In another of the 18th of May, 1809—the last 안성오피 before the marriage took place—I find the following, which may interest some people. “I wish you could be here to-morrow,” she writes, “we are going to see the prisoners of war at Odiam (near Reading) perform one of Molière’s plays. Two years ago we attended several of them, and I never enjoyed anything more.”

More than a score of these faded eighty-year-old letters are before me; and I might perhaps have{232} gleaned from them some other little touches illustrative of men and manners when George the Third was king, but were I to yield to all the temptations of the sort that beset the path on which I am travelling, I should try my readers’ patience beyond all hope of forgiveness.

My mother had brought home with her the MS. of a couple of volumes on America; and the principal business on hand when I came home from Oxford was the finding a publisher for these. In this quest she was zealously and very energetically assisted by Captain Basil Hall, himself the author of a work on America and sundry other books, which at that time had made a considerable reputation. Basil Hall’s book on America did not take a favourable view of the Americans or their institutions; and it had been mercilessly attacked and accused of misrepresentation by all the critics of the Liberal party. For Hall’s book, and everything else concerning America, was in those days looked at from a political party point of view. America and the Americans were understood to be anti-everything that was dear to Conservatives. They were accordingly the pets of the Whigs (Radicals and Radicalism had not yet emerged into the ken of respectable folk, either Whig or Tory), and Hall’s book had been abused accordingly. He was very sore about the accusations of untruthfulness, and was delighted with a book which supported his assertions and his views. How my mother came to be introduced to him, and how it came to pass{233} that the MS. of her work was shown to him, I do not remember, but the result was that he was zealously eager for the publication of it. The title, if I recollect rightly, was proposed by him. The Domestic Manners of the Americans was published, and made an immediate and great success. It was emphatically the book of the season, was talked of everywhere, and read by all sorts and conditions of men and women. It was highly praised by all the Conservative organs of the press, and vehemently abused by all those of the opposite party. Edition after edition was sold, and the pecuniary results were large enough to avert from the family of the successful authoress the results of her husband’s ruined fortunes.

The Americans were made very angry by this account of their “domestic manners”—very naturally, but not very wisely. Of course, it was asserted that many of the statements made were false and many of the descriptions caricatured. Nothing in the book from beginning to end was false; nothing of minutest detail which was asserted to have been seen had not been seen; nor was anything intentionally caricatured or exaggerated for the sake of enhancing literary effect. But the tone of the book was unfriendly, and was throughout the result of offended taste rather than of well-weighed opinion. It was full of universal conclusions drawn from particular premises; and no sufficient weight, or rather no weight at all, was allowed to the fact that the observations on which the recorded judgments were{234} founded had been gathered almost entirely in what was then the Far West, and represented the “domestic manners” of the Atlantic states hardly at all. Unquestionably the book was a very clever one, and written with infinite verve and brightness. But—save for the fact that censure and satire are always more amusing than the reverse—an equally clever and equally truthful book might have been written in a diametrically opposite spirit.

No doubt the markedly favourable reception of the book was what mainly irritated our American cousins. But they certainly were angry far beyond what the importance of the matter would seem to have justified. I remember that Colley Grattan, whose fame as the author of Highways and Byways was then at its zenith, in writing to me from Boston, where he resided for many years as British Consul, inviting me to visit him there, went into the question of the reception I might be likely to meet with on that side of the Atlantic. “I think,” he wrote, “that to come over under a false name would be infra dig. But really I fear that if you come under your own, you may be in for a dig!”

Whether Grattan exaggerated the wrath of his Bostonian friends for the sake of his joke, I do not know. Unquestionably the Americans, even speaking of them as a nation, were made very angry by my mother’s book. But the anger was not of a very spiteful or rancorous description, for from that day to this I have never met with anything but kindness and cordial friendliness from all the{235} Americans I have known—and I have known very many.

The return of my mother, and the success of her book, produced a change in the condition and circumstances of affairs at home which resembled the transformation scene in a pantomime that takes place at the advent of the good fairy. Even the old farm-house at Harrow Weald was brightened up physically, and to a far greater degree morally, by her presence. But we did not remain long there. Very shortly she took us back to Harrow, not to the large house built by my father on Lord Northwick’s land, but to another very good house on the same farm—not above a stone’s throw from the previous one, which he had made (very imprudently) by adding to and improving the original farm-house—a very comfortable residence. This was the house which the world has heard of as “Orley Farm.”

And there my mother became immediately surrounded by many old friends and many new ones. I remember among the latter Letitia Landon, better known to the world as “L. E. L.” She was a petite figure, very insignificant-looking, with a sharp chin, turn-up nose, and on the whole rather piquante face, though without any pretension to good looks. I remember her being seated one day at dinner by the side of a certain dignitary of the Church, who had the reputation of being more of a bon vivant than a theologian, and who was old enough to have been her father; and on my asking her afterwards what they had been talking about so earnestly, as I 안성오피 had{236} seen them, “About eating, to be sure!” said she. “I always talk to everybody on their strong point. I told him that writing poetry was my trade, but that eating was my pleasure, and we were fast friends before the fish was finished!” Her sad fate and tragic ending, poor soul! attracted much attention and sympathy at the time. And doubtless fate and the world used her hardly; but she was one of those who never under any circumstances would have run a straight and prosperous course.

Another visitor whom I remember well at that and other times was the Rev. Henry Milman, the third son of Sir Francis Milman, who was, if I rightly recollect, physician to Queen Charlotte. I remember hearing him say (but this was long previously) that no man need think much about the gout, who had never had it till he was forty. His widow, Lady Milman, lived with her daughter many years at Pinner, near Harrow, and they were very old friends of my mother. She was a dear old lady with certain points of eccentricity about her. She used always to carry a volume of South’s sermons with her to church for perusal during the less satisfactory discourse of her more immediate pastor; and I am afraid was not sufficiently careful to conceal her preference. It must be over sixty years since, lunching one day at Pinner, I was much amused at her insisting that Abraham, the old one-eyed footman, who had lived in the family all his life, should kneel before the dining-room fire to warm her plate of pickled salmon! I remember{237} walking with her shortly before her death in the kitchen garden at Pinner, when Saunders, the old butler, who had developed into a sort of upper gardener, was pruning the peach trees. “Oh! don’t cut that, Saunders,” said my lady; “I want to see those blossoms. And I shall never see them another year!” “Must come off, my lady,” said Saunders inexorably, as he sheared away the branch. “He never will let me have my way,” grumbled the little old lady, as she resumed her trot along the gravel walk under the peach wall. My lady, however, could assert herself sufficiently on some occasions. I happened to be at Pinner one day when Mrs. Archdeacon Hodgson, a neighbour, called somewhat earlier in the day than the recognised hour for morning visits. “Very glad to see you, my dear,” said my lady, rising to meet her astonished visitor, who was at least twice as big a woman as herself, I mean physically, “but you must not do this sort of thing again!”

Her third son, Henry Milman, who, having begun his career as the author of perhaps the best “Newdegate” ever written, was famous during the earlier part of it as a poet and dramatist, and during the latter portion of it (more durably) as an historian, was, with his very beautiful wife, one of our visitors at this period. He was at that time certainly a very brilliant man, but I did not like him as well as I did his elder brother, Sir William. I give only the impressions of an undergraduate, who was, I think, rather boyish{238} for his age. But it seemed to me that the poet had a strain of worldliness in his character, and a certain flavour of cynicism (not incompatible, however, with serious views and earnest feeling on religious subjects), which were wholly absent from the elder brother, who wrote neither poems nor histories, but was to my then thinking a very perfect gentleman. “Nec vixit male qui natus moriensque fefellit.”

I find recorded in a diary of that time (November, 1832) some notes of a conversation with Henry Milman one evening when I, with my parents and sister, had been dining with Lady Milman at Pinner, which are perhaps worth reproducing here.

I asked him in the course of a long after-dinner conversation what he thought of Shuttleworth’s book on the Consistency of Revelation with Itself and with Human Reason, which formed the second volume of the series called the “Theological Library,” and which I had recently been reading. He said the work had a great many faults, one of the principal of which was its great difficulty. On this point I find, from other entries in my diary, that my undergraduate experience fully coincided with his more valuable judgment. The reasoning in a great many places was, he said, false; and in that part which treated of the Mosaic account of the creation of the world, the great question was entirely blinked. The abstract of moral duties appeared to him, he said, to be by far the most{239} able part of the book. He considered Shuttleworth “a man of very limited reading.” And this perhaps he may have seemed to one of whom it used to be said jocosely in his own family that “Henry reads a book, not as other mortals do, line after line, but obliquely, from the left hand upper corner of a page to the right hand lower corner of the same!”

Milman, on the same occasion, spoke much of the decay of a love of learning in England generally, and particularly at Oxford. He said that no four men could be found there who were up to the European level of the day in any branch of learning—not even in theology. And speaking of England generally, he said that in no one public library in the country could the books requisite for a man, who wished to write a learned work on any subject whatever, be found. Germany was, and was, he thought, likely to remain, the great emporium of all learning.

As for the Church, he said that it would never be the profession that it had been—that it would not be his choice for a son of his; and that the law was the only profession for talent in these days. He observed that it was very remarkable that no change—no revolution—had ever passed over this country without adding power and wealth to that profession.

Here, also, I may record, if the reader will pardon the abruptness of a transition that hurries him from scholarly disquisition to antipodean regions{240} of subject and social atmosphere, an expedition I and my brother Anthony made together, which recurs to my mind in connection with those days. But I think that it must have belonged to the Harrow Weald times before the return of my mother from America, because the extreme impecuniosity, which made the principal feature of it, would not have occurred subsequently. We saw—my brother and I—some advertisement of an extra-magnificent entertainment that was to take place at Vauxhall; something of so gorgeous promise in the way of illuminations and fireworks, and all for the specially reduced entrance fee of one shilling 안성오피 each person, that, chancing to possess just that amount, we determined to profit by so unique an occasion. Any means of conveyance other than legs, ignorant in those days of defeat, was not to be thought of. We had just the necessary two shillings, and no more. So we set off to walk the (at least) fourteen miles from Harrow Weald to Vauxhall, timing ourselves to arrive there about nine in the evening. Anthony danced all night. I took no part in that amusement, but contented myself with looking on and with the truly superb display of fireworks. Then at about 1 A.M. we set off and walked back our fourteen miles home again without having touched bite or sup! Did anybody else ever purchase the delight of an evening at Vauxhall at so high a price?

I did, however, much about the same time a harder day’s walk. I was returning from Oxford{241} to Harrow Weald, and I determined to walk it, not, I think, on this occasion, deficiente crumenâ, but for pleasure, and to try my powers. The distance, I think, is, as near as may be, forty-seven miles. But I carried a very heavy knapsack—a far heavier one than any experienced campaigner would have advised. This was the longest day’s walk I ever achieved; and I arrived very tired and footsore. But the next morning I was perfectly well, and ready to have taken the road again. Upon this occasion I walked my first stage of twelve miles before breakfast; absolutely, that is to say, before breaking my fast. I think that not very many persons could do this, and I am sure that the few, who could do it, had much better not do so.

I have spoken of the immense change operated in the circumstances and surroundings of all of us by my mother’s return from America and the success of her first work, the Domestic Manners of the Americans. But, efficacious as this success was for producing so great a change, and sufficient as the continued success of her subsequent works was to rescue the whole of her family from the slough of ruin, in which my father’s farming operations, and to some extent, I suppose his injudicious commercial attempt at Cincinnati, had involved him, the results of this success were very far from availing to stem the tide of ruin as regarded his affairs. They were sufficient to relieve{242} him from all expenses connected with the household or its individual members, but not to supply in addition to all these, the annual losses on the Harrow farm. Hence the break-up described by my brother Anthony in his Autobiography, and my father’s exodus from Harrow as there narrated.{243}