness. 

This incident had made me nervous, and I feared 
to leave home again during that summer, and proposed 
to Mr. Fairfield to visit the environs of our city, and 
the " gentlemen of leisure " who had not yet seen our 
work. 

One day, in my rambles, I accidentally called at the 
residence of Mr. James Brown, our Hon. Ex-Minister 
to Prance. This gentleman had been suffering from 
an attack of apoplexy, the effects of which confined 
him to his room. I informed the servant who was 




106 



THE AUTOBIOGEAPHY OF 



sent to me for my name, that I had called on business; 
that if Mr. Brown was too ill to see me, I would call 
at some future time. After delivering my message, he 
returned with an answer, desiring me to walk up stairs 
into his room. On entering, I saw a fine, intelligent- 
looking gentleman, his age about sixty-five ; he seemed 
bending toward "that bourn whence no traveler re- 
turns." His manner was noble and dignified, and 
his conversation charmed me for a few moments, 
which, as I had called for patronage to a periodical 
work, turned upon literature. 

He expressed himself surprised at my arduous un- 
dertaking; but on his discovery that the work was 
edited by Mr. Fairfield, his affability of manner changed 
so suddenly that I felt that I was transplanted to the 
frigid zone, somewhere in the vicinity of an iceberg. 
His face changed with his expressions, which were sar- 
castic and severe toward my husband. This vitupera- 
tion had been occasioned by some misunderstanding 
with Mr. Fairfield during his visit to France, at the 
period when Mr. Brown was our minister to that 
nation. 

I bade the gentleman good morning and left. Be- 
fore I had reached the door which led to the street, 
the servant came running to me, saying Mr. Brown had 
sent him to request my return. On reentering his 
apartment, he said, in a subdued tone and manner, 
" Madam, you had not left my presence a moment, 
before a feeling of regret came upon me at having ven- 
tured my opinion to you in regard to your relatives. 
I have been rude and harsh in my speech to a wife, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



107 



for which I pray your forgiveness. Young as you are, 
the imprints of sorrow and suffering are already on 
your brow, and, Heaven knows, I would not add to 
these. I see how it is. Rough indeed are the chances 
from poverty and suffering for you, and though I can 
not consent to receive your work, remember that in 
me, if the future brings you calamities, you will find 
a friend. Promise me that, in any emergency that 
may befall you in the future, you will call on me, and» 
this will give me some relief for the pain which I feel 
I have inflicted upon you during this visit." Touched 
by his obvious sympathy, as well as reassured by his 
gentle manner, I could not help weeping, and on taking 
my leave, promised to adhere to his request. 

During that summer and autumn, I had walked 
many a weary mile to sustain, by my labors, our 
family and our work. Such had become the state of 
fermentation and disorder in our dwelling, that though 
I often faltered in strength, I preferred the out-door 
labor to the in-door disquiet. 



Several months had passed away, and I had been 
barely able to keep down expenses. 

The cost to sustain the Magazine amounted to about 
seven hundred dollars per quarter. This sum, together 
with our household expenses, required on my part 
great labor and travel ; and though I began to think 
I had mastered my destiny, that the work had become 
so well established that my husband could get on with- 



There's nothing like the weary foot 
That betrays the weary heart." 




108 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



out further aid of mine, in this, as in every thing, I 
was disappointed. 

I forbear expatiating, but pass over five fearful 
months of illness and pain, to my convalescence. 

I had been ill so long that our work became in- 
volved. Indeed, during my long suffering I myself 
had needed many of life's comforts. One morning, 
while making an effort to amuse my children, I heard 
a loud, uproarious noise in the hall below, and though 
I had not since my illness left my room, I walked to 
the head of the stairs. My husband was loudly talking 
with two men, who were officers, sent by our landlord 
to fulfill their duty, which was to remove the furniture 
on account of unpaid rent. Trembling with debility 
and nervousness, I begged these men to come to me, 
for I could not reach them, so faint with fright had I 
become. I informed them that I was Mrs. Fairfield, 
the lady of the house ; that, though I was ill, if they 
would promise me to cease their unpleasant bickerings, 
and wait a sufficient time for me to walk as far as 
"Washington Square and return, I would pay them the 
amount of rent they required. 

To this request they kindly consented. They walked 
away, and seated themselves in their vehicles at the 
door. I made as hasty a toilet as my strength would 
permit, and walked slowly to thp house of Mr. James 
Brown, then living in Washington Square. A thou- 
sand vague fears crossed my mind on the way. I knew 
in part the world. The offer this gentleman had made 
me, thought I, may be forgotten ; if not, it was not likely 
that he believed I would ever, under any trial, have 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



109 



the presumption to call on him for any such favor as 
he had offered. 

With these fears agitating my heart, I arrived at the 
door of Mr. Brown. I rang the bell. The same ser- 
vant attended the door as before when I called. He 
asked me to be seated in the drawing room while he 
carried my message. 

Mr. Brown came hurriedly in the parlor. He saw 
at a glance that I was ill and grieved. My feebleness 
of health made me hysterical, and I could not speak for 
weeping. As soon as I could do so I told him my 
errand. " Great God ! " was his reply, " what suffer- 
ing ! " He then ordered John, the servant, to bring 
his portfolio, and filled a draft for the amount I needed. 
Language failed to express my gratitude, nor did I 
attempt to express any. 

On my way to my dwelling I could not help saying 
to myself, ' Fool that I am, to toil, hour after hour, in 
giving others what they will take thanklessly and even 
reproachfully, full of their own petty cavilings and 
jealousies.' I never cared for money half as much as 
" golden opinions." Yet gold is better, perhaps, in 
reality; for what can make life endurable in this 
world but wealth ? 

Thus early had life become a burden to me almost 
intolerable. I paid the men and dismissed them. I 
then returned exhausted to my chamber. 



10 




110 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Doomed always to a cosmopolitan life, as soon as my 
health was restored my husband and myself set out 
together to make the tour of the south. We came to 
Washington, where we remained a few days. We then 
pursued our route through South Carolina and Georgia, 
to New Orleans. 

It had been my good fortune to secure letters from 
several gentlemen of Philadelphia to our eminent 
statesmen at Washington, Mr. Forsyth, Daniel Web- 
ster, and Henry Clay. By these honorable gentlemen 
I was received with marked cordiality. They each in 
their turn introduced my husband's work, and were 
the means of greatly increasing my success. Mr. For- 
syth was at that time secretary of state, under Gen- 
eral Jackson's administration. His manners were 
delightful. His countenance was mild, pale, pene- 
trating, and intellectual. The abundance of curly 
white hair around his expansive forehead gave it a 
peculiar expression* He accompanied me to each of 
the departments, and presented me to the gentlemen 
comprising the cabinet. One proof of a great man is 
fitness for the circumstances in which he is placed. 
Mr. Forsyth possessed the genius of representation, 
and no one could be more suited to the high stations 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



Ill 



he filled in his country's service. His was a genius 
especially requisite among a people who require to be 
both excited and impressed. His character was brave, 
ehivalric, and high-minded ; above all he was sincere 
and faithful in his political principles and friend- 
ships. 

Life's high places have many paths ; and what bril- 
liant dreams these great men had of their own and 
their country's future. Webster and Clay— these were 
names to which homage came from every quarter, and 
adulation from every lip. 

I went for the first time to visit the Capitol. I lis- 
tened, entranced, to the eloquence of each of these 
great statesmen. Ah, these were men who by their 
loyalty and genius could reunite discordant spirits, re- 
lieve their country from calamities, repair its ruins, 
and extinguish tyranny. How necessary: were the lives 
of these illustrious men to our nation ! They were, as 
all know, models and guides in political greatness ; in 
a word, they were the senators of senators, who now*- 
sleep in their graves ; who rest from their labors, but 
whose names are immortal. Their successors can do 
nothing better than to tread in their steps. 

It will be remembered that General Jackson and his 
friends were the first who subscribed to our work ; 
the general was in arrears in the sum of fifteen dol- 
lars. This afforded me an opportunity to visit him 
and pay my respects. I had been told that he was a 
very gallant admirer of ladies, and I longed for noth- 
ing more than to see the hero of the battle of New 
Orleans, and the man who had the courage to veto the 




112 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



United States Bank. Before starting I made out my 
bill. It was cabinet day, wbieh I did not know until I 
reached the White House. Intent, however, upon my 
object, I sent in my card ; I was at once ushered into 
the presence of the president and cabinet. 

The general met me at the door. He took both 
my hands in his, and presented me to the party, then 
led and seated me in his chair. Nothing could be 
more gentle or graceful than his manner. We chatted 
and passed compliments. I then presented my bill. 
There was a pause, and all business suspended. The 
general glanced at it; then straightening up his tall 
figure, he said, " Madam, I am sorry to speak harshly 
to a lady ; but before this bill can be paid, your hus- 
band must recant a most foul calumny which I find in 
the last number of his Magazine against General Cof- 
fee — my friend, and one of the noblest specimens of 
God's works. Madam, I say, by the Eternal, that 
wrong shall be redressed ; and unless your husband 
makes an apology to me through the work in which ap- 
peared his unjust and savage attack, not one dollar of 
my debt shall ever be paid." This, thought I, is con- 
clusive. I replied that, though I knew nothing of 
the article to which he referred, I presumed that Mr. 
Fairfield had written what he believed to be just, and 
without prejudice ; and that I doubted the propriety 
of an apology, unless he were convinced of an error. 
General Coffee had recently died, and in a paper then 
edited by Mr. Blair, of Washington, there appeared a 
eulogy, which Mr. Fairfield thought unmerited, on his 
life and character. General Coffee acted under Gen- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



113 



eral Jackson in command in the war with the In- 
dians. Mr. Fairfield, to substantiate what he had 
assumed, obtained a history of the war, and, to prove 
his assertions, copied therefrom letters from General 
Coffee to General Jackson ; these letters gave the in- 
formation that he (General Coffee) had obeyed strictly 
his commands — had burned the wigwams of the In- 
dians and exterminated their women and children. 

Mr. Fairfield was a warm friend to the Indians ; he 
believed that they were defrauded and unjustly treated 
by the white people. 

It was the cruelty of murdering the women and 
children which gave him an unfavorable impression of 
the character of General Coffee. And to this day the 
fifteen dollars remains unpaid. 

We left "Washington delighted with our visit, and 
hastened our journey to Savannah, stopping at Rich- 
mond and the smaller places on our way. A pilgrim 
who is in search of hospitality and noble hearts may 
find them here. Even so soon on my southern jour- 
ney had I fallen in love with southern manners and 
kindness. 

It would cost me much patience to sum up and set 
down all my adventures, discoveries, opinions, and 
speculations in the new school of experience I had 
entered ; many of which were no less farcical than 
those of " Gil Bias." 

We hastened our journey to Savannah. On arriving 

there I at once called on Mr. T 1, a banker, to 

whom I had a letter of introduction. On my entering 
the bank he came 1 ctstily to me, blushing, and taking 




114 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



my hand he gave it a hearty shake. His face had not 
the celestial rosy-red, but a good positive scarlet. 
He most warmly said, " How glad I am to see you ! 
When did you arrive ? " He called me so familiarly 
by my first name that I began to wonder if I had not 
seen the gentleman before. " I believe, sir," said I, 
"that we are strangers," at the same time handing 
him my letter. At this information he dropped my 
hand, looking like a startled fawn. 

The conversation turned on my business, each try- 
ing to be very grave ; but it would not do. To relieve 
the embarrassment he seemed to feel, I said, " Never 
mind, sir ; these accidents will sometimes happen ; " 
at which we both enjoyed a hearty laugh. He then 
frankly acknowledged that he thought me an old flame 
of his, the resemblance was so striking. 

What was most remarkable, the flame and myself 
both possessed the name of Jane. 

My husband and myself were invited to dine at the 
house of this gentleman. The grace, ease, and good 
feeling with which his charming wife and himself per- 
formed the honors of the table, made us feel quite at 
home. We talked over the adventure of the morning, 
which made a gay scene. Indeed, I have not often met 
with a more agreeable family, or any who better un- 
derstood the art of pleasing conversation. 

I can not, nor, if I could, have I time or space to 
enumerate one half of the agreeable people or the 
happy incidents of my journey to the south ; but all 
seemed anxious to make my stay with them as pleas- 
ant as possible ; all expressed the warmest regard for 
me, and a desire for my success. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



115 



I can truly say, that during this journey not one 
unpleasant occurrence took place to mar my happi- 
ness. 

Arrived at Columbus, Georgia, we took it in our 
heads, being so near Florida, to extend our visit to 
that beautiful country. We found a steamer sailing 
direct to Tallahassee. We immediately took passage, 
and found ourselves in excellent company as we glided 
down on this beautiful river. There happened to be 
on board a large party of ladies and gentlemen who 
were en route to a ball, to be given the next night at 
the mansion of Governor Call. 

We arrived in Tallahassee early in the morning ; after 
breakfasting we took a stroll to view the town. 

In this work it is not my purpose to go into ecstasies 
over scenery; mine is the record of suffering and ex- 
perience. All who travel, if they have sense enough 
to understand and admire the beautiful, can do so in 
the still worship of their own hearts. There is a great 
deal of cant by travelers and authors on this subject. 
The Supreme Being has told us to be still, and admire, 
and know that he is God. 

We returned from our walk pleased with what we 
saw. On entering our parlor we found that Governor 
Call had left a note for us, with an invitation to the 
ball to be given at his house that night. I have sel- 
dom been present at a more elegant or delightful party. 
There was dancing until a late hour, in which I joined. 
It was a recreation in which I greatly delighted. 

My husband never danced. This was an amuse- 
ment, he said, belonging to women and children. 




116 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



During the evening, my vis-a-vis was the accomplished 
Princess Murat. I was presented to her by the gov- 
ernor, and was charmed by her unaffected and lady- 
like demeanor. The ladies of Florida rank in beauty 
among the belles of our country. I have not often met 
with more charming women. 

In the early part of my history I had forgotten to 
mention the fact of my friendship for Madame Murat. 
I allude to the wife of Prince Achille Murat, brother 
to the husband of the lady I met at the ball. They 
are sons of the Ex-King of Naples. We were about 
of an age, and were married nearly together. 

She was a Miss Frazer. Her early history was some- 
thing like my own. 

This lady, during the vicissitudes and exile of her 
husband, was reduced to teaching a small school in 
Bordentown, New Jersey, where for a long time she 
resided, and where I sometimes visited her. She 
needed no title to exalt her, for she was nature's 
own princess and gentlewoman. I recollect on one 
occasion I called on her for patronage to my hus- 
band's work. I found her employed in her school. 
" 0," said she, " this marrying princes and poets is 
not exactly what it should be ; it does not secure hap- 
piness." 

She is now living at the court of Napoleon the 
Third, in the enjoyment (if not of happiness) of the 
full honor of her title as princess. 

We passed a delightful week in Florida, then has- 
tened our journey to Columbus, and from thence as 
rapidly as possible to New Orleans. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



117 



CHAPTER XIV. 



We soon found ourselves in New Orleans, located at 
the princely St. Charles. The time for our absence 
had nearly expired. Mr. Fairfield's time was always 
limited. He must be at home to issue his work at 
the end of every three months. 

I had but three weeks left me for business. Amuse- 
ments I never thought of. Domestic uneasiness, and 
anxiety for my children, filled all my thoughts. 

My life was that of a wanderer, up and down in the 
midst of toils and perils, always uncertain, never fixed, 
having a residence, but no home. I began to find 
that this manner of life procured me a great number 
of acquaintances — of real friends perhaps but few. 

" What greater happiness can we propose," says the 
great Petrarch, " than to pass our lives with the one 
we love, and with a few united friends, with whom 
we think aloud, and who have but one will, one soul, 
with faces always serene, minds always agreed, and 
hearts always open ! " Alas ! this picture belongs to 
but few. 

The New Orleans "Picayune" gave a fine review 
of our Magazine, and one of those notices to myself 
which I so constantly received from our noble-hearted 
and generous editors every ivhere, and which aided 
me much in my arduous labors. 




118 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



I do not wish to be thought egotistical, (autobi- 
ographies are always more or less so,) or take any 
undue merit to myself. I therefore exclude from my 
work these notices, so full of praise and good wishes, 
and simply mention the adulation I received from the 
people, the invitations to parties, balls, dinners, and 
the attentions with which I was every where over- 
whelmed. Nor do I deny that I possessed the vanity, 
so common to human weakness, of being enchanted by 
all these ovations ; but I must confess, I take more 
pleasure in describing the scenes of my adversities, 
for in these there are experience and knowledge. A 
Greek writer has said, " What does one know who has 
not suffered ? " 

In these my sad memoirs, I address myself more 
to the wretched than to the gay or happy — those who 
like myself have passed the ordeal of suffering. 

In human existence there is an infinite variety, and 
minds have as little resemblance as faces. To the' 
beings who are puffed up with prosperity my life would 
be an enigma they could not comprehend. 

The hospitality with which I was received by the 
citizens, natives as well as strangers from all nations, 
is shown by my success, which in a little more than 
three weeks amounted to the sum of three thousand 
dollars, independent of our expenses. 

We hastened our departure from the Crescent City, 
from its charming scenes and people, by steamer, up 
the Mississippi to Wheeling, thence to our abode in 
the delightful, quiet, and happy city of Philadelphia. 

On my return home, I found several letters from 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



119 



kind friends. Among them was one from Mr. James 
Brown, our ex-ambassador, inclosing a letter of intro- 
duction to Captain M z, from England, of her 

majesty's navy. 

I called with my letter, and sent the gentleman my 
card. In a few moments he entered the drawing 
room. His appearance was very distinguished — his 
manner courtly. 

" The circumstances," said I, " in which I am placed, 
sir, have induced me to call on you, as I do on others, 
with a work edited by my husband. Will you do me 
the honor to give me your signature as a subscriber ? " 
At this request he handed me his card, and added, — 

" Madam, I shall be most happy to be of service to 
you in any way you may mention. Perhaps I may be 
permitted to ask what those circumstances are. " 

I had by this time become accustomed to what is 
called " dead sets." I was generally composed on 
these occasions, and quite collected. 

" They are, sir, pecuniary embarrassments," I said. 

" Tour information," added he, " does not leave a 
single obstacle in the way of a most perfect happiness. 
May I claim the privilege of being told something 
more of your history ? " 

" This would occupy too much time," said I, " and 
my life, such as it is, could little interest a foreigner 
and a stranger." 

He had a singularly encouraging manner, and talked 
easily. 

" There is nothing in marriage," he replied, " that 
can supply the want of affection, and you surely can 




120 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



not love the man who enforces on yon such exposure 
and labor." 

I inquired, " What better evidence could I give of 
affection than my willingness to sacrifice my life for 
my husband and children ? " 

" A weakness, madam," said he, " a weakness ; but 
you will allow me the pleasure of calling on you with 
the names of some of my friends. At what hour shall 
I have the happiness of finding you at home ? " 

This was alarming. The idea of receiving a stran- 
ger, a visitor, unknown to my husband, was something 
I never dared to dream of. I informed the gentleman 
that my avocations absorbed the most of my time, that 
I had no moments set apart for visitors, but was ever 
occupied with business, and my duties to my family. 
Thanking him, I took my leave. 

I could never relate any of these episodes to my hus- 
band. " Take any shape but that," was what I al- 
ways felt when tempted to deal in witticisms, or relate 
an adventure. 

My husband could not see that, though I felt keenly 
the inequalities of human allotment, I had my 
choice of every earthly advantage that fortune could 
bestow, and that I preferred to waste the best years 
of my life, and the deepest feelings of my heart, in 
anxiety and toil. Alas ! how much was there of 
bitter lessons of which he little dreamed — lessons 
which come in the experience of but few ! 

The following day after this visit, late in the after- 
noon, I was preparing a salad for dinner. My hus- 
band stood near me, holding in his arms our little babe, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



121 



when suddenly a carriage stopped at our door. The 
bell rang. In a moment more the servant handed me 
a note. As I was more intent on having a good din- 
ner than on seeing the contents of the note, I handed 
it to my husband, saying, " See what that is." He 
opened it and read. 

It was fearful to behold the expression of his face, 
it was so full of despair, wrath, and revenge. During 
these moments I stood horror-struck, not knowing 
what were the contents of the note, or by whom it was 
sent ; nor dared I ask. In a few moments his wild 
frenzy turned into weeping, when he threw himself 
into a chair. His agony seemed so intense, that I felt 
the deepest sympathy and sorrow, though I remained 
ignorant of the cause. He asked me if I would con- 
sent to copy an answer to the note — one that he 
should dictate, over my signature. I answered, " Cer- 
tainly," at which reply he seemed relieved. He then 
handed me the note, and went into his library, made 
his toilet, and went out. The letter was from Captain 
M z. 

He soon returned, and wrote the note, which I copied, 
the tenor of which demanded an apology, or a challenge 
from my husband would be the result. There seemed 
to be a pretty fair prospect of pistols and coffee. 

The answer came with not one word in reference to 
my husband, who could not, however, demur at its 
contents. But I am dwelling too long on these trifles. 

" Great sufferings have great strength ; there is a pride 
In the bold energy that braves the worst, 
And bears proud in the bearing." 



n 




122 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



I was philosophical by nature, and therefore had not 
to become so, with my husband's keen feelings so in- 
compatible with happiness. It were well I was so. Alas 
for the child of genius ! — the very word poet is synon- 
ymous with misfortune. Pew indeed there are who 
comprehend such natures. In prosperity or adver- 
sity, the poor poet finds nought but discontent. His 
genius and ambition, the sorrows and disappoint- 
ments which are his allotments, turn to poison, or to a 
void. " Their empire is divided between bitterness 
and exhaustion." If he has any happiness, it is only 
when he luxuriates with the aspirations and efforts 
which link his name to the future — the visionary of 
sublimest dreams. • 

My poor husband labored industriously with his pen. 
Night after night I have known him to sit late, alone 
and unaided, to perform the task of writing or correcting 
articles for his Magazine. I have seen him often — how 
often ! retire after taking some anodyne, perhaps laud- 
anum, to calm his nerves and fevered mind, worn 
by excitement and exhausting exertion. 0, is it not 
a sad page in which the annals of the great are writ- 
ten ? For such ought we not to exert the kindest 
sympathies of our nature ? 

During five successive years we labored together, 
fondly dreaming of that future which should bring us 
repose and independence. My husband had concen- 
trated in his Magazine the genius and talent of the 
country. The clouds of adversity that had hung over 
us so long and so fearfully were rapidly dispersing, 
and cheerful gratulations came to us from many lips. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



123 



Our two lovely daughters grew in beauty and intellec- 
tual loveliness by our side. 0, how entirely my every 
hope was centered in my children ! though I looked 
upon them, thus early, with a dread, which haunted me 
with a perpetual shadow, that fate would some day ex- 
act a terrible penalty for the happiness they afforded 
me. Miss Landon has said, " The shadow flung from 
the soul is an omen ; " and mine at that time must have 
held some mysterious communion with the future. 
My eldest daughter, my Genevieve, was a blonde, pale 
and fair, with sculptured features, soft and large blue 
eyes. There was an expression on her face too 
thoughtful for one so young. Her smile was sweet, 
but never glad. 

My youngest daughter, Gertrude, was a brunette, 
with features and expression which bore a striking 
resemblance to her sister. They were equally intel- 
lectual, and gave early evidence of genius. In many 
things they partook largely of their father's nature — 
such as an early fondness for study. They each pos- 
sessed great memory, and an ardent desire for knowl- 
edge. They were so unhappy when placed at school, 
that we agreed between us to educate them at home. 
Their father gave his time and attention, all that he 
could spare, to this purpose. They preferred solitude, 
apart from other children. 

The first years of their childhood were passed in 
study, in their father's library, which was composed 
of choice selections of historical, philosophical, and 
literary works. Thus situated, they early learned to 
think, and to know the value of self-application. 
They read and studied much. 




124 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



At this period, just as I had begun to feel secure 
and sheltered from actual misfortunes, those especially 
•which spring from poverty, my husband was sud- 
denly seized with the fearful malady of epilepsy. The 
frequent occurrence of these convulsions in the course 
of a short time so enfeebled his mind as to render him 
unable to perform the duties required of him for his 
Magazine. 

An awful thing it is — the failing energies of a mas- 
ter mind. The poor poet, who had placed implicit 
confidence in his genius, now found himself utterly 
defeated. Slow indeed are such minds to credit that 
the never-failing resource can at last fail them. But 
so it is. Like a dried-up fountain, the perennial and 
bright fertility ceases, and ceases forever. 

There are some natures which seem sent into this 
world but for a brief and bitter trial : such a nature 
was my husband's ; he had not strength for the strug- 
gle. He had ever felt despondency steal over his 
highest moods from his earliest youth. The weight of 
an unfulfilled destiny was ever upon him, and he be- 
came fully impressed that these feelings had long been 
the unconscious omen of an early death. * His was a 
hopelessly melancholy nature, and therefore much to 
be commiserated. It is very easy to say, jfor such as 
have no feeling, that such a state of misery as his 
was morbid and mistaken. Let such remember that 
before we can change our feelings we must change our 
natures ; and a temperament of his sensitive and ex- 
citable kind is of all others the most difficult to alter 
and subdue. For such there is no peace until the 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



125 



fevered brain, be calmed, and the beating heart at 
rest forever. 

In his poem of the " Idealist," which I annex here, 
may be found, expressed in the sweetest language of 
poesy, the extreme sensitiveness and melancholy with 
which during life he suffered. 

When the last hues of sunset fade away, 

And blend in magic wreaths of light and shade, 
And stillness sleeps beside the closing day, 
Drinking the music of the breezy glade, 
'Tis joy to wander forth alone 

Through, shadowy groves and solemn woods, 
And muse of pleasures past and gone, 
'Mid nature's holy solitudes : 
For then my spirit to its God aspires, 
And worships in the light of Love's ascending fires. 

"Where rocks hang tottering from the mountain's side, 

And ancient trees in hoary grandeur wave, 
I love to sit, forgetting pomp and pride, 
And all the passions that the soul enslave, 
And yield my heart to the sweet charm 

Of Nature in her loneliness, 
While soft-voiced zephyrs, breathing balm, 
The perfumed flowers and shrubs caress, 
And the last songbird pours her parting lay 
Of love and praise to bless the brightly-closing day. 

There is a loveliness in Nature's smile 

Which fills the heart with heaven's own holy gladness, 
Though he, whose heaven is in her charms, the while, 
Feels thoughts steal o'er him of surpassing sadness. 
When 'mid the perfect works of God, 

He muses on the sin and folly 
That make man's heart their dark abode, 
O, who would not be melancholy ? 



11* 




126 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



How sad the thought that this fair world should be 
The dwelling place of guilt and helpless misery ! 

Yet if his woe be unallied to crime, 

And suffering not from evil conscience spring, 
To Nature's bosom let him come, what time 
Flowers ope the bud and birds are on the wing, 
And there the fretful world forget, 

And search the world of his own breast, 
Where thoughts, like suns, arise and set, 
And whirlwind passions rage unblest ; 
There let the son of song and sorrow lie, 
And inspiration catch from Nature's speaking eye ! 

From earliest youth I loved alone to climb 

The moss-wreathed rock, and from the mountain's brow 
O'er sea and land, an amplitude sublime, 
To gaze when sunk the sun in radiant glow, 
And poured o'er quiet vales, and hills, 

And groves, and meads, and gushing streams, 
Such glory as creation fills, 
His last full swell of golden beams. 

ye, who would adore the Eternal Power, 

Go forth alone and pray at twilight's hallowed hour! 

The spirit then throws off the garb of clay, 

Which in the warring world 'tis doomed to wear, 
And robes itself in beautiful array, 

And soars and sings amid the blooming air, 
Where in aerial halls of light 

Meet kindred spirits pure and good, 
And parted souls again unite 

Where grief and pain can not intrude, 
And in the radiance of soul-mingling eyes 
Beveal the mystic power of heaven's high harmonies. 

1 ever was a melancholy child, 

Unmirthful and unmingling with the crowd ; 



Hosted by G00gk 



JANE P AIRFIELD. 



127 



The loneliest solitude on me hath smiled 

When lightning darted from the rifted cloud ; 
And I have felt a strange delight 

? Mid forests and the cavern's gloom, 
And wandered forth at dead midnight 
To muse beside the lonely tomb. 
I always loved the light of that dread Eye 
Which flashed upon me from eternity ! 

I knew not whence such unshared feelings came ; 

I only knew my heart was full of deep 
Emotions vivid — but without a name ; 

Within my breast they would not, could not sleep, 
But swayed me, in their giant power, 
To passion's uncommuning mood, 
And drove me from the festive bower 
To ruined tower and lonely wood, 
Where on my soul ideal glories came, 
Fairies and Oreads bright, and coursers rapt in flame. 

0, how I loved that solitary trance, 

That deep upheaving of the bosom's sea, 
O'er strewn with gems that dazzled on my glance^ 
Like eyes that gleam from out eternity ! 
Creatures of every form and hue, 

Lords of the earth, and angels passed 
In garbs of gold before my view, 

Like lightnings on the hurrying blast, 
And voices on my inward spirit broke, 
And mysteries breathed and words prophetic spoke. 

The child of reverie and the son of song, 

A word could wound me or a look depress ; 
I saw the world was full of ill, and wrong, 
And sin, and treachery, and sad distress 5 
And so, e'en in my boyhood's morn, 
I fled the haunts that others love, 




128 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



That I might think why I was born, 
And what below and what above 
Was due from one thus sent upon the earth 
To sow and reap in tears, and mourn his mortal birth. 

My birthplace was the airy mountain hight, 

And childhood passed 'mid nature's grandeur wild, 
And still I see, by memory's magic light, 

How on my soul each Alpine mountain smiled ! 
Though years have passed since I was there, 

And many a change hath o'er me come, 
There's not a scene, or wild or fair, 
Around my long-forsaken home, 
But I could point in darkness out, and tell 
The shape and form of things I loved so well. 

Trees, birds, and flowers were my familiar friends 

In boyhood's days, and every leaf that grew 
Whispered soft oracles of love ; there blends 
With budding thought a spirit from the dew, 
That gems each quivering leaf and flower ; 

And precious to the mind mature 
Are memories of that guiltless hour, 
When with a worship fond and pure 
The soul beheld in every thing below 
A God sublime, whom we in works alone can know. 

Deep in the soul rest eaa-ly thoughts, and now 

My spirit roams 'mid lonely hills, when Night 
Her starry veil throws o'er her spotless brow, 
And wraps her elfin form in fair moonlight ; 
Then o'er me come those thoughts again, 
Which were my heaven in other years, 
And I forget my bosom's pain, 

And cease to feel my trickling tears. 
Weird sibyls ! cease of destiny to prate ! 
The boy creates for life, and ratifies his fate. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



129 



Here let me rest, a wanderer tired and faint, 
Dear Nature, on thy soft maternal breast, 
And learn for others those fair scenes to paint, 

"Which taught me wisdom and which made me blest ! 
Fashion and folly still may rove 

And seek for pleasure in the throng, 
But I will live in thy sweet love, 

And blend thy praises with my song, 
O holiest daughter of the Holy One, 
Whose smile wafts spirits to the heavenly throne ! 




130 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



CHAPTER XV. 



The best part of biography, that which would in- 
terest the most, perhaps, is that which is generally 
omitted. From this darkened period I must lock my 
griefs deep within my inmost heart. How many 
untold and buried memories lie hidden there ! aye, 
of wasted affections, of faults as of sorrows, hopes, and 
fears. 

It was about a year after the poet's health began to 
fail, that our magazine ceased its existence. 

To save our home and household, for the future 
provision for my family, depended solely on myself. 
From this period commenced the decline of the poor 
poet. I determined to get together the poems of my 
husband, — his fugitive as well as his elaborate produc- 
tions, — and compile them in one large volume. For 
this purpose, I immediately engaged a printer to com- 
mence the business, while I, with my eldest daughter, 
Genevieve, began our preparations as compagnons en 
voyage through Canada an$ the British Provinces. 
It required great labor for so expensive an enterprise. 

Youth, health, and energy are strong consolers. 
With these I was abundantly blessed, so that I envied 
no one. It was not long after we started before we 
reached the charming city of Montreal. Taking our 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



131 



route by the Niagara, we glided down on the beautiful 
St. Lawrence River, with its thousand isles. 

Arrived safely, we were delighted with the old as- 
pect of the town. I called for a cab, and was taken to 
Rascoe's hotel — a fine house, which had just been 
opened. Genevieve, my little daughter, was in ecstasy 
with this her first journey. The day following we 
drove through the city to the mountain. We were 
delighted with the beautiful residences, and the free, 
fresh, invigorating air. Though Montreal lacks some 
of the agreeable superfluities with which some of our 
cities of the States abound, it contains leisure, repose, 
and solitude — three pleasant things, necessary to 
one's happiness. But as my business is more with men 
and manners, and books, (at least the sale of them,) 
than with towns or a description of rivers, with the 
endless variety of inlets, noble bridges, and causeways, 
I shall not stop to count the number of the streets and 
lanes, nor to describe the beauty of the public build- 
ings, npr the numerous cottages that surround the 
city and form its most beautiful interest, but proceed 
to narrate my adventures. 

The Canadian rebellion, together with the border 
difficulties, which had their origin as far back as the 
treaty of 1783, created the same state of affairs up 
to 1839, and obliged the government of England to put 
their frontier in a state of defence. For this purpose 
they sent over to the Canadas and the Provinces many 
of their bravest men. These gallant and accomplished 
officers, with their regiments, which were quartered in 
Montreal at that time, gave to the city an appearance 



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132 



THE AUTOBIOGKAPHY OF 



of gayety and animation. I witnessed several of their 
sham battles. The discharges of their arms, and the 
glittering of their swords gave to the scene the ap- 
pearance of a well-contested battle field. However 
great the glory mankind attach to war, to me, it 
breathes of nothing but strife and carnage, of the de- 
struction of families, of broken hopes and hearts ; so 
that the sight of these regiments had only the effect to 
make me melancholy. 

In company with a friend, I often, at the close of 
the day, after my toils were over, visited the barracks, 
to listen to the tattoo and England's national air of 
" God save the Queen." We had visited the place 
several times, when one evening there came suddenly 
through the crowd a servant, with a chair in one hand 
and a silver tray in the other. On it was placed a cup 
of porcelain with delicious coffee, with cream and 
cakes, arranged in a style which would have done no 
discredit to a queen. As I was the only one to whom 
this delicate mark of attention was shown, I was very 
anxious to know the officer to whom I was thus 
indebted — for no woman thanks another for a com- 
pliment addressed to the sex in general. My intro- 
duction to the elite of Montreal, and their kind and 
hospitable manner toward me, made me in love with 
the people ; and though I intended a stay of only a 
week, I extended it to three. I passed my days de- 
lightfully. But all things that give happiness in this 
ivorld pass rapidly away. Having succeeded beyond 
all expectations, I bade adieu to friends, and departed 
for other scenes of labor to Quebec. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



133 



The order of the day with me was en avant. The 
next morning, after a pleasant journey on board the 
steamer, I saw the sun rise in all its majestic splendor 
upon the city of Quebec. We breakfasted, myself and 
daughter, in our own private apartments — there be- 
ing no table d'hote at the hotel for ladies. I liked the 
plan of private table much better. It gives one the 
agreeable feeling of being at home with one's own fam- 
ily. After this repast was over, we soon found our- 
selves in a carriage, being driven to all the remarkable 
places in and around the city. We visited the citadel. 
We then drove to the Plains of Abraham, from which 
we gazed upon the grand scene below, around, and 
above us. As we had been out several hours, and had 
nearly expended our stock of admiration and romance, 
we returned to the hotel to dine ; after which we again 
started off to take a view of the beautiful cottages 
which dot the environs outside the walls. The moon, 
when it arose, found us still unsatiated with the beau- 
ties of the scene. My daughter Genevieve, whose mind 
was alive, almost by intuition, to the slightest signal 
of intelligence, was so far beyond her years that she 
never seemed a child. She had become, in my lonely 
wanderings, my solitary companion, my chief conso- 
lation ; and whether, with her, this day had been well 
or ill spent, I must leave to Him to determine who 
reads all hearts. 

" Accept, then, O supremely great ! Infinite ! God ! 

From this primeval altar — the green and virgin sod — 

The humble homage that my soul in gratitude would pay 

To thee, whose shield has guarded me through all my wandering way." 



12 




134 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



The following morning I sent out my letters, which 
I had brought from my noble friend and others at 
Montreal. During the day and evening I had many 
visitors ; among them were the noble and gifted edi- 
tors. The next day I found myself kindly mentioned 
and warmly received by each of these gentlemen in 
their several papers. The Canadian men have a pe- 
culiar, gentle manner ; they are not so stiff and formal 
as the English. They have the chivalry and courage 
which we look for in men, with the delicacy and ten- 
derness of women. During my stay I had the hap- 
piness to be introduced to Mr. Burroughs, the acting 
prothonotary of the city, and his charming and polite 
wife and daughters. We were invited to visit them at 
their cottage, a little distance from town, where we met 
several of the officers of her majesty's army, with 
whose unaffected manner and easy conversation I was 
much pleased. By this amiable family we were most 
kindly and hospitably entertained. 

I have traveled far and long, and I have never 
met kinder hearts or nobler natures than in Can- 
ada. Those who exult in beautiful scenery, rich 
hills and fertile valleys, could not fail to enjoy 
a visit to this enchanting country. I passed mucli 
of my time, during my stay, in drives and pleasant 
walks. The Falls of Montmorenci delighted me. The 
distance, I think, is about ten miles from the city. 
Our visit was in September. The falls are pleasantly 
situated, with groves of trees around above them. 
Their breadth is narrow, though their hight is stu- 
pendous. The body of water is small, but the 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



135 



scene is majestic and inspiring ; they fail, however, of 
the grandeur and awful sublimity of Niagara. The 
autumnal tints of the oak and maple, showing both 
scarlet and crimson, some yellow and red, with the 
birds singing so lively among the foliage, made this a 
most charming day's ramble. There are a few days, 
and but a few, from among- the many of our lives, 
which, from their happy associations, we never forget, 
and this was one such to me. 

Equally successful here as every where, I again took 
leave of friends, and departed in the beautiful steamer 
Unicorn for Halifax, Nova Scotia, a voyage of three 
days. 

On our arrival, the porters from the hotels were 
already at the vessel, only to inform us, however, that 
they were crowded with people — that not a room 
could be had. Some new excitement had filled them 
to overflowing. This information was quite terrifying 
to me, alone as I was, in a strange land ; but in these 
dilemmas I never lost presence of mind. Just at that 
moment the captain came to me, bringing with him a 
Mr. Bennett, a resident of Halifax, whom he politely 
introduced. He had come in his carriage, expecting to 
meet some friends. On being told by the captain that 
a lady was on board, with her daughter, from the 
United States, he came at once to offer me the hospi- 
tality of his home, until I should be able to find hotel 
accommodations. This invitation I gladly accepted; 
nor shall I ever forget, or ever cease to feel grateful to, 
this amiable and intelligent family, to whom I was so 
much indebted. Kind acts should be communicated ; 




136 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



and I have felt chagrined at not having it in my power 
heretofore to speak of this noble family. I fear with 
us in the States you would scarcely find such an in- 
stance on record ; for in these days the stranger is 
eyed askance, and not received, as of old, with mag- 
nanimous and irreproachable benevolence. 

As soon as we were comfortably fixed at our lodg- 
ings at the hotel, I sent out my credentials, which 
were addressed to the Hon. Judge Uniacke and the 
Hon. Leander Starr, including the editors. The fol- 
lowing notice appeared of me the next morning : — 

"Mrs. Sumner Lincoln Fairfield. — This intrepid 
and accomplished lady arrived in our city in the 
steamer Unicorn a few mornings since. She is a res- 
ident of Philadelphia, in the United States. She 
brings letters of introduction from eminent gentlemen, 
in Canada, where, from our contemporaries, we learn 
she has been highly appreciated, and amply rewarded 
by her success in her arduous undertaking, in her holy 
errand of love for her family. The work she proposes 
to publish is the poems of her husband, who at pres- 
ent is suffering from the loss of health, and whose 
genius entitles him to patronage every where. We 
ask for this lady what we feel quite sure she must ob- 
tain — a kind and warm reception from the citizens of 
Halifax." 

Judge Uniacke, in company with his excellent wife, 
came immediately to pay their respects, and to request 
my attendance at a social party of friends, to be given 
at their residence the next evening. I was introduced 
to several fine-looking women ; but really it is impos- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



137 



sible to see every thing and remember every body ; 
and beside I must confess that I prefer to talk with 
men than with women — simply, for the best reason in 
the world, they are natural and unaffected. From 
them one can generally derive solid information. My 
attention was drawn to the judge ; his manner was 
grave, his person was tall and stately, his conversation 
remarkably intelligent. 

I passed a pleasant evening, and left impressed that, 
if the people were generally as agreeable, I should have 
a delightful visit at Halifax. 

At that period Colonel Starr filled a high place as 
member of the House of Parliament. He was also aide- 
de-camp to the governor, who at that time was his 
excellency Sir Colin Campbell. Colonel Starr lived on 
an equality with the governor. At his house all for- 
eigners of distinction were nobly entertained. This 
gentleman married a lady from the United States, a 
Miss Throgmorton, a most lovely and graceful woman. 
Several of our statesmen about that time visited Hal- 
ifax, and were entertained by this charming family : 
among them were Daniel Webster, and John Quincy 
Adams. At their residence, during my stay, I had the 
happiness to meet with many persons of distinction and 
talent ; among them was Mr. Villiars of England, a 
gentleman universally admired for his genius and 
urbanity. I am deeply indebted to Colonel and Mrs. 
Starr for the warm interest they felt in my success, 
which was shown, not in idle compliments or good 
wishes, but in actual noble acts and deeds. 

Mrs. Uniacke kindly urged upon me her carriage, 
12 * 



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138 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



for the purpose of making my visits to the citizens. 
With this -kindness extended to me, my labors were 
exceedingly lightened. 

During my stay, Mr. Howe, the accomplished editor 
of one of the principal papers, called in his carriage 
to take me to his country seat, where were gathered a 
pleasant party to meet me. Among the guests were Mr. 
McNab and family. I love the study of men and 
manners, and I must say that the people in these Prov- 
inces charmed and delighted me. Say what you will, 
in England, Canada, and the Provinces, the aristocracy 
of wealth is altogether subordinate to the aristocracy 
of intellect — intellect always first. Even with the best 
informed Americans, there is a mania to trace their 
pedigree to families of the mother countries, which have 
been famous for talent and genius. 

I left Halifax with regret ; but I had this consolation 
— that I should be making my way onward, and soon 
find myself among the same class of people I had left. 
On the morning of my departure, Colonel Starr brought 
me a letter of introduction to his friend Sir John 
Harvey, who was then the lieutenant governor of 
New* Brunswick, residing at Fredericton. This letter 
was a carte blanche into the best society. I hastened 
my journey, stopping for a few days in the delightful 
city of St. John. I began to feel anxious concern- 
ing my family, and to hasten my journey, my sorrow 
for them always preying heavily at my heart. 

"We took a steamer at St. John, and arrived at 
Fredericton. The good captain escorted us to the 
best hotel, the name of which I have forgotten ; names 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



139 



I seldom remember. As soon as my name was entered 
on the books there arose an excitement.. I was be- 
lieved to be the wife of Governor Fairfield, of Maine, 
and suspected to have come to Fredericton as a spy. 
This excitement was kept up until the object of my 
mission appeared in the newspapers. About that time 
there existed a feeling of dislike toward Governor 
Fairfield, owing to the stern attitude he had taken on 
the subject of the agitated border question ; so that 
had I really been his wife, I fear my reception might 
not have been as agreeable. 

On the second day after my arrival I sent my letter 
to Sir John Harvey. Captain Try on, of the British 
army, who married Sir John's only daughter, called 
on me in his name, to express his regret at not being 
able to pay his respects in person, owing to the deep 
grief he had suffered at the loss of his eldest son. He 
had been for several months confined to his house, 
during which time he had received none, except his 
personal friends. Captain Tryon assured me of Sir 
John's desire to see me, and that in a few days I should 
hear from him. 

I began business at once, and occupied my time*very 
advantageously; when one morning, about a week 
after my arrival, I was agreeably surprised, on my 
return from my morning's walk, to find Captain Tryon 
awaiting me, with an invitation from Sir John to dine 
with the family at six o'clock on that day ; with the 
information also, that Colonel Shore and his wife 
would call in their carriage for me at half past five. 
Colonel Shore belonged to the army, and was on 




140 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



intimate terms of friendship with the governor. On 
entering Government House, after unrobing ourselves, 
we were met by Captain Try on, who offered me his 
arm, led us into a spacious drawing room, and pre- 
sented me to his excellency, who, placing my arm in 
his, introduced me to Lady Harvey and their lovely 
daughter, Mrs. Tryon, and the company present. We 
had only a few moments for conversation, when dinner 
was announced. Sir John and Mrs. Shore led the way ; 
Lady Harvey and Colonel Shore followed ; myself and 
Sir John's youngest son ; Mrs. Tryon in company with 
an officer, and Captain Tryon. The fine appearance 
of the party, and the remarkable and noble elegance of 
his excellency, filled me with admiration. With Lady 
Harvey's sweet smile, her mild, calm, and matronly 
manner, I was enchanted. There was but little mer- 
riment at table, in consequence of the late death of 
their son, which had greatly afflicted both parents. 
All things were tastefully arranged, with every luxury 
that could be desired. A neatly-dressed servant stood 
at the chair of each guest. Silver urns, with the most 
beautiful and fragrant flowers, graced the table, with 
theioest wines to cheer the best hearts. Dinner being 
' over, the ladies left, as is the custom in English society. 
The gentlemen remained to enjoy their cigars and 
wine. 

During the evening we had an animated conversa- 
tion. Sir John's spirits seemed to rally, and I found 
him possessed of much wit and naivete of manner. 
He related several anecdotes, which referred to the 
scenes of the war of eighteen hundred and twelve. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



141 



In our last American war, Sir J ohn Harvey was the 
commander-in-chief in opposition to our General Win- 
field Scott. " Sir John's noble bearing and gallant 
disregard of danger attracted the notice of his adver- 
sary, and General Scott gave orders to his riflemen 
not to draw a trigger against so fine a fellow." 
From this circumstance commenced a warm and un- 
broken attachment between these two gallant generals. 
Of their friendship his excellency spoke to me in very 
affectionate terms. 

Before taking our leave, Sir John informed me that 
there was stationed at the garrison, at that time, the 
thirty-sixth regiment, commanded by the brave and 
gallant Colonel Maxwell. He added, " I think, with 
your Scotch natures, you will be mutually pleased. 
With your permission I shall be happy to introduce 
him." 

The evening grew late, and we parted ; I in sad- 
ness, with the impression that I had enjoyed, for a few 
brief hours, the society and conversation of an illus- 
trious and noble gentleman and family, whose voices 
and faces I should hear and behold no more. 

A day or two had elapsed, when, during the morn- 
ing, Colonel Maxwell called, and sent me his card, 
along with a letter from Sir John Harvey. We both 
expressed ourselves grateful to his excellency for 
the pleasure we derived from this introduction, and 
commenced an animated tete d t$te, which lasted for 
an hour. The colonel informed me that he was has- 
tily making preparations for his departure to visit the 
United States, and that, though his stay must be short, 




142 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



he expected to find a great deal of enjoyment in going 
to a country of which he had heard so much. I gave 
him a letter to our poet Halleck, who afterward told 
me how fascinated he was with this valiant and noble 
Scotch officer. 

Before taking leave of me, the .colonel inquired at 
what hour, the next day, I should be at leisure — 
that he wished to bring out his regiment. I assured 
him that nothing would delight me more than to see 
him on parade with those brave men, over whom I 
had heard Sir John so proudly exult. Three o'clock 
was the hour set for this display. The next day, at 
that hour, myself and daughter took possession of the 
drawing room. We had not sat a moment before we 
heard the beating of the drums and the marching on 
of the regiment. A moment more, they halted in 
front of the hotel. The sight of this graceful and 
splendid regiment, with their long, black, waving 
plumes, with the brave colonel at their head, re- 
minded me of the golden days of the feudal ages and 
of the crusades — when the traits of the heart were 
of moral courage, and deathless deeds, and of self- 
sacrificing chivalry. The gallant colonel gracefully 
turned toward our window, then to the regiment, and 
gave orders to proceed through the exercise. This 
done, they presented arms ; they then marched a 
little distance above the hotel, turned, and marched 
to their quarters. For this honor paid me by one of 
Scotia's bravest sons I felt happy and proud. 

Many years have passed away since then ; and all 
that is great, and brave, and noble in this world 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



143 



passes away. Sir John Harvey, and Lady Harvey, and 
Colonel Archibald Montgomery Maxwell have long 
since slept in their graves. 

" We die with every friend that parts from earth, 
But live again with every soul whose home 

Is the blue ether. From our hour of birth 
Lost loved ones are around us, and they come 

Into our thoughts like moonlight, when we roam 
In silvery silence 'neath the starlight sky ; 

They charm in grief, irradiate in gloom, 
Impart meek gladness to the brow and eye, 
And teach our weary hearts that spirits never die." 



Having completed my visit through the Provinces, 
I hastened my journey to Windsor, Nova Scotia, to 
meet the steamer which sailed from St. John to 
Boston. On arriving there, I found several persons 
already at the hotel waiting to leave. The tide had 
been so low for several days that no steamer could 
come near enough to take in passengers. Luckily 
for me, I had brought a letter from Judge' Uniacke 
to Judge Haliburton, the famous " Sam Slick." 
His residence was beautifully picturesque ; his fam- 
ily a very agreeable one. He had two fine, robust, 
English-looking daughters growing up, very much re- 
sembling their father. From the grave appearance 
of the judge, one would never have suspected him 
to have been the author of any thing so humorous as 
the " Yankee Clock-maker." In appearance he was 
very stout, with a fine head, with rather a dull and 
heavy physiognomy. We enjoyed our stay, as re- 



s. L. F. 




144 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



gards the agreeable party at the hotel and the citi- 
zens we met. 

We visited the college, which is a fine, spacious 
building. In these halls of learning many have been 
educated who fill high places of rank in the Provinces 
and in the Canadas. 

The steamer was suddenly announced to have 
arrived. Each one rushed for his luggage in great 
confusion, and away we started. None ever left these 
pleasant shores with deeper regret than myself. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



145 



CHAPTER XVI. 



Our voyage being rough, with much seasickness on 
board, we had nothing to boast of on our journey. 
On entering Boston, I was happy to find myself safely 
arrived on terra firma, and among old and dear 
friends. I stopped a day at the Tremont, only for 
the purpose of paying my respects to the poet Long- 
fellow, whom I had never seen. In company with 
Genevieve, I took a carriage and drove to Cam- 
bridge. I had long wished to see the poet, as well 
as the venerable head quarters of the immortal "Wash- 
ington. I was invited into his library, which occupied 
a large front room in the second story. Nothing can 
console a poet and a litterateur for the absence of his 
books ; they are his friends and his society. With 
his appearance, genius, and pleasant humor I was 
highly pleased. The poet was young — he seemed 
almost boyish ; being single and untrammeled, he was 
quite happy. I envied him his retirement, leisure, 
and liberty. My visit was late in the fall. How my 
fancy kindled as the autumnal winds came sighing 
through the lattices of the old mansion ! The win- 
dows shook and trembled. I could almost figure to 
myself, while conversing with the poet, the spirit of 
Washington hovering over the place which was once 



13 




146 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



his residence on earth — the meadows around where 
he walked, the trees under which he sought the cool- 
ing shade, the woods which were his asylum against 
the heat, and the green banks on which he rested. 

On taking my leave of the poet, I informed him 
that my daughter was in the carriage at the gate. 
She preferred to remain rather than alight. At this 
information he expressed himself anxious to see her, 
and walked with me to the carriage. Her sweet face 
lighted up with joyousness, as it always did at making 
the acquaintance of the great and intellectual. The 
poet expressed himself charmed with her grace and 
address, and congratulated me on having so lovely a 
daughter. 

Again on our journey, we did not stop until we had 
reached our home in Philadelphia. 

I wish that here I could lift the curtain on a beauti- 
ful perspective, instead of the dark and dismal scenes 
where the light is lost and memory can no longer look 
on the form of hope. My husband had changed. The 
frequent attacks of epilepsy he had suffered had so 
shattered his nervous system that both mind and body 
showed rapid symptoms of decay. He was deeply 
affected at seeing me, and quite overwhelmed. My 
daughter Gertrude ran to me, and, throwing herself 
into my arms, wept bitterly. Child as she was, on 
her tender and impassioned heart had been written 
the pages of suffering, of grief and sorrow. She loved 
her father. His sufferings, genius, and misfortunes 
won from her her deepest sympathy and untiring 
attentions. She was like him in some things ; she 
possessed his genius in a remarkable degree. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



147 



My youngest boy, my little Eugene, about three 
years old, expressed his joy by running to nie, and 
talking with' his large, expressive eyes. He could not 
enunciate. From his birth he had inherited the same 
convulsions his father had suffered, which deprived 
him of speech until he had attained his seventh year. 
I feared he had forgotten me ; whereas, on my return, 
his infant memory kindled with as much joyousness 
as any of them. 

I found my home altered. Many of the little heir- 
looms and ornaments I had treasured had gone, and 
I looked at their vacant places with a deep sigh, with- 
out uttering a word. I had sent hundreds of dollars 
to my family in my absence, but it failed of the 
amount my husband desired. What grieved me most 
was the absence of my silver, and pictures, and many 
of the most valuable volumes from the library. These 
I wished preserved for the future benefit and instruc- 
tion of my children. Some of the articles I found 
and redeemed, only, however, to see them eventually 
disappear. 

My heart was sad, but I did not falter. I imme- 
diately devoted all my time during the coming months 
to the publication of the work then in press by Mr. 
John H. Guion, of Philadelphia ; and I found the best 
stimulus to its completion to be a round sum of money, 
which I paid in advance. The work thrived, and in 
the early part of the year 1841 was issued from the 
press, and boxed up and sent to my patrons every 
where. During this summer my mind was seriously 
exercised about my children. I did all I could to 
soothe their little hearts. 




148 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



I had been able to save a few thousand dollars, 
which I invested in a small property in Baltimore, in 
the names of my children. Through the* kind aid of 
Judge Glenn the purchase was effected, and thereby 
made safe, entirely out of the power or the reach of 
any one. 

It was about the beginning of June of that sum- 
mer that I began to see that something new must be 
attempted, some new enterprise, to sustain my chil- 
dren, now five in number. While I queried to myself 
what this should be, a sudden thought came to me of 
going to England — to visit England for the purpose 
of republishing my husband's works, and renewing 
the copyright in that country. I laid large plans 
for success. I felt so sanguine on this subject, and 
talked so confidently of my ability to effect what I 
had planned, that my parents, whom I visited at that 
period, thought that I had lost my senses. I forgot 
my losses and crosses in the belief that by carrying 
out my project I should ship home a golden fortune. 
I consulted many of my friends, some of whom ex- 
pressed a belief in my success ; others doubted. But 
I was not to be discouraged. I collected letters from 
the poet Halleck and Mr. Wikoff to our consul in 
London, to Sheridan Knowles, and to the poet Eogers. 

With these letters, I made hasty preparations to 
sail the following September. I chose the new and 
splendid ship Stephen Whitney, which was to make 
her second voyage on the 20th of that month. Past 
misfortunes had instructed me, together with my 
philosophical nature, to trust and hope. I provided 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



149 



every thing to leave my children comfortable, with 
their father, and grandmother, and servant. On the 
18th, in company with Genevieve*, I set* off on my 
voyage. 

On the morning of the 20th my kind brother ac- 
companied us to the steamer at the Battery, which 
was waiting to convey the passengers to the ship, that 
lay out at the Narrows. I dislike leave-takings, for 
they always make scenes ; I therefore waved a good 
by to my brother, who did not come on board the 
ship, but returned with the steamer. A stiff breeze 
soon sent us off on our voyage. As our vessel was 
careering in her onward course, I was filled with 
enthusiasm at what I believed would be the result 
of this journey. In these delightful dreams I had 
already obtained my thousands, and fancied myself 
sending heavy drafts to my family. 

" Like the foam on the billow 

As it heaves o'er the deep, 
Like a tear on the pillow 

When we sigh in our sleep, 
Like the siren that sings, 

We can not tell where, 
Is the Hope that hath wings, 

The phantom of air." 

S. L. F. 

I leave descriptions of scenery and sea voyages to 
those who travel for that purpose. Sea voyages are 
pretty much alike. Sometimes there is a calm, and 
sometimes a storm. To me such subjects have but 
little interest ; beside, they have become fatiguing 

18* 



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150 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



and hackneyed. Suffice it to say, our Captain Thomp- 
son was clever enough in his vocation, and performed 
his duty ; he kept a good table, and carried us safe to 
Liverpool. We had been out about four weeks when 
we had the happiness to reach her docks in safety. 

We arrived too late for the morning train for Lon- 
don, and stopped for the day at the Adelphi. We 
took the train at eight o'clock that evening, and 
arrived about six in the morning. A cab was pro- 
vided me ; my luggage was placed on it, and brought 
to me as if by magic. I ordered the cabman to take 
me to Morley's Hotel, Trafalgar Square, Charing 
Cross. Here we found every comfort we desired. 
We remained only a few days at Morley's, when we 
sought lodgings in Regent Street, decidedly the most 
cheerful (if the word may be applied here) part of 
London for strangers. We occupied a very comfort- 
able suit of apartments facing the street, which gave 
us a never-failing source for observation and amuse- 
ment ; for here the tide of life seemed like the ever- 
rolling ocean, never at rest. It rained incessantly, 
and with all the movement and stir of the crowd, 
there seemed nothing like the stillness of London; 
it is intense. The very wind has no voice here. There 
is a depth of grayish hue in the sky, in winter, un- 
broken by either sun or stars, and all sound seems 
to mingle in one low, deep murmur. There is no sol- 
itude like that one feels amid a wilderness of human 
beings. This feeling took possession of me, and I saw 
at a glance the great difficulty I must have in the 
attempt to prosecute my plans. I saw that England 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



151 



was not America — that from the queen to the poor 
beggar, the ensemble had no resemblance. The sight 
of royalty, with all its pomp and parade, had no at- 
tractions for me, for my heart was made sad at the 
contrast of splendor with the numberless perishing 
poor I daily met of the unfortunate people ; and for 
the first time in my life I felt the moral rottenness of 
aristocracy, and the greatness of our own glorious 
republic. O America ! America ! how my heart bowed 
in thankfulness when I reflected that I was a daughter 
of thy land, liberty, and affections. I never could feel 
elated at the paraphernalia of the queen, the trap- 
pings of royalty, the gems that are set in diadems, or 
worn in abundance by the nobles, when I reflected 
there were starving thousands within sight of their 
equipages. 

The obstructions I saw in my path made me put off 
the commencement of my enterprise ; in this way 
days passed away, waiting for to-morrow. 

" To-morrow ! 'tis the changing dream of hope, 
The vision of the weary-hearted in the depth 
Of solitary suffering, and the crown 
Of many a proudly imaged enterprise, 
That never was accomplished." s. L. F. 

I did not immediately deliver my letters ; my anx- 
iety rendered me unfit for society, and I concluded 
to wait the decision of my success. Early one morn- 
ing I took a cab for the purpose of calling on the 
editors. I drove to the " Times " office, and inquired 
if the editor was within, saying that I had called on 
business, and desired to see him. I was surprised to 




152 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



find the editor incognito, but was informed that " any 
communication I might wish to make, must be made 
by letter, addressed to the editor of the 6 Times,' Times 
office." I began to see how it was that in England there 
was no such thing as favors by the press. I returned 
to my lodgings dispirited, for I had no means to spare 
for any exorbitant demands that might be made on 
me from that source. Though I met with this diffi- 
culty in the outset, I could not think of relinquishing 
my efforts without further trial. I wrote a note to 
the editor of the " Times/' to which the following is 
a reply : — 

To Mrs. Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, 



The Editor of the Times presents his compliments to Mrs. Fair- 
field, and regrets that his numerous avocations will prevent him 
from having the pleasure of waiting personally upon her. Any 
communication with which she will honor him, however, shall re- 
ceive his best attention. 

London, Nov. 29, 1841. 

I gave up every hope of success, and decided to pass 
the winter as happily as possible in visiting and sight 
seeing. The following letter I received from Lady 
Blessington : — 

Mrs. Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, 
165 Regent Street. 
Lady Blessington presents her best compliments to Mrs. Fair- 
field. She begs to express her warmest thanks for the very beau- 
tiful volume of Poems Mrs. Fairfield has been so kind as to present 
to her. In them she has found much to admire. The poems to 
Clara, Westminster Abbey, Pere le Chaise, and the Last Night 



165 Regent Street. 



The Times Office. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



153 



of Pompeii are sublime and lofty conceptions. She will read them 
all with great interest. 

Unfortunately, most unfortunately for Mrs. Fairfield, Lady Bles- 
sington fears she may meet with many difficulties in the attempt to 
republish the Poems of her husband at this time in England. 

The friends of the late Mrs. Hemans have been making great 
exertions to get a subscription for a volume of unpublished manu- 
script, but have entirely failed. 

Mrs. Fairfield will pray accept Lady Blessington's kindest wishes 
for her success and happiness. 

London, Gore House, Dec. 2, 1841. 

My imagination bad been warmed by descriptions 
of travelers and visitors to tbe residence of tbe poet 
Sogers, whose poems I had so often read, and whose 
" Italy " enchanted me. 

On entering his dwelling in St. James Place, the ser- 
vant led me up a flight of winding stairs, into a large, 
square anteroom, where I stopped for a few moments 
to admire the works of art in painting and statuary 
that adorned the walls and recesses. After having sat- 
isfied my eyes for some time witb those delightful 
objects which, elevate the mind and inspire it with a 
love for the beautiful, I was led into another large 
room, whicb was adorned in the same manner. I 
seated myself by the lattice window wliicb overlooked 
St. James Park, to await the poet's entrance ; here 
my eyes feasted. Every piece of art here seemed per- 
fect, like the poet's own beautiful poems, almost too 
perfect ; they always put me in mind of a clean culti- 
vated garden, so precise that one longs for a little 
careless spot on which to rest. The mind wearies with 
too prolonged scenes of beauty, too much finish. 



Hosted by G00gk 



154 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



On the poet's entrance I found Mm to be almost en- 
tirely the same in appearance and manner that I had 
pictured to myself. Our conversation led, for a few 
moments, to the subject of my enterprise, which seemed 
to surprise him. " Even," said he, " were it possible 
for such an object to be accomplished, the labor and 
fatigue attending it would place it beyond your power." 
I then handed him my husband's Poems, and begged 
his acceptance of the volume. I told him that during 
the fifteen years of my married life I had published, 
by subscription, by individual labor, two editions of 
those Poems, in detached parts, and lastly, during the 
past year, I had brought out my husband's works 
entire in the volume I presented him. Beside, during 
that period, I had established and sustained a period- 
ical work for five years. The poet looked at me, I 
thought, with an expression as though he either 
doubted my sanity or my words. " Impossible, im- 
possible," he repeated. I informed him that my hus- 
band's works had never been brought out by the pub- 
lishers — that they had never been in the trade, and 
that my noble countrymen had done much for me, but 
that I had come to England expecting to make a 
fortune. At this last information the poet laughed 
heartily, and replied, " Such energy and devotion de- 
serve every thing. I wish in my heart it might be 
so. He asked many questions about America, its au- 
thors and artists. I told him, what he must often 
have heard before, that he was one among a few of 
the poets on whom our country had placed its favor- 
itism. He replied, "I am happy and proud to be a 
favorite in America." 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



155 



The poet said it was a misfortune with authors that 
they wrote too much ; that if all authors should lay- 
aside their productions for six months, and review 
them carefully at the end of that time, they would cut 
them down at least one half before placing them in 
print. He assured me that he never wrote more than 
four lines a day during the period of his authorship. 

In this method of writing I could only conceive taste 
and judgment, for true genius is not slow and meas- 
ured, but it is rapid and impulsive. We are rarely 
wrong when we write, or even act, from impulse. (I 
speak of good natures.) Genius must be allowed its 
natural course, which is the first warm and generous 
thought that springs up in the heart. Second thoughts 
are almost always cold and calculating. 

The poet informed me that at that time he was 
eighty-four years of age. I might have thought him 
seventy, but not beyond it. His complexion was fair, 
with mild, soft blue eyes. His fair, broad forehead bore 
little trace of care, and less of sorrow. I passed al- 
most the entire afternoon with the poet, and left him, 
charmed and delighted with my visit. 

The following day I paid my respects to the great 
Henry Hallam, the author of " Middle Ages." I had 
long wished to see this great man. I made my way 
alone to Orescent Row, his place of residence, with no 
other introduction than my card. I was invited im- 
mediately into his study, which was also his library. 
It was a large, long room ; little, however, of the wall 
was seen, for it was nearly hidden by the arched book- 
cases, and the ponderous tomes, some bound in black, 




156 



THE AUTOBIOGBAPHY OF 



some in vellum, grown dingy with age. In the center 
of the room stood a large oval table, with elaborately 
carved lions' feet ; near it, in an antique arm chair, 
sat this venerable author. 

The classic and poetic seclusion in which he lived, 
the grace and refinement which surrounded him, made 
this a visit of no ordinary happiness to me. He had 
that repose, and that superb self-reliance of manner, 
which always characterize the truly great man or 
woman. He talked of England, its character, its prej- 
udices, its past greatness, which, he said, " shed its 
own sanctity on the atmosphere." When I ventured 
to speak of my motive for visiting England, he smiled, 
and said, " I have spoken of her prejudices, of which 
this is one. No work can succeed in England outside 
the usual means of publication. " 

I took my leave of this great man (whose genius I 
had so often heard my husband admire) deeply im- 
pressed with the force and greatness of intellect. He 
invited me to visit him frequently during my stay in 
London. 

How often since, in my wanderings over earth, has 
my mind reverted to those scenes, those pleasant 
scenes, when with the sympathy of the good and great 
I was consoled. 

There is something awfully sublime in the solitary 
life of a great intellect. 

" Such spirits fill the universe they live 
In the blue ether, and their dwelling place 
Is the immensity above ; they sit 
Upon the thrones of seraphs in the stars, 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



157 



And hold converse with them, when night with stars 

Canopies earth, and holy Nature folds 

Her moonlight drapery round her, and lies down 

By bright Hyperion's side to bridal sleep. 

This wox'ld of peril they in thought forget, 

And all its crimes and woes, and they become 

Associates with the blest in pure desires 

And feelings holy ; and they love to tread 

The verge of Paradise, though mortal yet, 

Seeking to know the loves that blossom there, 

The joys that never fade in those bright fields, 

The thoughts of bliss expanding ever through 

The pauseless ages of undying love. 

Such spirits find no thoughts reciprocal 

In earthly beings. Few can estimate 

Their greatness rightly ; few can feel the same 

Dissolving and absorption of all powers 

In soft Elysian visionry. TJiey live 

Alone, starb earns round the sun-throne of God! 

The sovereign eagle ever dwells alone 

In solitary majesty, and waves 

His mighty wings in air unbreathed by things 

Of lowlier nature ; and the lion walks 

His monarch path untended and alone ; 

So the proud spirit lives in loneliness, 

All uncommuning, and its solitude * 

Becomes its empire, where it reigns fore'er 

In might and majesty." 



S. L. F. 



14 




158 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER XVII. 



I had not been long in London before I had the 
happiness of meeting with several Americans. Among 
them was a gentleman of fortune and leisure I had 
long known, who had left his home for a travel of two 
years on the continent. This was a fortunate circum- 
stance for me ; for without an escort, Genevieve and 
myself must have failed of seeing many of the most 
interesting scenes in England — scenes in which, when 
once entered, is found much to subdue the troubled 
present with the mighty past. 

We sailed on the Thames, with its shores haunted 
by a thousand fearful events. Passing the dark old 
Tower, the whole history of England, with its bright 
and glorious deeds, and its dark and fiendish acts, is 
called up at a glance. 

We next went to the Abbey — this magnificent world 
of tombs and mausoleums. In this vast abode where 
Death sits enthroned over kings, amid its lonely pas- 
sages and aisles, its antique shrines, we gaze and gaze, 
until the mind becomes overpowered and confused 
amid its wonders and cenotaphs. I found no spot in 
England that interested me as much as a visit to the 
Abbey, " this great assembly of the dead — the pride 
and glory of the earth, of almost countless genera- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



159 



tions — of kings and qneens ? bards and warriors, and 
statesmen and orators." They lie here " who once 
shook thrones and sundered monarchies." Next to 
the Poets' Corner, I was interested at beholding the 
tombs of the haughty Elizabeth, and her rival, the 
lovely and beautiful Queen Mary, whose effigy in cold 
marble brought to my mind the cruel suspicions and 
wrongs she endured, and her long and painful cap- 
tivity and execution. 

« Why burns thine eye with such triumphant light, 
O proud Elizabeth ? Lo ! there the shrine 
Where worship now the people of the earth 
Scotia's lost Mary, — beauty's loveliest queen, — 
A sacrifice, if innocent, and thrice 
A sacrifice if guilt confirmed her doom. 
Leman of Essex ! Tyrant Henry's child, 
Meet daughter of thy sire ! bend that proud head, 
And look beneath thy foot, O haughty Bess ! 
Thy broken sceptre lies by Mary's tomb ! * 
Grandeur, thou hadst thy crown. Misfortune now 
Hath her reward — the tears of half the world." 



Scenes of pomp around the dead always impressed 
me with deep melancholy. Par happier were the 
dying thought that I should lay my weary head to 
rest on earth's green bosom, beneath the smile of 
heaven, where the sunlight and storms, the stars and 
the gentle light of the moon, and showers and dews 
would come, — where birds would sing and flowers 

* During Cromwell's time, the mob broke into the Abbey and defaced 
many of its monuments. The hand of Elizabeth containing the sceptre 
was broken off, which fell at the foot of Queen Mary's tomb. 



S. L. F. 




160 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



bloom, — than that my form should molder in melan- 
choly vaults or sepulqjiers of grandeur. 

I left the Abbey sadly impressed. Byron's beauti- 
ful lines came forcibly to my mind : — 

" The pictured forms of other times, 
'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes, 
Save vague tradition and the gloomy vaults 
That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults." 

Walks and drives in the magnificent parks occupied 
much of our time, which we divided, from breakfast, 
usually at ten, into three parts for the day. All 
writing. and business were attended to from eleven to 
two ; walking or driving, from three to five ; dining 
at six ; and the evening spent at the opera or theater, 
otherwise at our cheerful fireside in reading or con- 
versation. I often saw the queen, and Prince Albert, 
the Duchess of Kent, and the Duchess of Sutherland, 
with many of the distinguished English nobles. The 
queen I thought a very good woman. She was very 
young, without the regal appearance, however, we 
look for in a queen. The prince I thought handsome, 
stately, and amiable. Neither the queen nor prince 
possessed those remarkable lineaments we look for in 
the intellectual. 

During the winter of 1841 the Prince of Wales was 
born, which created an intense hubbub. The whole 
city was in a state of commotion at this event ; even 
the poor beggar was shouting lustily, " God save the 
queen!" For the soul of me, I could get up no 
other feeling than that of indifference upon this occa- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



161 



sion. As I have said, royalty has no other attraction 
for me than as a moral. It is a subject for sad re- 
flection. The extreme contrasts it brings of luxury, 
pomp, and poverty admit of no feelings of happiness. 
"When we look upon the numberless poor, unfortunate 
people who throng the streets, the alleys, and the 
lanes of London, we know and feel that, there must 
be an injustice in the formation and existence of a 
government that affords all the power and wealth of 
the earth to one portion ; to the other, penury, house- 
lessness, and starvation. 

Some writer has said, " America is the child of 
the earth's old age," on whose youth Heaven has 
bestowed a double portion of its blessings. In our 
cities and towns there is labor enough and a home 
for all. Our wharves closely swarm with multitudes 
busy in all the various toils of daily subsistence, min- 
istering to a commerce whose home is the world. 
In our noble America none need starve, none need 
suffer. 

We next visited the British Museum, and Madame 
Tussaud's rooms in Portland Square, where, after 
having viewed the exquisite grouping of kings and 
queens, emperors, and statesmen, and nobles, we 
were led into the room of horrors. Here we saw 
the shirt worn by Henry IV. of Prance, when stabbed 
by Ravaillac, with the blood-stains still distinct — 
a relic for which Charles X. offered two hundred 
guineas ; the imperial carriage of Napoleon I., taken 
from the field of Waterloo, and the carriage used by 
the emperor at St. Helena ; the original guillotine 



14* 




162 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



blade used in the decapitation of the beautiful Marie 
Antoinette and her. husband, Louis XVI., the Duke 
of Orleans, and Robespierre ; the coat worn by Nel- 
son at the battle of the Nile, and a piece of the Cloth 
of Gold from the field of that name. 

On entering these magnificently lighted rooms the 
effect is startling. You feel really in the presence 
of living, breathing beings, so perfect are the charac- 
ters and the groupings. Queen Victoria and Prince 
Albert are there in their marriage attire. What 
struck me most was Queen Mary Stuart, sitting on 
an elevation, a sort of throne, attired in black velvet. 
Standing near her is the inveterate reformer, John 
Knox, exerting his influence with the queen, and 
urging the relinquishment of her faith in Catholi- 
cism. A little distance from the entrance stands the 
immortal Malibran ; nothing can be more striking 
than this figure, with her large, dark, impassioned 
eyes, as I had seen her in life. 

February had come. I began to feel those long- 
ings for home that a child suffers when it perceives 
on a sudden that it has overstaid its time. I began to 
make preparations to sail in the ship Quebec, which 
left for New York on the 22d of that month. I had 
one regret at leaving — that I was obliged to return 
to America without seeing the continent. 

Many of my friends tried to dissuade me from my 
voyage, and offered as an impediment the stormy 
season I had chosen. Genevieve was in love with 
London. She could not bear to leave the parks, and 
the beautiful Serpentine, where she had daily amused 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



163 



herself with her loaf of bread feeding the swans, which 
came sweeping over the bright lake at her approach ; 
for she was loved by every thing beautiful, fair, and 
pure. 

The 22d had come, and, late that night, we were 
hurried on board the ship Quebec, which was to leave 
at four in the morning. The sails were unfurled, 
and we were off, once more wending our way toward 
dear America. The captain had gone by railroad 
in advance of the ship, which was taken around 
by the mate to Portsmouth. Unfortunately, on our 
arrival we found no prospect for sailing, owing to the 
strong head winds, which lasted for a week. 

The weather was fine, however, and we concluded 
we would make the best of our delay ; and as there 
were a number of vessels in the Channel in the same 
predicament with ourselves, we would pass our time in 
exchanging visits. After breakfasting, our party set 
off. We met several parties, who, like ourselves, were 
in search of something for pastime. Captain Paget, 
an officer of rank in her majesty's navy, who was 
sailing alone with the oarsmen, left his boat, and 
joined us on a visit to the Queen's yacht. This grace- 
ful vessel was built by one of the G eorges ; though it 
was old, it was still beautiful. Captain Paget intro- 
duced us to Captain Fitz-Clarence, of the,, yacht, who 
was the son of William IV. and Mrs. Jordan ; a most 
charming and courteous gentleman, who gave me 
a history of the vessel, with many anecdotes con- 
nected with the royal personages of its time, but 
which I now forget. He showed me the state room, 




164 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



where the king was dangerously ill from seasick- 
ness, on a voyage he was making to Germany. It 
was a most comfortable room, with a richly bound 
library ; the bed was such as crowned heads usually 
lie on. 

After viewing the vessel throughout, the captain 
invited us to lunch with him. We had a delightful 
conversation during this pleasant repast ; and, after 
drinking a glass of the best wine, we took our leave, 
much delighted with our visit. But how true it is 
that in this world there is always a bitter mixed with 
the sweet ! While on board the yacht, my mind, in- 
stead of being present with the scenes around me, 
was carried back, far back, to the scenes in the life of 
that noble, self-sacrificing woman, the mother of Cap- 
tain Fitz-Olarence, Mrs. Jordan, in whose life, and 
wrongs, and sorrows I had felt so deep an interest. 
Her exile in France, and the prohibition, by the king, 
of all communication with her children during her 
last hours, is a deep and everlasting stain upon his 
memory. This great and distinguished woman died 
of outraged affections and a broken heart. 

0, is it not a painful thing to think how the 
purest and dearest ties that can exist, that bind heart 
to heart, and parent to child, are doomed to be sev- 
ered ! And yet so inextricably blended are happiness 
and sorrow on our earth. 

Once more on our voyage, with fair wind and pros- 
pects of a speedy return, our spirits revived. Myself 
and" daughter were the only ladies on board ; there 
were two unfortunate females, who were steerage pas- 




JANE FAIRFIELD* 



165 



sengers, an aged mother, with her daughter, who had 
left England to seek their home in our new world. 
The Quebec was a fine vessel, small, compact, and 
well built. For two weeks we passed our time on 
deck, looking out on the broad expanse of the ocean, 
charmed with the speed of our little ship. Genevieve 
amused herself, often, with talking to the sailors., and 
asking questions. She would often take them something 
nice to eat — fruit or cakes,- which they seldom saw. 
Her kind nature sympathized when she saw them 
partaking of their coarse meat and bread; and in 
her sweet manner she would often beg the captain 
to share with them the good things of the table. 
They named her the little flower, and at her ap- 
proach their hard and worn features would always 
lighten up. 

Just as our hopes were at the highest, the wind 
changed, and we found ourselves suddenly overtaken 
by a fearful storm, which lasted during three weeks. 
So terrific were these gales, that during that time not 
a sail was unfurled. The poor sailors, with their arms 
folded, crouched in the forecastle, almost in despair of 
making further headway. During this period we were 
left at the mercy of the waves ; the ship at every 
lurch creaked as if its heavy planks were about to 
separate ; the noise was deafening. We could not 
keep our hold any where ; the safest place seemed our 
berths ; even there it did not prove very safe to me. I 
placed my daughter in the lower berth, while I took 
the upper one. The door of our state room was fae- 
tened back, and opened into the outer saloon. About 




166 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



midnight I was thrown violently from my berth, my 
head striking the hard floor of the saloon. The stew- 
ardess, whose room was opposite, heard me fall, and 
came to me. Near where I lay was a sofa, on which 
she managed to place me. I was seriously injured, 
and for a time almost lifeless. This blow produced 
congestion of the brain, and for two weeks rendered 
my case almost a hopeless one. The kind captain and 
stewardess were unremitting in their attentions to me. 
During this period the aged mother, of whom I have 
spoken as a steerage passenger in company with her 
daughter, was taken suddenly ill, and died of lockjaw. 
She was too old and feeble to bear so rough a voyage, 
and sank under it. The pitiful wailings of her poor 
solitary child were enough to rend the heart, as they 
lowered the corpse of her mother into its watery 
grave. I prevailed upon the captain, who was natu- 
rally kind-hearted, to take her in our part of the 
vessel. 

At the end of the third week, the elements were 
merciful to us, and it was indeed cheering to hear the 
sailors once more at work aloft, unfurling the sails to 
the breeze. The ship was soon making her way in a 
steady course. 

Nothing occurred to mar our progress for the bal- 
ance of the voyage. I was too ill, however, to take 
any interest in any thing, and remained in my berth 
until the ship neared New York. 

After having passed seven long, painful weeks at 
sea, we arrived safely. 

If ever the heart has cause for gratitude, it is when 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



167 



Providence has granted to us a safe return from an 
ocean voyage. Let him praise the Lord who goeth 
down to the sea in ships, for there we learn the 
awful majesty and power of the Supreme. " He lay- 
eth the beams of his chambers in the waters ; he 
maketh the clouds his chariot ; he walketh upon the 
wings of the wind." 



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168 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



I took a hack, and soon found myself at the home 
of my brother, where I remained a few days. I then 
left New York for my father's residence in New 
Brunswick. 

My health continued broken, which gave my parents 
and friends much anxiety — too much broken to per- 
mit of a return to my family — to former scenes. I 
remained with my parents, who did all they could to 
console me for the loss of health and happiness. I 
grew attenuated and lost strength daily. I remained 
in New Jersey during that summer and the autumn 
without any apparent change. Before winter set in, 
it was thought advisable that I should go to Cuba. 
My home was no longer home to me. That home 
for which I had toiled with the might of my energy, 
had gone like a sweet vain dream, which it is 
useless to remember; yet, 0, yet there are some 
offenses which it is an unworthy weakness to forget. 
Hush, my heart, and let thy sorrows lie hid in the 
charnel house of happiness, amid the secrets of life's 
sufferings. 

Again alone, save with my darling Genevieve, my 
solitary companion, and sharer and soother of my sor- 
rows, I set off for Cuba. It was the last of October 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



169 



when we landed at Havana. We were taken to de- 
lightful and comfortable lodgings kept by Mr. Pulton. 
Perhaps there is no part of the world that, on first 
entering, produces the same magic effect upon an 
invalid, as the climate of Cuba. Beside, the novelty is 
greater than even that of Europe, to a stranger. 

My dear Genevieve left nothing undone her heart 
could suggest to make me comfortable and happy. 

Far away from the scenes of wretchedness I had 
suffered, I felt better. It is better to forget one's mis- 
fortunes than to talk of them — to escape is a woman's 
only refuge. The climate, the scenery, and the fruit 
of Cuba were delightful to me. The Pas£o is like an 
Eden to the invalid as you glide along in the 
noiseless volante, passing the long rows of beautiful 
palms, with flowers springing up on all sides, and 
vehicles filled with fairy-like looking women in their 
gossamer attire, radiant with many colors. The grace 
and ease with which they move along adds to the 
enchantment of the scene. The women of Cuba are 
amiable and kind. They have sweet smiles and soft 
words, and no doubt many of them are by nature 
gifted ; but the usages and customs of their country 
have hitherto rendered them almost strangers to cul- 
tivation, especially as regards social life and the 
sacred family ties. In these there is an unnatural 
separation and want of confidence, which have exposed 
to the world the barbarous and immoral state in which 
they have lived — bound by none of those sweet affec- 
tions which grow up unconsciously, swayed by no 
early sacred remembrances which bind the brother 



15 




170 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



and the sister together far more than the fancied force 
of blood. But these things are gradually changing, 
and Cuba now is not what it was at that time. The 
Cubans themselves, — those of them who travel, and 
who are educated abroad, — when they mix with other 
nations, perceive this at once, and I have often heard 
them express their regret at the mistake they have 
made in their ideas of right and wrong. 

No ladies are seen walking the streets of Cuba ; the in- 
tense heat would prevent, if nothing else. Opposite our 
hotel there lived a family whose daughter had become 
insane in consequence of being debarred the sight of 
her lover, who from his appearance seemed an es- 
timable young man. He was in the habit of visiting 
our hotel, and remaining there for hours, to obtain 
through the half-closed shutters a sight of his unfor- 
tunate lady love. He sought every opportunity he 
could to escape with her, which, with the constant sur- 
veillance in that country, and iron bars and bolts, was 
impossible. I had often seen him weep, while listening 
to her cries, and her incoherent singing and playing 
on the piano. It was really touching to witness these 
scenes of despair on one side, and the mind's distrac- 
tion on the other. The parents of this young girl 
were relentless, and would not allow their marriage. 
The young man kept a very beautiful volante, and a 
fine horse, which he politely offered to myself and 
Genevieve whenever we felt disposed to take a drive. 
It generally stood ready in the court-yard of the hotel. 
One day, as we were anxious to see the city, we took 
the volante, and after a drive on the Pas6o, we re- 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



171 



turned within the walls, and began our visit of explo- 
ration. It was about six o'clock. Our desire was 
mostly to see the churches and nunneries. Neither 
myself nor child understood one word of Spanish. 
But Mr. Pulton, on our starting from the hotel, gave 
me the words a casa, which, interpreted, mean " go 
home." He also informed the calesinero, that when 
we wished to return, we would repeat that word. He 
added, one stamp of the foot signified to the right ; 
two to the left ; three to turn a corner. We had been 
out some time, and were delighted with the novelty and 
the lighted city. We drove around and around, pass- 
ing the captain general's palace, and the same scenes 
several times. It grew quite late, but I had forgotten 
the words a casa, and I attempted to call the negro's 
attention by stamping my feet, and telling him to go 
home ; at which he spurred the poor animal, and turn- 
ing corner after corner, to the right and to the left, 
for at least two hours, until my head grew dizzy, and 
Genevieve became alarmed and wept, and wrung her 
hands in despair, when suddenly she recollected the 
name of the street and of our hotel, which she shouted 
out to the poor negro, promising him a chastisement 
on our arrival. We ceased stamping, or I believe we 
should not have got home that night, and the calesi- 
nero made haste to our quarters. I will venture to 
say the race of "John Gilpin" was nothing to this. 

It was ten o'clock when we arrived. Our evening's 
adventure was a subject of amusement to the people 
in the hotel for at least a week. 

Every way one turns in Cuba one meets with vie- 




172 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



tims of disease and death ; but really death loses 
much of its gloom in sunny climes, such as Cuba. I 
saw a number of poor consumptives fall, one after the 
other, like autumn leaves — just at the moment, too, 
when they were most sanguine of recovery. It is a 
misfortune that these poor people resort to that coun- 
try too late. In this case the climate enervates them, 
and they die almost as soon as they reach its shores. 

We remained on the island, visiting different parts 
of it, until February, when I took it in my head I 
should like to see Jamaica. 

We took a steamer to Trinidad, where we staid 
for a week. I brought letters here to Count Brunet 
and Dr. Cantero. Both were gentlemen of great 
wealth and position in Cuba. We happened to reach 
Trinidad just in time to attend the balls that were 
given during the fete days of Queen Isabella. The 
splendid theater, which at that time was the property 
of Count Brunet, was thrown open and illuminated. 
In this place the grand balls were given. The pit 
and stage, being thrown into one, formed a magnifi- 
cent ball room. Around the tiers of boxes was hung 
scarlet cloth festooned with flowers, the floor covered 
with scarlet ; and the many thousand lights that 
gleamed upon the beautiful faces and diamonds made 
a gay and brilliant scene. One week passed pleas- 
antly enough. Had my health been established, and 
my heart free from sadness, I might have enjoyed 
these bright scenes. 

From Trinidad we again took a steamer to St. Jago 
de Cuba. On our arrival we were taken to dismal 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



173 



lodgings, though they were the best to be found. St. 
Jago is so far distant that few strangers visit it, and it 
is seldom one hears the English language spoken there. 
We, however, had the good fortune to meet with a 
Mr. Armstrong, an Englishman, whom we had met 
at Mr. Fulton's, in Havana. He was a merchant 
living at Kingston. He had been waiting a week for 
a conveyance thither. There were no regular lines 
of travel on that route to Jamaica. We waited as 
patiently as possible another week, when, hopeless of 
a conveyance, we decided to retrace our journey to 
Havana, and were actually packing up for that pur- 
pose, when Mr. Armstrong came to us with a polite 
invitation from the commodore of a Spanish man-of- 
war to accept a passage in his ship. This vessel was 
the Creolia. The government of Cuba had ordered 
her (for the first time) to get ready to convey the 
mails to Kingston. We gladly accepted the oppor- 
tunity, and immediately set sail. 

The heavens were bright and clear, the wind was 
fair, and for three days every thing seemed auspicious. 
On the third night the commodore lay at anchor, fear- 
ful of encountering the reefs at Morant Bay, extending 
far out from the shore. These reefs in former years 
had t occasioned many wrecks and great loss of life. 

About one o'clock that night I was awakened by 
the noise of the ship rocking to and fro, striking 
violently the rocks on each side. Then I heard the 
loud language of the officers to the sailors, which I 
could not understand. I arose quickly, and awakened 
Genevieve. We hastened to dress ourselves, and went 



15* 




174 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



on deck. Here was a fearful but a grand scene. 
Above us all was serene and calm ; the moon shone 
in all its beauty ; there was not a cloud in the sky. 
Around and beneath us the sea was dashing against 
the ship ; the waves were making over us. 

The minute guns — the signal of distress — shook 
the little ship to its foundation. They were pulling 
at the ropes for the purpose of righting her, but all 
in vain. The noise was deafening. Hope was lost ; 
all was confusion and despair. We were closed in 
by an immense mountain that rose before us, forming 
a sort of crescent, in which the ship lay. A lantern 
was hoisted mast-high, which the mountain entirely 
concealed. 

Mr. Armstrong assured us that the morning would 
bring us relief, as soon, he said, as the pilots came 
out. Alas ! the poor pilots were out during the night, 
and heard and saw all ; but negroes are always timid. 
They came near enough to hear a strange language, 
and in their fright retreated. They could not sup- 
pose a wreck on so clear a night, and believed an 
enemy had come to besiege them. As soon, in the 
morning, as they heard the English language spoken 
by Mr. Armstrong, who hallooed to them to come 
near, they used their oars with great velocity, and 
came to our rescue. Our luggage was placed in the 
hold of the ship, which we gave up for lost. Mr. 
Armstrong said " he was glad to get off with his life ; 
he did not think of his luggage." I might have felt 
so too, had I not been going among strangers, with 
neither money, nor letters, nor clothing, save what I 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



175 



had in my trunks. Losing these, I thought, I might 
as well remain and share the fate of the ship. Upon 
this thought, I offered the negroes a guinea if they 
would bring up the trunks. At this offer they rushed 
and entered the hold, and in a minute or two they 
brought out our trunks, which had been immersed 
in water, and threw them over the side of the ship 
into their boat. The unfortunate commodore came 
to me, looking sad enough at the fate he knew awaited 
him. He threw a mattress into the boat to make it 
less dangerous for us. The vessel lay very high on 
the rocks, and there was no way but to leap into the 
boat. This done, we took leave of our unfortunate 
party, — the kind commodore and officers, — selfish, 
like all the world, and glad to find ourselves rescued, 
though we had left them behind us in trouble. 

The sun rose in its usual burning heat in the 
tropics. We left the ship about five in the morning, 
and we reached the landing at nine o'clock. The 
wharfinger's family resided near — the only house 
within several miles of the landing. This, indeed, 
was providential, for we were exhausted with the 
scenes of the night, and with the boat sail in the burn- 
ing sun that morning. During all these scenes and 
dangers not one word of complaint was heard from 
my dear Genevieve. She looked like a sweet angel 
amidst the wreck, so submissive she seemed to the 
will of Heaven. 

We remained with the wharfinger's family for sev- 
eral days. They were plain, good people, honest, 
upright, and sincere. They lived in a simple and 




176 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



comfortable way, and they were happy. The climate 
I found more conducive to health than even Cuba, 
especially in that mountainous part of it. Here Gen- 
evieve for the first time attempted riding on horse- 
back. In this way we amused ourselves riding over 
the beautiful hills, through the rich palm-groves and 
the enchanting scenery. We passed a few pleasant 
days. 

Mr. Armstrong hastened his journey on horseback, 
— there being no other conveyance, — through a 
rough route to Kingston. In the mean time, I took 
a private conveyance to Port Morant, a small town, 
distant only a few miles from Morant Bay. In this 
place we were to remain until I* should hear from the 
governor-general at Kingston, who at that time was 
the accomplished Lord Elgin. Mr. Armstrong com- 
municated our misfortune to this kind nobleman, who 
immediately ordered a coaster manned for our con- 
venience. In this little vessel we were comfortably 
taken to the long-wished-for city of Kingston. We 
soon learned by the newspapers the sequel to this mis- 
fortune. The commodore and officers were summoned- 
to Havana, to appear before the captain-general, to 
await the decision of the law. The commodore was 
tried and cashiered, and sent to Spain. The beauti- 
ful little craft, the Oreolia, was a total loss — shattered 
to pieces on the rocks. 

They honored me by taking rooms for my accom- 
modation at Date Tree Hall^t the West End — places 
for which I care but little ; they belong to the small, 
the petty, and the present. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



177 



The city of Kingston compared badly with the lux- 
uriant, picturesque scenery I had left. Since the 
emancipation of the negroes it has declined — gone 
among the things that were. The negro race, collec- 
tively or individually, when manumitted, are like 
swine who " return to their wallowing in the mire." 
Ladies or gentlemen can no longer dwell in comfort in 
Jamaica. There are among them at this time but 
few pure white people; the African stamp prevails. 
The place abounds with poverty, indolence, and filth. 
For the sacrifice of this once beautiful garden spot of 
the world, we are indebted to fanaticism and a WiU 
berforce. Let the abolitionists of our day take but the 
history of this once beautiful island, and its decline, 
and it ought to satisfy them (even the most ultra 
among them) that they are misled and mistaken. 

Much as we deplore the system of slavery as it there 
existed, — deprived of all rights to humanity, shut out 
from every Christian influence and family tie, which 
are in general strictly regarded in our own country, — 
let the blackened cloud surrounding this once beauti- 
ful island reflect its own darkened shadow, and as a 
watchful monitor, remind philanthropists of the pres- 
ent day, that to be free is something more than to 
sever the bonds of servant and master. 

Our stay was short. The detention we had suffered 
by the wreck brought us into April. The weather 
was intensely hot, and the fever had already broken 
out among the shipping. I found little here to interest 
me, save a few friends, travelers who, like myself, were 
in search of health ; beside, the wretchedness of the 




178 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



place made me anxious to leave almost as soon as I 
came. I never could endure an existence where ex- 
clusive authority and power are given to negroes. I 
found this to be a little too much for my nerves. The 
lady that kept the house where I stopped was a colored 
one, and talked of her majesty the queen as if they 
were on familiar terms. Her children, she said, were 
in England, being educated. Really the airs put on 
by these blacks were most impudent. I always 
thought myself to be philosophical until now. To have 
remained long here, I believe, would have fretted me 
to death. 

I examined the papers daily to find a vessel sailing 
to any part of the United States, but in vain ; when on 
a Sunday afternoon, two gentlemen called to pay their 
respects to me. One of them was a Mr. Hawthorne, 
from New Orleans, the other a Mr. Williams, from 
England, compagnons en voyage. They informed me 
they were to leave that evening for New Orleans ; that 
the vessel lay out, and was to sail at ten o'clock. I 
caught at this opportunity with as much eagerness as a 
drowning man at a straw. I begged them to hasten 
to bring the captain to me, that I might secure my 
passage. They did not encourage me, on account of 
the wretched absence of every comfort, it being only a 
coal vessel, which, as they said, had been sent over 
from England to convey coals along the coast. The 
ship had come to Jamaica to get freight, but failed of 
doing so, and the captain, who was a rough Irishman, 
had decided to go to New Orleans, to try his luck 
there. So determined was I to go, that the gentlemen 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



1T9 



started in search of the captain, whom they brought to 
me. He frankly told me the situation of his ship, 
which he said was so old and inferior, that he felt 
ashamed to take a lady passenger on board, but assured 
me he would do all he could to make us comfortable. 
This was enough. I got ready, and in less than an 
hour from my decision, we found ourselves safely 
on board, and were off on our voyage at ten that 
evening. 

We found it comfortless enough, but I determined 
to make the best of it. My philosophy returned, which 
I found had only been obscured by the presence of the 
negroes. 

The old, worn-out ship was top-heavy. She had no 
ballast, and with every breeze that came, I expected 
to see her upset. 

Genevieve amused herself by reading some books 
that were loaned her by Mr. Williams, and playing 
with a little pet lamb that belonged to the cook. We 
got on very well. We amused ourselves telling stories 
and anecdotes, in all of which I joined with a hearty 
goodwill — "the ruling passion strong in death." I 
pity the poor mortal that is incapable of rallying under 
a racy anecdote or a good joke. I love to laugh, and 
amid the worst of life's evils — and few have had 
greater — I am glad to find an opportunity of doing so. 

Mr. Hawthorne related to me a singular adventure 
connected with the fortune of his young friend, which 
occurred a short time before he left England. He 
was the son of poor but respectable parentage ; he was 
educated for the law ; but ill health had interfered to 




180 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



prevent his success. His home was at Windsor. One 
day, while walking in the park, his attention was attract- 
ed by the appearance of a very old man, bent over 
with age, accompanied by his dog. "Walking slowly, 
leaning on his staff, which he accidentally let fall, he 
seemed too infirm to take it up ; at seeing which, the 
young man hastened to replace it. This little inci- 
dent led to a conversation, which, with the kind atten- 
tive manner of the youth, so pleased the aged man, 
that he invited him home to dine. He lived seques- 
tered and solitary, without a being near him but an 
old servant and his dog. Dinner was waiting. The 
fare was frugal and plain. 

The youth was pleased with his visit, for he too was 
a misanthrope, and they became mutually attracted. 
A few days passed and they met again. The old gen- 
tleman invited him, as before, to dine with him. He 
questioned him about his business and prospects, and 
added, that he was lonely and ol$, and had but a short 
time to live — that if he would remain with him as 
his friend and companion during the remainder of his 
life, and would take his name, he would make him 
heir to all he had. The young man gladly accepted 
the offer, though he could hardly suppose the old gen- 
tleman to be wealthy. 

In less than a year he died. In his will he be- 
queathed to his adopted son a fortune of ten millions 
of dollars. Williams was his adopted name. 

After an absence of nearly six months' travel and 
mishaps, with health unrestored and heart unblest, we 
arrived safely in New Orleans. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



181 



CHAPTER XIX. 



The morning after my arrival, I took up a news- 
paper. The first notice on which my eyes rested was 
the following : " The widow and daughter of the 
late poet Fairfield arrived here last night in the ship 
Ambassador, from Jamaica." I sent immediately for 
the proprietor of the hotel. He informed me that my 
husband had died in New Orleans on the 6th of 
March, and that the papers had reported myself and 
daughter to have been lost on the wreck of the Creolia. 
He informed me also, that my children were at the same 
place where their father had died. I hastened with 
Genevieve to meet them. On our approach they heard 
our voices, and ran into our arms. Their tears, and 
grief, and joy were overwhelming. After having be- 
lieved us dead, to find us returned and safely restored 
to them, was a happiness they had not expected. But 
there was an absent one, whom I no more found. 
One of my beautiful boys, a child about seven years 
old, had gone lo his last peaceful rest. This bereave- 
ment, and the circumstances of his sufferings and 
death, rent my heart. He was a beautiful, promising 
child. But I tried to check my grief for the sake of 
those that remained, and to console and heal, as best 
I could, their young, afflicted hearts. 



16 




182 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



Thus, at scarcely the middle age of life, ended the 
days of the poor poet. 

Whatever of thought, of feeling, or of faculties we 
may possess, we must look to the tomb as to an altar ; 
from whence let us hope they will arise purified and 
exalted into the presence of the Creator. 

The following pathetic and beautiful poem, by my 
husband, was addressed to me a few days before he 
died, and was the last breathings of his poetic spirit 
before it took its flight. 

" Dove of the Deluge ! wearied are thy wings, 

Winnowing the void air on thy flight with me j 
Yet every sunbow o'er thy beauty flings 

The heart's bloom, born of God's infinity. 
Lone, faint, o'ercast by huddled worlds of gloom, 

Wronged by the heartless, wrecked in reach of bliss, 
O'er life's Sahara, on to unknown tomb, 

Alone I wander — hopeless but for this — 
This beauty of the blossom, breathing heaven 

O'er earth's dark, withering woes — o'er tempest Time — 
Stumbling on Doubt's wild mountains ! yet 'tis given 

Despair to know Love makes its own sweet clime. 
O'er crashing wreck and smoldering ruin flies, 

Its cherub pinions flashing glory back, 
The holy smile of Eden in its eyes, 

And angel hosts triumphing in its track. 

" 0, but for this — for thee — . divinest child 

Of sorrowing, sinning Earth! Time had not now 
Hurled howling tempests o'er my spirit wild, 

And left its lightnings on my blasted brow. 
Supremest Good bequeathed thee to impart, 

E'en to dim Earth, the blooming light of Love, 
And, though the footsteps falter, still the heart 

Seeks thee, its ark, lone wandering, deluge dove I 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



183 



u Through fleckered clouds the molten moonlight streams, 

As o'er my spirit floats thy smile of youth ; 
Visions of Arcady and Argolic dreams 

Wear, to my yearning gaze, the garb of Truth ; 
And all that Nature, through its myriad spheres, 

Could frame, in thy sweet bosom hath its home j 
Yet o'er the Past swirls a dark sea of tears, 

And sighing Sorrow dims the days to come. 

" What but blest knowledge of thy sweetest spirit 

Hath Time vouchsafed through all its years of woe ? 
What its sad eras given me to inherit ? 

Bereavement, want, and malady, that grow 
By needing nutriment ; 'mid vivid flame 

Doomed e'er to dwell, yet destined ne'er to die, 
The martyr mind, through lingering years the same, 

Still from the burning bush glares on the blackened sky, 
And finds no fellowship in any world ; 

Or avalanche, or earthquake, maelstrom, ocean, 
In the dread wrath of Ruin — each hath hurled 

Its maniac vengeance, 'mid the mad commotion 
Of anarch Woe — Time's tyrant reigns alone ! 

With giant strides he treads the voiceless waste ; 
Without a smile mounts empire's gory throne ; 

Onward looks hopeless — darkly on the Past ! 

" Bride of my bosom ! though denied on earth, 

Blend thy blest spirit with my saddened thought, 
And breathe the blessing of love's holiest birth 

Around life's pathways ; what deep skill hath wrought, 
Refine thou and exalt ; be with me, Love ! 

In trial, toil, temptation — guide and guard 
My erring steps — and O, my prophet dove, 

Hail to heaven's shore thine own lamenting bard ! " 

My husband had often appealed to me, if I sur- 
vived him, to defend his reputation. The follow- 



Hosted by G00gk 



184 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



ing little poem I have treasured, and will now add, 
as corresponding with the remarks I have made. It 
was written in an hour of deep domestic suffering. 

" Wilt thou espouse my memory, love, 
When I no more can brand the base, 
And true in thy devotion prove, 

'Mid scorned despair and shunned disgrace ? 

" Speak to my heart while thus it pants, 
While thus it yearns o'er future hours, 
Ere, dead to all its woes and wants, 
It slumbers in oblivion's bowers. 

" O, for a name, when I am dead, 

To live till life doth cease on earth ; 
For deeply hath my bosom bled 
Since the quick peril of my birth ! 

" Turn not away with that wrought brow, 
As I had craved a lawless boon, 
But let thine eyes of beauty now 

Beam like sweet stars at night's still noon ! 

" And tell me that thy smile shall be 
The sun of fame's undying flowers, 
And Life's will henceforth be to me 
Far happier, brighter, better hours." 

In a few days, after having provided all things for 
the comfort of my children, I left New Orleans with 
them for New York. Arrived there in safety, it was 
not long before I found and leased a small, comfortable 
house for the space of four years, into which, with 
grateful hearts, we at once betook ourselves. 

My dear Genevieve, who was the oldest, and was but a 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



185 



child in years, felt the bitter cares of life coming upon 
her thus early. She had acquired the experience 
within a few weeks. 

Brought up only to the exercise of graceful accom- 
plishments — accustomed to attendance and indul- 
gence — occupied with her books and studies— she 
had suddenly found the necessity of care and exertion. 
The two sisters, however, found much happiness in as- 
sisting each other in their studies and daily avoca- 
tions. 

My whole heart became absorbed in the future of 
my children — their education and happiness. Alone 
with them, I began to feel more repose and content- 
ment, with all my care upon me, than I had felt be- 
fore, during the sixteen years of my married life. 

The year following the poet's demise, I wrote 
a short biography of his life ; the sale of which, with 
what I had, was sufficient to sustain my family, and 
continue to my daughters the opportunities they had 
of education. They were never sent to school. 

No mother was ever blessed with two more lovely or 
gifted daughters. But for these, Heaven only knows 
the desolation I must have felt. My great hope was 
their happiness. Here, in my little box, I lived isolated, 
as I wished, and would have felt happy ; but the trials 
and sufferings I had endured had so destroyed my 
health, that I no longer delighted in employment for 
the mere pleasure of it. Where can one be found 
whose heart and energies would not have faltered 
sometimes under such misfortunes ? How vain seemed 
much that I had passionately desired! And yet I 



16* 




186 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



could not help looking forward with an enduring be- 
lief that my ardent nature and energies had not 
poured themselves forth wholly in vain. 



But the melancholy records of life belong to many 
of us. There is also a charm in suffering when it 
idealizes our natures; this it is which gives the in- 
terest to the poet's page, and sorrow is made mu- 
sical. 

Four years had passed away. Genevieve had grown 
a woman. The time of my lease had expired, and I 
concluded to remove further south, for two reasons : 
first, my health ; then, I had observed a nervousness 
at times in my eldest daughter's manner, which I at- 
tributed to too much mental labor. She was ever at 
work, with no desire for recreation. She was now in 
her sixteenth year. She had read hundreds of volumes. 
There was nothing in history or literature with which 
she was not familiar. To remove to Washington, to 
introduce her into gay scenes, I believed would create 
a healthful change — would draw her mind from the 
monotony of study in which she had so long indulged. 

On the eve of my leaving with my family for Wash- 
ington, the news reached me of the death of my father. 
I hastened to New Brunswick, to perform the last 
solemn duty to my parent, and to look for the last 
time upon his face, now pale and set in the rigidity of 
death — the eyes were closed forever that had so often 
wept over the sorrows of an unfortunate child. 



" It is the past that maketh my despair — ■ 
The dark, the sad, the irrevocable past ! " 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



187 



Shortly after the death of my father the old home- 
stead was sold. My mother found a home with my 
youngest brother, whose opulence afforded her every 
comfort. My poor afflicted sister, Caroline, whose 
mind had long since gone into fatuity, was removed to 
the new asylum at Trenton, which had been built by 
the instrumentality of that genuine, noble, and phil- 
anthropic woman, Miss Dix. The family gone, the 
home of my parents was closed forever. 

I returned to New York, and was sadly impressed 
with the wise man's words, "Man dieth and goeth to 
his long home, and the mourners go about the streets." 

What strange, inconsistent beings we become, even 
after we know the world ! Society was a thing I 
loathed. Its baseness I despised ; yet, like most moth- 
ers, I wished to introduce into it my two daughters. 
I was convinced that nothing in it is really what it ap- 
pears to be — that it begets mean envyings and jeal- 
ousies. In it we never know what we may trust, 
and are often misled by that which only seems from 
that which really is. 

After we became settled in Washington, I began to 
make preparations for the gay scenes of the coming 
winter. It was during Mr. Polk's administration. 
The season opened gayly — more so than usual. In 
Washington one is always sure to meet acquaintances, 
if one has any. Our house we kept open for our 
friends, which rapidly increased in number. My 
daughters were both musical, as well as conversa- 
tionists. These are gifts which always attract. Ger- 
trude differed from her sister. She was more hopeful. 




188 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



She united with her genius an acute knowledge of 
character, and withal was very philosophical. Her 
manner was fascinating, kind, and gentle. Her benev- 
olence was too great to admit of wounding, by sar- 
casm, the feelings of another. We had not been long 
in Washington before Genevieve's reputation for 
beauty, wit, and fashion was firmly established. Even 
her caprices were pronounced charming. But with all 
these, there was a perpetual fever of her mind, which 
broke out sometimes in sarcasm, and often it was 
painful to witness her really misanthropic nature. I 
have often seen her return from a ball, or a levee, 
where she had been the bright particular star, so sad, 
that she would declare to me it should be the last 
night she would ever pass so vainly and foolishly. 
All these things added to my secret sorrow, for I early 
saw that hers was not a mind fitted for the cold and 
glittering life of society. On a New Year's night 
there was a large assemblage met at a grand ball at 
Carusi's saloon, where she with her sister had gone. 
On her return I had retired for the night. She hur- 
ried into my chamber^ and in a state of nervous ex- 
citement, she said, " Mamma, during the dance 
to-night, I could not help the strange feeling that 
came over me, from which, with all my efforts, I could 
not rid myself — that I was a corpse dancing with 
corpses." More than once she spoke of these feelings, 
which came often upon her, even while surrounded 
with gayety and festivity. Though unnoticed by others, 
these were sealed-up sorrows that lay heavily at my 
heart. I saw and felt the dark future that awaited 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



189 



her. She was very fond of art, and had made some 
progress in painting before we left New York. She often 
found amusement in visiting the studio of Mr. Charles 
King, who had known her from a child. He discov- 
ered in her mind great genius for the art, and was 
often surprised at her judgment and criticisms. She 
anxiously desired me to allow her to continue her les- 
sons in painting, to which I acceded. I thought it 
would be better than so much study, reading, and 
writing. She continued assiduously for a year with 
Mr. King, daily working from eight in the morning 
until sunset. During that year she copied several 
paintings, large and small, from the gallery, — two 
very elaborate ones, — copies from the great Claude. 
These she disposed of for the sums of fifty and 
eighty dollars. In every thing she did she aimed to 
excel. 

During the year she remained with the artist, she 
formed in her mind a plot for a novel. The following 
year she excluded herself entirely from all her friends, 
to write her book. Day and night she toiled ; nothing 
of amusement could for a moment draw her mind from 
this object. She often assured me that she was wedded 
to authorship. " I shall never marry," she would say, 
"but live with you, mamma, and become famous, 
which is enough of happiness for me." Her desire 
was for a name — to be known as great, and not as 
fashionable. She longed for wealth, not for the pur- 
pose of display, or outrivaling others in grandeur, 
but as she often said, " to build houses of refuge for 
poor, unfortunate children, to educate them, and ele- 



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vate their neglected minds, and to make them com- 
fortable." 

In little less than a year she completed her novel, 
entitled " Genevra, or the History of a Portrait." 
The difficulty with authors is to get their first work 
accepted. Her patience had become nearly exhausted 
with the effort when it was accepted by T. B. Peter- 
son, Esq., of Philadelphia. She gave to the novel her 
own name. She had both the following, Genevieve 
Genevra. She preferred Genevra, on account of its 
easy pronunciation. 

" Genevra" had not been out long before letters 
of eulogy came to her from high sources. She con- 
tinued to write and paint alternately. Her next pro- 
ductions were several stories of length. Her last were 
"The Vice-President's Daughter," and "The Wife 
of Two Husbands." After the completion of these 
works she wrote a letter to Eugene Sue, and sent him 
a copy of " Genevra." She admired his genius, and 
to him she dedicated her last works. 

The following letter is his reply : — 

Mademoiselle : 

Je serais tres heureux et tres flatte d'accepter la dedicace du 
livre que vous me faites l'honneur de me proposer ; ce sera, croyez 
le bien, une des plus precieuses recompenses de mes travaux qui 
ont eu le bonheur de meriter votre interet et celui de vos honora- 
bles compatriotes des Etats-Unis. 

Veuillez agreer, mademoiselle, l'assurance de 
Mon respectueux devouement, 

Eugene Sue. 

Paris, 27 Juillet, 1851. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



191 



The annexed letters are from our friends. 

Boston, December 12, 1855. 

I owe you many apologies, my dear Miss Fairfield, for having 
so long delayed to thank you for the pretty volume, entitled 
" Genevra," which you were so kind as to send me last week. But 
to thank the writer for a book before one has read it is no great 
compliment, and I have waited, therefore, until I could tell you 
how much I was pleased with it. 

I have listened to it with great pleasure. The style is elegant 
and unaffected ; and the story, which increases in interest as we 
advance, has many striking scenes in it to arrest the attention. 
Altogether, it is a remarkable production for the first effort of a 
young authoress. And though one may criticise some details in 
the structure of the plot and in the delineations of character, yet 
these blemishes will be cured by greater familiarity with the art of 
composition, while the original power shown in the book will be 
more fully developed by practice. 

With my best wishes that you may have all the success to which 
your genius and industry entitle you, 

I remain, my dear Miss Fairfield, 

Very truly yours, 

William H. Prescott. 



Nahant, July 18. 

Dear Mrs. Fairfield : 

Absence from Cambridge prevented me from receiving your note 
and your daughter's novel till last evening, which will account for 
my not thanking you sooner. 

I well remember your beautiful daughter, though she was but a 
child when I saw her last. It seems to me almost impossible that 
she should be already eighteen, and an authoress. 

I have not yet had time to cut the leaves of " Genevra," but have 
peeped between them, and see that it is written with great spirit 
and very easy flow of style. May success attend it, and happiness 



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its author. I beg you to thank her for me, and to say that I shall 
read her book with great interest, and hail her success with much 
sympathy. 

Yours, very truly, 

Henry W. Longfellow. 
U. S. Hotel, "Washington, July 2. 

My dear Miss Fairfield : 

When I was informed you were the author of " Genevra," I felt 
deeply interested ; and though I read but few novels, and hardly 
any of the novels of the day, I resolved to read it, and say a word 
in its favor for the sake of the writer. 

After reading it, I published in last Monday's "Intelligencer," 
which I send you, a brief notice, not a review or critique, of its 
merits. I shall feel much gratified should this trifling perform- 
ance contribute in the least to your interest. 

Though I have not the honor to be acquainted with you, which 
I feel a misfortune, I know you are too sensible to deem me obtru- 
sive. You will neither misunderstand my feelings nor misinterpret 
my motives. I have frequently seen you in Washington, and once 
had the pleasure of speaking with you at your door. I admired 
you. There is something so uncommon, so distingue, in your ex- 
quisitely formed features and figure, and in your tout ensemble, 
that I was anxious to know and anxious to be acquainted with you. 
To my regret I heard you had left the city. 

And now will you permit me to speak freely of your work — to 
give you a word of* advice ? I shall do so, however, under some 
apprehension that I may merit the fate of Gil Bias, who criticised 
the Archbishop's sermon ; only there will be this difference against 
me — that his advice was solicited, while mine is gratuitous. You 
have more poetry than invention ; more philosophy than expe- 
rience. Your style is superior to the plot. But, with such a 
poetic nature and philosophic mind, and such a pure, natural, and 
concise style, what can not you do with experience and application ? 
Write, write, write, — let this be your motto. The subject of the 
age — the mighty problem to solve — is the social composition of 
society j and this subject absorbs all the literature of the day, not 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



193 



only in politics and theology, but in novels. The most successful 
works are those — as " Alton Locke," or the works of George Sand 
(Madame Dudevant), of Sue, and others — which are imbued with 
the spirit of the times. It is not the age of counts and countesses ; 
it is essentially the age of the people. Subjects within the reach 
of every one, — at our very doors, — matters of every-day life, 
which all feel, — should* occupy your pen. That which is the 
most familiar, faithfully and graphically described, forms the most 
striking and engaging picture. 

Pardon me, and permit me to say how happy I shall be to hear 
of your success, and assuredly 

I am, my dear Miss Fairfield, 

Yours always, 

W. B. Phillips. 

U. S. Hotel, Washington, July 26. 

My dear Miss Fairfield : 

I have just received your letter of the 11th, acknowledging the 
receipt of mine and the newspaper. The amiable manner in which 
you are pleased to express your gratification at what you kindly 
call my " compliment," and the gratifying expression, mutually with 
myself, of regret at not having had an opportunity of becoming 
better acquainted, and the hope that such an opportunity may here- 
after present itself, are so flattering, afford me so much pleasure, 
that I cannot resist the temptation of expressing my feelings. 

You have, my dear lady, the full flow of my sympathy. So 
young, so lovely ; with a mind to perceive and appreciate the 
beautiful in art and nature ; with an ardent disposition to acquire 
knowledge, and a thirst for literary honor ; and with the application 
and perseverance necessary to secure success, — who would not 
admire and sympathize with you ? Would to God I were rich ! 
With what pride and pleasure I would foster your young genius ! 
Be not, however, discouraged ; difficulties may develop your facul- 
ties. The noblest tree of the forest attains its highest excellence in 
a severe climate. I wish I was near you, to give you the benefit 
of my experience. 1 have sounded the depths of misfortune and 
misery, I have soared the hights of luxury and refinements, — 

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from the association with savages and cannibals in the far islands 
of Southern Polynesia, to the gay life of the most elegant Parisian 
society, — more romantic than romance, and more varied and as- 
tonishing than fiction. I could mark the shoals and the hidden 
rocks on the chart by which you should navigate on your literary 
voyage. 

There is one thing I would point out to you. Be rather afraid, 
at first, of writing too much than too little. Go through your pro- 
ductions with the severest and most critical examinations. Read 
none but the best authors ; hold communion with none but the 
greatest minds. Read the reviews and best magazines from the 
old world, (our periodical literature is very poor,) and so perfect 
yourself in a good style, elevate your mind to great thoughts and 
arguments, and you will soon perceive that, with wings, it is as 
easy to fly in the air as to walk or crawl on the earth. How much 
more I could say to you ! 

Do not think I would assume to be your Mentor. They are 
but the observations of a friend, who is 



My dear Miss Fairfield : 

I had the pleasure to receive your note of the 10th. The very 
gentle reproof you have administered for my presumption in dic- 
tating to you, who are so superior, is at once a cause of pain and 
gratification. To say any thing which might induce the inference 
that I thought you were not well read or sufficiently intellectual to 
appreciate the best authors, was furthest from my thoughts. On 
the contrary, I know, from your work, that you are both well read 
and highly intellectual. It has given me pain to know that I have 
written in a manner to be misunderstood ; but I am gratified at the 
opportunity it gives me of corresponding with you. The pleasure 
of confessing and being reconciled to one in whom we feel inter- 
ested is almost worth producing the cause. Our differences, when 
not real, but which arise from some misconception, make the ex- 
planation quite agreeable. This is my case. 

Certainly I never meant to recommend you to imitate any 



Yours always, 



W. B. Phillips. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



195 



writers, French, English, or any other, either in their style or 
subjects ; for originality is the first characteristic of a great author. 
But I wished to draw your attention to the fact, that as every age 
has its literature, — a literature which is the faithful exponent of 
its ideas and habits, — so whoever has the faculty to perceive and 
express this must succeed. To illustrate this I instanced George 
Sand and others. I did not express my approval or disapproval of 
the moral quality and tendency of their works, but I said they were 
the mirror of the age. If George Sand be sensual and have social- 
ist tendencies, does she not represent Paris, or even France ? And 
if we deem her extravagant and unnatural, it is because the habits 
and dispositions of foreign society are so different from ours — are 
not familiar to us. The same observation will apply more or less 
to the writers of other countries. I hope to have, some day, the 
extreme pleasure of discussing the relative merits of the authors 
you speak of, and of your preferences of the English school, which, 
with some exceptions, I approve. But at present, in the limits of 
this letter, I must confine myself to my first position, and I will 
take George Sand again as an illustration, not only because you 
have spoken more freely of her than of others, but because she is 
a writer of the first order. Chateaubriand (I translate from his 
Memoirs) says, " She is a woman of omnipotent intellect ; her 
descriptions have the truth of those of Rousseau and of Bernardin de 
St. Pierre, and her works are born of the age." Beyond all ques- 
tion, her language is the most elegant, her composition the best of 
any of the present French writers. Though we may be disgusted 
with her unfeminine manners, we must admire her masculine mind. 
Her success is great, for she unveils the present. There are few 
who can revivify the past ; besides, the spirit of the age is direct- 
ness. Facts, living facts, such as come home to the hearts and 
experience of all, are the subjects for popularity. You want no 
better evidence than that which Dickens's career presents. 

This was the purport of my observations in my last letter, and it 
is my advice in this ; for you have an analytical and philosophic 
mind, with great powers of description, to study every-day life and 
make your pictures as familiar as those of Hogarth, for they always 
please. 




196 



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Be assured, my dear lady, that whatever I have said, or may say, 
from which by any possibility an inference might be made contrary 
to the high regard I have for your character and talents, is a fault 
in the language, and not my real sentiments. 

I shall be very happy to hear from you as often as you will do 
me the honor to write ; and if it be in my power to serve you, I 
beg you will command me ; and I am, my dear lady, 



U. S. Hotel, "Washington, August 22. 

Mrs. Carvallo presents her compliments to Miss Fairfield. 
She feels grateful and honored by her intention of dedicating a 
novel to her. She congratulates Miss* Fairfield on the variety and 
brilliancy of her talents, which she hopes will be properly appre- 
ciated and encouraged, and anticipates the pleasure of one day 
seeing her name enrolled among those of the most distinguished 
authors and artists of her country. 

"Washington, Saturday, January 2. 



My dear Madam: 

I beg to acknowledge your note of January 4, and to offer you 
my thanks for the accompanying volumes. The mother of two 
daughters, and both of them so gifted ! You are indeed blessed. 
I could not have believed that " Genevra " was the production of a 
girl of eighteen, without your assurance. It gives evidence of very 
decided talents. I am equally surprised that "Irene/' by your 
second daughter, was produced at eighteen ; ncr is its promise less 
rich than that manifested in " Genevra." 

You ask my opinion concerning the amount of dramatic interest 
which " Genevra " possesses. I hardly know how to give one, for 
the manner in which a story is thrown into dramatic form has often 
more to do with its stage success than the incidents themselves. 
The plot of " Genevra " is certainly sufficient for a drama ; but 
how it should be dealt with — there is the question, and there the 



Yours always, 



W. B. Phillips. 



Kavenswood, N. Y., January 16. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



197 



difficulty. For the numberless failures made by persons-of great 
talent who succeeded in all other kinds of writing, when they 
attempted to write for the stage, proves that a peculiar turn of 
mind is required for the dramatist. 

Wishing you continued prosperity, and much happiness through 
your gifted children, 

I am, dear madam, 

Yours sincerely, 

Anna Cora Mowatt. 

Mrs. Jane Fairfield. 

New York, May 8. 

My dear Mrs. Fairfield : 

Please accept my best thanks for your kind courtesy in sending 
me a copy of your daughter's imperishable memorial of genius and 
talent. We have all derived the highest pleasure from its perusal, 
and shall ever cherish it as an invaluable keepsake. 

Very sincerely, your friend, 

S. S. Randall. 

Mobile, August 5, 
I have delayed answering, my dear Miss Fairfield, your note, 
more from a press of business than any thing else. I had com- 
menced several times my letter to you, and as often was forced to 
leave it unfinished. I got the picture a week after you advised me 
of having sent it. Mrs. Levert was greatly pleased with it, as well 
as several lady friends who know you through your reputation as a 
writer. One young gentleman, a kinsman of my sister's husband, 
declared it " the most dreamy, intellectual, heavenly face " he had 
almost ever seen. 

I heard, a few days since, from your mother, dated Girard 
House, Philadelphia. In two months she thinks she will be 
south again. Her letter was a very charming and spirituelle one, 
and repaid amply many times being re-read. What think you of 
Thackeray's "Esmond"? I have read a fourth of it, and find it 
very quaint and purely written as to style. His occasional philo- 
sophical touchings are very fine and very true. 

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If you will permit me, I will keep the picture until I see your 
mother, as there are several friends to whom I would like to show 
it ; but, should you desire it, will return it immediately when know- 
ing your wishes. Have you ever been in Cuba ? A lady told me 
she was almost certain of having seen the original of the picture 
there. Eugene Sue begged Colonel Starr to thank you very much 
for your book, and to express to you his admiration. Colonel 
Starr requested Mme. Levert to say this to you. 

In haste, 

Very truly yours, 

A. Waugh. 

To Miss Fairfield, New Orleans. 

Boston, June 8, 1855. 

To Mrs. S. L. Fairfield: 

I need not assure you, my dear friend, that your letter dated the 
Prescott House, June 4, gave me much pleasure. I was glad to 
hear from you once more, though grieved to find you still unhappy, 
longing for that which is not to be found on earth — perfect sat- 
• isfaction. 

Two classes of persons are sure to find themselves in sharp 
antagonism with the world — the obstinate and self-willed, the 
shrinking and delicate. The one is like the porcupine, bristling 
all over with sharp-pointed quills ; the other is like the sensitive 
plant, which shrinks when touched. I need not say to which class 
you belong; yet, with all your sensitiveness, what energy, what 
perseverance has your mother heart enabled you to make! God 
grant that these may ultimately be repaid, and your declining 
years made bright and cheerful, relieved from care and anxiety 
by the assiduity of your children. 

Truly, 

S. K. Lothrop. 
Guilford, Ct., February 1, 1856. 

My dear Miss Fairfield : 

I have received a package addressed to me, containing a beau- 
tifully draperied volume, as becomes one of your writings, and I 
have flattered myself into the belief that it is indirectly a pres- 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



199 



ent from you. I hope that when you do me the honor to ac- 
knowledge the receipt of this, you will not disappoint me by any 
explanation. Pray do me the kindness to present my best com- 
pliments to your good mother and your family, and believe me, my 
dear Miss Fairfield, 

Most respectfully yours, 

Fitz-Greene Halleck. 

Cambridge, September 8. 

Dear Mrs. Fairfield : 

Absence from town has prevented me from replying sooner to 
your friendly note. We have just returned from Nahant, where 
we have been passing the summer. 

As soon as I can, — probably on Saturday, — I shall do myself 
the pleasure of calling on you and your daughter, whose acquaint- 
ance I shall be very happy to make. Be so kind as to present her 
my regards, and believe me 

Yours truly, 

Henry W. Longfellow. 

Tkenton, August 18, 1844. 

Dear Madam: 

I acknowledge the receipt of " The Life of Fairfield," your beau- 
tiful little volume. It is beautifully written, and a perfect gem of 
biography. 

Yours truly, 

Stacy G. Potts. 

Mrs. Fairfield. 

The following letter refers to an unfortunate event 
alluded to in the next chapter : — 

Boston, Court Street, ) 
Friday Morning, January 24. > 

I am grieved, my dear Mrs. Fairfield, to hear of your severe loss 
by the fire in New Orleans. How misfortunes accumulate upon 
you ! What a life of trial ! God give you strength to bear your 



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heavy burden ! Perhaps you may hear that some of your property 
was saved. I trust it may prove so. 

"With sincere sympathy in this new trouble, 

I am truly yours, 

S. K. Lothrop. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



201 



CHAPTEE XX. 



Eyen thus early, Genevieve, after having acquired 
what she had fondly desired, celebrity and appreciation, 
no longer cared for them. Her frank heart would 
never permit her to dissemble, or even to smile 
on those she disliked. She was a reader of faces and 
character, and would never seek to say the agreeable 
instead of the true. She was gentle, but she was cold. 

Her soul was filled with the love of art and litera- 
ture. In music, she would often say, she found a 
record of all the lively and sad emotions of her heart. 
Her voice had a tender melancholy, unearthly and 
beautiful. She sang portions from all the operas. 
Her touch on the piano had something so mystic, and 
so sad, it seemed to vibrate the melody and melan- 
choly of her own sweet spiritual nature. Her ad- 
mirers were among all classes. Mrs. Polk, who was 
then our charming Presidentess, and Madame Carvallo, 
the wife of the Chilian Minister, were among the ladies 
in Washington who were her warm admirers. Among 
the gentlemen were the Hon. Sam Houston, the pres- 
ent Judge James Thompson of Philadelphia, and the 
Hon. Alfred Iverson and Alexander Bullett, the Hon. 
Henry Clay, and the Hon. Thomas Corwin. To those 
of her friends who suxwive, her misfortune will come 




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in sadness, like the tones of her own sweet voice, 
and the notes of her music, they have so often 
heard. 

One evening while promenading with her at a ball, 
she was attracted and amused at the sight of two 
elderly ladies, to whose dress, airs, and graces she 
directed my attention. "These ladies," said she, 
" somewhere in the vicinity of seventy, of whatever 
else they may doubt, seem convinced of their own 
irresistibility, and fondly fancy themselves the crown- 
ing glory of the evening." At this satire, the gen- 
tlemen accompanying us were highly amused, and 
could not restrain their laughter. For myself, though 
the ridicule was just, I feared she might have been 
overheard, and her expressions repeated. Sad enough 
that age should, by its frivolity, beget disgust in youth, 
instead of, by its gravity, calling forth veneration and 
honor. Age is not graceful, but it is grave, or ought to 
be so. It is foolish in a woman to wish to seem young 
when the blood is sluggish, and can no more rush to 
the heart; when feeling is gone, and all is gone but 
the breath, to simper, put on airs, and lisp love ; to 
dress low, with bare scrawny neck and arms : a ja- 
ponica fastened in front of the low bodice, resting on a 
withered bosom, to my mind greatly resembles a sheep 
in lamb's attire. Juvenal, in his famous satire relating 
to the laws and customs of the Greeks -and Romans, 
has the following, which may be as appropriately ap- 
plied in these times as then : — 

" There are some faults in a wife of no great 
account, but yet insupportable to a husband ; for 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



203 



what is more fulscpie than for a woman to think that 
no one can pretend to beauty unless she has renounced 
her native language, and from a Tuscan prattles 
Greek ! — from a plain Fulmonite becomes a mere 
Athenian ! — every thing must be lisped out in Greek : 
whereas it is a trifling sort of ignorance with such to 
know nothing of their mother tongue. In this dialect 
they expressed their fears, their anger, their joys, their 
cares, and all the secrets of their very souls. What 
would you have more ? You may pardon these fool- 
eries in girls ; but for you, whose pulse beats eighty- 
six, to be still mumbling of Greek ! This way of 
speaking is impudent in an old woman. When she is 
languishing with these words in her mouth, 4 My life, 
my soul,' they must be delivered in Greek. Though 
you lisp your fond words with a softer air than 
iEmus or Oarpophorus, the famous players, you make 
no impression — still your age is written in your fore- 



My beloved daughter Gertrude, who was three years 
the junior of her sister, applied herself with great as- 
siduity to her studies. She had beauty, ambition, and 
genius. During the last year of our stay in Wash- 
ington, she produced her first novel, entitled " Irene." 
This work I concluded to publish myself in connection 
with Genevieve's two last, " The Vice President's 
Daughter," and "The Wife of Two Husbands." It 
became actually imperative to take some step for the 
mental health of my child. I gladly availed myself of 
the labor to get out the work, since it afforded me the 
only means I had of travel. She loved the south. 



head." 




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The climate and the people suited her, and my heart 
yearned to make any sacrifice for her happiness. A 
dark shadow was thrown over her future. The heav- 
iest deprivation to which humanity is liable had come 
upon her. 

My eldest son I placed in a law office in New York. 
Gertrude accompanied her brother, and remained with 
a friend I had in that city, where, during my absence, 
she continued her studies in music and Spanish. 

From this time I set off to journey. I dreaded the 
breaking up and separation of my family. My health 
continued wretched. Heaven only knows how I was 
sustained. All I had heretofore suffered, I counted as 
nothing to the trials I felt sure awaited me. 

As the malady of my daughter increased, she suf- 
fered from dangerous attacks of congestion on the 
brain. During the intervals of relief, she would de- 
scribe minutely to me all the phases of the disease. 
But I can not dwell on this subject ; it is too painful. 
During my travels I often became exhausted with the 
efforts I made to conceal the state of her mind from 
others. At intervals she would appear so well that I 
could not be persuaded that she would again relapse. 
For years I was kept alternately hoping and despairing. 
She was compelled to relinquish • all her pursuits, and 
resign herself to her unhappy lot. Words fail to ex- 
press either her sufferings or my grief. Poets are 
prophets. Her father wrote the following poem when 
she was an infant one year old. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



205 



TO MY DAUGHTER GENEVIEVE. 

" Star of my being's early night ! 

Tender but most triumphant flower ! 
Frail form of dust and heavenly light ! 

Rainbow of storms that round me lower ! 
Of tested love the pledge renewed, 

The milder luminary given 
To guide me through earth's solitude, 

To Love's own home of bliss in heaven. 

" Heiress of Fate ! thy soft blue eye 

Throws o'er the earth its brightness now, 
As sunlight gushes from the sky 

In glory o'er the far hill's brow ; 
And light from thine ethereal home 

On every sinless moment lingers, 
As hope, o'er happier days to come, 

Thrills the heart's harp with viewless fingers. 

" For, from the fount of Godhead, thou, 

A ray 'midst myriads wandering down, 
Still wear'st upon that stainless brow 

The seraph's pure and glorious crown j 
Still, from thy Maker's bosom taken 

To bear thy trial time below, 
Like sunlight flowers, by winds unshaken, 

The dews of heaven around thee glow. 

" Hours o'er thy placid spirit pass 

Like forest streams l^hat glide and sing, 
As through the fresh and fragrant grass 

Breathes the immortal soul of spring ; 
And through the realms of thy blest dreams, 

Thy high mysterious thoughts of time, 
Heaven's watchers roam by Eden streams, 

And hail thee, Love ! in hymns sublime. 



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" But these bright days will vanish, Love ! 

And thou wilt learn to weep o'er truth, 
And with a saddened spirit prove 

That bliss abides alone with youth. 
Cares may corrode that lovely cheek 

And fears convulse that gentle heart, 
And agonies thou dar'st not speak 

Deepen as childhood's hours depart. 

" And thou, fair child ! as years descend 

In darkness on thy desert track, 
Mayst tread thy path without a friend, 

Gaze on through tears, through shadows back, 
And sigh unheard by all who stood 

Around thee on a happier day, 
And struggle with the torrent flood, 

That sweeps thy last pale hope away. 

" O'er the soft light of that blue eye 

Clouds of wild gloom may quickly gather, 
As, ere the sunburst of his sky, 

The tempest fell around thy father ; 
And 'mid the cold world's wealth and pride, 

The chill of crowds, life's restless stir, 
Thou mayst unknown with grief abide, 

Lone as the sea of Anadir. 

" And thou wilt grow in beauty, Love ! 

While I am moldering in the gloom, 
And like the summer rill and grove, 

Sigh a brief sorrow o'er my tomb ; 
And thou wilt tread the same wild path 

Of mirth and madness all have trod 
Since time gave birth to sin and wrath — 

Till from the dust thou soar to God ! 

" Doubt may assail thy soul, and woes 
Gather into a burning chain, 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



207 



And round thy darkened spirit close, 
'Mid loneliness, disease, and pain, 

"When I no more can watch and guard 
Thy daily steps, thy nightly rest, 

Nor, with the strength of sorrow, ward 
Earth's evil from thy spotless breast. 

" Fed by the dust that gave thee breath, 

Wild flowers may bloom above my grave, 
And sigh in every night breeze, Death, 

When thou shalt shriek for me to save ! 
The bosom, from whose fount thy lips 

The nectar drew of bliss below, 
May molder in the soul's eclipse, 

And leave thee to thy friendless woe. 

" E'en in the dawn of time, thy heart 

Hath felt bereavement's chill and blight ; 
For thou hast seen the soul depart 

That would have clothed thy path with light 5 
And now, my beautiful — my blest ! 

Where on earth's desert wilt thou find 
A guide — a friend — a home of rest 

For the bruised heart and troubled mind ? 

" Dark wiles, and snares, and sorceries 

Will spread beneath thy feet, and stain 
Thy spirit with their glittering lies, 

Till phantom bliss doth end in pain ; 
And thou must feel, and fear, and hide 

The doubts that gloom, the pangs that gnaw, 
And o'er a wrecked heart wear the pride 

That by its gloom doth guilt o'erawe. 

" Yet dread not thou, my Genevieve, 
The ills, allowed, allotted here, 
Nor waste thy soul in thoughts that grieve — 
The trembling sigh, the burning tear ! 




208 



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Mind builds its empire on the waste, 
And virtue triumphs in despair — 
The guiltless woe of being past 
Is future glory's deathless heir. 

" Beware the soil of thoughts profane, 

The fluent speech of skilled design, 
Passion that ends in nameless pain, 

And fiction drawn from fashion's mine ! 
He, who so wildly shadows out 

The darkest passions of our sin, 
Draws the dark bane, he strews about, 

From the deep fount of guilt within, 

" The Anointed keep thee, sinless child ! 

Be on thy path the Paraclete ! 
Through dreary wold and desert wild 

The Giver guide thy little feet! 
Like buds that bloom as blown flowers fall, 

New hopes wave o'er thee angel pinions, 
Till thou with them who loved thee — all — 

Blend round the smile of God in glory's high dominions." 

Our journey extended west to New Orleans. It 
was in the fall of the year, as late as October, when we 
arrived. At Genevieve's desire, I rented a small cot- 
tage, and newly furnished it. Taking with me her 
beautiful paintings, with some family portraits, our 
little home was quite ornamented. Here we dwelt 
alone, with a servant during the winter. I rented a 
piano for her. To sing and play was her only conso- 
lation. 

What time I had, apart from business, I devoted to 
her. To walk, and talk, and commune with her was 
my greatest happiness. Her intellect, at intervals, 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



209 



seemed to brighten up more than ever. She loved to 
dwell on the history of great and distinguished 
women — women of the past. She constantly re- 
gretted the weakness and inability of her sex — their 
useless and miserable lives. No woman had any at- 
tractions for her merely on account of wealth, beauty, 
or position. The intellectual and sterner qualities 
could only interest her. Neither Laura, nor Heloise, 
nor Cleopatra, nor Sappho, nor Aspasia, was a woman 
of her heart. Such women as J oan of Arc, Margaret of 
Anjou, Isabella of Castile, Madame Roland, Madame de 
Stael — these were the types of women who were her 
models — the stern, the brave, and the useful. 

The winter passed anxiously enough with me, in 
toil and care. The weather became exceedingly hot 
by April, and I found it was time for me to repair to 
Boston, to make arrangements for the printing of my 
daughters' joint works. I promised Genevieve I would 
return south with her the following winter. She 
loved New Orleans, and left reluctantly. I stored my 
furniture, together with her paintings and my por- 
traits, in the warehouse belonging to Mr. Bergen, 
from whom I had purchased it. I believed all would 
be safe, and thought I would save myself the expense 
of the insurance. I left feeling little anxiety concern- 
ing their safety. 

We had scarcely reached Boston when the fever 
broke out in New Orleans, and raged during that sum- 
mer and autumn, carrying off its victims by hundreds. 
My business detained me in Boston. " Irene " was in 
press, which could not be published before the coming 



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210 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



spring, and required my presence. One evening during 
the winter, in looking over the " New York Herald," 
I saw a notice of the loss by fire of Mr. Bergen's ware- 
house in New Orleans. By that notice I learned that 
all I had on earth had gone to ashes. Genevieve 
had gone that evening with a friend to hear Sontag. 
It was her last singing in Boston before leaving for 
Mexico. 

I cared for nothing so much as the loss of the pic- 
tures. How should I inform her of this ruin? It 
recalled to me all her former labor in painting them ; 
there were about twenty beautiful landscapes ; how 
bitterly she would suffer at their loss ! For myself, I 
regretted my portraits. A woman takes pleasure in 
pointing to her picture, even after she has faded. To 
say, " This picture was myself in my palmy days," is a 
pleasure to most women. One of my portraits was 
painted by Conarroe of Philadelphia; the other by 
Charles King of Washington. They were losses to me 
I could never replace. 

The following spring " Irene " was published, after 
which myself and daughter visited New York. 

The papers in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia 
were unanimous in their praise of " Irene," and we 
were all of us, myself and daughters, compensated for 
our labors by the great success of the work. 

The following is from the pen of the editor of the 
" Philadelphia Press : " — 

u A very beautifully printed volume of prose fiction, 
written by the daughters of the gifted and ill-fated 
poet, S. Lincoln Fairfield, has so greatly interested us 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



211 



that we have great satisfaction in earnestly and warmly 
recommending it to our readers — more particularly 
as we have reason to believe that its sale will confer a 
benefit upon the family of Mr. Fairfield. This volume 
contains three stories : 6 Irene — the Autobiography 
of an Artist's Daughter,' written by Gertrude F. Fair- 
field, and ' The Vice President's Daughter,' and 6 Wife 
of Two Husbands,' by Genevieve Genevra Fairfield, 
who has previously published a popular volume enti- 
tled 6 Genevra, or the History of a Portrait.' 

" This last-named authoress unhappily suffers under 
the heaviest deprivation to which humanity is liable, 
and therefore we should write tenderly of her, even 
if she had not written well. But, indeed, her writings 
show great knowledge of the human heart, familiar 
intimacy with refined society, and no small skill in 
composition. ' Irene' almost painfully interested us, 
so touching are many of its scenes. They have evi- 
dently been drawn from life, and relate, we believe, 
sorrows and trials which the writer herself has sadly 
suffered." 

Before leaving Boston, in company with Genevieve, 
we paid a visit to Nahant. My daughter had long 
wished to see the place. I can no better describe it 
than to introduce the following beautiful and truthful 
paragraph : — 

" I never saw a ' coast before that suggested more 
thoroughly an eternal despair than this coast of Na- 
hant. The cliffs are not lofty ; the surfs are not so 
grand as some that I have seen ; but there is an inde- 
finable expression of loneliness and sorrow in the 




212 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



lineaments of the rocks. Nature here seems to have 
lost all hope. The coast is furrowed and distorted, 
like a human face torn by some immemorial misery. 
Black and shattered crags shelve out into the ocean, 
bearing with the heedlessness of ruin the ceaseless 
buffets of the waves. It is this lost aspect that has 
made Nahant more interesting to me than any sea 
coast I have ever visited. Vaguely it seems to tell 
some story of immortal woe. When walking through 
the streets of cities we pass, unnoting, a thousand happy 
faces, wreathed in commonplace smiles, and ruddy 
with inexpressive health. But sometimes in our path 
we behold a countenance pale, and haggard, and wild, 
that causes us to stop, and turn, and look after it, — 
for it tells ns an tmsyllabled story of passion, and 
struggle, and ruin, that interests beyond all the chubby 
cheeks and white teeth that ever bloomed and glis- 
tened. So with Nahant. I have a sympathy with 
its melancholy shores that all the laughing slopes of 
French vineyards or English hill-sides could not 
awaken." 

I passed a few " good by's " to my Boston friends, to 
save me the trouble of what I dislike, — personal 
partings, — not, however, without regret. Through 
the rough paths of my life, my busy and excita- 
ble pilgrimage, nowhere have I met with kinder 
hearts or deeper sympathy than among Bostonians. 
They very much resemble their English ancestors. 
They are distant and cold until their hearts are warmed 
up and interested. They have no petty caprices. 
Their friendships once formed are faithful and reliable. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



213 



On bur arrival in New York, we found the following 
letters awaited us : — 

Senate Chamber, "Washington, April 5, 1855. 

Dear Madam: 

I owe you an apology for not responding sooner to your letter 
accompanying the beautiful and interesting books of your two 
gifted daughters. I have been so much occupied that I have 
scarcely had time to devote any thing to correspondence. I now 
1 acknowledge the personal favor of your kind remembrance of me, 
and beg to assure you of my regret that I am not able to respond 
in a manner suitable to this distinguished favor, and the high re- 
gards which I entertain for the authoress of " Genevra." You will 
be pleased, madam, to assure her, as well as Gertrude, of my con- 
tinued admiration for the brilliant talents and personal charms 
which so much attracted me in former days. I wish each of them, 
as well as yourself, many happy days, and a most successful career 
in whatever path they may select for themselves. 
I am, dear madam, 

Your obedient servant, 

Alfred Iverson. 

Office Daily Argus, March 24, 1855. 
My dear Miss Fairfield: ' 

I dispatched a few copies of the Argus, containing the " notice," 
to Boston, but I suppose they went astray. If I can lay my hands 
upon an extra copy or so, you shall have them. If not, when our 
file of papers is bound, I will have it copied — that will be in a few 
weeks. 

I am truly delighted that you are on journey near the city. The 
next remove will, I trust, see you in the Quaker City. Dull as it 
is, there are still those within its borders who will be glad to apply 
the spur to old Father Time, and make him gallop when you are 
once here. When shall that be? 

I am about tempted to take a run over to New York to see you. 
Another such a letter as your last, — so full of poetry, all gems, — 



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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



and you may regret it. The music, the theaters, the gay sights, 
the gaudy things, all have their attractions for those who can look 
at them rightly ; but they are doubly enchanting when we have 
those by us with whom we can sympathize, with whose natures 
ours beat in time and Unison. There are but few golden spirits 
in the world, and these we seldom meet, whence they seem like 
birds astray from Paradise. No wonder our feelings are tuned and 
our hearts enchanted. 

I should like to see you and give you a description of my last 
interview with poor Lippard. Dressed in your imagery it would 
make a most touching chapter for one of your choicest stories. 
He was ever wild and excitable ; all that wit did not leave him. I 
have the last autograph he ever penned. It is valuable. 

Let me hear from you at all times ; your letters are like a stray 
sunbeam in an editor's sanctum. I am about well enough to say I 
will ever be — but of that definitely in my next. With kind re- 
gards to your mother, 

I am truly yours, 

S. D. Anderson. 



"Washington, August 11. 

Dear Mrs. Fairfield : 

On the 3d of July I heard that you and daughter had left "Wash- 
ington. I did think your daughter would have called ; but all 
things change. I write without knowing your address, because I 
am so anxious about my pupil. I hope you have left New Orleans. 
X think of her constantly. She has so much courage, that I think 
she may be tempted to remain in spite of the fever. 

If this comes to hand, write me at once. I do not know the 
name of Gertrude's husband, or I would write to him. 

Your friend, 

C. B. King. 

It was with a mournful happiness that I was 
once more returned to greet my three children, the 
youngest of whom I had not seen for some time. 



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JANE FAIRFIELD. 



215 



His sufferings in childhood gave me the tenderest 
feelings toward him. The convulsions he had suf- 
fered had left him, and he had grown so tall and 
handsome I scarcely knew him. But, in the place of 
his former illness, a greater had succeeded : he, too, 
ivas rapidly hastening into the distemper of a fevered 
brain. The hand of God seemed to lie heavily upon 
me. The heart of his sister Gertrude, who tenderly 
loved him, was broken at this new sorrow. She was 
constantly with him ; his grandmother, too, who, it 
must be confessed, was unswerving in her attach- 
ment, was devoted to this child. " Our feelings are 
as little in our power as the bodily structure they 
animate." Thus it is with our love and our hate ; 
neither is born of our own will. It is an error to 
suppose that we shall be loved by those to whom we 
are not attached, and an injustice to exact from them 
more than we can give. Nothing is freer than the 
heart. It will bear no yoke ; it knows no master but 
love. And, although their grandmother, from the 
first, was my enemy, she had her favorites among my 
children, and Eugene was one. 

"We suffer or enjoy according to our capacity cf 
feeling ; and none ever had a tenderer heart or a 
nobler and more sympathizing nature than my daugh- 
ter Gertrude. Her grief was overwhelming at the 
misfortunes of her family. What sadder or deeper 
sufferings could come upon humanity than had come 
upon me ? Death has its sting and its bitterness, 
which the hope of a hereafter may soothe ; but for 
sorrows, living sorrows, like mine, there is no hope. 




216 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



Still it was mine to grapple for bread and life ; for, 
if I faltered, I should sink, and where could I turn 
for aid ? In the midday summer's heat and the win- 
ter's cold there was no end to toil, for me. Added to 
this, my dear Genevieve grew thin and attenuated, 
and required my constant care. The physician's aid 
seemed to be useless. Night, which brings rest to the 
weary and solace to the sad, brought nothing to me 
but wretchedness, and watching, and despair. 

During the year I remained in New York my 
daughter Gertrude was affianced and married to a 
Cuban gentleman of learning, worth, and distinction. 
He was the Spanish professor in the New York Uni- 
versity — Senor Francesco Xavier de Vingut. What 
a strange, inconsistent life is this, that we should urge 
upon our children a contract the same which brings to 
many of us all our sorrows ! Yet so it is ; and hap- 
piness is ever remote, and we must look forward to 
it and hope. " 'Tis a dark labyrinth — the human 
heart." 

" O Hope ! creator of a fairy heaven ! 
Manna of angels ! rainbow of the heart, 
That, throned in heaven, doth ever rest on earth ! 
From our first sigh unto our latest groan, 
From the first throb until the heart is cold, 
Thou art a gladness and a mockery, 
A glory and a vision — thou sweet child 
Of the immortal spirit ! In our days 
Of sorrow, with thy bland hypocrisies 
Thou dost delude us, and we love and trust 
Thy beautiful illusions, though the soil 
Of disappointment yet is on our souls. 
Thou El Dorado of the poor man's dream ! 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



217 



Sire of repentance ! child of vain desires ! 

The bleeding heart clings to thee when all hope 

Is madness ; o'er our thoughts thou ever hold'st 

Eternal empire ; and thou dost console 

The felon in his cell, the galley slave, 

The exile and the wanderer o'er the earth, 

And pour'st the balm of transitory peace 

E'en on the heart that sighs o'er kindred guilt." 



My daughter Gertrude was married and gone, and 
I was left alone with my dear Genevieve. 

As I have said, it has always been my misfortune 
to draw after me the most unhappy and unfortunate. 
I am reminded of an incident which occurred some 
years ago in New York. I was walking, in company 
with the poet Halleck, down Broadway ; we were 
hastily going to see a painting of Fanny Elssler done 
by Inman. On the way we met with an editor, an 
acquaintance. He came to us laughing, and said, 
" I never meet you but you are with a poet. Of all 
the women I have ever known, you are the most ex- 
traordinary. Your monomania for poets is extreme. 
Your ill luck will never cease until you cut their 
acquaintance." This remark seemed amusing and 
ridiculously true. 

The poet William North arrived, during our stay in 
New York, from London. He had not been long in 
this country before fate threw myself and daughter 
in the way of his acquaintance. He was one of the 
most unhappy and unfortunate of the fraternity of 
poets. He was educated at Bonn, in Germany. His 
family misfortunes drove him to our shores in search 



s. L. F. 



19 




218 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



of prosperity and happiness. His nature and genius 
were very similar to my husband's. I never saw two 
beings resemble each other as much in their misan- 
thropy. He came often to see us. Genevieve sympa- 
thized with him, as she always did with genius when 
suffering under misfortune. But love, with her, was 
out of the question ; so that when he declared his 
affection for her, she dismissed him from her pres- 
ence. She liked his conversation, for it was truly 
fascinating ; but when he ventured on the subject of 
love he forfeited what little he had gained in her 
esteem. Packages of letters were sent, none of which 
she ever opened. He then sought to unburden his 
mind to me. He pleaded with me to use my influence 
in his behalf. Sorry indeed would I have been to 
have aided in so forlorn a hope. 

" It matters not its history — Love has wings, 
Like lightning, swift and fatal ; and it springs, 
Like a wild flower, where it is least expected ; 
Existing, whether cherished or rejected." 

This unfriended poet often talked to me of suicide. 
He had frequently set the time for this act, and bade 
adieu to his friends. None of them, however, believed 
him sincere. He formed as an excuse for the post- 
ponement of the act, the coolness of the weather. 
" Death," he said, " is chilly enough to afford us a 
warm day for its journey." 

It was only the day before the dreadful deed I 
saw him on the opposite corner of our hotel, looking 
intently toward the window of our room. He seemed 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



219 



the picture df wretchedness and woe. He stood like 
a statue fixed to the spot, until he saw me approach 
the window ; he then turned and walked slowly away. 
The next day, the news of his suicide was brought me 
by a friend. It was about ten o'clock in the morning 
that he committed the fatal act. He made his .toilet 
in black summer cloth — a suit, it appears, he had 
had made for the purpose. He was found with his feet 
resting on the floor, his head thrown back on the bed ; 
the vial that had contained the poison was lying on 
the floor with the cork in it. 

The following is taken from the " New York Times." 
The editor of the " Times " was a warm friend to the 
poet North. 

The Slave of the Lamp. By William North. New York: 
Long & Brothers. 

The publication of this volume is attended with more than ordi- 
nary interest, from the circumstances, yet fresh in the public mind, 
of the author's sad death. The last pages of the manuscript of 
this work were found in his chamber beside the corpse of the un- 
fortunate author. His work and his life were finished with equal 
deliberation. When the work-worn fingers could lay aside the 
pen, the willing hand of the suicide closed on death. It was horri- 
ble, it was sad, that a young man of so much genius, of such genial 
susceptibility, of such keen perceptions of the true and beautiful, 
should plunge thus despairingly into an untimely grave ! But it 
was not remarkable. It has been, and always will be, a condition 
of certain melancholy, impressible temperaments to contemplate 
death as a desirable solution of all worldly troubles. The per- 
plexities of life, conflicting with poetic meditations on human des- 
tiny, are calculated to produce this effect, even where common 
sense, or worldly wisdom, has some foothold. 

Mr. North possessed very little worldly wisdom. He lived 




220 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



within himself thoroughly, and looked at things not as they are, 
but as they should be. Acutely sensitive to praise, — and it was 
his honest ambition to deserve it, — he was morbidly affected by 
indifference. Every thing that life failed to afford him was per- 
verted to the world's indifference, and to brood on this theme in 
chilly isolation was at once his solitary and maddening consolation. 
Throughout all his writings there is a gloomy indifference to life, 
and a bitter contempt for a world of which he knew nothing ; yet 
Mr. North was capable of lasting, genuine friendship. A little 
genial appreciation was all he asked ; he felt he deserved it, for he 
had worked hard for the boon. It was when this was disputed — 
and in his forays among strangers who had never heard his name 
it was apt to be — that he became most gloomy, and retired bit- 
terly within himself to fresh contemplation of human destiny and 
woe. Pecuniary embarrassments and family difficulties of no ordi- 
nary kind filled the cup to overflowing. Life became a question of 
endurance. He bore it as long as he could, finished what work 
he had in hand, wrote to his friends tenderly and affectionately, 
and died. 

" The Slave of the Lamp " is a remarkable work. It is bril- 
liant, original, well devised, and powerfully written. A dozen 
essays might be extracted from it evidencing these facts. But the 
philosophy of the book is erroneous, and the advanced social doc- 
trines all moonshine. The author is to a great extent the hero. 
An autobiography in the latter portion of the volume, founded on 
fact, will account for all his eccentricities, all his heart-wretchedness. 
It unfolds a sad tale of family wrong and misspent energy. The 
literary merits of the novel are unusually attractive in this section 
of the work. The story is one of passionate love, unfortunate and 
unrequited. The heroine is a beautiful blue-eyed blonde, a type 
which at all times fascinated Mr. North. Every thing he did was 
under the inspiration of beauty. How much might he have done 
had he been domestically happy ! 

In the summer of last year Mr. North wrote an exceedingly 
clever tragedy, founded on the Scandinavian mythology, and'called 
" Odin." This was also written under the inspiration of beauty, 
and dedicated to the lady who is, we believe, the original of Colum- 




JANE PAIBFIELD. 



221 



bia in the " Slave of the Lamp." The following note addressed to 
the lady, and the two poems which accompany it, have never been 
published. 

"My dear Miss : 

" Read ' Odin.' You will find that you have helped to write it. 
You will also find my soul in its pages. Were * Odin ' a failurej 
I should have no wish left but to die speedily. 

Yours sadly, ever devotedly, 

W. North. 

" P. S. — This copy I shall require to show some people to- 
morrow. I have therefore left the name in the dedication a blank, 
for obvious reasons. N." 

ODIN. 

Completed June 17, 1854. 
Dedication. 
To thee, Genevra, my eternal queen, 

I dedicate a work at length complete, 
Since well thou knowest that in every scene 

Thy beauty's mirrored shape each eye will meet ! 
To me, alas ! denied is Odin's sword, 
But Freya's graces all to thee accord. 

It may be that some skald of future times 

Will speak of him who sought thy priceless love, 

As one who had accomplished more than rhymes 
Against dark, selfish vice our race to move. 

It must be that the coming bard will tell 

Whose genius and whose beauty wove the spell ! 

Be this a dream or prophecy, I ask 

But one reward, though fleeting be my fame ; 

'Tis that whoever nobly scans my task, 

Soul of my soul ! may link it with thy name, 

That all may say — whate'er they say beside — 

He loved Genevra — and her lover died ! 

N. 

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222 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



THE SPIRIT'S COMRADE. 



A Fantasy written after Midnight, June 7, 1854. 

Alone ? — O, no, I am not now alone ; 

Forever with me is a shape divine, 
Which my fierce soul pursued from zone to zone, 
Till knowledge of its living truth were mine ; 
Till of my heart 
Its image formed a part, 
Immortal as yon stars, which silent shine ! 

Silent they are, and yet to me they tell 

A thousand stories of the mystic past — 
Of life's eternal contest, heaven to hell 

Opposed forever ! " Hope," they say, " at last 
Hope, and be brave ; 
Thy knightly banner wave, 
And stake the future on one battle's cast ! " 

And, to my fancy, the fair comrade smiles, 

And sweetly whispers dreams of coming bliss, 
Whilst dimly-visioned fame my thought beguiles, 
And on the pearl-like brow I breathe one kiss, 
Love's viewless crown, 
Before which shall bow down 
The world that shall be, and the race that is ! 

O beauteous comrade ! shadow, which I call 

From thy more beauteous substance, at my will ! 
Brief is the spell, and yet to me 'tis all 

That gives me strength stern duties to fulfill ! 
Herself in vain 
My worship would disdain ; 
Her charm is mine, although her scorn might kill ! 

Dear comrade ! by an honor yet unstained ! 
Sweet comrade ! by a poet's prophet-sight ! 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



223 



By all that has thy gentle nature pained, 
Or given to thy noble heart delight ! 
Thou art to me, 
On life's tempestuous sea, 
The long-sought star that pierces sorrow's night ! 

W. North. 

The name of a great poet is as rare as it is splendid. 
The ancients called poets holy ; and no doubt they 
are, in some sort, inspired with a divine spirit, for 
which reason they were crowned, as were the CaBsars 
and heroes who triumphed in ancient Rome. Both 
are immortalized by heroism ; one by their actions, 
the other by their verse. I pity the mind which has 
no respect for the Muses. Poetry as well as novel- 
writing is called fiction ; but what is termed fiction is, 
in fact, reality. Novels, like poetry, contain truths, 
the experience of the darker shades of life, which 
many of us suffer, but to which few of us have the 
moral courage to attach our names ; hence it is that 
novel-writers in all ages have been the most success- 
ful. To censure a work that shows up vice, as the 
strongest incentive to the commission of crime, be- 
trays an ignorance and narrowness of mind which I 
think deserves no answer. 




224 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 



CHAPTER XXI. 



My daughter's state of mind demanded of me a con- 
stant change of scene. We left New York and jour- 
neyed west. Any where, it mattered not where I went, 
all places were alike to me. Such was the state of 
Genevieve's mind, that no sooner were we arrived at a 
hotel, than her question would be, " Why stop here ? 
I do not like this place." I was often impressed with 
the necessity of placing her for a time in one of our 
institutions, but failed of courage to do so. I often 
asked her what she thought of these places. " She 
had no doubt," she said, " they were necessary institu- 
tions." But when I questioned her in regard to herself 
— how she would like to be placed in one of them, as 
a trial of her health, she would always object, and 
seemed to shudder at the thought. She was conscious 
of her state of mind, and talked to me much about it. 
Wherever she was known, she elicited from all the 
kindest attentions. Often — how often have I seen the 
tear of sympathy fall from stranger eyes, at hearing 
her sing and play her pensive songs ! 

With her sufferings she became more and more mis- 
anthropic. After a long and weary journey to Wis- 
consin, we returned and passed some time in Chicago, 
Illinois. Here she became dangerously ill from an 




JANE FAIRFIELD, 



225 



attack of congestion on the brain, which lasted for sev- 
eral long, painful weeks. This detention brought us 
into April. We returned from oUr journey as hopeless 
of her health and happiness as when we left. To go 
through with the painful details year after year, for 
the last four years, and of the incidents of travel alone 
with her during that time, would cause me too much 
pain, and would fill volumes. During the winter of 
1859, her illness had^ become so severe as to oblige 
me to remove her to an asylum. This was the crown- 
ing point of sorrow. She was taken to the West Phil- 
adelphia Asylum, under the care of Dr. Kirkbridge. 
I was left alone — parted at last from this earnest 
child of thought, genius, and meditation. So have 
they perished, the aims to which I have aspired — one 
and all, the dreams in which I have indulged. 

" O heart, hold thee on in courage of soul 
Through the stormy shades of thy worldly way." 

0, how I missed her! She had never since her 
birth been absent from me. I had been for years ac- 
customed to hear her talk, often through the livelong 
watches of the night, sometimes to herself, sometimes 
to the heavens, the moon and stars, and wonder at the 
sublimity of those glorious orbs she could not compre- 
hend. She would often say, 44 1 have no doubt, 
mamma, that they are peopled by the beings we dream 
of in youth — the children of our brain with whom we 
people earth, but which in reality we never find." 

Moonlight, unto her, had often been her sole com- 
panion, when, with watching and fatigue, I had fallen 




226 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP 



asleep, and her tossing thoughts, like stormy waters, 
rolled through the darkened boundlessness of her 
mind. 

There was nothing for me, it seemed, either in 
heaven or on earth. " Great God ! " I cried, in my 
loneliness and sorrow, " thou hast willed all my be- 
reavements. Father of mercies, forgive the sorrow 
that questions thy righteous pleasure. Forgive the 
human and sinful nature that murmurs. Pardon the 
prayer that asks — how humbly, how fervently — for 
her, for my child's happiness and restoration." 

Months passed away before I could form any res- 
olution to visit her. I knew my strength of purpose 
in all except what appertained to her. 

Accompanied by some of my friends one pleasant 
day, I went over to see her. She seemed better, and 
overjoyed to see me. She walked with me over the 
grounds. She spoke kindly of the people, and of the 
institution ; but she said, " I am lonely here, and beg 
you to take me with you to town." She seemed so 
mild, and so much better, that I at once acceded to 
her wishes, as I knew I should before I left to visit her. 

It was our dinner hour when we came to the door 
of. our lodgings. " Now," said she, " mamma, don't 
wait dinner for me. I must take a walk to view the 
town. I have been shut up so long that all things 
look so joyous. I will return soon." She returned 
delighted, and appeared quite well. 

Weeks passed away and left her so much better that 
I began to hope that happiness had returned once 
more to bless me. 




JANE FAIRFIELD. 



227 



She often amused me by the descriptions she gave 
of the antics of the poor patients in the hospital, many 
of which were very ludicrous, ov§r which she herself 
would heartily laugh. A few months only had passed 
when she relapsed, and the disorder returned with 
more violence than ever. This interval of happiness 
seemed to have been given me only to plunge me into 
irremediable despair. Thus do the lights and shadows 
of human existence mingle together. 

Again, through the aid of friends, I replaced her in 
the institution from whence I had taken her. 

On the evening of the day she left me, I sat down 
alone in my room, only to gaze at her vacant chair 
and bed, feeling she had now left me for the last time. 
Her books lay open upon the table. I took up one of 
her favorite authors. It was Miss Landon. Before 
going to my bed I ran over its pages, on which I 
found many of her pencil marks. 

In "Francesca Carrara" were the following pas- 
sages, with penciled hands pointing to them. 

" I returned to my lodgings — all was dreary, all 
was void — was emblematic of that change and bar- 
renness which passes away from nature, but never 
from the heart." 

"I went back broken in health and spirits, and 
vainly seeking relief in change of place. Alas, I was 
myself my own world. Nothing without availed to 
alter that within." 

" weary heart that must within itself close all its 
deepest leaves." 

" Over how many things now does my regret take 




228 THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JANE FAIRFIELD. 



its last and deepest tone — despondency ! I regret not 
the pleasures that have passed, but that I have no longer 
any relish for them. The society which once excited 
is now wearisome. The book which would have been 
a fairy gift to my solitude, T can scarcely read." 

"I neither ordered my own mind, nor made my 
own fate." 

" My world is in the far off, and the hereafter." 



" 'Tis written in thy large blue eyes, 
Filled with unbidden tears ; 
The passionate paleness on thy cheek, 

Belying thy few years. 
A child, yet not the less thou art 
One of the gifted hand and heart, 
Whose deepest hopes and fears 
Are omen-like ; the poet's dower 
Is even as the prophet's power." 



0, how my tears fell over these passages of grief so 
applicable to her wasted heart ! 

Thus, after twenty years of toil, and of perils by 
land and sea, have I returned to Philadelphia, to the 
scenes of former years. 

To retrace what I have written has been of melan- 
choly remembrance, mixed with bitterness and tears. 
Since the strongest cord of my life has been broken, 
and the years have drawn nigh when I feel that I have 
no pleasure in them — by the grace of God, I shall 
easily renounce a world where my cares have been de- 
ceitful, and my hopes vain and perishing. 

" There is an evening twilight of the heart, 

When its wild passion-waves are sunk to rest, 
And the eye sees life's brightest dreams depart 
As fades the sunbeams in the rosy west." 




POEMS. 



Hosted by G00gk 



Hosted by G00gk 



OLYMPIADS. 



MARRIED LOVE AND MARRED LOVE. 

I wedded the Beloved — the Beautiful ! 
She had an eye like Spring's first flowers, or stars 
At summer twilight, and a high, pale brow 
Of tender beauty, where the wandering veins, 
Like hidden rivulets, revealed the gift 
Of Mind ; while Thought upon her Grecian face 
Sat like a Seraph on his throne when all 
The angelic princedoms bow before their God. 
Pure as the May-morn breeze, or beaded dews 
That diadem the rose — in every thought 
The creature of a blest humanity 
And purified affection — she became, 
E'en to my earliest glance, the evening star, 
(The holy light that hushes all to peace,) 
Of a lone heart, that lingered o'er past hours, 
And basked in vain though glorious imagery. 
I looked and loved, and o'er my spirit came 
The rush of solemn feelings (golden clouds, 
Though dim and fading, on the wings of years) 
And all the idol memories of life 
Went by like music on a summer eve. 



(231) 




232 



OLYMPIADS. 



Love ! 'tis the dream of every young, pure heart, 

A fairy vision of a better sphere, 

A rainbow, resting on a world of woe, 

But leading unto heaven ; a charm in hope 

To all, though unto few the holiest bliss 

Of earth — the earnest of eternal heaven. 

Passion's young pilgrim, I had roamed afar 
O'er foreign lands, where unfamiliar tongues 
And aspects strange saluted me ; my ear 
Had ceased to hear the tender voice of love, 
And never trusted words that knew no heart. 
I long had roamed the world in utter scorn 
Of all man toils to gain and cast away ; 
And lingering Time hung o'er me like a sky 
Of deep, dull, chilling clouds, without or light 
Or darkness, and all human things to me 
Brought neither love nor hate, but one dead waste 
Of life and all its passions, hopes and fears. 

I trod my Native Land again, unchanged 
In the deep love my spirit bears to thee, 
Divinest Liberty ! but hopeless else 
Of all the common happiness of man. 
Forecast not fate, nor to thyself appoint 
Thy destiny ! for, over all supreme, 
A Power directs our days and their events 
Unseen, all prescient and inscrutable ; 
And, in the world, full oft a single word, 
Uttered unwarily, will more avail 
Thy welfare, than long years of vain pursuit, 




OLYMPIADS. 



233 



Passion and tempest, and unslackened toil. 
I long had deemed that earth held many hearts 
Deep, proud, and high like mine ; but what I sought 
With martyr-like devotion — vainly sought — 
Came in an hour when Hope had passed away, 
And Chance assumed her empire o'er my fate. 
Deep streams will mingle, though their fountains rise 
A thousand leagues asunder : so will hearts, 
Whose feelings ever blend, though far apart 
Born, and in fancy for another fate. 
We met, — we loved, — and she became to me 
A solace and the hope of better days. 

I had looked forward to this sacred hour 
As look the weary mariners for land, 
As captives for the day that sets them free, 
As desert pilgrims for Zahara's wells, 
As saints for paradise. Love was to me 
My sainted father's only dying gift 
Not clutched away from a young orphan's grasp ; 
And the o'ergushing heart will spread o'er earth 
A paradise of bloom, or on the waste 
Of an unthankful world pour out its life. 
Affections unbestowed, in the deep spring 
Of o'erfraught bosoms dwelling, like pent streams, 
Stagnant in their large affluence ; but unlocked, 
Bear wealth and beauty in their silent flow. 
To throw one's self upon a kindred heart ; 
To love as angels do ; to know one's hopes 
And fears are shared by a devoted bride ; 
To cling through good and evil to the shrine 



20* 




234 



OLYMPIADS. 



Whence bridal vows ascended to the skies ; 
This to my bosom had been paradise ; — 
But ever had I felt 'twas to search 
For what my spirit, in its lonely moods, 
Had imaged out ; for, O, too well I knew 
Such high revealings had no earthly type ! 

In other days, when earth, and air, and sea 
Glowed with the glory of Ambition's dreams, 
Passion awoke, and worshiped at the shrine 
Of a pure heart with all the earnest love, 
The wild adoring of a soul that cast 
The world away to win a heaven below. 
But evil came ; a blight was on my love ; 
The storm rushed o'er the sunbeam ; and, amid 
The darkness of a deep, unnatural night, 
Rude hands bore off the idol of my youth ! 
— Ten years have died ! To linger on the days, 
And mark their thoughts and deeds, long ages pass 
Like endless shadows o'er me ; but to fly 
To Housatonic's stream and Derby's hills, 
And that old mansion, whose great balcony 
Hung o'er the waters — brief as Hope appears 
The Olympiad of my first unhappy love. 
Through the dark night I saw the glimmering sail 
Resting upon the wave ; I saw the bark, 
And heard the dash of oars that bore away 
My heart's best hope. Despair hath dreadful strength ! 
I saw the vessel glide away, and heard 
Voices upon the deep until they came 
O'er me like the far sounds of dreams ! And then — 




OLYMPIADS. 



235 



Then I went forth, a man, 'mid other men, 
Not to lament — the proselyte of fools — 
Nor rail, like girls hysteric, nor arraign 
The doom of evil ; but to feel and bear, 
To think and keep deep silence, and to love 
Too sacredly for earth to know my love. 
I sought not dim forgetfulness, but nursed 
Memory, and loved the blissful pangs she brought. 

Years passed ; but I remembered her, and then 
My heart grew milder than in other times ; 
And when I thought of the loved one, 'twas not 
With bitterness, but tender melancholy, 
Shadowed and softened by the lapse of years 
And many changes. Like the gushing forth 
Of twilight waters, or the whispering stir 
Of dewy leaves, or breath of fading flowers, 
The memory of our young and blighted love 
Came o'er me, and 'twas blessedness to think 
How I had loved her ; — though my bosom bled 
O'er my lone grief and her dark sacrifice. 
O'er the wild surges of the ocean oft 
My spirit wandered back when far away, 
But with a settled grief serene ; none knew 
From outward mildness, and smooth courtesy, 
And mannerly respect of customs old, 
That Passion's flood had left my heart a waste. 
Lost to my arms, but not my love, I knew 
Her days could not be blest in this wrong world, 
And never would I, by remotest word, 
"Waken a scorpion in her wedded heart. 




236 



OLYMPIADS. 



She was a thing of holiness — high throned 

As among cherubims, beheld far off, 

And worshiped unapproached ; *and oft I wept 

And prayed that she might calmly bear the task, 

The bitter task, that was her portion here, 

Without repining o'er the fatal hours 

That fled like morning stars ; and 'twas my trust 

That he — her unknown wedded lord — might prove 

Gentle and faithful to the blighted flower ! 

And never — never would I see her more, 

Though, sometimes, tidings of her lot would come, 

Like desert blasts or storms at equinox, 

To darken the bright stream of wandering thought. 

So all my deep affections mellowed down 

Into a sorrow gentle as the sigh 

Of the low evening wind through autumn woods. 

As I have said, I wedded the Beloved ! 
'Twas when the sweet autumnal days came on, 
And earth was full of beauty, and the heavens 
Of glory, and the heart of man of praise. 
I gave her all the deep love of a heart 
Long tried and faithful unto worse than death, 
And she did love me more that I had loved 
With a fidelity and strength alike 
Unconquered by repulse, and woe, and time. 
Her smiles went o'er my bosom like the air 
O'er flowering shrubs and honeysuckle bowers, 
And she, at times, was mirthful as the birds 
In the sweet month of May ; and then again 
Quietly sad as any nightingale. 




SONNET. 



237 



Playful, yet full of feeling, innocent, 
Without suspecting guile, in smiles and tears 
Pleasant as stars when fancy images 
The thrones of angels there, she gently taught 
Forgetfulness of many an irking ill, 
Lost in the beauty of her winsome smile, 
And did become, first in herself, and then 
In the blest offerings of love, a world 
Where peril, calumny, and pain are lost 
In this revealment of restoring Heaven. 



What are the Past and Future ? Shadows, lit 
By the mind's twilight bloom, and all too dim 
For clear perception ; far and faint they swim 
Before the visionary's eye, and flit 
Away in dusky folds, whose outskirts wear 
A mellow glow a while, and then resume 
Oblivion's sable tinges. In the gloom 
Of the o'ershadowed Past, with pensive air, 
Pale Memory sits beside a sculptured urn, 
Chanting the requiem of joys long fled ; 
And flickering tapers, for the parted dead, 
Around her wasted form forever burn ; 
But Hope, on sunlight pinions, soars on high, 
And hath her throne and glory in the sky. 



SOMET. 




PERE LA CHAISE * 



Beautiful City of the Dead ! thou stand'st 
Ever amid the bloom of sunny skies 
And blush of odors, and the stars of heaven 
Look, with a mild and holy eloquence, 
Upon thee, realm of Silence ! Diamond dew, 
And vernal rain, and sunlight, and sweet airs 
Forever visit thee ; and morn and eve 
Dawn first, and linger longest on thy tombs 
Crowned with their wreaths of love, and rendering back 
From their wrought columns all the glorious beams 
That herald morn, or bathe in trembling light 
The calm and holy brow of shadowy eve. 
Empire of pallid shades ! though thou art near 
The noisy traffic and thronged intercourse 
Of man, yet stillness sleeps, with drooping eyes 
And meditative brow, forever round 
Thy bright and sunny borders ; and the trees 
That shadow thy fair monuments, are green, 
Like Hope that watches o'er the dead, or love 
That crowns their memories ; and lonely birds 
Lift up their simple songs amid the boughs, 
And with a gentle voice wail o'er the lost, 
The gifted, and the beautiful, as they 



* The Cemetery of Paris. 



(238) 




PERB LA CHAISE. 



239 



Were parted spirits hovering o'er dead forms 
Till judgment summons earth to its account. 

Here 'tis a bliss to wander when the clouds 
Paint the pale azure, scattering o'er the scene 
Sunlight and shadow, mingled, yet distinct, 
And the broad olive leaves, like human sighs, 
Answer the whispering zephyr, and soft buds 
Unfold their hearts to the sweet west wind's kiss, 
And Nature dwells in solitude, like all 
Who sleep in silence here, their names and deeds 
Living in Sorrow's verdant memory. 
Let me forsake the cold and crushing world, 
And hold communion with the dead ! then thought, 
The silent angel language Heaven doth hear, 
Pervades the universe of things, and gives 
To earth the deathless hues of happier climes. 

All, who repose undreaming here, were laid 
In their last rest with many prayers and tears ; 
The humblest as the proudest was bewailed, 
Though few were near to give the burial pomp. 
Lone watchings have been here, and sighs have risen 
Oft o'er the grave of love, and many hearts 
Gone forth to meet the world's smile desolate. 

The saint, with scrip and staff, and scallop shell, 
And crucifix, hath closed his wanderings here ; 
The subtle schoolman, weighing thistle-down 
In the great balance of the universe, 
Sleeps in the oblivion which his folios earned ; 
The sage, to whom the earth, the sea, and sky 




240 



PERE LA CHAISE. 



Revealed their sacred secrets, in the dust, 

Unknown unto himself, lies cold and still ; 

The dark eyes and the rosy lips of love, 

That basked in Passion's blaze till madness came, 

Have moldered in the darkness of the ground ; 

The lover, and the soldier, and the bard, 

The brightness, and the beauty, and the pride 

Have vanished, — and the Grave's great heart is still ! 

Alas ! that sculptured pyramid outlives 
The name it should perpetuate ; alas ! 
That obelisk and temple should but mock 
With effigies the form that breathes no more. 
The cypress, the acacia, and the yew 
Mourn with a deep, low sigh o'er buried power ; 
And moldered loveliness, and soaring mind 
Yet whisper, " Faith surmounts the storm of death." 

Beautiful City of the Dead ! to sleep 
Amid thy shadowed solitudes, thy flowers, 
Thy greenness and thy beauty, where the voice, 
Alone heard, whispers love, and greenwood choirs 
Sing 'mid the stirring leaves, were very bliss 
Unto the weary heart and wasted mind, 
Broken in the world's warfare, yet still doomed 
To bear a brow undaunted ! O, it were 
A tranquil and a holy dwelling-place 
To those who deeply love but love in vain — 
To disappointed hopes, and baffled aims, 
And persecuted youth. How sweet the sleep 
Of such as dream not, wake not, feel not, here, 
Beneath the starlight skies and flowery earth, 
'Mid the green solitudes of Pere La Chaise! 




THE DIRGE. 



Weep not thou for the dead ! 
Sweet are their dreamless slumbers in the tomb — 
Their eyelids move not in the morning's light, 
No sun breaks on the solitary gloom, 
No sound disturbs the silence of their night — 

Soft seems their lowly bed ! 

Grieve not for them, whose days. 
Of earthly durance have so quickly passed, — 
"Who feel no more Affliction's iron chain ! 
Sigh not for them who long since sighed their last, 
Never to taste of sin and woe again 

In realms of joy and praise ! 

What they were once to thee 
It nought avails to think, save thou canst draw 
Pure thoughts of piety, and peace, and love, 
And reverent faith in Heaven's eternal law, 
From their soft teachings, ere they soared above, 

Lost in Eternity ! 

When o'er the pallid brow 
Death flings his shadow — and the pale, cold cheek 
Quivers, and light forsakes the upturned eye, 
And the voice fails ere faltering lips can speak 
The last farewell — be not dismayed — to die 

Is man's last lot below ! 



21 



(241) 




242 



THE DIRGE. 



Death o'er the world hath passed 
Oft, and the charnel closed in silence o'er 
Unnumbered generations — past and gone ! 
And he will reign till Earth can hold no more ; 
Till Time shall sink beneath the Eternal Throne, 

And Heaven receive its last. 

Death enters at our birth 
The molded form we idolize so much, 
And hour by hour some subtle thread dissolves, 
That links the web of life ; at his cold touch 
Power after power decays as time revolves, 

Til] earth is blent with earth. 

The soul can not abide 
In the dark dreariness of flesh and sin ; 
Its powers are chained and trampled on by clay, 
And paralyzed and crushed ; 'twould enter in 
Its own pure Heaven, where Passion's disarray 

Comes not, nor hate, nor pride. 

Come, widowed one ! with me, 
And we will wander through the shades of death ! 
Look now upon those sheeted forms that soar 
Amid the still and rosy air ; their breath 
Wafts the rich fragrance of Heaven's flowery shore, 

Amid the light of Deity ! 

Wouldst thou wail o'er their flight, 
Or curb their pinions with the chains of Time ? 
Art thou or canst thou be so happy here, 




THE DIRGE. 



243 



Thy spirit pants not for a fairer clime ? 
O, sorrowing child of sin, and doubt, and fear ! 
Thy heart knows no delight. 

Wouldst thou roll back the waves 
Of the unfathomed ocean of the Past, 
And from soft slumbers wake the undreaming Dead, 
Again to shiver in the bleak, cold blast, 
Again the desert of despair to tread, 

And mourn their peaceful graves ? 

Ah, no ! — forget them not ! 
Thoughts of the dead incite to worthy deeds, 
Or from the paths of lawless ill deter ; 
When the lone heart in silent sorrow bleeds, 
Or sin entices — to the past recur — 

Trust Heaven, thou wilt not be forgot ! 

Weep not for them who leave 
In childhood's sinless hours the haunts of vice ! 
Mourn not She Lovely in their bloom restored 
To the bright bowers of their own paradise ! 
Mourn not the Good who meet their honored Lord 

Where they no more can grieve ! 

But rather weep and mourn 
That thou art yet a sinning child of dust, 
Changeful as April skies or Fortune's brow ; 
And, while thy grief prevails, be wise, and just, 
And kind, so thou shalt die like flowers that blow, 

And into rose-air turn. 




THE HOUR OF DEATH. 



When, wrapt in dreams that throng the twilight hour, 
I roam alone o'er Nature's fair domain, 
'Mid the hushed shadows of the wildwood bower, 
Or o'er the shell-strewn margin of the main, 
Or upland green, or lovely lawn, 
Where dewdrops kiss the breathing flowers, 
And Summer smiles, at rosy dawn, 
Like Memory o'er un sinning hours, 
I think that soon — how soon ! the Night will come 
When I shall leave this bright world for the tomb. 

I think — and frailty dims the drooping eye — 
That Spring will perfume all the inspiring air, 
And Summer's smile illume earth, sea, and sky, 
And Autumn, Heaven's own robe of glory wear ; 
That silvery voices, low and sweet, 
Will breathe the heart's own music forth, 
And plighted youth 'trothed maidens meet, 
Where now I roam o'er darkening earth ; 
But when all seasons with their treasures teem, 
Where shall I wander ? victim of a dream ! 

Through thousand years the glorious sun shall rise, 
And myriad song-birds thrilling anthems sing : 

(244) 




THE HOUR OF DEATH. 



245 



Soft shall the moonbeams fall from midnight skies, 
And groves breathe music o'er the gushing spring ; 
But where will be the lonely one 
"Who swept his lyre in wayward mood, 
And dreamed, sung, wept o'er charms unwon, 
In holy Nature's solitude ? 
In what far realm of shoreless space shall roam 
The soul that e'en on earth made Heaven its home ? 

The paths I wear the stranger's foot will tread ; 
The trees I plant will yield no fruit to me ; 
The flowers I cherish bloom not for the dead ; 
The name I nourish — what is that to thee, 

Fame, phantom of the wildered brain ? 

Love's tears should hallow life's last hour. 

For pomp, and praise, and crowns are vain — 

Death is the spirit's only dower ! 
Alone, the hermit of a broken heart, 
My Mind hath dwelt — even so let it depart. 

To think — alas ! to feel and know that we, 
Sons of the sun, the heirs of thought and light, 
Must perish sooner than the wind-tossed tree 
Our hands have planted, and unending night 

Close o'er our buried memories ! 

Our sphere of starry thought, our sun 

Of glory quenched in morning skies ; 

Our sceptre broken, empire gone, 
The voice, that bade creation spring to birth 
Too weak to awe the worm from human earth ! 



21* 




246 



THE HOUR OF DEATH. 



I know not where this heart will sigh its last, 
I cannot tell what shaft will lay me low, 
Nor, when the mortal agony hath passed, 
Whither my spirit through the heavens will go. 

It will not sleep, it can not die ; 

It is too proud to grovel here ; 

For even now it mounts the sky, 

And leaves behind earth's hope and fear ! 
O, may it dwell, when cleansed from sin and blight, 
Shrined in God's temple of eternal light ! 

Where'er the spirit roams, howe'er it lives, 
I can not doubt it sometimes looks below, 
And from the scenes of mortal love derives 
Much to enhance its rapture or its woe ; 

And when I muse on death and gloom, 

And all that saints or sages tell, 

I pause not at the midnight tomb, 

Nor listen to the funeral knell ; 
But think how dear the scenes I loved will be 
When I gaze on them from eternity ! 




GRAVE WATCHING. 



Bring flowers and strew them here, 

The loveliest of the year, 
Withered, yet fragrant as her virgin fame, 

Who slumbers in this sunny spot, 

Yet to Love's voice awaketh not, 
Nor hears in dreams her lover sigh her name. 

Where woods o'er waters wave 

She hath her early grave, 
And summer breathes lone music o'er the scene ; 

It is a green and bloomy place, 

And smiling like her living face, 
Whom memory weeps o'er, sighing, " She hath been ! 

How sacred Silence lies, 

With dreamy, heart-filled eyes, 
Shedding its spirit o'er the wanderer's heart, 

Beside the mound of dust, 

Where, throned, sit Hope and Trust, 
Serenely watching awful Death depart. 

In sooth, 'twere bliss to rest 

On Nature's rosy breast 
'Mid all this sweetness, quiet, faith, and love, 

While Heaven's soft airs flit round 

The still and hallowed ground, 
And the blue skies lift the pure soul above. 



(247) 




248 



GRAVE WATCHING. 



Albeit, I can but grieve 

That thou, pale girl ! didst leave 
Thy lover lone in such a world as this ; 

Yet tender is my heart's regret 

As the last beam of suns that set 
To rise again, like thee, my love, in bliss ! 

Then let me linger here, 

Where none of earth appear, 
Save gentle spirits, kindred of the skies, 

And muse beside the gushing spring, 

Where wild birds carol on the wing, 
And live as thou didst, love, on harmonies ! 

O'er this green bank of flowers 

Hover the dew-eyed hours, 
Blending the incense breath of earth and heaven ; 

As thou didst hallow time 

By thoughts and deeds sublime, 
And seal eternal bliss by wrongs forgiven. 

Inspire me with thy soul ; 

And, while the seasons roll, 
No evil passion shall corrode my spirit ! 

I can forgive my fiercest foes, 

And think not o'er inflicted woes, 
While I thy gentle soul, lost love, inherit ! 

What holy joy attends 
Such commerce with lost friends — 
Lost to our eyes but living in our minds ! 




SONNET. 



249 



Their memories breathe elysian bliss 
Around e'en such a world as this, 
Like Yemen's odors borne on genial winds, 

Bring flowers and strew them here, 

The loveliest of the year, 
And I will watch their spirits as they part ; 

For in a place so green and still, 

'Mid wood and water, yale and hill, 
My lost love dwells forever in my heart! 



Welcome, Angelo, to a world of care ! 
Fair firstborn of my youth, thou'rt welcome here ! 
Thy smile can charm away the world's despair, 
And light a rainbow in the heart's wild tear. 
Thy quick intelligence, thy winning ways, 
Thy deep affection in life's first hours shown, 
Thy father's spirit, like a mantle, thrown 
About thee, studded by the pearly rays 
That float like music round the fairy soul 
Of thy mild cheerful mother, with her smiles 
Beaming like starlight o'er the ocean's isles, 
That oft deep sorrow from my heart have stole — 
These blend, my boy, in thy dark, ardent eyes, 
Like zodiacs in the depth of heaven's blue skies ! 



SONNET. 




THE POET'S NIGHT SOLITUDE. 



Would that I were the spirit of yon star, 
That seems a diamond on the throne of heaven ! 
Would that my holiest thought could ever dwell 
'Mid the unsearchable vastness of the sky ! 
For 'tis deep midnight ; and bland stillness sleeps 
On dewy grove and waveless stream, and airs, 
Floating about like heavenly visitants, 
Breathe o'er the slumbering flowers and leafy woods, 
Such holy music as the tired heart loves — 
Low, murmuring, melancholy strains — so soft 
The ear scarce catches sound, though deeply feels 
The hushed, communing heart the influence 
Of their lone oracles ! Departed hours 
Of mingled bane and bliss, of hope and fear, 
Of faithless friendship, unrequited love, 
Unshared misfortune, undeserved reproach, 
And humble pride, and dark despondency, 
Hours of high thought and silent intercourse 
With the old seers and sages, when the soul 
Walked solemnly beside departed bards 
And lion-hearted martyrs ; and o'erveiled 
Forest, and hill, and vale, and rivulet, 
With the deep, glorious majesty of mind ! 



(250) 




THE POET'S NIGHT SOLITUDE. 



251 



Shadowing, with a most dainty fantasy, 
The cold and harsh realities of things, 
With the divine undying dawn of heaven, 
Whose beauty blossoms and whose glory burns ! 

At such a time of thoughtful loneliness 
Ye come like seraph shades, and bear me back 
On darkened wings, to earlier passages 
Scarce less unblest than present years of grief 
I grope through now ! But woes, once borne, become 
Strange pleasures to our memory ; the Past 
Hath its romance — its mellow lights and shades, 
Soothing deep sadness like the brightest hope 
That bursts upon the future. While we gaze 
Down the dark vista, where in bitter pain, 
And weariness, and solitude of soul, 
We long have roamed forsaken — all the scene 
Assumes a calm repose, a verdure mild 
As midnight music, and our hearts o'ergush 
With tearful tenderness. O, there is bliss 
E'en in the darkest memory — a depth 
Of passion that now slumbers, and of thought, 
Though voiceless, eloquent and full of power, 
Which leaves all common hope, in life's routine, 
Dim and delusive as the fire-fly's light. 

Full orbed in pearly beauty walks the moon, 
Flinging on fleecy clouds soft gleams of light, 
That silver every fair and floating fold 
'Mid the blue ether, while her beams below, 
On slumbering vale and cliff, and haunted wood, 




252 



THE POET'S NIGHT SOLITUDE. 



And broad deep stream, an awful wilderness, 

Fall at the outskirts of vast shadowings, 

Like heaven's great light on wings of angels thrown. 

And now the breeze, in Music's fitful gush, 

Harps 'mid the osiers and wide harvest lakes 

Of grass and grain, and then the voices rise 

Of fays and fairies in the fir-wood near. 

Now sleepless bard who never is alone — 
May mingle with the harmony of Heaven, 
Triumphant o'er the evil of the world ; 
His heart may banquet on each gentle scene 
Of loveliness, and shrink not back aghast 
As from the mock and scoff malign of men. 
To voices soft as sighs of sleeping flowers, 
And tender as a fair young mother's kiss, 
His spirit listens in its joy. On him 
The beauty of the old Astrology, 
The silent hymn of heaven, in starlight falls ; 
And Alchemy bestows its choicest lore, 
And Poetry, with all its holiness, 
Sinks gently o'er him like the early dew 
On the fair foliage of the Hesperides. 

The cricket sings, the aspen twinkles quick 
Beneath the moonbeam, and the waters purl 
O'er shining pebbles and by wildwood banks, 
As if blest life in every drop prevailed. 
The deep enchanted forests seem to bend, 
And make no sound through their vast solitudes, 
As if they deeply listened to The Voice, 




THE POET'S NIGHT SOLITUDE. 



253 



Whose whisper fills the universe. O'er all, 
"Waters and woods, mountains and valleys deep, 
A spirit reigns whose secret counsel heals 
The goaded mind and wasted heart, and guides 
Ill-fortuned dwellers of the earth to peace ; 
And he is wise, who, in his budding youth, 
Casting aside the paltry pride of praise, 
In the night season leaveth strife, and care, 
And vain ambition, to go forth and drink 
The music and the blessedness of earth, 
While man forgets the God he scorns by day. 
Reclining on the moonlight rocks, he sees 
The proud Orion, the soft Pleiades, 
And every glorious constellation move 



With light and hymn of worship, and his soul 
O'erleaps the feuds and falsehoods of the world, 
The trembling and the triumph of an hour, 
And mingles with the universal Deity. 
The warring passions of the human heart 
Sink, then, to rest ; bright angel forms repose 
By piny woods and shady waterfalls, 
And seraph voices sing of heaven and love 
In every leaf stirred by the vesper airs. 
And this communion of upsoaring thought, 
This conscious inspiration (holier far 
Than Delphic oracles or hermit's dream) 
Becomes our earthly paradise, when gleams 
Of worlds inscrutable flash through the gloom 
Of this our sinning nature, body-bowed, 
And the accepted words of ancient men, 
Gifted beyond their age and station here, 



22 




254 



SONNET. 



Become assured revealings of that life 

All hope to gain, but few dare think upon. 

As Wisdom thinks, who dwells not with the vain. 

The greedy, and the proud, but hath her throne 

In the pure heart, whose ever-living hope 

Glows like a lone star in the depth of Heaven. 



How like Divinity this soft, still eve ! 
The sun of Autumn, like a god, is setting, 
And, O, the beauty tempts me to forgetting 

Those giant ills that long have made me grieve. 

Bright angels seem reposing on yon verge 
Of billowy light, and from their airy wings, 
Fanning infinity, a perfume springs, 

Like cherub breathings. The low, lulling surge, 

Breaking far o'er the shelly beach ; the deep, 
Soft music of the groves ; the whirl and rush 
Of dropping sear leaves, and the trickling gush 

Of rivulets that from the brown cliffs leap, — 
This dying loveliness melts all my woes, 
And hallows sorrows Death alone can close ! 



SONNET. 




THE FATHER'S LEGACY. 



By Hudson's glorious stream, in death's cold rest, 
Thy head lies low, my great and gallant sire ! 
Pillowed in peace on Earth's eternal breast, 
No more thy bosom pants with Hope's desire. 
Now, more than ever, doth thy name inspire, 
For lingering years have wept above thy grave, 
And shed their cold dews o'er my lonely lyre, 
But to enhance the grief that could not save, 
The settled woe that sighs o'er Hudson's midnight 



In the first gush and glory of my years, 
Ere Reason glowed, or Memory held her power, 
Thy pale, proud brow was wet with infant tears, 
And wild cries rose in thy deserted bower ! 
O, how the dim remembrance of that hour 
Crowds on my brain like night's most shadowy 
dream, 

When winds wail loud, and o'erfr aught tempests 
lower ! 

A glimpse of glory in a meteor's gleam, 
Sunlight in storms, — a flower upon the rushing 



wave. 



stream. 



(255) 




256 



THE FATHER'S LEGACY. 



The budding boughs, the limpid light of spring, 
The mirrored beauty of the brimming rills, 
The greenness and the gentle airs that bring 
Life's golden hours again, when heavenly hills 
And vales bore witness to the soul that thrills 
The heart of youth ere passion riots there — 
Shed o'er me now the loveliness which fills, 
At parted seasons, such as wed despair 
When Being's day-spring breaks and all but life is 



Yet from this scene of most surpassing love, 
Not unrefreshed, I turn to happier years, 
Quick in their flight, when through the highland 
grove 

I ran to meet thee with ecstatic tears, 
And in thine arms forgot my deepest fears ! 
O, then thou wert to me what I am now * 
To one blest boy — my sorrow's bliss — who wears 
The very majesty of thy high brow, 
The pride, the thought, the power, that in thine eye 
did glow. 

No proud sarcophagus thy corse enshrines, 
No mausoleum mocks thy moldering dust, 
But there the rose, amid its mazy vines, 
Blooms like thy spirit with the pure and just ; 
And — image of earth's high and holy trust — 
Deep verdure smiles and wafts its breath to heaven, 



fair. 



* What, alas ! I ivas. 




THE FATHER'S LEGACY. 



257 



And, holier far than antique print or bust, 
Lives in my heart the portrait thou hast given, — 
The worship of pure love, — the faith of Autumn's 



Thy legacy was not the gold of men, 
The slave of pomp, the vassal of the mine, 
But an o'ermastering intellect, that, when 
The world reviled and trampled, soared divine, 
And stood o'erpanoplied on God's own shrine ! 
This didst thou leave me, Father ! and my mind 
Hath been my realm of glory — as 'twas thine — 
Though much it irks me to have cast behind 
Thy godlike skill to quell the ills of human kind. 

'Twas thine to grapple with the fiend of gain ; 
'Twas thine to toil and triumph in the field ; 
It can not be that I should faint in pain, 
And like a craven, to the dastard yield. 
On the starred mead, and in the o'erarching weald, 
It hath been mine to think and to be blest ; 
And oft on mountain pinnacles I've kneeled 
To pray I might be gathered to my rest 
With glory on my brow and virtue in my breast. 

Though anguish throbs through all my bosom 
now, 

And wild tears gush whene'er I think of thee, 
Yet like blue heaven upon Cordillera's brow, 
Thy memory clothes me with divinity, 
And lifts my soul beyond the things that be, — 



even. 



22* 




258 



THE FATHER'S LEGACY. 



The strife of traffic, falsehood's common fear, 
Friendship betrayed, unguerdoned vassalry, 
And every ill, that reigns and riots here, 
In this dark world, so far from thine immortal sphere. 

My earliest smiles were thine, my earliest thought, 
Like rosy light in morn's translucent sky, 
First from thine eye, my spirit's sun, were caught; 
And as it gleams on days that vanish by, 
It turns to thee, my fountain shrined on high ! 
My Sister ! is she with thee ? where thou art 
Thy children fain would be,! On starbeams fly 
Spirits of Love ! and in my raptured heart 
Make Heaven's own music till my soul in transport part, 

And teach me with an awed delight to tread 
The darksome vale that all must tread alone, 
And gift me with the wisdom of the dead, 
Justly to do, yet all unjustly done, 
Freely to pardon ! Till the crown is won, 
Be with me in the errings of my lot, 
The many frailties of thine only son ; 
And when brief records say that he is not, 
Hail his wronged spirit home where sorrow is forgot. 




AN EVENING SONG OF PIEDMONT. 



Ave Maria ! 'tis life's holiest hour, 
The starlight wedding of the earth and heaven, 
When music breathes its perfume from the flower, 
And high revealings to the heart are given ; 
Soft o'er the meadow steals the dewy air, 
Like dreams of bliss the deep blue ether glows, 
And the stream murmurs round its islets fair, 
The tender night song of a charmed repose. 

Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of love, 
The kiss of rapture and the linked embrace, 
The hallowed converse in the dim still grove, 
The elysium of a heart-revealing face, 
When all is beautiful, for we are blest ; 
When all is lovely, for we are beloved ; 
When all is silent, for our passions rest ; 
When all is faithful, for our hopes are proved. 

Ave Maria ! 'tis the hour of prayer, 
Of hushed communion with ourselves and heaven, 
When our waked hearts their inmost thoughts declare, 
High, pure, far-searching, like the light of even ; 



(259) 




260 



AN EVENING SONG OP PIEDMONT. 



When hope becomes fruition, and we feel 
The holy earnest of eternal peace, 
That bids our pride before the Omniscient kneel, 
That bids our wild and warring passions cease. 

Ave Maria ! soft the vesper hymn 
Floats through the cloisters of yon holy pile, 
And 'mid the stillness of the nightwatch dim 
Attendant spirits seem to hear and smile ! 
Hark ! hath it ceased ? The vestal seeks her cell, 
And reads her heart — a melancholy tale ! 
A song of happier years, whose echoes swell 
O'er her lost love 'mid pale bereavement's wail. 

Ave Maria ! let our prayers ascend 
For them whose holy offices afford 
No joy in heaven — on earth without a friend — 
That true though faded image of the Lord ! 
For them in vain the face of nature glows, 
For them in vain the sun in glory burns, 
The harrowed heart consumes in fiery woes, 
And meets despair and death where'er it turns. 

Ave Maria ! in the deep pine wood, 
On the clear stream and o'er the azure sky 
Bland twilight smiles, and starry solitude 
Breathes hope in every breeze that wanders by. 
Ave Maria ! may our last hour come 
As bright, as pure, as gentle, heaven, as this ! 
Let faith attend us smiling to the tomb, 
And life and death are both the heirs of bliss ! 




THE 



SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



'Tis the bridal of nature, the season of spring, 
When Pleasure flits round on her diamond wing, 
And the spirit plays brightly and softly and free, 
Like gem-dropping beams on a boundless blue sea, 
And the young heart is lit by the beams of love's eye, 
Like an altar of perfume by fires of the sky. 
'Tis the heart-blooming season of innocent love, 
When the green growing mead and the whispering 
grove, 

And the musical stream, as it purls o'er the dale, 
And the flowers whose lips zephyr woos in the vale, 
Are seen with the spirit of thrilling delight 
As visions of beauty too passingly bright, 
And heard like the songs that come o'er us in dreams 
When the soul's magic light through infinity gleams. 
The gay Earth is vestured with verdure and flowers, 
And hope sings away the sweet sunny hours, 
While bathing in sunbeams, or over the sky 
Her star-pinions waving through glories on high. 



A TALE OF PORTUGAL. 



CANTO I. 



I. 




262 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



The citron groves throw on the wings of the breeze 
Their balm-breathing flowers, and the green orange 
trees 

Harp sweetly in airs from tne hill and the sea, 
Like lyres heard unseen singing joys yet to be. 
O Eden of beauty ! Lusitania ! the sun 
Loves to linger a while, when his journey is done, 
On the lofty twin Pillars, whose brows in the sky 
Gleam bright when the sun-god rides flashingly by, 
Which stand in their might 'mid the waves of the sea — 
Abyla and Calpe — unconquered and free. 
And Cintra's dark forests look smilingly on 
Apollo descending from his chariot throne, 
While Estrella's lagoon, green Escura receives 
Sheen tints of his rays from the wood's gilded leaves, 
And Tajo's broad bay like a mirror reposes 
'Tween a heaven of light and a garden of roses. 



The sun's last beam of purple light 
Blazons proud Calpe's castle height, 
And over Lusitania's sea 
Looks with a smile of melody. 
The volcan fires of iEtna glow, 
Brighter as sinks Hyperion low, 
And, 'mid the gathering twilight high 
Stromboli flames against the sky, 
O'er dark-blue ocean's billowy foam, 
To light the wandering sailor home. 
Child of the sun, the dusky Moor 
Watches the horizon, bright obscure, 
And, while the proud muezzin calls 
Devotion's hour from Ceuta's walls, 



11. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Throws his keen eye's far-searching glance 

O'er the dark billows as they dance 

Along the Mauritanian shore, 

And listens to their surging roar 

Around Abyla's basement deep, 

Lest in tired nature's twilight sleep 

The foe upon his guard should steal, 

And gain the pass ere trumpet peal. 

Adverse, the gallant Briton's eye, 

From Calpe's height gleams o'er the sky, 

And marks with all a sailor's pride 

The vast sail gleaming o'er the tide, 

While every breeze that comes from far 

Wafts music from red Trafalgar. 

Evening's dim shadow o'er the close, 

Fair Lusitania ! and the rose 

Of morning blushes o'er thy plains 

With the same rich and gorgeous light 

As when his warlike, wild Alains, 

O'er forest, flood, and vale, and height, 

From Volga's banks Respedial led 

To Tajo's darkly wooded shore, 

Though where they warr'd or why they bled 

None know or name forevermore. 

And the sun rolls his last faint beam 

O'er princely dome, rose-margined stream, 

And almond grove and jasmine bower, 

With the same smile as when the earth 

Blushed in the beauty of her birth. 

in. 

The full-orbed moon is gleaming bright 
On Cintra's dark and rocky height, 



264 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



And on verandah, turret, tower, 
Palace and fane at this still hour 
Glows with a radiant smile of love, 
And gilds the music-breathing grove 
With those pure beams of light serene, 
Which sanctify the peaceful scene. 
From wave and dome and field and grove 
Rise the soft notes of pleading love, 
And many a strain is heard from far 
Of wandering lover's sweet guitar, 
And in the songs he fondly sings 
His glowing heart finds rainbow wings, 
Which bear his spirit's powers afar 
Unto his being's guiding star. 
Dian — the queen of sighs and tears, 
Her richest robe of beauty wears, 
And smiles to hear the vows that rise 
Beyond her empire in the skies, 
While still she weeps, in prescient pain. 
That passioned love is worse than vain. 



St. Clara's dark and massy pile, 

Where sunbeams fall but never smile, 

'Mid the dense cypress grove uprears 

Its ivied turrets, gray with years, 

And, where the shadowy moonlight falls, 

Uplifts its blackened prison walls, 

Within whose solitary cells 

Tearless despair forever dwells, 

And sin, beneath devotion's name, 

Reposes in its sacred shame, 

While deeds 'twould sear the tongue to tell 

Are done in murder's fatal cell. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 

Within St. Clara's cloistered gloom, 
A living grave, a vital tomb, 
Two lovely vestals, young and fair, 
In misery dwelt and dark despair. 
Their loves and hopes and feelings chained, 
Lone sorrow o'er their being reigned, 
'Till hope arose upon their eye, 
And love's ecstatic witchery 
Woke the fond hearts that had been crushed, 
And the soul's sunlight current gushed. 
Like roses budding on one stem 
Or blending hues of opal gem, 
Lonely they sat within their cell, 
Silent till expectation's swell 
Burst o'er each thought and feeling high, 
Like sunshowers from the azure sky. 
Round them the full heart's stilness hung, 
'Till Zulma's glowing feelings sprung 
To words that flowed like morning's beam, 
Or song from lips of seraphim. 
" Sweet Inez ! fast. the fearful hour 
" When we shall spurn monastic power, 
" Doth hasten, and our spirits' might 
" Must dare the ordeal of to-night. 
" The church's power, or father's ire, 
" And Heaven perchance, will all conspire 
" To cloud young love's ascending sun ; 
" Then, Inez, 'til the deed is done, 
" And we have passed their power's extent, 
" Let not thy dove-like heart relent 
" Nor fancy picture punishment." 
" Oh, lovely Zulma ! hope is light 
" Within my trembling heart to-night, 

23 



266 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



And fain this bosom yet would prove 
" The silent joys of blissful love. 
" But, ah ! my path in life hath been 
" So full of grief, and every scene 
" Of joy so soon hath changed to woe, 
" Life's common bliss I ne'er shall know 
" Till my lone heart hath ceased to beat 
" Within the snow-white winding-sheet." 
On her pale cheek and blanching brow 
Hope's feverish hectic ceased to glow 
And o'er her bosom came the blight, 
The darkness of perpetual night, 
The gloom of days that long had vanished, 
And thoughts, that never could be banished. 



Zulma's high spirit at the view 

Of peril more undaunted grew, 

And glowed 'mid sorrow's gathering gloom 

Like angel faith above the tomb. 

In danger's hour she stood alone, 

'Mid fearful things the fearless one, 

And, as her sunlight spirit burned 

O'er the deep darkness of despair, 

The trembling fears of all she turned 

To hopes, and left them smiling there. 

Her broad high brow the throne of thought, 

And features into spirit wrought ; 

Her star-beam eye and face of light, 

And moulded form that chained the sight, 

And swan-like neck, and raven hair, 

And swelling bosom, richly fair, 

Which rose and sunk, like moonlight seas, 

In its deep passion's ecstacies, 



v. 




THE SISTERS 01 SAINT CLARA. 

As if her mighty heart were swelling 

In sun-waves for its heavenly dwelling ; 

All spake a spirit proud and high, 

A wandering seraph of the sky, 

And such was Zulma ; sorrow's night 

Might its dark shadows o'er her cast, 

But the deep gloom her spirit's light 

Changed into rose-beams as it past ; 

She had one aim, and none beside 

Could bend her lofty lightning pride, 

And, ere she drooped, she would have died- 

Vemeira knew his daughter well, 

And chained her spirit in a cell 

Ere she could know the desolate 

And hopeless woe of such a fate, 

And 'twas to bless an elder child 

He crushed that soul, so proud and wild. 

VI. 

Timid and fearful as the fawn, 
That searches ere it treads the glade, 
Yet lovely as a spring-time dawn 
In robes of rosy light arrayed; 
Warm, feeling, soft and delicate 
As the last blush of summer eve, 
Yet trembling at the frown of Fate, 
Lest, while her heart did sadly grieve, 
Sin should assume the garb of woe, 
And shroud in gloom devotion's glow 5 
Inez, though fair as forms that rove 
Round Fancy's fondest dream of love, 
Was tender, gentle, fragile, frail, 
And shrinking as the violet pale 
Which blooms in solitary vale, 



268 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



By zephyr fanned and breathed alone, 
Unseen, unsought, unprized, unknown. 
Peelings suppressed and thoughts untold 
Flowed silently, like molten gold, 
O'er her fond heart, while virtue's sun 
Threw glory o'er them as they run. 
Her smiles and tears alike were born 
In purity of virgin love, 
And, like bright Eos, child of morn, 
She drank at streams that gush above : 
For sweetness such to her was given, 
Her faintest prayer was heard in heaven. 



When Zulma heard her sister's plaint, 

And saw her gentle spirit sink, 

Her soul arose in power — " To faint 

" While standing on dark ruin's brink 

" Were madness worse than mirth in death 

" When love and bliss our flight await 

" To quail, to droop despair beneath 

" Were folly that deserved the fate." 

" But if we fail "— " It cannot be ! 

Love, like the mountain breeze, is free, 
" And, amid peril, wrong and ill, 
M Strong as the gale that sweeps the hill, 
?< Or severing ocean in its might, 
* Brings long lost treasures into light." 

But will beholding heaven approve 
'* Our broken vows for earthly love ?" 
u St. Mary shrive thee ! would'st thou be 
w A vestal in hypocrisy ? 
" Oh, gentle Inez, guard thy love ! 
" Count Dion's daring quest would prove 



VII. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 

M But folly's dream in evil hour, 

" If thou dost spurn the boy-god's power." 

Inez arose, her blue eye flowed 

In gushing tears of pearly light — 

" Zulma ! my heart were ill-bestowed 

" If Dion called me false to-night." 

" Vemeira's daughter still ! — Heaven ! 

" Love's messenger his call hath given ! 

Inez ! that rose, by Dion thrown, 
" Lay on thy heart — it is thine own — 
" And haste thee, for we must be gone I" 
The soft strain of a sweet guitar 
Now mellowed came as if from far, 
But, skillful in its measured fall, 
It rose by dark St. Clara's wall, 
And, mastered by Prince Julian's hand, 
Its sweet notes flowed so richly bland, 
They told unseen the minstrel lover, 
And Zulma's soaring spirit over 
Threw breathless rapture as she fled 
From her lone cell with footstep light, 
While Inez' heart, at every tread, 
Spake like deep voices of the night. 

VIII. 

'Queen of the skies ! why should the beams 
Of thy soft eye so richly glow 
O'er scenes that darkest gloom beseems, 
As fitting their soul-harrowing woe ? 
Why should thy smile alike illume 
Despair and Hope, and Love and Hate, 
The bridal mansion and the tomb, 
Hearts full of bliss and desolate ? 

23* 



270 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Empress of Heaven ! oh, thou wert made 
For blooming hearts and tearless eyes, 
To light the spirit's serenade, 
And high-soul'd love's fond ecstacies ; 
And, when young Time in Eden's bowers 
Wore radiant crowns of fragrant flowers, 
While innocence with him would rove 
In soothing shade of fair-leaved grove, 
And love was bliss and truth its own 
Blest guerdon in the morning's sight, 
When angels looked from Glory's throne 
And threw around her robes of light ; 
Ere woe was born of sin, and crime 
Blotted from man's corrupted heart 
The fairest name that youthful Time 
Had written there with magic art ; 
Ere the sad hour man's father fell, 
And o'er his fall rose shouts from hell, 
Thou, sky-throned Isis ! from above, 
Saw'st nought but pure unconscious love 
Beneath the azure sky — whose sun 
Smiled on each deed by mortals done. 
Alas ! thou now art doomed to gaze 
Upon a world so dark and fell, 
That thy most pure and lovely rays 
Reveal man's heart a living hell ! 



On the young vestals' desperate flight 
Thou didst look down with smile as gay 
As it had been their bridal night, 
And they were led in fair array 
O'er bright saloons and marbled halls ; 
And on St. Clara's prison walls 



IX. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



2SU 



Thy gleaming radiance shone as fair 
As if delight were smiling there ; 
And on the lovely Inez' eye 
As she and Zulma fled in fear, 
Thy rays were thrown from yon blue sky, 
Unconscious that they lit a tear. 
Crossing the cypressed cemetry, 
They hurried on with unheard tread 
'Till they had gained the boundary 
Of the lone empire of the Dead, 
When, ere the signal could be given 
To those who watched beyond the wall, 
Inez stretched forth her hands to Heaven, 
Weeping as if the hour when all 
Her hopes should die had come and spread 
Its pall o'er life — and thus she said ; — 
" Now, ere we part, sweet Zulma, say 
* Thou Iov'st me as in childhood's day, 
" When we together fondly strayed 
" Through arboured groves and green- wood shade, 
" Plucked roses on the mead to crown 
" The hours we loved to call our own. 
" And felt that heaven looked smiling down, 
' When none beneath the laughing sky 
" Were half so gay as thou and I. 
" Tell me the bloom of life's young flowers 
" Still lingers round thy changeless heart 
"And that the joy of happier hours 
" Will never from thy soul depart !" 
" Now ere we part ! a strange prelude, 
" Fair sister ! to the heart's high bliss ; 
" Thy very spirit is imbued 
" With doubts and fears — away with this ! 




272. 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



" Thou art my sister ! droop not now, 
" Remember thine and Dion's vow ! 
" They hear our rustling in the shade— 
" Here is the cord-wove escalade — 
" Now, Inez, fearless follow me, 
" Doubt not, we must and shall be free." 
Unfaltering Zulma scaled the height, 
Cheering the lovely nun to speed, 
And then flew down with footstep light 
To Julian's arms, most blest indeed, 
The solitary vestal stood 
A moment ere she dared to climb, 
And in that moment's solitude 
Her stolen flight appeared like crime ; 
She was so pure, so lovely, sin 
Tinged not a thought her soul within. 
But Dion hung upon the height, 
And step by step she climbed above, 
Her hand was stretched, in wild delight. 
To grasp that of her only love, 
When fancied guilt and dark despair 
Came o'er her as she lingered there. 
And her brain reeled in dizziness ; 
She heeded not the cries below, 
She could not see nor hear nor know 
The insupportable distress 
Of those who saw her form on high, 
Delirium in her swimming eye ! 
One last shrill shriek of wild affright. 
The falling form that met his sight, 
The hollow groan, that rose and fell 
Upon his heart like ruin's knell, 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



273 



x. 



u Away — away ! Prince Julian, fly ! 

" The alarum bell is pealing high, 

" And ruthless hordes of vestal fiends 

" Are rushing hither !" — Who ascends 

Again that dreadful wall, so late 

Scaled with a look that smiled at Fate ? 

'Tis Zulma — " Julian ! leave me now, 

" For I must share the death I wrought, 

" And consummate my vestal vow 

" In pain and darkness as I ought." 

She rose to give her purpose deed, 

When Dion barred her path and cried — 

" Prince Julian ! as thou would' st in need, 

" And when despair hath humbled pride, 

" Crave mercy of the Power on high, 

" Seize Zulma quick, and fly, fly, fly !" 

In passion wild and wildered fear 

The Prince obeyed the wise behest, 

And grasped the heroic maiden ere 

Her deed had left him thrice unblest, 

And, ere a moment more had flown, 

The high-soul'd nun and Prince had gone. 

Count Dion watched till they had fled, 

Then sprung below among the dead, 

Where headstones gleamed to mock the gloom, 

The desolation of the tomb. 

Gently he raised the unconscious nun, 

And laid her bleeding on his breast, 

Thus — even thus, a blessed one 

To pillow such a form to rest ; 

While, as he gazed in speechless woe 

On her soft, lovely features graven 




274 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



With death's dark lines, he saw below 

Nor love nor joy, nor hope in heaven. 

But scarce the space of lightning's glare 

Was left to muse of his despair, 

Or soothe the suffering Inez there, 

The cloister horde by Olotilde led, 

Exulting that their holy hate 

Could now be poured on beauty's head 

And virtue's bosom desolate, 

Rushed like hyena troops upon 

The gallant Dion — but, appalled 

By his proud port, though all alone 

He stood — they paused and shrilly called 

The faggot priest, their alguazil, 

To guard the holy cloister's weal. 

Folding his bosom's dying bride 

With one strong arm unto his breast, 

And with the other waving wide 

Iberia's sword that many a crest 

Had cloven in the deadly fray, 

He bade the throng yield ample way. 

And sprung upon the ladder's height ; 

Then came the alguazil, the light 

Of hell was in his scowling eye, 

Dashing the trembling host aside 

Like war-ship rushing in its pride. 

The lover there that moment stood, 

Not like a warrior trained in blood, 

But like that Spirit who on high 

His four-edged sword flashed o'er the sky, 

And bade the sinning mortal die. 

" Yield thee, blasphemer ! Heaven commands." 

" Chain, then, the bold blasphemer's hands, 




THE SISTERS OP SAINT CLARA. 



275 



" And bind his madden'd spirit down 

" Low as thy master's and thine own." 

" Darest thou the monarch's alguazil ?" 

" Bid ye the whelp-robbed lion kneel !" 

" Dark ruffian ! thou wilt rue this hour." 

" Ruffian ! — not while my sword hath power." 

And with the word the unfailing blade 

Low at his feet the opposer laid, 

And Dion seized the escalade. 

He springs with more than mortal might, 

He rises — almost gains the height — 

His hand is on the moss-grown wall — 

This moment saves or ruins all ! 

A word, a thought, a look, a dream 

May ratify the doom of years ; 

One glance, one quick electric gleam 

May lead unto an age of fears ! 

Oh ! Dion, nerve thy heart again, 

One minute — spring — and thou art free, 

O think — thy love — 'tis vain — 'tis vain, 

Despair hath sealed thy destiny ! 

They tear away the cord- wove frame, 

And thou art doomed to woe and shame ! 

Still Dion bears the double weight 

With one torn, bleeding, numbing hand 

Awhile — he falls — the scroll of Pate 

Hath rolled its darkest record ! " Stand, 

" Exulting demons, stand ye there, 

" And o'er all earth your triumph yell, 

" And laugh o'er death and life's despair, 

" For than ye worse reign not in hell !" 

# # # # # • # * 

• * # # * # • 



Hosted by G00gk 



276 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



XI. 



'Tis joy to gaze, from the tall ship s lee, 
On the curling waves of the moonlight sea, 
When the mellow airs of spring-time night 
Come over the heart as it floats in light, 
And the sleeping flowers exhale perfume, 
Like a virgin's breath from lips of bloom, 
And the dark-blue waters curl and gleam 
In the diamond star-light's mirrored beam, 
While the spirit burns o'er the glittering sea 
'Till it longs a moonlight wave to be. 
Oh, spirits that sail on the moonlight sea 
Should have thoughts as vast as eternity, 
And feelings as pure as the sleeping rose, 
When its leaves in the dew of the sunset close. 



O'er Lusitania's soft-blue moonlight bay 
Swells the gay song of reckless gondolier, 
While his bark dances, as the waters play, 
On the shore waves that glitter bright and clear. 

Dim in the distance, marked upon the sky, 
Wave the blue pennon and the glimmering sail, 
And oft is heard the master's anxious cry 
While shoreward sea-boy answers to his hail. 

Yet, save his song and their expectant cries, 
The world is slumbering in a soft repose, 
And spirits from their star-thrones in the skies 
Breathe softly as a dew-lipped sleeping rose. 

It is the hour when love's communion fills 
Eye, lip and heart with rapture's magic light ; 
When waning Dian, throned on shadowy hills, 
Smiles o'er young transports from her azure height. 



XII. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



277 



Pomegranate, orange, lime and citron groves 
Shadow gray turrets and time-honoured towers, 
And heaven's pale queen amid their arbours roves, 
And counts with tears the melancholy hours. 

But hushed is song of happy gondolier, 
And fast the shadowy sail ascends on high ; — 
A step, a form, a voice — " Prince Julian's here !" 
" Alfonso, haste ! this hour we 'scape or die !" 



Before the rising, shrill-voiced gale 
Plies the yard-stretching, mighty sail, 
Swelling o'er broad Atlantic billow, 
Like swan upon her wavy pillow, 
Dashing aside from her high prow 
The wave, whose hissing foam- wreaths glow 
Like jewels thrown in floating snow, 
And hurrying on her watery way, 
Between two oceans, heaven and earth's, 
Like war-horse through the battle fray, 
Whose mighty heart would burst his girths 
In its high swelling, should his lord 
Or check his speed or sheathe his sword. 
With a long sigh, as if from dream 
Of pain and anguish slowly waking, 
From Julian's breast, with sudden scream 
Wild as her bleeding heart were breaking, 
Zulma rose and gazed around 
On ocean's sons, on wave and sky, 
And then fell back and deeply groaned, 
While gleamed through tears her eagle eye. 
" Inez ! sweet Inez !" Shudderings came 
Over her like the sansar's breath, 



XIII. 



24 




278 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



As from her heart flowed that sweet name 

Which now was linked with woe and death, 

And, wrapt in silent suffering, 

She saw nor wave nor sky nor lover, 

Nor heard the light- winged breezes sing, 

Like nymphs in sea-shells, ocean over ; 

All — all to her was pain and gloom, 

Her thoughts of what she left behind 

And o'er her angel sister's tomb 

She heard the lonely wailing wind, 

With spirit voice of wild distress, 

Denouncing Inez' murderess ! 

Darkly with phantoms of her brain 

Communing, o'er the billowy main 

Zulma was hurried rapidly, 

And the low murmuring of the sea 

Seemed, when she. heard the gulfing surge 

Hymning the murdered vestal's dirge. 



The virgin huntress of the skies 

Witn Ocean's daughters flies afar, 

And Eos and her nymphs arise 

Above the sun-god's throne, each star, 

Orion's blazing sword of light, 

And the twin-martyrs' glory bright, 

And sea-born Beauty's radiance dimming, 

While blue -zoned Tethys weaves a crown 

Of pearls and corals brightly swimming 

Through her vast empire fathoms down, 

To deck Aurora's rosy brow 

As her white steeds o'er ether fly, 

And proud Hyperion, bright and slow, 

Rolls unto heaven his glorious eye. 



XIV. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



279 



The bird of Jove his mighty wings 
Waves o'er the crimson vault above, 
And from his eye a radiance flings 
Bright as the brightest glance of love. 
The white-plumed sea-gull skims the sea, 
The curlew sports around the bark, 
And nature sings of liberty 
And love as when from ancient ark 
The beasts of earth and birds of heaven 
To their bright fields and skies were given. 



The rushing ship is sailing now 
O'er the bright wave of Trafalgar, 
And morn is blushing o'er the brow 
Of Algarve's dusky mountains far, 
With the same smile of living bloom 
As when to ocean's billowy tomb, 
Amid the sea-fray's carnage red, 
Their requiem shouts of victory, 
Shrouded in glory, England's Dead 
Sunk with unclosed, war-lightened eye, 
Whose last, bright glance from gory wave 
Saw England's banner proudly streaming 
Victorious o'er their ocean grave, 
And England's sword triumphal gleaming ; 
And o'er his sons, with every surge, 
Bright, billowy ocean sings their dirge. 
And now the swelling sail is fanned 
By zephyrs o'er that narrow sea, 
O'er which on either margin stand 
Those giant mountain twins which he, 
Alcmena's son, with god-like power, 
Severed and poured the sea between, 



xv. 




280 



THE SISTERS OP SAINT CLARA* 



And which, since that rock-sundering hour, 

The deadliest foes have ever been. 

Thence onward holds the bark her way 

Through the blue wave in fair array, 

While to the northern view arise 

The Appenines 'neath bending skies, 

O'er whose snow-mantled summits erst 

The Mauritanian hero led 

His warlike host, by fate accursed, 

To glory, as the warrior said, 

And the proud spoils of mighty Rome 5 

In that soul-stirring hour of pride, 

When his heart rolled in glory's tide, 

Having dread Cannae in his view 

No more than he whom Waterloo 

Doom'd to the Rock-Isle's living tomb, 

Had of that desolating fray 

On Lodi's or Marengo's day. 

Before the view, where sun-beams smile, 

Rises that rocky mountain isle, 

Where he was born, the mighty one, 

Whose gory course of fame is run ; 

And where, perchance, a guiltless boy, 

His fellows' chief, his mother's joy, 

He wandered oft, and played, and smiled 

Amid the mountain's shrubbery wild, 

An innocent and happy child ; 

Undreaming of his pomp and power. 

His crimes, disgrace and exile fate. 

Ah ! few can tell in childhood's hour 

What thoughts and deeds their manhood wait 

Or who will bann or bless the name 

That blazes on the scroll of Fame. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA 

In him a mighty spirit burned, 
But with a fierce volcano glare , 
Oh, had that soaring spirit turned 
To heaven and drank in glory there, 
Earth would have bowed in rapture's mood 
And held his name in sanctitude. 
The Man, who guides a nation's way 
To bloodless glory, o'er his name 
Throws fairer wreaths of light than they 
Who deck Earth's highest shrine of Fame. 
But ah ! he fell, and with him died 
His empire, power, and pomp, and pride ; 
And nought remains of all he won — 
Quenched is Napoleon's zenith sun. 

Still onward fleet the ship careers, 
Like rapid lapse of hurrying years, 
While fades the bright foam of its wake, 
Like all the joys we give or take, 
And bears, with sail expanding high, 
Its course, beneath a glorious sky, 
Toward soft Campania's fairy land, 
Where zephyrs sport with breathings bland 
O'er ruins erst of pride and fame, 
And gorgeous domes of deathless shame. 
And, 'mid the night that robes the skies, 
Julian directs sad Zulma's view 
Where ^Etna's fiery columns rise 
In desolation's lurid hue, 
Glaring between this world and heaven, 
Like fiends to whom destruction's given. 
The baleful light is flaring o'er 
Trinacria's vine-clad, flowery shore, 

24* 



282 



THE SISTEKS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Where Arethusa once gush'd forth 
In lucid streams for bards to drink, 
And Alpheus 'neath the sea and earth 
Met his fair fountain bride — the brink 
Bloomed like a garden of sweet flowers, 
And, near, Ortygia's sacred grove 
Delayed the rosy-footed hours 
Of pure delight and raptured Love. 
A weedy marsh now stagnates there, 
And taints the thick and sluggish air, 
As all man's hopes close in despair. 
The lovers' course is almost done, 
The lovers' goal is nearly won, 
And how hath Zulma borne the flight ? 
Like one whose brighest day was night. 
Like one whose heart hath caught a taint 
Of crime, though fancied, dark and deep ; 
"Whose dread remorse doth ever paint 
Horrors, and ne'er is lulled to sleep 
Since o'er a spirit proud and high 
It reigns with three-fold energy. 
Who backward looks and finds despair, 
And forward, misery bars her there ; 
Who hath no hope on earth and none 
Beneath high heaven's offended throne. 
The more she thinks, the darker grows 
The volume of her sins and woes ; 
N > change comes o'er her agony ; 
Like ^Etna's fire, it burns within, 
And, dark'ning o'er the spirit's sky, 
Burns ever with the gathering sin. 
It was not madness ; o'er her brain 
Coherent thoughts ceased not to flow ; 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



283 



But 'twas that dread, oppressive pain, 

That mountain weight of crushing woe, 

Which follows, in a sinless mind, 

A deed that spirits too refined 

Brood into guilt- — for priestcraft e'er 

Riots in human woe and fear. 

Reason was worse than vain, and speech 

The dreadful mania could not reach, 

That o'er her burning spirit shed 

The baneful death-dew of despair, 

The upas of a bosom dead 

To all of beautiful and fair ; 

For Zulma sought no sympathy, 

No comfort faithless as 'tis free, 

But leaned upon the penal rod 

And bowed her burning heart to God. 



The barque has passed the Tyrrhine sea 

And anchored in the glorious bay 

Of proud and base Parthenope,* 

Where perfumed gales with sunlight play 

O'er antique temple, giant tower, 

And palace proud, whose mirrored dome, 

Like a bright heaven, o'er many a tomb 

Of many a mighty one laid low 

Gleams with a rich, refulgent glow, 

Like Freedom o'er lost Power. 

The barque is moored — the lovers gone 

Beyond the once fair Lucrine lake, 

Where dark-browed Ruin reigns alone 

O'er BaisB lost in marshy brake, 



XVI. 



* Neapolis, or Naples. 




284 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



And all the fairy gardens, groves, 
Meadows and dales erst loved so well 
By him* (so reckless luxury proves 
In one a nation's ruin fell) 
Who shunning Glory's shrine when he 
Had gained the fane, left mighty Rome 
The victim of fierce anarchy, 
Dreading yet hurrying on her doom. 
Lucrine — the haunt of mirth is gone, 
And there volcanoes glare alone ! 
Baiae hath sunk to dust, and she, 
Earth's mistress stands, like ancestry, 
Scowling o'er sons whose highest boast 
Had been their fathers' deepest shame, 
To pride, to truth, to glory lost, 
To honest hearts and patriot fame. 



Days, weeks and months have been and gone, 

And lovely Zulma dwells alone 

In solitary castle high 

Between fair earth and fairer sky. 

Julian had been, all lovers are, 

Had knelt and sworn his deathless love, 

And, like a sky -throned, radiant star, 

Thrown light and beauty from above ; 

He had been all that being is, 

Whom kindoms wait — I dare not dwell 

On man s intent to offer bliss 

To one who had for him farewell 

Bidden all thoughts of earth and heaven, 

And sole to him her full heart given. 



XVII. 



* Lucullus 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



285 



Prince Julian was Campania's heir, 

And thus decreed his royal sire ;— 

" Thou wed'st proud Austria's daughter fair, 

" Or never com'st the sceptre nigher." 

Julian was proud of pomp and fame — 

The fair nun could nor trump his name 

Nor plume his power — but she might be 

The unseen queen of sovereignty, 

The empress of his private hours — 

The angel of his palace bowers. 

So Julian thought, though he had tried 

Her honest fame by speech oblique 

And look lascivious, when his pride 

And birth and state appeared most weak 

Before wronged Zulma's Juno eye, 

Whose glance spake pride and purity. 

From day to day he talked of love, 

While Zulma would not see his aim, 

Save when the princely sophist strove 

To prove all rites a needless name ; 

Then flashed her eye and glowed her brow, 

Like sunbeams o'er the mountain snow. 

On love I will not moralize ; 

It hath more wiles and snares than sighs ; 

Sooth be the tale and fair I tell — 

His deeds are man's true chronicle. 



'Twas soft Campania's evening hour, 
And earth and heaven were seas of light, 
And Zulma in her rose-wove bower 
Sate gazing on the horizon bright, 
Where white clouds float and turn to gold 
In many a bright and glorious fold, 



XVIII. 




286 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



And fancy pictures angel pinions 
Far waving o'er those high dominions, 
'Till, as she thought of pleasures gone, 
And Inez, tortured, dying, dead, 
And her own misery there alone, 
Her hopes destroyed, her true loves fled, 
Her bleeding heart left desolate, 
And all the ills and woes of fate, 
She seized her harp and mournfully 
Sung of those joys no more to be. 



The bright sun is sinking o'er Italy's sea, 
And kissing Campania's fair gardens of flowers, 
But, oh, his smile brings no pleasure to me, 
For my heart ever grieveth o'er childhood's sweet 
hours : 

Sweetly gay rise the notes of the lover's guitar, 
As he greets his heart's bride in the valley cot near, 
But, ah, all my songs of delight are afar, 
Like a spirit's voice heard on the banks of Zevere. 

How oft have I sat with sweet Inez upon 

Those rose-cushioned banks in our being's gay hours, 

And fancied delights ever new to be won 

In the great World of beauty and music and flowers ! 

How oft, O thou dear one ! I slumbered with thee 

In our moon-lighted bower in the spring of the year 

And heard the birds singing on our apricot-tree 

When we woke to delight on the banks of Zevere ! 

How often when nature in vain bloomed around 
I turned in my heart-stricken sorrow to thee, 
And in vigil and penance and weariness found 
Thy sweet love a solace and treasure to me i 



THE BANKS OF ZEVERE. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



287 



But, alas ! thou art dead* and I am alone, 
Far from all that on earth or in heaven were dear ; 
Fare thee well, lovely Inez ! dark shadows are thrown 
O'er our bower on the banks of the lonely Zevere. 

Julian had stood beside the bower, 
And heard, unseen, the mournful song, 
While every blushing, dewy flower 
Reproached him with fair Zulma's wrong ; 
But nature's voice, so soft, so still, 
Fails to o'errule ambition's pride, 
Or with atoning sorrow fill 
A lordly heart unsanctified. 
Julian drew near and greeted fair 
The sad, forsaken, lovely maid, 
And, eloquent in praise and prayer, 
Rehearsing all he oft had said, 
Implored compliance with his love, 
Acceptance of his treasures — all — 
And she should ever — ever prove 
The queen of banquet, bower and hall, 
And be his heart's eternal bride, 
His life his sun, his hope, his heaven, 
And, when he gained his throne of pride, 
His royal name should soon be given. 
But, while the Prince besought and prayed, 
How sat and looked the insulted maid ? 
Like her of Enna's rosy vale 
When wooed by him of Acheron ; 
Her marble brow, her cheek so pale, 
Her tearful eye — -all brightly shone 
With pride and shame, disdain and scorn, 
And thus — " Why was I ever born 




288 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



" So to be scoffed at ?" quick began 

The nun, while fierce her hot blood ran, 

And her small form, dilating, grew 

Like towering angel on the view. 

" Prince Julian, cease ! I charge thee, cease ! 

" Are these thy notes of love and peace ? 

" Art thou to be a nation's king ? 

" Thou — false, deluding, faithless thing ! 

" The thoughts that lightened spirits high 

" In the old days of chivalry, 

" Throw not a wandering gleam o'er thee, 

" Thou craven night of loselry ! 

" Vemeira is a noble name, 

" And it can never be that fame 

" Should Zulma's memory link with shame, 

" Shall I thy leman be ? O no ! 

" Never while I can wield a blow, 

" While poison drops or waters flow. 

" Rede thou a woman's spirit well 

" Ere mock her thus with words from hell, 

" And know that virtue is her heaven, 

" To things like thee, oh, never given ! 

** O Julian, Julian ! love like mine 

" Is quenchless, deathless, for 'tis pure ; 

" E'en now it doth around thee twine 

** Fondly, and cannot but endure 

" The same as when thine eye first shone 

" O'er the same mirror as my own. 

" Hadst thou been what I thought thee erst 

" As knightly as thou wert at first, 

" Though doomed to groan in poverty, 

" 'Mid malice, misery, wrong and ill, 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



289 



" The slave of fear — a lord to me — 

" I would have loved — obeyed thee still, 

" And, with unsorrowing brow and eye, 

" Forsaken not and unforsaking, 

* When sleeping, kissed thy misery 

" Away, and sung to thee when waking. 

" But these are dreams of passion yet 

" Surviving when its hope hath set ; 

" Vain mockeries of my bosom's sun, 

" Quenched ere his journey hath begun ! 

" I leave thee, Julian ! and be thou 

" Thy own just judge — no worse ! and now — 

" There are thy gifts !" — From neck of snow 

Her carcanet — and then her zone 

Of jewels and her chains and rings 

She loosed and threw, disdainful, down ; 

" There, Julian, take the gilded things, 

" For which thou thought'st that I would sell 

" My honour— and now fare thee well !" 



Bewildered, lost in guilt and shame, 
And torrent passions wildly warring ; 
Defied, despised in deed and name, 
Each wild-fire thought another marring ; 
Prince Julian stood unmoving where, 
In all the grandeur of despair, 
Zulma, like empress throned in power 
More than deserted nun, had left 
Her lover in that sundering hour 
When her proud heart of hope was reft. 
Zulma had hurried from his view — 
Her form of love, her voice, her smile, 



XIX. 




290 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA* 



No more enchantment o'er him threw — 
No more his sorrows could beguile ; 
She had been his — and now was not — 
He had been hers in grief and woe — 
Now she had gone — to be forgot — 
And he was left alone to — " No ! 
" By Heaven ! it cannot, shall not be i 
" Crown, sceptre, kingdom — what are ye 
" To love and love's true paradise ? 
" The earth preferred unto the skies ! 
" Ambrose !" " My lord !"— " Caparison 
" The fleetest steed in all my stalls, 
" And bring the courser here anon — 
" And guard thou well the castle walls ! 
" I will the maid regain or die, 
" For Honour is man's majesty !" 
He vaulted on his gallant steed, 
And vanished in the forest dun, 
Then rose the hill, and o'er the mead 
Rushed 'neath the last beam of the suil 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



291 



THE 



SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



O land of my birth ! thou fair world of the West ! 
With freedom and glory and happiness blest ' 
Thou nation upspringing from forest and grove, 
Like wisdom's armed queen from the brain of high 
Jove ! 

Though thy winds are the coldest the North ever 
blows, 

And thy mountains the drearest when covered with 
snows ; 

Tho' the warm fount of feeling is chilled while it 
gushes, 

And pleasure's stream frozen as brightly it rushes ; 
Tho' thy sons, like their clime, are oft chilling and rude 
And rough as the oak in their own mountain wood ; 
Yet I love thee, my country ! as fondly as Tell 
Loved the Alpine Republic he rescued so well. 
For thy yeomen can circle the winter-eve hearth, 
Undreading oppression, and talk of the Earth, 
Whose bosom yields nurture to father and son 
Leaving hearts pure and gay when the glad work is 
done : 

While the paeans they shout over glories by-gone 
Are echoed by virtues for ever their own. 



CANT O II. 



I. 




292 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



O thou home of the rover o'er ocean's rude wave, 
Asylum of sorrow and fort of the brave ! 
Advance in thy glory o'er forest and sea, 
Unrivalled, unconquered, heroic and free ! 
Though the rose bloom and fade in its holiday hour, 
And the sun-god is palled in his glory of power 
Tho' winter's cold breath blanch the blossoming rose, 
Unlike the bright clime where the sky ever glows, 
Yet thy virtues bend not to each soothing breeze, 
Whose syren song lures through the soft shading trees 
Like the gay, grovelling sons of the tropical clime, 
Whose skies are all glory — whose earth is all crime. 
None love thee so well as thy sons far away, 
None bless thee more oft than the bard of this lay. 



The sunniest rose that ever blowed 

In velvet vale of soft Cashmere ; 

The loveliest light that ever glowed 

O'er heaven in spring-time of the year, 

Ne'er blushed and beamed more purely bright 

Than gentle Inez' sinless heart 

Upon that dread unholy night 

When doomed with all it loved to part. 

No spirit, gazing from above, 

With eyes impearled in pity's tears, 

Cherished more heavenly thoughts of love 

In glory's highest, brightest spheres, 

Than that pure child of love and light, 

Dragged, 'neath the covert of the night, 

To the dim arch'd refectory ; 

Where, telling fast their rosaries, 

And lifting many a saint-like eye 

To heaven with muttered groans and sighs, 



ii. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



293 



The demon conclave met to doom 

To living grave, to breathing tomb, 

The apostate, suffering, dying nun. 

The word hath passed — the deed is done ! 

Ere morn gleams through the pictured glass 

Of prison cell, or o'er the wall 

Of dark St. Clara light doth pass, 

Dimly and thick and sickening, all 

Of that dark bigot band, save one, 

Are kneeling at the tapered shrine, 

Before the Omniscient's holy throne, 

Where every thought should be divine, 

To chant their impious prayers to Him, 

In whose creation-searching eye 

Not even the heavenliest seraphim 

Are pure in their great piety ! 

Alas ! that Heaven's most blessed boon, 

Religion, breathing peace and love, 

In man's polluted heart so soon 

The veriest creed of hell should prove ! 



Unseen, unfelt, .unknown, her fate 

O'er the fair vestal's head had past, 

And she was left all desolate — 

The doom was sealed — the die was cast — 

Ere, waking from her dreadful dream, 

She faintly said — " I heard a scream 

" Of death, methought, O Dion ! say 

" Is Zulma safe ?" Then, as she lay 

Leaning against the dungeon wall, 

She turned — groaned — and fell back again ; 

" Oh, Dion ! love ! oh, tell me all, 



in. 




294 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



" Where — where is Zulma ?" — Awful pain 

Came o'er her then and dimmed the eye 

Of yesternight's dread memory, 

And through her spirit's drear opaque 

She could not look — she could not take 

Perception of her agony ; 

She knew 'twas so — but how or why 

It baffled her delirious brain 

To tell ; — and then she thought again, 

And more distinct her memory grew 

Of what had passed — and chill the dew 

Of death hung on her writhen brow, 

Where love still shed its parting glow, 

As dim she caught the past and gone ; 

Yet she could not — the dying one, 

Think why she thus was left alone. 

She spake again, but faint and low — 

" O Dion ! thou hast often said 

" Thy love could master every woe, 

" And o'er all griefs its radiance shed ; 

" It cannot be that thou should' st now 

" Forsake thy love, forget thy vow — • 

" Now, when I feel — O Dion, come 

" And bear me hence — I must go home !" 

She listened then for some faint sound, 

And strove to rise and look around ; 

But all was midnight gloom, and she 

Alone there in her agony. 

Still memory gathered link by link — 

And still life's current quickly bled — 

With a death-thirst she longed to drink 

What flowed around her dungeon bed ; 

She scooped the fluid in her hand, 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 

And bore it to her lips — 't was blood ! 
And then her spirit lost command 
'Mid horror, gloom, and solitude, 
While thought, no words of man can tell, 
O'er all the past began to swell, 
And well she saw her hopeless doom, 
There buried in eternal gloom, 
Whence shrillest shriek and wildest cry- 
Could never reach the shuddering sky. 
No missal there nor cross had she, 
O'er which to breathe her parting breath ; 
To cheer her in her misery, 
And change to bliss the pangs of death ; 
For they had banned the dying nun 
And barred redeeming penitence ! 
Demons ! their hate her glory won — 
Her amulet was innocence ! 
So malice works its own reward, 
And weakest proves when most on guard, 
For never yet hath hatred wrought 
The deadly ruin which it sought, 
Untended by a deadlier blow 
Than that which laid its victim low. 

IV. 

A sound disturbed her solitude — 
High chanting from the chapelry ; 
Like wailings from a gloomy wood 
When echoed by a stormy sky, 
The distant swell of cloister strain 
And matin hymn came o'er her brain, 
And roused to life her slumbering pain ; 
It was her dirge — that morning song, 
And slowly rolled the notes along 



296 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



The cypress groves — the vaults — the cells — 

Like murder's midnight groan which tells 

The fearful deed most fearfully ; 

And there the lovely Inez lay 

In suffering's last extremity, 

While not a solitary ray 

Of light relieved the heart-felt gloom 

That palled her spirit in the tomb. 

It was a mockery of her woe — 

The mass of hell yelled out below — - 

That pasan, like a death-doom sent 

Through farthest vault — through deepest celL, 

To agonize the punishment 

Of the fair one Heaven loved so well. 

But oh, no fiend with things can cope 

Whom God hath left to their own will — 

Giv'n o'er beyond all reach of hope, 

At hate's hell-cup to drink their fill ; 

The deadliest demon, banned the most, 

May fill the archangel's holiest throne 

Ere mortal once — forever lost, 

Can for his damning deeds atone. 

The light of heaven may beam o'er hell 

Dimly and touch the apostate there ; 

But man, abandoned, bids farewell 

To hope, and weds his own despair. 



Another sound the stillness broke, 

And Inez' bleeding heart awoke. 

It was the wailing of a dove, 

The death-song of a simple bird 

O'er her who died for heaven and love, 

And gladly were the soft notes heard. 



v. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 

Perched on a cypress o'er her cell, 

The bird hailed not the glorious sun, 

But sadly sung the last farewell 

Of the pure, sweet, expiring nun, 

To earth and earthly sins and woes 

And life so early in its close. 

As Inez listened to the strain, 

And longed to waft it back again, 

The shade of death was in her eye, 

The pulses of her being beat 

Faintly, and death's last agony 

Came o'er her like a shadowy bloom, 

A soft voice stealing from the tomb, 

A light to guide the parting spirit 

Beyond the woes that all inherit. 

Feebly she sunk — the crimson tide 

Gushed forth no more — her heart was still ; 

Yet her lips trembled as she died— 

" Dion — forgive — my wrongs !" and 'till 

Her features sunk collapsed in death 

That name was breathed with every breath. 

VI. 

A taper gleams amid the gloom — 

A white-robed form approaches near — . 

It pauses by the dungeon tomb, 

And listens tensely as in fear, 

Or hope — and now it moves again 

And lifts the iron-bolted grate, 

And gazes o'er the cell of pain, 

Doubting its lovely tenant's fate. 

Demon ! go in — thy victim's gone ! 

Unseen, unheard, like guilt alone. 



298 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA 



Clotilde doth listen there awhile, 

And then descends — and with a smile 

Deadly and dark moves round the corse, 

Whose features are an angel's still. 

" Dead 1 — Ay, 'tis well — it had been worse 

" Had justice half fulfilled my will 

" Or hadst thou lived till now !" — She turned 

The lovely vestal's body o'er, 

And laughed aloud ; and then she spurned 

The corse upon its gory floor, 

And smiled as if she gave it pain ; 

And then she raised the beauteous nun — 

" Ay, 'tis a blessed fate, sweet one ! 

" That thou hast wrought thyself — again 

" Thou would'st not do the deed !" She threw 

The pale, cold corse in scorn away, 

And yet more dark her features grew, 

As death had robbed her of her prey ; 

And still she stood, with fiend-like eye, 

Revelling in hatred's demon feast, 

And with low curse and muttered cry 

Banning e'en Him who had released 

The vestal from her deadly power 

And raised the soul to Eden's bower, 

When a loud crash rose high; — and far 

The echo as of bolt and bar 

Shooting, went forth ! — Where art thou now, 

Proud abbess ? Ah ! thou soon wilt know ! 

The iron portal to the cell, 

The lifted grate had fallen — how 

Tt nought avails for me to tell ; 

Perchance, the wind had laid it low, 

Or death- winged angel might have thrown 

The dreadful bars in anger down. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



299 



Eternal justice to dispense 

To suffering, murdered innocence. 

Howe'er it was — proud Clotilde there 

Was doomed to perish with the dead, 

In silence, darkness and despair, 

And meet the fate her sentence said. 

There could be no relief — no, none — 

She had gone forth, unseen, alone, 

And from that subterranean cell 

No cry arose to human ear ; 

It was a dark monastic hell, 

Beyond hope's sun-illumined sphere. 

She shook the bars — but they were fast — 

She shrieked — but echo mocked her pain ; 

She gazed around — but shadows past 

Like fiends, and she sunk down again. 

And then remorse was leagued with fear. 

And both like vipers gnawed her heart : 

And horrid sounds were in her ear 

That cried — " What dost thou here ? depart ! 

" Seek thou the hell of thy dark creed, 

" Thine be the doom thou hast assigned, 

" The unpitying bigot's bitter meed, 

" The quenchless ruins of the mind ! 

" Depart ! depart !" how awful e'er 

Is guilt when phrenzied by its fear! 



Unshrived, she there must die in all 
Her unforgiven guilt and woe ; 
On either side a dungeon wall, 
And wrath above and death below 
Unsoothed, unpitied and alone, 
Without a single orison, 



VII. 




300 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Without a tear to mourn her fate, 

Or look of grief compassionate, 

Or holy right or orris pall 

Or requiem chanted forth by all 

The holy vestal sisterhood, 

Who round her erst admiring stood 

As if St. Marie had been given 

To them in other form from heaven. 

But such be guilt's dark fate for e'er ! 

She there must perish dust to dust, 

Unshriven in the dungeon drear, 

Accursed below — among the just 

All entrance barred eternally ! 

Now guilt forestalled redemption's hours, 

And madness sprung from agony ! 

Darkly the storm of misery lowers, 

And darker yet it soon shall be ; 

For Sin uprears her giant form 

And mad Remorse, her spectre, stands, 

Gashed by the fangs of guilt's dark worm, 

Lifting on high his gory hands 

To warn too late — to tell at last 

The victim that her day hath past, 

And yet more awful thoughts arise 

More fearful shadows blast her view, 

And wilder are her echoed cries, 

And colder is the dungeon-dew. 



Time flies — strength fails — but madness grows 
Stronger and darker in its mood, 
And fevered Fear delirious throws, 
O'er all the gloom a robe of blood ; 



VIII. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



801 



And now she sinks beside the nun, 

There like a song-lulled angel sleeping, 

And smiling as her woes were done, 

And she in heaven were vigils keeping. 

She starts as if an adder stung ! 

A demon voice of mirth had rung 

Through all the chambers of her brain ; 

She listens — now it comes again, 

Blended with laughter wild and rude, 

And echoes through the fatal cell, 

And cries aloud — " Thy soul's imbued 

* With blood of innocence ;— 'tis well 

" That on thy victim's lifeless breast 

" Thou should'st sink in eternal rest !" 

Her maniac heart could bear no more, 

The last extremity had come ; 

She grovelled on the cold earth floor 

In speechless anguish at her doom ; 

Gazed with a madden'd eye, that told 

What horrors o'er her bosom rolled, 

Upon the nun who slept as still 

As infant that has drank its fill ; 

Then with a shriek that might appal 

The fiend, against the dungeon wall 

Dashed headlong — groaned and died ] — 'Tis past, 

The more than mortal suffering. 

Alas ! I would it were the last ! 

But earthly minstrel dare not sing 

Of fates beyond the farthest ken 

Of starry-eyed philosophy ; 

Among the abodes of mortal men 

He finds enough of misery 




302 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



To break the heart and rack the brain 
That feels or thinks of human pain. 
Her fate hath past — her soul hath fled — 
And peace attend the voiceless Dead ! 



Life scarce had parted and her fate 

Passed o'er the haughty abbess there, 

Ere steps approached the iron grate, 

And voices, as in last despair. 

Echoed above the fatal cell. — 

The portal's raised and they descend, 

The sisterhood. — Now note ye well, 

Fair vestals ! ere ye ween to wend 

In sin's broad path, sin's woful end ! 

The highest bliss of heaven may prove 

The bitterest dreg in misery's cup, 

And spirits born of heaven and love 

By guilt be lost and given up 

To state abhorring and abhorred — 

And not adoring and adored ! 

Long was the anxious search and quest 

Ere they could trace their abbess there, 

And anguish searched full many a breast 

As they stood gazing in despair 

On murdered and on murderess. 

I pause not now to paint the scene — 

The natural ills of life suffice 

To fill with tears the sternest eyes, 

When thought retraces what hath been, 

To gloom the heart and cloud the way 

That shone so brightly yesterday. 



IX. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



303 



Together from the dungeon cell 
The corses were in silence borne, 
While lingering tolled the funeral knell, 
And sullen echoes moaned forlorn ; 
And shrouded in their vestments white, 
They laid them side by side, and kept 
Their vigils through the livelong night, 
While breathlessly the dead ones slept, 
As softly as two infants, born 
Perchance, to be each other's scorn ! 
The wakeful sisters watched alone, 
And many a holy rite was done 
To foil the fiend and save the soul 
Of her who once held high control 
O'er penance stern and vow austere, 
For many a long and sinful year. 
The lovely innocent that there 
Too holy was for grief or prayer, 
Lay like a picture of the blest, — 
'Twas her last hour and loveliest ! 

They watched — they prayed — night waned and morn, 
Like holy hope in Eden born, 
Blushed the stained glass and casement through, 
And gave the gloomy scene to view. 



To die — to feel the spirit fainting 

In the mansions of the breast, 

While yet the vivid eye is painting 

Life and vigor unpossessed ; 

To see the mortal frame decaying, 

The temple's pillars breaking down, 

And know the soul will soon be straying 



x. 




304 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT €LARA 9 



Over climes and realms unknown ; 
While warm affection hovers o'er 
The couch of death, with wailing prayer 
Imploring lengthened life once more 
In all the anguish of despair ; 
And we behold and feel and know 
All that is felt for us and yet 
Beside perceive the overthrow 
Of hopes on which the heart is set. 
And picture in our dying hour 
Anguish unknown till we are dead, 
And conscious, hopeless misery's power. 
And tears from being's fountains shed- 
On, 'tis a time, an hour of gloom 
Worse than the midnight of the tomb ' 
But, ah, 'tis worse to think that we, 
The proud, high, sentient lords of earth 
Must moulder into dust and be 
Or clay or nothing ! At our birth 
[t was decreed that we should die, 
But not that we should rotting lie 
With every foul and loathsome thing 
Blending our ashes. — Fling, oh, fling 
My corse in ocean's booming wave, 
Or burn it on the funeral pyre, 
But lay it not in reeking grave 
To glimmer with corruption's fire ! 
St. Clara's funeral bell is knelling 
With the solemn voice of death, 
And far the mournful notes are swelling 
While from postern far beneath 
Issue the white-robed virgin train, 
Chanting low the requiem strain, 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 

Over the dark and dismal tomb 

Of one in being's roseate bloom, 

And one in sallow withered age, 

Departed from life's tragic stage. 

Where sorrow never wakes to weep, 

And ill and wrong distract no more, 

And homeless wanderers sweetly sleep, 

And hate and pride and pain are o'er, 

They lay the vestals finally. 

Above them waves a cypress tree, 

Intwined with briar and rosemary, 

And round them sleep the mighty dead, 

Who centuries since forever fled ; 

A silent nation gone — alas ! 

Where living thought can never pass. 

The ceremonial pomp is past — 

The vestals vanish, one by one — 

The holy father is the last, 

And even he hath slowly gone. 

And stillness reigns o'er all the scene, 

That is so peaceful and serene ; 

A stillness greatly eloquent 

When pious spirits bow and feel 

Delicious melancholy, sent 

From heaven o'er all their being steal 

With purifying breathings mild ; 

And they become like little child 

Gentle and docile, purely good, 

In their communing solitude, 

And look from earth to heaven with eye 

Of sage reflecting piety, 

Comparing man's allotment here 

With glories of a brighter sphere. 

26* 



306 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



XI. 



O Love ! the holiest name in heaven, 
The purest, sweetest thing below ! 
Why are thy joys to torture given 1 
Thy rapture's unto wailing woe ? 
Why should thy fondest votaries prove 
Faithful even unto death in vain ? 
Or why, despite thy vows, O Love ! 
Should all thy blisses close in 'pain? 

No voice was heard — no form was seen 

Within the churchyard's lonely bound, 

And Dion, from his weedy screen, 

Rose mournfully and gazed around. 

Long had he watched each lone — lone hour 

For some faint note of joy or grief, 

'Till destiny's most dreaded power 

To him had almost been relief. 

But nought allayed his dread suspense 

'Till Inez and her murderess 

Were borne to that lone mansion whence 

No tenant ever found egress. 

Then flashed the whole revealment dire 

O'er Dion's burning heart and brain, 

And death became a wild desire, 

A refuge from his penal pain. 

With rolling eye, and brow of gloom, 

And pallid cheek and trembling tread, 

Dion approached the robbing tomb 

Where Inez slept among the dead\ 

And bowed his throbbing head upon 

The dark funereal tablet stone 

Despairingly, while forth his tears 

Unbidden gushed. — " In youthful years 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



307 



" 1 little recked of fate like this ; 

" I thought the world was full of bliss 

" And man most blessed in life — Alas ! 



" And nought remains for me to dare 
" But misery, madness and despair ; 
" The darkness of a breast that bleeds 
" O'er the wild thought of damning deeds, 
" The doom that never will depart 
" From the dim mansions of the heart." 
He drew his poniard, looked on high 
For the last time with gleaming eye, 
Then laid him down the grave beside 
And clove his heart ! The purple tide 
Gushed like a torrent and — he died ! 
The last glance of his spirit turning 
To her for whom his heart was burning. 



The autumnal sun's rich evening beams 

Blush o'er Cantabria's billowy sea, 

And Lusian fields and groves and streams, 

Like angel smiles, celestially ; 

And clustering vines hang purpling o'er 

The shrubbery-mantled palisade, 

And golden orange, cypress hoar, 

And cork-tree rough, and yew, whose shade 

The dead alone doth canopy, 

And sunken glen and dim defile, 

Alike in nature's bounties free, 

Return the soul-inspiring smile 

Of Autumn — queen-muse of the heart ! 

And as soft evening's hues depart, 



I am not now the thing I was ; 



XII. 




308 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Like holy hopes that smile in death, 
And twilight robes the fading sky 
With beauty felt, not seen — beneath 
The spreading palm, the lover's eye 
Burns as he tunes his soft guitar, 
And sees his own dear maid afar, 
Approaching her rose-woven bower 
To solemnize love's sacred hour. 
And lordly prince and shepherd hind, 
And lady proud and simple maid 
Enjoy alike the season kind, 
"When flowers grow lovelier as they fade. 
Eve shadows dim the varied scene, 
And the calm sunlight wanes away, 
While one lone cloud of lustre sheen 
Still wears the rays of parting day, 
And hangs upon the zenith sky, 
Like hope the sad heart lingering by. 



Looming in shadowy twilight o'er 

Tajo's broad bay afar is seen, 

Scudding toward the Lusian shore, 

A quick, unladen brigantine ; 

And now it grows upon the eye, 

White sail, dark hulk, and swan-like prow ; 

And swells upon the evening sky 

Like castle turreted with snow ; 

And full the rushing wake is heard, 

Blent with command's shrill-uttered word, 

And many a heart throbs fondly now 

To meet its loves and find its home, 

As the light vessel crinckles slow 

The waters w r hich no longer foam. 



XIII. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA, 



309 



The brigantine is moored — the crew 

Are busy, boisterous, glad and gay, 

And jovial crowds are there ; — but who 

Through the dense throng makes rapid way 

With looks so proudly desolate ? 

Tis Zulma, who hath borne her fate 

And yet will bear 'till being's close, 

All she hath lost and still can lose, 

With an unshrinking spirit none 

Can tame or crusji ; — she is alone 

In desolation — but she bears 

Her lofty brow unblanched, and throws 

Around an eye undimned by tears, 

And, as she hurries on, she grows 

Stronger, as if her spirit stood 

Prepared for woe of all degree, 

And agony and solitude. 

And horror, and deep misery. 

With hurried step though tearless eye, 

She came, where still the massy towers 

Of her own convent rose before her 

And cast time's deepened shadows o'er her* 

From many a tongue too soon she heard 

The fatal story of the past, 

Told too with many a needless word, 

That fell like Lybia's desert blast. 

Zulma shrieked not, but fiercely rolled 

O'er brain and heart the worst— the last 

Wild storm of ruin ; hope fell dead, 

And her high spirit 'neath its own 

Intensity was crushed ; she said 

Nothing responsive — sigh nor groan, 

Nor scream nor cry was heard ; she threw 




310 



THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Her bleeding eye to heaven and bowed 

A moment as in prayer— then grew 

Like desperation calm. — A crowd, 

As toward St. Clara's towers she went, 

Followed in mute astonishment 

That she should thus defy despair 

And her own certain ruin dare. 

Soon ceased their marvel — Zulma came 

Beneath the window of her cell, 

And upward gazed — and sighed the name, 

The memory of the victim nun 

The loved, the lost, the lonely one, 

Who shed o'er life the only spell 

The true heart loves and prizes well. 

And as she gazed with mournful eye 

On dusky wall and cypress grove, 

The soul whose pride could never die, 

The spirit of immortal love 

That never sheds a human tear, 

Was journeying to a holier sphere. 



*• Jesu Maria ! who art thou ? 
" Christ and the Virgin shield us now !" 
A war-steed dashes through the throng— 
A horseman leaps upon the ground, 
And rushes like a maniac strong 
Toward dying Zulma, while around 
Gather the crowd to mark the scene — 
For one so mournful ne'er had been. 
Zulma looked up — a faint smile passed, 
Like silvery moon-beam on the wave, 
O'er lip and eye and then it cast 



XIV. 




THE SISTERS OF SAINT CLARA. 



Behind the death hue of the grave. 
Low bowed the horseman, Julian, there. 
And fearful was his agony ; 
He kneeled, like statue of despair, 
In hopeless, speechless misery ; 
But quivering lips and burning brow 
Were worse than vain and idle now. 
" Zulma " — he said at last, but wild 
Came then the memory of his shame, 
And Zulma's eye so proudly smiled 
He trembled but to speak her name, 
For she was calm as all must be 
Who triumph o'er the demon — man, 
And hold their pride and purity 
Above corruption's blight and bann. 
But life was ebbing fast away 
From Zulma's broken heart and now, 
While yet was left a conscious ray 
Or never more his words must flow. 
He spake at last — his words were few 
But full of dark remorseful power, 
The out-pourings of the soul's mildew, 
That taints each love]y blooming flower. 
Making all life a waste ! — The fire 
Of being, that had sunk and waned 
In Zulma's bosom, burned again 
Brightly a moment and there reigned 
A majesty 'mid all her pain 
That daunted Julian, as she strove 
To rise upon a maiden's breast ; — 
" Prince Julian ! that thou had'st my love, 
* And that in thine I was most blest, 
'Tis bootless now to own ; my doom 



312 



THE HOUR AT WILL. 



" Is sealed forever and the tomb 
" Must be the resting-place of one 
" Who once — who yet loves thee alone ; 
" Thou hast my pardon while I live — 
" Forgive thyself as I forgive /" 
Backward she fell — faint grew her breath, 
Life left her cheek, her brow, her eye ; 
Slow o'er her heart came chilling death — 
Zulma is in eternity ! 



Tis only when the heat and dust and toil 
Of day have passed, my better heart can smile ; 
'Tis only when in weariness and pain, 
My task hath ceased to bind my dizzy brain, 
That gentler thoughts and holier feelings come 
Like angel visitants, and guide me home — 
Home to the hallowed temple of the mind, 
Where heaven's own music rolls upon the wind. 
And, oh, while wandering 'mid the cold and low. 
And mocking Mammon with a smile and bow, 
While doomed to wear o'er deep contempt, applause, 
And crush my nature 'neath the world's vain laws, 
How, like a lost child, seeking home once more, 
My bosom brightens, and my soul doth soar ! 
How, like the eagle of my native clime, 
Genius aspires beyond the reach of Time ! 
Then for a moment, glad oblivion throws 
Its deep veil o'er my trials and my woes, 



THE HOUR AT WILL 



PART I. 




THE HOUR AT WILL. 



313 



And trickling touches of a kindlier mood, 
Like summer evening o'er the ancient wood, 
Soothe evil passions, lull the heart to rest, 
And blend the spirit with the pure and blest ; 
And I forget that Fortune is my foe, 
And Man the fiend that reigns in human woe : 
That lineal hatred o'er my childhood spread 
The gloom, though not the slumber of the dead, 
And yet prevails to sadden every scene 
Where hope and love and loveliness have been. 
All these pass from me in the hour of pride, 
Like smouldering wrecks down ocean's billowy tide . 
With downcast eyes and tiar'd head declin'd, 
His gold- wrought purple floating in the wind, 
Gazing on valley, forest, stream and flood, 
Against a rock the Persian monarch stood ; 
While, far below, his vassal millions lay 
Like bristling tigers couchant for their prey, 
Ardent as eagles, joyous as the lark 
Whose music melts along the silvery dark, 
Full of high hope of conquest, power and fame, — 
That golden shroud for every mortal name ! 
And, as he gazed upon this pomp of power 
One trump had summon'd to his palace bower, — 
The haughty Despot wept that Time should cast 
Their names, like ashes, on the fire-winged blast, 
That, ere three-score of hurrying years went by, 
His glorious millions, — each and all would die ! 
Each for himself, philosopher or bard, 
Must toil uncheered and be his own reward 
Through evils countless as the midnight dews — 
The victim votary of the thriftless muse- 
Till bursts the sun of Fame's rejoicing day, 



27 




314 



THE HOUR AT WILL. 



And the hours blossom like the buds of May, 

And Youth's dim hope out-blazes like a star 

High throned in heaven and gleaming from afar. 

And flatterers crawl around the honoured one 

Mocked when obscure and trampled when unknown ! 

What recks the world — stern, haughty and austere — 

From whose swoln eye slow drops the undried tear ? 

What recks the world if care and grief assail 

The heart that suffers though it will not quail ? 

If doubt and darkness gather round his way, 

Whose spirit revels in the light of day ? 

If, poor and friendless, Genius must submit 

And panier'd dullness crush the choisest wit ? 

If earth becomes, by man's inhuman guile, 

A hell, the deeper that the sun-beams smile ? 

And Mind, new lighted at the throne of God, 

Darken and sink and mingle with the sod ? 

What recks the world, ere wakes the son of Fame, 

Who blights and execrates an unknown name ? 

Or who bands forth a menial miscreant host 

And triumphs o'er archangel spirits lost ? 

— Dark are the shades that cloud thy mortal hours 

Poor lonely wanderer from elysian bowers, 

And few the joys, earth's silken sons possess, 

Light the wild horrors of thy wilderness ! 

As sable clouds along the evening sky 
Glow with the glories of the sun's bright eye, 
So the dull toils of daily life assume, 
When Genius smiles, the beauty and the bloom 
Of unseen realms, where holiest spirits sing 
'Mid the fair gardens of an endless spring. 
Few and uncertain 'mid the cares of life, 




THE HOUR AT WILL. 



315 



The sin, the sorrow, and the hate and strife, 
Are the brief hours devoted to the shrine 
Of Love, whose purest worship is divine, 
But these quick moments gladden and uplift, 
And bear us through the sublety and thrift, 
The coldness, darkness, solitude and want, 
The woes that wither though they cannot daunt, 
Raise and refine the grovelling works of man, 
And lead us back where Life in Love began. 
Like summer showers, when wanes the burning day 
These hours of pride, athwart our weary way, 
Gleam with a mellow gladness and repose, 
That strengthen bleeding hearts to bear their woes, 
And through all wrong and evil guide us on, 
Though poor yet proud, though friendless not alone. 
Then fruit and blossom mingle on each tree, 
The soul soars gladly and the heart is free ; 
Soft airs float by with music on their wings, 
And the lyre warbles from a thousand strings ; 
The heart's best feelings — all the joys of youth, 
Dreams in the green- wood — hope and love and truth, 
Thoughts by lone fountains, in their freshest bloom, 
And chastened sorrow o'er affection's tomb- 
All — all come back and win the soul afar 
From earth's dark galley toil and rankling war, 
Gild the dense gloom of error, fraud and sin, 
And crown the altar of the heart within. 

Yet, like wild lightning lifting, fold on fold, 
Such awful gloom as wrapt the world of old, 
To show how green and beautiful beneath 
The earth lies covered with the veil of death, 
These high revealments mock the dazzled mind, 




316 



THE HOUR AT WILL. 



Leave, as they vanish, deeper gloom behind, 

Melt the touch'd heart that should be proud and stern, 

And, like frankincense gushing from an urn, 

O'erpower the vision, that should settle on 

The thin cold ashes of the dead alone. 

With feelings purified and sense refined 

And the veil'd glories of a mighty mind, 

The bard goes forth, from solitude sublime, 

To meet and grapple with a world of crime, 

Like a bright seraph in some distant star, 

To feel his spirit with his fate at war, 

To know his greatness and to bear the scorn 

Of the miscreant menials on the dung-hill born, 

To walk abroad, with radiant Genius crowned, 

While crowded solitude hangs coldly round, 

And seek, once more, the muse's lonely room, 

And sigh to sink to slumber in the tomb ! 

Such is, hath been, will be the doom of minds 

That cast their glories in the world's vain winds ! 



Stars of the heart ! immortal lights that glow 
Along life's lone and weary way of wo, 
That lengthens, lingers like a pilgrim vowed 
To some far shrine he parts from in his shroud, 
How soft and soothingly ye come and spread 
A blooming veil around the changed and dead, 
Like the faint mind, inspire each drooping though 
And hymn the magic beauty ye have wrought ! 
There's not a desert on the Earth so drear, 
But fountains sometimes gush and gurgle near; 



PART II 




THE HOUR AT WILL. 



317 



There's not a wilderness so sad and lone 
Without its dweller and a kindred one ; 
There's not an iceberg in the arctic sea, 
But bears life, feeling, joy and liberty ; 
And every heart, however worn and lost 
To all it loved and idolized the most, 
However pierced and manacled, and cast 
A wreck and ruin on life's dewless waste — 
Against the storm of grief may still bear up, 
Though it hath drained affliction's poison cup, 
And smile oft-times and blend its wonted powers 
With minds unknown in childhood's leafy bowers, 
Such Nature's best ; while life prevails, there's hope* 
And strength still given with despair to cope— 
Despair ! oft uttered in a reckless mood, 
By earth's victims never understood, 
The grim, gaunt tyrant of the fiends who fell, 
Born of Remorse — the quenchless fires of hell ! 
From bosoms dark and rugged gushes forth 
Full many a stream to fertilize the Earth, 
As from the black rock of the desert poured 
The clear cold waters while the host adored ; 
And they, who walk in wisdom and in truth, 
May oft, 'mid strangers, drink the joys of youth, 
And find their sojourn gladdened by some voice, 
That bids the fainting and sick heart rejoice. 
Good, through victorious eviJ, oft appears, 
Justice may mark the guiltless suppliant's tears, 
Hope may rejoice in happier days to come, 
And truth leave not the world in utter gloom. 
Man clings to man through every wo and wrong, 
And woman wins the daring and the strong. 
To all, on whom the heartless world hath laid 



27* 




318 



THE HOUR AT WILL. 



Its ban — to all confiding and betrayed 
By serpent lures, repulsed and cast aside 
By the red Moloch hand of menial pride — 
How bright, how cheermgly — the world forgot, 
And all the evils of the poor man's lot — 
Loved faces smile around their home of Love, 
Loved voices breathe the gladness of the Dove, 
And sooth the anguish of proud spirits stirred, 
By the soft magic of a gentle word ! 
Passions as dire as winds in wildest wrath 
And desolating as the lava's path, 
Sink into slumber, broken and subdued 
By the low voice of Love's sweet solitude. 
Deep hate and wild revenge have oft foregone 
Their fixed resolves while some belovod one, 
With few kind words and one ambrosial kiss, 
Filled a dark bosom with a seraph's bliss. 
Laws, manners, morals and traditions old, 
And customs antique as the banner's fold, 
Fortune and faith — dominion, pride, and power, 
And all that magnifies man's scepter'd hour, 
Rose up, like spectres, when in secret spoke 
Woman — and forth the Persian edict broke ! 
When War's deep trump awoke the world to arms, 
Search out the cause in woman's fatal charms ! 
When peace flies smiling o'er the bloomy realm, 
Lo ! angel love directs the monarch's helm ! 
When the fierce Bandit leaves the work of death, 
His wrong'd heart melts beneath affection's breath ; 
When the blest Sabbath o'er the city throws 
A cheerful sanctity and hushed repose, 
Gaze on the mother when her children kneel — 
Few worship God — but every heart can feel ! 
When drops the dagger from the madman's grasp, 



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THE HOUR AT WILL. 



319 



Who folds his writhing form in love's own clasp, 

And with prophetic vows and burning tears, 

Leads mind to triumph in the coming years ? 

Who on the Statesman, in his household bowers, 

Bestows the tenderness of youthful hours, 

And pillows on her breast the mighty mind 

Revered, admired, and dreaded by mankind ? 

Who shield the weakness, guide the scornful pride. 

And sooths — deserted by the world beside — 

The bitter sorrows of ambition thrown 

On the dark desert of despair alone ? 

"Who casts o'er ruined hope and glory passed 

Verdure that breathes and blossoms o'er the waste ? 

Who, like the sunset' of an autumn even, 

Gives unto Earth the glorious light of heaven ? 

Woman, devoted, cheerful and serene, 

Lives in all laws and blends with every scene, 

Pours proud ambition through each burning vein, 

And tends the soldier on the battle plain ; 

Gives to the poet all his might of mind, 

And gilds the desert fancy leaves behind ; 

Uplifts the feeble, quells the daring, throws 

The hues of heaven o'er all desponding woes, 

.Moves upon earth the pilgrim bound to love, 

And mounts, a seraph, to her God above ! 

Oft, when forsaken, trampled and reviled 
While on my solitude no eye hath smiled, 
When left to breast and buffet, as I might, 
The faithless billows of a stormy night, — 
Oft have I found in one beside me now, 
(Her of the starry eye and sunny brow) 
A tender solace and a mild content 
Earth could not give with all her blandishment. 




320 



THE HOUR AT WILL. 



And she hath cheered me with a spirit free 

To range the realms of high philosophy, 

A heart imbued with such ethereal power 

As wraps the saint in his sublimest hour, 

While her fair features, soft as twilight's gush, 

Lightened and flashed, and, with a solemn rush, 

Her words of truth and hope and love came o'er 

My heart, like moonlight on a rock-barr'd shore 

And I have born the coward's dark attack, 

Hate's dungeon ordeal, envy's midnight rack, 

The scorn of fools, the sayings of the vile, 

The branded felon's hypocritic smile, 

The altered eye of friends, the sapient saws 

Of dotard pedants, and the moral laws 

Of convicts guiltier than the dungeon cell 

E'er held in chains, or deepest vault in hell — 

With a calm eye, a conscious brow that threw 

The reptile back to feed on demon dew. 

For still the angel of my pathway said 

" 'Twere just— but oh, strike not the serpent dead i 

" He bears a death — a living scorpion death 

" In every pulse and vein and thought and breath, 

" Leave him the doom thy righteous hand would end — 

" Leave him on earth without a single friend 1" 

Shall I not praise the wise and winning art 

That drew the lightning from my burning heart ? 

Shall I not feel as time leaves all my foes 

In the oblivion of unblest repose, 

And on our mingled tides of being run 

In little channels glancing to the sun, 

That wisdom dwells with loveliness and gives 

A hallowed pleasure to our troubled lives, 

A conscious trust of happier days in store, 

For hearts undoubting, that in grief adore ? 




THE DEATH SCENE. 



321 



Without a fear that truth will not prevail. 
Without a glance at slander's thrice-forged tale, 
Prizing heaven's gifts too high to boast or vaunt, 
Feeling a heart that danger cannot daunt, 
And, with contempt ineffable and strong, 
Beholding rioters in human wrong, 
With thee, my bride ! — and thee, my bright-eyed boy i 
I share my sorrow — ye partake my joy. 
Earth holds a home and coming time a name, 
That may not vanish from the roll of Fame ! 



Glimmering amid the shadowy shapes that float 

In sickly Fancy's vision o'er the walls 

Of Death's lone room, the trembling taper burns 

Dimly, and guides my fearful eye to trace 

The wandering track of parting life upon 

The burning brow and sallow cheek of him 

Whose smile was paradise to me and mine. 

The autumnal wind breathes pantingly and comes 

With hollow sighs through yon high window o'er 

Thy feverish couch, my love ! and seems to sob 

Amid the waving curtains as't would tell 

My heart how desolate it will become 

When left in its lone widowhood to weep 

And wail and agonize at Memory's tale. 

The outward air is chill, but, oh, thy breast, 

My dying love ! is scorching with the fires 

That centre in thy heart, and thy hot breath 



THE DEATH SCENE. 




322 



THE DEATH SCENE, 



Heaves sobbingly, like the sirocco gale 

That heralds death ; and thou art speechless now 

Save what thy glaring eyes can tell, for life 

Is parting from thy bosom silently. 

Thy pulse is wild and wandering, and thy limbs 

Are writhing in convulsive agony, 

And, while thy spirit hovers o'er the verge 

Of Fate, thou canst not speak to me nor bid 

Thy chosen one a long farewell ! O Heaven I 

Let thy sweet mercy wait upon his end 

And life's last struggle close — 'tis vain to hope 

For life — then take his soul on gentle wing 

Away, and let the sufferer rest with Thee ! 

Alas ! hath He who rules the universe 

Replied to my wild wish ? oh, give me back 

The spirit of my love for one brief hour — 'tis o'er ! 

'Tis o'er ! my love, my happiness, my hope. 

I sit beside a corse ! How deadly still 

Is the lone chamber he hath left ! The moan 

Of dying nature, and the bursting sigh 

Of a heart breaking, and the murmuring voice 

Of a delirious spirit — all are hushed ! 

The eye that kindled love in my young heart 

And told me I was blessed, is lustreless — 

And those dear lips, that oft illumed my soul, 

Are stiffening now ; those features exquisite, 

On which I often gazed as on a mirror 

Beaming with beauty, genius, feeling — all 

That love adores and honor sanctifies, 

Collapse in their dread slumbers and assume 

The ashen deadliness of soulless dust. 

And must it be, my love ! that thou wilt sleep 

Where I can never watch thy wants and glide 

Around, thy gentle minister ? No more 




THE DEATH SCENE. 



323 



Read voiceless wishes in thy pleading eye 

And soothingly discharge them ? Art thou gone, 

Or is it but a dream ? O thou dost dwell 

Within my heart unchangeably as wont 

And ever wilt ! — I sit beside the Dead 

Alone, while round me the world is bent 

On pleasure — on a shadow from the dust ! 

The bright blue wave of Hudson rolls below 

My solitary view and sounds of joy 

Fling music o'er its waters and the voice 

Of gayety is rising on my ear, — 

Like banquet mirth amid the pyramids. 

O the full consciousness of utter loss ! 

The single wretchedness of cureless woe 

While all around are gay ! The chaos wild 

Of billowy thought, on whose tumultuous tides 

Hopes, powers and passions — all the elements 

Of heart and soul in foamy whirlpools toss 

'Till whelmed in ruin ! — Lovely babe ! thou hast 

No father now, and where, my orphan child ! 

Will close our wanderings ? I have no home 

For thee, dove of the storm without an ark 

To bear thee o'er the waters of the Waste ! 

Cold, voiceless mansion of my ruined love ! 

I'll close thine eyes and kiss thy pallid lips. 

And watch beside thee for the livelong night — 

The last, last night I shall behold thy form ! 

O agony, and they will bury thee ! 

Will snatch thee from the pillow of my heart, 

And lay thee in the damp unbreathing tomb ! 

Sleep, my sweet child ! thou knowest not the pain 

Of the sad bosom that thou slumberest on. 

It is some joy that thou feel'st not the loss 

Of him who would have worshipped his firstborn* 




324 



THE DEATH SCENE. 



The world is silent round me ; pale the moon 

Gleams on the clay-shut eyes of him who loved 

Her gentle light in life, and o'er his cold, 

Collapsed, unchanging, melancholy face 

Plays her transparent beam of love. My heart ! 

Thy bleeding tears would drown my soul, if yet 

One being lived not in my life to tell 

How dear he was to me. Farewell, my love ! 

Our slumbers now will be no more as wont ! 

Yet e'en in paradise thou wilt behold 

Thine earthly love and bend from heaven to shed 

Immortal hopes o'er nature's funeral urn. 

###### 

Days, weeks and months passed o'er me and were seen 

Vanishing away with that pale, meek content 

Which doth exist, against the spirit's will, 

So glad was I to feel that burden, Time, 

Dropping from my pierced heart ; for I did live 

Among, but yet not with the living — tears 

Suppressed within the fountains of the soul, 

Congealed like waters in deep cavern-halls. 

My being passed 'mid shadows, and the things 

Familiar once assumed or unknown form 

Or appendage unknown, and to my eye 

The faces erst beloved appeared like those 

Imagination images in dreams ; 

And oft I feared to speak, lest I should be 

Abandoned to my woe ; and, if I spake, 

My voice re-echoed round me like the cries 

Of shipwrecked mariners at night. My brain 

Was fevered with my dreadful anguish, which 

Grew by repression, like the Rebel Flower,* 

* The Camomile 



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THE DEATH SCENE. 



825 



Until it mastered reason, or whate'er 

Name that observant faculty doth bear 

Whose power is o'er the visible universe. 

There was a dread unmeasured, in my thought, 

A vague idea of something horrible, 

And I lived on like one in broken sleep, 

Forever searching for some lost companion, 

And wandering in mazes dark as doom, 

Where the heart faints and fails, and hope expires. 

Yet amid all the estranging of my love 

I still clung to my child ; a mother's heart 

Retains its deep devotion to her dear 

And pang-bought offspring, when the woman's mind 

Is laid in ruins ; and her bosom burns 

With love instinctive for an innocent 

And lovely creature whom her spirit knows 

Only as something worthy to be loved. 

Folding the orphan to my heart, I went 

Abroad the mansion witlessly, and searched 

Its chambers desolate, and then returned 

In wildered disappointment that the thing 

I looked for could no where be found.— I sat 

In the lone winter nights before the dim 

And melancholy embers, and did hush 

My breath while listening for the tread of him 

Who ever spent his evenings with his love 

In social converse ; — but he came not, so 

I sighed and murmured to my prattling babe 

That he would soon return ; but then I thought 

That he had gone to a far land and left 

His duties to my care and faithful watch. 

And so I oped his escritoir and saw 

His papers, pens and pencils and all things 

Reposed e'en as he left them, and T felt 
* 28 



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