IN Rockferry, my first remembered home, the personality of my father was the most cheerful element, and the one which we all needed, as the sunshine is needed by an English scene to make its happiness apparent. If he was at all “morbid,” my advice would be to adopt morbidness at once. Perhaps he would have been a sad man if he had been an ordinary one. Genius can make charming presences of characters that really are gloomy and Savage, being so magical in its transmutation of dry fact. People were glad to be scolded by Carlyle, and shot down by Dr. Johnson. But I am persuaded by reason that those who called Hawthorne sad would have complained of the tears of Coriolanus or Othello; and, with Coriolanus, he could say, “ It is no little thing to make mine eyes so sweat compassion. “ It was the presence of the sorrow of the world which made him silent. Who dares to sneer at that? When I think of my mother, — naturally hopeful, gently merry, ever smiling. — who, while my father lived, was so glad a woman that her sparkling glance was never dimmed, and when I have to acknowledge that even she did not fill us children with the zest of content which he brought into the room for us, I must conclude that genius and cheer together made him life - giving ; and so he was enchanting to those who were intimate with him, and to many who saw him for but a moment. Dora Golden, my brother’s old nurse, has said that when she first came to the family she feared my father was going to be severe, because he had a way of looking at strangers from under bent brows. But. the moment he lifted his head Bis eyes flashed forth beautiful and kindly. She lias told me that my mother and she used to think at dusk, when he entered the room before the lamps were lit, that the place was illuminated by his face ; his eyes shone, his whole countenance gleamed, and my mother simply called him "their sunlight.”
My sister’s girlish letters are evidence of the enthusiasm of the family for my father’s companionship, and of our stanch hatred for the Consulate because it took him away from us so much. He read aloud, as hie always had done, in the easiest, clearest, most genial way, as if he had been born only to let his voice enunciate an endless procession of words. He read The Lady of the Lake aloud about this time, and Una wrote expressing our delight in his personality over and above that in his usefulness: “Papa has gone to dine in Liverpool, so we shall not hear Don Quixote this evening, or have papa either.” Little references to him show how he was always weaving golden threads into the woof of daily humdrum. Julian, seven years old, writes to his grandfather, “ Papa has taught Una and me to make paper boats, and the bureau in my room is covered with paper steamers and boats.” I can see him folding them now, as if it were yesterday, and how intricate the newspapers became which he made into hulls, decks, and sails. At one time Una bursts out, in recognition of the unbroken peace and good will in the home, “ It will certainly be my own fault if I am not pretty good when I grow up, for I have had both example and precept.”
The nurse to whom I have just referred has said that when JLilian was about four, sometimes he would annoy her while she was sewing; and if his father was in the room, she would tell Julian to go to him and ask him to read about Robbie, who was Robinson Crusoe. He would sit quietly all tlie time his father read to him, no matter for how long. But her master finally told Dora not to send Julian to him in this way to hear Robinson Crusoe, because he was “ tired of reading it to him.”The nurse was a bit of a genius herself, in her way, and not to he easily suppressed, and when her charge became fidgety, and she was in a hurry, she made one more experiment with Robbie. Her master turned round in his cliair, and for the first time in four years she saw an angry look on his face, and he commanded her “never to do it again.” At three years of age Julian played pranks upon his father without trepidation. There was a “boudoir” in the house which had a large, pleasant window, and was therefore thought to be agreeable enough to be used as a prisonhouse for Una and Julian when they were naughty. Julian conveyed his father into the boudoir, and shut the door on him adroitly. It had no handle on the inner side, purposely, and the astonished parent was caged. “ You cannot come out,” said Julian, “until you have promised to be a good boy.” Through the persistent dignity with which Hawthorne behaved, and with which he was always treated by the household, Julian had felt the down of playful love.
Here are two letters written to me while I was in Portugal with my mother, in 1850: —
MY DEAR LITTLE ROSEBUD, — I have put a kiss for you in this nice, clean piece of paper. I shall fold it up carefully, and I hope it will not drop out before it gets to Lisbon. If you cannot find it, you must ask Mamma to look for it. Perhaps you will find it on her lips. Give my best regards to your Uncle John and Aunt Sue, and to all your kind friends, not forgetting your Nurse.
Your affectionate father, N. H.
MY DEAR LITTLE ROSEBUD, — It is a great while since I wrote to you; and I am afraid this letter will be a great while in reaching you. I hope you are a very good little girl; and I am sure you never get into a passion, and never scream, and never scratch and strike your dear Nurse or your dear sister Una. Oh no ! my little Rosebud would never do such naughty things as those. It would grieve me very much if I were to hear of her doing such things. When you come back to England, I shall ask Mamma whether you have been a good little girl; and Mamma (I hope) will say :
“ Yes ; our little Rosebud has been the best and sweetest little girl I ever knew in my life. She has never screamed nor uttered any but the softest and sweetest sounds. She has never struck Nurse nor Una nor dear Mamma with her little fist, nor scratched them with her sharp little nails ; and if ever there was a little angel on earth, it is our dear little Rosebud ! ” And when Papa hears this, he will be very glad, and will take Rose-, bud up in his arms and kiss her over and over again. But if he were to hear that she had been naughty, Papa would feel it his duty to eat little Rosebud up ! Would not that be very terrible?
Julian is quite well, and sends you his love. I have put a kiss for you in this letter; and if you do not find it, you may be sure that some naughty person has got it. Tell Nurse I want to see her very much. Kiss Una for me.
Your loving PAPA.
The next letter is of later date : —
MY DEAR LITTLE PESSIMA. — I am very glad that Mamma is going to take you to see “ Tom Thump ; ” and I think it is much better to call him Thump than Thumb, and I always mean to call him so from this time forward. It is a very nice name, is Tom Thump. I hope you will call him Tom Thump to his face when you see him, and thump him well if he finds fault with it. Do you still thump dear Mamma, and Fanny, and Una, and Julian, as you did when I saw you last ? If you do, I shall call you little Rose Thump ; and then people will think that you are Tom Thump’s wife. And now I shall stop thumping on this subject.
Your friend little Frank Hallet is at Mrs. Blodget’s. Do you remember how you used to play with him at Southport, and how he sometimes beat you ? He seems to be a better little boy than he was then, but still he is not so good as he might be. This morning he had some very nice breakfast in his plate, but he would not eat it because his mamma refused to give him something that was not good for him ; and so, all breakfast-time, this foolish little boy refused to eat a mouthful, though I could see that he was very hungry, and would have eaten it all up if he could have got it into his mouth without anybody seeing. Was not he a silly child ? Little Pessima never behaved so, — oh no !
There are two or three very nice little girls at Mrs. Blodget’s, and also a nice large dog, who is very kind and gentle, and never bites anybody ; and also a tabby cat, who very often comes to me and mews for something to eat. So you see we have a very pleasant family ; but, for all that, I would rather be at home.
And now I have written you such a long letter that my head is quite tired out; and so I shall leave off, and amuse myself with looking at some pages of figures.
Be a good little girl, and do not tease Mamma, nor trouble Fanny, nor quarrel with Una and Julian ; and when I come home I shall call you little Pessima (because I am very sure you will deserve that name), and shall kiss you more than once. N. H.
If he said a few kind words to me, my father gave me a sense of having a strong ally among the great ones of life ; and if I were ill, I was roused by his standing beside me to defy the illness. When I was seriously indisposed, at the age of three, he brought me a black doll, which I heard my mother say she thought would alarm me, as it was very ugly, and I had never seen a negro. I remember the much-knowing smile with which my father’s face was indefinitely lighted up, as he stood looking at me, while I, half unconscious to most of the things of this world, was nevertheless clutching his gift gladly to my heart. The hideous darky was soon converted by my nurse Fanny (my mother called her Fancy, because of her rare skill with the needle and her rich decorations of all sorts of things) into a beautifully dressed footman, who was a very large item in my existence for years. I thought my father an intensely clever man to have hit upon Pompey, and to have understood so well that he would make an angel. All his presents to us Old People, as he called us, were either unusual or of exquisite workmanship. The fairy quality was indispensable before he chose them. We children have clung to them even to our real old age. The fairies were always just round the corner of the point of sight, with me, and in recognition of my keen delight of confidence in the small fry my father gave me little objects that were adapted to them : delicate bureaus with tiny mirrors that had reflected fairy faces a moment before, and little tops that opened by unscrewing them in an unthought-of way and held minute silver spoons. Once he brought home to Julian a china donkey’s head in a tall gray hat such as negroes and politicians elect to wear, and its brains were composed entirely of borrowed brilliancy in the shape of matches. We love the donkey still, and it always occupies a place of honor. He brought me a little Bacchus in Parian marble, wearing a wreath of grapes, and holding a mug on his knee, and greeting his jolly stomach with one outspread hand, as if he were inwardly smiling as he is outwardly. This is a vase for flowers, and the white smile of the god has gleamed through countless of my sweetest bouquets. My father’s enjoyment of frolicking fun was as hilarious as that accorded by some of us to wildest comic opera. He had a delicate way of throwing himself into the scrimmage of laughter, and I do not for an instant attempt, to explain how he managed it. I can say that he lowered his eyelids when he laughed hardest, and drew in his breath half a dozen times with dulcet sounds and a murmur of mirth between. Before and after this performance he would look at you straight from under his black brows, and his eyes seemed dazzling. I think the hilarity was revealed in them, although his cheeks rounded in ecstasy. I was a little roguish child, but he was the youngest and merriest person in the room when he was amused. Yet he was never far removed from his companion, — a sort of Virgil, — his knowledge of sin and tragedy at our very hearthstones. It was with such a memory in the centre of home joys that the Pilgrim Fathers turned towards the door, ever and anon, to guard it from creeping Indian forms.
On Sundays, at sundown, when the winter rain had very likely dulled everybody’s sense of more moderate humor, the blue law of quietness was lifted from the atmosphere; and between five and six o’clock we spread butterfly wings again, and had blind man’s buff. We ran around the large centre-table, and made this gambol most tempestuously merry. If anything had been left, upon the table before we began, it was removed with rapidity before we finished. There was a distinct understanding that our blindfolded father must not be permitted to touch any of us, or else we should be reduced forthwith to our original dust. The pulsing grasp of his great hands and heavy fingers, soft and springing in their manipulation of one’s shoulders as the touch of a wild thing, was amusingly harmless, considering the howls with which his onslaught was evaded as long as our flying legs were loyal to us. My father’s gentle laughter and happy-looking lips were a revelation during these bouts. But there were times when I used to stand at a distance and gaze at his peaceful aspect, and wonder if he would ever open the floodgates of fun in a game of romp on any rainy Sunday of the future. If a traveler caught the Sphinx humming to herself, would he not be inclined to sit down and watch her till she did it again ?
I have referred to his large hand. I shall never see a more reassuring one than his. It was broad, generous, supple. it had the little depressions and the smoothness to be noticed in the hands of truest charity; yet it had the ample outlines of the vigorously imaginative temperament, so different from the hard plumpness of coarseness or brutality. At the point where the fingers joined the back of the hand were the roundings-in that are reminiscent of childhood’s simplicity, and are to be found in many philanthropic persons. His way of using his fingers was slow, well thought out, and gentle, though never lagging, that most unpleasant fault indicative of self-absorbed natures. When he did anything with his hands he seemed very active, because thoroughly in earnest. He delighted me by the way in which he took hold of any material thing, for it proved his self-mastery. Strength of will joined to self-restraint is a combination always enjoyable to the onlooker ; but it is also evidence of discomfort and effort enough in the heroic character that has won the state which we contemplate with so much approval. I remember his standing once by the fire, leaning upon the mantelpiece, when a vase on the shelf toppled over in some way. It was a cheap lodging-house article, and yet my father tried to save it from falling to the floor as earnestly as he did anything which he set out to do. His hand almost seized the vase, but it rebounded ; and three times he half caught it. The fourth time he rescued it as it was near the floor, having become flushed and sparkling with the effort of will and deftness. For years that moment came back to me, because his determination had been so valiantly intense, and I was led to carry out determinations of all sorts from witnessing his self-respect and his success in so small a matter. People of power care all the time. It is their life-blood to succeed ; they must encourage their precision of eye and thought by repeated triumphs, which so soothe and rejoice the nerves.
He was very kind in amusing me by aid of my slate. That sort of pastime suited my hours of silence, which became less and less broken by the talkative vein. His forefinger rubbed away defects in the aspect of faces or animals with a lionlike suppleness of sweep that seemed to me to wipe out the world. We also had a delicious game of a labyrinth of lines, which it was necessary to traverse with the pencil without touching the hedges, as I called the winding marks. We wandered in and around without a murmur, and I reveled in delight because he was near.
Walking was always a great resource in the family, and it was a half-hearted matter for us unless we were at his side. His gait was one of long, easy steps which were leisurely and not rapid, and he cast an occasional look around, stopping if anything more lovely than usual was to be seen in sky or landscape. It is the people who love their race even better than themselves who can take into their thought an outdoor scene. In England the outdoor life had many enchantments of velvet sward upon broad hills and flowers innumerable and fragrant. A little letter of Una’s not long after we arrived in Rockferry alludes to this element in our happiness : —
“ We went to take a walk to-day, and I do not think I ever had such a beautiful walk before in all my life. Julian and I got some very pretty flowers, such as do not grow wild in America. I found some exquisite harebells by the roadside, and some very delicate little pink flowers. And I got some wild holly, which is very pretty indeed ; it has very glossy and prickery leaves. I have seen a great many hedges made of it since I have been here ; for nothing can get over it or get through it, for it is almost as prickery as the Hawthorne [the bush and the family name were always the same thing to us children], of which almost all the hedges in Liverpool, and everywhere I have been, are made ; and there it grows up into high trees, so that nothing in the world can look through it. or climb over it, or crawl through it; and I am afraid our poor hedge in Concord will never look so well, because the earth round it is so sandy and dry, and here it is so very moist and rich. It ought to be moist, at any rate, for it rains enough.” But later she writes on “ the eighteenth day of perfect weather,” and where can the weather seem so perfect as in England ?
After breakfast on Christmas we always went to the places, in that parlor where Christmas found us (nomads that we were), where our mother had set out our gifts. Sometimes they were on the large centre - table, sometimes on little separate tables, but invariably covered with draperies; so that we studied the structure of each mound in fascinated delay, in order to guess what the humps and hubbles might indicate as to the nature of the objects of our treasure-trove. The happy-faced mother, who could be radiant and calm at once, 7emdash; small, but with a sphere that was not small, and blessed us grandly, — received gifts that had been arranged by Una and the nurse after all the other El Dorados were thoroughly veiled, and our hearts stood still to hear her musical cry of delight, when, having directed the rest of us to our presents, she at last uncovered her own. Our treasures always exceeded in number and charm our wildest hopes, although simplicity was the rule. “ How easy it is,” my mother writes of a Christmas-tree for poor children, “ with a small thing to cause a great joy, if there is only the will to do it! ” But most deeply did we delight in the presents given to our beloved parents, whom we considered to be absolutely perfect beings ; and there was nothing which we ever perceived to make the supposition unreasonable. In one of Una’s girlish letters she declares : “ I will tell you what has given me almost — nay, quite as great pleasure as any I have had in England : that is, that Mamma has bought a gold watch-chain. She bought it yesterday at Douglas.” We had such thorough lessons in generosity that they sometimes took effect in a genuine self-effacement, like this. A letter from my mother joyfully records of my brother: —
“Julian was asking Papa for a very expensive toy, and his father told him he Was very poor this year, because the Consulate had not much business, and that it was impossible to buy him everything that struck his fancy. Julian said no more ; and when he went to bed he expressed great condolence, and said he would not ask his father for anything if he were so poor, but that he would give him all his own money (amounting to fivepence halfpenny). When he lay down, his face shone with a splendor of joy that he was able thus to make his father’s affairs assume a brighter aspect. This enormous sum of money which Julian had he intended, at Christmas-time, to devote to buying a toy for baby or for Una. He intended to give his all, and he could no more. In the morning, he took an opportunity when I was not looking to go behind his father, and silently handed him the fivepence halfpenny over his shoulder. My attention was first attracted by hearing Mr. Hawthorne say, ‘No, I thank you, my boy; when I am starving, I will apply to you “ I turned round, and Julian’s face was deep red and his lips were quivering as he took back the money. I was sorry his father did not keep it, however. I have never allowed the children to hoard money. I think the flower of sentiment is bruised and crushed by a strong-box ; and they never yet have had any idea of money except to use it for another’s benefit or pleasure. Julian saw an advertisement in the street of the loss of a watch, and some guineas reward. ‘ Oh,’ said he,
‘ how gladly would I find that watch, and present it to the gentleman, and say, No reward, thank you, sir! ’ ”
One Christmas my mother writes :
“ The children amused themselves with their presents all day. But first I took my new Milton and read aloud to them the Hymn of the Nativity, which I do every Christmas.” My sister, who was made quite delicate, at first, by the English climate, and acquired from this temporary check and the position of eldest child a pathetic nobility which struck the keynote of her character, writes from Rockferry : “This morning of the New Year was very pleasant. It was almost as good as any day in winter in America. I went out with Mamma and Sweet Fern [Julian]. The snow is about half a foot deep. Julian is out, now, playing.
I packed him up very warmly indeed. I wish I could go out in the new snow very much. Julian is making a hollow house of snow by the rhododendron - tree.” What not to do we learned occasionally from the birds. “The little robins and a thrush and some little sparrows have been here this morning ; and the thrush was so large that she ate up the crumbs very fast, and the other poor little birds did not dare to come near her till she had done eating.” My father used to treat the Old and the New Year with the deepest respect. I never knew the moments to be so immense as when, with pitying gentleness, we silently attended the Old Year across the ghostly threshold of midnight, and my father at last rose reverently from his chair to open the window, through which, at that breath, the first peals would float with new promise and remembering toll.
We children were expected to come into the presence of the grown people and enjoy the interesting guests whom we all loved. My father was skillful in choosing friends : they were rare, good men, and he and they really met ; their loves and interests and his were stirred by the intercourse, as if unused muscles had been stretched. I could perceive that my father and his best cronies glowed with refreshment. Mr. Bennoch was a great favorite with us. He was short and fat, witty and jovial. He was so different in style and finish from the tall, pale, spiritual Henry Bright (whom my mother speaks of as “ shining like a star ” during an inspiring sermon) that I almost went to sleep in the unending effort to understand why God made so sharp a variety in types. Mr. Bennoch wrote more poetry than Mr. Bright did, even, and he took delight in breathing the same air with writers. But he himself had no capacity more perfected than that of chuckling like a whole brood of chickens at his own jokes as well as those of others. The point of his joke might be obscure to us, but the chuckle never failed to satisfy. He was a source of entire rest to the dark-browed, deep-eyed thinker who smiled before him. The only anecdote of Mr. Bennoch which I remember is of a Scotchman who, at an inn, was wandering disconsolately about the parlor while his dinner was being prepared. A distinguished traveler — Dickens, I think—was dashing off a letter at the centre-table, describing the weather and some of the odd fellows he had observed in his travels. “ And,” he wrote, “ there is in the room at the present moment a long, lank, red-headed, empty-brained nincompoop, who looks as if he had not eaten a square meal for a month, and is stamping about for his dinner. Now he approaches me as I sit writing, and I hear his step pause behind my chair. The fool is actually looking over my shoulder, and reading these words ” — A torrent of Scotch burst forth right here : “ It’s a lee, sir, — it ’s a lee ! I never read a worrd that yer wrort!” Screams from us; while Mr. Bennoch’s sudden aspect of dramatic rage was as suddenly dropped, and he blazed once more with broad smiles, chuckling. I will insert here a letter written by this dear friend in 1861 : —
80 WOOD ST.. LONDON.
MY DEAR HAWTHORNE, — A few lines just received from Mr. Fields remind me of mY too long silence. rest assured that you and yours are never long out of our thoughts, and we only wish you were here in our peaceful country, far removed from the terrible anxieties caused by wicked and willful men on one side, and on the other permitted by the incompetents set over you. How little you thought, when you suggested to me the propriety of old soldiers only going into battle, that you should have been absolutely predicting the unhappy course of events ! Do you remember adding that “a premium should be offered for men of fourscore, as. with one foot in the grave, they would be less likely to run away ” ?
I observe that the Herald advises that “ the guillotine should be used in cropping the heads of a lot of the officers, beginning at the city of Washington, and so make room for the young genius with which the whole republic palpitates.”
. . . Truly, my dear Hawthorne, it is a melancholy condition of things. Let us turn to a far more agreeable subject ! It is pleasant to learn that, amid all the other troubles, your domestic anxieties have passed away so far as the health of your family is concerned. The sturdy youth will be almost a man, and Una quite a woman, while Rosebud will be opening day by day in knowledge and deep interest. I hear that your pen is busy, and that from your tower you are looking upon old England and estimating her influences and the character of her people. Recent experiences must modify your judgment, in many ways. A romance laid in England, painted as you only can paint, must be a great success. I struggle on, and only wish I were worthy the respect my friends so foolishly exhibit.
With affectionate regards to all. ever yours truly, F. BENNOCII.
On November IT, 1854, my mother writes to her father: —
“ Last evening a great package came from Mr. Milnes [Lord Houghton], and it proved to be all his own works, and a splendid edition of Keats with a memoir by Mr. Milnes. This elegant gift was only a return of favors, as Mr. Hawthorne had just sent him some American books. He expended three notes upon my husband’s going to meet him at Crewe Hall, two of entreaty and one of regret; but he declares he will have him at Yorkshire. Mrs. Milnes is Lord Crewe’s sister. The last note says : ‘ The books arrived safely, and alas ! alone. When I get to Yorkshire, to my own home, I shall try again for you, as I may find you in a more ductile mood. For, seriously. it would be a great injustice — not to yourself, but to us—if you went home without seeing something of our domestic country life: it is really the most special thing about our social system, and something which no other country has or ever will have.”
Another note from Lord Houghton is extant, saying : —
DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE, — Why did not you come to see us when you were in London ? You promised to do so, but we sought you in vain. I wanted, to see you, mainly for your own sake, and also to ask you about an American book which has fallen into my hands. It is called Leaves of Grass, and the author calls himself Walt Whitman. Do you know anything about him ? I will not call it poetry, because I am unwilling to apply that word to a work totally destitute of art; hut, whatever we call it, it is a most notable and true book. It is not written virginibus puerisque ; but as I am neither the one nor the other, I may express my admiration of its vigorous virility and bold natural truth. There are things in it that read like the old Greek plays. It is of the same family as those delightful books of Thoreau’s which you introduced me to, and which are so little known and valued here. Patmore has just published a continuation of The Angel in the House, which I recommend to your attention. I am quite annoyed at having been so long within the same four seas with you, and having seen you so little. Mrs. Milns begs her best remembrances.
I am yours very truly,
16 UPPER BROOK ST., Jane 30.
It is a perpetual marvel with some people why some others do not wish to be looked at and to be questioned. Dinner invitations were constantly coming in, and were very apt to be couched in tones of anxious surprise at the difficulty of securing my father. An illustration may be found in this little note from Mr. Procter (father of Adelaide Procter) : —
Tuesday morning, 32 WEYMOUTH ST.
DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE. — It seems almost like an idle ceremony to ask you and Mrs. Hawthorne to dine here on Friday; but I cannot help it. I have only just returned from a circuit in the country, and heard this morning that you were likely to leave London in a few days.
Yours always sincerely,
B. W. PROCTER.
It was desirable to meet such people as Mr. Procter, and I have heard enthusiastic descriptions, with which later my mother amused our quiet days in Concord, of the intellectual pleasures that such friendships brought, and of the sounding titles and their magnificent accessories, with human beings involved, against whom my parents were now sometimes thrust by the rapid tide of celebrity. But my father was never to be found in the track of admiring social gatherings except by the deepest scheming. In her first English letters my mother had written : “ It is said that there is nothing in Liverpool but dinners. Alas for it ! ” The buzz of greeting was constant. It must have been delightful in certain respects. She sent home one odd letter as a specimen of hundreds of similar ones which came to my father from admirers. Yet very soon individuals make a crowd, and the person who attracts their attention is more nearly suffocated than the rest quite realize. His attempts at self-preservation are not more than half understood, and, if successful, are remembered with a dash of bitterness by the onlookers. But my parents Were now and then glad to be onlookers themselves, as is shown by the following account : —
OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER.
MY DEAR ELIZABETH, — We are now in Old Trafford, close by the Palace of Art treasures, which we have come here expressly to see. There is no confusion, no noise, no rudeness of any kind, though there are thousands of the second-class people there every day. If you shut your eyes, you only hear the low thunder of movement. . . . Yesterday we were all there, and met — now whom do you think ? Even Tennyson. He is the most picturesque of men, very handsome and careless-looking, with a wide-awake hat, a black beard, round shoulders, and slouching gait; most romantic, poetic, and interesting. He was in the saloons of the ancient masters. Was not that rare luck for us? Is it not a wonder that we should meet ? His voice is also deep and musical, his hair wild and stormy. He is clearly the “ love of love and hate of hate,” and “ in a golden clime was born.” He is the Morte d’ Arthur, In Memoriam, and Maud. He is Mariana in the moated grange, He is the Lady Clara Vere de Vere and “ rare, pale Margaret.” There is a fine bust of him in the exhibition, and a beautiful one of Wordsworth. . . . Ary Scheffer’s Magdalen, when Christ says, “ Mary ! ” is the greatest picture of his I have ever seen. Ary Scheffer himself was at the exhibition the other day. . . .
Again Mr. Hawthorne, Una, and I were at the Palace all day. TV e went up into the gallery of engraving to listen to the music ; and suddenly Una exclaimed, “ Mamma ! there is Tennyson ! ” He was sitting by the organ, listening to the orchestra. He had a child with him, a little boy, in whose emotions and impressions he evidently had great interest ; and I presumed it was his son. I was soon convinced that I saw also his wife and another little son, — and all this proved true. It was charming to watch the group. Mrs. Tennyson had a sweet face, and the very sweetest smile I ever saw; and when she spoke to her husband or listened to him, her face showered a tender, happy rain of light. She was graceful, too, and gentle, but at the same time had a slightly peasant air. . . . The children were very pretty and picturesque, and Tennyson seemed to love them immensely. He devoted himself to them, and was absorbed in their interest. In him is a careless ease and a noble air which show him of the gentle blood he is. He is the most romanticlooking person. His complexion is brun, and he looks in ill health and has a hollow line in his cheeks. . . . Allingliam, another English poet, told Mr. Hawthorne that his wife was an admirable one for him, — wise, tender, and of perfect temper : and she looks all this ; and there is a kind of adoration in her expression when she addresses him. If he is moody and ill, I am sure she must be a blessed solace to him. When he moved to go, we also moved, and followed him and his family faithfully, By this means we saw him stop at his own photograph, to show it to his wife and children ; and then I heard them exclaim in sweet voices, “ That is papa ! ” Passing a table where catalogues were sold, , . . his youngest sou stopped with the maid to buy one, while Tennyson and his wife went on and downstairs. So then I seized the youngest darling with gold hair, and kissed him to my heart’s content ; and he smiled and seemed well pleased. And I was well pleased to have had in my arms Tennyson’s child. After my raid I went on. . . .
Of this glimpse of the great poet fortunately accorded to our family my father writes in the Note-Books : “ Gazing at him with all my eyes, I liked him very well, and rejoiced more in him than in all the other wonders of the exhibition.” Again my mother refers to the interesting experience : —
MY DEAR ELIZABETH, — My last letter I had not time to even double up myself, as Mr. Hawthorne was booted and spurred for Liverpool before I was aware, and everything was huddled up in a hasty manner. It was Something about Tennyson’s family that I was saying. I wanted you to know how happy and loving they all seemed together. As Tennyson is in very ill health, very shy and moody, I had sometimes thought his wife might look Worn and sad. I was delighted, therefore, to see her serene and sweet face. I cannot say, however, that there was no solicitude in it; but it was a solicitude entirely penetrated with satisfied tenderness. . . .
I did not reply to your last long letter to me about slavery. . . . There is not a single person whom I know or ever talked with who advocates slavery. Your letters to me would be far more appropriate to a slaveholder. ... I do not see how they apply to me at all. . . .
I retain this closing paragraph because there has been the customary misinterpretation of calm justice in the case of my father’s moderation during the wild ardor of abolition. My mother often writes in eloquent exposition of her husband’s and her own loyalty to the highest views in regard to the relations of all members of the human family; but she never convinced the hot fidelity of the correspondents of her own household.
Here are some glimpses of the happy life that surrounded my father in 1854 :
July IS, DOUGLAS, MONA.
MY DEAR FATHER, — I little dreamed that. 1 should next address you from the Isle of Man! Yet here we all are, with one grievous exception, to be sure ; for Mr. Hawthorne, after fetching us one day, and staying the two next, went away to the tiresome old Consulate, so conscientious and devoted is he : for his clerk assured him he might stay a little. Yet I know that there are reasons of state why he should not; and therefore, though I am nothing less than infinitely desolate without him, and hate to look at anything new unless he is looking too, I cannot complain. But is it not wonderful that I am here in this remote and interesting and storied spot? — the last retreat of the little people called fairies, the lurking-place of giants and enchanters.... At Stonehenge we found a few rude stones for a temple. I could not gather into a small enough focus the wide glances of Julian’s great brown, searching eyes to make him see even what there was ; and when finally he comprehended that the circle of stones once marked out a temple, and that the Druids really once stood there, he curled his lip, scornfully exclaiming, “ Is that all ? ” and bounded off to pluck flowers. I think that, having heard of Stonehenge and a Druid temple which was built of stones so large that it was considered almost miraculous that they were moved to their places, he expected to see a temple touching the sky, perhaps. . . . Mr. Hawthorne came back the next Friday, much to our joy, and on Saturday afternoon we walked to the Nunnery with him, which was founded by St. Bridget. A few ruins remain, overgrown with old ivy vines of such enormous size that I think they probably hold the walls together. . . . Julian and Una were enchanted with the clear stream, and Julian was wild for turtles ; but there are no reptiles in the Isle of Man. ... I kept thinking, “And this is the rugged, bare, rocky isle which I dreaded to come to, — this soft, rich, verdant paradise ! ” It really seems as if the giants had thrown aloft the bold, precipitous rocks and headlands round the edge of the island, to guard the sylvan solitudes for the fairies, whose stronghold was the Isle of Man. I should not have been surprised at any time to have seen those small people peeping out of the wild foxgloves,, which are their favorite hiding-places. So poetical is the air of these regions that mermaids, fairies, and giants seem quite natural to it. In the morning of the day we went to the Nunnery, Mr. Hawthorne took Julian and went to the Douglas market, which is held in the open air. . . . My husband said that living manners were so interesting and valuable that he would not miss the scene for even Peel Castle. One day, when Una and I went to shop in Douglas, we saw in the market square a second-hand bookstall. I had been trying in vain to get Peveril of the Peak at the library and bookstores, and hoped this person might have it. So I looked over his books, and what do you think I saw ? A well-read and soiled copy of the handsome English edition of Mr. Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance ! Yes, even in Mona. We have heard of some families in England who keep in use two copies of The Scarlet Letter ; but I never dreamed of finding either of these books here.
Sunday was the perfectest day in our remembrance. In the morning Mr. Hawthorne walked to Kirk Braddon, and the afternoon we spent on Douglas Head. It is quite impossible to put into words that afternoon. Such softness and splendor and freshness combined in the air; such a clearest sunshine ; such a deep blue sea and cloudless blue heaven ; such fragrance and such repose. We looked from our great height upon all the beauty and grandeur, and in Mr. Hawthorne’s face was a reflection of the incredible loveliness and majesty of the scene. Una was a lily, and Julian a magnolia. I think that for once, at least, Mr. Hawthorne was satisfied with weather and circumstances. Towards sunset the mountains of Cumberland were visible, for the first time during our visit, on the horizon, which proved that even in England the air was clear that day. A pale purple outline of waving hills lay on the silvery sea, which, as it grew later, became opaline in hue. . . .
My mother gives, in a letter, a glimpse of the vicissitudes of the Consulate— that precinct which I pictured as an ogre’s lair, though the ogre was temporarily absent, while my father, like a prince bewitched, had been compelled by a rash vow to languish in the man-eater’s place for a term of years : —
“ In the evening Mr. Hawthorne told me that there were suddenly thrown upon his care two hundred soldiers who had been shipwrecked in the San Francisco, and that he must clothe and board them and send them home to the United States. They were picked up somewhere on the sea and brought to Liverpool. Mr. Hawthorne has no official authority to take care of any but sailors in distress. He invited the lieutenant to come and stay here, and he must take care of them [the soldiers], even if the expense comes out of his own purse. I have seen since, in an American paper, a passage in which the writer undertakes to defend my husband from some dirty aspersions. It seems that some one had told the absolute falsehood that he had shirked all responsibility about the soldiers, and his defender stated the case just as it was, and that Mr. Buchanan declined having anything to do with the matter. The government will make the chartering of the steamer good to Mr. Hawthorne. . . . He has been very busily occupied at the Consulate this winter and spring, — so many shipwrecks and disasters, and vagabonds asking for money. He has already lost more than a hundred pounds by these impostors. But he is very careful indeed, and those persons who have proved dishonest were gentlemen in their own esteem, and it was difficult to suspect them. But he is well on his guard now: and he says the moment he sees a coat-tail he knows whether the man it belongs to is going to beg! His life in the Consulate is not charming. He has to pay a great penalty for the result of his toil. Not that he has any drudgery, but he is imprisoned and in harness. He will not let me take a pen in my hand when he is at home, because at any rate I see him so little.”
Such paragraphs as the one I add, from a little letter of my sister’s, often appear ; but in this instance it was the glad exclamation of release, just before we removed to Italy : —
“ Papa will he with us on Monday, free from the terrors of the old Consulate. Perhaps you can imagine what infinitely joyful news that is to us ; and to him, too, as much, if not more so; for he has had all the work, and we have only suffered from his absence.”
An interval of complete delight is thus described: —
RHYL, NORTH WALES.
MY DEAR FATHER, 7emdash; Dr. Drysdale thought we needed another change of air, and so we came south this time. . . . The sun sinks just beside Great Orme’s Head, after turning the sea into living gold, and the heights into heaps of amethyst. On the right is only sea, sea, sea. . . . I intended to go to the Queen’s Hotel, and knew nothing about the manner of living in the lodging fashion. So we have to submit to German silver and the most ordinary table service. . . . Ever since our marriage we have always eaten off the finest French china, and had all things pretty and tasteful ; because, you know, I would never have second-best services, considering my husband to be my most illustrious guest. But now ! It is really laughable to think of the appointments of the table at which the Ambassador to Lisbon and the American Consul sat down last Saturday, when they honored me with their presence. And we did laugh, for it was of no consequence, — and the great bow-window of our parlor looked out upon the sea. We did not come here to see French china and pure silver forks and spoons, but to walk on the beach, bathe in the ocean, and drive to magnificent old castles, — and get rid of whooping-cough. I had the enterprise to take all the children and Mary, and come without Mr. Hawthorne ; for he was in a great hurry to get me off, fearing the good weather would not last. He followed on Saturday with Mr. O’Sullivan, who arrived from Lisbon just an hour before they both started for Rhyl. . . . Julian’s worship of nature and natural objects meets with satisfaction here. . . .
The following was also written from Rhyl : —
“ While the carriage stopped I heard the rapturous warble of the skylark, and finally discovered him, mounting higher still and higher, pressing upwards, and pouring out such rich, delicious music that I wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world, and listen to nothing but that. Not even Shelley’s or Wordsworth’s words can convey an adequate idea of this song. It seems as if its little throat were the outlet of all the joy that had been experienced on the earth since creation ; and that with all its power it were besieging heaven with gratitude and love for the infinite bliss of life. Life, joy, love. The blessed, darling little bird, quivering, warbling, urging its way farther and farther ; and finally swooning with excess of delight, and sinking back to earth ! You see I am vainly trying to help you to an idea of it, but I cannot do it. I do not understand why the skylark should not rise from our meadows as well, and the nightingale sing to our roses.”
Society and the sternness of life were, however, but a hair’s-breadth away : —
“ Monday evening Mr. Hawthorne went to Richmond Hill to meet Mr. Buchanan. The service was entirely silver, plates and all, and in a high state of sheen. The Queen’s autograph letter was spoken of (which you will see in the Northern Times that goes with this) ; and as it happens to be very clumsily expressed, Mr. Hawthorne was much perplexed by Mr. Buchanan’s asking him, before the whole company at dinner, ‘ what he thought of the Queen’s letter.’ Mr. Hawthorne replied that it showed very kind feeling. ‘ No,’ persisted the wicked Ambassador ; ‘ but what do you think of the style ? ’ Mr. Hawthorne was equal to him, or rather, conquered him, however, for he said, ‘ The Queen has a perfect right to do what she pleases with her own English.' Mr. Hawthorne thought Miss Lane, Mr. Buchanan’s niece, a very elegant person, and far superior to any English lady present. The next evening Mr. Hawthorne went to another dinner at Everton; so that on Wednesday, when we again sat down together, I felt as if he had been gone a month. This second dinner was not remarkable in any way, except that when the ladies took leave they all went to him and requested to shake hands with him !
“No act of the British people in behalf of the soldiers has struck me as so noble and touching as that of the reformed criminals at an institution in London. They wished to contribute something to the Patriotic Fund. The only way they could do it was by fasting. So from Sunday night till Tuesday morning they ate nothing, and the money saved (three pounds and over) was sent to the Fund ! Precious money is this.”
There is an English region, stately, with a grand outline of sea and sandhills, of hard-bosomed endless beach and vast sky, where my father stands forth very distinctly in my memory. This is Redear, to which we fared on our return from Italy. When he went out, at fixed hours of the day, between the hours for writing, he walked over the long, long beach, very often, with my brother and myself ; stopping now and then in his firm, regal tread to look at what nature could do in far-stretching color and beckoning horizon-line. Along the sand-hills, frolicking in the breeze or faithfully clinging in the strong wind to their native thimbleful of earth, hung the cerulean harebells, to which I ardently clambered, listening for their chimes. In the preface to Monte Beni, the compliment paid to Redcar is well hidden. My father speaks of reproducing the book (sketched out among the dreamy interests of Florence) “ on the broad and dreary sands of Redcar, with the gray German Ocean tumbling in upon me, and the northern blast always howling in my ears.” Nothing could have pleased him better as an atmosphere for his work ; all that the atmosphere included he did not mean to admit, just then. And London was not so very far away. On September 9,1859. my mother says in her diary, “ My husband gave me his manuscript to read.” There are no other entries on that day or the next, except, “ Reading manuscript.” On the lltli she says, “Reading manuscript for the second time.” The diary refers to reading the story on the next day, hut on the two following days, in which she was to finish as much of the manuscript as was ready, there are wholly blank spaces. These mean more than words to me, who know so well how she never set aside daily rules, and how unbrokenly her little diaries flow on. In October, at Leamington, she mentions again “ reading Monte Beni,” and a few days later says, “ I read the manuscript of Monte Beni again ; ” continuing for two days more. About a month later, on November 8, is recorded, in very large script, “ My husband to-day finished his book, The Romance of Monte Beni.”
I thought that the petty lodging in which we were established was an odd nook for my father to be in. I liked to get out with him upon the martial plain of sand and tremendous waves, where folly was not, by law of wind and light of Titan power, and where the most insignificant ornament was far from insignificant : the whorl of an exquisite shell, beautiful and still, as if just dead ; or the seaweeds, that are so like pictures of other growths. I felt that this scene was a worthy one for the kind but never familiar man who walked and reflected there. We enjoyed a constant outdoor life. But in those uninspired hours when there was no father in sight, and my mother was resting in seclusion, I played at grocer’s shop on the sands with a little girl called Hannah, whom I then despised for her name, her homely neat clothes, her sweetness and silence, and in retrospect learned to love. As we pounded brick, secured sugary-looking sands of different tints, and heaped up minute pebbles, a darkly clad, tastefully picturesque form would approach, — a form to which I bowed down in spirit as, fortunately for me, my father. He would look askance at my utterly useless, time-frittering amusement, which I already knew was withering my brain and soul. In his tacit reproach my small intellect delighted, and loftier thoughts than those of the counter would refresh me for the rest of the day ; and I thankfully returned to the heights and lengths of wide nature, full of color and roaring waves.
Rose Hawthorne Lathtrop.