Yesterdays with Authors
By James T. Fields
In 1852 I went to Europe, and while absent had frequent most welcome letters from the delightful dreamer. He had finished the "Blithedale Romance" during my wanderings, and I was fortunate enough to arrange for its publication in London simultaneously with its appearance in Boston. One of his letters (dated from his new residence in Concord, June 17, 1852) runs thus:--
"You have succeeded admirably in regard to the 'Blithedale Romance,' and have got 150 pounds more than I expected to receive. It will come in good time, too; for my drafts have been pretty heavy of late, in consequence of buying an estate!!! and fitting up my house. What a truant you are from the Corner! I wish, before leaving London, you would obtain for me copies of any English editions of my writings not already in my possession. I have Routledge's edition of 'The Scarlet Letter,' the 'Mosses,' and 'Twice-Told Tales'; Bohn's editions of 'The House of the Seven Gables,' the 'Snow-Image' and the 'Wonder-Book,' and Bogue's edition of 'The Scarlet Letter';--these are all, and I should be glad of the rest. I meant to have written another 'Wonder-Book' this summer, but another task has unexpectedly intervened. General Pierce of New Hampshire, the Democratic nominee for the Presidency, was a college friend of mine, as you know, and we have been intimate through life. He wishes me to write his biography, and I have consented to do so; somewhat reluctantly, however, for Pierce has now reached that altitude when a man, careful of his personal dignity, will begin to think of cutting his acquaintance. But I seek nothing from him, and therefore need not be ashamed to tell the truth of an old friend.... I have written to Barry Cornwall, and shall probably enclose the letter along with this. I don't more than half believe what you tell me of my reputation in England, and am only so far credulous on the strength of the L200, and shall have a somewhat stronger sense of this latter reality when I finger the cash. Do come home in season to preside over the publication of the Romance."
He had christened his estate The Wayside, and in a postscript to the above letter he begs me to consider the name and tell him how I like it.
Another letter, evidently foreshadowing a foreign appointment from the newly elected President, contains this passage:--
"Do make some inquiries about Portugal; as, for instance, in what part of the world it lies, and whether it is an empire, a kingdom, or a republic. Also, and more particularly, the expenses of living there, and whether the Minister would be likely to be mueb pestered with his own countrymen. Also, any other information about foreign countries would be acceptable to an inquiring mind."
When I returned from abroad I found him getting matters in readiness to leave the country for a consulship in Liverpool. He seemed happy at the thought of flitting, but I wondered if he could possibly be as contented across the water as he was in Concord. I remember walking with him to the Old Manse, a mile or so distant from The Wayside, his new residence, and talking over England and his proposed absence of several years. We strolled round the house, where he spent the first years of his married life, and he pointed from the outside to the windows, out of which he had looked and seen supernatural and other visions. We walked up and down the avenue, the memory of which he has embalmed in the "Mosses," and he discoursed most pleasantly of all that had befallen him since he led a lonely, secluded life in Salem. It was a sleepy, warm afternoon, and he proposed that we should wander up the banks of the river and lie down and watch the clouds float above and in the quiet stream. I recall his lounging, easy air as he tolled me along until we came to a spot secluded, and ofttimes sacred to his wayward thoughts. He bade me lie down on the grass and hear the birds sing. As we steeped ourselves in the delicious idleness, he began to murmur some half-forgotten lines from Thomson's "Seasons," which he said had been favorites of his from boyhood. While we lay there, hidden in the grass, we heard approaching footsteps, and Hawthorne hurriedly whispered, "Duck! or we shall be interrupted by somebody." The solemnity of his manner, and the thought of the down-flat position in which we had both placed ourselves to avoid being seen, threw me into a foolish, semi-hysterical fit of laughter, and when he nudged me, and again whispered more lugubriously than ever, "Heaven help me, Mr.----- is close upon us!" I felt convinced that if the thing went further, suffocation, in my case at least, must ensue.
He kept me constantly informed, after he went to Liverpool, of how he was passing his time; and his charming "English Note-Books" reveal the fact that he was never idle. There were touches, however, in his private letters which escaped daily record in his journal, and I remember how delightful it was, after he landed in Europe, to get his frequent missives. In one of the first he gives me an account of a dinner where he was obliged to make a speech. He says:--
" I tickled up John Bull's self-conceit (which is very easily done) with a few sentences of most outrageous flattery, and sat down in a general puddle of good feeling." In another he says: "I have taken a house in Rock Park, on the Cheshire side of the Mersey, and am as snug as a bug in a rug. Next year you must come and see how I live. Give my regards to everybody, and my love to half a dozen. .... I wish you would call on Mr. Savage, the antiquarian, if you know him, and ask whether he can inform me what part of England the original William Hawthorne came from. He came over, I think, in 1634. It would really be a great obligation if he could answer the above query. Or, if the fact is not within his own knowledge, he might perhaps indicate some place where such information might be obtained here in England. I presume there are records still extant somewhere of all the passengers by those early ships, with their English localities annexed to their names. Of all things, I should like to find a gravestone in one of these old churchyards with my own name upon it, although, for myself, I should wish to be buried in America. The graves are too horribly damp here."
The hedgerows of England, the grassy meadows, and the picturesque old cottages delighted him, and he was never tired of writing to me about them. While wandering over the country, he was often deeply touched by meeting among the wild-flowers many of his old New England favorites,--bluebells, crocuses, primroses, foxglove, and other flowers which are cultivated in our gardens, and which had long been familiar to him in America.
I can imagine him, in his quiet, musing way, strolling through the daisied fields on a Sunday morning and hearing the distant church-bells chiming to service. His religion was deep and broad, but it was irksome for him to be fastened in by a pew-door, and I doubt if he often heard an English sermon. He very rarely described himself as inside a church, but he liked to wander among the graves in the churchyards and read the epitaphs on the moss-grown slabs. He liked better to meet and have a talk with the sexton than with the rector.
He was constantly demanding longer letters from home; and nothing gave him more pleasure than monthly news from "The Saturday Club," and detailed accounts of what was going forward in literature. One of his letters dated in January, 1854, starts off thus:--
" I wish your epistolary propensities were stronger than they are. All your letters to me since I left America might be squeezed into one.... I send Ticknor a big cheese, which I long ago promised him, and my advice is, that he keep it in the shop, and daily, between eleven and one o'clock, distribute slices of it to your half-starved authors, together with crackers and something to drink..... I thank you for the books you send me, and more especially for Mrs. Mowatt's Autobiography, which seems to me an admirable book. Of all things I delight in autobiographies; and I hardly ever read one that interested me so much. She must be a remarkable woman, and I cannot but lament my ill fortune in never having seen her on the stage or elsewhere.... I count strongly upon your promise to be with us in May. Can't you bring Whipple with you?"
One of his favorite resorts in Liverpool was the boarding-house of good Mrs. Blodgett, in Duke Street, a house where many Americans have found delectable quarters, after being tossed on the stormy Atlantic. "I have never known a better woman," Hawthorne used to say, "and her motherly kindness to me and mine I can never forget." Hundreds of American travellers will bear witness to the excellence of that beautiful old lady, who presided with such dignity and sweetness over her hospitable mansion.
On the 13th of April, 1854, Hawthorne wrote to me this characteristic letter from the consular office in Liverpool:--
" I am very glad that the 'Mosses' have come into the hands of our firm; and I return the copy sent me, after a careful revision. When I wrote those dreamy sketches, I little thought that I should ever preface an edition for the press amidst the bustling life of a Liverpool consulate. Upon my honor, I am not quite sure that I entirely comprehend my own meaning, in some of these blasted allegories; but I remember that I always had a meaning, or at least thought I had. I am a good deal changed since those times; and, to tell you the truth, my past self is not very much to my taste, as I see myself in this book. Yet certainly there is more in it than the public generally gave me credit for at the time it was written.
"But I don't think myself wortny of very much more credit than I got. It has been a very disagreeable task to read the book. The story of 'Rappacini's Daughter' was published in the Democratic Review, about the year 1844, and it was prefaced by some remarks on the celebrated French author (a certain M. de l'Aubépine), from whose works it was translated. I left out this preface when the story was republished; but I wish you would turn to it in the Demooratic, and see whether it is worth while to insert it in the new edition. I leave it altogether to your judgment.
"A young poet named ----- has called on me, and has sent me some copies of his works to be transmitted to America. It seems to me there is good in him: and he is recognized by Tennyson, by Carlyle, by Kingsley, and others of the best people here. He writes me that this edition of his poems is nearly exhausted, and that Routledge is going to publish another enlarged and in better style.
"Perhaps it might be well for you to take him up in America. At all events, try to bring him into notice; and some day or other you may be glad to have helped a famous poet in his obscurity. The poor fellow has left a good post in the customs to cultivate literature in London!
"We shall begin to look for you now by every steamer from Boston. You must make up your mind to spend a good while with us before going to see your London friends.
"Did you read the article on your friend De Quincey in the last Westminster? It was written by Mr. ----- of this city, who was in America a year or two ago. The article is pretty well, but does nothing like adequate justice to De Quincey; and in fact no Englishman cares a pin for him. We are ten times as good readers and critics as they.
"Is not Whipple coming here soon?"
Hawthorne's first visit to London afforded him great pleasure, but he kept out of the way of literary people as much as possible. He introduced himself to nobody, except Mr. -----, whose assistance he needed, in order to be identified at the bank. He wrote to me from 24 George Street, Hanover Square, and told me he delighted in London, and wished he could spend a year there. He enjoyed floating about, in a sort of unknown way, among the rotund and rubicund figures made jolly with ale and port-wine. He was greatly amused at being told (his informants meaning to be complimentary) "that he would never be taken for anything but an Englishman." He called Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade," just printed at that time, "a broken-kneed gallop of a poem." He writes:--
"John Bull is in high spirits just now at the taking of Sebastopol. What an absurd personage John is! I find that my liking for him grows stronger the more I see of him, but that my admiration and respect have constantly decreased."
One of his most intimate friends (a man unlike that individual of whom it was said that he was the friend of everybody that did not need a friend) was Francis Bennoch, a merchant of Wood Street, Cheapside, London, the gentleman to whom Mrs. Hawthorne dedicated the English Note-Books. Hawthorne's letters abounded in warm expressions of affection for the man whose noble hospitality and deep interest made his residence in England full of happiness. Bennoch was indeed like a brother to him, sympathizing warmly in all his literary projects, and giving him the benefit of his excellent judgment while he was sojourning among strangers. Bennoch's record may be found in Tom Taylor's admirable life of poor Haydon, the artist. All literary and artistic people who have had the good fortune to enjoy his friendship have loved him. I happen to know of his bountiful kindness to Miss Mitford and Hawthorne and poor old Jerdan, for these hospitalities happened in my time; but he began to befriend all who needed friendship long before I knew him. His name ought never to be omitted from the literary annals of England; nor that of his wife either, for she has always made her delightful fireside warm and comforting to her husband's friends.
Many and many a happy time Bennoch, Hawthorne, and myself have had together on British soil. I remember we went once to dine at a great house in the country, years ago, where it was understood there would be no dinner speeches. The banquet was in honor of some society,--I have quite forgotten what,--but it was a jocose and not a serious club. The gentleman who gave it, Sir -----, was a most kind and genial person, and gathered about him on this occasion some of the brightest and best from London. All the way down in the train Hawthorne was rejoicing that this was to be a dinner without speech-making; "for," said he, "nothing would tempt me to go if toasts and such confounded deviltry were to be the order of the day." So we rattled along, without a fear of any impending cloud of oratory. The entertainment was a most exquisite one, about twenty gentlemen sitting down at the beautifully ornamented table. Hawthorne was in uncommonly good spirits, and, having the seat of honor at the right of his host, was pretty keenly scrutinized by his British brethren of the quill. He had, of course, banished all thought of speechmaking, and his knees never smote together once, as he told me afterwards. But it became evident to my mind that Hawthorne's health was to be proposed with all the honors. I glanced at him across the table, and saw that he was unsuspicious of any movement against his quiet serenity. Suddenly and without warning our host rapped the mahogany, and began a set speech of welcome to the "distinguished American romancer." It was a very honest and a very hearty speech, but I dared not look at Hawthorne. I expected every moment to see him glide out of the room, or sink down out of sight from his chair. The tortures I suffered on Hawthorne's account, on that occasion, I will not attempt to describe now. I knew nothing would have induced the shy man of letters to go down to Brighton, if he had known he was to be spoken at in that manner. I imagined his face a deep crimson, and his hands trembling with nervous horror; but judge of my surprise, when he rose to reply with so calm a voice and so composed a manner, that, in all my experience of dinner-speaking, I never witnessed such a case of apparent ease. (Easy-Chair C---- himself, one of the best makers of after-dinner or any other speeches of our day, according to Charles Dickens,--no inadequate judge, all will allow,--never surpassed in eloquent effect this speech by Hawthorne.) There was no hesitation, no sign of lack of preparation, but he went on for about ten minutes in such a masterly manner, that I declare it was one of the most successful efforts of the kind ever made. Everybody was delighted, and, when he sat down, a wild and unanimous shout of applause rattled the glasses on the table. The meaning of his singular composure on that occasion I could never get him satisfactorily to explain, and the only remark I ever heard him make, in any way connected with this marvellous exhibition of coolness, was simply, "What a confounded fool I was to go down to that speech-making dinner!"
During all those long years, while Hawthorne was absent in Europe, he was anything but an idle man. On the contrary, he was an eminently busy one, in the best sense of that term; and if his life had been prolonged, the public would have been a rich gainer for his residence abroad. His brain teemed with romances, and once I remember he told me he had no less than five stories, well thought out, any one of which he could finish and publish whenever he chose to. There was one subject for a work of imagination that seems to have haunted him for years, and he has mentioned it twice in his journal. This was the subsequent life of the young man whom Jesus, looking on, "loved," and whom he bade to sell all that he had and give to the poor, and take up his cross and follow him. "Something very deep and beautiful might be made out of this," Hawthorne said, "for the young man went away sorrowful, and is not recorded to have done what he was bidden to do."
One of the most difficult matters he had to manage while in England was the publication of Miss Bacon's singular book on Shakespeare. The poor lady, after ho had agreed to see the work through the press, broke off all correspondence with him in a storm of wrath, accusing him of pusillanimity in not avowing full faith in her theory; so that, as he told me, so far as her good-will was concerned, he had not gained much by taking the responsibility of her book upon his shoulders. It was a heavy weight for him to bear in more senses than one, for he paid out of his own pocket the expenses of publication.
I find in his letters constant references to the kindness with which he was treated in London. He spoke of Mrs. S. C. Hall as "one of the best and warmest-hearted women in the world." Leigh Hunt, in his way, pleased and satisfied him more than almost any man he had seen in England. "As for other literary men," he says in one of his letters, "I doubt whether London can muster so good a dinner-party as that which assembles every month at the marble palace in School Street."
All sorts of adventures befell him during his stay in Europe, even to that of having his house robbed, and his causing the thieves to be tried and sentenced to transportation. In the summer-time he travelled about the country in England and pitched his tent wherever fancy prompted. One autumn afternoon in September he writes to me from Leamington:--
"I received your letter only this morning, at this cleanest and prettiest of English towns, where we are going to spend a week or two before taking our departure for Paris. We are acquainted with Leamington already, having resided here two summers ago; and the country round about is unadulterated England, rich in old castles, manor-houses, churches, and thatched cottages, and as green as Paradise itself. I only wish I had a house here, and that you could come and be my guest in it; but I am a poor wayside vagabond, and only find shelter for a night or so, and then trudge onward again. My wife and children and myself are familiar with all kinds of lodgement and modes of living, but we have forgotten what home is,--at least the children have, poor things! I doubt whether they will ever feel inclined to live long in one place. The worst of it is, I have outgrown my house in Concord and feel no inclination to return to it.
"We spent seven weeks in Manchester, and went most diligently to the Art Exhibition; and I really begin to be sensible of the rudiments of a taste in pictures."
It was during one of his rambles with Alexander Ireland through the Manchester Exhibition rooms that Hawthorne saw Tennyson wandering about. I have always thought it unfortunate that these two men of genius could not have been introduced on that occasion. Hawthorne was too shy to seek an introduction, and Tennyson was not aware that the American author was present. Hawthorne records in his journal that he gazed at Tennyson with all his eyes, "and rejoiced more in him than in the other wonders of the Exhibition." When I afterwards told Tennyson that the author whose "Twice-Told Tales" he happened to be then reading at Farringford had met him at Manchester, but did not make himself known, the Laureate said in his frank and hearty manner: "Why did n't he come up and let me shake hands with him? I am sure I should have been glad to meet a man like Hawthorne anywhere."
At the close of 1857 Hawthorne writes to me that he hears nothing of the appointment of his successor in the consulate, since he had sent in his resignation. "Somebody may turn up any day," he says, "with a new commission in his pocket." He was meanwhile getting ready for Italy, and he writes, "I expect shortly to be released from durance."
In his last letter before leaving England for the Continent he says:--
"I made up a huge package the other day, consisting of seven losely written volumes of journal, kept by me since my arrival in England, and filled sketches of places and men and manners, many of which would doubtless be very delightful to the public. I think I shall seal them up, with directions in my will to have them opened and published a century hence; and your firm shall have the refusal of them then."Remember me to everybody, for I love all my friends at least as well as ever."
Released from the cares of office, and having nothing to distract his attention, his life on the Continent opened full of delightful excitement. His pecuniary situation was such as to enable him to live very comfortably in a country where, at that time, prices were moderate.
In a letter dated from a villa near Florence on the 3d of September, 1858, he thus describes in a charming manner his way of life in Italy:--
"I am afraid I have stayed away too long, and am forgotten by everybody. You have piled up the dusty remnants of my editions, I suppose, in that chamber over the shop, where you once took me to smoke a cigar, and have crossed my name out of your list of authors, without so much as asking whether I am dead or alive. But I like it well enough, nevertheless. It is pleasant to feel at last that I am really away from America,--a satisfaction that I never enjoyed as long as I stayed in Liverpool,, where it seemed to me that the quintessence of nasal and hand-shaking Yankeedom was continually filtered and sublimated through my consulate, on the way outward and homeward. I first got acquainted with my own countrymen there. At Rome, too, it was not much better. But here in Florence, and in the summer-time, and in this secluded villa, I have escaped out of all my old tracks, and am really remote.
"I like my present residence immensely. The house stands on a hill, overlooking Florence, and is big enough to quarter a regiment; insomuch that each member of the family, including servants, has a separate suite of apartments, and there are vast wildernesses of upper rooms into which we have never yet sent exploring expeditions.
"At one end of the house there is a moss-grown tower, haunted by owls and by the ghost of a monk, who was confined there in the thirteenth century, previous to being burned at the stake in the principal square of Florence. I hire this villa, tower and all, at twenty-eight dollars a month; but I mean to take it away bodily and clap it into a romance, which I have in my head ready to be written out.
"Speaking of romances, I have planned two, one or both of which I could have ready for the press in a few months if I were either in England or America. But I find this Italian atmosphere not favorable to the close toil of composition, although it is a very good air to dream in. I must breathe the fogs of old England or the east-winds of Massachusetts, in order to put me into working trim. Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to be busy during the coming winter at Rome, but there will be so much to distract my thoughts that I have little hope of seriously accomplishing anything. It is a pity; for I have really a plethora of ideas, and should feel relieved by discharging some of them upon the public.
"We shall continue here till the end of this month, and shall then return to Rome, where I have already taken a house for six months. In the middle of April we intend to start for home by the way of Geneva and Paris; and, after spending a few weeks in England, shall embark for Boston in July or the beginning of August. After so long an absence (more than five years already, which will be six before you see me at the old Corner), it is not altogether delightful to think of returning. Everybody will be changed, and I myself, no doubt, as much as anybody. Ticknor and you, I suppose, were both upset in the late religious earthquake, and when I inquire for you the clerks will direct me to the 'Business Men's Conference.' It won't do. I shall be forced to come back again and take refuge in a London lodging. London is like the grave in one respect,--any man can make himself at home there; and whenever a man finds himself homeless elsewhere, he had better either die or go to London.
"Speaking of the grave reminds me of old age and other disagreeable matters; and I would remark that one grows old in Italy twice or three times as fast as in other countries. I have three gray hairs now for one that I brought from England, and I shall look venerable indeed by next summer, when I return.
"Remember me affectionately to all my friends. Whoever has a kindness for me may be assured that I have twice as much for him."
Hawthorne's second visit to Rome, in the winter of 1859, was not a fortunate one. His own health was excellent during his sojourn there, but several members of his family fell ill, and he became very nervous and longed to get away. In one of his letters he says:--
"I bitterly detest Rome, and shall rejoice to bid it farewell forever; and I fully acquiesce in all the mischief and ruin that has happened to it, from Nero's conflagration downward. In fact, I wish the very site had been obliterated before I ever saw it."
He found solace, however, during the series of domestic troubles (continued illness in his family) that befell, in writing memoranda for "The Marble Faun." He thus announces to me the beginning of the new romance:--
"I take some credit to myself for having sternly shut myself up for an hour or two almost every day, and come to close grips with a romance which I have been trying to tear out of my mind. As for my success, I can't say much; indeed, I don't know what to say at all. I only know that I have produced what seems to be a larger amount of scribble than either of my former romances, and that portions of it interested me a good deal while I was writing them; but I have had so many interruptions, from things to see and things to suffer, that the story has developed itself in a very imperfect way, and will have to be revised hereafter. I could finish it for the press in the time that I am to remain here (till the 15th of April), but my brain is tired of it just now; and, besides, there are many objects that I shall regret not seeing hereafter, though I care very little about seeing them now; so I shall throw aside the romancer and take it up again next August at The Wayside."
He decided to be back in England early in the summer, and to sail for home in July. He writes to me from Rome:--
"I shall go home, I fear, with a heavy heart, not expecting to be very well contented there.... If I were but a hundred times richer than I am, how very comfortable I could be! I consider it a great piece of good fortune that I have had experience of the discomforts and miseries of Italy, and did not go directly home from England. Anything will seem like Paradise after a Roman winter.
"If I had but a house fit to live in, I should be greatly more reconciled to coming home; but I am really at a loss to imagine how we are to squeeze ourselves into that little old cottage of mine. We had outgrown it before we came away, and most of us are twice as big now as we were then.
"I have an attachment to the place, and should be sorry to give it up; but I shall half ruin myself if I try to enlarge the houses and quite if I build another. So what is to be done? Pray have some plan for me before I get back; not that I think you can possibly hit on anything that will suit me .... I shall return by way of Venice and Geneva, spend two or three weeks or more in Paris, and sail for home, as I said, in July. It would be an exceeding delight to me to meet you or Ticknor in England, or anywhere else. At any rate, it will cheer my heart to see you all and the old Corner itself, when I touch my dear native soil again."
I went abroad again in 1859, and found Hawthorne back in England, working away diligently at "The Marble Faun." While travelling on the Continent, during the autumn I had constant letters from him, giving accounts of his progress on the new romance. He says: "I get along more slowly than I expected..... If I mistake not, it will have some good chapters." Writing on the 10th of October he tells me:--
"The romance is almost finished, a great heap of manuscript being already accumulated, and only a few concluding chapters remaining behind. If hard pushed, I could have it ready for the press in a fortnight; but unless the publishers [Smith and Elder were to bring out the work in England] are in a hurry, I shall be somewhat longer about it. I have found far more work to do upon it than I anticipated. To confess the truth, I admire it exceedingly at intervals, but am liable to cold fits, during which I think it the most infernal nonsense. You ask for the title. I have not yet fixed upon one, but here are some that have occurred to me; neither of them exactly meets my idea: 'Monte Beni; or, The Faun. A Romance.' 'The Romance of a Faun.' 'The Faun of Monte Beni.' 'Monte Beni: a Romance.' ' Miriam: a Romance.' 'Hilda: a Romance.' 'Donatello: a Romance.' 'The Faun: a Romance.' 'Marble and Man: a Romance.' When you have read the work (which I especially wish you to do before it goes to press), you will be able to select one of them, or imagine something better. There is an objection in my mind to an Italian name, though perhaps Monte Beni might do. Neither do I wish, if I can help it, to make the fantastic aspect of the book too prominent by putting the Faun into the title-page."
Hawthorne wrote so intensely on his new story, that he was quite worn down before he finished it. To recruit his strength he went to Redcar where the bracing air of the German Ocean soon counteracted the ill effect of overwork. "The Marble Faun" was in the London printing-offlce in November, and he seemed very glad to have it off his hands. His letters to me at this time (I was still on the Continent) were jubilant with hope. He was living in Leamington, and was constantly writing to me that I should find the next two months more comfortable in England than anywhere else. On the 17th he writes:--
"The Italian spring commences in February, which is certainly an advantage, especially as from February to May is the most disagreeable portion of the English year. But it is always summer by a bright coal-fire. We find nothing to complain of in the climate of Leamington. To be sure, we cannot always see our hands before us for fog; but I like fog, and do not care about seeing my hand before me. We have thought of staying here till after Christmas and then going somewhere else,--perhaps to Bath, perhaps to Devonshire. But all this is uncertain. Leamington is not so desirable a residence in winter as in summer; its great charm consisting in the many delightful walks and drives, and in its neighborhood to interesting places. I have quite finished the book (some time ago) and have sent it to Smith and Elder, who tell me it is in the printer's hands, but I have received no proof-sheets. They wrote to request another title instead of the 'Romance of Monte Beni,' and I sent them their choice of a dozen. I don't know what they have chosen; neither do I understand their objection to the above. Perhaps they don't like the book at all; but I shall not trouble myself about that, as long as they publish it and pay me my L600. For my part, I think it much my best romance; but I can see some points where it is open to assault. If it could have appeared first in America, it would have been a safe thing....
"I mean to spend the rest of my abode in England in blessed idleness: and as for my journal in the first place I have not got it here; secondly, there is nothing in it that will do to publish."
[Editor's note: ] Again at a horizontal rule, we break, this time to continue with the fourth part