Caroline Fox.

Memories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryCaroline FoxMemories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 19)
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our telling thee that we do enter into your sorrow,
. . . and would commend it and you to the compas-
sion of Him who knows all the depths, and in His
own way and time will either relieve the suffering,
or else enable you to bear it in that deep and awful
and trustful submission to His will, in which alone
the spirit can be taught and strengthened to endure.
' He openeth the ear to discipline,' and oh how end-
lessly does He bless the docile learner !

" A very dear friend of ours, who was called on
to resign, first her husband, then one grown-up
child after another, and who did resign them, as
one who knew that her Lord loved them more than


she could do, heard suddenly that her youngest son
had died at Malta after a day or two's illness. The
others she had lost had long known the heauty of
holiness; but this youngest — oh! this was hard to
bear. She almost sank under it ; still her faith did
not fail her ; all her prayers for him could not have
been wasted ; what she knew not now, she might
be permitted to know hereafter. And so, though
well-nis;;h crushed, she would not lose her confidence
that the Hand of Love had mixed this cup also.
About a year passed, when a little parcel req.ched
her containing this son's Bible which he had with
him to the last, and in it were many texts marked
bv him, which spoke such comfort to her heart as
she had little dreamed was ever meant for her.

" Mv dear Elizabeth, God has fitting consolation
for every trial, and He will not withhold that which
is best for you. Coleridge says in one of his letters,
' In storms like these, that shake the dwelling and
make the heart tremble, there is no middle way be-
tween despair and the yielding up the whole spirit
unto the guidance of faith.' May He who pities vou
be very near you all, in this time of earnest need."

Dublin, August 18. — We landed safely on Dublin


Pier after a very pleasant passage. A thunderstorm
marched grandlv over the Wicklow Mountains as
we approached. We soon found ourselves at the
Lloyds' hospital home, the Chevalier Neukomni
being a new feature among them.

August 19. — He brought down to breakfast a
little canon he has composed for the ceremony of
to-day — the laying the foundation-stone of Kilcrony
(the Lloyds' new house). The words chosen are,
"Except the Lord build," &c.; and this he has
arranged for four voices. There is a great contrast
between Professor Lloyd and the Chevalier in their
principle of judgment on large subjects. The texts
of the latter are from the gospel of Experience,
those of the former from the New Testament. But
Neukomm's judgment of individuals is noble and
generous, only to the masses everywhere he denies
the guidance of any principle : self-interest and
ambition he thinks the motive power of every
national movement to which w^e would give a higher
origin, and he thinks he sees distinctly that a nation
is always the worse for it. But then he lived for
twenty years with Talleyrand — twenty years of the
generous and hopeful believing part of his life. He
speaks affectionately of the latter, he was so kind


and considerate to his servants, so friendly to his
friends, so devoted to France, though true to no
Frenchman and no Dynasty. He cared not at all
for music, but Neukomm gave some instruction to
his niece. At Rome, Neukomm became acquainted
with the Bunsens, and what a change of intimates
it was for him 1

August 21. — The Lloyds took us to Mullagh
Mast, where Daniel O'Connell held his last mon-
ster meeting just before he was arrested; it is a
large amphitheatre, on very high ground command-
ing the view of seven counties.

August 23. — Went to Parsonstown. Lord Rosse
was verv glad to see the Lloyds, and very kind to
all the party. It was a great treat to see and hear
him amongst his visible powers, all so docile and
obedient, so facile in their operations, so grand in
aim and in attainment. We walked about in the vast
tube, much at our ease, and examined the speculum,
a duplicate of which lies in a box close by : it has
its own little railroad, over which it runs into the
cannon's mouth. There are small galleries for
observers, with horizontal and vertical movements
which vou can direct yourself, so as to bring you to
the eve-piece of the leviathan. This telescope takes


cognisance of objects fifteen degrees east and west of
the meridian, which is more than usual in large
instruments, but observations near the horizon are
worth little on account of the atmospheric influ-
ences. The three and a half foot telescope goes round
the whole circle, and there is a third instrument at
hand, under cover, for the most delicate results.
Then Lord and Lady Rosse showed us the found rv,
the polishing-shop, 8cc., and Professor Lloyd gav^e
the story of the casting, under the very tree which
caught fire on that occasion, and by the oven where
the fiery flop was shut up for six weeks to cool,
before they could tell whether it had succeeded or
not. Lord Rosse's presence of mind in taking a
sledge-hammer and using it when a moment of
hitch and despair arrived in the casting was a
beautiful feature. We had tea, and were shown a
multitude of sketches of nebulae taken on the spot.
Sir David Brewster was there, with his sagacious
Scotch face, and his pleasant daughter. Whilst we
were over our tea, news came of a double star being
visible ; so we were soon on the spot and gazing
through the second glass at the exquisite pair of
contrasted coloured stars, blue and yellow. The
night was hazy, and the moon low and dim, which


was a disappointment ; but Lord Rosse kindly
showed us a eluster of stars and a Ijit of the Milky
Way through the great telescope : the very move-
ment of its vast bulk in the darkness was a grand
sight. After the British Association, a little party
are coming here to incjuire into the geology of the
moon, and compare it with that of the earth, and
in six weeks Otto Struve is expected, when they
mean to begin gauging the heavens. We left after
midnight full of delight.

They tell all manner of charming stories of Lord
Rosse : of his conduct as a landlord, his patriotic
employment of a multitude of people in cutting for
an artificial piece of water, because work was very
scarce ; of his travelling in England long ago as Mr.
Parsons, visiting a manufactory, and suggesting a
simpler method of turning, so ingenious that the
master invited him to dinner, and ended by offer-
ing him the situation of foreman in his works.

Killarney, August 25. — This evening we went into
the coffee-room of our hotel, and enjoved the min-
strelsy of old Gaudsey the piper. He is a fine old
fellow of eighty-nine, blind to the outward, but
very open to the inward glories ; for lights and
shadows sweep over his face like cloud and sun-


shine on a landscape. He is like Scott, and his
face tells much of humour and pathos. He is just
come from America, where he has paid a profes-
sional visit after listening to Jenny Lind in Dublin.
There is something v^ery touching in the remem-
brance of this old man, who looks as if intended for
higher things than plaving jigs and hornpipes for
dancing waiters.

August 30. — Heard a pleasant story of the origin
of one of the London Ragged Schools. Miss
Howell took a room in a miserable district, and
had her piano settled there ; as she played plenty
of little faces would come peering in, and she would
ask them in altogether and play on to them. This
went on day after day, until she had some books
likewise on the spot, and easily coaxed her musical
friends to take a little of her teaching, and the
school soon became so large that it had to be
organised and placed under regular teachers.

Belfast, September 2. — I was a good deal with
the Sabines, who had a torrent of things to tell.
The fourth volume of "Cosmos" will be coming
out soon.^ Humboldt sends Mrs. Sabine sheet by

1 Lady Sabine gave us the English translation of "Cosmos,"
which is so well known and universally read.


sheet as it comes from his printer. His flattering,
courtier-like manner goes off when you are intimate
with him, and he honestly disagrees whh you where
he sees cause.

September 4. — Colonel Sabine took us into the
Ethnological Section of the B. A. Meeting whilst
Petermann was reading his paper on the amount
of animal life in the Arctic regions. As this had
close reference to the probable fate of Franklin and
his party, the interest was intense. Murchison,
Owen, Sabine, and Prince de Canino all expressed
themselv^es most earnest that the national search
should be continued. It was a great treat to be
present at this discussion, and to watch the eager
interest with which they claimed their friend's life
from science and from England. Canino, or
Prince Bonaparte as he now chooses to be called,
is a short man of ample circumference, a large head,
sparkling good-humoured eyes, a mouth of much
mobility, and a thorough air of bonhomie.

September 12. — On a beautiful starry night we
steamed into Falmouth Harbour, which, with the
earthly and heavenly lights reflected on its surface,
looked as beautiful as Cornish hearts could desire.
And then on reaching Penjerrick we had a welcome


from our beloved Ones, on whom, too, earthly and
heavenly light shines visible.

Caroline Fox to E. T. Came.

" Penjerrick, September 16. — It seems hard to
comply with thy request and send thee a gossiping
history of our Irish experiences. . . . But we will
not join thy other well-meaning friends in speaking
voiceless words of comfort. In His own time God
Himself will be the Comforter, and till then, deep
and awful submission, ' not to a dead fate, but to
an infinitely loving will,' is the only fit state for
any of us.

"But I am ffoino; to write about Ireland — if I

"We began with an interesting visit to our dear
friends, the Lloyds, near Dublin. Dr. Lloyd is
like the most beautiful of Greek philosophers, with
the purest, most loving Christianity superadded.
He dwells in regions where all high things meet
and are harmonised, where mvisic, mathematics,
and metaphysics find themselves but several ex-
pressions of one Law, and the Lawgiver the object
of our simplest faith. His wife is a lovely young
creature ; a steady thinker where that is needed.


l)ut playful^ graceful, fascinating with those she
loves. . . .

'^7"hen we had the dear old Chevalier Neukomm,
with his vEolian harps, and his orgues expressives,
and his glorious improvisings : likewise his memories
of the Haydns, of whom he had learnt; of Talley-
rand, with whom he had almost lived for twenty
years ; of Niebuhr, and Bunsen, whose London
house is his English home.

" Parsonstown was our first stopping-place, and
there we had a really sublime treat in seeing Lord
Rosse's telescopes, listening to his admirable ex-
planations and histories of his experiences, watch-
ing his honest manly face, seeing the drawings
of nebulae and the cast of a lunar crater, which
are the cherished pets of Lady Rosse, and finally
being called from our coffee by the advent of a
double star on a hazy night. These w^e w^atched
through the three and a half foot telescope, and
rejoiced in their contrasted colours of blue and
yellow. Then through the monster (in the tube
of which we all promenaded at once) w^e gazed
at some groups of stars, but the moon, alas ! was
impenetrably veiled. The easy yet solemn move-
ments of the vast machine, just visible in the


Starlight, was in itself a grand sight, quite poetical,
even independently of its high purpose.

" From Parsonstown to Killarney, where we spent
two days in floating about amid different forms of
loveliness^ enjoying each other's enjoyment almost
as much as our own. It was very delicious, and
we took it as idly as any Epicureans on record.
Then a peep at Cork and its prosperities, and
the very meritorious Exhibition which is open
there. The show of Irish resources of various
kinds was very cheering indeed, and the Art part
of the Exhibition was extremelv interesting. Thev
had often brought together the earliest and latest
work of some of their painters and sculptors, and
left it to Thought to fill up the interval.

"Then back to Dublin, and a happy visit to
our dear old friends the Lynes : Mrs. Lyne and
her daughter Catherine, they alone are left to
each other, the father and nine children beino;
taken ! But their union is but the more intense,
and so unselfish ! I have often fancied thee
something like Catherine in character : I wonder
whether it would feel so if you met. Thev were
fresh from the Plunkets in Connemara, and they
had no end of beautiful stories concerning the


changes of sentiment in that region, and the
evident consequences of such changes. Of course,
out of the thousands who have become Protestant,
many have no courage for martyrdom, and act
accordingly ; but the multitudes who remain
staunch, spite of whipping, stoning, deprivation
of employment, and often of their cabins too, is
really wonderful. On to Belfast, where we stayed
with a fcimily of Friends before unknown to us,
but who received and entertained us with the
most unlimited kindness. Thou hast probably seen
the accounts of the capital British Association
Meeting in the newspapers, so I need not go
blundering through it. I hope you have seen Dr.
Robinson's speech at the end, which gave a resume
of the greatest interests of the Meeting. It was
so beautiful ! Owen's bone theory, Stokes's revela-
tion of the invisible outside ray of the spectrum
through the action of sulphate of quinine. Dr.
Robinson and Lord Rosse on the nebulae and
telescope, and Colonel Chesney on the Euphrates
Expedition, were amongst the most memorable
incidents of the week. Then we paid a visit to
the Armagh Observatory, and saw Saturn as w^e
had only guessed him before ; and we went to a


flourishing village which^ five years since, had
been a waste, howling wilderness, but through the
high-minded energy of our excellent host ^ has
grown into a centre of civilisation for the whole
neighbourhood, and a most happy, prosperous
place, with its immense linen factory, beautiful
schools, model houses for workmen, and lovely
landscape of hill, valley, and water. Our host is
retiring from the money-making part of the affair,
that he may devote himself more entirely to the
moral and religious welfare of the ten thousand
people whom Providence has placed under his and
his brother's guidance.

" Returned with the Lloyds for one night to
their Castle, and then steamed home over calm

Caroline Fox to J. M. Sterling and her sister.

''Falmouth, September 29, — The story of your
journey was very diverting; a severe test for the
Equality and Fraternity theory certainly, but it

1 Mr. Richardson, of Lisburn and Besbrook, near Newry. No
public-house is allowed in this colony of 4000 people, with the
result of peace and prosperity even at the present time (i 881) of
national excitement.


is well to bring one's principles up hardy. Social
Reforms, born, nurtured, and matured in a boudoir,
are very apt to die there too, I fancy.

"We are in the thick of a very pleasant Poly-
technic. The Art Exhibition is better, they say,
than in any previous year ; nevertheless, they have
not hesitated to give Anna Maria two bronze
medals — one for a wave in the Bay of Biscay, the
other for her Lisbon Sketch-Book ; and, moreover,
a public compliment was paid them, which I am
almost apt to fancy well deserved. A great attrac-
tion is a vast working model of a mine, which has
taken the poor man eight years to execute, and cost

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Online LibraryCaroline FoxMemories of old friends : being extracts from the journals of Caroline Fox of Penjerrick, Cornwall from 1835 to 1871 (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 19)