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Our Hundred Days in Europe by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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most agreeable of companions. The whole vegetable world, even "the
meanest flower that blows," is lovely to contemplate. What if creation
had paused there, and you or I had been called upon to decide whether
self-conscious life should be added in the form of the existing animal
creation, and the hitherto peaceful universe should come under the rule
of Nature as we now know her,

"red in tooth and claw"?

Are we not glad that the responsibility of the decision did not rest on

I am sorry that I did not ask Tennyson to read or repeat to me some
lines of his own. Hardly any one perfectly understands a poem but the
poet himself. One naturally loves his own poem as no one else can. It
fits the mental mould in which it was cast, and it will not exactly fit
any other. For this reason I had rather listen to a poet reading his own
verses than hear the best elocutionist that ever spouted recite them. He
may not have a good voice or enunciation, but he puts his heart and his
inter-penetrative intelligence into every line, word, and syllable. I
should have liked to hear Tennyson read such lines as

"Laborious orient ivory, sphere in sphere;"

and in spite of my good friend Matthew Arnold's _in terrorem_, I
should have liked to hear Macaulay read,

"And Aulus the Dictator
Stroked Auster's raven mane,"

and other good mouthable lines, from the "Lays of Ancient Rome." Not
less should I like to hear Mr. Arnold himself read the passage

"In his cool hall with haggard eyes
The Roman noble lay."

The next day Mrs. Hallam Tennyson took A---- in her pony cart to see
Alum Bay, The Needles, and other objects of interest, while I wandered
over the grounds with Tennyson. After lunch his carriage called for us,
and we were driven across the island, through beautiful scenery, to
Ventnor, where we took the train to Ryde, and there the steamer to
Portsmouth, from which two hours and a half of travel carried us to

* * * * *

My first visit to Cambridge was at the invitation of Mr. Gosse, who
asked me to spend Sunday, the 13th of June, with him. The rooms in
Neville Court, Trinity College, occupied by Sir William Vernon Harcourt
when lecturing at Cambridge, were placed at my disposal. The room I
slept in was imposing with the ensigns armorial of the Harcourts and
others which ornamented its walls. I had great delight in walking
through the quadrangles, along the banks of the Cam, and beneath the
beautiful trees which border it. Mr. Gosse says that I stopped in the
second court of Clare, and looked around and smiled as if I were
bestowing my benediction. He was mistaken: I smiled as if I were
receiving a benediction from my dear old grandmother; for Cambridge in
New England is my mother town, and Harvard University in Cambridge is my
Alma Mater. She is the daughter of Cambridge in Old England, and my
relationship is thus made clear.

Mr. Gosse introduced me to many of the younger and some of the older men
of the university. Among my visits was one never to be renewed and never
to be forgotten. It was to the Master of Trinity, the Reverend William
Hepworth Thompson. I hardly expected to have the privilege of meeting
this very distinguished and greatly beloved personage, famous not alone
for scholarship, or as the successor of Dr. Whewell in his high office,
but also as having said some of the wittiest things which we have heard
since Voltaire's _pour encourager les autres_. I saw him in his
chamber, a feeble old man, but noble to look upon in all "the monumental
pomp of age." He came very near belonging to the little group I have
mentioned as my coevals, but was a year after us. Gentle, dignified,
kindly in his address as if I had been his schoolmate, he left a very
charming impression. He gave me several mementoes of my visit, among
them a beautiful engraving of Sir Isaac Newton, representing him as one
of the handsomest of men. Dr. Thompson looked as if he could not be very
long for this world, but his death, a few weeks after my visit, was a
painful surprise to me. I had been just in time to see "the last of the
great men" at Cambridge, as my correspondent calls him, and I was very
grateful that I could store this memory among the hoarded treasures I
have been laying by for such possible extra stretch of time as may be
allowed me.

My second visit to Cambridge will be spoken of in due season.

While I was visiting Mr. Gosse at Cambridge, A---- was not idle. On
Saturday she went to Lambeth, where she had the pleasure and honor of
shaking hands with the Archbishop of Canterbury in his study, and of
looking about the palace with Mrs. Benson. On Sunday she went to the
Abbey, and heard "a broad and liberal sermon" from Archdeacon Farrar.
Our young lady-secretary stayed and dined with her, and after dinner
sang to her. "A peaceful, happy Sunday," A---- says in her diary,--not
less peaceful, I suspect, for my being away, as my callers must have got
many a "not at 'ome" from young Robert of the multitudinous buttons.

On Monday, the 14th of June, after getting ready for our projected
excursions, we had an appointment which promised us a great deal of
pleasure. Mr. Augustus Harris, the enterprising and celebrated manager
of Drury Lane Theatre, had sent us an invitation to occupy a box, having
eight seats, at the representation of "Carmen." We invited the
Priestleys and our Boston friends, the Shimminses, to take seats with
us. The chief singer in the opera was Marie Roze, who looked well and
sang well, and the evening went off very happily. After the performance
we were invited by Mr. Harris to a supper of some thirty persons, where
we were the special guests. The manager toasted me, and I said
something,--I trust appropriate; but just what I said is as
irrecoverable as the orations of Demosthenes on the seashore, or the
sermons of St. Francis to the beasts and birds.

Of all the attentions I received in England, this was, perhaps, the
least to be anticipated or dreamed of. To be feted and toasted and to
make a speech in Drury Lane Theatre would not have entered into my
flightiest conceptions, if I had made out a programme beforehand. It is
a singularly gratifying recollection. Drury Lane Theatre is so full of
associations with literature, with the great actors and actresses of the
past, with the famous beauties who have stood behind the footlights and
the splendid audiences that have sat before them, that it is an
admirable nucleus for remembrances to cluster around. It was but a vague
spot in memory before, but now it is a bright centre for other images of
the past. That one evening seems to make me the possessor of all its
traditions from the time when it rose from its ashes, when Byron's poem
was written and recited, and when the brothers Smith gave us the
"Address without a Phoenix," and all those exquisite parodies which make
us feel towards their originals somewhat as our dearly remembered Tom
Appleton did when he said, in praise of some real green turtle soup,
that it was almost as good as mock.

With much regret we gave up an invitation we had accepted to go to
Durdans to dine with Lord Rosebery. We must have felt very tired indeed
to make so great a sacrifice, but we had to be up until one o'clock
getting ready for the next day's journey; writing, packing, and
attending to what we left behind us as well as what was in prospect.

On the morning of Wednesday, June 16th, Dr. Donald Macalister called to
attend us on our second visit to Cambridge, where we were to be the
guests of his cousin, Alexander Macalister, Professor of Anatomy, who,
with Mrs. Macalister, received us most cordially. There was a large
luncheon-party at their house, to which we sat down in our travelling
dresses. In the evening they had a dinner-party, at which were present,
among others, Professor Stokes, President of the Royal Society, and
Professor Wright. We had not heard much talk of political matters at the
dinner-tables where we had been guests, but A---- sat near a lady who
was very earnest in advocating the Irish side of the great impending

The 17th of June is memorable in the annals of my country. On that day
of the year 1775 the battle of Bunker's Hill was fought on the height I
see from the window of my library, where I am now writing. The monument
raised in memory of our defeat, which was in truth a victory, is almost
as much a part of the furniture of the room as its chairs and tables;
outside, as they are inside, furniture. But the 17th of June, 1886, is
memorable to me above all the other anniversaries of that day I have
known. For on that day I received from the ancient University of
Cambridge, England, the degree of Doctor of Letters, "Doctor Litt.," in
its abbreviated academic form. The honor was an unexpected one; that is,
until a short time before it was conferred.

Invested with the academic gown and cap, I repaired in due form at the
appointed hour to the Senate Chamber. Every seat was filled, and among
the audience were youthful faces in large numbers, looking as if they
were ready for any kind of outbreak of enthusiasm or hilarity.

The first degree conferred was that of LL.D., on Sir W. A. White,
G.C.M., G.C.B., to whose long list of appended initials it seemed like
throwing a perfume on the violet to add three more letters.

When I was called up to receive my honorary title, the young voices were
true to the promise of the young faces. There was a great noise, not
hostile nor unpleasant in its character, in answer to which I could
hardly help smiling my acknowledgments. In presenting me for my degree
the Public Orator made a Latin speech, from which I venture to give a
short extract, which I would not do for the world if it were not
disguised by being hidden in the mask of a dead language. But there will
be here and there a Latin scholar who will be pleased with the way in
which the speaker turned a compliment to the candidate before him, with
a reference to one of his poems and to some of his prose works.

_"Juvat nuper audivisse eum cujus carmen prope primum 'Folium ultimum'
nominatum est, folia adhuc plura e scriniis suis esse prolaturum.
Novimus quanta lepore descripserit colloquia illa antemeridiana,
symposia illa sobria et severa, sed eadem festiva et faceta, in quibus
totiens mutata persona, modo poeta, modo professor, modo princeps et
arbiter, loquendi, inter convivas suos regnat."_

I had no sooner got through listening to the speech and receiving my
formal sentence as Doctor of Letters than the young voices broke out in
fresh clamor. There were cries of "A speech! a speech!" mingled with the
title of a favorite poem by John Howard Payne, having a certain amount
of coincidence with the sound of my name. The play upon the word was not
absolutely a novelty to my ear, but it was good-natured, and I smiled
again, and perhaps made a faint inclination, as much as to say, "I hear
you, young gentlemen, but I do not forget that I am standing on my
dignity, especially now since a new degree has added a moral cubit to my
stature." Still the cries went on, and at last I saw nothing else to do
than to edge back among the silk gowns, and so lose myself and be lost
to the clamorous crowd in the mass of dignitaries. It was not
indifference to the warmth of my welcome, but a feeling that I had no
claim to address the audience because some of its younger members were
too demonstrative. I have not forgotten my very cordial reception, which
made me feel almost as much at home in the old Cambridge as in the new,
where I was born and took my degrees, academic, professional, and

The university town left a very deep impression upon my mind, in which a
few grand objects predominate over the rest, all being of a delightful
character. I was fortunate enough to see the gathering of the boats,
which was the last scene in their annual procession. The show was
altogether lovely. The pretty river, about as wide as the Housatonic, I
should judge, as that slender stream winds through "Canoe Meadow," my
old Pittsfield residence, the gaily dressed people who crowded the
banks, the flower-crowned boats, with the gallant young oarsmen who
handled them so skilfully, made a picture not often equalled. The walks,
the bridges, the quadrangles, the historic college buildings, all
conspired to make the place a delight and a fascination. The library of
Trinity College, with its rows of busts by Roubiliac and Woolner, is a
truly noble hall. But beyond, above all the rest, the remembrance of
King's College Chapel, with its audacious and richly wrought roof and
its wide and lofty windows, glowing with old devices in colors which are
ever fresh, as if just from the furnace, holds the first place in my
gallery of Cambridge recollections.

I cannot do justice to the hospitalities which were bestowed upon us in
Cambridge. Professor and Mrs. Macalister, aided by Dr. Donald
Macalister, did all that thoughtful hosts could do to make us feel at
home. In the afternoon the ladies took tea at Mr. Oscar Browning's. In
the evening we went to a large dinner at the invitation of the
Vice-Chancellor. Many little points which I should not have thought of
are mentioned in A----'s diary. I take the following extract from it,
toning down its vivacity more nearly to my own standard:--

"Twenty were there. The Master of St. John's took me in, and the
Vice-Chancellor was on the other side.... The Vice-Chancellor rose and
returned thanks after the meats and before the sweets, as usual. I have
now got used to this proceeding, which strikes me as extraordinary.
Everywhere here in Cambridge, and the same in Oxford, I believe, they
say grace and give thanks. A gilded ewer and flat basin were passed,
with water in the basin to wash with, and we all took our turn at the
bath! Next to this came the course with the finger-bowls!... Why two

On Friday, the 18th, I went to a breakfast at the Combination Room, at
which about fifty gentlemen were present, Dr. Sandys taking the chair.
After the more serious business of the morning's repast was over, Dr.
Macalister, at the call of the chairman, arose, and proposed my welfare
in a very complimentary way. I of course had to respond, and I did so in
the words which came of their own accord to my lips. After my
unpremeditated answer, which was kindly received, a young gentleman of
the university, Mr. Heitland, read a short poem, of which the following
is the title:--



I wish I dared quote more than the last two verses of these lines, which
seemed to me, not unused to giving and receiving complimentary tributes,
singularly happy, and were so considered by all who heard them. I think
I may venture to give the two verses referred to:--

"By all sweet memory of the saints and sages
Who wrought among us in the days of yore;
By youths who, turning now life's early pages,
Ripen to match the worthies gone before:

"On us, O son of England's greatest daughter,
A kindly word from heart and tongue bestow;
Then chase the sunsets o'er the western water,
And bear our blessing with you as you go."

I need not say that I left the English Cambridge with a heart full of
all grateful and kindly emotions.

I must not forget that I found at Cambridge, very pleasantly established
and successfully practising his profession, a former student in the
dental department of our Harvard Medical School, Dr. George Cunningham,
who used to attend my lectures on anatomy. In the garden behind the
quaint old house in which he lives is a large medlar-tree,--the first I
remember seeing.

On this same day we bade good-by to Cambridge, and took the two o'clock
train to Oxford, where we arrived at half past five. At this first visit
we were to be the guests of Professor Max Muller, at his fine residence
in Norham Gardens. We met there, at dinner, Mr. Herkomer, whom we have
recently had with us in Boston, and one or two others. In the evening we
had music; the professor playing on the piano, his two daughters, Mrs.
Conybeare and her unmarried sister, singing, and a young lady playing
the violin. It was a very lovely family picture; a pretty house,
surrounded by attractive scenery; scholarship, refinement, simple
elegance, giving distinction to a home which to us seemed a pattern of
all we could wish to see beneath an English roof. It all comes back to
me very sweetly, but very tenderly and sadly, for the voice of the elder
of the two sisters who sang to us is heard no more on earth, and a deep
shadow has fallen over the household we found so bright and cheerful.

Everything was done to make me enjoy my visit to Oxford, but I was
suffering from a severe cold, and was paying the penalty of too much
occupation and excitement. I missed a great deal in consequence, and
carried away a less distinct recollection of this magnificent seat of
learning than of the sister university.

If one wishes to know the magic of names, let him visit the places made
memorable by the lives of the illustrious men of the past in the Old
World. As a boy I used to read the poetry of Pope, of Goldsmith, and of
Johnson. How could I look at the Bodleian Library, or wander beneath its
roof, without recalling the lines from "The Vanity of Human Wishes"?

"When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Resistless burns the fever of renown,
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown:
O'er Bodley's dome his future labors spread,
And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head."

The last line refers to Roger Bacon. "There is a tradition that the
study of Friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a
man greater than Bacon shall pass under it. To prevent so shocking an
accident, it was pulled down many years since." We shall meet with a
similar legend in another university city. Many persons have been shy of
these localities, who were in no danger whatever of meeting the fate
threatened by the prediction.

We passed through the Bodleian Library, only glancing at a few of its
choicest treasures, among which the exquisitely illuminated missals were
especially tempting objects of study. It was almost like a mockery to
see them opened and closed, without having the time to study their
wonderful miniature paintings. A walk through the grounds of Magdalen
College, under the guidance of the president of that college, showed us
some of the fine trees for which I was always looking. One of these, a
wych-elm (Scotch elm of some books), was so large that I insisted on
having it measured. A string was procured and carefully carried round
the trunk, above the spread of the roots and below that of the branches,
so as to give the smallest circumference. I was curious to know how the
size of the trunk of this tree would compare with that of the trunks of
some of our largest New England elms. I have measured a good many of
these. About sixteen feet is the measurement of a large elm, like that
on Boston Common, which all middle-aged people remember. From twenty-two
to twenty-three feet is the ordinary maximum of the very largest trees.
I never found but one exceed it: that was the great Springfield elm,
which looked as if it might have been formed by the coalescence from the
earliest period of growth, of two young trees. When I measured this in
1837, it was twenty-four feet eight inches in circumference at five feet
from the ground; growing larger above and below. I remembered this tree
well, as we measured the string which was to tell the size of its
English rival. As we came near the end of the string, I felt as I did
when I was looking at the last dash of Ormonde and The Bard at
Epsom.--Twenty feet, and a long piece of string left.--Twenty-one.
--Twenty-two.--Twenty-three.--An extra heartbeat or two.--Twenty-four!
--Twenty-five and six inches over!!--The Springfield elm may have grown
a foot or more since I measured it, fifty years ago, but the tree at
Magdalen stands ahead of all my old measurements. Many of the fine old
trees, this in particular, may have been known in their younger days to
Addison, whose favorite walk is still pointed out to the visitor.

I would not try to compare the two university towns, as one might who
had to choose between them. They have a noble rivalry, each honoring the
other, and it would take a great deal of weighing one point of
superiority against another to call either of them the first, except in
its claim to antiquity.

After a garden-party in the afternoon, a pleasant evening at home, when
the professor played and his daughter Beatrice sang, and a garden-party
the next day, I found myself in somewhat better condition, and ready for
the next move.

[Illustration: Magdalen College, Oxford.]

At noon on the 23d of June we left for Edinburgh, stopping over night at
York, where we found close by the station an excellent hotel, and where
the next morning we got one of the best breakfasts we had in our whole
travelling experience. At York we wandered to and through a flower-show,
and _did_ the cathedral, as people _do_ all the sights they
see under the lead of a paid exhibitor, who goes through his lesson like
a sleepy old professor. I missed seeing the slab with the inscription
_miserrimus_. There may be other stones bearing this sad
superlative, but there is a story connected with this one, which sounds
as if it might be true.

In the year 1834, I spent several weeks in Edinburgh. I was fascinated
by the singular beauties of that "romantic town," which Scott called his
own, and which holds his memory, with that of Burns, as a most precious
part of its inheritance. The castle with the precipitous rocky wall out
of which it grows, the deep ravines with their bridges, pleasant Calton
Hill and memorable Holyrood Palace, the new town and the old town with
their strange contrasts, and Arthur's Seat overlooking all,--these
varied and enchanting objects account for the fondness with which all
who have once seen Edinburgh will always regard it.

We were the guests of Professor Alexander Crum Brown, a near relative of
the late beloved and admired Dr. John Brown. Professor and Mrs. Crum
Brown did everything to make our visit a pleasant one. We met at their
house many of the best known and most distinguished people of Scotland.
The son of Dr. John Brown dined with us on the day of our arrival, and
also a friend of the family, Mr. Barclay, to whom we made a visit on the
Sunday following. Among the visits I paid, none was more gratifying to
me than one which I made to Dr. John Brown's sister. No man could leave
a sweeter memory than the author of "Rab and his Friends," of "Pet
Marjorie," and other writings, all full of the same loving, human
spirit. I have often exchanged letters with him, and I thought how much
it would have added to the enjoyment of my visit if I could have taken
his warm hand and listened to his friendly voice. I brought home with me
a precious little manuscript, written expressly for me by one who had
known Dr. John Brown from the days of her girlhood, in which his
character appears in the same lovable and loving light as that which
shines in every page he himself has written.

On Friday, the 25th, I went to the hall of the university, where I was
to receive the degree of LL.D. The ceremony was not unlike that at
Cambridge, but had one peculiar feature: the separate special investment
of the candidate with the _hood_, which Johnson defines as "an
ornamental fold which hangs down the back of a graduate." There were
great numbers of students present, and they showed the same exuberance
of spirits as that which had forced me to withdraw from the urgent calls
at Cambridge. The cries, if possible, were still louder and more
persistent; they must have a speech and they would have a speech, and
what could I do about it? I saw but one way of pacifying a crowd as
noisy and long-breathed as that which for about the space of two hours
cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" So I stepped to the front
and made a brief speech, in which, of course, I spoke of the
"_perfervidum ingenium Scotorum_." A speech without that would have
been like that "Address without a Phoenix" before referred to. My few
remarks were well received, and quieted the shouting Ephesians of the
warm-brained and warm-hearted northern university. It gave me great
pleasure to meet my friend Mr. Underwood, now American consul in
Glasgow, where he has made himself highly esteemed and respected.

In my previous visit to Edinburgh in 1834, I was fond of rambling along
under Salisbury Crags, and climbing the sides of Arthur's Seat. I had
neither time nor impulse for such walks during this visit, but in
driving out to dine at Nidrie, the fine old place now lived in by Mr.
Barclay and his daughters, we passed under the crags and by the side of
the great hill. I had never heard, or if I had I had forgotten, the name
and the story of "Samson's Ribs." These are the columnar masses of rock
which form the face of Salisbury Crags. There is a legend that one day
one of these pillars will fall and crush the greatest man that ever
passes under them. It is said that a certain professor was always very
shy of "Samson's Ribs," for fear the prophecy might be fulfilled in his
person. We were most hospitably received at Mr. Barclay's, and the
presence of his accomplished and pleasing daughters made the visit
memorable to both of us. There was one picture on their walls, that of a
lady, by Sir Joshua, which both of us found very captivating. This is
what is often happening in the visits we make. Some painting by a master
looks down upon us from its old canvas, and leaves a lasting copy of
itself, to be stored in memory's picture gallery. These surprises are
not so likely to happen in the New World as in the Old.

It seemed cruel to be forced to tear ourselves away from Edinburgh,
where so much had been done to make us happy, where so much was left to
see and enjoy, but we were due in Oxford, where I was to receive the
last of the three degrees with which I was honored in Great Britain.

Our visit to Scotland gave us a mere glimpse of the land and its people,
but I have a very vivid recollection of both as I saw them on my first
visit, when I made an excursion into the Highlands to Stirling and to
Glasgow, where I went to church, and wondered over the uncouth ancient
psalmody, which I believe is still retained in use to this day. I was
seasoned to that kind of poetry in my early days by the verses of Tate
and Brady, which I used to hear "entuned in the nose ful swetely,"
accompanied by vigorous rasping of a huge bass-viol. No wonder that
Scotland welcomed the song of Burns!

On our second visit to Oxford we were to be the guests of the
Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr. Jowett. This famous scholar and
administrator lives in a very pleasant establishment, presided over by
the Muses, but without the aid of a Vice-Chancelloress. The hospitality
of this classic mansion is well known, and we added a second pleasant
chapter to our previous experience under the roof of Professor Max
Muller. There was a little company there before us, including the Lord
Chancellor and Lady Herschell, Lady Camilla Wallop, Mr. Browning, and
Mr. Lowell. We were too late, in consequence of the bad arrangement of
the trains, and had to dine by ourselves, as the whole party had gone
out to a dinner, to which we should have accompanied them had we not
been delayed. We sat up long enough to see them on their return, and
were glad to get to bed, after our day's journey from Edinburgh to

At eleven o'clock on the following day we who were to receive degrees
met at Balliol College, whence we proceeded in solemn procession to the
Sheldonian Theatre. Among my companions on this occasion were Mr. John
Bright, the Lord Chancellor Herschell, and Mr. Aldis Wright. I have an
instantaneous photograph, which was sent me, of this procession. I can
identify Mr. Bright and myself, but hardly any of the others, though
many better acquainted with their faces would no doubt recognize them.
There is a certain sensation in finding one's self invested with the
academic gown, conspicuous by its red facings, and the cap with its
square top and depending tassel, which is not without its accompanying
satisfaction. One can walk the streets of any of the university towns in
his academic robes without being jeered at, as I am afraid he would be
in some of our own thoroughfares. There is a noticeable complacency in
the members of our Phi Beta Kappa society when they get the pink and
blue ribbons in their buttonholes, on the day of annual meeting. How
much more when the scholar is wrapped in those flowing folds, with their
flaming borders, and feels the dignity of the distinction of which they
are the symbol! I do not know how Mr. John Bright felt, but I cannot
avoid the impression that some in the ranks which moved from Balliol to
the Sheldonian felt as if Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like
the candidates for the degree of D.C.L.

After my experience at Cambridge and Edinburgh, I might have felt some
apprehension about my reception at Oxford. I had always supposed the
audience assembled there at the conferring of degrees was a more
demonstrative one than that at any other of the universities, and I did
not wish to be forced into a retreat by calls for a speech, as I was at
Cambridge, nor to repeat my somewhat irregular proceeding of addressing
the audience, as at Edinburgh. But when I found that Mr. John Bright was
to be one of the recipients of the degree I felt safe, for if he made a
speech I should be justified in saying a few words, if I thought it
best; and if he, one of the most eloquent men in England, remained
silent, I surely need not make myself heard on the occasion. It was a
great triumph for him, a liberal leader, to receive the testimonial of a
degree from the old conservative university. To myself it was a graceful
and pleasing compliment; to him it was a grave and significant tribute.
As we marched through the crowd on our way from Balliol, the people
standing around recognized Mr. Bright, and cheered him vociferously.

The exercises in the Sheldonian Theatre were more complex and lasted
longer than those at the other two universities. The candidate stepped
forward and listened to one sentence, then made another move forward and
listened to other words, and at last was welcomed to all the privileges
conferred by the degree of Doctor of Civil Law, which was announced as
being bestowed upon him. Mr. Bright, of course, was received with
immense enthusiasm. I had every reason to be gratified with my own
reception. The only "chaffing" I heard was the question from one of the
galleries, "Did he come in the One-Hoss Shay?"--at which there was a
hearty laugh, joined in as heartily by myself. A part of the
entertainment at this ceremony consisted in the listening to the reading
of short extracts from the prize essays, some or all of them in the dead
languages, which could not have been particularly intelligible to a
large part of the audience. During these readings there were frequent
_interpellations_, as the French call such interruptions, something
like these: "That will do, sir!" or "You had better stop, sir!"
--always, I noticed, with the sir at the end of the remark. With us it
would have been "Dry up!" or "Hold on!" At last came forward the young
poet of the occasion, who read an elaborate poem, "Savonarola," which
was listened to in most respectful silence, and loudly applauded at its
close, as I thought, deservedly. Prince and Princess Christian were
among the audience. They were staying with Professor and Mrs. Max
Muller, whose hospitalities I hope they enjoyed as much as we did. One
or two short extracts from A----'s diary will enliven my record: "The
Princess had a huge bouquet, and going down the aisle had to bow both
ways at once, it seemed to me: but then she has the Guelph spine and
neck! Of course it is necessary that royalty should have more elasticity
in the frame than we poor ordinary mortals. After all this we started
for a luncheon at All Souls, but had to wait (impatiently) for H. R. H.
to rest herself, while our resting was done standing."

It is a long while since I read Madame d'Arblay's Recollections, but if
I remember right, _standing_ while royalty rests its bones is one
of the drawbacks to a maid of honor's felicity.

"Finally, at near three, we went into a great luncheon of some fifty.
There were different tables, and I sat at the one with royalty. The
Provost of Oriel took me in, and Mr. Browning was on my other side.
Finally, we went home to rest, but the others started out again to go to
a garden-party, but that was beyond us." After all this came a
dinner-party of twenty at the Vice-Chancellor's, and after that a
reception, where among others we met Lord and Lady Coleridge, the lady
resplendent in jewels. Even after London, this could hardly be called a
day of rest.

The Chinese have a punishment which consists simply in keeping the
subject of it awake, by the constant teasing of a succession of
individuals employed for the purpose. The best of our social pleasures,
if carried beyond the natural power of physical and mental endurance,
begin to approach the character of such a penance. After this we got a
little rest; did some mild sight-seeing, heard some good music, called
on the Max Mullers, and bade them good-by with the warmest feeling to
all the members of a household which it was a privilege to enter. There
only remained the parting from our kind entertainer, the
Vice-Chancellor, who added another to the list of places which in
England and Scotland were made dear to us by hospitality, and are
remembered as true homes to us while we were under their roofs.

On the second day of July we left the Vice-Chancellor's, and went to the
Randolph Hotel to meet our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Willett, from Brighton,
with whom we had an appointment of long standing. With them we left
Oxford, to enter on the next stage of our pilgrimage.


It had been the intention of Mr. Willett to go with us to visit Mr.
Ruskin, with whom he is in the most friendly relations. But a letter
from Mr. Ruskin's sister spoke of his illness as being too serious for
him to see company, and we reluctantly gave up this part of our plan.

My first wish was to revisit Stratford-on-Avon, and as our travelling
host was guided in everything by our inclinations, we took the cars for
Stratford, where we arrived at five o'clock in the afternoon. It had
been arranged beforehand that we should be the guests of Mr. Charles E.
Flower, one of the chief citizens of Stratford, who welcomed us to his
beautiful mansion in the most cordial way, and made us once more at home
under an English roof.

I well remembered my visit to Stratford in 1834. The condition of the
old house in which Shakespeare was born was very different from that in
which we see it to-day. A series of photographs taken in different years
shows its gradual transformation since the time when the old projecting
angular sign-board told all who approached "The immortal Shakespeare was
born in this House." How near the old house came to sharing the fortunes
of Jumbo under the management of our enterprising countryman, Mr.
Barnum, I am not sure; but that he would have "traded" for it, if the
proprietors had been willing, I do not doubt, any more than I doubt that
he would make an offer for the Tower of London, if that venerable
structure were in the market. The house in which Shakespeare was born is
the Santa Casa of England. What with my recollections and the
photographs with which I was familiarly acquainted, it had nothing very
new for me. Its outside had undergone great changes, but its bare
interior was little altered.

My previous visit was a hurried one,--I took but a glimpse, and then
went on my way. Now, for nearly a week I was a resident of
Stratford-on-Avon. How shall I describe the perfectly ideal beauty of
the new home in which I found myself! It is a fine house, surrounded by
delightful grounds, which skirt the banks of the Avon for a considerable
distance, and come close up to the enclosure of the Church of the Holy
Trinity, beneath the floor of which lie the mortal remains of
Shakespeare. The Avon is one of those narrow English rivers in which
half a dozen boats might lie side by side, but hardly wide enough for a
race between two rowing abreast of each other. Just here the river is
comparatively broad and quiet, there being a dam a little lower down the
stream. The waters were a perfect mirror, as I saw them on one of the
still days we had at Stratford. I do not remember ever before seeing
cows walking with their legs in the air, as I saw them reflected in the
Avon. Along the banks the young people were straying. I wondered if the
youthful swains quoted Shakespeare to their ladyloves. Could they help
recalling Romeo and Juliet? It is quite impossible to think of any human
being growing up in this place which claims Shakespeare as its child,
about the streets of which he ran as a boy, on the waters of which he
must have often floated, without having his image ever present. Is it
so? There are some boys, from eight to ten or a dozen years old, fishing
in the Avon, close by the grounds of "Avonbank," the place at which we
are staying. I call to the little group. I say, "Boys, who was this man
Shakespeare, people talk so much about?" Boys turn round and look up
with a plentiful lack of intelligence in their countenances. "Don't you
know who he was nor what he was?" Boys look at each other, but confess
ignorance.--Let us try the universal stimulant of human faculties. "Here
are some pennies for the boy that will tell me what that Mr. Shakespeare
was." The biggest boy finds his tongue at last. "He was a writer,--he
wrote plays." That was as much as I could get out of the youngling. I
remember meeting some boys under the monument upon Bunker Hill, and
testing their knowledge as I did that of the Stratford boys. "What is
this great stone pillar here for?" I asked. "Battle fought here,--great
battle." "Who fought?" "Americans and British." (I never hear the
expression Britishers.) "Who was the general on the American side?"
"Don' know,--General Washington or somebody."--What is an old battle,
though it may have settled the destinies of a nation, to the game of
base-ball between the Boston and Chicago Nines which is to come off
to-morrow, or to the game of marbles which Tom and Dick are just going
to play together under the shadow of the great obelisk which
commemorates the conflict?

The room more especially assigned to me looked out, at a distance of not
more than a stone's-throw, on the northern aspect of the church where
Shakespeare lies buried. Workmen were busy on the roof of the transept.
I could not conveniently climb up to have a talk with the roofers, but I
have my doubts whether they were thinking all the time of the dust over
which they were working. How small a matter literature is to the great
seething, toiling, struggling, love-making, bread-winning,
child-rearing, death-awaiting men and women who fill this huge,
palpitating world of ours! It would be worth while to pass a week or a
month among the plain, average people of Stratford. What is the relative
importance in human well-being of the emendations of the text of Hamlet
and the patching of the old trousers and the darning of the old
stockings which task the needles of the hard-working households that
fight the battle of life in these narrow streets and alleys? I ask the
question; the reader may answer it.

Our host, Mr. Flower, is more deeply interested, perhaps, than any other
individual in the "Shakespeare Memorial" buildings which have been
erected on the banks of the Avon, a short distance above the Church of
the Holy Trinity. Under Mr. Flower's guidance we got into one of his
boats, and were rowed up the stream to the Memorial edifice. There is a
theatre, in a round tower which has borrowed some traits from the
octagon "Globe" theatre of Shakespeare's day; a Shakespeare library and
portrait gallery are forming; and in due time these buildings, of
stately dimensions and built solidly of brick, will constitute a
Shakespearean centre which will attract to itself many mementoes now
scattered about in various parts of the country.

On the 4th of July we remembered our native land with all the
affectionate pride of temporary exiles, and did not forget to drink at
lunch to the prosperity and continued happiness of the United States of
America. In the afternoon we took to the boat again, and were rowed up
the river to the residence of Mr. Edgar Flower, where we found another
characteristic English family, with its nine children, one of whom was
the typical English boy, most pleasing and attractive in look, voice,
and manner.

I attempt no description of the church, the birthplace, or the other
constantly visited and often described localities. The noble bridge,
built in the reign of Henry VII. by Sir Hugh Clopton, and afterwards
widened, excited my admiration. It was a much finer piece of work than
the one built long afterwards. I have hardly seen anything which gave me
a more striking proof of the thoroughness of the old English workmen.
They built not for an age, but for all time, and the New Zealander will
have to wait a long while before he will find in any one of the older
bridges that broken arch from which he is to survey the ruins of London.

It is very pleasant to pick up a new epithet to apply to the poet upon
whose genius our language has nearly exhausted itself. It delights me to
speak of him in the words which I have just found in a memoir not yet a
century old, as "the Warwickshire bard," "the inestimable Shakespeare."

Ever since Miss Bacon made her insane attempt to unearth what is left of
Shakespeare's bodily frame, the thought of doing reverently and openly
what she would have done by stealth has been entertained by
psychologists, artists, and others who would like to know what were his
cranial developments, and to judge from the conformation of the skull
and face which of the various portraits is probably the true one. There
is little doubt that but for the curse invoked upon the person who
should disturb his bones, in the well-known lines on the slab which
covers him, he would rest, like Napoleon, like Washington, in a fitting
receptacle of marble or porphyry. In the transfer of his remains the
curiosity of men of science and artists would have been gratified, if
decay had spared the more durable portions of his material structure. It
was probably not against such a transfer that the lines were
written,--whoever was their author,--but in the fear that they would be
carried to the charnel-house.

"In this charnel-house was contained a vast collection of human bones.
How long they had been deposited there is not easily to be determined;
but it is evident, from the immense quantity contained in the vault, it
could have been used for no other purpose for many ages." "It is
probable that from an early contemplation of this dreary spot
Shakespeare imbibed that horror of a violation of sepulture which is
observable in many parts of his writings."

The body of Raphael was disinterred in 1833 to settle a question of
identity of the remains, and placed in a new coffin of lead, which was
deposited in a marble sarcophagus presented by the Pope. The
sarcophagus, with its contents, was replaced in the same spot from which
the remains had been taken. But for the inscription such a transfer of
the bones of Shakespeare would have been proposed, and possibly carried
out. Kings and emperors have frequently been treated in this way after
death, and the proposition is no more an indignity than was that of the
exhumation of the remains of Napoleon, or of Andre, or of the author of
"Home, Sweet Home." But sentiment, a tender regard for the supposed
wishes of the dead poet, and a natural dread of the consequences of
violating a dying wish, coupled with the execration of its contemner,
are too powerful for the arguments of science and the pleadings of art.
If Shakespeare's body had been embalmed,--which there is no reason that
I know of to suppose,--the desire to compare his features with the bust
and the portraits would have been much more imperative. When the body of
Charles the First was examined, under the direction of Sir Henry
Halford, in the presence of the Regent, afterwards George the Fourth,
the face would have been recognized at once by all who were acquainted
with Vandyke's portrait of the monarch, if the lithograph which comes
attached to Sir Henry's memoir is an accurate representation of what
they found. Even the bony framework of the face, as I have had occasion
to know, has sometimes a striking likeness to what it was when clothed
in its natural features. As between the first engraved portrait and the
bust in the church, the form of the bones of the head and face would
probably be decisive. But the world can afford to live without solving
this doubt, and leave his perishing vesture of decay to its repose.

After seeing the Shakespeare shrines, we drove over to Shottery, and
visited the Anne Hathaway cottage. I am not sure whether I ever saw it
before, but it was as familiar to me as if I had lived in it. The old
lady who showed it was agreeably communicative, and in perfect keeping
with the place.

A delightful excursion of ten or a dozen miles carried our party,
consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Flower, Mr. and Mrs. Willett, with A---- and
myself, to Compton Wynyate, a most interesting old mansion, belonging to
the Marquis of Northampton, who, with his daughter-in-law, Lady William
Compton, welcomed us and showed us all the wonders of the place. It was
a fine morning, but hot enough for one of our American July days. The
drive was through English rural scenery; that is to say, it was lovely.
The old house is a great curiosity. It was built in the reign of Henry
the Eighth, and has passed through many vicissitudes. The place, as well
as the edifice, is a study for the antiquarian. Remains of the old moat
which surrounded it are still distinguishable. The twisted and variously
figured chimneys are of singular variety and exceptional forms. Compton
_Wynyate_ is thought to get its name from the vineyards formerly
under cultivation on the hillsides, which show the signs of having been
laid out in terraces. The great hall, with its gallery, and its
hangings, and the long table made from the trunk of a single tree,
carries one back into the past centuries. There are strange nooks and
corners and passages in the old building, and one place, a queer little
"cubby-hole," has the appearance of having been a Roman Catholic chapel.
I asked the master of the house, who pointed out the curiosities of the
place most courteously, about the ghosts who of course were tenants in
common with the living proprietors. I was surprised when he told me
there were none. It was incredible, for here was every accommodation for
a spiritual visitant. I should have expected at least one haunted
chamber, to say nothing of blood-stains that could never be got rid of;
but there were no legends of the supernatural or the terrible.

Refreshments were served us, among which were some hot-house peaches,
ethereally delicate as if they had grown in the Elysian Fields and been
stolen from a banquet of angels. After this we went out on the lawn,
where, at Lady William Compton's request, I recited one or two poems;
the only time I did such a thing in England.

It seems as if Compton Wynyate must have been written about in some
novel or romance,--perhaps in more than one of both. It is the place of
all others to be the scene of a romantic story. It lies so hidden away
among the hills that its vulgar name, according to old Camden, was
"Compton in the Hole." I am not sure that it was the scene of any actual
conflict, but it narrowly escaped demolition in the great civil war, and
in 1646 it was garrisoned by the Parliament army.

On the afternoon of July 6th, our hosts had a large garden-party. If
nothing is more trying than one of these out-of-door meetings on a cold,
windy, damp day, nothing can be more delightful than such a social
gathering if the place and the weather are just what we could wish them.
The garden-party of this afternoon was as near perfection as such a
meeting could well be. The day was bright and warm, but not
uncomfortably hot, to me, at least. The company strolled about the
grounds, or rested on the piazzas, or watched the birds in the aviary,
or studied rudimentary humanity in the monkey, or, better still, in a
charming baby, for the first time on exhibition since she made the
acquaintance of sunshine. Every one could dispose of himself or herself
as fancy might suggest. I broke away at one time, and wandered alone by
the side of the Avon, under the shadow of the tall trees upon its bank.
The whole scene was as poetical, as inspiring, as any that I remember.
It would be easy to write verses about it, but unwritten poems are so
much better!

One reminiscence of that afternoon claims precedence over all the rest.
The reader must not forget that I have been a medical practitioner, and
for thirty-five years a professor in a medical school. Among the guests
whom I met in the grounds was a gentleman of the medical profession,
whose name I had often heard, and whom I was very glad to see and talk
with. This was Mr. Lawson Tait, F.R.C.S., M.D., of Birmingham. Mr., or
more properly Dr., Tait has had the most extraordinary success in a
class of cases long considered beyond the reach of surgery. If I refer
to it as a scientific _hari kari_, not for the taking but for the
saving of life, I shall come near enough to its description. This
operation is said to have been first performed by an American surgeon in
Danville, Kentucky, in the year 1809. So rash and dangerous did it seem
to most of the profession that it was sometimes spoken of as if to
attempt it were a crime. Gradually, however, by improved methods, and
especially by the most assiduous care in nursing the patient after the
operation, the mortality grew less and less, until it was recognized as
a legitimate and indeed an invaluable addition to the resources of
surgery. Mr. Lawson Tait has had, so far as I have been able to learn,
the most wonderful series of successful cases on record: namely, one
hundred and thirty-nine consecutive operations without a single death.

As I sat by the side of this great surgeon, a question suggested itself
to my mind which I leave the reader to think over. Which would give the
most satisfaction to a thoroughly humane and unselfish being, of
cultivated intelligence and lively sensibilities: to have written all
the plays which Shakespeare has left as an inheritance for mankind, or
to have snatched from the jaws of death more than a hundred fellow-
creatures,--almost seven scores of suffering women,--and restored them
to sound and comfortable existence? It would be curious to get the
answers of a hundred men and a hundred women, of a hundred young people
and a hundred old ones, of a hundred scholars and a hundred operatives.
My own specialty is asking questions, not answering them, and I trust I
shall not receive a peck or two of letters inquiring of me how I should
choose if such a question were asked me. It may prove as fertile a
source of dispute as "The Lady or the Tiger."

It would have been a great thing to pass a single night close to the
church where Shakespeare's dust lies buried. A single visit by daylight
leaves a comparatively slight impression. But when, after a night's
sleep, one wakes up and sees the spire and the old walls full before
him, that impression is very greatly deepened, and the whole scene
becomes far more a reality. Now I was nearly a whole week at
Stratford-on-Avon. The church, its exterior, its interior, the
birthplace, the river, had time to make themselves permanent images in
my mind. To effect this requires a certain amount of exposure, as much
as in the case of a photographic negative.

* * * * *

And so we bade good-by to Stratford-on-Avon and its hospitalities, with
grateful remembrances of our kind entertainers and all they did for our
comfort and enjoyment.

Where should we go next? Our travelling host proposed Great Malvern, a
famous watering-place, where we should find peace, rest, and good
accommodations. So there we went, and soon found ourselves installed at
the "Foley Arms" hotel. The room I was shown to looked out upon an
apothecary's shop, and from the window of that shop stared out upon me a
plaster bust which I recognized as that of Samuel Hahnemann. I was glad
to change to another apartment, but it may be a comfort to some of his
American followers to know that traces of homoeopathy,--or what still
continues to call itself so,--survive in the Old World, which we have
understood was pretty well tired of it.

We spent several days very pleasantly at Great Malvern. It lies at the
foot of a range of hills, the loftiest of which is over a thousand feet
in height. A---- and I thought we would go to the top of one of these,
known as the Beacon. We hired a "four-wheeler," dragged by a
much-enduring horse and in charge of a civil young man. We turned out of
one of the streets not far from the hotel, and found ourselves facing an
ascent which looked like what I should suppose would be a pretty steep
toboggan slide. We both drew back. _"Facilis ascensus,"_ I said to
myself, _"sed revocare gradum."_ It is easy enough to get up if you
are dragged up, but how will it be to come down such a declivity? When
we reached it on our return, the semi-precipice had lost all its
terrors. We had seen and travelled over so much worse places that this
little bit of slanting road seemed as nothing. The road which wound up
to the summit of the Beacon was narrow and uneven. It ran close to the
edge of the steep hillside,--so close that there were times when every
one of our forty digits curled up like a bird's claw. If we went over,
it would not be a fall down a good honest precipice,--a swish through
the air and a smash at the bottom,--but a tumbling, and a rolling over
and over, and a bouncing and bumping, ever accelerating, until we
bounded into the level below, all ready for the coroner. At one sudden
turn of the road the horse's body projected so far over its edge that
A---- declared if the beast had been an inch longer he would have
toppled over. When we got close to the summit we found the wind blowing
almost a gale. A---- says in her diary that I (meaning her honored
parent) "nearly blew off from the top of the mountain." It is true that
the force of the wind was something fearful, and seeing that two young
men near me were exposed to its fury, I offered an arm to each of them,
which they were not too proud to accept; A---- was equally attentive to
another young person; and having seen as much of the prospect as we
cared to, we were glad to get back to our four-wheeler and our hotel,
after a perilous journey almost comparable to Mark Twain's ascent of the

At Great Malvern we were deliciously idle. We walked about the place,
rested quietly, drove into the neighboring country, and made a single
excursion,--to Tewkesbury. There are few places better worth seeing than
this fine old town, full of historical associations and monumental
relics. The magnificent old abbey church is the central object of
interest. The noble Norman tower, one hundred and thirty-two feet in
height, was once surmounted by a spire, which fell during divine service
on Easter Day of the year 1559. The arch of the west entrance is sixteen
feet high and thirty-four feet wide. The fourteen columns of the nave
are each six feet and three inches in diameter and thirty feet in
height. I did not take these measurements from the fabric itself, but
from the guidebook, and I give them here instead of saying that the
columns were huge, enormous, colossal, as they did most assuredly seem
to me. The old houses of Tewkesbury compare well with the finest of
those in Chester. I have a photograph before me of one of them, in which
each of the three upper floors overhangs the one beneath it, and the
windows in the pointed gable above project over those of the fourth

I ought to have visited the site of Holme Castle, the name of which
reminds me of my own origin. "The meaning of the Saxon word 'Holme' is a
meadow surrounded with brooks, and here not only did the castle bear the
name, but the meadow is described as the 'Holme,--where the castle
was.'" The final _s_ in the name as we spell it is a frequent
addition to old English names, as Camden mentions, giving the name
Holmes among the examples. As there is no castle at the Holme now, I
need not pursue my inquiries any further. It was by accident that I
stumbled on this bit of archaeology, and as I have a good many
namesakes, it may perhaps please some of them to be told about it. Few
of us hold any castles, I think, in these days, except those _chateaux
en Espagne_, of which I doubt not, many of us are lords and masters.

In another of our excursions we visited a venerable church, where our
attention was called to a particular monument. It was erected to the
memory of one of the best of husbands by his "wretched widow," who
records upon the marble that there never was such a man on the face of
the earth before, and never will be again, and that there never was
anybody so miserable as she,--no, never, never, never! These are not the
exact words, but this is pretty nearly what she declares. The story is
that she married again within a year.

From my window at the Foley Arms I can see the tower of the fine old
abbey church of Malvern, which would be a centre of pilgrimages if it
were in our country. But England is full of such monumental structures,
into the history of which the local antiquarians burrow, and pass their
peaceful lives in studying and writing about them with the same innocent
enthusiasm that White of Selborne manifested in studying nature as his
village showed it to him.

In our long drives we have seen everywhere the same picturesque old
cottages, with the pretty gardens, and abundant flowers, and noble
trees, more frequently elms than any other. One day--it was on the 10th
of July--we found ourselves driving through what seemed to be a
gentleman's estate, an ample domain, well wooded and well kept. On
inquiring to whom this place belonged, I was told that the owner was Sir
Edmund Lechmere. The name had a very familiar sound to my ears. Without
rising from the table at which I am now writing, I have only to turn my
head, and in full view, at the distance of a mile, just across the
estuary of the Charles, shining in the morning sun, are the roofs and
spires and chimneys of East Cambridge, always known in my younger days
as Lechmere's Point. Judge Richard Lechmere was one of our old Cambridge
Tories, whose property was confiscated at the time of the Revolution. An
engraving of his handsome house, which stands next to the Vassall house,
long known as Washington's headquarters, and since not less celebrated
as the residence of Longfellow, is before me, on one of the pages of the
pleasing little volume, "The Cambridge of 1776." I take it for granted
that our Lechmeres were of the same stock as the owner of this property.
If so, he probably knows all that I could tell him about his colonial
relatives, who were very grand people, belonging to a little
aristocratic circle of friends and relatives who were faithful to their
king and their church. The Baroness Riedesel, wife of a Hessian officer
who had been captured, was for a while resident in this house, and her
name, scratched on a window-pane, was long shown as a sight for eyes
unused to titles other than governor, judge, colonel, and the like. I
was tempted to present myself at Sir Edmund's door as one who knew
something about the Lechmeres in America, but I did not feel sure how
cordially a descendant of the rebels who drove off Richard and Mary
Lechmere would be received.

From Great Malvern we went to Bath, another place where we could rest
and be comfortable. The Grand Pump-Room Hotel was a stately building,
and the bath-rooms were far beyond anything I had ever seen of that
kind. The remains of the old Roman baths, which appear to have been very
extensive, are partially exposed. What surprises one all over the Old
World is to see how deeply all the old civilizations contrive to get
buried. Everybody seems to have lived in the cellar. It is hard to
believe that the cellar floor was once the sun surface of the smiling

I looked forward to seeing Bath with a curious kind of interest. I once
knew one of those dear old English ladies whom one finds all the world
over, with their prim little ways, and their gilt prayer-books, and
lavender-scented handkerchiefs, and family recollections. She gave me
the idea that Bath, a city where the great people often congregate, was
more especially the paradise of decayed gentlewomen. There, she told me,
persons with very narrow incomes--not _demi-fortunes_, but
_demi-quart-de-fortunes_--could find everything arranged to
accommodate their modest incomes. I saw the evidence of this everywhere.
So great was the delight I had in looking in at the shop-windows of the
long street which seemed to be one of the chief thoroughfares that,
after exploring it in its full extent by myself, I went for A----, and
led her down one side its whole length and up the other. In these shops
the precious old dears could buy everything they wanted in the most
minute quantities. Such tempting heaps of lumps of white sugar, only
twopence! Such delectable cakes, two for a penny! Such seductive scraps
of meat, which would make a breakfast nourishing as well as relishing,
possibly even what called itself a dinner, blushing to see themselves
labelled threepence or fourpence! We did not know whether to smile or to
drop a tear, as we contemplated these baits hung out to tempt the coins
from the exiguous purses of ancient maidens, forlorn widows, withered
annuitants, stranded humanity in every stage of shipwrecked penury. I am
reminded of Thackeray's "Jack Spiggot." "And what are your pursuits,
Jack? says I. 'Sold out when the governor died. Mother lives at Bath. Go
down there once a year for a week. Dreadful slow. Shilling whist.'" Mrs.
Gaskell's picture of "Cranford" is said to have been drawn from a
village in Cheshire, but Bath must have a great deal in common with its
"elegant economies." Do not make the mistake, however, of supposing that
this splendid watering-place, sometimes spoken of as "the handsomest
city in Britain," is only a city of refuge for people that have seen
better days. Lord Macaulay speaks of it as "that beautiful city which
charms even eyes familiar with the masterpieces of Bramante and
Palladio." If it is not quite so conspicuous as a fashionable resort as
it was in the days of Beau Nash or of Christopher Anstey, it has never
lost its popularity. Chesterfield writes in 1764, "The number of people
in this place is infinite," and at the present time the annual influx of
visitors is said to vary from ten to fourteen thousand. Many of its
public buildings are fine, and the abbey church, dating from 1499, is an
object of much curiosity, especially on account of the sculptures on its
western facade. These represent two ladders, with angels going up and
down upon them,--suggested by a dream of the founder of the church,
repeating that of Jacob.

On the 14th of July we left Bath for Salisbury. While passing Westbury,
one of our fellow-passengers exclaimed, "Look out! Look out!" "What is
it?" "The horse! the horse!" All our heads turned to the window, and all
our eyes fastened on the figure of a white horse, upon a hillside some
miles distant. This was not the white horse which Mr. Thomas Hughes has
made famous, but one of much less archaic aspect and more questionable
history. A little book which we bought tells us all we care to know
about it. "It is formed by excoriating the turf over the steep slope of
the northern escarpment of Salisbury Plain." It was "remodelled" in
1778, and "restored" in 1873 at a cost of between sixty and seventy
pounds. It is said that a smaller and ruder horse stood here from time
immemorial, and was made to commemorate a victory of Alfred over the
Danes. However that may be, the horse we now see on the hillside is a
very modern-looking and well-shaped animal, and is of the following
dimensions: length, 170 feet; height from highest part of back, 128
feet; thickness of body, 55 feet; length of head, 50 feet; eye, 6 by 8
feet. It is a very pretty little object as we see it in the distance.

Salisbury Cathedral was my first love among all the wonderful
ecclesiastical buildings which I saw during my earlier journey. I looked
forward to seeing it again with great anticipations of pleasure, which
were more than realized.

Our travelling host had taken a whole house in the Close,--a privileged
enclosure, containing the cathedral, the bishop's palace, houses of the
clergy, and a limited number of private residences, one of the very best
of which was given over entirely into the hands of our party during our
visit. The house was about as near the cathedral as Mr. Flower's house,
where we stayed at Stratford-on-Avon, was to the Church of the Holy
Trinity. It was very completely furnished, and in the room assigned to
me as my library I found books in various languages, showing that the
residence was that of a scholarly person.

If one had to name the apple of the eye of England, I think he would be
likely to say that Salisbury Cathedral was as near as he could come to
it, and that the white of the eye was Salisbury Close. The cathedral is
surrounded by a high wall, the gates of which,--its eyelids,--are closed
every night at a seasonable hour, at which the virtuous inhabitants are
expected to be in their safe and sacred quarters. Houses within this
hallowed precinct naturally bring a higher rent than those of the
unsanctified and unprotected region outside of its walls. It is a realm
of peace, glorified by the divine edifice, which lifts the least
imaginative soul upward to the heavens its spire seems trying to reach;
beautified by rows of noble elms which stretch high aloft, as if in
emulation of the spire; beatified by holy memories of the good and great
men who have worn their lives out in the service of the church of which
it is one of the noblest temples.

For a whole week we lived under the shadow of the spire of the great
cathedral. Our house was opposite the north transept, only separated by
the road in front of it from the cathedral grounds. Here, as at
Stratford, I learned what it was to awake morning after morning and find
that I was not dreaming, but there in the truth-telling daylight the
object of my admiration, devotion, almost worship, stood before me. I
need not here say anything more of the cathedral, except that its
perfect exterior is hardly equalled in beauty by its interior, which
looks somewhat bare and cold. It was my impression that there is more to
study than to admire in the interior, but I saw the cathedral so much
oftener on the outside than on the inside that I may not have done
justice to the latter aspect of the noble building.

Nothing could be more restful than our week at Salisbury. There was
enough in the old town besides the cathedral to interest us,--old
buildings, a museum, full of curious objects, and the old town itself.
When I was there the first time, I remember that we picked up a
guide-book in which we found a verse that has remained in my memory ever
since. It is an epitaph on a native of Salisbury who died in Venice.

"Born in the English Venice, thou didst dye
Dear Friend, in the Italian Salisbury."

This would be hard to understand except for the explanation which the
local antiquarians give us of its significance. The Wiltshire Avon flows
by or through the town, which is drained by brooks that run through its
streets. These, which used to be open, are now covered over, and thus
the epitaph becomes somewhat puzzling, as there is nothing to remind one
of Venice in walking about the town.

While at Salisbury we made several excursions: to Old Sarum; to
Bemerton, where we saw the residence of holy George Herbert, and visited
the little atom of a church in which he ministered; to Clarendon Park;
to Wilton, the seat of the Earl of Pembroke, a most interesting place
for itself and its recollections; and lastly to Stonehenge. My second
visit to the great stones after so long an interval was a strange
experience. But what is half a century to a place like Stonehenge?
Nothing dwarfs an individual life like one of these massive, almost
unchanging monuments of an antiquity which refuses to be measured. The
"Shepherd of Salisbury Plain" was represented by an old man, who told
all he knew and a good deal more about the great stones, and sheared a
living, not from sheep, but from visitors, in the shape of shillings and
sixpences. I saw nothing that wore unwoven wool on its back in the
neighborhood of the monuments, but sheep are shown straggling among them
in the photographs.

The broken circle of stones, some in their original position, some
bending over like old men, some lying prostrate, suggested the thoughts
which took form in the following verses. They were read at the annual
meeting, in January, of the class which graduated at Harvard College in
the year 1829. Eight of the fifty-nine men who graduated sat round the
small table. There were several other classmates living, but infirmity,
distance, and other peremptory reasons kept them from being with us. I
have read forty poems at our successive annual meetings. I will
introduce this last one by quoting a stanza from the poem I read in

As one by one is falling
Beneath the leaves or snows,
Each memory still recalling
The broken ring shall close,
Till the night winds softly pass
O'er the green and growing grass,
Where it waves on the graves
Of the "Boys of 'Twenty-nine."


I stood on Sarum's treeless plain,
The waste that careless Nature owns;
Lone tenants of her bleak domain,
Loomed huge and gray the Druid stones.

Upheaved in many a billowy mound
The sea-like, naked turf arose,
Where wandering flocks went nibbling round
The mingled graves of friends and foes.

The Briton, Roman, Saxon, Dane,
This windy desert roamed in turn;
Unmoved these mighty blocks remain
Whose story none that lives may learn.

Erect, half buried, slant or prone,
These awful listeners, blind and dumb,
Hear the strange tongues of tribes unknown,
As wave on wave they go and come.

"Who are you, giants, whence and why?"
I stand and ask in blank amaze;
My soul accepts their mute reply:
"A mystery, as are you that gaze.

"A silent Orpheus wrought the charm
From riven rocks their spoils to bring;
A nameless Titan lent his arm
To range us in our magic ring.

"But Time with still and stealthy stride,
That climbs and treads and levels all,
That bids the loosening keystone slide,
And topples down the crumbling wall,--

"Time, that unbuilds the quarried past,
Leans on these wrecks that press the sod;
They slant, they stoop, they fall at last,
And strew the turf their priests have trod.

"No more our altar's wreath of smoke
Floats up with morning's fragrant dew;
The fires are dead, the ring is broke,
Where stood the many stand the few."

--My thoughts had wandered far away,
Borne off on Memory's outspread wing,
To where in deepening twilight lay
The wrecks of friendship's broken ring.

Ah me! of all our goodly train
How few will find our banquet hall!
Yet why with coward lips complain
That this must lean and that must fall?

Cold is the Druid's altar-stone,
Its vanished flame no more returns;
But ours no chilling damp has known,--
Unchanged, unchanging, still it burns.

So let our broken circle stand
A wreck, a remnant, yet the same,
While one last, loving, faithful hand
Still lives to feed its altar-flame!

My heart has gone back over the waters to my old friends and my own
home. When this vision has faded, I will return to the silence of the
lovely Close and the shadow of the great Cathedral.


The remembrance of home, with its early and precious and long-enduring
friendships, has intruded itself among my recollections of what I saw
and heard, of what I felt and thought, in the distant land I was
visiting. I must return to the scene where I found myself when the
suggestion of the broken circle ran away with my imagination.

The literature of Stonehenge is extensive, and illustrates the weakness
of archaeologists almost as well as the "Praetorium" of Scott's
"Antiquary." "In 1823," says a local handbook, "H. Browne, of Amesbury,
published 'An Illustration of Stonehenge and Abury,' in which he
endeavored to show that both of these monuments were antediluvian, and
that the latter was formed under the direction of Adam. He ascribes the
present dilapidated condition of Stonehenge to the operation of the
general deluge; for, he adds, 'to suppose it to be the work of any
people since the flood is entirely monstrous.'"

We know well enough how great stones--pillars and obelisks--are brought
into place by means of our modern appliances. But if the great blocks
were raised by a mob of naked Picts, or any tribe that knew none of the
mechanical powers but the lever, how did they set them up and lay the
cross-stones, the imposts, upon the uprights? It is pleasant, once in a
while, to think how we should have managed any such matters as this if
left to our natural resources. We are all interested in the make-shifts
of Robinson Crusoe. Now the rudest tribes make cords of some kind, and
the earliest, or almost the earliest, of artificial structures is an
earth-mound. If a hundred, or hundreds, of men could drag the huge
stones many leagues, as they must have done to bring them to their
destined place, they could have drawn each of them up a long slanting
mound ending in a sharp declivity, with a hole for the foot of the stone
at its base. If the stone were now tipped over, it would slide into its
place, and could be easily raised from its slanting position to the
perpendicular. Then filling in the space between the mound and two
contiguous stones, the impost could be dragged up to its position. I
found a pleasure in working at this simple mechanical problem, as a
change from the more imaginative thoughts suggested by the mysterious

One incident of our excursion to Stonehenge had a significance for me
which renders it memorable in my personal experience. As we drove over
the barren plain, one of the party suddenly exclaimed, "Look! Look! See
the lark rising!" I looked up with the rest. There was the bright blue
sky, but not a speck upon it which my eyes could distinguish. Again, one
called out, "Hark! Hark! Hear him singing!" I listened, but not a sound
reached my ear. Was it strange that I felt a momentary pang? _Those
that look out at the windows are darkened, and all the daughters of
music are brought low._ Was I never to see or hear the soaring
songster at Heaven's gate,--unless,--unless,--if our mild humanized
theology promises truly, I may perhaps hereafter listen to him singing
far down beneath me? For in whatever world I may find myself, I hope I
shall always love our poor little spheroid, so long my home, which some
kind angel may point out to me as a gilded globule swimming in the
sunlight far away. After walking the streets of pure gold in the New
Jerusalem, might not one like a short vacation, to visit the
well-remembered green fields and flowery meadows? I had a very sweet
emotion of self-pity, which took the sting out of my painful discovery
that the orchestra of my pleasing life-entertainment was unstringing its
instruments, and the lights were being extinguished,--that the show was
almost over. All this I kept to myself, of course, except so far as I
whispered it to the unseen presence which we all feel is in sympathy
with us, and which, as it seemed to my fancy, was looking into my eyes,
and through them into my soul, with the tender, tearful smile of a
mother who for the first time gently presses back the longing lips of
her as yet unweaned infant.

On our way back from Stonehenge we stopped and took a cup of tea with a
friend of our host, Mr. Nightingale. His house, a bachelor
establishment, was very attractive to us by the beauty within and around
it. His collection of "china," as Pope and old-fashioned people call all
sorts of earthenware, excited the enthusiasm of our host, whose
admiration of some rare pieces in the collection was so great that it
would have run into envy in a less generous nature.

It is very delightful to find one's self in one of these English country
residences. The house is commonly old, and has a history. It is
oftentimes itself a record, like that old farmhouse my friend John
Bellows wrote to me about, which chronicled half a dozen reigns by
various architectural marks as exactly as if it had been an official
register. "The stately homes of England," as we see them at Wilton and
Longford Castle, are not more admirable in their splendors than "the
blessed homes of England" in their modest beauty. Everywhere one may see
here old parsonages by the side of ivy-mantled churches, and the
comfortable mansions where generations of country squires have lived in
peace, while their sons have gone forth to fight England's battles, and
carry her flags of war and commerce all over the world. We in America
can hardly be said to have such a possession as a family home. We
encamp,--not under canvas, but in fabrics of wood or more lasting
materials, which are pulled down after a brief occupancy by the
builders, and possibly their children, or are modernized so that the
former dwellers in them would never recognize their old habitations.

In my various excursions from Salisbury I was followed everywhere by the
all-pervading presence of the towering spire. Just what it was in that
earlier visit, when my eyes were undimmed and my sensibilities unworn,
just such I found it now. As one drives away from the town, the roofs of
the houses drop out of the landscape, the lesser spires disappear one by
one, until the great shaft is left standing alone,--solitary as the
broken statue of Ozymandias in the desert, as the mast of some mighty
ship above the waves which have rolled over the foundering vessel. Most
persons will, I think, own to a feeling of awe in looking up at it. Few
can look down from a great height without creepings and crispations, if
they do not get as far as vertigos and that aerial calenture which
prompts them to jump from the pinnacle on which they are standing. It
does not take much imagination to make one experience something of the
same feeling in looking up at a very tall steeple or chimney. To one
whose eyes are used to Park Street and the Old South steeples as
standards of height, a spire which climbs four hundred feet towards the
sky is a new sensation. Whether I am more "afraid of that which is high"
than I was at my first visit, as I should be on the authority of
Ecclesiastes, I cannot say, but it was quite enough for me to let my
eyes climb the spire, and I had no desire whatever to stand upon that
"bad eminence," as I am sure that I should have found it.

I soon noticed a slight deflection from the perpendicular at the upper
part of the spire. This has long been observed. I could not say that I
saw the spire quivering in the wind, as I felt that of Strasburg doing
when I ascended it,--swaying like a blade of grass when a breath of air
passes over it. But it has been, for at least two hundred years, nearly
two feet out of the perpendicular. No increase in the deviation was
found to exist when it was examined early in the present century. It is
a wonder that this slight-looking structure can have survived the
blasts, and thunderbolts, and earthquakes, and the weakening effects of
time on its stones and timbers for five hundred years. Since the spire
of Chichester Cathedral fell in 1861, sheathing itself in its tower like
a sword dropping into its scabbard, one can hardly help looking with
apprehension at all these lofty fabrics. I have before referred to the
fall of the spire of Tewkesbury Abbey church, three centuries earlier.
There has been a good deal of fear for the Salisbury spire, and great
precautions have been taken to keep it firm, so that we may hope it will
stand for another five hundred years. It ought to be a "joy forever,"
for it is a thing of beauty, if ever there were one.

I never felt inclined to play the part of the young enthusiast in
"Excelsior," as I looked up at the weathercock which surmounts the
spire. But the man who oils the weathercock-spindle has to get up to it
in some way, and that way is by ladders which reach to within thirty
feet of the top, where there is a small door, through which he emerges,
to crawl up the remaining distance on the outside. "The situation and
appearance," says one of the guide-books, "must be terrific, yet many
persons have voluntarily and daringly clambered to the top, even in a
state of intoxication." Such, I feel sure, was not the state of my most
valued and exemplary clerical friend, who, with a cool head and steady
nerves, found himself standing in safety at the top of the spire, with
his hand upon the vane, which nothing terrestrial had ever looked down
upon in its lofty position, except a bird, a bat, a sky-rocket, or a

In saying that the exterior of Salisbury Cathedral is more interesting
than its interior, I was perhaps unfair to the latter, which only yields
to the surpassing claims of the wonderful structure as seen from the
outside. One may get a little tired of marble Crusaders, with their
crossed legs and broken noses, especially if, as one sometimes finds
them, they are covered with the pencilled autographs of cockney
scribblers. But there are monuments in this cathedral which excite
curiosity, and others which awaken the most striking associations. There
is the "Boy Bishop," his marble effigy protected from vandalism by an
iron cage. There is the skeleton figure representing Fox (who should
have been called Goose), the poor creature who starved himself to death
in trying to imitate the fast of forty days in the wilderness. Since
this performance has been taken out of the list of miracles, it is not
so likely to be repeated by fanatics. I confess to a strong suspicion
that this is one of the ambulatory or movable stories, like the
"hangman's stone" legend, which I have found in so many different parts
of England. Skulls and crossbones, sometimes skeletons or skeleton-like
figures, are not uncommon among the sepulchral embellishments of an
earlier period. Where one of these figures is found, the forty-day-fast
story is likely to grow out of it, as the mistletoe springs from the oak
or apple tree.

With far different emotions we look upon the spot where lie buried many
of the Herbert family, among the rest,

"Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother,"

for whom Ben Jonson wrote the celebrated epitaph. I am almost afraid to
say it, but I never could admire the line,

"Lies the subject of all verse,"

nor the idea of Time dropping his hour-glass and scythe to throw a dart
at the fleshless figure of Death. This last image seems to me about the
equivalent in mortuary poetry of Roubiliac's monument to Mrs.
Nightingale in mortuary sculpture,--poor conceits both of them, without
the suggestion of a tear in the verses or in the marble; but the
rhetorical exaggeration does not prevent us from feeling that we are
standing by the resting-place of one who was

"learn'd and fair and good"

enough to stir the soul of stalwart Ben Jonson, and the names of Sidney
and Herbert make us forget the strange hyperboles.

History meets us everywhere, as we stray among these ancient monuments.
Under that effigy lie the great bones of Sir John Cheyne, a mighty man
of war, said to have been "overthrown" by Richard the Third at the
battle of Bosworth Field. What was left of him was unearthed in 1789 in
the demolition of the Beauchamp chapel, and his thigh-bone was found to
be four inches longer than that of a man of common stature.

The reader may remember how my recollections started from their
hiding-place when I came, in one of our excursions, upon the name of
Lechmere, as belonging to the owner of a fine estate by or through which
we were driving. I had a similar twinge of reminiscence at meeting with
the name of Gorges, which is perpetuated by a stately monument at the
end of the north aisle of the cathedral. Sir Thomas Gorges, Knight of
Longford Castle, may or may not have been of the same family as the
well-remembered grandiose personage of the New England Pilgrim period.
The title this gentleman bore had a far more magnificent sound than
those of his contemporaries, Governor Carver and Elder Brewster. No
title ever borne among us has filled the mouth quite so full as that of
"Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Palatine of the Province of Maine," a
province with "Gorgeana" (late the plantation of Agamenticus) as its
capital. Everywhere in England a New Englander is constantly meeting
with names of families and places which remind him that he comes of a
graft from an old tree on a new stock. I could not keep down the
associations called up by the name of Gorges. There is a certain
pleasure in now and then sprinkling our prosaic colonial history with
the holy water of a high-sounding title; not that a "Sir" before a man's
name makes him any better,--for are we not all equal, and more than
equal, to each other?--but it sounds pleasantly. Sir Harry Vane and Sir
Harry Frankland look prettily on the printed page, as the illuminated
capital at the head of a chapter in an old folio pleases the eye of the
reader. Sir Thomas Gorges was the builder of Longford Castle, now the
seat of the Earl of Radnor, whose family name is Bouverie. Whether our
Sir Ferdinando was of the Longford Castle stock or not I must leave to
my associates of the Massachusetts Historical Society to determine.

We lived very quietly at our temporary home in Salisbury Close. A
pleasant dinner with the Dean, a stroll through the grounds of the
episcopal palace, with that perpetual feast of the eyes which the
cathedral offered us, made our residence delightful at the time, and
keeps it so in remembrance. Besides the cathedral there were the very
lovely cloisters, the noble chapter-house with its central pillar,--this
structure has been restored and rejuvenated since my earlier visit,--and
there were the peaceful dwellings, where I insist on believing that only
virtue and happiness are ever tenants. Even outside the sacred enclosure
there is a great deal to enjoy, in the ancient town of Salisbury. One
may rest under the Poultry Cross, where twenty or thirty generations
have rested before him. One may purchase his china at the well-furnished
establishment of the tenant of a spacious apartment of ancient
date,--"the Halle of John Halle," a fine private edifice built in the
year 1470, restored and beautified in 1834; the emblazonment of the
royal arms having been executed by the celebrated architectural artist
Pugin. The old houses are numerous, and some of them eminently

Salisbury was formerly very unhealthy, on account of the low, swampy
nature of its grounds. The Sanitary Reform, dating from about thirty
years ago, had a great effect on the condition of the place. Before the
drainage the annual mortality was twenty-seven in the thousand; since
the drainage twenty in the thousand, which is below that of Boston. In
the Close, which is a little Garden of Eden, with no serpent in it that
I could hear of, the deaths were only fourteen in a thousand. Happy
little enclosure, where thieves cannot break through and steal, where
Death himself hesitates to enter, and makes a visit only now and then at
long intervals, lest the fortunate inhabitants should think they had
already reached the Celestial City!

[Illustration: Salisbury Cathedral.]

It must have been a pretty bitter quarrel that drove the tenants of the
airy height of Old Sarum to remove to the marshy level of the present
site of the cathedral and the town. I wish we could have given more time
to the ancient fortress and cathedral town. This is one of the most
interesting historic localities of Great Britain. We looked from
different points of view at the mounds and trenches which marked it as a
strongly fortified position. For many centuries it played an important
part in the history of England. At length, however, the jealousies of
the laity and the clergy, a squabble like that of "town and gown," but
with graver underlying causes, broke up the harmony and practically
ended the existence of the place except as a monument of the past. It
seems a pity that the headquarters of the Prince of Peace could not have
managed to maintain tranquillity within its own borders. But so it was;
and the consequence followed that Old Sarum, with all its grand
recollections, is but a collection of mounds and hollows,--as much a
tomb of its past as Birs Nimroud of that great city, Nineveh. Old Sarum
is now best remembered by its long-surviving privilege, as a borough, of
sending two members to Parliament. The farcical ceremony of electing two
representatives who had no real constituency behind them was put an end
to by the Reform Act of 1832.

Wilton, the seat of the Earl of Pembroke, within an easy drive's
distance from Salisbury, was the first nobleman's residence I saw in my
early visit. Not a great deal of what I then saw had survived in my
memory. I recall the general effect of the stately mansion and its
grounds. A picture or two of Vandyke's had not quite faded out of my
recollection. I could not forget the armor of Anne de Montmorenci,--not
another Maid of Orleans, but Constable of France,--said to have been
taken in battle by an ancestor of the Herberts. It was one of the first
things that made me feel I was in the Old World. Miles Standish's sword
was as far back as New England collections of armor carried us at that
day. The remarkable gallery of ancient sculptures impressed me at the
time, but no one bust or statue survived as a distinct image. Even the
beautiful Palladian bridge had not pictured itself on my mental tablet
as it should have done, and I could not have taken my oath that I had
seen it. But the pretty English maidens whom we met on the day of our
visit to Wilton,--daughters or granddaughters of a famous inventor and
engineer,--still lingered as vague and pleasing visions, so lovely had
they seemed among the daisies and primroses. The primroses and daisies
were as fresh in the spring of 1886 as they were in the spring of 1833,
but I hardly dared to ask after the blooming maidens of that early

One memory predominates over all others, in walking through the halls,
or still more in wandering through the grounds, of Wilton House. Here
Sir Philip Sidney wrote his "Arcadia," and the ever youthful presence of
the man himself rather than the recollection of his writings takes
possession of us. There are three young men in history whose names
always present themselves to me in a special companionship: Pico della
Mirandola, "the Phoenix of the Age" for his contemporaries; "the
Admirable Crichton," accepting as true the accounts which have come down
to us of his wonderful accomplishments; and Sidney, the Bayard of
England, "that glorious star, that lively pattern of virtue and the
lovely joy of all the learned sort, ... born into the world to show unto
our age a sample of ancient virtue." The English paragon of excellence
was but thirty-two years old when he was slain at Zutphen, the Italian
Phoenix but thirty-one when he was carried off by a fever, and the
Scotch prodigy of gifts and attainments was only twenty-two when he was
assassinated by his worthless pupil. Sir Philip Sidney is better
remembered by the draught of water he gave the dying soldier than by all
the waters he ever drew from the fountain of the Muses, considerable as
are the merits of his prose and verse. But here, where he came to cool
his fiery spirit after the bitter insult he had received from the Earl
of Leicester; here, where he mused and wrote, and shaped his lofty plans
for a glorious future, he lives once more in our imagination, as if his
spirit haunted the English Arcadia he loved so dearly.

The name of Herbert, which we have met with in the cathedral, and which
belongs to the Earls of Pembroke, presents itself to us once more in a
very different and very beautiful aspect. Between Salisbury and Wilton,
three miles and a half distant, is the little village of Bemerton, where
"holy George Herbert" lived and died, and where he lies buried. Many
Americans who know little else of him recall the lines borrowed from him
by Irving in the "Sketch-Book" and by Emerson in "Nature." The
"Sketch-Book" gives the lines thus:--

"Sweet day, so pure, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky."

In other versions the fourth word is _cool_ instead of _pure_,
and _cool_ is, I believe, the correct reading. The day when we
visited Bemerton was, according to A----'s diary, "perfect." I was
struck with the calm beauty of the scene around us, the fresh greenness
of all growing things, and the stillness of the river which mirrored the
heavens above it. It must have been this reflection which the poet was
thinking of when he spoke of the bridal of the earth and sky. The river
is the Wiltshire Avon; not Shakespeare's Avon, but the southern stream
of the same name, which empties into the British Channel.

So much of George Herbert's intellectual and moral character repeat
themselves in Emerson that if I believed in metempsychosis I should
think that the English saint had reappeared in the American philosopher.
Their features have a certain resemblance, but the type, though an
exceptional and fine one, is not so very rare. I found a portrait in the
National Gallery which was a good specimen of it; the bust of a near
friend of his, more intimate with him than almost any other person, is
often taken for that of Emerson. I see something of it in the portrait
of Sir Philip Sidney, and I doubt not that traces of a similar mental
resemblance ran through the whole group, with individual characteristics
which were in some respects quite different. I will take a single verse
of Herbert's from Emerson's "Nature,"--one of the five which he

"Nothing hath got so far
But man hath caught and kept it as his prey;
His eyes dismount the highest star:
He is in little all the sphere.
Herbs gladly cure our flesh because that they
Find their acquaintance there."

Emerson himself fully recognizes his obligations to "the beautiful
psalmist of the seventeenth century," as he calls George Herbert. There
are many passages in his writings which sound as if they were
paraphrases from the elder poet. From him it is that Emerson gets a word
he is fond of, and of which his imitators are too fond:--

"Who sweeps a room as for thy laws
Makes that and the action _fine_."

The little chapel in which Herbert officiated is perhaps half as long
again as the room in which I am writing, but it is four or five feet
narrower,--and I do not live in a palace. Here this humble servant of
God preached and prayed, and here by his faithful and loving service he
so endeared himself to all around him that he has been canonized by an
epithet no other saint of the English Church has had bestowed upon him.
His life as pictured by Izaak Walton is, to borrow one of his own lines,

"A box where sweets compacted lie;"

and I felt, as I left his little chapel and the parsonage which he
rebuilt as a free-will offering, as a pilgrim might feel who had just
left the holy places at Jerusalem.

Among the places which I saw in my first visit was Longford Castle, the
seat of the Earl of Radnor. I remembered the curious triangular
building, constructed with reference to the doctrine of the Trinity, as
churches are built in the form of the cross. I remembered how the
omnipresent spire of the great cathedral, three miles away, looked down
upon the grounds about the building as if it had been their next-door
neighbor. I had not forgotten the two celebrated Claudes, Morning and
Evening. My eyes were drawn to the first of these two pictures when I
was here before; now they turned naturally to the landscape with the
setting sun. I have read my St. Ruskin with due reverence, but I have
never given up my allegiance to Claude Lorraine. But of all the fine
paintings at Longford Castle, no one so much impressed me at my recent
visit as the portrait of Erasmus by Hans Holbein. This is one of those
pictures which help to make the Old World worth a voyage across the
Atlantic. Portraits of Erasmus are not uncommon; every scholar would
know him if he met him in the other world with the look he wore on
earth. All the etchings and their copies give a characteristic
presentation of the spiritual precursor of Luther, who pricked the false
image with his rapier which the sturdy monk slashed with his broadsword.
What a face it is which Hans Holbein has handed down to us in this
wonderful portrait at Longford Castle! How dry it is with scholastic
labor, how keen with shrewd scepticism, how worldly-wise, how conscious
of its owner's wide-awake sagacity! Erasmus and Rabelais,--Nature used
up all her arrows for their quivers, and had to wait a hundred years and
more before she could find shafts enough for the outfit of Voltaire,
leaner and keener than Erasmus, and almost as free in his language as
the audacious creator of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

I have not generally given descriptions of the curious objects which I
saw in the great houses and museums which I visited. There is, however,
a work of art at Longford Castle so remarkable that I must speak of it.
I was so much struck by the enormous amount of skilful ingenuity and
exquisite workmanship bestowed upon it that I looked up its history,
which I found in the "Beauties of England and Wales." This is what is
there said of the wonderful steel chair: "It was made by Thomas Rukers
at the city of Augsburgh, in the year 1575, and consists of more than
130 compartments, all occupied by groups of figures representing a
succession of events in the annals of the Roman Empire, from the landing
of Aneas to the reign of Rodolphus the Second." It looks as if a life
had gone into the making of it, as a pair or two of eyes go to the
working of the bridal veil of an empress.

Fifty years ago and more, when I was at Longford Castle with my two
companions, who are no more with us, we found there a pleasant, motherly
old housekeeper, or attendant of some kind, who gave us a draught of
home-made ale and left a cheerful remembrance with us, as, I need hardly
say, we did with her, in a materialized expression of our good-will. It
always rubbed very hard on my feelings to offer money to any persons who
had served me well, as if they were doing it for their own pleasure. It
may have been the granddaughter of the kindly old matron of the year
1833 who showed us round, and possibly, if I had sunk a shaft of
inquiry, I might have struck a well of sentiment. But

"Take, O boatman, thrice thy fee,"

carried into practical life, is certain in its financial result to the
subject of the emotional impulse, but is less sure to call forth a
tender feeling in the recipient. One will hardly find it worth while to
go through the world weeping over his old recollections, and paying gold
instead of silver and silver instead of copper to astonished boatmen and
bewildered chambermaids.

On Sunday, the 18th of July, we attended morning service at the
cathedral. The congregation was not proportioned to the size of the
great edifice. These vast places of worship were built for ages when
faith was the rule and questioning the exception. I will not say that
faith has grown cold, but it has cooled from white heat to cherry red or
a still less flaming color. As to church attendance, I have heard the
saying attributed to a great statesman, that "once a day is Orthodox,
but twice a day is Puritan." No doubt many of the same class of people
that used to fill the churches stay at home and read about evolution or
telepathy, or whatever new gospel they may have got hold of. Still the
English seem to me a religious people; they have leisure enough to say
grace and give thanks before and after meals, and their institutions
tend to keep alive the feelings of reverence which cannot be said to be
distinctive of our own people.

In coming out of the cathedral, on the Sunday I just mentioned, a
gentleman addressed me as a fellow-countryman. There is something,--I
will not stop now to try and define it,--but there is something by which
we recognize an American among the English before he speaks and betrays
his origin. Our new friend proved to be the president of one of our
American colleges; an intelligent and well-instructed gentleman, of
course. By the invitation of our host he came in to visit us in the
evening, and made himself very welcome by his agreeable conversation.

I took great delight in wandering about the old town of Salisbury. There
are no such surprises in our oldest places as one finds in Chester, or
Tewkesbury, or Stratford, or Salisbury, and I have no doubt in scores or
hundreds of similar places which I have never visited. The best
substitute for such rambles as one can take through these mouldy
boroughs (or burrows) is to be found in such towns as Salem,
Newburyport, Portsmouth. Without imagination, Shakespeare's birthplace
is but a queer old house, and Anne Hathaway's home a tumble-down
cottage. With it, one can see the witches of Salem Village sailing out
of those little square windows, which look as if they were made on
purpose for them, or stroll down to Derby's wharf and gaze at
"Cleopatra's Barge," precursor of the yachts of the Astors and Goulds
and Vanderbilts, as she comes swimming into the harbor in all her gilded
glory. But it must make a difference what the imagination has to work
upon, and I do not at all wonder that Mr. Ruskin would not wish to live
in a land where there are no old ruins of castles and monasteries. Man
will not live on bread only; he wants a great deal more, if he can get
it,--frosted cake as well as corn-bread; and the New World keeps the
imagination on plain and scanty diet, compared to the rich traditional
and historic food which furnishes the banquets of the Old World.

What memories that week in Salisbury and the excursions from it have
left in my mind's picture gallery! The spire of the great cathedral had
been with me as a frequent presence during the last fifty years of my
life, and this second visit has deepened every line of the impression,
as Old Mortality refreshed the inscriptions on the tombstones of the
Covenanters. I find that all these pictures which I have brought home
with me to look at, with

"that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,"

are becoming clearer and brighter as the excitement of overcrowded days
and weeks gradually calms down. I can _be_ in those places where I
passed days and nights, and became habituated to the sight of the
cathedral, or of the Church of the Holy Trinity, at morning, at noon, at
evening, whenever I turned my eyes in its direction. I often close my
eyelids, and startle my household by saying, "Now I am in Salisbury," or
"Now I am in Stratford." It is a blessed thing to be able, in the
twilight of years, to illuminate the soul with such visions. The
Charles, which flows beneath my windows, which I look upon between the
words of the sentence I am now writing, only turning my head as I sit at
my table,--the Charles is hardly more real to me than Shakespeare's
Avon, since I floated on its still waters, or strayed along its banks
and saw the cows reflected in the smooth expanse, their legs upward, as
if they were walking the skies as the flies walk the ceiling. Salisbury
Cathedral stands as substantial in my thought as our own King's Chapel,
since I slumbered by its side, and arose in the morning to find it still
there, and not one of those unsubstantial fabrics built by the architect
of dreams.

On Thursday, the 22d of July, we left Salisbury for Brighton, where we
were to be guests at Arnold House, the residence of our kind host. Here
we passed another delightful week, with everything around us to
contribute to our quiet comfort and happiness. The most thoughtful of
entertainers, a house filled with choice works of art, fine paintings,
and wonderful pottery, pleasant walks and drives, a visitor now and
then, Mr. and Mrs. Goldwin Smith among the number, rest and peace in a
magnificent city built for enjoyment,--what more could we have asked to
make our visit memorable? Many watering-places look forlorn and desolate
in the intervals of "the season." This was not the time of Brighton's
influx of visitors, but the city was far from dull. The houses are very
large, and have the grand air, as if meant for princes; the shops are
well supplied; the salt breeze comes in fresh and wholesome, and the
noble esplanade is lively with promenaders and Bath chairs, some of them
occupied by people evidently ill or presumably lame, some, I suspect,
employed by healthy invalids who are too lazy to walk. I took one
myself, drawn by an old man, to see how I liked it, and found it very
convenient, but I was tempted to ask him to change places and let me
drag him.

With the aid of the guide-book I could describe the wonders of the
pavilion and the various changes which have come over the great
watering-place. The grand walks, the two piers, the aquarium, and all
the great sights which are shown to strangers deserve full attention
from the tourist who writes for other travellers, but none of these
things seem to me so interesting as what we saw and heard in a little
hamlet which has never, so far as I know, been vulgarized by sightseers.
We drove in an open carriage,--Mr. and Mrs. Willett, A----, and
myself,--into the country, which soon became bare, sparsely settled, a
long succession of rounded hills and hollows. These are the South Downs,
from which comes the famous mutton known all over England, not unknown
at the table of our Saturday Club and other well-spread boards. After a
drive of ten miles or more we arrived at a little "settlement," as we
Americans would call it, and drove up to the door of a modest parsonage,
where dwells the shepherd of the South Down flock of Christian
worshippers. I hope that the good clergyman, if he ever happens to see
what I am writing, will pardon me for making mention of his hidden
retreat, which he himself speaks of as "one of the remoter nooks of the
old country." Nothing I saw in England brought to my mind Goldsmith's
picture of "the man to all the country dear," and his surroundings, like
this visit. The church dates, if I remember right, from the thirteenth
century. Some of its stones show marks, as it is thought, of having
belonged to a Saxon edifice. The massive leaden font is of a very great
antiquity. In the wall of the church is a narrow opening, at which the
priest is supposed to have sat and listened to the confession of the
sinner on the outside of the building. The dead lie all around the
church, under stones bearing the dates of several centuries. One
epitaph, which the unlettered Muse must have dictated, is worth
recording. After giving the chief slumberer's name the epitaph adds,--

"Here lies on either side, the remains of each of his former wives."

Those of a third have found a resting-place close by, behind him.

It seemed to me that Mr. Bunner's young man in search of Arcady might
look for it here with as good a chance of being satisfied as anywhere I
can think of. But I suppose that men and women and especially boys,
would prove to be a good deal like the rest of the world, if one lived
here long enough to learn all about them. One thing I can safely
say,--an English man or boy never goes anywhere without his fists. I saw
a boy of ten or twelve years, whose pleasant face attracted my
attention. I said to the rector, "That is a fine-looking little fellow,
and I should think an intelligent and amiable kind of boy." "Yes," he
said, "yes; he can strike from the shoulder pretty well, too. I had to
stop him the other day, indulging in that exercise." Well, I said to
myself, we have not yet reached the heaven on earth which I was fancying
might be embosomed in this peaceful-looking hollow. Youthful angels can
hardly be in the habit of striking from the shoulder. But the well-known
phrase, belonging to the pugilist rather than to the priest, brought me
back from the ideal world into which my imagination had wandered.

Our week at Brighton was passed in a very quiet but most enjoyable way.
It could not be otherwise with such a host and hostess, always arranging
everything with reference to our well-being and in accordance with our
wishes. I became very fond of the esplanade, such a public walk as I
never saw anything to compare with. In these tranquil days, and long,
honest nights of sleep, the fatigues of what we had been through were
forgotten, the scales showed that we were becoming less ethereal every
day, and we were ready for another move.

We bade good-by to our hosts with the most grateful and the warmest
feeling towards them, after a month of delightful companionship and the
experience of a hospitality almost too generous to accept, but which
they were pleased to look upon as if we were doing them a favor.

On the 29th of July we found ourselves once more in London.


We found our old quarters all ready and awaiting us. Mrs. Mackellar's
motherly smile, Sam's civil bow, and the rosy cheeks of many-buttoned
Robert made us feel at home as soon as we crossed the threshold.

The dissolution of Parliament had brought "the season" abruptly to an
end. London was empty. There were three or four millions of people in
it, but the great houses were for the most part left without occupants
except their liveried guardians. We kept as quiet as possible, to avoid
all engagements. For now we were in London for London itself, to do
shopping, to see sights, to be our own master and mistress, and to live
as independent a life as we possibly could.

The first thing we did on the day of our arrival was to take a hansom
and drive over to Chelsea, to look at the place where Carlyle passed the
larger part of his life. The whole region about him must have been
greatly changed during his residence there, for the Thames Embankment
was constructed long after he removed to Chelsea. We had some little
difficulty in finding the place we were in search of. Cheyne (pronounced
"Chainie") Walk is a somewhat extended range of buildings. Cheyne Row is
a passage which reminded me a little of my old habitat, Montgomery
Place, now Bosworth Street. Presently our attention was drawn to a
marble medallion portrait on the corner building of an ordinary-looking
row of houses. This was the head of Carlyle, and an inscription informed
us that he lived for forty-seven years in the house No. 24 of this row
of buildings. Since Carlyle's home life has been made public, he has
appeared to us in a different aspect from the ideal one which he had
before occupied. He did not show to as much advantage under the
Boswellizing process as the dogmatist of the last century, dear old Dr.
Johnson. But he remains not the less one of the really interesting men
of his generation, a man about whom we wish to know all that we have a
right to know.

The sight of an old nest over which two or three winters have passed is
a rather saddening one. The dingy three-story brick house in which
Carlyle lived, one in a block of similar houses, was far from
attractive. It was untenanted, neglected; its windows were unwashed, a
pane of glass was broken; its threshold appeared untrodden, its whole
aspect forlorn and desolate. Yet there it stood before me, all covered
with its associations as an ivy-clad tower with its foliage. I wanted to
see its interior, but it looked as if it did not expect a tenant and
would not welcome a visitor. Was there nothing but this forbidding
house-front to make the place alive with some breathing memory? I saw
crossing the street a middle-aged woman,--a decent body, who looked as
if she might have come from the lower level of some not opulent but
respectable household. She might have some recollection of an old man
who was once her neighbor. I asked her if she remembered Mr. Carlyle.
Indeed she did, she told us. She used to see him often, in front of his
house, putting bits of bread on the railing for the birds. He did not
like to see anything wasted, she said. The merest scrap of information,
but genuine and pleasing; an instantaneous photograph only, but it makes
a pretty vignette in the volume of my reminiscences. There are many
considerable men in every generation of mankind, but not a great number
who are personally interesting,--not a great many of whom we feel that
we cannot know too much; whose foibles, even, we care to know about;
whose shortcomings we try to excuse; who are not models, but whose
special traits make them attractive. Carlyle is one of these few, and no
revelations can prevent his interesting us. He was not quite finished in
his parental existence. The bricklayer's mortar of his father's calling
stuck to his fingers through life, but only as the soil he turned with
his ploughshare clung to the fingers of Burns. We do not wish either to
have been other than what he was. Their breeding brings them to the
average level, carries them more nearly to the heart, makes them a
simpler expression of our common humanity. As we rolled in the cars by
Ecclefechan, I strained my eyes to take in every point of the landscape,
every cottage, every spire, if by any chance I could find one in that
lonely region. There was not a bridge nor a bit of masonry of any kind
that I did not eagerly scrutinize, to see if it were solid and honest
enough to have been built by Carlyle's father. Solitary enough the
country looked. I admired Mr. Emerson's devotion in seeking his friend
in his bare home among what he describes as the "desolate heathery
hills" about Craigenputtock, which were, I suppose, much like the region
through which we were passing.

It is one of the regrets of my life that I never saw or heard Carlyle.
Nature, who seems to be fond of trios, has given us three dogmatists,
all of whom greatly interested their own generation, and whose
personality, especially in the case of the first and the last of the
trio, still interests us,--Johnson, Coleridge, and Carlyle. Each was an
oracle in his way, but unfortunately oracles are fallible to their
descendants. The author of "Taxation no Tyranny" had wholesale opinions,
and pretty harsh ones, about us Americans, and did not soften them in
expression: "Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful
for anything we allow them short of hanging." We smile complacently when
we read this outburst, which Mr. Croker calls in question, but which
agrees with his saying in the presence of Miss Seward, "I am willing to
love all mankind _except an American_."

A generation or two later comes along Coleridge, with his circle of
reverential listeners. He says of Johnson that his fame rests
principally upon Boswell, and that "his _bow-wow_ manner must have
had a good deal to do with the effect produced." As to Coleridge
himself, his contemporaries hardly know how to set bounds to their
exaltation of his genius. Dibdin comes pretty near going into rhetorical
hysterics in reporting a conversation of Coleridge's to which he
listened: "The auditors seemed to be wrapt in wonder and delight, as one
observation more profound, or clothed in more forcible language, than
another fell from his tongue.... As I retired homeward I thought a
SECOND JOHNSON had visited the earth to make wise the sons of men." And
De Quincey speaks of him as "the largest and most spacious intellect,
the subtlest and most comprehensive, in my judgment, that has yet
existed amongst men." One is sometimes tempted to wish that the
superlative could be abolished, or its use allowed only to old experts.
What are men to do when they get to heaven, after having exhausted their
vocabulary of admiration on earth?

Now let us come down to Carlyle, and see what he says of Coleridge. We
need not take those conversational utterances which called down the
wrath of Mr. Swinburne, and found expression in an epigram which
violates all the proprieties of literary language. Look at the
full-length portrait in the Life of Sterling. Each oracle denies his
predecessor, each magician breaks the wand of the one who went before
him. There were Americans enough ready to swear by Carlyle until he
broke his staff in meddling with our anti-slavery conflict, and buried
it so many fathoms deep that it could never be fished out again. It is
rather singular that Johnson and Carlyle should each of them have
shipwrecked his sagacity and shown a terrible leak in his moral
sensibilities on coming in contact with American rocks and currents,
with which neither had any special occasion to concern himself, and
which both had a great deal better have steered clear of.

But here I stand once more before the home of the long-suffering,
much-laboring, loud-complaining Heraclitus of his time, whose very smile
had a grimness in it more ominous than his scowl. Poor man! Dyspeptic on
a diet of oatmeal porridge; kept wide awake by crowing cocks; drummed
out of his wits by long-continued piano-pounding; sharp of speech, I
fear, to his high-strung wife, who gave him back as good as she got! I
hope I am mistaken about their everyday relations, but again I say, poor
man!--for all his complaining must have meant real discomfort, which a
man of genius feels not less, certainly, than a common mortal.

I made a second visit to the place where he lived, but I saw nothing
more than at the first. I wanted to cross the threshold over which he
walked so often, to see the noise-proof room in which he used to write,
to look at the chimney-place down which the soot came, to sit where he

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