Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, Volume II
By Julian Hawthorne, 1884
Mrs. Blodgett's, Lisbon, and London
THE company at Mrs. Blodgett's, though not consisting of the most cultivated persons imaginable, was very hearty and genuine; and Hawthorne was as well content with it, for every-day purposes, as with any in England. He had, indeed, an hereditary sympathy with Yankee sea-captains, and found satisfaction in the downright simplicity and sagacity of their talk. "Captain Johnson," he writes, "assigned as a reason for not boarding at this house, that the conversation made him sea-sick; and, indeed, the smell of tar and bilge-water is somewhat strongly perceptible in it. Indisputably these men are alive, and to an extent to which the Englishman never seems conscious of Iife. It would do John Bull good to come and sit at our table, and adjourn with us to our smoking-room; but he would be apt to go away a little crestfallen."
The smoking-room was an apartment barely twenty feet square, though of a fair height; but the captains smoked a great deal, and by nine o'clock sat enveloped in a blue cloud. They played euchre with a jovial persistence that seems wonderful in the retrospect, especially as there was no gambling. The small boys in the house (there were two or three) soon succeeded in mastering the mysteries of the game, and occasionally took a hand with the captains. Hawthorne was always ready to play, and used to laugh a great deal at the turns of fortune. He rather enjoyed card-playing, and was a very good hand at whist; and knew, besides, a number of other games, many of which are now out of fashion, but which he, I suppose, had learned in his college days. Be the diversion or the conversation what it might, he was never lacking in geniality and good-fellowship; and sparkles of wit and good humor continually came brightening out of his mouth, making the stalwart captains haw-haw prodigiously, and wonder, perhaps, where his romances came from. Nevertheless, in his official capacity, he sometimes made things (in their own phrase) rather lively for them; and it is a tribute to his unfailing good sense and justice, that his enforcement of the law never made him unpopular.
The talk was not entirely of ships and things maritime; one might hear there, at first hand, tales of all parts of the world, and anecdotes of all persons, from royalty downwards. "The Doctor," writes Hawthorne, "told a story of the manner in which the young Queen intimated to Prince Albert that she had bestowed her heart on him. All the eligible young princes in Europe had been invited to England to visit the Queen,--trotted out, as it were, for inspection; and all were suffered to take their leave, in due time,--all but Prince Albert. When he came to pay his parting compliments, the Queen said to him, 'It depends on yourself whether you go!' This is rather pretty." He adds: "The Doctor avers that Prince Albert's immediate attendants speak contemptuously ('lightly' was his precise word) of him, as a slow, commonplace man."
Here is a passage on a more homely topic:
"Last evening two or three young men called in fortuitously to see some young ladies of our household, and chatted in parlor, hall, and smoking-room, just as they might have done in America. They stayed to tea with us. In our party of perhaps half a dozen married women and virgins, there are two or three who may fairly be called pretty,--an immense proportion compared with what one finds among the women of England, where, indeed, I could almost say I have found none. The aspect of my countrywomen, to be sure, seems to me somewhat peculiarly delicate, thin, pale, after becoming accustomed to the beefy rotundity and coarse complexions of the full-fed English dames; but, slight as they look, they always prove themselves sufficient for the whole purpose of life. Then the lightness, the dance, the ebullition of their minds, is so much pleasanter than the English propriety! I have not heard such a babble of feminine voices, on this side of the water, as I heard last night from these ladies, sitting round the table in the parlor,--all busy, all putting in their word, all ready with their laugh."
Christmas day was observed with much heartiness at Mrs. Blodgett's; branches of mistletoe were hung up everywhere, and it was dangerous to pass beneath them. The Yankee captains were extremely gallant to the ladies of the household on this occasion; and something like a plot was organized to inveigle the American Consul into paying due observance to the ceremony. The cook and the maid-servants, especially (who were allowed exceptional privileges at this celebration), openly threatened to catch this grand-looking gentleman and kiss him; and the captains, and even Mrs. Blodgett herself, were prepared to assist them in their design. The Consul, nevertheless, managed to escape; but there was a great deal of uproar and merriment, and it was a standing joke among some of Hawthorne's English friends, long afterwards, that he had, in truth, succumbed. Henry Bright, in particular, wrote a poem containing a reference to this matter, which has fortunately been preserved. "Hiawatha" had lately been published in England, and had attracted a great deal of attention and comment, not always of a respectful or appreciative kind. Henry Chorley had a review of it in the "Athenaeum," written in a highly unreceptive spirit. Mr. Bright employed the metre of "Hiawatha" in his verses, which run as follows:--
SONG OF CONSUL HAWTHORNE.
Should you ask me, "Who is Hawthorne? Who this Hawthorne that you mention?" I should answer, I should tell you,
"He's a Yankee, who has written
Many books you must have heard of;
For he wrote 'The Scarlet Letter'
And 'The House of Seven Gables,'
Wrote, too, 'Rappacini's Daughter,'
And a lot of other stories;--
Some are long, and some are shorter;
Some are good, and some are better.
And this Hawthorne is a Consul,
Sitting in a dismal office,--
Dark and dirty, dingy office,
Full of mates, and full of captains,
Full of sailors and of niggers,--
And he lords it over Yankees."
But you ask me, "Where the dwelling,
Where the mansion, of this Hawthorne?"
And I answer, and I tell you,
"'T is a house in upper Duke Street,--
'T is a red brick house in Duke Street.
Should you ask me further, saying,
"Where this house in upper Duke Street?"
I should answer, I should tell you,
"'T is the house of Missis Todgers,--
House of good old widow Todgers,
Where the noble Yankee captains
Meet, and throng, and spend their evening,
Hairy all, and all dyspeptic,
All of them with nasal voices,
Speaking all through nasal organs,
All of them with pig tobacco,
All of them with Colt's revolvers."
Should you ask me what they do there,--
What the manners and the customs
Of this house of widow Todgers,--
I should tell you that at Christmas
Mistletoe hangs in the parlors,
Mistletoe on hall and staircase,
Mistletoe in every chamber;
And the maids at widow Todgers',
Slyly laughing, softly stealing,
Whisper, "Kiss me, Yankee Captain,--
Kiss or shilling, Yankee Captain!"
Slyly laughing, softly saying,
Kiss from you too, Consul Hawthorne!
Kiss or shilling, Consul Hawthorne!" --
I should tell you how, at midnight
Of the last day in December,
Yankee Captain, Consul Hawthorne,
Open wide the mansion's front door,--
Door that opens into Duke Street,--
Wait to see the hoary Old Year
Pass into the frosty starlight,--
Wait to see the jocund New Year
Come with all its hopes and pleasures,
Come into the gas and firelight.
Do you ask me, "Tell me further
Of this Consul, of this Hawthorne"?
I would say, he is a sinner,--
Reprobate and churchless sinner,--
Never goes inside a chapel,
Only sees outsides of chapels,
Says his prayers without a chapel!
I would say that he is lazy,
Very lazy, good-for-nothing;
Hardly ever goes to dinners,
Never goes to balls or soirées
Thinks one friend worth twenty friendly;
Cares for love, but not for liking;
Hardly knows a dozen people,--
Knows old Baucis,  and Philemon, 
Knows a Besk,  and knows a Parson, 
Knows a sucking, scribbling merchant, 
Hardly knows a soul worth knowing,--
Lazy, good-for-nothing fellow!
 A fib! --N. H.
 A. M. Heywood.
 I. S. Mansfield.
 I. P. Heywood.
 W. H. Channing.
 H. A. Bright.
This little jeu d'esprit pleased Hawthorne much; there are touches of true affection and discrimination hidden here and there in the doggerel. But before this date letters had been received from Mrs. Hawthorne in Lisbon.....
[Online editor's note: ***Here we skip a long letter that probably would get us into deep trouble with the royal family of Portugal, and resume on page 101***]
--There are two letters from Hawthorne to his sister Elizabeth, and another to his daughter Una, which may come in here.--It was in February of the New Year (1856) that Hawthorne made the visit to the workhouse which is recorded in his journal, and where the incident of the child's attaching itself to him occurred, that made so deep an impression on him. He was accompanied by Mr. Mansfield and Mrs. Heywood. In relation to the child, he says: "If it were within the limits of possibility,--if I could ever have done such wickedness as could have produced this child,--I should have certainly set down its affection to the score of blood-recognition; and I cannot conceive of any greater remorse than a parent must feel if he could see such a result of his illegitimate embraces. I wish I had not touched the imp; and yet I never should have forgiven myself if I had repelled its advances."
LIVERPOOL, Dec. 6, 1855.
DEAR B.,--I was glad to see your handwriting again in a letter to Una, and I don't think it would do you any harm to write oftener. I have received letters from Lisbon this morning. Sophia continues to receive benefit from the climate, and I see no reason to doubt that it will quite restore her. She is very pleasantly situated, and sees the King and all the grandees of the realm. I am getting tired of Liverpool, though not of England. It is not probable (though you need not mention this) that I shall remain here a great many mouths longer; for the consulate is not so profitable as it was, though it still yields a good income. But I have now got enough to live upon at home, with comfortable economy, and may besides reckon upon a considerable income from literature; so that it does not seem worth while to waste a great deal more time in this consular drudgery. I mean, however, to retain the office till next summer or autumn, and spend a good deal of the intervening time in travelling about England and Scotland. Then I propose two years on the Continent, after which there will be nothing for it but to return to America,--which does not look like a very agreeable prospect from this side of the water. I send some of the latest "Athenaeums," and am
Your affectionate brother,
LIVERPOOL, Feb. 16, 1856.
DEAR E.,--I send you some "Athenaeums," etc. Sophia and the two children have gone from Lisbon to Madeira, with Mr. O'Sullivan's family. Her health has very much improved, and I do not doubt that she will return to England perfectly restored, on the approach of summer. Julian is perfectly well. There is a good deal of talk of war between England and the United States; but I hardly think it will come to that There is no possibility of writing to such an impossible correspondent as you are.
Yours affectionately, N. H.
LIVERPOOL, March 19, 1856.
MY DEAREST UNA,--In answer to your crisscrossed note, I write you a very few words, and thank you very much for your kind and agreeable correspondence. You write very nice letters, and Julian and I are always greatly interested in them. He cannot puzzle out the meaning of them by himself; and I always have the pleasure of reading them over at least twice,--first to myself and afterwards to him. And when your letters contain nothing private, I likewise read them to Mrs. Blodgett and Miss Williams. Julian has lately got acquainted with a gentleman named Dr. Archer, and with some nice little daughters of his. Dr. Archer is very fond of natural history, and he has given Julian a good many shells, and a little book describing them; so that Julian is growing more learned than ever about shells. He means to spend all his money in purchasing them; and he has quite as much money as he ought, for I give him all the pence and half-pence that I get at the Consulate. Dr. Archer also shows him things through the microscope, and, among other things, the wing of a fly, which looked as big as the wing of a goose.
I have not yet been to hear Mr. Channing preach; but, to make amends, I send Julian every Sunday. There is always some lady or other who is glad to take charge of him and put herself under his protection. But, last Sunday, there happened to he no lady going to Mr. Channing's; so, rather than go to Mrs. Blodgett's church, Julian chose to go to our chapel all by himself. There he saw Dr. Archer, who invited him to dinner and to spend the day, and sent one of his daughters to ask my permission. Julian is very fond of society, and loses no opportunity of going abroad whenever he is asked. Sometimes Mrs. Warren asks him to her house; and I think he likes to go there better than anywhere else, for the sake of dancing with Mary. I often tell him that he will have to earn his living as a dancing-master; but he seems to think that that profession would he beneath the dignity of a Consul's son.
Tell Rosebud that I love her very much, and that I wrote her a letter a little while ago, and sent it to Uncle John, to be sent to her. She is the best little girl in the world, is she not? Does she ever get out of humor? Tell her that I wish very much to know whether she always behaves prettily, as a young lady ought. Is she kind to Nurse?
I am to dine at Sandheys this evening and going I suppose I shall see Annie Bright.
YOUR LOVING FATHER.
Hawthorne's spirits were very much depressed at this period; his loneliness weighed upon him, and he was in continual dread, as he says, "of ill-news from Lisbon that I may perhaps hear,--of black-sealed letters, or some such horrors." But it happened, fortunately no doubt, that he was more than usually involved in various forms of social activity. He lunched on board the "Princeton;" he visited the Mersey Iron Foundry, and was delighted with the great vat full of boiling iron; he called on Mr. Dallas, the new ambassador, who "had risen in life by the lack of two powerful qualities and by a certain tact," and who "must be pronounced a humbug, yet almost or quite an innocent one." He went to London, stopping over night at Mr. Bowman's, in St. James Place; and called on Mr. Bennoch, at the latter's office, where they talked of the war, and of Jerdan, whom Mr. Bennoch characterized as "a very disreputable old fellow, who had spent all his life in dissipation, and has not left it off even now, in his old age. I do not see," adds Hawthorne, "how such a man has attained vogue in society, as he certainly has; for he had no remarkable gifts, more than scores of other literary men, and his manners had, to my taste, no charm. Yet he had contrived to live amongst and upon whatever is exquisite in society and in festivity." He and Bennoch visited Hampton Court, and dined at the "Star and Garter" on Richmond Hill; and the next day, still under Mr. Bennoch's guidance, he investigated Barber-Surgeon's Hall, and gives a minute description of the "Loving-cups" that he saw there, and of the ceremony in using them; and afterwards they took the rail to Greenwich, and mingled in the "Fair." The following evening he dined with Mr. Bennoch, meeting Mrs. Newton Crosland, who praised "The Scarlet Letter." "I would gladly have responded by praising her own works," he remarks;
"but although she sent me one of them, three or four years ago, I had quite forgotten its subject, and so could not say anything greatly to the purpose. Neither would it have been easy, at any rate, to respond in due measure; for Mrs. Crosland was unusually lavish in her admiration, preferring poor me to all the novelists of this age, or, I believe, any other; and she and Mr. Bennoch discussed, right across me, the uses to which I had better put my marvellous genius, as respects the mode of working up my English experiences!--I suppose this may be the tone of London literary society. But I really do not think that I like to be praised, viva voce; at least, I am glad when it is said and done with, though I will not say that my heart does not expand a little towards those who rightly appreciate my books. But I suspect that I am of somewhat sterner stuff than many romancers, and tougher of fibre; and the dark seclusion--the atmosphere without any oxygen of sympathy--in which I spent all the years of my youthful manhood, have enabled me to do almost as well without as with it."
Another day he strolled through the National Gallery, and remarks that his art culture had already advanced, so far that he was able to prefer some pictures to others; and he went to the British Museum, and wished, in his weariness, that the Elgin Marbles and the Frieze of the Parthenon were all burnt into lime. Then he got lost in the vicinity of Holborn, and "kept returning, in the strangest way, to the same point in Lincoln's Inn Fields; and I must say that I wished the Devil had London and them that built it, from King Lud's time downwards!" But he recovered sufficiently to go and see Kean play "Louis XI." the same evening, and liked him well. Mr. Bennoch now seized upon him once more, and whirled him off to Aldershott, where they sat down to a "splendid dinner" with the officers of an Irish regiment,--or, rather, the Irish officers of a regiment,--whom Hawthorne found capital company. Next morning they witnessed a shamfight, and saw fifteen thousand men pass in review before the Duke of Cambridge, who lifted his hat as each regiment went by.
"As he did so, there ensued a singular and half-ludicrous transformation. For the poor Duke had suffered a great deal in his Crimean warfare, and has grown bald and gray in consequence, although his beard and whiskers are still of a rich brown; so that, while his hat remained on his head, you saw a florid gentleman in his very prime, fringed about whith the brown beard of lusty manhood, but whenever the hat was lifted, behold an aged head, gray, bald, forlorn! It was the battle of Inkermann that did this mischief; for the Duke had been in a terrible excitement then, and, besides, Lord Raglan had treated him very severely for some of his conduct. The Duke had an awfully quick temper, which breaks out whenever he is in command and he blows up the officers right and left whenever anything happens not to suit him."
From Aldershott the two friends went, by previous invitation, to visit Mr. Martin Farquhar Tupper, the famous poet of the "Proverbial Philosophy;" and here follows an entertaining record of their experiences on that occasion.
APRIL 2, 1856.
We reached Albany somewhere about ten o'clock, and were met by a boy of twelve years, a son of Mr. Tupper, who had sent him to escort us. He was a forward, talkative, intelligent lad, and kept chattering profusely with Bennoch (whom he already knew). As we entered Albany, the boy exclaimed that there was his father. "Yes," said Bennoch, "as large as life !" "As small as life, you mean," said the boy; and, indeed, Mr. Martin Farquhar Tupper's size is best expressed so. He soon met us, and extended his arms with an affectionate greeting to Bennoch; and then, addressing me, "Oh, great Scarlet Letter!" he cried. I did not know what the Devil to say, unless it were "Oh, wondrous Man of Proverbs!" or "Oh, wiser than Solomon!" and as I was afraid to say either of these, I rather think I held my tongue. I felt in an instant that Mr. Tupper was a good soul, but a fussy little man, of a kind that always takes one entirely aback. He is a small man, with wonderfully short legs, fat (at least very round), and walks with a kind of waddle, not so much from corpulence of body as from brevity of leg. His hair is curly, and of an iron-gray hue; his features are good, even handsome, and his complexion very red. A person for whom I immediately felt a kindness, and instinctively knew to be a bore. He took me by the arm with vast cordiality, and led me towards his home; and before we reached the gate, if I mistake not, he had asked me whom I meant by Zenobia in the "Blithedale Romance," and whether I had drawn my own character in Miles Coverdale, and whether there really was a tombstone in Boston with the letter A upon it!--very posing queries, all of them. Tupper's house is a very delightful one, standing in the centre of the village, yet secluded from it by its own grounds, and encompassed by a wall. He says it has seven gables, and led me round it in order to count them; but I think we fairly made out eight or nine. It is a house of some antiquity, and its gables make it very picturesque in a quiet way; and Tupper, as his family increased, has made additions which are in good keeping with the original structure he inherited it from an uncle. Mrs. Tupper--a plain, pleasant, cordial, lady-like person--was now standing at the door with some of her children, and gave us a warm and kind welcome; and we entered the hall, which had old cabinets and pictures in it,--century-old portraits, which Tupper said he called ancestral, though really they were not so. The family had been waiting breakfast for us; so, though Bennoch and I had eaten two chops apiece at the camp, we all sat down to table, seven children inclusive, and I made another pretty fair meal. Tupper's three eldest children are girls, from eighteen downwards; and their cheeks were as red as roses, and they seemed to be nice, affectionate, well-behaved young people. Mr. Tupper has chiefly educated them himself; and to such good purpose that one of them already writes for the magazines. Tupper is really a good man, most domestic, most affectionate, most fussy; for it appeared as if he could hardly sit down, and even if he were sitting he still had the effect of bustling about. He has no dignity of character, no conception of what it is, nor perception of his deficiency. His son has an instinctive sense of this, and presumes upon it, and Tupper continually finds it necessary to repress him. "Martin, do not talk so much!" he cries,--for the boy really bubbles without a moment's intermission; "Martin, your father was born a day or two before you were!" and a thousand such half-pettish, half-kindly admonitions, none of which have the slightest effect. The girls, however, seem to respect him and love him.
In the dining-room are six fine lithographic portraits of the Queen's children, as large as life, and all taken at the same age, so that they would appear to have been littered at one birth, like kittens. They were presented by her Majesty, who is a great admirer of the "Proverbial Philosophy," and gives it to each of her children as they arrive at a proper age to comprehend the depths of its wisdom. Tupper is the man of all the world to be made supremely happy by such appreciation as this; for he is the vainest little man of all little men, and his vanity continually effervesces out of him as naturally as ginger-beer froths. Yet it is the least incommodious vanity I ever witnessed; he does not insist upon your expressing admiration; he does not even seem to wish it, nor hardly to know or care whether you admire him or not. He is so entirely satisfied with himself that he takes the admiration of all the world for granted,--the recognition of his supreme merit being inevitable. I liked him, and laughed in my sleeve at him, and was utterly weary of him; for, certainly, be is the ass of asses. Not but what he says sensible things, and even humorous ones; not but what be is a writer of strength and power,--for surely "The Crock of Gold" is a very powerful tale,--but, if it were not irreverent, I should say that his Creator, when He made Tupper, intended to show how easily He could turn a gifted, upright, warm hearted, and in many ways respectable person into a fool and laughing-stock even for persons much inferior to himself.
After breakfast we walked out to see a hunting-meet. The country is beautiful, swelling in long, high undulations, from the summit of one of which the diameter of the prospect is one hundred miles. There is a legend of saints connected with three of these Surrey hills, but I have forgotten it. On our way we saw here and there a red-coated horseman, hastening to the rendezvous. We heard now and then the sound of a horn and the voice of a huntsman; and by and by appeared the pack, nosing along the ground and scenting into the underbrush of furze to discover if any fox were there. The hunt followed (perhaps a score of huntsmen, some of them in red coats, and two or three ladies amongst them). Before we left the hill-top Tupper showed us some yew-trees of unknown antiquity, Druidical perhaps; their trunks were of immense size, upwards of twenty feet in girth. On our way home we passed through Albany Park, the seat of Mr. Drummond; within the park, and at no great distance from each other, stood two churches, a new one and an ancient, venerable one. The interior of the new church, which belongs to the Irvingites, is of Roman Catholic aspect, but very pleasant and soothing, with its stained windows, lamp, and holy symbols. The old church, though no longer used, is in excellent repair; and, gray and time-worn though it is, it might have answered its original purpose for centuries longer. Mr. Drummond's house is a modern structure, but in the Elizabethan style, and looking antique enough to be in keeping with the rest of the scene.
The Tupper burial-place for generations past was here; and the graves of three of his children were covered with a garden blooming with flowers, and evidently constantly aiid carefully cultivated and weeded. Tupper looked earnestly at it, and was quiet for a moment; and seemed pleased to see the flowers growing so finely, and said, "Ah, we must tell mamma of this." Then we looked into the church window, and saw the monunient of Mr. Drummond's three sons,--all the male posterity the rich man had. Tupper told us a story on this subject which might easily enough be worked up into a dark, impressive legend. Mr. Drummond had intended to pull down the old church, and level the stones in the graveyard. He was vehemently opposed, especially by Tupper, who said that if he persisted in his purpose of desecration, he might suffer the curse of Joshua on whomsoever should rebuild Jericho,--that his first-born and youngest sons should perish. The man holding to his purpose, all his three sons did die, one after another; and the bells of the old church, which he had transferred to the new steeple, tolled the funeral knell of his last son, who had died just as they were about to celebrate his coming of age. They had all been healthy and strong before. The old church was left untouched, and became the mausoleum of his children. It is queer to think of little Tupper being the prophet of such a doom as this!
Reaching Tupper's house, he took us up into his study, which is a large room, with plenty of books, a great many of which are editions of his own beloved works. The most remarkable object is a beautiful marble figure of a child, asleep on a cushion; a little girl two or three years old, very delicately sculptured, enjoying a sweet repose. It is the statue of his dead child, whose grave we had seen in the old churchyard. Tupper looked at it with evident delight, as he might have done at his child alive; and it almost seemed as if, so far as his feelings were concerned, it were the real presence of his living child. He spoke about it without any reserve, and showed me the different points of view; but for my part, though it was a very sweet little creature, I could not say much of it, feeling that a stranger tongue has no right to infringe upon the delicacy and sanctity of such a subject. But Tupper probably felt nothing of the kind, and the presence of the little marble girl seemed to soothe and comfort him, and he is just as merry, when the mood serves, as if she was not there. Besides the tender marble, he showed me some certificates of honorary membership of certain American literary societies, glazed and framed and hanging against the wall. I never heard before of any of the learned bodies. Likewise he opened one of the bookcases, and showed it packed quite full of the American editions of his works, all splendidly bound and gilt,--talking with evidently intense satisfaction of his American fame.
We dined early, the whole brood of children sitting down to table with us, and the patriarchal Tupper chatting away during the meal. A very small man seems rather out of place at the head of a large family; the dignity of the situation is not in keeping with his figure and demonstrations. We had quite a good plain dinner, in such abundance as the large appetites of seven small people rendered necessary. I sat next to Mrs. Tupper, and, talking with her about her home and her husband, she observed that they two had played together on the spot, and gathered the nuts beneath the trees, in earliest childhood; "for we were cousins," she said. . . . It is wonderful what a sadness this one great misery threw over my whole contemplation of Tupper's life and character. I had already made a remark to him about the means of happiness he had around him, and had noticed, with some surprise, that he did not respond with any heartiness. There was, for that only time, a marked reserve in his manner, a something repining in his tone. . . . After dinner we set out for Wooton, Tupper bestriding a horse. He breeds his own horses, and is very proud of them, though they are by no means remarkably good. One very commonplace pony he calls "Wonder," and has other fine names for all the rest. He rides pretty well; but his wife kept calling out to him to be careful, to go slowly down steep hills, and divers other affectionate admonitions,--for she is a truly good woman, and admires her husband just as much as if he were bigger and wiser. They are very kind people, all of them, and I heartily wish them well.
--Recommencing their travels, the pilgrims next went, via Tunbridge Wells, to Battle Abbey; the interior of which, Hawthorne says, "of all domestic things that I have seen in England, satisfied me most." From there they drove to Hastings, and called on Theodore Martin and his wife (née Helen Faucit), and, having lunched there, took the train back to London. But the gayeties were not yet over; for, the next day, Hawthorne was taken to dine at the Milton Club, where he met several distinguished persons, among them Mr. Tupper, Dr. Mackay, Tom Taylor, William Howitt, and Mr. Sidney Carter Hall, concerning which gentleman Hawthorne appears to have suffered considerable mental disquietude. He says:--
". . . While I was waiting for Bennoch at the Milton Club, a tall, fine-looking gentleman with white hair entered, and was presently introduced to me by Mr. Tupper. Mr. S. C. Hall--for it was no less a personage--immediately began, in a tone audible to the whole room, to express his admiration for me as 'the first--yes, it was really so--the very first writer of the age.' He said that he had written fifty thousand (I think that was the number) criticisms of books, but that, in all his vocation as a critic, he had never felt such delight as in recording his judgment of my merits. In short, I cannot possibly over-state what he said, and, for very shame, prefer not to record it any further; and it was all said in the most fluent, irrepressible, and yet quiet way, with a volubility of fine phrases, and with a calm benignity of face. I have never met so smooth an Englishman as Mr. S. C. Hall. He likewise presented me with a flower--a perfectly beautiful camellia--which his wife had sent me; for, it seems, her admiration is of the same intensity as her husband's. Good Heavens! what is a man to do in a case like this? By and by Bennoch entered, and, taking me by the arm, led the way to the dining-room. I besought him most earnestly to give me any other neighbor rather than Mr. S. C. Hall, for that I could not stand his incense. He put Mr. Charles Mackay (author of 'The Good Time Coming') between me and Mr. Hall; notwithstanding which the latter besmeared me with a great deal more butter and treacle before the dinner was over. God forbid that I should be other than grateful for true appreciation; but was this true? Did he speak because the fulness of his heart compelled him? Could be have said less if he had tried to restrain himself? for, if he could, he was utterly unpardonable for saying what he did. I verily believe that he had it all on his tongue and nowhere else. I ought to say that Bennoch strenuously affirms that he is a good and honest man, though with some absurdities of manner; and be says that he has positively known both Hall and his wife to make greater personal sacrifices for the welfare of art and literature than be has known any other persons to make. Douglas Jerrold, on the other hand, and Dr. Mackay think him an arrant humbug; and I believe there is no doubt of his having been the original of Dickens's Mr. Pecksniff."
On rising from the dinner-table at eleven o'clock, Mr. Dallas--"lest I should starve before morning"--took him to supper at his house in Park Lane, where he was presented to Mrs. Dallas, formerly Miss Glyn. "Our party broke up soon after midnight, and Mr. and Mrs. Dallas made me promise to come again on Saturday to meet Mr. Charles Reade." Meanwhile, on the Thursday, he dined with Dr. Mackay at the Reform Club, meeting Douglas Jerrold; and it was here that the little misunderstanding with the latter occurred, which was afterwards so amicably made up. Friday was a day of rest; but on Saturday the supper-party at Mr. Dallas's came off. Hawthorne does not seem to have been particularly impressed by Charles Reade; though I have heard him, since then, express great liking for some of his books, and I remember his reading "Griffith Gaunt" with much interest when it was appearing serially in the "Atlantic Monthly." "A tall man," be calls him, "more than thirty, fairhaired, in good flesh, and not of especially intellectual aspect, but of agreeable talk and demeanor."
"Miss Glyn," he proceeds,
"was not there when I arrived, but soon came in, hot and wearied, from the stage; and when she shook hands with me, her own was moist, and gave me a strong idea of how exhausting stage exertions are. She is not pretty at all, either in face or figure, being broad and full, with a short neck; but I can conceive that she may have a great deal of power in her acting. She is more haunted by the trick, tone, and glance of the actress, than either of the other distinguished ladies whom I have met. I should say that she still retains a native goodness and simplicity. I sat next her at supper; and she alluded to the statement she had made to me a few evenings ago, that she had read 'The House of Seven Gables' thirteen years since, and inquired if she had not made a little mistake. I said that she had, but that I felt much flattered by it, because it could only have arisen from the book having made itself so much a part of the permanent furniture of her mind that she could not tell when she first became acquainted with it. She laughed, and seemed a little confused, as well she might."
On the 6th of April this indefatigable man of society went with Bennoch and Mackay to Woking, to dine and spend the evening. Mrs. Hall was "a dame of ripe age, midway beyond fifty, but still an agreeable object to look at, and must once have possessed beauty. Her husband loves beautiful things, and chose his wife, no doubt, on the same principle--in part at least--that guides him in other matters. She is tall and large and rotund, but not too rotund, and was dressed in black, and is a good figure of a woman. As for Mr. Hall, be has his ridiculous side, and I cannot exactly judge what the depth of his heart may be; it may possibly be all surface, but still I do not think him insincere, even if he be all surface." At dinner Mr. Hall was delivered of a long tribute to Hawthorne's genius; and the latter replied in a short speech, of which he says "one half was in all probability very foolish, and the other half (God forgive me!) false." Dr. Mackay next proposed the health of Mrs. Hall; whereupon "her husband returned thanks in another very long speech, enlarging upon her merits, giving an account of their courtship and engagement and early marriage and subsequent happiness, and incidentally treating of the excellences of Mrs. Hall's mother, who had lived with them upwards of thirty years and was only recently deceased. If there were any good in him, he said, he owed it to those two women;--and there certainly is good, mixed up with a vast deal of nonsense and flummery."
Escaping thence, Hawthorne next fell into the clutches of the Lord Mayor, but was more than repaid for any inconvenience he may have been subjected to, by the spectacle of the beautiful Jewess who sat opposite him, and whose aspect he has immortalized in the Miriam of "The Marble Faun." Then to the House of Commons, where be saw Disraeli--" a very unwholesome-looking person"--and Lord Palmerston, and listened to a debate. In the Refectory they saw Disraeli again. "He don't look as if he had a healthy appetite. Bennoch says that he makes himself up with great care, and spends a long time picking the white hairs from his sable locks. He is said to be poor; and though he had property with his wife, it is all gone."
From the House they repaired to Albert Smith's "Mont Blanc" lecture. Mr. Albert Smith was " a gentleman of about forty, of the Dickens school, a little flashy and rowdy, but a good-hearted man and an agreeable companion. We went to Evans's supper-rooms, where I was introduced to the musical critic of the "Times," and to Mr. Lawrence, author of the "Life of Fielding." But the queerest introduction was that of the superintendent of the rooms, a Mr. Green, who expressed himself in tbe highest degree honored by my presence, and said if he could only have Emerson likewise, and Channing (the deceased Doctor, I presume), and Longfellow, the dream of his life would be fulfilled! It is a good place to see London life in, and I mean, sometime or other, to go there again,--perhaps with Longfellow."
Next day he dined with Henry Stevens, an American gentleman connected with the Library department of the British Museum, and again met Tom Taylor, whom he considered to be sensible and active-minded, with "a humorous way of showing up men and matters, but without originality or much imagination or dance of fancy." After dinner there was a reception in the drawing-room, where Hawthorne was introduced to a great many ladies and gentlemen who, "so far as I could judge, had all been invited there to see me." "It is ungracious, even hoggish," he continues (to quote a passage already printed from the Note-Books), "not to be gratified with the interest they expressed in me; but then it is really a bore, and one does not know what to do or say. I felt like the hippopotamus, or--to use a more modest illustration--like some strange insect imprisoned under a tumbler, with a dozen eyes watching whatever I did."
This, however, was his final trial. The next evening a telegram arrived at Mrs. Blodgett's, announcing his intended arrival; and his son, sharp-set from a three weeks' abstinence from the paternal society, rushed off the following morning to the Waterloo hotel, and found him seated at one of the small tables in the breakfast-room, looking much less depressed and heavy than before his excursion. I remember that day, just twenty-eight years ago, very well. It struck me then, perhaps for the first time, that he was the finest-looking man in the world.
In May, Hawthorne took another trip, this time to Scotland and the North of England, stopping at Abbotsford, and, on his way home, inspecting York Minster. He went over the same ground in 1857, in company with Mrs. Hawthorne and Julian. A few days after his return, he dined with Bennoch in Manchester, meeting Mr. Ireland, editor of the "Manchester Examiner;" Mr. Watson, a merchant; and the poet Swain. The latter impressed Hawthorne pleasantly; he says that he had simplicity, feeling,
"no great energy, good sense, of which latter quality he makes perhaps but little use in his own behalf. Not that I take him for one of those literary men who make their very moderate talent an excuse for immoderate self-indulgence. I think him an irreproachable man, but probably a very inefficient one. He is an engraver, I believe, by profession; and as to his poetry, I had the volume, but I do not well recollect the contents. Mr. Ireland saw Mr. Emerson on his first visit to Europe, and directed him how to find Carlyle. When Emerson was again here, he spent some time as Ireland's guest. Ireland is one of the few men who have read Thoreau's books; and he spoke of Margaret Fuller, and of the 'Dial.' But, on the whole, I think the English Conservatives are the men best worth knowing. The Liberals, with all their zeal for novelty, originate nothing; and one feels a little disgusted to find them setting forth their poor little views of progress, especially if one happens to have been a Brook-Farmer! The best thing a man born in this island can do is, to eat his beef and mutton and drink his porter, and take things as they are; and think thoughts that shall be so beefish, muttonish, portish, and porterish, that they shall be matters rather material than intellectual. In this way an Englishman is natural, wholesome, and good; a being fit for the present time and circumstances, and entitled to let the future alone!"
He wandered about Manchester the next day, and saw, among other things, "the new picture by Millais, the distinguished Pre-Raphaelite artist," of "The Huguenots." He then returned to Liverpool, and there remained until, on the 9th of June, he received a telegram announcing the welcome news that Mrs. Hawthorne and their two daughters had arrived safely, from Lisbon, at Southampton. The next day he and his son set forth on the journey southwards.