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Letters of Edward FitzGerald to Fanny Kemble (1871-1883)
by Edward FitzGerald
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And I remain yours ever sincerely, A very small Peat-contributor, E. F.G.

I am glad to say that Clark and Wright Bowdlerize Shakespeare, though much less extensively than Bowdler. But in one case, I think, they have gone further—altering, instead of omitting: which is quite wrong!



XXVIII.

LOWESTOFT: April 19/75.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Yesterday I wrote you a letter: enveloped it: then thought there was something in it you might misunderstand—Yes!—the written word across the Atlantic looking perhaps so different from what intended; so kept my Letter in my pocket, and went my ways. This morning your Letter of April 3 is forwarded to me; and I shall re-write the one thing that I yesterday wrote about—as I had intended to do before your Letter came. Only, let me say that I am really ashamed that you should have taken the trouble to write again about my little, little, Book.

Well—what I wrote about yesterday, and am to-day about to re-write, is—Macready's Memoirs. You asked me in your previous Letter whether I had read them. No—I had not: and had meant to wait till they came down to Half-price on the Railway Stall before I bought them. But I wanted to order something of my civil Woodbridge Bookseller: so took the course of ordering this Book, which I am now reading at Leisure: for it does not interest me enough to devour at once. It is however a very unaffected record of a very conscientious Man, and Artist; conscious (I think) that he was not a great Genius in his Profession, and conscious of his defect of Self-control in his Morals. The Book is almost entirely about himself, his Studies, his Troubles, his Consolations, etc.; not from Egotism, I do think, but as the one thing he had to consider in writing a Memoir and Diary. Of course one expects, and wishes, that the Man's self should be the main subject; but one also wants something of the remarkable people he lived with, and of whom one finds little here but that 'So-and-so came and went'—scarce anything of what they said or did, except on mere business; Macready seeming to have no Humour; no intuition into Character, no Observation of those about him (how could he be a great Actor then?)—Almost the only exception I have yet reached is his Account of Mrs. Siddons, whom he worshipped: whom he acted with in her later years at Country Theatres: and who was as kind to him as she was even then heart-rending on the Stage. He was her Mr. Beverley: {71} 'a very young husband,' she told him: but 'in the right way if he would study, study, study—and not marry till thirty.' At another time, when he was on the stage, she stood at the side scene, called out 'Bravo, Sir, Bravo!' and clapped her hands—all in sight of the Audience, who joined in her Applause. Macready also tells of her falling into such a Convulsion, as it were, in Aspasia {72a} (what a subject for such a sacrifice!) that the Curtain had to be dropped, and Macready's Father, and Holman, who were among the Audience, looked at each other to see which was whitest! This was the Woman whom people somehow came to look on as only majestic and terrible—I suppose, after Miss O'Neill rose upon her Setting.

Well, but what I wrote about yesterday—a passage about you yourself. I fancy that he and you were very unsympathetic: nay, you have told me of some of his Egotisms toward you, 'who had scarce learned the rudiments of your Profession' (as also he admits that he scarce had). But, however that may have been, his Diary records, 'Decr. 20 (1838) Went to Covent Garden Theatre: on my way continued the perusal of Mrs. Butler's Play, which is a work of uncommon power. Finished the reading of Mrs. Butler's Play, which is one of the most powerful of the modern Plays I have seen—most painful—almost shocking—but full of Power, Poetry and Pathos. She is one of the most remarkable women of the present Day.'

So you see that if he thought you deficient in the Art which you (like himself) had unwillingly to resort to, you were efficient in the far greater Art of supplying that material on which the Histrionic must depend. (N.B.—Which play of yours? Not surely the 'English Tragedy' unless shown to him in MS.? {72b} Come: I have sent you my Translations: you should give me your Original Plays. When I get home, I will send you an old Scratch by Thackeray of yourself in Louisa of Savoy—shall I?)

On the whole, I find Macready (so far as I have gone) a just, generous, religious, and affectionate Man; on the whole, humble too! One is well content to assure oneself of this; but it is not worth spending 28s. upon.

Macready would have made a better Scholar—or Divine—than Actor, I think: a Gentleman he would have been in any calling, I believe, in spite of his Temper—which he acknowledges, laments, and apologizes for, on reflection.

Now, here is enough of my small writing for your reading. I have been able to read, and admire, some Corneille lately: as to Racine—'Ce n'est pas mon homme,' as Catharine of Russia said of him. Now I am at Madame de Sevigne's delightful Letters; I should like to send you a Bouquet of Extracts: but must have done now, being always yours

E. F.G.



XXIX.

LOWESTOFT: May 16/75

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I have been wishing to send you Carlyle's Norway Kings, and oh! such a delightful Paper of Spedding's on the Text of Richard III. {74} But I have waited till I should hear from you, knowing that you will reply! And not feeling sure, till I hear, whether you are not on your way to England Eastward ho!—even as I am now writing!—Or, I fancy—should you not be well? Anyhow, I shall wait till some authentic news of yourself comes to me. I should not mind sending you Carlyle—why, yes! I will send him! But old Spedding—which is only a Proof—I won't send till I know that you are still where you were to receive it—Oh! such a piece of musical criticism! without the least pretence to being Musick: as dry as he can make it, in fact. But he does, with utmost politeness, smash the Cambridge Editors' Theory about the Quarto and Folio Text of R. III.—in a way that perhaps Mr. Furness might like to see.

Spedding says that Irving's Hamlet is simply—hideous—a strong expression for Spedding to use. But—(lest I should think his condemnation was only the Old Man's fault of depreciating all that is new), he extols Miss Ellen Terry's Portia as simply a perfect Performance: remembering (he says) all the while how fine was Fanny Kemble's. Now, all this you shall read for yourself, when I have token of your Whereabout, and Howabout: for I will send you Spedding's Letter, as well as his Paper.

Spedding won't go and see Salvini's Othello, because he does not know Italian, and also because he hears that Salvini's is a different Conception of Othello from Shakespeare's. I can't understand either reason; but Spedding is (as Carlyle {75a} wrote me of his Bacon) the 'invincible, and victorious.' At any rate, I can't beat him. Irving I never could believe in as Hamlet, after seeing part of his famous Performance of a Melodrama called 'The Bells' three or four years ago. But the Pollocks, and a large World beside, think him a Prodigy—whom Spedding thinks—a Monster! To this Complexion is the English Drama come.

I wonder if your American Winter has transformed itself to such a sudden Summer as here in Old England. I returned to my Woodbridge three weeks ago: not a leaf on the Trees: in ten days they were all green, and people—perspiring, I suppose one must say. Now again, while the Sun is quite as Hot, the Wind has swerved round to the East—so as one broils on one side and freezes on t'other—and I—the Great Twalmley {75b}—am keeping indoors from an Intimation of Bronchitis. I think it is time for one to leave the Stage oneself.

I heard from Mowbray Donne some little while ago; as he said nothing (I think) of his Father, I conclude that there is nothing worse of him to be said. He (the Father) has a Review of Macready—laudatory, I suppose—in the Edinburgh, and Mr. Helen Faucit (Martin) as injurious a one in the Quarterly: the reason of the latter being (it is supposed) because Mrs. H. F. is not noticed except just by name. To this Complexion also!

Ever yours, E. F.G.

Since writing as above, your Letter comes; as you do not speak of moving, I shall send Spedding and Carlyle by Post to you, in spite of the Loss of Income you tell me of which would (I doubt) close up my thoughts some while from such speculations. I do not think you will take trouble so to heart. Keep Spedding for me: Carlyle I don't want again. Tired as you—and I—are of Shakespeare Commentaries, you will like this.



XXX.

LOWESTOFT: July 22/75.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I have abstained from writing since you wrote me how busily your Pen was employed for the Press: I wished more than ever to spare you the trouble of answering me—which I knew you would not forgo. And now you will feel called upon, I suppose, though I would fain spare you.

Though I date from this place still, I have been away from it at my own Woodbridge house for two months and more; only returning here indeed to help make a better Holiday for a poor Lad who is shut up in a London Office while his Heart is all for Out-of-Door, Country, Sea, etc. We have been having wretched Holyday weather, to be sure: rain, mist, and wind; St. Swithin at his worst: but all better than the hateful London Office—to which he must return the day after To-morrow, poor Fellow!

I suppose you will see—if you have not yet seen—Tennyson's Q. Mary. I don't know what to say about it; but the Times says it is the finest Play since Shakespeare; and the Spectator that it is superior to Henry VIII. Pray do you say something of it, when you write:—for I think you must have read it before that time comes.

Then Spedding has written a delicious Paper in Fraser about the late Representation of The Merchant of Venice, and his E. Terry's perfect personation of his perfect Portia. I cannot agree with him in all he says—for one thing, I must think that Portia made 'a hole in her manners' when she left Antonio trembling for his Life while she all the while [knew] how to defeat the Jew by that knowledge of the Venetian Law which (oddly enough) the Doge knew nothing about. Then Spedding thinks that Shylock has been so pushed forward ever since Macklin's time as to preponderate over all the rest in a way that Shakespeare never intended. {77} But, if Shakespeare did not intend this, he certainly erred in devoting so much of his most careful and most powerful writing to a Character which he meant to be subsidiary, and not principal. But Spedding is more likely to be right than I: right or wrong he pleads his cause as no one else can. His Paper is in this July number of Fraser: I would send it you if you had more time for reading than your last Letter speaks of; I will send if you wish.

I have not heard of Donne lately: he had been staying at Lincoln with Blakesley, the Dean: and is now, I suppose, at Chislehurst, where he took a house for a month.

And I am yours ever and sincerely E. F.G.



XXXI.

WOODBRIDGE, Aug. 24, [1875.]

Now, my dear Mrs. Kemble, you will have to call me 'a Good Creature,' as I have found out a Copy of your capital Paper, {78} and herewith post it to you. Had I not found this Copy (which Smith & Elder politely found for me) I should have sent you one of my own, cut out from a Volume of Essays by other friends, Spedding, etc., on condition that you should send me a Copy of such Reprint as you may make of it in America. It is extremely interesting; and I always think that your Theory of the Intuitive versus the Analytical and Philosophical applies to the other Arts as well as that of the Drama. Mozart couldn't tell how he made a Tune; even a whole Symphony, he said, unrolled itself out of a leading idea by no logical process. Keats said that no Poetry was worth [anything] unless it came spontaneously as Leaves to a Tree, etc. {79} I have no faith in your Works of Art done on Theory and Principle, like Wordsworth, Wagner, Holman Hunt, etc.

But, one thing you can do on Theory, and carry it well into Practice: which is—to write your Letter on Paper which does not let the Ink through, so that (according to your mode of paging) your last Letter was crossed: I really thought it so at first, and really had very hard work to make it out—some parts indeed still defying my Eyes. What I read of your remarks on Portia, etc., is so good that I wish to keep it: but still I think I shall enclose you a scrap to justify my complaint. It was almost by Intuition, not on Theory, that I deciphered what I did. Pray you amend this. My MS. is bad enough, and on that very account I would avoid diaphanous Paper. Are you not ashamed?

I shall send you Spedding's beautiful Paper on the Merchant of Venice {80} if I can lay hands on it: but at present my own room is given up to a fourth Niece (Angel that I am!) You would see that S[pedding] agrees with you about Portia, and in a way that I am sure must please you. But (so far as I can decipher that fatal Letter) you say nothing at all to me of the other Spedding Paper I sent to you (about the Cambridge Editors, etc.), which I must have back again indeed, unless you wish to keep it, and leave me to beg another Copy. Which to be sure I can do, and will, if your heart is set upon it—which I suppose it is not at all.

I have not heard of Donne for so long a time, that I am uneasy, and have written to Mowbray to hear. M[owbray] perhaps is out on his Holyday, else I think he would have replied at once. And 'no news may be the Good News.'

I have no news to tell of myself; I am much as I have been for the last four months: which is, a little ricketty. But I get out in my Boat on the River three or four hours a Day when possible, and am now as ever yours sincerely

E. F.G.



XXXII.

[Oct. 4, 1875]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I duly received your last legible Letter, and Spedding's Paper: for both of which all Thanks. But you must do something more for me. I see by Notes and Queries that you are contributing Recollections to some American Magazine; I want you to tell me where I can get this, with all the back Numbers in which you have written.

I return the expected favour (Hibernice) with the enclosed Prints, one of which is rather a Curiosity: that of Mrs. Siddons by Lawrence when he was aetat. 13. The other, done from a Cast of herself by herself, is only remarkable as being almost a Copy of this early Lawrence—at least, in Attitude, if not in Expression. I dare say you have seen the Cast itself. And now for a Story better than either Print: a story to which Mrs. Siddons' glorious name leads me, burlesque as it is.

You may know there is a French Opera of Macbeth—by Chelard. This was being played at the Dublin Theatre—Viardot, I think, the Heroine. However that may be, the Curtain drew up for the Sleep-walking Scene; Doctor and Nurse were there, while a long mysterious Symphony went on—till a Voice from the Gallery called out to the Leader of the Band, Levey—'Whisht! Lavy, my dear—tell us now—is it a Boy or a Girl?' This Story is in a Book which I gave 2s. for at a Railway Stall; called Recollections of an Impresario, or some such name; {82a} a Book you would not have deigned to read, and so would have missed what I have read and remembered and written out for you.

It will form the main part of my Letter: and surely you will not expect anything better from me.

Your hot Colorado Summer is over; and you are now coming to the season which you—and others beside you—think so peculiarly beautiful in America. We have no such Colours to show here, you know: none of that Violet which I think you have told me of as mixing with the Gold in the Foliage. Now it is that I hear that Spirit that Tennyson once told of talking to himself among the faded flowers in the Garden-plots. I think he has dropt that little Poem {82b} out of his acknowledged works; there was indeed nothing in it, I think, but that one Image: and that sticks by me as Queen Mary does not.

I have just been telling some Man enquiring in Notes and Queries where he may find the beautiful foolish old Pastoral beginning—

'My Sheep I neglected, I broke my Sheep-hook, &c.' {82c}

which, if you don't know it, I will write out for you, ready as it offers itself to my Memory. Mrs. Frere of Cambridge used to sing it as she could sing the Classical Ballad—to a fairly expressive tune: but there is a movement (Trio, I think) in one of dear old Haydn's Symphonies almost made for it. Who else but Haydn for the Pastoral! Do you remember his blessed Chorus of 'Come, gentle Spring,' that open the Seasons? Oh, it is something to remember the old Ladies who sang that Chorus at the old Ancient Concerts rising with Music in hand to sing that lovely piece under old Greatorex's Direction. I have never heard Haydn and Handel so well as in those old Rooms with those old Performers, who still retained the Tradition of those old Masters. Now it is getting Midnight; but so mild—this October 4—that I am going to smoke one Pipe outdoors—with a little Brandy and water to keep the Dews off. I told you I had not been well all the Summer; I say I begin to 'smell the Ground,' {83} which you will think all Fancy. But I remain while above Ground

Yours sincerely E. F.G.



XXXIII.

[October, 1875.]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

My last Letter asked you how and where I could get at your Papers; this is to say, I have got them, thanks to the perseverance of our Woodbridge Bookseller, who would not be put off by his London Agent, and has finally procured me the three Numbers {84} which contain your 'Gossip.' Now believe me; I am delighted with it; and only wish it might run on as long as I live: which perhaps it may. Of course somewhat of my Interest results from the Times, Persons, and Places you write of; almost all more or less familiar to me; but I am quite sure that very few could have brought all before me as you have done—with what the Painters call, so free, full, and flowing a touch. I suppose this 'Gossip' is the Memoir you told me you were about; three or four years ago, I think: or perhaps Selections from it; though I hardly see how your Recollections could be fuller. No doubt your Papers will all be collected into a Book; perhaps it would have been financially better for you to have so published it now. But, on the other hand, you will have the advantage of writing with more freedom and ease in the Magazine, knowing that you can alter, contract, or amplify, in any future Re-publication. It gives me such pleasure to like, and honestly say I like, this work—and—I know I'm right in such matters, though I can't always give the reason why I like, or don't like, Dr. Fell: as much wiser People can—who reason themselves quite wrong.

I suppose you were at School in the Rue d'Angouleme near about the time (you don't give dates enough, I think—there's one fault for you!)—about the time when we lived there: I suppose you were somewhat later, however: for assuredly my Mother and yours would have been together often—Oh, but your Mother was not there, only you—at School. We were there in 1817- 18—signalised by The Great Murder—that of Fualdes—one of the most interesting events in all History to me, I am sorry to say. For in that point I do not say I am right. But that Rue d'Angouleme—do you not remember the house cornering on the Champs Elysees with some ornaments in stone of Flowers and Garlands—belonging to a Lord Courtenay, I believe? And do you remember a Pepiniere over the way; and, over that, seeing that Temple in the Beaujon Gardens with the Parisians descending and ascending in Cars? And (I think) at the end of the street, the Church of St. Philippe du Roule? Perhaps I shall see in your next Number that you do remember all these things.

Well: I was pleased with some other Papers in your Magazine: as those on V. Hugo, {85a} and Tennyson's Queen Mary: {85b} I doubt not that Criticism on English Writers is likely to be more impartial over the Atlantic, and not biassed by Clubs, Coteries, etc. I always say that we in the Country are safer Judges than those of even better Wits in London: not being prejudiced so much, whether by personal acquaintance, or party, or Fashion. I see that Professor Wilson said much the same thing to Willis forty years ago.

I have written to Donne to tell him of your Papers, and that I will send him my Copies if he cannot get them. Mowbray wrote me word that his Father, who has bought the house in Weymouth Street, was now about returning to it, after some Alterations made. Mowbray talks of paying me a little Visit here—he and his Wife—at the End of this month:—when what Good Looks we have will all be gone.

Farewell for the present; I count on your Gossip: and believe me (what it serves to make me feel more vividly)

Your sincere old Friend E. F.G.



XXXIV.

[Nov. 1875.]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

The Mowbray Donnes have been staying some days {86} with me—very pleasantly. Of course I got them to tell me of the fine things in London: among the rest, the Artists whose Photos they sent me, and I here enclose. The Lady, they tell me—(Spedding's present Idol)—is better than her Portrait—which would not have so enamoured Bassanio. Irving's, they say, is flattered. But 'tis a handsome face, surely; and one that should do for Hamlet—if it were not for that large Ear—do you notice? I was tempted to send it to you, because it reminds me of some of your Family: your Father, most of all, as Harlowe has painted him in that famous Picture of the Trial Scene. {87a} It is odd to me that the fine Engraving from that Picture—once so frequent—is scarce seen now: it has seemed strange to me to meet People who never even heard of it.

I don't know why you have a little Grudge against Mrs. Siddons—perhaps you will say you have not—all my fancy. I think it was noticed at Cambridge that your Brother John scarce went to visit her when she was staying with that Mrs. Frere, whom you don't remember with pleasure. She did talk much and loud: but she had a fine Woman's heart underneath, and she could sing a classical Song: as also some of Handel, whom she had studied with Bartleman. But she never could have sung the Ballad with the fulness which you describe in Mrs. Arkwright. {87b}

Which, together with your mention of your American isolation, reminds me of some Verses of Hood, with which I will break your Heart a little. They are not so very good, neither: but I, in England as I am, and like to be, cannot forget them.

'The Swallow with Summer Shall wing o'er the Seas; The Wind that I sigh to Shall sing in your Trees;

The Ship that it hastens Your Ports will contain— But for me—I shall never See England again.' {88a}

It always runs in my head to a little German Air, common enough in our younger days—which I will make a note of, and you will, I dare say, remember at once.

I doubt that what I have written is almost as illegible as that famous one of yours: in which however only [paper] was in fault: {88b} and now I shall scarce mend the matter by taking a steel pen instead of that old quill, which certainly did fight upon its Stumps.

Well now—Professor Masson of Edinburgh has asked me to join him and seventy-nine others in celebrating Carlyle's eightieth Birthday on December 4—with the Presentation of a Gold Medal with Carlyle's own Effigy upon it, and a congratulatory Address. I should have thought such a Measure would be ridiculous to Carlyle; but I suppose Masson must have ascertained his Pleasure from some intimate Friend of C.'s: otherwise he would not have known of my Existence for one. However Spedding and Pollock tell me that, after some hesitation like my own, they judged best to consent. Our Names are even to be attached somehow to a—White Silk, or Satin, Scroll! Surely Carlyle cannot be aware of that? I hope devoutly that my Name come too late for its Satin Apotheosis; but, if it do not, I shall apologise to Carlyle for joining such Mummery. I only followed the Example of my Betters.

Now I must shut up, for Photos and a Line of Music is to come in. I was so comforted to find that your Mother had some hand in Dr. Kitchener's Cookery Book, {89} which has always been Guide, Philosopher, and Friend in such matters. I can't help liking a Cookery Book.

Ever yours E. F.G.

No: I never turned my tragic hand on Fualdes; but I remember well being taken in 1818 to the Ambigu Comique to see the 'Chateau de Paluzzi,' which was said to be founded on that great Murder. I still distinctly remember a Closet, from which came some guilty Personage. It is not only the Murder itself that impressed me, but the Scene it was enacted in; the ancient half-Spanish City of Rodez, with its River Aveyron, its lonely Boulevards, its great Cathedral, under which the Deed was done in the 'Rue des Hebdomadiers.' I suppose you don't see, or read, our present Whitechapel Murder—a nasty thing, not at all to my liking. The Name of the Murderer—as no one doubts he is, whatever the Lawyers may disprove—is the same as that famous Man of Taste who wrote on the Fine Arts in the London Magazine under the name of Janus Weathercock, {90a} and poisoned Wife, Wife's Mother and Sister after insuring their Lives. De Quincey (who was one of the Magazine) has one of his Essays about this wretch.

Here is another half-sheet filled, after all: I am afraid rather troublesome to read. In three or four days we shall have another Atlantic, and I am ever yours

E. F.G.



XXXV.

WOODBRIDGE: Decr. 29/75.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

You will say I am a very good Creature indeed, for beginning to answer your Letter the very day it reaches me. But so it happens that this same day also comes a Letter from Laurence the Painter, who tells me something of poor Minnie's Death, {90b} which answers to the Query in your Letter. Laurence sends me Mrs. Brookfield's Note to him: from which I quote to you—no!—I will make bold to send you her Letter itself! Laurence says he is generally averse to showing others a Letter meant for himself (the little Gentleman that he is!), but he ventures in this case, knowing me to be an old friend of the Family. And so I venture to post it over the Atlantic to you who take a sincere Interest in them also. I wonder if I am doing wrong?

In the midst of all this mourning comes out a new Volume of Thackeray's Drawings—or Sketches—as I foresaw it would be, too much Caricature, not so good as much [of] his old Punch; and with none of the better things I wanted them to put in—for his sake, as well as the Community's. I do not wonder at the Publisher's obstinacy, but I wonder that Annie T. did not direct otherwise. I am convinced I can hear Thackeray saying, when such a Book as this was proposed to him—'Oh, come—there has been enough of all this'—and crumpling up the Proof in that little hand of his. For a curiously little hand he had, uncharacteristic of the grasp of his mind: I used to consider it half inherited from the Hindoo people among whom he was born. {91}

I dare say I told you of the Proposal to congratulate Carlyle on his eightieth Birthday; and probably some Newspaper has told you of the Address, and the Medal, and the White Satin Roll to which our eighty names were to be attached. I thought the whole Concern, Medal, Address, and Satin Roll, a very Cockney thing; and devoutly hoped my own illustrious name would arrive too late. I could not believe that Carlyle would like the Thing: but it appears by his published Answer that he did. He would not, ten years ago, I think. Now—talking of illustrious names, etc., oh, my dear Mrs. Kemble, your sincere old Regard for my Family and myself has made you say more—of one of us, at least—than the World will care to be told: even if your old Regard had not magnified our lawful Deserts. But indeed it has done so: in Quality, as well as in Quantity. I know I am not either squeamishly, or hypocritically, saying all this: I am sure I know myself better than you do, and take a juster view of my pretensions. I think you Kembles are almost Donnes in your determined regard, and (one may say) Devotion to old Friends, etc. A rare—a noble—Failing! Oh, dear!—Well, I shall not say any more: you will know that I do not the less thank you for publickly speaking of [me] as I never was spoken of before—only too well. Indeed, this is so; and when you come to make a Book of your Papers, I shall make you cut out something. Don't be angry with me now—no, I know you will not. {92}

The Day after To-morrow I shall have your new Number; which is a Consolation (if needed) for the Month's going. And I am ever yours

E. F.G.

Oh, I must add—The Printing is no doubt the more legible; but I get on very well with your MS. when not crossed. {94}

Donne, I hear, is fairly well. Mowbray has had a Lift in his Inland Revenue Office, and now is secure, I believe, of Competence for Life. Charles wrote me a kindly Letter at Christmas: he sent me his own Photo; and then (at my Desire) one of his wife:—Both of which I would enclose, but that my Packet is already bulky enough. It won't go off to-night when it is written—for here (absolutely!) comes my Reader (8 p.m.) to read me a Story (very clever) in All the Year Round, and no one to go to Post just now.

Were they not pretty Verses by Hood? I thought to make you a little miserable by them:—but you take no more notice than—what you will.

Good Night! Good Bye!—Now for Mrs. Trollope's Story, entitled 'A Charming Fellow'—(very clever).



XXXVI.

WOODBRIDGE: Febr: 2/76.

Now, my dear Mrs. Kemble, I have done you a little good turn. Some days ago I was talking to my Brother John (I dared not show him!) of what you had said of my Family in your Gossip. He was extremely interested: and wished much that I [would] convey you his old hereditary remembrances. But, beside that, he wished you to have a Miniature of your Mother which my Mother had till she died. It is a full length; in a white Dress, with blue Scarf, looking and tending with extended Arms upward in a Blaze of Light. My Brother had heard my Mother's History of the Picture, but could not recall it. I fancy it was before your Mother's Marriage. The Figure is very beautiful, and the Face also: like your Sister Adelaide, and your Brother Henry both. I think you will be pleased with this: and my Brother is very pleased that you should have it. Now, how to get it over to you is the Question; I believe I must get my little Quaritch, the Bookseller, who has a great American connection, to get it safely over to you. But if you know of any surer means, let me know. It is framed: and would look much better if some black edging were streaked into the Gold Frame; a thing I sometimes do only with a strip of Black Paper. The old Plan of Black and Gold Frames is much wanted where Yellow predominates in the Picture. Do you know I have a sort of Genius for Picture-framing, which is an Art People may despise, as they do the Milliner's: but you know how the prettiest Face may be hurt, and the plainest improved, by the Bonnet; and I find that (like the Bonnet, I suppose) you can only judge of the Frame, by trying it on. I used to tell some Picture Dealers they had better hire me for such Millinery: but I have not had much Scope for my Art down here. So now you have a little Lecture along with the Picture.

Now, as you are to thank me for this good turn done to you, so have I to thank you for Ditto to me. The mention of my little Quaritch reminds me. He asked me for copies of Agamemnon, to give to some of his American Customers who asked for them; and I know from whom they must have somehow heard of it. And now, what Copies I had being gone, he is going, at his own risk, to publish a little Edition. The worst is, he will print it pretentiously, I fear, as if one thought it very precious: but the Truth is, I suppose he calculates on a few Buyers who will give what will repay him. One of my Patrons, Professor Norton, of Cambridge Mass., has sent me a second Series of Lowell's 'Among my Books,' which I shall be able to acknowledge with sincere praise. I had myself bought the first Series. Lowell may do for English Writers something as Ste. Beuve has done for French: and one cannot give higher Praise. {97a}

There has been an absurd Bout in the Athenaeum {97b} between Miss Glyn and some Drury Lane Authorities. She wrote a Letter to say that she would not have played Cleopatra in a revival of Antony and Cleopatra for 1000 pounds a line, I believe, so curtailed and mangled was it. Then comes a Miss Wallis, who played the Part, to declare that 'the Veteran' (Miss G.) had wished to play the Part as it was acted: and furthermore comes Mr. Halliday, who somehow manages and adapts at D. L., to assert that the Veteran not only wished to enact the Desecration, but did enact it for many nights when Miss Wallis was indisposed. Then comes Isabel forward again—but I really forget what she said. I never saw her but once—in the Duchess of Malfi—very well: better, I dare say, than anybody now; but one could not remember a Word, a Look, or an Action. She speaks in her Letter of being brought up in the grand School and Tradition of the Kembles.

I am glad, somehow, that you liked Macready's Reminiscences: so honest, so gentlemanly in the main, so pathetic even in his struggles to be a better Man and Actor. You, I think, feel with him in your Distaste for the Profession.

I write you tremendous long Letters, which you can please yourself about reading through. I shall write Laurence your message of Remembrance to him. I had a longish Letter from Donne, who spoke of himself as well enough, only living by strict Rule in Diet, Exercise, etc.

We have had some remarkable Alternations of Cold and Hot here too: but nothing like the extremes you tell me of on the other side of the Page.

Lionel Tennyson (second Son), who answered my half-yearly Letter to his father, tells me they had heard that Annie Thackeray was well in health, but—as you may imagine in Spirits.

And I remain yours always E. F.G.

How is it my Atlantic Monthly is not yet come?



XXXVII.

WOODBRIDGE: Febr: 17/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I ought to have written before to apprise you of your Mother's Miniature being sent off—by Post. On consideration, we judged that to be the safest and speediest way: the Post Office here telling us that it was not too large or heavy so to travel: without the Frame. As, however, our Woodbridge Post Office is not very well-informed, I shall be very glad to hear it has reached you, in its double case: wood within, and tin without (quite unordered and unnecessary), which must make you think you receive a present of Sardines. You lose, you see, the Benefit of my exalted Taste in respect of Framing, which I had settled to perfection. Pray get a small Frame, concaving inwardly (Ogee pattern, I believe), which leads the Eyes into the Picture: whereas a Frame convexing outwardly leads the Eye away from the Picture; a very good thing in many cases, but not needed in this. I dare say the Picture (faded as it is) will look poor to you till enclosed and set off by a proper Frame. And the way is, as with a Bonnet (on which you know much depends even with the fairest face), to try one on before ordering it home. That is, if you choose to indulge in some more ornamental Frame than the quite simple one I have before named. Indeed, I am not sure if the Picture would not look best in a plain gold Flat (as it is called) without Ogee, or any ornament whatsoever. But try it on first: and then you can at least please yourself, if not the Terrible Modiste who now writes to you. My Brother is very anxious you should have the Picture, and wrote to me again to send you his hereditary kind Regards. I ought to be sending you his Note—which I have lost. Instead of that, I enclose one from poor Laurence to whom I wrote your kind message; and am as ever

Yours E. F.G.

You will let me know if the Picture has not arrived before this Note reaches you?



XXXVIII.

LOWESTOFT: March 16/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Directly that you mentioned 'Urania,' I began to fancy I remembered her too. {100} And we are both right; I wrote to a London friend to look out for the Engraving: and I post it to you along with this Letter. If it do not reach you in some three weeks, let me know, and I will send another.

The Engraving stops short before the Feet: the Features are coarser than the Painting: which makes me suppose that it (Engraving) is from the Painting: or from some Painting of which yours is a Copy—(I am called off here to see the Procession of Batty's Circus parade up the street)—

The Procession is past: the Clowns, the Fine Ladies (who should wear a little Rouge even by Daylight), the 'performing' Elephants, the helmeted Cavaliers, and last, the Owner (I suppose) as 'the modern Gentleman' driving four-in-hand.

This intoxication over, I return to my Duties—to say that the Engraving is from a Painting by 'P. Jean,' engraved by Vendramini: published by John Thompson in 1802, and dedicated to the 'Hon. W. R. Spencer'—(who, I suppose, was the 'Vers-de Societe' Man of the Day; and perhaps the owner of the original: whether now yours, or not. All this I tell you in case the Print should not arrive in fair time: and you have but to let me know, and another shall post after it.

I have duly written my Brother your thanks for his Present, and your sincere Gratification in possessing it. He is very glad it has so much pleased you. But he can only surmise thus much more of its history—that it belonged to my Grandfather before my Mother: he being a great lover of the Theatre, and going every night I believe to old Covent Garden or old Drury Lane—names really musical to me—old Melodies.

I think I wrote to you about the Framing. I always say of that, as of other Millinery (on which so much depends), the best way is—to try on the Bonnet before ordering it; which you can do by the materials which all Carvers and Gilders in this Country keep by them. I have found even my Judgment—the Great Twalmley's Judgment—sometimes thrown out by not condescending to this; in this, as in so many other things, so very little making all the Difference. I should not think that Black next the Picture would do so well: but try, try: try on the Bonnet: and if you please yourself—inferior Modiste as you are—why, so far so good.

Donne, who reports himself as very well (always living by Discipline and Rule), tells me that he has begged you to return to England if you would make sure of seeing him again. I told Pollock of your great Interest in Macready: I too find that I am content to have bought the Book, and feel more interest in the Man than in the Actor. My Mother used to know him once: but I never saw him in private till once at Pollock's after his retirement: when he sat quite quiet, and (as you say) I was sorry not to have made a little Advance to him, as I heard he had a little wished to see me because of that old Acquaintance with my Mother. I should like to have told him how much I liked much of his Performance; asked him why he would say 'Amen stu-u-u-u-ck in my Throat' (which was a bit of wrong, as well as vulgar, Judgment, I think). But I looked on him as the great Man of the Evening, unpresuming as he was: and so kept aloof, as I have ever done from all Celebrities—yourself among them—who I thought must be wearied enough of Followers and Devotees—unless those of Note.

I am now writing in the place—in the room—from which I wrote ten years ago—it all recurs to me—with Montaigne for my Company, and my Lugger about to be built. Now I have brought Madame de Sevigne (who loved Montaigne too—the capital Woman!) and the Lugger—Ah, there is a long sad Story about that!—which I won't go into—

Little Quaritch seems to have dropt Agamemnon, Lord of Hosts, for the present: and I certainly am not sorry, for I think it would only have been abused by English Critics: with some, but not all, Justice. You are very good in naming your American Publisher, but I suppose it must be left at present with Quaritch, to whom I wrote a 'Permit,' so long as I had nothing to do with it.

Ever yours E. F.G.



XXXIX.

[LOWESTOFT, April, 1876.]

MY DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

From Lowestoft still I date: as just ten years ago when I was about building a Lugger, and reading Montaigne. The latter holds his own with me after three hundred years: and the Lugger does not seem much the worse for her ten years' wear, so well did she come bouncing between the Piers here yesterday, under a strong Sou'-Wester. My Great Captain has her no more; he has what they call a 'Scotch Keel' which is come into fashion: her too I see: and him too steering her, broader and taller than all the rest: fit to be a Leader of Men, Body and Soul; looking now Ulysses-like. Two or three years ago he had a run of constant bad luck; and, being always of a grand convivial turn, treating Everybody, he got deep in Drink, against all his Promises to me, and altogether so lawless, that I brought things to a pass between us. 'He should go on with me if he would take the Tee-total Pledge for one year'—'No—he had broken his word,' he said, 'and he would not pledge it again,' much as he wished to go on with me. That, you see, was very fine in him; he is altogether fine—A Great Man, I maintain it: like one of Carlyle's old Norway Kings, with a wider morality than we use; which is very good and fine (as this Captain said to me) 'for you who are born with a silver spoon in your mouths.' I did not forget what Carlyle too says about Great Faults in Great Men: even in David, the Lord's Anointed. But I thought best to share the Property with him and let him go his way. He had always resented being under any Control, and was very glad to be his own sole Master again: and yet clung to me in a wild and pathetic way. He has not been doing better since: and I fear is sinking into disorder.

This is a long story about one you know nothing about except what little I have told you. But the Man is a very remarkable Man indeed, and you may be interested—you must be—in him.

'Ho! parlons d'autres choses, ma Fille,' as my dear Sevigne says. She now occupies Montaigne's place in my room: well—worthily: she herself a Lover of Montaigne, and with a spice of his free thought and speech in her. I am sometimes vext I never made her acquaintance till last year: but perhaps it was as well to have such an acquaintance reserved for one's latter years. The fine Creature! much more alive to me than most Friends—I should like to see her 'Rochers' in Brittany. {105}

'Parlons d'autres choses'—your Mother's Miniature. You seemed at first to think it was taken from the Engraving: but the reverse was always clear to me. The whole figure, down to the Feet, is wanted to account for the position of the Legs; and the superior delicacy of Feature would not be gained from the Engraving, but the contrary. The Stars were stuck in to make an 'Urania' of it perhaps. I do not assert that your Miniature is the original: but that such a Miniature is. I did not expect that Black next the Picture would do: had you 'tried on the Bonnet' first, as I advised? I now wish I had sent the Picture over in its original Frame, which I had doctored quite well with a strip of Black Paper pasted over the Gold. It might really have gone through Quaritch's Agency: but I got into my head that the Post was safer. (How badly I am writing!) I had a little common Engraving of the Cottage bonnet Portrait: so like Henry. If I did not send it to you, I know not what is become of it.

Along with your Letter came one from Donne telling me of your Niece's Death. {106} He said he had written to tell you. In reply, I gave him your message; that he must 'hold on' till next year when peradventure you may see England again, and hope to see him too.

Sooner or later you will see an Account of 'Mary Tudor' at the Lyceum. {107} It is just what I expected: a 'succes d'estime,' and not a very enthusiastic one. Surely, no one could have expected more. And now comes out a new Italian Hamlet—Rossi—whose first appearance is recorded in the enclosed scrap of Standard. And (to finish Theatrical or Dramatic Business) Quaritch has begun to print Agamemnon—so leisurely that I fancy he wishes to wait till the old Persian is exhausted, and so join the two. I certainly am in no hurry; for I fully believe we shall only get abused for the Greek in proportion as we were praised for the Persian—in England. I mean: for you have made America more favourable.

'Parlons d'autres choses.' 'Eh? mais de quoi parler,' etc. Well: a Blackbird is singing in the little Garden outside my Lodging Window, which is frankly opened to what Sun there is. It has been a singular half year; only yesterday Thunder in rather cold weather; and last week the Road and Rail in Cambridge and Huntingdon was blocked up with Snow; and Thunder then also. I suppose I shall get home in ten days: before this Letter will reach you, I suppose: so your next may be addressed to Woodbridge. I really don't know if these long Letters are more of Trouble or Pleasure to you: however, there is an end to all: and that End is that I am yours as truly as ever I was

E. F.G.



XL.

WOODBRIDGE, July 4, [1876.]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Here I am back into the Country, as I may call my suburb here as compared to Lowestoft; all my house, except the one room—which 'serves me for Parlour and Bedroom and all' {108a}—occupied by Nieces. Our weather is temperate, our Trees green, Roses about to bloom, Birds about to leave off singing—all sufficiently pleasant. I must not forget a Box from Mudie with some Memoirs in it—of Godwin, Haydon, etc., which help to amuse one. And I am just beginning Don Quixote once more for my 'piece de Resistance,' not being so familiar with the First Part as the Second. Lamb and Coleridge (I think) thought that Second Part should not have been written; why then did I—not for contradiction's sake, I am sure—so much prefer it? Old Hallam, in his History of Literature, resolved me, I believe, by saying that Cervantes, who began by making his Hero ludicrously crazy, fell in love with him, and in the second part tamed and tempered him down to the grand Gentleman he is: scarce ever originating a Delusion, though acting his part in it as a true Knight when led into it by others. {108b} A good deal however might well be left out. If you have Jarvis' Translation by, or near, you, pray read—oh, read all of the second part, except the stupid stuff of the old Duenna in the Duke's Palace.

I fear I get more and more interested in your 'Gossip,' as you approach the Theatre. I suppose indeed that it is better to look on than to be engaged in. I love it, and reading of it, now as much as ever I cared to see it: and that was, very much indeed. I never heard till from your last Paper {109a} that Henry was ever thought of for Romeo: I wonder he did not tell me this when he and I were in Paris in 1830, and used to go and see 'La Muette!' (I can hear them calling it now:) at the Grand Opera. I see that 'Queen Mary' has some while since been deposed from the Lyceum; and poor Mr. Irving descended from Shakespeare to his old Melodrama again. All this is still interesting to me down here: much more than to you—over there!—

'Over there' you are in the thick of your Philadelphian Exhibition, {109b} I suppose: but I dare say you do not meddle with it very much, and will probably be glad when it is all over. I wish now I had sent you the Miniature in its Frame, which I had instructed to become it. What you tell us your Mother said concerning Dress, I certainly always felt: only secure the Beautiful, and the Grand, in all the Arts, whatever Chronology may say. Rousseau somewhere says that what you want of Decoration in the Theatre is, what will bewilder the Imagination—'ebranler l'Imagination,' I think: {110} only let it be Beautiful!

June 5.

I kept this letter open in case I should see Arthur Malkin, who was coming to stay at a Neighbour's house. He very kindly did call on me: he and his second wife (who, my Neighbour says, is a very proper Wife), but I was abroad—though no further off than my own little Estate; and he knows I do not visit elsewhere. But I do not the less thank him, and am always yours

E. F.G.

Pollock writes me he had just visited Carlyle—quite well for his Age: and vehement against Darwin, and the Turk.



XLI.

WOODBRIDGE, July 31/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

A better pen than usual tempts me to write the little I have to tell you; so that [at] any rate your Eyes shall not be afflicted as sometimes I doubt they are by my MS.

Which MS. puts me at once in mind of Print: and to tell you that I shall send you Quaritch's Reprint of Agamemnon: which is just done after many blunders. The revises were not sent me, as I desired: so several things are left as I meant not: but 'enfin' here it is at last so fine that I am ashamed of it. For, whatever the merit of it may be, it can't come near all this fine Paper, Margin, etc., which Quaritch will have as counting on only a few buyers, who will buy—in America almost wholly, I think. And, as this is wholly due to you, I send you the Reprint, however little different to what you had before.

'Tragedy wonders at being so fine,' which leads me to that which ought more properly to have led to it: your last two Papers of 'Gossip,' which are capital, both for the Story told, and the remarks that arise from it. To-morrow, or next day, I shall have a new Number; and I really do count rather childishly on their arrival. Spedding also is going over some of his old Bacon ground in the Contemporary, {111} and his writing is always delightful to me though I cannot agree with him at last. I am told he is in full Vigour: as indeed I might guess from his writing. I heard from Donne some three weeks ago: proposing a Summer Holyday at Whitby, in Yorkshire: Valentia, I think, not very well again: Blanche then with her Brother Charles. They all speak very highly of Mrs. Santley's kindness and care. Mowbray talks of coming down this way toward the end of August: but had not, when he last wrote, fixed on his Holyday place.

Beside my two yearly elder Nieces, I have now a younger who has spent the last five Winters in Florence with your once rather intimate (I think) Jane FitzGerald my Sister. She married, (you may know) a Clergyman considerably older than herself. I wrote to Annie Thackeray lately, and had an answer (from the Lakes) to say she was pretty well—as also Mr. Stephen.

And I am ever yours E. F.G.

P.S. On second thoughts I venture to send you A. T.'s letter, which may interest you and cannot shame her. I do not want it again.



XLII.

WOODBRIDGE: Septr. 21/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Have your American Woods begun to hang out their Purple and Gold yet? on this Day of Equinox. Some of ours begin to look rusty, after the Summer Drought; but have not turned Yellow yet. I was talking of this to a Heroine of mine who lives near here, but visits the Highlands of Scotland, which she loves better than Suffolk—and she said of those Highland Trees—'O, they give themselves no dying Airs, but turn Orange in a Day, and are swept off in a Whirlwind, and Winter is come.'

Now too one's Garden begins to be haunted by that Spirit which Tennyson says is heard talking to himself among the flower-borders. Do you remember him? {113a}

And now—Who should send in his card to me last week—but the old Poet himself—he and his elder Son Hallam passing through Woodbridge from a Tour in Norfolk. {113b} 'Dear old Fitz,' ran the Card in pencil, 'We are passing thro'.' {113c} I had not seen him for twenty years—he looked much the same, except for his fallen Locks; and what really surprised me was, that we fell at once into the old Humour, as if we had only been parted twenty Days instead of so many Years. I suppose this is a Sign of Age—not altogether desirable. But so it was. He stayed two Days, and we went over the same old grounds of Debate, told some of the old Stories, and all was well. I suppose I may never see him again: and so I suppose we both thought as the Rail carried him off: and each returned to his ways as if scarcely diverted from them. Age again!—I liked Hallam much; unaffected, unpretending—no Slang—none of Young England's nonchalance—speaking of his Father as 'Papa' and tending him with great Care, Love, and Discretion. Mrs. A. T. is much out of health, and scarce leaves Home, I think. {114a}

I have lately finished Don Quixote again, and I think have inflamed A. T. to read him too—I mean in his native Language. For this must be, good as Jarvis' Translation is, and the matter of the Book so good that one would think it would lose less than any Book by Translation. But somehow that is not so. I was astonished lately to see how Shakespeare's Henry IV. came out in young V. Hugo's Prose Translation {114b}: Hotspur, Falstaff and all. It really seemed to show me more than I had yet seen in the original.

Ever yours, E. F.G.



XLIII.

LOWESTOFT: October 24/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Little—Nothing—as I have to write, I am nevertheless beginning to write to you, from this old Lodging of mine, from which I think our Correspondence chiefly began—ten years ago. I am in the same Room: the same dull Sea moaning before me: the same Wind screaming through the Windows: so I take up the same old Story. My Lugger was then about building: {115} she has passed into other hands now: I see her from time to time bouncing into Harbour, with her '244' on her Bows. Her Captain and I have parted: I thought he did very wrongly—Drink, among other things: but he did not think he did wrong: a different Morality from ours—that, indeed, of Carlyle's ancient Sea Kings. I saw him a few days ago in his house, with Wife and Children; looking, as always, too big for his house: but always grand, polite, and unlike anybody else. I was noticing the many Flies in the room—'Poor things,' he said, 'it is the warmth of our Stove makes them alive.' When Tennyson was with me, whose Portrait hangs in my house in company with those of Thackeray and this Man (the three greatest men I have known), I thought that both Tennyson and Thackeray were inferior to him in respect of Thinking of Themselves. When Tennyson was telling me of how The Quarterly abused him (humorously too), and desirous of knowing why one did not care for his later works, etc., I thought that if he had lived an active Life, as Scott and Shakespeare; or even ridden, shot, drunk, and played the Devil, as Byron, he would have done much more, and talked about it much less. 'You know,' said Scott to Lockhart, 'that I don't care a Curse about what I write,' {116} and one sees he did not. I don't believe it was far otherwise with Shakespeare. Even old Wordsworth, wrapt up in his Mountain mists, and proud as he was, was above all this vain Disquietude: proud, not vain, was he: and that a Great Man (as Dante) has some right to be—but not to care what the Coteries say. What a Rigmarole!

Donne scarce ever writes to me (Twalmley the Great), and if he do not write to you, depend upon it he thinks he has nothing worth sending over the Atlantic. I heard from Mowbray quite lately that his Father was very well.

Yes: you told me in a previous Letter that you were coming to England after Christmas. I shall not be up to going to London to see you, with all your Company about you; perhaps (don't think me very impudent!) you may come down, if we live till Summer, to my Woodbridge Chateau, and there talk over some old things.

I make a kind of Summer in my Room here with Boccaccio. What a Mercy that one can return with a Relish to these Books! As Don Quixote can only be read in his Spanish, so I do fancy Boccaccio only in his Italian: and yet one is used to fancy that Poetry is the mainly untranslateable thing. How prettily innocent are the Ladies, who, after telling very loose Stories, finish with 'E cosi Iddio faccia [noi] godere del nostro Amore, etc.,' sometimes, Domeneddio, more affectionately. {117a}

Anyhow, these Ladies are better than the accursed Eastern Question; {117b} of which I have determined to read, and, if possible, hear, no more till the one question be settled of Peace or War. If war, I am told I may lose some 5000 pounds in Russian Bankruptcy: but I can truly say I would give that, and more, to ensure Peace and Good Will among Men at this time. Oh, the Apes we are! I must retire to my Montaigne—whom, by the way, I remember reading here, when the Lugger was building! Oh, the Apes, etc. But there was A Man in all that Business still, who is so now, somewhat tarnished.—And I am yours as then sincerely

E. F.G.



XLIV.

LOWESTOFT: December 12/76.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

If you hold to your Intention of coming to Europe in January, this will be my last Letter over the Atlantic—till further Notice! I dare say you will send me a last Rejoinder under the same conditions.

I write, you see, from the Date of my last letter: but have been at home in the meanwhile. And am going home to-morrow—to arrange about Christmas Turkeys (God send we haven't all our fill of that, this Year!) and other such little matters pertaining to the Season—which, to myself, is always a very dull one. Why it happens that I so often write to you from here, I scarce know; only that one comes with few Books, perhaps, and the Sea somehow talks to one of old Things. I have ever my Edition of Crabbe's Tales of the Hall with me. How pretty is this—

'In a small Cottage on the rising Ground West of the Waves, and just beyond their Sound.' {118}

Which reminds me also that one of the Books I have here is Leslie Stephen's 'Hours in a Library,' really delightful reading, and, I think, really settling some Questions of Criticism, as one wants to be finally done in all Cases, so as to have no more about and about it. I think I could have suggested a little Alteration in the matter of this Crabbe, whom I probably am better up in than L. S., though I certainly could not write about it as he does. Also, one word about Clarissa. Almost all the rest of the two Volumes I accept as a Disciple. {119a}

Another Book of the kind—Lowell's 'Among my Books,' is excellent also: perhaps with more Genius than Stephen: but on the other hand not so temperate, judicious, or scholarly in taste. It was Professor Norton who sent me Lowell's Second Series; and, if you should—(as you inevitably will, though in danger of losing the Ship) answer this Letter, pray tell me if you know how Professor Norton is—in health, I mean. You told me he was very delicate: and I am tempted to think he may be less well than usual, as he has not acknowledged the receipt of a Volume {119b} I sent him with some of Wordsworth's Letters in it, which he had wished to see. The Volume did not need Acknowledgment absolutely: but probably would not have been received without by so amiable and polite a Man, if he [were] not out of sorts. I should really be glad to hear that he has only forgotten, or neglected, to write.

Mr. Lowell's Ode {120a} in your last Magazine seemed to me full of fine Thought; but it wanted Wings. I mean it kept too much to one Level, though a high Level, for Lyric Poetry, as Ode is supposed to be: both in respect to Thought, and Metre. Even Wordsworth (least musical of men) changed his Flight to better purpose in his Ode to Immortality. Perhaps, however, Mr. Lowell's subject did not require, or admit, such Alternations.

Your last Gossip brought me back to London—but what Street I cannot make sure of—but one Room in whatever Street it were, where I remember your Mr. Wade, who took his Defeat at the Theatre so bravely. {120b} And your John, in Spain with the Archbishop of Dublin: and coming home full of Torrijos: and singing to me and Thackeray one day in Russell Street: {120c}

{Music score for Si un Elio conspiro alevo. . .: p120.jpg}

All which comes to me west of the waves and just within the sound: and is to travel so much farther Westward over an Expanse of Rollers such as we see not in this Herring-pond. Still, it is—The Sea.

Now then Farewell, dear Mrs. Kemble. You will let me know when you get to Dublin? I will add that, after very many weeks, I did hear from Donne, who told me of you, and that he himself had been out to dine: and was none the worse.

And I still remain, you see, your long-winded Correspondent

E. F.G.



XLV.

12 MARINE TERRACE, LOWESTOFT, February 19/77.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

Donne has sent me the Address on the cover of this Letter. I know you will write directly you hear from me; that is 'de rigueur' with you; and, at any rate, you have your Voyage home to England to tell me of: and how you find yourself and all in the Old Country. I suppose you include my Old Ireland in it. Donne wrote that you were to be there till this Month's end; that is drawing near; and, if that you do not protract your Visit, you will [be] very soon within sight of dear Donne himself, who, I hear from Mowbray, is very well.

Your last Gossip was very interesting to me. I see in it (but not in the most interesting part) {122a} that you write of a 'J. F.,' who tells you of a Sister of hers having a fourth Child, etc. I fancy this must be a Jane FitzGerald telling you of her Sister Kerrich, who would have numbered about so many Children about that time—1831. Was it that Jane? I think you and she were rather together just then. After which she married herself to a Mr. Wilkinson—made him very Evangelical—and tiresome—and so they fed their Flock in a Suffolk village. {122b} And about fourteen or fifteen years ago he died: and she went off to live in Florence—rather a change from the Suffolk Village—and there, I suppose, she will die when her Time comes.

Now you have read Harold, I suppose; and you shall tell me what you think of it. Pollock and Miladi think it has plenty of Action and Life: one of which Qualities I rather missed in it.

Mr. Lowell sent me his Three Odes about Liberty, Washington, etc. They seemed to me full of fine Thought, and in a lofty Strain: but wanting Variety both of Mood and Diction for Odes—which are supposed to mean things to be chanted. So I ventured to hint to him—Is he an angry man? But he wouldn't care, knowing of me only through amiable Mr. Norton, who knows me through you. I think he must be a very amiable, modest, man. And I am still yours always

E. F.G.



XLVI.

12 MARINE TERRACE, LOWESTOFT, March 15, [1877.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

By this time you are, I suppose, at the Address you gave me, and which will now cover this Letter. You have seen Donne, and many Friends, perhaps—and perhaps you have not yet got to London at all. But you will in time. When you do, you will, I think, have your time more taken up than in America—with so many old Friends about you: so that I wish more and more you would not feel bound to answer my Letters, one by one; but I suppose you will.

What I liked so much in your February Atlantic {123} was all about Goethe and Portia: I think, fine writing, in the plain sense of the word, and partly so because not 'fine' in the other Sense. You can indeed spin out a long Sentence of complicated Thought very easily, and very clearly; a rare thing. As to Goethe, I made another Trial at Hayward's Prose Translation this winter, but failed, as before, to get on with it. I suppose there is a Screw loose in me on that point, seeing what all thinking People think of it. I am sure I have honestly tried. As to Portia, I still think she ought not to have proved her 'Superiority' by withholding that simple Secret on which her Husband's Peace and his Friend's Life depended. Your final phrase about her 'sinking into perfection' is capital. Epigram—without Effort.

You wrote me that Portia was your beau-ideal of Womanhood {124a}—Query, of Lady-hood. For she had more than 500 pounds a year, which Becky Sharp thinks enough to be very virtuous on, and had not been tried. Would she have done Jeanie Deans' work? She might, I believe: but was not tried.

I doubt all this will be rather a Bore to you: coming back to England to find all the old topics of Shakespeare, etc., much as you left them. You will hear wonderful things about Browning and Co.—Wagner—and H. Irving. In a late TEMPLE BAR magazine {124b} Lady Pollock says that her Idol Irving's Reading of Hood's Eugene Aram is such that any one among his Audience who had a guilty secret in his Bosom 'must either tell it, or die.' These are her words.

You see I still linger in this ugly place: having a very dear little Niece a little way off: a complete little 'Pocket-Muse' I call her. One of the first Things she remembers is—you, in white Satin, and very handsome, she says, reading Twelfth Night at this very place. And I am

Yours ever E. F.G.

(I am now going to make out a Dictionary-list of the People in my dear Sevigne, for my own use.) {125a}



XLVII.

LITTLE GRANGE: WOODBRIDGE. May 5/77.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I am disappointed at not finding any Gossip in the last Atlantic; {125b} the Editor told us at the end of last Year that it was to be carried on through this: perhaps you are not bound down to every month: but I hope the links are not to discontinue for long.

I did not mean in my last letter to allude again to myself and Co. in recommending some omissions when you republish. {126} That—viz., about myself—I was satisfied you would cut out, as we had agreed before. (N.B. No occasion to omit your kindly Notices about my Family—nor my own Name among them, if you like: only not all about myself.) What I meant in my last Letter was, some of your earlier Letters—or parts of Letters—to H.—as some from Canterbury, I think—I fancy some part of your early Life might be condensed. But I will tell you, if you will allow me, when the time comes: and then you can but keep to your own plan, which you have good reason to think better than mine—though I am very strong in Scissors and Paste: my 'Harp and Lute.' Crabbe is under them now—as usual, once a Year. If one lived in London, or in any busy place, all this would not be perhaps: but it hurts nobody—unless you, who do hear too much about it.

Last night I made my Reader begin Dickens' wonderful 'Great Expectations': not considered one of his best, you know, but full of wonderful things, and even with a Plot which, I think, only needed less intricacy to be admirable. I had only just read the Book myself: but I wanted to see what my Reader would make of it: and he was so interested that he re-interested me too. Here is another piece of Woodbridge Life.

Now, if when London is hot you should like to run down to this Woodbridge, here will be my house at your Service after July. It may be so all this month: but a Nephew, Wife, and Babe did talk of a Fortnight's Visit: but have not talked of it since I returned a fortnight ago. June and July my Invalid Niece and her Sister occupy the House—not longer. Donne, and all who know me, know that I do not like anyone to come out of their way to visit me: but, if they be coming this way, I am very glad to do my best for them. And if any of them likes to occupy my house at any time, here it is at their Service—at yours, for as long as you will, except the times I have mentioned. I give up the house entirely except my one room, which serves for Parlour and Bed: and which I really prefer, as it reminds me of the Cabin of my dear little Ship—mine no more.

Here is a long Story about very little. Woodbridge again.

A Letter from Mowbray Donne told me that you had removed to some house in—Connaught Place? {127a}—but he did not name the number.

Valentia's wedding comes on: perhaps you will be of the Party. {127b} I think it would be one more of Sorrow than of Gladness to me: but perhaps that may be the case with most Bridals.

It is very cold here: ice of nights: but my Tulips and Anemones hold up still: and Nightingales sing. Somehow, I don't care for those latter at Night. They ought to be in Bed like the rest of us. This seems talking for the sake of being singular: but I have always felt it, singular or not.

And I am yours always

E. F.G.



XLVIII.

[June, 1877.]

MY DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I only write now on the express condition (which I understand you to accept) that you will not reply till you are in Switzerland. I mean, of course, within any reasonable time. Your last Letter is not a happy one *: but the record of your first Memoir cannot fail to interest and touch me.

I surmise—for you do not say so—that you are alone in London now: then, you must get away as soon as you can; and I shall be very glad to hear from yourself that you are in some green Swiss Valley, with a blue Lake before you, and snowy mountain above.

I must tell you that, my Nieces being here—good, pious, and tender, they are too—(but one of them an Invalid, and the other devoted to attend her) they make but little change in my own way of Life. They live by themselves, and I only see them now and then in the Garden—sometimes not five minutes in the Day. But then I am so long used to Solitude. And there is an end of that Chapter.

I have your Gossip bound up: the binder backed it with Black, which I don't like (it was his doing, not mine), but you say that your own only Suit is Sables now. I am going to lend it to a very admirable Lady who is going to our ugly Sea-side, with a sick Brother: only I have pasted over one column—which, I leave you to guess at.

I think I never told you—what is the fact, however—that I had wished to dedicate Agamemnon to you, but thought I could not do so without my own name appended. Whereas, I could, very simply, as I saw afterwards when too late. If ever he is reprinted I shall (unless you forbid) do as I desired to do: for, if for no other reason, he would probably never have been published but for you. Perhaps he had better [have] remained in private Life so far as England is concerned. And so much for that grand Chapter.

I think it is an ill-omened Year: beside War (which I won't read about) so much Illness and Death—hereabout, at any rate. A Nephew of mine—a capital fellow—was pitched upon his head from a Gig a week ago, and we know not yet how far that head of his may recover itself. But, beside one's own immediate Friends, I hear of Sickness and Death from further Quarters; and our Church Bell has been everlastingly importunate with its "Toll-toll." But Farewell for the present: pray do as I ask you about writing: and believe me ever yours,

E. F.G.

* You were thinking of something else when you misdirected your letter, which sent it a round before reaching Woodbridge.



XLIX.

WOODBRIDGE, June 23/77.

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I knew the best thing I could do concerning the Book you wanted was to send your Enquiry to the Oracle itself:—whose Reply I herewith enclose.

Last Evening I heard read Jeanie Deans' Audience with Argyle, and then with the Queen. There I stop with the Book. Oh, how refreshing is the leisurely, easy, movement of the Story, with its true, and well-harmonized Variety of Scene and Character! There is of course a Bore—Saddletree—as in Shakespeare. I presume to think—as in Cervantes—as in Life itself: somewhat too much of him in Scott, perhaps. But when the fuliginous and Spasmodic Carlyle and Co. talk of Scott's delineating his Characters from without to within {131a}—why, he seems to have had a pretty good Staple of the inner Man of David, and Jeanie Deans, on beginning his Story; as of the Antiquary, Dalgetty, the Ashtons, and a lot more. I leave all but the Scotch Novels. Madge has a little—a wee bit—theatrical about her: but I think her to be paired off with Ophelia, and worth all Miss Austen's Drawing-room Respectabilities put together. It is pretty what Barry Cornwall says on meeting Scott among other Authors at Rogers': 'I do not think any one envied him any more than one envies Kings.' {131b} You have done him honour in your Gossip: as one ought to do in these latter Days.

So this will be my last letter to you till you write me from Switzerland: where I wish you to be as soon as possible. And am yours always and sincerely

E. F.G.

A Letter from Donne speaks cheerfully. And Charles to be married again! It may be best for him.



L.

31, GREAT GEORGE STREET, S.W. Feb. 20, 1878.

DEAR EDWARD FITZGERALD,

I have sent your book ('Mrs. Kemble's Autobiography') as far as Bealings by a safe convoy, and my cousin, Elizabeth Phillips, who is staying there, will ultimately convey it to its destination at your house.

It afforded Charlotte [wife] and myself several evenings of very agreeable reading, and we certainly were impressed most favourably with new views as to the qualities of heart and head of the writer. Some observations were far beyond what her years would have led one to expect. I think some letters to her friend 'S.' on the strange fancy which hurried off her brother from taking orders, to fighting Spanish quarrels, are very remarkable for their good sense, as well as warm feeling. Her energy too in accepting her profession at the age of twenty as a means of assisting her father to overcome his difficulties is indicative of the best form of genius—steady determination to an end.

Curiously enough, whilst reading the book, we met Mrs. Gordon (a daughter of Mrs. Sartoris) and her husband at Malkin's at dinner, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to her. The durability of type in the Kemble face might be a matter for observation with physiologists, and from the little I saw of her I should think the lady worthy of the family.

If the book be issued in a reprint a few omissions might be well. I fear we lost however by some lacunae which you had caused by covering up a page or two.

Charlotte unites with me in kindest regards to yourself

Yours very sincerely, HATHERLEY.

E. FITZGERALD, ESQ.

I send this to you, dear Mrs. Kemble, not because the writer is a Lord—Ex- Chancellor—but a very good, amiable, and judicious man. I should have sent you any other such testimony, had not all but this been oral, only this one took away the Book, and thus returns it. I had forgot to ask about the Book; oh, make Bentley do it; if any other English Publisher should meditate doing so, he surely will apprise you; and you can have some Voice in it.

Ever yours E. F.G.

No need to return, or acknowledge, the Letter.



LI.

LITTLE GRANGE: WOODBRIDGE. February 22, [1878.]

MY DEAR LADY,

I am calling on you earlier than usual, I think. In my 'Academy' {134a} I saw mention of some Notes on Mrs. Siddons in some article of this month's 'Fortnightly' {134b}—as I thought. So I bought the Number, but can find no Siddons there. You probably know about it; and will tell me?

If you have not already read—buy Keats' Love-Letters to Fanny Brawne. One wishes she had another name; and had left some other Likeness of herself than the Silhouette (cut out by Scissors, I fancy) which dashes one's notion of such a Poet's worship. But one knows what misrepresentations such Scissors make. I had—perhaps have—one of Alfred Tennyson, done by an Artist on a Steamboat—some thirty years ago; which, though not inaccurate of outline, gave one the idea of a respectable Apprentice. {134c} But Keats' Letters—It happened that, just before they reached me, I had been hammering out some admirable Notes on Catullus {135a}—another such fiery Soul who perished about thirty years of age two thousand years ago; and I scarce felt a change from one to other. {135b} From Catullus' better parts, I mean; for there is too much of filthy and odious—both of Love and Hate. Oh, my dear Virgil never fell into that: he was fit to be Dante's companion beyond even Purgatory.

I have just had a nice letter from Mr. Norton in America: an amiable, modest man surely he must be. His aged Mother has been ill: fallen indeed into some half-paralysis: affecting her Speech principally. He says nothing of Mr. Lowell; to whom I would write if I did not suppose he was very busy with his Diplomacy, and his Books, in Spain. I hope he will give us a Cervantes, in addition to the Studies in his 'Among my Books,' which seem to me, on the whole, the most conclusive Criticisms we have on their several subjects.

Do you ever see Mrs. Ritchie? Fred. Tennyson wrote me that Alfred's son (Lionel, the younger, I suppose) was to be married in Westminster Abbey: which Fred, thinks an ambitious flight of Mrs. A. T.

I may as well stop in such Gossip. Snowdrops and Crocuses out: I have not many, for what I had have been buried under an overcoat of Clay, poor little Souls. Thrushes tuning up; and I hope my old Blackbirds have not forsaken me, or fallen a prey to Cats.

And I am ever yours E. F.G.



LII.

THE OLD (CURIOSITY) SHOP. WOODBRIDGE, April 16, [1878.]

[Where, by the by, I heard the Nightingale for the first time yesterday Morning. That is, I believe, almost its exact date of return, wind and weather permitting. Which being premised—]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I think it is about the time for you to have a letter from me; for I think I am nearly as punctual as the Nightingale, though at quicker Intervals; and perhaps there may be other points of Unlikeness. After hearing that first Nightingale in my Garden, I found a long, kind, and pleasant, Letter from Mr. Lowell in Madrid: the first of him too that I have heard since he flew thither. Just before he wrote, he says, he had been assigning Damages to some American who complained of having been fed too long on Turtle's Eggs {136}:—and all that sort of Business, says the Minister, does not inspire a man to Letter-writing. He is acclimatizing himself to Cervantes, about whom he must write one of his fine, and (as I think) final Essays: I mean such as (in the case of others he has done) ought to leave no room for a reversal of Judgment. Amid the multitude of Essays, Reviews, etc., one still wants that: and I think Lowell does it more than any other Englishman. He says he meets Velasquez at every turn of the street; and Murillo's Santa Anna opens his door for him. Things are different here: but when my Oracle last night was reading to me of Dandie Dinmont's blessed visit to Bertram in Portanferry Gaol, I said—'I know it's Dandie, and I shouldn't be at all surprized to see him come into this room.' No—no more than—Madame de Sevigne! I suppose it is scarce right to live so among Shadows; but—after near seventy years so passed—'Que voulez-vous?'

Still, if any Reality would—of its own Volition—draw near to my still quite substantial Self; I say that my House (if the Spring do not prove unkindly) will be ready to receive—and the owner also—any time before June, and after July; that is, before Mrs. Kemble goes to the Mountains, and after she returns from them. I dare say no more, after so much so often said, and all about oneself.

Yesterday the Nightingale; and To-day a small, still, Rain which we had hoped for, to make 'poindre' the Flower-seeds we put in Earth last Saturday. All Sunday my white Pigeons were employed in confiscating the Sweet Peas we had laid there; so that To-day we have to sow the same anew.

I think a Memoir of Alfred de Musset, by his Brother, well worth reading. {138a} I don't say the best, but only to myself the most acceptable of modern French Poets; and, as I judge, a fine fellow—of the moral French type (I suppose some of the Shadow is left out of the Sketch), but of a Soul quite abhorrent from modern French Literature—from V. Hugo (I think) to E. Sue (I am sure). He loves to read—Clarissa! which reminded me of Tennyson, some forty years ago, saying to me a propos of that very book, 'I love those large, still, Books.' During a long Illness of A. de M. a Sister of the Bon Secours attended him: and, when she left, gave him a Pen worked in coloured Silks, 'Pensez a vos promesses,' as also a little 'amphore' she had knitted. Seventeen years (I think) after, when his last Illness came on him, he desired these two things to be enclosed in his Coffin. {138b}

And I am ever yours E. F.G.



LIII.

DUNWICH: August 24, [1878.]

DEAR MRS. KEMBLE,

I forget if I wrote to you from this solitary Seaside, last year: telling you of its old Priory walls, etc. I think you must have been in Switzerland when I was here; however, I'll not tell you the little there is to tell about it now; for, beside that I may have told it all before, this little lodging furnishes only a steel pen, and very diluted ink (as you see), and so, for your own sake, I will be brief. Indeed, my chief object in writing at all, is, to ask when you go abroad, and how you have done at Malvern since last I heard from you—now a month ago, I think.

About the beginning of next week I shall be leaving this place—for good, I suppose—for the two friends—Man and Wife—who form my Company here, living a long musket shot off, go away—he in broken health—and would leave the place too solitary without them. So I suppose I shall decamp along with them; and, after some time spent at Lowestoft, find my way back to Woodbridge—in time to see the End of the Flowers, and to prepare what is to be done in that way for another Year.

And to Woodbridge your Answer may be directed, if this poor Letter of mine reaches you, and you should care to answer it—as you will—oh yes, you will—were it much less significant.

I have been rather at a loss for Books while here, Mudie having sent me a lot I did not care for—not even for Lady Chatterton. Aldis Wright gave me his Edition of Coriolanus to read; and I did not think 'pow wow' of it, as Volumnia says. All the people were talking about me.

And I am ever yours truly E. F.G.



LIV.

WOODBRIDGE: April 3/79.

MY DEAR MRS. KEMBLE:—

I know well how exact you are in answering Letters; and I was afraid that you must be in some trouble, for yourself, or others, when I got no reply to a second Letter I wrote you addressed to Baltimore Hotel, Leamington—oh, two months ago. When you last wrote to me, you were there, with a Cough, which you were just going to take with you to Guy's Cliff. That I thought not very prudent, in the weather we then had. Then I was told by some one, in a letter (not from any Donne, I think—no, Annie Ritchie, I believe) that Mrs. Sartoris was very ill; and so between two probable troubles, I would not trouble you as yet again. I had to go to London for a day three weeks ago (to see a poor fellow dying, sooner or later, of Brain disease), and I ferreted out Mowbray Donne from Somerset House and he told me you were in London, still ill of a Cough; but not your Address. So I wrote to his Wife a few days ago to learn it; and I shall address this Letter accordingly. Mrs. Mowbray writes that you are better, but obliged to take care of yourself. I can only say 'do not trouble yourself to write'—but I suppose you will—perhaps the more if it be a trouble. See what an Opinion I have of you!—If you write, pray tell me of Mrs. Sartoris—and do not forget yourself.

It has been such a mortal Winter among those I know, or know of, as I never remember. I have not suffered myself, further than, I think, feeling a few stronger hints of a constitutional sort, which are, I suppose, to assert themselves ever more till they do for me. And that, I suppose, cannot be long adoing. I entered on my 71st year last Monday, March 31.

My elder—and now only—Brother, John, has been shut up with Doctor and Nurse these two months—AEt. 76; his Wife AEt. 80 all but dead awhile ago, now sufficiently recovered to keep her room in tolerable ease: I do not know if my Brother will ever leave his house.

Oh dear! Here is enough of Mortality.

I see your capital Book is in its third Edition, as well it deserves to be. I see no one with whom to talk about it, except one brave Woman who comes over here at rare intervals—she had read my Atlantic Copy, but must get Bentley's directly it appeared, and she (a woman of remarkably strong and independent Judgment) loves it all—not (as some you know) wishing some of it away. No; she says she wants all to complete her notion of the writer. Nor have I heard of any one who thinks otherwise: so 'some people' may be wrong. I know you do not care about all this.

I am getting my 'Tales of the Hall' printed, and shall one day ask you, and three or four beside, whether it had better be published. I think you, and those three or four others, will like it; but they may also judge that indifferent readers might not. And that you will all of you have to tell me when the thing is done. I shall not be in the least disappointed if you tell me to keep it among 'ourselves,' so long as 'ourselves' are pleased; for I know well that Publication would not carry it much further abroad; and I am very well content to pay my money for the little work which I have long meditated doing. I shall have done 'my little owl.' Do you know what that means?—No. Well then; my Grandfather had several Parrots of different sorts and Talents: one of them ('Billy,' I think) could only huff up his feathers in what my Grandfather called an owl fashion; so when Company were praising the more gifted Parrots, he would say—'You will hurt poor Billy's feelings—Come! Do your little owl, my dear!'—You are to imagine a handsome, hair-powdered, Gentleman doing this—and his Daughter—my Mother—telling of it.

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