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Full text of "Reminiscences;"

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. 



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UNITED STATES OF AM iMCA. 






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Number 166. 



Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York. 



Price 15 cts. 



Much 11, 1881. 



Copyright, 18*8, by IUrfhb & Bh.jthers. 



REMINISCENCES 



BY 



THOMAS CARLYLE. 



Edited by JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE. 



ri 3 °f 






PREFACE. 



In the summer of 1871, Mr. Carlyle placed in my bands a collec- 
tion of MSS. of which he desired me to take charge, and to pub- 
lish, should I think fit to do so, after he was gone. They consisted 
of letters written by his wife to himself and to other friends during 
the period of her married life, with the " rudiments" of a preface 
of his own, giving an account of her family, her childhood, and 
their own experience together from their first acquaintance till her 
death. They were married iu 1826; Mrs. Carlyle died suddenly in 
1866. Between these two periods Carlyle's active literary life was 
comprised ; and be thought it unnecessary that more than these 
letters contained should be made known, or attempted to be made 
known, about himself or his personal history. The essential part 
of his life "was in his works, which those who chose could read. 
The private part of it was a matter iu which the world had no con- 
cern. Enough would be found, told by one who knew him better 
than any one else knew him, to satisfy such curiosity as there might 
be. His object was rather to leave a monument to a singularly 
gifted woman, "who, had she so pleased, might have made a name 
for herself, and for his sake had voluntarily sacrificed ambition and 
fortune. 

The letters had been partially prepared for the press by short 
separate introductions and explanatory notes. But Carlyle warned 
me that before they were published they would require anxious re- 
vision. Written with the unreserve of confidential communica- 
tions, they contained anecdotes, allusions, reflections, expressions 
of opinion and feeling, which were intended obviously for no eye 
save that of the person to whom they were addressed. He be- 
lieved, at the time I speak of, that his own life was near its end, 
and, seeing the difficulty in which I might be placed, he left me at 
last with discretion to destroy the whole of them, should I find the 
task of discriminating too intricate a problem. 

The expectation of an early end was perhaps suggested by the 
wish for it. He could no longer write. His hand was disabled by 
palsy. His temperament did not suit with dictation, and he was 
impatient of an existence which he could no longer turn to any 
useful purpose. He lingered on, however, year after year, and it 
gradually became known to him that his wishes would not protect 
liim from biographers, and that an account of his life would cer- 
tainly be tried, perhaps by more than one person. A true descrip- 
tion of it he did not believe that any one could give, not even his 



closest friend : but there might be degrees of falsity ; and since a 
biography of some kind there was to be, he decided at last to ex- 
tend bis original commission to me, and to make over to me all bin 
private papers, journals, note-books, letters, and unfinished or ueg- 
lected writings. 

Being a person of most methodical habits, he had preserved every 
letter which be had ever received of not entirely trifling import. 
His mother, his wife, his brothers, and many of his friends had 
kept as carefully every letter from himself. The most remarkable 
of his contemporaries bad beeu among his correspondents — Eng- 
lish, French, Italian, German, and American. Goethe had recog- 
nized his genius, aud had written to him often, advising and en- 
couraging. His own aud Mrs. Carlyle's journals were records of 
their most secret thoughts. All these Mr. Carlyle, scarcely remem- 
bering what they contained, but with characteristic fearlessness, 
gave me leave to use as I might please. 

Material of such a character makes my duty in one respect an 
easy one. I have not to relate Mr. Carlyle's history, or describe his 
character. He is his own biographer, aud paiuts his own portrait. 
But another difficulty arises from the extent of the resources thrown 
open to me. His own letters are as full of matter as the richest of 
his published works. His friends were not common men, and iu 
writing to him they wrote their best. Of the many thousand let- 
ters in my possession, there is hardly one which either on its spe- 
cial merits, or through its connection with something which con- 
cerned him, does not deserve to be printed. Selection is indispen- 
sable ; a middle way must be struck between too much and too lit- 
tle. I have been guided largely, however, by Carlyle's personal di- 
rections to me, and such a way will, I trust, be discovered. 

Meanwhile, on examining the miscellaneous MSS., I found among 
them various sketches and reminiscences : one written iu a note- 
book fifty years ago, on hearing in London of his father's death ; 
another of Edward Irving ; another of Lord Jeffrey ; others (these 
brief aud slight) of Southey and Wordsworth. In addition, there 
was a long narrative, or fragments of a narrative, designed as ma- 
terial for the introduction to Mrs. Carlyle's letters. These letters 
would now have to be rearranged with his own; aud an introduc- 
tion, under the shape which had been intended for it, would be no 
longer necessary. The "Reminiscences" appeared to me to be far 
too valuable to be broken up and employed in any composition of 






REMINISCENCES. 



my own, ami I told Mr. Carlyle that I thought they ought to he 
printed with the requisite omissious immediately after his own 
death. He agreed with me that it should he so, and at one 
time it was proposed that the type should he set up while ho was 
still alive, and could himself revise what he had written. He 
found, however, that the effort would he too much for him, and the 
reader has here hefore him Mr. Carlyle's own handiwork, hut with- 
out his last touches, not edited hy himself, not corrected by him- 
self, perhaps most of it not intended for publication, and written 
down merely as an occupation, for his own private satisfaction. 

The Introductory Fragments were written immediately after his 
wife's death ; the account of Irving belongs to the autumn and 
winter which followed. So singular was his condition at this 
time, that he was afterwards unconscious what he had done; and 
when, ten years later, I found the Irving MS. and asked him about 
it, he did not know to what I was alluding. The sketch of Jeffrey 
was written immediately after. Some parts of the introduction I 
have reserved for the biography, into which they will most con- 
veniently fall ; the rest, from the point where they form a con- 
secutive story, I have printed with only a few occasional reserva- 
tions. " Southey " and " Wordsworth," being merely detached notes 
of a few personal recollections, I have attached as an appendix. 



Nothing more remains to be said about these papers, save to re- 
peat, for clearness' sake, that they are published with Mr. Carlyle's 
consent, but without his supervision. The detailed responsibility 
is therefore entirely my own. I will add, for the convenience of 
the geueral public, the few chief points of his outward life. He 
was the son of a village mason, boru atEcclefechan, in Annandale, 
December 4, 1795. He was educated first at Ecclefechau school. In 
1806 he was sent to the grammar-school at Auuau, and in 1809 to 
Edinburgh University. In 1814 he was appointed mathematical 
usher at Annan, and in 1816 schoolmaster at Kirkcaldy. In 1818 he 
gave up his situation, and supported himself by taking pupils at 
Edinburgh. Iu 1822 he became private tutor iu the family of Mr. 
Charles Buller ; Charles Buller the younger, who was afterwards so 
brilliantly distinguished in Parliament, being his pupil. While in 
this capacity he wrote his " Life of Schiller," and translated " Wil- 
helm Meister." In 1826 he married. Ho lived for eighteen months 
at Comley Bauk, on the north side of Edinburgh. He then re- 
moved to Craigeuputtoch, a moorland farm iu Dumfriesshire belong- 
ing to his wife's mother, where he remained for seven years, writ- 
ing" Sartor Resartus" there, and nearly all his Miscellanies. Iu 1834 
he left Scotland and settled in London, No. 5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, 
and there continued without further change till his death. 



JAMES CARLYLE* 



On Tuesday, January 26, 1832, I received tidings that my dear 
and worthy father had departed out of this world. He was called 
away by a death appareutly of the mildest, on Sunday morning 
about six. He had taken what, was thought a bad cold on the 
Monday preceding, but rose every day and was sometimes out of 
doors. Occasionally he wa-s insensible (as pain usually soon made 
him of late years), but when spokeu to he recollected himself. 
He was up and at the kitchen fire (at Scotsbrig)t on the Saturday 
evening about six, but was evidently growing fast worse iu breath- 
ing. "About ten o'clock he fell into a sort of stupor," writes my 
sister Jane, " still breathing higher and with greater difficulty. 
He spoke little to any of us, seemingly unconscious of what he did, 
came over to the bedside, and offered np a prayer to Heaven iu such 
accents as it is impossible to forget. He departed almost without 
a struggle," adds she, " this morning at half-past six." My mother 
adds, in her own hand, " It is God that has done it. Be still, my 
dear children. Your affectiouate mother. God support us all." 
The funeral is to be on Friday, the present date is Wednesday 
night. This stroke, altogether unexpected at the time, but which 
I have been long anticipating in general, falls heavy on me, as such 
needs must, yet uot so as to stun me or unman me. Natural tears 
have come to my relief. I cau look at my dear father, and that 
section of the past which he has made alive for me, in a certain 
sacred sanctified light, and give way to what thoughts rise in me 
without feeling that they are weak and useless. 

The time till the funeral was past I instantly determined on 
passing with my wife only, and all others were excluded. I have 
written to my mother and .to John,t have walked far and much, 
chiefly in the Regent's Park, and considered about many things, if 
so were that I might accomplish this problem, to see clearly what 
my present calamity means — what I have lost and what lesson my 
loss was to teach me. 

As for the departed, we ought to say that he was taken home 
" like a shock of corn fully ripe." He " had finished the work that 
was given him to do" and finished it, (very greatly more than the 
most) as became a man. He was summoned, too, before he had 
ceased to be interesting — to be lovable. (He was to the last the 
pleasantest man I had to speak with in Scotland.) For many 
years too he had the end ever in his eye, and was studying to make 
all preparation for what in his strong way he called often "that 
last, that awful change." Even at every new parting of late years 
I have noticed him wring my hand with a tenderer pressure, as if 
he felt that one other of our few meetings here was over. Merci- 
fully also has he been spared me till I am abler to bear his loss ; 
till by manifold struggles I too, as he did, feel my feet on tho Ever- 
lasting rock, and, through time with its death, can in some degree 
see into eternity with its life. So that I have repeated, not with 
unwet eyes, let me hope likewise uot with nnsoftened heart, those 
old and forever true words, " Blessed are the dead that die in the 
Lord ; tiny do rest from their labors, and their works follow them.'' 

* Written in London, in January, 1S32. 

t A farm near Ecclefechan occupied by James Carlyle during the last six years 
of his life. 
} Mr. Carlyle's brother. 



Yes, their works follow them. The force that had been lent my 
father he honorably expended in manful well-doing. A portion of 
this planet bears beneficent traces of his strong hand and strong 
head. Nothing that he undertook to do but he did it faithfully 
and like a true man. I shall look on the houses he built with a 
certain proud interest. They stand firm and sound to tho heart all 
over his little district. No one that comes after him will ever 
say, "Here was the finger of aihofibw eye-servant." They are 
little texts for me of the gospel' of man's free-will. Nor will his 
deeds and sayings in any case be found unworthy — not false and 
barren, but genuine and fit. Nay, am not I also the humble James 
Carlyle's work ? I owe him much more than existence, I owe him 
a noble inspiring example (now that I can read it in that rustic 
character). It was he exclusively that determined on educating me; 
that from his small hard-earned funds sent me to school and col- 
lege, and made me whatever I am or may become. Let me not 
mourn for my father, let me do worthily of him. So shall he still 
live even here iu me, and his worth plant itself honorably forth 
into new generations. 

I purpose now, while the impression is more pure and clear 
within me, to mark down the main things I can recollect of my 
father. To myself, if I live to after-years, it may be instructive 
and interesting, as the past grows ever holier the farther we leave 
it. My mind is calm enough to do it deliberately, and to do it 
truly. The thought of that pale earnest face which even now lies 
stiffened into death in that bed at Scotsbrig, with the Infinite all 
of worlds looking down on it, will certainly impel me. Neither, 
should these lines survive myself and be seen by others, can the 
sight of them do harm to any one. It is good to know how a true 
spirit will vindicate itself with truth and freedom through what 
obstructions soever ; how the acorn cast carelessly into the wilder- 
ness will make room for itself and grow to be an oak. This is one 
of the cases belonging to that class, "the lives of remarkable men," 
in which it has beeu said, "paper and ink should least of all be. 
spared." I call a man remarkable who becomes a true workman 
in this vineyard of the Highest. Be his work that of palace-build- 
ing and kingdom-founding, or only of delving aud ditching, to me 
it is no matter, or next to none. All human work is transitory, 
small in itself, contemptible. Only the worker thereof, aud the 
spirit that dwelt in him, is significant. I proceed without order, or 
almost any forethought, auxious only to save what I have left and 
mark it as it lies in me. 

In several respects, I consider my father as one of tho most in- 
teresting men I have known. He was a man of perhaps the very 
largest natural endowment of any it has been my lot to converse 
with. None of us will ever forget that bold glowing style of his, 
flowing free from his untutored soul, full of metaphors (though he 
knew not what a metaphor was) with all manner of potent words 
which he appropriated and applied with a surprising accuracy 
you often would not guess whence; brief, energetic, and which I 
should say conveyed tho most perfect picture — definite, clear, not 
in ambitious colors, but in full white sunlight — of all the dialects I 
have ever listened to. Nothing did I ever hear him undertake to 
render visible which did not become almost ocularly so. Never 



JAMES CAKLYLE. 



shall we again hear such speech as that. was. The whole district 
knew of it and laughed joyfully over it, not knowing how other- 
wise to express the feeling it gave them; emphatic I have heard 
him beyond all men. Iu anger he had no need of oaths, his words 
■wore like sharp arrows that smote into the very heart. The fault 
was that he exaggerated (which tendency I also inherit), yet only 
in description aud for the sake chiefly of humorous effect. He 
was a man of rigid, even scrupulous, veracity. I have often heard 
him turn back when ho thought his strong words were misleading, 
aud correct them into meusurative accuracy. 

I call him a natural man, singularly free from all manner of af- 
fectation ; he was among the last of the true men which Scotland, 
on the old system, produced or can produce; a man healthy in 
hody and mind, fearing God, and diligently working on God's earth 
with contentment, hope, and unwearied resolution. He was never 
visited with doubt. The old theorem of the universe was sufficient 
for him; and he worked well in it, and iu all senses successfully 
aud wisely — as few can do. So quick is the motion of transition 
hecoming, the new generation almost to a man must make their 
belly their God, and, alas! find even that an empty one. Thus, 
curiously enough and blessedly, he stood a true man on the verge 
of the oid, while his sou stands here lovingly surveying him on the 
verge of the new, and sees the possibility of also being true there. 
God make the possibility, blessed possibility, iuto a reality. 

A virtue he had which I should learn to imitate. He never spoke 
of tvhat was disagreeable and past. I have often wondered and ad- 
mired at this. The thing that he had nothing to do with, ho did 
nothing with. His was a healthy mind. In like manner I have 
seen him always, when we young ones, half roguishly (aud provok- 
ingly, without doubt), were perhaps repeating sayings of his, sit as 
if ho did not hear us at all. Never once did I know him utter a 
word ; only once, that I remember, give a look iu such a case. 

Another virtue the example of which has passed strongly into 
me was his settled placid indifference to the clamors or the mur- 
murs of public opinion. For the judgment of those that had no 
right or power to judge him, he seemed simply to eare nothing at 
all. He very rarely spoke of despising such things. He contented 
himself with altogether disregarding them. Hollow babble it was 
for him, a thing, as Fichte said, that did not exist — das gar nicht 
existirte. There was something truly great in this. The very per- 
fection of it hid from you the extent of the attainment. 

Or rather let us call it a new phasis of the health which in mind 
as in body was conspicuous iu him. Like a healthy man, he want- 
ed only to get along with his task. Whatsoever could not forward 
him iu this (aud how could public opinion aud much else of the 
like sort do?) was of no momeufto him, was not there for him. 

This great maxim of philosophy he had gathered by the teaching 
of nature aloue — that man was created to work, not to speculate 
or feel or dream. Accordingly, he set his whole heart thitherwards. 
He did work wisely and unweariedly (phne Hast aier Bast), and 
perhaps performed more with the tools he had than any man I 
now know. It should have made mo sadder than it did to hear 
the young ones sometimes complaining of his slow punctuality and 
thoroughness. He would leave nothing till it was done. Alas ! 
the age of substance and solidity is goue for the time ; that of show 
and hollow superficiality — in all senses — is in full course. 

And yet ho was a man of open sense ; wonderfully so. I could 
have entertained him for days talking of any matter interesting to 
man. Ho delighted to hear of all things that were worth talking 
of: the mode of living men had — the mode of working; their opin- 
ions, virtues, whole spiritual and temporal environments. 

It is some two years ago (iu summer) since I entertained him 
highly — he was hoeing turnips, and perhaps I helped him — with 
an account of the character aud manner of existence of Francis 
Jeffrey. Another evening he enjoyed — probably it was on this 
very visit — with the heartiest relish my description of the people, 
I think, of Turkey. The Chinese had astonished him much. In 
some magazine he had got a sketch of McCartney's " Embassy," 
tho memory of which never left him. Adam Smith's "Wealth of 
Nations," greatly as it lay out of his course, he had also fallen in 
with, aud admired and understood and remembered so far as he 
had any business with it. I once wrote him about my being iu 
Smithfield Market seven years ago, of my seeing St. Paul's. Both 
things interested him heartily aud dwelt with him. I had hoped 
to tell him much of what I saw iu this secoud visit, and that many 
a long cheerful talk would have given us both some sunny hours, 
but es konnte nimmcr seijn. Patience ! hope ! 

At the same time, he had the most entire and open contempt for 
all idle tattle; what ho called clatter. Any talk that had mean- 
ing in it he could listen to. What had no meaning in it — above 
all, what seemed false — he absolutely could and would not hear, 
but abruptly turned aside from it, or if that might not suit, with 
the besom of destruction swept it far away from him. Long may 



we remember his " I don't believe thee ;" his tongue-paralyziug, 
cold, indifferent " Hah !" I should say of him as I did of our sister* 
whom we lost, that he seldom or never spoke except actually to 
convey an idea, Measured by quantity of words, he was a talker 
of fully average copiousness; by extent of meaning communicated, 
he was the most copious I have listened to. How in few sentences 
he would sketch you off an entire biography, an entire object or 
transaction, keen, clear, rugged, genuine, completely rounded in! 
His words came direct from the heart by the inspiration of the 
moment. 

"It is no idle tale," he said to some laughing rustics while stat- 
ing, in his strong way, some complaint against them, and their 
laughter died into silence. Dear, good father ! There looked hon- 
estly through those clear earnest eyes a sincerity that compelled 
belief aud regard. "Moffat," said ho one day to an incorrigible 
reaper, "thou hast had every feature of a bad shearer — high, 
rough, and little on't. Thou maun alter thy figure or slant the 
bog," pointing to the man's road hoprewards. 

He was irascible, choleric, and we all dreaded his wrath, yet pas- 
sion never mastered him or maddened him. It rather inspired him 
with new vehemence of insight and more piercing emphasis of 
wisdom. It must have been a bold man that did not quail before 
that face wheu glowing with indignation, grounded, for so it ever 
was, on the seuse of right and in resistance of wrong. More than 
ouce has he lifted up his strong voice in tax courts and the like 
before "the gentlemen" (what he knew of highest among men), 
and, rending asunder official sophisms, thundered even into their 
deaf ears the indignant seuteuce of natural justice to the convic- 
tion of all. Oh, why did we laugh at these things while we loved 
them ? There is a tragic greatness and sacredness ih them now. 

I can call my father a brave man (em tapferer). Man's face he 
did not fear ; God he always feared. His revereuce, I think, was 
considerably mixed with fear ; yet not slavish fear, rather awe, as 
of unutterable depths of silence through which flickered a trem- 
bling hope. How he used to speak of death, especially in late 
years — or rather to he silent, and look at it ! There was no feeling 
in him here that he cared to hide. He trembled at the really ter- 
rible ; the mock terrible he cared nought for. That last act of his 
life, when in the last agony, with the thick ghastly vapors of death 
rising round him to choke him, he burst through aud called with 
a man's voice on the great God to have mercy on him — that was 
like tho epitome and concluding summary of his whole life. God 
gave him strength to wrestle with the King of Terrors, and, as it 
were, even then to prevail. All his strength came from God, aud 
ever sought new nourishment there. God be thanked for it. 

Let me not mourn that my father's force is all spent, that his 
valor wars no longer. Has it not gained the victory ? Let me 
imitate him rather. Let his courageous heart beat anew in me, 
that when oppression and opposition unjustly threaten, I too may 
rise with his spirit to front them aud subdue them. 

On the whole, ought I not to rejoice that God was pleased to 
give me such a father ; that from earliest years I had the example 
of a real man of God's own making continually before me? Let 
me learn of him. Let me write my hooks as he built his houses, 
and walk as blamelessly through this shadow world; if God so 
will, to rejoiu him at last. Amen. 

, Alas! such is the miseducation of these days, it is only among 
those that are called tho uneducated classes — those educated by 
experience — that you can look for a Man. Even among these, such 
a. sight is growing daily rarer. My father, iu several respects, has 
not. that I can think of, left his fellow. Ultimas liomanorum. 
Perhaps among Scottish peasants what Samuel Johnson was among 
English authors. I have a sacred pride iu my peasant father, and 
would not exchange him, even now, for any king known to me. 
Gold and tho guinea stamp — the Mau and the clothes of the man. 
Let me thank God for that greatest of blessings, and strive to live 
worthily of it. 

Though from the heart, and practically even more than in words, 
au independent man, ho was by no means an insubordiuate one. 
His bearing towards his superiors I consider noteworthy — of a 
piece with himself. I think in early life, when working in Spring- 
hill for a Sir W.Maxwell — the grandfather of the present Baronet 
— he had got au early respect impressed upon him for the character 
as well as station of a gentleman. I have heard him often describe 
the grave wisdom aud dignified deportment of that Maxwell as of 
a true " ruler of the people." It used to remind mo of the gentle- 
men in Goethe. Sir William, like those he ruled over, and benig- 
nantly, or at least gracefully and earnestly, governed, has passed 
away. But even for tho mere clothes-screens of rank my father 
testified no contempt. He spoko of them in public or private with- 
out acerbity ; testified for them the outward deference which cus- 

• Margaret, who died in 1S31. 



REMINISCENCES. 



torn and convenience prescribed, and felt no degradation therein. 
Their inward claim to regard was a thing which concerned them, 
not him. I love to figure him addressing these men, with bared 
head, by the title of "your honor," with a manner respectful, yet 
unembarrassed ; a certain manly dignity looking through his own 
fiue face, with his noble gray head bent patiently to the, alas! un- 
worthy. Such conduct is, perhaps, no longer possible. 

Withal, he had in general a grave natural politeness. I have 
seen him, wheu the women were perhaps all iu anxiety about the 
disorder, etc., usher men iu with true hospitality into his mean 
house, without any grimace of apologies, or the smallest seemiug 
embarrassment. Were the house but a cabin, it was his, aud they 
were welcome to him, aud what it held. This was agaiu the man. 
His life was " no idle tale ;" not a lie, but a truth, which whoso 
liked was welcome to come aud examine. "An earnest, toilsome 
life," which had also a serious issue. 

The more I reflect ou it, the more I must admire how completely 
nature had taught him ; how completely he was devoted to his 
work, to the task of his life, aud content to let all pass by unheeded 
that had not relation to this. It is a singular fact, for example, 
that though a man of such opeuuess and clearness, he had never, I 
believe, read three pages of Burus's poems. Not even when all 
about him became noisy aud enthusiastic, I the loudest, ou that 
matter, did he feel it worth while to renew his investigation of 
it, or once turn his face towards it. The poetry he liked (he did 
not call it poetry) was truth, aud the wisdom of reality. Burns, 
indeed, could have done nothing for him. As high a greatness 
hung over his world as over that of Burns — the ever-present great- 
ness of the Iunuite itself. Neither was he, like Burns, called to 
rebel against 'the world, but to labor patiently at his task there, 
uniting the possible with the necessary to bring out the real, 
whereiu also lay au ideal. Burns could not have iu auy way 
strengthened him iu this course, and therefore was for him a phe- 
nomenon merely. Nay, rumor had been so busy with Burns, aud 
destiny and his own desert had in very deed so marred his name, 
that the good rather avoided him. Yet it was not with aversion 
that my father regarded Burns; at worst with indifference aud 
neglect. I have heard him speak of once seeing him standing iu 
"Rob Scott's smithy" (at Ecclefechan, no doubt superintending 
some work). He heard one say, "There is the poet Burns." He 
went out to look, aud saw a man with boots on, like a well-dressed 
farmer, walking down the village on the opposite side of the burn. 
This was all the relation these two men ever had ; they were very 
nearly coevals.* I knew Robert Burns, and I knew my father. 
Yet were you to ask me which had the greater natural faculty, I 
might perhaps actually pause before replying. Burus had an infi- 
nitely wider education, my father a far wholesomer. Besides, the 
one was a man of musical utterance; the other wholly a man of 
action, with speech subservient thereto. Never, of all the men I 
have seen, has one come personally in my way in whom the en- 
dowment from nature and the arena from fortune were so utterly 
out of all proportion. I have said this often, aud partly know it. 
As a man of speculation — had culture ever unfolded him — he must 
have gone wild and desperate as Burns ; but he was a man of con- 
duct, and work keeps all right. What strange shapable creatures 
■we are ! 

My father's education was altogether of the worst aud most lim- 
ited. I believe he was never more than three months at auy school. 
What he learned there showed what he might have learned. A 
solid knowledge of arithmetic, a fiue antique handwriting — these, 
with other limited practical etceteras, were all the things he ever 
heard mentioned as excellent. He had no room to strive for more. 
Poetry, fiction iu general, he had universally seen treated as not 
only idle, but false aud criminal. This was the spiritual element 
he had lived in almost to old age. But greatly his most important 
culture he had gathered — and this, too, by his own endeavors — 
from the better part of the district, the religious men ; to whom, 
as to the most excellent, his own nature gradually attached and 
attracted him. Ho was religious with the cousent of his whole 
faculties. Without religion he would have been nothing. Indeed, 
his habit of intellect was thoroughly free, and even incredulous. 
Aud strongly enough did the daily example of this work afterwards 
ou me. " Putting out the natural eye of his mind to see better 
with a telescope" — this was no scheme for him. But he was in 
Aunandale, aud it was above fifty years ago,t and a Gospel was still 
preached there to the heart of a man iu the tones of a man. Re- 
ligion was the pole-star for my father. Rude and uncultivated as 
he otherwise was, it made him and kept him " iu all points a man." 
Oh ! wheu I think that all the area in boundless space he had 
seen was limited to a circle of some fifty miles' diameter (he never 

* Bums died the year after Thomas Carlyle was born, 
t Written in 1832. 



in his life was farther or elsewhere so far from home as at Craigen- 
puttoch), and all his knowledge of the boundless time was derived 
from his Bible and what the oral memories of old men could give 
him, and his own could gather; and yet, that he was such, I could 
take shame to myself. I feel to my father — so great though so 
neglected, so generous also towards me — a strange tenderness, and 
mingled pity and reverence peculiar to the case, infinitely soft and 
near my heart. Was he not a sacrifice to me? Had I stood in his 
place, could he not have stood in mine, and more? Thou food fa- 
ther! well may I forever honor thy memory. Surely that act was 
not without its reward. Aud was not nature great, out of such 
materials to make such a man ? 

Though genuine and cohereut, "living and life-giving," he was, 
nevertheless, but half developed. We had all to complain that we 
durst not freely love him. His heart seemed as if walled iu; he 
had not the free means to uubosom himself. My mother has owned 
to me that she could never understand him ; that her affection and 
(with all their little strifes) her admiration of him was obstructed. It 
seemed as if an atmosphere of fear repelled us from him. To me it 
was especially so. Till late years, when he began to respect me 
more, and, as it were, to look up to me for instruction, for protec- 
tion (a relation unspeakably beautiful), I was ever more or less 
awed and chilled* before him. My heart and tongue played freely 
only with my mother. He had an air of deepest gravity, even 
sternness. Yet he could laugh with his whole throat, and his whole 
heart. I have often seen him weep, too ; his voice would thicken 
and his lips curve while reading the Bible. He had a merciful 
heart to real distress, though he hated idleness, and for imbecility 
and fatuity had no tolerance. Once — and I think once onh — I 
saw him iu a passiou of tears. It was when the remains of my 
mother's fever hung upon her, in 1817, and seemed to threaten the 
extinction of her reason. We were all of us nigh desperate. and our- 
selves mad. He burst at last into quite a torrent of grief, cried 
piteously, aud threw himself on the floor and lay moauiug. I won- 
dered, aud had no words, no tears. It was as if a rock of granite 
had melted, aud was thawing into water. What unknown seas of 
feeling lie iu man, and will from time to time break through! 

He was no niggard, but truly a wisely generous economist. He 
paid his men handsomely and with overplus. He had known pov- 
erty in the shape of actual want (iu boyhood) and never had one 
penny which he knew not well how he had come by ("picked," as 
he said, " out of the hard stone "), yet he ever parted with money 
as a man that knew when he was getting money's worth ; that 
could give also, and with a frank liberality when the fit occasion 
called. I remember with the peculiar kind of tenderness that at- 
taches to mauy similar things in his life, one, or rather, I think, 
two times, wheu he sent me to buy a quarter of a pound of tobacco, 
to give to some old women whom he had had gathering potatoes 
for him. He nipped off for each a handsome leash, and handed it 
her by way of over and above. This was a common principle with 
him. I must have been twelve or thirteen when I fetched this to- 
bacco. I love to think of it. " The little that a just man hath." 
The old women are now perhaps all dead. He, too, is dead, but 
the gift still lives. 

He was a man singularly free from affectation. The feeling that 
he had not he could in no wise preteud to have ; however ill the 
want of it might look, he siniply would not, and did not, put on the 
show of it. 

Siugularly free from envy I may reckon him too, the rather if I 
consider his keen temper and the value he naturally (as a man 
wholly for action) set upon success in life. Others that (by better 
fortune ; none was more industrious or more prudent) had grown 
richer than he did not seem to provoke the smallest grudging in 
him. They were going their path, he going his ; one did not im- 
pede the other. He rather seemed to look at such with a kind of 
respect, a desire to learn from them — at lowest, with indifference. 

In like manner, though he above all things (iudeed, iu strictness 
solely) admired talent, he seemed never to have measured himself 
anxiously against any oue ; was conteut to be taught by whomsoever 
could teach him. Oue or two men, immeasurably his inferiors iu 
faculty, he, I do believe, looked up to aud thought, witli perfect 
composure, abler minds than himself. 

Complete, at the same time, was his confidence in his own judg- 
ment wheu it spoke to him decisively. He was oue of those few 
that could believe aud know as well as inquire and bo of opinion. 
When I remember how much he admired intellectual force, how 
much he had of it himself, and yet how unconsciously aud content- 
edly he gave others credit for superiority, I again see the healthy 
spirit of the genuine man. Nothing could please him better than 
a well-ordered discourse of reason, the clear solution and exposition 
of any object, and he knew well in such cases when the nail had 
been hit, and contemptuously enough recognized wheu it had been 
missed. He has said of a bad preacher, " he was like a fly wading 



JAMES CAKLYLE. 



among tar." Clearness, emphatic clearness, was his highest cate- 
gory of mail's thinking power. He delighted always to hear good 
argument. He would often say, " I would like to hear thee argue 
with him." He said this of Jeffrey and me, with an air of such sim- 
ple earnestness, not two years ago (1830), and it was his true feel- 
ing. I have often pleased him much by arguing with men (as many 
years ago I was prone to do) in his presence. He rejoiced greatly 
in my success, at all events in my dexterity aud manifested force. 
Others of us he admired for our " activity," our practical valor and 
skill, all of us (generally speaking) for onr decent demeanor in the 
world. It is now one of my greatest blessings (for which I would 
thank Heaven from the heart) that he lived to see me, through va- 
rious obstructions, attain some look of doing well. He had "edu- 
cated " me against much advice, I believe, and chiefly, if not solely, 
from his own noble faith. James Bell, one of our wise men, had 
told him, " Educate a boy, and he grows up to despise his ignorant 
parents." My father once told me this, aud added, " Thou hast not 
done so ; God be thanked for it." I have reason to think my father 
■was proud of me (not vain, for he never, except when provoked, 
openly bragged of us); that here too he lived to see the pleasure 
of the Lord prosper in his hands. Oh, was it not a happiness for 
me ! The fame of all this planet were not henceforth so precious. 

He was thrifty, patient, careless of outward accommodation, had 
a Spartan indifference to all that. When he quarrelled about such 
things, it was rather because some human mismanagement seemed to 
look through the evil. Food and all else were simply aud solely 
there as'tho means for doing work. We have lived for months of 
old (and when he was not any longer poor), because by ourselves, 
on porridge and potatoes, with no other condiment thau what our 
owu cow yielded. Thus are we not now all beggars, as the most 
like us have become. Mother and father were assiduous, abstemi- 
ous, frugal without stinginess. They shall not want their reward. 
Both still knew what they were doing in this world, and why they 
were here. " Man's chief end," my father could have answered from 
the depths of his soul, "is to glorify God aud enjoy Mm forever." 
By this light he walked, choosing his path, fitting prudence to prin- 
ciple with wonderful skill and manliness ; through " the ruins of a 
falling era," not once missing his footing. Go thou, whom by the 
hard toil of his arms aud his mind he has struggled to enlighten 
better; go thon, aud do likewise. 

His death was unexpected? Not so; every morning and every 
evening, for perhaps sixty years, he had prayed to the Great Father 
in words which I shall now no more hear him impressively pro- 
nounce, " Prepare us for those solemn events, death, judgment, and 
eternity." He would pray also, " Forsake us not now wheu we are 
old aud our heads grown gray." God did not forsake him. 

Ever since I can remember, his honored head was gray ; indeed, 
he must have been about forty when I was born. It was a noble 
head ; very large, the upper part of it strikingly like that of the 
poet Goethe ; the mouth again bearing marks of uurefinemeut, shut, 
indeed, and significant, yet loosely compressed (as I have seen in 
the firmest men if used to hard manual labor), betokeniug depth, 
passiouateness, force ; all in an element not of languor, yet of toil 
and patient perennial endurance. A face full of meaning* and 
earnestness, a man of strength and a man of toil. Jane (Mrs. Car- 
lyle) took a profile of him when she was last in Auuaudale. It is 
the only memorial we have left, and worth much to us. He was 
short of stature, yet shorter thau usual only in the limbs ; of great 
muscular strength, far more than even his strong-built frame gave 
promise of. In all things he was emphatically temperate ; through 
life guilty, more thau can be said of almost any man, of no excess. 

He was born, I think, in the year 1757, at a place called Brown- 
knowe, a small farm not far from Burnswark Hill, in Annaudale. I 
have heard him describe the anguish of miud he felt when leaving 
this place, aud taking farewell of a "big stone" whereon he had 
been wont to sit in early boyhood tending the cattle. Perhaps 
there was a thorn -tree near it. His heart, he said, was like to 
burst; they were removing to Sibbaldry Side, another farm in the 
valley of Dryfe. He was come to full manhood. The family was 
exposed to great privations while at Brownknowe. The mother, 
Mary Gillespie (she had relations at Dryfesdale) was left with her 
children, and had not always meal to make them porridge. My fa- 
ther was the second son and fourth child. My grandfather, Thomas 
Carlyle, after whom I am named, was an honest, vehement, advent- 
urous, but not an industrious man. He used to collect vigorously 
and rigorously a sum sufficient for his half-year's rent (probably 
some five or six pounds), lay this by, and, for the rest, leaving the 
mother with her little ones to manage very much as they could, 
would meanwhile amuse himself, perhaps hunting, most probably 
with the Laird of Bridekirk (a swashbuckler of those days, com- 

• Carlyle breaks off for a moment and writes these words : "About this hour is 
the funeral. Irving enters. Unsatisfactory." He then goes on. 



poser of " Bridekirk's Hunting"), partly in the character of kins- 
man, partly of attendant and henchman. I have heard my father 
describe the shifts they were reduced to at home. Once, he said, 
meal, which had perhaps been long scarce, aud certainly for some 
time wanting, arrived at last late at night. The mother proceeded 
on the spot to make cakes of it, aud had no fuel but straw that she 
tore from the beds (straw lies under the chaff sacks we all slept on) 
to do it with. The children all rose to eat. Potatoes were little 
in use then ; a " wechtful " was stored up to be eateu perhaps about 
Halloween. My father often told us how he once, with a provi- 
dence early manifested, got possession of four potatoes, and, think- 
ing that a tiule of want might come, hid them carefully against the 
evil day. He fouud them long after all grown together; they had 
not been needed. I think he ouce told us his first short clothes 
were a hull made mostly or wholly of leather. We all only laugh- 
ed, for it is now long ago. Thou dear father! Through what stern 
obstructions was thy way to manhood to be forced, aud for us and 
for our travelling to be made smooth ! 

My grandfather, whom I can remember as a slightish, wiry-look- 
ing old man, had not possessed the wisdom of his son. Yet per- 
haps he was more to be pitied than blamed. His mother, whose 
name I have forgotten, was early left a widow with two of them, 
in the parish, perhaps in the village, of Middlebie. Thomas, the 
elder, became a joiner and went to work iu Lancashire, perhaps in 
Lancaster, where lie stayed more than one season. He once re- 
turned home iu winter, partly by ice — skating along the West- 
moreland and Cumberland lakes. He was in Dumfriesshire iu 1745 ; 
saw the Highlanders come through Ecclefechau over the Border 
heights as they went down ; was at Dumfries amoug them as they 
returned back in flight. He had gone, by the Lady of Bridekirk's 
request, to look after the Laird, whom, as a Whig of some note, 
they had taken prisoner. His whole adventures there he had mi- 
nutely described to his children (I, too, have heard him speak, but 
briefly aud indistinctly, of them) ; by my uncle Frank I once got a 
full account of the matter, which shall perhaps bo inserted else- 
where. He worked as carpeuter, I know not how long, about Mid- 
dlebie ; theu laid aside that craft (except as a side business, for he 
always had tools which I myself have assisted him in grinding) aud 
went to Brownknowe to farm. Iu his latter days he was chiefly 
supported by my father, to whom I remember once hearing him 
say, witli a half-choked tremulous palsied voice, " Thou hast been 
a good sou to me." He died in 1804. I well remember the funeral, 
which I was at, aud that I read (being then a good reader), " Mac- 
Ewen on the Types "(which I have not seen since, but then par- 
tially understood aud even liked for its glib smoothness) to the 
people sitting at the wake. The funeral was in time of snow. All 
is still very clear to me. The three brothers, my father, Frank, aud 
Tom, spoke together iu the dusk on the street of Ecclefechau, I 
looking up aud listening. Tom proposed that he would bear the 
whole expense, as he had been " rather backward during his life," 
which offer was immediately rejected. 

Old Thomas Carlyle had been proud and poor. No doubt he was 
discontented enough. Industry was perhaps more difficult iu An- 
naudale then (this I do not think very likely). At all events, the 
man in honor (the man) of those days in that rude border country 
was a drinker and hunter; above all, a striker. My grandfather 
did not drink, but his stroke was ever as ready as his word, aud 
both were sharp enough. He was a fiery man, irascible, indomi- 
table, of the toughness aud springiness of steel. An old inarket- 
brawl, called the " Ecclefechau Dog-fight," in which he was a prin- 
cipal, survives in tradition there to this day. My father, who in 
youth too had been in quarrels, and formidable enough in them, but 
from manhood upwards abhorred all such things, never ouce spoke 
to us of this. My grandfather had a certaiu religiousness; but it 
could not be made dominant and paramount. His life lay iu two. 
I figure him as very miserable, and pardon (as my father did) all 
his irregularities and unreasons. My father liked, in general, to 
speak of him when it came in course. He told us sometimes of his 
once riding down to Annau (when a boy) behind him, on a sack of 
barley to be shipped, for which there was then no other mode of con- 
veyance but horseback. On arriving at Annan bridge, the people de- 
manded three-halfpence of toll money. This the old man would in 
no wise pay, for tolls were then reckoned pure imposition, got soon 
into argument about it, and rather than pay it turned his horse's 
head aside and swam the river at a dangerous place, to the extreme 
terror of his boy. Perhaps it was on this same occasion, while the 
two were on the shore about Whinnyrigg with many others on the 
same errand (for a boat had come in, from Liverpool probably, and 
the country must hasten to ship) that a lad of larger size jeered at 
the little boy for his ragged coat, etc. Whereupon his father, 
doubtless provoked too, gave him permission to fight the wrong- 
doer, which he did, and with victory. "Man's inhumanity to 
man." 



REMINISCENCES. 



I must not dwell on these things, yet will mention the other 
brother, my grand -uncle Francis, still remembered by his title, 
" the Captain of Middlebio." He was bred a shoemaker, aud, like 
his elder brother, went to travel for work aud insight. My father 
once described to me with pity aud aversion how Frauds had on 
some occasion taken to drinking and to gamiug " far up in Eug- 
laud " (Bristol ?), had lost all his money, and gone to bed drunk. 
He awoke next morning in horrors, started up, stung by the serpent 
of remorse, aud flinging himself out of bed, broke his leg agaiust a 
table standing near, aud lay there sprawling, and had to lie for 
-weeks, with nothing to pay the shot. Perhaps this was the crisis 
of his life. Perhaps it was to pay the bill of this very tavern that 
he went aud enlisted himself ou board some small-craft man-of-war. 
A mutiny (as I have heard) took place, wherein Francis Carlyle 
with great daring stood by the captain aud quelled the matter, for 
which service he was promoted to the command of a revenue ship, 
and sailed therein chiefly about the Solway seas, aud did feats 
enough, of which perhaps elsewhere. He had retired with dignity 
on half-pay to his native Middlebie before my birth. I never saw 
him but once, and then rather memorably. 

My grandfather and he, owing to some sort of cloud and misun- 
derstanding, had not had auy intercourse for long ; iu which di- 
vision the two families had joined. But now, when old Thomas 
was lying on his probable, aud as it proved actual, death-bed, the 
old rugged sea-captain relented, aud resolved to see his brother yet 
once before he died. 

He came in a cart to Ecclefechau (a great enterprise then, for the 
road was all water-cut, aud nigh impassable with roughness). I 
chanced to be standing by when he arrived. He was a grim, broad, 
to me almost terrible man, unwieldy so that he could not walk. 
(My brother John is said to resemble him. He was my prototype 
of Smollett's Trunnion). They lifted him up the steep straight 
stairs in a chair to the room of the dying man. The two old 
brothers saluted each other, hovering over the brink of the grave. 
They were both above eighty. In some twenty minutes the arm- 
chair was seeu again desceuding (my father bore one corner of it iu 
front) ; the old man had parted with his brother for the last time. 
Ho went away with few words, but with a face that still dimly 
haunts me, and I never saw him more. The business at the momeut 
was quite uuknowu to me, but I gathered it iu a day or two, and 
its full meaning loug afterwards grew clear to me. Its outward 
phases, now after some twenty-eight years, is plain as I have writ- 
ten! Old Francis also died uot loug afterwards. 

One vague tradition I will mention, that our humble forefathers 
dwelt loug as farmers at Burrens, the old Roinau station iu Middle- 
bie. Once, in times of border robbery, some Cumberlaud cattle 
had been stolen aud were chased. The traces of them disappeared 
at Burreus, aud the angry Cumbrians demanded of the poor farmer 
what, had become of them. It was vain for him to auswer and aver 
(truly) that he knew nothing of them, had no concern with them. 
He was seized by the people, and despite his own desperate prot- 
estations, despite his wife's shriekiugs aud his childreu's cries, he 
was hanged on the spot. The case even in those days was thought 
piteous, and a perpetual gift of the little farm was made to the 
poor widow as some compensation. Her children and childreu's 
children continued to possess it till their title was questioned by 
the Duke (of Queeusberry), and they (perhaps in my great-graud- 
father's time, about 1720) were ousted. Date and circumstances 
for the tale are all wanting. This is my remotest outlook into the 
past, and itself but a cloudy half or whole hallucination ; farther 
on there is uot even a hallucination. I now return: These things 
are secular aud unsatisfactory. 

Bred up iu such circumstances, the boys were accustomed to all 
mauner of hardship, aud must trust for upbringing to nature, to 
the scanty precepts of their poor mother, and to what seeds or in- 
fluences of culture were hanging, as it were, iu the atmosphere of 
their environment. Poor boys! they had to scramble, sclatne for 
their very clothes and food. They knit, they thatched for hire, 
above all, they hunted. My father had tried all these things al- 
most iu boyhood. Every dell and buru-gate and clengh of that dis- 
trict ho had traversed, seeking hares aud the like. He used to tell 
of these pilgrimages. Once I remember his gun-flint was tied on 
with a hat-band. He was a real hunter, like a wild Indian, from 
necessity. The hare's flesh was food. Hare-skins (at some six- 
pence each) would accumulate into the purchase-money of a coat. 
All these things he used to speak of without either boastiug or 
complaining, uot as reproaches to us, but as historical merely. On 
the whole, he never complained either of the past, the present, or 
the future. He observed and accurately noted all : he made the 
most and the best of all. His hunting years were not useless to 
him. Misery was early training the rugged boy iuto a stoic, that 
one day he might be the assurance of a Scottish man. 

One Macleod, Sandy Macleod, a wandering peusioncr invalided 



out of some Highland regiment (who had served iu America, I must 
think with General Wolfe), had strayed to Brownknowe with his 
old wife and takeu a cottage of my grandfather. He, with his 
wild foreign legends and strange, half- idiotic, half- genial ways, 
was a great figure with the youug ones, and I think acted not a 
little on their character, — least of any, however, on my father, 
whose early tnru for the practical aud real made him more heed- 
less of Macleod aud his vagaries. The old pensioner had quaint 
sayings uot without significance. Of a lachrymose, complaining 
man, for example, he said (or perhaps to him), " he might be thank- 
ful he was uot in purgatory." 

The quaint fashion of speaking, assumed for humor, and most 
noticeable in my uucle Frauk, least or hardly at all in my father, 
was, no doubt, partly derived from this old wanderer, who was 
much about their house, working for his rent and so forth, and was 
partly laughed at, partly wondered at, by the young ones. Tinkers 
also, nestliug iu outhouses, making pot-metal, and with rude feuds 
and warfare, often came upon the scene. These, with passing High- 
land drovers, were perhaps their only visitors. Had there not been 
a natural goodness and indestructible force iu my father, I see not 
how he could have bodied himself forth from these mean impedi- 
ments. I suppose good precepts were not wanting. There was 
the Bible to read. Old John Orr, the schoolmaster, used from time 
to time to lodge with them; he was religious and enthusiastic 
(though iu practice irregular with drink). In my grandfather, 
also, there seems to have been a certain geniality; for instance, he 
and a ueighbor, Thomas Hogg, read "Anson's Voyages;" also the 
"Arabian Nights," for which latter my father, armed with zealous 
conviction, scrupled not to censure them opeuly. By oue means 
and another, at an early age ho had acquired priuciples, lights that 
not only flickered, but shone steadily to guide his way. 

It must have been iu his teeus, perhaps rather early, that he aud 
his elder brother John, with William Bell (afterwards of Wylie 
Hill, and a noted drover) aud his brother, all met in the kiln at 
Relief to play cards. The corn was dried then at home. There 
was a fire, therefore, aud perhaps it was both heat and light. The 
boys had played, perhaps, often enough for trifling stakes, aud al- 
ways parted in good humor. Oue night they came to some disa- 
greement. My father spoke out what was in him about the folly, 
the sinfulness, of quarrelliug over a perhaps sinful amusement. 
The earnest miud persuaded other minds. They threw the cards 
into the fire, and (I think the younger Bell told my brother James) 
no one of the four ever touched a card again through life. My fa- 
ther certainly never hinted at such a game since I knew him. I 
caunot remember that I, at that age, had any such force of belief. 
Which of us can ? 

[Friday itif/ht. My father is now iu his grave, sleeping by the 
side of his loved ones, his face to the east, under the hope of meet- 
ing the Lord wheu He shall come to' judgment, when the times 
shall be fulfilled. Mysterious life ! Yes, there is a God in man. 
Sileuce ! since thou hast no voice. To imitate him, I will pause 
here for the night. God comfort my brother. God guard them 
all.] 

Of old John Orr I must say another word. My father, who often 
spoke of him, though not so much latterly, gave mo copious de- 
scription of that aud other antiquarian matters in one of the pleas- 
aiitest days I remember, the last time but one (or perhaps two) that 
wo talked together. A tradition of poor old Orr, as of a man of bound- 
less love aud natural worth, still faintly lives in Auuaudale. If I 
mistake not, he worked also as a shoemaker. He was heartily de- 
vout, yet subject to fits of irregularity. He would vanish for 
weeks iuto obscure tippliug-houses ; tneu reappear, ghastly and 
haggard in body and mind, shattered iu health, torn with gnawing 
remorse. Perhaps it was in some dark interval of this kind (he 
was already old) that he bethought him of his father, and how ho 
was still lyiug without a stone of memorial. John had already or- 
dered a tombstoue for him, and it was lying worked, and, I sup- 
pose, lettered and ready, at some mason's establishmeut (up the 
water of Meiu), but never yet carried to the place. Probably On- 
had not a shilling of money to hire any carter with, but he hur- 
ried off to the spot, and desperately got the stoue on his back. It 
was a load that had nigh killed him. He had to set it down ever 
and anon aud rest, and get it up again. The night fell. I thiuk 
some oue fouud him desperately struggling with it uear Main Hill, 
aud assisted him, aud got it set in its place. 

Though far above all quackery, Orr was actually employed to 
exorcise a house ; some house or room at Orchard, in the parish of 
Hoddam. He entered the haunted place; was closeted iu it for 
some time, speaking and praying. The ghost was really and truly 
laid, for no one heard more of it. Beautiful reverence, even of the 
rude and ignorant, for the infinite nature of wisdom in the infinite 
life of man. 

Orr, as already said, used to come much about Browuknowe, be- 



JAMES CAELYLE. 



ing habitually itinerant, and (though schoolmaster of Hoddam) 
without settled home. Ho commonly, my father said, slept with 
some of tho boys ; in a place ■where, as usual, there were several 
beds. He would call out from the bed to my grandfather, also in 
his, " Gudeman, I have found it ;" found the solution of some prob- 
lem or other, perhaps arithmetical, which they had been struggling 
■with; or, "Gudeman, what d'ye think of this?" 

I represent him to myself as a squat, pursy kind of figure, grim, 
dusky ; the blandest aud most bounteous of cynics. Also a form of 
tho past. He was my father's sole teacher in schooling. 

It might be in the year, I think, 1773, that one William Brown, a 
mason from Peebles, came down into Annandale to do some work ; 
perhaps boarded in my grandfather's house; at all events, married 
his eldest daughter's child, my uow old and vehement, then young 
aud spirited, auut Fanuy. This worthy man, whose nephew is still 
minister of Eskdalemuir (and author of a book on the Jews), proved 
the greatest blessing to that household. My father would, in any 
case, have saved himself. Of the other brothers, it may be doubted 
whether William Brown was not the primary preserver. They all 
learned to he masons from him, or from one another; instead of mis- 
cellaneous laborers and hunters, became regular tradesmen, the best 
in all their district, tho skilfullest and faithfullest, and the best-re-^ 
warded every way. Except my father, none of them attained a 
decisive reljgiousuess. But they all had prudence and earnestness, 
love of truth, industry, and the blessings it brings. My father, be- 
fore my time, though not tho eldest, had become, in all senses, the 
heail of tho house. The eldest was called John. Ho early got 
asthma, and for long could not work, though he got his share of 
the wages still. I can faintly remember him as a pallid, sickly 
figure; and oven one or two insignificant words, and the breathless 
tone ho uttered them in. When seized with extreme fits of sick- 
ness, ho used to gasp out, " Bring Jamie; do send for Jamie." He 
died, I think, in 1802. I remember the funeral, and perhaps a day 
before it, how an ill-behaving servant wench lifted up the coverlid 
from off his pale, ghastly, betilleted head to show it to some crony 
of hers ; unheeding of me, who was alone with them, and to whom 
the sight gave a new pang of horror. Ho was tho father of two 
sons and a daughter, beside whom our boyhood was passed, none of 
whom have come to anything but insignificance. He was a well- 
doing man, and left them well ; but their mother was not wise, nor 
they decidedly so. Tho youngest brother — my uncle Tom — died 
next ; a fiory, passionate, self-secluded, warm, loving, genuine soul, 
without fear and without guile : of whom it is recorded, he never, 
from the first tones of speech, "told any lies." A true old-Romau 
soul, yet so marred and stunted, who well deserves a chapter to 
himself, especially from me, who so lovingly admired him. He de- 
parted in my father's house, in my presence, in the year 1815, the 
first death I had ever understood and laid with its whole emphasis 
to heart. Frank followed next, at an interval of somo five years; 
a quaint, social, cheerful man, of less earnestness but more open- 
ness, fond of genealogies, old historic poems, queer sayings, aud all 
curious and humane things he could come at. 

This made him the greatest favorite. The rest were rather 
feared ; my father, ultimately at least, universally feared aud re- 
spected. Frank left two sons, as yet young ; ono of whom, my 
namesake, gone to be a lawyer, is rather clever, how clever I have 
not fully seen. All these brothers wcro men of evidently rather 
peculiar eudowment. They were (consciously) noted for their 
brotherly affection aud coherence, for their hard sayings aud hard 
strikings, which only my father ever grow heartily to detest. All of 
them became prosperous; got a name and possessions in their de- 
gree. It was a kindred warmly liked, I believe, by those near it ; 
by those at a distance, viewed at worst aud lowest, as something 
dangerous to meddle with, something not to bo meddled with. 

What are tho rich or tho poor? aud how do the simple annals of 
the poor differ from the complex annals of the rich, were they never 
so rich ? What, is thy attainment compared with an Alexander's, 
a Mahomet's, a Napoleon's ? And what was theirs ? A temporary 
fraction of this plauetkiu, tho whole round of which is but a sand- 
grain in the all, its whole duration but a moment in eternity. The 
poorer lifo or the rich one are but the larger or smaller (very little 
smaller) letters in which we write the apothegms and goldeu say- 
ings of life. It may bo a false saying or it may be a true one. 
There lies it all. This is of quite infinite moment; tho rest is, 
verily and indeed, of next to none. 

Perhaps my father was William Brown's first apprentice. Some- 
where about his sixteenth year, early in the eourso of the engage- 
ment, work grew scarce in Annandale. The two " slung their tools " 
(mallets and irons hung in two equipoised masses over the shoul- 
der), and crossed tho hills into Nithsdalo to Auldgarth, where a 
bridge was building. This was my father's most foreign adventure. 
He never again, or before, saw anything so new ; or, except when 
he came to Craigenputtoch on visits, so distant. He loved to speak 



of it. That talking day we had together I made him toll it mo all 
over again from the beginning, as a whole, for the first time. Ho 
was a " hewer," and had some few pence a day. He could describe 
with the lucidest distinctness how tho whole work went on, and 
" headers" and "closers," solidly massed together, made an impreg- 
nable pile. Ho used to hear sermons in Closebuxn church ; some- 
times too in Dmiscore. Tho men had a refreshment of ale, for 
which he too used to table his twopence; but the grown-up men 
generally, for the most part, refused them. A superintendent of the 
work, a mason from Edinburgh, who did nothing but look on, and. 
rather decidedly, insist on terms of contract, "took a great notion" 
of him ; was for having him to Edinburgh along with him. Tho 
master builder, pleased with his ingenious diligence, once laid a 
shilling on his "banker" (stouo bench for hewing on), which he 
rather ungraciously refused. A flood once carried oft' all the centres 
aud woodwork. He saw the master anxiously, tremulously, -watch 
through the rain as the waters rose. When they prevailed, and all 
went headlong, the poor man, wringing his hands together, spread 
them out with open palms down the river, as if to say, " There !" 

It was a noble moment, which I regret to have missed, when my 
father going to look at Craigenputtoch saw this work for the first 
time again after a space of more than fifty years. How changed 
was all else, this thing yet the same. Then he was a poor boy, now 
ho was a respected old man, increased in worldly goods, honored in 
himself and in his household. Ho grew alert, (Jamie said) aud 
eagerly observant, eagerly yet with sadness. Our couutry was all 
altered ; browsing kuowes were become seed-fields ; trees, then not 
so much as seeds, uow waved out broad boughs. The houses, tho 
fields, the men, wore of another fashion. There was little that he 
could recognize. On reaching tho bridge itself, he started up to his 
kuees in the cart, sat wholly silent, and seemed on tho point of 
weeping. 

Well do I remember tho first time I saw this bridge twelve years 
ago in tho dusk of a May day. I had walked from Muirkirk, sickly, 
forlorn, of saddest mood (for it was then my days of darkness). A. 
rustic answered me, "Auldgarth." There it lay, silent, red in the 
red dusk. It was as if half a century of past time had fatefnlly for 
moments turned hack. 

The master builder of this bridge was ono Stewart of Minniyve, 
who afterwards became my uncle John Aitken's father-in-law. 
Him I once saw. My Craigenputtoch mason, James Hainning's 
father, was the smith that " sharpened the tools." A noble craft it 
is, that of a mason; a good building will last longer than most 
books, than one book of a million. The Auldgarth bridge still spans 
the. water silently, defies its chafing. There hangs it, and will hang, 
grim and strong, when of all the cunning hands that piled it to- 
gether, perhaps the last now is powerless in the sleep of death. O 
Time ! O Time ! wondrous and fearful art thou ; yet there is in inau 
what is above thee. 

Of my father's youth and opening manhood, and with what spe- 
cialities this period was marked, I have but an imperfect notion. 
He was now master of his own actions, possessed of means by his 
own earning, aud had to try the world on various sides, and ascer- 
tain wherein his own " chief end " in it actually lay. Tho first im- 
pulse of man is to seek for enjoyment. He lives with more or less 
impetuosity, more or less irregularity, to conquer for himself a home 
aud blessedness of a mere earthly kind.' Not till later (in how 
many cases never !) does he ascertain that on earth there is no such 
home : that his true home lies beyond the world of sense, is a celes- 
tial home. Of these experimenting aud tentative days my father 
did not speak with much pleasure ; not at all with exultation. He 
considered them days of folly, perhaps sinful days. Yet I well 
know that his life even then was marked by temperance (in all 
senses), that he was abstemious, prudent, industrious as very few. 

I have a dim picture of him in his little world. In summer 
season diligently, cheerfully laboring with trowel and hammer, 
amused by grave talk and grave humor with the doers of the craft. 
Building, walling, is an operation that beyond most other manual 
ones requires incessant consideration — even new invention. I 
have heard good judges say that he excelled in it all persons they 
had seen. In the depth of winter I figure him with the others 
gathered round his father's hearth (now no longer so poor and des- 
olate), hunting (but now happily for amusement, not necessity ), 
present here and there at some merry meetings and social doings, as 
poor Annandale, for poor yet God-created men, might then offer. 
Contentions occur. In these he was no man to be played with : 
fearless, formidable (I think to all). 

In after-times he looked back with sorrow on such things — yet 
to mo they were not, aud are not, other than interesting and inno- 
cent — scarcely ever, perhaps never, to be considered as aggressions, 
but always as defences, manful assertions of man's rights against 
men that would infringe them — and victorious ones. I can faintly 
picture out one scene which I got from him many years ago; per- 



6 



REMINISCENCES. 



laps it was at some singing-school ; a huge rude peasant was rudely 
insulting and defying the party my father belonged to, and the oth- 
ers quailed and bore it till he could bear it no longer, but clutches 
his rough adversary (who had been standing, I think, at some dis- 
tance on some sort of height) \>y the two flanks, swiugs him with 
ireful force round in the air, hitting his feet agaiust some open door, 
and hurled him to a distauce, supine, lamed, vanquished, and utterly 
humbled. The whole business looks to me to have passed physi- 
cally in a tronbless moonlight. 

In the same environment and hue does it now stand in my mem- 
ory, sad and stern. He could say of such things, "I am wae to 
think ou't:" wae from repentance. Happy he who has nothing 
■worse to repent of. 

In the vanities and gallantries of life (though such as these would 
come across him), he seems to have very sparingly mingled. One 
Robert Henderson, a dashing projector and devotee, with a dashing 
daughter, came often up in conversation. This was perhaps (as it 
were) my father's introduction to the " pride of life :" from which, 
as his wont was, he appears to have derived little but instruction, 
hut expansion and experience. I have good reason to know he 
never addressed any woman except with views that were pure and 
manly. But happily he had been enabled very soon in this choice 
of the false and present against the true and future, to " choose the 
better part." Happily there still existed iu Anuaudale an influence 
of goodness, pure emblems of a religion. There were yet men liv- 
ing from whom a youth of earnestness might learn by example how 
to become a man. Old Robert Brand, my father's maternal uucle, 
was probably of very great influence on him iu this respect. Old 
Robert was a rigorous religionist, thoroughly filled with a celestial 
philosophy of this earthly life, which showed impressively through 
his stout decision and somewhat cross-grained deeds and words. 
Sharp sayings of his are still recollected there, not uuworthy of 
preserving. He was a man of iron firmness, a just man, and of wise 
insight. I think my father, consciously and unconsciously, may 
have learnt more from him than from any other individual. From 
the time when he connected himself openly with the religious, be- 
came a Burgher (strict, not strictest species of Presbyterian Dis- 
senter), may be dated his spiritual majority ; his earthly life was 
now enlightened and overcanopied by a heavenly. He was hence- 
forth a mau. 

Auuandale had long been a lawless Border country. The people 
had ceased from foray riding, but not from its effects. The " gal- 
lant man" of those districts was still a wild, natural, almost animal 
man. A select few had only of late united themselves. They had 
huilt a little meeting-house at Ecclefechan, thatched with heath, 
and chosen them a priest, by name John Johnston, the priestliest man 
I ever, under any ecclesiastical guise, was privileged to look upon. 
He, in his last years, helped me well with my Latiu (as he had done 
many), and otherwise produced me far higher beuefit. This pleas- 
ant union, this little heath-thatched house, this simple evangelist, 
together constituted properly the church of that district. They 
were the blessing and the saving of many. On me too their pious 
heaven-sent influences still rest and live. Let them employ them 
well. There was in those days a " teacher of the people." He 
sleeps not far from my father (who built his monument) iu the Ec- 
clefechan church-yard ; the teacher and the taught. " Blessed," I 
again say, "are the dead that die iu the Lord. They do rest from 
their labors ; their works follow them." 

My father, I think, was of the second race of religious men hi 
Anuaudale. Old Robert Brand, an ancient herdsman, old John Brit- 
ton, and some others that I have seen, were perhaps among the first. 
There is no third rising. Time sweeps all away with it so fast at this 
epoch. The Scottish Church has been short-lived, and was late iu 
reaching thither. 

Perhaps it was iu 1791 that my father married one Janet Carlyle, 
a very distant kinswoman of his own (her father yet, I believe, 
lives, a professor of religion, but long time suspected to he none of 
the most perfect, though not. without his worth). She brought 
him one son, John, at present a well-doiug householder at Cocker- 
mouth. She left him and this little life iu little more than a year. 
A mass of long fair woman's hair which had belonged to her long 
lay iu a secret drawer at our house (perhaps still lies) ; the sight 
of it used to give me a certain faint horror. It had been cut from 
her head near death, when she was iu the height of fever. She was 
delirious, and would let none but my father cut it. He thought 
himself sure of infection, nevertheless consented readily, and es- 
caped. Many ways, I have understood, he had much to suffer then, 
yet he never spoke of it, or only transiently, and with an historical 
stoicism. Let me here mention the reverent custom the old men 
had iu Anuaudale of treating death even in their loosest thoughts. 
It is now passing away; with my father it was quite invariable. 
Had he occasion to speak in the future, he would say I will do so 
and so, never failiug to add (were it only against the morrow), 



" if I be spared," " if I live." The dead, again, he spoke of with 
perfect freedom, only with serious gravity (perhaps a lowering of 
the voice), and always, eveu in the most trivial conversation, add- 
ing, " that's gane ;" "my brother John. that's gane" did so and so. 
Ernst ist das Leben. 

He married again, iu the beginning of 1795, my mother, Margaret 
Aitkeu (a woman of to me the fairest descent — that of the pious, 
the just, and wise). She was a faithful helpmate to him, toiling 
uuweariodly at his side ; to us the best of all mothers ; to whom, 
for body and soul, I owe endless gratitude. By God's great mercy 
she is still left as a head and centre to us all, and may yet cheer us 
with her pious heroism through many toils, if God so please. I am 
the eldest child, born in 1795, December 4, and trace deeply in my- 
self the character of both parents, also the upbringing and example 
of both ; the inheritance of their natural health, had not I and the 
time beat on it too hard. 

It must ha ve been about the period of the first marriage that my 
father and his brothers, already master masons, established them- 
selves in Ecclefechan. They all henceforth began to take on a civil 
existence, to "accumulate" in all senses, to grow. They were 
among the best aud truest men of their craft (perhaps the very best) 
in that whole district, and recompensed accordingly. Their gains 
were the honest wages of industry, their savings were slow, but 
constant, and in my father's, continued (from one source or other) 
to the end. He was bora aud brought up the poorest ; by his own 
right hand he had become wealthy, as he accounted wealth, aud in 
all ways plentifully supplied. His household goods, valued in 
money, may perhaps somewhat exceed £1000. Iu real inward 
worth that value was greater than that of most kingdoms, than all 
Napoleon's conquests, which did not endure. He saw his children 
grow up rouud him to guard him and to do him honor. He had, 
ultimately, a hearty respect from all ; could look forward from his 
verge of this earth, rich aud increased iu goods, iuto an everlasting 
couutry, where, through the immeasurable deeps, shoue a solemn, 
sober hope. I must reckon my father one of the most prosperous 
men I have ever iu my life known. 

Frugality aud assiduity, a certain grave composure, au earnest- 
ness (not without its coustraiut, then felt as oppressive a little, yet 
which now yields its fruit), were the order of our household. We 
were all particularly taught that work (temporal or spiritual) was 
the only thiug we had to do, and iucited always by precept and ex- 
ample to do it well. An inflexible element of authority surrounded 
us all. We felt from the first (a useful thiug) that our own wish 
had often nothing to say iu the matter. 

It was not a joyful life (what life is ?), yet a safe, quiet one ; above 
most others (or any other I have witnessed) a wholesome oue. We 
were taciturn rather than talkative. But if little was said, that 
little had generally a meaning. I caunot be thankful enough for 
my parents. My early, yet not my earliest, recollections of my fa- 
ther have iu them a certain awe which only now or very lately has 
passed into free reverence. I was parted from him iu my tenth 
year, and never habitually lived with him afterwards. Of the very 
earliest I have saved some, aud would not for money's worth lose 
them. All that belongs to him lias become very precious to me. 

I can remember his carrying me across Meiu Water, over a pool 
some few yards below where the present Meiufoot bridge stauds. 
Perhaps I was in my fifth year. He was goiug to Luce, I think, 
to ask after some joiner. It was the loveliest summer eveuiug I 
recollect. My memory dawns (or grows light) at the first aspect 
of the stream ; of the pool spanned by a wooden bow without rail- 
ing, and a single plank broad. He lifted me agaiust his thigh 
with his right baud, aud walked careless along till we were over. 
My face was turned rather downwards. I looked into the deep, 
clear water aud its reflected skies with terror, yet with confidence 
that he could save me. Directly after, I, light of heart, asked of 
him what those little black things were that I sometimes seemed 
to create by rubbing the palms of my hands together ; and cau at 
this moment (the mind having been doiibtless excited by the past 
peril) remember that I described them in these words, "little 
penny rows" (rolls), " but far less." He explained it wholly to me ; 
" my hands were not clean." He was very kind, aud I loved him. 
All around this is dusk or night before and after. It is not my 
earliest recollection, not even of him. My earliest of all is a mad 
passion of rage at my elder brother John (ou a visit to us likely 
from his grandfather) in which my father too figures, though 
dimly, as a kind of cheerful comforter aud soother. I had broken 
my little brown stool, by madly throwing it at my brother, aud 
felt, for perhaps the first time, the united paugs of loss and of re- 
morse. I was perhaps hardly more than two years old, but can 
get no one to fix the date for me, though all is still quite legible 
for myself with many of its features. I remember the first " new 
half-pence " (brought from Dumfries by my father and mother for 
Aliok aud me), and words that my uncle John said about it, in 



JAMES CARLYLE. 



1799! Backwards beyond all, dim ruddy images of deeper and 
deeper brown shade into the dark beginnings of being. 

I remember, perhaps in my fifth year, his teaching me arithmet- 
ical things, especially how to divide (my letters, taught me by 
my mother, I have no recollection of whatever ; of reading scarcely 
any). He said, This is the divider (divisor); this, etc.; and gave 
me a quite clear notion how to do it. My mother said I would for- 
get it all ; to which he answered, " Not so much as they that have 
never learnt it." Five years or so after, he said to me once, "Tom, 
I do not grudge thy schooling now, when thy uncle Frank owns 
thee to be a better arithmetician than himself." 

He took me down to Annan Academy on the Whitsunday morn- 
ing, 1806 ; I trotting at his side in the way alluded to in Teufels- 
drockh. It was a bright morning, and to mo full of movement, of 
fluttering, boundless hopes, saddened by parting with mother, 
with home, and which afterwards were cruelly disappointed. He 
called once or twice in the grand schoolroom, as he chanced to 
have business at Annan ; once sat down by me (as the master was 
out) and asked whether I was all well. The boys did not laugh, 
as I feared ; perhaps durst not. 

He was always generous to me in my school expenses ; never by 
grudging look or word did he give me any pain. With a noble 
faith he launched me forth into a world which himself had never 
been permitted to visit. Let me study to act worthily of him 
there. 

He wrote to me duly and affectionately while I was at college. 
Nothing that was good for me did he fail with his best ability to 
provide. His simple, true counsel and fatherly admonitions have 
now first attained their fit sacredness of meaning. Pity for me if 
they be thrown away. 

His tolerance for me, his trust in me, was great. When I de- 
clined going forward into the church (though his heart was set 
upon it), he respected my scruples, my volition, and patiently let 
me have my way. In after-years, when I had peremptorily ceased 
from being a schoolmaster, though lie inwardly disapproved of tho 
step as imprudent, and saw me in successive summers lingering 
beside him in sickliness of body and mind, without outlook tow- 
ards any good, he had the forbearance to say at worst nothing, 
never once to whisper discontent with me. 

If my dear mother, with the trustfulness of a mother's heart, min- 
istered to all my woes, outward and inward, and even against hope 
kept prophesying good, he, with whom I communicated far less, 
who could not approve my schemes, did nothing that was not kind 
and fatherly. His roof was my shelter, which a word from him 
(in those sour days of wounded vanity) would have deprived me 
of. He patiently let me have my way, helping when he could, 
when he could not help never hindering. When hope again 
dawned for me, how hearty was his joy, yet how silent! I have 
been a happy son. 

On my first return from college (in the spring, 1810), I met him 
in the Langlands road, walking out to try whether he would not 
happen to see me coming. He had a red plaid about him ; was 
recovering from a fit of sickness (his first severe one) and there 
welcomed me back. It was a bright April day. Where is it now ? 

The great world-revolutions send in their disturbing billows to 
the remotest creek, and the overthrow of thrones more slowly over- 
turns also the households of the lowly. Nevertheless, in all cases 
the wise man adjusts himself. Even in these times the hand of 
the diligent maketh rich. My father had seen the American War, 
the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon. The last 
arrested him strongly. In the Russian Campaign he bought a 
Loudon newspaper, which I read aloud to a little circle twice 
weekly. He was struck with Napoleon, and would say and look 
preguant things about him. Empires won and empires lost (while 
his little household held together), and now it was all vanished 
like a tavern brawl. For the rest, he never meddled with politics. 
He was not there to govern, but to be governed; could still live, 
and therefore did not revolt. I have heard him say in late years, 
with an impressiveness which all his perceptions carried with 
them, that the lot of a poor man was growing worse and worse ; 
that the world would not and could not last as it was ; that 
mighty changes of which none saw the end were on the way. To 
him, as one about to take his departure, the whole was but of 
secondary moment. He was looking towards "a city that had 
foundations." 

In the " dear years " (1799 and 1800) when the oatmeal was as high 
as ten shillings a stone, ho had noticed the laborers (I have heard 
him tell) retire each separately to a brook, and there drink in- 
stead of dining, without complaint, anxious only to hide it. 

At Langholm he once saw a heap of smuggled tobacco publicly 
burned. Dragoons were ranged round it with drawn swords ; some 
old women stretched through their old withered arms to snatch a 
little of it, and the dragoons did not hinder them. A natural art ist ! 



The largest sivmhe ever earned in one year -was, I think, £100, by 
the building of Cressfield House. He wisely quitted the mason 
trade at the time when the character of it had changed, when uni- 
versal poverty and vanity made show and cheapness (here as every- 
where) be preferred to substance ; when, as he said emphatically, 
honest trade " was done." He became farmer (of a wet, clayey 
spot called Main Hill) in 1815, that so " he might keep all his family 
about him," struggled with his old valor, and here, too, prevailed. 

Two ears of corn are now in many places growing where he found 
only one. Unworthy, or little worthy, men for the time reap the 
benefit ; but it was a benefit done to God's earth, and God's mankind 
will year after year get the good of it. 

In his contention with an unjust, or, perhaps, only a mistaken, 
landlord, he behaved with prudent resolution, not like a vain brag- 
gart, but like a practically brave man. It was I that innocently 
(by my settlement at Hoddam Hill) had involved him in it. I 
must admire now his silence, while we were all so loud and vitu- 
perative. He spoke nothing in that matter except only what had 
practical meaning in it, and in a practical tone. His answers to un- 
just proposals, meanwhile, were resolute as ever, memorable for 
their emphasis. "I will not do it," said he, once; "I will rather 
go to Jerusalem seeking farms, and die without finding one." " We 
can live without Sharpe," said he once in my hearing (such a thing, 
only once) "and the whole Sharpe creation." On getting to Scots- 
brig, the rest of us all triumphed — not he. He let the matter stand 
on its own feet ; was there, also, not to talk, but to work. He even 
addressed a conciliatory letter to General Sharpe (which I saw right 
to write for him, since he judged prudence better than pride) ; but 
it produced no result except, indeed, the ascertainment that none 
could be produced, which itself was one. 

When he first entered our house at Craigenputtoch, he said, in 
his slow, emphatic way, with a certain rustic dignity, to my wife 
(I had entered without introducing him), "I am grown an old fel- 
low " (never can we forget the pathetic slow earnestness of these 
two words) ; " I am grown an old fellow, and wished to see ye all 
ouce more while I had opportunity." Jane* was greatly struck 
with him, and still farther opened my eyes to the treasure I pos- 
sessed in a father. 

The last thing I gave him was a cake of Cavendish tobacco, sent 
down by Alick about this time twelvemonth. Through life I had 
given him very little, having little to give. He needed little, and 
from me expected nothing. Thou who wouldst give, give quickly. 
In the grave thy loved one can receive no kiudness. I once bought 
him a pair of silver spectacles, of the receipt of which and the let- 
ter that accompanied them (John told me), he was very glad, and 
nigh weeping. "What I gave, I have." He read with these spec- 
tacles till his last days, and, no doubt, sometimes thought of me in 
using them. 

The last time I saw him was about the first of August last, a few- 
days before departing hither. He was very kind, seemed prouder 
of me than ever. What he had never done the like of before, he 
said, on hearing me express something which he admired, "Man, 
it's surely a pity that thou shouldst sit yonder with nothing but 
the eye of Omniscience to see thee, and thou with such a gift to 
speak." His eyes were sparkling mildly, with a kind of deliberate 
joy. Strangely, too, he offered me on one of those mornings (know- 
ing that I was poor) " two sovereigns " which he had of his own, 
and pressed them on my acceptance. They were lying in his desk ; 
none knew of them. He seemed really anxious and desirous that 
I should take them, should take his little hoard, his all that he had 
to give. I said, jokinglj', afterwards, that surely he was fey. So 
it has proved. 

I shall now no more behold my dear father with these bodily 
eyes. With him a whole threescore and ten years of the past has 
doubly died for me. It is as if a new leaf in the great book of time 
were turned over. Strange time — endless time ; or of which I see 
neither end nor beginning. All rushes on. Man follows man. 
His life is as a tale that has been told; yet under Time does there 
not lie Eternity? Perhaps my father, all that essentially was my 
father, is even now near me, with me. Both he and I are with God. 
Perhaps, if it so please God, we shall in some higher state of being 
meet one another, recognize one another. As it is written, We 
shall be forever with God. The possibility, nay (in some way), the 
certainty, of perennial existence daily grows plainer to me. " The 
essence of whatever was, is, or shall be, even now is." God is 
great. God is good. His will be done, for it will be right. 

As it is, I can think peaceably of the departed love. All that 
was earthly, harsh, sinful, in our relation has fallen away; all that 
was holy in it remains. I can see my dear father's life iu some 
measure as the sunk pillar on which mine was to rise and he built; 
the waters of time have now swelled up round his (as they will 

* Miss Jane Welsh, whom Carlyle married. 



10 



REMINISCENCES. 



round mine) ; I can see it all transfigured, though I touch it no long- 
er. I might almost say his spirit seems to have eutered iuto mo 
(so clearly do I discern and love him); I seem to myself only the 
continuation and second volume of my father. These days that I 
have spent thinking of him and of his end are the peaceahlest, the 
only Sabbath that I have had in London. One other of the uni- 
versal destinies of man has overtaken me. Thank Heaven, I know, 



and have known, what it is to be a son; to love a father, as spirit 
can love spirit. God give me to live to my father's honor and to 
His. And now, beloved father, farewell for the last time in this 
world of shadows! In the world of realities may the Great Fa- 
ther again bring us together in perfect holiness and perfect love! 
Amen ! 
Sunday night; Jau. 2!>, 1S32. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



Cheyne Row, Autumn, 1S66. 

Edward Irving died thirty-two years ago (December, 1834) in 
the first mouths of our adventurous settlemeut here. Tho memo- 
ry of him is still clear and vivid with me in all points: that of his 
first and only visit to us in this house, in this room, just before leav- 
iu<> for Glasgow (October, 1834), which was the last we saw of him, 
is still as fresh as if it had been yesterday ; and he has a solemn, 
massive, sad, and even pitiable though not much blamable, or in heart 
even blamable, and to me always dear and most friendly aspect, in 
those vacaut kingdoms of the past. He was scornfully forgotten 
at the time of his death, having, indeed, sunk a good while before 
out of the notice of the more intelligent classes. There has since 
been, and now is, in the new theological generation, a kind of re- 
vival of him, on rather weak and questionable terms, sentimental 
mainly, and grounded on no really correct knowledge or insight. 
Which, however, seems to bespeak some continuance of bygone re- 
membrances for a good while yet by that class of people and the 
many that hang by them. Being very solitary, and, except for con- 
verse with the spirits of my vanished ones, very idle in these hours 
and days, I have bethought me of throwing down (the more rapid- 
ly the better) something of jny recollections of this, to me, very 
memorable man, in hopes they may by possibility be worth some- 
thing by-aud-by to some — not worth less than nothing to anybody 
(viz. not true and candid according to my best thoughts) if I can 
help it. 

The Irvings, Edward's father and uncles, lived all within a fow 
miles of my native place, and were of my father's acquaintance. 
Two of the uncles, whose little farm establishments lay close upon 
Eeclefechan, were of his familiars, and became mine more or less, 
especially one of them (George, of Bogside), who was further a co- 
religionist of ours (a "Burgher Seceder," not a "Kirkmau." as the 
other was). They were all cheerfully quiet, rational, and honest 
people, of good - natured and prudent turn. Something of what 
might be called a kindly vanity, a very harmless self-esteem, do- 
ing pleasure to the proprietor and hurt to nobody else, was trace- 
able in all of them. They were not distinguished by intellect, any 
of them, except it might be intellect in the unconscious or instinc- 
tive condition (coming out as prudence of conduct, etc.), of which 
there were good indications; and of Uncle George, who was pru- 
dent chough, and successfully diligent in his affairs (no bad proof 
of "intellect" in some shape), though otherwise a most taciturn, 
dull, and almost stupid-looking man, I remember this other fact, 
that he had one of the largest heads in the district, and that my fa- 
ther, he, and a clever and original Dr. Little, their neighbor, never 
could be fitted at a hat-shop in the village, but had always to scud 
their measure to Dumfries to a hat-maker there. Whether George 
had a round head or a long, I don't recollect. There was a fine lit- 
tle spiee of innocent, faint, but genuine and kindly banter in him 
now and then. Otherwise I recollect him only as heavy, hebetat- 
ed, elderly or old, and more inclined to quiescence and silence than 
to talk of or care about anything exterior to his own interests, 
temporal or spiritual. 

Gavin, Edward's father (name pronounced Gayin:=Guyou, as Ed- 
ward once remarked to me), a tallish man of rugged countenance, 
which broke out ofteuest into some innocent fleer of merriment, or 
readiness to he merry when you addressed him, was a prudent, hon- 
est-hearted, rational person, but made no pretension to superior 
gifts of mind, though he too, perhaps, may have had such in its un- 
developed form. Thus, on ending his apprenticeship, or by some 
other lucky opportunity, he had formed a determination of seeing 
a littlo of England in the first place, and actually got mounted on 
a stout pony, accoutrements succinctly complete (road-money in a 
belt round his own body), and rode and wandered at his will de- 
liberately southward, 1 think, for about six weeks, as far as Wilt- 
shire at least, for I have heard him speak of Devizes, "The De- 
vizes " he called it, as one of his halting-places. What his precise 
amount of profit from this was I know not at all, but it bespeaks 
something ingenuous and adventurous in the young man. He was 
by craft a tanner, had settled in Annan, soon began to be prosper- 



ous, wedded well, and continued all his life there. He was among 
the younger of these brothers, but was clearly the head of them, 
and, indeed, had been the making of the principal two, George and 
John, whom we knew. Gavin was baillie in Annan when the fu- 
rious election sung by Burns ("There were five carlius in tho 
south " — five burghs, namely) took place. Gavin voted the right 
way (Duke of Queensberry's way) arid got for his two brothers each 
the lease of a snug Queensberry farm, which grew even the snug- 
ger as dissolute old Queensberry developed himself more and more 
iuto a cynical egoist, sensualist, and hater of his next heir (the Buc- 
cleuch, not a Douglas, but a Scott, who now holds both dukedoms), 
a story well known over Scotland, and of altogether lively interest 
in Annandale (where it meant entail - leases and large sums of 
money) during several years of my youth. 

These people, the Queeusberry farmers, seem to me to have been 
the happiest set of yeomen I ever came to see, not only because 
they sat easy as to rent, but because they knew fully how to sit so, 
and were pious, modest, thrifty men, who neither fell iuto laggard 
relaxation of diligence nor were stung by auy madness of ambition, 
but faithfully eoutiuued to turn all their bits of worldly success 
into real profit for soul and body. They disappeared (in chancery 
lawsuit) fifty years ago. I have seen various kinds of farmers, 
scientific, etc., etc., but as desirable a set not since. 

Gavin had married well, perhaps rather above his rank, a tall, 
black-eyed, handsome woman, sister of certain Lowthers in that 
neighborhood, who did mast of the inconsiderable corn trade of 
those parts, and were considered a stiff-necked, faithful kind of 
people, apter to do than to speak, originally from Cumberland, I be- 
lieve. For her own share, the mother of Edward Irving had much 
of fluent speech in her, and of management; thrifty, assiduous, 
wise, if somewhat fussy ; for the rest, an excellent house mother, I 
believe, full of affection and tender anxiety for her children and 
husband. By degrees she had developed the modest prosperity of 
her household into something of decidedly "genteel" (Annan "gen- 
tility"), and having left tho rest of the Irving kindred to their 
rustic solidities, had probably but little practical familiarity with 
most of them, though never auy quarrel or estrangement that I 
heard of. Her Gavin was never careful of gentility ; a roomy sim- 
plicity and freedom (as of a man in a dressing-gown) his chief aim. 
In my time he seemed mostly to lounge about ; superintended his 
tanning only from afar, and at length gave it up altogether. There 
were four other brothers, three of them small farmers, and a fourth 
who followed some cattle traffic in Annan, and was well esteemed 
there for his honest, simple ways. No sister of theirs did I ever 
hear of; nor what their father had been ; some honest little farm- 
er he, too, I conclude. 

Their mother, Edward Irving's aged grandmother, I well remem- 
ber to have seen ; once, perhaps twice, at her son George's fireside ; 
a good old woman, half in dotage, and the only creature I ever saw 
spinning with a distaff and no other apparatus but tow or wool. 
All theso Irvings were of blond or even red complexion — red hair 
a prevailing or solo color in several of their families. Gavin him- 
self was reddish, or at least sandy blond; but all his children had 
beautifully coal-black hair, except one girl, the youngest of the set 
but two, who was carroty, like her cousins. The brunette mother 
with her swift black eyes had prevailed so far. Enough now for 
the genealogy — superabundantly enough. 

One of the circumstances of Irving's boyhood ought not to be 
neglected by his biographer — the remarkable schoolmaster he had. 
" Old Adam Hope," perhaps not yet fifty in Irving's time, was all 
along a notability in Annan. 

What had been his specific history or employment before this of 
selioulniasteriug I do not know, nor was he ever my schoolmaster 
except incidentally for a few weeks, once or twice, as substitute for 
some absentee who had the office. But I can remember on one such 
occasion reading in Sallust with him, and how he read it and drilled 
us in it; and I have often enough seen him teach, and knew him 
well enough. A strong-built, bony, but lean kind of man, of brown 
complexion, and a pair of the sharpest, not the sweetest, black eyes. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



11 



Walked in a lounging, stooping figure ; iu the street broad-brimmed 
and in clean frugal rustic clothes; in bis schoolroom bare-beaded, 
hands usually crossed over back, and with his effective leather 
strap (" cat," as he called it, not tawse, for it was not slit at all) 
hanging ready over his thumb if requisite anywhere. Iu my time 
he had a couple of his front teeth quite black, which was very visi- 
ble, as bis mouth usually wore a settled humanly contemptuous 
grin. "Nothing good to be expected from you or from those you 
came of, ye little whelps; but we must get from you the best you 
have, and not complain of anything."' This was what the grin 
Been led to say ; but the black teeth (jet-black, for lie chewed tobac- 
co also to a slight extent, never spittiug) were always mysterious 
to me, till at length I found they were of cork, the product of 
Adam's frugal penknife, and could be removed at pleasure. He 
■was a man humanly contemptuous of the world, and valued " suf- 
frages " at a most low figure iu comparison. I should judge an ex- 
tremely proud mau ; for the rest, an inexorable logician, a Calvinist 
at all points, and Burgher Scotch Seceder to the backbone. He 
had written a tiny English grammar latterly (after Irving's time 
and beforo mine) which was a very compact, lucid, and complete 
little piece; and was regarded by the natives, especially the young 
natives who had to learn from it, with a certain awe, the feat of 
authorship in print being then somewhat stupendous and beyond 
example in those parts. He did not know very much, though still 
a good something; geometry (of Euclid), Latin, arithmetic, Eng- 
lish syntax. But what he did profess or imagine himself to know, 
he knew in every fibre, and to the very bottom. More rigoronsly 
solid teacher of the young idea, so far as ho could carry it, you 
might have searched for through the world in vain. Self-delusion, 
half-knowledge, sham instead of reality, could not get existed in 
his presence. He had a Sooratic way with him ; would accept the 
hopeless pupil's half-knowledge, or plausible sham of knowledge, 
with a kind of welcome. " Hm ! km .' yes ;" and then gently enough 
begin a chain of inquiries more and more surprising to the poor pu- 
pil, till he had reduced him to zero — to mere nonplus ultra, and the 
dismal perception that his sham of kuowledgo had been flat mis- 
knowledge, with a spice of dishonesty added. This was what he 
called "making a boy fast." For the poor boy bad to sit in his 
place under arrest all day, or day after day, meditating those dismal 
new-revealed facts, and beating ineffectually his poor brains for 
some solution of the mystery and feasible road out. He might ap- 
ply again at pleasure. "I have made it out, sir." But if again 
found self-deluded, it was only a uow padlock to those fastenings 
of his. They were very miserable to the poor penitent, or impeni- 
tent, wretch. 

I remember my father once describing to us a call he had made 
on Hope during the mid-day hour of interval, whom be fouud read- 
ing or writing something, not having cared to lock the door and to 
go home, with three or four bits of boys sitting prisoners, " made 
fast" in differeut parts of the room; all perfectly miserable, each 
■with a rim of black worked out round bis eye-sockets (the effect of 
salt tears wiped by knuckles rather dirty). Adam, though not cat- 
like of temper or intention, had a kiud of cat-pleasure iu surveying 
and playing with these captive mice. He was a praise and glory 
to well-doing boys, a beneficent terror to the ill-doing or dishonest 
blockhead sort; and did what was iu his power to educe (or edu- 
cate) and make available the uet amount of faculty discoverable 
in each, and separate firmly the known from the unknown or mis- 
known in those young heads. On Irving, who always spoke of 
him with mirthful affection, ho bad produced quietly not a little 
effect; prepared him well for his triumphs in geometry and Latin 
at college, and through life you could always notice, overhung by 
such strange draperies and huge superstructures so foreign to it, 
something of that primeval basis of rigorous logic and clear artic- 
ulation laid for him iu boyhood by old Adam Hope. Old Adam, 
indeed, if you kuowthe Auuanites and him, will be curiously fouud 
visible there to this day; an argumentative, clear-headed, sound- 
hearted, if rather conceited and contentions, set of people, more 
given to intellectual pursuits than some of their neighbors. I con- 
sider Adam an original meritorious kind of man, and regret to think 
that his sphere was so limited. In my youngest years his brown, 
quietly severe face was familiar to me iu Ecclefechan Meeting-lfouse 
(my venerable Mr. Johnston's hearers on Sundays, as will be after- 
wards noted). Younger cousins of his, excellent honest people, I 
have since met (David Hope, merchant in Glasgow; William Hope, 
scholar in Edinburgh, etc.) ; and one tall, straight old uncle of his, 
very clean always, brown as mahogany and with a head white as 
snow, I remember very clearly as the picture of gravity and pious 
seriousness in that poor Ecclefechan place of worship, concerning 
■whom I will report one anecdote and so cud. Old David Hope — 
that was his name — lived on a little farm close by Solway shore a 
mile or two east of Annan. A wet country, with late harvests; 
■which (as in this year I860) arc sometimes incredibly difficult to 



save. Ten days continuously pouring; then a day, perhaps two 
days, of drought — part of them, it may be, of roaring wiud — during 
which the moments are, golden for you, and perhaps you had better 
work all night, as presently there will he. deluges again. David's 
stuff, one such morning, was all standing dry again, ready to he 
saved still, if he stood to it, which was much his iuteution. Break- 
fast (wholesome hasty-porridge) was soon over, and next in course 
came family worship, what they call taking the Book (or Books, 
i.e. taking your Bible, Psalm and chapter always part of the ser- 
vice). David was putting on his spectacles when somebody rushed 
in. "Such a raging wiud risen as will drive the stocks (shocks) 
into the sea if let alone." " Wind !" answered David, " wind canna 
get ae straw that has been appointed mine. Sit down and let us 
worship God" (that rides in the whirlwind)! There is a kind of 
citizen which Britain used to have, very different from the' million- 
aire Hebrews, Rothschild money-changers, Demosthenes Disraelis, 
and inspired young Goscbeus and their "unexampled prosperity." 
Weep, Britain, if the latter are amoug the honorable you uow 
have! 

One other circumstance that peculiarly deserves uotice in Irving's 
young life, and perhaps the only other one, is also connected with 
Adam Hope — Irving's young religion. Annandale was not an irre- 
ligious country, though Annan itself (owing to a druuken clergy- 
man and the logical habits they cultivated) was more given to 
sceptical freethiuking than other places. The greatly prevailing 
fashion was. a decent form of devoutuess, and pious theoretically 
anxious regard for things sacred, in all which the Irving household 
stood fairly on a level with its neighbors, or perhaps above most of 
them. Tliey went duly to Kirk, strove still to tolerate and almost 
to respect their unfortunate minister (who had succeeded a. father 
greatly esteemed in that office, and was a man of gifts himself, and 
of much good-nature, though so far gone astray). Nothing of pro- 
fane, or of the least tendency that way, was usually seen, or would 
have been suffered without protest and grave rebuke in living's en- 
vironmeut, near or remote. At the same time, this other fact was 
visible enough if you examined. A man who awoke to the belief 
that he actually had a soul to be saved or lost was apt to be fouud 
among the Dissenting people, and to have given up attendance on 
the Kirk. It was uugenteel for him to attend the meeting-house, 
but he found it to be altogether salutary. This was the case 
throughout in Irving's district and mine. As I had remarked for 
myself, nobody teaching me, at an early period of my investiga- 
tions into men and things, I concluded it would be generally so 
over Scotland, but found when I went north to Edinburgh, Glas- 
gow, Fife, etc., that it was not, or by no means so perceptibly was. 
For the rest, all Disseut in Scotland is merely a stricter adherence 
to the National Kirk in all points ; and the then Dissenterage is de- 
finable to moderns simply as a "Free Kirk, making no noise." It had 
quietly (about 1760), after much haggle and remonstrance, "se- 
ceded," or walked out of its stipends, officialities, and dignities, 
greatly to the mute sorrow of religious Scotland, and was still, in 
a strict mauner, on the united voluntary principle, preaching to 
the people what of best and sacredest it could. Not that there was 
not something of rigor, of severity, a lean -minded controversial 
spirit, among certaiu brethren, mostly of the laity, I think; nar- 
row nebs (narrow of neb, i.e. of nose or bill), as the outsiders called 
them ; of flowerage, or free harmonious beauty, there could not well 
be much iu this system. But really, except on stated occasions 
(annual fast-day, for instance, when you were reminded that "a 
testimony had been lifted up," of which you were now the bearers), 
there was little, almost no talk, especially no preaching at all, about 
"patronage," or secular controversy, but all turned on the weight- 
ier and universal matters of the law, and was considerably entitled 
to say for itself, " Hear, all men." Very venerable are those old 
Seceder clergy to me now when I look back on them. Most of the 
chief figures among them in Irving's time and mine were hoary old 
men ; men so like what one might call antique Evangelists iu ruder 
vesture, and "poor scholars and gentlemen of Christ," I have no- 
where met with in monasteries or churches, among Protestant or 
Papal clergy, in any country of the world. All this is altered ut- 
terly at present, I grieve to say, and gone to as good as nothing, or 
worse. It begau to alter just about that very period, on the death 
of those old hoary heads, and has gone on with increasing velocity 
ever since. Irving and I were probably among the last products 
it delivered beforo gliding off, and then rushing off into self-con- 
sciousness, arrogancy, insincerity, jangle, and vulgarity, which, I 
fear, are uow very much the definition of it. Irving's concern with 
the matter had been as follows, brief, but, I believe, ineffaceable 
through life. 

Adam Hope was a rigid Seceder, as all his kin and connections 
were; and in and about Annan, equally rigid some of them, less 
rigid others, were a considerable number of such, who, indeed, some 
few years hence, combined themselves into an Annan Burgher con- 



12 



REMINISCENCES. 



gregation, and set up a mecting-bouse and minister of their own. 
For tbe present they had none, nor had thought of such a thing. 
Venerable Mr. Johnston of Ecclefecbau, six miles off, was their only 
ruiuister, and to him duly on Sunday Adam and a select groux> were 
in the habit of pilgriming for sermon. Less zealous brethren would 
perhaps pretermit in bad weather, but I suppose it had to be very 
bad when Adam and most of his group failed to appear. The dis- 
tance — six miles twice — was nothing singular in this case ; one 
family, whose streaming plaids, hung up to drip, I remember to 
have noticed one wet Sunday, pious Scotch weavers settled near 
Carlisle, I was told, were in the habit of walking fifteen miles twice 
for their sermon, since it was not to be had nearer. A curious pba- 
sis of things, quite vanished now, with whatever of divinity and 
good was in it, and whatever of merely human aud not so good. 
From reflection of bis own, aided, or perhaps awakened, by study of 
Adam Hope and his example (for I think there could not be direct 
speech or persuasion from Adam in such a matter), the boy Edward 
joined himself to Adam's pilgriming group, aud regularly trotted 
by their side to Ecclefechan for sermon-listening, aud occasional- 
ly joiniug in their pious discourse thither and back. He might 
he then in his tenth year; distinguished hitherto, both his elder 
brother John aud he, by their wild love of sport as well as readi- 
ness in school lessons. John had quite refused this Ecclefecbau' 
adventure. And, no doubt, done what he could to prevent it; for 
father aud mother looked on it likewise with dubious or disap- 
proving eyes — "Why run into these ultra courses, sirrah?" — aud 
Edward had no furtherance in it except from within. How long 
lie persisted I do not know, possibly a year or two, or occasionally, 
almost till he went to college. I have heard him speak of the 
thing long afterwards in a genially mirthful way ; well recogniz- 
ing what a fantastic, pitifully pedantic, and serio - ridiculous set 
these road companions of his mostly were. I myself remember 
two of them who were by no means heroic to me. " Willie Druin- 
nioud," a little man with mournful goggle-eyes, a tailor, I almost 
think, and " Joe Blacklock " (Blai-lock), a rickety stocking-weaver, 
with protruding chin and one leg too short for the other short one, 
who seemed to me an abundantly solemn aud much too infallible aud 
captious little fellow. Edward threw me off with gusto outline 
likenesses of these among the others, and we laughed heartily 
without malice. Edward's religion in after-years, though it ran 
always in the blood and life of him, was never shrieky or narrow; 
but, even in bis last times, with their miserable troubles and con- 
fusions, spoke always with a sonorous deep tone, like the voice of 
a man frank aud sincere addressing men. To the last, or almost 
to the last, I could occasionally raise a genial old Anuandale laugh 
out of him which is now pathetic to me to remember. 

I will say no more of Irving's boyhood. He must have sat often 
enough in Ecclefecbau meeting-house along with me, but I never 
noticed or knew, aud had not indeed heard of him till I went to 
Auuan school (1806; a new "Academy," forsooth, with Adam Hope 
for "English master"), and Irving, perhaps two years before, had 
left for college. I must bid adieu also to that poor temple of my 
childhood, to me more sacred at this moment than perhaps the big- 
gest cathedral then extant could have been ; rude, rustic, bare — no 
temple in the world was more so — but there were sacred lamben- 
cies, tongues of authentic flame from heaven, which kiudled what 
■was best in one, what has not yet gone out. Strangely vivid to 
me some twelve or twenty of those old faces whom I used to see 
every Sunday, whose names, employments, precise dwelling-places, 
I never knew, but whose portraits are yet clear to me as a mirror — 
their heavy-laden, patient, ever- attentive faces. Fallen solitary 
most of them. Children all away, wife away forever, or, it might 
be, wife still there (one such case I well remember), constant like a 
shadow, and grown very like her old man — the thrifty, cleanly pov- 
erty of these good people, their well-saved old coarse clothes (tailed 
waistcoats down to mid-thigh, a fashion quite dead twenty years 
before) ; all this I occasionally see as with eyes sixty or sixty-five 
years off, and hear the very voice of my mother upon it when some- 
times I would be questioning about the persons of the drama aud 
endeavoring to describe and identify them to her for that purpose. 
O ever-miraculous time ! O death ! O life! 

Probably it was in 1808, April or May, after college time, that I 
first saw Irving. I bad got over my worst miseries in that doleful 
and hateful "Academy" life of mine, which lasted three years in 
all ; had begun, in spite of precept, to strike about me, to defend 
myself by hand and voice ; had made some comradeship with one 
or two of my own age, aud was reasonably becoming alive in the 
place aud its interests. I remember to have felt some human curi- 
osity and satisfaction when the noted Edward Irving, English Mr. 
Hope escorting — introduced himself in our Latin class-room one 
bright forenoon. Hope was essentially the introducer; this was 
our rector's class-room. Irving's visit to the school had beeu spe- 
cially to Adam Hope, his own old teacher, who now brought him 



dowu nothing loath. Perhaps our mathematics gentleman, one 
Morley (an excellent Cumberland man, whom I loved much and 
who taught me well), had also stepped in in bouor of such a stranger. 
The road from Adam's room to ours lay through Mr. Morley's. Ours 
was a big airy room lighted from both sides, desks and benches oc- 
cupying scarcely the smaller half of the floor ; better half belonged 
to the rector, and to the classes he called up from time to time. It 
was altogether vacant at that moment, aud the interview perhaps 
of ten to fifteen minutes transacted itself in a standing posture 
there. We were all of us attentive with eye and ear, or as atten- 
tive as we durst be, while by theory "preparing our lessons." Ir- 
ving was scrupulously dressed ; black coat, ditto tight pantaloons iii 
the fashion of the day ; clerically black his prevailing hue ; and 
looked very neat, self-possessed, and enviable. A flourishing slip 
of a youth, with coal-black hair, swarthy clear complexion, very 
straight on his feet, and, except for the glariug squint alone, decid- 
edly haudsome. We didn't hear everything; indeed, we heard 
nothing that was of the least moment or worth remembering. 
Gathered, in general, that the talk was all about Edinburgh, of this 
professor aud of that, and their merits aud method ("wonderful 
world up yonder, and this fellow has been in it and can talk of it 
in that easy cool way"). The last professor touched upon, I think, 
must have been mathematical Leslie (at that time totally non-ex- 
taut to me), for the one particular I clearly recollect was some- 
thing from Irving about new doctrines by somebody (doubtless Les- 
lie) " concerning the circle," which last word he pronounced " cir- 
cul"with a certain preciosity which was noticeable slightly in 
other parts of bis behavior. Shortly after this of " circul," he 
courteously (had been very courteous all the time, aud unassuming 
in the main) made his bow, aud the interview melted instantly 
away. For years I don't remember to have seen living's face 
again. 

Seven years come and gone. It was now the winter of 1815. I 
had myself been in Edinburgh College, and above a year ago had 
duly quitted it. Had got (by competition at Dumfries, summer 
1814) to be " mathematical master " in Annan Academy, with some 
potential outlook on divinity as ultimatum (a rural divinity 
student visiting Edinburgh for a few days each year, and "de- 
livering" certain "discourses"). Six years of that would bring 
you to the church gate, as four years of continuous " divinity hall " 
would ; unlucky only that in my case I had never had the least 
enthusiasm for the business (aud there were even grave prohibitive 
doubts more aud more rising ahead) : both branches of my situa- 
tion flatly contradictory to all ideals or wishes of mine, especially 
the Annan one, as the closely actual and the daily and hourly 
pressing on me, while the other lay theoretic, still well ahead and 
perhaps avoidable. One attraction — one only — there was in my 
Annan business. I was supporting myself, even saving some few 
pouuds of my poor £60 or £70 annually, against a rainy day, and 
not a burden to my ever-generous father any more. But in all 
other points of view I was abundantly lonesome, uncomfortable, 
and out of place there. Didn't go and visit the people there. 
(Ought to have pushed myself in a little silently, and sought in- 
vitations. Such their form of special politeness, which I was far 
too shy aud proud to be able for.) Had the character of morose 
dissociableuess ; in short, thoroughly detested my function and 
position, though understood to be honestly doing the duties of it, 
and held for solacemeut and company to the few books I could 
command, and an accidental friend I had in the neighborhood (Mr. 
Cherch and his wife, of Hitchill ; Rev. Henry Duncan, of Ruthwell, 
and ditto. These were the two bright aud brightest houses for 
me. My thanks to them, now and always). As to my schoolmas- 
ter function, it was never said I mhdid it much ; a clear aud cor- 
rect expositor aud enforcer. But from the first, especially with 
such adjuncts, I disliked it, and by swift degrees grew to hate it 
more and more. Some four years in all I had of it; two in Annan, 
two in Kirkcaldy under much improved social accompaniments. 
Aud at the end my solitary desperate conclusion was fixed : that 
I, for my own part, would prefer to perish in the ditch, if neces- 
sary, rather than continue living by such a trade, and peremptorily 
gave it up accordingly. This long preface will serve to explain 
the small passage of collision that occurred between Irving and 
me on our first meeting in this world. 

I had heard much of Irving all along; how distinguished in 
studies, how splendidly successful as teacher, how two professors 
had sent him out to Haddington, and bow his new Academy and 
new methods were illuminating and astonishing everything there. 
(Alas ! there was one little pupil he had there, with her prettiest 
little penna peuiiai from under the table, and let me be a boy, too, 
papa! who was to be of endless moment, aud who alone was of 
any moment to me in all that!) I don't remember any malicious 
envy whatever towards this great Irving of the distance. For his 
greatness iivstr.dy and learning I certainly might have had a ten- 



EDWARD IRVING. 



13 



deucy, hadn't I struggled against it, and tried to make it emula- 
tion : " Do the like, do thou the like under difficulties! " As to his 
schoolmaster success, I cared little about that, and easily flung 
that out when it came across rne. But naturally all this be- 
trumpeting of Irving to me (in which I could sometimes trace 
some touch of malice to myself) had not awakened in me any love 
towards this victorious mau. " Ich gonnte ihu," as the Germans 
phrase it ; but, in all strictness, nothiug more. 

About Cbristmas-time (1815) I had gone with great pleasure to 
see Edinburgh again, and read in Divinity Hall a Latin discourse 
— " exegesis " they call it there — on the question " Nam detur reli- 
gio natural is?" It was the second, and proved to be the last, of 
my performances on that treatise. My first, an English sermon on 
the words " Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now," etc., 
etc., a very weak, flowery, and sentimental piece, had been 
achieved in 1814, a few months after my leaving for Annan. Piece 
second, too, I suppose, was weak enough, hut I still remember the 
kind of innocent satisfaction I had in turning it into Latin in my 
solitude, and my slight and momentary (by no means deep or 
sincere) sense of pleasure in the bits of compliments and flimsy 
approbation from comrades and professors on both these occasions. 
Before Christmas-day I had got rid of my exegesis, and had still 
a week of holiday ahead for old acquaintances and Edinburgh 
things, which was the real charm of my official errand thither. 

One night I had gone over to Rose Street, to a certain Mr. (after- 
wards Dr.) Waugh's there, who was a kind of maternal cousin or 
half-cousin of my own. Had been my school comrade ; several 
years older ; item : my predecessor in the Annan "■ mathematical 
mastership ;" immediate successor he of Morley, and a great favor- 
ite in Annan society in comparison with some ; and who, though 
not without gifts, proved gradually to be intrinsically a fool, and, 
by his insolvencies and confused futilities as doctor there in his 
native place, has left a kind of remembrance, ludicrous, partly con- 
temptuous, though not without kindliness, too, and even some- 
thing of respect. His father, with whom I had been boarded while 
a scholar at Annan, was one of the most respectable and yet laugh- 
able of mankind ; a ludicrous caricature of originality, honesty, 
and faithful discernment and practice — all in the awkward form. 
Took much care of his money, however, which this, his only son, 
had now inherited, and did not keep very long. Of Waugh senior, 
and even of Waugh junior, there might be considerable gossiping 
and quizzical detailing. They failed not to rise now and then, 
especially Waugh senior did not, between Irving and me, always 
with hearty ha-ha's, and the finest recognition on Irving's part 
wben we came to he compauious afterwards. But whither am I 
running with so interminable a preface to one of the smallest inci- 
dents conceivable ? 

I was sitting in Waugh junior's that evening, not too vigorous- 
ly conversing, when Waugh's door weut open, and there stepped in 
Irving, and one Nichol, a mathematical teacher in Edinburgh, an 
intimate of his, a shrewd, merry, and very social kind of person, 
whom I dkl not then know, except by name. Irving was over, 
doubtless from Kirkcaldy, on his holidays, and had probably been 
dining with Nichol. The party was to myself not unwelcome, 
though somewhat alarming. Nichol, I perceived, might be by 
some three or four years the eldest of us ; a sharp man, with mouth 
rather quizzically close. I was by some three or four years the 
youngest; and here was Tiismegistus Irving, a victorious bashaw, 
while poor I was so much the reverse. The conversation in a min- 
ute or two became quite special, and my unwilling self the centre 
of it ; Irving directing upon me a whole series of questions about 
Annan matters, social or domestic mostly ; of which I knew little, 
and had less than no wish to speak, though I strove politely to an- 
swer succinctly what I could. In the good Irving all this was very 
natural, nor was there in him, I am well sure, the slightest notion 
to hurt me or he tyrannous to me. Far the reverse his mood at all 
times towards all men. But there was, I conjecture, something of 
conscious unquestionable superiority, of careless natural de haut en 
ban which fretted on me, and might be rendering my answers 
more and more and more succinct. Nay, my small knowledge 
was failing; aud I had more than once on certain points — as " Has 
Mrs. got a baby ? is it son or daughter ?" and the like — an- 
swered candidly, " I don't know." 

I think three or two such answers to such questions had followed 
in succession, when Irving, feeling uneasy, and in a dim manner 
that the game was going wrong, answered in gruffish yet not ill- 
natured tone, "You seem to know nothiug!" To which I with 
prompt emphasis, somewhat provoked, replied, "Sir, by what right 
do you try my knowledge in this way? Are you grand inquisitor, 
or have you authority to question people and cross-question at dis- 
cretion ? I have had no interest to inform myself about the births 
in Annan, and care not if the process of birth aud generation there 
should cease and determine altogether!" "A bad example that," 



cried Nichol, breaking iuto laughter ; " that would never do for me 
(a fellow that needs pupils) ;" aud laughed heartily, joined by 
Waugh, and perhaps Irving, so that the thing passed off more 
smoothly than might have been expected ; though Irving, of course, 
felt a little hurt, aud, I think, did not altogether hide it from mo 
while the interview still lasted, which was only a short while. 
This was my first meeting with the man whom I had afterwards, 
aud very soon, such cause to love. We never spoke of this small un- 
pleasant passage of fence, I believe, and there never was another 
like it between us in the world. Irviug did not want some duo 
heat of temper, aud there was a kind of joyous swagger traceable 
in his manner in this prosperous young time; hut the basis of him 
at all times was fine manly sociality, aud the richest, truest good- 
nature. Very different from the new friend he was about picking up. 
No swagger in this latter, but a want of it which was almost still 
worse. Not sanguine and diffusive he, but biliary and intense. " Far 
too sarcastic for a young man," said several in the years now coming. 

Within six or eight months of this, probably about the end of 
July, 1816, happened a new meeting with Irving. Adam Hope's 
wife had died of a sudden. I weut up the secoud or third eveuing 
to testify my silent condolence with the poor old man. Can still 
remember his gloomy look, speechless, and the thankful pressure 
of his hand. A number of people were there; among the rest, to 
my surprise, Irving — home on his Kirkcaldy holidays — who seemed 
to be kindly taking a sort of lead in the little managements. He 
conducted worship, I remember, " taking the Book," which was the 
only fit thing ho could settle to; and he did it in a free, flowing, 
modest, and altogether appropriate manner, "preeenMng," or lead- 
ing off the Psalm too himself, his voice melodiously strong, and his 
tune, " St. Paul's," truly sung, which was a new merit in him to 
me. Quite beyond my own capacities at that time. If I had 
been in doubts about his reception of me, after that of Rose Street, 
Edinburgh, he quickly and forever ended them by a friendliness 
which, in wider scenes, might have been called chivalrous. At 
first sight he heartily shook my hand, welcomed me as if I had 
been a valued old acquaintance, almost a brother, and before my 
leaving, after worship was done, came up to me again, and with 
the frankest tone said, " You are coming to Kirkcaldy to look 
about you in a month or two. You know I am there. My house 
and all that I can do for you is yours: two Annandale people must 
uot be strangers in Fife !" The " doubting Thomas " durst not 
quite believe all this, so chivalrous was it, but felt pleased and re- 
lieved by the fine aud sincere tone of it, aud thought to himself, 
" Well, it would be pretty !" 

But to understand the full chivalry of Irving, know first what 
my errand to Kirkcaldy now was. 

Several months before this, rumors had come of some break-up 
in Irving's triumphant Kirkcaldy kingdom. "A terribly severe 
master, isn't he ? Brings his pupils on amazingly. Yes, truly, 
but at such an expense of cruelty to them. Very proud, too ; no 
standing of him ;" him, the least cruel of men, but obliged and ex- 
peoted to go at high-pressure speed, and no resource left but that 
of spurring on the laggard. In short, a portion, perhaps between 
a third and fourth part, of Irving's Kirkcaldy patrons, feeling these 
griefs, and finding small comfort or result in complaining to Ir- 
viug, had gradually determined to be off from him, and had hit upon 
a resource which they thought would serve. " Buy off the old 
parish head schoolmaster," they said ; " let Hume have his £25 of 
salary aud go, the lazy, effete old creature. We will apply again 
to Professors Christisou and Leslie, the same who sent us Irving, 
to send us another 'classical and mathematical' who can start 
fair." And accordingly, by a letter from Christison, who had never 
noticed me while in his class, nor could distinguish mo from an- 
other Mr. Irving Carlyle, an older, considerably bigger boy, with 
red hair, wild buck-teeth, aud scorched complexion, aud the worst 
Latinist of all my acquaintance (so dark was the good professor's 
class-room, physicallv and otherwise), I learned, much to my sur- 
prise aud gratification, " that Professor Leslie had been with him ; 
that, etc., etc., as above ; and, iu brief, that I was the nominee if I 
would accept." Several letters passed on the subject, and it had 
been settled, shortly before this meeting with Irving, that I was 
in my near vacation-time — end of August — to visit Kirkcaldy, 
take a personal view of everything, and then say yes if I could, as 
seemed likely. 

Thus stood matters when Irviug received me in the way de- 
scribed. Noble, I must say, when you put it all together ! Room 
for plenty of the vulgarest peddliug feelings there was, and there 
must still have been between us, had either of us, especially had 
Irving, been of peddler nature. Aud I can say there could no two 
Kaisers, nor Charlemagne and Barbarossa, had they neighbored one 
another in the empire of Europe, have been more completely rid of 
all that sordes than were we two schoolmasters iu the burgh of Kirk- 
caldy. I made my visit, August coming, which was full of interest 



14 



REMINISCENCES. 



to me. Saw St. Andrews, etc. ; saw a fine, frank, wholesome-look- 
in«- people of the Burgher grandees; liked Irving more and more, 
and settled to return in a couple of months "for good," which I 
may well say it was, thanks to Irving principally. 

George Irving, Edward's youngest brother (who died in London 
as M.D., beginning practice about 1833), had met me as he returned 
from his lessons, when I first came along the street of Kirkcaldy on 
that sunny afternoon (August, 1816), and with blithe looks and 
■words had pointed out where his brother lived — a biggish, simple 
house on the sands. The when of my first call there I do not now 
remember, but have still brightly in mind how exuberantly good 
Irving was; how he took me into his library, a rough, littery, but 
considerable collection — far beyond what I had— and said, cheerily 
flinging out his arms, " Upon all these you have will and waygate," 
an expressivo Aunaudalo phrase of the completest welcome, which 
I failed not of using by-aud-by. I also recollect lodging with him 
for a night, or two nights about that time. Bright moonshine; 
■waves all dancing and glancing out of window, and beautifully 
humming and lullabying on that fine long sandy beach, where he 
and I so often walked and communed afterwards. From the first 
■we honestly liked one another and grew intimate; nor was there 
ever, while we both lived, any cloud or grudge between us, or an 
interruption of onr feelings for a day or hour. Blessed conquest of 
a friend in this world ! That was mainly all the wealth I had for 
five or six years coming, and it made my life in Kirkcaldy (i. e., till 
near 1819, I think) a happy season in comparison, and a genially 
useful. Youth itself — healthy, well-intending youth — is so full of 
opulences. I always rather liked Kirkcaldy to this day. Annan 
the reverse rather still when its gueuseries come into my head, and 
my solitary quasi-enchanted position among them — unpermitted to 
kick them into the sea. 

living's library was of great use to me ; Gibbon, Hume, etc. I 
think I must have read it almost through. Inconceivable to me 
now with what ardor, with what greedy velocity, literally above 
ten times the speed I can now make with any book. Gibbon, in 
particular, I recollect to have read at the rate of a volume a day 
(twelve volumes in all) ; and I have still a fair recollection of it, 
though seldom looking into it since. It was, of all the books, per- 
haps the most impressive on me in my then stage of investigation 
and state of mind. I by no means completely admired Gibbon, per- 
haps not more than I now do ; but his winged sarcasms, so quiet aud 
yet so conclusively transpiercing aud killing dead, were ofteu ad- 
mirable potent and illuminative to me. Nor did I fail to recognize 
his great power of investigating, ascertaining, grouping, and nar- 
rating; though the latter had always, theu as now, something of a 
Drury Lane character, the colors strong but coarse, and set oft' by 
lights from the side scenes. We had books from Edinburgh Col- 
lege Library, too. (I remember Bailly's " Histoire de l'Astronomie," 
ancient and also modern, which considerably disappointed me.) On 
Irviug's shelves were the small Didot French classics in quantity. 
With my appetite sharp, I must have read of French and English 
(for I don't recollect much classicality, only something of mathe- 
matics in intermittent spasms) a great deal during those years. 

Irving himself, I found, was not, nor had been, much of a reader ; 
but he had, with solid ingenuity and judgment, by some briefer 
process of his own, fished out correctly from many books the sub- 
stance of what they handled, and of what conclusions they came to. 
This he possessed, and could produce in an "honest" manner, al- 
ways when occasion came. He delighted to hear me give accounts 
of my reading, which were often enough a theme between us, and 
to me as well a profitable and pleasant one. He had gathered by 
natural sagacity aud insight, from conversation and inquiry, a 
great deal of practical knowledge and iuformatiou on things extant 
round him, which was quite defective in mo the recluse. We never 
wanted for instructive and pleasant talk while together. He had 
a most hearty, if not very refined, sense of the ludicrous; a broad 
genial laugh in him always ready. His wide>just sympathies, his 
native sagacity, honest-hearteduess, and good-humor, made him the 
most delightful of companions. Such colloquies and such rovings 
about in bright scenes, in talk or in silence, I have never had since. 

The beach of Kirkcaldy in summer twilights, a mile of the smooth- 
est sand, with one loug wave coming on gently, steadily, and break- 
ing in gradual explosion into harmless melodious white, at your 
hand all the way; the break of it rushing along like a mane of 
foam, beautifully sounding and advancing, ran from south to north, 
from the West Burn to Kirkcaldy harbor, through the whole mile's 
distance. This was a favorite scene, beautiful to me still, in the 
far away. Wo roved in the woods too, sometimes till all was dark. 
I remember very pleasant strolks to Dysart, and once or twice to the 
caves and queer old salt-works of Wemyss. Once, on a memorable 
Saturday, we. made a pilgrimage to hear Dr. Chalmers at Dunferm- 
line the morrow. It was on the inducting young Mr. Chalmers as 
minister there ; Chalmers minimus, as he soon got named. The 



great Chalmers was still in the first flush of his long aud always 
high popularity. "Let us go and hear him once more," said Irving. 
The summer afternoon was beautiful; beautiful exceedingly our 
solitary walk by Burntisland aud the sauds and rocks to Inverkei- 
thingj where we lodged, still in a touchingly beautiful manner (host 
the schoolmaster, one Douglas from Haddington, a clever old ac- 
quaintance of living's, in after-years a Radical editor of mark; 
whose wife, for thrifty order, admiration of her husband, etc., etc., 
was a model aud exemplar). Four miles next morning to Dunferm- 
line aud its crowded day, Chalmers maxi uus not disappointing; 
and the fourteen miles to Kirkcaldy ending in late darkness, in 
rain, aud thirsty fatigue, which were cheerfully borne. 

Another time, military tents were noticed on the Lomnnd Hills 
(on the eastern of the two). "Trigonometrical survey," said we; 
" Ramsden's theodolite, and wLat not ;" let us go. Aud on Saturday 
we went. Beautiful the airy prospect from that eastern Lomond 
far aud wide. Five or six tents stood on the top; one a black- 
stained cooking one, with a heap of coals close by, the rest all closed 
and occupants gone, except ono other, partly open at the eaves, 
through which you could look in and see a big circular mahogany 
box (which we took to be the theodolite), aud a saucy -looking, 
cold official gentleman, diligently walking for exercise, no obser- 
vation being possible, though the day was so bright. No admit- 
tance, however. Flenty of fine country- people had come up, to 
whom the official had beeu coldly monosyllabic, as to us also he 
was. Polite, with a shade of contempt, and unwilling to let him- 
self into speech. Irving had great skill in these cases. Ho re- 
marked — and led us into remarking — courteously, this aud that 
about the famous Ramsdeu and his instrument, about the famous 
Trigonometrical Survey, aud so forth, till the official, in a few min- 
utes, had to melt ; invited us exceptionally in for an actual inspec- 
tion of his theodolite, which we reverently enjoyed, and saw through 
it the signal column, a great, broad plank, he told us, on the top of 
Ben Lomond, sixty miles oft', wavering and shivering like a bit of 
loose tape, so that no observation could be had. 

We descended the hill re factd. Were to lodge in Leslie with 
the minister there, where, possibly enough, Irving had engaged to 
preach for him next day. I remember a sight of Falkland ruined 
palace, black, sternly impressive on me, as we came down ; like a 
black old bit. of coffin or "protrusive shin-bone," sticking through 
from the soil of the dead past. The kirk, too, of next day, I remem- 
ber, and a certain tragical Countess of Rothes. She had beeu at 
school in London ; fatherless. In morning walk in the Regent's 
Park she had noticed a youug gardener, had transiently glanced 
into him, he into her; and had ended by marrying him, to the hor- 
ror of society, and ultimately of herself, I suppose; for he seemed 
to be a poor little commonplace creature, as he stood there beside 
her. She was now an elderly, a stately woman, of resolute look, 
though slightly sad, and didn't seem to solicit pity. Her I clearly 
remember, but not w ho preached, or what. ; and, indeed, both ends 
of this journey are abolished to me as if they had never been. 

Our voyage to Inchkeith one afternoon was again a wholly 
pleasant adventure, though one of the rashest. There were three 
of us; Irviug's assistant the third, a hardy, clever kind of man 
named Donaldson, of Aberdeen origin — Professor Christison's neph- 
ew — whom I always rather liked, but who before long, as he could 
never burst the shell of expert schoolmastering and gerund-grind- 
ing, got parted from me nearly altogether. Our vessel was a row- 
boat belonging to some neighbors; in fact, a trim yawl with two 
oars iu it aud a bit of helm, reputed to be somewhat, crazy and 
cranky hadn't the weather been so fine. Nor was Inchkeith our 
original aim. Our aim had beeu as follows. A certain Mr. Glen, 
Burgher minister at Annan, with whom I had lately boarded there, 
aud been domestically very happy iu comparison, had since, after 
very painful and most undeserved treatment from his congregation, 
seen himself obliged to quit the barreu wasp's nest of a thing alto- 
gether, aud with his wife aud young family embark on a missiona- 
ry career, which had been his earliest thought, as conscience now 
reminded him, among other considerations. He was a most pure 
and excellent man, of correct superior intellect, and of much mod- 
est, piety and amiability. Things were at last all ready, and he 
and his were come to Edinburgh to embark for Astracbau ; where, 
or whereabouts, he continued diligent and zealous for many years; 
and was widely esteemed, not by the missionary classes alone. Ir- 
ving, as well as I, had an affectionate regard for Glen, aud, on Sat- 
urday eve of Glen's last Sunday in Edinburgh, had come across with 
me to bid his brave wife and him farewell; Edinburgh from Satur- 
day .afternoon till the last boat on Sunday evening. This was eve- 
ry now and then a cheery little adventure of ours, always possible 
again after due pause. We found the Glens in an inn in the Grass 
Market, only the mistress, « ho was a handsome, brave, and cheery- 
hearted woman, altogether keeping up her spirits. I heard Glen 
preach for the last time in " Peddie's Meeting-house," a large, fine 



EDWARD iRVING. 



15 



place behind Bristo Street — night just sinking as he ended, and the 
tone of his voice betokening how full the heart was. At the door 
of Peddie's house I stopped to take leave. Mrs. Glen alone was 
there for mo (Glen not to be seen farther). She wore her old bright 
saucily -affectionate smile, fearless, superior to trouble; but, in a 
moment, as I took her hand and said, " Farewell, then, good be 
over with you," she shot all pale as paper, and we parted mourn- 
fully without a word more. This sudden paleness of the spir- 
ited woman stuck in my heart liko an arrow. All that night 
and for some three days more I had such a bitterness of sor- 
row as I hardly recollect otherwise. "Parting sadder than by 
death," thought" I, in my foolish inexperience; "these good peo- 
ple are to live, and we are never to behold each other more." 
Strangely, too, after about four days it went quite off, and I felt it 
no more. This was, perhaps, still the third day; at all events, it 
was the day of Glen's sailing for St. Petersburg, while Irving and 
I went watching from Kirkcaldy sands the Leith ships outward 
bound, afternoon sunny, tide ebbing, and settled with ourselves 
which of the big ships was Glen's. " That one surely," we said at 
last ; " aud.it bends so much this way one might, by smart rowing, 
cut into it, and have still a word with the poor Glens." Of nauti- 
cal conclusions none could be falser, more ignorant, but wo instant- 
ly set about executing it; hailed Donaldson, who was somewhere 
withiu reach, shoved " Robie Greg's" poor green-painted, rickety 
yawl into the waves (Robie, a good creature who would rejoice 
to have obliged us), and pushed out with our best speed to inter- 
cept that outward-bound big ship. Irving, I think, though the 
strongest of us, rather preferred the helm part then and afterwards, 
and did not much take the oar when he could honorably help it. 
His steering, I doubt not, was perfect, but in the course of hall' an 
hour it became ludicrously appareut that we wore the tortoise 
chasing the hare, and that we should or could iu no wise ever in- 
tercept that big ship. Short counsel thereupon, and determina- 
tion, probably on my hint, to make for Iuchkeith at least, and treat 
ourselves to a visit there. 

We prosperously reached Iuchkeith, ran ourselves into a wild, 
stony little bay (west eud of tho island towards the lighthouse), 
and stept ashore. Bay in miniature was prettily savage, every 
stone iu it, big or little, lying just as the deluges had left them in 
ages long gone. Whole island was prettily savage. Grass on it 
mostly wild and scraggy, but equal to the keep of seven cows. 
Some patches (little bedquilts as it were) of weak dishevelled bar- 
ley trying to grow under difficulties ; these, except perhaps a square 
yard or two of potatoes equally ill off, were the only attempt at 
crop. Inhabitants none except these seven cows, and the light- 
house-keeper and his family. Conies probably abounded, but these 
were fem uatum, and didn't show face. In a slight hollow about 
tho centre of the island (which island I think is traversed by a kind 
of hollow of which our little bay was tho western eud) were still 
traceable some ghastly remnants of "Russian graves," graves from 
a Russian squadron which had wintered thereabouts iu 1799 and 
had there buried its dead. Squadron wo had often heard talked 
of, what foul creatures these Russiau sailors were, how (for one 
thing) returning from their sprees in Edinburgh at late hours, they 
usedto climb the lamp-posts in Leith Walk and drink out the train 
oil irresistible by vigilance of the police, so that Leith Walk fell 
ever and anon iuto a more or less eclipsed condition during their 
stay ! Some rude wooden crosses, rank wild grass, and poor sad 
grave hillocks almost abolished, were all of memorial they had 
left. The lighthouse was curious to us ; the only one I ever saw 
before or since. The "revolving light" not produced by a single 
lamp on its axis, but by teu or a dozen of them all set iu a wide 
glass cylinder, each with its hollow mirror behind it, cylinder alone 
slowly turning, was quite a discovery to us. Lighthouse-keeper too 
in another sphere of iuquiry was to mo quite new ; by far the most 
life- weary looking mortal I ever saw. Surely no lover of the pict- 
uresque, for in nature there was uowhero a moro glorious view. 
He had seven cows too, was well fed, I saw, well clad, had wife 
and children fairly eligible looking. A shrewd healthy Aberdeen 
native: his lighthouse, especially his cylinder and lamps, all kept 
shining like a new shilling — a kindly man withal— yet in every 
feature of face and voice telling you, " Behold tho victim of un- 
speakable euuui." We got from him down below refection of the 
best, biscuits and new milk I thiuk almost better iu both kinds 
than I have tasted since. A man not greedy of mouey either. 
We left him almost sorrowfully, and never heard of him more. 

The scene in our little bay, as we were about proceeding to 
launch our boat, seemed to me the beautifullest I had ever beheld. 
Sun about setting just iu face of us, behind Ben Lomond far away. 
Edinburgh with its towers; the great silver mirror of the Frith 
girt by such a framework of mountains; cities, rocks and fields 
and wavy landscapes on all hands of us; aud reaching right un- 
derfoot, as I remember, came a broad pillar as of gold from tho just 



sinking sou ; burning axle as it were going down to the centre of 
the world ! But we had to bear a hand aud get our boat launched, 
daylight evidently going to end by-aud-by. Kirkcaldy was some 
live miles off, and probably the tide not in our favor. Gradually 
the stars came out, and Kirkcaldy crept under its coverlid, show- 
ing not itself but its lights. We could still see ono another iu the 
flue clear gray, aud pulled along what we could. We had no ac- 
cident; not the least ill-luck. Donaldson, aud perhaps Irving too, 
I now think, wore some air of anxiety. I myself by my folly felt 
nothing, though I now almost shudder on looking back. We leapt 
out on Kirkcaldy beach about eleven p.m., aud then heard sufficient- 
ly what a misery aud tremor for us various friends had been in. 

This was the small adventure to Iuchkeith. Glen and family re- 
turned to Scotland some fifteen years ago; he had great approval 
from his public, but died iu a year or two, and I had never seen 
him again. His widow, backed by various Edinburgh testimoni- 
als, applied to Lord Aberdeen (Prime Minister) for a small pension 
on the " Literary list." Husbaud had translated the Bible (or New 
Testament) iuto Persic, among other public merits non -literary : 
aud through her sou solicited and urged me to help, which I did 
zealously, and by continual dunning of the Duke of Argyll (whom I 
did not then personally know, aud who was very good and patient 
with me), an annual £50 was at last got; upon which Mrs. Glen, 
adding to it some other small resources, could frugally but comfort- 
ably live. This must have been iu 1853. I remember the young 
Glen's continual importunity iu the midst of my Friedrich incipi- 
eucies was not always pleasant, aud my chief comfort in it was 
the pleasure which success would give my mother. Alas, my good 
mother did hear of it, but pleasure oven iu this was bcyoud her in 
the dark valley she was now travelling! When she died (Christ- 
mas, 1853), one of my reflections was: "Too late for her that little 
bit of kindness ; my last poor effort, aud it came too late." Young 
Glen with his too profuse thanks, etc., was again rather importu- 
nate. Poor young soul, he is since dead. His mother appeared in 
person one morning at my door iu Edinburgh (last spring [1866], 
iu those Rector hurries aud hurlyburlies now so sad to me) ; T. Ers- 
kine just loading me off somewhither. An : aged decent widow, 
looking kindly on me aud modestly thankful; so changed I could 
not have recognized a feature of her. How Iragic to one is the 
sight of" old friends ;" a thing I always really shrink from. Such 
my lot has been ! 

living's visits and mine to Edinburgh were mostly together, aud 
had always their attraction for us iu the meeting with old ac- 
quaintances aud objects of interest, but except from the books 
procured could not be accounted of importance. Our friends were 
mere ox-students, cleverish people mostly, but of no culture or in- 
formation ; no aspiration boyond (on the best possible terms) bread 
aud cheese. Their talk in good part was little else than gossip aud 
more or less ingenious giggle. We lived habitually by their means 
iu a kind of Edinburgh element, not iu the still baser Kirkcaldy 
one, and that was all. Irving now aud then perhaps called on 
some city clergyman, but seemed to have little esteem of them by 
his reports to me afterwards. I myself by this time was indiffer- 
ent on that head. On one of those visits my last feeble tatter of 
connection with Divinity Hall affairs or clerical outlooks was al- 
lowed to snap itself and fall definitely to the ground. Old Dr. 
Ritchie "not at home" when I called to enter myself. "Good!" 
answered I; "let the omen be fulfilled." Irving on tho contrary 
was being licensed — probably through Annan Presbytery; but I 
forgot the when and where, aud indeed conjecture it may have 
been before my coming to Kirkcaldy. What alouo I well remem- 
ber is his often aud ever notable preaching iu those Kirkcaldy 
years of mine, This gave him an interest in conspicuous clergy- 
meu _ eV eu if stupid— which I had not. Stupid those Edinburgh 
clergy were not at all by any means; but narrow, ignorant, and 
barren to us two, they without exception were. 

Iu Kirkcaldy circles (for poor Kirkcaldy had its circles aud even 
its West end, much more genial to me than Aunan used to be) Ir- 
ving and I seldom or never met; ho little frequented them, I hard- 
ly at all. Tho one house where I often met hiin, besides his own, 
was the Manse, Rev. Mr. Martin's, which was a haunt of his, and 
where, for his sake partly, I was always welcome. There was a 
feeble intellectuality current here; the minister was a_ precise, 
innocent, didactic kiud of man, and I now aud then was willing 
enough to step in, though various boys and girls went cackling 
about, and Martin himself was pretty much the only item I really 
liked. The girls were some of them grown up, not quite ill-look- 
ing, aud all thought to be or thinking themselves "clever and 
learned ;" yet even these, strange to say, iu the great rarity of the 
article and my ardent devotion to it, were without charm to me. 
They were not tho best kind of children; none of them I used to 
think quite worthy of such a father. Martin himself had a kind 
of cheery grace aud sociality of way (though much afflicted by dys- 



16 



REMINISCENCES. 



pepsia), a clear-minded, brotherly, well-intentioned man, and bating 
a certain glimmer of vanity which always looked through, alto- 
gether honest, wholesome as Scotch oatmeal. His wife, who had 
been a beauty, perhaps a wit, and was now grown a notable man- 
ager of house and children, seemed to me always of much inferior 
type, visibly proud as well as vain, of a snappish rather uncom- 
fortable maimer, betokening, even in her kindness, steady egoism 
and various splenetic qualities. A big burly brother of hers, a 
clergyman whom I have seen, a logical enough, sarcastic, swashing 
kiud of man in his sphere, struck me as kneaded out of precisely 
the same clay. All Martin's children, I used to fancy, had this bad 
cross in the birth; it is certain that none of them came to much 
good. The eldest Miss Martin, perhaps near twenty by this time, 
was of bouueing, frank, gay manners and talk, studious to be amia- 
ble, but never quite satisfactory on the side of genuineness. Some- 
thing of affected you feared always in these fine spirits and smiling 
discourses, to which however you answered with smiles. She was 
very ill-looking withal ; a skin always under blotches and discolor- 
ment ; muddy gray eyes, which for their part never laughed with 
the other features ; pock-marked, ill-shapen triangular kiud of face, 
with hollqw cheeks and loDg chin; decidedly unbeautiful as a 
young woman. In spite of all which (having perhaps the arena 
much to herself) she had managed to charm poor Irving for the 
time being, and it was understood they were engaged, which un- 
fortunately j) roved to be the fact. Her maternal ill-qualities came 
out in her afterwards as a bride (an engaged young lady), and 
still more strongly as a wife. Poor woman, it was never with her 
will ; you could perceive she had always her father's strong and 
true wish to be good, had not her difficulties been quite too strong. 
But it was and is very visible to me, she (unconsciously for much 
the greater part) did a good deal aggravate all that was bad in 
living's " Loudon position," and impeded his wise profiting by what 
was really good in it. Let this be enough said on that subject for 
the present. 

Irving's preachings as a licentiate (or probationer waiting for 
fixed appointment) were always interesting to whoever had ac- 
quaintance with him, especially to me who was his intimate. 
Mixed with but little of self-comparison or other dangerous ingre- 
dient, indeed with loyal recognition on the part of most of us, and 
without any grudging or hidden envy, we enjoyed the broad po- 
tency of his delineations, exhortations, and free flowing eloquences, 
which had all a manly and original turn ; and then afterwards 
there was sure to be on the part of the public a great deal of criti- 
cising pro and contra, which also had its entertainment for us. 
From the first Irving read his discourses, but not in a servile man- 
ner ; of attitude, gesture, elocution there was no neglect. His voice 
was very fine ; melodious depth, strength, clearness, its chief char- 
acteristics. I have heard more pathetic voices, going more direct 
to the heart both in the way of indignation and of pity, but recol- 
lect none that better filled the ear. He affected the Miltonic or 
old English Puritan style, and strove visibly to imitate it more aud 
more till almost the end of his career, when indeed it had become 
his own, aud was the language he used in utmost heat of business 
for expressing his meaning. At this time and for years afterwards 
there was something of preconceived intention visible in it, in fact 
of real affectation, as there could not well help being. To his ex- 
ample also I suppose I owe something of my own poor affectations 
in that matter, which are now more or less visible to me, much re- 
pented of or not. We were all taught at that time by Coleridge, 
etc., that the. old English dramatists, diviues, philosophers, judicious 
Hooker, Milton, Sir Thomas Browne, were the genuine exemplars, 
which I also tried to believe, but never rightly could as a whole. 
The young must learn to speak by imitation of the older who al- 
ready do it, or have done it. The ultimate rule is: learn so far as 
possible to be intelligible and transparent — no notice taken of your 
style, but solely of what you express by it. This is your clear rule, 
and if yon have anything which is not quite trivial to express to 
your contemporaries, you will find such rule a great deal more dif- 
ficult to follow thau many people think. 

Ou the whole, poor Irving's style was sufficiently surprising to 
his hidebound public, and this was but a slight circumstance to 
the novelty of the matter he set forth upon them. Actual practice. 
" If this thing is true, why not do it ? You had better do it. There 
will be nothing but misery and ruin in not doing it." That was 
the gist and continual purport of all his discoursing, to the aston- 
ishment and deep offence of hidebound mankind. There was 
doubtless something of rashness in the young Irving's way of preach- 
ing ; not perhaps quite enough of pure, complete, and serious con- 
viction (which ought to have lain silent a good while before it took 
to speaking). In general I own to have felt that there was pres- 
ent a certain inflation or spiritual bombast iu much of this, a trifle 
of unconscious playactorism (highly unconscious but not quite 
absent) which had been unavoidable to the brave young prophet 



and reformer. But brave he was, and bearing full upon the truth 
if not yet quite attaining it. And as to the offence he gave, our 
withers were uuwruug. I for one was perhaps rather entertained 
by it, and grinned iu secret to thiuk of the hides it was piercing! 
Both in Fife and over in Edinburgh, I have known the offence very 
rampant. Once in Kirkcaldy Kirk, which was well filled aud all 
dead silent under living's grand voice, the door of a pew a good 
way in front of me (ground floor — right-hand as you fronted the 
preacher), banged suddenly open, and there bolted out of it a mid- 
dle-aged or elderly little man (au insignificant baker by position), 
who with long swift strides, and face and big eyes all in wrath, 
came tramping and sounding along the flags close past my right 
hand, and vanished out of doors with a slam; Irving quite victo- 
riously disregarding. I remember the violently augry face well 
enough, but not the least what the offence could have been. A 
kind of "Who are you, sir, that you dare to tutor us in that man- 
ner, and harrow up our orthodox quiet skin with your novelties?" 
Probably that was all. In Irving's preaching there was present or 
prefigured generous opulence of ability in all kinds (except per- 
haps the very highest kiud not even prefigured), but much of it 
was still crude; and this was the receptiou it had for a good few 
years to come ; indeed, to the very end he never carried all the 
world aloug with him, as some have done with far fewer qualities. 

Iu vacation time, twice over, I made a walking tour with him. 
First time I thiuk was to the Trosachs, and home by Loch Lo- 
mond, Greenock, Glasgow, etc., many parts of which are still visible 
to me. The party generally was to be of four ; one Piers, who was 
Irving's housemate or even landlord, schoolmaster of Abbotshall, 
i. e., of " The Links," at the southern extra-burghal part of Kirk- 
caldy, a cheerful scatterbrained creature who went ultimately as 
preacher or professor of something to the Cape of Good Hope, aud 
one Brown (James Brown), who had succeeded Irviug iu Hadding- 
ton, aud was now tutor somewhere. The full rally was not to. be 
till Stirling; even Piers was gone ahead; and Irving and I, after 
an official dinner with the bnrghal dignitaries of Kirkcaldy, who 
strove to be pleasant, set out together oue gray August evening by 
Forth sands towards Torryburn. Piers was to have beds ready for 
us there, aud we cheerily walked aloug our mostly dark aud intri- 
cate twenty-two miles. But Piers had nothing serviceably ready; 
we could not even discover Piers at that dead hour (2 a.m.), and 
had a good deal of groping and adventuring before a poor iun 
opened to us with two coarse clean beds in it, iu which we instant- 
ly fell asleep. Piers did in person rouse us next morning about 
six, but we coucordantly met him with mere ha-ha's ! aud inarticu- 
late hootiugs of satirical rebuke, to such extent that Piers, con- 
victed of nothing but heroic punctuality, flung himself out into 
the rain again in momentary indignant puff, aud strode away for 
Stirling, where we next saw him after four or five hours. I re- 
member the squalor of our bedroom in the dim rainy light, and 
how little we cared for it iu our opulence of youth. The sight of 
giant Irviug in a shortish shirt on the sanded floor, drinking pa- 
tiently a large tankard of "penny whaup" (the smallest beer in 
creation) before beginning to dress, is still present to me as comic. 
Of sublime or tragic, the uight before a mysterious great red glow 
is much more memorable, which had long hung before us in the 
murky sky, growing gradually brighter and bigger, till at last we 
found it must be Carron Ironworks, on the other side of Forth, one 
of the most impressive sights. Our march to Stirling was under 
pouriug rain for most part, but I recollect enjoying the romance 
of it; Kincardine, Culross (Cu'ros), Clackmannan, here they are 
then ; what a wonder to be here ! The Links of Forth, the Ochills, 
Grampians, Forth itself, Stirling, lion - shaped, ahead, like a lion 
couehant with the castle for his crown ; all this was beautiful iu 
spite of rain. Welcome too was the inside of Stirling, with its flue 
warm inn and the excellent refection and thorough drying and re- 
fitting we got there, Piers and Brown looking pleasautly on. Stroll- 
ing and sight-seeing (day now very fine — Stirling all washed) till 
we marched for Donne iu the evening (Brig of Teith, "blue and 
arrowy Teith," Irviug and I took that byway in the dusk); break- 
fast in Callauder next moruing, aud get to Loch Katrine in an hour 
or two more. I have not been in that region agaiu till August last 
year, four days of magnificently perfect hospitality with Stirling 
of Keir. Almost surprising how inouruful it was to " look ou this 
picture and on that" at interval of fifty years. 

Irving was in a sort the captain of our expedition : had been 
there before, could recommend everything; was made, unjustly by 
us, responsible for everything. The Trosachs I found really grand 
and impressive, Loch Katrine exquisitely so (my first taste of the 
beautiful in scenery). Not so, any of us, the dirty smoky farm hut 
at the entrance, with no provision in it but bad oatcakes and un- 
acceptable whiskey, or the "Mrs. Stewart" who somewhat royally 
presided over it, aud dispensed these dainties, expecting to be flat- 
tered like au iudepeudeucy as well as paid like an innkeeper. Poor 



EDWARD IRVING. 



17 



Irving could not help it ; but in fine, the rains, the hardships, the 
ill diet was beginning to act on ns all, and I could perceive that 
•we were in danger of splitting into two parties. Brown, leader of 
the Opposition — myself considerably flattered by him, though not 
seduced by him into factious courses, only led to see how strong 
poor Piers was for the Government interest. This went to no 
length, never bigger than a summer cloud or the iucipiency of one. 
But Brown in secret would never quite let it die out (a jealous 
Mud of man, I gradually found ; had been much commended to us 
by Irving, as of superior intellect aud honesty ; which qualities I 
likewise found in him, though with the above abatement), and 
there were divisions of vote in the walking parliament, two 
against two ; and bad there not been at this point, by a kind of 
outward aud legitimate reason, which proved very sanatory in the 
case, an actual division of routes, the folly might have lasted lon- 
ger and become audible and visible — which it never did. Sailing 
up Loch Katrine in top or unpicturesque part, Irving and Piers 
settled with us that only we two should go across Loch Lomond, 
round by Tarbert, Roseneath, Greenock, they meanwhile making 
direct for Paisley country, where they had business. And so on 
stepping out and paying our boatmen they said adieu, and at once 
struck leftwards, we going straight ahead ; rendezvous to be at 
Glasgow again on such and such a day. (What feeble trash is all 
this. . . . Ah me! no better thau living's penny whaup with the 
gas gone out of it. Stop to-day, October 4, 1866.) 

The heath was bare, trackless, sun going almost down. Brown 
and I (our friends soou disappearing) had an interesting march, 
good part of it dark, and flavored just to the right pitch with 
something of anxiety and something of danger. The sinking sun 
threw his reflexes on a tame-looking house with many windows 
some way to our right, the "Kharrison of Infersnaidt," an ancient 
anti-Rob Roy establishment, as two rough Highland wayfarers had 
lately informed us. Other house or persons we did not see, but 
made for the shoulder of Benlomond and the boatman's hut, partly, 
I think, by the stars. Boatman and huthold were in bed, but he, 
with a ragged little sister or wife, cheerfully roused themselves; 
cheerfully and for most part in silence, rowed us across (under the 
spangled vault of midnight ; which, with the lake waters silent as 
if iu deep dream, several miles broad here, had their due impres- 
sion on us) correctly to Tarbert, a most hospitable, clean, and wel- 
come little country inn (now a huge " hotel" I hear, worse luck to 
it, with its nasty " Hotel Company limited "). On awakening next 
morning, I heard from below the sound of a churn ; prophecy of 
new genuine butter, and even of ditto rustic buttermilk. 

Brown aud I did very well on our separate branch of pilgrim- 
age ; pleasant walk and talk down to the west margin of the loch 
(incomparable among lakes or lochs yet known to me) ; past 
Smollett's pillar ; emerge on the view of Greenock, on Helens- 
burgh, and across to Roseneath Manse, where with a Rev. Mr. 
Story, not yet quite inducted, whose " Life " has since been pub- 
lished, who was au acquaintance of Brown's, we were warmly wel- 
comed and well entertained for a couple of days. Story I never 
saw again, but he, acquainted in Haddington neighborhood, saw 
some time after incidentally a certain bright, figure, to whom I am 
obliged to him at this moment for speaking favorably of me. 
"Talent plenty; fine vein of satire in him!" something like this. 
I suppose they had been talking of Irving, whom both of them knew 
and liked well. Her, probably at that time I had still never seen, 
but she told me long afterwards. 

At Greenock I first, saw steamers on the water; queer little dumpy 
things with a red sail to each, and legible name, " Defiance," aud 
such like, bobbing about there, aud making continual passages to 
Glasgow as their business. Not till about two years later (1819 if 
I mistake not) did Forth see a steamer; Forth's first was far big- 
ger than the Greenock ones, and called itself " The Tug," being in- 
tended for towing ships in those narrow waters, as I have often 
seeu it doing ; it still, and no rival or congener, till (iu 1825) Leith, 
spurred on by one Bain, a kind of scientific half-pay Master R. N, 
got up a large finely appointed steamer, or pair of steamers, for 
Loudon ; which, so successful were they, all ports theu set to imi- 
tating. London alone still held back for a good few years ; Lou- 
don was notably shy of the steamship, great as are its doings now 
in that line. An old friend of mine, the late Mr. Strachey,* has 
told me that in his school days he at one time — early iu the Nine- 
ties I should guess, say 1/93 — used to see, iu crossing Westminster 
Bridge, a little model steamship paddling to and fro between him 
and Blaokfriars Bridge, with steam funnel, paddle wheels, and the 
other outfit, exhibiting aud recommending itself to London and 
whatever scientific or other spirit of marine adventure London 
might have. Loudon entirely dead to the phenomenon — which 

* Late Charles Buller's uncle. Somersetshire geutlemau, ex -Indian, died in 
1831, an examiner iu the India Douse ; colleague of John S. Mill and his father 
there. 

2 



had to duck under and dive across the Atlantic before London saw 
it again, when a new generation had riseu. The real inventor of 
steamships, I have learued credibly elsewhere, the maker aud pro- 
prietor of that fruitless model on the Thames, was Mr. Miller, Laird 
of Dalswiuton in Dumfriesshire (Poet Burns's landlord ), who spent 
his life and his estate in that adventure, and is not now to be heard 
of in those parts ; having had to sell Dalswiuton and die quasi- 
bankrupt (and I should think broken-hearted) after that complet- 
ing of his painful invention aud finding London and mankind dead 
to it. Miller's assistant and work-hand for many years was John 
Bell, a joiner in the neighboring village of Tuornhill. Miller beiu«- 
ruined, Bell was out of work aud connectiou : emigrated to New 
York, aud there speaking much of his old master, and glorious un- 
heeded invention well known to Bell in all its outlines or details, 
at length found one Fulton to listen to him ; and by " Fulton and 
Bell" (about 1809) an actual packet steamer was got launched, 
and, lucratively plying on the Hudson River, became the miracle 
of Yankee -land, and gradually of all lands. These I believe are 
essentially the facts. Old Robert M'Queen of Thoruhill, Strachey 
of the India House, and many other bits of good testimony and in- 
dication, once far apart, curiously coalescing aud corresponding for 
me. And as, possibly enough, the story is not now knowu iu whole 
to anybody but myself, it may go in here as a digression — d, pi-opos 
of those brisk little Greenock steamers which I first saw, and still 
so vividly remember; little "Defiance," etc., saucily bounding 
about with their red sails in the sun, on this my tour with Irving. 

Those old three days at Roseneath are all very vivid to me, aud 
marked in white. The quiet blue mountain masses, giant Cobler 
overhanging, bright seas, bright skies, Roseneath new mansion 
(still unfinished and standing as it did), the grand old oaks, and a 
certain haudfast, middle-aged, practical and most polite "Mr. 
Campbell " (the Argyll factor there) and his two sisters, excellent 
lean old ladies, with their wild Highland accent, wiredrawn but 
genuine good manners and good principles, and not least their as- 
tonishment, aud shrill interjections at once of love and fear, over 
the talk they contrived to get out of me one evening and perhaps 
another when we went across to tea ; all this is still pretty to me 
to remember. They are all dead, the good souls — Campbell him- 
self, the Duke told me, died only lately, very old — but they were to 
my rustic eyes of a superior, richly furnished stratum of society ; 
aud the thought that I too might perhaps be "one and somewhat " 
(Ein ttnd Etwas) among my fellow creatures by-and-by, was secretly 
very welcome at their hands. We rejoined Irving and Piers at Glas- 
gow ; I remember our glad embarkation towards Paisley by canal 
trackboat ; visit preappointed for us by Irving, in a good old lady's 
house, whose sou was Irving's boarder ; the dusty, sunny Glasgow 
evening ; and my friend's joy to see Brown and me. Irving was 
very good and jocund-hearted : most blithe his good old lady, whom 
I had seen at Kirkcaldy before. We had a pleasant day or two iu 
those neighborhoods ; tho picturesque, the comic, and the genially 
common all prettily combining ; particulars now much forgotten. 
Piers went to eastward, Dunse, his native country; " born i' Duuse," 
equal in souud to born a dunce, as Irving's laugh would sometimes 
remind him ; " opposition party " (except it were in the secret of 
Brown's jealous heart) there was now none ; Irving in truth was 
the natural king among us, and his qualities of captaincy in such a 
matter were indisputable. 

Brown, he, and I went by the Falls of Clyde ; I do not recollect 
the rest of onr route, except that at New Lanark, a green silent 
valley, with cotton works turned by Clyde waters, we called to see 
Robert Owen, the then incipient arch-gomeril, " model school," and 
thought it (and him, whom after all we did not see, and knew only 
by his pamphlets and it) a thing of wiud not worth considering 
farther ; and that after sight of the Falls, which probably was next 
day, Irving came out as captain in a fine new phase. The Falls 
were very grand and stormful — nothing to say against the Falls ; 
but at the last of them, or possibly at Bothwell Banks farther ou, 
a woman who officiated as guide and cicerone, most superfluous, 
unwilling too, but firrnly persistent in her purpose, happened to 
be in her worst humor; did nothing but snap and snarl, and being 
answered by bits of quiz, towered at length into foam. She inti- 
mated she would bring somebody who would ask us how we could 
so treat an unprotected female, and vanished to seek the champion 
or champions. As our business was done, aud the woman paid too, 
I own (with shame if needed) my thought would have been to 
march with decent activity on our way, not looking back unless 
summoned to do it, and prudently evading discrepant circles of 
that sort. Not so Irving, who drew himself up to his full height 
and breadth, cudgel in hand, and stood there, flanked by Brown 
aud me, waiting the issue. 

Issue was, a thickish kind of man, seemingly the woman's hus- 
band, a little older than any of us, stept out with her, calmly enough, 
surveying, and at a respectful distance ; asked if we would buy ap- 



18 



REMINISCENCES. 



pies f Upon which with negatory grin we did march. I recollect 
too that we visited lead hills and descended into the mines; that 
Irving prior to Annan must have struck away from us at some 
point. Brown and I, on arriving at Mainhill, found my dear good 
mother in the saddest state ; dregs of a had fever hanging on her ; 
my profound sorrow at which seemed to be a surprise to Brown, 
according to his letters afterwards. With Brown, for a year or two 
ensuing, I continued to have some not unpleasant correspondence ; a 
conscientious, accurate, clear-sighted, but rather narrow and unfruit- 
ful man, at present tutor to some Lockhart of Lee, and wintering 
in Edinburgh. Went afterwards to India as Presbyterian clergy- 
man somewhere, and shrank gradually, we heard, into complete 
aridity, phrenology, etc., etc., and before long died there. He had, 
after Irving, been my dear little Jeannie's teacher and tutor; she 
never had but these two, and the name of her, like a bright object 
far above me like a star, occasionally came up between them ou 
that journey; I dare say at other times. She retained a child's 
regard for James Brown, and in this house he was always a mem- 
orable object. 

My second tour with Irving had nothing of circuit in it : a mere 
walk homeward through the Peebles-Moffat moor country, and is not 
worth going into in any detail. The region was without roads, of- 
ten without foot-tracks, had no vestige of an inn, so that there was 
a kind of knight-errantry in threading your way through it ; not to 
mention the romance that naturally lay in its Ettrick and Yarrow, 
and old melodious songs and traditions. We walked up Meggat 
Water to beyond the sources, emerged into Yarrow, not far above St. 
Mary's Loch ; a charming secluded shepherd country, with excellent 
shepherd population — nowhere setting up to be picturesque, but 
everywhere honest, comely, well done to, peaceable and useful. Nor 
anywhere without its solidly characteristic features, hills, mountains, 
clear rushing streams, cosy nooks and homesteads, all of fine rustic 
type; and presented to you in naturd, not as in a Drury Lane with 
stage-lights and for a purpose ; the vast and yet not savage soli- 
tude as an impressive item, long miles from farm to fami, or even 
from one shepherd's cottage to another. No company to you but 
the rustle of the grass underfoot, the tinkling of the brook, or the 
voices of innocent primaeval things. I repeatedly walked through 
that country up to Edinburgh and down by myself in subsequent 
years, and nowhere remember such affectionate, sad, and thought- 
ful, and in fact, interesting and salutary journeys. I have had 
days clear as Italy (as in this Irving case), days moist and drip- 
ping, overhung with the infinite of silent gray — and perhaps the 
latter were the preferable in certain moods. You had the world 
and its waste imbroglios of joy and woe, of light and darkness, to 
yourself alone. You could strip barefoot if it suited better, carry 
shoes aud socks over shoulder, hung on your stick ; clean shirt and 
comb were in your pocket; omnia mea mecum porto. You lodged 
with shepherds who had clean solid cottages; wholesome eggs, 
milk, oatbread, porridge, clean blankets to their beds, and a great 
deal of human sense and unadulterated natural politeness. Canty, 
shrewd aud witty fellows, when you set them talking ; knew from 
their hill tops every hit of couutry between Forth and Solway, and 
all the shepherd inhabitants within fifty miles, being a kind of con- 
fraternity of shepherds from father to son. No sort of peasant 
laborers I have ever come across seemed to me so happily situated, 
morally aud physically well-developed, and deserving to be happy, 
as those shepherds of the Cheviots. O fortunatos nimium! But 
perhaps it is all altered not a little now, as I sure enough am who 
speak of it ! 

Irving's course and mine was from bonny Yarrow onwards by 
Loch Skene and the " Grey Mare's Tail " (finest of all cataracts, 
lonesome, simple, grand, that are now in my memory) down into 
Moffat dale where we lodged in a shepherd's cottage. Caplegill, 
old Walter Welsh's farm, must have been near, though I knew not 
of it then. From the shepherd people came good talk ; Irving 
skilful to elicit topography ; Poet Hogg (who was then a celebrity), 
"Shirra Scott" (Sir Walter, Sheriff of Selkirkshire, whose borders 
we had just emerged from); then gradually stores of local anec- 
dote, personal history, etc. These good people never once asked 
us whence, whither, or what are you ? but waited till perhaps it 
voluntarily came, as generally chanced. Moffat dale with its 
green holms and hill ranges, " Correyran Saddle -yoke" (actual 
quasi-saddle, you can sit astride anywhere, and a stone dropped 
from either hand will roll and bound a mile), with its pleasant 
groves and farmsteads, voiceful limpid waters rushing fast for An- 
nan, all was very beautiful to us ; but what I most remember is 
Irving's arrival at Mainhill with me to tea, and how between my 
father aud him there was such a mutual recognition. My father 
had seen Loch Skene, the Grey Mare's Tail, etc., in bis youth, and 
now gave in few words such a picture of it, forty years after sight, 
as charmed and astonished Irving ; who on his side was equally 
unlike a common man, definitely true, intelligent, frankly courte- 



ous, faithful in whatever he spoke about. My father and he saw 
one another (on similar occasions) twice or thrice again, always 
with increasing esteem; and I rather think it was from Irving on 
this particular occasion that I was first led to compare my father 
with other men, aud see how immensely superior he, altogether un- 
consciously, was. No intellect equal to his, in certain irnrjortant 
respects, have I ever met with in the world. Of my mother, Irving 
never made any reading for himself, or could well have made, but 
only through me, and that too he believed in aud loved well; gen- 
erally all recognizing Irving. ' 

The Kirkcaldy population were a pleasant, honest kind of fellow- 
mortals ; something of quietly fruitful, of good old Scotch in their 
works and ways ; more vernacular, peaceable, fixed, aud almost gen- 
ial in their mode of life than I had been used to in the Border 
home-land. Fife generally we liked, those ancient little burghs 
and sea villages, with their poor little havens, salt pans, aud weath- 
erbeaten bits of Cyclopean breakwaters aud rude innocent ma- 
chineries, are still kindly to me to think of. Kirkcaldy itself had 
many looms, had Baltic trade, had whale-fishery, etc., and was a 
solidly diligent, yet by no means a panting, puffing, or in any way 
gambling " Lang Town." The flaxmill - machinery, I remember, 
was turned mainly by wind; and curious blue painted wheels, with 
oblique vaus (how working I never saw) rose from many roofs for 
that end. We all, I in particular, always rather liked the people, 
though from the distance chiefly, chagrined and discouraged by the 
sad trade one had! Some hospitable human firesides I found, and 
these were at intervals a fine little element, but in general we were 
but onlookers (the one real society our books and our few selves). 
Not even with the bright " youug ladies " (which was a sad feature) 
were we on speaking terms. By far the cleverest and brightest, 
however, an ex-pupil of Irving's, and genealogically and otherwise 
(being poorish, proud, and well-bred) a kind of alien in the place, I 
did at last make some acquaintance with (at Irving's first, I think, 
though she rarely came thither) ; some acquaintance, and it might 
easily have been more, had she and her aunt aud our economics and 
other circumstances liked. She was of the fair-complexioned, softly 
elegant, softly grave, witty and comely type, and had a good deal of 
gracefulness, intelligence, and other talent. Irving too, it was some- 
times thought, found her very interesting, could the Miss Martin 
bonds have allowed, which they never would. To me who had 
only known her for a few months, and who within twelve or fifteen 
months saw the last of her, she continued for perhaps some three 
years a figure hanging more or less in my fancy on the usual ro- 
mautic, or latterly quite elegiac and silent terms, and to this day 
there is in me a goodwill to her, a candid and gentle pity for her, 
if needed at all. She was of the Aberdeenshire Gordons, a far-off 
Huntly I doubt not; "Margaret Gordon," born I think in New 
Brunswick, where her father, probably in some official post, had 
died young and poor. Her accent was prettily English and her 
voice Very fine. An aunt (widow in Fife, childless, with limited 
resources, but of frugal cultivated turn, a lean, proud elderly dame, 
once a " Miss Gordon " herself, sang Scotch songs beautifully, and 
talked shrewd Aberdeenish in accent and otherwise) had adopted 
her and brought her hither over seas ; and here as Irving's ex-pu- 
pil, she now, cheery though with dim outlooks, was. Irving saw 
her again in Glasgow one summer, touring, etc., he himself accom- 
panying joyfully, not joining (so I understood it) the retinue of 
suitors or potential suitors, rather perhaps indicating gently "No, 
I must not," for the last time. A year or so after we heard the fair 
Margaret had married some rich insignificant Aberdeen Mr. Some- 
thing, who afterwards got into Parliament, thence out to "Nova Sco- 
tia " (or so) as" Governor," and I heard of her no more, except that 
lately she was still living about Aberdeen, childless, as the Dowager 
Lady, her Mr. Something having got knighted before dying. Poor 
Margaret ! Speak to her since the "good-bye then " at Kirkcaldy 
iu 1819 I never did or could. I saw her, recognizably to me, here 
in her Loudon time, twice (1840 or so), once with her maid in Pic- 
cadilly, promenading, little altered; a second time, that same year 
or next, on horseback both of us, and meeting iu the gate of Hyde 
Park, when her eyes (but that was all) said to me almost touch- 
iugly, " Yes, yes,.that is you." Enough of that old matter, which 
but half concerns Irving and is now quite extinct. 

In the space of two years we had all got tired of schoolmaster- 
ing and its mean contradictions aud poor results : Irving and I 
quite resolute to give it up for good ; the headlong Piers disinclined 
for it on the then terms longer, and in the end of 1818 we all three 
went away ; Irviug and I to Edinburgh, Piers to his owu east coun- 
try, whom I never saw again with eyes, poor, good rattling soul. 
living's outlooks in Edinburgh were not of the best, considerably 
checkered with dubiety, opposition, and even flat disfavor in some 
quarters ; but at least they were far superior to mine, aud indeed, 
I was beginning my four or five most miserable, dark, sick, and 
heavy-laden years ; Irving, after some staggerings aback, his seven 



EDWARD IRVING. 



19 



or eight healthiest and brightest. He had as one item several good 
hundreds of money to wait upon. My pecttlium I don't recollect, 
but it could not have exceeded £100. I was without friends, ex- 
perience, or connection in the sphere of human business, was of shy 
humor, proud enough and to spare, and had begun my long curric- 
ulum of dyspepsia which has never ended since ! 

Irving Hved in Bristo Street, more expensive rooms than mine, 
used to give breakfasts to intellectualities be fell in with, I often a 
guest with them. They were but stupid intellectualities, and the 
talk I got into there did not please me even then ; though it was 
well enough conceived. A visible gloom occasionally huug over 
Irving, his old strong sunshine only getting out from time to time. 
He gave lessons in mathematics, once for a while to Captain Basil 
Hall, who had a kind of thin celebrity then, and did not seem to 
love too well that small lion or his ways with him. Small liou came 
to propose for me at one stage ; wished me to go out with him " to 
Duuglas," and there do "luuars" in his name, he looking on and 
learning of me what would come of its own will. "Lunars" 
meanwhile were to go to the Admiralty, testifying there what a 
careful studious Captain he was, and help to get him promotion, so 
the little wretch smilingly told me. 

I remember the figure of him in my dim lodging as a gay, crack- 
ling, sniggering spectre, one dusk, and endeavoring to seduce my 
affability in lieu of liberal wages into this adventure. Wages, I 
think, were to be smallish ("so poor are we "), but then the great 
Playfair is coming on visit. " You will see Professor Playfair." I 
had not the least notion of such an enterprise on these shining 
terms, and Captain Basil with his great Playfair in posse vanished 
for me into the shades of dusk for good. I don't think Irving ever 
bad any other pupil but this Basil for perhaps a three months. I 
had not even Basil, though private teaching, to me the poorer, was 
much the more desirable if it would please to come ; which it gen- 
erally would not in the least. I was timorously aiming towards 
" literature," too ; thought in audacious moments I might perhaps 
earn some trifle that way by honest labor to help my finance ; but 
in that, too, I was painfully sceptical (talent and opportunity alike 
doubtful, alike incredible, to me poor downtrodden soul), and in fact 
there came little enough of produce or finance to me from that 
source, and for the first years absolutely none in spite of my dili- 
gent and desperate efforts, which are sad to me to think of even 
now. Acti labores; yes, but of such a futile, dismal, lonely, dim and 
chaotic kind, in a scene all ghastly-chaos to one, sad, dim and ugly 
as the shores of Styx and Phlegethon, as a nightmare-dream be- 
come real ! No more of that ; it did not conquer me, nor quite kill 
me, thank God. Irving thought of nothing as ultimate but a cler- 
ical career, obstacles once overcome ; in the meanwhile we heard 
of robust temporary projects. " Tour to Switzerland," glaciers, 
Geneva, " Lake of Thun," very grand to think of, was one of them ; 
none of which took effect. 

I forget how long it was till the then famed Dr. Chalmers, fallen 
in want of an assistant, cast his eye on Irving. I think it was in 
the summer following our advent to Edinburgh. I heard duly 
about it, how Rev. Andrew Thomson, famous malleus of theology in 
that time, had mentioned Irving's name, had engaged to get Chal- 
mers a hearing of him in his (Andrew's) church; how Chalmers 
heard incognito, and there ensued negotiation. Once I recollect 
transiently seeing the famed Andrew on occasion of it (something 
Irving had forgotten with him, and wished me to call for), and what 
a lean-minded, iracuud, ignorant kind of man Andrew seemed to 
me ; also much more vividly, in autumn following, one fine airy 
October day in Annandale, Irving on foot on his way to Glasgow 
for a month of actual trial. Had come by Mainhill, and picked me 
up to walk with him seven or eight miles farther into Dryfe Water 
(i. e. valley watered by clear swift Dryfe, quasi Drive, so impetuous 
and swift is it), where was a certain witty comrade of ours, one 
Frank Dickson, preacher at once and farmer (only son and heir of 
his father who had died in that latter capacity). We found Frank 
I conclude, though the whole is now dim to me, till we arrived all 
three (Frank and I to set Irving on his road and bid hjm good 
speed on the top of a hill commanding all upper Annandale, and 
the grand mass of Moffat hills, where we paused thoughtful a few 
moments). The, blue sky was beautifully spotted with white clouds, 
which, and their shadows on the wide landscape, the wind was 
beautifully chasing. Like life, I said with a kind of emotion, on 
which Irving silently pressed my arm with the hand near it or per- 
haps on it, and a moment after, with no word lmt his "farewell" 
and ours, strode swiftly away. A mail coach would find him at 
Moffat that same evening (after his walk of about thirty miles), and 
carry him to Glasgow to sleep. And the enrtaius sink again on 
Frank and me at this time. 

Frank was a notable kind of man, and one of the memorabilities 
to Irving as well as me ; a most quizzing, merry, entertaining, guile- 
less, and unmalicious mau ; with very considerable logic, reading, 



contemptuous observation and intelligence, much real tenderness 
too, when not obstructed, and a mournful true affection especially 
for the friends he had lost by death ! No mean impediment there 
any more (that was it), for Frank was very sensitive, easily moved 
to something of envy, and as if surprised when contempt was not 
possible ; easy banter was what he habitually dwelt in ; for the 
rest au honorable, bright, amiable man; alas, and his end was very 
tragic ! I have hardly seen a man with more opulence of conver- 
sation, wit, fantastic bantering, ingenuity, and genial human sense 
of the ridiculous in men and things : Charles Buller, perhaps, but 
he was of far more refined, delicately managed, and less copious 
tone ; finer by nature, I should say, as well as by culture, and had 
nothing of the fine Annandale Rabelais turn which had grown up, 
partly of will and at length by industry as well, in poor Frank 
Dickson in the valley of Dryfe amid his little stock of books and 
rustic phenomena. A slightly built man, nimble-looking, and yet 
lazy-looking, our Annandale Rabelais ; thin, neatly expressive aqui- 
line face, gray genially laughing eyes, something sternly serious and 
resolute in the squarish fine brow, nose specially aquiline, thin, and 
rather small. I well remember the play of point and nostrils there, 
while his wild home - grown Gargantuisms went on. He rocked 
rather, and negligently wriggled in walking or standing, something 
slightly twisted in the spine, I think ; but he made so much small 
in voluntary tossing and gesticulating while he spoke or listened, you 
never noticed the twist. What a childlike and yet half imp-like 
volume of laughter lay in Frank ; how he would fling back his fine 
head, left cheek up, not himself laughing much or loud even, but 
showing you such continents of inward gleesome mirth and victo- 
rious mockery of the dear stupid ones who had crossed his sphere 
of observation. A wild roll of sombre eloquence lay in him too, 
and I have neen in his sermons sometimes that brow and aquiline 
face grow dark, sad, and thunderous like the eagle of Jove. I al- 
ways liked poor Frank, and he me heartily. After having tried to 
banter me down and recognized the mistake, which he loyally did 
for himself and never repeated, we had much pleasant talk together 
first and last. 

His end was very tragic, like that of a sensitive, gifted man, too 
much based on laughter. Having no good prospect of Kirk pro- 
motion in Scotland (I think his Edinburgh resource had been 
mainly that of teaching under Mathematical Nichol for certain 
hours daily), he perhaps about a year after Irving went to Glas- 
gow had accepted some offer to be Presbyterian chaplain and 
preacher to the Scotch in Bermuda, and lifted anchor thither with 
many regrets and good wishes from us all. I did not correspond 
with him there, my own mood and posture being so dreary and 
empty. But before Irving left Glasgow, news came to me (from 
Irving I believe) that Frank, struck quite miserable and lame of 
heart and nerves by dyspepsia and dispiritmeut, was home again, 
or on his way home to Dryfesdale, there to lie useless, Irving rec- 
ommending me to do for him what kindness I could, and not re- 
member that he used to disbelieve and be ignorantly cruel in my 
own dyspeptic tribulations. This I did not fail of, nor was it bur- 
densome, but otherwise, while near him in Annandale. 

Frank was far more wretched than I had been ; sunk in spir- 
itual dubieties too, which I by that time was getting rid of. He 
had brought three young Bermuda gentlemen home with him as 
pupils (had been much a favorite in society there). With these 
in his rough farm-house, Belkat hill,* he settled himself to live. 
Farm was his, but in the hands of a rough-spun sister and her 
ploughing husband, who perhaps was not over glad to see Frank 
return, with new potientiality of ownership if he liked, which truly 
I suppose he never did. They had done some joinering, plank- 
flooring in the farm-house, which was weather-tight, newish though 
straight and dim, and there on rough rustic terms, perhaps with a 
little disappointment to the young gentlemen, Frank and his Ber- 
mudians lived, Frank himself for several years. He had a nimble, 
quick pony, rode latterly (for the Bermudians did not stay above 
a year or two) much about among his cousiury of friends, always 
halting and baiting with mo when it could be managed. I had at 
once gone to visit him, found Bell Top Hill on the new terms as in- 
teresting as ever. A comfort to me to administer some comfort, 
interesting even to compare dyspeptic notes. Besides, Frank by 
degrees would kindle into the old coruscations, and talk as well aa 
ever. I remember some of those visits to him, still more the lonely, 
silent rides thither, as humanly impressive, wholesome, not unpleas- 
ant ; especially after my return from Buller tutorship, and my first 
London visit (in 1824), when I was at Hoddam Hill, idly high and 
dry like Frank (or only translating German romance, etc.), and 
had a horse of my own. Frank took considerably to my mother; 
talked a great deal of' his bitter Byronic scepticism to her, and 
seemed to feel like oil poured into his wounds her beautifully 

• Bell Top Hill, near Hook, head part of the pleasant vale of Dryfe. 



20 



REMINISCENCES. 



pious contradictions of him and it. "Really likes to be contra- 
dicted, poor Frank!" she would tell me afterwards. He might be 
called a genuine bit of rustic dignity — modestly, frugally, in its 
simplest expression, gliding about among us there. This lasted 
till perhaps the beginning of 1826. I do not remember him at 
Scotsbrig ever. I suppose the lease of his farm may have run out 
that year, not renewed, and that he was now farther away. After 
my marriage, perhaps two years after it, from Craigenputtoch I 
wrote to him, but never got the least answer, never saw him or 
distinctly heard of him more. Indistinctly I did, with a shock, hear 
of him once, and then a second, a final time, thus. My brother Ja- 
mie,* riding to Moffat in 1828 or so, saw near some poor cottage 
(not a farm at all, a bare place for a couple of cows, perhaps it was 
a turnpike-keeper's cottage), not far from Moffat, a forlornly miser- 
able-looking figure, walking languidly to and fro, parted from him 
by the hedge, whom in spite of this sunk condition he recognized 
clearly for Frank Dickson, who, however, took no notice of him. 
" Perhaps refuses to know me," thought Jamie ; " they have lost 
their farm — sister and husband seem to have taken shelter here, 
and there is the poor gentleman and scholar Frank sauntering 
miserably with an old plaid over his head, slipshod in a pair of 
old clogs." That was Jamie's guess, which he reported to me; 
and a few mouths after grim whisper came, low but certain — no 
inquest of coroner there — that Frank was dead, and had gone in the 
Roman fashion. What other could he do now — the silent, valiant, 
though vanquished man ? He was hardly yet thirty-five, a man 
richer in gifts than nine-tenths of the vocal and notable are. I 
.remember him with sorrow and affection, native -countryman 
[Frank, and his little life. What a 6trange little island fifty years 
Joff; sunny, homelike, pretty in the memory, yet with tragic thun- 
ders waiting it ! 

Irving's Glasgow news from the first were good. Approved of, 
accepted by the great Doctor and his congregation, preaching 
heartily, laboring with the "visiting deacons" (Chalmers's grand 
parochial anti-pauperism apparatus much an object with the Doc- 
tor at this time), seeing and experiencing new things on all hands 
of him in his new wide element. He came occasionally to Edin- 
burgh on visit. I remember him as of prosperous aspect ; a little 
more carefully, more clerically dressed than formerly (ample black 
frock, a little longer skirted than the secular sort, hat of gravish 
breadth of brim, all very simple and correct). He would talk 
about the Glasgow Radical weavers, and their notable receptions 
of him and utterances to him while visiting their lanes; was not 
copious upon his great Chalmers, though friendly in what he did 
say. All this of his first year must have been in 1820 or late in 
1819 ; year 1819 conies back into my mind as the year of the Radi- 
cal " rising " in Glasgow ; and the kind of altogether imaginary 
" fight " they attempted on Bonny Muir against the Yeomanry 
which had assembled from far and wide. A time of great rages 
and absurd terrors and expectations, a very fierce Radical and 
anti-Radical time. Edinburgh endlessly agitated by it all round 
me, not to mention Glasgow in the distance — gentry people full of 
zeal and foolish terror and fury, and looking disgustingly busy and 
important. Courier hussars would come in from the Glasgow re- 
gion covered with mud, breathless, for head-quarters, as you took 
your walk in Princes Street ; and you would hear old powdered 
gentlemen in silver spectacles talking with low-toned but exultant 
voice about "cordon of troops, sir," as you went along. The mass 
of the people, not the populace alone, had a quite different feeling, 
as if the danger from those West-couutry Radicals was small or 
imaginary, and their grievances dreadfully real ; which was with 
emphasis my own private notion of it. One bleared Sunday morn- 
ing, perhaps seven or eight a.m., I had gone out for my walk. At 
the riding-house in Nicholson Street was a kind of straggly group, 
or small crowd, with red-coats interspersed. Coming up I per- 
ceived it was the " Lothian Yeomanry," Mid or East I know not, 
just getting under way for Glasgow to be part of " the cordon." 
I halted a moment. They took their way, very ill ranked, not nu- 
merous or very dangerous-looking men of war ; but there rose from 
the little crowd by way of farewell cheer to them the strangest 
shout I have heard human throats utter, not very lond, or loud 
even for the small numbers ; but it said as plain as words, and with 
infinitely more emphasis of sincerity, " May the devil go with you, 
ye peculiarly contemptible and dead to the distresses of your fel- 
low-creatures." Another morning, months after, spring and sun 
now come, and the " cordon," etc., all over, I met an advocate slight- 
ly of my acquaintance hurryiug along musket in hand towards the 
Links, there to be drilled as item of the "gentlemen" volunteers 
now afoot. " You should have the like of this," said he, cheerily 
patting his musket. " H'm, yes ; but I haven't yet quite settled on 
which side " — which probably he hoped was quiz, though it really 

* Youngest brother, ten years my junior. 



expressed my feeling. Irving too, and all of us juniors, had the 
same feeliug in different intensities, and spoken of only to one an- 
other ; a sense that revolt against such a load of nuveracities, im- 
postures, and quietly inane formalities would one day become in- 
dispensable ; sense which had a kind of rash, false, and quasi-inso- 
lent joy iu it ; mutiny, revolt, being a light matter to the young. 

Irving appeared to take great interest in his Glasgow visitings 
about among these poor weavers and free communings with them 
as man with man. He was altogether human we heard and could 
well believe ; he broke at once into sociality and frankness, would 
pick a potato from their pot, and in eating it get at once into free 
and kindly terms. " Peace be with you here " was his entering sal- 
utation one time in some weaviug-shop which had politely paused 
and silenced itself on sight of him ; "peace be with. you." "Ay, 
sir, if there's plenty wi't!" said an angry little weaver who hap- 
pened to be on the floor, and who began indignant response and 
remonstrance to the minister and his fine words. " Quite angry 
and fiery," as Irving described him to us ; a fine thoughtful brow, 
with the veins on it swollen and black, and the eyes under it spar 
kling and glistening, whom however he succeeded in pacifying, aud 
parting with on soft terms. This was one of his anecdotes to us. 
I remember that fiery little weaver and his broad brow and swolleu 
veins, a vanished figure of those days, as if I had 'myself seen him. 

By-and-by, after repeated invitations, which to me were permis- 
sions rather, the time came for my paying a return visit. I well 
remember the first visit and pieces of the others ; probably there 
were three or even four in all, each of them a real holiday to me. 
By steamer to Bo'ness and then by canal. Skipper of canal-boat 
aud two Glasgow scamps of the period, these are figures of the first 
voyage ; very vivid these, the rest utterly out. I thiuk I always 
went by Bo'ness and steam so far, coach the remainder of the road 
in all subsequent journeys. Irving lived in Kent Street, eastern 
end of Glasgow, ground floor, tolerably spacious room. I think he 
sometimes gave up his bedroom (me the bad sleeper) and went out 
himself to some friend's house. David Hope (cousin of old Adam's, 
but much younger, an excellent guileless man and merchant) was 
warmly intimate aud attached ; the like William Graham of Burus- 
wark, Annandale, a still more interesting character; with both of 
whom I made or renewed acquaintance which turned out to be 
agreeable and lastiug. These two were perhaps Irving's most do- 
mestic aud practically trusted friends, but he had already many in 
the better Glasgow circles ; and in generous liking and apprecia- 
tion tended to excess, never to defect, with one and all of them. 
"Philosophers" called at Kent Street whom one did not find so 
extremely philosophical, though all were amiable and of polite aud 
partly religious turn ; and in fact these reviews of Glasgow in its" 
streets, in its jolly Christmas dining-rooms and drawing-rooms, 
were cordial aud instructive to me ; the solid style of comfort, free- 
dom, and plenty was new to me iu that degree. The. Tontine (my 
first evening in Glasgow) was quite a treat to my rustic eyes ; sev- 
eral hundreds of such fine, clean, opulent, and enviable or amiable- 
looking good Scotch gentlemen sauntering about iu truthful gossip 
or solidly reading their newspapers. I remember the shining bald 
crowns and serene white heads of several, and the feeling, Ofortu- 
natos nimium, which they generally gave me. Irving was not with 
me on this occasion ; had probably left me there for some half- 
hour, and would come to pick me up again when ready. We made 
morning calls together too, not very many, and found once, I recol- 
lect, an exuberant bevy of young ladies which I (silently) took as 
sample of great aud singular privilege in my frieud's way of life. 
Oftenest it was crotchety, speculative, semi-theological elderly gen- 
tlemen whom we met, with curiosity and as yet without weariness 
on my part, though of course their laughing, chatting daughters 
would have been better. The Glasgow women of the young lady 
stamp seemed to me well-looking, clever enough, good-humored : 
but I noticed (for my own behoof and without prompting of any 
kind) that they were not so well dressed as their Edinburgh sisters ; 
something flary, glary, colors too flagrant and ill-assorted, want of 
the harmonious transitions, neatnesses, and soft Attic art which I 
now recognized or remembered for the first time. 

Of Dr. Chalmers I heard a great deal ; naturally the continual 
topic, or one of them ; admiration universal, and as it seemed to 
me slightly wearisome, aud a good deal indiscriminate and over- 
done, which probably (though we were dead sileut on that head) 
was on occasions Irving's feeling too. But the great man was him- 
self truly lovable, truly loved ; and nothing personally could be 
more modest, intent on his good industries, not on himself or his 
fame. Twice that I recollect I specially saw him ; once at his own 
house, to breakfast; company Irving, one Crosby, a young licenti- 
ate, with glaring eyes and no speculation in them, who went after- 
wards to Birmingham, and thirdly myself. It. was a cold vile 
smoky morning; house and breakfast-room looked their worst in 
the dismal light. Doctor himself was hospitably kind, but spoke 



EDWARD IRVING. 



21 



little and engaged none of ns in talk. Oftenest, I could see, lie 
was absent, wandering in distant fields of abstruse character; to 
judge by the sorrowful glaze which came over his honest eyes and 
■ face. I was not ill-pleased to get away, ignotus, from one of whom 
I had gained no new knowledge. The second time was in a fine 
drawing-room (a Mr. Parker's) in a rather solemn evening party, 
where the doctor, perhaps bored by the secularities and trivialities 
elsewhere, put his chair beside mine in some clear space of floor, 
and talked earnestly for a good while on some scheme he had for 
proving Christianity by its visible fitness for human nature. " All 
written in us already," he said, " in sympathetic ink. Bible awakens 
it ; and you can read." I listened respectfully, not with any real 
conviction, only with a clear sense of the geniality aud goodness of 
the man. I never saw him again till within a few months of his 
death, when he called here, and sate with us an hour, very agreea- 
ble to her aud to me after the long abeyance. She had been with 
him once on a short tour in the Highlands ; me too be had got an 
esteem of — liked the "Cromwell" especially, and Cromwell's self 
ditto, which I hardly reckoned creditable of him. He did not 
speak of that, nor of the Free Kirk war, though I gave him a 
chance of that which he soon softly let drop. The now memora- 
blest point to me was of Paiuter Wilkie, who had been his familiar 
in youth, aud whom he seemed to me to understand well. " Paint- 
er's language," he said, "was stinted and difficult." Wilkie had 
told him how in painting his Rent Day he thought long, and to no 
purpose, by what means he should siguify that the sorrowful wom- 
an with the children there, had left no husband at home, but was 
a widow under tragical self-management; till one morning, push- 
ing along the Strand, he met a small artisan family going evident- 
ly on excursion, and in one of their hands or pockets somewhere 
was visible the house-key. " That will do," thought Wilkie, and 
prettily introduced the house -key as coral in the poor baby's 
mouth,, just drawn from poor mammy's pocket, to keep her uncon- 
scious little orphan peaceable. He warmly agreed with me in 
thinking Wilkie a man of real genius, real vivacity and simplicity. 
Chalmers was himself very beautiful to us during that hour, grave 
— not too grave — earnest, cordial face and figure very little altered, 
only the head had grown white, and in the eyes aud features you 
could read something of a serene sadness, as if evening aud star- 
crowned night were coming on, and the hot noises of the day grow- 
ing unexpectedly insignificant to one. We had little thought this 
would be the last of Chalmers ; but in a few weeks after he sud- 
denly died. . . . He was a man of much natural dignity, ingenuity, 
honesty, and kind affection, as well as sound intellect and imagina- 
tion. A very eminent vivacity lay in him, which could rise to com- 
plete impetuosity (growing conviction, passionate eloquence, fiery 
play of heart and head), all in a kind of rustic type, one might say, 
though wonderfully true and tender. He had a burst of genuine 
fun, too, I have heard, of the same honest but most plebeian broad- 
ly natural character; his laugh was a hearty low guffaw; and his 
tones in preaching would rise to the piercingly pathetic — no 
preacher ever went so into one's heart. He was a man essentially 
of little culture, of narrow sphere, all his life ; such an intellect 
professing to be educated, and yet so ill read, so ignorant in all 
that lay beyond the horizon in place or in time, I have almost no- 
where met with. A man capable of much soaking indolence, lazy 
brooding and do-nothingism, as tho first stage of his life well indi- 
cated ; a man thought to be timid almost to the verge of cowardice, 
yet capable of impetuous activity aud blazing audacity, as his lat- 
ter years showed. 

I suppose there will never again be such a preacher in any Chris- 
tian church. 

[A slip from a newspaper is appended here, with a note to it in 
Carlyle's hand. 

" It is a favorite speculation of mine that if spared to sixty we 
then enter on the seventh decade of human life, aud that this if 
possible should be turned into the Sabbath of our earthly pilgrim- 
age and spent sabbatically, as if on the shores of an eternal world, 
or in the outer courts as it were of the temple that is above, the 
tabernacle in Heaven. What enamors me all the more of this idea 
is the retrospect of my mother's widowhood. I long, if God should 
spare me, for such an old age as she enjoyed, spent as if at the gate 
of heaven, and with such a fund of inward peace and hope as made 
her niue years' widowhood a perfect feast and foretaste of the bless- 
edness that awaits the righteous." — Dr. Chalmers. 

Carlyle writes : 

"Had heard it before from Thomas Erskine (of Linlathon), with 
pathetic comment as to what Chalmers's own sabbath-decade "had 
been."] 

Irving's discourses were far more opulent in ingenious thought 
than Chalmers's, which indeed were usually the triumphant ou-rush 
of one idea with its satellites aud supporters. But Irving's wanted 
in definite head and backbone, so that on arriving you might see 



clearly where and how. That was mostly a defect one felt in trav- 
ersing those grand forest-avenues of his with their multifarious out- 
looks to right and left. He had many thoughts pregnantly express- 
ed, but they did not tend all one way. The reason was there were 
in him infinitely more thoughts than in Chalmers, and he took far 
less pains in setting them forth. The uniform custom was, he shut 
himself up all Saturday, became invisible all that day ; and had his 
sermon ready before going to bed. Sermon an hour long or more ; 
it could not be done iu one day, except as a kind of extempore thing. 
It flowed along, not as a swift flowing river, but as a broad, deep, 
and bending or meandering one. Sometimes it left on you the im- 
pression almost of a fine noteworthy lake. Noteworthy always ; 
nobody could mistake it for the discourse of other than an uncom- 
mon man. Originality and truth of purpose were undeniable in it, 
but there was withal, both in the matter and the manner, a some- 
thing which might be suspected of affectation, a noticeable prefer- 
ence aud search for striking quaint aud ancient locutions; a stylo 
modelled on the Miltonic old Puritan ; something too in the deliv- 
ering which seemed elaborate aud of forethought, or might be sus- 
pected of being so. He (still) always read, but not in the least 
slavishly ; and made abundant rather strong gesticulations iu the 
right places ; voice one of the finest and powerfullest, but not a 
power quite on the heart as Chalmers's was, which you felt to be 
coming direct from the heart. Irving's preaching was accordingly 
a thing not above criticism to the Glasgowites, and it got a good 
deal on friendly terms, as well as admiration plenty, iu that tem- 
pered form ; not often admiration pure aud simple, as was now 
always Chalmers's lofthere. Irving no doubt secretly felt the dif- 
ference, and could have wished it otherwise; bnt the generous 
heart of him wa,s incapable of envying any human excellence, and 
instinctively would either bow to it and to the rewards of it withal, 
or rise to loyal emulation of it and them. He seemed to be much, 
liked by many good people ; a fine friendly aud wholesome element 
I thought it for him ; and the criticisms going, in connection with 
the genuine admiration going, might be taken as handsomely near 
the mark. 

To me, for his sake, his Glasgow friends were very good, and I 
liked their ways (as I might easily do) much better than some I had 
been used to. A romance of novelty lay in them too. It was tho 
first time I had looked into opulent burgher life in any such com- 
pleteness and composed solidity as here. We went to Paisley sev- 
eral times, to certain " Carliles " (so they spelt their name ; An- 
nan people of a century back), rich enough old men of religious 
moral turn, who received me as "a cousin;" their daughters good 
if not pretty, and one of the sons (Warrand Carlile, who afterwards 
became a clergyman) not quite uninteresting to me for some years 
coming. He married the youngest sister of Edward Irving, and I 
think is still preaching somewhere in the West Indies. Wife long 
since died, but one of their sons, " Gavin Carlile" (or now Carlyle), 
a Free Kirk minister here in Loudon, editing his uncle's select 
works just now (1866). David Hope, of Glasgow, always a little 
stuck to me afterwards, an innocent, cheerful Nathaniel, ever ready 
to oblige. The like much more emphatically did William Graham 
of Burnswark, whom I first met in the above city under Irving's 
auspices, aud who might in his way be called a friend both to Ir- 
ving and me so long as his life lasted, which was thirty odd years 
longer. Other conquests of mine in Glasgow I don't recollect. 
Graham of Burnswark perhaps deserves a paragraph. 

Graham was turned of fifty when I first saw him, a lumpish, 
heavy, but stirring figure ; had got something lamish about one of 
the knees or ankles, which gave a certain rocking motion to his 
gait ; firm jocund affectionate face, rather reddish with good cheer, 
eyes big, blue and laughing, nose defaced with suuff, fine bald broad- 
browed head, ditto almost always with an ugly brown scratch wig. 
He was free of hand and of heart, laughed with sincerity at not 
very much of fun, liked widely yet with some selection, and was 
widely liked. The history of him was curious. His father, first 
some small farmer in " Corrie Water" perhaps, was latterly for 
many years (I forget whether as farmer or as shepherd, but guess 
the former) stationary at Burnswark, a notable tabular hill, of no 
great height, but detached a good way on every side, far seen al- 
most to the shores of Liverpool, indeed commanding all round the 
whole of that large saucer, fifty to thirty miles in radius, the brother 
point of which is now called Gretna (" Gretan How," Big Hollow, 
at the head of Solway Frith); a Burnswark beautiful to look on 
and much noted from of old. Has a glorious Roman camp on tho 
south flank of it, "the best preserved in Britain except one" (says 
General Roy) ; velvet sward covering the whole, but trenches, prae- 
torium (three conic mounds), etc., not altered otherwise; one of tho 
finest limpid wells within it ; and a view to Liverpool as was said, 
and into Tyuedale, to the Cumberland and even Yorkshire moun- 
tains on the one side, and on the other into the Moffat ditto and 
the Selkirkshire and Eskdale. 



22 



REMINISCENCES. 



The name "Bnrnswark" is probably Birrenswark (or fortifica- 
tion -work). Three Roman stations, with Carlisle (Caer Lewel, as 
old as King Solomon) for mother: Netherbie, Middlebie, and Ower- 
bie (or Upperby) in Eskdalo. The specific Roman town of Middle- 
bie is about half a mile below the Kirk (i. e. eastward of it) and is 
called by the country people " the Birrens" (i. e. the Scrags or Hag- 
gles, I should think), a place lying all in dimples and wrinkles, with 
ruined houses if you dig at all, grassy but inarable part of which is 
still kept sacred in lea by " the Duke " (of Queeusberry, now of 
Buccleuch and Queensberry), while the rest has been all dug to 
powder in the last sixty or seventy years by the adjoining little 
lairds. Many altars, stone figures, tools, axes, etc., were got out of 
the dug part, and it used to be one of the tasks of my boyhood to 
try what I could do at reading the inscriptions fouud there ; which 
was not much, nor almost ever wholly enough, though the conutry 
folk were thankful for my little Latin faithfully applied, like the 
light of a damp windlestraw to them in what was total darkness. 
The fable went that from Birrens to Birrenswark, two and a half 
miles, there ran a " subterranean passage," complete tunnel, equal 
to carts, perhaps, but nobody pretended even to have seen a trace 
of it, or indeed did believe it. 

In my boyhood, passing Birrens for the first time, I noticed a 
small conduit (cloaca, I suppose) abruptly ending or issuing in the 
then recent precipice which had been left by those diggers, and 
recollect nothing more, except my own poor awe aud wonder at the 
strange scene, strange face to face vestige of the vanished seons. 
The Caledonian Railway now screams and shudders over this dug 
part of Birrens ; William Graham, whom I am (too idly) writing of, 
was born at the north-east end of Bnrnswark, and passed in la- 
bor, but iu health, frugality, aud joy, the first twenty-five years of 
his life. 

Graham's father and mother seem to have been of the best kind 
of Scottish peasant ; he had brothers two or perhaps three, of whom 
William was the youngest, who were all respected in their state, 
and who all successively emigrated to America on the following 
slight first-cause. John Graham, namely the eldest of the brothers, 
had been balloted for the militia (Dumfriesshire Militia), and on 
private consideration with himself preferred expatriation to soldier- 
ing, and quietly took ship to push his fortune in the New World 
instead. John's adventures, which probably were rugged enough, 
are not on record for me ; only that in no great length of time he 
fouud something of success, a solid merchant's clerkship or the like, 
with outlooks towards merchant's business of his own one day ; and 
invited thither one by one all his brothers to share with him or 
push like him there. Philadelphia was the place, at least the ulti- 
mate place, aud the firm of " Graham Brothers " gradually rose to 
be a considerable and well-reputed house in that city. William, 
probably some fifteen years junior of John, was the last brother that 
went ; after him their only sister, parents having now died at Bnrns- 
wark, was sent for also, and kept house for William or for another 
of the bachelor brothers — one at least of them had wedded and has 
left Pennsylvanian Grahams. William continued bachelor for life; 
and this only sister returned ultimately to Annandale, and was Wil- 
liam's house-manager there. I remember her well, one of the amia- 
blest of old maids; kind, true, modestly polite to the very heart; 
and in such a curious style of polite culture ; Pennsylvanian Yan- 
kee grafted on Annandale Scotch. Used to " expect " instead of 
"suppose," would "guess" now and then, and commonly said pas- 
tor (which she pronounced "paustor") to signify clergyman or 
minister. 

The Graham Brothers honse growing more and more prosperous 
and opulent in Philadelphia, resolved at last to have a branch in 
Glasgow (year 1814 or so) and despatched William thither, whose 
coming I dimly remember was heard of in Annandale by his tri- 
umphant purchase for himself in fee simple of the farm aud hill of 
Bnrnswark, which happened to come into the market then. His 
tradings and observations in Glasgow were extensive, not unskil- 
ful that I heard of, and were well looked on, as he himself still 
more warmly was, but at length (perhaps a year or more before my 
first sight of him) some grand cargo from or to Philadelphia, some 
whole fleet of cargoes, all mostly of the same commodity, had by 
sudden change of price during the voyage ruinously misgone. and 
the fine house of Graham Brothers came to the ground. William 
was still in the throes of settlement, just about quitting his fine 
well-appointed mansion in Vincent Street, in a cheerfully stoical 
humor, and only clinging with invincible tenacity to native Burns- 
wark, which of course was no longer his except on bond with se- 
curities, with interest, etc.. all of excessive extent, his frieuds said, 
but could not persuade him. so dear to his heart was that native 
bit of earth, with the fond improvements, planting and the like, 
which he had begun upon it. 

Poor Graham kept iron hold of Bnrnswark. ultimately as plain 
tenaut; good sheep farm at a fair rent; all attempts otherwise. 



and they were many aud strenuous, having issued in non-success, 
and the hope of ever recovering himself, or it, being plainly futile. 
Graham never merchanted more ; was once in America on explora- 
tory visit, where his brothers were in some degree set up again, but 
had no £8,000 to spare for his Burnswark. He still hung a little 
to Glasgow, tried various things, rather of a "projector" sort, all 
of which miscarried, till happily he at length ceased visiting Glas- 
gow, and grew altogether rustic, a successful sheep-farmer at any 
rate, fat, cheery, happy, and so for his last twenty years rode visit- 
ing about among the little lairds of an intelligent turn, who liked 
him well, but not with entire acquiescence in all the copious qnasi- 
intelligent talk he had. Irving had a real love for him, with si- 
lent deductions in the unimportant respects ; he an entire loyalty 
and heart-devotedness to Irving. Me also he took up in a very 
warm manner, and for the first few years was really pleasant and 
of use to me, especially in my then Annandale summers. Through 
him I made acquaintance with a really intellectual modest circle, 
or rather pair of people, a Mr. and Mrs. Johnston, at their place call- 
ed Grange, on the edge of the hill country, seven or eight miles 
from my father's. Mrs. Johnston was a Glasgow lady, of fine cult- 
ure, manners, and intellect ; one of the smallest voices, and most 
delicate, gently smiling figure ; had been in London, etc. Her hus- 
band was by birth laird of this pretty Grange, and had modestly 
withdrawn to it, finding mercbauthood iu Glasgow ruinous to weak 
health. The elegance, the perfect courtesy, the simple purity and 
beauty I fouud in both these good people, was an authentic attrac- 
tion and profit to me in those years, and I still remember them, and 
the bright little environment of them, with a kind of pathetic affec- 
tion. I as good as lost them on my leaving Annandale. Mr. John- 
ston Boon after died; and with Mrs. Johnston there could only be 
at rare intervals a flying call, sometimes only the attempt at such, 
which amounted to little. 

Graham also I practically more and more lost from that epoch 
(1826), ever memorable to me otherwise. He hung about me studi- 
ously, and with unabating good-will, on my Annandale visits to my 
mother, to whom he was ever attentive and respectful for my sake 
and her own. Dear good mother! best of mothers! He pointed 
out the light of her "end window," gable window, one dark night 
to me, as I convoyed him from Scotsbrig. " Will there ever be in 
the world for you a prettier light than that?" He was once or 
more with us at Craigenputtoch, ditto at London, and wrote long 
letters, not unpleasant to read and burn. But his sphere was shrink- 
ing more aud more into dark safety and monstrous rusticity, mine 
the reverse in respect of safety and otherwise^ — nay, at length his 
faculties were getting hebetated, wrapt in lazy eupeptic fat. The 
last time I ever, strictly speaking, saw him (for he was grown more 
completely stupid and oblivious every subsequent time) was at the 
ending of my mother's funeral (December, 1853), day bitterly cold, 
heart bitterly sad, at the gate of Ecclefechan kirkyard. He was 
sitting in his gig just about to go, I ready to mount for Scotsbrig, 
and in a day more for London ; he gazed on me with his big inno- 
cent face, big heavy eyes, as if half- conscious, half- frozen in the 
cold, and we shook hands nearly in silence. 

In the Irving -Glasgow time, and for a while afterwards, there 
went on at Edinburgh too a kind of cheery visiting aud messaging 
from these good Graham-Hope people. I do not recollect the visits 
as peculiarly successful, none of them except one, which was on oc- 
casion of George IV.'s famed "visit to Edinburgh," when Graham 
and Hope (I think both of them together) occupied my rooms with 
grateful satisfaction. I myself not there. I had grown disgusted 
with the fulsome "loyalty " of all classes in Edinburgh towards this 
approaching George Fourth visit; whom, though called aud reck- 
oned a "king," I in my private radicalism of miud could consider 
only as a — what shall I call him ? and loyalty was not the feeling 
I had towards any part of the phenomenon. At length reading one 
day iu a public placard from the magistrates (of which there had 
been several) that on His Majesty's advent it was expected that 
everybody would be carefully well-dressed, " black coat aud white 
duck trousers," if at all convenient, I grumbled to myself, "scandal- 
ous flunkeys! I, if I were changing my dress at all, should incline 
rather to be in white coat and black trousers ;" but resolved rather 
to quit the city altogether, and be absent aud silent iu such efflo- 
rescence of the fluukeyisms, which I was — for a week or more in 
Annandale, at Kirkchrist with the Churches in Galloway; ride to 
Lochinbrack Weil by Kenmore Lake, etc., how vivid still! and 
found all comfortably rolled away at my return to Edinburgh. 

Jt was in one of those visits by Irving himself, * without any com- 
pany, that He took me out to Haddington (as recorded elsewhere), . 
to what has since been so momentous through all my subsequent 
life. We walked and talked a good sixteen miles in the sunny sum- 
mer afternoon. He took me round by Athelstanford ( ;- Elshinford") 

* June. 1881. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



23 



parish, where John Homo wrote his " Douglas," in case of any en- 
thusiasm far Home or it, which I secretly had not. We leapt the 
solitary kirkyard wall, ami found close by us the tombstone of " old 
Skirring," a more remarkable person, author of the strangely vigor- 
ous doggrel ballad on " Preston Pans Battle " (and the ditto answer 
to a military challenge which ensued thereupon), "one of the most 
athletic and best natured of men," said his epitaph. This is nearly 
all I recollect of the journey; the eud of it, aud what I saw there, 
will be memorable to me while life or thought endures. Ah me! 
ah me! — I think there had been before this on living's own part 
some movements of negotiation over to Kirkcaldy for release there, 
and of hinted hope towards Haddington, which was so infinitely 
miserable I and something (as I used to gather long afterwards) 
might have come of it had not Kirkcaldy been so peremptory and 
stood by its bond (as spoken or as written), "bond or utter ruin, 
Bir!" upon which Irving had honorably submitted and resigned 
himself. He seemed to be quite composed upon the matter by this 
time.* I remember iu an inn at Haddington that first night a little 
passage. We had just seen iu the minister's house (whom Irving 
was to preach for) a certain shining Miss Augusta, tall, shapely, 
airy, giggly, but a consummate fool, whom I have heard called 
"Miss Disgusta"by the satirical. We were now in our double- 
bedded room, George Ian, Haddington, stripping, or perhaps each 
already iu his bed, when Irving jocosely said to me, " What would 
you take to marry Miss Augusta now ?" " Not for an entire and 
perfect chrysolite the size of this terraqueous globe," answered I at 
once, with hearty laughter from Irving. "And what would you 
take to marry Miss Jeannie, think you?" "Hah, I should not be so 
hard to deal with there I should imagine !" upon which another 1 > i t 
of laugh from Irving, and we composedly went to sleep. I was 
supremely dyspeptic aud out of health during those three or four 
days, and they were tho beginning of a new life to me. 

The notablest passage in my Glasgow visits was probably the 
year before this Edinburgh-Haddington one on Irving's part. I was 
about quitting Ediuburgh for Anuandale, and had come round by 
Glasgow on the road home. I was utterly out of health as usual, 
but had otherwise had my enjoyments. We had come to Paisley 
as finale, and were lodging pleasantly with the Carliles. Warrand 
Carlile, hearing I had to go by Muirkirk in Ayrshire, and Irving to 
return to Glasgow, suggested a convoy of mo by Irving and himself, 
furthered by a fine riding horse of Warrand's, on the ride-and-tie 
principle. Irving had cheerfully consented. "Yon and your hois, 
as far as you can ; I will go on to Drumelog Moss with Carlyle ; 
then turn home for Glasgow in good time, he on to Muirkirk, which 
will be about a like distance for him." "Done, done!" To me of 
course nothing could be welcomer than this improvised convoy, 
upon which we entered accordingly ; early a.m., a dry brisk April 
day, and one still full of strauge dim interest to me. I never rode 
and tied (especially with three) before or since, but recollect we 
had no difficulty with it. 

■ Warrand had settled that we should breakfast with a Rev. Mr. 
French some fifteen miles off, after which he and horse would re- 
turn. I recollect the Mr. French, a fat, apoplectic-looking old gen- 
tleman, iu a room of very low ceiling, but plentifully furnished 
with breakfast materials ; who was very kind to us, and seemed 
glad and ready to be invaded in this sudden manner by articulate 
speaking young men. Good old soul! I never eaw him or heard 
mention of him again. 

Drumelog Moss (after several hours fallen vacant and wholly 
dim) is the next object that survives, and Irving and I sitting by 
ourselves under the silent bright skies among tho "peat-hags" of 
Drumelog with a world all silent round us. These peat-hags are 
still pictured in me ; brown bog, all pitted and broken into heathy 
remnants and bare abrupt wide holes, four or fivo feet deep, mostly 
dry at present; a fiat wilderness of broken bog, of quagmire not to 
be trusted (probably wetter in old days there, and wet still in rainy 
seasons). Clearly a good place for Camorouiau preaching, and dan- 
gerously difficult for Claverse and horse soldiery if the suffering 
remnant had a few old muskets among them! Scott's novels had 
given the Claverse skirmish here, which all Scotland knew of al- 
ready, a double interest iu those days. I know not that we talked 
much of this; but we did of many things, perhaps more confiden- 
tially than ever before. A colloquy the sum of which is still 
mournfully beautiful to me, though the details are gone. I re- 
member us sitting on the brow of a peat-hag, the sun shining, our 
own voices the one sound. Far, far away to the westward, over 
our brown horizon, towered up white aud visible at the many 
miles of distance a high irregular pyramid. '•' Ailsa Craig," we at 
once guessed, and thought of the seas aud oceans over yonder. 
But we did not long dwell on that. We seem to have seen no hu- 
man creature after French (though of course our very road would 

* Carlyle was mistaken here. Irving's hopeB at this time were at their brightest. 



have to be inquired after) ; to have had no bother and no need of 
human assistance or society, not even of refection, French's break- 
fast perfectly sufficing us. The talk had grown ever friendlier, 
more interesting. At length the declining sun said plainly, you 
must part. We sauntered slowly into the Glasgow-Muirkirk high- 
way. Masons were building at a wayside cottage near by, or were 
packing up on ceasing for tho day. We leant our backs to a dry 
stone fence ("stone dike," dry stone wall, very common in that 
country), and looking into the western radiance, continued in talk 
yet a while, loth both of us to go. It was just here, as tho sun 
was sinking, Irving actually drew from me by degrees, iu the soft- 
est manner, the confession that I did not think as he of the Chris- 
tian religion, and that it was vain for me to expect I ever could or 
should. This, if this was so, ho had pre-engaged to take well of 
me, like an elder brother, if I would be frank with him. And 
right loyally he did so, and to the end of his life we needed no con- 
cealments on that head, which was really a step gained. 

The sun was about setting when we turned away each on his 
own path. Irving would have had a good space further to go than 
I (as now occurs to me), perhaps fifteen or seventeen miles, and 
would not be in Kent Street till towards midnight. But he feared 
no amount of walking, enjoyed it rather, as did I in those young 
years. I felt sad, but affectionate and good, in my clean, utterly 
quiet little inn at Muirkirk, which, and my feelings in it, I still well 
remember. Au iuuoceut little Glasgow youth (young bagmau on 
his first journey, I supposed) had talked awhile with mo in the 
otherwise solitary little sitting-room. At parting he shook hands, 
and with something of sorrow in his tone said, " Good -night, I 
shall not see you again." A unique experience of mine in inns. 

I was off next morning by four o'clock, Muirkirk, except possi- 
bly its pillar of furnace smoke, all sleeping round me, concerning 
which, I remembered in the silence something I had heard from my 
father in regard to this famed iron village (famed long before, but 
still rural, natural, not all in a roaring state, which, as I imagine, it 
is now). This is my father's picture of an incident he had got to 
know and never could forget. On the platform of one of the fur- 
naces a solitary man (stoker, if they call him so) was industrious- 
ly minding his business, now throwing in new fuel aud ore, now 
poking the white-hot molten mass that was already iu. A poor old 
maniac woman silently joined him and looked, whom also he was 
used to and did not mind. But after a little, his back being towards 
the furnace mouth, he heard a strange thump or cracking puff; 
and turning suddenly, the pool old maniac woman was not there, 
and on advancing to the furnace-edge he saw the figure of her red- 
hot, semi-transparent, floating as ashes on the fearful element for 
some moments! This had printed itself on my father's brain; 
twice perhaps I had heard it from him, which was rare, nor will it 
ever leave my brain either. 

That day was full of mournful interest to me iu the waste moors, 
there iu bonny Nithsdale (my first sight of it) in the bright but 
palish, almost pathetic sunshine and utter loneliness. At eight P.M. 
I got well to Dumfries, the lougest walk I ever made, fifty-four 
miles in one day. 

Irving's visits to Anuaudale, one or two every summer, while I 
spent summers (for cheapness' sake and health's sake) in solitude 
at my father's there, were the sabbath times of the season to me; 
by far the beautifullest days, or rather the only beautiful I had! 
Uuwearied kindness, all that tenderest anxious atfeetion could do, 
was always mine from my incomparable mother, from my dear 
lirot hers, little clever active sisters, aud from every one, brave father 
iu his tacit grim way not at all excepted. There was good talk 
also, with mother at evening tea, often on theology (where I did 
at length contrive, by judicious endeavor, to speak piously and 
agreeably to one so pious, without unveracity on my part). Nay it 
was a kind of interesting exercise to wind softly out of those anx- 
ious affectionate cavils of her dear heart on such occasions, and get 
real sympathy, real assent under borrowed forms. Oh, her patience 
with me! oh, her never-tiring love! Blessed be "poverty" which 
was never indigence in any form, aud which has made all that ten- 
fold more dear and sacred to me ! With my two eldest brothers 
also, Alick and John, who were full id' ingenuous curiosity, and had 
(especially John) abundant intellect, there' was nice talking as we 
roamed about the fields in gloaming time after their work was done ; 
and I recollect noticing (though probably it happened various 
times) that little Jean (" Craw" as we called her, she alone of us 
not being blond but blaekhaircd), one of the cleverest children I 
ever saw (then possibly about six or seven), had joined us for her 
private behoof, and was assiduously trotting at my knee, cheek, 
eyes, and ear assiduously turned up to me! Good little soul! I 
thought it and think it very pretty of her. She alone of them had 
nothing to do with milking ; I suppose her charge would probably 
be ducks or poultry, all safe to bed now, aud was turning her bit of 
leisure to this account iustead of another. She was hardly longer 



24 



REMINISCENCES. 



than my leg by the whole head and neck. There was a younger 
sister (Jenny) who is now in Canada, of far inferior speculative in- 
tellect to Jean, but who has proved to have (we used to think) 
superior housekeeping faculties to hers. The same may be said of 
Mary, the next eldest to Jean. Both these, especially Jenny, got 
husbands, and have dexterously and loyally made the most of them 
and their families and households. Henuiug, of Hamilton, Canada 
West ; Austin, of the Gill, Annan, are now the names of these two. 
Jean is Mrs. Aitken, of Dumfries, still a clever, speculative, ardeut, 
affectionate and discerning woman, but much zersplittert by the cares 
of life; zersplittert; steadily denied acumination or definite consist- 
ency and direction to a point ; a " tragedy" often repeated in this 
poor world, the more the pity for the world too ! 

All this was somethiug, but in all this I gave more than I got, 
and it left a sense of isolation, of sadness ; as the rest of my impris- 
oned life all with emphasis did. I kept daily studious, reading 
diligently what few books I could get, learning what was possible, 
German, etc. Sometimes Dr. Brewster turned me to account (on 
most frugal terms always) in wretched little translations, compi- 
lations, which were very welcome too, though never other than 
dreary. Life was all dreary, "eerie" (Scottice), tinted with the 
hues of imprisonment and impossibility; hope practically not there, 
only obstiuacy, and a grim steadfastness to strive without hope as 
with. To all which Irving's advent was the pleasant (temporary) 
contradiction and reversal, like snnrising to night, or impenetrable 
fog, and its spectralities ! The time of his comiug, the how and 
when of his movements and possibilities, were always known to me 
beforehaud. On the set day I started forth better dressed than 
usual, strode along for Annan which lay pleasantly in sight all the 
way (seven miles or more from Maiuhill). In the woods of Mount 
Annan I would probably meet Irving strolling towards me ; and 
then what a talk for the three miles down that bonny river's bank, 
no sound but our own voices amid the lullaby of waters and the 
twittering of birds ! We were sure to have several such walks, 
whether the first day or not, and I remember none so well as some 
(chiefly one which is not otherwise of moment) in that fine locality. 

I generally stayed at least one night, on several occasions two or 
even more, and I remember no visits with as pure and calm a pleas- 
ure. Anuan was then at its culminating point, a fine, bright, self- 
confident little town (gone now to dimness, to decay, and almost 
grass on its streets by railway transit). Bits of travelling nota- 
bilities were sometimes to be found alighted there. Edinburgh 
people, Liverpool people, with whom it was interesting for the re- 
cluse party to " measure minds " for a little, and be on your best 
behavior, both as to matter and to manner. Musical Thomson 
(memorable, more so than venerable, as the publisher of Burns's 
songs), him I saw one eveuing sitting in the reading-room, a clean- 
brushed, commonplace old gentleman in scratch wig, whom we 
spoke a few words to and took a good look of. Two young Liver- 
pool brothers, Nelson their name, scholars just out of Oxford, were 
ou visit one time in the Irving circle, specially at Provost Dixon's, 
living's brother-in-law's. These were very interesting to me night 
after night ; handsome, intelligent, polite young men, and the first 
of their species I had seen. Dixon's on other occasions was usual- 
ly my lodging, and Irving's along with me, but would not be on 
this (had I the least remembrance on that head), except that I seem 
to have been always beautifully well lodged, and that Mrs. Dixon, 
Irving's eldest sister, and very like him minus the bad eye, and plus 
a fine dimple on the bright cheek, was always beneficent aud fine to 
me. Those Nelsons I never saw again, but have heard once in late 
years that they never did anything, but continued ornamentally 
lounging with Liverpool as head - quarters ; which seemed to be 
something like the prophecy one might have gathered from those 
young aspects in the Anuandale visit, had one been intent to scan 
them. A faded Irish dandy once picked up by us is also present ; 
one fine clear morning Irving and I found this figure lounging 
about languidly on the streets. Irving made up to him, invited 
him home to breakfast, aud home he politely and languidly went 
with us ; " bound for some cattle fair," he told us, Norwich perhaps, 
aud waiting for some coach ; a parboiled, insipid " agricultural 
dandy " or old fogie, of Hibernian type ; wore a superfine light 
green frock, snow-white corduroys ; age about fifty, face colorless, 
crow-footed, feebly conceited; proved to have nothing in him, but 
especially nothing bad, and we had been human to him. Break- 
fast this morning, I remember, was at Mrs. Ferguson's (Irving's 
third sister ; there were four in all, and there had been three broth- 
ers, but were now only two, the youngest and the eldest of the set). 
Mrs. F.'s breakfast — tea — was praised by the Hibernian pilgrim, aud 
well deserved it. 

Irving was generally happy in those little Annandale "sunny 
islets" of his year;. happier perhaps than ever elsewhere. All was 
quietly flourishing in this his natal element ; father's house neat 
and contented; ditto, ditto, or perhaps blooming out a little far- 



ther, those of his daughters, all nestled close to it in place withal; 
a very prettily thriving group of things and objects in their lim- 
ited, in their safe seclusion ; and Irving was silently but visibly 
in the hearts of all the flower and crowning jewel of it. He was 
quiet, cheerful, genial. Soul unruffled and clear as a mirror, hon- 
estly loving and loved all round. His time too was so short, every 
moment valuable. Alas, aud in so few years after, ruin's plough- 
share had run through it all, and it was prophesying to you, " Be- 
hold, in a little while the last trace of me will not be hero, and I 
shall have vanished tragically, and fled into oblivion and darkness 
like a bright dream." As is long since mournfully the fact, when 
one passes, pilgriru-like, those old houses still standing there, which 
I have once or twice done. 

Our dialogues did not turn very much or long on personal top- 
ics, but wandered wide over the world and its ways — uew men of 
the travelling conspicuous sort whom he had seen in Glasgow, new 
books sometimes, my scope being short in that respect ; all manner 
of interesting objects and discoursiugs ; but to me the personal, 
when they did come in course, as they were sure to do now and 
then in fit proportion, were naturally the gratefullest of all. Ir- 
ving's voice was to me one of blessedness and new hope. He 
would not hear of my gloomy prognostications ; all nonsense that 
I never should get out of these obstructions and impossibilities; 
the real impossibility was that such a talent, etc., should not cut it- 
self clear oue day. He was very generous to everybody's " talent," 
especially to miue ; which to myself was balefully dubious, nothing 
but bare scaffold poles, weather-beaten corner-pieces of perhaps a 
" potential talent," even visible to me. His predictions about what 
I was to be flew into the completely incredible ; and however wel- 
come, I could only rank them as devout imaginations and quiz 
them away. " You will see now," he would say, " one day we two 
will shake bauds across the brook, you as first in literature, I as 
first in divinity, and people will say, ' Both these fellows are from 
Anuandale. Where is Annandale?'" This I have heard him say 
more than once, always in a laughing way, and with self-mockery 
enough to save it from being barreuly vain. He was very san- 
guine, I much the reverse ; aud had his consciousness of power, 
and his generous ambitious aud forecastings. Never ungenerous, 
never ignoble ; only an euemy could have called him vain, but per- 
haps an euemy could or at least would, and occasionally did. His 
pleasure in being loved by others was very great, and this if you 
looked well was manifest in him when the case offered ; never 
more or worse than this in any case, and this too he had well in 
check at all times. If this was vanity, then he might by some be 
called a little vain, if not not. To trample on the smallest mortal 
or be tyrannous even towards the basest of caitiffs was never at 
any moment Irving's turn. No man that I have known had a sun- 
nier type of character, or so little of hatred towards any man or 
thing. Ou the whole, less of rage in him than I ever saw combined 
with such a fund of courage and conviction. Noble Irving! he 
was the faithful elder brother of my life in those years; generous, 
wise, beneficent, all his dealings and discoursiugs with me were. 
Well may I recollect as blessed things in my existence those An- 
nan and other visits, and feel that beyond all other men he was 
helpful to me when I most needed help. 

Irving's position at Glasgow, I could dimly perceive, was not 
without its embarrassments, its discouragements; and evidently 
enough it was nothing like the ultimatum he was aiming at, in the 
road to which I suppose he saw the obstructions rather multiplying 
than decreasing or diminishing. Theological Scotland above all 
things is dubious and jealous of originality, and Irving's tendency 
to take a road of his own was becoming more indisputable. He 
must have been severely tried in the sieve had he continued in Scot- 
land. Whether that might not have brought him out clearer, more 
pure and victorious in the end, must remain forever a question. 
Much suffering aud contradiction it would have eost him, mean 
enough for most part, aud possibly with loss of patience, with mu- 
tirfy, etc., for ultimate result, but one may now regret that the ex- 
periment was never to be made. 

Of course the invitation to London was infinitely welcome to 
him, summing up, as it were, all of good that had been in Glasgow 
(for it was the rumors and reports from Glasgow people that had 
awakened Hattou Garden to his worth), aud promising to shoot 
him aloft over all that had been obstructive there into wider new 
elements. The negotiations and correspoudings had all passed at 
a distance from me, but I recollect well our final practical parting 
on that occasion. A dim night, November or December, between 
nine and ten, in the coffee-room of the Black Bull Hotel. He was to 
start by early coach to-morrow. Glad I was bound to be, and in 
a sense was, but very sad I could not help being. He himself 
looked hopeful, but was agitated with anxieties too, doubtless with 
regrets as well ; more clouded with agitation than I had ever seen 
the fine habitual solar light of him before. I was the last friend 



EDWARD IRVING. 



25 



he had to take farewell of. He showed me old Sir Harry Moncrieff's 
testimonial ; a Reverend Presbyterian Scotch Baronet of venerable 
quality (the last of his kind), whom I knew well by sight, and by 
his uuiversal character for integrity, honest orthodoxy, shrewdness, 
and veracity. Sir Harry testified with brevity, in stiff, firm, ancient 
hand, several important things on Irving's behalf; and ended by 
saying, "All this is my true opinion, and meant to be understood 
as it is written." At which we had our bit of approving laugh, 
and thanks to Sir Harry. Irving did not laugh that night ; laugh- 
ter was not the mood of either of us. I gave him as road-compan- 
ion a bundle of the best, cigars (gift of Graham to me) I almost ever 
had. He had no practice of smoking, but a little by a time, and 
agreed that on the coach roof, where he was to ride night and day, 
a cigar now and then might be tried with advantage. Mouths af- 
terwards I learnt he had begun by losing every cigar of them ; left 
the whole buudle lying on the seat in the stall of the coffee-room ; 
this cigar gift being probably our last transaction there. We said 
farewell ; and I had in some sense, according to my worst anticipa- 
tions, lost my friend's society (not my friend himself ever) from that 
time. 

For a long while I saw nothing of Irving after this. Heard in 
the way of public rumors or more specific report, chiefly from Gra- 
ham and Hope of Glasgow, how grandly acceptable he had been at 
Hatton Garden, and what negotiating, deliberating, and contriving 
had ensued iu respect of the impediments there ("preacher igno- 
rant of Gaelic; our fundamental law requires him to preach half 
the Sunday iu that language," etc.), and how at length all these 
were got over or tumbled aside, and the matter settled into adjust- 
ment. " Irving, our preacher, talis qitalis," to the huge contentment 
of his congregation and all onlookers, of which latter were already 
iu London a select class ; the chief religious people getting to be 
aware that an altogether uncommon man had arrived here to speak 
to them. 

On all these points, and generally on all his experiences in Lon- 
don, glad enough should I have been to hear from him abundantly, 
but he wrote nothing on such points, nor in fact had I expected 
anything; and the truth was, which did a little disappoint me at 
the time, our regular correspondence had here suddenly come to 
finis! I was not angry, how could I be 1 I made no solicitation 
or remonstrance, nor was any poor pride kindled (I think), except 
strictly, and this iu silence, so far as was proper for self-defence ; 
but I was always sorry 'more or less, and regretted it as a great 
loss I had by ill-luck undergone. Taken from me by ill-luck ! but 
then had it not been given me by good ditto ? Peace, and be si- 
lent ! In the first month Irving, I doubt not, had intended much 
correspondence with me, were the hurly-burly done ; but no sooner 
was it so in some measure, than his flaming popularity had begun, 
spreading, mounting without limit, and instead of business hurly- 
burly there was whirlwind of conflagration. 

Noble, good soul ! In his last weeks of life, looking back from 
that grim shore upon the safe sunny isles and smiling possibilities 
now forever far behind, he said to Henry Drummoud, " I should 
have kept Thomas Carlyle closer to me ; his counsel, blame, or 
praise, was always faithful, and few have such eyes." These 
words, the first part of them ipsissima verba, I know to have been 
verily his. Must not the most blazing indignation (had the least 
vestige of such been ever in me for one moment) have died almost 
into tears at the souud of them? Perfect absolution there had 
long been without inquiring after penitence. My ever-generous, 
loving, and noble Irving ! . . . 

If iu a gloomy moment I had fancied that my friend was lost to 
me because no letters came from him, I had shining proof to the 
contrary very soon. It was in these first months of Hatton Gar- 
den and its imbroglio of affairs, that he did a most signal benefit 
to me ; got me appointed tutor and intellectual guide and guar- 
diau to the young Charles Buller, and his boy-brother, now Sir 
Arthur, and an elderly ex- Indian of mark. The case had its comic 
points too, seriously important as it was to me for one. Its pleas- 
ant real history is briefly this : Irving's preaching had attracted 
Mrs. Strachey, wife of a well - known Indian official of Somerset- 
shire kindred, then an "examiner" in the India House, and a man 
of real worth, far diverse as his worth and ways were from those 
of his beautiful, enthusiastic, and still youngish wife. A bright 
creature she, given wholly (though there lay silent in her a great 
deal of fine childlike mirth and of innocent grace and gift) to 
things sacred and serious, emphatically what the Germans call a 
sekone Seele. She had brought Irving into her circle, found him 
good and glorious there, almost more than in the pulpit itself; had 
been speaking of him to her elder sister, Mrs. Buller (a Calcutta 
fine lady, and princess of the kind worshipped there, a once very 
beautiful, still very witty, graceful, airy, and ingenuously intelli- 
gent woman of the gossamer kind), and had naturally winded up 
with "Come and dine with us; come and see this uncommon man." 



Mrs. Buller came, saw (I dare say with much suppressed quizzing 
and wonder) the uncommon man ; took to him. She also in her 
way recognized, as did her husband too, the robust, practical com- 
mon-sense that was in him ; and after a few meetings began speak- 
ing of a domestic intricacy there was with a clever but too mer- 
curial and unmanageable eldest son of hers, whom they knew not 
what to do with. 

Irving took sight and survey of this dangerous eldest lad, Charles 
Buller, j unior, namely — age then about fifteen, honorably done with 
Harrow some weeks or months ago, still too young for college on 
his own footing, and very difficult to dispose of. Irving perceived 
that though perfectly accomplished in what Harrow could give 
him, this hungry and highly ingenious youth had fed hitherto on 
Latin and Greek husks, totally unsatisfying to his huge appetite ; 
that being a young fellow of the keenest sense for everything, from 
the sublime to the ridiculous, and full of airy ingenuity aud fun, he 
was in the habit in quiet evenings at home of starting theses with 
his mother in favor of Pierce Egan and " Boxiana," as if the annals 
of English boxing were more nutritive to an existing man than 
those of the Peloponuesian war, etc. Against all which, etc., as his 
mother vehemently argued, Charles would stand on the defensive, 
with such swiftness and ingenuity of fence, that frequently the 
matter kindled between them ; and both being of hot though most 
placable temper, one or both grew loud ; and the old gentleman, 
Charles Buller, senior, who was very deaf, striking blindly in at this 
point would embroil the whole matter into a very bad condition ! 
Irving's recipe after some consideration was, " Send this gifted, un- 
guided youth to Ediuburgh College. I kuow a young man there 
who could lead him into richer spiritual pastures and take effec- 
tive charge of him." Buller thereupon was sent, and his brother 
Arthur with him; boarded with a good old Dr. Fleming (in George 
Square), then a clergyman of mark : and I (on a salary of £200 a 
year) duly took charge. This was a most important thing to me 
in the economies and practical departments of my life, and I owe 
it wholly to Irving. On this point I always should remember he 
did " write " copiously enough to Dr. Fleming and other parties, 
and stood up in a gallant aud grandiloquent way for every claim 
and right of his " young literary friend," who had nothing to do 
but wait silent while everything was being adjusted completely to 
his wish or beyond it. 

From the first I fouud my Charles a most manageable, intelligent, 
cheery, and altogether welcome and intelligent phenomenon ; quite 
a bit of sunshine in my dreary Edinburgh element. I was in wait- 
ing for his brother and him when they landed at Fleming's. We 
set instantly out on a walk, round by the foot of Salisbury Crags, 
up from Holyrood, by the Castle and Law Courts, home again to 
George Square ; and really I recollect few more pleasant walks in 
my life ! So all-intelligent, seizing everything you said to him with 
such a recognition ; so loyal - hearted, chivalrous, guileless, so de- 
lighted (evidently) with me, as I was with him. Arthur, two years 
younger, kept mainly silent, being slightly deaf too ; hut I could 
perceive that he also was a fine little fellow, honest, intelligent, 
and kind, and that apparently I had been much in luck in thia 
didactic adventure, which proved abuudantly the fact. The two 
youths took to me with unhesitating liking, and I to them ; and 
we never had anything of quarrel or even of weariness and dreari- 
ness between us; such "teaching" as I never did in any sphere 
before or since ! Charles, by his qualities, his ingenuous curiosi- 
ties, his brilliancy of faculty and character, was actually an enter- 
tainment to me rather than a labor. If we walked together, which 
I remember sometimes happening, he was the best company I could 
find iu Edinburgh. I had entered him of Dunbar's, in third Greek 
class at college. In Greek and Latin, in the former in every re- 
spect, he was far my superior ; and I had to prepare my lessons by 
way of keeping him to his work at Dunbar's. Keeping him to 
work was my one difficulty, if there was one, and my essential func- 
tion. I tried to guide him into reading, into solid inquiry and re- 
flection. He got some mathematics from me, aud might have had 
more. He got in brief what expansion iuto such 'wider fields of 
intellect and more manful modes of thinking aud working as my 
poor possibilities could yield him; and was always generously 
grateful to me afterwards. Friends of mine in a fine frank way, 
beyond what I could be thought to merit, he, Arthur, and all the 
family continued till death parted us. 

This of the Bullers was the product for me of Irving's first months 
in London, begun and got under way in the spring aud summer of 
1822, which followed our winter parting in the Black Bull Inn. I 
was already getting my head a little up ; translating " Legendrr's 
Geometry" for Brewster; my outlook somewhat cheerfuller. I still 
remember a happy forenoon (Sunday, I fear) in which I did a Fifth 
Book (or complete "doctrine of proportion") for that work, com- 
plete really and lucid, and yet one of the briefest ever kuown. It 
was begun and done that forenoon, and I have (except correcting 



26 



KEMINISCENCES. 



the press next week) never seen it since ; but still feel as if it were 
right enough and felicitous in its kind ! I got only £50 for my en- 
tire trouble in that " Legendre," and had already ceased to be in 
the least proud of mathematical prowess ; but it was an honest job 
of work honestly done, though perhaps for bread and water wages, 
such an improvement upon wages producing (in Jeau Paul's phrase) 
only water without the bread ! Towards autumn the Buller family 
followed to Edinburgh, Mr. and Mrs. B. with a third very small son, 
Reginald, who was a curious, gesticulating, pen-drawing, etc., little 
creature, not to be under my charge, but who generally dined with 
me at luncheon time, and who afterwards turned out a lazy, hebe- 
tated fellow, and is now parson of Troston, a fat living iu Suffolk. 
These English or Anglo-Indian gentlefolks were all a new species 
to me, sufficiently exotic in aspect ; but we recognized each other's 
quality more and more, and did very well together. They had a 
house in India Street, saw a great deal of company (of the ex-In- 
dian accidental English gentleman, and native or touring lion genus 
for which Mrs. B. had a lively appetite). I still lodged in my old 
half - rural Tooms, 3 Moray Place, Pilrig Street; attended my two 
pupils during the day hours (lunching with "Eegie" by way of 
dinner), and rather seldom, yet to my own taste amply often enough, 
was of the " state dinners ;" but walked home to my books and to 
my brother John, who was now lodging with me and attending 
college. Except for dyspepsia I could have been extremely con- 
tent, but that did dismally forbid me now and afterwards ! Irving 
and other friends always treated the " ill-health " item as a light 
matter which would soon vanish from the account ; but I had a pre- 
sentiment that it would stay there, and be the Old Man of the Sea 
to me through life, as it has too tragically done, and will do to the 
end. Woe on it, and not for my own poor sake alone ; and yet 
perhaps a benefit has been in it, priceless though hideously painful ! 
Of Irving in these two years I recollect almost nothing personal, 
though all round I heard a great deal of him ; and he must have 
been in my company at least once prior to the advent of the elder 
Bullers, and been giving me counsel and light on the matter ; for I 
recollect his telling me of Mrs. Buller (having no doubt portrayed 
Mr. Buller to me in acceptable and clearly intelligible lineaments) 
that she — she too, was a worthy, honorable, and quick-sighted lady, 
but not without fine-lady isms, crotchets, caprices — "somewhat like 
Airs. Welsh,* you can fancy, but good too, like her." Ah me ! this I 
perfectly remember, this and nothing more, of those Irving inter- 
courses; and it is a memento to me of a most important province 
in my poor world at that time ! I was in constaut correspondence 
(weekly or oftener sending books, etc., etc.) with Haddington, and 
heard often of Irving, and of things far more interesting to me from 
that quarter. Gone silent, closed forever — so sad, so strange it all 
is now ! Irving, I think, had paid a visit there, and had certainly 
sent letters ; by the above token I too must have seen him at least 
once. All this was iu his first London year, or half-year, some 
mouths before his "popularity" had yet taken fire, and made him 
for a time the property of all the world rather than of his Mends. 

The news of this latter event, which came in vague, vast, fitful, 
and decidedly fuliginous forms, was not quite welcome to any 'of us, 
perhaps in secret not welcome at all. People have their envies, 
their pitiful self-comparisons, and feel obliged sometimes to profess 
from the teeth outwards more " joy " than they really have ; not 
an agreeable duty or quasi-duty laid on one. For myself I can say 
that there was first something of real joy ; ("success to the worthy 
of success ;") second, something, probably not yet much, of honest 
question for his sake, " Cau he guide it in that huge element, as 
e.g. Chalmers has done in this smaller one ?" and third, a noticeable 
quantity of Quid tui interest f What business hast thou with it, 
poor, suffering, handcuffed wretch ? To me these great doings in 
Hatton Garden came only on wings of rumor, the exact nature of 
them uncertain. To me for many months back Irving had fallen 
totally silent, and this seemed a seal to its being a permanent si- 
lence. I had been growing steadily worse in health too, and was 
in habitual wretchedness, ready to say, " Well, whoever is happy 
and gaining victory, thou art and art like to be very miserable, 
and to gain none at all." These were, so far as I can now read, hon- 
estly my feelings on the matter. My love to Irving, now that I 
look at it across those temporary vapors, had not abated, never did 
abate : but he seemed for the present flown (or mounted if that was 
it) far away from me, and I could only say to myself, " Well, well 
then, so it must be." 

One heard too, often enough, that in Irving there was visible a 
certain joyancy and frankness of triumph ; that he took things on 
the high key and nothing doubting ; and foolish stories circulated 
about his lofty sayings, sublimities of manner, and the like : some- 
thing of which I could believe (and yet kindly interpret too); all 
which might have been, though it scarcely was, some consolation 

* Mrs. Welsh, of Haddington, mother of Jane Welsh, afterwards Mrs. Carlyle. 



for our present silence towards one another. For what could I 
have" said in the circumstances that would have been on both sides 
agreeable and profitable ? 

It was not till late in autumn 1823, nearly two years after our 
parting in the Black Bull Inn, that I fairly, and to a still memora- 
ble measure, saw Irving again. He was on his marriage jaunt, Miss 
Martin of Kirkcaldy now become his life-partner ; off on a tour to 
the Highlands ; and the generous soul had determined to pass near 
Kinuaird (right bank of Tay, a mile below the junction of Tumiuel 
and Tay), where I then was with the Bullers, and pick me up to ac- 
company as far as I would. I forget where or how our meeting 
was (at Dunkeld probably). I seem to have lodged with them two 
nights in successive inns, and certainly parted from them at Tay- 
mouth, Sunday afteruoon, where my horse by some means must have 
been waiting for me. I remember baiting him* at Aberfeldy, and 
to have sate in a kindly and polite yet very huggermngger cottage, 
among good peasant kirk-people^ refreshing themselves, returning 
home from sermon ; sate for perhaps some two hours, till poor Dolph 
got rested and refected like his fellow-creatures there. I even re- 
member somethiug like a fraction of scrag of mutton and potatoes 
eaten by myself — in strange contrast, had I thought of that, to 
Irving's nearly simultaneous dinner which would be with my lord 
at Tayrnouth Castle. After Aberfeldy cottage the curtain falls. 

Irving, on this his wedding-jaunt, seemed superlatively happy, 
as was natural to the occasion, or more than natural, as if at the 
top of Fortune's wheel, aud in a sense (a generous sense, it must be 
owned, aud not a tyrannous in any measure) striking the stars with 
his sublime head. Mrs. I. was demure aud quiet, though doubtless 
not less happy at heart, really comely in her behavior. In the 
least beautiful she never could be ; but Irving had loyally taken 
her as the consummate flower of all his victory in the world — poor 
good tragic woman — better probably thau the fortune she had af- 
ter all. 

My friend was kind to me as possible, and bore with my gloomy 
humors (for I was ill and miserable to a degree), nay perhaps as 
foil to the radiancy of his own sunshiue he almost enjoyed them. 
I remember jovial bursts of laughter from him at my surly sarcas- 
tic aud dyspeptic utterances. " Doesn't this subdue yon, Carlyle V 
said he, somewhat solemnly ; we were all three staudiug at the 
Falls of Aberfeldy (amid the " Birks " of ditto, and memories of 
song) silent in the October dusk, perhaps with moon rising — our 
ten miles to Taymouth still ahead — " Doesu't this subdue you ?" 
" Subdue me! I should hope not. I have quite other thiugs to 
front with defiance in this world thau a gush of bog-water tum- 
bling over crags as here !" which produced a joyous aud really kind 
laugh from him as sole answer. He had much to tell me of Lou- 
don, of its fine literary possibilities for a man, of its literary stars, 
whom he had seen or knew of, Coleridge iu particular, who was in 
the former category, a marvellous sage and man ; Hazlitt, who was 
in the latter, a fine talent too, but tending towards scamphood ; 
was at the Fonihill Abbey sale the other week, "hired to attend as a 
white bonnet there," said he, with a laugh. White bonnet intensely 
vernacular, is the Annaudale name for a false bidder merely ap- 
pointed to raise prices, works -so for his five shillings at some poor 
little Annaudale roup,t of standing crop or hypothecate cottage 
furuiture, and the contrast aud yet kinship between these little 
things and the Fonthill great one was ludicrous enough. He 
would not hear of ill-health being any hindrance to me; he had 
himself no experience in that sad proviuce. All seemed passible 
to him — all was joyful aud ruuning upon wheels. He had suffered 
much angry criticism in his late triumphs (on his " Orations " quite 
lately), but seemed to accept it all with jocund mockery, as some- 
thing harmless and beneath him. 

Wilson in "Blackwood" had been very scornful and done his 
bitterly enough disobliging best. Nevertheless Irving now advis- 
ing with me about some detail of our motions, or of my own, and 
finding I still demurred to it, said with true radiancy of look, 
" Come now, you kuow I am the judicious Hooker," which was con- 
sidered one of Wilson's cruellest hits iu that Blackwood article. 
To myself I remember his answeriug, in return evidently for some 
criticism of my own on the oratious which was not so laudatory as 
required, but of which I recollect nothing farther, " Well, Carlyle, 
I am glad to hear you say all that ; it gives me the opinion of an- 
other mind on the thing ;" which, at least, beyond any doubt it did. 
He was in high sunny humor, good Irving. There was no trace of 
anger left in him; he was jovial, riant, jocose rather than serious, 
throughout, which was a new phasis to me. And furthermore, in 
the serious vein itself there was ofteuest something of falsetto no- 
ticeable (as iu that of the waterfall "subduing" one), generally 



* Excellent cob or pony Dolph, i. e. Bardolph, bought for rue at Lilliesleaf fair 
by my dear brother Alick, aud which I had ridden into the Highlands for health, 
t Kuf, or vocal sale. 



EDWARD IKYING. 



speakiug a new height of self-consciousness not yet sure of the 
manner and carriage that was suitablest for it. He affected to feel 
his popularity too great and burdensome ; spoke much about a Mrs. 
Basil Montague ; elderly, sage, lofty, whom we got to know after- 
wards, aud to call by his name for her, " the noble lady ;" who had 
saved him greatly from the dashing floods of that tumultuous and 
unstable element, hidden him away from it once aud agaiu ; doue 
kiud miuistrations, spread sofas for him, and taught him " to rest." 
The last thiug I recollect of him was on our coming »ut from Tay- 
niouth Kirk (kirk, congregation, minister, utterly erased from me), 
how in coming down the broadish little street he pulled off his big 
broad hat, and walked, looking mostly to the sky, with his fleece of 
copious coal-black hair - flowing in the wind, aud in some spittings 
of rain that were beginning; how thereupon in a minute or two a 
livery servant ran up, " Please, sir, aren't you the Kev. Edward Ir- 
ving?" " Yes." " Then my Lord Breadalbaue begs you to stop for 
him one moment." YVhereupou exit flunkey . Irving turning to us 
with what look of sorrow he could, and "Agaiu found out!" upou 
which the old lord came up,* aud civilly iuvited him to dinner. 
Him aud party, I suppose ; but to me there was no temptatiou, or 
ou those terms less than none. So I had Bardolph saddled and 
rode for Aberfeldy as above said ; home, sunk in manifold murky 
reflections now lost to me ; aud of which only the fewest and frieud- 
liest were comfortably fit for uttering to the Bullers next day. I 
saw no more of Irving for this time. But he had been at Hadding- 
ton, too, was perhaps again corresponding a little there, and I heard 
occasioually of him in the beautiful bright aud kindly quizzing style 
that was natural there. 

I was myself writing "Schiller" in those mouths; a task Irving 
had encouraged me in and prepared the way for, in the "Londou 
Magazine." Three successive parts there were, I know not how far 
advanced, at this period ; kuew only that I was nightly working at 
the thing in a serious, sad and totally solitary way. My two rooms 
were in the old " Mansion " of Kiuuaird, some three or four huudred 
yards from the new, and on a lower level, overshadowed with wood. 
Thither I always retired directly after tea, and for most part had 
the edifice all to myself; good candles, good wood fire, place dry 
enough, tolerably clean, aud such silence aud total absence of com- 
pany, good or bad, as I never experienced before or since. I remem- 
her still the grand sough of those woods ; or, perhaps, iu the stillest 
times, the distant ripple of Tay. Nothing else to converse with but 
this and my owu thoughts, which never for a moment pretended to 
he joyful, and were sometimes pathetically sad. I was iu the mis- 
erablest dyspeptic health, uncertain whether I ought not to quit 
ou that account, aud at times almost resolving to do it; driven far 
away from all my loved ones. My poor " Schiller," nothing consid- 
erable of a work even to my own judgment, had to be steadily per- 
sisted iu as the only protection and resource iu this inarticulate huge 
" wilderness," actual aud symbolical. My editor, I think, was com- 
plimentary; but I kuew better. The "Times" newspaper once 
hrought me, without commentary at all, au " eloquent " passage re- 
printed (about the tragedy of noble literary life), which I remember 
to have read with more pleasure in this utter isolation, aud as the 
"first" public nod of approval I had ever had, than any criticism 
or laudation that has ever come to me since. For about two hours 
it bad lighted in the desolation of my inner man a strange little 
glow of illumination ; hut here too, on reflection, I " kuew better," 
and the winter afternoon was not over when I saw clearly how very 
small this conquest was, and things were iu their statu quo agaiu. 

"Schiller" done, I begau "Wilhelm Meister,"a task I liked per- 
haps rather hotter, too scanty as my knowledge of the element, and 
even of the lauguage, still was. Two years before I had at length, 
after some repulsions, got into the heart of " Wilhelm Meister," aud 
eagerly read it through ; my sally out, after finishing, along the va- 
cant streets of Edinburgh, a windless, scotch-misty Saturday night, 
is still vivid to me. " Grand, surely, harmoniously built together, 
far seeing, wise and true. When, for many years, or almost iu my 
whole life before, have I read such a hook?" Which I was now, 
really in part as a kind of duty, conscientiously translating for my 
countrymen, if they would read it — as a select few of them have 
ever since kept doing. 

I finished it the next spring, not at Kinnaird hut. at Mainhill. A 
month or two there with my best of nurses aud of hostesses — my 
mother; blessed voiceless or low-voiced time, still sweet to me; 
with Londou now silently ahead, aud the Bullers there, or to be 
there. Of Kinnaird life they had now had enough, aud of my mis- 
erable health far more than enough some time before! But that is 
not my subject here. I had ridden to Edinburgh, there to consult 
a doctor, having at last reduced my complexities to a single ques- 
tion : " Is this disease curahle by medicine, or is it chronic, incurable 
except by regimen, if even so ?" This question I earnestly put ; got 

* Father of the last, or later, Free Kirk one, whom I have sometimes seen. 



response, " It is all tohacco, sir ; give up tobacco." Gave it instant- 
ly and strictly up. Found, after long mouths, that I might as well 
have ridden sixty miles in the opposite direction, and poured my 
sorrows iuto the long hairy ear of the first jackass I came upon, as 
into this select medical man's, whose name I will not mention. 

After these still months at Maiuhill my printing at Edinburgh 
was all finished, and I went thither with my preface in my pocket ; 
finished that and the rest of the " Meister " business (£180 of pay- 
ment the choicest part of it!) rapidly off; made a visit to Hadding- 
ton; what a retrospect to me, now encircled by the silences aud 
the eternities ; most heautiful, most sad ! I remember the " gimp 
bonnet " she wore, aud her anxious silent thoughts, and my own ; 
mutually legible, both of them, in part ; my own little darling now 
at rest, and far away ! — which was the last thing in Scotland. Of 
the Leith smack, every figure aud event iu which is curiously pres- 
ent, though so unimportant, I will say nothing ; only that we enter- 
ed Londou River on a beautiful June morning ; scene very impres- 
sive to me, aud still very vivid in me ; and that, soou after mid-day, 
I landed safe in Irving's, as appointed. 

Irving lived iu Myddelton Terrace, hodie Myddelton Square, Is- 
lington, No. 4. It was a new place ; houses bright and smart, but 
inwardly bad, as usual. Only one side of the now square was built 
— the western side — which has its back towards Battle Bridge re- 
gion. Irving's house was fourth from the northern end of that, 
which, of course, had its left hand on the New Road. *The place was 
airy, not uncheerful. Our chief prospect from the front was a good 
space of green ground, aud iu it, ou the hither edge of it, the big 
open reservoir of Myddelton's " New River," now above two centu- 
ries old for that matter, but recently made new again, and all cased 
in tight masoury ; on the spacious expanse of smooth flags surround- 
ing which it was pleasaut on fine mornings to take an early prome- 
nade, with the free sky overhead, aud the New Road, with its lively 
traffic aud vehiculation, seven or eight good yards below our level. 
I remember several pretty strolls here, ourselves two, while break- 
fast was getting ready close by ; aud the esplanade, a high little 
island, lifted free out of the noises aud jostlings, was all our own. 

Irving had received me with the old true friendliness ; wife and 
household eager to imitate him therein. I seem to have stayed a 
good two or three weeks with them at that time. Buller arrange- 
ments not yet ready ; nay, sometimes threatening to become uncer- 
tain altogether ! and ofi" aud on during the next ten mouths I saw 
a great deal of my old friend and his new affairs and posture. That 
first afternoon, with its curious phenomena, is still very lively in 
me. Basil Moutague's eldest son,* Mr. Montague, junior, accidental 
guest at our neat little early dinner, my first specimen of the Lon- 
dou dandy — broken dandy ; very mild of manner, who went all to 
shivers, aud died miserable soou after. This was novelty first. 
Then, during or before his stay with us, dash> of a hrave carriage 
driving up, aud entry of a straugely-complexioned young lady, with 
soft brown eyes and floods of bronze-red hair, really a pretty-look- 
ing, smiling, and amiable, though most foreign bit of magnificence 
aud kiudly splendor, whom they welcomed by the name of " dear 
Kitty." Kitty Kirkpatrick, Charles Buller's cousiu or half-cousin, 
Mrs. Strachey's full cousin, with whom she lived; her birth, as I 
afterwards found, an Indian romance, mother a sublime Begum, 
father a ditto English official, mutually adoring, wedding, liviug 
withdrawn in their owu private paradise, romance famous in the 
East. A very singular " dear Kitty," who seemed bashful withal, 
and soou went away, twitching off in the lobby, as I could notice 
not without wonder, the loose label which was stickiug to my 
trunk or bag, still there as she tripped past, aud carrying it off in 
her pretty hand. With what imaginable object then, in heaven's 
name ? To show it to Mrs. Strachey I afterwards guessed, to whom 
privately poor I had heen prophesied of iu the most grandiloquent 
terms. This might he called novelty second, if not first, and far 
greatest. Then after dinner in the drawiug-room, which was pret- 
tily furnished, the romance of said furnishing, which had all been 
done as if by beneficent fairies in some temporary absence of the 
owners. "We had decided on not furnishiug it," Irviug told me, 
" not till we had more money ready ; aud ou our return this was 
how wo found it. The people here are of a nobleness you have 
never before seen." "And don't you yet guess at all who can have 
done it I" " H'm, perhaps we guess vaguely, hut it is their secret, 
and we should not break it against their will." It turned out to 
have been Mrs. Strachey and dear Kitty, both of whom were rich 
and open-handed, that had done this fine stroke of art magic, one 
of the many munificences achieved by them in this uew province. 
Perhaps the "uoble lady" had at first been suspected, but how in- 
nocently she! Not flush iu that way at all, though uotably so in 
others ! The talk about these and other nohle souls aud new pho- 

* Noble lady's step-son. She was Basil's third wife, and had four kinds of chil- 
dren at home— a most sad miscellany, as I afterwards found. 



28 



REMINISCENCES. 



nomena, strange to me and half incredible in such interpretation, 
left me wondering and confusedly guessing over the much that I 
had heard and seen this day. 

Irving's London element and mode of existence had its question- 
able aspects from the first ; and one could easily perceive, here as 
elsewhere, that the ideal of fancy and the actual of fact were two 
very different things. It was as the former that my friend, accord- 
ing to old habit, strove to represent it to himself, and to make it be; 
aud it was as the latter that it obstinately continued being! There 
were beautiful items in his present scene of life ; but a great ma- 
jority which, under specious figure, were intrinsically poor, vulgar, 
aud importunate, and introduced largely into -one's existence the 
character of huggermugger, not of greatness or success in any real 
sense. 

He was inwardly, I could observe, nothing like so happy as in old 
days ; inwardly confused, auxious, dissatisfied ; though as it were 
denying it to himself, and striving, if not to talk big, which he 
hardly ever did, to think big upon all this. We had many strolls 
together, no doubt much dialogue, but it has nearly all gone from 
me; probably not so worthy of remembrance as our old commuu- 
ings were. Crowds of visitors came about him, and ten times or a 
hundred times as many would have come if allowed ; well-dressed, 
decorous people, but for most part tiresome, ignorant, weak, or even 
silly and absurd. He persuaded himself that at least he " loved 
their love;" and of this latter, in the kind they had to offer him, 
there did seem to be no lack. He and I were walking one bright 
Bummer evening, somewhere in the outskirts of Islington, in what 
was or had once been fields, and was again coarsely green in gener- 
al, but with symptoms of past devastation by bricklayers, who have 
now doubtless covered it all with their dirty human "dog-hutches 
of the period ;" when, in some smoothish hollower spot, there sud- 
denly disclosed itself a considerable company of altogether fine- 
looking young girls, who had set themselves to dance ; all in airy 
bouuets, silks, and flounces, merrily alert, nimble as young fawns, 
tripping it to their own rhythm on the light fautastic toe, with the 
bright beams of the sotting sun gildiug them, aud the hum and 
smoke of huge Loudon shoved aside as foil or background. Noth- 
ing could be prettier. At sight of us they suddenly stopped, all 
looking round; and one of the prettiest, a dainty little thing, stept 
radiantly out to Irving. "Oh! oh! Mr. Irving!" and, blushing and 
smiling, offered her pretty lips to be kissed, which Irving gallantly 
stooped down to accept as well worth while. Whereupon, after 
some benediction or pastoral words, wo went on our way. Probably 
I rallied him on such opulence of luck provided for a man, to which 
he could answer properly as a spiritual shepherd, not a secular. 

There were several Scotch merchant people among those that 
came about him, substantial city men of shrewd insight and good 
honest sense, several fcf whom seemed truly attached aud reverent. 
One, William Hamilton, a very shrewd and pious Nithsdale man, 
who wedded a sister of Mrs. Irving's by-and-by, and whom I knew 
till his death, was probably the chief of these, as an old good Mr. 
Diuwiddie, very zealous, very simple, and far from shrewd, might 
perhaps be reckoned at or near the other end of the series. Sir 
Peter Laurie, afterwards of aldermanic and even mayoral celebrity, 
came also pretty often, but seemed privately to look quite from the 
aldermanic point of view on Irving and the new "Caledonian 
Chapel" they were struggling to get built— old Mr. Dinwiddio es- 
pecially struggling ; and indeed ouce to me at Paris, a while after 
this, he likened Irving and Dinwiddie to Harlequin and Blast, 
whom he had seen in some farce then current; Harlequin conjur- 
ing up the most glorious possibilities, like this of their " Caledonian 
Chapel," aud Blast loyally following him with awift destruction on 
attempting to help. Sir Peter rather took to me, but not I much 
to him. A long-sighted satirical ex-saddler I found him to be, aud 
nothing better ; nay, something of an ex-Scotchman too, which I 
could still less forgive. I went with the Irvings once to his house 
(Crescent, head of Portland Place) to a Christmas dinner this same 
year. Very sumptuous, very cocknoyish, strange and unadmirable 
to me ; and don't remember to have met him again. On our com- 
ing to live in London he had rather grown in civic fame and im- 
portance, aud possibly, for I am not quite sure, on the feeble chance 
of being of some help, I sent him some indication or other ;* but if 
so, he took no notice ; gave no sign. Some years afterwards I met 
him in my rides in the Park, evidently recognizaut, and willing or 
wistful to speak, but it never came to effect, there being now no 
charm in it. Then again, years afterwards, when "Latter-day 
Pamphlets" were coming out, he wrote me on that of Model Prisons 
a knowing, approving, kindly and civil letter, to which I willingly 
responded by a kindly and civil. Not very long after that I think 
he died, riding diligently almost to the end. Poor Sir Peter ! he 



_ * A project belike— and ray card with it-one of several air-castles I was anx- 
iously building at that time before taking to French Revolution. 



was nothing of a bad man, very far other indeed ; but had lived in 
a loud roaring, big, pretentious, and intrinsically barren sphere, un- 
conscious wholly that he might have risen to the top in a consider- 
ably nobler and fruitfuller one. What a tragic, treacherous step- 
dame is vulgar Fortune to her children ! Sir Peter's wealth has 
.gone now in good part to somebody concerned in discovering, not 
for the first time, the source of the Nile (blessings on it !) — a Cap- 
tain Grant, I think, companion to Speke, having married Sir Peter's 
Scotch niece alxl lady heiress, a good clever girl, once of " Hadding- 
ton," and extremely poor, who made her way to my loved one on 
the ground of common country in late years, and used to be rather 
liked here in the few visits she made. 

Grant and she, who are now gone to India, called after marriage, 
but found nobody ; nor now over will. 

By far the most distinguished two, and to me the alone impor- 
tant, of Irving's London circle, were Mrs. Strachey (Mrs. Buller's 
youngest sister), and the "noble lady" Mrs. Basil Montague, with 
both of whom aud their households I became acquainted by his 
means. Oue of my first visits was along with him to Goodenough 
House, Shooter's Hill, where the Stracheys oftenest were in summer. 
I remember once entering the little winding avenue, and seeing, in 
a kind of open conservatory or verandah on our approaching the 
house, the effulgeut vision of " dear Kitty" buried among the roses 
and almost buried under them ; who on sight of us glided hastily 
in. The before and after and all other incidents of that first visit 
are quite lost to me, but I made a good many visits there and in 
town, aud grew familiar with my ground. 

Of Mrs. Strachey I have spoken already. To this day, long years 
after her death, I regard her as a singular pearl of a woman, pure 
as dew, yet full of love, incapable of unveracity to herself or others. 
Examiner Strachey had long been an official (judge, etc.) iu Bengal 
where brothers of his were, and sons still are. Eldest son is now 
master, by inheritance, of the family estate in Somersetshire. One 
of the brothers had translated a curious old Hindoo treatise on 
algebra, which had made his name familiar to me. Edward (that 
I think was the examiner's name) might be a few years turned of 
fifty at this time ; his wife twenty years younger, with a number 
of pretty children, the eldest hardly fourteen, aud only one of them 
a girl. They lived in Pitzroy Square, a fine-enough house, and had 
a very pleasant country establishment at Shooter's Hill ; where, iu 
summer time, they were all commonly to be found. I have seldom 
seen a pleasanter place ; a panorama of green, flowery, clear, and 
decorated couutry all round ; an umbrageous little park, with roses, 
gardens; a modestly - excellent house; from the drawing-room 
window a continual view of ships, multiform and multitudinous, 
sailing up or dowu tho river (about a mile off) ; smoky London as 
background ; the clear sky overhead ; and within doors honesty, 
good-sense, aud smiling seriousness the rule, aud not the exception. 
Edward Strachey was a genially-abrupt man, a Utilitarian and 
Democrat by creed ; yet beyond all thiugs he loved Chaucer, and 
kept reading him ; a man rather tacit than discursive, but willing 
to speak, and doing it well, in a fine, tiukling, mellow-toned voice, 
in an ingenious, aphoristic way ; had, withal, a pretty vein of quiz, 
which he seldom indulged in ; a man sharply impatient of pre- 
tence, of sham and untruth iu all forms ; especially contemptuous 
of quality pretensions and affectations, which he scattered giin- 
niugly to the winds. Dressed iu the simplest form, he walked 
daily to the India House and back, though there were fine car- 
riages in store for the woman part ; scorned cheerfully " the gen- 
eral humbug of the world," aud honestly strove to do his own bit 
of duty, spiced by Chaucer aud what else of inward harmony or 
condiment he had. Of religion in articulate shape he had none, 
but much respected his wife's, whom and whose truthfulness iu 
that as in all things he tenderly esteemed and loved; a man of 
many qualities comfortable to be near. At his house, both in town 
aud here, I have seen pleasant, graceful people, whose style of man- 
ners, if nothing else, struck me as new and superior. 

Mrs. Strachey took to me from the first, nor ever swerved. It 
strikes me uow more than it then did, she silently could have liked 
to see "dear Kitty" and myself come together, and so continue 
near her, both of us, through life. The good, kiud soul! And 
Kitty, too, was charming iu her beautiful Begum sort ; had wealth 
abundaut, aud might, perhaps, have been charmed? None knows. 
She had one of the prettiest smiles, a visible sense of humor, the 
slight, merry curl of her upper lip (right side of it ouly), the car- 
riage of her head aud eyes ou such occasions, the quiet little things 
she said in that kiud, and her low-toned hearty laugh were notice- 
able. This was perhaps her most spiritual quality. Of developed 
intellect she bad not much, though not wanting in discernment ; 
amiable, affectionate, graceful ; might be called attractive ; not 
slim enough for the title "pretty," not tall enough for "beauti- 
ful;" had something low-voiced, languidly harmonious, placid, sen- 
suous; loved perfumes, etc. ; a half-i^um; in short, an interest- 



EDWARD IRVmG. 



29 



ing specimen of the semi-oriental Englishwoman. Still lives ! — 
near Exeter ; the wife of some ex-captain of Sepoys, with many 
children, whom she watches over with a passionate iustinct; and 
has not quite forgotten me, as I had evidence once in late years, 
thanks to her kind little heart. 

The Montague establishment (25 Bedford Square) was still more 
notable, and as unlike this as possible ; might be defined, not quite 
satirically, as a most singular, social, aud spiritual menagerie ; 
which, indeed, was well known and much noted aud criticised in 
certain literary aud other circles. Basil Montague, a chaucery 
barrister in excellent practice, hugely a sage, too, busy all his days 
upon " Bacon's Works," aud continually preaching a superfinish 
morality about benevolence, munificence, health, peace, unfailing 
happiness. Much a bore to you by degrees, and considerably a 
humbug if you probed too strictly. Age at this time might bo 
about sixty ; good middle stature, face rather fine under its griz- 
zled hair, brow very prominent ; wore oftenest a kind of smile, not 
false or consciously so, but insignificant, and as if feebly defensive 
against the intrusions of a rude world. 0# going to Hinchinbrook 
long after, I found he was strikingly like the dissolute, question- 
able Earl of Sandwich (Foote's "Jeremy Diddler"); who, indeed, 
had been father of him in a highly tragic way. His mother, pretty 
Miss Eeay, carefully educated for that function ; Rev. ex-dragoon 
Hackman taking this so dreadfully to heart that, being if not an 
ex-lover, a lover (bless the mark !), he shot her as she came out of 
Drury Lane Theatre one night, aud got well-hanged for it. The 
story is musty rather, and there is a loose, foolish old book upon 
it called " Love and Madness," which is not worth reading. Poor 
Basil! no wonder he had his peculiarities, coming by such a gene- 
sis, and a life of his own which had been brimful of difficulties and 
confusions! It cannot be said he managed it ill, hut far the con- 
trary, all things considered. Nobody can dcuy that he wished all 
the world rather well, could wishiug have done it. Express malice 
against anybody or anything he seldom or never showed. I my- 
self experienced much kind flattery (if that were a benefit), much 
soothing treatment in his house, aud learned several things there 
which were of use afterwards, and not alloyed by the least harm 
done me. But it was his wife, the "noble lady," who in all senses 
presided there, to whom I stand debtor, and should be thankful 
for all this. 

Basil had been thrice married. Children of all his marriages, 
and one child of the now Mrs. Montague's own by a previous mar- 
riage, were present in the house ; a most difficult miscellany. The 
one son of B.'s first marriage we have already dined with, aud indi- 
cated that he soon ended by a bad road. Still worse the three sons 
of the second marriage, dandy young fellows by this time, who 
went all and sundry to the bad, the youngest and luckiest soon to 
a madhouse, where he probably still is. Nor were the two boys of 
Mrs. Montague Tertia a good kiud; thoroughly vain or even proud, 
and with a spice of angry falsity discernible amid their showy tal- 
ents. They grew up ouly to go astray and be uulucky. Both 
long since are dead, or gone out of sight. Ouly the eldest child, 
Emily, the single daughter Basil had, succeeded in the world ; 
made a good match (in Turin country somewhere), and is still do- 
ing well. Emily was Basil's ouly daughter, but she was not his 
wife's only one. Mrs. Montague had by her former marriage, 
which had been brief, one daughter, six or eight years older than 
Emily Montague. Anne Skepper the name of this one, and York 
or Yorkshire her birthplace ; a brisk, witty, prettyish, sufficiently 
clear-eyed and sharp-tougued youug lady ; bride, or affianced, at 
this time, of the poet "Barry Cornwall," i.e. Briau W.Procter, 
whose wife, both of them still prosperously living (1860), she now 
is. Anne rather liked me ; I her ; an evidently true, sensible, and 
practical youug lady in a house considerably in want of such au 
article. She was the fourth genealogical species among those 
children, visibly the eldest, all but Basil's first son now gone ; and 
did, and might well pass for, the flower of the collection. 

Ruling such a miscellany of a household, with Basil Montague at 
the head, and an almost still stranger miscellaneous society that 
fluctuated through it, Mrs. Montague had a problem like few others. 
But she, if any one, was equal to it. A more constant and consum- 
mate artist in that kind you could nowhere meet with ; truly a re- 
markable aud partly a high and tragical woman ; now about fifty, 
with the remains of a certain queenly beauty which she still took 
strict care of. A tall, rather thin figure ; a face pale, intelligent, 
and penetrating; nose fine, rather large, and decisively Roman; 
pair of bright, not soft, but sharp and small black eyes, with a cold 
smile as of inquiry iu them ; fine brow ; fine chin (both rather 
prominent); thin lips — lips always gently shut, as if till the in- 
quiry were completed, aud the time came for something of royal 
speech upon it. She had a slight Yorkshire accent, but spoke — 
Dr. Hugh Blair could not have picked a hole iu it — and you might 
have printed every word, so queen-like, gentle, soothing, measured, 



prettily royal towards subjects whom she wished to love her. The 
voice was modulated, low, not inharmonious ; yet there was some- 
thing of metallic in it, akin to that smile in the eyes. Oue durst 
not quite love this high personage as she wished to be loved ! Her 
very dress was notable; always the same, and in a fashion of its 
own; kind of widow's cap fasteued below the chin, darkish puce- 
colored silk all the rest, and (I used to hear from ouo who knew !) 
was admirable, and must have required daily the fastening of sixty 
or eighty pins. 

Tbere were many criticisms of Mrs. Montague — often angry ones ; 
but the truth is she did love aud aspire to human excellence, and 
her road to it was no better than a steep hill of jingling boulders 
aud slidiug sand. There remained therefore nothing, if you still 
aspired, but to succeed ill and put the best face on it. Which she 
amply did. I have heard her speak of the Spartan boy who let 
the fox hidden under his robe eat him, rather than rob him of his 
honor from the theft. 

In early life she had made some visit to Nithsdale (to the 
" Craiks of Arligsland "), and had seen Burns, of whom her worship 
continued fervent, her few recollections always a jewel she was 
ready to produce. She must have been strikingly beautiful at 
that time, aud Burns's recognition and adoration would not be 
wanting ; the most royally courteous of mankind she always de- 
fined him, as the first mark of his genius. I thiuk I have heard 
that, at a ball at Dumfries, she had frugally constructed some dress 
by sewing real flowers upon it: and shone by that bit of art, and 
by her flue bearing, as the cynosure of all eyes. Her father, I grad- 
ually understood, not from herself, had been a man of inconsidera- 
ble wealth or position, a wine-merchant in York, his name Benson. 
Her first husband, Mr. Skepper, some young lawyer there, of Ger- 
man extraction ; aud that the romance of her wedding Montague, 
which she sometimes touched on, had been prosaically nothing but 
this. Seeing herself, on Skepper's death, left destitute with a young 
girl, she consented to take charge of Montague's motherless confused 
family under the name of " governess," bringing her own little 
Anne as appendage. Had succeeded well, and better and better, 
for some time, perhaps some years, in that ticklish capacity ; where- 
upon at length offer of marriage, which she accepted. Her sover- 
eignty iu the house had to be soft, judicious, politic, but it was con- 
stant and valid, felt to be beneficial withal. " She is like one in 
command of a mutinous ship which is ready to take fire," Irving 
once said to me. By this time he had begun to discover that this 
" noble lady " was in essentiality au artist, aud hadn't perhaps so 
much loved him as tried to buy love from him by soft ministra- 
tions, by the skilfullest flattery liberally laid on. He continued al- 
ways to look kiudly towards her, but had now, or did by-aud-by, 
let drop the old epithet. Whether she had clone him good or ill 
would be hard to say ; ill perhaps ! In this liberal London, pitch 
your sphere one step lower than yourself, and you can get what 
amount of flattery you will consent to. Everybody has it, like pa- 
per money, for the printing, and will buy a small amount of ware 
by any quantity of it. The generous Irving did not find out this 
so soon as some surl ier fellows of us ! 

On one of the first fine mornings, Mrs. Montague, along with Ir- 
ving, took me out to see Coleridge at Highgate. My impressions of 
the man and of the place are conveyed faithfully enough in the 
" Life of Sterling ;" that first interview iu particular, of which I 
had expected very little, was idle aud unsatisfactory, and yielded 
me nothing. Coleridge, a puffy, auxious, ohstructed-lookiug, fattish 
old man, hobbled about with us, talking with a kiud of solemn em- 
phasis on matters which were of no interest (and even reading pieces 
in proof of his opinions thereon). I had him to myself once or 
twice, in various parts of the garden walks, and tried hard to get 
something about Kant and Co. from him, about " reason " versus 
" understanding " and the like, but in vain. Nothing came from him 
that was of use to mo that day, or in fact any day. The sight and 
sound of a sage who was so venerated, by those about mo, and 
whom I too would willingly have venerated, but could not — this 
was all. Several times afterwards, Montague, on Coleridge's " Thurs- 
day eveuings," carried Irving and me out, and returned blessing 
Heaven (I not) for what he had received. Irving and I walked 
out more than once on mornings too, and found the Dodona oracle 
humanly ready to act, but uever to me, or Irving either I suspect, 
explanatory of the question put. Good Irving strovo always to 
think that he was getting priceless wisdom out of this great man, 
but must have had his misgivings. Except by the Montague-Ir- 
viug channel, I at no time communicated with Coleridge. I had 
never on my own strength had much esteem for him, and found 
slowly iu spite of myself that I was getting to have less aud less. 
Early in 1825 was my last sight of him ; a print of Porson brought 
some trifling utterance : " Sensuality such a dissolution of the feat- 
ures of a man's face ;" aud I remember nothing more. On my sec- 
ond visit to London (autumn 1830) Irving aud I had appointed a 



30 



REMINISCENCES. 



day for a pilgrimage to Highgate, but the day was one rain deluge 
and we couldn't even try. Soon after our settling here (late in 
1834) Coleridge was reported to be dying, and died ; I had seen the 
last of him almost a decade ago. 

A great " worship of genius " habitually went on at Montague's, 
from self aud wife especially ; Coleridge the head of the Lares there, 
though he never appeared in person, but only wrote a word or two 
of note on occasions. A confused dim miscellany of "geniuses" 
(mostly nondescript and harmlessly useless) hovered fitfully about 
the establishment; I think those of any reality had tired and gone 
away. There was much talk and laud of Charles Lamb and his 
Pepe, etc., but he never appeared. At his own house I saw him 
once ; once I gradually felt to have been enough for me. Poor 
Lamb ! such a " divine genius " you could find in the London 
world only ! Hazlitt, whom I had a kind of curiosity about, was 
not now of the " admitted " (such the hint) ; at any rate kept strict- 
ly away. There was a " Crabbe Robinson," who had been in Wei- 
mar, etc., who was first of the " Own Correspondents " now so nu- 
merous. This is now his real distinction. There was a Mr. Fearn, 
"profound in metaphysics" ("dull utterly and dry"). There was 
a Dr. Sir Anthony Carlile, of name in medicine, native of Durham 
and a hard-headed follow, but Utilitarian to the bone, who had de- 
fined poetry to Irving once as "the prodooction of a rude aage." 
We were clansmen, he and I, but had nothing of mutual attraction, 
nor of repulsion either, for the man didn't want for shrewd sense 
in his way. I heard continual talk and admiration of "■ the grand 
old English writers" (Fuller, Sir Thomas Browne, aud various oth- 
ers — Milton more rarely) ; this was the orthodox strain. But there 
was little considerable of actual knowledge, and of critical appre- 
ciation almost nothing at the back of it anywhere ; and iu the end 
it did one next to no good, yet perhaps not quite none, deducting 
in accurate balance all the ill that might be iu it. 

Nobody pleased me so much in this miscellany as Procter (Barry 
Cornwall), who for the fair Anne Skepper's sake was very con- 
stantly there. Anne and he were to have been, aud were still to 
be married, but some disaster or entanglement iu Procter's attor- 
ney business had occurred (some partner defalcating or the like), 
aud Procter, in evident distress and dispiritment, was waiting the 
slow conclusion of this ; which and the wedding thereupon happi- 
ly took place in the winter following. A decidedly rather pretty 
little fellow, Procter, bodily and spiritually ; manners prepossessing, 
slightly London-elegant, not unpleasant; clear judgment iu him, 
though of narrow field ; a sound honorable morality, and airy 
friendly ways ; of slight neat figure, vigorous for his size ; fine 
genially rugged little face, fine head ; something curiously dreamy 
in the eyes of him, lids drooping at the outer ends into a cordially 
meditative and drooping expression ; would break out suddenly 
now aud then into opera attitude aud a La ci darem la mono for a 
moment ; had something of real fun, though in London style. Me 
he had invited to " his garret," as he called it, and was always good 
and kind aud so continues, though I hardly see him once iu a quar- 
ter of a century. 

The next to Procter in my esteem, and the considerably more 
important to me just then, was a youug Mr. Badams, in great and 
romantic estimation there, and present every now and then, 
though his place and business lay iu Birmingham ; a most cheery, 
gifted, really amiable man, with whom not long afterwards I more 
or less romantically went to Birmingham, aud though not cured of 
" dyspepsia " there (alas ! not the least) had two or three singular 
aud interesting months, as will be seen. 

living's preaching at Hatton Garden, which I regularly attend- 
ed while iu his house, and occasionally afterwards, did not strike 
me as superior to his Scotch performances of past time, or, in pri- 
vate fact, inspire me with any complete or pleasant feeling. As- 
sent to them I could not, except under very wide reservations, nor, 
granting all his postulates, did either matter or manner carry .me 
captive, or at auy time perfect my admiration. The force and 
weight of what he urged was undeniable; the potent faculty at 
work, like that of a Samson heavily striding along with the gates 
of Gaza on his shoulders ; but there was a waut of spontaneity and 
simplicity, a somethiug of strained and aggravated, of elaborately 
intentional, which kept gaining ou the mind. One felt the bad 
dement to be aud to have been unwholesome to the honorable 
soul. The doors were crowded long before opening, aud you got 
iu by ticket; but the first sublime rush of what once seemed more 
than popularity, and had been nothing more — Lady Jersey "sit- 
ting ou the pulpit steps," Canning, Brougham, Mackintosh, etc., 
rushing day after day — was now quite over, and there remained 
only a popularity of " the people ;" not of the 2>lebs at all, but never 
higher thau of the well-dressed populm henceforth, which was a 
sad change to the sanguine man. One noticed that he was not 
happy, but anxious, struggling, questioning the future ; happiness, 
alas, ho was no more to have, even in the old measure, in this 



world ! At sight of Canning, Brougham, Lady Jersey and Co., 
crowding round him and listening week after week as if to the 
message of salvation, the noblest aud joyfullest thought (I know 
this on perfect authority) had taken possession of his noble, too 
sanguine, aud too trustful mind : " that the Christian religion was 
to be a truth again, not a paltry form, aud to rule the world, he 
uuworthy, even he, the chosen instrument." Mrs. Strachey, who 
had seen him in her own house in these moods, spoke to me once 
of this, and only once, reporting some of his expressions with an 
affectionate sorrow. Cruelly blasted all these hopes were, but 
Irving never to the end of his life could consent to give them up. 
That was the key to all his subsequent procedures, extravagances, 
aberrations, so far as I could understand them. Whatever of blame 
(and there was on the surface a fond credulity, or perhaps, farther 
down, aud as root to such credulity, some excess of self-love, which 
I define always as love that others should love him, not as auy 
worse kind), with that degree of blame Irving must stand charged, 
with that aud with no more, so far as I could testify or under- 
stand, i 

Good Mrs. Oliphant, and probably her public, have much mis- 
taken me ou this point. That Irving to the very last had abun- 
dant " popularity," and confluence of auditors sufficient for the 
largest pulpit " vanity," I knew and know, but also that his own 
immeasurable and quasi-celestial hope remained cruelly blasted, re- 
fusing the least bud farther, and that without this all else availed 
him nothing. Fallacious semblances of bud it did shoot out again 
aud again, under his coutiuual fostering and forcing, but real bud 
never more, and the case iu itself is easy to understand. 

He had much quiet seriousness, beautiful piety aud charity, in 
this bud time of agitation aud disquietude, and I was often hon- 
estly sorry for him. Here was still the old true man, and his new 
element seemed so false and abominable. Honestly, though not so 
purely, sorry as now — now when element and man are alike gone, 
aud all that was or partook of paltry in one's own view of them is 
also mournfully gone! He had endless patience with the mean 
people crowding about him and jostling his life to pieces ; hoped 
always they were not so mean ; never complained of the uncom- 
fortable huggermugger his life was now grown to be ; took every- 
thing, wife, servants, guests, by the most favorable handle. He 
had infinite delight iu a little baby boy there now was ; went dan- 
dling it about in his giant arms, tick-ticking to it, laughiug and 
playing to it ; would turn seriously round to me with a face sor- 
rowful rather than otherwise, and say, "Ah, Carlyle, this little creat- 
ure has been sent to me to soften my hard heart, which did 
need it." 

Towards all distressed people not absolutely criminals, his kind- 
ness, frank helpfulness, loug suffering, and assiduity were in truth 
wonderful to me; especially in one case, that of a Reverend Mr. 
Macbeth, which I thought ill of from the first, and which did turn 
out hopeless. Macbeth was a Scotch preacher, or licentiate, who 
had failed of a kirk, as he had deserved to do, though his talents 
were good, and was now hanging very miscellaneously on London, 
with no outlooks that were not bog meteors, and a steadily increas- 
ing tendency to strong drink. He knew town well, and its babble 
and bits of temporary cynosures, and frequented haunts good aud 
perhaps bad ; took me one evening to the poet Campbell's, whoni^I 
had already seen, but not successfully. 

Macbeth had a sharp, sarcastic, clever kind of tongue ; not much 
real knowledge, but was amusing to talk with on a chance walk 
through the streets ; older thau myself by a dozen years or more. 
Like him I did not; there was nothing of wisdom, generosity, or 
worth in him, but in secret, evidently discernible, a great deal of 
bankrupt vanity which had taken quite the malignant shape. Un- 
deniable envy, spite, and bitterness looked through every part of 
him. A tallish, slouching, lean figure, face sorrowful, malignant, 
black, not unlike the picture of a devil. To me he had privately 
much the reverse of liking. I have seen him in Irving's aud else- 
where (perhaps with a little drink on his stomach, poor sold!) 
break out iuto oblique little spurts of positive spite, which I un- 
derstood to mean merely, "Young Jackanapes, getting yourself 
uoticed and honored while a mature man of genius is" etc., etc., and 
took no notice of, to the silent comfort of self and neighbors. 

This broken Macbeth had been hanging a good while about Ir- 
ving, who had taken much earnest pains to rescue aud arrest him 
on the edge of the precipices, but latterly had begun to see that 
it was hopeless, aud had rather left him to his own bad courses. 
Oue evening, it was in dirty winter weather and I was present, 
there came to Irving or to Mrs. Irving, dated from some dark tav- 
ern iu the Holborn precincts, a piteous little note from Macbeth. 
"Ruined again (tempted, oh how cunningly, to my old sin); been 
drinking these three weeks, and now have a chalk-score aud no 
money, and can't get out. Oh, help a perishing sinner!" The ma- 
jority was of opinion, "Pshaw! it is totally useless!" but Irving 



EDWAED IRVING. 



31 



after some minutes of serious consideration decided, "No, not to- 
tally!" and directly got into a hackney coach, wife and he, proper 
moneys in pocket, paid the poor devil's tavern score (some £2 10s. 
or so, if I rememher), and brought him groaning home out of his 
purgatory again : for he was in much bodily suffering too. I re- 
member to have been taken up to see him one evening in his bed- 
room (comfortable airy place) a week or two after. He was in 
clean dressing-gown and night-cap, walking about the floor; af- 
fected to turn away his face and bo quite " ashamed" when Irving 
introduced me, which as I could discern it to be painful hypocrisy 
merely, forbade my visit to be other than quite brief. Comment I 
made none here or dowu-stairs ; was actually a little sorry, but 
without hope, and rather think this was my last sight of Macbeth. 
Another time, which could not now be distant, when he lay again 
under chalk-score and bodily sickness in his drinking shop, there 
would he no deliverance but to the hospital ; and there I suppose 
the poor creature tragically ended. He was not without talent, had 
written a " Book on the Sabbath," better or worse, and I almost 
think was understood, with all his impenitences and malignities, to 
have real love for his poor old Scotch mother. After that night in 
his clean airy bedroom I have no recollection or tradition of him — 
a vanished quantity, hardly once in my thoughts for above forty 
years past. There were other disastrous or unpleasant figures 
whom I met at Irving's; a Danish fanatic of Calvinistic species 
(repeatedly, and had to beat him off), a good many fanatics of dif- 
ferent kinds — one insolent "Bishop of Toronto," triumphant Cana- 
dian but Aberdeen by dialect (once only, from whom Irving defend- 
ed me), etc., etc. ; but of these I say nothing. Irving, though they 
made his house -element and life-element continually muddy for 
him, was endlessly patient with them all. 

This my first visit to London lasted with interruptions from 
early June, 1824, till March, 1825, during which I repeatedly lodged 
for a little while at Irving's, his house ever open to me like a broth- 
er's, but cannot now recollect the times or their circumstances. 
The above recollections extend vaguely over the whole period, dur- 
ing the last four or five mouths of which I had my own rooms in 
Southampton Street near by, and was still in almost constant fa- 
miliarity. My own situation was very wretched ; primarily from 
a state of health whieh nobody could be expected to understand or 
sympathize with, and about which I had as much as possible to be 
silent. The accursed hag "Dyspepsia" had got me bitted and 
bridled, and was ever striving to make my waking living day a 
thing of ghastly nightmares. I resisted what I could; never did 
yield or surrender to her ; but she kept my heart right heavy, my 
battle very sore and hopeless. One could not call it hope, but only 
desperate obstinacy refusing to flinch that animated me. "Obsti- 
nacy as of ten mules" I have sometimes called it since ; but in can- 
did truth there was something worthily human in it too; and I 
have had through life, among my manifold unspeakable blessings, 
no other real bower anchor to ride by in the rough seas. Human 
" obstinacy," grounded on real faith and insight, is good and the 
best. 

All was change, too, at this time with me, all uncertainty. Mrs. 
Buller, the bright, the ardent, the airy, was a changeful lady ! The 
original programme had been, we were all to shift to Cornwall, live 
in some beautiful Buller cottage there was about East Looe or West 
(on her eldest brother-in-law's property). With this as a fixed 
thing I had arrived in London, asking myself " what kind of a 
thing will it be J" It proved to have become already a thing of 
all the winds; gone like a dream of the night (by some accident or 
other). For four or five weeks coming there was new scheme, fol- 
lowed always by newer and newest, all of which proved successive- 
ly inexecutable, greatly to rny annoyance and regret, as may be 
imagined. The only thing that did ever take effect was the shift- 
ing of Charles and me out to solitary lodgings at Kew Green, an 
isolating of us two (pro tempore) over our lessons there, one of the 
dreariest and uncomfortablest things to both of us. It lasted for 
about a fortnight, till Charles, I suppose privately pleading, put an 
end to it as intolerable and useless both (for one could not " study " 
but only pretend to do it in such an element). Other wild projects 
rose rapidly, rapidly vanished futile. The end was, in a week or 
two after, I deliberately counselled that Charles should go direct 
for Cambridge next term, in the mean time making ready under 
some fit college " grinder ;" I myself not without regret taking 
leave of the enterprise. Which proposal, after some affectionate 
resistance on the part of Charles, was at length (rather suddenly, 
I recollect) acceded to by the elder people, and one bright summer 
morning (still vivid to mo) I stept out of a house in Foley Place, 
with polite farewell sounding through me, and the thought, as I 
walked along Regent Street, that here I wag without employment 
henceforth. Money was no longer quite wanting, enough of money 
for some time to come, but the question what'ito do next was not a 
little embarrassing, aud indeed was intrinsically abstruse enough. 



I must have been lodging again with Irving when this finale 
came. I recollect Charles Buller aud I, a day or some days after 
quitting Kew, had rendezvoused by appointment in Regent Square 
(St. Pancras), where Irving and a great company were laying the 
foundation of " Caledonian Chapel " (which still stands there), and 
Irving of course had to deliver an address. Of the address, which 
was going on when we arrived, I could hear nothing, such the con- 
fusing crowd and the unfavorable locality (a muddy chaos of rub- 
bish and excavations, Irving and the actors shut off from us by a 
circle of rude bricklayers' planks) ; but I well remember Irving's 
glowing face, streaming hair, aud deeply moved tones as he spoke ; 
and withal that Charles Buller brought me some new futility of a 
proposal, and how sad he looked, good youth, when I had directly 
to reply with " No, alas ! I cannot, Charles." This was but a few 
days before the Buller finale. 

Twenty years after, riding discursively towards Tottenham one 
summer evening, with the breath of the wind from northward, and 
Loudon hanging to my right hand like a grim and vast sierra, I 
saw among the peaks, as easily ascertainable, the high minarets 
of that chapel, and thought with myself, " Ah, you fatal tombstone 
of my lost friend ! and did a soul so strong and high avail only to 
build you f" and felt sad enough and rather angry in looking at 
the thing. 

It was not many days after this of the Regent Square address, 
which was quickly followed by termination with the Bullers, that 
I found myself one bright Sunday morning on the top of a swift 
coach for Birmingham, with intent towards the Mr. Badams above 
mentioned, and a considerable visit there, for health's sake mainly. 
Badams and the Montagues had eagerly proposed and counselled 
this step. Badams himself was so eager about it, and seemed so 
frank, cheery, ingenious, and friendly a man that I had listened to 
his pleadings with far more regard than usual in such a case, and 
without assenting had been seriously considering the proposal for 
some weeks before (during the Kew Green seclusion and perhaps 
earlier). He was in London twice or thrice while things hung in 
deliberation, and was each time more eager and persuasive on me. 
In fine I had assented, and was rolling along through sunny Eng- 
land — the first considerable space I had yet seen of it — with really 
pleasant recognition of its fertile beauties and air of long-continued 
cleanliness, contentment, and well being. Stony Stratford, Fenny 
Stratford, and the good people coming out of church, Coventry, etc., 
etc., all this is still a picture. Our coach was of the swiftest iu the 
world ; appointments perfect to a hail' ; one and a half minutes the 
time allowed for changing horses; our coachman, in dress, etc., 
resembled a "sporting gentleman," aud scornfully called any 
groundling whom he disliked, " You Radical !" for one symptom. 
I don't remember a finer ride, as if on the arrow of Abaris, with 
lips shut and nothing to do but look. My reception at Ashsted 
(west end of Birmingham, not far from the great Watts' house of 
that name), and instalment iu the Badams' domesticities, must 
have well corresponded to my expectations, as I have now no 
memory of it. My visit in whole, which lasted for above three 
months, may be pronounced interesting, idle, pleasant, and success- 
ful, though singular. 

Apart from the nimbus of Montague romance in the first accounts 
I had got of Badams, he was a gifted, amiable, and remarkable man, 
who proved altogether friendly and beueficent,so far as he went, with 
me, and whose final history, had I time for it, would be tragical in 
its kind. He was eldest boy of a well-doing but not opulent mas- 
ter-workman (plumber, I think) in Warwick town ; got marked for 
the ready talents he showed, especially for some picture he had on 
his own resources and unaided inventions copied iu the Warwick 
Castle gallery with " wonderful success ;" and in fine was taken 
hold of by the famous Dr. Parr aud others of that vicinity, and 
lived some time as one of Parr's scholars in Parr's house ; learning 
I know not what, not taking very kindly to the (Eolic digamma de- 
partment I should apprehend ! Ho retained a kindly and respect- 
ful remembrance about this Trismegistus of the then pedants, but 
always in brief quizzical form. Having declared for medicine, he 
was sent to Edinburgh College, studied there for one session or 
more; but "being desirous to marry some beautiful lady-love" 
(said the Montagues), or otherwise determined on a shorter road to 
fortune, he now cut loose from his patrons, and modestly planted 
himself in Birmingham, with purpose of turning to account some 
chemical ideas he had gathered in the classes here ; rivalling of 
French green vitriol by purely English methods ("no husks of 
grapes for you and your vitriol, ye English ; your vitriol only half 
the selling price of ours !") that I believe was it, and Badams had 
fairly succeeded in it and iu other branches of the color business, 
and had a manufactory of twenty or fewer hands, full of thrifty and 
curious ingenuity ; at the outer corner of which, fronting on two 
streets, was his modest but comfortable dwelling-house, where I 
now lived with him as guest. Simplicity and a pure and direct 



32 



REMINISCENCES. 



aim at tbe essential (aim good and generally successful), that waB 
our rule in this establishment, which was and continued always in- 
nocently comfortable and home-like to me. The lowest floor, opeu- 
ino' rearward of the manufactory, was exclusively given np to an 
excellent Mrs. Barnet (with husband and family of two), who in 
perfection aud in silence kept house to ns ; her husband, whom 
Badams only tolerated for her sake, working out of doors among 
the twenty. We lived iu the two upper floors, entering from one 
street door, and wearing a modestly civilized air. Everything has 
still a living look to me in that place; not even the bad Barnet, 
who never showed his badness, but has claims on me; still more 
the venerable lean and brown old grandfather Barnet, who used to 
"go for our letters," and hardly ever spoke except by his fine and 
mournful old eyes. These Barnets, with the workmen generally, 
anil their quiet steady ways, were pleasant to observe, but especial- 
ly our excellent, sad, pure, and silent Mrs. Barnet, correct as an 
eight -day clock, and making hardly as much noise! Always 
dressed in modest black, tall, clean, well-looking, light of foot and 
hand. She was very much loved by Badams as a friend of his 
mother's aud a woman of real worth, bearing well a heavy enough 
load of sorrows (chronic disease of the heart to crown them he 
would add). I remember the sight of her, one afternoon, in some 
lighted closet there was, cutting out the bit of bread for the chil- 
dren's luncheon, two dear pretty little girls who stood looking up 
with hope, her silence and theirs, and the fine human relation be- 
tween them, as one of my pleasant glimpses into English humble 
life. The younger of these pretty children died within few years; 
the elder, " Bessy Barnet," a creature of distinguished faculties who 
has had intricate vicissitudes and fortunate escapes, stayed with us 
here as our first servant (servant and friend both in one) for about 
a year, then went home, and after long and complete disappearance 
from our thoughts and affairs, re-emerged, most modestly trium- 
phant, not very long ago, as wife of the accomplished Dr. Blakiston 
of Leamington ; in which capacity she showed a generous exagger- 
ated "gratitude" to her old mistress and me, and set herself and 
her husband uuweariedly to help in that our sad Leamington sea- 
eon of woe and toil, which has now ended in eternal peace to one 
of us. Nor can Dr. B.'s and his " Bessy's " kindness in it ever be 
forgotten while the other of us still lingers here ! Ah me ! ah me ! 
My Birmingham visit, except as it continually kept me riding 
about in the open air, did nothing for me in the anti- dyspeptic 
way, but in the social and spiritually consolatory way it was really' 
of benefit. Badams was a horse fancier, skilful on horseback, kept 
a choice two or three of horses here, and in theory professed the 
obligation to "ride for health," but very seldom by himself did it 
— it was always along with mo, and not one-tenth part so often as 
I during this sojourn. With me red " Taffy," the briskest of Welsh 
ponies, went galloping daily far and wide, unless I were still better 
mounted (for exercise of the other high-going sort), and many were 
the pleasant rides I had in the Warwickshire lanes and heaths, 
and real good they did me, if Badams's medicinal and dietetic for- 
malities (to which I strictly conformed) did me little or none. His 
unaffected kindness, and cheerful human sociality and friendliness, 
manifest at all times, could not but be of use to me too. Seldom 
have I seen a franker, trustier, cheerier form of human kindliness 
than Badams's. How I remember the laughing eyes and sunny 
figure of him breaking into my room on mornings, himself half- 
dressed (waistband in hand was a common aspect, and hair all fly- 
ing). "What! not up yet, monster ?" The smile of his eyes, the 
sound of his voice, were so bright and practically true on these oc- 
casions. A tight, middle-sized, handsome kind of man, eyes blue, 
sparkling soft, nose and other features inclining to the pointed, com- 
plexion, which was the weak part, tending rather to bluish, face 
always shaven bare and no whiskers left; a man full of hope, full 
of natural intellect, ingenuity, invention, essentially a gentleman ; 
and really looked well aud jauntily aristocratic when dressed for 
riding or the like, which was always a careful preliminary. Slight 
rusticity of accent rather did him good; so prompt, mildly emphat- 
ic and expressive were the words that came from him. His faults 
were a too sanguine temper, and a defective inner sternness of verac- 
ity : true he was, but not sternly enough, aud would listen to im- 
agination and delusive hopes when Fact said No — for which two 
faults, partly recognizable to me even then, I little expected he 
would by-and-by pay so dear. 

We had a pleasant time together, many pleasant summer rides, 
and outdoor talks and in ; to Guy's Cliff, Warwick Castle, Sutton 
Coldfield, or Kenilworth, etc., on holidays ; or miscellaneously over 
the furzy heaths and leafy ruralities on common evenings. I re- 
member well a ride we made to Kenilworth one Saturday afternoon 
by the "wood of Arden" and its monstrous old oaks, on to the fa- 
mous ruin itself (fresh in the Scott novels then), and a big jolly 
farmer of Badams's, who lodged us — nice polite wife and he in a 
finely human way— till Monday morning, with much talk about 



old Parr, in whose parish (Hatton) we then were. Old Parr would 
have been desirabler to me than the great old ruin (now mainly a 
skeleton, part of it a coarse farm-house, which was the most inter- 
esting part). But Badams did not propose a call on his old pedant 
friend, aud I could not be said to regret the omission ; a saving of so 
much trouble withal. There was a sort of pride felt in their Dr. Part 
all over this region ; yet everybody seemed to consider him a ridic- 
ulous old fellow, whose strength of intellect was mainly gone to 
self-will aud fantasticality. They all mimicked his lisp, and talk- 
ed of wig and tobacco-pipe. (No pipe, no Parr! his avowed princi- 
ple when asked to dinner among fine people). The old man came 
to Edinburgh on a visit to Dr. Gregory, perhaps the very next year; 
and there, too, for a year following there lingered traditions of good- 
natured grins and gossip, which one heard of; but the man himself 
I never saw, nor, though rather liking him, sensibly cared to see. 

Another very memorable gallop (we always went at galloping or 
cantering pace, and Badams was proud of his cattle and their really 
great prowess), was one morning out to Hagley; to the top of tho 
Clent Hill for a view, after breakfast at Hagley Tap, aud then return. 
Distance from Birmingham about seventeen miles. " The Leasowes " 
(Poet Shenstone's place) is about midway (visible enough to left in 
the level sun-rays as you gallop out) ; after which comes a singular 
Terra di Lavdro — or wholly metallic country — Hales Owen the heart 
of it. Thick along the wayside, little forges built of single brick, 
hardly bigger than sentry-boxes ; and in each of them, with bellows, 
stake, and hammer a woman busy making nails ; fine, tall young 
women several of them, old others, but all in clean aprons, clean 
white calico jackets (must have been Monday morning), their look 
industrious and patient. Seems as if all the nails in the world 
were getting made here on very unexpected terms! Hales Owen 
itself had much sunk under the improved highway, but was cheer- 
fully jingling as we cantered through. Hagley Tap and its quiet 
green was all our own ; not to be matched out of England. Lord 
Lytteltou's mansion 1 have ever since in my eye as a noble-looking 
place, when his lordship comes athwart me ; a rational, ruggedly- 
considerate kind of man whom I could have liked to see there (as 
he was good enough to wish), had there been a Fortunatus travelling 
carpet at my disposal. Smoke pillars many, in a definite straight 
or spiral shape ; the Dudley " Black Country," under favorable 
omens, visible from the Clent Hill ; after which, and the aristocratic 
roof works, attics, aud grand chimney-tops of Hagley mausion, the 
curtain quite drops. 

Of persons also I met some notable or quasi-notable. "Joe" 
Parkes, then a small Birmingham attorney, afterwards the famous 
Reform Club ditto, was a visitor at Badams's on rare evenings; a 
rather pleasant-talking, shrewd enough little fellow, with bad teeth, 
and a knowing, flighty satirical way ; whom Badams thought little 
of, but tolerated for his (Joe's) mother's sake, as he did Parkes sen- 
ior, who was her second husbaud. The famous Joe I never saw 
again, though hearing often of his preferments, performances, and 
him, till he died, not long since, writing a new " Discovery of Jun- 
ius," it was rumored ; fit enough task for such a man. Bessy Parkes 
(of the Rights of Women) is a daughter of his. There were Phip- 
sons, too, " Unitarian people," very good to me. A young fellow 
of them, still young though become a pin manufacturer, had been 
at Erlangen University, and could float along in a light, airy, anec- 
dotic fashion by a time. He re-emerged on me four or five years 
ago, living at Putney ; head grown white from red, but heart still 
light ; introducing a chemical son of his, whom I thought not un- 
likely to push himself in the world by that course. Kennedy of 
Cambridge, afterwards great as " master of Shrewsbury school," was 
polite to me, but unproductive. Others — but why should I speak 
of them at all ? Accidentally, one Sunday evening, I heard the fa- 
mous Dr. Hall (of Leicester) preach ; a flabby, puffy, but massy, 
earnest, forcible-looking man, homme alors c^lebre ! Sermon extem- 
pore; text, "God who cannot lie." He proved beyond shadow of 
doubt, in a really forcible but most superfluous way, that God never 
lied (had no need to do it, etc.). "As good prove that God never 
fought a duel," sniffed Badams, on my reporting at home. 

Jemmy Belcher was a smirking little dumpy Unitarian book- 
seller, in the Bull-ring, regarded as a kind of curiosity aud favorite 
among these people, and had seen me. One showery day I took 
shelter in his shop ; picked up a new magazine, found in it a clever- 
ish and completely hostile criticism of my " Wilhelm Meister," of 
my Goethe, and self, etc., read it faithfully to the end, and have 
never set eye on it since. On stepping out of my bad spirits did 
not feel much elevated by the dose just swallowed, but 1 thought 
with myself, "This man is perhaps right on some points; if so, let 
him be admonitory!" And he was so (on a Scotticism, or perhaps 
two) ; and I did reasonably soon (in not above a couple of hours), 
dismiss him to the devil, or to Jericho, as an ill-given, unserviceable 
kind of entity in my course through this world. It was De Quincey, 
as I often enough heard afterwards from foolish-talking persons. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



33 



" What matter who, ye foolish-talking persons ?" would have been 
my silent answer, as it generally pretty much was. I recollect, too, 
how in Edinburgh a year or two after, poor De Quincey, whom I 
wished to know, was reported to tremble at the thought of such a 
thing ; and did fly pale as ashes, poor little soul, the first time we 
actually met. He was a pretty little creature, full of wire-drawn 
ingenuities, bankrupt enthusiasms, bankrupt pride, with the finest 
silver-toned low voice, and most elaborate gently- winding courtesies 
and ingenuities in conversation. " What wouldn't one give to 
have him in a box, and take him out to talk !" That was Her 
criticism of him, and it was right good. A bright, ready, and melo- 
dious talker, but in the end an inconclusive and long-winded. One 
of the smallest man figures I ever saw ; shaped like a pair of tongs, 
and hardly above five feet in all. When he sate, you would have 
taken him, by candlelight, for the beautifullest little child; blue- 
eyed, sparkling face, had there not been a something, too, which 
said "Eccovi — this child has been in hell." After leaving Edinburgh 
I never saw him, hardly ever heard of him. His fate, owing to 
opium, etc., was hard and sore, poor fine-strung weak creature, 
launched so into the literary career of ambition and mother of dead 
dogs. That peculiar kind of " meeting " with him was among the 
phenomena of my then Birmingham (" Bromwich-ham," " Bruma- 
gem," as you were forced to call it). 

Irving himself, once, or perhaps twice, came to us, in respect of 
a Scotch Chapel newly set ou foot there, and rather in tottering 
condition. Preacher in it one Crosbie, whom I had seen once at 
Glasgow in Dr. Chalmers's, a silent guest along with me, whose 
chief characteristic was helpless dispiritment under dyspepsia, which 
had come upon him, hapless innocent lazy soul. The people were 
very kind to him, but he was helpless, and I think soon after went 
away. What became of the Chapel since I didn't hear. The Rev. 
Mr. Martin of Kirkcaldy, with his reverend father, and perhaps a 
sister, passed through Birmingham, bound for Loudon to christen 
some new child of Irving's ; and being received in a kind of gala 
by those Scotch Chapel people, caused me a noisy not pleasant 
day. Another day, positively painful though otherwise instructive, 
I had in the Dudley " Black Country " (which I had once seen from 
the distance), roving about among the coal and metal mines there, 
in company or neighborhood of Mr. Airy, now "Astronomer Royal," 
whom I have never seen since. Our party was but of four. Some 
opulent retired Dissenting Minister had decided on a holiday ova- 
tion to Airy, who had just issued from Cambridge as chief of Wran- 
glers and mathematical wonder, and had come to Birmingham on 
visit to some footlicker whose people lived there. " I will show 
Airy our mine country," said the reverend old friend of enlighten- 
ment, "and Mr. G., Airy's footlicker, shall accompany!" That was 
his happy thought ; and Badams hearing it from him, had suggested 
me (not quite unknown to him) as a fourth figure. I was ill in 
health, but thought it right to go. We inspected black furnaces, 
descended into coal mines ; poked about industriously into nature's 
and art's sooty arcana all day (with a short recess for luncheon), 
and returned at night in the Reverend's postchaise, thoroughly 
wearied and disgusted, one of us at least. Nature's sooty arcana 
was welcome and even pleasant to me ; art's also, more or less. 
Thus in the belly of the deepest mine, climbing over a huge jingle 
of new-loosened coal, there met me on the very summit a pair of 
smaU cheerful human eyes (face there was none discernible at first, 
so totally black was it, and so dim were our candles), then a ditto 
ditto of lips, internally red; which I perceived, with a comic inter- 
est, were begging beer from me ! Nor was Airy himself in the least 
an offence, or indeed sensibly a concern. A hardy little figure, of 
edacious energetic physiognomy, eyes hard, strong, not fine ; seemed 
three or four years younger than I, and to be in secret serenely, 
not insolently, enjoying his glory, which I made him right welcome 
to do on those terms. In fact he and I hardly spoke together twice 
or thrice, and had as good as no relation to each other. The old 
Reverend had taken possession of Airy, and was all day at his el- 
bow. And to me, fatal allotment, had fallen the " footlicker," one 
of the foolishest, most conceited, ever-babbling blockheads I can 
remember to have met. 

What a day of boring (not of the mine strata only !) I felt as if 
driven half crazy, and mark it to this hour with coal ! 

But enough, and far more than enough, of my Birmingham 
reminiscences ! Irving himself had been with us. Badams was 
every few weeks up in London for a day or two. Mrs. Strachey, 
too, sometimes wrote to me. London was still, in a sense, my head- 
quarters. Early in September (it must have been), I took kind 
leave of Badams and his daily kind influences ; hoping, both of us, 
it might be only temporary leave; and revisited London, at least 
passed through it, to Dover and the sea-coast, where Mrs. Strachey 
had contrived a fine sea party, to consist of herself, with appendages 
of the Irvings and of me, for a few bright weeks ! I remember a 
tiny bit of my journey, solitary on the coach-roof, between Canter- 

3 



bury and Bridge. Nothing else whatever of person or of place 
from Birmingham to that, nor anything immediately onwards from 
that ! The Irvings had a dim but snuggish house, rented in some 
street near the shore, and I was to lodge with them. Mrs. Strachey 
was in a brighter place near by ; detached new row, called Liverpool 
Terrace at that time (now buried among streets, and hardly dis- 
cernible by me last autumn when I pilgrimed thither again after 
forty-two years). 

Mrs. Strachey had Kitty with her, and was soon expecting her 
husband. Both households were in full action, or gradually get- 
ting into it, when I arrived. 

We walked, all of us together sometimes, at other times in threes 
or twos. We dined often at Mrs. Strachey's ; read commonly in the 
evenings at Irving's, Irving reader, in Phineas Fletcher's " Purple 
Island" for one thing; over which Irving strove to be solemn, and 
Kitty and I rather not, throwing in now and then a little spice of 
laughter and quiz. I never saw the book again, nor in spite of 
some real worth it had, and of much half- real laudation, cared 
greatly to see it. Mrs. Strachey, I suspect, didn't find the sea party 
so idyllic as her forecast of it. In a fortnight or so Strachey came, 
and then there was a new and far livelier element of anti-humbug, 
anti-ennui, which could not improve matters. She determined on 
sending Strachey, Kitty, and me off on a visit to Paris for ten days, 
and haviug the Irvings all to herself. We went accordingly ; saw 
Paris, saw a bit of France — nothing like so common a feat as now ; 
and the memory of that is still almost complete, if it were a legiti- 
mate part of my subject. 

The journey out, weather fine and novelty awaiting young curi- 
osity at every step, was very pleasant. Montreuil, Noailles, Abbe- 
ville, Beauvais, interesting names, start into facts. Sterne's " Sen- 
timental Journey" (especially) is alive in one from the first stage 
onwards. At Nampont, on the dirty little street, you almost ex- 
pect to see the dead ass lying ! Our second night was at Beauvais ; 
glimpses of the old cathedral next morning went for nothing, was 
in fact nothing to me ; but the glimpse I had had the night before, 
as we drove in this way, of the Coffee-house near by, and in it no 
company but one tall, sashed, epauletted, well-dressed officer strid- 
ing dismally to and fro, was, and still is, impressive on me, as an 
almost unrivalled image of human ennui. I sate usually outside, 
fair Kitty sometimes, and Strachey ofteuer, sitting by me on the 
hindward seat. Carriage I think was Kitty's own, and except her 
maid we had no servants. Postilion could not tell me where 
" Crecy " was, when we were in the neighborhood. Country in 
itself, till near Paris, ugly, but all gilded with the light of young 
lively wonder. Little scrubby boys playing at ball on their scrub- 
by patch of parish green ; how strange ! " Chariti, madame, pour 
une pauvre miserable, qui, elle, en a bien besoin !" sang the poor lame 
beggar girls at the carriage door. None of us spoke French well. 
Strachey grew even worse as we proceeded, and at length was 
quite an amusement to hear. At Paris he gave it up altogether, 
and would speak nothing but English ; which, aided by his vivid 
looks and gestures, he found in shops and the like to answer much 
better. " Quelgue chose a boire, monsieur," said an exceptional re- 
spectful postilion at the coach window, before quitting. " Nong, 
vous avez drive" devilish slow," answered Strachey, readily, and in a 
positive, half-quizzing tone. This was on the way home, followed 
by a storm of laughter on our part, and an angry blush on the 
postilion's. 

From about Montmorency (with the shadow of Rousseau), es- 
pecially from St. Denis to Paris, the drive was quite beautiful, and 
full of interesting expectation. Magnificent broad highway, great 
old trees and then potherb gardens on each hand, all silent too in 
the brilliant October afternoon ; hardly one vehicle or person met, 
till, on mounting the shoulder of Montmarte, an iron gate, and 
douanier with his brief question before opening, and Paris, wholly 
and at once, lay at our feet. A huge bowl ordeepish saucer of seven 
miles in diameter; not a breath of smoke or dimness anywhere; 
every roof, and dome, and spire, and chimney-top clearly visible, 
and the skylight sparkling like diamonds. I have never, since or 
before, seen so fine a view of a town. I think the fair Miss Kitty 
was sitting by me ; but the curious speckled straw hats and cos- 
tumes and physiognomies of the Faubourg St. (fashionable, I for- 
get it at this moment), are the memorablest circumstances to me. 
We alighted in the Rue de la Paix (clean and good hotel, not now 
a hotel), admired our rooms, all covered with mirrors; our grates, 
or grate backs, each with a cupidon cast on it ; and roved about 
the Boulevards in a happy humor till sunset or later. Decidedly 
later, in the still dusk, I remember sitting down in the Place Ven- 
d6me, on the steps of the Column, there to smoke a cigar. Hardly 
had I arranged myself when a bustle of military was heard round 
me ; clean, trim, handsome soldiers, blue and white, ranked them- 
selves in some quality, drummers and drums especially faultless, 
and after a shoulder arms or so, marched off in parties, drums fierce- 



34 



REMINISCENCES. 



ly and finely clangouring their rantan-plau. Setting the watch or 
■watches of this human city, as I understood it. "Ha! my tight 
little fellows in blue, you also have got drums then, none better ; 
and all the world is of kin whether it all agree or not!" was my 
childlike reflection as I silently looked on. 

Paris proved vastly entertaining to me. "Walking about the 
streets would of itself (as Gray the poet says) have amused me for 
■weeks." I met two young Irishmen who had seeu me once at Li- 
ving's, who were excellent ciceroni. They were ou their way to the 
liberation of Greece, a totally wildgoose errand as then seemed to 
mi', and as perhaps they themselves secretly guessed, but which en- 
titled them to call on everybody for au "autograph to our album," 
their main employment just now. They were clever enough young 
fellows, and soon came home again out of Greece. Considerably 
the taller and cleverer, black-haired and with a strong Irish accent, 
was called Tennent, whom I never saw again. The milky, smaller 
blondine figure, cousin to him, was Emerson, whom I met twenty- 
five years afterwards at Allan Cunningham's, as Sir Emerson Ten- 
uent, late Governor of Ceylon, aud complimented, simpleton that I 
"was ! on the now finely orown color of his hair ! We have not met 
since. There was also of their acquaintances a pleasant Mr. Mal- 
colm, ex-lieutenant of the 42nd, native of the Orkney Islands, only 
son of a clergyman there, who as a young ardeut lad had joined 
Wellington's army at the Siege of St. Sebastian, aud got badly wound- 
ed (lame for life) at the battle of Thoulouse that same season. 
Peace coming, he was invalided on half-pay, and now lived with 
his widowed mother in some clean upper floor in Edinburgh ou 
frugal kind aud pretty terms, hanging loosely by literature, for 
which he had some talent. We used to see him in Edinburgh 
■with pleasure aud favor, on setting up our own poor household 
there. He was au amiable, intelligent little fellow, of lively talk 
aud speculation, always cheerful and with a traceable vein of hu- 
mor and of pathos withal (there beiug much of sadness aud affec- 
tion hidden in him), all kept, as his natural voice was, in a fine low 
melodious tone. He wrote in annuals and the like vehicles really 
pretty verses, and was by degrees establishing something like a 
real reputation, which might have risen higher aud higher in that 
kind, but his wound still hung about him aud he soon died, a year 
or two after our (putting Edinburgh ; which was the last we saw 
of him. 

Poor little Malcolm ! he quietly loved his mother very much, his 
vanished father too, and had pieties and purities very alien to the 
wild reckless ways of practice and of theory which the army had 
led him into. Most of his army habitudes (with one private ex- 
ception, I think, nearly all) he had successfully washed off from 
him. To the reprobate "theories" he had never been but heartily 
abhorrent. "No God, I tell you, and I will prove it to you on the 
spot," said some elder blackguard Lieutenant among a group of 
them in their tent one evening (a Hanoverian, if I recollect) — "on 
the spot — none." " How then ?" exclaimed Ensign Malcolm, much 
shocked. The Hanoverian lifted his canteen, turned the bottom of 
it up. " Empty ; you see we have no more rum." Then holding 
it aloft into the air, said in a tone of request, " Fill us that ;" paused 
an iustant, turned it bottom up empty still, aud with a victorious 
glance at his companions, set it down again as a thing that spoke 
for itself. This was one of Malcolm's war experiences, of which he 
could pleasantly report a great many. These and the physical ag- 
onies and horrors witnessed and felt had given him a complete dis- 
gust for war. He could not walk far, always had a marked halt in 
walking, but was otherwise my pleasantest companion in Paris. 

Poor Louis Dix-huit had been "lying in state" as we passed 
through St. Denis ; Paris was all plastered with placards, " Le Eoi 
est mort; rive le Eoi!" announcing from Chateaubriand a pamphlet 
of that title. I made no effort to see Chateaubriand, did uot see 
his pamphlet either; in the streets, galleries, cafe's, I had enough 
and to spare. Washington living was said to be in Paris, a kind 
of lion at that time, whose books I somewhat esteemed. One day 
the Emerson Tennent people bragged that they had engaged him 
to breakfast with us at a certain cafe next morning. We all at- 
tended duly, Strachey among the rest, but no Washington came. 
"Couldn't rightly come," said Malcolm to me in a judicious aside, 
as we cheerfully breakfasted without him. I never saw Washington, 
at all, but still have a mild esteem of the good man. To the Lou- 
vre Gallery, alone or accompanied, I went often ; got rather faintish 
good of the pictures there, but at least no harm, being mute aud 
deaf on the subject. Sir Peter Laurie came to me one day ; took 
me to dinner, and plenty of hard-headed London talk. 

Another day, nobody with me and very few in the gallery at all, 
there suddenly came storming past, with dishevelled hair aud large 
■besoms in their hands, which they shoved out on any bit of paper 
or the like, a row of wild Savoyards, distractedly proclaiming " Le 
Eoi !" " le Roi !" and almost oversetting people in their fierce speed 
to clear the wny. Le Roi. Charles Dir in person, soon appeared ac- 



cordingly, with three or four attendants, very ugly people, espe- 
cially one of them (who had blear eyes and small bottle nose, never 
identifiable to my inquiries since). Charles himself was a swart, 
slightish, insipid-looking man, but with much the air of a gentle- 
man, insipidly endeavoring to smile and be popular as he walked 
past; sparse public indifferent to him, aud silent nearly all. I 
had a real sympathy with the poor gentleman, but could not bring 
up the least Vive le Roi in the circumstances. We understood he 
was going to look at a certain picture or painting now on the 
easel, in a room at the very end (entrance end) of the gallery 
which one had often euough seen, generally with profane mockery 
if with any feeling. Picture of, or belonging to, the birth or bap- 
tism of what they called the child of miracle (the assassinated 
Due de Berri's posthumous child, hoclie Henri V. in partialis). Pict- 
ure as yet distressingly ugly, mostly iu a smear of dead colors, 
brown and even green, and with a kind of horror in the subject 
of it as well. How tragical are men once more ; how merciless 
withal to one another! I had not the least real pity for Charles 
Dix's pious pilgriming to such an object ; the poor mother of it 
and her immense hopes and pains, I did not even think of then. 
This was all I ever saw of the legitimate Bourbon line, with which 
and its tragedies I was to have more concern within the next ten 
years. 

My reminiscences of Paris aud its old aspects and localities were 
of visible use to me in writing of the Berolntion by-and-by ; the 
rest could only be reckoned under the head of amusement, but had 
its vague profits withal, and still has. Old Legendre, the mathe- 
matician (whose Geometry I had translated in Edinburgh), was the 
only man of real note with whom I exchanged a few words ; a tall, 
bony, gray old man, who received mo with dignity and kindness; 
introduced me to his niece, a brisk little brown gentlewoman who 
kept house for him ; asked about my stay here, and finding I was 
just about to go, answered " Diantre .'" with au obliging air of re- 
gret. His rugged sagacious, sad aud stoical old face is still dimly 
present with me. At a meeting of the Institut I saw and well re- 
member the figure of Trismegistus Laplace ; the skirt of his long 
blue-silk dressiug-gowu (such his costume, unique in the place, his 
age and his fame being also unique) even touched me as he passed 
on the session's rising. He was tall, thin, clean, serene, his face, 
perfectly smooth, as a healthy man of fifty's, bespoke intelligence 
keen and ardeut, rather than deep or great. In the eyes was a 
dreamy smile, with something of pathos in it, and perhaps some- 
thing of contempt. The session itself was profoundly stupid ; some 
lout of a provincial reading about Vers a soie, and big Vauquelin 
the chemist (noticed by me) fallen sound asleep. Strachey and I 
went one evening to call upon M. de Chfey, Professor of Persic, w i th 
whom he, or his brother and he, had communicated while in India. 
We found him high aloft, but in a clean snug apartment, burly, 
hearty, glad enough to see us, only that Strachey would speak no 
French, and introduced himself with some shrill-sounding sentence, 
the first word of which was clearly salaam. Chezy tried lamely for 
a pass or two what Persian he could muster, but hastened to get 
out of it, aud to talk even to me, who owned to a little French, 
since Strachey would own to none. We had rather an amusing 
twenty minutes; Chezy a glowing and very emphatic man; "ee 
hideux reptile de Langles " was a phrase he had once used to Strach- 
ey's brother, of his chief French rival in the Persic field ! I heard 
C'uvier lecture one day ; a strong German kind of face, ditto intel- 
ligence as manifested in the lecture, which reminded me of one of 
old Dr. Gregory's in Edinburgh. I was at a sermon in Ste. Gene- 
vieve's ; main audience 500 or so of serving-maids; preacher a 
dizened fool in hour-glass hat, who ran to and fro iu his balcony or 
pulpit, and seemed much contented with himself; heard another 
foolish preacher, Protestant, at the Oratoire (console-toi, O France ! 
on the death of Louis Dix-huit). Looked silently into the Morgue 
one moruing (infinitely better sermon that stern old gray-haired 
corpse lying there !) ; looked into the Hotel Dieu and its poor sick- 
beds once ; was much in the Pont-Neuf region (on tond les eliiens et 
coupe les chats, et va en ville, etc., etc.) ; much in the Palais Royal 
and adjacencies ; aud the night before leaving found I ought to 
visit oue theatre, and by happy accident came upon Talma playing 
there. A heavy, shortish numb-footed man, face like a warming- 
pan for size, and with a strange most ponderous yet delicate ex- 
pression iu the big dull-glowing black eyes and it. Incomparably 
the best actor I ever saw. Play was " (Edipe " (Voltaire's very 
first) ; place the Theatre Francais. Talma died within about a 
year after. 

Of the journey home I can remember nothing but the French 
part, if any part of it were worth remembering. At Dover I must 
still have found the Irvings, and poor outskirts and insignificant 
fractions of solitary dialogues on the Kent shore (far inferior to our 
old Fife ones) have not yet entirely vanished ; e. g. strolling to- 
gether on the beach one evening, we had repeatedly passed at 



EDWARD IRVING. 



35 



some distance certain building operations, upon which by-and-by 
the bricklayers seemed to be getting into much vivacity, crowding 
round the last gable top ; in fact just about finishing their house 
then. Irving grasped my arm, said in a low tone of serious emo- 
tion, "See, they are going to bring out their topstone with shunt- 
ing !" I inquired of a poor mau what it was ; " You see, sir, they 
gets allowance," answered he; that was all- — a silent degluti- 
tion of some beer. Irving sank from his Scriptural altitudes ; I 
no doubt profanely laughing rather. There are other lingering 
films of this sort, but I can give them no date of before or after, 
and find nothing quite distinct till that of our posting up to Lon- 
don. I should say of the Stracheys posting, who took me as guest, 
the Irvings being now clearly gone. Canterbury aud the (site of 
the) shrine of St. Thomas I did see, but it must have been before. 
We had a pleasant drive throughout, weather still sunny though 
cool, and about nine or ten p.m. of the second day I was set down 
at a little tavern on Shooter's Hill, where some London mail or dil- 
igence soon picked me up, and speedily lauded me within reach 
of hospitablo Pentonville, which gave me a welcome like itself. 
There I must have stayed a few days, and not above a few. 

I was now again in London (probably about the middle of 
November); hither after much sad musing and moping I had de- 
cided on returning for another while. My "Schiller" (of which I 
felt then the intrinsic wretchedness or utter leanness and common- 
place) was to be stitched together from the " London Magazine," 
and put forth with some trimmings and additions as a book ; 
£100 for it on publication in that shape (zero till then), that 
was the bargain made, and I had come to fulfil that, almost 
more uncertain than ever about all beyond. I soon got lodg- 
ings in Southampton Street, Islington, in Irving's vicinity, and 
did henceforth with my best diligence endeavor to fulfil that, 
at a far slower rate than I had expected. I frequently called on 
Irving (he never or not often on me, which I did not take amiss), 
and frequently saw him otherwise, but have already written down 
miscellaneously most of the remembrances that belong to this spe- 
cific date of months. On the whole, I think now he felt a good 
deal unhappy, probably getting deeper and deeper sunk in mani- 
fold cares of his own, and that our communications had not the old 
copiousness and flowing freedom ; nay, that even since I left for 
Birmingham there was perhaps a diminution. London "pulpit 
popularity," the smoke of that foul witches' cauldron: there was 
never anything else to blame. I stuck rigorously to my work, to 
my Badams regimen, though it did but little for me, but I was sick 
of body and of mind, in endless dubiety, very desolate and miser- 
able, and the case itself, since nobody could help, admonished me 
to silence. One day on the road down to Battle Bridge I remem- 
ber recognizing Irving's broad hat, atop amid the tide of passen- 
gers, aud his little child sitting on his arm, wife probably near by. 
" Why should I hurry up ? They are parted from me, the old days 
are no more," was my sad reflection in my sad humor. 

Another morning, what was wholesomer and better, happening to 
notice, as I stood looking out on the bit of greeu under my bedroom 
window, a trim and rather pretty hen actively paddling abont aud 
picking up what food might be discoverable. " See," I said to my- 
self; " look, thou fool! Here is a two-legged creature with scarce- 
ly half a thimbleful of poor brains ; thou call'st thyself a man with 
nobody kuows how much brain, aud reason dwelling in it; and be- 
hold how the one life is regulated and how the other! In God's 
name concentrate, collect whatever of reason thou hast, and direct 
it on the one thing' needful." Irving, when we did get into inti- 
mate dialogue, was affectionate to me as ever, aud had always to 
the end a great deal of sense aud insight into things about him, 
but he could not much help me; how could anybody but myself? 
By degrees I was doing so, taking counsel of that symbolic Hen ! 
and settling a good few things. First, aud most of all, that I 
would, renouncing ambitions, " fine openings," and the advice of 
all bystanders aud friends, who didn't know ; go home to Aunandale, 
were this work done; provide myself a place where I could ride, fol- 
low regimen, and be free of noises (which were unendurable) till if 
possible I could recover a little health. Much followed out of that, 
all manner of adjustments gathering ronud it. As head of these 
latter I had offered to let my dearest be free of me, and of any virt- 
ual engagement she might think there was; but she would not 
hear of it, uot of that, the noble soul ! but stood resolved to share 
my dark lot along with me, be it what it might. Alas ! her love 
was never completely known to me, and how celestial it was, till I 
hail lost her. " Oh, for five minutes more of her !" I have often said, 
since April last, to tell her with what perfect love aud admiration, 
as of the beautifullest of known human souls, I did intrinsically 
always regard her! But all minutes of the time are inexorably 
past ; be wise, all ye living, aud remember that time passes and does 
not return. 

Apart from regular work upon " Schiller," I had a good deal of 



talking with people and social moving about which was not dis- 
agreeable. With Allan Cunningham I had made ready acquaint- 
ance ; a cheerful social man ; " solid Dumfries mason with a sur- 
face polisii given him," was one good judge's, definition years after- 
wards ! He got at once into Nithsdale when you talked with him, 
which, though he was clever and satirical, I didn't very much en- 
joy. Allan had sense and shrewdness on all points, especially the 
practical; but out of Nithsdale, except for his perennial good-hu- 
mor aud quiet cautions (which might have been exemplary to me) 
was not instructive. I was at the christening of one of Allau's 
children over in Irving's, where there was a cheery evening, and 
the Cunninghams to sleep there ; one other of the guests, a pleas- 
aut enough Yorkshire youth, going with me to a spare room I could 
commaud. My commonest walk was fieldward, or down into the 
city (by many different old lanes and routes), more rarely by Port- 
land Place (Fitzroy Square and Mrs. Strachey's probably first), to 
Piccadilly and the West End. One muddy evening there came to 
me, what enlightened all the mirk and mud, by the Herren Grafen 
von Bentincks' servant, a short letter from Goethe in Weimar ! It 
was in answer to the copy of " Wilhelm Meister" which (doubtless 
with some reverent bit of note) I had despatched to him six mouths 
ago, without answer till now. He was kind though distant brief, 
apologized, by his great age (hohen Jakren), for the delay, till at 
leugth the Herren Grafen von Bentincks' passage homewards had 
operated on him as a hint to do the needful, and likewise to pro- 
cure for both parties, Herren Grafen and self, an agreeable acquaint- 
ance, of which latter naturally neither I nor the Herren Grafen ever 
heard more. Some twenty years afterwards a certain Lord George 
Bentinck, whom newspapers caUed the "stable minded" from his 
previous turf propensities, suddenly quitting all these and taking 
to statistics and Tory politics, became famous or noisy for a good 
few months, chiefly by intricate statistics aud dull vehemence, so 
far as I could see, a stupid enough phenomenon for me, till he sud- 
denly died, poor gentleman ! I then remembered that this was 
probably one of the Herren Grafen von Bentinck whose acquaint- 
ance I had missed as above. 

One day Irving took me with him on a curious little erraud he 
had. It was a bright summer morning ; must therefore have pre- 
ceded the Birmingham and Dover period. His errand was this. 
A certain loquacious extensive Glasgow publisher* was in London 
for several weeks on business, and often came to Irving, wasting 
(as I used to think) a good deal of his time in zealous discourse 
about many vague things ; in particular about the villauy of com- 
mon publishers, how, for example, on their ".*.«./ profits system," 
thej' would show the poor authors a printer's account pretending to 
be paid iu full, printer's signature visibly appended, printer having 
really touched a sum less by 25 per ceut., aud sic de cmteris. All an 
arranged juggle to cheat the poor author, and sadly convince him 
that his moiety was nearly or altogether zero divided by two! 
Irving could uot believe it ; denied stoutly on behalf of his own 
printer, one Beusley, a noted man in his craft, and getting nothing 
but negatory smiles and kindly but inexorable contradiction, said 
he. would go next morning and see. We walked along somewhere 
Holbornwards, found Beusley and wife in a bright, quiet, comfort- 
able room, just finishing breakfast ; a fattish, solid, rational, and 
really amiable-looking pair of people, especially the wife, who had 
a plump, cheerfully experienced matronly air. By both of whom 
we, i.e. Irving (for I had nothing to do but be silent), were warmly 
and honorably welcomed, and constrained at least to sit, since we 
would do nothing better. Irving with grave courtesy laid the case 
before Bensley, perhaps showed him his old signature and account, 
and asked if that was or was not really the sum he had received. 
Bensley, with body aud face writhed uneasily ; evidently loath to 
lie, but evidently obliged by the laws of trade to do it. " Yes, on 
the whole, that was the sum !" upon which we directly went our 
ways ; both of us convinced, I believe, though ouly one of vis said 
so. Irving had a high opinion of men, aud was always mortified 
when he found it in any instance no longer tenable. 

Irving was sorrowfully occupied at this period, as I now per- 
ceive, iu scanning and surveying the wrong side of that immense 
popularity, the outer or right side of which had been so splendid 
and had given rise to such sacred and glorious hopes. The crowd 
of people flocking round him continued in abated but still super- 
abundant quantity and vivacity; but it was not of the old high 
quality any more. The thought that the Christian religion was 
again to dominate all minds, aud the world to become an Eden by 
his thrice-blessed means, was fatally declaring itself to have been 
a dream; and he would not consent to believe it such: never he! 
That was the secret of his inward quasi-desperate resolutions ; out 
iuto the wild struggles and clntchings towards the unattainable, 



* Dr. Chalmers's especially ; had been a school - master ; Collin perhaps his 
name. 



36 



REMINISCENCES. 



the unregainable, which were more and more conspicuous in the 
sequel. He was now, I gradually found, listening to certain inter- 
preters of prophecy, thinking .to cast his own great faculty into 
that hopeless quagmire along with them. These and the like res- 
olutions, and the dark humor which was the mother of them, had 
been on the growing hand during all this first London visit of 
mine, and were fast coming to outward development by the time I 
left for Scotland again. 

About the beginning of March, 1825, 1 had at length, after fierce 
struggling and various disappointments from the delay of others, 
got my poor business wiuded up; "Schiller" published, paid for, 
left to the natural neglect of mankind (which was perfect so far 
as I ever heard or much cared), and in humble but condensed res- 
olute and quiet humor was making my bits of packages, bidding 
my poor adieus, just in act to go. Everybody thought me head- 
strong and foolish ; Irving less so than others, though he too 
could have no understanding of my dyspeptic miseries, my intoler- 
able sufferings from noises, etc., etc. He was always kind, and 
spoke hope if personal topics turned up. Perhaps it was the very 
day before my departure, at least it is the last I recollect of him, we 
were walking in the streets multifariously discoursing: a dim gray 
day, but dry aud airy. At the corner of Cockspur Street we paused 
for a moment, meeting Sir John Sinclair (" Statistical Account of 
Scotland," etc.), whom I had never seen before and never saw 
again. A lean old man, tall but stooping, in tartan cloak, face very 
wrinkly, nose blue, physiognomy vague and with distinction as one 
might have expected it to be. He spoke to Irving with benignant 
respect, whether to me at all I don't recollect. A little farther on 
in Parliament Street, somewhere near the Admiralty (that now is, 
and perhaps then was), we ascended certain stairs, narrow newish 
wooden staircase the last of them, and came into a bare, clean, com- 
fortless, official little room (fire gone out), where an elderly official 
little gentleman was seated within rails, busy in the red-tape line. 
This was the Honorable Something or other, great in Scripture 
prophecy ; in which he had started some sublime new idea, well 
worth prosecuting as Irving had assured me. Their mutual greet- 
ings were cordial and respectful ; and a lively dialogue ensued on 
prophetic matters, especially on the sublime new idea ; I, strictly 
unparticipant, sittiug silently apart till it was done. The Honor- 
able Something had a look of perfect politeness, perfect silliness ; 
his face, heavily wrinkled, went smiling and shuttling about at a 
wonderful rate ; and in the smile there seemed to me to be lodged 
a frozen sorrow as if bordering on craze. On coming out I asked 
Irving, perhaps too markedly, " Do you really think that gentleman 
can throw any light to you on anything whatever?" To which 
he answered good-naturedly, but in a grave tone, " Yes, I do." Of 
which the fruits were seen before long. This is the last thing I 
can recollect of Irving in my London visit ; except perhaps some 
gray shadow of him giving me "Farewell" with express "blessing." 

I paused some days at Birmingham ; got rich gifts sent after me 
by Mrs. Strachey ; beautiful desk, gold pencil, etc., which were 
soon Another's, ah me ! and are still here. I saw Manchester too, 
for the first time (strange bagman ways in the Palace Inn there); 
walked to Oldham ; savage-lookiug scene of Sunday morning ; old 
school-fellow of mine, very stupid but very kind, being Curate 
there. Shot off too over the Yorkshire moors to Marsden, where 
another boy and college friend of mine was (George Johnson, since 
surgeon in Gloucester) ; and spent three dingy but impressive days 
in poking into those mute wildernesses and their rough habitudes 
and populations. At four o'clock, in my Palace Inn (Boots having 
forgotten me), awoke by good luck of myself, and saved my place 
on the coach roof. Remember the Blackburns, Boltons, and their 
smoke clouds, to right and left grimly black, and the gray March 
winds; Lancashire was not all smoky then, but only smoky in 
parts. Remember the Bush Inn at Carlisle, and quiet luxurious 
shelter it yielded for the night, much different from now. (" Betty, 
a pan o' cooals!" shouted the waiter, an Eskdale man by dialect, 
and in five minutes the trim Betty had done her feat, and your 
clean sleek bed was comfortably warm.) At Ecclefechan, next 
day, within two miles or so of my father's, while the coach was 
changing horses, I noticed through the window my little sister 
Jean earnestly looking up for me; she, with Jenny, the youngest 
of us all, was at school in the village, and had come out daily of 
late to inspect the coach in hope of me, always in vain till this day ; 
her bonny little blush aud radiancy of look when I let down the 
window and suddenly disclosed myself are still present to me. In 
four days' time I now (December 2, 1866), hope to see this brave 
Jean again (now " Mrs. Aitken," from Dumfries, and a hardy, hearty 
wife and mother). Jenny, poor little thing, has had her crosses 
and difficulties, but has managed them well ; aud now lives, con- 
tented enough and industrious as ever, with husband and three or 
two daughters, in Hamilton, Canada West, not far from which are 
my brother Alick too, and others dear to me. " Double, double, 



toil and trouble" — such, with result or without it, are our wander- 
ings in this world." 

My poor little establishment at Hoddam Hill* (close by the 
" Tower of Repentance," as if symbolically !) I do not mean to speak 
of here; a neat compact little farm, rent £100, which my father 
had leased for me, on which was a prettyish-looking cottage for 
dwelling-house (had been the factor's place, who was retiring), and 
from the windows such a " view " (fifty miles in radius, from beyond 
Tyndale to beyond St. Bees, Solway Frith, and all the fells to Ingle- 
borough inclusive), as Britain or the world could hardly have 
matched ! Here the ploughing, etc., etc., was already in progress 
(which I often rode across to see), and here at term day (May 26th, 
1825) I established myself, set up my books and bits of implements 
aud Lares, and took to doing "German Romance" as my daily 
work, "ten pages daily" my stint, which, barring some rare acci- 
dents, I faithfully accomplished. Brother Alick was my practical 
fanner; ever-kind aud beloved mother, with one of the little girls, 
was generally there ; brother John, too, oftenest, who had just tak- 
en his degree. These, with a little mau and ditto maid, were our 
establishment. It lasted only one year, owing, I believe, to indis- 
tinctness of bargain first of all, aud then to arbitrary high-handed 
temper of our landlord (used to a rather prostrate style of obedi- 
ence, and not finding it here, but a polite appeal to fair-play in- 
stead). One whole summer and autumn were defaced by a great 
deal of paltry bother ou that head, superadded to the others ; and 
at last, lease of Mainhill, too, being nearly out, it was decided to 
quit said landlord's territories altogether, aud so end his contro- 
versies with us. 

Next 26th of May we went all of us to Scotsbrig (a much better 
farm, which was now bidden for and got), and where, as turned out, 
I continued only a few months, wedded, and to Edinburgh in Octo- 
ber following. Ah me ! what a retrospect now ! 

With all its manifold petty troubles, this year at Hoddam HiU 
has a rustic beauty and dignity to me, and lies now like a not igno- 
ble russet-coated idyll iu my memory ; one of the quietest, on the 
whole, and perhaps the most triuuiphautly important of my life. 
I lived very silent, diligent, had long solitary rides (on my wild Ir- 
ish horse " Larry," good for the dietetic part), my meditatings, mus- 
ings, and reflections were continual ; my thoughts went wandering 
(or travelling) through eternity, through time, aud through space, 
so far as poor I had scanned or known, and were now to my end- 
less solacement coming back with tidings to me ! This year I found 
that I had conquered all my scepticisms, agonizing doubtings, fear- 
ful wrestlings with the foul aud vile and soul-murdering Mud-gods 
of my epoch ; had escaped as from a worse than Tartarus, with all 
its Phlegethons and Stygian quagmires, and was emerging free in 
spirit into the eternal blue of ether, where, blessed be heaven ! I 
have for the spiritual part ever since lived, looking down upon the 
welterings of my poor fellow -creatures, in such multitudes and 
millions still stuck iu that fatal element, and have had no concern 
whatever iu their Puseyisms, ritualisms, metaphysical controver- 
sies and cobwebberies, and no feeling of my own except honest si- 
lent pity for the serious or religious part of them, aud occasional 
indiguation, for the poor world's sake, at the frivolous secular and 
impious part, with their universal suffrages, their Nigger emanci- 
pations, sluggard and scoundrel Protection societies, and " unex- 
ampled prosperities" for the time being ! What my pious joy and 
gratitude then was, let the pious soul figure. Iu a fine and verita- 
ble sense, I, poor, obscure, without outlook, almost without worldly 
hope, had become independent of the world. What was death it- 
self, from the world, to what I had come through? I understood 
well what the old Christian people meant by " conversion," by God's 
infinite mercy to them. I had, in effect, gained an immense vic- 
tory, and for a number of years had, iu spite of nerves aud chagrius, 
a constant inward happiness that, was quite royal and supreme, in 
which all temporal evil was transient and insignificant, and which 
essentially remains with me still, though far oftener eclipsed and ly- 
ing deeper doicn than theu. Once more, thank Heaven for its high- 
est gift. I then felt, and still feel, endlessly indebted to Goethe in 
the business. He, in his fashion, I perceived, had travelled the 
steep rocky road before me, the first of the moderns. Bodily 
health itself seemed improving. Bodily health was all I had 
really lost iu this grand spiritual battle now gained ; and that, 
too, I may have hoped would gradually return altogether, which 
it never did, and was far enough from doing ! Meanwhile my 
thoughts were very peaceable, full of pity and humanity as they 
had never been before. Nowhere can I recollect of myself such 
pious musings, communings silent and spontaneous with Fact aud 
Nature, as in these poor Annandale localities. The sound of the 
kirk-bell once or twice on Sunday mornings, from Hoddam kirk, 

* A house with email farm attached, three miles from Mainhill, and visible from 
the fields at the back of it. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



37 



about a mile off on the plain below me, was strangely touching, like 
the departing voice of eighteen hundred years. Frank Dickson 
at rare iutervals called in passing. Nay, once for about ten days 
my dearest and beautifullest herself came across out of Nithsdale 
to "pay my mother a visit," when she gained all hearts, and we 
mounted our swift little horses and careered about ! No wonder I 
call that year idyllic, in spite of its russet coat. My darliug and I 
were at the Grauge (Mrs. Johustou's), at Annan (Mrs. Dickson's), 
and we rode together to Dumfries, where her aunts and grand- 
mother were, whom she was to pause with on this her road home 
to Templand.* How beautiful, how sad and strange all that now 
looks ! Her beautiful little heart was evideutly much cast down, 
right sorry to part, though we hoped it was but for some short 
while. I remember the heights of Mousewold, with Dumfries and 
the granite mountains lying in panorama seven or eight miles off 
to our left, and what she artlessly yet finely said to me there. Oh, 
my darling, not Andromache dressed in all the art of a Racine looks 
more high and queenly to me, or is more of a tragic poem thau thou 
and thy noble pilgrimage beside me in this poor thorny, muddy 
world ! 

I had next to no direct correspondence with Irving ; a little 
note or so on business, nothing more. Nor was Mrs. Montague 
much more instructive on that head, who wrote me high-souud- 
ing amiable things which I could not but respoud to more or less, 
though dimly aware of their quality. Nor did the sincere and ar- 
dent Mrs. Strachey, who wrote seldomer, almost ever touch upon 
Irving ; but by some occasional unmelodious clang in all the news- 
papers (twice over I think in this year), we could sufficiently and 
with little satisfaction construe his way of life. Twice over he 
had leaped the barrier, and given rise to criticism of the customary 
idle sort, loudish universally, and nowhere accurately just. Case 
first was of preaching to the London Missionary Society ("Mis- 
sionary" I will call it, though it might be "Bible" or another). 
On their grand anniversary these people had appointed to him the 
honor of addressing them, and were numerously assembled expect- 
ing some flourishes of eloquence and flatteries to their illustrious 
divinely-blessed Society, ingeniously done and especially with fit 
brevity, dinner itself waiting, I suppose, close in the rear. Irving 
emerged iuto his speaking place at the due moment, but instead 
of treating men and office-bearers to a short comfortable dose of 
honey and butter, opened into strict sharp inquiries, Rhadainan- 
thine expositions of duty and ideal, issuing perhaps in actual criti- 
cism and admonition, gall and vinegar instead of honey ; at any 
rate keeping the poor people locked up there for " above two hours" 
instead of ouo hour or less, with dinner hot at the end of it. This 
was much criticised ; " plainly wrong, and produced by love of 
singularity and too much pride iu oneself," voted everybody. For, 
in fact, a man suddenly holding up the naked inexorable Ideal in 
face of the clothed, and in England generally plump, comfortable, 
and pot-bellied Reality, is doing an unexpected and a questionable 
thing ! 

The next escapade was still worse. At some public meeting, of 
probably the same "Missionary Society," Irving again held up his 
ideal, I think not without murmurs from former sufferers by it, and 
ended by solemnly putting dowu, not his name to the subscription 
list, but an actual gold watch, which he said had just arrived to 
him from his beloved brother lately dead in India.! That of the 
gold watch tabled had in reality a touch of rash ostentation, and 
was bitterly crowed over by the able editors for a time. On the 
whole, one could gather too clearly that Irving's course was beset 
with pitfalls, barking dogs, and dangers and difficulties unwarned 
of, and that for oue who took so little counsel with prudence he 
perhaps earned his head too high. I had a certain harsh kind of 
sorrow about poor Irviug, and my loss of him (and his loss of me 
on such poor terms as these seemed to be !), but I carelessly trusted 
in his strength against whatever mistakes and impediments, and 
felt that for the present it was better to be absolved from corre- 
sponding with him. 

That same year, late in autumn, he was at Annan, only for a 
night and day, returning from some farther journey, perhaps to 
Glasgow or Edinburgh ; and had to go on again for London next 
day. I rode down from Hoddam Hill before nightfall ; found him 
sitting in the snug little parlor beside his father and mother, beau- 
tifully domestic. I think it was the last time I ever saw those 
good old people. We sate only a few minutes, my thoughts sadly 
contrasting the beautiful affectionate safety here, and the wild 
tempestuous hostilities and perils yonder. He left his blessing to 



* House in Nithsdale where Miss Urleh's grandfather lived. 

t This brother was John, the eldest of the three, an Indian army surgeon, whom 
I remember once meeting on a " common stair " in Edinburgh, on return, I sup- 
pose, from some call on a comrade higher up; a taller man than even Edward, and 
with a blooming, placid, not very intelligent face, and no squint, whom I easily 
recognized by family likeness, bnt never saw again or before. 



each, by name, in a low soft voice. There was something almost 
tragical to me as he turned round (hitting his hat on the little 
door lintel), and the next moment was on the dark street, followed 
only by me. We stept over to Robert Dickson's, his brother-in- 
law's, and sat there, still talking, for perhaps an hour. Probably 
his plau of journey was to catch the Glasgow-London mail at Gret- 
na, and to walk thither, the night being dry, and time at discretion. 

Walk I remember he did, and talk in the interim (three or at 
most four of us now), not in the least downhearted. Told us, prob- 
ably in answer to some question of mine, that the projected "Lon- 
don University" (now of Gower Street) seemed to be progressing 
towards fulfilment, and how at some meeting Poet Campbell, argu- 
ing loudly for a purely secular system, had, on sight of Irving enter- 
ing, at once stopt short, and in the politest way he could, sate down, 
without another word on the subject. " It will be unreligious, se- 
cretly anti-religious all the same," said Irving to us. Whether he 
reported of the projected AthenaBum Club (dear to Basil Montague, 
among others), I don't recollect ; probably not, as he or I had little 
interest in that. When the time had come for setting out, and we 
were all on foot, he called for his three little nieces, having their 
mother by him ; had them each successively set standiug on a 
chair, laid his hand on the head first of one, with a " Mary Dickson, 
the Lord bless you !" then of the next by name, and of the next, 
" The Lord bless you !" in a sad and solemn tone (with something 
of elaborate noticeable in it, too), which was painful and dreary to 
me. A dreary visit altogether, though an unabatedly affectionate 
on both sides. Iu what a contrast, thought I, to the old sunshiny 
visits, when Glasgow was head-quarters, and everybody was ob- 
scure, frank to his feelings, and safe ! Mrs. Dickson, I think, had 
tears iu her eyes. Her, too, he doubtless blessed, but without hand 
on head. Dickson and the rest of us escorted him a little way ; 
would then take leave in the common form ; but even that latter 
circumstance I do not perfectly recall, only the fact of our escort- 
ing, and before the visit and after it all is now fallen dark. 

Irviug did not re-emerge for many months, and found me then in 
very greatly changed circumstances. His next visit was to us at 
Comley Bank,* Edinburgh, not to me any longer ! It was probably 
iu spring, 1827, a visit of only half- an -hour, more resembling a 
" call" from neighbor on neighbor. I think it was connected with 
Scripture prophecy work, in which he was now deep. At any rate, 
he was now preaching and communing on something or other to 
numbers of people in Edinburgh, and we had heard of him for per- 
haps a week before as shiningly busy in that way, when in some 
interval he made this little run over to Comley Bank and us. He 
was very frieudly, but had a look of trouble, of haste, and confused 
coutroversy and anxiety, sadly unlike his old good self. In dialect, 
too, and manner, things had not bettered themselves, but the con- 
trary. He talked with an undeniable self-consciousness, and some- 
thing which you could not but admit to be religious mannerism. 
Never quite recovered out of that, in spite of our, especially of her, 
efforts while he stayed. At parting he proposed " to pray " with 
us, and did, in standing posture, ignoring or conscientiously defying 
our pretty evident reluctance. " Farewell !" he said soon after ; " I 
must go then aud suffer persecution as my fathers have done." Much 
painful contradiction he evidently had from the world about him, 
but also much zealous favor ; aud was going that same evening to 
a public dinner given in honor of him, as we and everybody knew. 

This was, I think, the nadir of my poor Lving, veiled and hooded 
iu these miserable manifold crapes aud formulas, so that his brave 
old self never once looked fairly through, which had not been nor 
was again quite the case in any other visit or interview. It made 
one drearily sad. " Dreary," that was the word ; and we had to 
consider ourselves as not a little divorced from him, and bidden 
" shift for yourselves." 

We saw him once again in Scotland, at Craigenputtoch,t and had 
him for a night, or I almost think for two, on greatly improved 
terms. He was again on some kind of church business, but it 
seemed to be of cheerfuller and wider scope than that of Scriptural 
prophecy last time. Glasgow was now his goal, with frequent 
preaching as ho went along, the regular clergy actively counte- 
nancing. I remember dining with him at our parish minister's, 
good Mr. Brydeu's, with certain Reverends of the neighborhood 
(the Dow of "Iron gray " one of them, who afterwards went crazy 
ou the " Gift of Tongues " affair). I think it must have been from 
Bryden's that I brought him up to Craigenputtoch, where he was 
quite alone with us, and franker and happier thau I had seen him 
for a long time. It was beautiful summer weather, pleasant to 
saunter iu with old friends iu the safe green solitudes, uo sound au- 
dible but that of our own voices, and of the birds and woods. He 

* Where Carlyle and his wife lived for the first eighteen months after their mar- 
riage. 
t A lonely house on the moor, at the head of Nithsdale, ten miles from Dumfries. 



38 



REMINISCENCES. 



talked to me of Henry Drummond as of a fine, a great, evangelical 
yet courtly ami indeed universal gentleman, whom prophetic stud- 
ies had brought to him, whom I was to know on my next coming to 
London, more joy to me ! We had been discoursing of religion with 
mildly worded but entire frankness on my part as usual, and some- 
thing I said had struck Irving as unexpectedly orthodox, who there- 
upon ejaculated, "Well, I am right glad to hear that, and will not 
forget it when it may do you good with one whom I know of;" 
with Henry Drnmmoud namely, which had led him into that topic, 
perhaps not quite for the first time. There had been big " prophet- 
ic couferences,"etc, held at Drummond's house (Albury, Surrey), who 
continued ever after an ardent Irvingite, and rose by degrees in the 
" Tongues" business to be hierophaut, and chief over Irving himself. 
He was far the richest of the sect, and alone belonged to the aristo- 
cratic circles, abundant in speculation as well as in money; a sharp, 
elastic, haughty kind of man ; had considerable ardor, disorderly 
force of intellect and character, and especially an insatiable love 
of shining aud figuring. In a different element I had afterwards 
plentiful knowledge of Henry Drummond, and if I got no good of 
him got also no mischief, which might have been extremely pos- 
sible. 

We strolled pleasantly, iu loose group, Irving the centre of it, 
over the fields. I remember an excellent little portraiture of Meth- 
odism from him on a green knoll where we had loosely sat down. 
"Not a good religion, sir," said he, confidentially shaking his head 
in answer to my question ; " far too little of spiritual conscience, 
far too much of temporal appetite ; goes hunting ajid watching 
after its own emotions, that is, mainly its own nervous system ; an 
essentially sensuous religion, depending on the body, not on the 
soul !" "Fit only for a gross and vulgar-minded people," I perhaps 
added; "a religion so called, aud the essence of it principally cow- 
ardice aud hunger, terror of pain and appetite for pleasure both car- 
ried to the infinite ;" to which he would sorrowfully assent iu a 
considerable degree. My brother John, lately come home from 
Germany, said to me next day, " That was a pretty little SchiUleritng 
( portraiture) he threw off for us, that of the Methodists, wasn't it V 

At Duuscore, in the eveuiug, there was sermon aud abundant 
rustic concourse, not in the kirk but round it iu the kirkyard for 
convenience of room. I attended with most of our people (one of 
us not — busy she at home "field marshalling," the noble little 
soul!). 'I remember nothing of sermon or subject, except that it 
went flowiugly along like true discourse, direct from the iuner res- 
ervoirs, and that everybody seemed to listen with respectful satis- 
faction. We rode pleasantly home iu the dusk, aud soon after- 
wards would retire, Irviug having to " catch the Glasgow coach " 
early next day. Next day, correct to time, he and I were on horse- 
back soon after breakfast, aud rode leisurely aloug towards Auld- 
girth Bridge, some ten miles from us, where the coach was to pass, 
living's talk, or what of it I remember, turned chiefly, aud in a 
cheerful tone, upon touring to the Continent, a beautiful six weeks 
of rest which he was to have in that form (and I to be taken with 
him as dragoman, were it nothiug more !), which I did not at the 
time believe iu, and which was far enough from ever coming. On 
nearing the goal he became a little anxious about his coach, but we 
were there iu perfect time, "still fifteen minutes to spare," and 
stept into the inn to wait over a real, or (ou my part) theoretic 
glass of ale. Irviug was still but midway iu his glass when the 
coach, sooner than expected, was announced. "Does not change 
here, changes at Tuornhill!" so that there was not a moment to be 
lost. Irving sprang hastily to the coach roof (no other seat left), 
and was at once bowled away, waving me his kind farewell, aud 
vanishiug among the woods. This was probably the last time I 
ever had Irving as my guest ; nay, as guest for nights or eveu a 
night it was probably the first time. In Scotland I never saw him 
again. Our next meeting was iu London, autumn of the year 1831. 

By that time there had been changes both with him and me. 
With him a sad enough change, namely, dejwsition from the Scottish 
Established Kirk, which he felt to be a sore blow, though to me it 
seemed but the whiff of a telum imbelle for such a man. What the 
particulars of his heresy were I never knew, or have totally forgot- 
ten. Some doctrine he held about the human nature of the Divine 
Man; that Christ's human nature was liable to siu like our own, 
and continually tempted thereto, which by His divine nobleness He 
kept continually perfect and pure from siu. This doctrine, which 
as au impartial bystander, I, from Irving's point of view and from 
my own, entirely assented to, Irving had by voice and pen been 
publishing, aud I remember heariug vaguely of its being much 
canvassed up and down, alvays with impatience and a boundless 
contempt, when I did hear of it. " The gig of respectability again !" 
I would say or think to myself. "They consider it more honorable 
to their Supreme of the world to have had his work done for him 
thau to have done it himself. Flunkeys irredeemable, carrying their 
plush into highest heaven !" This I do remember, but whether this 



was the damning heresy, this or some other, I do not now know. 
Indeed, my own grief on the matter, aud it had become a chronic 
dull and perennial grief, was that such a soul had auythiug to do 
with "heresies" and mean puddles of that helpless sort, and was 
not rather working in his proper sphere, infinite spaces above all 
that ! Deposed he certainly was, the fact is still recorded iu my 
memory, and by a kind of accident I have the approximate date of 
it too, Allan Cunningham having had a public dinner given him in 
Dumfries, at which I with great effort attended, aud Allan's first 
talk to me ou meeting having been about Irving's late troubles, 
aud about my own soon coming to Loudon with a MS. book in my 
pocket, with "Sartor Resartus" namely! The whole of which cir- 
cumstances have naturally imprinted themselves on me, while so 
much else has faded out. 

The first genesis of " Sartor" I remember well enough, and the 
very spot (at Templaud) where the notion of astonishment at 
clothes first struck me. The book had taken me in all some nine 
months, which are not present now, except confusedly and iu mass, 
but that of beiug wearied with the fluctuations of review work, and 
of having decided ou Loudon again, with " Sartor" as a book to be 
offered there, is still vivid to me; vivid above all that diuuer to 
Allan, whither I had gone not against my deliberate will, yet with 
a very great repugnance, knowing aud hating the multiplex both- 
er of it, aud that I should have some kind of speech to make. 
" Speech " done, however (ialiter qnaliter, some short rough words 
upon Burns, which did well enough), the thing became not unpleas- 
ant, and I still well remember it all. Especially how at length, 
probably near midnight, I rose to go, decisively resisting all invita- 
tions to " sleep at Dumfries ;" must aud would drive home (know- 
ing well who was waiting for me there!) and drove accordingly, 
with only one circumstance now worth mention. 

Dumfries streets, all silent, empty, were lying clear as day in 
the purest moonlight, a very beautiful and shiuy midnight, when 
I stept down with some one or two for escort of honor, got into my 
poor old gig — brother Alick's gift or procurement to me — and with 
brief farewell rattled briskly away. I had sixteeu good miles 
ahead, fourteen of them parish road, narrower thau highway, but 
otherwise not to be complained of, and the night and the sleeping 
world seemed all my own for the little enterprise. A small black 
mare, nimble, loyal, wise,* this was all my team. Soon after leav- 
ing the highway, or perhaps it was almost before, for I was well 
wrapt up, warm enough, contented to be out of my affair, wearied 
too with so much noise and sippiug of wiue, I too, like the world, 
had fallen sound asleep, must have sat iu deep, perfect sleep (prob- 
ably with the reins hung over the whip aud its case), for about 
teu miles! There were ascents, descents, steep enough, Jaugerous 
fenceless parts, narrow bridges with little parapet (especially one 
called "rowtiug," i.e. bellowiug or roaring, "Brig," spanning a 
grand, loud cataract in quite an intricate way, for there was 
abrupt turn just at the end of it with rapid descent, aud wrong 
road to be avoided) ; " Rowtiug Brig," " Milltown Brig" (also with 
intricacy of wroug roads), not very long after which latter, iu the 
bottom of Gleneslaud, roads a little rumbly there owiug to recent 
inundation, I awoke, safe as if Jehu had beeu driving me, and 
within four miles of home; considerably astonished, but nothing 
like so grateful as I now am, on looking back on the affair, and 
my little mare's performance iu it. Ah me ! in this creation rough 
and honest, though not made for our sake only, how many things, 
lifeless aud living, living persons some of them, and their life beau- 
tiful as azure and heaven, beneficeutly help us forward while we 
journey together,aud have not yet bidden sorrowful farewell! My 
little darling sate waiting for me in the depths of the desert, aud, 
better or worse, the Dumfries dinner was over. This must have 
been in July, 1831. 

Thirteen mouths before there had fallen ou me, and on us all, a 
very great, most tender, painful, and solemn grief, the death of my 
eldest sister Margaret, who, after some struggles, had quitted us in 
the flower of her youth, age about twenty-five. She was the charm 
of her old father's life, deeply respected as well as loved by her 
mother aud all of us, by none more than me; and was, in fact, iu 
the simple, modest, comely, and rustic form as intelligent, quietly 
valiant, quietly wise and heroic a young woman as I have almost 
ever seen. Very dear and estimable to my Jeannie, too, who had 
zealously striven to help her, and now mourned for her along with 
me. " The shortest night of 1830," that w T as her last iu this world. 
The year before for many months she had suffered nameless mis- 
eries with a stoicism all her own. Doctors, unable to help, saw 
her with astonishment rally and apparently recover, " by her own 
force of character," said one of them. Never shall I forget that 
bright summer evening (late summer 1829), when contemplatively 

* Whom I well remember. "As useful a beast," said my dear mother once, in 
fine expressive Scotch, as we drove together, "as ever one little skin covered." 



EDWARD IRVING. 



39 



lounging with my pipe outside the window, I heard unexpectedly 
the sound of horses' feet, and up our little "avenue," pacing under 
the trees overhung by the yellow sunlight, appeared my brother 
John and she unexpectedly from Scotsbrig, bright to look upon, 
cheery of face, and the welcomest interruption to our solitude. 
" Dear Mag, dear Mag, once more !" Nay, John had brought me 
from Dumfries post-office a long letter from Goethe, one of the finest 
I ever had from him ; son's death perhaps mentioned in it ; all so 
white, so pure, externally and internally, so high and heroic. This, 
too, seemed bright to me as the summer sunset in which I stood 
reading it. Seldom was a cheerfuller evening at Craigeuputtoch. 
Margaret stayed perhaps a fortnight, quietly cheerful all the time, 
but was judged (by a very quick eye in such things) to be still far 
from well. Sbe sickened again in March or April next, on some 
oold or accident, grew worse than ever, herself now falling nearly 
hopeless. "Cannot stand a second bout like last year," she once 
whispered to one of her sisters. We had brought her to Dumfries 
in the hope of better medical treatment, which was utterly vain. 
Mother and sister Mary waited on her with trombling anxiety; I 
often there. Few days before the end my Jeaunie (in the dusk of 
such a day of gloomy hurlyburly to us all!) carried her on her 
knees in a sedan to some suburban new garden lodging we had got 
(but did not then tell me what the dying one had said to her). In 
fine, towards midnight, June 21-22, 1 alone still up, ap express from 
Dumfries rapped on my window. "Grown worse; you arid your 
brother wanted yonder!" Alick and I were soon on horseback, 
rode diligently through the slumbering woods — ever memorable to 
me that night, and its phenomena of moon and sky ! — found all 
finished hours ago, only a weeping mother and sister left, with 
whom neither of us could help weeping. Poor Alick's face, when 
I met him at the door with such news (he had stayed behind me 
getting rid of the horses); the mute struggle, mute and vain, as of 
the rugged rock not to dissolve itself, is still visible to me. Why 
do I evoke these bitter sorrows and miseries which have mercifully 
long lain as if asleep ? I will not farther. That day, June 22, 
1830, full of sacred sorrow and of paltry botheration of business — 
for we had, after some hours and a little consultation, sent Mary 
and my mother home — is to be counted among the painfullest of 
my life; and in the evening, having at last reached the silence of 
the woods, I remember fairly lifting up my voice and weeping aloud 
a long time. 

All this has little to do with Irving, little even with the journey 
I was now making towards him, except that in the tumultuous agi- 
tatious of the latter it came all in poignant clearness and complete- 
ness into my mind again, and continued with mo in the background 
or the foreground during most of the time I was in London. 

From Whitehaven onwards to Liverpool, amid the noise and jos- 
tle of a crowd of high-dressed vulgar-looking people who joined us 
there, and with their "hot brandies," dice-boxes, etc., down below, 
and the blaring of brass bands, and idle babblers and worshippers 
of the nocturnal picturesque, made deck and cabiu almost equally a 
delirium, — this, all this of fourteen months ago, in my poor head and 
heart, was the one thing awake, and the saturnalia round it a kind 
of mad nightmare dream. At Loudon too, perhaps a week or so af- 
ter my arrival, somebody had given me a ticket to see Macready, 
and stepping out of the evening sun I fouud myself iu Drury Lane 
Theatre, which was all darkened, carefully lamp-lit, play just be- 
ginning or going to begin. Out of my gratis box — front box on the 
lower tier — I sat gazing into that painted scene and its mimings, 
bnt heard nothing, saw nothing; — her green grave and Ecclefechau 
silent little kirkyard far away, and how the evening sun at this 
same moment would be shiuiug there, generally that was the main 
thing I saw or thought of, aud tragical enough that was, without 
any Macready ! Of Macready that time I remember nothing, aud 
suppose I must have come soon away. 

Irving was now living iu Judd Street, New Road, a bigger, much 
better old house than the former new one, aud much handier for the 
new " Caledonian Chapel," which stood spacious and grand in Re- 
gent Square, and was quite dissevered from Hatton Garden and its 
concerns. I stept over to him on the evening of my arrival ; fouud 
him sitting quiet and alone, brotherly as ever in his reception of me. 
Our talk was good and edifying. 

[Mr. Carlyle's MS. is hero interrupted. Early in December, 1866, 
he went to Mentone, where he remained for several months. De- 
cember 27 he resumes in the new environment.]* 



* Ceased in London perhaps three weeks ago, mere hubbnb and uncertainty in- 
tervening; begins again at Mentone on the Riviera Occidentale, whither I have 
been pushed and pulled in the most unheard of way, Professor Tyndall, Lady Ash- 
burton, friends, foes, all conspiring, a journey like "chaos come again," and an 
arrival and a continuance hitherto still liker ditto. Wakeful nights each, especial- 
ly the one just gone ; in which strange circumstances— bright sun shining, blue 
sea faintly murmuring, orange groves glowing out of window, Mentone hidden, aud 
Ventimiglia Cape in view, all earth a kind of Paradise, inhabitants a kind of quasi- 
Satau — I endeavor to proceed the best I can. 



He was by this time deep in prophecy and other aberrations, sur- 
rounded by weak people, mostly echoes of himself and his inaudible 
notions; hut he was willing to hear me too on secularities, candid 
like a second self iu judging of what one said in the way of opin- 
ion, and wise aud even shrewd in regard to anything of business if 
you consulted him on that side. He objected clearly to my Reform 
Bill notions, found Democracy a thing forbidden, leading down to 
outer darkness; I, a thing inevitable, aud obliged to lead whither- 
soever it could. We had several colloquies ou that subject, on 
which, though my own poor convictions are widened, not altered, 
I should now have more sympathy with his than was then the case. 
We also talked ou religion and Christianity " evidences," our no- 
tious of course more divergent than ever. " It is sacred, my friend, 
we can call it sacred ; such a Civitas Dei as was never built before, 
wholly the grandest series of work ever hitherto done by the hu- 
man soul ; the highest God, doubt it not, assenting and inspiring 
all along." This I remember once saying plainly, which was not 
an encouragement to prosecute the topic. We were in fact hope- 
lessly divided, to what tragical extent both of us might well feel! 
But something still remained, and this we (he, at least, for I think 
in friendship he was the nobler of the two) were only the more 
anxious to retain and make good. I recollect breakfasting with 
him, a strange set of ignorant conceited fanatics forming the body 
of the party, and greatly spoiling it for me. Irviug's own kindness 
was evidently iu essence unabated ; how sorrowful, at once pro- 
vokiug and pathetic, that I or he could henceforth get so little 
good of it ! 

We were to have gone and seen Coleridge together, had fixed a 
day for that object; but the day proved a long deluge, no stirring 
out possible, aud we did not appoint another. I never saw Cole- 
ridge more. He died the year after our final removal to London, 
a man much pitied and recognized by me ; never excessively es- 
teemed in any respect, aud latterly, on the intellectual or spiritual 
sido, less and less. The father of Puseyism and of much vain phan- 
tasmal moonshine which still vexes this poor earth, as I have al- 
ready described him. Irving and I did not, ou the whole, see much 
of oue another during this "Sartor Resartus" visit, our circum- 
stances, our courses and employments were so altogether diverse. 
Early in the visit he walked me to Belgrave Square to diue with 
Henry Drummond ; beautiful promenade through the crowd aud 
stir of Piccadilly, which was then somewhat of a novelty to me. 
Irving, I heard afterwards, was judged, from the broad hat, brown 
skiu, and flowing black hair, to bo in all probability the one-string 
fiddler Paganini — a tall, lean, taciturn, abstruse-looking figure — who 
■was then, after his sort, astonishing the idlo of mankind. Henry 
Drummond — house all iu summer deshabille, carpets up, etc. — re- 
ceived us with abundance of respect, and of aristocratic pococurant- 
ism withal (the latter perhaps rather in a conscious condition) ; gave 
us plenty of talk, and received well what was given; chiefly on 
the rotteu social state of England, on the "Swing" outrages (half 
the year raising wheat and the other half burning it), which were 
then alarming everybody — all rather in epigrammatic exaggerative 
style, and with "wisdom" sometimes sacrificed to "wit." Gave 
us, in short, a pleasant enough dinner aud evening, but left me, as 
Mazzini used to describe it, " cold." A man of elastic, pungent de- 
cisive nature, full of fine qualities and capabilities, but well nigh 
cracked by an enormous conceit of himself, which, both as pride 
and vanity (in strange partnership mutually agreeable), seemed to 
pervade every fibre of him, and render his life a restless inconsist- 
ency. That was the feeling ho left in me ; nor did it alter after- 
wards when I saw a great deal more of him, without sensible in- 
crease or diminution of the little love he at first inspired in me. 
Poor Henry ! he shot fiery arrows about too, but they told nowhere. 
I was never tempted to become more intimate with him, though 
he now and then seemed willing enough: ex nihilo nihil Jit. He, 
without unkinduess of intention, did my poor Irving a great deal 
of ill ; me never any, such my better luck. His last act was, about 
eight or nine years ago, to ask us both* out to Albury on a mistaken 
day, when he himself was not there ! Happily my darling had at 
the eleventh hour decided not to go, so that the ugly confusion fell 
all on me, and in a few months more Henry was himself dead, and 
no mistake possible again. Albury, the ancient Earl of Arun- 
del's, the recent scene of prophet conferences, etc., I had seen for the 
first and most likely for the last time. My double-goer, T. Carlyle, 
" Advocate," who had for years been "Angel" there, was lately 
dead; and the numerous mistakes, wilful and involuntary, which 
he, from my fifteenth year onwards, had occasioned me, selling his 
pamphlets as mine, getting my letters as his, and vice rersd; nay, 
once or more with some ambassador at Berlin dining in my stead ; 
foolish vain fellow, who called me Antichrist withal in his serious 
moments ! were likewise at an end. All does end. 

* Carlyle and his wife. 



40 



REMINISCENCES. 



My business lay with the bookseller or publishing world ; my 
chief intercourse was with the lighter literary figures: iu part, too, 
with the political, many of whom I transiently saw at Jeffrey's (who 
was then Lord Advocate), and all of whom I might hear of through 
him. Not iu either kind was my appetite very keen, nor did it in- 
crease by what it fed on. Rather a " feast of shells," as perhaps I 
then defined it ; people of biggish names, but of substance maiuly 
spilt and wanting. All men were full of the Reform Bill ; nothing 
else talked of, written of, the air loaded with it alone, which occa- 
sioned great obstruction in the publishing of my " Sartor," I was 
told. On that latter point I could say much, but will forbear. 
Few men ever more surprised me than did the great Albemarle 
Street Murray, who had published for Byron and all the great ones 
for many years, and to whom Jeffrey sent me recommended. Stu- 
pider man than the great Murray, in look, in speech, in conduct, in 
regard to this poor " Sartor" question, I imagined I had seldom or 
never seen ! Afterwards it became apparent to me that partly he 
was sinking into the heaviness of old age, and partly, still more im- 
portant, that iu regard to this particular " Sartor" question his posi- 
tion was an impossible one ; position of a poor old man endeavor- 
ing to answer yes and no ! I had striven and pushed for some weeks 
with him and others on those impossible principles, till at length 
discovering how the matter stood, I with brevity demanded back 
my poor MS. from Murray, received it with some apologetic palaver 
(enclosing an opinion from his taster, which was subsequently print- 
ed in our edition), and much hope, etc., etc. ; locked it away into fix- 
ity of silence for the present (my Murray into ditto forever), and 
decided to send for the dear one 1 had left behind me, and let her 
too see London, which 1 knew she would like, before we went far- 
ther. Ah me ! this sunny Riviera which we sometimes vaguely 
thought of, she does not see along with me, and my thoughts of her 
here are too sad for words. I will write no more to-day. Oh, my 
darling, my lost darling, may the great God be good to thee ! Si- 
lence, though ! and " hope " if I can ! 

My Jeaunie came about the end of September. Brother John, 
by industry of hers and mine (hers chiefly), acting on an opportu- 
nity of Lord Advocate Jeffrey's, had got an appointment for Italy 
(travelling physician, by which he has since made abundance of 
money, and of work may be said to have translated Dante's " In- 
ferno," were there nothing more!). We shifted from our uncom- 
fortable lodging* into a clean, quiet, and modestly comfortable oue 
in Ampton Street (same St. Pancras region), and there, ourselves 
two — brother John being off to Italy — set up for the winter under 
tolerable omens. My darling was, as ever, the guardian spirit of 
the establishment, and made all things bright and smooth. The 
daughter of the house, a fine young Cockney specimen, fell quite 
in love with her, served like a fairy. Was next year, long after 
we were gone, for coming to us at Craigenputtoch to be " maid 
of all work" — an impossible suggestion; and did, in effect, keep 
up an adoring kind of intercourse till the fatal day of April last, 
never changing at all in her poor tribute of love. A fine out- 
pouring of her grief and admiring gratitude, written after that 
event,t was not thrown into the fire half- read, or unread, but is 
still lying in a drawer at Chelsea, or perhaps adjoined to some 
of the things I was writing there, as a genuine human utterance, 
not without some sad value to me. My poor little woman had 
often indifferent health, which seemed rather to worsen than 
improve while we continued ; but her spirit was indefatigable, 
ever cheery, full of grace, ingenuity, dexterity ; and she much eu- 
joyed London, and the considerable miscellany of people that came 
about us — Charles Buller, John Mill, several professed " admirers " 
of mine (among whom was, aud for aught I know still is, the mock- 
ing Hay ward !) ; Jeffrey almost daily, as an admirer of hers ; not 
to mention Mrs. Montague and Co., certain Holcrofts (Badams mar- 
ried to one of them, a certain Captain Kenny married to the moth- 
er of them, at whose house I once saw Godwin, if that was any- 
thing), Allan Cunningham from time to time, and fluctuating for- 
eigners, etc., etc. We had company rather in superabundance than 
otherwise, and a pair of the clearest eyes in the whole world were 
there to take note of them all, a judgment to compare and contrast 
them (as I afterwards found she had been doing, the dear soul !) 
with what was already all her own. Ah me! Ah me! 

Soon after New Year's Day a great sorrow came, unexpected 
news of my father's death. He had been in bed, as ill, only a few 
hours, when the last hour proved to be there, unexpectedly to all, 
except perhaps to himself; for ever since my sister Margaret's 
death he had been fast failing, though none of us took notice 

* At Irving's youngest brother George's; an incipient surgeon, amiable and 
clear superficially, who soon after died. 

t Letter to me, signed "Eliza Snowden;" Miles was her maiden name. 
"Snowdeu," once a clerk with her uncle, is now himself, for long years back, a 
prosperous upholsterer; and the sylph-like Elizn, grown fat enough of shape, is 
the mother of sis or seven prosperous children to him. 



enough, such had been his perfection of health almost all through 
the seventy-three years he lived. I sat plunged in the depths of 
natural grief, the pale kingdoms of eternity laid bare to me, and 
all that was sad and graud and dark as death filling my thoughts 
exclusively day after day. How beautiful She was to me, how 
kind and tender! Till after the funeral my father's noble old face 
— one of the finest and strongest I have ever seen — was continual- 
ly before my eyes. In these and the following days and nights I 
hastily wrote down some memorials of him,* which I have never 
since seen, but which still exist somewhere ; though, indeed, they 
were not worth preserving, still less are after I have done with 
them. "Posterity !" that is what I never thought of appealing to. 
What possible use can there be in appealing there, or in appealing 
anywhere, except by absolute silence to the High Court of Eternity, 
which can do no error, poor sickly transciencies that we are, cov- 
eting we know not what! Iu the February ensuing I wrote 
" Johnson " (the " Bozzy " part was published in " Fraser " for 
March). A week or two before, we had made acquaintance, by 
Hunt's own goodness, with Leigh Hunt, and were much struck 
with him. Early in April we got back to Annandale and Craigen- 
puttoch. Sadly present to my soul, most sadly, yet most beautiful- 
ly, all that, even now ! 

In the course of the winter sad things had occurred in Irving's 
history. His enthusiastic studies and preachings were passing into 
the practically "miraculous," and to me the most doleful of all 
phenomeua. The " Gift of Tongues " had fairly broken out among 
the crazed and weakliest of his wholly rather dim and weakly flock. 
I was never at all in his church during this visit, being at once 
grieved and angered at the course he had fallen into ; but once 
or twice poor Eliza Miles came running home from some even- 
ing sermon there was, all in a tremor of tears over these same 
" Tongues," and a riot from the dissenting majority opposing them. 
"All a tumult yonder, oh me!" This did not happen above twice 
or so; Irving (never himself a "Tongue" performer) having taken 
some order with the thing, and I think discouraged and nearly sup- 
pressed it as unfit during church service. It was greatly talked of 
by some persons, with an inquiry, " Do yon believe, in it ?" " Believe 
it? As much as I do in the high-priest of Otaheite!" answered 
Lockhart once to Fraser, the inquiring bookseller, in my hearing. 
Sorrow and disgust were naturally my own feeling. " How are 
the mighty fallen ! my own high Irving come to this, by paltry 
popularities and Cockney admirations puddling such a head !" We 
ourselves saw less and less of Irving ; but one night iu one of our 
walks we did make a call, and actually heard what they called the 
Tougues. It was in a neighboring room, larger part of the draw- 
ing-room belike. Mrs. Irving had retired thither with the devo- 
tees. Irving for our sake had stayed, and was pacing about the 
floor, dandling his youngest child, and talking to us of this and 
that, probably about the Tongues withal, when there burst forth 
a shrieky hysterical "Lab lall lall!" (little or nothing else but Vs 
and a's continued for several minutes) to which Irving, with sin- 
gular calmness, said only, " There, hear you, there are the Tongues !" 
And we too, except by our looks, which probably were eloquent, 
answered him nothing, but soon came away, full of distress, provo- 
cation, and a kind of shame. "Why was there not a bucket 
of cold water to fling on that lah-lalling hysterical madwoman?" 
thought we, or said to one another. " Oh, heaven, that it should 
come to this !" I do not remember any call that we made there af- 
terwards. Of course there was a farewell call ; but that too I rec- 
ollect only obliquely by my Jeannie's distress and disgust at Mrs. 
Irving's hypocritical final Jciss ; a "kiss" of the uutruest, which 
really ought to have been spared. Seldom was seen a more tragical 
scene to us than this of Irving's London life was now becoming ! 

One other time we did see Irving, at our lodging, where he had 
called to take leave of us a day or two before our quitting London. 
I know not whether the interview had been preconcerted between 
my darling and me for the sake of our common friend, but it was 
abundantly serious and affecting to us all, and none of the three, I 
believe, ever forgot it again. Preconcerting or not, I had privately 
determined that I must tell Irving plainly what I thought of his 
present course and posture. And I now did so, breaking iu by the 
first opportunity, and leading the dialogue wholly into that chan- 
nel, till with all the delicacy, but also with all the fidelity possible 
to me, I put him fully in possession of what my real opinion was. 
She, my noble Jeaunie, said hardly anything, but her looks, and 
here and there a word, testified how deep her interest was, how 
complete her assent. I stated plainly to him that he must permit 
me a few words for relief of my conscience before leaving him for 
we know not what length of time, on a course which I could not 
but regard as full of danger to him. 'That the 13/A of the Corinthians 
to which he always appealed, was surely too narrow a basis for so 

* The first " Keminiscence " in this volume. 



EDWARD IRVING. 



41 



high a tower as he was building upon it, a high lean tower, or quasi- 
mast, piece added to piece, till it soared far above all human science 
aud experience, and flatly contradicted all that, founded solely on 
a little text of writing iu an ancient book! No sound judgment on 
such warranty conld venture on such an enterprise. Authentic 
" writings " of the Most High, were they found in old books only ? 
They were in the stars aud on the rocks, and iu the brain and heart 
of every mortal ; not dubions these to any person, as this 13th of 
Corinthians very greatly was. That it did uot beseem him, Ed- 
ward Irving, to be hanging on the rearward of mankind, struggling 
still to chain them to old notions not now well tenable, but to be 
foremost iu the van, leading on by the light of the eternal stars 
across this hideous delirious wilderness where we all were, towards 
promised lands that lay ahead. Bethink you, my friend, I said, is 
not that your plainly commanded duty, more plain than auy 13th 
of Corinthians can be. I bid you pause aud consider; that verily 
is my- solemn advice to you ! I added that, as he knew well, it was 
in the name of old friendship I was saying all this. That I did uot 
expect he would at once, or soon, renounce his fixed views, connec- 
tions, aud methods for any words of mine ; but perhaps at some 
future time of crisis aud questioning dubiety in his own mind he 
might remember the words of a well-affected soul, and they might 
then be a help to him. 

During all this, which perhaps lasted about twenty minutes, Ir- 
ving sat opposite to me, within a few feet; my wife to his right 
hand and to my left, silent and sad-looking, in the middle of the 
floor, Irving, with head downcast, face indicating great pain, but 
without the slightest word or sound from him till I had altogether 
euded. He then began with the mildest low tone, aud face full of 
kiuduess and composed distress — " dear friend, " and endeavored to 
make his apology aud defence, which did not last long or do any- 
thing to convince me, but was iu a style of modesty and friendly 
magnanimity which no mortal could surpass, aud which remains to 
me at this momeut dear aud memorable aud worthy of all houor. 
Which done, he went silently his way, no doubt with kindest farewell 
to us, and I remember nothing more. Possibly we had already made 
farewell call iu Judd Street the day before, and found him uot there. 
This was, in a manner, the last visit I ever made to Irving, the 
last time either of us ever freely saw him, or spoke with him at 
any length. We had to go our way, he his ; aud his soon proved to 
be precipitous, full of chasms aud plunges, which rapidly led him to 
the close. Our journey homewards — I have spoken of it elsewhere, 
and of the dear reminiscences it leaves, ever sad, but also ever bless- 
ed to me now. We were far away from Irviug in our solitary moors, 
stayed there still above two years (one of our winters in Edinburgh ), 
and heard of Irving aud his catastrophes only from a distance. He 
had come to Anuau aud been expelled from the Scottish Kirk. 
That sceue I remember reading in some newspaper with lively con- 
ception aud emotion. A poor aggregate of Reverend Sticks in black 
gown, sitting in Presbytery, to pass formal condemnation ou a man 
and a cause which might have been tried iu Patmos under presi- 
dency of St. John without the right truth of it being got at! I 
knew the "Moderator" (one Roddick, since gone mad), for one 
of the stupidest and barreuest of living mortals ; also the little 
phantasm of a creature — Sloaue his uame — who went uiddy-noddy- 
ing with his head, and was infinitely conceited aud phantasmal, by 
whom Irving was rebuked with the "Remember where you are, 
sir!" and got answer, "I have not forgotten where I am; it is the 
church where I was baptized, where I was consecrated to preach 
Christ, where the bones of my dear ones lie buried." Condemna- 
tion under auy circumstances had to follow; " le droit de me damner 
te reste toujonrs !" as poor Danton said in a far other case. 

The feeling of the populatiou was, too, strong and general for 
Irving. Reverends Sloaue and Roddick were not without their ap- 
prehensions of some tumult perhaps, had not the people been so 
reverent of the place they were in. Irving sent us no word of him- 
self, made no appeal to any, friend or foe, unless his preaching to 
the people up and down for some days, partly perhaps iu the way 
of defence, though mostly ou general Gospel subjects, could be takeu 
as such. He was followed by great crowds who eagerly heard 
him. My brother Jamie, who had been at several of those open- 
air preachings in different parts of the Aunau neighborhood, and 
who much admired aud pitied the great Irving, gave me the last 
notice I ever had of that tragic matter, " Irving's vocal appellatio 
ad populum," when Presbytery had condemned him. This time the 
gathering was at Ecclefechau, probably the final one of all, and the 
last time he ever preached to Annandale men. The assemblage 
was large aud earnest, gathered in the Middlebie road, a little way 
off the main street and highway. The preacher stood on some ta- 
ble or chair, which was fixed against the trunk of a huge, high, 
strong, and many-branched elm tree, well kuowu to me aud to ev- 
eryone that passes that way. The weather was of proper February 
quality, grimly fierce, with windy snow showers flying. Irving had 



a woollen comforter about his neck, skirts of comforter, hair, aud 
cloak tossiug iu the storms ; eloquent voice well audible under the 
groauiug of the boughs and piping of the wind. Jamie was on 
business in the village and had paused awhile, much moved by 
what he saw and heard. It was our last of Irving iu his native 
Auuandale. Mrs. Oliphaut, I think, relates that on getting back to 
Loudon lie was put under a kind of arrest by certaiu Angels or au- 
thorities of his New "Irviugite" Church (just established in New- 
man Street, Oxford Street), for disobeying regulatious — perhaps in 
regard to those volunteer preachiugs iu Annandale — aud sat with 
great patieuce iu some penitential place among them, dumb for 
about a week, till he had expiated that siu. Irving was now be- 
come wholly tragical to us, and the least painful we could expect 
in regard to him was what mainly happened, that we heard no 
news from that side at all. His health we vaguely understood was 
becoming uucertaiu, news naturally worse than none, had wo much 
believed it; which, knowing his old herculean strength, I suppose 
we did uot. 

In 1834 came our own removal to London, concerning which are 
heavy fields of memory, laborious, beautiful, sad and sacred (oh, my 
darling lost one !) were this the place for them, which it is not. Our 
winter in Edinburgh, our haggles aud distresses (baduess of ser- 
vants mainly), our bits of diligences, strenuous aud sometimes hap- 
py, brought in fiue the clear resolution that we ought to go. I had 
been in correspondence with Londou — with John Mill, Leigh Hunt, 
Mrs. Austin, etc. — ever since our presence there. "Let us burn our 
ships," said my noble one, and " get ou march !" I went as precur- 
sor early iu May, iguorantly thiukiug this was, as iu Scotlaud, the 
general aud sole term for getting houses iu Londou, aud that after 
May 26 there would be noue but leavings ! We were uot very prac- 
tically advised, I should think, though there were counsellors many. 
However, I roved hastily about seeking houses for the next three 
weeks, while my darling was still busier at home, getting all thiuga 
packed and put under way. 

What endless toils for her, undertaken with what courage, skill, 
and cheery heroism ! By the time of her arrival I had beeu far 
and wide round Loudon, seeking houses. Had fouud out that the 
western suburb was iu important respects the fittest, and had seen 
nothing I thought so eligible there as a certain one of three cheap 
houses ; which one she on survey agreed to be the best, and which 
is in fact No. 5 Great Cheyne Row, where the rest of our life was to 
be passed together. Why do I write all this ! It is too sad to me 
to thiuk of it, brokeu down aud solitary as I am, and the lamp of 
my life, which "covered everything with gold" as it were, gone 
out, gone out! 

It was on one of those expeditious, a week or more after my ar- 
rival, expedition to take survey of the proposed No. 5, iu company 
with Mrs. Austin, whom I had takeu up in Bayswater, where she 
lived, aud with whom, attended also by Mrs. Jamieson, not known 
to me before, but found by accident ou a call there, we were pro- 
ceeding towards Chelsea in the middle of a bright May day, when I 
noticed well down in Kensiugtou Gardens a dark male figure sitting 
between two white female ones under a tree ; male figure, which 
abruptly rose and stalked towards me, whom, seeiug it was Irviug, 
I disengaged myself aud stept out to meet. It was indeed Irviug, 
but how changed in the two years and two months since I had last 
seen him ! Iu look he was almost friendlier thau ever ; but he had 
suddenly become an old man. His head, which I had left raven- 
black, was grown gray, ou the temples almost snow-white. The 
face was hollow, wrinkly, collapsed ; the figure, still perfectly erect, 
seemed to have lost all its elasticity aud streugth. We walked 
some space slowly together, my heart smitteu with various emo- 
tions ; my speech, however, striving to be cheery and hopeful. He 
was very kind and loving. It seemed to be a kind of tender grief 
and regret that my Jeaunie and I were taking so important a step, 
aud he not called at all to assist, rendered uuable to assist. Cer- 
tainly in all England there was no heart, aud in all Scotland only 
two or three, that wished us half as well. He admitted his weak 
health, but treated it as temporary ; it seemed of small account to 
him. Friends aud doctors had advised him to shift to Bayswater 
for better air, had got him a lodgiug there, a stout horse to ride. 
Summer they expected would soon sot him up again. His tone was 
not despondent, but it was low, pensive, full of silent sorrow. Ouce, 
perhaps twice, I got a small bit of Annandale laughter from him, 
strangely genuine, though so lamed aud overclouded. This was to 
mo the most affecting thing of all, aud still is when I recall it. He 
gave me his address in Bayswater, his house as near as might be, 
and I engaged to try and tiud him there ; I, him, which seemed the 
likelier method in our widely diverse elements, both of them so full 
of bustle, interruption, aud uncertainty. And so adieu, my friend, 
adieu ! Neither of us had spoken with the women of the other, 
and each of us was gone his several road again, mine not specially 
remembered farther. 



42 



REMINISCENCES. 



It seems to me I never found Irving in bis Bayswater lodging. 
I distinctly recollect seeing him one dusty evening about eigbt at 
the door there, mount his horse, a stout fine bay animal, of the kiud 
called cob, and set out towards Newman Street, whither he rode per- 
haps twice or thrice a day for church services there were ; but this 
and his friendly regret at being obliged to go is all I can recall of in- 
terview farther. Neither at the Bayswater lodging nor at his own 
house in Newman Street when he returned thither, could I for many 
weeks to come ever find him "at home." In Chelsea, we poor pair of 
immigrants had, of course, much of our owu to do, and right coura- 
geously we marched together, my own brave darling (what a store 
of humble, but high and sacred memories to me!) victoriously car- 
rying the flag. But at length it struck lne there was something 
questionable in these perpetual " not-at-home's" of Irving, and that 
perhaps his poor, jealous, anxious, and much-bewildered wife had 
her hand in the phenomenon — as proved to be the fact according- 
ly. I applied to William Hamilton (excellent City Scotsman, mar- 
ried, not over well I doubt, to a sister of Mrs. Irving), with a brief 
statement of the case, and had immediate remedy ; an appointment 
to dinner at Newman Street on a given day, which I failed not to 
observe. None but Irving and his wife, besides myself, were there. 
The diuner (from a good joint of roast beef, iu a dim but quite com- 
fortable kind of room) was among the pleasautest of dinners to me, 
Madam herself wearing nothing but smiles, and soon leaving us to- 
gether to a fair hour or two of free talk. I think the main topic 
must have been my own outlooks and affairs, my project of writing 
on the French Revolution, which Irving warmly approved of (either 
then or some other time). Of his church matters we never spoko. 
I weut away gratified, aud for my own share glad, had not the out- 
looks on his side been so dubious and ominous. He was evidently 
growing weaker, not stronger, wearing himself down, as to me 
seemed too clear, by spiritual agitations, which would kill him un- 
less checked and ended. Could he but be got to Switzerland, to 
Italy, I thought, to some pleasant country of which the language 
was unknown to him, where he would be forced to silence, the one 
salutary medicine for him in body aud in soul ! I often thought 
of this, but he had now no brother, no father, on whom I could 
practically urge it, as I would with my whole strength have done, 
feeling that his life now lay on it. I had to hear of his growing 
weaker aud weaker, while there was nothing whatever that I 
could do. 

With himself I do not recollect that there was anything more of 
iuterview siuce that dinner iu Newman Street, or that I saw him 
again iu the world, except once only, to be soon noticed. Latish 
iu the autumn some of the Kirkcaldy Martins had come. I remem- 
ber speaking to his father-in-law at Hamilton's in Cheapside one 
evening, aud very earnestly ou the topic that interested us both. 
But in Martin, too, there was nothing of help, " Grows weaker aud 
weaker," said he, " and no doctor cau fiud the least disease in him ; 
so weak now he cannot lift his little baby to his neck !" In my 
desperate auxiety at this time I remember writing a letter on my 
Switzerland or Italy scheme to Henry Drummoud, whom I yet knew 
nothing more of, but considered to be probably a man of sense and 
practical insight ; letter stating briefly my sad aud clear belief that, 
unless carried into some element of perfect silence, poor Irving would 
soon die ; letter which lay some days ou the mautelpieoe at Chelsea, 
Tinder some misgivings about sending it, and was then thrown iuto 
the 1 fire. We heard before long that it was decided he should jour- 
ney slowly iuto Wales, paying visits — perhaps into Scotland, which 
seemed the next best to what I would have proposed, and was of 
some hope to us. And late one afternoon, soon after, we had a short 
farewell visit from him ; his first visit to Cheyne Row and his last ; 
the last we two ever saw of him in this world. It was towards 
suuset, had there been any suu that damp, dim October day. He 
came ambling goutly on his bay horse, sate some fifteen or twenty 
minutes, aud went away while it was still daylight. It was in the 
ground-floor room, where I still write (thanks to her last service 
to me, shifting me thither again, the darling ever-helpful one!) 
Whether she was sitting with me ou his entrance I don't recollect, 
but I well do his fiue chivalrous demeanor to licr, aud how he 
coinplimeuted her, as he well might, on the pretty little room she 
had made for her husband and self, aud ruuuing his eye over her 
dainty bits of arrangements, ornamentations, all so frugal, simple, 
full of grace, propriety, and iugeuuity as they ever were, said, smil- 
ing, " You are like au Eve, aud make a little Paradise wherever you 
are!" His mauuer was sincere, affectionate, yet with a great sup- 
pressed saduess in it, aud as if with a feeling that he must not 
linger. It was perhaps on this occasion that he expressed to me 
his satisfaction at my having taken to " writing history " (" French 
Revolution" now begun, I suppose); study of history, he seemed 
to intimate, was the study of things real, practical, aud actual, aud 
would bring me closer upon all reality whatever. With a fine 
simplicity of loviuguess he bade us farewell. I followed him to 



the door, held his bridle (doubtless) while he mounted, no groom 
being ever with him on such occasions, stood ou the steps as he 
quietly walked or ambled up Cheyne Row, quietly turned the cor- 
ner (at Wright's door, or the Rector's back garden door) iuto Cook's 
grounds, aud had vanished from my eyes for evermore ! In this 
world neither of us ever saw him again. He was off northward in 
a day or two, died at Glasgow in December following, age only 
forty-three, aud except weakness, no disease traceable. 

Mrs. Oliphaut's narrative is nowhere so true and touching to me 
as in that last portion, where it is drawn almost wholly from his 
own letters to his wife. All there is true to the life, and recogniz- 
able to me as perfect portraiture ; what I cannot quite say of any 
other portion of the book. All Mrs. Oliphaut's delineation shows 
excellent diligence, loyalty, desire to be faithful, and indeed, is full 
of beautiful sympathy and ingenuity; but nowhere else are the 
features of Irving or of his environment aud life recognizably hit, 
and the pretty picture, to oue who knew his looks throughout, is 
more or less romantic pictorial, and " not like " till we arrive here, 
at the grand close of all, which to me was of almost Apocalyptic 
impressiveness when I first read it some years ago. What a falling 
of the curtain! upon what a drama! Rustic Annandale begins it, 
with its homely honesties, rough vernacularities, safe, innocently 
kind, ruggedly mother -like, cheery, wholesome, like its airy hills 
and clear-rushing streams ; prurient corrupted London is the mid- 
dle part, with its volcauic stupittities and bottomless confusions ; 
and in the end is terrible, mysterious, godlike, aud awful ; what 
Patmos could be more so ? It is as if the vials of Heaven's wrath 
were pouring down upon a man, yet not wrath alone, for his heart 
was filled with trust iu Heaven's goodness withal. It must be said 
Irving nobly expiates whatever errors he has fallen into. Like an 
antique evangelist he walks his stony course, the fixed thought of 
his heart at all times, " Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him ;" 
and these final deluges of sorrow are but washiug the faithful soul 
of him clear. 

He sent from Glasgow a curious letter to his " Gift of Tongues " 
congregation ; full of questionings, dubieties upon the Tongues, and 
such points, full of wanderings in deep waters, with one light fixed 
on high : " Humble ourselves before God, and he will show us ;" 
letter indicating a sincerity as of very death, which these New 
Church people (Henry Drummoud and Co.) first printed for useful 
private circulation, aud then afterwards zealously suppressed and 
destroyed, till almost everybody but myself had forgotten the ex- 
istence of it. Luckily, about two years ago I still raked out a copy 
of it from " Rev. Gaviu Carlile,"* by whom I am glad to know it 
has been printed and made prominent, as a document honorable 
and due to such a memory. Less mendacious soul of a man than 
my noble Irviug's there could not well be. 

It was but a little while before this that he had said to Drum- 
moud, what was mentioned above, " I ought to have seen more of 
T. Carlyle, and heard him more clearly than I have done." And 
there is one other thing which dates several years before, which I 
always esteem highly honorable to Irviug's memory, aud which I 
will note here as my last item, since it was forgotten at its right 
date. Right date is that of " German Romance," early 1826. The 
report is from my brother John, to whom Irving spoke ou the sub- 
ject, which with me ho had always rather avoided. Irving did 
not much know Goethe ; had generally a dislike to him as to a 
kind of heathen ungodly person and idle singer, who had consid- 
erably seduced me from the right path, as one sin. He read " Wil- 
helm Meister's Travels" nevertheless, and he said to John oue day, 
"Very curious! iu this German poet there are some, pages about 
Christ and the Christian religion, which as I study and re-study 
them have more seuse about that matter thau I have found in all 
the theologians I have ever read!" Was not this a noble thing 
for such a man to feel aud say ? I have a hundred times recom- 
mended that passage in "Wilhelm Meister" to inquiring and de- 
vout souls, but I think never elsewhere mot with oue who so thor- 
oughly recognized it. One of my last letters, flung into the fire 
just before leaving London, was from an Oxford self-styled "re- 
ligious inquirer," who asks me if iu those pftges of "Meister" there 
is not a wonderfully distinct foreshadow of Comte aud Positirism .' 
Phcebus Apollo, god of the sun, foreshadowing the miserablcst 
phantasmal algebraic ghost I have yet met with among the ranks 
of the living ! 

I have now ended, and am sorry to end, what I had to say of 
Irving. It is like bidding him farewell for a second and the last 
time. He waits iu the eternities. Another, his brightest scholar, 
has left me aud gone thither. God be about us all. Amen. Amen. 

Finished at Meutone, January 2, 1867, looking towards the east- 
ward hills, bathed in sunshine, under a brisk west wind ; two p.m. 

T. C. 

• Nephew of Irving. Now editing " Irviug's Select Works," or some snch title. 



REMINISCENCES. 



43 



LORD JEFFREY. 

OF FRANCIS JEFFREY. HON. LORD JEFFREY, THE LAWYER AND REVIEWER. 



Mentone : January 3, 1867. 
Few sights have been more impressive to me than the sudden 
one I had of the " Outer House" in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, 
on the evening of November 9, 1809, some hours after my arrival 
in that city for the first time. We had walked some twenty miles 
that day, the third day of our journey from Ecclefechau ; my com- 
panion oue "Tom Smail," who had already been to college last 
year, and was thought to be a safe guide and guardian to me. He 
was some years older than myself, had been at school along with 
rue, though never iu my class. A very innocent, conceited, insig- 
nificant, but strict-minded orthodox creature, for whom, knowing 
him to be of no scholarship or strength of judgment, I had private- 
ly very small respect, though civilly following him about in things 
he knew better than I. As in the streets of Edinburgh, for exam- 
ple, on my first evening there. On our journey thither he had been 
wearisome, far from entertaining, mostly silent, having, indeed, 
nothing to say. He stalked on generally some steps ahead, lan- 
guidly whistling through his teeth some similitude of a wretched 
Irish tune, which I knew too well as that of a still more wretched 
doggerel song called the " Belfast Shoemaker," most melancholy to 
poor me, given up to my bits of reflections in the silence of the 
moors and hills. 

How strangely vivid, how remote and wonderful, tinged with 
the hues of far-off love and sadness, is that journey to me now, 
after fifty-seven years of time ! My mother and father walking 
with me in the dark frosty November morning through the village 
to set us on our way ; my dear aud loving mother and her tremu- 
lous affection, my- etc., etc. But we must get to Edinburgh and 
Moffat, over Airock Stane (Burnswark visible there for the last 
time, and my poor little sister Margaret " bursting into tears" when 
she heard of this in my first letter home). I hid my sorrow and 
my weariness, but had abundance of it, checkering the mysterious 
hopes aud forecasting^ of what Edinburgh and the student element 
would be. Tom and I had entered Edinburgh, after twenty miles 
of walking, between two aud three p.m., got a clean-looking, most 
cheap lodging (Simon Square the poor locality), had got ourselves 
brushed, some morsel of dinner doubtless, and Palinurus Tom sal- 
lied out into the streets with me to show the novice mind a little 
of Edinburgh before sundown. The novice mind was not excess- 
ively astonished all at once, but kept his eyes well open, aud said 
nothing. What streets we went through I don't the least recollect, 
but have some faint image of St. Giles's High Kirk, and of the 
Luckenbooths there, with their strange little ius aud outs, aud 
eager old women in miniature shops of combs, shoe-laces, aud 
trifles ; still fainter image, if any whatever, of the sublime horse 
statue in Parliament Square hard by. Directly after which Smail 
audaciously (so I thought) pushed opeu a door free to all the 
world, and dragged me in with him to a scene which I have never 
forgotten. 

An immense hall, dimly lighted from the top of the walls, and 
perhaps with caudles burning in it here and there, all in strange 
ehiar-oseuro, and filled with what I thought (exaggeratively) a thou- 
sand or two of human creatures, all astir iu a bouudless buzz of talk, 
and simmering about in every direction, some solitary, some in 
groups. By degrees I noticed that some were in wig and black 
gown, some not, but in common clothes, all well dressed ; that here 
and there, on the sides of the hall, were little throues with incis- 
ures, aud stepa leading up, red-velvet figures sitting iu said throues, 
and the black-gowned eagerly speaking to them ; advocates plead- 
ing to judges, as I easily understood. How they could be heard iu 
such a grinding din was somewhat a mystery. Higher up on the 
walls, stuck there like swallows in their nests, sat other humbler 
figures. These, I found, were the sources of certaiu wildly plangent 
lamentable kiuds of souuds or echoes which from time to time 
pierced the universal noise of feet aud voices, and rose unintelligi- 
bly above it as if in the bitterness of incurable woe. Criers of the 
Court, I gradually came to understand. Aud this was Themis in 
her " Outer House," such a sceue of chaotic din aud hurly-burly as I 
had never figured before. It seems to me there were four times or 
ten times as many people iu that " Outer House" as there now usu- 
ally are, and doubtless there is something of fact iu this, such have 
been the curtailments aud abatemeuts of law practice in the head 
courts since then, and transference of it to the county jurisdiction. 
Last time I was in that Outer House (some six or seven years ago, 
in broad daylight), it seemed like a place fallen asleep, fallen al- 
most dead. 

Notable figures, now aU vanished utterly, were doubtless wander- 
jug about as part of that continual hurly-burly when I first set foot 



in it, fifty-seven years ago : great Law Lords this and that, great 
advocates alors ctlebres, as Thiers has it ; Cranstouu, Cockburu, Jef- 
frey, Walter Scott, John Clerk. To me at that time they were not 
even names, but I have since occasionally thought of that night 
and place when probably they were living substauces, some of them 
in a kind of relation to me afterward. Time with his tenses, what a 
miraculous entity is he always ! The only figure I distinctly recol- 
lect aud got printed on my brain that night was John Clerk, there 
veritably hitching about, whose grim strong countenance, with its 
black far-projecting brows aud look of great sagacity, fixed him in 
my memory. Possibly enough poor Smail named others to me, 
Jeffrey perhaps, if we saw him, though he was not yet quite at the 
top of his celebrity. Top was some three or four years afterward, 
aud went ou without much droopiug for almost twenty years more. 
But the truth is, except Clerk I carried no figure away with me; 
nor do I iu the least recollect how we made our exit into the streets 
again, or what we did next. Outer House, vivid now to a strange 
degree, is bordered by darkness on both hands. I recall it for Jef- 
frey's sake, though we see it is but potentially his, and I mean not 
to speak much of his law procedures iu what follows. 

Poor Smail, too, I may dismiss as thoroughly insignificant, con- 
ceitedly harmless. He continued iu some comradeship with me 
(or with James Johnston and me) for perhaps two seasons more, 
but gained no regard from me, nor had any effect ou me, good or 
bad. Became, with success, an insiguificaut flowery Burgher min- 
ister (somewhere iu Galloway), and has died only within few years. 
Poor Jamie Johnston, also my senior by several years, was far dear- 
er, a man of real merit, with whom about my 17th-21st years I had 
much geuial companionship. But of him also I must not speak, 
the good, the honest, not the strong enough, much-suffering soul. 
He died as school-master of Haddington in a time memorable to 
me. Ay de mi ! 

It was about 1811 when I began to be familiar with the figure 
of Jeffrey, as I saw him in the courts. It was in 1812-13 that he 
became universally famous, especially in Dumfries-shire, by his sav- 
ing from the gallows one " Nell Kennedy," a country lass who had 
shocked all Scotland, and especially that region of it, by a whole- 
sale murder, done on her next neighbor and all his household iu 
mass, in the most cold-blooded and atrocious mauner conceivable 
to the oldest artist iu such horrors. Nell weut down to Eccle- 
fechan one afternoon, purchased a quantity of arsenic, walked back 
with it towards Burnswark Leas, her father's farm, stopped at Burns- 
wark Farm, which was old Tom Stoddart's, a couple of furlongs 
short of her own home, aud there sat gossiping till she pretend- 
ed it was too late, and that she would now sleep with the maid. 
Slept accordingly, old Tom giving no welcome, only stingy permis- 
sion ; rose with the family next morning, volunteered to make por- 
ridge for breakfast, made it, could herself take none of it, went 
home iustead, " having a headache," aud in an hour or so after poor 
old Tom, his wife, maid, and every living creature iu the house (ex- 
cept a dog who had vomited, aud not except the cat who. couldn't) 
was dead or lay dyiug. Horror was universal in those solitary 
quiet regious. On the third day my father, finding no lawyer take 
the least notice, sent a messenger express to Dumfries, whereupon 
the due precoguitions, due.et ceteras, due arrest of Helen Kennedy, 
with strict questiouiug and strict locking up as the essential ele- 
ment. I was in Edinburgh that summer of 1812, but heard euough 
of the matter there. In the Border regious, where it was the uni- 
versal topic, perhaps not one human creature doubted but Nell was 
the criminal, aud would get her doom. Assize time came, Jeffrey 
there ; and Jeffrey by such a play of advocacy as was never seen 
before bewildered the poor jury into temporary deliquiuni or loss 
of wits (so that the poor foreman, Scottice chancellor, on whose 
casting vote it turned, said at last, with the sweat burstiug from 
his brow, Mercy, then, mercy!), and brought Nell clear off; home 
that night, riding gently out of Dumfries in men's clothes to escape 
the rage of the mob. The jury chancellor, they say, on awakening 
next morning, smote his now dry brow with a gesture of despair 
and exclaimed, " Was I mad !" I have heard from pcrsous who 
were at the trial that Jeffrey's art in examiuiug of wituesses was 
extreme, that he made them seem to say almost what he would, 
and blocked them up from sayiug what they evidently wished to 
say. His other great resource was urging the " want of motive" 
on Nell's part; no means of fancying how a blousy rustic lass 
should go into such a thing ; thing must have happened otherwise ! 
And iudecd the stagnant stupid soul of Nell, awake only to its own 
appetites, and torpid as dead bacon to all else in this universe, had 
needed uncommonly little motive. A blackguard young farmer of 



44 



REMINISCENCES. 



the neighborhood, it was understood, had answered her in a trying 
circumstance : " No, oh no, I cannot marry you. Tom Stoddart has 
a hill against me of £50; I have no money. How can I marry?" 
"Stoddart £50," thought Nell to herself; and without difficulty 
decided on removing that small obstacle! 

Jeffrey's advocate fame from this achievement was, at last, al- 
most greater than he wished, as indeed it might well he. Nell was 
next year indicted again for murdering a child she had borne (sup- 
posed to be the blackguard young farmer's). She escaped this 
time too, by want of evidence and by good advocacy (not Jeffrey's, 
but the very best that could be hired by three old miser uncles, 
bringing out for her their long-hoarded stock with a generosity 
nigh miraculous). Nell, free again, proceeded next to rob the trea- 
sure-chest of these, three miraculous uncles one night, and leave 
them with their house on fire and singular reflections on so delect- 
able a niece ; after which, for several years, she continued wander- 
ing in the Border by-ways, smuggling, stealing, etc. ; only intermit- 
tently heard of. but steadily mounting in evil fame, till she had 
become the facile princeps of Border devils, and was considered a 
completely uncanny and quasi-infernal object. Was found twice 
over in Cumberland ships, endeavoring to get to America, sailors 
universally refusing to lift anchor till she were turned out ; did at 
length, most probably, smuggle herself through Liverpool or some 
other place to America; at last vanished out of Annandale, and 
was no more talked of there. I have seen her father mowing at 
Scotsbrig as a common day-laborer in subsequent years, a snuffling, 
unpleasant, deceitful-looking body: very ill thought of while still 
a farmer, and before his Nell took to murdering. Nell's three mi- 
raculous uncles wer* maternal, and were of a very honest kin. 

The merit of saving such an item of the world's population could 
not seem to Jeffrey very great, and it was said his brethren quizzed 
him upon it, and made him rather uncomfortable. Long after at 
Craigeuputtoch my Jeannie and I brought him on the topic : which 
he evidently did not like too well, but was willing to talk of for 
our sake, and perhaps his own. He still affected to think it uncer- 
tain whether Nell was really guilty ; such an intrepidity, calmness, 
and steadfast immovability had she exhibited, persisting in mere 
unshaken " No" under the severest trials by him ; but there was no 
persuading us that he had the least real doubt, and not some real 
regret rather. Advocate morality was clearly on his side. It is a 
strange trade, I have often thought, that of advocacy. Your intel- 
lect, your highest heavenly gift, hung up in the shop window like 
a loaded pistol for sale ; will either blow out a pestilent scoundrel's 
brains, or the scoundrel's salutary sheriff's officer's (in a sense), as 
yon please to choose for your guinea ! Jeffrey rose into higher and 
higher professional repute from this time ; and to the last was very 
celebrated as what his satirists might have called a " felon's friend." 
All this, however, was swallowed among quite nobler kinds of re- 
nown, both as advocate and as "man of letters" and as member of 
society; everybody recognizing his honorable ingenuity, sagacity, 
and opulent brilliancy of mind ; and nobody ascribing his felon 
help to anything but a pitying disposition and readiness to exer- 
cise what faculty one has. 

I seem to remember that I dimly rather felt there was some- 
thing trivial, doubtful, and not quite of the highest type in our 
Edinburgh admiration for our great lights and law sages, and poor 
Jeffrey among the rest ; but I honestly admired him in a loose way 
as my neighbors were doing, was always glad to notice him when 
I strolled into the courts, autl eagerly enough stept up to hear if I 
found him pleading ; a delicate, attractive, dainty little figure as 
he merely walked about, much more if he were speaking ; uncom- 
monly bright black eyes, instinct with vivacity, intelligence, and 
kindly fire ; roundish brow, delicate oval face full of rapid expres- 
sion, figure light, nimble, pretty though so small, perhaps hardly 
five feet in height. He had his gown, almost never any wig, wore 
his black hair rather closely crept ; I have seen the back part of it 
jerk suddenly out in some of the rapid expressions of his face, and 
knew even if behind him that his brow was then puckered, and his 
eyes looking archly, half-contemptnously out, in conformity to 
some conclusive little cut his tongue was giving. His voice, clear, 
harmonious, and sonorous, had something of metallic in it, some- 
thing almost plangent ; never rose into alt, into any dissonance or 
shrillness, nor carried much the character of humor, though a fine 
feeling of the ludicrous always dwelt in him — as you would notice 
best when he got into Scotch dialect, and gave you, with admirable 
truth of mimicry, old Edinburgh incidents and experiences of his 
— very great upon old " Judge Baxie," " Peter Peebles," and the 
like. For the rest, his laugh was small and by no means Homeric ; 
he never laughed loud (could not do it, I should thiuk), and indeed 
oftener sniggered slightly than laughed in any way. 

For above a dozen or fourteen years I had been outwardly fa- 
miliar witi the figure of Jeffrey before we came to any closer ac- 
quaintance, or, indeed, had the least prospect of any. His sphere 



lay far away above mine ; to him, in his shining elevation, my ex- 
istence down among the shadows was unknown. In May, 1814, I 
heard him once pleading in the- General Assembly, ou some poor 
cause there ; a notable, but not the notablest thing to me, while I 
sjit looking diligently, though mostly as dramatic spectator, into 
the procedure of that venerable Church Court for the first time, 
which proved also the last. Queer old figures there ; Hill of St. 
Andrews, Johnstou of Carmichael, Dr. Inglis with the voice jin- 
gling in perpetual unforeseen alternation between deep bass and 
shrill treble (ridiculous to hear, though shrewd cunning sense lay 
in it), Dr. Chalmers once, etc., etc., all vanished now ! Jeffrey's 
pleading, the first I had heard of him, seemed to me abundantly 
clever, full of liveliness, free flowing ingenuity ; my admiration 
went frankly with that of others, but I think was hardly of very 
deep character. 

This would be the year I went to Annan as teacher of mathe- 
matics; not a gracious destiny, nor by any means a joyful, indeed 
a hateful, sorrowful, and imprisoniug one, could I at all have 
helped it, which I could not. My second year there at Rev. Mr. 
Glen's (reading Newton's " Principia" till three a.m., and voracious- 
ly many other books) was greatly more endurable, nay, in parts 
was genial and spirited, though the paltr-y trade and ditto envi- 
ronment for the most part were always odious to me. In late au- 
tumn, 1816, I went to Kirkcaldy in like capacity, though in cir- 
cumstances (what with Edward Irving's company, what with, etc., 
etc.) which were far superior. There in 1818 I had come to the grim 
conclusion that school-mastering must end, whatever pleased to 
follow ; that " it were better to perish," as I exaggeratively said 
to myself, " than continue school-mastering." I made for Edin- 
burgh, as did Irving too, intending, I, darkly toward potential 
" literature," if I durst have said or thought so. But hope hardly 
dwelt in me on that or on any side ; only fierce resolution in abun- 
dance to do my best and utmost in all honest ways, and to suffer 
as silently and stoically as might be, if it proved (as too likely!) 
that I could do nothing. This kind of humor, what I sometimes 
called of " desperate hope," has largely attended me all my life. 
In short, as has been enough indicated elsewhere, I was advancing 
towards huge installments of bodily and spiritual wretchedness in 
this my Edinburgh purgatory, and had to clean and purify myself 
in penal fire of various kinds for several years coming ; the first 
and much the worst two or three of which were to be enacted in 
this once-loved city. Horrible to think of in part even yet ! The 
bodily part of them was a kind of base agony (arising mainly in 
the want of any extant or discoverable fence between my coarser 
fellow-creatures and my more sensitive self), and might and could 
easily (had the age been pious or thoughtful) have been spared a 
poor creature like me. Those hideous disturbances to sleep, etc., 
a very little real care and goodness might prevent all that ; and I 
look back upon it still with a kind of angry protest, and would 
have my successors saved from it. But perhaps one needs suffer- 
ing more than at first seems, and the spiritual agonies would not 
have been enough ! These latter seem wholly blessed in retro- 
spect, and were infiuitely worth suffering, with whatever addition 
was needful. God be thanked always. 

It was still some eight or ten years before any personal contact 
occurred between Jeffrey and me ; nor did I ever tell him what a 
bitter passage, known to only one party, there had been between 
us. It was probably in 1819 or 1820 (the coldest winter I ever 
knew) that I had taken a most private resolution, and executed it 
in spite of physical and other misery, to try Jeffrey with an actual 
contribution to the " Edinburgh Review." The idea seemed great, 
and might be tried, though nearly desperate. I had got hold some- 
where (for even books were all but inaccessible to me) of a foolish 
enough, but new French book, a mechanical theory of gravitation 
elaborately worked out by a late foolish M. Pictet (I think that 
was the name) in Geneva. This I carefully read, judged of, and 
elaborately dictated a candid account and condemnation of, or 
modestly firm contradiction of (my amanuensis, a certain feeble 
but inquiring quasi-disciple of mine called George Dalgleish of 
Annan, from whom I kept my ulterior purpose quite secret). Well 
do I remember those dreary evenings in Bristo Street ; oh, what 
ghastly passages and dismal successive spasms of attempt at "lit- 
erary enterprise !" — " Herclii Selenographia," with poor Horrox's 
"Venus in Sole visa," intended for some life of the said Horrox — 
this for one other instance. I read all Saussure's four quartos of 
Travels in Switzerland too (and still remember much of it), I know 
not with what object. I was banished solitary as if to the bottom 
of a cave, and blindly had to try many impossible roads out ! My 
" Review of Pictet" all fairly written out iu George Dalgleish's 
good clerk hand, I penned some brief polite note to the great ed- 
itor, and walked off with the small parcel one night to his address 
in George Street. I very well remember leaving it with his valet 
there, and disappearing in the night with various thoughts and 



LORD JEFFREY. 



45 



doubts. My lKqwaflpi never risen higb, or, in fact, risen at all; 
but for a fortuiglfWrr so tbey did not quite die out, and then it was 
in absolute Zero; no answer, no return of MS., absolutely no notice 
taken, which was a form of catastrophe more. complete than even 
I bad anticipated. There rose in my head.apungeut little note 
which might be written to the great man, with neatly cuttiug con- 
siderations offered him from the small unknown ditto ; but I wisely 
judged it was still more diguitied to let theriuatter lie as it was, 
and take what I had got for my own benefit only. Nor did I ever 
mention it to almost anybody, least of all to, Jeffrey iu subsequent 
changed times, when at any. rate it was fallen extinct. It was my 
second, not quite my first, attempt iu tbat;fasbion. Above two 
years before, from Kirkcaldy, I bad forwarded to some magazine 
editor iu Edinburgh what, perhaps, was a likelier little article (of 
descriptive tourist kiud after a real tour by Yarrow country into 
Annandale), which also vanished without sign; not much to my 
' regret that first one, nor indeed very much' the second either (a 
dull affair altogether, I could not but admit), and no third adven- 
ture of the kiud lay ahead for me. It must be owned my first 
entrances into glorious "literature" were abundantly stinted and 
pitiful ; but a man does enter if, even with a small gift, he persists ; 
and perhaps it is no disadvantage if the door bo several times 
slammed iu his face as a preliminary. 

In spring, 1827, 1 suppose it must have been, a letter came to 
me at Comley Bank* from Procter (Barry Cornwall, my quondam 
London acquaintance), offering, with some " congratulations," etc., 
to introduce me formally to Jeffrey, whom he certified to be a 
"very fine fellow," with much kindness in him, among his other 
known qualities. Comley Bank, except for one darling soul, 
whose heavenly nobleness, then as ever afterwards, shoue on me, 
and should have made the darkest place bright (ah me! ah me! I 
ouly know now how noble she was !), was a gloomy, iutricate abode 
to me, and in retrospect has little or nothiug of pleasant but her. 
This of Jeffrey, however, had a practical character of some promise ; 
and I remember striding off with Proctcr'3 introduction one evening 
towards George Street and Jeffrey (perhaps by appointment of hour 
and place by himself) in rather good spirits.- " I shall see the fa- 
mous man, then," thought I, " and if he can do nothiug for me, 
why not !" I got ready admissiou into Jeffrey's study, or rather 
"office," for it had mostly that air — a roomy, not overneat, apart- 
ment on the ground-floor, with a big baize-covered table, loaded 
with book rows and paper bundles. On one, or perhaps two, of 
the walls were book-shelves likewise well filled, but with books in 
tattery, ill-bouud, or unbound condition. " Bad new literature 
these will be," thought I; "the table ones are probably ou hand!" 
Five pair of candles were cheerfully burning, in the light of which 
sat my famous little gentleman ; laid aside his work, cheerfully 
invited me to sit, and began talking in a perfectly human manner. 
Our dialogue was perfectly human and successful ; lasted for per- 
haps twenty minutes (for I could not consume a great man's time), 
turned upon the usual topics, what I was doing, what I had pub- 
lished, "German Romance," translations my last thing; to which 
I remember he said, kindly, " We must give you a lift," an offer 
which iu some complimentary way I managed to his satisfaction 
to decline. — My feeling with him was that of embarrassment ; a 
reasonable veracious little man, I could perceive, with whom any 
truth one felt good to utter would have a fair chance. Whether 
much was said of German literature, whether anything at all ou 
my writing of it for him, I don't recollect ; but certainly I took 
my leave iu a gratified successful kind of mood; and both those 
topics, the latter in practical form, did soon abundantly spring up 
between us, with formal return call by him (which gave a new 
speed to intimacy), agreement for a little paper on "Jean Paul," 
and whatever could follow out of an acquaintanceship well begun. 
The poor paper on Jean Paul, a study piece, not without humor 
and substance of my own, appeared in (I suppose) the very next 
"Edinburgh Review," and made what they calf a sensation among 
the Edinburgh buckrams, which was greatly heightened next num- 
ber by the more elaborate and grave article on " German Literature" 
generally, which set many tongues wagging, and some few brains 
considering, wlial this strange monster could be that was come to 
disturb their quiescence and the established order of Nature ! 
Some newspapers or newspaper took to denouncing the "Mystic 
School," which my bright little woman declared to consist of me 
alone, or of her and me, and for a long while after merrily used to 
designate us by that title, "Mystic School" signifying us, in the 
pretty coterie speech which she was always so ready to adopt, and 
which lent such a charm to her talk and writing. She was beau- 
tifully gay and hopeful under these improved phenomena, the 
darling soul! "Foreign Review," " Foreign Quarterly," etc., fol- 
lowed, to which I was eagerly invited. Articles for Jeffrey (about 

* Carlyle's first house after his marriage ; a suburb of Edinburgh. 



parts of which I had always to dispute with him) appeared also 
from time to time. In a word, I was now iu a sort fairly launched 
upon literature, and had even to sections of the public become a 
" Mystic School" ; not quite prematurely, being now of the age of 
thirty-two, and having had my bits of experiences, and gotten 
really something which I wished much to say— and have ever 
since been saying the best way I could. 

After Jeffrey's call at Comley Bank, the intimacy rapidly increased. 
He was much taken with my little Jeannie, as he well might be: 
one of the brightest and cleverest creatures in the whole °vorld- 
full of innocent rustic simplicity and veracity, yet with the grace- 
fulest discernment, calmly natural deportment; instinct with 
beauty and intelligence to the finger-ends! He became, in a sort, 
her would-be openly declared friend and quasi-lover ; as was his 
way iu such cases. He had much the habit of flirting about with 
womeu, especially pretty women, much more the both pretty and 
clever; all iu a weakish, mostly dramatic, and wholly theoretic way 
(his age now fifty gone) ; would daiutily kiss their bauds in bid- 
ding good-morning, offer his due homage, as he phrased it ; trip 
about, half like a lap-dog, half like a human adorer, with speeches 
pretty and witty, always of trifling import. I have known some 
women (not the prettiest) take offense at it, and awkwardly draw 
themselves up, but without the least putting him out. The most 
took it quietly, kiudly, and found an entertainment to themselves 
in cleverly answering it, as he did in pertly offering it ; pertly, yet 
with something of real reverence, and always iu a dexterous light 
way. Considerable jealousy attended the 'reigning queen of liis 
circle among the now non-reigning : who soon detected her posi- 
tion, and gave her the triumph of their sometimes half- visible 
spleen. Au airy environment of this kind was, wherever possi- 
ble, a coveted charm in Jeffrey's way of life. I can fancy he had 
seldom made such a surprising and agreeable acquaintance as this 
new one at Comley Bank ! My little woman perfectly understood 
all that sort of thing, the methods and the rules of it ; and could 
lead her clever little gentleman a very pretty minuet, as far as she 
saw good. They discovered mutual old cousinships by the mater- 
nal side, soon had common topics enough : I believe he really en- 
tertained a sincere regard and affection for her, in the heart of his 
theoretic dangling; which latter continued unabated for several 
years to come, with not a little quizzing and light interest on her 
part, and without shadow of offense on mine, or on anybody's. Nay 
I had my amusements in it too, so naive, humorous, and pretty were 
her bits of narratives about it, all her procedures in it so dainty, 
delicate, and sure — the noble little soul ! Suspicion of her noble- 
ness would have been mad in me ; and could I grudge her the little 
bit of entertainment she might be able to extract from this poor 
harmless sport in a life so grim as she cheerfully had with me ? My 
Jeannie ! oh, my bonny little Jeannie ! how did I ever deserve 30 
queen-like a heart from thee ? Ah me ! 

Jeffrey's acquaintanceship seemed, and was for the time, an im- 
mense acquisition to me, and everybody regarded it as my highest 
good fortune ; though in the end it did not practically amount to 
much. Meantime it was very pleasant, and made us feel as if no 
longer cut off and isolated, but fairly admitted, or like to be ad- 
mitted, and taken in tow by the world and its actualities. Jef- 
frey had begun to feel some form of bad health at this time (some 
remains of disease in the trachea, caught on circuit somewhere, 
" successfully defending a murderess," it was said). He rode al- 
most daily, in intervals of court business, a slow amble, easy to ac- 
company on foot ; and I had much walking with him, aud many a 
pleasant sprightly dialogue, cheerful to my fancy (as speech with 
an important man), but less instructive than I might have hoped. 
To my regret, he would not talk of his experiences in the world, 
which I considered would have been so instructive to me, nor of 
things concrete and current, but was theoretic generally ; aud 
seemed bent on, first of all, converting me from what he called my 
" German mysticism," back merely, as I could perceive, into dead 
Edinburgh Whigism, skepticism, aud materialism; which I felt to 
be a forever impossible enterprise. We had long discussions and 
argumentative parryings and thrustings, which I have known con- 
tinue night after night till two or three in the morning (when I 
was his guest at Craigcrook, as once or twice happened iu coming 
years) : there we went on in brisk logical exercise with all the 
rest of the house asleep, aud parted usually in good-humor, though 
after a game which was hardly worth the candle. I found him 
infinitely witty, ingenious, sharp of fence, but not in any sense 
deep ; and used without difficulty to hold my own with him. A 
pleasant enough exercise, but at last not a very profitable one. 

He was ready to have tried anything in practical help of me ; 
and did, on hint given, try two things: vacant "Professorship of 
Moral Philosophy" at St. Andrews ; ditto of something similar 
(perhaps it was "English Literature") in the new Gower Street 
University at London ; but both (thank Heaven !) came summarily 



46 



REMINISCENCES. 



to nothing. Nor were his review articles any longer such an im- 
portant employment to me, nor had they ever been my least trou- 
blesome undertakings — plenty of small discrepancy about details 
as we went along, though no serious disagreement ever, and his 
treatment throughout was liberal and handsome. Indeed, he had 
much patience with me, I must say ; for there was throughout a 
singular freedom in my way of talk with him ; and though far 
from wishing or intending to be disrespectful, I doubt there was 
at times an unembarrassment and frankness of hitting and repel- 
ling, which did not quite beseem our respective ages and positions. 
He never testified the least offense, but possibly enough remem- 
bered it afterward, being a thin-skinned sensitive man, with all 
his pretended pococurautism and real knowledge of what is called 
the "world." I remember pleasant strolls out to Craigcrook (one 
of the prettiest places in the world), where on a Sunday especially 
I might hope, what was itself a rarity with me, to find a really 
companionable humau acquaintance, not to say one of such qual- 
ity as this. He would wander about the woods with me, looking 
on the Firth and Fife Hills, on the Pentlands and Edinburgh Cas- 
tle and city ; nowhere was there such a view. Perhaps he would 
walk most of the way back with me ; quietly sparkling and chat- 
ting, probably quizzing mo in a kind of way if his wife were with 
us, as sometimes happened. If I met him in the streets, in the 
Parliament House, or accidentally anywhere, there ensued, un- 
less he were engaged, a cheerful bit of talk and promenading. He 
frequently rode round by Comley Bank in returning home : and 
there I would see him, or hear something pleasant of him. He 
never rode fast, but at a walk, and his little horse was steady as 
machinery. He on horseback, I on foot, was a frequent form of 
our dialogues. I suppose we must have dined sometimes at Craig- 
crook or Moray Place in this incipient period, but don't recollect. 

The incipient period was probably among the best, though for 
a long while afterward there was no falling oft' in intimacy and 
good-will. But sunrise is often lovelier than noon. Much in this 
first stage was not yet fulfillment, and was enhanced by the colors 
of hope. There was the new feeling, too, of what a precious con- 
quest and acquisition had fallen to us, which all the world might 
envy. Certainly in every sense the adventure was a flattering and 
cheering oue, and did both of us good. I forget how long it had 
lasted before our resolution to remove to Craigenputtoch came to 
be fulfilled ; it seems to me some six or eight months. The flitting 
to Craigenputtoch took place in May, 1828 ; we staid a week in 
Moray Place (Jeffrey's fine new house there) after our furniture 
was on the road, and we were waiting till it should arrive and ren- 
der a new home possible amid the moors and mountains. Jeffrey 
promised to follow us thither with wife and daughter for three 
days in vacation-time ensuing, to see what kind of a thing we were 
making of it, which of course was great news. Doubtless he, like 
most of my Edinburgh acquaintances, had been strongly dissuasive 
of the step we were taking; but his or other people's arguments 
availed nothing, and I have forgotten them. The step had been 
well meditated, saw itself to bo founded on irrefragable considera- 
tions of health, finance, etc., etc., unknown to by-stauders, and could 
not be forborne or altered. " I will come and see you at any rate," 
said Jeffrey, and dismissed us with various expressions of interest, 
and no doubt with something of real regret. 

Of our history at Craigenputtoch there might a great deal be 
written which might amuse the curious; for it was in fact a very 
singular scene and arena for such a pair as my darling and me, 
with such a life ahead ; and bears some analogy to the settlement 
of Robinson Crusoe in his desert isle, surrounded mostly by the 
wild populations, not wholly helpful or even harmless; and re- 
quiring for its equipment into habitability and convenience infi- 
nite contrivance, patient adjustment, and natural ingenuity in the 
head of Robinson himself. It is a history which I by no means 
intend to write, with such or with any object. To me there is a 
sacredness of interest in it consistent only with silence. It was the 
field of endless nobleness and beautiful talent and virtue in her 
who is now goue ; also of good industry, and many loving and 
blessed thoughts in myself, while living there by her side. Pov- 
erty and mean obstruction had given origin to it, and continued 
to preside over it, but were transformed by human valor of vari- 
ous sorts into a kind of victory and royalty. Something of high 
and great dwelt in it, though nothing could be smaller and lower 
than many of the details. How blessed might poor mortals be in 
the straitest circumstances, if only their wisdom and fidelity to 
Heaven and to one another were adequately great! It looks to me 
now like a kind of humble russet-coated epic, that seven years' set- 
tlement at Craigenputtoch, very poor in this world's goods, but 
not without an intrinsic dignity greater and more important than 
then appeared ; thanks very mainly to her, and her faculties and 
magnanimities, without whom it had not been possible. I incline 
to think it the poor best place that could have been selected for 



the ripening into fixity and composure of anything useful which 
there may have been in me against the years that were coming. 
And it is certain that for living in and thinking in, I have never 
since found in the world a place so favorable. And we were driven 
and pushed into it, as if by necessity, and its beneficent though 
ugly little shocks and pushes, shock after shock, gradually com- 
pelling us thither! "For a divinity doth shape our ends, rough 
hew them how we may." Often in my life have I been brought 
to think of this, as probably every considering person is ; and look- 
ing before and after, have felt, though reluctant enough to believe 
in the importance or significance of so infinitesimally small an 
atom as one's self, that the doctrine of a special providence is in 
some sort natural to man. All piety points that way, all logic 
points the other; one has in one's darkness and limitation a trem- 
bling faith, and can at least with the voices say, " Wir heissen each 
hoffen," if it be the will of the Highest. 

The Jeffreys failed not to appear .at Craigenputtoch ; their big 
carriage climbed our rugged hill roads, lauded the three guests — 
Charlotte ("Sharlie") with pa and ma — and the clever old valet 
maid that waited on them ; stood three days under its glazed sheet- 
ing in our little back court, nothing like a house got ready for it, 
and indeed all the out-houses and appurtenances still in a much 
unfinished state, and only the main house quite ready and habitue 
hie. The visit was pleasant and successful, but I recollect few or 
no particulars. Jeffrey and I rode one day (or perhaps this was 
on another visit ?) round by the flank of Duuscore Craig, the Shil- 
lingland, and Craigenery, and took a view of Loch Gor and the 
black moorlands round us, with the Granite mountains of Gallo- 
way overhanging in the distance; not a beautiful landscape, but 
it answered as well as another. Our party, the head of it espe- 
cially, was chatty and cheery ; but I remember nothing so well as 
the consummate art with which my dear one played the domestic 
field-marshal, and spread out our exiguous resources, without fuss 
or bustle ; to cover everything a coat of hospitality and even ele- 
gance and abundance. I have been in houses ten times, nay, a 
hundred times as rich, where things went not so well. Though 
never bred to this, but brought up in opulent plenty by a mother 
that could bear no partnership in housekeeping, she, findiug it be- 
come necessary, loyally applied herself to it, and soon surpassed in 
it all the women I have ever seen. My noble one, how beautiful 
has our poverty made thee to me ! She was so true and frank 
withal; nothing of the skulking Balderstone in her. One day at 
diuner, I remember, Jeffrey admired the fritters or bits of pancake 
he was eating, and she let him know, not without somo vestige 
of shock to him, that she had made them. " What, you ! twist up 
the frying-pan and catch them in the air?" Even so, my high 
friend, and you may turn it over in your mind! On the fourth or 
third day the Jeffreys went, and " carried off' our little temporary 
paradise," as I sorrowfully expressed it to them, while shutting 
their coach door in our back yard ; to which bit of pathos Jeffrey 
answered by a friendly little suiff of quasi-mockery or laughter 
through the nose, and rolled prosperously away. 

They paid at least one other visit, probably not just next year, 
but the one following. We met them by appointment at Dumfries 
(I think in the intervening year), and passed a night with them in 
the King's Anus there, which I well enough recollect ; huge ill-kept 
" head inn," bed opulent in bugs, waiter a monstrous baggy un- 
wieldy old figure, hebetated, dreary, as if parboiled ; upon whom 
Jeffrey quizzed his daughter at breakfast: "Comes all of eating 
eggs, Sharlie ; poor man as good as owned it to me." After break- 
fast he went across with my wife to visit a certain Mrs. Richardson, 
authoress of some novels, really a superior kind of woman and much 
a lady, who' had been an old flame of his, perhaps twenty-five or 
thirty years before. " These old loves don't do," said Mrs. Jeffrey, 
with easy sarcasm, who was left behiud with me. And according- 
ly there had been some embarrassment I after found, but on both 
sides a gratifying of some good though melancholy feelings. 

This Mrs. Jeffrey was the American Miss Wilkes, whose marriage 
with Jeffrey, or at least his voyage across to marry her, had made 
considerable noise in its time. She was mother of this " Sharlie" 
(who is now the widow Mrs. Empson, a morbidly shy kind of crea- 
ture, who lives withdrawn among her children at Harrogate and 
such places). Jeffrey had no other child. His first wife, a Hunter 
of St. Andrews, had died very soon. This second, the American 
Miss Wilkes, was from Pennsylvania, actual brother's daughter 
of our demagogue "Wilkes." She was sister of the "Commodore 
Wilkes" who boarded the Trent some years ago, and almost involved 
us in war with Yankee-land, during that beautiful Nigger agony 
or " civil war" of theirs.* She was roundish-featured, not pretty 

* Some years after these words were written, Carlyle read " The Harvard Memo- 
rial Biographies." He was greatly impressed by the account of the gallant young 
men whose lives are there described, and said to me, " Perhaps there was more in 
that matter, after all, than I was aware of."— J. A. F. 



LORD JEFFREY. 



47 



but comely, a sincere and hearty kind of woman, with a great deal 
of clear natural insight, often sarcastically turned ; to which a cer- 
tain nervous tic or jerk of the head gave new emphasis or singu- 
larity ; for her talk went roving about in a loose random way, and 
hit down like a flail unexpectedly on this or that, with the jerk for 
(accompaniment, in a really genial fashion. She and I were mutual 
favorites. She, liked my sincerity, as I hers. The daughter Char- 
lotte, had inherited her nervous infirmity, aud indeed I think was 
partly lame of one arm ; for the rest, an inferior specimen to either 
of her parents ; abstruse, suspicious, timid, enthusiastic ; and at 
length, on death of her parents and of her good old jargoning hus- 
band, Empson (a long-winded Edinburgh Reviewer, much an adorer 
of Macaulay, etc.), became quite a morbid, exclusive character, and 
lives withdrawn as above. Perhaps she was already rather jealous 
of us? She spoke very little, wore a half-pouting, half-mocking 
expression, and had the air of a prcttyish spoiled child. 

The '•' old love" business finished, our friends soon rolled away, 
and left us to go home at leisure in our good old gig (value £11), 
which I always look back upon with a kind of veneration, so sound 
and excellent was it, though so unfashionable ; the conquest of 
good Alick, my ever shifty brother, which carried us many a plea- 
sant mile till Craigenputtoch ended. Probably the Jefreys were 
bound for Cumberland, on this occasion, to see Brougham ; of whom, 
as I remember, Mrs. Jeffrey spoke to me with candor, not with en- 
thusiasm, during that short "old love" absence. Next year, it 
must have been, they all came again to Craigenputtoch, and with 
more success than ever. 

One of the nights there, on this occasion, encouraged possibly by 
the presence of poor James Anderson, an ingenuous, simple, young- 
ish man, and our nearest gentleman neighbor, Jeffrey in the draw- 
ing-room was cleverer, brighter, and more amusing thau I ever saw 
him elsewhere. We had got to talk of public speaking, of which 
Jeffrey had plenty to say, and found Anderson and all of us ready 
enough to hear. Before long he fell into mimicking of public 
speakers, men unknown, perhaps imaginary generic specimens ; and 
did it with such a felicity, flowing readiness, ingenuity, and perfec- 
tion of imitation as I never saw equalled, and had not given him 
credit for before. Our cozy little drawing-room, bright-shining, 
hidden in the lowly wilderness, how beautiful it looked to us, be- 
come suddenly as it were a Temple of the Muses ! The little man 
strutted about full of electric fire, with attitudes, with gesticula- 
tions, still more with winged words, often broken-winged, amid our 
admiring laughter; gave us the windy grandiloquent specimen, 
the ponderous stupid, the airy ditto, various specimens, as the talk, 
chiefly his own, spontaneously suggested, of which there was a lit- 
tle preparatory interstice between each two. And the mimicry 
was so complete, you would have said not his mind only, but his 
very body became the specimens, his face filled with the expression 
represented, and his little figure seeming to grow gigantic if the 
personage required it. At length he gave us the abstruse costive 
specimen, which had a meaning and no utterance for it, but went 
about clambering, stumbling, as on a path of loose bowlders, and 
ended in total down-break, amid peals of the heartiest laughter 
from us all. This of the aerial little sprite standing there in fatal 
collapse, with the brightest of eyes sternly gazing into utter noth- 
inguess and dumbness, was one of the most tickling and genially 
ludicrous things I ever saw, and it prettily winded up our little 
drama. I often thought of it afterwards, and of what a part mim- 
icry plays among human gifts. In its lowest phase no talent can 
be lower (for even the Papuans and monkeys have it); but in its 
highest, where i t gives you domicile in the spiritual world of a Shaks- 
peare or a Goethe, there are only some few that are higher. No 
clever man, I suppose, is originally without it. Dickens's essential 
faculty, I often say, is that of a first-rate play-actor. Had he been 
born twenty or forty years soouer, we should most probably have 
had a second aud greater Mathews, Incledon, or the like, and no 
writing Dickens. 

It was probably next morning after this (one of these mornings 
it certainly was) that we received, i.e., Jeffrey did (I think through 
my brother John, then vaguely trying for "medical practice" in 
London, and present on the scene referred to), a sternly brief letter 
from poor Hazlitt, to the effect and almost in the words, " Dear sir, 
I am dying; can vou send me £10, and so consummate your many 
kindnesses to me'? W. Hazlitt." This was for Jeffrey ; my bro- 
thcr's letter to me, inclosing it, would of course elucidate the situ- 
ation. Jeffrey, with true sympathy, at once wrote a check for £50, 
and poor Hazlitt died in peace, from duns at least. He seemed to 
have no old friends about, to have been left in his poor lodging to 
the humanity of medical people and transient recent acquaint- 
ances, and to have died in a grim stoical humor, like a worn-out 
soldier in hospital. The new doctor people reckoned that a certain 
Dr. Darling, the first called in, had fatally mistreated him. Hazlitt 
had just finished his toilsome, unrewarded (not quite worthless) 



"Life of Napoleon," which at least recorded his own loyal ad- 
miration and quasi-adoration of that questionable person ; after 
which he felt excessively worn and low, and was by unlucky Dr. 
Darling recommended, not to port-wine, brown soup, and the like 
generous regimen, but to a course of purgatives aud blue-pill, which 
i rrecove'rabiy wasted his last remnants of strength, and brought 
him to his end in this sad way. Poor Hazlitt! he. was never ad- 
mirable to me ; but I had my estimation of him, my pity for him ; 
a man recognizably of fine natural talents and aspirations, but of 
no sound culture whatever, and flung into the roaring caldron of 
stupid, prurient, anarchic London, there to try if he could find some 
culture for himself. 

This was Jeffrey's last visit to Craigenputtoch. I forget when 
it was (probably next autumn late) that we made our fortnight's 
visit to Craigcrook and him. That was a shining sort of affair, but 
did not in effect accomplish much for any of us. Perhaps, for one 
thing, we staid too long ; Jeffrey was beginning to be seriously in- 
commoded in health, had bad sleep, cared not how late he sat, and 
we had now more than ever a series of sharp fencing bouts, night 
after night, which could decide nothing for either of us, except our 
radical incompatibility in respect of world theory, and the incurable 
divergence of our opinions on the most important matters. " You 
are so dreadfully in earnest!" said he to me once or oftener. Bo- 
sides, I own now I was deficient in reverence to him, and had not 
then, nor, alas ! have ever acquired in my solitary and mostly silent 
existence, the art of gently saying strong things, or of insinuating 
my dissent, instead of uttering it right out at the risk of offense or 
otherwise. At bottom I did not find his the highest kind of in- 
sight in regard to any province whatever. In literature he had a 
respectable range of reading, but discovered little serious study ; 
and had no views which I could adopt in preference [to my own]. 
On all subjects I had to refuse him the title of deep, and secretly 
to acquiesce in much that the new opposition party (Wilson, Lock- 
hart, etc., who had broken out so outrageously in " Blackwood" for 
the last ten years) were alleging against the old excessive Edin- 
burgh hero-worship — an unpleasant fact, which probably was not 
quite hidden to so keen a pair of eyes. One thing struck me in sad 
elucidation of his forensic glories. I found that essentially he was 
always as if speaking to a jury ; that the thing of which he could 
not convince fifteen clear-headed men was to him a nothing, good 
only to be flung over the lists, and left lying without notice farther. 
This seemed to me a very sad result of law ! For " the highest can- 
not be spoken of in words," as Goethe truly says, as in fact all truly 
deep men say or know. I urged this on his consideration now and 
then, but without the least acceptance. These " stormy sittings," 
as Mrs. Jeffrey laughingly called them, did not improve our relation 
to one another. But these were the last we had of that nature. 
In other respects Edinburgh had been barren ; effulgences of 
" Edinburgh society," big dinners, parties, we in due measure had; 
but nothing there was very interesting either to her or to me, and 
all of it passed away as an obliging pageant merely. Well do I 
remember our return to Craigenputtoch, after night-fall, amid the 
clammy yellow leaves and desolate rains, with the clink of Alick's 
stithy alone audible of human, and have marked it elsewhere. 

A great deal of correspondence there still was, aud all along had 
been ; many Jeffrey letters to me and many to her, which were all 
cheerfully answered. I know not what has become of all these 
papers ;* by me they never were destroyed, though indeed neither 
hers nor mine were ever of much importance except for the pass- 
ing moment. I ought to add that Jeffrey, about this time (next 
summer I should think), generously offered to confer on me an 
annuity of £100, which annual sum, had it fallen on me from the 
clouds, would have been of very high convenience at that time, but 
which I could not for a moment have dreamt of accepting as gift 
or subventionary help from any fellow-mortal. It was at once in 
my handsomest, gratefullest, but brief and conclusive way [de- 
clined] from Jeffrey: "Republican equality the silently fixed law 
of human society at present ; each man to live on his own resources, 
and have an equality of economies with every other man ; danger- 
ous and not possible, except through cowardice or folly, to depart 
from said clear rule, till perhaps a better era rise on us again." 
Jeffrey returned to the charge twice over in handsome enough 
sort ; but my new answer was in briefest words a repetition of the 
former, and the second time I answered nothing at all, but stood 
by other topics; upon which the matter dropped altogether. It 
was not mere pride of mine that frustrated this generous resolu- 
tion, but sober calculation as well, and correct weighing of the re- 
sults probable in so dangerous a copartnery as that proposed. In 
no condition well conceivable to me could such a proposal have 
been accepted, aud though I could not doubt but Jeffrey had in- 
tended an act of real generosity, for which I was and am grateful, 



All preserved, and in my possession.— Editob. 



48 



REMINISCENCES. 



perhaps there was something in the manner of it that savored of 
consciousness and of screwing one's self up to tho point; less of 
godlike pity for a fine fellow and his struggles, than of human de- 
termination to do a fine action of one's own, which might add to 
the promptitude of my refusal. He had abundance of money, but 
he was not of that opulence which could render such an " annuity," 
in case I should accept it, totally insensible to him ; I therefore en- 
deavored all the more to be thankful ; and if the heart would not 
quite do (as was probably the case), forced the intellect to take 
part, which it does at this day. Jeffrey's beneficence was undoubt- 
ed, and his gifts to poor people in distress were a known feature 
of his way of life. I once, some mouths after this, borrowed £100 
from him, my pitiful bits of "periodical literature" incomings hav- 
ing gone awry (as they were too liable to do), but was able, I still 
remember with what satisfaction, to repay punctually within a few 
weeks ; and this was all of pecuniary chivalry we two ever had be- 
tween us. 

Probably he was rather cooling in his feelings towards me, if 
they ever had been very warm, so obstinate and rugged had he 
found me, "so dreadfully in earnest!" And now the time of tho 
Reform Bill was coming on; Jetfrey and high Whigs getting 
summoned into an official ' career; and a scene opening which 
(in effect), instead of irradiating with new glory and value, 
completely clouded the remaining years of Jeffrey's life. His 
health had for some years been getting weaker, and proved now 
unequal to his new honors ; that was the fatal circumstance which 
rendered all the others irredeemable. He was not what you could 
call ambitious, rather the reverse of that, though he relished pub- 
lic honors, especially if they could be interpreted to signify public 
love. I remember his great pleasure in having been elected Dean 
of Faculty, perhaps a year or so before this very thing of Reform 
agitation, and my surprise at the real delight he showed in this 
proof of general regard from his fellow-advocates. But now, am- 
bitious or not, he found the career flung open, all barriers thrown 
down, and was forced to enter, all the world at his back crushing 
him in. 

He was, naturally, appointed Lord Advocate (political president 
of Scotland), had to get shoved into Parliament — some vacancy 
created for him by the great Whigs—" Malton, in Yorkshire," the 
place, and was whirled away to London and public life ; age now 
about fifty-six, and health bad. I remember in his correspond- 
ence considerable misgivings and gloomy forecastings about all 
this, which in my inexperience and the general exultation then 
prevalent I had treated with far less regard than they merited. 
He found them too true ; and what I, as a by-stander, could not 
quite see till long after, that his worst expectations were realized. 
The exciting, agitated scene abroad and at home, the unwhole- 
some hours, bad air, noisy hubbub of St. Stephen's, and at home 
the incessant press of crowds, and of business mostly new to him, 
rendered his life completely miserable, and gradually broke down 
his health altogether. He had some momentary glows of exulta- 
tion, and dashed off triumphant bits of letters to my wife, which I 
remember we both of us thought somewhat juvenile and idyllic (es- 
pecially one written in the House of Commons library, just after 
his "great speech," and "with the cheers of that House still ring- 
ing in my ears"), and which neither of us pitied withal to the due 
degree. For there was in the heart of all of them — even of that 
" great speech" one — a deep misery traceable ; a feeling how blessed 
the old peace and rest would be, and that peace and rest were now 
fled far away ! We laughed considerably at this huge hurly-burly 
comparable in certain features to a huge Sorcerer's Sabbath, pros- 
perously dancing itself out in the distance; and little knew how 
lucky we were, instead of unlucky (as perhaps was sometimes one's 
idea in perverse moments), to have no concern with it except as 
spectators in the shilling gallery or the two-shilling! 

About the middle of August, as elsewhere marked, I set off for 
London with "Sartor Resartus" in my pocket. I found Jeffrey 
much preoccupied and bothered, but willing to assist me with Book- 
seller Murray and the like, and studious to bo cheerful. He lived 
in Jermyn Street, wife and daughter with him, in lodgings at £11 
a week, in melancholy contrast to the beautiful tenements and 
perfect equipments they had left in the north. Ou the ground- 
floor, in a room of fair size, was a kind of secretary, a blear-eyed, 
tacit Scotch figure, standing or sitting at a desk with many papers. 
This room seemed also to be anteroom or waiting-room, into which 
I was once or twice shown if important company was up stairs. 
The secretary never spoke ; hardly even answered if spoken to, ex- 
cept by an ambiguous smile or sardonic grin. He seemed a shrewd 
enough fellow, and to stick faithfully by his own trade. Up stairs 
on the first floor were the apartments of the family ; Lord Advo- 
cate's bedroom the back portion of the sitting-room, shut off from" 
it merely by a folding-door. If I called in the morning, in quest, 
perhaps, of letters ( though' I^jion't recollect much troubling him iu 



that way), I would find the family still at breakfast, ten a.m. oi 
later; and have seen poor Jeffrey emerge in flowered dressing- 
gown, with a most boiled and suffering expression of face, like one 
who had slept miserably, and now awoke mainly to paltry misery 
and bother ; poor official man ! " I am made a mere post-office of" 
I heard him once grumble, after tearing up several packets, not 
one of which was internally for himself. 

Later in the day you were apt to find certain Scotch people 
dangling about, on business or otherwise, Rutherford, the advo- 
cate, a frequeut figure— I never asked or guessed on what errand ■ 
he, florid, fat, and joyous, his old chieftain very lean and dreary! 
On the whole, I saw little of the latter in those first weeks, and 
might have recognized more than I did how to me he strove al- 
ways to be cheerful and obliging, though himself so heavy laden 
and internally wretched. One day he did my brother John, for 
my sake (or perhaps for Tiers still more), an easy service which 
proved very important. A Dr. Baron, of Gloucester, had called one 
day, and incidentaUy noticed that " the Lady Clare" (a great though 
most unfortunate and at length professedly valetudinary lady) 
"wanted a travelling physician, being bound forthwith to Rome." 
Jeffrey, the same day, on my calling, asked, "Wouldn't it suit your 
brother?" and in a day or two the thing was completely settled, 
and John, to his and our great satisfaction (I still remember him 
on the coach-box in Regent Circus), under way into his new Ro- 
man locality, and what proved his new career. My darling had 
arrived before this last step of the process, and was much obliged 
by what her little "Duke" had done. Duke was the name we 
called him by ; for a foolish reason connected with one of Macau- 
lay's swaggering articles iu the "Edinburgh Review," and an in- 
solent response to it iu " Biackwood." " Horsewhipped by a duke," 
had said Macaulay of his victim in the article. "Duke! quotha!" 
answered "Blackwood"; "such a set of dukes!" and hinted that 
"Duke Macaulay" and "the Duke of Craigcrook" were extremely 
unheraldie dignitaries, both of them. 

By my Jeannie too had come for John and me the last note we 
ever had from our father. It was full of the profoundest sorrow 
(now that I recall it), " drawing nigh to the gates of death," which 
none of us regarded as other than common dispiritment, and the 
weak chagrin of old age. Ah me, how blind, how indifferent are 
all of us to sorrows that lie remote from us, and in a sphere not 
ours ! In vain did our brave old father, sinking iu the black gulfs 
of eternity, seek even to convince us that he was sinking. Aloue, 
left alone, with only a tremulous and fitful though eternal star of 
hope, he had to front that adventure for himself — with an awe- 
struck imagination of it such as few or none of men now know. 
More valiant soul I have never seen ; nor one to whom death was 
more unspeakably "the King of Terrors." Death, aud the Judg- 
ment Bar of the Almighty following it, may well be terrible to the 
bravest. Death with nothing of that kind following it, one readily 
enough finds cases where that is insignificant to very mean and 
silly natures. Within three months my father was suddenly gone. 
I might have noticed something of what the old Scotch people used 
to call fey in his last parting with me (though I did not then so 
read it, nor do superstitiously now, but only understand it and the 
superstition): it is visible in Frederick Wilhelm's Ultimatum too. 
But nothing of all that belongs to this place! 

My Jeannie had brought us silhouettes of all the faces she had 
found at Scotsbrig; one of them (and I find they are all still at 
Chelsea) is the only outward shadow of my father's face now left 
me.* Thanks to her for this also, the dear and ever helpful one ! 

After her arrival, and our settlement in the Miles's lodgings 
(Ampton Street, Gray's Inn Lane — a place I will go to see if I re- 
turn), Jeffrey's appearances were more frequent and satisfactory. 
Very often in the afternoon he came to call, for her sake mainly, I 
believe, though mostly I was there too ; I perceive now his little 
visits to that unfashionable place were probably the golden item 
of his bad and troublous day ; poor official man, begirt with empty 
botheration! I heard gradually that he was not reckoned "suc- 
cessful" in public life ; that as Lord Advocate the Scotch, with 
their multifarious business, found him irritable, impatient (which 
I don't wonder at) ; that his " great speech" with " the cheers of 
that House," etc., etc., had been a Parliamentary failure, rather nn- 
adapted to the place, aud what was itself very mortifying, that tho 
reporters had complained of his " Scotch accent" to excuse them- 
selves for various omissions they had made! His accent was, in- 
deed, singular, but it was by no means Scotch : at his first going 
to Oxford (where he did not stay long) he had peremptorily crush- 
ed down his Scotch (which he privately had in store in excellent 
condition to the very end of his life, producible with highly ludi- 
crous effect on occasion), aud adopted instead a strange, swift, 
sharp-sounding, fitful modulation, part of it pungent, quasi-latrant, 



Engraved and prefixed to Vol. I.— Editoe. 



LORD JEFFREY. 



49 



other parts of it cooing, bantery, lovingly quizzical, which no 
charms of his fine ringing voice (metallic tenor of sweet tone), and 
of his vivacious rapid looks, and pretty little attitudes and gest- 
ures, could altogether reconcile you to, hut in which he persisted 
through good report and bad. Old Braxey (Macqueen, Lord Brax- 
field), a sad old cynic, on whom Jeffrey used to set me laughing 
ofteu enough, was commonly reported to have said, on hearing 
Jeffrey again after that Oxford sojourn, "The laddie has clean tint 
his Scotch, and found nae English !" which was an exaggerative 
reading of the fact, his vowels aud syllables being elaborately Eng- 
lish (or English aud more, e. g. " heppy," " my lud," etc., etc.), while 
the tune which he sang them to was all his own. 

There was not much of interest in what the Lord Advocate 
brought to us in Ampton Street ; but there was something friendly 
aud home-like in his manners there ; and a kind of interest aud 
sympathy in the extra-official fact of his seeking temporary shelter 
in that obscure retreat. How he found his way thither I know 
not (perhaps in a cab, if quite lost in his azimuth) ; but I have 
more than once led him back through Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
launched him safe in Long Acre, with nothing but Leicester Square 
and Piccadilly ahead ; and he never once could find his way home ; 
wandered about, and would discover at last that he had got into 
Lincoln's Inn Fields again. He used to tell us sometimes of minis- 
terial things, not often, nor ever to the kindling of any admiration 
in either of us; how Lord Althorp would bluffly say, etc., etc. 
(some very dull piece of bluff candor); more sparingly what the 
aspects and likelihoods were, in which my too Radical humor but 
little sympathized. He was often unwell, hidden for a week at 
Wimbledou Park (Lord Althorp's, and then a beautiful secluded 
place), for qniet and rural air. We seldom called at Jermyn Street ; 
but did once in a damp clammy evening, which I still fondly recol- 
lect ; ah me ! Another ditto evening I recollect being there my- 
self. We were sitting in homely ease by the fire, ourselves four, I 
the only visitor, when the house-bell rang, and somethiug that 
souuded like "Mr. Fisher" (Wishaw it should have been) was an- 
nounced as waiting down stairs ; the emotion about whom, on Mrs. 
Jeffrey's part, and her agitated industry in sorting the apartment 
in the few seconds still available, struck me somewhat all the more 
when " Mr. Fisher" himself waddled in, a puffy, thickset, vulgar 
little dump of an old man, whose manners aud talk (talk was of 
cholera then, threatened as imminent or almost come) struck me as 
very cool, but far enough from admirable. By the first good 
chance I took myself away ; learned by-and-by that this had been 
a " Mr. Wishaw," whose name I had sometimes heard of (in connec- 
tion with Muugo Park's Travels or the like) ; aud long afterwards, 
on asking old Sterling who or what this Wishaw specially was, 
" He's a damned old humbug ; dines at Holland House," answered 
Sterling, readily. Nothing real in him but the stomach and the 
effrontery to fill it, according to his version : which was all the his- 
tory I ever had of the poor man, whom I never heard of more, nor 
saw, except that one time. 

We were at first rather surprised that Jeffrey did not introduce 
me to some of his grand literary figures, or try in some way to be 
of help to one for whom he evidently had a value. The explana- 
tion I think partly was that I myself expressed no trace of aspira- 
tion that way ; that his grand literary or other figures were clearly 
by uo means so adorable to the rustic, hopelessly Germauized soul 
as an introducer of one might have wished ; aud chiefly that in 
fact Jeffrey did not consort with literary or other graud people, 
but only with Wishaws and bores in this bad time ; that it was 
practically the very worst of times for him, and that he was him- 
self so heartily miserable as to think me and his other fellow-crea- 
tures happy in comparison, and to have no care left to bestow on 
us. I never doubted his real wish to help me should an opportu- 
nity offer, and while it did not, we had no want of him, but plenty 
of society, of resources, outlooks, and interests otherwise. Truly 
one might have pitied him this his influx of unexpected dignities, 
as I hope I in silence loyally sometimes did. So beautiful and ra- 
diant a little soul, plunged ou the sudden into such a mother of 
(gilt) dead dogs! But it is often so; and many an envied man 
fares like that mythic Irishman who had resolved on treating him- 
self to a Sedan-chair, and on whom the mischievous chairmen, giv- 
ing one another the wink, left the bottom open and ran away with 
him, to the sorrow of his poor shins. "And that's your Sedan- 
chairs!" said the Irish gentleman, paying his shilling, and satisfied 
to finish the experiment. 

In March or the end of February I set to writing "Johnson"; 
and having found a steady tabic (what fettling in that poor room, 
and how kiud and beautiful she was to me !), I wrote it by her side 
for most part, pushing my way through the mud elements, with a 
certain glow of victory now and then. This finished, this aud 
other objects and arrangements (Jeffrey much in abeyance, to judge 
by my memory now so blank), we made our adieus (Irving, Bad- 



ams, Mill, Leigh Hunt, who was a new acquaintance, but an inter- 
esting), and by Birmingham, Liverpool, Scotsbrig, with incidents 
all fresh in mind to me just now, arrived safely home, well pleased 
with our Loudon sojourn, and feeliug our poor life to a certain de- 
gree made richer by it. Ah me ! " so strange, so sad, the days that 
are no more !" 

Jeffrey's correspondence continued brisk as ever, but it was now 
chiefly to her address ; and I regarded it little, feeling, as she too 
did, that it greatly wanted practicality, and amounted mainly to 
a flourish of fine words, and the pleasant expenditure now and 
then of an idle hour in intervals of worry. My time, with little 
"Goethe" papers and excerptings (Das Mahrchen, etc., etc.), print- 
ing of" Sartor" piecemeal in " Fraser," and London correspondiugs, 
went more prosperously than heretofore. Had there been good 
servants procurable, as there were not, one might almost have called 
it a happy time, this at Craigenputtoch, and it might have lasted 
longer; but permanent we both silently felt it could not be, nor 
even very lasting, as matters stood. I think it must have been the 
latter part of next year, 1833, when Jeffrey's correspondence with 
me sputtered out into something of sudden life again ; and some- 
thing so unlucky that it proved to be essentially death instead! 
The case was this : we heard copiously in the newspapers that the 
Edinburgh people, in a meritorious scientific spirit, were about re- 
modelling their old Astronomical Observatory ; and at length that 
they had brought it to the proper pitch of real equipment, and that 
nothing now was wanting but a fit observer to make it scientific- 
ally useful and notable. I had hardly even looked through a tel- 
escope, but I had good strength in mathematics, in astronomy, and 
did not doubt but I could soon be at home in such an enterprise 
if I fairly entered on it. My old enthusiasms, I felt too, were not 
dead, though so long asleep. We were eagerly desirous of some 
humblest anchorage, in the finance way, among our fellow-crea- 
tures ; my heart's desire, for many years past and coming, was al- 
ways to find any honest employment by which one might regularly 
gain one's daily bread. Often long after this (while hopelessly 
writing the " French Revolution," for example, hopelessly of money 
or any other success from it), I thought my case so tragically hard : 
"could learn to do honestly so many things, nearly all the things I 
have ever seen done, from the making of shoes up to the engineer- 
ing of canals, architecture of mansions as palatial as you liked, and 
perhaps to still higher thiugs of the physical or spiritual kind ; 
would moreover toil so loyally to do my task right, not wrong, and 
am forbidden to try any of them ; see the practical world closed 
against me as with brazen doors, and must stand here aud perish 
idle!" 

In a word, I had got into considerable spirits about that astro- 
nomical employment, fancied myself in the silent midnight inter- 
rogating the eternal stars, etc., with something of real geniality — 
in addition to financial considerations ; and, after a few days, in 
the light friendly tone, with modesty and brevity, applying to 
my Lord Advocate for his countenance as the first or preliminary 
step of procedure, or perhaps it was virtually in his own appoint- 
ment — or perhaps, again (for I quite forget), I wrote rather as 
inquiring what he would think of me in reference to it ? The 
poor bit of letter still seems to me unexceptionable, and the an- 
swer was prompt aud surprising! Almost or quite by return of 
post I got not a fiat refusal only, but an angry, vehement, almost 
shrill-sounding aud scoldiug one, as if it had been a crime and an 
insolence in the like of me to think of such a thing. Thing was 
intended, as I soon found, for his old Jermyn Street secretary (my 
taciturn friend with the blear eyes) ; and it was indeed a plain in- 
convenience that the like of me should apply for it, but not a crime 
or an insolence by any means. "The like of me ?" thought I, aud 
my provocation quickly subsided into contempt. For I had in 
Edinburgh a kind of mathematical reputation withal, and could 
have expected votes far stronger than Jeffrey's on that subject. 
But I perceived the thing to be settled, believed withal that the 
poor secretary, though blear-eyed when I last saw him, would do 
well enough, as in effect I understood he did ; that his master 
might have reasons of his own for wishing a provisiouary settle- 
ment to the poor man ; and that, in short, I was an outsider, and 
had nothing to say to all that. By the first post I accordingly 
answered, in the old light style, thanking briefly for at least the 
swift dispatch, affirming the maxim bis dat qui cito dat even in case 
of refusal, and good-humoredly enough leaving the matter to rest 
on its own basis. Jeffrey returned to it, evidently somewhat in 
repentant mood (his toue had really been splenetic, sputtery, and 
improper, poor worried man) ; but I took no notice, and only mark- 
ed for my own private behoof what exiguous resource of practical 
help for me lay in that quarter, aud how the economical and useful, 
there as elsewhere, would always override the sentimental aud or- 
namental. 

I had internally no kind of anger against my would-be generous 



50 



REMINISCENCES. 



friend. Had not he after all a kind of gratuitous regard for me ; 
perhaps as much as I for him ' Nor was there a diminution of 
respect, perhaps only a clearer view how little respect there had 
beeu ! My own poor task was abundantly serious, my posture in 
it solitary ; and I felt that silence would be fittest. Then and sub- 
sequently I exchanged one or two little notes of business with Jef- 
frey, but this of late autumn, 1833, was the last of our sentimental 
passages, and may be said to have closed what of correspondence 
■we had in the friendly or effusive strain. For several years more 
he continued corresponding with my wife, and had, I think, to the 
end a kind of lurking regard to us, willing to show itself; but our 
own struggle with the world was now become stern and grim, not 
fitly to be interrupted by these theoretic flourishes of epistolary 
trumpeting: and (toward the finale of "French Revolution " if I 
recollect) my dearest also gave him up, and nearly altogether 
ceased corresponding. 

What a finger of Providence once more was this of the Edin- 
burgh Observatory; to which, had Jeffrey assented, I should cer- 
tainly have gone rejoicing. These things really strike one's heart. 
The good Lord Advocate, who really was pitiable and miserably 
ill off in his eminent position, showed visible embarrassment at 
sight of me (in 1834), come to settle in London without further- 
ance asked or given ; and, indeed, on other occasions, seemed to 
recollect the Astronomical catastrophe in a way which touched 
me, and was of generous origin or indication. He was quitting 
his Lord Advocateship, and returning home to old courses and 
habits, a solidly wise resolution. He always assiduously called 
on us in his subsequent visits to London ; and we had our kind 
thoughts, our pleasant reminiscences, and loyal pities of the ouce 
brilliant man and friend; but he was now practically become lit- 
tle or nothing to us, and had withdrawn as it were to the sphere 
ot the past. I have chanced to meet him in a London party • 
found him curiously exotic. I used punctually to call if passing 
through Edinburgh; some recollection I have of an evening per° 
haps a night, at Craigcrook, pleasantly hospitable, with Empson 
(son-in-law) there, and talk about Dickens, etc. Jeffrey was now 
a judge, and giving great satisfaction in that office; "seldom a 
better judge," said everybody. His health was weak, and a-e ad- 
vancing, but he had escaped his old London miseries, like a sailor 
from shipwreck, and might now be accounted a lucky man again. 
The last time I saw him was on my return from Glen Truin in Iu- 
verness-shire or Perthshire, and my Ashburton visit there (in 1849 
or '50). He was then at least for the time withdrawn from judg- 
ing, and was reported very weak in health. His wife and he, saun- 
tering for a little exercise on the shore at Newhaven. had stumbled 
over some cable, and both of them fallen and hurt themselves his 
Wife so ill that I did not see her at all. Jeffrey I did see after 
some delay, and we talked and strolled slowly some hours togeth- 
er ; but there was no longer stay possible, such the evident? dis- 
tress and embarrassment Craigcrook was in. I had got breakfast 
on very kind terms from Mrs. Empson, with husband and three or 
lour children (of strange Edinburgh type). Jeffrey himself on 
coming down was very kind to me, but sadly weak; much worn 
away in body, and in mind more thin and sensitive than ever. He 
talked a good deal, distantly alluding once to our changed courses 
mi a friendly (not a very dexterous way), was throughout friendly 
good, but tremulous, thin, almost affecting, in contrast with oid 
t.mes ; grown Lunar now, not Solar any more ! He took me bag- 
gage and all, in his carriage to the railway station, Mrs. Empson 
escorting, and there said farewell, for the last time as it proved. 
Going to the Grange some three or four mouths after this, I acci- 
dentally heard from some newspaper or miscellaneous fellow-pas- 
senger, as the news of the morning, that Lord Jeffrey in Edinburgh 
v, as dead. Dull and heavy, somewhere in the Basingstoke locali- 
ties the tidings fell on me, awakening frozen memories not a few. 
He had died, I afterward heard, with great constancy and firmness ; 
lilted his finger as if in cheerful encouragement amid the lament- 
ing loved ones, and silently passed away. After that autumn 
morning at Craigcrook I have never seen one of those friendly 
smUs not even the place itself again. A few months afterward 
Mrs. Jeffrey followed her husband ; in a year or two, at Haileybury 
(some East Iudia college where he had an office or presidency) 
Empson died, " correcting proof-sheets of the ' Edinburgh Review'' " 
as appears, " while waiting daily for death"— a most ouiet editorial 



procedure, which I have often thought of! Craigcrook was sold ; 
Mrs. Empson with her children vanished mournfully iuto the dumb 
distance; and all was over there, and a life scene once so bright 
for us and others had ended, and was gone like a dream 
, . J ^T. y , was P erha P a at t"e height of his reputation about 1816- 
his Edinburgh Review" a kind of Delphic oracle and voice of the 
inspired for great majorities of what is called the « intelligent pub- 
lic, ami himself regarded universally as a man of consummate 
penetration and tine facile princeps in the department he had chosen 
to cultivate and practice. In the half-century that has followed 
what a change in all this! the fine gold become dim to such a de- 
gree, and the Tnsmegistus hardly now regarded as a Means by any 
J one, or by the generality remembered at all. He may 'be said to 
| have begun the rash, reckless style of criticising everything in hea- 
ven and earth by appeal to Moliere's maid; " Do you like it f" " Don't 
you like it ?" a style which in hands more and more inferior to that 
sound-hearted old lady and him, has since grown gradually to such 
immeasureable length among us; and he himself is one of the first 
that sutlers by it. If praise and blame are to be perfected, not in 
the mouth of Moliere's maid only, but in that of mischievous pre- 
cocious babes and sucklings, you will arrive at singular judgments 
by degrees! Jeffrey was by no means the supreme in criticism or 
in anything else; but it is certain there has no critic appeared 
among us since who was worth naming beside him ; and his influ- 
ence for good and for evil in literature and otherwise has been 
very great. Democracy, the gradual uprise and rule in all things 
ot roaring million-headed unreflecting, darkly suffering, darkly sin- 
ning Demos," come to call its old superiors to account at its mad- 
dest of tribunals; nothing in my time has so forwarded all this as 
Jeffrey and his once famous "Edinburgh Review." 

He was not deep euough, pious or reverent enough, to have been 
great in literature; but he was a man iutrinsically of veracity 
said nothing without meaning it to some considerable degree had 
the quickest perceptious, excellent practical discernment of what 
lay before him; was in earuest, too, though not "dreadfully in 
earnest' ; in short, was well fitted to set forth that " Edinburgh Re- 
view (at the dull opening of our now so tumultuous century and 
become coryphaeus of his generation in the waste, wide-spreading, 
and incalculable course appointed it among the centuries. I used 
to find in him a finer talent than any he has evidenced in writing 
This was chiefly when he got to speak Scotch, and gave me anec- 
dotes of old Scotch Braxtields and vernacular (often enough but 
not always cynical) curiosities of that type, which he did with a 
greatness of gusto quite peculiar to the topic, with a fine and deep 
sense of humor, of real comic mirth, much beyoud what was notice- 
able in him otherwise; not to speak of the perfection of the mim- 
icry, which itself was something. I used to think to myself 
Here is a man whom they have kneaded into the shape of an 
Edinburgh reviewer, and clothed the soul of in Whig formulas and 
blue and yellow; but he might have beeu a beautiful Goldoni too 
or something better in that kind, and have given us comedies and 
aerial pictures true and poetic of human life in a far other way" 
There was something of Voltaire in him, something even in bodily 
features; those bright-beamiug, swift, and piercing hazel eyes, 
with their accompaniment of rapid keen expression in the other 
lineaments ot face, resembled one's notion of Voltaire ; and in the 
voice, too, there was a fine half-plangent kind of metallic Tin-in- 
tone which used to remind me of what I fancied Voltaire's voice" 
might have been : " voix sombre et majestueuse," Du veruet calls it. 
the culture and respective natal scenery of the two men had been 
very different ; nor was their magnitude of faculty anything like the 
same, had their respective kinds of it been much more identical 
than they were. You could not define Jeffrey to have been more 
than a potential Voltaire; say "Scotch Voltaire"; with about as 
much reason (which was not very much) as they used in Edin- 
burgh to call old Playfair the " Scotch DAIembert." Our Voltaire 
too, whatever else might be said of him, was at least worth a large 
multiple of our D'Alembert. A beautiful little man the former of 
these, and a bright island to me and to mine in the sea of things 
of whom it is now again mournful and painful to take farewell. 

[Finished at Mentone, this Saturday, January 19, 1867; day 
bright as June (while all from London to Avignon seems to be 
choked under snow and frost) ; other conditions, especially the in- 
ternal, not good, but baddish or bad.] 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



51 



JANE WELSH CARL YLE. 



" In the ancient county town of Haddington, July 14, 1801, there 
was horn to a lately wedded pair, not natives of the place, hut 
already reckoned among the hest class of people there, a little 
daughter, whom they named Jane Baillie Welsh, aud whose sub- 
sequent and final name (her own common signature for many 
years) was Jane Welsh Carlyle, aud now so stands, now that she is 
mine in death only, on her aud her father's tombstone in the Ab- 
bey Kirk of that town. July 14, 1801 ; I was then in my sixth 
year, far away in every sense, now near and infinitely concerned, 
trying doubtfully after some three years' sad cuuetation, if there 
is anything that I can profitably put on record of her altogether 
bright, beneficent, and modest little life, and her, as my final task 
in this world." 

These are the words in which Mr. Carlyle commenced an in- 
tended sketch of his wife's history, three years after she had been 
taken from him; but finding the effort too distressing, he passed 
over her own letters, with notes aud recollections which he had 
written down immediately after her death, directing me, as I have 
already stated,* either to destroy them, or arrange and publish 
them, a:i I might think good. I told him afterwards that before 
I could write any biography either of Mrs. Carlyle or himself, I 
thought that these notes ought to be printed in the shape in 
which he had left them, being adjusted merely into some kind of 
order. He still left me to my own discretion ; on myself, there- 
fore, tho responsibility rests entirely for their publication. The 
latter part of the narrative flows on consecutively ; the beginning 
is irregular from the conditions under which Mr. Carlyle was writ- 
ing. He had requested Miss Geraldine Jewsbury, who had been 
his wife's most intimate friend, to tell him any biographical anec- 
dotes which she could remember to have heard from Mrs. Carlyle's 
lips. On these anecdotes, when Miss Jewsbury gave him as much 
as she was able to give, Mr. Carlyle made his own observations, 
but he left them undigested, still for the most part remaining in 
Miss Jewsbury's words ; and in the same words I think it best 
that they shall appear here, as material which may be used here- 
after in some record more completely organized, but for the pres- 
ent serving to make intelligible what Mr. Carlyle has to say about 
them. 

IN MEMORIAM JANE WELSH CARLYLE.+ 

Ob. April 21, 1866. 

She told me that once, when she was a very little girl, there was going 
to be a dinner party at home, and she was left alone with some tempting 
custards, ranged in their glasses upon a stand. She stood looking at them, 
and the thought, " What would be the consequence if I should eat one of 
thorn ?" came into her mind. A whimsical sense of the dismay it would 
cause took hold of her ; she thought of it again, and scarcely knowing 
what she was about, she put forth her hand, and — took a little from the 
top of each ! She was discovered ; the sentence upon her was to eat all 
the remaining custards, and to hear the company told the reason why there 
were none for them ! The poor child hated custards for a long time aft- 
erwards. 

THE BUBBLY JOCK. 

On her road to school, when a very small child, she had to pass a gate 
where a horrid turkey-cock was generally standing. He always ran up to 
her, gobbling, and looking very hideous and alarming. It frightened her at 
first a good deal, and she dreaded having to pass the place ; but after a 
little time she hated the thought of living in fear. The next time she pass- 
ed the gate, several laborers and boys were near, who seemed to enjoy the 
thought of the turkey running at her. She gathered herself together, and 
made up her mind. The turkey ran at her as usual, gobbling and swelling ; 
she suddenly darted at him, and seized him by the throat, and swung him 
round. The men clapped their hands, and shouted, " Well done, little 
Jeannie Welsh !" and the Bubbly Jock never molested her again. 

LEARNING LATIN. 
She was anxious to learn lessons like a boy ; and, when a very little 
thing, she asked her father to let her " learn Latin like a boy." Her mo- 
ther did not wish her to learn so much ; her father always "tried to push 
her forward ; there was a division of opinion on the subject. Jeannie 
went to one of the town scholars in Haddington, and made him teach her 
a noun of the first declension (" Penna, a pen," I think it was). Armed 
with this, she watched her opportunity ; instead of going to bed, she crept 
under the table, and was concealed by the cover. In a pause of conversa- 
tion, a little voice was heard, " Penna, a pen ; penna, of a pen," etc., and as 
there was a pause of surprise, she crept out, and went up to her father, say- 
ing, " I want to learn Latin ; please let me be a boy." Of course she had 
her own way in the matter. 

* See Preface. t Described by Mr. Carlyle as Geraldine'a Mythic Jottiaga. 



SCHOOL AT HADDINGTON. 

Boys and girls went to the same school ; they were in separate rooms, 
except for Arithmetic and Algebra. Jeannie was the best of the girls at Al- 
gebra. Of course she had many devoted slaves among the boys ; one of 
them especially taught her, and helped her all he knew ; but he w'as quite 
a poor boy, whilst Jeanrlft was one of the gentry of the place ; but she felt 
no difficulty, and they were great friends. She was fond of doing every- 
thing difficult that boys did. There was one particularly dangerous feat to 
which the boys dared each other ; it was to walk on a very narrow ledge on 
the parapet of the bridge overhanging the water; the ledge went in an 
arch, and the height was considerable. One fine morning Jeannie got up 
early and went to the Nungate Bridge ; she lay down on her face, aud 
crawled from one end of the bridge to the other, to the imminent risk of 
either breaking her neck or drowning. 

One day, in the boys' school-room, one of the boys said something to dis- 
please her. She lifted her hand, doubled it, and hit him hard ; his nose 
began to bleed, and in the midst of the scuffle the master came in. He 
saw the traces of the fray, and said, in an angry voice, " You know, boys, 
I have forbidden you to fight in school, and have promised that I would 
flog the next. Who has been fighting this time ?" Nobody spoke, and 
the master grew angry, and threatened tawse all round unless the culprit 
were given up. Of course no boy would tell of a girl, so there was a 
pause : in the midst of it Jeannie looked up and said, " Please, I gave that 
black eye." The master tried to look grave, and pursed up his mouth ; 
but the boy was big, and Jeannie was little, so, instead of the tawse, he 
burst out laughing, and told her she was " a little deevil," and had no busi- 
ness there, and to go her ways back to the girls. 

Her friendship with her school-fellow teacher came to an untimely end. 
An aunt who came on a visit saw her standing by a stile with him, and a 
book between them. She was scolded, and desired not to keep his compa- 
ny. This made her very sorry, for she knew how good he was to her ; but 
she never had a notion of disobedience in any matter, small or great. She 
did not know how to tell him or to explain ; she thought it shame to tell 
him he was not thought good enough, so she determined he should ima- 
gine it a fit of caprice, and from that day she never spoke to him, or took 
the least notice ; she thought a sudden cessation would pain him less than 
a gradual coldness. Years and years afterward, going back on a visit to 
Haddington, when she was a middle-aged woman, and he was a man mar- 
ried and doing well in the world, she saw him again, and then, for the first 
time, told him the explanation. 

She was always anxious to work hard, and would sit up half the night 
over her lessons. One day she had been greatly perplexed by a problem 
in Euclid ; she could not solve it. At last she went to bed ; and in a dream 
got up and did it, and went to bed again. In the morning she had no con- 
sciousness of her dream ; but on looking at her slate, there was the problem 
solved. 

She was afraid of sleeping too much, and used to tie a weight to one of 
her ankles that she might awake. Her mother discovered it ; and her father 
forbade her to rise before five o'clock. She was a most healthy little thing 
then ; only she did her best to ruin her health, not Knowing what she did. 
She always would push everything to its extreme to find out if possible the 
ultimate consequence. One day her mother was ill, and a bag of ice had to 
be applied to her head. Jeannie wanted to know the sensation, and took 
an opportunity when no one saw her to get hold of the bag, and put it on 
her own head, and kept it on till she was found lying on the ground in- 
sensible. 

She made great progress in Latin, and was in Virgil when nine years old. 
She always loved her doll ; but when she got into Virgil she thought it 
shame to care for a doll. On her tenth birthday she built a funeral pile of 
lead-pencils and sticks of cinnamon, and poured some sort of perfume over 
all, to represent a funeral pile. She then recited the speech of Dido, stabbed 
her doll, and let out all the sawdust ; after which she consumed her to ash- 
es, and then burst into a passion of tears. 

HER APPEARANCE IN GIRLHOOD. 

As a child she was remarkable for her large black eyes with their long 
curved lashes. As a girl she was extremely pretty — a graceful and beauti- 
fully formed figure, upright and supple — a delicate complexion of creamy 
white with a pale rose tint in the cheeks, lovely eyes full of fire and soft- 
ness, and with great depths of meaning. Her head was finely formed, with 
a noble arch, and a broad forehead. Her other features were not regular ; 
but they did not prevent her conveying all the impressions of being beauti- 
ful. Her voice was clear, and full of subtle intonations, and capable of great 
variety of expression. She had it under full control. She danced with much 
grace ; and she was a good musician. She was ingenious in all works that 
required dexterity of hand ; she could draw and paint, and she was a good 
carpenter. She could do anything well to which she chose to give herself. 
She was fond of logic — too much so ; and she had a keen, clear, incisive 
faculty of seeing through things, and hating all that was make-believe or 
pretentious. She had good sense that amounted to genius. She loved to 
learn, and she cultivated all her faculties to the utmost of her power. She 
was always witty, with a gift for narration ; in a word, she was fascinating, 
and everybody fell in leve with her. A relative of hers told me that every 
man who spoke to her for live minutes felt impelled to make her an offer 



53 



REMINISCENCES. 



of marriage ! From which it resulted that a great many men were made 
unhappy. She seemed born " for the destruction of mankind." Another 
person told me that she was " the most beautiful starry-looking creature 
that could be imagined," with a peculiar grace of manner and motion that 
was more charming than beauty. She had a great quantity of very fine 
silky black hair, and she always had a natural taste for dress. The first 
thing I ever heard about her was that she dressed well — an excellent gift 
for a woman. 

Her mother was a beautiful woman, and as charming as her daughter, 
though not so clever. She had the gift of dressing well also. Genius is 
profitable for all things, and it saves expense. Once her mother was going 
to some grand fete, and she wanted her dress to be something specially 
beautiful. She did not want to spend money. Jeannie was intrusted with a se- 
cret mission to gather ivy leaves and trails of ivy of different kinds and sizes, 
also mosses of various kinds, and was enjoined to silence. Mrs. Welsh 
arranged these round her dress, and the moss formed a beautiful embossed 
trimming, and the ivy made a graceful scroll-work ; the effect was lovely ; 
nobody could imagine of what the trimming was composed, but it was 
generally supposed to be a French trimming of the latest fashion and of 
fabulous expense. 

She always spoke of her mother with deep affection and great admira- 
tion. She said she was so noble and generous that no one ever came near 
her without being the better. She used to make beautiful presents by 
saving upon herself — she economized upon herself to be generous to oth- 
ers ; and no one ever served her in the least without experiencing her gen- 
erosity. She was almost as charming and as much adored as her daughter. 
Of her father she always spoke with reverence; he was the only person 
who had any real influence over her. But however willful or indulged she 
might be, obedience to her parents — unquestioning and absolute — lay at the 
foundation of her life. She was accustomed to say that this habit of 
obedience to her parents was her salvation through life — that she owed 
all that was of value in her character to this habit as the foundation. Her 
father, from what she told me, was a man of strong and noble character — 
very true, and hating all that was false. She always spoke of any praise 
he gave her as of a precious possession. She loved him with a deep rev- 
erence ; and she never spoke of him except to friends whom she valued. 
It was the highest token of her regard when she told any one about her 
father. She told me that once he was summoned to go a sudden journey 
to see a patient, and he took her with him. It was the greatest favor and 
pleasure she had ever had. They travelled at night, and were to start for 
their return by a very early hour in the morning. She used to speak of 
this journey as something that made her perfectly happy ; and during that 
journey her father told her that her conduct and character satisfied him. 
It was not often he praised her ; and this unreserved flow of communica- 
tion was very precious to her. Whilst he went to the sick person, she was 
sent to bed until it should be time to return. She had his watch that she 
might know the time. When the chaise came round, the landlady brought 
her some tea ; but she was in such haste not to keep him waiting that she 
forgot the watch, and they had to return several miles to fetch it. This 
was the last time she was with her father ; a few days afterwards he fell ill 
of typhus fever, and would not allow her to come into the room. She made 
her way once to him, and he sent her away. He died of this illness, and 
it was the very greatest sorrow she ever experienced. She always relapsed 
into a deep silence for some time after speaking of her father. [Not very 
correct. T. C] 

After her father's death they ["they" no!} left Haddington, and went 
to live at Templand, near Thornhill, in Dumfries-shire. It was a country 
house, standing in its own grounds, prettily laid out. The house has been 
described to me as furnished with a certain elegant thrift which gave it a 
great charm. I do not know how old she was when her father died,* but 
she was one with whom years did not signify, they conveyed no meaning 
as to what she was. Before she was fourteen she wrote a tragedy in five 
acts, which was greatly admired and wondered at; but she never wrote 
another. She used to speak of it " as just an explosion." I don't know 
what the title was ; she never told me. 

She had many ardent lovers, and she owned that some of them had rea- 
son to complain. I think it highly probable that if flirting were a capital 
crime, she would have been in danger of being hanged many times over. 
She told me one story that showed a good deal of character : There was a 
young mau who was very much in love, and I am afraid he had had reason 
to hope she cared for him : and she only liked him. She refused him de- 
cidedly when he proposed ; but he tried to turn her from her decision, 
which showed how little he understood her ; for her will was very stead- 
fast through life. She refused him peremptorily this time. He then fell 
ill, and took to his bed, and his mother was very miserable about her son. 
She was a widow, and had but the one. At last he wrote her another let- 
ter, in which he declared that unless she would marry him, he would kill 
himself. He was in such distraction that it was a very likely thing for 
him to do. Her mother was very angry indeed, and reproached her bit- 
terly. She was very sorry for the mischief she had done, and took to her 
bed, and made herself ill with crying. The old servant, Betty, kept im- 
ploring her to say just one word to save the young man's mother from her 
misery. But though she felt horribly guilty, she was not going to be forced 
or frightened into ar'thing. She took up the letter once more, which she 
said was very moving, but a slight point struck her ; and she put down the 
letter, saying to her ...other : " You need not be frightened ; he won't kill 
himself at all ; look here, he has scratched out one word to substitute an- 
other. A man intending anything desperate would not have stopped to 

* Eighteen, jnet gone. 



scratch out a word ; he would have put his pen through it, or left it." 
That was very sagacious, but the poor young man was very ill, and the 
doctor brought a bad report of him to the house. She suddenly said, 
" We must go away, go away for some time ; he will get well when we are 
gone." It was as she had said it would be ; her going away set his mind 
at rest, and he began to recover. In the end he married somebody else, 
and what became of him I forget, though I think she told me more about him. 
There was another man whom she had allowed to fall in love, and never 
tried to hinder him, though she refused to marry him. After many years 
she saw him again. He was then an elderly man ; had made a fortune, 
and stood high as a county gentleman. He was happily married, and the 
father of a family. But one day he was driving her somewhere, and he 
slackened the pace to a walk, and said: "I once thought I would have 
broken my heart about you, but I think my attachment to you was the best 
thing that ever happened to me : it made me a better man. It is a part of 
my life that stands out by itself, and belongs to nothing else. I have 
heard of you from time to time, and I know what a brilliant lot yours has 
been, and I have felt glad that you were in your rightful place, and I felt 
glad that I had suffered for your sake, and I have sometimes thought that 
if I had known, I would not have tried to turn you into any other path." 
This, as well as I can render it, is the sense of what he said, gravely and 
gently, and I admired it very much when she told me : but it seems to me 
that it was much better as she told it to me. Nobody could help loving 
her, and nobody but was the better for doing so. She had the gift of call- 
ing forth the best qualities that were in people. 

I don't know at what period she knew Irving, but he loved her, and 
wrote letters and poetry (very true and touching) ; but there had been 
some vague understanding with another person, not a definite engagement, 
and she insisted that he must keep to it, and not go back from what had 
once been spoken. There had been just then some trial and a great scan- 
dal about a Scotch minister who had broken an engagement of marriage, 
and she could not bear that the shadow of any similar reproach should be 
cast on him. Whether, if she had cared for him very much, she could or 
would have insisted on such punctilious honor, she did not know herself; 
but anyhow that is what she did. After Irving's marriage, years after- 
wards, there was not much intercourse between them ; the whole course of 
his life had changed. 

I do not know in what year she married, nor anything connected with her 
marriage. I believe that she brought no money, or very little, at her mar- 
riage. Her father had left everything to her, but she made it over to her 
mother, and only had what her mother gave her. Of course people thought 
she was making a dreadfully bad match ; they only saw the outside of the 
thing ; but she had faith in her own insight. Long afterwards, when the 
world began to admire her husband, at the time he delivered the " Lectures 
on Hero- Worship," she gave a little half-scornful laugh, and said, " They 
tell me things as if they were new that I found out years ago." She knew 
the power of help and sympathy that lay in her, and she knew she had 
strength to stand the struggle and pause before he was recognized. She 
told me that she resolved that he should never write for money, only when 
he wished it, when he had a message in his heart to deliver, and she deter- 
mined that she would make whatever money he gave her answer for all 
needful purposes ; and she was ever faithful to this resolve. She bent her 
faculties to economical problems, and she managed so well that comfort 
was never absent from her house, and no one looking on could have guessed 
whether they were rich or poor. Until she married, she had never minded 
household things ; but she took them up when necessary, and accomplished 
them, as she accomplished everything else she undertook, well and grace- 
fully. AVhatever she had to do, she did it with a peculiar personal grace 
that gave a charm to the most prosaic details. No one who in later years 
saw her lying on the sofa in broken health, and languor, would guess the 
amount of energetic hard work she had done in her life. She could do 
everything and anything, from mending the Venetian blinds to making 
picture-frames or trimming a dress. Her judgment in all literary matters 
was thoroughly good ; she could get to the very core of a thing, and her 
insight was like witchcraft. 

Some of her stories about her servants in the early times were very 
amusing, but she could make a story about a broom-handle, and make it 
entertaining. Here are some things she told me about their residence at 
Craigeuputtoch. 

At first on their marriage they lived in a small pretty house in Edinburgh 
called " Comley Bank." Whilst there her first experience of the difficulties 
of housekeeping began. She had never been accustomed to anything of 
the kind ; but Mr. Carlyle was obliged to be very careful in diet. She learn- 
ed to make bread, partly from recollecting how she had seen an old servant 
set to work ; and she used to say that the first time she attempted brown- 
bread it was with awe. She mixed the dough, and saw it rise ; and then 
she put it into the oven, and sat down to watch the oven door, with feel- 
ings like Benvenuto Cellini's when he watched his Perseus put into the 
furnace. She did not feel too sure what it would come out. But it came 
out a beautiful crusty loaf, very light and sweet ; and proud of it she was. 
The first time she tried a pudding she went into the kitchen and locked 
the door on herself, having got the servant out of the road. It was to be 
a suet pudding — not just a common suet puddiiig, but something special — 
and it was good, being made with care by weight and measure with exact- 
ness. Whilst they were in Edinburgh they knew everybody worth know- 
ing; Lord Jeffrey was a great admirer of hers, and an old friend ; Chalmers, 
Guthrie, and many others. But Mr. Carlvle's health and work needed 
perfect quietness and absolute solitude. They went to live at the end of 
two years at Craigenputtoch — a lonely farm-house belonging to Mrs. Welsh, 



JANE WELSH CAELYLE. 



53 



her mother. A house was attached to the farm, beside the regular farm- 
house. The farm was let; and Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle lived in the house, 
which was separated from the farm-yard and buildings by a yard. A gar- 
den and out-buildings were attached to it. They had a cow, and a horse, 
and poultry. They were fourteen miles from Dumfries, which was the 
nearest town. The country was uninhabited for miles round, being all 
moor-land, with rocks, and a high steep green hill behind the house. She 
used to say that the stillness was almost awful, and that when she walked 
out she could hear the sheep nibbling the grass, and they used to look at 
her with innocent wonder. The letters came in once a week, which was 
as often as they sent into Dumfries. All she needed had to be sent for 
there or done without. One day she had desired the farm-servant to bring 
her a bottle of yeast. The weather was very hot. The man came back 
looking scared, and without the yeast. He said doggedly that he would 
do anything lawful for her ; but he begged she would never ask him to 
fetch such an uncanny thing again, for it had just worked and worked till 
it flew away with the bottle ! When asked where it was, he replied " it 
had a' gane into the ditch, and he had left it there." 

Lord Jeffrey and his family came out twice to visit her, expecting, as 
he said, to find that she had hanged herself upon a door-nail. But she 
did no such thing. It was undoubtedly a great strain upon her nerves, 
from which she never entirely recovered ; but she lived in the solitude 
cheerfully and willingly for six years. It was a much greater trial than it 
sounds at first; for Mr. Carlyle was engrossed in his work, and had to 
give himself up to it entirely. It was work and thought with which he 
had to wrestle with all his might to bring out the truths he felt, and to 
give them due utterance. It was his life that his work required, and it 
was his life that he gave, and she gave her life too, which alone made such 
life possible for him. All those who have been strengthened by Mr. Car- 
lyle's written words — and they have been wells of life to more than have 
been numbered — owe to her a debt of gratitude no less than to him. If 
she had not devoted her life to him, he could not have worked ; and if she 
had let the care for money weigh on him, he could not have given his best 
strength to teach. Hers was no holiday task of pleasant companionship ; 
she had to live beside him in silence that the people in the world might 
profit by his full strength and receive his message. She lived to see his 
work completed, and to see him recognized in full for what he is, and for 
what he has done. 

Sometimes she could not send to Dumfries for butcher's-meat ; and then 
she was reduced to her poultry. She had a peculiar breed of very long- 
legged hens, and she used to go into the yard amongst them with a long 
stick, and point out those that were to be killed, feeling, she said, like 
Fouquier Tinville pricking down his victims. 

One hard winter her servant Grace asked leave to go home to see her 
parents ; there was some sort of a fair held in her village. She went, and 
was to return at night. The weather was bad, and she did not return. 
The next morning there was nothing for it but for her to get up to light 
the fires and prepare breakfast. The house had beautiful and rather 
elaborate steel grates ; it seemed a pity to let them rust, so she cleaned 
them carefully, and then looked round for wood to kindle the fire. There 
was none in the house ; it all lay in a little out-house across the yard. On 
trying to open the door, she found it was frozen beyond her power to open 
it, so Mr. Carlyle had to be roused ; it took all his strength, and when 
opened, a drift of snow six feet high fell into the hall. Mr. Carlyle had to 
make a path to the wood-house, and bring over a supply of wood and coal ; 
after which he left her to her own resources. 

The fire at length made, the breakfast had to be prepared ; but it had to 
be raised from the foundation. The bread had to be made, the butter to 
be churned, and the coffee ground. All was at last accomplished, and the 
breakfast was successful. After breakfast she went about the work of 
the house, as there was no chance of the servant being able to return. 
The work fell into its natural routine. Mr. Carlyle always kept a supply 
of wood ready ; he cut it, and piled it ready for her use inside the house ; 
and he fetched the water, and did things she had not the strength to do. 
The poor cow was her greatest perplexity. She could continue to get hay 
down to feed it, but she had never in her life milked a cow. The first day 
the servant of the farmer's wife who lived at the end of the yard milked 
it for her willingly, but the next day Mrs. Carlyle heard the poor cow 
making an uncomfortable noise ; it had not been milked. She went herself 
to the byre, and took the pail and sat down on the milking-stool and began 
to try to milk the cow. It was not at first easy; but at last she had the 
delight of hearing the milk trickle into the can. She said she felt quite 
proud of her success ; and talked to the cow as though it were a human 
creature. The snow continued to lie thick and heavy on the ground, and 
it was impossible for her maid to return. Mrs. Carlyle got on easily with 
all the house-work, and kept the whole place bright and clean except the 
large kitchen or house place, which grew to need scouring very much. At 
length she took courage to attack it. Filling up two large pans of hot 
water, she knelt down and began to scrub ; having made a clean space 
round the large arm-chair by the fireside, she called Mr. Carlyle and in- 
stalled him with his pipe to watch her progress. He regarded her benefi- 
cently, and gave her from time to time words of encouragement. Half the 
large floor had been successfully cleansed, and she felt anxious of making a 
good ending, when she heard a gurgling sound. For a moment or two she 
took no notice, but it increased, and there was a sound of something falling 
upon the fire, and instantly a great black thick stream came down the 
chimney, pouring like a flood along the floor, taking precisely the lately 
cleaned portion first in its course, and extinguishing the fire. It was too 
much; she burst into tears. The large fire, made up to heat the water, 
had melted the snow on the top of the chimney, it came down mingling 
with the soot, and worked destruction to the kitchen floor. All that could 



be done was to dry up the flood. She had no heart to recommence her 
task. She rekindled the fire and got tea ready. That same night her 
maid came back, having done the impossible to get home. She clasped 
Mrs. Carlyle in her arms, crying and laughing, saying, " Oh, my dear mis- 
tress, my dear mistress, I dreamed ye were deed !" 

During their residence at Craigenputtoch she had a good little horse, 
called " Harry," on which she sometimes rode long distances. She was an 
excellent and fearless horsewoman, and went about like the women used 
to do before carriages were invented. One day she received news that 
Lord Jeffrey and his family, with some visitors, were coming. The letter 
only arrived the day they were expected (for letters only came in one day 
in the week). She mounted " Harry" and galloped off to Dumfries to get 
what was needed, and galloped back, and was all ready and dressed to re- 
ceive her visitors, with no trace of her thirty-mile ride except the charming 
history she made of it. She said that " Harry" understood all was needed 
of him. 

She had a long and somewhat anxious ride at another time. Mr. Car- 
lyle had gone to London, leaving her to finish winding up affairs at Crai- 
genputtoch and to follow him. The last day came. She got the money 
out of the bank at Dumfries, dined with a friend, and mounted her horse 
to ride to Ecclefechan, where she was to stay for a day or two. Whether 
she paid no attention to the road or did not know it I don't know ; but she 
lost her way : and at dusk found herself entering Dumfries from the other 
side, having made a circuit. She alighted at the friend's house where she 
had dined, to give her horse a rest. She had some tea herself, and then 
mounted again to proceed on her journey, fearing that those to whom she 
was going would be alarmed if she did not appear. This time she made 
sure she was on the right tack. It was growing dusk, and at a joining of 
two roads she came upon a party of meu half-tipsy, coming from a fair. 
They accosted her, and asked where she was going, and would she come 
along with them ? She was rather frightened, for she had a good deal of 
money about her, so she imitated a broad country dialect, and said their 
road was not hers, and that she had " a gey piece to ride before she got to 
Annan." She whipped her horse, and took the other road, thinking she 
could easily return to the right track; but she had again lost her way, 
and seeing a house with a light in the lower story, she rode up the avenue 
which led to it. Some women-servants had got up early, or rather late at 
night, to begin their washing. She knocked at the window. At first they 
thought it was one of their sweethearts ; but when they saw a lady on a 
horse they thought it a ghost. After a while she got them to listen to her, 
and when she told them her tale they were vehement in their sympathy, 
and would have had her come in to refresh herself. They gave her a cup 
of their tea, and one of them came with her to the gate, and set her face 
toward the right road. She had actually come back to within a mile of 
Dumfries once more ! The church clocks struck twelve as she set out a 
third time, and it was after two o'clock in the morning before she arrived, 
dead tired, she and her horse too, at Ecclefechan, where, however, she had 
long since been given up. The inmates had gone to bed, and it was long 
before she could make them hear. After a day or two of repose, she pro- 
ceeded to join Mr. Carlyle in London. At first they lived in lodgings with 
some people who were very kind to them, and became much attached to 
her. They looked upon her as a superior being, of another order, to them- 
selves. The children were brought up to think of her as a sort of fairy 
lady. One day, a great many years afterwards, when I had come to live in 
London, it was my birthday, and we resolved to celebrate it " by doing 
something"; and at last we settled that she should take me to see the 
daughter of the people she used to lodge with, who had been an affection- 
ate attendant upon her, and who was now very well married, and an ex- 
tremely happy woman. Mrs. Carlyle said it was a good omen to go and 
see " a happy woman" on such a day. So she and I, and her dog " Nero," 
who accompanied her wherever she went, set off to Dalston, where the 
" happy woman" lived. I forget her name, except that she was called 
"Eliza" It was washing-day, and the husband was absent ; but I remem- 
ber a pleasant-looking kind woman, who gave us a nice tea, and rejoiced 
over Mrs. Carlyle, and said she had brought up her children in the hope of 
seeing her some day. She lived in a house in a row, with little gardens 
before them. We saw the children, who were like others ; and we went 
home by omnibus ; and we had enjoyed our little outing ; and Mrs. Carlyle 
gave me a pretty lace collar, and Bohemian-glass vase, which is still 
unbroken. 

I end these " stories told by herself," not because there are no more. 
They give some slight indication of the courage and nobleness and fine 
qualities which lay in her who is gone. Very few women so truly great 
come into the world at all ; and no two like her at the same time. Those 
who were her friends will only go on feeling their loss and their sorrow 
more and more every day of their own lives. G. E. J. 

Chelsea, May 20, 1866. 

So far Miss Jewsbury. Mr. Carlyle now continues : 
Few or none of these narratives are correct in details, but there 
is a certain mythical truth in all or most of them. That of young 
lovers, especially that of flirting, is much exaggerated. If " flirt" 
means one who tries to inspire love without feeling it, I do not 
think she ever was a, flirt ; but she was very charming, full of grave 
clear insight, playful humor, and also of honest dignity and pride; 
and not a few young fools of her own, and perhaps a slightly better 
station, made offers to her which sometimes to their high temporary 



54 



REMINISCENCES. 



grief and astonishment were decisively rejected. The most seri- 
ous-looking of those affairs was that of George Rennie, nephew of 
the first Engineer Rennie, a clever, decisive, ambitious, but quite 
itnmelodious young fellow, whom wo knew afterward here as sculp- 
tor, as M.P. for a while, finally as retired Governor of the Falkland 
Islands, in which latter character he died here seven or eight years 
ago. She knew him thoroughly, had never loved him, but respected 
various qualities in him, and naturally had some peculiar interest 
in him to the last. In his final time he used to come pretty often 
down to us here, and was well worth talking to on his Falkland or 
other experiences ; a man of sternly sound common-sense (so call- 
ed), of strict veracity, who much contemned imbecility, falsity, or 
nonsense wherever met with ; had swallowed manfully his many 
bitter disappointments, aud silently awaited death itself for the 
last year or more (as I could notice), with a fine honest stoicism al- 
ways complete. My poor Jane hurried to his house, and was there 
for three days zealously assisting the widow. 

The wooer who would needs die for want of success, was a Fyfe 
M.D., an extremely conceited, limited, strutting little creature, who 
well deserved all he got or more. The end of him had something 
of tragedy in it, but is not worth recording. 

Dods is' the " peasant school- fellow's" name, about seven or eight 
years her senior, son of a nurseryman, now rich abundantly, bank- 
er, etc., etc., and an honest, kindly, though clumsy prosaic man. 

The story of her being taken as a child to drive with her father 
has some truth in it, but consists of two stories rolled into one. 
Child of seven or eight " with watch forgotten," was to the Press 
Inu (then a noted place, and to her an ever-memorable expedition 
beside a father almost her divinity) ; but drive second, almost still 
more memorable, was for an afternoon of several hours as a youug 
girl of eighteen, over some district of her father's duties. She 
waiting in the carriage unnoticed, while he made his visits. The 
usually tacit man, tacit especially about his bright daughter's gifts 
aud merits, took to talking with her that day in a style quite new ; 
told her she was a good girl, capable of being useful and precious 
to him and the circle she would live in; that she must summon 
her utmost judgment aud seriousness to choose her path, and be 
what he expected of her; that he did not think she had yet seen 
the life partner that would be worthy of her — in short, that he ex- 
pected her to be wise as well as good-looking and good ; all this in 
a tone and manner which tilled her poor little heart with surprise, 
and a kind of sacred joy, coming from the man she of all men 
revered. 

Ofteu she told me about this, for it was her last talk with him. 
Ou the morrow, perhaps that evening, certainly within a day or 
two, ho caught from some poor old woman patient a typhus fever, 
which under injudicious treatment killed him in three or four days 
(September, 1819), and drowned the world for her in the very black- 
ness of darkness. Iu effect it was her first sorrow, and her great- 
est of all. It broke her health for the next two or three years, and 
in a sense almost broke her heart. A father so mourned and loved 
I have never seen ; to the end of her life his title even to me was 
" he" and " him" ; not above twice or thrice, quite iu late years, did 
she ever mention (and theu in a quite slow toue), " my father" ; 
nay, I have a kind of notion (beautiful to me aud sad exceeding- 
ly), she was never as happy again, after that suuuiest youth of hers, 
as iu the last eighteen months, aud especially the last two weeks 
of her life, when after wild rain deluges and black tempests many, 
the sun shone forth again for another's sake with full mild bright- 
ness, taking sweet farewell. Oh, it is beautiful to me, and oh, it is 
humbling aud it is sad! Where was my Jeauuie's peer in this 
world ? and she fell to me, and I could not screen her from the bit- 
terest distresses ! God pity and forgive me! My own burdeu, too, 
might have broken a stronger back, had not she been so loyal and 
loving. 

The Geraldine accounts of her childhood arc substantially cor- 
rect, hut without the light melodious clearness and charm of a 
fairy talc all true, which my lost one used to give them iu talking 
to me. She was fond of talking about her childhood ; nowhere in 
the world did I ever hear of oue more beautiful, all sunny to her 
aud to me, to our last years together. 

That of runuing on the parapet of the Nungate Bridge (John 
Knox's old suburb), I recollect well; that of the boy with the 
bloody nose; many adventures skating and leaping; that of penna, 
penme, from below the table is already in print through Mrs. Oli- 
phant's "Life of Irving." In all things she strove to "be a boy" 
in education ; and yet by natural guidance never ceased to be the 
prettiest and gracefullest of little girls, full of intelligence, of ve- 
racity, vivacity, and bright curiosity; she went into all manner 
of shops and workshops that were accessible, eager to see aud un- 
derstand what was going on. One morning, perhaps in her third 
or fourth year, she went into the shop of a barber on the opposite 
side of the street, back from which by a narrow entrance was her 



own nice, elegant, quiet home. Barber's shop was empty ; my 
Jeannio went in silently, sat down on a bench at the wall, old 
barber giving her a kind glance, hut no word. Presently a cus- 
tomer came in, was soaped and lathered in silence mainly or alto- 
gether, was getting diligently shaved, my bonny little bird as at- 
tentive as possible, and all iu perfect silence. Customer at length 
said in a, pause of the razor, " How is John so and so now?" "He's 
deed" (dead), replied barber, in a rough hollow voice, and instant- 
ly pushed on with business again. The bright little child hurst 
into tears and hurried out. This she told me not half a year ago. 

Her first school-teacher was Edward Irving, who also gave her 
private lessons in Latin, etc., and became an intimate of her fam- 
ily. It was from him (probably in 1818) that I first heard of her 
father and her, some casual mention, the loving and reverential 
tone of which had struck me. Of the father he spoke always as 
of oue of the wisest, truest, and most dignified of men. Of her as 
a paragon of gifted young girls, far euough from mo both, and ob- 
jects of distant reverence and unattainable longing at that time! 
The father, whom I never saw, died next year. Her I must have 
seen first, I thiuk, in June, 1821. Sight forever memorable to me. 
I looked up at the windows of the old room, iu the desolate moon- 
light of my last visit to Haddington,* five weeks ago come Wednes- 
day next : and the old summer dusk, and that bright pair of eyes 
inquiringly fixed on me (as I noticed for a moment), came up clear 
as yesterday, all drowned in woes and death. Her second toacber 
(Irviug's successor) was a Rev. James Browu, who died in India, 
whom also I slightly knew. The school, I believe, was, and is, at 
the western end of the Nuugate Bridge, and grew famed in the 
neighborhood by Irviug's new methods and managements (adopt- 
ed as far as might bo by Brown), a short furlong or so along paved 
streets from her father's house. Thither daily at au early hour 
(perhaps eight a.m. iu summer) might be seeu my little Jeaunie 
tripping nimbly and daintily along, her little satchel iu hand, dress- 
ed by her mother (who had a great talent that way) iu tasteful 
simplicity; neat hit of pelisse (light blue sometimes), fastened 
with black belt, dainty little cap, perhaps little ^eaverkin, with 
flap turned up, and, I think, oue at least with modest little plume 
in it. Fill that figure with electric iutellect, ditto love and geuer- 
ous vivacity of all kinds, where iu nature will you find a prettier? 

At home was opulence without waste, elegance, good sense, si- 
lent practical affection, and manly wisdom, from threshold to roof- 
tree ; no paltriness or uuveracity admitted into it. I often told her 
how very beautiful her childhood was to me, so authentic-looking 
actual, in her charming na'ive and humorous way of telling, and 
that she must have beeu the prettiest little Jeuuy Spinner (Scotch 
name for a long-winged, long-legged, extremely bright and airy in- 
sect) that was dancing in the summer rays in her time. More en- 
viable lot than all this was I cannot imagine to myself in any 
house high or low, in the higher and highest still less than iu the 
other kind. 

Three or four child anecdotes I will mark as ready at this time. 

Father and mother returning from some visit (probably to 
Nithsdale) along with her (age say four), at the Black Bull, Edin- 
burgh, and were ordering dinner. Waiter, rather solemn person- 
age, inquired, "Aud what will little missy eat?" " A roasted bumm- 
bee" (humming or field bee), answered little missy. 

" Mamma, wine makes cozy !" said the little naturalist once at 
home (year before, perhaps), while sipping a drop of wine mamma 
had given her. 

One of the prettiest stories was of the child's first ball, " Dan- 
cing-school Ball," her first public appearance, as it were, on tho 
theatre of the world. Of this, in the daintiest style of kind mock- 
ery, I often heard, aud have tho general image still vivid ; hut 
have lost the express details, or rather, in my ignorance of such 
thiugs, never completely understood the details. How the even- 
ing was so great ; all the higher public, especially the maternal 
or paternal sections of it, to see the children dance ; and Jeauuie 
Welsh, then about six, had been selected to perform some pas seal 
beautiful aud difficult, the jewel of the evening, and was private- 
ly anxious iu her little heart to do it well; how she was dressed to 
perfection, with elegauce, with simplicity, and at the due hour was 
carried over in a clothes-basket (streets being muddy, and no car- 
riage), aud landed safe, pretty silks aud pumps uninjured. 
Through the ball everything went well aud smoothly, nothing to 
be noted till the pas seal came. My little woman (with a look that 
I can still fancy) appeared upon the scene, stood waiting for the 
music ; music began, but also, alas ! it was the wrong music, im- 
possible to dance that pas seul to it. She shook her little head, 
looked or made some sign of distress. Music ceased, took counsel, 
scraped ; began again ; again wrong ; hopelessly, flatly impossi- 
ble. Beautiful little Jane, alone against the world, forsaken by 

* Mrs. Carlyle's funeral. 



JANE WELSH CAELYLE. 



5S 



the music, but not by her presence of mind, plucked up her little 
skirt, flung it over her, head, and couitesying in (hat veiled manner, 
■withdrew from the adventure amidst general applause. 

The last of my anecdotes is not easily intelligible except to my- 
self. Old Walter Welsh, her maternal grandfather, was a most 
picturesque, peculiar, generous-hearted, hot-tempered, abrupt, and 
impatient old man. I guess she might be about sis, and was with 
her mother on a visit ; I know not whether at Capelgill (Moffat 
Water) or at Strathmilligan. Old Walter, who was of few words, 
though of very lively thought and insight, had a burr in pronoun- 
cing his r, and spoke in the old style generally. He had taken lit- 
tle Jeannie out to ride on a quiet pony; very pleasant winding 
ride, and at length, when far enough, old Walter said, "Now we 
■will go back by so and so, etc., to vary the scene." Home at din- 
ner, the company asked her, " Where did yon ride to, Pen ?" (Pen 
was her little name there, from paternal grandfather's house, Pen- 
fillan, to distinguish her from the other Welshes of Walter's house- 
hold.) ''We rode to so, then to so," answered she, punctually ; 
" then from so returned by so, to vah-chry the shaue!" At which 
I suppose the old man himself burst into his cheeriest laugh at the 
mimicry of tiny little Pen. "Mamma, oh, mamma, don't exposie 
me," exclaimed she once, not yet got quite the length of speaking, 
when her mother for some kind purpose was searching under her 
clothes. 

But I intend to put down something about her parentage now, 
and what of reminiscence must live with me on that head. 

John Welsh, farmer, of Penfillan, near Thoruhill, Nithsdale, for 
the greater part of his life, was born, I believe, at Craigenputtoch, 
December 9, 1757, and was solo heir of that place, and of many an- 
cestors there ; my wife's paternal grandfather, of whom she had 
many pretty things to report, in her pleasant, interesting way ; 
genuine affection blending so beautifully with perfect candor, and 
with arch recognition of whatever was, comically or otherwise, 
singular in the subject-matter. Her father's name was also John; 
which from of old had specially been that of the laird, or of his 
first-born, as her father was. This is one of the probabilities they 
used to quote in claiming to come from John Knox's youngest 
daughter and her husband, the once famous John Welsh, minister 
of Ayr, etc. A better probability, perhaps, is the topographical one 
that Craigenputtoch, which by site and water-shed would belong 
to Galloway, is still part of Dumfries-shire, and did apparently form 
part of Collieston, fertile little farm still extant, which probably 
was an important estate when the antique "John Welsh's father" 
had it in Knox's day: to which Collieston, Craigenputtoch, as 
moorland, extending from the head of the Gleuessland valley, and 
a two miles farther southward (quite over the slope and down to 
Orr, the next river), does seem to have been an appendage. My 
Jeannie cared little or nothing about these genealogies, but seeing 
them interest me, took some interest in them. Within the last 
three months (« propos of a new life of the famed Johu Welsh) she 
mentioned to me some to me new, and still livelier spark of likeli- 
hood, which her "Uucle Robert" (an expert Edinburgh lawyer) 
had derived from reading the old Craigenputtoch law-papers. 
What this new "spark" of light on the matter was (quite forgotten 
by me at the time, and looking "new") I in vain strive to recall, 
and have again forgotten it (swallowed in the sad Edinburgh hur- 
ly-burlies of "three months ago," which have now had such an 
issue!). To my present judgment there is really good likelihood 
of the genealogy, and likelihood all going that way, but no cer- 
tainty attaiued, or perhaps ever attainable. That "famed Johu 
Welsh" lies buried (since the end of James I.'s reign) iu some 
church-yard of Eastern London, name of it known, but nothing 
more. His grandson was minister of Erncray ("Irongray" they 
please to spell it), near by, in Clavers's bloody time; and there all 
certainty ends. . . . By her mother's mother, who was a Baillie, of 
somewhat noted kindred iu Biggar country, my Jeannie was fur- 
ther said to be descended from " Sir William Wallace" (the great) ; 
but this seemed to rest on nothiug but air and vague fireside ru- 
mor of obsolete date, and she herself, I think, except perhaps in 
quizzical allusion, never spoke of it to me at all. Edward Irving 
once did (1822 or so) iu his half-laughing Grandison way, as we 
three sat together talking. " From Wallace and from Knox," said 
he, with a wave of the hands : " there's a Scottish pedigree for 
you !" The good Irving : so guileless, loyal always, and so hoping 
and so generous. 

My wife's grandfather, I can still recollect, died Soptember 20, 
1823, aged near sixty-six; I was at Kinnaird (Buller's in Perth- 
shire), and had it iu a letter from her : letters from her were almost 
the sole light-points in my dreary miseries there (fruit of miserable 
health mainly, and of a future blank and barred to me, as I felt). 
Trustfully she gave me details ; how he was sixty-three ;* hair still 

* Near sixty-six in fact. 



raven black, only within a year eyebrows had grown quite white; 
which had so softened and sweetened the look of his bright glau- 
cing black eyes, etc., etc. A still grief lay in the dear letter, too, 
and much affection and respect for her old grandfather just gone. 
Sweet and soft to mo to look back upon ; and very sad now, from 
the threshold of our own grave. My bounie darling ! I shall fol- 
low thee very soon, and then — ! 

Grandfather's youngest years had been passed at Craigeuput- 
toeh ; mother had been left a widow there, and could not bear to 
part with him; elder sisters there were, he the only boy. Jane al- 
ways thought him to have fine faculty, a beautiful clearness, de- 
cision, and integrity of character; but all this had grown up iu 
solitude and vacancy, under the silent skies on the wild moors for 
most part. She sometimes spoke of his (and her) ulterior ances- 
tors ; " several blackguards among them," her old grandfather used 
to say, " but not one blockhead that I heard of!" Of one, flourish- 
ing in 1745, there is a story still current among the country people 
thereabouts; how, though this laird of Craigenputtoch had not 
himself gone at all into the Rebellion, he received with his best 
welcome certain other lairds or gentlemen of his acquaintance who 
had, and who were now flying for their life ; kept them there, as iu 
a seclusion lonelier almost than any other in Scotland ; heard time- 
fully that dragoons were coming for them ; shot them thereupon 
instantly away by various well-coutrived routes and equipments, 
and w T aited his dragoon guests as if nothiug were wrong. "Such 
and such men here with you, aren't they, you — !" said they. 
" Truly they were, till three hours ago ; and they are rebels, say 
you? Fie, the villains, had I but kuown or dreamt of that ! But 
come, let us chase immediately; once across the Orr yonder (and 
the swamps ou this side, which look green enough from here), you 
rind firm road, aud will soon catch the dogs !" Welsh mounted his 
galloway, undertook to guide the dragoons through that swamp or 
"bottom" (still a place that needed guiding in our time, though 
there did come at last a " solid road and bridge"). Welsh, trotting 
along on his light galloway, guided the dragoons in such way that 
their heavy animals sauk mostly or altogether in the treacherous 
element, safe only for a native galloway and man ; aud with much 
pretended lameutation, seeing them provided with work that would 
last till darkness had fallen, rode his ways again. I believe this 
was true in substance, but neverheard any of the saved rebels named. 
Maxwells, etc., who are of Roman-Catholic Jacobite type, abound 
iu those parts : a Maxwell, I think, is feudal superior of Craigen- 
puttoch. This Welsh, I gather, must have been grandfather of my 
wife's grandfather. She had strange stories of his wives (three in 
succession, married perhaps all, especially the second aud third, for 
»inouey), and how he kept the last of them, a decrepit, ill-natured 
creature, invisible in some corner of his house, aud used gravely to 
introduce visitors to her " gown aud bonnet" hanging on a stick as 
" Mrs. Welsh III." Him his grandson doubtless ranked among the 
" blackguard" sectiou of ancestry ; I suppose his immediate heir 
may have died shortly after him, aud was an unexceptionable man. 

In about 1773, friends persuaded the widow of this latter that 
she absolutely must send her boy away for some kind of schooling, 
his age now fourteen, to which she sorrowfully consenting, he was 
dispatched to Tynron school (notable at that time), about twelve 
miles over the hills Nithsdale way, and consigned to a farmer 
named Hunter, whose kin are now well risen in the world there- 
abouts, aud who was thought to be a safe person for boarding and 
supervising the young moor-land laird. The young laird must have 
learned well at school, for he wrote a fine hand (which I have seen), 
and had acquired the ordinary elements of country education in a 
respectable way in the course of one year, as turned out. Within 
one year, February 1G, 1774, these Hunters had married him to 
their eldest girl (about sixteen, four months younger thau himself), 
aud his school-days were suddenly completed. This youug girl 
was my Jeannie's grandmother ; had, I think, some fourteen chil- 
dren, mostly men (of whom, or of whose male posterity, none now 
survive, except the three Edinburgh aunts, youngest of them a 
month younger thau my Jane was) ; and thus held the poor laird's 
face considerably to the grindstone all his days. I have seen the 
grandmother, in her old age and widowhood, a respectable-looking 
old person (lived then with her three daughters in a house they 
had purchased at Dumfries) ; silently my woman never much liked 
her or hers (a palpably rather tricky, cunning set these, with a 
turn for osteutatiou aud hypocrisy iu them) ; aud was accustomed 
to divide her uncles (not without some ground, as I could see) into 
" Welshes," and " Welshes with a cross of Hunter," traceable often- 
est (not always, though) iu their very physiognomy and complex- 
ion. They are now all gone; the kiudred as good as out, only 
their works following them, talia, qualia! 

Tins imprudent marriage reduced the poor youug man to pecun- 
iary straits (had to sell first Nether Craigenputtoch, a minor part, 
in order to pay his sisters' pet-Ion, then long years afterward, in 



56 



REMINISCENCES. 



the multitude of his children, Upper Craigenputtoch, or Craigen- 
puttoch Proper; to my wife's father this latter sale), and though, 
being a thrifty, vigorous, and solid manager, he prospered hand- 
somely in his farming, first of Milton, then ditto of Penfillan, the 
best thing he could try in the circumstances, and got completely 
above all money difficulties, the same " circumstances" kept him all 
his days a mere " terrce films," restricted to Nithsdale and his own 
eyesight (which indeed was excellent) for all the knowledge he 
could get of this universe ; and on the whole had made him — such 
the contrast between native vigor of faculty and accidental con- 
traction of arena; — a singular and even interesting man, a Scottish 
Nithsdale son of nature ; highly interesting to his bright young 
granddaughter, with the clear eyesight and valiant true heart like 
his own, when she came to look into him in her childhood and girl- 
hood. He was solidly devout, truth's own self in what he said and 
did, had dignity of manuers too ; in fact, a really brave, sincere, and 
honorable soul (reverent of talent, honesty, and sound sense beyond 
all things), and was silently a good deal respected and honorably es- 
teemed (though with a grin here and there) in the district where 
he lived. For chief or almost sole intimate he had the neighbor- 
ing (biggish) laird, "old Hoggan of Waterside," almost close by 
Penfillan, whose peremptory ways and angularities of mind and 
conduct are still remembered in that region sorrowfully and 
strangely, as his sons, grandsons, and now great-grandson, have 
distinguished themselves in the other direction there. It was de- 
lightful to hear my bright one talk of this old grandfather ; so 
kindly yet so playfully, with a vein of fond affection, yet with the 
justest insight. In his last will (owing to Hunterian artifices and 
unkind whisperings, as she thought) he had omitted her, though 
her father had been such a second father to all the rest : — £1000 
apiece might be the share of each son and each daughter in this 
deed of the old man's ; and my Jane's name was not found there, 
as if she too had been dead like her beneficent father. Less care 
for the money no creature in the world could have had ; but the 
neglect had sensibly grieved her, though she never at all blamed 
the old man himself, and before long, as was visible, had forgiven 
the suspected Hunterian parties themselves. " poor souls, so earnest 
about their paltry bits of interests, which are the vitallest and 
highest they have ! or perhaps it was some whim of the old man 
himself? Never mind, never mind!" And so, as I could perceive, 
it actually was abolished in that generous heart, and not there any 
longer before much time had passed. Here are two pictures, a 
wise and an absurd, two of very many she used to give me of loved 
old grandfather, with which surely I may end : 

1. " Never hire as servant a very poor person's daughter or 
son ; they have seen nothing but confusion, waste, and hugger- 
mugger, mere want of thrift or method." This was a very wise 
opinion surely. On the other hand — 

He was himself a tall man, perhaps six feet or more, and stood 
erect as a column. And he had got gradually iuto his head, sup- 
ported by such observation as the arena of Kier parish and neigh- 
boring localities afforded, the astonishing opinion — 

2. That small people, especially short people, were good for 
nothing ; and, in fine, that a man's bodily stature was a correctish 
sign of his spiritual! Actually so, and would often make new 
people, aspiring to be acquaintances, stand up and be measured, 
that he might have their inches first of all. Nothing could drive 
this out of him; nothing till he weut down once to sit on a jury 
at Dumfries, and for pleader to him had Francis Jeffrey, a man 
little above five feet, and evidently the cleverest advocate one had 
ever heard or dreamed of! Ah me ! these were such histories and 
portrayings as I shall never hear again, nor I think did ever hear, 
for some of the qualities they had. 

John Welsh, my wife's father, was born at Craigenputtoch (I 
now find, which gives the place a new interest to me), April 4, 
1776, little more than eighteen years younger than his father or 
than his mother. His first three years or so (probably till May 26, 
1779, when the parents may have moved to Milton in Tynron) 
must have been passed in those solitudes. At Milton he would 
see his poor young sister die — wonted playmate sadly vanish from 
the new hearth — and would no doubt have his thoughts about it 
(my own little sister Jenny in a similar stage, and my dear mo- 
ther's tears about her, I can vividly remember ; the strangely si- 
lent white-sheeted room, white-sheeted linen-curtained bed, and 
small piece of elevation there, which the joiner was about mea- 
suring ; and my own outburst into weeping thereupon, I hardly 
knew why, my first passing glance at the spectre Death). More 
we know not of the boy's biography there, except that it seems to 
have lasted about seven years at Milton, and that, no doubt, he 
had^>een for three or four years at school there (Tynron school, 
we may well guess) when (1785 or 86) the family shifted with him to 
Penfillan. There probably he spent some four or five years more ; 
Tynron was still his school, to which he could walk, and where I 



conclude he must have got what Latin and other education he had. 
Very imperfect he himself, as I have evidence, considered it ; and 
in his busiest time he never ceased to struggle for improvement of 
it. Touching to know, and how superlatively well, in other far 
more important respects, nature and his own reflections and in- 
spirations had " educated" him. Better than one of many thou- 
sands, as I do perceive ! C'loseburn (a school still of fame) lay on 
the other side of Nith River, and would be inaccessible to him, 
though daily visible. 

What year he first went to Edinburgh or entered the Universi- 
ty I do not know ; I think he was first a kind of apprentice to a 
famous Joseph or Charles Bell (father of a surgeon still in great 
practice and renown, though intrinsically stupid, reckoned a sad 
falling off from his father, in my own time); and with this famed 
Bell he was a favorite, probably, I think, attending the classes, etc., 
while still learning from Bell. I rather believe he never took an 
M.D. degree ; but was, and had to be, content with his diploma as 
surgeon ; very necessary to get out of his father's way, and shift 
for himself in some honest form ! Went, I should dimly guess, as 
assistant to some old doctor at Haddington on Bell's recommenda- 
tion. Went first, I clearly find, as Regimental Surgeou, August 16, 
1796, into the "Perthshire Fencible Cavalry," and served there 
some three years. Carefully tied up and reposited by pious hands 
(seemingly in 1819), I find three old " commissions" on parchment, 
with their stamps, seals, signatures, etc. (Surgeon, August 10, 1796; 
Cornet, September 15, 1796 ; and Lieutenant, April 5, 1799), which 
testify to this ; after which there could have been no " assistant- 
ship" with Somers, but purchase and full practice at once, marriage 
itself having followed in 1800, the next year after that " Lieuten- 
ancy" promotion. I know not in what year (say about 1796, his 
twentieth year, my first in this world) Somers, finding his assistant 
able for everything, a man fast gaining knowledge, and acceptable 
to all the better public, or to the public altogether, agreed in a 
year or two to demit, withdraw to country retirement, and declare 
his assistant successor, on condition, which soon proved easy and 
easier, of being paid (I know not for how long, possibly for life of 
self and wife, but it did not last long) an annuity of £200. Of 
which I find trace in that poor account-book (year ) of his ; pi- 
ously preserved, poor solitary relic [no ; several more, " commis- 
sions," lancet, etc., fouud by me since (July 28, '66)], by his daugh- 
ter ever since his death. 

Dr. Welsh's success appears to have been, henceforth and former- 
ly, swift and constant ; till, before long, the whole sphere or sec- 
tion of life he was placed in had in all senses, pecuniary and other, 
become his own, and there remained nothing more to conquer in it, 
only very much to retain by the methods that had acquired it, and 
to be extremely thankful for as an allotment in this world. A 
truly superior man, according to all the evidence I from all quar- 
ters have. A very valiant man, Edward Irving once called him in 
my hearing. His medical sagacity was reckoned at a higher and 
higher rate, medical and other honesty as well ; for it was by no 
means as a wise physician only, but as an honorable, exact, and 
quietly dignified man, punctual, faithful in all points, that he was 
esteemed over the country. It was three years after his death 
when I first came into the circle which had been his ; and nowhere 
have I met with a posthumous reputation that seemed to be more 
unanimous or higher among all ranks of men. The brave man 
himself I never saw ; but my poor Jeannie, in her best moments, 
often said to me about this or that, " Yes, he would have done it 
so!" "Ah, he would have liked you!" as her highest praise. 
" Punctuality" Irving described as a thing he much insisted on. 
Many miles daily of riding (three strong horses in saddle always, 
with inventions against frost, etc.) ; he had appointed the minute 
everywhere ; and insisted calmly on having it kept by all interest- 
ed parties, high or low. Gravely inflexible where right was con- 
cerned, and " very independent" where mere rank, etc., attempted 
to avail upon him. Story of some old valetudinarian Nabal of 
eminence (Nisbet of Dirleton, immensely rich, continually cocker- 
ing himself, and suffering) ; grudging audibly once at the many 
fees he had to pay (from his annual £30,000): "Dare say I have 
to pay you £300 a year, Dr. Welsh?" "Nearly or fully that, I 
should say ; all of it accurately for w r ork done." " It's a great deal 
of money, though !" " Work not demanded, drain of payment will 
cease of course; not otherwise," answered the doctor, and came 
home with the full understanding that his Dirleton practice and 
connection had ended. My Jeannie recollected his quiet, report of 
it to mamma and her, with that corollary ; however, after some 
short experience (or re-experience of London doctors) Nabal Nisbet 
(who had "butter churned daily for breakfast," as one item of ex- 
penditure) came back, with the necessary Peccavi expressed or un- 
derstood. 

One anecdote I always remember, of the per contra kind. Rid- 
ing along one day on his multifarious business, he noticed a poor 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



57 



wounded partridge fluttering and struggling about, wing or leg, 
or both, broken by some sportsman's lead. He alighted in his 
haste, or made the groom alight if he had one, gathered up the 
poor partridge, looped it gently in his handkerehief, brought it 
home, and by careful splint and salve and other treatment, had 
it soon ou wing again, and sent it forth healed. This in so grave 
and practical a man had always iu it a fine expressiveness to me ; 
she never told it me but once, long ago ; and perhaps we never 
spoke of it again. 

Some time in autumn, 1800 (I think), the young Haddington 
doctor married ; my wife, his first and only child, was born July 
14 (Bastile-day, as we often called it), 1801; 6<H years old when 
she died. The bride was Grace Welsh, of Capelgill (head of Mof- 
fat Water in Anuaudale) ; her father an opulent store-farmer up 
there, native of Nithsdale ; her mother a Baillie from Biggar re- 
gion, already deceased. Grace was beautiful, must have been : 
she continued what might be called beautiful till the very end, iu 
or beyond her sixtieth year. Her Welshes were Nithsdale people 
of good condition, though beyond her grandfather and uncles, big 
farmers in Thoruhill Parish (the Welshes of Morton Mains for I 
know not for what length of time before, nor exactly what after, 
only that it ceased some thirty or perhaps almost fifty years ago, 
in a tragic kind of way) ; I can learn nothing certain of them 
from Rev. Walter of Auehtertool, nor from his sister Maggie here, 
who are of that genealogy, children of my mother-in-law's brother 
John ; concerning w^oni perhaps a word afterward. When the 
young Haddington doctor and his beautiful Grace had first made 
acquaiutance I know not; probably ou visits of hers to Morton 
Mains, which is but a short step from Penfillan. Acquainted they 
evidently were, to the degree of mutually saying, "Bo it for life, 
then" ; and, I believe, were and continued deeply attached to one 
another. Sadder widow than my mother-in-law, modestly, deli- 
cately, yet disceruibly was, I have seldom or never seen, and my 
poor Jeannie has told me he had great love of her, though obliged 
to keep it rather secret or undemonstrative, being well aware of 
her too sensitive, fanciful, and capricious ways. 

Mrs. Welsh when I first saw her (1822, as' dimly appears) must 
have been in the third year of her widowhood. I think, when 
Irving and I entered, she was sitting in the room with Benjamin* 
and my Jane, but soon wont away. An air of deep sadness lay ou 
her, and on everybody, except on poor dying Benjamin, who affect- 
ed to be very sprightly, though overwhelmed as he must have felt 
himself. His spirit, as I afterward learned from his niece, who did 
not love him or feel grateful to him, was extraordinary, in the 
worldly-wise kind. Mrs. Welsh, though beautiful, a tall aquiline 
figure, of elegaut carriage and air, was not of an intellectual or 
specially distinguished physiognomy ; and, in her severe costume 
aud air, rather repelled me than otherwise at that time. A day or 
so after, next eveuing perhaps, both Irving and I were in her draw- 
ing-room, with her daughter aud her, both very humane to me, 
especially the former, which I noticed with true joy for the mo- 
ment. I was miserably ill in heath ; miserable every way more 
than enough, in my lonely imprisonment, such as it was, which 
lasted many years. The drawing-room seemed to me the finest 
apartment I had ever sat or stood in ; in fact, it was a room of large 
aud tine proportions, looking out ou a garden, on more gardens or 
garden walls aud sprinkling of trees, across the valley or plain of 
the Tyne (which lay hidden), house quite at the back of the town, 
facing toward Lethington, etc., the best rooms of it; aud every- 
where beariug stamp of the late owner's solid temper. Clean, all 
of it, as spring- water; solid and correct as well as pertinently or- 
namented ; in the drawing-room, on the tables there, perhaps rath- 
er a superfluity of elegant whimwhams. The summer twilight, I 
remember, was pouring in rich aud soft; I felt as one walking 
transiently in upper spheres, where I had little right even to make 
transit. Ah me! they did not know of its former tenants when I 
went to the house again in April last. I remember our all sitting, 
another evening, in a little parlor off the diuiug-room (down 
stairs), and talking a long time; Irving mainly, and bringing out 
me, the two ladies benevolently listening with not much of speech, 
but the younger with a lively apprehension of all meanings and 
shades of meaning. Above this parlor I used to sleep, in my visits 
in after-years, while the house was still unsold. Mrs. W. left it at 
once, autumn 1826, the instant her Jeannie had gone with me ; weut 
to Templaud, Nithsdale, to her father; and turned out to have de- 
cided never to behold Haddington more. 

She was of a most generous, honorable, affectionate tnru of mind ; 
had consummate skill iu administering a household; agoodish well- 
tending intellect — something of real drollery iu it, from which my 
Jeannie, I thought, might have inherited that beautiful lambency 
and brilliancy of soft genial humor, which illuminated her percep- 

* Brother of Dr. Welsh. 



tions and discoursings so often to a singular degree, like pure soft 
morning radiance falling upon a perfect picture, true to the facts. 
Indeed, I once said, " Your mother, my dear, has narrowly missed 
being a woman of genius." Which doubtless was reported by-and- 
by, iu a quizzical mauner, and received with pleasure. For the 
rest, Mrs. W., as above said, was far too sensitive ; her beauty, too, 
had brought flatteries, conceits perhaps ; she was very variable of 
humor, flew off or on upon slight reasons, and, as already said, was 
not easy to live with for one wiser than herself, though very eaBy 
for one more foolish, if especially a touch of hypocrisy and perfect 
admiration were superadded. The married life at Haddington, I 
always understood, was loyal and happy, sunuier than most, but it 
was so by the husband's softly aud steadily taking the command, I 
fancy, aud knowing how to keep it in a silent and noble manner. 
Old Penfillan (I have heard the three auuts say) reported once, on 
returning from a visit at Haddington, "He had seen her one even- 
ing in fifteen different humors" as the night wore on. This, prob- ' 
ably, was iu his own youngish years (as well as hers and his sou's), 
and might have had a good deal of satirical exaggeration in it. 
She was the most exemplary nurse to her husband's brother 
William, and to other of the Penfillan sous who were brought 
there for help or furtherance. William's stay lasted five years, 
three of them involving two hours daily upon the spring deal (a 
stout elastic plank of twenty or thirty feet long, ou which the 
weak patient gets himself shaken, and secures exercise), she her- 
self, day after day, doing the part of trampler, which perhaps was 
judged useful or as good as necessary for her own health. Will- 
iam was not in all poiuts a patient one could not have quarrelled 
with, aud my mother-in-law's quiet obedience I cauuot reckon 
other than exemplary — even supposing it was partly for her own 
health too. This I suppose was actually the case ; she had much, 
weak health, more and more toward the end of life. Her hus- 
band had often signally helped her by his skill and zeal ; ouce, 
for six mouths long, he, and visibly he alone, had been the means 
of beeping her alive. It was a bad inflammation or other disorder 
of the liver; liver disorder was cured, but power of digestion had 
ceased. Doctors from Edinburgh, etc., unanimously gave her up; 
food of no kind would stay a moment on the stomach ; what can 
any mortal of us do ? ' Husband persisted ; found food that would 
stay (arrowroot perfectly pure; if by chance, your pure stock be- 
ing out, you tried shop arrowroot, the least of starch iu it declared 
it futile), for six months kept her alive and gathering strength on 
those terms, till she rose again to her feet. " He much loved her," 
said my Jeannie, "but none could less love what of follies she had." 
Not a few, though none of them deep at all, the good aud even no- 
ble soul! How sadly I remember now, and often before now, the 
time when she vanished from her kind Jane's sight aud mine, nev- 
er more to meet us in this world ! It must have been in autumn, 
1841 ; she had attended Jane down from Templand* to Dumfries, 
probably I was up from Scotsbrig (but dou't remember) ; I was, at 
any rate, to conduct my wife to Scotsbrig that night, and on the 
morrow or so thence for London. Mrs. W. was unusually beautiful, 
but strangely sad too, eyes bright, and as if with many tears be- 
laud them. Her daughter too was sad, so was I at the sadness of 
both, aud at the evidently, boundless feeling of affection which 
knew not how to be kind enough. Iuto shops, etc., for last gifts 
aud later than last ; at length we had got all done, and withdrew 
to sister Jean's to order the gig and go. She went with us still, 
but feeling what would now be the kindest, heroically rose (still 
not weeping), and said Adieu there. We watched her, sorrowful 
both of us, from the end window, stepping, tall and graceful, fea- 
ther in bonnet, etc., down Lochmaben gate, casting no glance back, 
then vanishing to rightward, iuto High Street (bonuet feather, 
perhaps, the last thing), and she was gone forever. Ay de mi ! 
Ay de mi! What a thing is life, bounded thus by death! I do 
not think we ever spoke of this, but how could either of us ever 
forget it at all ? | 

Old Walter Welsh, my wife's maternal grandfather, I had seen 
twice or thrice at Templand before our marriage, and for the next 
six or seven years, especially after our removal to Craigenputtoch, 
he was naturally a principal figure in our small circle. He liked 
his granddaughter cordially well ; she had been much about him on 
visits and so forth from her early childhood, a bright merry little 
grig, always pleasant iu the troubled atmosphere of the old grand- 
father. "Pen" (Penfillan Jeannie, for there was another) he used 
to call her to the last ; mother's name in the family was " Grizzie" 
(Grace). A perfect true affection ran through all branches, my poor 
little " Pen" well included aud returning it well. She was very 
fond of old Walter (as he privately was of her), and got a great 
deal of affectionate amusement out of him. Me, too, he found much 
to like in, though practically we discorded commonly on two points : 

* House in Nithsdale, where Jlra. Welsh's father lived. 



58 



REMINISCENCES. 



1°, that I did and would smoke tobacco; 2°, that I could not and 
•would not drink with any freedom whiskey punch, or other liquid 
stimulants, a thing breathing the utmost poltroonery in some 
section of one's mind, thought Walter always. He for himself 
cared nothing about drink, but had the rooted idea (common in his 
old circles) that it belonged in some indissoluble way to good- 
fellowship. We used to presently knit up the peace again, but tiffs 
of reproach from him on this score would always arise from time to 
time, and had always to be laughed away by me, which was very 
easy, for I really liked old Walter heartily, and he was a continual 
genial study to me over and above; microcosm of old Scottish life 
as it had been, and man of much singularity and real worth of 
character, and even of intellect too if you saw well. He abounded 
in contrasts; glaring oppositions, contradictions, yon would have 
said, in every element of him, yet all springing from a single centre 
(you might observe), and honestly uniting themselves there. No 
better-natured man (sympathy, sociality, honest loving-kindness 
towards all innocent people), and yet of men I have hardly seen 
one of hotter, more impatient temper. Sudden, vehement, break- 
ing out into fierce flashes of lightning "when you touched him the 
wrono- way. Yet they were flashes only, never bolts, and were 
gone again in a moment, and the fine old face beaming quietly 
on you as before. Face uncommonly fine, serious, yet laughing 
eyes, as if inviting you iu, bushy eyebrows, face which you might 
have called picturesquely shaggy, under its plenty of gray hair, 
beard itself imperfectly shaved here and there ; features mas- 
sive yet soft (almost with a tendency to pendulous or flabby in 
parts), and nothing but honesty, quick ingenuity, kindliness, and 
frank manhood as the general expression. He was a most simple 
man, of stunted utterance, burred with his r, and had a chewing 
kind of way with his words, which, rapid and few, seemed to be 
forcing their way through laziness or phlegm, and were not ex- 
tremely distinct till you attended a little (and then, aided by the 
face, etc., they were extremely and memorably brave, old Walter's 
words, so true, too, as honest almost as my own father's, though in 
a strain so different). Clever things Walter never said or attempt- 
ed to say, not wise things either in any shape beyond that of sin- 
cerely accepted commonplace; but he very well knew when such 
were said by others, and glanced with a bright look on them, a 
bright dimpling.chuckle sometimes (smudge of laughter, the Scotch 
call it, or.e of the prettiest words and ditto things), and on the 
whole hated no kind of talk hut the unwise kind. He was seri- 
ous, pensive, not more, or sad, in those old times. He had the 
prettiest laugh (once, or at most twice, in my presence) that I can 
remember to have seen, not the loudest, my own father's still rarer 
laugh was louder far, though perhaps not more complete, but his 
was all of artillery-thunder, feu de joie from all guus as the main 
element, while iu Walter's there was audible something as of in- 
finite flutes and harps, as if the vanquished themselves were yi- 
vited or compelled to partake in the triumph. I remember one 
such laugh (quite forget about what), and how the old face looked 
suddenly so beautiful and young again. " Radiant ever young 
Apollo," etc., of Teufelsdrockh's laugh as a reminiscence of that. 
Now when I think of it, Walter must have had an immense fund 
of inarticulate gayety in his composition, a truly fine seuse of the 
ridiculous (excellent sense in a man, especially if he never culti- 
vate it, or be conscious of it, as was Walter's case) ; and it must 
have been from him that my Jane derived that beautiful light of 
humor, never going into folly, yet full of tacit fun, which sponta- 
neously illuminated all her best hours. Thanks to Walter, she was 
of him in this respect; my father's laugh, too, is maiuly mine, a 
grimmer and inferior kind; of my mother's beautifully sportive 
vein, which was a third kind, also hereditary I am told, I seem to 
have inherited less, though not nothing either, nay, perhaps at 
bottom not even less, had my life chanced to he easier or joyfuller. 
"Sense of the ridiculous" (worth calling such; i.e. "brotherly 
sympathy with the downward side") is withal very indispensable 
to a man ; Hebrews have it not, hardly any Jew creature, not even 
blackguard Heine, to any real length — hence various misqualities 
of theirs, perhaps most of their qualities, too, which have become 
historical. This is an old remark of mine, though not yet written 
anywhere. 

Walter had been a buck in his youth, a high-prancing horseman, 
etc. ; I forget what image there was of him, iu buckskins, pipe 
hair-dressings, grand equipments, riding somewhither (with John 
Welsh of Pentillan, I almost think ?), bright air image, from some 
transient discourse I need not say of whom. He bad married a 
good and beautiful Miss Baillie (of whom already), and settled with 
her at Capelgill, in the Moffat region, where all his children were 
born, and left with him young, the mother having died, still in the 
flower of her age, ever tenderly remembered by Walter to his last 
day (as was well understood, though mention was avoided). From 
her my Jeannie was called " Jane Baillie Welsh" at the time of our 



marriage, but after a good few years, when she took to signing 
"Jane Welsh Carlyle," in which I never hiudered her, she dropped 
the " Baillie," I suppose as too long. I have heard her quiz about 
the " unfortunate Miss Baillie" of the song at a still earlier time. 
Whether Grace Welsh was married froin Capelgill I do not know. 
Walter had been altogether prosperous in Capelgill, and all of the 
family that I knew (John, a merchant in Liverpool, the one remain- 
ing of the sons, and Jeannie, the one other daughter, a beautiful 
"Aunt Jeannie," of whom a word by-and-by) continued warmly 
attached to it as their real home in this earth, but at the renewal 
of leases (1801 or so) had lost it in a quite provoking way. By the 
treachery of a so-called friend, namely : friend a neighboring farm- 
er, perhaps, but with an inferior farm, came to advise with Walter 
about rents, probably his own rent first, in this general time of 
leasing. "I am thinking to offer so-and-so, what say you? what 
are you going to offer, by-the-bye ?" Walter, the very soul of fidel- 
ity himself, made no scruple to answer, found by-and-by that this 
precious individual had thereupon himself gone and offered for 
Capelgill the requisite few pounds more, and that, according to 
fixed customs of the estate, he and not Walter was declared tenant 
of Capelgill henceforth. Disdain of such scandalous conduct, as- 
tonishment and quasi-horror at it, could have been stronger in 
few men than in Walter, a feeling shared in heartily and irrevoca- 
bly by all the family, who, for the rest, seldom spoke of it, or hard- 
ly ever, in my time, and did not seem to hate the man at all, but 
to have cut him off as non-extant, and left hi to unmentioned. Per- 
haps some Welsh he too, of a different stock ? There were Moffat 
country Welshes, I observed, with whom they rather eagerly (John 
of Liverpool eagerly) disclaimed all kinship, but it might be on 
other grounds. This individual's name I never once heard, nor 
was the story touched upon except by rare chance and in the 
lightest way. 

After Capelgill, Walter had no more farming prosperity ; I be- 
lieve he was unskillful in the arable kind of business, certainly he 
was unlucky, shifted about to various places (all in Nithsdale, and 
I think on a smaller and smaller scale, Castlehill iu Durisdeer, 
Strathmilligan in Tynron, ultimately Templaud), and bad gradual- 
ly lost nearly all his capital, which at one time was of an opulent 
extent (actual number of thousands quite unknown to me), and felt 
himself becoming old and frail, and as it were thrown out of the 
game. His family meanwhile had been scattered abroad, seeking 
their various fortune ; son John to Liverpool (where he had one or 
perhaps more uncles of mercantile distinction), son William to the 
West Indies (?) and to early death, whom I often heard lamented 
by my mother-in-law ; these and possibly others who were not 
known to me. John by this time had, recovering out of one bit 
of very bad luck, got into a solid way of business, and was, he 
alone of the brothers, capable of helping his father a little on the 
pecuniary side. Right willing to do it, to the utmost of his power 
or farther. A most munificent, affectionate, and nobly honorable 
kind of man, much esteemed by both Jane and me, foreign as his 
way of life was to us. 

Besides these there was the youngest daughter, now a woman 
of thirty or so, the excellent "Aunt Jeannie," so lovable to both 
of us, w r ho was said to resemble her mother ("nearly as beautiful, 
all but the golden hair" — Jeannie's was fine flaxen, complexion of 
the fairest), who had watched over aud waited on her father 
through all his vicissitudes, and everywhere kept a comfortable, 
frugally effective, and even elegant house round him, and in fact 
let no wind visit him too roughly. She was a beautifully, patient, 
ingenious, and practically thoughtful creature, always cheerful of 
face, suppressing herself aud her sorrows, of which I understood 
there had been enough, in order to screen her father, and make 
life still soft to him. By aid of John, perhaps slightly of my mo- 
ther-in-law, the little farm of Templaud (Queensberry farm, with 
a strong but gaunt and inconvenient old stone house on it) was 
leased and equipped for the old man. House thoroughly repaired, 
garden, etc., that he might still feel himself an active citizen, and 
have a civilized habitation in his weak years. Nothing could be 
neater, trimmer, in all essential particulars more complete than 
house and environment, under Aunt Jeannie's fine managing, had 
in a year or two growu to be. Fine sheltered, beautifully useful, 
gardeu in front, with trellises, flower-work, and stripe of the clean- 
est river shingle between porch and it. House all clean and com- 
plete like a new coin, steadily kept dry (by industry), bedroom and 
every part ; old furniture (of Capelgill) really interesting to the 
eye, as well as perfect for its duties. Dairy, kitchen, etc., nothing 
that was fairly needful or useful could you find to be wanting; 
the whole had the air, to a visitor like myself, as of a rustic idyl, 
(the seamy side of it all strictly hidden by clever Aunt Jeannie ; I 
think she must have been, what I often heard, one of the best house- 
keepers in the world). Dear, good little beauty ; it appears, too, 
she had met with her tragedies in life; one tragedy hardest of all 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



59 



upon a woman, betrothed lover flying off into infamous treason, 
not against her specially, hut against her brother and his own hon- 
or and conscience (brother's partner he was, if I recollect rightly, 
and fled with all the funds, leaving £12,000 of minus), which auni- 
hilated him for her, and closed her poor heart against hopes of 
that kind at an early period of her life. Much lying on her mind, 
I always understood, while she was so cheery, diligent, and helpful 
to everybody round her. I forget, or never knew, what time they 
had come to Templand, btit guess it may have been in 1822 or 
shortly after; dates of Castlehill and Strathmilligan I never knew, 
even order of dates; last summer I could so easily have known 
(deaf-and-dumb "Mr. Turner," an old Strathmilligan acquaintance, 
recognized by her in the Dumfries Railway Station, and made to 
speak by paper and pencil, I writing for her because she could 
not). Oh me ! oh me ! where is now that summer evening, so beau- 
tiful, so infinitely sad and strange! The train rolled off with her 
to Thornhill [Holmhill], and that too, with its setting sun, is gone. 
I almost think Durisdeer (Castlehill) must have been last before 
Templand ; I remember passing that quaint old kirk (with village 
hidden) on my left one April evening, on the top of a Dumfries 
coach from Edinburgh, with reveries and pensive reflections which 
must have belonged to 1822 or 1823. Once, long after, on one of 
our London visits, I drove thither sitting by her, in an afternoon, 
and saw the gypsy village for the first time, and looked in with 
her at the fine Italian sculptures on the Qncensberry tomb through 
a gap in the old kirk wall. Again a pensive evening, now so beau- 
tiful and sad. 

From childhood upward she seemed to have been much about 
these homes of old Walter, summer visits almost yearly, and after 
her father's death, liko to be of longer continuance. They must 
have been a quiet, welcome, and right wholesome element for her 
young heart and vividly growing mind ; beautiful simplicity and 
rural. Scottish nature in its very fiuest form, frugal, elegant, true, 
and kindly; simplex miniditiis nowhere more descriptive both for 
men and things. To mjself, summoning up what I experienced 
of them, there was a real gain from them as well as pleasure. 
Rough nature I knew well already, or perhaps too well, but here 
it was reduced to cosmic, and had a victorious character which was 
new and grateful to me, well-nigh poetical. The old Norse kings, 
the Homeric grazier sovereigns of men, I have felt in reading of 
them as if their ways had a kinship with these (unsung) Nithsdale 
ones. Poor "Aunt Jeannie" sickened visibly the summer after our 
marriage (summer, 1827), while we were there on visit. My own 
little Jeannie, whom nothing could escape that she had the inter- 
est to fix her lynx-eyed scrutiny upon, discovered just before our 
leaving that her dear aunt was dangerously ill, and indeed had 
long been, a cancer — tumor, now evidently cancerous — growing on 
her breast for twelve years past, which, after effort, she at last 
made the poor aunt confess to. We were all (I myself by sympa- 
thy, had there been nothing more) thrown into consternation, made 
the matter known at Liverpool, etc., to everybody but old Walter, 
and had no need to insist on immediate steps being taken. My 
mother-in-law was an inmate there, and probably in chief com- 
mand (had moved thither, quitting Haddington for good, directly 
on our marriage); she at once took measures, having, indeed, a 
turn herself for medicining and some skill withal. That autumn 
Aunt Jeannie and she came to Edinburgh, had a furnished house 
close by us, iu Comley Bank, and there the dismal operation was 
performed, successfully the doctors all said; but alas! Dim sor- 
row rests on those weeks to me. Aunt Jeannie showed her old 
heroism, and my wife herself strove to hope, but it was painful, 
oppressive, sad ; twice or so I recollect being in the sick-room, and 
the pale yet smiling face, more excitation in the eyes than usual ; 
one of the times she was giving us the earnest counsel (my Jane 
having been consulting) "to go to London, clearly, if I could — if 
they would give me the professorship there." (Some professorship 
in Gower Street, perhaps of Literature, which I had hoped vague- 
ly, not strongly at all, nor ever formally declaring myself, through 
Jeffrey, from his friend Brougham and consorts, which they were 
kind enough to dispose of otherwise.) My own poor little Jeannie ! 
my poor pair of kind little Jeannies! Poor Templand Jeannie 
went home again, striving to hope, but sickened in winter, worsened 
when the spring came, and summer, 1838, was still some weeks off 
when she had departed. It must have been in April or March of 
js-j-^. xhe funeral at Crawfurd I remember sadly well ; old Walter, 
John, and two sons (Walter of Auchtertool, and Alick now suc- 
cessor in Liverpool), with various old Moffat people, etc., etc., at 
the inn at Crawfurd; pass of Dalveen with Dr. Russell in the dark 
(holding candles, both of us, inside the chaise), and old Walter's 
silent sorrow and my own as we sat together iu the vacant parlor 
after getting home. "Hah, w'll no see her nae mair !" murmured 
the old man, and that was all I heard from him, I think. 

Old Walter now fell entirely to the care of daughter "Grizzie," 



who was unweariedly attentive to him, a most affectionate daugh- 
ter, an excellent housewife too, aud had money enough to'support 
herself and him in their quiet, neat, and frugal way. Templand 
continued in all points as trim aud beautiful as ever; the old man 
made no kind of complaint, aud in economics there was even an 
improvement. But the old cheery patience of daughter " Jeannie," 
magnanimously effacing herself, and returning all his little spirits 
of smoke in the form of lambent kindly flame and radiant light 
upon him, was no longer there ; and we did not doubt but he some- 
times felt the change. Templand has a very fine situation ; old 
Walter's walk, at the south eud of the house, was one of the most 
picturesque and pretty to be found iu the world. Nith valley 
(river half a mile off, winding through green holms, now in its bor- 
ders of clean shingle, now lost iu pleasant woods and rushes) lay 
patent to the S., the country sinking perhaps 100 feet rather sud- 
denly ; just beyond Templand, Kier, Penpout, Tynron, lying spread 
across the river, all as iu a inap, full of cheerful habitations, gen- 
tlemen's mansions, well-cultivated farms aud their cottages and 
appendages, spreading up iu irregular slopes aud gorges against 
the finest range of hills ; Barjarg with its trees and mansion atop; 
to your left hand Tynrou Down, a grand massive lowland mount- 
ain (you might call it), with its white village at the base (behind 
which in summer-time was the setting of the sun for you) ; one 
big pass (Glen-shiunel, with the clearest river-water I ever saw 
out of Cumberland) bisecting this expanse of heights, and leadiug 
you by the Clove ("cloven ?") of Maxwellton, into Gleneairn val- 
ley, and over the Black Craig of Duuscore (Dun-scoir= Black hill), 
and to Craigenputtoch if you chose. Westward of Tynron rose 
Drumlaurig Castle and woods, and the view, if you quite turned 
your back to Dumfries, ended in the Lothers, Leadhills, and other 
lofty mountains, water-shed and boundary of Lanarkshire and 
Dumfriesshire, rugged, beautifully piled sierra, winding round into 
the eastern heights (very pretty too), which part Annandale from 
Nithsdale. [Alas! what is the use of all this, here and now?] 
Closeburn, mansion, woods, greeneries, backed by brown steep 
masses, was on the southeastern side, house, etc., hiding it from 
Walter's walk. Walk where you liked, the view you could reckon 
unsurpassable, not the least needing to be " surpassed." Walter's 
walk special (it never had any name of that kind ; but from the 
garden he glided mostly into it, in fine days, a small green seat at 
each end of it, and a small ditto gate, easy to opeu and shut) was 
not above 150 yards long ; but he sauntered and walked in it as 
fancy bade him (not with an eye to " regimen," except so far as 
"fancy" herself might unconsciously point that way); took his 
newspapers (Liverpool, sent by John) to read there iu the sunny 
seasons ; or sat silent, but with a quietly alert look, contemplating 
the glorious panorama of " sky-covered earth" in that part, and 
mildly reaping his poor bit of harvest from it without needing to 
pay rent ! 

We went over from Craigenputtoch : were always a most wel- 
come arrival, surprise oftenest, and our bits of visits, which could 
never be prolonged, were uniformly pleasant on both sides. One 
of our chief pleasures, I thiuk almost our chief, during those moor- 
land years. Oh, those pleasant gig-drives, in fine leafy twilight, or 
deep in the night sometimes, ourselves two alone in the world, the 
good " Larry" faring us (rather too light for the job, but always 
soft and willing), how they rise on me now, benignantly luminous 
from the bosom of the grim dead night! Night! what would I 
give for one, the very worst of them, at this moment! Once we 
had gone to Dumfries, iu a soft misty December day (for a portrait 
which my darling wanted, not of herself!); a bridge was found 
broken as we went down, brook unsafe by night ; we had to try 
" Cluden (Lower Cairn) Water" road, as all was mist and pitch-dark- 
ness, on our return, road unknown except in general, and drive like 
no other iu my memory. Cairn hoarsely roaring on the left (my 
darling's side) ; " Larry," with but one lamp-candle (for we had put 
out the other, lest both might fall done), bending always to be 
straight iu the light of that; I really anxious, though speaking 
only hopefully ; my darling so full of trust in me, really happy aud 
opulently interested iu these equipments ; iu these poor and dan- 
gerous circumstances how opulent is a nobly royal heart! She 
had the worthless "portrait" (pencil sketch by a wandering Ger- 
man, announced to us by poor and hospitable Mrs. Richardson, once 
a " novelist" of mark, much of a gentlewoman, aud well loved by 
us both) safe in her reticule ; " better far than none," she cheerful- 
ly said of it, and the price, I think, had been 5s., fruit of her thrift 
too: — well, could California have made me and her so rich, had I 
known it (sorry gloomy mortal) just as she did? To noble hearts 
such wealth is there in poverty itself, and impossible without pov- 
erty ! I saw ahead, high in the mist, the minarets of Duuscore 
Kirk, at last, glad sight; at Mrs. Broatch's cozy rough inn we got 
" Larry" fed, ourselves dried and refreshed (still seven miles to 
do, but road all plain); and got home safe, after a pleasant day 



CO 



REMINISCENCES. 



in spite of all. Then the drive to Boreland (once George Welsh's, 
"Uncle George," youngest of the Penfillans) ; heart of winter, 
intense calm frost, and through Dumfries, at least 35 miles for 
poor "Larry" and us; very beautiful that too, and very strange, 
past the base of towering New Abbey, huge ruins, pierciug grandly 
into the silent frosty sunset, on this hand, despicable cow-house of 
Presbyterian kirk on that hand (sad new contrast to Devorgilla's 
old bounty), etc., etc. Of our drive home again I recollect only her 
invincible contentment, and the poor old cotter woman offering to 
warm us with a flame of dry broom, " A'll licht a bruim couev, if 
ye'll please to come in !" Another time we had gone to " Dumfries 
Cattle Show" (first of its race, which are many since) ; a kind of 
lark on our part; and really entertaining, though the day proved 
shockingly wet and muddy ; saw various notabilities there, Sir 
James Grahame (baddish, proud man, we both thought by physi- 
ognomy, and did not afterward alter our opinion much), Kamsay 
Macculloch (iu sky-blue coat, shiningly on visit from London), etc., 
etc., with noue of whom, or few, had we right (or wish) to speak, 
abundantly occupied with seeing so many fine specimens, biped 
and quadruped. In afternoon we suddenly determined to take 
Templand for the night (nearer by some miles, and weather still so 
wet and muddy) ; aud did so, with the best success, a right glad 
surprise there. Poor Huskisson had perished near Liverpool, in 
first trial of the railway, I think, the very day before ; at any rate 
■we heard the news, or at least the full particulars there, the trage- 
dy (spectacular mostly, but not quite, or iuhumauly in any sense) 
of our bright glad eveuiug there. 

The Liverpool children first, then "Uncle John" himself for a 
fortnight or so, used to come every summer, and stir up Templaud's 
quietude to us by-stauders in a purely agreeable way. Of the chil- 
dren I recollect nothing almost ; nothing that was not cheerful and 
auroral matutinal. The two boys, Walter aud Alick, came once on 
a visit to us, perhaps oftener ; but once I recollect their lyiug quiet 
in their big bed till eleven a.m., with exemplary politeness, for fear 
of awakening me who had been up for two hours, though every- 
body had forgotten to aunouuce it to them. We ran across to 
Teinpland rather oftener than usual ou these occasions, and I sup- 
pose staid a shorter time. 

My Jeannie had a great love and regard for her " Uncle John," 
whose faults she knew well enough, but knew to be of the surface 
all, while his worth of many fine kinds ran in the blood, and never 
once failed to show in the conduct when called for. He had all 
his father's veracity, integrity, abhorrence of dishonorable be- 
havior ; was kind, munificent, frank, and had more thau his father's 
impetuosity, vehemence, aud violence, or perhaps was only more 
provoked (in his way of life), to exhibit these qualities now and 
then. He was cheerful, musical, politely conversible ; truly a 
genial, harmonious, loving nature; but there was a roar iu him 
too like a lion's. He had had great misfortunes and provocations ; 
his way of life in dusty, sooty, ever noisy Liverpool, with its din- 
nerings, wine-driukiugs, dull evening parties issuing in whist, was 
not his element, few men's less, though he made not the least com- 
plaint of it (even to himself, I think): but his heart, aud all his 
pleasant memories and thoughts, were in the breezy hills of Moffat- 
dale, with the rustic natives there, and their shepherdiugs, hunt- 
ings (brock aud fox), and solitary fishings iu the clear streams. It 
was beautiful to see how he made some pilgrimiug into those or the 
kindred localities; never failed to search out all his father's old 
herdsmen (with a sovereign or two for each, punctual as fate), and 
had a few days' fishing as one item. He had got his schooling at 
Closeburn ; was, if not very learned, a very intelligent, inquiring 
kind of man; could talk to you instructively about all manner of 
practical things, and loved to talk with the intelligent, though 
nearly all his life -was doomed to pass itself with the stupid or 
commonplace sort, who were intent upon nothiug but " getting on," 
and giving dinners or getting them. Rarely did he burst out into 
brief fiery recognition of all this; yet, once at least, before my 
time, I heard of his doing so in his own drawing-room, with brevi- 
ty, but with memorable emphasis and fury. He was studiously 
polite in general, always so to those who deserved it, not quite al- 
ways to those who did not. 

His demeanor in his bankruptcy, his and his wife's (who, for the 
rest, though a worthy, well-intending, was little of an amiable 
woman), when the villain of a partner eloped, and left him pos- 
sessor of a minus £12,000, with other still painfuller items (sister 
Jeaunie's incurable heart, for example), was admitted to be beau- 
tiful. Creditors had been handsome and gentle, aware how the 
case stood; household with all its properties and ornaments left 
intact, etc. Wife rigorously locked all her plate away ; husband 
laboriously looked out for a new course of business ; ingeniously 
found or created one, prospered in it, saving every penny possible ; 
thus, after perhaps seven or eight years, had a great dinner: all 
the plate out again, all the creditors there, and under every man's 



cover punctual sum due, payment complete to every creditor; 
" Pocket your checks, gentlemen, with our poor warmest thanks, 
and let us drink better luck for time coming !" He prospered al- 
ways afterward, but never saved much money ; too hospitable, far 
too opeu-hauded, for that; all his dinners, ever since I knew him, 
were given (never dined out, he), aud in more than oue iustance, to 
our kuowledge, ruined people were lifted up by him (one widow 
cousiu, one orphan, youugest daughter of an acquaintance, e. g.) as 
if they had been his own ; sunk possibly enough mainly or alto- 
gether into his hands, and were triumphantly (with patience aud 
in silence) brought through. No wonder my darling liked this 
uncle, nor had I the least difficulty in liking him. 

Once I remember mounting early, almost with the sun (a kind 
hand expediting, perhaps sendiug me), to breakfast at Templand, 
and spend the day with him there. I rode by the shoulder of the 
Black Craig (Dunscore Hill), might see Dumfries with its cap of 
early kitchen smoke, all shrunk to the size of one's hat, though 
there were 11,000 souls in it, far away to the right; descended 
then by Cairn, by the Clove of Maxwellton (where at length came 
roads), through fragrant grassy or bushy solitudes ; at the Bridge 
of Shinnel, looked down into the pellucid glassy pool, rushing 
through its rock chasms, and at a young peasant woman, pulling 
potatoes by the brink, chubby infant at her knee — one of the fiuest 
mornings, oue of the pleasautest rides ; and arrived at Templand in 
good time and trim for my hosts. The day I forget ; would be spent 
wholesomely wandering about, in rational talk on indiffereut mat- 
ters. Another time, long after, uew from London then, I had wan- 
dered out with him, his two pretty daughters, aud a poor good 
cousin called Robert Macqueen attending. We gradually strolled 
into Crichop Linn (a strauge high-lying chasmy place, near Close- 
burn) ; there pausing, well aloft, and shaded from the noon sun, the 
two gh'ls, with their father for octave accompaniment, sang us 
"The Birks of Aberfeldy" so as I have seldom heardasoug; voices 
excellent and true, especially his voice aud native expression given ; 
which stirred my poor London-fevered heart almost to tears. Oue 
earlier visit from London, I had driven up, latish, from Dumfries, 
to see my own little woman, who was there among them all. No 
wiuk could I sleep ; at length about three a.m., reflecting how mis- 
erable I should be all day, and cause ouly misery to the others, I 
(with leave had) rose, yoked my gig, and drove away the road I 
had come. Morning cold aud surly, all mortals still quiet, except 
unhappy self; I remember seeing toward Auldgarth, within a few 
yards of my road, a vigilant industrious heron, mid-leg deep iu the 
Nith stream, diligently fishing, dabbiug its long bill and hungry 
eyes down into the rushiug water (tail up stream), and paying no 
regard to my wheels or me. The only time I ever saw a hernshaw 
("herrin'shouw" the Aunandalers call it) actually fishing. Cwtera 
desunt ; of Dumfries, of the day there, and its sequences, all trace 
is gone. It must have been soon after French Revolution Bookj 
nerves all inflamed and torn up, body and mind in a most hag-rid- 
den condition (too much their normal one those many London 
years). 

Of visits from Templaud there were not so many ; but my dar- 
ling (hampered aud gyved as we were by the genius loci and its dif- 
ficulties) always triumphantly made them do. She had the genius 
of a field-marshal, not to be taken by surpriae, or weight of odds, in 
these cases! Oh, my beautiful little guardian spirit! Twice at 
least there was visit from Uncle John in person aud the Liverpool 
strangers, escorted by mother; my mother, too, was there one of 
the times. Warning I suppose had been given ; night-quarters, etc., 
all arranged. Uncle John aud boys went down to Orr Water, I at- 
tending without rod, to fish. Tramping about on the mossy brink, 
uncle audi awoke an adder; we had just passed its under-ground 
hole ; alarm rose, looking round, we saw the vile, sooty-looking, fa- 
tal, abominable wretch, towering up above a yard high (the only 
time I ever saw an adder) ; oue of the boys snatched a stray branch, 
hurried up from behind, and with a good hearty switch or two 
broke the creature's back. 

Another of these diuuer days, I was in the throes of a review 
article (" Characteristics," was it ?), aud could not attend the sport ; 
but sauntered about, much on the strain, to small purpose ; dinner 
all the time that I could afford. Smokiug outside at the dining- 
room window, " Is not every day the conflux of two eternities," 
thought I, " for every man ?" Lines of influence from all the past 
and stretching onward into all the future, do intersect there. That 
little thoughtkin stands iu some of my books; I recollect beiug 
thankful (scraggily thankful) for the day of small things. 

We must have gone to Craigenputtoch early in May, 1828. I 
remember passing our furniture carts (my father's carts from Scots- 
brig, conducted by my two farming brothers) somewhere about 
Elvanfoot, as the coach brought us two along. I don't remember 
our going up to Craigenputtoch, a day or two after, but do well 
remember what a bewildering heap it all was for some time after. 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



61 



Geraldine's Craigenputtoch stories are more mythical than any 
of the rest. Each consists of two or three, in confused exagger- 
ated state, rolled with new confusion into one, and given wholly 
to her, when perhaps they were mainly some servant's in whom 
she was concerned. That of the kitchen door, which could not be 
closed again on the snowy morning, etc., that is a fact very visible 
to me yet ; and how I, coming down for a light to my pipe, found 
Grace Macdonakl (our Edinburgh servant, and a most clever and 
complete one) in tears and despair, with a stupid farm-servant 
endeavoring vainly by main force to pull the door to, which, as it 
had a frame round it, sill and all, for keeping out the wind, could 
not be shut except by somebody from within (me, e. g.) who would 
first clear out the snow at the sill, and then, with his best speed, 
shut; which I easily did. The washing of the kitchen floor, etc. 
(of which I can remember nothing), must have been years distant, 
under some quite other servant, and was probably as much of a 
joyous half frolic as of anything else. I can remember very well 
her coming in to me, late at night (eleven or so), with her first loaf, 
looking mere triumph and quizzical gayety: "See!" The loaf was 
excellent, only the crust a little burnt ; and she compared herself 
to Cellini and his Perseus, of whom we had been reading. From 
that hour we never wanted excellent bread. In fact, the saving 
charm of her life at Craigenputtoch, which to another youug lady 
of her years might have been so gloomy and vacant, was that of 
conquering the innumerable practical problems that had arisen 
for her there ; all of which, I think all, she triumphantly mastered. 
Dairy, poultry-yard, piggery ; I remember one exquisite pig, which 
we called Fixie' (" Quiutus Fixlein" of Jean Paul), and such a little 
ham of it as could not be equalled. Her cow gave twenty-four 
quarts of milk daily in the two or three best months of summer; 
and such cream, and such butter (though, oh ! she had such a prob- 
lem with that ; owing to a bitter herb among the grass, not known 
of till long after by my heroic darling, and she triumphed over 
that too)! That of milking with her own little hand, I think, 
could never have been necessary, even by accident (plenty of milk- 
maids within call), and I conclude must have had a spice of frolic 
or adventure in it, for which she had abundant spirit. Perfection 
of housekeeping was her clear and speedy attainment in that new 
scene. Strange how she made the desert blossom for herself and 
me there ; what a fairy palace she had made of that wild moor-laud 
home of the poor man ! In my life I have seen no human intelli- 
gence that so genuinely pervaded every fibre of the human exist- 
ence it belonged to. From the baking of a loaf, or the darning of 
a stocking, up to comporting herself in the highest scenes or most 
intricate emergencies, all was insight, veracity, graceful success 
(if you could judge it), fidelity to insight of the fact given. 

We had trouble with servants, with many paltry elements and 
objects, and were very poor; but I do not think our days there 
were sad, and certainly not hers in especial, but mine rather. We 
read together at night, one winter, through " Don Quixote" in the 
original ; Tasso in ditto had come before ; but that did not last 
very long. I was diligently writing and reading there ; wrote most 
of the " Miscellanies" there, for Foreign, Edinburgh, etc., Reviews 
(obliged to keep several strings to my bow), and took serious 
thought about every part of every one of them. After finishing 
an article, we used to get on horseback, or mount into our soft old 
gig, and drive away, either to her mother's (Templand, fourteen 
miles off) or to my father and mother's (Scotsbrig, seven or six 
and thirty miles) — the pleasantest journeys I ever made, and the 
pleasautest visits. Stay perhaps three days ; hardly ever more 
than four ; then back to work and silence. My father she partic- 
ularly loved, and recognized all the grand rude worth and im- 
mense originality that lay in him. Her demeanor at Scotsbrig, 
throughout in fact, was like herself, unsurpassable ; and took cap- 
tive all those true souls, from oldest to youngest, who by habit 
and type might have been so utterly foreign to her. At Temp- 
land or there, our presence always made a sunshiny time. To 
Templand we sometimes rode on an evening, to return next day 
early enough for something of work; this was charming generally. 
Once I remember we had come by Barjarg, not by Auldgarth 
(Bridge), aud were riding, the Nith then in flood, from Penfillan or 
Penpont neighborhood ; she was fearlessly following or accompa- 
nying me, and there remained only one little arm to cross, which 
did look a thought uglier, but gave me no disturbance, when a 
farmer figure was seen on the farther bank or fields, earnestly 
waving and signaling (could not be heard for the floods); but for 
whom we should surely have had some accident, who knows how 
bad! Never rode that water again, at least never in flood, I am 
sure. 

We were not unhappy at Craigenputtoch ; perhaps these were 
our happiest days. Useful, continual labor, essentially successful ; 
that makes even the moor green. I fouud I could do fully twice 
as much work in a given time there as with my best effort was 



possible in London, such the interruptions, etc. Once, iu the 
winter-time, I remember counting that for three months there had 
not been any stranger, not even a beggar, called at Craigenput- 
toch door. In summer we had sparsely visitors, now aud then 
her mother, or my own, once my father, who never before had been 
so far from his birth-place as when here (and yet " knew the 
world" as few of his time did, so well had he looked at what he 
did see). At Auldgarth Brig, which he had assisted to build 
when a lad of fifteen, and which was the beginning of all good to 
him, and to all his brothers (and to me), his emotion, after fifty-five 
years, was described to me as strong, conspicuous, and silent. He 
delighted us, especially her, at Craigenputtoch, himself evidently 
thinking of his latter end, in a most intense, awe-stricken, but also 
quiet and altogether human way. Since my sister Margaret's 
death he had been steadily sinking in strength, though we did not 
then notice it. On August 12 (for the grouse's sake) Robert Welsh, 
her uncle, was pretty certain to be there, with a tag-raggery of 
Dumfries Writers, dogs, etc., etc., whom, though we liked him very 
well, even I, and much more she, who had to provide, find beds, 
etc., felt to be a nuisance. I got at last into the way of riding off, 
for some visit or the like, on August 12, and unless " Uncle Rob- 
ert" came in person, she also would answer, " Not at home." 

An interesting relation to Goethe had likewise begun in Comley 
Bank first, and now went on increasing; "boxes from Weimar*' 
(aud "to," at least once or twice) were from time to time a most 
sunny event ; I remember her making for Ottilie a beautiful High- 
laud bonnet (bright blue velvet, with silvered thistle, etc.), which 
gave plenty of pleasure on both hands. The sketch of Craigen- 
puttoch* was taken by G. Moir, advocate (ultimately sheriff, pro- 
fessor, etc., " little Geordie Moir," as we called him), who was once 
aud no more with us. The visit of Emerson from Concord, and our 
quiet night of clear fine talk, was also very pretty to both of us. 
The Jeffreys came twice, expressly, and once we went to Dumfries 
by appointment to meet them iu passing. Their correspondence 
was there a steadily enlivening element. Oue of the visits (I for- 
get whether first or last, but from Hazlitt, London, there came to 
Jeffrey a death-bed letter one of the days, and instead of "£10," 
£50 went by return) ; Jeffrey, one of the nights, young laird of 
Stroquhan present, was, what with mimiory of speakers, what 
with other cleverness and sprightliness, the most brilliantly amus- 
ing creature I have ever chanced to see. One time we weut to 
Craigcrook, and returned their visit, aud, as I can now see, staid 
at least a week too long. His health was beginuiug to break ; he 
and I had, nightly, long arguments (far too frank aud equal on my 
side, I can now see with penitence) about moral matters, perhaps 
till two or three a.m. He was a most gifted, prompt, ingenious 
little man (essentially a dramatic genius, say a melodious Goldoni 
or more, but made into a Scotch advocate aud Whig); never a 
deeply serious man. He discovered here, I think, that I could not 
be "converted," and that I was' of thoughtlessly rugged rustic 
ways, and faultily irreverent of him (which, alas, I was). The cor- 
respondence became mainly hers by degrees, but was, for years 
after, a cheerful, lively element, in spite of Reform Bills and offi- 
cialities (ruinous to poor Jeffrey's health and comfort) which, before i 
long, supervened. We were at Haddington on that Craigcrook 
occasion, staid with the Donaldsons at Sunnybank (hodie Tenter- 
field), who were her oldest and dearest friends (hereditarily and 
otherwise) in that region. I well remember the gloom of our ar- 
rival back to Craigenputtoch, a miserable, wet, windy November 
evening, with the yellow leaves all flying about, and the sound of 
brother Alick's stithy (who sometimes amused himself with smith- 
work, to small purpose), cliuk, cliuking solitary through the blus- 
tering element. I said nothing, far was she from ever, in the like 
case, saying anything. Indeed, I think we at once re-adjusted our- 
selves, aud went on diligently with the old degree of industry and 
satisfaction. 

" Old Esther," whose death came one of our early winters, was a 
bit of memorability in that altogether vacant scene. I forget the 
old woman's surname (perhaps McGeorge ?), but well recall her 
lumpish heavy figure (lame of a foot), and her honest, quiet, not 
stupid countenance of mixed ugliness and stoicism. She lived 
about a mile from us in a poor cottage of the next farm (Corson's, 
of Nether Craigenputtoch; very stupid youug brother, now minis- 
ter in Ayrshire, used to come aud bore me at rare intervals) ; Es- 
ther had been a laird's daughter riding her palfrey at one time, but 
had gone to wreck, father and self — a special "misfortune" (so 
they delicately name it), being of Esther's own producing. "Mis- 
fortune" in the shape ultimately of a solid tall ditcher, very good 
to his old mother Esther, had, just before our coining, perished 
miserably one night on the shoulder of Duuscore Hill (found dead 

• Seut to Goethe, and engraved under Goethe's direction for the German transla- 
tion of Carlyle's " Life of Schiller." 



REMINISCENCES. 



there next morning), which had driven his poor old mother up to 
this thriftier hut, and silent mode of living, iu our moor-laud part 
of the parish. She did uot beg, nor had my Jeauuie much to have 
given her of help (perhaps on occasion milk, old warm clothes, etc.), 
though always very sorry for her last sad bereavement of the stal- 
wart affectionate son. I remember one frosty kind of forenoon, 
while walking meditative to the top of our hill (now a mass of 
bare or moor-land whiustone crag, once a woody wilderness, with 
woody mountain in the middle of it, " Craigeuputtick, or the stone 
mountain," "Craig" of the " Puttick," puttick being a sort of 
hawk, both in Galloway speech aud in Shakspeare's old English; 
" Hill forest of the Putticks," now a very bare place), the universal 
silence was complete, all but one click-clack, heard regularly like 
a far-off spondee or iambus rather, " click-clack," at regular inter- 
vals, a great way to my right. No other sound in nature ; on look- 
ing sharply I discovered it to be old Esther on the highway, crip- 
pling along towards our house most probably. Poor old soul, 
thought I, what a desolation ! but you will meet a kind face too, 
perhaps! heaven is over all. 

Not long afterwards, poor old Esther sank to bed ; death-bed, as 
my Jane (who had a quick and sure eye iu these things) well judged 
it would be. Sickuess did uot last above a ten days ; my poor wife 
zealously assiduous, and with a minimum of fuss or noise. I re- 
member those few poor days ; as full of human interest to her (and 
through her to me), and of a human pity, not painful, but sweet 
and genuiue. She went walking every morning, especially every 
night, to arrange the poor bed, etc. (nothing but rudish hands, 
rude though kind enough, being about), the poor old womau evi- 
dently gratified by it, and heart-thankful, and almost to the very 
end giving clear sign of that. Something pathetic in poor old Es- 
ther and her exit — nay, if I rightly bethink me, that " click-clack" 
pilgrimage had in fact been a last visit to Craigeuputtoch with 
some poor bit of crockery (small gray-lettered butter plate, which 
I used to see) " as a wee memorandum o' me, mem, when I am 
gane!" "Memorandum" was her word; and I remember the poor 
little platter for years after. Poor old Esther had awoke, that 
frosty morning, with a feeling that she would soou die, that " the 
bonny leddy" had been " uuco' guid" to her, and that there was 
still that " wee bit memorandum." Nay, I thiuk she had, or had 
once had, the remains or complete ghost of a "fine old riding- 
habit," once her own, which the curious had seen : but she had 
judged it more polite to leave to the parish. Ah me ! 

The gallop to Dumfries and back on " Larry," an excellent, well- 
paced, well-broken, loyal little horse of hers (thirteen hands or so, 
an exceeding favorite, and her last), thirty good miles of swift 
canter at the least, is a fact which I well remember, though from 
home at the moment. Word had come (to her virtually, or prop- 
erly perhaps) that the Jeffreys, three and a servant, were to be 
there day after to-morrow, perhaps to-morrow itself; I was at 
Scotsbrig, nothing ready at all "(and such narrow means to get 
ready auything, my darling heroine !). She directly mouuted "Lar- 
ry," who "seemed to know that he must gallop, and faithfully did 
it"; laid her plans while galloping; ordered everythiug at Dum- 
fries ; sent word to me express ; and galloped home, and stood vic- 
toriously prepared at all points to receive the Jeffreys, who, I think, 
were all there on my arrival. The night of her express is to me 
very memorable for its own sake. I had be«n to Buruswark (visit 
to good old Grahame, and walk of three miles to and three from); 
it was ten p.m. of a most still and fine night when I arrived at my 
father's door, heard him making worship, aud stood meditative, 
gratefully, lovingly, till he had ended; thinking to myself how 
good and innocently beautiful and peaceful on the earth is allthis, 
and it was the last time I was ever to hear it. I must have been 
there twice or ofteuer in my father's time, hut the sound of his 
pious Coleshill (that was always his tune), pious psalm and prayer, 
I never heard again. With a noble politeness, very noble when I 
consider they kept all that in a fine kind of remoteness from us, 
knowing (and somehow forgiving us completely) that we did not 
think of it quite as they. My Jane's express would come next 
morning ; and of course I made "Larry" ply his hoofs. 

The second ride, iu Geraldine, is nearly altogether mythical, be- 
ing in reality a ride from Dumfries to Scotsbrig (two and a half 
miles beyond " Ecclefechan," where none of us ever passed), with 
some loss of road within the last five miles (wrong turn at Hodden 
Brig, I guessed), darkness (night-time in May), money, etc., and 
"terror" enough for a commonplace young lady, but little or noth- 
ing of real danger, and terror not au element at all, I fancy, in her 
courageous mind. "Larry," I think, cannot have been her horse 
(half-blind two years before iu an epidemic, through which she 
nursed him fondly, he once "kissing her cheek" in gratitude, she 
always thought), or "Larry" would have known the road, for we 
had often ridden and driven it. I was at that time gone to Lon- 
don iu quest of houses. 



My last considerable bit of writing at Craigenputtoch was "Sar- 
tor Kesartus" ; done, I think, between Jauuary and August, 1830 ; 
my sister Margaret had died while it was going on. I well remem- 
ber when and how (at Templand one morning) the germ of it rose 
above ground. "Nine mouths," I used to say, it had cost- me in 
writing. Had the perpetual fluctuation, the uncertaiuty and un- 
intelligible whimsicality, of Review Editors not proved so intoler- 
able, we might have lingered longer at Craigeuputtoch, " perfectly 
left alone, aud able to do more work, beyond doubt, than elsewhere." 
But a book did seem to promise some respite from that, and per- 
haps further advantages. Teufelsdrockh was ready ; and (first 
days of August) I decided to make for London. Night before go- 
ing, how I still remember it! I was lying on my back on the sofa 
in the drawing-room, she sitting by the table (late at night, pack- 
ing all done, I suppose): her words had a guise of sport, but were 
profoundly plaiutive in meaning. "About to depart, who knows 
for how long, and what may have come in the interim!" this was 
her thought, and she was evidently much out of spirits. " Courage, 
dearie, only for a month !" I would say to her in some form or other. 
I went, next morning early, Alick driving : embarked at Gleucaple 
Quay; voyage as far as Liverpool still vivid to me; the rest, tUl 
arrival in Loudon, gone mostly extinct: let it! The beggarly his- 
tory of poor "Sartor" among the blockheaclisms is not worth re- 
cording or remembering — least of all here ! In short, finding that 
whereas I had got £100 (if memory serve) for "Schiller" six or seven 
years before, and for " Sartor" at least thrice as good, I could not 
only not "get £200" but eveu get no "Murray" or the like to pub- 
lish it on "half profits" (Murray a most stupendous object to me; 
tumbling about, eyeless, with the evidently stroug wish to say 
" yes and no" ; my first signal experience of that sad human pre- 
dicament) ; I said, " We will make it no, then ; wrap up our MS. ; 
wait till this Reform Bill uproar abate ; and see, and give our brave 
little Jeannie a sight of this big Babel, which is so altered since I 
saw it last (iu 1824-25)." She came right willingly, and had in 
spite of her ill-health, which did not abate, but the contrary, an 
interesting, cheery, and, iu spite of our poor arrangements, really 
pleasant winter here. We lodged in Ampton Street, Gray's Inn 
Lane, clean and decent pair of rooms, and quiet, decent people (the 
daughter is she whom Geraldine speaks of as having, I might say, 
fallen in love with her, wanted to be our servant at Craigenputtoch, 
etc.), reduced from wealth to keeping lodgings, and prettily resign- 
ed to itjTeally good people. Visitors, etc., she had in plenty; 
John Mill one of the most interesting, so modest, ardent, ingenuous, 
ingenious, and so very fond of me at that time ! Mrs. Basil Monta- 
gue (already a correspondent of hers), now accurately seen, was an- 
other of the distinguished. Jeffrey, Lord Advocate, often came on an 
afternoon ; never could learn his road to and from the end of Picca- 
dilly, though I showed it him again and again. Iu the evening, mis- 
cellany of hers and mine, often dullish had it not been for her, and 
the light she had shed on everything. I wrote "Johnson" here, 
just before going. News of my father's death came here : oh, how 
good and tender she was, and consolatory by every kind of art, in 
tbose black days! I remember our walk along Holboru forward 
into the City, aud the bleediug mood I was iu, she wrapping me 
like the softest of bandages: — in the City somewhere, two boys 
fighting, with a ring of grinning blackguards rouud them; I rush- 
ed passionately through, tore the fighters asunder, with some pas- 
sionate rebuke ("in this world full of death"), she on my arm, and 
everybody silently complied. Nothing was wanting iu her sym- 
pathy, or in the manner of it, as even from sincere people there 
often is. How poor we were, and yet how rich! I remember 
once taking her to Drury Lane Theatre (ticket from Playwright 
Kenny belike) along sloppy streets, in a November night (this was 
before my father's suddeu death) ; and how paltry the equipment 
looked to me, how perfectly unobjectionable to her, who was far 
above equipments and outer garnitures! Of the theatricality it- 
self that uight I can remember absolutely nothiug. Badams, my 
old Birmingham friend and physician, a most inventive, light- 
hearted, and genially gallant kind of man, sadly eclipsed within 
the last five years, ill married, plunged amid grand mining specu- 
lations (which were and showed themselves sound, but not till they 
had driven him to drink brandy instead of water, and the next 
year to die miserably overwhelmed). Badams with his wife was 
living out at Enfield, in a big old rambliug sherd of a house 
among waste gardens ; thither I twice or thrice went, much liking 
the man, but never now getting any good of him ; she once for 
three or four days went with me ; sorry enough days, had not we, 
and especially she, illumined them a little. Charles Lamb and his 
sister came daily once or oftener ; a very Sorry pair of phenomena. 
Insuperable proclivity to giu iu poor old Lamb. His talk con- 
temptibly small, indicating wondrous ignorance and shallowness, 
even when it was serious and good-mannered, which it seldom 
was, usually ill-mannered (to a degree), screwed into frosty artifi- 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



63 



cialities, ghastly make-believe of wit; in fact, more like "diluted 
insanity" (as I defined it) than anything of real jocosity, humor, 
or geniality. A most slender fibre of actual worth in that poor 
Charles, abundantly recognizable to me as to others, in his better 
times and moods ; but he was cockney to the marrow ; and cock- 
ncydom, shouting, "glorious, marvellous, unparalleled in nature!" 
all his days had quite bewildered his poor head, and churned 
nearly all the sense out of the poor man. He was the leanest of 
mankind, tiny black breeches buttoned to the knee-cap, and no 
further, surmounting spindle-legs, also in black, face and head fine- 
ish, black, bony, lean, and of a Jew type rather; iu the eyes a kind 
of smoky brightness or confused sharpness; spoke with a stutter; 
in walking tottered and shuffled ; emblem of imbecility bodily and 
spiritual (something of real insanity I have understood), and yet 
something too of human, ingenuous, pathetic, sportfully much en- 
during. Poor Lamb ! he was infinitely astonished at my wife, and 
her quiet encounter of his too ghastly London wit by a cheer- 
ful native ditto. Adieu, poor Lamb ! He soon after died, as did 
Badams, much more to the sorrow of us both. Badams at our 
last parting (in Ampton Street, four or more months after this) 
burst into tears. " Pressed down like putty under feet," we heard 
him murmuring, "and no strength more iu me to rise!" We in- 
vited him to Craigeuputtoch with our best temptations next sum- 
mer, but it was too late ; he answered, almost as with tears, " No, 
alas !" and shortly died. 

We had come home, last days of previous March : wild journey 
by heavy coach, I outside, to Liverpool; to Birmingham it was 
good, and inn there good, but next day (a Sunday, I think) we 
were quite overloaded ; and had our adventures, especially on the 
street in Liverpool, rescuing our luggage after dark. But at Un- 
cle John's again, in Maryland Street, all became so bright. At 
mid-day, somewhere, we dined pleasantly tete-a-tete, iu the belly of 
the coach, from my dear one's stores (to save expense doubtless, 
but the rest of the day had been unpleasantly chaotic) even to me, 
though from her, as usual, there was nothing but patient goodness. 
Our dinners at Maryland Street I still remember, our days gener- 
ally as pleasant, our departure in the Annan steamer, one bright 
sunshiny forenoon, uncle, etc., zealously helping and escorting; 
sick, sick my poor woman must have been ; but she retired out of 
sight, and would suffer with her best grace in silence : — ah me, I 
recollect now a tight, clean brandy barrel she had bought ; to 
"hold such quantities of luggage, aud be a water barrel for the 
rain at Craigeuputtoch!" how touching to me at this moment! 
And an excellent water barrel it proved; the purest tea I ever 
tasted made from the rain it stored for us. At Whiuniery, I re- 
member, brother Alick and others of them were waiting to re- 
ceive us ; there were tears among us (my father gone, when we re- 
turned) ; she wept bitterly, I recollect, her sympathetic heart gir- 
dled in much sickness aud dispiritment of her own withal; but 
my mother was very kind and cordially good and respectful to her 
always. We returned in some days to Craigenputtoch, aud were 
again at peace there. Alick, I think, had by this time left, and a 
new tenant was there (a peaceable but dull stupid fellow ; and 
our summers and winters for the future (1832-34) were lonelier 
than ever. Good servants, too, were hardly procurable; difficult 
anywhere, still more so at Craigeuputtoch, where the choice was 
so limited. However, we pushed along ; writing still brisk ; " Sar- 
tor" getting published in Frazer, etc., etc. We had not at first any 
thought of leaving. And, indeed, would the Review Editors but 
have stood steady (instead of forever changeful), aud domestic 
service gone on comfortably, perhaps we might have continued 
still a good while. We went one winter (1833? or '32?) to Edin- 
burgh ; the Jeffreys absent in official regions. A most dreary, con- 
temptible kind of element we found Edinburgh to be (partly by 
accident, or baddish behavior of two individuals, Dr. Irving one of 
them, in reference to his poor kinswoman's furnished house); a 
locality and life-element never to be spoken of in comparison with 
Loudon, and the frank friends there. To London, accordingly, in 
the course of next winter, and its new paltry experiences of house- 
service, etc., we determined to go. Edinburgh must have been in 
1833-32 after all ? Our home-coming I remember ; missed the coach 
in Princes Street, waited perdue till following morning; bright 
weather, but my poor Jeannie so ill by the ride that she could not 
drive from Thornhill to Templand (half a mile), but had to go or 
stagger hanging on my arm, and instantly took to bed with one 
of her terrible headaches. Such headaches I never witnessed in 
my life; agony of retching (never anything but phlegm) and of 
spasmodic writhing, that would last from twenty-four to sixty 
hours, never the smallest help affordable. Oh, w-kat of pain, pain, 
my poor Jeannie had to bear in this thorny pilgrimage of life ; the 
unwitnessed heroine, or witnessed only by mo, who never till now 
see it wholly! 

She was very hearty for London, when I spoke of it, though till 



then her voice on the subject had never been heard. " Burn our 
ships!" she gayly said, one day— i. o., dismantle our house; carry 
all our furniture with us. And accordingly here it still is (mostly 
all of it her father's furniture: whose character of solidly noble is 
visibly written on it: "respect what is truly made to its purpose; 
detest what is falsely, aud have no concern with it!"). My own 
heart could not have been more emphatic on that subject; honor 
to him for its worth to me, not as furniture alone. My writing- 
table, solid mahogany well devised, always handy, yet steady as 
the rocks, is the best I ever saw ; " no book could be too <rood for 
beiug written here," it has often mutely told me. His watch, 
commissioned by him in Clerkenwell, has measured my time for 
forty years, and would still guide you to the longitude, could any- 
body uow take the trouble of completely regulating it (old White- 
law in Edinburgh, perhaps thirty-five years ago, was the last that 
did). Repeatedly have upholsterers asked, "Who made these chairs, 
ma'am?" In cockneydom, nobody in our day ; " unexampled pros- 
perity" makes another kind. Abhorrence, quite equal to my own, 
of cheap aud nasty, I have nowhere seen, certainly nowhere else 
seen completely accomplished, as poor mine could never manage 
almost iu the least degree to be. My pride, fierce and sore as it 
might be, was never hurt by that furniture of his in the house 
called mine ; on the contrary, my piety was touched, and ever aud 
anon have this table, etc., been a silent, solemn sermon to me. Oh, 
shall not victory at last be to the handful of brave, in spite of the 
rotten multitudinous canaille, who seem to inherit all the world 
and its forces and steel weapons and culiuary and stage proper- 
ties ? Courage ; and be true to one another ! 

I remember well my departure (middle of May, 1834), she stay- 
ing to superintend packing aud settling; in gig, I, for the last 
time ; with many thoughts (forgotten there) ; brother Alick vol- 
untarily waiting at Shillahill Bridge with a fresh horse for me ; 
night at Scotsbrig, ride to Annan (through a kind of May series of 
slight showers), pretty breakfast waiting us in poor good Mary's 
(ah me! how strange is all that now! "Mother, you shall see me 
once yearly, and regularly hear from me while we live," etc., etc.) ; 
embarkation at Annan foot ; Ben Nelson and James Stuart ; our 

lifting ,* and steaming off, my two dear brothers (Alick and 

Jamie) standing silent, apart, feeling I well knew what — self-res- 
olute enough, and striviug (not quite honestly) to feel more so. 
Ride to London all night and all day (I think). Trades-Union peo- 
ple out processioning ("Help us; what is your Reform Bill else?" 
thought they, and I gravely salutiug one body of them, I remem- 
ber, and getting grave response from the leader of them). At 
sight of London I remember humming to myself a ballad stanza of 
" Johnnie o' Braidislea" which my dear old mother used to sing. 

" For there's seven foresters in yon forest ; 
And them I want to see, see, 
And them I want to see (and shoot down)! 

Lodged at Ampton Street again ; immense stretches of walking 
in search of houses. Camden Town once ; Primrose Hill aud its 

bright t population in the distance ; Chelsea ; Leigh Hunt's 

hnggermugger, etc., etc. — what is the use of recollecting all that? 

Her arrival I best of all remember: ah me! She was clear for 
this poor house (which she gradually, as poverty a little withdrew 
after long years' pushing, has made so beautiful and comfortable) 
in preference to all my other samples : and here we spent our two- 
and-thirty years of hard battle against fate; hard but not quite 
unvictorious, when she left me, as in her car of heaven's fire. My 
noble one ! I say deliberately her part iu the stern battle, and ex- 
cept myself none knows how stern, was brighter and braver than 
my own. Thanks, darling, for your shining words and acts, which 
were continual iu my eyes, aud in no other mortal's. Worthless I 
was your divinity, wrapt in your perpetual love of me and pride in 
me, in defiance of all men and things. Oh, was it not beautiful, 
all this that I have lost forever! Aud I was Thomas the Doubter, 
the unhoping; till now the only half-believing, iu myself and my 
priceless opulences ! At my return from Aunandale, after " Freuck 
Revolution," she so cheerily recounted to me all the good " items" ; 
item after item. "Oh, it has had a great success, dear!" — to no 
purpose ; and at length beautifully lost patience with me for my 
incredulous humor. My life has not wanted at any time what I 
used to call "desperate hope" to all lengths ; but of common " hop- 
ing hope" it has had but little ; and has been shrouded since youth- 
hood (almost since boyhood, for my school-years, at Annan, were 
very miserable, harsh, barren, and worse) in continual gloom aud 
grimness, as of a man set too nakedly versus the devil and all men. 
Could I be easy to live with ? She flickered round me like perpet- 
ual radiance, aud iu spite of my glooms and my misdoings would 
at no moment cease to love me and help me. What of bounty, too, 
is iu heaven! 



• Word omitted in MS. 



t Word omitted in MS. 



64 



REMINISCENCES. 



We proceeded all through Belgrave Square hither, with our serv- 
ant, our looser luggage, ourselves, and a little canary-bird (" Cliico," 
which she had brought with her from Craigeuputtoch), one hack- 
ney-coach rumbling on with us all. Chico, in Belgrave Square, 
burst into singing, which we took as a good omen. We were all 
of us striving to be cheerful (she needed no effort of striving); but 
we " had burnt our ships," and at bottom the case was grave. I 
do not remember our arriving at this door, but I do the cheerful 
gypsy life we had here among the litter and carpenters for three 
incipient days. Leigh Hunt was in the nest street, sending kind 
unpractical messages; in the eveniugs, I think, personally coming 
in ; we had made acquaintance with him (properly he with us), just 
before leaving in spring 1832. Huggermugger was the type of his 
economics, in all respects, financial and other; but he was himself 
a pretty man, in clean cotton night-gown, and with the airiest kind- 
ly style of sparkling talk, wanting only wisdom of a sound kind, 
and true insight into fact. A great want ! 

I remember going with my dear one (and Eliza Miles, the " daugh- 
ter" of Ampton Street, as escort) to some dim iron-monger's shop, 
to buy kettles and pans on the thriftiest of fair terms. How noble 
and more than royal is the look of that to me now, and of my roy- 
al one then ! California is dross and dirt to the experiences I have 
had. A tinder-box with steel and flint was part of our outfit (in- 
credible as it may seem at this date); I could myself burn rags into 
tinder, and I have groped my way to the kitchen, in sleepless nights, 
to strike a light for my pipe in that manner. Chico got a wife by- 
and-by (oh, the wit there was about that aud its sequels), produced 
two bright yellow young ones, who, as soon as they were fledged, 
got out into the trees of the garden, aud vanished toward swift de- 
struction ; upon which, villain Chico finding his poor wife fallen so 
tattery and ugly, took to pecking a hole in her head, pecked it aud 
killed her, by-aud-by ending his own disreputable life. I had be- 
gun "The French Revolution" (trees at that time before our win- 
dow — a talo by these too on her part): infinitesimal little matters 
of fihat kind hovered round me like bright fire-flies, irradiated by 
her light! Breakfast early, was in the back part of this ground- 
floor room, details of gradual intentions, etc., as to " French Revo- 
lution," advices, approval, or criticism, always beautifully wise, and 
so soft and loving, had they even beeu foolish! 

We were not at all unhappy during those three years of "French 
Revolution"; at least she was not; her health perhaps being bet- 
ter than mine, which latter was in a strangely painful, aud as if 
conflagrated condition towards the end. She had made the house 
"a little Edeu round her" (so neat and graceful in its simplicity aud 
thrifty poverty); "little Paradise round you," those were Edward 
living's words to her, on his visit to us; short, affectionate visit, 
the first and the last (October, 1834); on horseback, just about set- 
ting off for Glasgow, where he died December following. I watch- 
ed him till at the corner of Cook's Grounds he vanished, aud we 
never saw him more. Much consulting about him we had always 
had ; a letter to Henry Drummond (about delivering him from the 
fools aud fanatics that were agitating him to death, as I clearly 
saw) lay on the mantel-piece here for some days in doubt, aud was 
then burnt. Brother, father, rational friend, I could not think of, 
except Henry; and him I had seen only once, not without clear 
view of his unsoundness too. Practically we had long ago had to 
take leave of poor Irving, but we both knew him well, aud all his 
brotherhoods to us first and last, and mourned him in our hearts as 
a lost hero. Nobler man I have seen few if any, till the foul gulfs 
of London pulpit-popularity sucked him in, aud tragically swallow- 
ed him. 

We were beginning to find a friend or two here; that is, an 
eligible acquaintance, none as yet very dear to us, though several 
brought a certain pleasure. Leigh Hunt was here almost nightly, 
three or four times a week, I should reckon ; he came always neat- 
ly dressed, was thoroughly courteous, friendly of spirit, and talked 
like a singing-bird. Good insight, plenty of a kind of humor too; 
I remember little warbles in the tones of his fine voice which were 
full of fun and charm. We gave him Scotch porridge to supper 
("nothing in nature so interesting and delightful"); she played 
him Scotch tunes; a man he to understand and feel them well. 
His talk was often enough (perhaps at first oftenest), literary, bio- 
graphical, autobiographical, wandering into criticism, reform of 
society, progress, etc., etc., on which latter points he gradually 
found me very shocking (I believe — so fatal to his rose-colored vi- 
sions on the subject). An innocent-hearted, but misguided, in fact 
rather foolish, unpractical, and often much-suffering man. John 
Mill was another steady visitor (had by this time introduced his 
Mrs. Taylor too, a very will-o'-wispish " iridescence" of a creature ; 
meaning nothing bad either). She at first considered my Jane to 
be a rustic spirit fit for rather tutoring and twirling about when 
the humor took her, but got taught better (to her lasting memory) 
before long. Mill was very useful about "French Revolution"; 



lent me all his books, which were quite a collection on that sub- 
ject ; gave me, frankly, clearly, and with zeal, all his better knowl- 
edge than my own (which was pretty frequently of use in this or 
the other detail), being full of eagerness for such an advocate in 
that cause as he felt he should be. His evenings here were sensi- 
bly agreeable for most part. Talk rather wintry ("sawdustish," 
as old Sterling once called it), but always well-informed and sin- 
cere. The Mrs. Taylor business was becoming more and more of 
questionable benefit to him (we could see), but on that subject we 
were strictly silent, aud he was pretty still. For several years he 
came hither, and walked with me every Sunday. Dialogues fallen 
all dim, except that they were never in the least genial to me, and 
that I took them as one would wine where no nectar is to be had, 
or even thin ale where no w iue. Her view of him was very kind- 
ly, though precisely to the same effect. How well do I still re- 
member that night when he came to tell us, pale as Hector's ghost, 
that my unfortunate first volume was burnt. It was like half 
sentence of death to us both, and we had to pretend to take it 
lightly, so dismal aud ghastly was his horror at it, and try to talk 
of other matters. He staid three mortal hours or so ; his departure 
quite a relief to us. Oh, the burst of sympathy my poor darling 
then gave me, flinging her arms round my neck, and openly lament- 
ing, condoling, and encouraging like a nobler second self! Under 
heaven is nothing beautifuller. We sat talking till late ; " shall 
be written again," my fixed word aud resolution to her. Which 
proved to be such a task as I never tried before or since. I wrote 
out " Feast of Pikes" (vol. ii.), and then went at it. Found it fair- 
ly impossible for about a fortnight; passed three weeks (reading 
Marryat's novels), tried, cautious-cautiously, as on ice paper-thin, 
once more; and in short had a job more like breaking my heart 
than any other in my experieuce. Jeanuie, alone of beings, burnt 
like a steady lamp beside me. I forget how much of money we 
still had. I think there was at first something like £300, perhaps 
£280, to front London with. Nor can I in the least remember 
w here we had gathered such a sum, except that it was our own, no 
part of it borrowed or given us by anybody. " Fit to last till 
'French Revolution' is ready!" and she had no misgivings at all. 
Mill was penitently liberal ; sent me £200 (in a day or two), of 
which I kept £100 (actual cost of house while I had written burnt 
volume) ; upon which he brought me " Biographie Universelle," 
which I got bound, and still have. Wish I could find a way of 
getting the now much macerated, changed, and fanaticized "John 
Stuart Mill" to take that £100 back ; but I fear there is no way. 

How my incomparable one contrived to beat out these exiguous 
resources into covering the appointed space I eaunot now see, nor 
did I then know ; but in the like of that, as in her other tasks, she 
was silently successful always, aud never, that I saw, had a mis- 
giving about success. There would be some trifling increments 
from " Fraser's Magazine," perhaps (" Diamond Necklace," etc., were 
probably of those years) ; but the guess stated above is the nearest 
I can now come to, and I don't think is in defect of the actuality. 
I was very diligent, very desperate ("desperate hope"); wrote my 
two (folio) pages (perhaps four or five of print) day by day; then 
about two P.M. walked out ; always heavy laden, grim of mood, 
sometimes with a feeling (not rebellious or impious agaiust God 
Most High), but otherwise too similar to Satan's stepping the burn- 
ing marie. Some conviction I had that the book was worth some- 
thing, and pretty constant persuasion that it was not I that could 
make it better. Once or twice among the flood of equipages at 
Hyde Park Corner I recollect sternly thinking, " Yes ; and perhaps 
none of you could do what I am at!" But generally my feeling 
was, " I shall finish this book, throw it at your feet, buy a rifle aud 
spade, aud withdraw to the Transatlantic Wilderness, far from hu- 
man beggaries and basenesses!" This had a kind of comfort to 
me ; yet I always knew, too, in the background, that this would 
not practically do. In short, my nervous system had got dread- 
fully irritated aud inflamed before I quite ended, aud my desire 
was intense, beyond words, to have done with it. The last para- 
graph I well remember writing up stairs in the drawing-room that 
now is, which was then my writing-room ; beside her there and in 
a gray evening (summer, I suppose), soon after tea (perhaps) there- 
upon, with her dear blessing on me, going out to walk. I had said 
before going out, "What they will do with this book, none knows, 
my Jeanuie, lass ; but they have not had, for a two hundred years, 
any book that came more truly from a man's very heart, and so 
let theiu trample it under foot and hoof as they see best !" "Pooh, 
pooh! they cannot trample that!" she would cheerily answer; for 
her own approval (I think she had read always regularly behind 
me), especially in vol. i ii-, was strong and decided. 

We knew the Sterlings by this time, John, and all of them; old 
Sterling very often here. Knew Henry Taylor, etc., the Wilsons 
of Eccleston Street, Rev. Mr. Dunn, etc., etc. ; and the waste wil- 
derness of London was becoming a peopled garden to us, in somo 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



65 



measure, especially to her, who had a frank welcome to every sort 
of worth and even kindly singularity in her fellow-creatures, such' 
as I could at no time rival. 

Sprinklings of foreigners, "political refugees," had already he- 
gun to come ahout us ; to me seldom of any interest, except for the 
foreign instruction to be gathered from them (if any), and the cu- 
riosity attached to their foreign ways. Only two of them had the 
least charm to me as men : Mazzini, whom I remember, Mr. Taylor, 
Mrs. Taylor's (ultimately Mrs. Mill's) then husband, an innocent 
dull good man, brought in to me one eveuing ; and Godefroi Cavai- 
gnac, whom my Jane had met somewhere, and thought worth invit- 
ing. Mazzini I once or twice talked with ; recognizably a most 
valiant, faithful, considerably gifted and noble soul, hut hopelessly 
given up to his republicanisms, his " Progress," and other Rousseau 
fanaticisms, for which I had at no time the least credence, or any 
considerable respect amid my pity. We soon tired of one another, 
Mazziui and 1, and he fell mainly to her share; off and on, for a 
good many years, yielding her the charm of a sincere mutual es- 
teem, and withal a good deal of occasional amusement from Maz- 
ziui's curious bits of exile Loudon and foreign life, and his singular 
Italian-English modes of locution now and then. For example, 
Petrucci, having queuched his own fiery chimney one day, and es- 
caped the fine (as he hoped), " there came to pass a sweep" with 
finer nose in the solitary street, who involved him again. Or, 
"Ma, mio euro, tion v'e ci un morto !" which, I see, she has copied 
iuto her poor little book of notabilia.* Her reports of these things 
to me, as we sat at breakfast or otherwise, had a tinkle of the finest 
mirth in them, and in short a beauty and felicity I have never seen 
6urpassed. Ah me! ah me! whither fled? 

Cavaignac was considerably more interesting to both of us. A 
fine Bayard soul (with figure to correspond), a man full of serious- 
ness and of genial gayety withal; of really fine faculties, and of a 
politeness (especially toward women) which was curiously elabo- 
rated into punctiliousness, yet sprang everywhere from frank na- 
ture. A man very pleasant to couverse with, walk with, or see 
drop in on an evening, and lead you or follow you far and wide on 
the world of intellect and humanly recorded- fact. A Republican 
to the bone, but a "Bayard" in that vesture (if only Bayard 
had wit and fancy at command). We had many dialogues while 
"French Revolution" struggled through its last two volumes; 
Cavaignac freely discussing with me, accepting kindly my innu- 
merable dissents from him, aud on the whole elucidating many 
little points to me. Punctually on the jour de Van came some soft 
little gift to her, frugal yet elegant ; and I have heard him say, 
with mantling joyous humor overspreading that sternly sad French 
face, " T~ous n'etes pas £eossaise, Madame ; de'sormais vous serez Fran- 
caise!" I think he must have left us in 1843; he aud I rode, one 
summer forenoon, to Richmond and hack (some old Bonapartist 
colonel married out there, dull, ignorant, loud fellow, to my feeliug) : 
country was beautiful, air balmy, ride altogether ditto, ditto. I 
don't remember speaking with him again; "going to Paris this 
week" or so, he (on unconditional amnesty, not on conditional like 
all the others). He returned once, or indeed twice, during the 
three years he still lived; hut I was from home the last time, both 
of us the first (at Newby Cottage, Annan, oh dear!), aud I saw him 
no more. The younger brother ("President" in 1849, etc.) I had 
often heard of from him, and learned to esteem on evidence given, 
hut never saw. I take him to have been a second Godefroi prob- 
ably, with less gift of social utterance, but with a soldier's breed- 
ing in returu. 

One autumn, and perhaps another, I recollect her making a tour 
with the elder Sterling (Thunderer) aud wife, which, in spite of the 
hardships to one so delicate, she rather enjoyed. Thunderer she 
had at her apron-string, and brought many a comical pirouette 
out of him from time to titue. Good Mrs. S. really loved her, and 
rice versa ; a luminous household circle that to us: as may he seen 
in "Life of Sterling," more at large. 

Of money from " French Revolution'' I had here as yet got abso- 
lutely nothing; Emerson in America, by an edition of his there, 
sent me £150 (" pathetic !" was her fine word about it, " but never 
mind, dear"); after some three years grateful England (through 
poor scrubby but correctly arithmetical Fraser) £100; and I don't 
remember when, some similar munificence; but I now (and indeed 
not till recent years do I) see it had been, as she called it, " a great 
success," aud greatish of its kind. Money I did get somewhere 
honestly, articles in "Fraser," in poor Mill's (considerably hide- 
bound) "London Review"; "Edinburgh" I think was out for me 
before this time. " London Review" was at last due to the charita- 
ble faith of young Sir William Molesworth, a poorish narrow crea- 



* Explained in this book. An undertaker came one dark winter morning by 
mistake to Hazzini's house to inquire for the corpse. Mazzini, who answered the 
bell himself, said, " But, my dear" (an Italian would say " my dear" to a hangman), 
" there is not here a dead." 



ture, but an ardent believer in Mill Pere (James) and Mill Fils. 
" How much will your Review take to launch it, then ?" asked he 
(all other Radical believers being so close of fist). "Say £4000," 
answered Mill. "Here, then," writing a check for that amount, 
rejoined the other. My private (altogether private) feeling, I re- 
member, was, that they could, with profit, have employed me much 
more extensively in it ; perhaps even (though of this I was candid 
enough to doubt) made me editor of it; let me try it for a couple 
of years; worse I could not have succeeded than poor Mill himself 
did as editor (sawdust to the mast-head, aud a croakery of crawling 
things, instead of a speaking by men); but I whispered to none 
but her the least hint of all this; aud oh, how glad am I now, aud 
for long years back, that apparently nothing of it ever came to the 
thoughts or the dreams of Mill and Co. ! For I should surely have 
accepted of it, had the terms been at all tolerable. I had plenty 
of Radicalism, and have, aud to all appearance shall have ; but the 
opposite hemisphere (which never was wanting either, nor will be, 
as it miserably is in Mill and Co.) had not yet found itself sum- 
moned by the trumpet of time and his events (1848 ; .study of 
Oliver, etc.) into practical emergence and emphasis and promi- 
nence as now. " Ill-luck," take it quietly ; you never are sure but 
it may be good and the best. 

Our main revenue three or four (?) years now was lectures ; in 
Edward Street, Portman Square, the only free room there was ; 
earnestly forwarded by Miss and Thomas Wilson, of Eccleston 
Street (who still live and are good), by Miss Martiueau, by Henry 
Taylor, Frederick Elliot, etc., etc. Brought in, on the average, 
perhaps £'200, for a month's labor; first of them must have been in 
1838, 1 think ; Willis's rooms, this. " Detestable mixture of proph- 
ecy aud play-actorism," as I sorrowfully defined it; nothing could 
well be hatefuller to me ; hut I was obliged. And she, oh, she was 
my angel, aud unwearied helper aud comforter in all that ; how we 
drove together, we poor two, to our place of execution ; she with a 
little drop of brandy to give me at the very last, and shone rouud 
me like a bright aureola, when all else was black aud chaos ? God 
reward thee, dear one! now when I cannot even own my debt. 
Oh, why do we delay so much, till death makes it impossible? 
Aud don't I continue it still with others? Fools, fools ! we forget 
that it has to end; so this has ended, and it is such an astonish- 
ment to me ; so sternly undeniable, yet as it were incredible ! 

It must have been in this 1838 that her mother first came to see 
us here. I remember giving each of them a sovereign, from a 
pocketful of odd which I had brought home, — greatly to satisfac- 
tion especially of Mrs. Welsh, who I doubt not bought somethiug 
pretty and symbolic with it. She came perhaps three times; on 
one of the later times was that of the " one soire'e," with the wax 
candles on mother's part — and subsequent remorse ou daughter's! 
" Burn these last two on the night when I lie dead !" Like a 
stroke of lightning this has goue through my heart, cutting and 
yet healing. Sacred be the name of it ; its praise silent. Did I 
elsewhere meet iu the world a soul so direct from the Empyrean? 
My dear old mother was perhaps equally pioHS, in the Roman sense ; 
in the British she was much more so; but starry flashes of this 
kind she had not — from her education, etc., could not. 

By this time we were getting noticed by select individuals of 
the Aristocracy ; aud were what is called " rather rising in socie- 
ty." Ambition that way my Jane never had ; hut she took it al- 
ways as a something of honor done to me, aud had her various 
bits of satisfactiou in it. The Spring-Rices (Lords Monteagle 
afterward) were probably the first of their class that ever asked 
me out as a distinguished thing. I remember their flunky ar- 
riving here with an express while we were at dinner; I remem- 
ber, too, their soire'e itself in Downing Street, and the xaXol and 
icaXal (as I called them) with their state aud their effulgences, as 
something new and entertaining to me. The Stanleys (of Alder- 
ley), through the Bullers, we had long since known, and still 
know ; but that I suppose was still mostly theoretic, — or per- 
haps I had dined there, and seen the Hollands (Lord and Lady), 
the etc. (as I certainly did ultimately), but not been judged eligi- 
ble, or both catchable and eligible ? To me I can recollect (except 
what of snob ambition there might be iu me, which I hope was not 
very much, though for certain it was not quite wanting either) 
there was nothing of charm in any of them ; old Lady Holland I 
viewed even with aversion, as a kiud of hungry "ornamented 
witch," looking over at me with merely carnivorous views (aud al- 
ways questioning her Dr. Alleu when I said anything); nor was it 
till years after (husband, Allen, etc., all dead) that I discovered 
remains of beauty in her, a pathetic situation, and distinguished 
qualities. My Jane I think knew still less of her; iu her house 
neither my Jane nor I ever was. At Marshall's (millionaire of 
Leeds, aud an excellent man, who much esteemed me, aud once 
gave me a horse for health's sake) we had ample assemblages, 
shining enough in their kind; but she, I somehow think, probably 



66 



REMINISCENCES. 



for saving the cost of " fly" (oh my queen, mine and a true one !), 
■was not so often there as I. On the whole, that too was a thing 
to be gone through in our career; and it had its bits of benefits, 
bits of instructions, etc., etc. ; but also its temptations, intricacies, 
tendencies to vanity, etc., to waste of time and faculty ; and in a 
better sphere of arrangement would have been a "game not worth 
the candle." Certain of the Aristocracy, however, did seem to me 
still very noble ; and, with due limitation of the grossly worthless 
(none of whom had we to do with), I should vote at present that, 
of classes known to me in England, the Aristocracy (with its per- 
fection of human politeness, its continual grace of bearing and of 
acting, steadfast " houor," light address, and cheery stoicism), if 
you see well into it, is actually yet the best of English classes. 
Deep in it we never were, promenaders on the shore rather ; but 
I have known it too, and formed deliberate judgment as above. 
My dear one in theory did not go so far (I think) in that direction 

in fact, was not at the pains to form much " theory" ; but no 

eye in the world was quicker than hers for individual specimens ; 
and to the last she had a great pleasure in consorting more or less 
with the select of these— Lady William Russell, Dowager Lady 
Sandwich, Lady etc., etc. (and not in over-quantity). I remember 
at first sight of the first Lady Ashburton (who was far from regu- 
larly beautiful, but was probably the chief of all these great la- 
dies), she said of her to me, " Something in her like a heathen god- 
dess !" which was a true reading, and in a case not plain at all, but 
oftener mistaken than rightly taken. 

Our first visit to Addiscombe together, a bright summer Sunday, 
we walked (thrift, I dare say, ah me! from the near railway sta- 
tion ; and my poor Jeannie grew very tired and disheartened, 
though nothing ill came) ; I had been there several times, and she 
had seen the lady here (and called her " heathen goddess" to me). 
This time I had at once joined the company under the shady trees, 
on their beautiful lawn ; and my little woman, in few minutes, 
her dress all adjusted, came stepping out, round the corner of the 
house, with such a look of lovely innocency, modesty, ingenuous- 
ness, gracefully suppressed timidity, and radiancy of native clever- 
ness, intelligence, and dignity, towards the great ladies and great 
gentlemen ; it seems to me at this moment, I have never seen a 
more beautiful expression of a human face. Oh, my dearest. ! my 
dearest, that cannot now know how dear ! There are glimpses of 
heaven, too, given us on this earth, though sorely drowned in ter- 
restrial vulgarities, and sorely " flamed-on from the hell beneath," 
too. This must have been about 1843 or so ? 

A year or two before, going to see her mother, she had landed in 
total wreck of seasickness (miserable always at sea, but had taken 
it as cheapest doubtless), and been brought up almost speechless, 
and set down at the Queensberry Arms Inn, Annan. Having no 
maid, no sign but of trouble and (unprofitable) ladyhood, they took 
her to a remote bedroom, and left her to her solitary shifts there. 
Very painful to me, yet beautiful and with a noble pathos in it, to 
look back upon (from her narrative of it) here aud now! How 
Mary, my poor but ever faithful " Sister Mary," came to her (on 
notice), her resources few, but her heart overflowing; could hard- 
ly get admittance to the flunkey house of eutertaiument at all ; got 
it, however, had a " pint of sherry" with her, had this aud that, 
and perhaps on the third day, got her released from the base place ; 
of which that is my maiu recollection now, when I chance to pass 
it, in its now dim enough condition. Perhaps this was about 1840 ; 
Mary's husbaud (now farmer at the Gill, not a clever man, but a 
diligent and good-natured) was then a carter with two horses iu 
Annan, gradually becoming unable to live in that poor capacity 
there. They had both been C'raigenputtoch figures; and might 
have been most sordid to my bright darling, but never were at all ; 
gradually far from it, Mary at least. She loved Mary for her kind- 
heartedness ; admired and respected her skill and industry in do- 
mestic management of all kinds; aud often contrasted to me her 
perfect talent in that way, compared to sister Jean's, who intellect- 
ually was far the superior (and had once been her own pupil and 
protegee, about the time we left C'omley Bank; always very kind 
aud grateful to her since, too, but never such a favorite as the oth- 
er). Mary's cottage was well known to me too, as I came home by 
the steamer, on my visits, and was often riding down to bathe, etc. 
These visits, "once a year to my mother," were pretty faithfully 
paid ; and did my heart always some good ; but for the rest were un- 
pleasantly chaotic (especially wheu my poor old mother, worthiest 
and dearest of simple hearts, became incapable of management by 
her own strength, aud of almost all enjoyment even from me). I 
persisted in them to the last, as did my woman; but I think they 
comprised for both of us (such skinless creatures), in respect of out- 
ward physical hardship, an amount larger than all the other items 
of our then life put together. 

How well I remember the dismal evening, when we had got word 
of Uer mother's dangerous crisis of illness (a stroke, in fact, which 



ended it); and her wildly impressive look, laden as if with resolu- 
tion, affection, and prophetic woe, while she sat iu the railway 
carriage and rolled away from me into the dark. " Poor, poor Jean- 
nie!" thought I; and yet my sympathy how paltry and imperfect 
was it to what hers would have been for me ! Stony-hearted ; 
shame on me ! She was stopped at Liverpool by news of the worst ; 
I found her sharply wretched, on my following, and had a strange 
two or three months, slowly settling everything at Templaud ; the 
" last country spring," and my first for many long years. Bright, 
sad, solitary (letters from Lockhart, etc.), nocturnal mountain 
heather burning, by day the courses of the hail-storms from the 
mountains, how they came pouring down their respective valleys, 
deluge-like, and blotted out the sunshine, etc., spring of 1843 or '42 ? 

I find it was in 1842 (February 20) that my poor mother-in-law 
died. Wild night for me from Liverpool, through Dumfries (sister 
Jean out with tea, etc.), arrival at waste Templaud (only John 
Welsh, etc., there ; funeral quite ove^:) ; all this and the lonesome, 
sad, but not unblessed three months almost which I spent there, is 
still vividly in my mind. I was for trying to keep Templand once, 
as a summer refuge for us, one of the most picturesque of loca- 
tions ; but her filial heart repelled the notion ; and I have never 
seen more than the chimney-tops of Templaud siuce. Her grief, 
at my return and for mouths afterwards, was still poignant, con- 
stant ; and oh, how inferior my sympathy with her to what hers 
would have been with me ; woe on my dull hard ways in compari- 
son ! To her mother she had been the kindest of daughters ; life- 
rent of Craigenputtoch settled frankly on her, aud such effort to 
make it practically good to the letter when needful. I recollect 
one gallop of hers, which Geraldine has not mentioned, gallop 
from Craigenputtoch to Dumfries Bauk, aud thence to Templand 
at a stretch, with the half-year's rent, which our procrastinating 
brother Alick seldom could or would be punctual with (ah me! 
gallop which pierces my heart at this moment, and clothes my dar- 
ling with a sad radiancy te me); but she had many remorses, and 
indeed had been obliged to have manifold little collisions with her 
tine, high-minded, but often fanciful and fitful mother, who was al- 
ways a beauty, too, and had whims and thiu-skinned ways, distaste- 
ful enough to such a daughter. All which, in cruel aggravation 
(for all were really small, and had been ridiculous rather than deep 
or iuiportaut), now came remorsefully to mind, and many of them, 
I doubt not, stayed. 

Craigenputtoch lapsed to her in 1842, therefore ; to me she had 
left the fee-simple of it by will (iu 1824, two years before our mar- 
riage), as I remember she once told me thereabouts, and never but 
once. Will found, the other day, after some difficulty, since her 
own departure, and the death of any Welsh to whom she could 
have wished me to bequeath it. To my kindred it has no relation, 
uor shall it go to them; it is much a problem with me how I shall 
leave it settled (" Bursaries for Edinburgh College," or what were 
best?) after my poor interest in it is over. Considerably a prob- 
lem ; and what her wish in it would have actually been ? " Bur- 
saries" had come into my own head when we heard that poor final 
youug Welsh w as in consumption, but to her I never mentioned it 
(" wait till the young man's decease do suggest it ?") ; aud now I 
have only hypothesis and guess. She never liked to speak of the 
thing, even on question, which hardly once or twice ever rose ; and 
except on question, a stone was not more silent. Beautiful queen- 
like woman, I did admire her complete perfection on this head of 
the actual " dowry" she had now brought, £200 yearly or so, which 
to us was a highly considerable sum, and how she absolutely ig- 
nored it, and as it were had not done it at all. Once or so I can 
dimly remember telling her as much (thank God I did so), to which 
she answered scarcely by a look, and certainly without word, except 
perhaps " Tut !" 

Thus from this date onward we were a little richer, easier in cir- 
cumstances ; aud the pinch of poverty, which had been relaxing 
latterly, changed itself into a gentle pressure, or into a limit, and 
little more. We did not change our habits in any point, but the 
grim collar round my neck was sensibly slackened. Slackened, not 
removed at all, for almost twenty years yet. My books were not 
nor ever will be "popular," productive of money to any but a con- 
temptible degree. I had lost by the death of Bookseller Fraser, 
and change to Chapman and Hall ; iu short, to judge by the run- 
ning after me by owls of Minerva in those times, and then to hear 
what day's wages my books brought me, would have astonished 
the owl mind. I do not think my literary income was above £200 
a year in those decades, in spite of my continual diligence day by 
day. "Cromwell" I must have written, I think, in 1844, but for 
four years prior it had been a continual toil and misery to me. I 
forget what was the price of "Cromwell," greater considerably 
than in any previous case, but the annual income was still some- 
what as above. I had always £200 or £300 iu bank, aud continu- 
ally forgot all about money. My darliug rolled it all over upon 



JANE WELSH CAKLYLE. 



67 



me, and not one straw about it ; only asked for assurance or prom- 
issory engagement from me. " How little, then V and never failed 
to make it liberally and handsomely do. Honor to her (beyond 
the ownership of California, I say now), and thanks to poverty that 
showed me how noble, worshipful, and dear she was. 

In 1849, after an interval of deep gloom and bottomless dubita- 
tion, came " Latter-Day Pamphlets," which unpleasantly astonished 
everybody, set the world upon the strangest suppositions (" Car- 
lyle got deep into whiskey!" said some), ruined my "reputation" 
(according to the friendliest voices, and, in effect, divided me alto- 
gether from the mob of " Progress-of-tke-species" and other vulgar), 
but were a great relief to my own conscience as a faithful citizen, 
and have been ever since. My darling gayly approved, and we left 
the thing to take its own sweet will, with great indifferency and 
loyalty on our part. This did not help our incomings; in fact, I 
suppose it effectually hindered, and has done so till quite recently, 
any " progress" of ours in that desirable direction, though I did 
not find that the small steady sale of my books was sensibly 
altered from year to year, but quietly stood where it used to 
be. Chapman (hard-fisted cautious bibliographer) would not, 
for about ten years farther, go into any edition of my " Col- 
lected Works." I did once transiently propose it, once only, and 
remea»ber being sometimes privately a good deal sulky toward 
the poor man for his judgment on that matter, though decided 
to leave him strictly to his own light in regard to it, and indeed 
to avoid him altogether when I had not clear business with him. 
The " recent return of popularity greater than ever" which I hear 
of seems due alone to that late Edinburgh affair, especially to the 
Edinburgh " address," and affords new proof of the siugularly dark 
and feeble condition of "public judgment" at this time. No idea, 
or shadow of an idea, is in that address but what had been set 
forth by me tens of times before, and the poor gaping sea of Pruri- 
ent Blockheadism receives it as a kind of inspired revelation, and 
runs to buy my books (it is said) now when I have got quite done 
with their buying or refusing to buy. If they would give me 
£ 10,000 a year aud bray unanimously their hosannas heaven-high 
for the rest of my life, who now would there be to get the smallest 
joy or profit from it ? To me I feel as if it would be a silent sor- 
row rather, and would bring me painful retrospections, nothing 
else. On the whole, I feel often as if poor England had really done 
its very kindest to me, after all. Friends not a few I do at last be- 
gin to see that I have had all along, and these have all, or all but 
two or three, been decorously silent; enemies I cannot strictly find 
that I have had any (only blind blockheads running athwart me 
on their own errand); and as for the speaking and criticising mul- 
titude, who regulate the paying ditto, I perceive that their labors 
on me have had a twofold result: 1°. that, after so much nonsense 
said in all dialects, so very little sense or real understanding of 
the matter, I have arrived at a point of indifferency toward all 
that, which is really very desirable to a human soul that will do 
well; and 2°. that, in regard to money, and payment, etc., in the 
money kind, it is essentially the same, to a degree which, under 
both heads (if it were safe for me to estimate it), I should say was 
really a far nearer than common approach to completeness. And 
which, under both heads, so far as it is complete, means victory, 
and the very highest kind of " success." Thanks to poor auarchic, 
crippled, and bewildered England, then; hasn't it done "its very 
bc3t" for me, under disguised forms, and seeming occasionally to 
do its worst ? Enough of all that ; I had to say only that my dear 
little helpmate, in regard to these things also, has been throughout 
as one sent from heaven to me. Never for a moment did she take 
to blaming England or the world on my behalf; rather to quizzing 
■my despondencies (if any on that head), and the grotesque stupidi- 
ties of England and the world. She cared little about criticisms 
of me, good or bad, but I have known her read, when such came 
to hand, the uufriendliest specimens with real amusement, if their 
stupidity was of the readable or amusing kind to by-standers. Her 
opinion of me was curiously unalterable from the first. In Edin- 
burgh, for example, in 1826 still, Bookseller Tait (a foolish goosey, 
innocent but very vulgar kind of mortal), "Oh, Mrs. Carlyle, fine 
criticism in the 'Scotsman'; you will find it at — I think you will 
find it at — " " But what good will it do me V answered Mrs. Car- 
lyle, with great good-humor, to the miraculous collapse of Tait, 
who stood (I dare say) with eyes stariug. 

In 1845, late autumn, I was first at the Grange for a few days (do- 
ing D'Ewes'a " Election to the Long Parliament," I recollect) ; she 
with me the next year, I think ; and there, or at Addiscombe, Al- 
verstoke, Bath House, saw on frequent enough occasions, for twelve 
years coming, or indeed for nineteen (till the second Lord Ashbur- 
ton's death), the choicest specimens of English aristocracy ; and 
had no difficulty in living with them on free aud altogether 
human terms, and learning from them by degrees whatever they 
had to teach us. Something actually, though perhaps not very 



much, and surely not the best. To me, I should say, more than to 
her, came what lessons there were. Human friendships we also 
had, and she too was a favorite with the better kind. Lord Lans- 
downe, for example, had at last discovered what she was; not 
without some amazement in his old retrospective mind, I dare say! 
But to her the charm of such circles was at all times insignificant; 
human was what she looked at, aud what she was, in all circles. 
Ay de mi? it is a mingled yarn, all that of our "Aristocratic" his- 
tory, aud I need not enter on it here. One evening, at Bath House, 
I saw her in a grand soiree, softly step'up, and (unnoticed as she 
thought, by anybody) kiss the old Duke of Wellington's shoulder! 
That perhaps was one of the prettiest things I ever saw there. 
Duke was then very old, aud hitched languidly about, speaking 
only when spoken to, some "wow-wow," which perhaps had little 
meaning in it; he had ou his Garter order, his gold-buckle stock, 
aud was very cleau aud trim; but except making appearance in 
certain evening parties, half an hour in each, perhaps hardly knew 
what he was doing. From Bath House we saw his funeral proces- 
sion, a while after; and, to our disgust, in one of the mourning 
coaches, some official or dignitary reading a newspaper. The 
hearse (seventeen tons of bronze), the arrangements generally, 
were vulgar aud disgusting; but the fact itself impressed every- 
body; the street rows all silently doffed hat as the body passed; 
and London, altogether, seemed to be holding its breath. A dim, 
almost wet kind of day; adieu! adieu! With Wellington I don't 
think either of us had ever spoken, though we both esteemed him 
heartily. I had known his face for nearly thirty years ; he also, I 
think, had grown to know mine, as that of somebody who wished 
him well ; not otherwise, I dare say, or the proprietor's name at all ; 
but I have seen him gaze at me a little as we passed on the streets. 
To speak to him, with my notions of his ways of thinking, and of his 
articulate endowments, was not among my longings. I went once 
to the House of Lords, expressly to hear the sound of his voice, and so 
complete my little private physiognomical portrait of him ; a fine 
aquiline voice, I found it, quite like the face of him ; aud got a great 
instruction and lesson, which has staid with me, out of his little 
speech itself (Lord Elleuborough's " Gates of Somnauth" the sub- 
ject, about which I cared nothing); speech of the most haggly, 
hawky, pinched, and meagre kind, so far as utterance aud "elo- 
quence" went ; but potent for conviction beyond any other ; nay, I 
may say, quite exclusively of all the others that night, which were 
mere " melodious wind" to me (Brougham's, Derby's, etc., etc.), while 
this hitching, stunted, haggling discourse of ten or thirteen min- 
utes had made the Duke's opinion completely mine too. I thought 
of 0. Cromwell withal, and have often since, oftener than ever be- 
fore, said to myself, " Is not this (to make your opinion mine) the 
aim of all 'eloquence,' rhetoric, and Demosthenic artillery prac- 
tice V And what is it good for ? Fools ! get a true insight and 
belief of your own as to the matter; that is the way to get your 
belief iuto me, and it is the only way ! 

One of the days while I was first at the Grange (in 1845) was 
John Sterling's death-day. I had well marked it, with a sad, al- 
most remorseful contrast ; we were at St. Cross and Winchester 
Cathedral that day. I think my wife's latest favorites, and in a 
seuse friends and intimates, among the aristocracy, were the old 
Dowager Lady Sandwich (died about four years ago, or three), 
young Lady Lothian (recent acquaintance), and the (Dowager) 
Lady William Russell, whom I think she had something of real 
love to, and in a growing condition for the last two or three years. 
This is a clevei', high-mannered, massive-minded old lady, now 
seventy-two ; admirable to me, this good while, as a finished piece 
of social art, but hardly otherwise much. My poor little wife! 
what a capacity of liking, of sympathy, of giving and getting plea- 
sure, was in her heart, to the very last, compared with my gaunt 
mournful darkness in that respect. This Lady William wrote 
many notes, etc., in these past seven weeks; I was really sorry for 
her withal; and, with au effort, near a mouth ago, went and saw 
her. Alas! she had nothing to speak to me of but of letters re- 
ceived (such " sympathy" from Rome, from Vienna, by persons I 
knew not, or knew to be fools ; as if this could have beeu of com- 
fort to me !) — and I could perceive the real " affection" (to what- 
ever extent) had beeu mostly on my poor darling's side, the alone 
opulent in that kind! " Pleasant at our little bits of artistic din- 
ners" (the lady seemed to feel); "a sweet orange, which has 
dropped from one's hand into the dust!" I came away, not angry 
(oh no), but full of miserable sorrowful feelings of the poverty of 
life ; aud have not since been back. 

She liked Loudon constantly, aud stood in defense of it against 
me and my atrabilious censures of it, never had for herself the 
least wish to quit it again, though I was often talking of that, aud 
her practice would have beeu loyal compliance for my behoof. I 
well remember my first walking her up to Hyde Park Corner in 
the summer evening, aud her line interest in everything. At the 



08 



REMINISCENCES. 



corner of the Green Park I found something for her to sit on ; 
" Hah, there is John Mill coming !" I said, and her joyful, ingenuous 
blush is still very beautiful to me. The good child! It did not 
prove to be Mill (whom she knew since 1831, and liked for my 
sake); but probably I showed her the Duke of Wellington, whom 
one often used to see there, striding deliberately along, as if home 
from his work, about that hour; him (I almost rather think, that 
same evening), and at any rate, other figures of distinction or no- 
toriety. And we said to one another, " How strange to he in big 
London here; isn't it?" « Our purchase of household kettles and 
saucepans, etc., in the mean iron-mongery, so noble in its poverty 
and loyalty on her part, is sad and infinitely lovely to me at this 
moment. 

We had plenty of " company" from the very first ; John Mill, 
down from Kensington once a week or oftener; the "Mrs. Austin" 
of those days, so popular and almost famous, on such exiguous 
basis (translations from the German, rather poorly some, and of 
original nothing that rose far above the rank of twaddle) ; "femmc 
alors Mebre," as we used to term the phenomenon, parodying some 
phrase I had found in Thiers. Mrs. A. affected much sisterhood 
with us (affected mainly, though in kind wise), and was a cheery, 
sanguine, and generally acceptable member of society — already up 
to the Marquis of Lansdowne (in a slight sense), much more to all 
the Radical officials and notables; Charles Buller, Sir W. Moles- 
worth, etc., etc., of " alors." She still lives, this Mrs. A., in quiet 
though eclipsed condition ; spring last she was in town for a cou- 
ple of weeks ; and my dear one went twice to see her, though I 
couldn't manage quite. Erasmus Darwin, a most diverse kind of 
mortal, came to seek us out very soon ("had heard of Carlyle in 
Germany," etc.), and continues ever since to he a quiet house- 
friend, honestly attached ; though his visits latterly have been 
rarer and rarer, health so poor, I so occupied, etc., etc. He had 
something of original and sarcastically ingenious in him, one of the 
siucerest, naturally truest, and most modest of men; elder brother 
of Charles Darwin (the famed Darwin on Species of these days), to 
whom I rather prefer him for intellect, had not his health quite 
doomed him to silence and patient idleness — grandsons, both, of 
the first famed Erasmus ("Botanic Garden,".etc), who also seems 
to have gone upon " species" questions, " omnia ex eouchis" (all from 
oysters) being a dictum of his (even a stamp he sealed with still 
extant), as the present Erasmus once toM me, mauy long years be- 
fore this of Darwin on Species came up among us ! Wonderful to 
me, as indicating the capricious stupidity of mankind ; never could 
read a page of it, or waste the least thought upon it. E. Darwin 
it was who named the late Whewell, seeing him sit, all ear (not all 
assent) at some of my lectures, " the Harmonious Blacksmith" — a 
really descriptive title. My dear one had a great favor for this 
honest Darwin always ; many a road, to shops and the like, he 
drove her in his cab ("Darwingium Cabbum," comparable to Geor- 
giuni Sidus), in those early days when even the charge of omnibus- 
es was a consideration, and his sparse utterances, sardonic often, 
were a great amusemeut to her. "A perfect gentleman," she at 
once discerned him to be, and of souud worth and kindliness, in the 
most unaffected form. " Take me now to Oxygen Street, a dyer's 
shop there!" Darwin, without a wrinkle or remark, made for Ox- 
endeu Street, and drew up at the required door. Amusingly ad- 
mirable to us both when she came home. 

Our commonest evening sitter, for a good while, was Leigh 
Hunt, who lived close by, and delighted to sit talking with us 
(free, cheery, idly melodious as bird on bough), or listening, with 
real feeling, to her old Scotch, tunes on the piano, and wind- 
ing up with a frugal morsel of Scotch porridge (endlessly admi- 
rable to Hunt). I think I spoke of this above ? Hunt was al- 
ways accurately dressed these evenings, and had a fine, chiralrous, 
gentlemanly carriage, polite, affectionate, respectful (especially 
to her), and yet so free and natural. Her brilliancy and facul- 
ty he at once recognized, none better, but there rose gradually 
in it, to his astonished eye, something of positive, of practically 
steadfast, which scared him off a good deal; the like in my own 
case too, still more, which he would call " Scotch," " Presbyterian," 
who knows what; and which gradually repelled him, in sorrow, 
not in anger, quite away from us, with rare exceptions, which, in 
his last years, was almost pathetic to us both. Long before this 
he had gone to live i.i Kensington, and we scarcely saw him ex- 
cept by accident. His household, while in " 4 Upper Cheyne Row," 
within few steps of us here, almost at once disclosed itself to be 
huggermugger, unthrift, and sordid collapsed, once for all, and had 
to be associated with on cautions terms, while he himself emerged 
out of it in the chivalrous figure I describe. Dark complexion (a 
trace of the African, I believe), copious, clef.n, strong black hair, 
beautifully shaped head, fine beaming serious hazel eyes ; serious- 
ness and intellect the main expressiou of the face (to our surprise 
at first); he would lean on his elbow against the mantel-piece (fine, 



clean, elastic figure, too, he had, five feet ten or more), and look 
round him nearly in silence, before taking leave for the night, " as 
if I were a Lar," said he once, " or permanent household god here" 
(such his polite, aerial-like way). Auother time, rising from this 
Lar attitude, he repeated (voice very fine) as if in sport of parody, 
yet with something of very sad perceptible, "While I to sulphur- 
ous and penal fire" as the last thing before vanishing. Poor 

Hunt ! no more of him. She, I remember, was almost in tears dur- 
ing some last visit of his, and kind and pitying as a daughter to 
the now weak and time-worn old man. 

Allan Cunningham, living in Pimlico, was well within walking 
distance, and failed not to come down now and then, always 
friendly, smooth, and fond of pleasing; "a solid Dumfries stone- 
mason at any rate !" she would define him. He had very smooth 
manners, much practical shrewdness, some real tone of melody 
lodged in him, item a twinkle of bright mockery where he judged 
it safe, culture only superficial (of the surface, truly) ; reading, in- 
formation, ways of thinking, all mainly ditto, ditto. Had a good 
will to us evidently ; not an unwelcome face, when he entered, at 
rare intervals ; always rather rarer, as they proved to be ; he got 
at once into Nithsdale, recalled old rustic comicalities (seemed ha- 
bitually to dwell there), and had not much of instruction either to 
give or receive. His resort seemed to be much among Scotch City 
people, who presented him with punch-bowls, etc. ; and in lfts own 
house there were chiefly unprofitable people to be met. We ad- 
mired always his sense for managing himself in strange London ; 
his stalwart healthy figure and ways (bright hazel eyes, bald open 
brow, sonorous hearty tone of voice, a tall, perpendicular, quietly 
manful-looking figure), and were sorry sincerely to lose him, as we 
suddenly did. His widow too is now gone ; some of the sons (es- 
pecially Colonel Frank, the youngest, and a daughter, who lives 
with Frank) have still a friendly though far-off relation to this 
house. 

Harriet Martineau had for some years a much more lively inter- 
course here, introduced by Darwin possibly, or I forget by whom, 
on her return from America ; her book upon which was now in 
progress. Harriet had started into lionhood since our first visit 
to London, and was still run much after, by a rather feeble set of 
persons chiefly. She was not unpleasant to talk with for a little, 
thongh through an ear-trumpet, without which she was totally 
deaf. To admire her literary genius, or even her solidity of com- 
mon-sense, was never possible for either of us ; but she had a sharp 
eye, an imperturbable self-possession, and in all things a swift- 
ness of positive decision which, joined to her evident loyalty of in- 
tention, and her frank, guileless, easy ways, we both liked. Her 
adorers, principally, not exclusively, "poor 'whinnering old mon- 
eyed women in their well-hung broughams : otherwise idle," did 
her a great deal of mischief; and indeed as it proved were grad- 
ually turning her fine clear head (so to speak), and leading to sad 
issues for her. Her talent, which in that sense was very consider- 
able, I used to think, would have made her a quite shining matron 
of some big female establishment, mistress of some immense dress 
shop, for instance (if she had a dressing faculty, which perhaps she 
hadn't); but was totally inadequate to grapple with deep spiritual 
and social questions, into which she launched at all turns, nothing 
doubting. However, she was very fond of us, me chiefly, at first, 
though gradually of both, and I was considerably the first that 
tired of her. She was much in the world, we little or hardly at 
all ; and her frank friendly countenance, eager for practical help 
had it been possible, was obliging and agreeable in the circum- 
stances, and gratefully acknowledged by us. For the rest, she was 
full of Nigger fanaticisms ; admirations for (e. g.) her brother James 
(a Socinian preacher of due quality). The "exchange of ideas" 
with her was seldom of behoof in our poor sphere. But she was 
practically very good. I remember her coming down, on the 
sudden when it struck her, to demand dinner from us ; and dining 
pleasantly, with praise of the frugal terms. Her soirees were fre- 
quent and crowded (small house in Fludyer Street full to the door) ; 
and we, for sake of the notabilities or notorieties wandering about 
there, were willing to attend ; gradually learning how insignificant 
such notabilities nearly all were. All me, the thing which it is 
now touching to reflect on, was the thrift we had to exercise, my 
little heroine and I ! My darling was always dressed to modest 
perfection (talent conspicuous in that way, I have always under- 
stood and heard confirmed), but the expense of 10s. 6d for a " neat 
fly" was never to be thought of; omuibus, with clogs and the best 
of care, that was always our resource. Painful at this moment is 
the recollection I have of one time, muddy night, between Regent 
Street and our goal in Fludyer Street, when one of her clogs came 
loose ; I had to clasp it, with what impatience compared to her 
fine tolerance, stings me with remorse just now. Surely, even I 
might have taken a cab from Regent Street; Is., Is. Gd. ; and there 
could have been no " quarrel about fare" (which was always my 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



horror in such cases); she, beautiful high soul, never whispered or 
dreamt of such a thing, possibly may have expressly forbidden it, 
though I cannot recollect that it was proposed in this case. Shame 
on me ! However, I cleaned perfectly my dirty fingers again (prob- 
ably in some handy little rain-pool in the Park, with diligent wip- 
ing); she entered faultless into the illumination (I need not doubt), 
and all still went well enough. 

Iu a couple of years or so our poor Harriet, nerves all torn by 
this racket, of "fame" so called, fell seriously ill ; threatening of 
tumor, or I know not what; removed from London (never has re- 
sided there since, except for temporary periods) ; took shelter at 
Tyuemouth, " to be near her brother-in-law, an expert surgeon iu 
Newcastle, and have solitude, and the pure sea air." Solitude she 
only sometimes had ; and, in perfection, never; for it soon became 
evident she was constantly in spectacle there, to herself and to the 
sympathetic adorers (who refreshed themselves with frequent per- 
sonal visits and continual correspondings) ; and had, iu sad effect, 
so far as could be managed, the whole world, along with self and 
company, for a theatre to gaze upon her. Life in the sick-room, 
with " Christus C'onsolator" (a paltry print then much canted of), 
etc., etc. ; this, and othersad books, and actions full of ostentation, 
done there, gave painful evidence, followed always by painfuller, 
till the atheism, etc., etc., which I heard described (by the first 
Lady Ashburton once) as " a stripping of yourself naked, not to the 
skin only, but to the bone, and walking about in that guise!" 
(clever of its kind). 

Once iu the earliest stage of all this, we made her a visit, my 
Jane and I ; returning out of Scotland by that route. We were 
very sorry for her; not censorious in any measure, though the 
aspects were already questionable, to both of us (as I surmise). 
We had our lodging iu the principal street (rather noisy by night), 
and staid about a week, not with much profit, I think, either to 
her or ourselves ; I at least with none. 

There had been, before this, some small note or two of corre- 
spondence; with little hope on my part, and now I saw it to be 
hopeless. My hopefuller and kindlier little darling continued it 
yet a while, and I remember scrubbyish (lively enough, but "saw- 
dustish") Socinian didactic little notes from Tyuemouth for a year 
or two hence ; but the vapidly didactic, etc., vein coutiuuing more 
and more, even she, I could perceive, was getting tired of it, and at 
length, our poor good Harriet, taking the sublime terror " that her 
letters might be laid hold of by improper parties in future genera- 
tions," and demanding them all back that she herself might burn 
them, produeed, after perhaps some retiring pass or two, a complete 
cessation. We never quarrelled in the least, we saw the honest 
ever self-sufficient Harriet, in the company of common friends, still 
once or twice, with pleasure rather than otherwise ; but never had 
more to do with her or say to her. A soul clean as river sand ; but 
which would evidently grow no flowers of our planting ! I remem- 
ber our return home from that week at Tynemouth ; the yelling 
flight through some detestable smoky chaos, and midnight witch- 
dance of base-looking nameless dirty towns (or was this some other 
time, and Lancashire the scene ?) I remember she was with me, 
ami her bright laugh (long after, perhaps towards Rugby now) in 
the face of some innocent young gentleman opposite, who had in- 
geniously made a night-cap for himself of his pocket-handkerchief, 
and looked really strange (an improvised "Camus crowned with 
sedge"), but was very good-humored too. During the week I also 
recollect reading one play (never any since or before) of Knight's 
edition of " Skakspeare," and making my reflections on that fatal 
brood of people, and the nature of" fame," etc. Sweet friends, for 
Jesus' sake, forbear! 

In those first years, probably from about 1839, we had got ac- 
quainted with the Leeds Marshall family; especially with old Mr. 
(John) Marshall, the head and founder of it, and the most or really 
almost only interesting item of it. He had made immense moneys 
(" wealth now no object to him," Darwin told us in the name of 
everybody), by skillful, faithful, and altogether human conduct in 
his flax and linen manufactory at Leeds, and was now settled in 
opulently shining circumstances in London, endeavoring to enjoy 
the victory gained. Certain of his sons were carrying on the Leeds 
"business" in high, quasi-" patriotic" and "morally exemplary," 
though still prudent and successful style ; the eldest was iu Parlia- 
ment, "a lauded gentleman," etc., etc.; wife and daughters were 
the old man's London household, with sons often incidentally pres- 
ent there. None of them was entertaining to speak with, though 
all were honest, wholesome people. The old man himself, a pale, 
sorrow-stricken, modest, yet dignified-looking person, full of re- 
spect for intellect, wisdom, and worth (as he understood the terms); 
low-voiced, almost timidly inarticulate (you would have said), yet 
with a definite and mildly precise imperativeness to his subalterns, 
as I have noticed once or twice, was an amicable, humane, and thor- 
oughly respectable phenomenon to me. The house (Grosvenor 



Street, western division), was resplendent, not gaudy, or offensive 
with wealth and its fruits and furnishings; the dinners large, and 
splendidly served ; guests of distinction (especially on the Whig or 
Radical side) were to be met with there, and a good sprinkling of 
promising 'young people of the same or a superior type. Soire'es 
extensive, and sumptuously illuminated in all senses, but general- 
ly not entertaining. My astonishment at the " Reform" M.P.'s 
whom I met there, and the notions they seemed "reforming" (and 
radicalling and quarrelling with their superiors) upon! We went 
pretty often (I think I myself far the ofteuer, as iu such cases, my 
loyal little darling taking no manner of offense net to participate 
in my lionings, but behaving like the royal soul she was, I, dullard 
egoist, taking no special recognition of such nobleness till the bar 
was quite passed, or even not fully then !). Alas, I see it now (per- 
haps better than I ever did!), but we seldom had much real profit, 
or even real enjoyment for the hour. We never made out together 
that often-urged " visit to Halsteads" (grand mansion and establish- 
ment, near Greystoke, head of Ullswater in Cumberland). I myself, 
partly by accident, and under convoy of James Spedding, was there 
once, long after, for one night, and felt very dull and wretched, 
though the old inau and his good old wife, etc., were so good. Old 
Mr. Marshall was a man worth having known ; evidently a greal deal 
of human worth and wisdom lying funded in him. Aud the world's 
resources, even when he had victory over it to the full, were so exig- 
uous, and perhaps to himself almost contemptible ! I remember well 
always he gave me the first horse I ever had in London, and with 
what noble simplicity of unaffected politeness he did it! "Son 
William" (the gentleman son, out near Watford) " will be glad to 
take it off your hands through winter; and in summer it will help 
your health, you know!" And in this way it continued two sum- 
mers (most part of two), till in the second winter William brought 
it down ; and it had to be sold for a trifle, £17 if I recollect, which 
William would not give to the Auti-Corn-Law Fund (then strug- 
gling in the shallows) as I urged, but insisted on handing over to 
me. Aud so it ended. I was at Headingely (by Leeds) with James 
Marshall, just wedded to Spring-Rice's daughter, a languishing 
patroness of mine; staid till third day; and never happened to 
return. And this was about the sum of my share in the Marshall 
adventure. It is well known the Marshall daughters were all 
married off (each of them had £50,000), and what intricate inter- 
marrying with the Spring-Rices there was, " Dowager Lady Mont- 
eagle," that now is, being quasi-mother-in-law of James Marshall, 
her own brother, wife, etc., etc. ! " Family so used up !" as old 
Rogers used to snuffle and say. My Jeanuie quarrelled with noth- 
ing in Marshalldom ; quite the contrary ; formed a kind of friend- 
ship (conquest I believe it was, on he.r side generously converted 
into something of friendship) with Cordelia Marshall, a prim, affec- 
tionate, but rather puling, weak, and sentimental elderly young 
lady, who became, shortly after, wife, first wife, of the late big 
Whewell, and aided his position and advancement toward Master- 
ship of Trinity, etc. I recollect seeing them both here, and Cor- 
delia's adoration of her "Harmonious Blacksmith," with friendly 
enough assent, and some amusement, from us two ; aud I don't 
think I ever saw Cordelia again. She soon ceased to write hither; 
we transiently heard, after certain years, that she was dead, and 
Whewell had married again. 

I am weary, writing down all this; so little has my lost one to 
do with it, which alone could be its interest for me ! I believe I 
should stop short. The London years are not definite, or fertile in 
disengaged remembrances, like the Scotch ones : dusty, dim, un- 
beautiful they still seem to me in comparison ; and my poor Jean- 
nie's " problem" (which I believe was sorer, perhaps far sorer, than 
ever of old, but in which she again proved not to be vanquishable, 
and at length to be triumphant !) is so mixed with confusing intri- 
cacies to me that I can not sort it out into clear articulation at all, 
or give the features of it, as before. The general type of it is shin- 
ingly clear to me. A noble fight at my side ; a valiant strangling 
of serpents day after day done gayly by her (for most part), as I 
had to do it angrily and gloomily ; thus we went on together. Ay 
de mi ! Ay de mi 1 

[June 28. Note from Dods yesterday that the tablet* was not 
come, nor indeed had been expected ; note to-day that it did come 
yesterday; at this hour probably the mason is hewing out a bed 
for it; in the silence of the Abbey Kirk yonder, as completion of 
her father's tomb. The eternities looking down on him, and on us 
poor Sons of Time ! Peace, peace !] 

By much the tenderest aud beantifullest reminiscence to me 
out of those years is that of the Lecture times. The vilest welter 
of odious confusions, horrors, and repugnancies; to which, mean- 
while, there was compulsion absolute, and to which she was the 
one irradiation ; noble loving soul, not to be quenched in any chaos 

* For the church at Haddiugton, where Mrs. Cavlyle waa buried. 



70 



REMINISCENCES. 



that might come. Oh, her love to me ; her cheering, unaffected, 
useful practicality of help: was not I rich, after all? She had a 
steady hope iu me, too, while I myself had habitually none (except 
of the desperate kind) ; nay, a steady contentment with me, and 
with our lot together, let hope be as it might. " Never mind him, 
my dear," whispered Miss Wilson to her one day, as I stood wrig- 
gling in my agony of incipiency ; " people like it ; the more of that, 
the better does the Lecture prove." Which was a truth, though 
the poor sympathizer might, at the moment, feel it harsh. This 
Miss Wilson and her brother still live (9 Eccleston Street) ; opulent, 
fine, Church of England people (scrupulously orthodox to the sec- 
ularises not less than the spiritualities of that creed), and Miss 
Wilson very clever, too (i. e., full of strong just insight in her way), 
who had from the first taken to us, and bad us much about them 
(Spedding, Maurice, etc., attending) then and for some years after- 
ward; very desirous to help us, if that could have much done it 
(for indeed, to me, it was always mainly an indigestion purchased 
by a loyal kind of weariness). I have seen Sir James Stephen 
there, but did not then understand him, or that he could be a 
" clever man," as reported by Henry Taylor and other good judges. 
" He shuts his eyes on you," said the elder Spring-Rice (Lord Mont- 
eagle), "and talks as if he were dictating a Colonial Dispatch" 
(most true ; " teaching you how not to do it," as Dickens defined 
afterward); one of the pattest things I ever heard from Spring- 
Rice, who had rather a turn for such. Stephen ultimately, when 
on half-pay and a Cambridge Professor, used to come down hither 
pretty often on an evening, and we heard a great deal of talk from 
him, recognizably serious and able, though always in that Colonial 
Office style, more or less. Colonial Office being an Impotency (as 
Stephen inarticulately, though he never said or whispered it, well 
knew), what could an earnest and honest kind of man do but try 
and teach you how not to do it ? Stephen seemed to me a master 
in that art. 

The lecture time fell in the earlier part of the Sterling period, 
which latter must have lasted in all, counting till John's death, 
about ten years (autumn, 1845, when John died). To my Jeannie, 
I think, this was clearly the sunniest and wholesomest element in 
her then outer life. Ail the household loved her, and she had vir- 
tually, by her sense, by her felt loyalty, expressed ofteuest in a gay 
mildly quizzing manner, a real influence, a kind of light command 
one might almost call it, willingly yielded her among them. De- 
tails of this are in print (as I said above). In the same years Mrs. 
Buller (Charles's mother) was a very cheerful item to her. Mrs. 
B. (a whilom Indian beauty, wit, and finest fine lady), who had 
at all times a very recognizing eye for talent, and real reverence 
for it, very soon made out something of my little Woman, and took 
more and more to her, all the time she lived after. Mrs. B.'s circle 
was gay and populous at this time (Radical chiefly; Radical lions 
of every complexion), and we had as much of it as we would con- 
sent to. I remember being at Leatherhead too, and after that a 
pleasant rustic week at Troston Parsonage (iu Suffolk, where Mrs. 
B.'s youngest son "served," and serves), which Mrs. B. contrived 
very well to make the best of, sending me to ride for three days in 
Oliver Cromwell's country, that she might have the wife more to 
herself. My Jane must have been there altogether, I dare say, 
near a mouth (had gone before me, returned after me), and I re- 
gretted never to have seen the place again. This must have been 
in September or October, 1842; Mrs. Welsh's death iu early spring 
past. I remember well my feelings iu Ely Cathedral, in the close 
of sunset or dusk; the place was open, free to me without witnesses; 
people seemed to be tuning the organ, which went in solemn gusts 
far aloft. The thought of Oliver, and his " Leave off your fooling, 
sir, and come down !" was almost as if audible to me. Sleepless 
night, owing to cathedral bells, and strange ride next day to St. 
Ives, to Hinchiubrook, etc., and thence to Cambridge, with thun- 
der-cloud and lightning dogging me to rear and bursting into tor- 
rents few minutes after I got into the Hoop Inn. 

My poor darling had, for constant accompaniment to all her bits 
of satisfactions, an altogether weak state of health, continually 
breaking down, into violent fits of headache iu her best times, and 
in winter season into cough, etc., in lingering forms of a quite sad 
and exhausting sort. Wonderful to me how she, so sensitive a 
creature, maintained her hoping cheerful humor to such a degree, 
amidst all that ; and, except the pain of inevitable sympathy, and 
vague fluttering fears, gave me no pain. Careful always to screen 
me from pain, as I by no means always reciprocally was; alas, no, 
miserable egoist in comparison. At this time I must have been in 
the thick of " Cromwell" ; four years of abstruse toil, obscure spec- 
ulations, futile wrestling, and misery, I used to count it had cost 
me, before I took to editing the " Letters and Speeches" (" to have 
them out of my way"), which rapidly drained off the sour swamp 
water bodily, and left me, beyond all first expectation, quite free 
of the matter. Often I have thought how miserable my books 



must have been to her, and how, though they were none of her 
choosiug, and had come upon her like ill weather or ill health, she 
at no instant, never once I do believe, made the least complaint of 
me or my behavior (often bad, or at least thoughtless and weak) 
under them. Always some quizzing little lesson, the purport and 
effect of which was to encourage me; never once anything worse. 
Ob, it was noble, and I see it so well now, when it is gone from me, 
and no return possible. 

" Cromwell" was by much the worst book time, till this of "Fried- 
rich," which, indeed, was infinitely worse ; in the dregs of our 
strength too ; and lasted for about thirteen years. She was gen- 
erally in quite weak health too, and was often, for long weeks or 
months, miserably ill. 

It was strange how she contrived to sift out of such a troublous 
forlorn day as hers in each case was, all available little items, as 
she was sure to do, and used to have them ready for me in the 
evening when my work was done, in the prettiest little narrative 
anybody could have given of such things. Never again shall I 
have such melodious, humanly beautiful half-hours ; they were the 
rainbow of my poor dripping day, and reminded me that there oth- 
erwise was a sun. At this time, and all along, she "did all tho 
society" ; was all brightness to the one or two (ofteuest rather 
dull and prosaic fellows, for the better sort respected my seclusion, 
especially during that last "Friedrich" time) whom I needed to 
see on my affairs in hand, or who, with more of brass than others, 
managed to intrude upon me. For these she did, in their several 
kinds, her very best. Her own people whom I might be apt to 
feel wearisome (dislike any of them I never did, or his or her dis- 
charge from service would have swiftly followed) she kept beauti- 
fully out of my way, saving my " politeness" withal ; a very per- 
fect skill she had in all this; and took my dark toiling periods, 
however sullen, long, and severe they might he, with a loyalty and 
heart acquiescence that never failed, the heroic little soul! 

"Latter-Day Pamphlet" time, and especially the time that pre- 
ceded it (1848, etc.), must have been very sore and heavy. My 
heart was long overloaded with the meanings at length uttered 
there, and no way of getting them set forth would answer. I for- 
get what ways I tried, or thought of. " Times" newspaper was 
one (alert, airy, rather vacant editorial gentleman I remember go- 
ing to once, in Printing House Square ; but this, of course, proved 
hypothetical merely, as all others did, till we, as last shift, gave 
the rough MSS. to Chapman (in Forster's company one winter Sun- 
day). About half of those ultimately printed might be in Chap- 
man's hands, but there was much manipulation as well as addition 
needed. Forster soon fell away, I could perceive, into terror aud 
surprise, as indeed everybody did. "A lost man!" thought every- 
body. Not she at auy moment ; much amused by the outside 
pother she, aud glad to see me getting delivered of my black elec- 
tricities and consuming fires in that way. Strange letters came to 
us during those nine months of pamphleteering, strange visitors 
(of moon-struck unprofitable type for most part), who had, for one 
reason or another, been each of them wearing himself half mad on 
some one of the public scandals I was recognizing and denouncing. 
I still remember some of their faces and the look their paper bun- 
dles had. She got a considerable entertainment out of all that, 
went along with me in everything (probably counselling a little 
here and there, a censorship well worth my regarding, and gener- 
ally adoptable, here as everywhere), aud minded no whit any re- 
sults that might follow this evident speaking of the truth. Some- 
body, writing from India, I think, aud clearly meaning kindness, 
"did hope" (some time afterwards) "the tide would turn, aud this 
lamentable hostility of the press die away into friendship again"; 
at which I remember our innocent laughter, ignorant till tl on 
what "The Press's" feelings were, and leaving "The Press" very 
welcome to them then. Neuberg helped me zealously, as volun- 
teer amanuensis, etc., through all this business, but I know not 
tbat even he approved it all, or any of it to the bottom. In the 
whole world I had one complete approver; in that, as in other 
cases, one, and it was worth all. 

On the back of " Latter-Day Pamphlets" followed " Life of Ster- 
ling"; a very quiet thing, hut considerably disapproved of too, as 
I learned, and utterly revolting to the religious people in particu- 
lar (to my surprise rather than otherwise). "Doesn't believe in 
us, then, either?" Not he, for certain; can't, if you will know! 
Others urged disdainfully, " What has Sterling done that he should 
ha\*e a Life ?" " Induced Carlyle somehow to write him one !" an- 
swered she once (to the Ferguses, I think) in an arch airy way 
which I can well fancy, and which shut up that question there. 
The book was afterward greatly praised, again on rather weak 
terms I doubt. What now will please me best in it, and alone will, 
was then an accidental quality, the authentic light, under the due 
conditions, that is thrown by it on her. Oh, my dear one, sad is 
my soul for the loss of thee, and will to tho end be, as I compute ! 



JANE WELSH CAELYLE. 



71 



Lonelier creature there is not henceforth in this world; neither 
person, work, nor thing going on in it that is of any value, in com- 
parison, or even at all. Death I feel almost daily in express fact, 
death is the one haven ; and have occasionally a kind of kingship, 
sorrowful, but sublime, almost godlike, in the feeling that that is 
nigh. Sometimes the image of her, gone in her car of victory (in 
that beautiful death), and as if nodding to me with a smile, "I am 
gone, loved one ; work a little longer, if thou still carest ; if not, 
follow. There is no baseness, and no misery here. Courage, cour- 
age to the last !" that, sometimes, as in this moment, is inexpressi- 
bly beautiful to me, and comes nearer to bringing tears than it 
once did. 

In 1852 had come the new modelling of our house, attended with 
infinite dusty confusion (head-carpenter, stupid though honest, fell 
ill, etc., etc.); confusion falling upon her more than me, and at 
length upon her altogether. She was the architect, guiding and 
directing and contriving genius, in all that enterprise, seemingly 
bo foreign to her. But iudeed she was ardent in it, and she had a 
talent that way which was altogether unique in my experience. 
An " eye" first of all ; equal in correctness to a joiner's square, this, 
up almost from her childhood, as I understood. Then a sense of 
order, sense of beauty, of wise and thrifty convenience ; sense of 
wisdom altogether iu fact, for that was it; a human intellect shin- 
ing luminous in every direction, the highest and the lowest (as I 
remarked above). In childhood she used to be seut to seek when 
things fell lost; "the best seeker of us all," her father would say, 
or look (as she thought); for me also she sought everything, with 
such success as I never saw elsewhere. It was she who widened 
our drawing-room (as if by a stroke of genius) and made it zealous- 
ly (at the partial expense of three feet from her own bedroom) into 
what it is, one of the prettiest little drawing-rooms I ever saw, and 
made the whole house iuto what it now is. How frugal, too, and 
how modest about it ! House was Tiardly finished, when there 
arose that of the "demon fowls," as she appropriately named them ; 
macaws, Cochin Chinas, endless concert of crowing, cackling, shriek- 
ing roosters (from a bad or misled neighbor, next door) which cut 
us off from sleep or peace, at times altogether, aud were like to 
drive me mad, aud her through me, through sympathy with me. 
From which also she was my deliverer, had delivered aud contrived 
to deliver me from hundreds of such things (oh, my beautiful little 
Alcides, in the new days of anarchy and the mud-gods, threatening 
to crush down a poor man, and kill him with his work still on 
hand !). I remember well her setting off, one winter moruiug, from 
the Grange on this enterprise, probably having thought of it most 
of the night (sleep denied). She said to me next morning the first 
thing : " Dear, we must extinguish those demon fowls, or they will 
extinguish us! Eent the house (No. 6, proprietor mad, etc., etc.) 
ourselves! it is but some £40 a year; pack away those vile people, 
and let it stand empty. I will go this very day upon it, if you 
assent"; and she went accordingly, and slew altogether this Lerna 
hydra, at far less expense than taking the house, nay almost at no 
expense at all, except by her fine intellect, tact, just discernment, 
Bwiftness of decision, aud general nobleness of miud (in short). 
Oh, my bonny little woman, mine only in memory now ! 

I left the Grange two days after her, on this oceasiou, hastening 
through London, gloomy of mind, to see my dear old- mother yet 
once (if I might) before she died. She had, for many months be- 
fore, been evidently and painfully sinking away, under no disease, 
hut the ever-increasing infirmities of eighty-three years of time- 
She had expressed no desire to see me, but her love from my birth 
upward, under all scenes and circumstances, I knew to be emphat- 
ically a mother's. I walked from the Kirtlebridge Station that dim 
winter morning ; my one thought " Shall I see her yet alive V, She 
■was still there; weary, very weary, aud wishing to be at rest. I 
think she only at times knew me; so bewildering were her contin- 
ual distresses; once she entirely forgot me; then, in a minute or 
two, asked my pardon. Ah me! ah me! It was my mother and not 
my mother ; the last pale rim or sickle of the moon, which had once 
been full, now sinking in the dark seas. This lasted only three 
days. Saturday night she had her full faculties, but was in nearly 
unendurable misery, not breath sufficient, etc., etc. John tried va- 
rious reliefs, had at last to give a few drops of laudanum, which 
eased the misery, and in an hour or two brought sleep. All next 
day she lay asleep, breathing equally but heavily, her face grand 
and solemn, almost severe, like a marble statue ; about four p.m. the 
breathing suddenly halted, recommenced for half an instant, then 
fluttered, ceased. "All the days of my appointed time," she had 
often said, "will I wait till my change come." The most beauti- 
fully religious soul I ever knew. Proud enough she was, too, though 
piously humble, and full of native intellect, humor, etc., though all 
undeveloped. On the religions side, looking into the very heart of 
the matter, I always reckon her rather superior to my Jane, who in 
other shapes, and with far different exemplars and conditions, had 



a great deal of noble religion too. Her death filled me with a kind 
of dim amazement and crush of confused sorrows, which were very 
painful, but not so sharply pathetic as I might have expected. It 
was the earliest terror of my childhood " that I might lose my 
mother"; and it had gone with me all my days. But, aud that is 
probably the whole account of it, I was then sunk iu the miseries 
of" Friedrich," etc., etc., in many miseries ; and was then fifty-eight 
years of age. It is strange to me, iu these very days, how peaceable, 
though still sacred and tender, the memory of my mother now lies 
in me. (This very moruiug, I got into dreaming confused night- 
mare stuff about some funeral and her; not hers, nor obviously my 
Jaue's, seemingly my father's rather, and she sending me on it — 
the saddest bewildered stuff. What a dismai debasing and con- 
fusing element is that of a sick body on the humau soul or think- 
ing part !) 

It was in 1852 (September-October, for about a mouth) that I 
had first seen Germany, gone on my first errand as to " Friedrich" : 
there was a second, five years afterward ; this time it was to in- 
quire (of Preuss and Co.) ; to look about me, search for books, por- 
traits, etc., etc. I went from Scotsbrig (my dear old mother pain- 
fully weak, though I had no thought it would be the last time I 
should see her afoot); from Scotsbrig for Leith by Eotterdam, 
Koln, Bonn (Neuberg's); and on the whole never had nearly so 
(outwardly) unpleasant a journey in my life ; till the second and 
last I made thither. But the Chelsea establishment was under 
carpenters, painters ; till those disappeared, no work possible, 
scarcely any living possible (though my brave womau did make it 
possible without complaint). "Stay so many weeks, all painting 
at least shall then be off!" I returned, near broken down utterly,, 
at the set time ; and alas ! was met by a foul dabblement of paint 
oozing down stairs; the painters had proved treacherous to her; 
time could not be kept ! It was the one instance of such a thing 
here : and, except the first sick surprise, I now recollect no more 
of it. 

"Mamma, wine makes cozy!" said the bright little one, perhaps 
between two aud three years old, her mother, after some walk with 
sprinkling of wet or the like, having given her a dram-glass of 
wiue on their getting home : " mamma, wiue makes cozy !" said 
the small silver voice, gayly sipping, getting its new bits of insight 
into natural philosophy! What "pictures" has my beautiful one 
left me ; what joys can surround every well-ordered human heart ! 
I said, long since, I never saw so beautiful a childhood. Her little 
bit of a first chair, its wee, wee arms, etc., visible to me in the 
closet at this moment, is still here, and always was. I have looked 
at it hundreds of times ; from of old, with mauy thoughts. No 
daughter or son of hers was to sit there ; so it had been appointed 
us, my darling. I have no book a thousandth part so beautiful as 
thou ; but these were our only " children" — and, in a true seuse, 
these were verily ours; and will perhaps live some time in the 
world after we are both gone; and be of no damage to the poor 
brute chaos of a world, let us hope ! ■ The Will of the Supreme 
shall be accomplished. Amen. But to proceed. 

Shortly after my return from Germany (next summer, I think, 
while the Cochiu Chinas were at work, and we could uot quit the 
house, having spent so much on it, and got a long lease), there be- 
gan a new still worse hurly-burly of the building kind, that of the 
new top story — whole area of the house to be throwu iuto one sub- 
lime garret room, lighted from above, thirty feet by thirty say, and 
at least eleven feet high, double-doored, double-windowed, imper- 
vious to sound, to — in short, to everything but self and work. I 
had my grave doubts about all this ; but John Chorley, in his 
friendly zeal, warmly urged it on, pushed, superintended — and was 
a good deal disgusted with my dismal experieuce of the result. 
Somethiug really good might have come of it in a scene where good 
and faithful work was to be had on the part of all, from architect 
downwards; but here, from all (except one good young man of the 
carpenter trade, whom I at leugth noticed thankfully in small 
matters), the "work," of planning to begiu with, and then of exe- 
cuting, in all its details, was mere work of Belial,. i. e., of the Fa- 
ther of lies ; such " work" as I had not conceived the possibility of 
among the sons of Adam till then. By degrees I perceived it to 
be the ordinary English " work" of this epoch ; and, with manifold 
reflections, deep as Tophct, on the outlooks this offered for us all, 
endeavored to le silent as to my own little failure. My new illus- 
trious "study" was definable as the least inhabitable, and most 
entirely detestable aud despicable, bit of human workmanship in 
that kind, sad aud odious to me very. But, by many and long- 
continued efforts, with endless botherations which lasted for two 
or three years after (one winter starved by "Arnott's improved 
grate," I recollect), I did get it patched together iuto something of 
supportability ; aud continued, though under protest, to inhabit 
it during all working hours, as I had indeed from the first done. 
The whole of the now printed "Friedrich" was written there (or in 



72 



REMINISCENCES. 



summer in the back court and garden, when driven down by bak- 
ing heat). Much rawer matter, I think, was tentatively o» paper, 
before this sublime new " study." " Friedrich" once done, I quitted 
the place forever, and it is now a bedroom for the servants. The 
" architect" for this beautiful bit of masonry and carpentry was 
one " Parsons," really a clever creature, I could see, but swimming 
as for dear life in a mere " mother of dead dogs" (ultimately did 
become bankrupt). His men of all types, Irish hodmen and up- 
wards, for real mendacity of hand, for drunkenness, greediness, mu- 
tinous nomadism, and anarchic malfeasance throughout, excelled 
all experience or conception. Shut the lid on their " unexampled 
prosperity" and them forevermore. 

The sufferings of my poor little woman, throughout all this, must 
have been great, though she whispered nothing of them — the rath- 
er as this was my enterprise (both the " Friedrich" and it) ;— indeed, 
it was by her address and invention that I got my sooterkin of a 
"study" improved out of its worst blotches; it was she, for exam- 
ple, that went silently to Bramah's smith people, and got me a fire- 
place, of merely human sort, which actually warmed the room, and 
Bent Arnott's miracle about its business. But undoubtedly that 
"Friedrich" affair, with its many bad adjuncts, was much the worst 
■we ever had, and sorely tried us both. It lasted thirteen years or 
more. To me a desperate dead-lift pull all that time ; my whole 
strength devoted to it ; alone, withdrawn from all the world (ex- 
cept some bores who would take no hint, almost nobody came 
to see me, nor did I wish almost anybody then left living for me), 
all the world withdrawing from me ; I desperate of ever getting 
through (not to speak of " succeeding"), left solitary " with the 
nightmares" (as I sometimes expressed it), " hugging unclean crea- 
tures" (Prussian Blockheadism) " to my bosom, trying to caress and 
flatter their secret out of them !" Why do I speak of all this f It 
is now become Kon-poc to me, insignificant as the duug of a thousand 
centuries ago. I did get through, thank God ; let it now wander 
into the belly of obliviou forever. But what I do still, and shall 
more and more, remember with loving admiration is her behavior 
in it. She was habitually in the feeblest health ; often, for loug 
whiles, grievously ill. Yet by an alchemy all her own, she had ex- 
tracted grains as of gold out of every day, and seldom or never fail- 
ed to have something bright and pleasant to tell me, when I reach- 
ed home after my evening ride, the most fordone of men. In all, 
I rode, during that book, some 30,000 miles, much of it (all the win- 
ter part of it) under cloud of night, sun just setting when I mount- 
ed. All the rest of the day I sat silent aloft, insisting upon work, 
and such work, invilissimd Minerva 1 for that matter. Home between 
five and six, with mud mackintoshes off, and, the nightmares locked 
up for a while, I tried for an hour's sleep before my (solitary, die- 
tetic, altogether simple) bit of dinner; but first always came up for 
half an hour to the drawing-room and her ; where a bright kindly 
fire was sure to be burning (caudles hardly lit, all in trustful chi- 
ar-oseuro), and a spoonful of brandy in water, with a pipe of tobac- 
co (which I had learned to take sitting on the rug, with my back to 
the jamb, aud door never so little open, so that all the smoke, if I 
was careful, went up the chimney), this was the one bright portion 
of my black day. 

Oh, those evening half-hours, how beautiful and blessed they 
were, not awaiting me now on my home-coming, for the last ten 
weeks! She was oftenest reclining ou the sofa; wearied enough, 
she too, with her day's doings and eudurings. But her history, 
even of what was bad, had such grace and truth, and spontaneous 
tinkliug melody of a naturally cheerful aud loving heart, that I 
never anywhere enjoyed the like. Her courage, patience, silent 
heroism, meanwhile, must often have been immense. Within the 
last two years or so she has told me about my talk to her of the 
Battle of Mollwitz on these occasions, while that was on the anvil. 
She was lying on the sofa, weak, but I knew little how weak, aud 
patient, kind, quiet, and good as ever. After tugging and wrig- 
gling through what inextricable labyrinth aud slough of despond 
I still remember, it appears I had at last conquered Mollwitz, saw it 
all clear ahead and round me, aud took to telling her about it, in 
my poor bit of joy, night after night. I recollect she answered lit- 
tle, though kindly always. Privately, she at that time felt con- 
vinced she was dying — dark winter, aud such the weight of misery 
and utter decay of strength, and, night after night, my theme to 
her, Mollwitz ! This she owned to me, within the last year or two, 
which how cou}d I listen to without shame aud abasement ? Nev- 
er in my pretended superior kind of life, have I done, for love of 
any creature, so supreme a kiud of thing. It touches me at this 
moment with penitence and humiliation, yet with a kind of soft 
religious blessedness too. She read the first two volumes of" Fried- 
rich," much of it in printer's sheets (while on visit to the aged Miss- 
es Donaldson at Haddington); her blame was unerringly straight 
upon the blot, her applause (should not I collect her fine notekins 
and reposit. them here?) was beautiful and as sunlight to me, for 



I knew it was sincere withal, however exaggerated by ler great 
love of me. The other volumes (hardly even the third, I think) 
she never read — I knew too well why; and submitted without 
murmur, save once or twice perhaps a little quiz on the subject, 
which did not afflict her, either. Too weak, too weak by far for a 
dismal enterprise of that kind, as I knew too well! But those 
Haddington visits were very beautiful to her (and to me through 
her letters aud her), and by that time we were over the hill, and 
" the worst of our days were passed" (as poor Irving used to give 
for toast, long ago), worst of them past, though we did not yet 
quite know it. 

[July 3.] Voll. 1 and 2 of "Friedrich" were published, I find, in 
1858. Probably about two years before that was the nadir of my 
wife's sufferings — internal sufferings and dispiritmeuts ; for out- 
ward fortune, etc., had now, for about ten years, been on a quite 
tolerable footiug, aud indeed evidently fast on the improving hand : 
nor had this, at any worse time, ever disheartened her, or darkened 
her feelfngs. But in 1856, owing to many circumstances, my en- 
grossment otherwise (sunk iu " Friedrich," in etc., etc. ; far less ex- 
clusively, very far less, than she supposed, poor soul !) — and owing 
chiefly, one may fancy, to the deeper downbreak of her own poor 
health, which from this time, as I now see better, continued its ad- 
vance upon the citadel, or nervous system, aud intriusically grew 
worse aud worse: — in 1856, too evidently, to whatever owing, my 
poor little darling was extremely miserable ! Of that year there is 
a bit of private diary, by chance left unburnt ; found by me since 
her death, and not to be destroyed, however tragical and sternly 
sad are parts of it. She had writteu, I sometimes kuew (though 
she would never show to me or to mortal any word of them), at 
different times, various bits of diary ; and was even, at one time, 

upon a kiud of autobiography (had not C , the poor C — — 

now just goue, stept into it with swine's foot, most intrusively, 
though without ill intention- — finding it unlocked one day — aud 
produced thereby an instantaneous burning of it ; and of all like it 
which existed at that time). Certain enough, she wrote various 
bits of diary and private record, unknown to me : but never any- 
thing so sore, down-hearted, harshly distressed and sad as certain 
pages (right sure am I !) which alone remain as specimen ! The 
rest are all burnt ; no trace of them, seek where I may. 

A very sad record ! We went to Scotland soon after ; she to 
Auchtertool (cousin Walter's), I to the Gill (sister Mary's). 

In July, 1856, soon after, may have been about middle of month, 
we went to Edinburgh ; a blazing day, full of dust and tumult, 
which I still very well remember. Lady Ashburton had got for 
herself a grand " Queen's saloon," or ne plus ultra of railway car- 
riages (made for the Queen some time before), costing no end of 
money. Lady sat, or lay, in the saloon. A common six-seat car- 
riage, immediately contiguous, was accessible from it. Iu this the 
lady had insisted we should ride, with her doctor aud her maid ; a 
mere partition, with a door, dividing us from her. The lady was 
very good, cheerful though much unwell ; bore all her difficulties 
and disappointments with an admirable equanimity and magna- 
nimity ; but it was physically almost the uucomfortablest journey 
I ever made. At Peterborough the ne 2>lus ultra was found to have 
its axle-tree on fire ; at every station afterwards buckets were copi- 
ously dashed and poured (the magnanimous lady saying never a 
syllable to it) ; and at Newcastle-on-Tyne they flung the humbug 
neplus away altogether, aud our whole party into common carriages. 
Apart from the burning axle, we had suffered much from dust aud 
even from foul air, so that at last I got the door opened, aud sat 
with my head stretched out backward into the wind. This had 
alarmed my poor wife, lest I should tumble out altogether ; and 
she angrily forbade it, dear loviug womau, and I complied, not at 
first knowing why she was angry. This and Lady A.'s opening 
her door to tell us, " Here is Hichinbrook !" (a long time before, and 
with something of pathos traceable in her cheery voice) are nearly 
all that I now remember of the base and dirty hurly-burly. Lord 
A. had preceded by some days, aud was waiting for our train at 
Edinburgh, 9.30 p.m. ; hurly-burly greater and dirtier than ever. 
They went for Barry's Hotel at once, servants and all; no time to 
inform us (officially) that we too were their guests. But that, 
too, passed well. We ordered apartments, refreshments of our 
own there (first of all baths ; inside of my shirt collar was as 
black as ink !), and before the refreshments were ready we had 
a gay aud cordial invitation, etc., etc. ; found the " old bear" 
(Ellis) in their rooms, I remember, and Lord A. and he with a great 
deal to say about Edinburgh and its people aud phenomena. Next 
morning the Ashburtons went for Kinloch-Luichart (fine huntiug 
seat in Ross-shire) ; and my dear little woman to her cousins' at 
Auchtertool, where I remember she was much soothed by their 
kindness, and improved considerably in health for the time. The 
day alter seeing her settled there, I made for Auuaudale, and my 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



73 



sister Mary's at the Gill. (Maggie Welsh, now here with me, has 
helped in adjusting into clearness the recollection of all this.) I 
remember working on final corrections of books ii. and iii. of 
"Friedrich," and reading in "Plato" (translation, and not my first 
trial of him) while there. My darling's letters I remember, too 
(am on search for them just now), also visits from sister Jean and 
to Dumfries and her, silent nocturnal rides from that town, etc., 
and generally much riding on the (Priestside) Solway Sands, and 
plenty of sombre occupation to my thoughts. 

Late on in autumn I met my Jeannieat Kirkcaldy again; un- 
comfortably lodged, both of us, and did not loiter (though the peo- 
ple very kind) ; I was bound for Ross-shire and the Ashburtons 
(miserable journey thither, sombre, miserable stay there, wet wea- 
ther, sickly, solitary mostly, etc., etc.); my wife had gone to her 
aunts' in Edinburgh for a night or two ; to the Haddington Miss 
Donaldsons; and in both places, the latter especially, had much 
to please her, and came away with the resolution to go again. 

Next year, 1857, she went accordingly, staid with the Donald- 
sons (eldest of these old ladies, now well above eighty, and gone 
stone-blind, was her "godmother," had been at Craigenputtoch to 
see us, tho dearest of old friends my wife now had). She was at 
Auchtertool too, at Edinburgh with her aunts, once and again; 
but the chief element was "Sunny Bank, Haddington," which she 
began with and ended with; a stay of some length each time. 
Happy to her, and heart-interesting to a high degree, though sor- 
rowfully involved in almost constant bodily pain. It was a tour 
for health, urged on her by me for that eud; aud the poor little 
darling seemed inwardly to grudge all along the expense on her- 
self (generous soul !) as if she were not worth money spent, though 
money was in no scarcity with us now ! I was printing " Fried- 
rich," voll. i. and ii., here ; totally solitary, and recollect her letters 
of that tour as altogether genial and delightful, sad and miserable 
as the view is which they now give mo of her endless bodily dis- 
tresses aud even torments, now when I read them again after nine 
years, and what has befallen me eleven weeks ago ! 

Sunday, July 8. Began writing again at the second line of this 
page; the intermediate time has been spent in a strenuous search 
for, and collection of all her letters now discoverable (by Maggie 
Welsh aud me), which is now completed, or nearly so, 1843-2 the 
earliest found (though surely there ought to be others, of 1837, etc. ?), 
and some of almost every year onward to the last. They are ex- 
ceedingly difficult to arrange, not having in general any date, so 
that place often enough, and day and even year throughout, are 
mainly to be got by the Post-office stamp, supported by inference 
and inquiry such as is still possible, at least to me. 

The whole of yesterday I spent in reading and arranging the 
letters of 1857 ; such a day's reading as I perhaps never had in my 
life before. What a piercing radiancy of meaning to me in those 
dear records, hastily thrown off, full of misery, yet of bright eternal 
love ; all as if on wings of lightning, tingling through one's very 
heart of hearts! Oh, I was blind not to see how brittle was that 
thread of noble celestial (almost more than terrestrial) life ; how 
much it was all in all to me, and how impossible it should long be 
left with me. Her sufferings seem little short of those in a hospi- 
tal fever-ward, as she painfully drags herself about ; and yet con- 
stantly there is such an electric shower of all-illuminating brill- 
iancy, penetration, recognition, wise discernment, just enthusiasm, 
humor, grace, patience, courage, love, and in fine of spontaneous 
nobleness of mind and intellect, as I know not where to parallel! 
I have asked myself, Ought all this to be lost, or kept for myself, 
and tho brief time that now belongs to me ? Can uothing of it be 
saved, then, for the worthy that still remain among these roaring 
myriads of profane unworthy ? I really must consider it farther ; 
and already I feel it to have become uncertain to me whether at 
least this poor note-book ought to be burnt ere my decease, or left 
to its chances among my survivors ? As to " talent," epistolary 
and other, these letters, I perceive, equal and surpass whatever of 
best I know to exist in that kind ; for " talent," " genius," or what- 
ever we may call it, what an evidence, if my little woman needed 
that to me! Not all the Sands and Eliots and babbling cohnc of 
"celebrated scribbling women" that have strutted over the world, 
in my time, could, it seems to me, if all boiled down and distilled to 
esseuce, make one such woman. But it is difficult to make these 
letters fairly legible ; except myself there is nobody at all that can 
completely read them as they now are. They abound in allusions, 
very full of meaning in this circle, but perfectly dark and void in 
all others. Coterie- spraehe, as tho Germans call it, "family circle 
dialect," occurs every line or two ; nobody ever so rich in that kind 
as she; ready to pick up every diamoud-spark out of the common 
floor-dust, and keep it brightly available ; so that hardly, I think, 
in any house, was there more of coterie-sprnche, shining innocently, 
with a perpetual expressiveness and twinkle generally of quiz and 
real humor about it, than in ours. She mainly was the creatress of 



all this ; unmatehable for quickness (and triteness) in regard to it, 
aud in her letters it is continually recurring; shedding such a 
lambency of "own fireside" over everything, if you are in the se- 
cret. Ah me, ah me ! At least, I have tied up that bundle (the 
two letters touching on " Friedrich" have a paper round them ; the 
first written in Edinburgh, it appears now!1 

July 9. Day again all spent in searching and sorting a box of 
hers, full of strange aud sad memorials of her mother, with a few of 
father and infant self (put up in 4842), full of poignant meanings to 
her then and to me now. Her own christening cap is there, e.g.; 
the lancet they took her father's Mood with (and so killed him, as 
she always thought); father's door-plate; "commission in Perth 
Fencibles," etc. ; two or three Christmas notes of mine, which I 
could not read without almost sheer weepiug. 

It must have beeu near the end of October, 1863, when I returned 
home from my ride, weather soft and muddy, humor dreary and op- 
pressed as usual (nightmare "Friedrich" still pressing heavily as 
ever), but as usual also, a bright little hope iu me that now I was 
across the muddy element, and the lucid twenty minutes of my day 
were again at hand. To my disappointment my Jeaunie was not 
here ; " had gone to see her cousiu in the city" — a Mrs. Godby, 
widow of an important post-official, once in Ediubnrgh, where he 
had wedded this cousin, and died leaving children ; and in virtue 
of whom she and they had been brought to London a year or two 
ago, to a fine situation as " matron of the Post-office establishment" 
("forty maids under her, etc., etc., and well managed by her") in 
St. Martin's-le-Grand. She was a good enough creature, this Mrs. 
Godby (Binuie had been her Scotch name; she is now Mrs. Some- 
thing-else, aud very prosperous). My Jeaunie, iu those early times, 
was anxious to be kind to her iu the new scene, and had her often 
here (as often as, for my convenience, seemed to the loyal heart per- 
missible), aud was herself, on calls and little tea-visits, perhaps still 
ofteuer there. A perfectly harmless Scotch cousin, polite and pru- 
dent ; almost prettyish (in spite of her projecting upper teeth;) 
with good wise instincts, but no developed intelligence in, the artic- 
ulate kind. Her mother, I think, was my mother-in-law's cousin or 
connection ; and the young widow and her Loudon friend were al- 
ways well together. This was, I believe, the last visit my poor 
wife ever made her ; and the last but two she ever received from 
her, so miserably unexpected were the issues on this side of the 
matter ! 

We had been at the Grange for perhaps four or five weeks that 
autumn ; utterly quiet, nobody there besides ourselves ; Lord Ash- 
burton being in the weakest state, health aud life visibly decaying. 
I was permitted to be perdue till three o'clock daily, aud sat writing 
about Poland, I remember; mournful, but composed and dignifiedly 
placid the time was to us all. My Jeannie did not complain of 
health beyond wont, except on one point, that her right arm was 
strangely lame, getting lamer and lamer, so that at last she could 
not "do her hair herself," but had to call in a maid to fasten the 
hind part for her. I remember her sadly dispirited looks, when I 
came in to her in the morning with my inquiries; "No sleep," too 
often the response; and this lameness, though little was said of it, 
a most discouragiug thing. Oh, what discouragements, continual 
distresses, pains and miseries my poor little darling had to bear ; 
remedy for them nowhere, speech about them useless, best to be 
avoided — as, except on pressure from myself, it nobly was ! This 
part of her life-history was always sad to me; but it is tenfold 
more now, as I read in her old letters, and gradually realize, as 
never before, the continual grinding wretchedness of it, aud how, 
like a winged Psyche, she so soared above it, and refused to be 
chained or degraded by it. "Neuralgic rheumatism," the doctors 
called this thing : " neuralgia" by itself, as if confessing that they 
knew not what to do with it. Some kind of hot half-corrosive 
ointment was the thing prescribed ; which did, for a little while 
each time remove the pain mostly, the lameness not ; and I remem- 
ber to have once seen her beautiful arm (still so beautiful) all 
stained with spots of burning, so zealous had she beeu in trying, 
though with small faith iu the prescription. This lasted all the 
time we were at the Grange ; it had begun before, and things rather 
seemed to be worsening after we returned. Alas, I suppose it was 
the siege of the citadel that was now going on ; disease and pain 
had for thirty or more years been trampling down the outworks, 
were now got to the nerves, to the citadel, aud were bent on storm- 
ing that. 

I was disappointed, but not sorry at the miss of my " twenty 
minutes" ; that my little woman, in her weak languid stato, had got 
out for exercise, was gladness ; aud I considered that the " twenty 
minutes" was only postponed, not lost, but would be repaid me 
presently with interest. After sleep and dinner (all forgotten now), 
I remember still to have been patient, cheerfully hopeful ; " she is 
coming, for certain, and will have something nice to tell me of news, 
etc., as she always has !" In that mood I lay on the sofa, not sleep- 



74 



REMINISCENCES. 



ing, quietly waiting, perhaps for an hour-auil-half more. Slio had 
gone in an omnibus, and was to return in one. At this time she 
had no carriage. With great difficulty I had got her induced, per- 
suaded, and commanded to take two drives weekly in a hired 
brougham ("more difficulty in persuading you to go into expense, 
than other men have to persuade their wives to keep out of it!"). 
On these terms she had agreed to the two drives weekly, and found 
a great benefit in them ; but on no terms could I get her to consent 
to go, herself, into the adventure of purchasing a brougham, etc., 
though she knew it to be a fixed purpose, and only delayed by ab- 
solute want of time on my part. She could have done it, too, em- 
ployed the right people to do it, right well, aud knew how beneficial 
to her health it would likely be ; but no, there was a refined delica- 
cy which would have perpetually prevented her; and my "time," 
literally, was Zero. I believe, for the last seven years of that night- 
mare "Friedrich," I did not write the smallest message to friends, 
or undertake the least business, except upon plain compulsion of 
necessity. How lucky that, next autumn, I did actually, in spite of 
" Friedrich," undertake this of the brougham ; it is a mercy of Hea- 
ven to me for the rest of my life ! and oh ! why was it not under- 
taken, in spite of all "Friedrichs" aud nightmares, years before! 
That had been still luckier, perhaps endlessly so? but that was 
not to be. 

The visit to Mrs. Godby had been pleasant, and gone all well ; 
but now, dusk falling, it had to eud — again by omnibus as ill luck 
would have it. Mrs. G. sent one of her maids as escort. At the 
"■corner of Cheapside the omnibus was waited for (some excavations 
going on near by, as for many years past they seldom cease to do); 
Chelsea omnibus came; my darliug was in the act of stepping in 
{maid stupid and of no assistance), when a cab came rapidly from 
behind, and, forced by the near excavation, seemed as if it would 
drive over her, such her frailty aud want of speed. She desper- 
ately determined to get on the flag pavement again ; desperately 
leaped, and did get upon the curbstone; but found she was falling 
over upon the flags, aud that she would alight on her right or neu- 
ralgic arm, which would be ruin; spasmodically struggled agaiust 
this for an instant or two (maid nor nobody assisting), and had to 
fall on the neuralgic arm — ruined otherwise far worse, for, as after- 
wards appeared, the muscles of the thigh-bone, or sinews attaching 
thorn, had been torn in that spasmodic instant or two; aud for 
three days coming tho torment was excessive, while in the right 
arm there was no neuralgia perceptible during that time, nor any 
very manifest new injury afterwards either. The calamity had 
happened, however, and in that condition my poor darling, "put 
into a cab" by tho humane people, as her one request to them, ar- 
rived at this door — "later" than I expected; and after such "a 
drive from Cheapside" as may be imagined! 

I remember well nry joy at the sound of her wheels ending iu a 
knock; then my surprise at the delay iu her coming up: at the 
singular silence of the maids when questioned as to that. There- 
upon my rushing down, finding her in the hands of Larkiu and 
them, in the greatest agony of pain and helplessness I had ever 
seen her iu. The noble little soul, she had determined I was uot 
to be shocked by it; Larkiu then lived next door, assiduous to 
serve us iu all things (did maps, iudexes, even joinerings, etc., etc.) ; 
him she had resolved to charge with it; alas, alas, as if you could 
have saved me, noble heroine and martyr ? Poor Larkiu was 
standing helpless; he aud I carried her up stairs iu an arm-chair 
to the side of her bed, into which she crept by aid of her hands. 
In few minutes, Barnes (her wise old doctor) was here, assured me 
there were no bones broken, no joint out, applied his bandagiugs 
and remedies, and seemed to think the matter was slighter than it 
proved to be — the spasmodic tearing of sinews being still a secret 
to him. 

For fifty hours the pain was excruciating; after that it rapidly 
abated, and soon altogether ceased, except when the wounded limb 
was meddled with never so little. Tho poor patient was heroic, aud 
had throughout been. Within a week, she had begun contriving 
ropo machineries, leverages, aud could not only pull her bell, but 
lift and shift herself about, by meaus of her arms, into auy coveted 
posture, and was, as it were, mistress of the mischance. She had 
her poor little room arranged, under her eye, to a perfection of beau- 
ty and convenience. Nothing that was possible to her had been 
omitted (I remember one little thing the apothecary had furnish- 
ed ; an artificial champagne cask ; turn a screw and your champagne 
spurted up, and when you had a spoonful, could be instantly closed 
down ; with what a bright face she would show me this iu action!) 
Iu fact her sick-room looked pleasanter than many a drawing-room 
(all the weakness and suffering of it nobly veiled away); the select 
of her lady friends were admitted for short whiles and liked it well ; 
to me, whenever I entered, all spoke of cheerfully patient hope, the 
bright side of the cloud always assiduously turned out for me, in my 
dreary labors ! I might have known, too, better than I did, that it 



had a dark side withal; sleeplessness, sickliness, utter weakness:! 
aud that " the silver lining" was due to my darling's self mainly, u 
and to the inextinguishable loyalty and hope that dwelt in her. I 
But I merely thought, " How lucky beyond all my calculations!" 

I still right well remember the night when her bedroom door I 
(double-door) suddenly opened upon me iuto the drawing-room, I 
and she came limping aud stooping on her staff, so gracefully aud [ 
with such a child-like joy aud triumph, to irradiate my solitude. I 
Never again will any such bright vision of gladdening surprise I 
illuminate the darkness for me in that room or any other? She I 
was in her Indian dressing-gown, absolutely beautiful, leaning on I 
her nibby staff (a fine hazel, cut and polished from the Drnmlaurig I 
woods, by some friend for my service) ; aud with such a kindly 
In i Ilia uey aud loving inuocence of expression, like that of a little I 
child, unconquerable by weakness aud years! A hot-tempered I 
creature, too, few hotter, on momentary provocation : but what a I 
fund of soft affection, hope, aud melodious innocence and goodness, I 
to temper all that lightning ! I doubt, candidly, if I ever saw aj 
nobler human soul than this which (alas, alas, never rightly valuedw 
till now !) accompanied all my steps for forty years. Blind and 1 
deaf that we are: oh, think, if thou yet love anybody living, wait I 
not till death sweep down the paltry little dust-clouds aud idle I 
dissonances of the moment, aud all be at last so mournfully clear I 
and beautiful, when it is too late ! 

We thought all was now come or fast coming right again, aud [ 
that, iu spite of that fearful mischance, we should have a good win- 
ter, aud get our dismal "misery of a book" done, or almost doue. 
My own hope and prayer was, aud had long been, contiuually that ; 
hers, too, I could not doubt, though hint never came from her to 
that effect — no hint or look, much less the smallest word, at any 
time, by auy accident. But I felt well enough how it was crushing 
down her existence, as it was crushing down my own; aud the 
thought that she had not been at the choosing of it, and yet must 
suffer so for it, was occasionally bitter to me. But the practical 
conclusion always was, "Get done with it, get doue with it! For 
the saving of us both, that is the one outlook." And, sure enough, 
I did stand by that dismal task with all my time and all my means ; 
day aud night wrestling with it, as with the ugliest dragon, which 
blotted out the daylight aud the rest of the world to me, till I 
should get it slain. There was perhaps some merit iu this ; but 
also, I fear, a demerit. Well, well, I could do no better; sitting 
smoking up stairs, ou nights wheu sleep was impossible, I had 
thoughts enough ; not permitted to rustle amid my rugs aud wrap- 
pages lest I awoke her, aud startled all chance of sleep away from 
her. Weak little darliug, thy sleep is now unbroken ; still aud 
sereue iu tho eternities (as the Most High God has ordered for us), 
and nobody more iu this world will wake for my wakefulness. 

My poor woman was what we called " getting well " for several 
weeks still; she could walk very little, indeed, she nevermore 
walked much in this world ; but it seems she was out driving, and 
agaiu out, hopefully for some time. 

Towards the eud of November (perhaps it was iu December), she 
caught some whiff of cold, which, for a day or two, we hoped would 
pass, as many such had done; but, ou the contrary, it began to get 
worse, soon rapidly worse, and developed itself iuto that frightful 
universal "neuralgia," under which it seemed as if no force of hu- 
man vitality would be able long to stand. " Disease of the nerves " 
(poisoning of the very channels of sensation) ; such was the name 
the doctors gave it, and, for the rest, could do nothing farther with 
it ; well had they only attempted uothiug! I used to compute that 
they, poor souls, had at least reinforced the disease to twice its 
natural amouut; such the pernicious effect of all their ."remedies' 
and appliances, opiates, etc., etc.; which every one of them (aud there 
came mauy) applied anew, aud always with the like result. Oh, 
what a sea of agouy my darling was immersed iu, mouth after 
mouth! Sleep had fled. A hideous pain, of which she used to say 
that " common honest pain, were it cutting off one's flesh or sawing 
off one's bones, would be a luxury iu comparison," seemed to have 
begirdled her, at all moments and ou every side. Her intellect was 
clear as starlight, aud continued so ; the clearest intellect among us 
all ; but she dreaded that this too must give way. " Dear," said 
she to me ou two occasions, with such a look aud tone as I shall 
never forget, "promise me that you will not put me iuto a mad- 
house, however this go. Do you promise me, now?" I solemnly 
did. " Not if I do quite lose my wits?" "Never, my darling ; oh, 
compose thy poor terrified heart!" Another time she punctually 
directed mo about her burial ; how her poor bits of possessions wero 
to be distributed — this to one friend, that to another (in help of 
their necessities, for it was the poor sort she had chosen, old indi- 
gent Haddington figures). What employment iu tho solitary night- 
watches, on her bed of pain ! Ah me! ah me ! 

The house, by day especially, was full of confusion ; Maggie 
Welsh had come at my solicitation, and took a great deal of patient 



JANE WELSH CAELYLE. 



75 



trouble (herself of an almost obstinate placidity), doing her best 
among the crowd of doctors, sick-nurses, visitors. I mostly sat 
aloft, sunk, or endeavoring to be sunk, in work ; and, till evening, 
only visited the sick-room at intervals, first thing in the morning, 
perhaps about noon again, and always (if permissible) at three P.M., 
when riding -time came, etc., etc. If permissible, for sometimes 
she was reported as "asleep" when I passed, though it oftenest 
proved to have been quiescence of exhaustion, not real sleep. To 
this hour it is inconceivable to mo how I could continue "work- 
jog," as I nevertheless certainly for much the most part did. About 
three times or so, on a morniug, it struck me, with a cold shudder 
as of conviction, that here did lie death ; that my world must go to 
shivers, down to the abyss ; and that " victory " never so complete, 
up in my garret, would not save her, nor indeed be possible without 
her. I remember my morning walks, threo of them or so, crushed 
under that ghastly spell. But again I said to myself, "No man, 
doctor or other, knows anything about it. There is still what ap- 
petite there was; that I can myself understand;" aud generally, 
before the day was done, I had decided to hope agaiu, to keep hop- 
ing and working. The aftercast of tho doctors' futile opiates were 
generally the worst phenomena: I remember her once coming out 
to the drawing-room sofa, perhaps about midnight, decided for try- 
ing that. Ah me ! in vain, palpably in vain ; aud what a look in 
those bonny eyes, vividly present to me yet ; unaidable, and like to 
break one's heart ! 

One scene with a Catholic sick-nurse I also remember well. 

A year or two before this time, she had gone with some acquaint- 
ance who was in quest of sick-nurses to an establishment under 
Catholic auspices, in Bromptou somewhere (the acquaintance, a 
Protestant herself, expressing her "certain kuowledgo" that this 
Catholic was tho one good kiud) ; where, accordingly, tho aspect 
of matters, and especially tho manner of the old French lady who 
•was matron and manager, produced such a favorable impression 
that I recollect my little woman saying, "If I need a sick-nurse, 
that is the place I will apply at." Appliance now was made ; a 
mm duly sent in consequence : this was in tho early weeks of the 
illness; household sick-nursing (Maggie's and that of the maids 
alternately) having sufficed till now. Tho nurse" was a good-nat- 
ured young Irish nun, with a good deal of brogue, a tolerable 
share of blarney too, all varnished to the due extent ; and, for 
three nights or so, she answered very well. Ou the fourth night, 
to our surprise, though we found afterwards it was tho common 
usage, there appeared a new nun, new and very different — an el- 
derly French "young lady," with broken English enough for her 
occasions, and a look of rigid earnestness, in fact with the air of 
a life broken down into settled despondency and abandonment of 
all hope that was not ultra- secular. An unfavorable change; 
though the poor lady seemed intelligent, well-intentioned ; and her 
heart-broken aspect inspired pity aud good wishes, if no attrac- 
tion. She commenced by rather ostentatious performance of her 
nocturnal prayers, "Beata Maria," or I know not what other Latin 
stuff; which her poor patient regarded with great vigilance, though 
Still with what charity aud tolerance were possible. "You won't 
understand what I am saying or doiug," said the nun ; " dou't 
mind mo." " Perhaps I understand it bettor than yourself," said 
the other, who had Latin from of old, and did "mind" more than 
was expected. The dreary hours, no sleep, as usual, went on ; and 
we heard nothing, till about three A.M. I was awakened (I, what 
never happened before or after, though my door was always left 
slightly ajar, and I was right above, usually a deep sleeper) — 
awakened by a vehement continuous ringing of my poor darling's 
bell. I flung on my dressing-gown, awoke Maggie by a word, and 
hurried down. "Put away that woman !" cried my poor Jeannie, 
vehemently; "away, not to come back." I opened the door into 
the drawing-room ; pointed to tho sofa there, which had wraps and 
pillows plenty; and the poor nun at ouce withdrew, looking and 
murmuring her regrets and apologies. "What was she doing to 
thee, my own poor little woman?" No very distinct answer was 
to he had then (and afterwards there was always a dislike to speak 
of that hideous bit of time at all, except on necessity); but I 
learned, in geueral, that during the heavy hours, loaded, every mo- 
ment of them, with its misery, the nun had gradually come for- 
ward with ghostly consolations, ill received, no doubt ; and at 
length with something more express, about "Blessed Virgin," 
"Agnus Dei," or whatever it might be; to which tho answer had 
teen, " Hold your tongue, I tell you, or I will riug tho bell !" Upon 
which the uuk had rushed forward with her dreadfullest supernal 
admonitions, "impenitent sinner," etc., and a practical attempt to 
prevent the ringing. Which only made it, more immediate and 
more decisive. Tho poor woman expressed to Miss Welsh much 
Kgret, disappointment, real vexation, and self-blame; lay silent, 
after that, amid her rugs ; and disappeared, next morning, in a po- 
lite and soft manner: never to reappear, she or any consort of hers. 
I Was really sorry for this heavy-laden, pious or quasi-pious, and 



almost broken-hearted Frenchwoman — though we could perceive 
she was under the foul tutelage and guidance, probably, of some 
dirty muddy-minded semi-felonious proselytizing Irish priest. But 
there was no help for her in this instance ; probably, in all Eng- 
land, she could not have found an agonized human soul more nobly 
and hopelessly superior to her aud her poisoued gingerbread " con- 
solations." This incident threw suddenly a glare of strange and 
far from pleasant light over the sublime Popish " sister of charity " 
movement; aud none of ns had the least notion to apply there 
henceforth. 

The doctors were many ; Dr. Quaiu (who would take no fees) 
the most assiduous ; Dr. Blakiston (ditto) from St. Leonard's, ex- 
press one time ; speaking hope, always, both of these, aud most in- 
dustrious to help, with many more, whom I did not even see. When 
any new miraculous kind of doctor was recommended as such, my 
poor struggliug martyr, conscious, too, of grasping at mere straws, 
could not but wish to see him ; and he came, did his mischief, aud 
went away. We had even (by sanction of Barnes and, indeed, of 
sound sense never so sceptical) a trial of "animal magnetism;" 
two magnetizers, first a man, then a quack woman (evidently a 
conscious quack I perceived her to be), who at least did no ill, ex- 
cept entirely disappoint (if that were much an exception). By 
everybody it had been agreed that a change of scene (as usual, 
when all else has failed was the thing to be looked to: "St. Leon- 
ard's as soon as the weather will permit!" said Dr. Quaiu and 
everybody, especially Dr. Blakiston, who generously offered his 
house withal; " Definitely more room than we need!" said the san- 
guine B. always ; aud we dimly understood, too, from his wife 
(Bessie Barnet, an old inmate here, and of distinguished qualities 
and fortunes) that the doctor would accept remuneration, though 
this proved quite a mistake. The remuneration he had expected 
was to make a distinguished cure over the heads of so many Lon- 
don rivals. Money for the use of two rooms in his house, we might 
have anticipated, but did not altogether, he would regard with 
sovereign superiority. 

It was early in March, perhaps March 2, 1864, a cold-blowing 
damp aud occasionally raining day, when tho flitting thither took 
effect. Never shall I see again so sad and dispiriting a scene ; 
hardly was the day of her last departure for Haddington, departure 
of what had once been she (the instant of which they contrived to 
hide from me here), so miserable; for she, at least, was now suffer- 
ing nothing, but safe in victorious rest for evermore, though then 
beyond expression suffering. There was a railway invalid car- 
riage, so expressly adapted, bo, etc., and evidently costing some ten 
or twelve times the common expense : this drove up to the door ; 
Maggie and she to go in this. Well do I recollect her look as tlioy 
bore her down-stairs : full of nameless sorrow, yet of clearness, 
practical management, steady resolution ; in a low, small voice she 
gave her directions, once or twice, as the process went on, and 
practically it was under her wise management. The invalid car- 
riage was hideous to look upon ; black, low, base-looking, and you 
entered it by window, as if it were a hearse. I knew well what 
she was thinking; but her eye never quailed, she gave her direc- 
tions as heretofore; and, in a minute or two, we were all away. 
Twice or oftener in the journey I visited Maggie aud her in their 
prison. No complaint: but the invalid carriage, in which I doubt 
if you could actually sit upright (if you were of man's stature or of 
tall woman's), was evidently a catchpenny humbug, and she freely 
admitted afterwards that she would never enter it again, and that 
in a coupe" to ourselves she would have been far better. At St. 
Leonard's, I remember, there was considerable waiting for the 
horses that should have been ready, a thrice bleak and dreary 
sceue to us all (she silent as a child) : the arrival, the dismount- 
ing, the asceut of her quasi-bier up Blakiston's long stairs, etc., 
etc. Ah me ! Dr. Blakiston was really kind. The sea was hoarsely 
moaning at our hand, the bleared skies sinking into darkness over- 
head. Within doors, however, all was really nice and well pro- 
vided (thanks to the skilful Mrs. B.) ; excellent drawing-room, aud 
sitting-room, with bed for her; bedroom up-stairs for Maggie, 
ditto; for servant, within call, etc., etc. ; all clean and quiet. A 
kiud of hope did rise, perhaps even in her, at sight of all this. My 
mood, when I bethink me, was that of deep misery frozen torpid ; 
singularly dark and stony, strange to me now ; due in part to the 
"Friediich" incubus thon. I -had to be home again that night, 
by the last train; miscalculated the distance, found no vehicle; 
and never in my life saved a train by so infinitesimally small a 
miss. I had taken mournfully tender leave of my poor, much-suffer- 
ing heroine (speaking hope to her, when I could readily have lifted 
up my voice and wept). I was to return in so many days, if noth- 
ing went wrong; at once, if anything did. 1 lost nothing by 
that hurried ride, except, at London Station, or iu the final cab, a 
velvet cap, of her old making, which I much regretted, and still 
regret. " I will make you another cap, if I get better," said she, 
lovingly, at our next meeting; but she never did, or perhaps well 



76 



REMINISCENCES. 



could. What matter? That would have made me still sorrier, 
had I had it by me now. Wae's me, wae's me ! * 

I was twice or perhaps thrice at St. Leonard's (Warrior Square, 
Blakiston's house right end of it to the sea). Once I recollect be- 
ing taken by Forster, who was going on a kind of birthday holi- 
day with his wife. Blakiston spoke always in a tone of hope, and 
there really was some improvement ; but, alas ! it was small and 
slow. Deep misery and pain still too visible : and all we could 
say was, " We must try St. Leonard's farther ; I shall be able to 
shift down to you in May !" My little darling looked sweet grati- 
tude upon me (so thankful always for the day of small things !) ; 
but heaviness, sorrow, and want of hope was written on her face ; 
the sight filling me with sadness, though I always strove to be of 
B.'s opinion. One of my volumes (fourth, I conclude) was coming out 
at that time ; during the Forster visit, I remember there was some 
review of this volume, seemingly of a shallow, impudent descrip- 
tion, concerning which I privately applauded F.'s sileut demeanor, 
and not B.'s vocal, one evening at F.'s inn. The dates, or even the 
number of these sad preliminary visits, I do not now recollect : 
they were all of a sad and ambiguous complexion. At home, too, 
there daily came a letter from Maggie ; but this, in general, though 
it strove to look hopeful, was ambiguity's owu self! Much driving 
iu the open air, appetite where it was, sleep at least ditto ; all this, 
I kept saying to myself, must lead to something good. 

Dr. Blakiston, it turned out, would accept no payment for his 
rooms ; " a small furnished house of our own " became the only 
outlook, therefore ; and was got, and entered into, some time iu 
April, some weeks before my arrival in May. Brother John, be- 
fore this, had come to visit me here ; ran down to St. Leonard's one 
day : and, I could perceive, was silently intending to pass the sum- 
mer with us at St. Leonard's. He did so, iu an innocent, self- 
soothing, kindly, and harmless way (the good soul, if good wishes 
would always suffice!); and occasionally was of some benefit to us, 
though occasionally also not. It was a quiet sunuy day of May 
wheu we went down together; I read most of" Sterne's Life" (just 
out, by some Irishman, named Fitz-something) ; looked out on the 
old Wilhelmus Couquestor localities; on Lewes, for one thing (de 
" Le Ouse" — Onse the dirty river there is still named) ; on Peven- 
sey, Bexhill, etc., with no unmixed feeling, yet not with absolute 
misery, as we rolled aloug. I forget if Maggie Welsh was still 
there at St. Leonard's. My darling, certain enough, came down to 
meet us, attempting to sit at dinner (by my request, or wish al- 
ready signified) ; but too evidently it would not do. Mary Craik 
was sent for (from Belfast) instead of Maggie Welsh, who " was 
wanted" at Liverpool, and did then or a few days afterwards re- 
turn thither, Mary Craik succeeding, who was very gentle, quiet, 
prudent, and did well in her post. 

I had settled all my book affairs the best I could. I got at once 
installed into my poor closet on the ground-floor, with window to 
the north (keep that open, and, the door ajar, there will be fresh 
air!). Book-box was at once converted into book-press (of rough 
deal, but covered with newspaper veueeriug where necessary), aud 
fairly held and kept at hand the main books I wanted ; camp-desk, 
table or two, drawer or two, were put iu immediate seasouablest 
use. In this closet there was hardly room to turn ; aud I felt as if 
crushed, all my apparatus and I, into a stocking, and there bidden 
work. But I really did it withal, to a respectable degree, printer 
never pausing for me, work daily going on ; and this doubtless 
was my real anchorage iu that sea of trouble, sadness, aud confu- 
sion for the two mouths it endured. I have spoken elsewhere of 
my poor darling's hopeless wretchedness, which daily cut my heart, 
and might have cut a very stranger's : those drives with her (" dai- 
ly, one of your drives is with me," aud I saw her gratitude, poor 
soul, looking out through her despair ; and sometimes she would 
try to talk to me about street sights, persons, etc. ; aud it was like 
a bright lamp flickering out into extinction again) ; drives mainly 
on the streets to escape the dust, or still dismaller if we did vent- 
ure into the haggard, parched lanes, and their vile whirlwinds. 
Oh, my darling, I would have cut the universe iu two for thee, aud 
this was all I had to share with thee, as we were ! 

St. Leonard's, now that I look back upon it, is very odious to my 
fancy, yet not without points of interest. I rode a great deal too, 
two hours and a half my lowest stiut ; bathed also, and remember 
the bright morning air, bright Beachy Head and everlasting sea, 
as things of blessing to me ; the old lanes of Sussex too, old cot- 
tages, peasants, old vanishing ways of life, were abundantly touch- 
ing ; but the new part, aud it was all getting " new," was uni- 
formly detestable aud even horrible to me. Nothing but dust, 
noise, squalor, aud the universal teariug and digging as if of gigan- 
tic human swine, uot finding any worm or roots that would be 
useful to them! The very "houses" they were building, each "a 
congeries of rotten bandboxes" (as our own poor " furnished house " 



' Wae i? the Scotch adjective, too. rt ne, wae ; there is no wort in English 
that will express what I feel. V.'ae ".s. ray habitual muod in these months. 



had taught me, if I still needed teaching), were " built'' as if for 
nomad apes, uot for men. The " moneys" to be realized, the etc., 
etc., does or cau God's blessing rest on all that ? My dialogues 
with the dusty sceneries there (Fairligbt, Crowhurst, Battle, Rye 
even, aud Winchelsea), with the novelties and the antiquities, were 
very sad for most part, and very grim ; here and there with a kind 
of wild interest too. Battle I did arrive at, one evening, through 
the chaotic roads ; Battle, in the rustle or silence of incipient dusk, 
was really affecting to me ; and I saw to be a good post of fence 
for King Harold, and wondered if the Bastard did " laud at Peven- 
sey," or not near Hastings somewhere (Bexhill or so ?), and what 
the marchings and preliminaries had really been. Faithful study, 
continued for long years or decades, upou the old Norman romances, 
etc., and upou the ground, would still tell some fit person, I be- 
lieve ; but there shriek the railway " shares " at such aud such a 
premium ; let us make for home ! My brother, for a few times at 
first, used to accompany me on those rides, but soon gave iu (not 
being bound to it like me) ; and Noggs* aud I had nothing for it | 
but. solitary contemplation and what mute " dialogue " with nature 
aud art we could each get up for himself. I usually got home 
towards niue P.M. (half-past eight the rigorous rule) ; and in a gray 
dusty evening, from some windy hill-tops, or in the intricate old 
narrow lanes of a thousand years ago, one's reflectious were apt to 
be of a sombre sort. My poor little Jeaunie (thanks to her, the 
loving one !) would not fail to be waiting for me, and sit tryiug to 
talk or listen, while I had tea ; trying her best, sick aud weary as 
she was ; but always very soon withdrew after that ; quite, worn 
down and longing for solitary silence, aud even a sleepless bed, as 
was her likeliest prospect for most part. How utterly sad is all 
that ! yes ; aud there is a kiud of devout blessiug iu it. too (so nobly 
was it borne, aud conquered iu a sort) ; and I would not have it 
altered now, after what has come, if I even could. 

We lived in the place called "Marina" (what a name!), almost 
quite at the west end of St. Leonard's ; a new house (bearing marks 
of thrifty, wise, and modestly elegant habits in the old lady own- 
ers just gone from it) ; and, for the rest, decidedly the worst-built 
house I have ever been withiu. A scandal to human nature, it 
and its fellows ; which are everywhere, aud are not objected to by 
an enlightened public, as appears ! No more of it, except our fare- 
well malison ; and pity for the poor old ladies who perhaps are 
still there ! 

My poor suffering woman had at first, for some weeks, a vestige 
of improvement, or at least of new hope aud alleviation thereby. 
She " slept " (or tried for sleep) iu the one tolerable bedroom ; sec- 
ond floor, fronting the sea, darkened and ventilated, made the ti- 
diest we could ; Miss Craik slept close by. I remember our set- 
tlings for the night ; my last journey up, to sit a few minutes, and 
see that the adjustments were complete ; a "nun's lamp" was left 
glimmering within reach. My poor little woman strove to look as 
coutented as she could, and to exchange a few friendly words with 
me as our last for the night. Then in the morning, there some- 
times had been an hour or two of sleep ; what news for us all ! 
And even brother John, for a while, was admitted to step up aud 
congratulate, after breakfast. But this didn't last ; hardly into 
June, even iu that slight degree. And the days were always heavy ; 
so sad to her, so painful, dreary without hope. What a time, eveu in 
my reflex of it ! Dante's Purgatory I could now liken it to ; both 
of us, especially my loved one by me, " beut like corbels," under 
our unbearable loads, as we wended on, yet in me always with a 
kiud of steady, glimmering hope ! Dante's Purgatory, not his Hell, 
for there was a sacred blesseduess iu it withal ; not wholly the so- 
ciety of devils, but among their hootings and tormeutings some- 
thing still pointing afar off towards heaven withal. Thank God! 

At the beginning of June she still had the feeling we were bet- 
ter hero than elsewhere; by her direction, I warned the people 
we would not quit " at the end of June," as had been bargain- 
ed, but of "July," as was also within our option, on due notice 
given. End of June proved to be tho time, all the, same ; the old 
ladies (justly) refusing to revoke, and taking their full claim of 
money, pool old souls ; very polite otherwise. Middle of June had 
not come wheu that bedroom became impossible ; " roaring of the 
sea," once a lullaby, now a little too loud, ou some high tide or west 
wind, kept her entirely awake. I exchanged bedrooms with her; 
"sea always a lullaby to me;" but, that night, even I did not sleep 
one wiuk ; upon which John exchanged with me, who lay to rear- 
ward, as I till then had done. Rearward we looked over a Mews 
(from this room) ; from her now room, into the paltry little "gar- 
den ;" overhead of both were clay cliffs, multifarious dog and cock 
establishments (unquenchable by bribes paid), now aud then stray 
troops of asses, etc., etc. ; what a lodging for poor sufferers ! Sleep 
became worse and worse ; we spoke of shifting to Bexhill ; " fine 
airy house to be iet there " (fable wheu we went to look) ; theu some 
quiet old country inu ? She drove one day [ John, etc., escorting) to 

* Carlyle's horse. 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



77 



Battle, to examine; nothing there, or less than nothing. Chelsea 
home was at least quiet, wholesomely aired and clean ; but she 
had an absolute horror of her old home bedroom and drawing- 
room, where she had endured such torments latterly. " We will 
new - paper them, rearrange them," said Miss Bromley ; and this 
was actually done in August following. That " new - papering " 
was somehow to me the saddest of speculations. "Alas, darling ! 
is that all we can do for thee ?" The weak, weakest of resources ; 
and yet what other had we ? As June went on, things became 
worse and worse. The sequel is mentioned elsewhere. I will here 
put down only the successive steps and approximate dates of it. 

June 29. After nine nights totally without sleep she announced 
to us, with a fixity and with a clearness all her own, that she would 
leave this place to-morrow for Loudon ; try there, not in her own 
house, but in Mrs. Forster's (Palace Gate house, Kensington), which 
was not yet horrible to her. June 30 (John escorting), she set off 
by the noon train. Miss Bromley had come down to see her ; could 
only be allowed to see her in stepping into the train, so desperate 
•was the situation, the mood so adequate to it; a moment never to 
be forgotten by me! How I " worked" afterwards that day is not 
on record. I dimly remember walking back with Miss Bromley 
and her lady friend to their hotel ; talking to them (as out of the 
heart of icebergs) ; and painfully, somehow, sinking into icy or stony 
rest, worthy of oblivion. 

At Forster's there could hardly be a more dubious problem. My 
poor wandering martyr did get snatches of sleep there ; but found 
the room so noisy, the scene so foreign, etc., she took a farther res- 
olution in the course of the night and its watchings. Sent for 
John, the first thing in the morning ; bade him get places in the 
night train for Aunaudale (my sister Mary's ; all kindness poor 
Mary, whom she always liked) ; " The Gill ; we are not yet at the 
end there; and Nithsdale, too, is that way!" John failed not, I 
dare say, iu representations, counter-considerations, but she was 
coldly positive ; and go tbey did, express of about 330 miles. Poor 
Mary was loyal kindness itself; poor means made noble and more 
than opulent by the wealth of love aud ready will and invention. 
I was seldom so agreeably surprised as by a letter in my darling's 
own hand, narrating the heads of the adventure briefly, with a kind 
of defiant satisfaction, and informing me that she had slept that 
first Gill night for almost nine hours ! Whose joy like ours, durst 
we have hoped it would last, or even though wo durst not ! She 
Stayed about a week still there ; Mary and kindred eager to get her 
carriages (rather helplessly in that particular), to do aud attempt 
for her whatever was possible ; but the success, in sleep especially, 
grew less and less. In about a week she went on to Nithsdale, to 
Dr. aud Mrs. Russell, and there, slowly improving, continued. Im- 
provement pretty constant; fresh air, driving, silence, kiuduess. 
By the time Mary Craik had got me flitted home to Chelsea, aud. 
herself went for Belfast, all this had steadily begun ; aud there were 
regular letters from her, etc., and I could work here with such au 
alleviation of spirits as had long been a stranger to me. In August 
(rooms all "new-papered," poor little Jeannie!) she came back to 
me, actually there in the cab (John settling), when I ran down- 
stairs, looking out ou me with the old kind face, a little graver, I 
might have thought, but as quiet, as composed and wise and good 
as ever. This was the end, I might say, of by far the most tragic 
part of our tragedy : Act 5th, though there lay death iu it, was 
nothing like so unhappy. 

The last epoch of my darling's life is to be defined as almost 
happy iu comparison. It was still loaded with infirmities, bodily 
weakness, sleeplessness, continual or almost continual pain, and 
weary misery, so far as body was concerned ; but her noble spirit 
seemed as if it now had its wings free, and rose above all that to 
: a really singular degree. The battle was over, aud we were sore 
wounded ; but the battle was over, aud well. It was remarked by 
everybody that she had never been observed so cheerful aud bright 
of miud as in this last period. The poor bodily department, I con- 
stantly hoped too was slowly recovering ; and that there would re- 
main to us a " sweet farewell " of sunshine after such a day of rains 
and storms, that would still last a blessed while, all my time at 
least, before the eud came. And, alas ! it lasted only about twenty 
months, aud ended as I have seen. It is beautiful still, all that pe- 
riod, the death very beautiful to me, aud will contiuue so; let me 
uot repine, but patiently bear what I have got ! While the autumn 
weather coutiuued good, she kept improving. I remember morn- 
ings when I found her quite wonderfully cheerful, as I looked in 
upon her bedroom in passing dowu, a bright ray of mirth in what 
she would say to me, inexpressibly pathetic, shining through the 
-wreck of such storms as there had been. How could I but hope 1 
It was an inestimable mercy to me, as I often remark, that I did at 
last throw aside everything for a few days, aud actually get her 
that poor brougham. Never was soul more grateful for so small a 
, kindness ; which seemed to illuminate, iu some sort, all her remain- 
ing days for her. It was, indeed, useful and necessary as a means 



of health; but still more precious, I doubt not, as a mark ef my re- 
gard for her. Ah me! she never knew fully, nor could I show her, 
in my heavy-laden miserable life, how much I had at all times re- 
garded, loved, aud admired her. No telling of her now. " Five 
minutes more of your dear company iu this world. Oh that I had 
you yet for but five minutes, to tell you all!" this is often my 
thought since April 21. 

She was surely very feeble in the Devonshire time (March, etc., 
1865) ; but I remember her as wonderfully happy. She had long 
dialogues with Lady A. ; used to talk so prettily with me, when I 
called, in passing up to bed aud down from it; she made no com- 
plaint; went driving daily through the lanes— sometimes regretted 
her own poor brougham and " Belloua " (as "still more one's own "), 
aud contrasted her situation as to carriage convenience with that 
of far richer ladies. " They have £30,000 a year, cannot command 
a decent or comfortable vehicle here ; their vehicles all locked up, 
400 miles off, in these wanderings; while we—!" The Lady Ash- 
burton was kindness itself to her ; and we all came up to town to- 
gether, rather iu improved health she, I not visibly so, being now 
vacant aud on the collapse, which is yet hardly over, or fairly on 
the turn. Will it ever be ? I have sometimes thought this dread- 
ful unexpected stroke might perhaps be providential withal upon 
me ; and that there lay some little work to do, under changed con- 
ditions, before I died. God enable me, if so ; God knows. 

In Nithsdale, last year, it is yet only fourteen mouths ago (ah 
me!), how beautiful she was; for three or four half or quarter days 
to<*ether, how unique iu their sad charm as I now recall them from 
beyond the grave! That day at Russell's, iu the garden, etc., at 
Holmhill ; so poorly she, forlorn of outlook, one would have said 
(one outlook ahead, that of getting me this room trimmed up, the 
darling, ever-loving soul!); and yet so lively, sprightly even, for 
my poor sake. " Sir William Gomm" (old Peninsular and Iudiau 
General, who had been reading " Fi iedrich " when she left), what a 
sparkle that was! her little slap on the table, and arch look, when 
telling us of him and it ! Aud her own right hand was lame, she 
had only her left to slap with. I cut the meat for her, on her plate, 
that day at dinner, aud our drive to the station at seven P. M., so 
sweet, so pure and sad. "We must retrench, dear! (iu my telling 
her of some foolish bank adventure with the draft I had left her) ; 
retrench," oh dear, oh dear! Amongst the last things she told me 
that evening was, with deep sympathy, " Mr. Thomson (a Virginian 
who sometimes came) called oue night ; he says there is little doubt 
they will hang President Davis!" upon which I almost resolved to 
write a pamphlet upou it, had not I myself been so ignorant about 
the matter, so foreign to the whole abominable fratricidal " war" 
(as they called it; "self-murder of a million brother Englishmen, 
for the sake of sheer phantasms, and totally false theories upou the 
Nigger," as I had reckoned it). Iu a day or two I found I could 
not enter upou that thrice abject Nigger - delirium (viler to me 
than old witchcraft or the ravings of John of Minister, considerably 
viler), and that probably I should do poor Davis nothing but harm. 
The second day, at good old Mrs. Ewart's, of Nithbank, is still 
finer to me. Waiting for me with the carriage. " Better, dear, 
fairly better since I shifted to Nithbank;" the "dinner" ahead 
there (to my horror), her cautious charming preparation of me tor 
it; our calls at Thoruhill (new servant, "Jessie," admiring old 
tailor-women — no, they were not of the Shanklaud kind— wean- 
some old women, whom she had such au iuterest in, almost wholly 
for my sake); then our long drive through the Drumlaurig woods, 
with such talk from her (careless of the shower that fell battering 
ou our hood and apron) ; iu spite of my habitual dispiritmeut aud 
helpless gloom all that summer, I, too, was cheered for the time. 
And then the diilner itself, and the bustliug rustic company, all 
this, too, was saved by her ; with a quiet little touch here and 
there, she actually turned it into something of artistic, and it was 
pleasant to everybody. I was at two, or perhaps three, dinners 
after this, along with her in Loudon. I partly remarked what is 
now clearer to me, with what easy perfection she had taken her po- 
sition iu these things— that of a person recognized for quietly su- 
perior, if she cared to be so— and also of a suffering, aged woman, 
accepting her age aud feebleness with such a grace, polite compos- 
ure, and"simplicity, as— as all of you might imitate, impartial by- 
standers would have said ! The minister's assistant, poor youug 
fellow, was gently ordered out by her to sing me " Hame cam' our 
gudeman at e'en," which made him completely happy, aud set the 
dull drawing-room all into illumination till tea ended. He, the as- 
sistant, took me to the station (too late for her that evening). 

The third day was at Dumfries ; sister Jean's aud the railway- 
station : more hampered and obstructed, but still good and beauti- 
ful as ever ou her part. Dumb Turner, at the station, etc. ; even- 
ing falling, ruddy opulence of sky ; how beautiful, how brief ami 
wae ! The fourth time was only a ride from Dumfries to Auuau, an 
she went home, sad aud afflictive to me, seeing such a journey aheau, 
for her (and nothing but the new "Jessie" as attendant, some car- 



78 



REMINISCENCES. 



riages off) ; I little thought it. was to be the last hit of railwaying 
we did together. These, I believe, were all our meetings in Scot- 
land of last year. Oue day I stood watching "her train" at the 
Gill, as appointed ; brother Jamie too had been summoned over by 
her desire; but at Dumfries she felt so weak in the hot day, she 
could only lie down on the sofa, and sadly send John in her stead. 
Brother Jainio, whose rustic equipoise, fidelity, and sharp vernacu- 
lar sense she specially loved, was not to behold her at this time or 
evermore. She -was waiting for me the night I returned hither; 
she had hurried back from her little visit to Miss Bromley (after 
the "room" operation); must and would be here to receive nie. 
She stood there, bright of face aud of soul, her drawing-room all 
bright, aud everything to the last fibre of it in order; had arrived 
only two or three hours before ; and here again we were. Such 
welcome, after my vile day of railwaying, like Jonah in the whale's 
belly! That was always her way; bright home, with its bright 
face, full of love aud victorious over all disorder, always shone on 
me like a star as I journeyed and tumbled along amid the shriek- 
eries and miseries. Such welcomes could not await me forever; I 
little knew this was the last of them on earth. My next, for a tbou- 
saud years I should never forget the next (of April 23, 1866) which 
now was lying only some six months away. I might have seen she 
was very feeble; but I noticed only how refiuedly beautiful she 
was, and thought of no sorrow ahead — did not even think, as I now 
do, how it was that she was beautifuller than ever; as if years and 
sorrows had only " worn " the noble texture of her being into greater 
fineness, the color and tissue still all complete! That night sho 
said nothing of the room here (down below), but next morning, 
after breakfast, led me down, with a quiet smile, expecting her 
little triumph — and contentedly had it ; though I knew not at first 
the tenth part of her merits in regard to that poor enterprise, or 
how consummately it had been done to the bottom in spite of her 
weakness (the noble heart!); aud I think (remorsefully) I never 
praised her enough for her efforts and successes in regard to it. 
Too late now ! 

My return was about the middle of September; she never trav- 
elled more, except among her widish circle of friends, of whom she 
seemed to grow fonder and fonder, though generally their qualities 
were of the affectionate and faithfully honest kind, and not of the 
distinguished, as a requisite. She was always very cheerful, and 
had business enough ; though I recollect some mornings, oue iu 
particular, when the sight of her dear face (haggard from the mise- 
ries of the past night) was a kind of shock to me. Thoughtless 
mortal — she rallied always so soon, aud veiled her miseries away — 
I was myself the most collapsed of men, and had no sunshine iu my 
life but what came from her. Our old laundress, Mrs. Cook, a very 
meritorious and very poor and courageous woman, age eighty or 
more, had fairly fallen useless that autumn, and gone into the 
workhouse. I remember a great deal of trouble taken about her, 
and the search for her, and settlement of her; such driving aud 
abstruse inquiry in the slums of Westminster, aud to the work- 
houses indicated ; discovery of her at length, in the chaos of some 
Kensington Union (a truly cosmic body, herself, this poor old cook) ; 
with instantaneous stir in all directions (consulting with Rector 
Blunt, interviews with Poor-law Guardians, etc., etc.), aud no rest 
till the poor old Mrs. Cook was got promoted into some quiet cos- 
mic arrangement ; small cell or cottage of your own somewhere, 
with liberty to read, to be clean, and to accept a packet of tea, if 
any friend gave you one, etc., etc. A good little triumph to my 
darling; I think, perhaps, the best she had that spring or winter, 
and the last till my business and the final oue. 

" Frederick" ended in January, 1805, and we went to Devonshire 
together, still prospering, she chiefly, though she was so weak. 
And her talk with me and with others there! nobody had such a 
charming tongue for truth, discernment, graceful humor, aud inge- 
nuity ; ever patient too, and smiling, over her many pains and sor- 
rows. We were peaceable and happy, comparatively, through au- 
tumn and winter ; especially she was wonderfully bearing her sleep- 
less nights and thousandfold infirmities, and gently picking out of 
them more bright fragments for herself and me than many a one in 
perfect health and overflowing prosperity could have done. She 
had one or two select quality friends among her many others. 
Lady William Russell is the only one I will name, who loved her 
like a daughter, and was charmed with her talents and graces. 
"Mr. Carlyle a great man! Yes! but Mrs. Cariyle. let me inform 
you, is no less great as a woman!" Lady William's pretty little 
dinners of three were every week or two an agreeable aud beneficial 
event to me also, who heard the report of them given with such 
lucidity and charm. 

End of October came somebody about the Edinburgh Rectorship, 
to which she gently advised me. Beginning of November I was 
elected ; and an inane though rather amusing hnrlyburly of empty 
congratulations, imaginary businesses, etc., etc., began, the end of 
which has been so fatally tragical! Many were our plans and 



speculations about her going with me; to lodge at Newbattle, at 
etc., etc. The heaps of frivolous letters lying every morning at 
breakfast, and which did not entirely cease all winter, were a kind 
of entertainment to her into March, when the address and journey 
had to be thought of as practical aud close at hand. She decided 
unwillingly, and with various hesitations, not to go with me to 
Edinburgh, in the inclement weather, not to go even to Fryston 
(Lord Houghton's ; Richard Milues's). As to Edinburgh, she* said 
one day, " You are to speak extempore'' (this was more than onco 
clearly advised, and with sound insight) ; " now, if anything should 
happen to you, I find, on any sudden alarm, there is a sharp twinge 
comes into my back, which is like to cut my breath, and seems to 
stop the heart almost. I should take some fit iu the crowded 
house ; it will never do, really !" Alas ! the doctors now tell me this 
meant an affection in some ganglion near the spine, and was a most 
serious thing ; though I did not attach importance to it, but only 
assented to her practical conclusion as perfectly just. She loving- 
ly bantered, aud beautifully encouraged me about my speech, and 
its hateful ceremonials and empty botherations ; which, for a couple 
of weeks, were giviug me, and her through me, considerable trouble, 
interruption of sleep, etc. ... so beautifully borne by her (for my 
sake), so much less so by me for hers. Iu fact, I was very miser- 
able (angry with myself for getting into such a coil of vauity, sad- 
ly ill iu health), and her noble example did not teach me as it 
should. Sorrow to me now, when too late! 

Thursday, March 29, about niue A.M., all was ready here; she 
softly regulating and forwarding, as her wont was. Professor 
Tyndall, full of good spirits, appeared with a cab for King's Cross 
Station. Fryston Hall to be our lodgings till Saturday. I was in 
the saddest, sickly mood, full of gloom and misery, but striving to 
hide it; she, too, looked very pale and ill, but seemed intent only 
on forgetting nothiug that could further mo. A little flask, hold- 
ing perhaps two glasses of fine brandy, she brought me as a 
thought of her own ; I did keep a little drop of that braudy (hers, 
such was a superstition I had), aud mixed it in a tumbler of water 
iu that wild scene of the address, and afterwards told her I had 
done so ; thank Heaven that I remembered that in one of my hur- 
ried notes. The last I saw of her was as she stood with her back 
to the parlor door to bid me her good-bye. She kissed me twice 
(sho me once, I her a second time); and — oh, blind mortals! my 
one wish and hope was to get back to her again, and be in peace 
under her bright welcome, for the rest of my days, as it were ! 

Tyndall was kind, cheery, inventive, helpful; the loyalest son 
could not have more faithfully striveu to support his father under 
every difficulty that rose ; and they were many. At Fryston, no 
sleep was to be had for railways, etc., and the terror lay in those 
nights that speaking would be impossible, that I should utterly 
break down; to which, indeed, I had in my mind said, "Well, 
then," aud was preparing to treat it with the best contempt I could. 
Tyndall wrote daily to her, and kept up better hopes ; by a long 
gallop with me the second day he did get me one good six hours of 
sleep, aud to her made doubtless the most of it : I knew dismally 
what her anxieties would be, but trust well he reduced them to their 
miuimum. Lord Houghton's, and Lady's, kindness to me was un- 
bounded ; she also was to have been there, but I was thankful not. 
Saturday (to York, etc., with Houghton ; thence, after long evil 
loiterings, to Edinburgh with Tyndall aud Huxley) was the acme 
of the three road days. My own comfort was that there could be 
no post to her; and I arrived in Edinburgh the forlorncst of all 
physical wretches : pud had it not been for the kindness of the 
good Erskiues, and of their people, too, I should have had no sleep 
there either, aud have gone probably from bad to worse. Hut 
Tyndall's letter of Snuday would bo comforting ; and my poor 
little darling would still be iu hope that Monday morning, though, 
of course, in the painfullest anxiety, and I know she had quite 
"gone off' her sleep". in those five days siuce I had left. 

Monday, at Edinburgh, was to me the gloomiest chaotic day, 
nearly intolerable for confusion, crowding, noisy inanity and mise- 
ery, till once I got done. My speech was delivered as in a mood of 
defiant despair, and under the pressure of nightmares. Some feel- 
ing that I was not speaking lies alone sustained me. The applause, 
etc., I took for empty noise, which it really was not altogether. 
The instant I found myself loose, I hurried joyfully out of it over to 
my brother's lodging (73 George Street, near by); to the students 
all crowding and shouting round me, I waved my hand prohibitive- 
ly at the door, perhaps lifted my hat : and they gave but one cheer 
more ; something in the tone of it which did for the first time go 
into my heart. " Poor young men ! so well-affected to the poor old 
brother or grandfather; and in such a black whirlpool of a world 
here all of us !" Brother Jamie aud son, etc., were sitting within. 
Erskiue and I went silently walking through the street;,; and at 
night was a kind, but wearing and wearying, congratulatory din- 
ner, followed by other such, unwholesome to me, not joyful to me; 
and endured as duties, little more. But that same afternoon Tyn- 



JANE WELSH CARLYLE. 



79 



full's telegram, emphatic to the uttermost ("A perfect triumph" 
the three words of it), arrived here; a joy of joys to my own little 
heroine, so beautiful her description of it to me, which was its one 
value to mo; nearly nought otherwise (iu very truth), and the last 
of such that could henceforth have any such addition made to it. 
Alas ! all " additions" are now ended, and the thing added to has be- 
come only a pain. But I do thank Heaven for this last favor to her 
that so loved me ; and it will remain a joy to me, if my last in this 
world. She had to dine with Forster aud Dickens that evening, aud 
their way of receiving her good news charmed her as much almost 
as the news itself. 

From that day forward her little heart appears to have been fuller 
and fuller of joy; newspapers, etc., etc., making such a jubilation 
(foolish people, as if the address were anything, or had contained 
the least thing in it which had not been told you already !). She 
went out for two days to Mrs. Oliphant, at Wiudsor ; recovered her 
sleep to the old poor average, or nearly so ; and by every testimony 
and all the evidence I myself have, was not for mauy years, if ever, 
seen in such fine spirits and so hopeful and joyfully serene aud vic- 
torious frame of mind, till the last moment. Noble little heart! 
her painful, much-enduring, much-endeavoring little history, now 
at last crowned with plaiu victory, in sight other own people aud 
of all the world : everybody now obliged to say my Jeanuie was uot 
wrong ; she was right, and has made it good ! Surely for this I 
should bo grateful to Heaven, for this amidst the immeasurable 
wreck that was preparing for us. She had from an early period 
formed her own little opinion about me (what an El Dorado to me, 
ungrateful being — blind, ungrateful, coudemuable, and heavy-laden, 
and crushed down into blindness by great misery as I oftenest was !), 
and she never flinched from it an instant, I think, or cared, or count- 
ed, what the world said to the contrary (very brave, magnanimous, 
and noble, truly she was in all this) ; but to have the world confirm 
her iu it was always a sensible pleasure, which she took no pains to 
hide, especially from me. 

She lived nineteen days after that Edinburgh Monday; on the 
nineteenth (April 21, 1866, between three and four P.M., as near as 
I can gather and sift), suddenly, as by a thunderbolt from skies all 
blue, she was snatched from me; a ''death from the gods," the old 
Romans would have called it; the kind of death she many a time 
expressed her wish for; and iu all my life (aud as I feel ever since) 
there fell on me no misfortune like it, which has smitten my whole 
world into universal wreck (unless I can repair it in some small 
measure), and extinguished whatever light of cheerfulness and lov- 
ing hopefulness life still had iu it to ine. 

[Here follows a letter from Miss Jewsbury, with part of a second, 

which tell thoir own tale, aud after them Mr. Carlyle's closing 

words.] 

43 Markham Square, Chelsea, May 26, 1306. 

Dear Mr. Carlyle, — I think it better to write than to speak on 
the miserable subject about which you told me to inquire of Mr. 
Sylvester.* I saw him to-day. He said that it would be about 
twenty minutes after three o'clock, or thereabouts, when they left 
Mr. Forstcr's house; that he then drove through the Queen's Gate, 
close by the Keusiugton Gardens ; that there, at the uppermost gate, 
she got out, and walked along the side of the Gardens very slowly, 
about two hundred paces, with the little dog running, until she 
came to the Serpentine Bridge, at the southern end of which she 
got into the carriage again, aud he drove on until they came to a 
quiet place on the Tyburnia side, near Victoria Gate, aud theu she 
put out the dog to run aloug. Wheu they came opposite to Albion 
Street, Stanhope Place (lowest thoroughfare of Park towards Mar- 
ble Arch), a brougham coming along upset the dog, which lay on 
its back screaming for a while, aud then she pulled the check- 
string; and he turned round and pulled up at the side of the foot- 
path, aud there the dog was (ho had got up out of the road and 
gone there) ; almost before the carriage stopped she was out of it. 
The lady whoso brougham had caused the accident got out also, 
and several other ladies who were walking had stopped round the 
dog. The lady spoke to her; but he could not hear what she said, 
and the other ladies spoke. She then lifted the dog into the car- 
riage, and got iu herself. He asked if the little dog were hurt ; 
but, he thinks, she did not hear him, as carriages were passing. He 
heard the wretched vermin of a dog squeak as if she had been feel- 
ing it (nothing but a toe was hurt); this was the last sound or 
sigh he ever heard from her place of fate. He went on towards 
Hyde Park Corner, turned there and drove past the Duke of Wel- 
lington's Achilles figure, up the drive to the Serpentine aud past it, 
and came round by the road where the dog was hurt, past the Duke 
of AVellington's [house] aud past the gate opposite St. George's; 
getting no sign (noticing only the two hands laid on the lap, palm 
uppermost the right hand, reverse way the left, and all motionless), 
ho turned iuto the Serpentine drive again ; but after a few yards, 



* Mrs. Carlyle's coachmau. 



feeling a little surprised, he looked back, aud seeing her iu the 
same posture, became alarmed, made for the streetward entrance 
iuto the Park (few yards westward of gate-keeper's lodge), aud 
asked a lady to look in; aud she said what we know, aud she ad- 
dressed a gentleman who confirmed her fears. It was then fully a 
quarter past four; going on to twenty minutes (but nearer the 
quarter), of this he is quite certain. She was leaning back in oue 
corner of the carriage, rugs spread over her knees ; her eyes were 
closed, aud her upper lip slightly, slightly opened. Those who saw 
her at the hospital, aud wheu in tho carriage, speak of the beauti- 
ful expression upon her face. 

I asked him how it was that so long a time was put over in so 
short a drive ? He said he went very slowly on accouut of the 
distractions, etc., aud he did not seem to thiuk the time taken up 
at all remarkable (fifty -five minutes) : nor did he tell me if he no- 
ticed tho time as he passed the Marble Arch clock, either of the 
two times. 

If there be any other question you wish asked of him, if you will 
tell me, I will ask him. He said he heard the little dog cry out as 
though she wero feeliug to find if it were hurt. 

Very respectfully aud affectionately, 

Geraldine E. Jewsbury. 

On that miserable night, when we were preparing to receive 
her, Mrs. Warren* came to me aud said that one time, when she was 
very ill, she said to her that when the last had come, she was to go 
up-stairs into the closet of the spare room, and there sho would 
find two wax candles wrapped iu paper, and that those were to be 
lighted aud burned. She said that after she came to live in Lou- 
don, she wanted to give a party. Her mother wished everything 
to be very nico, and went out and bought candles aud coufection- 
ery, and set out a table, aud lighted up the room quite splendidly, 
and called her to come and see it when all was prepared. She was 
angry ; she said people would say she was extravagaut, aud would 
ruin her husband. . She took away two of the caudles aud some of 
the cakes. Her mother was hurt and began to weep [I remember 
the "soiree" well; heard nothing of this! — T. C.]. She was 
pained at once at what she had done; she tried to comfort her. 
and was dreadfully sorry. She took the caudles and wrapped 
them up, aud put them where they could be easily found. We 
found them and lighted them, and did as she had desired. 

G. E. J. 

What a strange, beautiful, sublime, and almost terrible little ac- 
tion ; silently resolved on, aud kept silent from all the earth, for 
pti haps twenty-four years! I never heard a whisper of it, aud 
yet see it to be true. The visit must have been about 1837 ; I re- 
member the "soiree" right well; the resolution, bright as with 
heavenly tears and lightuiug, was probably formed on her moth- 
er's death, February, 1842. My radiant one ! Must question War- 
ren the first time Ihave heart (May 29, 1866). 

I have had from Sirs. Warren a clear narrative (shortly after the 
above date). Geraldine's report is perfectly true ; fact with Mrs. 
Warren occurred in February or March, 1866, " perhaps a mouth 
before you weut to Edinburgh, sir." I was in the house, it seems, 
probably asleep up-stairs, or gone out for my walk, evening about 
eight o'clock. My poor darling was taken with some bad fit 
(" nausea," and stomach misery, perhaps), aud had rung for Mrs. 
Warren, by whom, with some sip of warm liquid, and gentle words, 
sho was soon gradually relieved. Being very grateful and still 
very miserable and low, she addressed Mrs. Warren as above, 
"When the last has come, Mrs. Warren;" aud gave her, with 
brevity, a statement of the case, aud exacted her promise ; which 
the other, with cheering counter-words (" Oh, madam, what is all 
this! you will see mo die first!"), hypothetically gave. All this 
was wiped clean away before I got in ; I seem to myself to half 
recollect one evening, when she did complain of "nausea so 
habitual now," aud looked extremely miserable, whilo I sat at tea 
(pour it out she always would, herself drinkiug ouly hot water, O 
heavens !). The candles burned for two whole nights, says Mrs. W. 
(July 24, 1866). 

The paper of this poor uote-book of hers is done ; all I have to 
say, too (though there lio such volumes yet unsaid), seems to be 
almost done, and I must sorrowfully end it, and seek for something 
else. Very sorrowfully still, for it has been my sacred shrine aud 
religious city of refuge from the bitterness of these sorrows during 
all the doleful weeks that are past since I took it up ; a kind of 
devotioual thing (as I once already said), which softens all grief 
into tenderness and infinite pity aud repentant love, one's whole, 
sad life drowned as if in tears for one, and all the wrath and scorn 
and other grim elements silently melted away. And now, am I to 
leave it, to take farewell of her a second time? Right silent aud 
sereue is she, my lost darling yonder, as I often think in my gloom, 
uo sorrow more for her, nor will there long be for me. 



1 The housekeeper iu Cheyuc Row. 



80 



REMINISCENCES. 
APPENDIX. 



REMINISCENCES OF SUNDRY. 

[BEGUN AT MENTONE (ALPES MARITIMES), MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 1867.) 



Many literary, and one or two political and otherwise public persons, 
more or less superior to the common run of men I have met with in my 
life, but perhaps none of them really great or worth more than a tran- 
sient remembrance, loud as the talk about them once may have been ; and 
certainly none of them, what is more to the purpose, ever vitally interest- 
ing or consummately admirable to myself ; so that if I do, for want of some- 
thing else to occupy me better, mark down something of what I recollect 
concerning some of them, who seemed the greatest, or stood the nearest to 
me, it surely ought to be with extreme brevity, with rapid succinctness (if 
I can) ; at all events, with austere candor, and avoidance of anything which 
I can suspect to be untrue. Perhaps nobody but myself will ever read 
this — but that is not infallibly certain — and even in regard to myself, the 
one possible profit of such a thing is that it be not false or incorrect in any 
point, but correspond to the fact in all. 

When it was that I first got acquainted with Southey's books I do not 
now recollect, except that it must have been several years after he had 
been familiar to me as a name, and many years after the public had been 
familiar with him as a poet, and poetically and otherwise didactic writer. 
His laureateship provoked a great deal of vulgar jesting ; about the " butt 
of sack," etc. ; for the newspaper public, by far the greater number of them 
radically given, had him considerably in abhorrence, and called him not only 
Tory, but " renegade," who had traitorously deserted, and gone over to the 
bad cause. It was at Kirkcaldy that we all read a " slashing article" (by 
Brougham, I should now guess, were it of the least moment) on Southey's 
"Letters to W. Smith, M.P.," of Norwich, a Small Socinian personage, con- 
scious of meaning grandly and well, who had been denouncing him as a 
" renegade" (probably contrasting the once " Wat Tyler" with the now lau- 
reateship) in the House of Commons ; a second back stroke, which, in the 
irritating circumstances of the " Wat" itself (republished by some sneak- 
ing bookseller) had driven Southey to his fighting gear or polemical pen. 
The pamphlet itself we did not see, except in review quotations, which were 
naturally the shrillest and weakest discoverable, with citations from " Wat 
Tyler" to accompany ; but the flash reviewer understood his trade ; and I 
can remember how we all cackled and triumphed over Southey along with 
him, as over a slashed and well-slain foe to us and mankind ; for we were 
all Radicals in heart, Irving and I as much as any of the others, and were 
not very wise, nor had looked into the per conira side. I retract now on 
many points, on that of " Barabbas" in particular, which example Southey 
cited as characteristic of democracy, greatly to my dissent, till I had much 
better, and for many years, considered the subject. 

That bout of pamphleteering had brought Southey much nearer me, but 
had sensibly diminished my esteem for him, and would naturally slacken 
my desire for farther acquaintance. It must have been a year or two later 
when his " Thalaba," " Curse of Kehama," " Joan of Arc," etc., came into 
my hands, or some one of them came, which awakened new effort for the 
others. I recollect the much kindlier and more respectful feeling these 
awoke in me, which has continued ever since. I much recognize the piety, 
the gentle, deep affection, the reverence for God and man, which reigned 
in these pieces : full of soft pity, like the wailings of a mother, and yet 
with a clang of chivalrous valor finely audible too. One could not help 
loving such a man ; and yet I rather felt; too, as if he were a shrillish, thin 
kind of man, the feminine element perhaps considerably predominating and 
limiting. However, I always afterward looked out for his books, new or 
old, as for a thing of value, and in particular read his articles in the " Quar- 
terly," which were the most accessible productions. In spite of my Radical- 
ism, I found very much in these Toryisms which was greatly according to 
my heart ; things rare and worthy, at once pious and true, which were al- 
ways welcome to me, though I strove to base them on a better ground than 
his — his being no eternal or time-defying one, as I could see, and time, in 
fact, in my own case, having already done its work then. In this manner 
our innocently pleasant relation, as writer and written for, had gone on, 
without serious shock, though, after " Kehama," not with much growth in 
quality or quantity, for perhaps ten years. 

It was probably in 1836 or 37, the second or third year after our removal 
to London, that Henry Taylor, author of " Artevelde," and various similar 
things, with whom I had made acquaintance, and whose early regard, con- 
stant esteem, and readiness to be helpful and friendly, should be among 
my memorabilia of those years, invited me to come to him one evening, 
and have a little speech with Southey, whom he judged me to be curious 
about, and to like, perhaps, more than I did. Taylor himself, a solid, sound- 
headed, faithful man, though of morbid vivacity in all senses of that deep- 
reaching word, and with a fine readiness to apprehend new truth, and 
stand by it, was in personal intimacy with the " Lake" sages and poets, 
especially with Southey ; he considered that in Wordsworth and the rest 
of them was embodied all of pious wisdom that our age had, and could not 
doubt but the sight of Southey would be welcome to me. I readily con- 
sented to come, none but we three present, Southey to be Taylor's guest at 
dinner, I to join them after — which was done. Taylor, still little turned 
of thirty, lived miscellaneously about, in bachelor's lodgings, or sometimes 
for a month or two during " the season" in furnished houses, where he 
could receive guests. In the former I never saw him, nor to the latter did 
I go but when invited. It was in a quiet ground-floor, of the latter char- 
acter as I conjectured, somewhere near Downing Street, and looking into 



St. James's Park, that I found Taylor and Southey, with their wine before 
them, which they hardly seemed to be minding; very quiet this seemed to 
be, quiet their discourse, too ; to all which, not sorry at the omen, I quietly 
joined myself. Southey was a man towards well up in the fifties; hair 
gray, not yet hoary, well setting off his fine clear brown complexion ; head 
and face both smallish, as indeed the figure was while seated ; features 
finely cut ; eyes, brow, mouth, good in their kind — expressive all, and even 
vehemently so, but betokening rather keenness than depth either of intel- 
lect or character ; a serious, human, honest, but sharp, almost fierce-looking, 
thin man, with very much of the militant in his aspect — in the eyes especially 
was visible a mixture of sorrow and of anger, or of angry contempt, as if 1 
his indignant fight with the world had not yet ended in victory, but also ' 
never should in defeat. A man you were willing to hear speak. We got 
to talk of Parliament, public speaking and the like (perhaps some election- 
eering then afoot ?). On my mentioning the candidate at Bristol, with his 
" I say ditto to Mi-. Burke" — " Hah, I myself heard that" (had been a boy 
listening when that was said !). His contempt for the existing set of par- 
ties was great and fixed, especially for what produced the present electoral 
temper; though in the future, too, except through Parliaments and elec- 
tions, he seemed to see no hope. He took to repeating in a low, sorrowfully 
mocking tone, certain verses (I supposed of his own), emphatically in that 
vein which seemed to me bitter and exaggerative, not without ingenuity, 
but exhibiting no trace of genius. Partly in response, or rather as sole 
articulate response, I asked who had made those verses. Southey an- 
swered, carelessly, "Praed, they say; Praed, I suppose." My notion was, 
he was merely putting me off, and the verses were his own, though he dis- 
liked confessing to them. A year or two ago, looking into some review of a 
reprint of Praed's works, I came upon the verses again, among other ex- 
cerpts of a similar genus, and found that they verily were Praed's ; my 
wonder now was that Southey had charged his memory with the like of 
them. This Praed was a young M.P. who had gained distinction at Oxford 
or Cambridge. As he spoke and wrote without scruple against the late 
illustrious Reform Bill and sovereign Reform doctrine in general, great 
things were expected of him by his party, now sitting cowed into silence, and 
his name was very current in the newspapers for a few months ; till sud- 
denly (soon after this of Southey), the poor young man died, and sauk at 
once into oblivion, tragical, though not unmerited, nor extraordinary, as I 
judged from the contents of that late reprint and Biographical Sketch, by 
some pious and regretful old friend of his. That Southey had some of 
Praed's verses by heart (verses about Hon. Mr. this moving, say, to abolish 
death and the devil ; Hon. Mr. B., to change, for improvement's sake, the 
obliquity of the Ecliptic, etc., etc.) is, perhaps, a kind of honor to poor 
Praed, who (inexorable fate cutting short his "career of ambition" in 
that manner) is, perhaps, as sad and tragical to me as to another. After 
Southey's bit of recitation I think the party must have soon broken up. I 
recollect nothing more of it, except my astonishment when Southey at last 
completely rose from his chair to shake hands. He had only half risen aud 
nodded on my coming in ; and all along I had counted him a lean little 
man ; but now he shot suddenly aloft into a lean tall one, all legs, in shape 
and stature like a pair of tongs, which peculiarity my surprise doubtless 
exaggerated to me, but only made it the more notable and entertaining. 
Nothing had happened throughout that was other than moderately plea- 
sant; and I returned home (I conclude) well enough satisfied with my 
evening. Southey's sensitiveness I had noticed on the first occasion as 
one of his characteristic qualities, but was nothing like aware of the ex- 
tent of it till our next meeting. 

This was a few evenings afterwards, Taylor giving some dinner, or party, 
party in honor of his guest ; if dinner, I was not at that, but must have 
undertaken for the evening sequel, as less incommodious to me, less un- 
wholesome more especially. I remember entering, in the same house, 
but up stairs this time, a pleasant little drawing-room, in which, in well- 
lighted, secure enough condition, sat Southey in full dress, silently reclin- 
ing, and as yet no other company. We saluted suitably ; touched ditto on 
the vague initiatory points ; and were still there, when, by way of coming 
closer, I asked mildly, with no appearance of special interest, but with 
more than I really felt, " Do you know De Quincey ?" (the opium-eater, whom 
I knew to have lived in Cumberland as his neighbor). " Yes, sir," said 
Southey, with extraordinary animosity, " and if you have opportunity, I'll 
thank you to tell him he is one of the greatest scoundrels living !" I laugh- 
ed lightly, said I had myself little acquaintance with the man, aud could 
not wish to recommend myself by that message. Southey's face, as I look- 
ed at it, was become of slate-color, the eyes glancing, the attitude rigid, 
the figure altogether a picture of Rhadamauthine rage — that is, rage con- 
scious to itself of being just. He doubtless felt I would expect some 
explanation from him. " I have told Hartley Coleridge," said he, " that 
he ought to take a strong cudgel, proceed straight to Edinburgh, and give 
De Quincey, publicly in the streets there, a sound beating, as a calumniator, 
cowardly spy, traitor, base betrayer of the hospitable social hearth, for one 
thing !" It appeared De Quincey was then, and for some time past, writing 
in " Blackwood's Magazine" something of autobiographic nature, a series 
of papers on the " Lake" period of his life, merely for the sake of the high- 
ly needful trifle of money, poor soul, and with no wish to be untrue (I 
could believe) or hurt anybody, though not without his owu bits of splenetic 



APPENDIX. 



81 



conviction, and to which latter, in regard of Coleridge in particular, he had 
given more rein than was agreeable to parties concerned. I believe I had 
myself read the paper on Coleridge, one paper on him I certainly read, and 
had been the reverse of tempted by it to look after the others ; finding in 
this, e. g., that Coleridge had the greatest intellect perhaps ever given to 
man, " but that he wanted, or as good as wanted, common honesty in ap. 
plying it ;" which seemed to me a miserable contradiction in terms, and 
threw light, if not on Coleridge, yet on De Quineey's faculty of judging him 
or others. In this paper there were probably withal some domestic details 
or allusions, to which, as familiar to rumor, I had paid but little heed ; but 
certainly, of general reverence for Coleridge and his gifts and deeds, I had 
traced, not deficiency in this paper, but glaring exaggeration, coupled with De 
Quincean drawbacks, which latter had alone struck Southey with such poign- 
ancy ; or perhaps there had been other more criminal papers, which Southey 
knew of, and not I ? In few minutes we let the topic drop, I helping what I 
could, and he seemed to feel as if he had done a little wrong, and was bound to 
show himself more than usually amicable and social, especially with me, for 
the rest of the evening, which he did in effect, though I quite forget the de- 
tails, only that I had a good deal of talk with him, in the circle of the oth- 
ers, and had again more than once to notice the singular readiness of the 
blushes ; amiable red blush, beautiful like a young girl's, when you touched 
genially the pleasant theme, and serpent-like flash of blue or black blush 
(this far, very far the rarer kind, though it did recur too) when you struck 
upon the opposite. All details of the evening, except that primary one, are 
clean gone ; but the effect was interesting, pleasantly stimulating, and sur- 
prising. I said to myself, " How has this man contrived, with such a nerv- 
ous system, to keep alive for near sixty years ? Now blushing under his 
gray hairs, rosy like a maiden of fifteen ; now slaty almost, like a rattle- 
snake or fiery serpent ? How has he not been torn to pieces long since, 
under such furious pulling this way and that ? He must have somewhere 
a great deal of methodic virtue in him ; I suppose, too, his heart is 
thoroughly honest, which helps considerably." I did not fancy myself to 
have made personally much impression on Southey ; but on those terms I 
accepted him for a loyal kind of man ; and was content and thankful to 
know of his existing in the world, near me, or still far from me, as the fates 
should have determined. For perhaps two years I saw no more of him ; 
heard only from Taylor in particular, that he was overwhelmed in misery, 
and imprudently refusing to yield, or screen himself in any particular. Im- 
prudently, thought Taylor and his other friends ; for not only had he been, 
for several continuous years, toiling and fagging at a collective edition of 
his works, which cost him a great deal of incessant labor, but, far worse, 
his poor wife had sunk into insanity, and moreover he would not, such his 
feeling on this tragic matter, be persuaded to send her to an asylum, or trust 
her out of his own sight and keeping. Figure such a scene ; and what the 
most sensitive of mankind must have felt under it. This, then, is the gar- 
land and crown of " victory" provided for an old man, when he survives, 
spent with his fifty years of climbing and of running, and has what you call 
won the race ! 

It was after I had finished the " French Revolution," and perhaps after 
my Annandale journey to recover from this adventure, that I heard of 
Southey's being in town again. His collective edition was complete, his 
poor wife was dead and at rest ; his work was done ; in fact (had he known 
it), all his work in the world was done ; and he had determined on a few 
weeks of wandering, and trying to repose and recreate himself, among old 
friends and scenes. I saw him twice or thrice on this occasion ; it was our 
second and last piece of intercourse, and much the more interesting, to me 
at least, and for a reason that will appear. My wild excitation of nerves, 
after finishing that grim book on " French Revolution," was something 
strange. The desperate nature of our circumstances and outlooks while 
writing it, the thorough possession it had taken of me, dwelling in me day 
and night, keeping me in constant fellowship with such a "flamy cut-throat 
scene of things," infernal and celestial both in one, with no fixed prospect 
but that of writing it, though I should die, had held me in a fever blaze 
for three years long; and now the blaze had ceased, problem taliter qualiter 
was actually done, and my humor and way of thought about all things was 
of an altogether ghastly, dim-smouldering, and as if preternatural sort. I 
well remember that ten minutes' survey I had of Annan and its vicinity the 
forenoon after my landing there. Brother Alick must have met me at the 
steamboat harbor, I suppose ; at any rate, we were walking towards Scotsbrig 
together, and at Mount Annan Gate, bottom of Landhead hamlet, he had 
left me for a moment till he called somewhere. I stood leaning against a 
stone or mile-stone, face towards Annan, of which with the two miles of va- 
riegated cheerful green slope that intervened, and then of the Solway Frith, 
far and wide from Gretna, St. Bees Head and beyond it, of the grand and 
lovely Cumberland mountains, with Helvellyn and even with Ingleborough 
in the rearward, there was a magnificent view well known to me. Stone 
itself was well known to me ; this had been my road to Annan School from 
my tenth year upward ; right sharp was my knowledge of every item in 
this scene, thousandfold my memories connected with it, and mournful and 
painful rather than joyful, too many of them. And now here it was again ; 
and here was I again. Words cannot utter the wild and ghastly expres- 
siveness of that scene to me ; it seemed as- if Hades itself, and the gloomy 
realms of death and eternity, were looking out on me through those poor 
old familiar objects ; as if no miracle could be more miraculous than this 
same bit of space and bit of time spread out before me. I felt withal how 
wretchedly unwell I must be ; and was glad, no doubt, when Alick returned, 
and we took the road again. What precedes and what follows this clear bit. 
of memory are alike gone ; but for seven or more weeks after, I rode often 
down and up this same road, silent, solitary, weird of mood, to bathe in the 
Solway ; and not even my dear old mother's love and cheery helpfulness 
(for she was then still strong for her age) could raise my spirits out of ut- 



ter grimness and fixed contemptuous disbelief in the future. Hope of hav- 
ing succeeded, of ever succeeding, I had not the faintest, was not even at 
the pains to wish it ; said only, in a dim, mute way, " Very well, then ; be it 
just so, then !" A foolish young neighbor, not an ill-disposed, sent me a 
number of the "Athemeum" (literary journal of the day), in which I was 
placidly, with some elaboration, set down as blockhead and strenuous fail- 
ure : the last words were, " Readers, have we made out our case ?" I read 
it without pain, or pain the least to signify; laid it aside for a day or two; 
then one morning, in some strait about our breakfast tea-kettle, slipt the 
peccant number under that, and had my cup of excellent hot tea from it. 
The foolish neighbor who was filing the " Athenasum" (more power to him !) 
found a lacuna in his set at this point ; might know better, another time, it 
was hoped. Thackeray's laudation in the " Times," I also recollect the 
arrival of (how pathetic now her mirth over it to me !). But neither did 
Thackeray inspire me with any emotion, still less with any ray of exulta- 
tion. " One other poor judge voting," I said to myself ; " but what is he, 
or such as he ? The fate of that thing is fixed ! I have written it ; that 
is all my result." Nothing now strikes me as affecting in all this but her 
noble attempt to cheer me on my return home to her, still sick and sad ; 
and how she poured out on me her melodious joy, and all her bits of con- 
firmatory anecdotes and narratives. " Oh, it has had a great success, dear !" 
and not even she could irradiate my darkness, beautifully as she tried for 
a long time, as I sat at her feet again by our own parlor fire. " Oh, you 
are an unbelieving nature !" said she at last, starting up, probably to give 
me some tea. There was, and is, in all this something heavenly ; the rest 
is all of it smoke; and has gone up the chimney, inferior in benefit and 
quality to what my pipe yielded me. I was rich once, had I known it — 
very rich ; and now I am become poor to the end. 

Such being my posture and humor at that time, fancy my surprise at 
finding Southey full of sympathy, assent and recognition of the amplest 
kind, for my poor new book ! We talked largely on the huge event itself, 
which he had dwelt with openly or privately ever since his youth, and tend- 
ed to interpret, exactly as I, the suicidal explosion of an old wicked world, 
too wicked, false, and impious for living longer ; and seemed satisfied and 
as if grateful that a strong voice had at last expressed that meaning. My 
poor " French Revolution" evidently appeared to him a good deed, a salu- 
tary bit of " scriptural" exposition for the public and for mankind ; and 
this, I could perceive, was the soul of a great many minor approbations 
and admirations of detail, which he was too polite to speak of. As Southey 
was the only man of eminence that had ever taken such a view of me, and 
especially of this my first considerable book, it seems strange that I should 
have felt so little real triumph in it as I did. For all other eminent men, 
in regard to all my books and writings hitherto, and most of all in regard 
to this latest, had stood pointedly silent, dubitative, disapprobatory, many 
of them shaking their heads. Then, when poor " Sartor" got passed 
through " Fraser," and was done up from the Fraser types as a separate 
thing, perhaps about fifty copies being struck off, I sent six copies to six 
Edinburgh literary friends, from not one of whom did I get the smallest 
whisper even of receipts — a thing disappointing more or less to human na- 
ture, and which has silently and insensibly led me never since to send any 
copy of a book to Edinburgh, or, indeed, to Scotland at all, except to my 
own kindred there, and in one or two specific unliterary cases more. The 
Plebs of literature might be divided in their verdicts about me, though, by 
count of heads, I always suspect the " guilties" clean had it ; but the con- 
script fathers declined to vote at all. And yet here was a conscript father 
voting in a very pregnant manner; and it seems I felt but little joy even 
in that. Truly I can say for myself, Southey's approbation, though very 
privately I doubtless had my pride in it, did not the least tend to swell 
me ; though, on the other hand, I must own to very great gloom of mind, 
sullen some part of it, which is possibly a worse fault than what it saved 
me from. I remember now how polite and delicate his praises of me 
were ; never given direct or in overmeasure, but always obliquely, in the 
way of hint or inference left for me ; and how kind, sincere, and courteous 
his manner throughout was. Our mutual considerations about French 
Revolution, about its incidents, catastrophes, or about its characters, Dan- 
ton, Camille, etc., and contrasts and comparisons of them with their (prob- 
able) English compeers of the day, yielded pleasant and copious material 
for dialogue when we met. Literature was hardly touched upon : our dis- 
course came almost always upon moral and social topics. Southey's look, 
I remarked, was strangely care-worn, anxious, though he seemed to like 
talking, and both talked and listened well ; his eyes especially were as if 
filled with gloomy bewilderment and incurable sorrows. He had got to be 
about sixty-three, had buried all his suffering loved ones, wound up forty 
years of incessant vehement labor, much of it more or less ungenial to 
him ; and, in fact, though he knew it not, had finished his work in the 
world, and might well be looking back on it with a kind of ghastly aston- 
ishment rather than with triumph or joy. 

I forget how often we met ; it was not very often ; it was always at H. 
Taylor's, or through Taylor. One day, for the first and last time, he made 
us a visit at Chelsea. A certain old lady cousin of Taylor's, who sometimes 
presided in his house for a month or two in the town season — a Miss Fen- 
wick, of provincial accent and type, but very wise, discreet, and well-bred — 
had come driving down with him. Their arrival, and loud thundering 
knock at the door, is very memorable to me — the moment being unusually 
critical in our poor household. My little Jeannie was in hands with the 
marmalade that day: none ever made such marmalade for me, pure as 
liquid amber, in taste and in look almost poetically delicate, and it was the 
only one of her pretty and industrious eomfitures that I individually cared 
for ; which made her doubly diligent and punctual about it. (Ah, me I ah, 
me!) The kitchen fire, I suppose, bad not been brisk enough, free enough, 
so she had had the large brass pan and contents brought up to the brisker 



82 



REMINISCENCES. 



parlor fire, and was there victoriously boiling it, when it boiled over, in 
huge blaze, set the chimney on fire — and I (from my writing up stairs, I 
suppose) had been suddenly summoned to the rescue. What a moment ! 
what an outlook ! The kindling of the chimney soot was itself a grave 
matter, involving a fine of £10 if the fire-engines had to come. My first 
and immediate step was to parry this, by at onee letting down the grate 
valve, and cutting quite off the supply of oxygon or atmosphere, which, of 
course, was effectual, though at the expense of a little smoke in the room 
meanwhile. The brass pan, and remaining contents (not much wasted or 
injured), she had herself snatched off and set on the hearth ; I was pulling 
down the back windows, which would have completed the temporary set- 
tlement, when, hardly three yards from us, broke out the thundering door- 
knocker ; and before the brass pan could be got away, Miss Fenwick and 
Southey were let in. Southey, I don't think my darling had yet seen ; but 
her own fine, modest composure and presence of mind never in any great- 
est other presence forsook her. I remember how daintily she made the 
salutations, brief, quizzical bit of explanation, got the wreck to vanish, and 
sat down as member of our little party. Southey and I were on the sofa 
together ; she nearer Miss Fenwick, for a little of feminine " aside" now 
and then. The colloquy did not last long: I recollect no point of it, ex- 
cept that Southey and I got to speaking about Shelley (whom, perhaps, I 
remembered to have lived in the Lake country for some time, and had 
started on Shelley as a practicable topic). Southey did not rise into admira- 
tion of Shelley either for talent or conduct ; spoke of him and his life 
without bitterness, but with contemptuous sorrow, and evident aversion 
mingled with his pity. To me also poor Shelley always was, and is, a kind 
of ghastly object, colorless, pallid, without health, or warmth, or vigor ; the 
sound of him shrieky, frosty, as if a ghost were trying to " sing to us" ; 
the temperament of him spasmodic, hysterical, instead of strong or robust ; 
with fine affections and aspirations, gone all such a road : a man infinitely 
too weak for that solitary scaling of the Alps, which he undertook in spite 
of all the world. At some point of the dialogue I said to Southey, " A hag- 
gard existence that of his." I remember Southey's pause, and the tone 
and air with which he answered, " It is a haggard existence !" His look 
at this moment was unusually gloomy and heavy-laden, full of confused 
distress — as if in retrospect of his own existence, and the haggard battle it 
too had been. 

He was now about sixty-three ; his work all done, but his heart as if 
broken. A certain Miss Bowles, given to scribbling, with its affectations, 
its sentimentalities, and perhaps twenty years younger than he, had (as I 
afterwards understood) heroically volunteered to marry him, " for the pur- 
pose of consoling," etc., etc., to which he heroically had assented, and was 
now on the road towards Bristol, or the western region where Miss Bowles 
lived, for completing that poor hope of his and hers. A second wedlock ; 
in what contrast almost dismal, almost horrible, with a former there had 
been ! Far away that former one ; but it had been illuminated by the 
hopes and radiances of very heaven ; the second one was to be celebrated 
under sepulchral lamps, and as if in the forecoast of the charnel-house ! 
Southey's deep misery of aspect I should have better understood had this 
been known to me ; but it was known to Taylor alone, who kept it locked 
from everybody. 

The last time I saw Southey was on an evening at Taylor's, nobody there 
but myself ; I think he meant to leave town next morning, and had wished 
to say farewell to me first. We sat on the sofa together ; our talk was 
long and earnest ; topic ultimately the usual one, steady approach of de- 
mocracy, with revolution (probably explosive), and a finis incomputable to 
man; steady decay of all morality, political, social, individual; this once 
noble England getting more and more ignoble and untrue in every fibre of 
it, till the gold (Goethe's composite king) would all be eaten out, and noble 
England would have to collapse in shapeless ruin, whether forever or not 
none of us could know. Our perfect consent on these matters gave an 
animation to the dialogue, which I remember as copious and pleasant. 
Southey's last word was in answer to some tirade of mine against univers- 
al mammon worship, gradual accelerating decay of mutual humanity, of 
piety and fidelity to God or man, in all our relations and performances, the 
whole illustrated by examples, I suppose ; to which he answered, not with 
levity, yet with a cheerful tone in Ins seriousness, " It will not and it can- 
not come to good !" This he spoke standing ; I had risen, checking my 
tirade, intimating that, alas ! I must go. He invited me to Cumberland, to 
" see the lakes again," and added, " Let us know beforehand that the rites of 
hospitality — " I had already shaken hands, and now answered from be- 
yond the door of the apartment, " Ah, yes ; thanks, thanks !" little thinking 
that it was my last farewell of Southey. 

He went to the Western country, got wedded, went back to Keswick, aud 
I heard once or so some shallow jest about his promptitude in wedding; 
but before long the news came, first in whispers, then public and undenia- 
ble, that his mind was going and gone, memory quite, and the rest hope- 
lessly following it. The new Mrs. Southey had not succeeded in "con- 
soling and comforting" him, but far the reverse. We understood after- 
wards that the grown-up daughters and their step-mother had agreed ill ; 
that perhaps neither they nor she were very wise, nor the arrangement it- 
self very wise or well contrived. Better, perhaps, that poor Southey was 
evieted from it, shrouded away in curtains of his own, and deaf to all dis- 
cords henceforth ! We heard of him from Miss Fenwick now and then (I 
think for a year or two more) till the end came. He was usually altogeth- 
er placid and quiet, without memory, more and more without thought. 
One day they had tried him with some fine bit of his own poetry ; he woke 
into beautiful consciousness, eyes and features shining with their old 
brightness (and perhaps a few words of rational speech coming) ; lint it 
lasted only some minutes, till all lapsed into the old blank again. By de- 
grees all intellect had melted away from him, and quietly, unconsciously, he 



died. There was little noise in the public on this occurrence, nor could his 
private friends do other than, in silence, mournfully, yet almost gratefully, 
acquiesce. There eame out by-aud-by, two lives of him — one by his widow 
one by his son (such the family discrepancies, happily inaudible where 
they would have cut sharpest) ; neither of these books did I look into. 

Southey I used to construe to myself as a man of slight build, but of 
sound and elegant, with considerable genius in him, considerable faculty 
of speech and rhythmic insight, and with a morality that shone distin- 
guished among his contemporaries. I reckoned him (with those blue 
blushes and those red) to be the perhaps excitablest of all men, and that 
a deep mute monition of conscience had spoken to him, " You are capable 
of running mad, if you don't take care. Acquire habitudes ; stick firm as 
adamant to them at all times, and work — continually work !" 

This, for thirty or forty years, he had punctually and impetuously done ; 
no man so habitual, we were told ; gave up his poetry, at a given hour, on 
stroke of the clock, and took to prose, etc., etc. ; and as to diligence and 
velocity, employed his very walking hours, walked with a book in his hand; 
and by these methods of his, had got through, perhaps, a greater amount 
of work, counting quantity and quality, than any other man whatever in J| 
those years of his ; till all suddenly ended. I likened him to one of those ' 
huge sandstone grinding cylinders which I had seen at Manchester, turning 
with inconceivable velocity (in the condemned room of the iron factorv, 
where " the men die of lung disease at forty," but are permitted to smoke 
in their damp cellar, and think that a rich recompense !), screaming 
harshly, aud shooting out each of them its sheet of fire (yellow, starlight, 
etc., according as it is brass or other kind of metal that you grind and 
polish there) — beautiful sheets of fire, pouring out each as if from the 
paper cap of its low-stooping-backed grinder, when you look from rear- 
ward. For many years these stones grind so, at such a rate; till at last 
(in some cases) comes a moment when the stone's cohesion is quite worn 
out, overcome by the stupendous velocity long continued ; and while grind- 
ing its fastest, it flies off altogether, and settles some yards from you, a 
grinding-stone no longer, but a cart-load of quiet sand. 

Of Wordsworth I have little to wrjte that could ever be of use to myself 
or others. I did not see him much, or till Iatish in my course see him at 
all ; nor did we deeply admire one another at any time. Of me in my first 
times he had little knowledge ; and any feeling he had towards me, I sus- 
pect, was largely blended with abhorrence and perhaps a kind of fear. 
His works I knew, but never considerably reverenced ; could not, on at- 
tempting it. A man recognizably of strong intellectual powers, strong 
character ; given to meditation, and much contemptuous of the unmeditative 
world and its noisy nothingnesses ; had a fine limpid style of writing and 
delineating, in his small way ; a fine limpid vein of melody too in him (as 
of an honest rustic fiddle, good, and well handled, but wanting two or 
more of the strings, and not capable of much !). In fact, a rather dull, 
hard-tempered, unproductive, and almost wearisome, kind of man; not 
adorable, by any means, as a great poetic genius, much less as the Trisme- 
gistus of such ; whom only a select few could ever read, instead of mis- 
reading, which was the opinion his worshippers confidently entertained of 
him ! Privately I had a real respect for him withal, founded on his early 
biography (winch Wilson of Edinburgh had painted to me as of antique 
greatness). " Poverty and Peasanthood ! Be it so ! but we consecrate 
ourselves to the Muses, all the same, and will proceed on those terms, 
Heaven aiding !" This, and what of faculty I did recognize in the man, 
gave me a clear esteem of him, as of one remarkable and fairly beyond 
common ; not to disturb winch, I avoided speaking of him to his worship- 
pers ; or, if the topic turned up, would listen with an acquiescing air. But 
to my private self his divine reflections and unfathomabilities seemed 
stinted, scanty, palish, and uncertain— perhaps in part a little reflex (de- 
rived at second hand through Coleridge) of the immense German fund of 
such — and I reckoned his poetic store-house to be far from an opulent or 
well-furnished apartment. It was perhaps about 1840 that I first had any 
decisive meeting with Wordsworth, or made any really personal acquaint- 
ance with him. In parties at Taylor's I may have seen him before ; but 
we had no speech together, nor did we specially notice one another. One 
such time I do remember (probably before, as it was in my earlier days of 
Sterling acquaintanceship, when Sterling used to argue much with me) ; 
Wordsworth sat silent, almost next to me, while Sterling took to asserting 
the claims of Kotzebue as a dramatist (" recommended even by Goethe," as 
lie likewise urged), whom I with pleasure did my endeavor to explode 
from that mad notion, and thought (as I still recollect), " This will perhaps 
please Wordsworth too," who, however, gave not the least sign of that or 
any other feeling. I had various dialogues with him in that same room ; 
but those, I judge, were all or mostly of after-date. 

On a summer morning (let us call it 1840 then) I was apprised by Taylor 
that Wordsworth had come to town, and would meet a small party of us at 
a certain tavern in St. James's Street, at breakfast, to which I was invited 
for the given day and hour. We had a pretty little room, quiet, though 
looking streetward (tavern's name is quite lost to me); the morning sun 
was pleasantly tinting the opposite houses ; a balmy, calm, and sunlight 
morning. Wordsworth, I think, arrived just along with me; we had still 
five minutes of sauntering and miscellaneous talking before the whole were 
assembled. I do not positively remember any of them, except that James 
Spedding was there, and that the others, not above five or six in whole, 
were polite, intelligent, quiet persons, and, except Taylor and Wordsworth, 
not of any special distinction in the world. Breakfast was pleasant, fairly 
beyond the common of such things. Wordsworth seemed in good tone, 
and, much to Taylor's satisfaction, talked a great deal ; about " poetic," 
correspondents of his own (i.e., correspondents for the sake of his poetry; 
especially one such who had sent him, from Canton, an excellent chest of 
tea ; correspondent grinningly applauded by us all) ; then about ruralities 



APPENDIX. 



83 



Und miscellanies; "Countess of Pembroke," antique she-Clifford, glory of 
those northern parts, who was not new to any of us, but was set forth by 
Wordsworth with gusto and brief emphasis — "you lily-livered," etc.; and 
now the only memorable item under that head. These were the first top- 
ics. Then, finally, about literature, literary laws, practices, observances, 
at considerable length, and turning wholly on the mechanical part, includ- 
ing even a good deal of shallow enough etymology, from me and others, 
which was well received. On all this Wordsworth enlarged with evident 
satisfaction, and was joyfully reverent of the " wells of English undefiled," 
though stone-dumb as to the deeper rules and wells of Eternal Truth and 
Harmony, which you were to try and set forth by said undetiled wells of 
English, or wdiat other speech you had ! To me a little disappointing, but 
not much ; though it would have given me pleasure had the robust veteran 
man emerged a little out of vocables into things now and then, as he never 
once chanced to do. For the rest, he talked well in his way ; with veracity, 
easy brevity, and force, as a wise tradesman would of his tools and work- 
shop, and as no unwise one could. His voice was good, frank, and so- 
norous, though practically clear, distinct, and forcible rather than melodious ; 
the tono of him business-like, sedately confident ; no discourtesy, yet no 
anxiety about being courteous. A fine wholesome rusticity, fresh as his 
mountain breezes, sat well on the stalwart veteran, and on all he said and 
did. You would have said he was a usually taciturn man ; glad to unlock 
himself to audience sympathetic and intelligent, when such offered itself. 
His face bore marks of much, not always peaceful, meditation , the look 
of it not bland or benevolent so much as close, impregnable, and hard : a 
man multa taecre loquive paratus, in a world where he had experienced no 
lack of contradictions as he strode along. The eyes were not very brilliant, 
but they had a quiet clearness ; there was enough of brow, and well shaped ; 
rather too much of cheek ("horse face" I have heard satirists say); face 
of squarish shape, and decidedly longish, as I think the head itself was 
(its "length" going horizontal); he was large-boned, lean, but still firm- 
knit, tall, and strong-looking when he stood, a right good old steel-gray 
figure, with rustic simplicity and dignity about him, and a vivacious strength 
looking through him which might have suited one of those old steel-gray 
inarkgrafs whom Henry the Fowler set up to ward the " marches," and do 
battle with the intrusive heathen in a stalwart and judicious manner. 

On this and other occasional visit* of his, I saw Wordsworth a number 
of times, at dinner, in evening parties ; and we grew a little more familiar, 
but without much increase of real iutimacy or affection springing up be- 
tween us. He was willing to talk with me in a corner, in noisy, extensive 
circles, having weak eyes, and little loving the general babble current in 
such places. One evening, probably about this time, I got him upon the 
subject of great poets, who, I thought, might be admirable equally to us 
both ; but was rather mistaken, as I gradually found. Pope's partial fail- 
ure I was prepared for ; less for the narrowish limits visible in Milton and 
others. I tried him with Burns, of whom he had sung tender recognition ; 
but Burns also turned out to be a limited, inferior creature, any genius he 
had a theme for one's pathos rather; even Shakspeare himself had his 
blind sides, his limitations. Gradually it became apparent to me that of 
transcendent unlimited there was, to this critic, probably but one specimen 
known — Wordsworth himself ! He by no means said so, or hinted so, in 
words ; but on the whole it- was all I gathered from him in this considera- 
ble teted-Ute of ours ; and it was not an agreeable conquest. New notion as 
to poetry or poet I had not iu the smallest degree got; but my insight into 
the depths of Wordsworth's pride in himself had considerably augmented, 
and it did not increase my love of him ; though I did not in the least hate 
it either, so quiet was it, so fixed, unappealing, like a dim old lichened crag 
on the way-side, the private meaning of which, in contrast with any public 
meaning it had, you recognized with a kind of not wholly melancholy grin. 

Another and better corner dialogue I afterwards had with him, possibly 
also about this time, which raised him intellectually some real degrees high- 
er iu my estimation than any of his deliverances, written or oral, had ever 
done, and which I may reckon as the best of all his discoursing* or dia- 
logues with me. He had withdrawn to a corner, out of the light and of 
the general babble, as usual with him. I joined him there, and knowing 
how little fruitful was the literary topic between us, set him on giving me 
an account of the notable practicalities he had seen in life, especially of the 
notable men. He went into all this with a certain alacrity, and was will- 
ing to speak whenever able on the terms. He had been in France in the 
earlier or secondary stage of the Revolution ; had witnessed the struggle of 
Girondins and Mountain, in particular the execution of Gorsas, " the first 
deputy sent to the scaffold" ; and testified strongly to the ominous feeling 
which that event produced in everybody, and of which he himself still seem- 
ed to retain something: "Where will it end, when you have set an exam- 
ple in this kind ?" I knew well about Gorsas, but had found in my read- 
ings no trace of the public emotion his death excited, and perceived now 
that Wordsworth might be taken as a true supplement to my book, on this 
small point. He did not otherwise add to or alter my ideas on the Revo- 
lution, nor did we dwell long there ; but hastened over to England, and to 
the noteworthy, or at least noted, men of that and the subsequent time. 
" Noted" and named, I ought, perhaps, to say, rather than " noteworthy" ; 
for in general I forget what men they were, and now remember only the 
excellent sagacity, distinctness, and credibility of Wordsworth's little bio- 
graphic portraitures of them. Never, or never but once, had I seen a strong- 
er intellect, a more luminous and veracious power of insight, directed upon 
such a survey of fellow-men and their contemporary journey through the 
world. A great deal of Wordsworth lay in the mode and tone of drawing, 
but you perceived it to be faithful, accurate, and altogether life-like, though 
Words worthian. One of the best remembered sketches (almost the only 
one now remembered at all) was that of Wilberforcc, the famous Nigger 
philanthropist, drawing-room Christian, and busy man and politician. In 



all which capacities Wordsworth's esteem of him seemed to be privately 
as small as my own private one, and was amusing to gather. No hard 
word of him did he speak or hint; told in brief firm business terms, how 
he was born at or near the place called Wilberforce in Yorkshire (" force" 
signifying torrent or angry brook as in Cumberland ?) ; where, probably, 
his forefathers may have been possessors, though he was poorish; how he 
did this and that of insignificant (to Wordsworth insignificant) nature; 
" and then," ended Wordsworth, " he took into the oil trade" (I suppose 
the Hull whaling); which lively phrase, and the incomparable historical 
tone it was given in — "the oil trade" — as a thing perfectly natural and 
proper for such a man, is almost the only point in the delineation which is 
now vividly present to mc. I remember only the rustic picture, sketched 
as with a burnt stick on the board of a pair of bellows, seemed to me 
completely good ; and that the general effect was one saw the great Wil- 
berforce and his existence visible in all their main lineaments, but only as 
through the reversed telescope, and reduced to the size of a mouse and its 
nest, or little more ! This was, in most or in all cases, the result brought 
out : one's self and telescope of natural (or perhaps preternatural) size ; 
but the object, so great to vulgar eyes, reduced amazingly, with all its lin- 
eaments recognizable. I found a very superior talent in these Words- 
worth delineations. They might have reminded me, though I know not 
whether they did at the time, of a larger series like them, which I had 
from my father during two wet days, which confined us to the house, the 
last time we met at Scotsbrig. These were of select Annandale figures 
whom I had seen in my boyhood, and of whom, now that they were all 
vanished, I was glad to have, for the first time, some real knowledge as 
facts ; the outer simulacra, in all their equipments, being still so pathetic- 
ally vivid to me. My father's, iu rugged simple force, picturesque inge- 
nuity, veracity and brevity, were, I do judge, superior to even Words- 
worth's as bits of human portraiture, without flavor of contempt, too, but 
given out with judicial indifference, and intermixed here and there with 
flashes of the poetical and soberly pathetic (e. g., the death of Ball of Dun- 
naby, and why the two joiners were seen sawing wood in a pour of rain), 
which the Wordsworth sketches, mainly of distant and indifferent persons, 
altogether wanted. Oh, my brave, dear, and ever-honored peasant father, 
where among the grandees, sages, and recognized poets of the world, did 
I listen to such sterling speech as yours, golden product of a heart and 
brain all sterling and royal ! That is a literal fact, and it has often filled 
me with strange reflections, in the whirlpools of this mad world. 

During the last seven or ten years of his life Wordsworth felt himself 
to be a recognized lion in certain considerable London circles, and was in 
the habit of coming tip to town with his wife for a month or two every 
season, to enjoy his quiet triumph, and collect his bits of tribute tales guales. 
The places where I met him oftenest were Marshall's (the great Leeds 
linen manufacturer, an excellent and very opulent man), Spring-Rice's 
(i. e., Lord Monteagle's, who and whose house was strangely intermarried 
with this Marshall's), and the first Lord Stanley's of Alderly (who then, 
perhaps, was still Sir Thomas Stanley). Wordsworth took his bit of lion- 
ism very quietly, with a smile sardonic rather than triumphant, and cer- 
tainly got no harm by it, if he got or expected little good. His wife, a 
small, withered, puckered, winking lady, who never spoke, seemed to be 
more in earnest about the affair, and was visibly and sometimes ridicu- 
lously assiduous to secure her proper place of precedence at table. One 
evening at Lord Monteagle's — ah, who was it that then made me laugh as 
we went home together ? ah me ! Wordsworth generally spoke a little with 
me on those occasions ; sometimes, perhaps, we sat by one another ; but 
there came from him nothing considerable, and happily at least nothing 
with an effort. " If you think me dull, be it just so !" — this seemed to a 
most respectable extent to be his inspiring humor. Hardly above once 
(perhaps at the Stanleys') do I faintly recollect something of the contrary 
on his part for a little wdiile, which was not pleasant or successful while it 
lasted. The light was always afflictive to his eyes ; he carried in his pock- 
et something like a skeleton brass candlestick, in which, setting it on the 
dinner table, between him and the most afflictive or nearest of the chief 
lights, he touched a little spring, and there flirted out, at the top of his 
brass implement, a small vertical green circle which prettily enough threw 
his eyes into shade, and screened him from that sorrow. In proof of his 
equanimity as lion, I remember, in connection with this green shade, one 
little glimpse which shall be given presently as finis. But first let me say 
that all these Wordsworth phenomena appear to have been indifferent to 
me, and have melted to steamy oblivion in a singular degree. Of his talk 
to others in my hearing I remember simply nothing, not even a word or 
gesture. To myself it seemed once or twice as if he bore suspicions, 
thinking I was not a real worshipper, which threw him into something of 
embarrassment, till I 'hastened to get them laid, by frank discourse on 
some suitable thing ; nor, when we did talk, was there on his side or on 
mine the least utterance worth noting. The tone of his voice when I got 
him afloat on some Cumberland or other matter germane to him had a 
braced rustic vivacity, willingness, and solid precision, which alone rings 
in my ear when all else is gone. Of some Druid circle, for example, he 
prolonged his response to me with the addition, " And there is another 
some miles off, which the country people call Long Meg and her Daugh- 
ters" ; as to the now ownership of which " It" etc. ; " and then it came 
into the hands of a Mr. Crackenthorpe" ; the sound of those two phrases 
is still lively and present with me ; meaning or sound of absolutely noth- 
ing more. Still more memorable is an ocular glimpse I had in one of 
these Wordsworthian lion-dinners, very symbolic to me of his general de- 
portment there, and far clearer than the little feature of opposite sort, am- 
biguously given above (recollection of that viz. of unsuccessful exertion 
at a Stanley dinner being dubious and all but extinct, while this is still 
vivid to me as of yesternight). Dinner was large, luminous, sumptuous. 



84 



REMINISCENCES. 



I sat a long way from Wordsworth ; dessert I think had come in, and cer- 
tainly there reigned in all quarters a cackle as of Babel (only politer, per- 
haps), which, far up in Wordsworth's quarter (who was leftward on my 
side of the table), seemed to have taken a sententious, rather louder, log- 
ical, and quasi-scientific turn, heartily unimportant to gods and men, so 
far as I could judge of it and of the' other babble reigning. I look up- 
wards, leftwards, the coast being luckily for a moment clear ; then, far off, 
beautifully screened in the shadow of his vertical green circle, which was 
on the farther .side of him, sat Wordsworth, silent, slowly but steadily 
gnawing some portion of what I judged to be raisins, with his eye and at- 
tention placidly fixed on these and these alone. The sight of whom, and 
of his rock-like indifference to the babble, quasi-scientific and other, with 
attention turned on the small practical alone, was comfortable and amusing 



to me, who felt like him, but could not eat raisins. This little glimpse 1 
could still paint, so clear and bright is it, and this shall be symbolical of 
all. 

In a few years, I forget in how many and when, these Wordsworth ap- 
peararces in London ceased ; we heard, not of ill health, perhaps, but of 
increasing love of rest ; at length of the long sleep's coming ; and never 
saw Wordsworth more. One felt his death as the extinction of a public 
light, but not otherwise. The public itself found not much to say of him, 
and staggered on to meaner but more pressing objects. Why should I 
continue these melancholy jottings, in which I have no interest ; in which 
the one figure that could interest me is almost wanting ! I will cease. 
[Finished, after many miserable interruptions, catarrhal and other, at 
Meutone, March 8, 18ti7.] 



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