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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connected with it on compulsion. He says it is
most gratifying to fill the same station that Dryden
and Southey have done.

September 8. — Had a particularly bright evening
at Trebah, Aunt Charles reading us many of
Hartley Coleridge's about-to-be-published Poems,
some of exquisite tone, meaning, and discriminating
pathos. Went to Budock Churchyard. Captain
Croke has such a pretty, simple epitaph on his
little boy — "And he asked. Who gathered this
Flower ? And the Gardener answered. The Mas-
ter! And his fellow-servant held his peace.''

September 10. — Barclay and his beloved W. E.
Forster cheered our day. Barclay showed us letters


from a bookseller in London to F, D. Maurice,
which exhibit most touchingly, most vividly, most
truly, the struggle of doubt, the turbulence of de-
spair, the apathy of exhausted effort, so frightfully
general among the mechanics of large towns ; a
something which tells that the present attempts
at teaching do not meet the wants of the time,
and which "shrieks inarticulately enough," but
with agony, for guidance, and for a God-inspired
lesson on Belief and Duty.

September 13. — Embarked on the railroad at
Bristol and reached London at four o'clock ; our
only companion was a weary young man, who
complained of this tedious mode of travelling!

Norwich, September 18. — In a cottage visit this
morning, a young woman told us that her father
was nearly converted, and that a little more teach-
ing would complete the business, adding, " He quite
believes that he is lost, which, of course, is a great
consolation to the old man ! "

September 31. — Called at the Palace with Anna
Gurney. Catherine Stanley said the Bishop ^

^ Stanley (Edward), late Bishop of Norwich, born 1796, died
1849; father of the late Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of West-


would he so charmed, and ran down for him. He
is as active as usual. He was very affectionate,
and charged Anna to use her endeavours to make
us follow her example and remain in Norfolk. He
says there is no chance of his coming into Corn-
wall unless thev make him Bishop of Exeter. His
daughters were very agreeable. Catherine Stanley
talked about the Maurices, whom she much ad-
mires; also of John Sterling, whom she does not
know, but has heard so much of through her
brother Arthur. The Bishop talks, darting from
one subject to another, like one impatient of delay,
amusing and pleasant enough. His wife is a calm,
sensible, practical woman.

Cromer, September 24. — Our first visit at North-
repps Hall, a droll, irregular, unconventional-look-
ing place, which must have had some share in shap-
ing the character of its inhabitants. ... A wild
horseback party of eleven, wuth Sir Fowell Buxton
at our head, scampering over everything in tremen-
dous rain, which only increased the animation of
our party. Then dined with the Buxtons. Sir
Fowell is capital now and then, but not at all to be
depended upon as a man of society. Most pleasant
intercourse wdth the family, individually and collec-



tively^ but there is little of steady conversation to
record. Sir Fowell Buxton has never recovered his
old tone of joyous mental energy since the failure
of the Niger Expedition, and looked sometimes very
sadly. He was most kind and affectionate to us,
and we greatly valued being with them. During
the night a storm told most seriously on the little
fishing-boats, and there was sad loss of life. In his
prayer the next morning this affliction was most
beautifully named, and the suffering and sorrowing
fervently petitioned for. Lady Buxton gave us
each a Prayer-book, thinking it probable that no
one else had done so. He likes to tell absurd
stories about her, in the face of her emphatic pro-
testations, and he enjoys being impertinently treated
himself. His frolics with his grandchildren are

October 9. — Lieutenant Hammond dined here.
He was with Captain Fitz-Roy on the Beagle, and
feels enthusiastically towards him. As an instance
of his cool courage and self-possession, he men-
tioned a large body of Fuegians, with a powerful
leader, coming out with raised hatchets to oppose
them : Captain Fitz-Roy walked up to the leader,
took his hatchet out of his hand, and patted him


on the back ; this completely subdued his fol-

Norwich^ October 21. — Catherine Gurney gave us
a note to George Borrow^^ so on him we called, — a
tall, ungainly, uncouth man, with great physical
strength, a quick penetrating eye, a confident man-
ner, and a disagreeable tone and pronunciation.
He was sitting on one side of the fire, and his old
mother on the other. His spirits always sink in
wet weather, and to-day was very rainy, but he was
courteous and not displeased to be a little lionised,
for his delicacy is not of the most susceptible. He
talked about Spain and the Spaniards ; the lowest
classes of whom, he says, are the only ones worth
investigating, the upper and middle class being
(with exceptions, of course) mean, selfish, and
proud beyond description. They care little for
Roman Catholicism, and bear faint allegiance to
the Pope. They generally lead profligate lives,
until they lose all energy and then become slav-
ishly superstitious. He said a curious thing of the
Esquimaux, namelv, that their language is a most

1 Borrow (George), bom near Norwich, 1803, author of " Tlie
Zincali," "The Bible in Spain," "Lavengro," " Wild Wales," and
other works; died 1881.


complex and highlv artificial one, calculated to
express the most delicate metaphysical subtleties,
yet they have no literature, nor are there any traces
of their ever having had one — a most curious ano-
maly ; hence he simply argues that you can ill
judge of a people bv their language.

October 22. — Dined with Amelia Opie : she was
in great force and really jolly. Exhibited her gallery
containing some fine portraits by her husband, one
being of her old French master, which she insisted
on Opie painting before she would accept him. She
is enthusiastic about Father Mathew, reads Dickens
voraciously, takes to Carlyle, but thinks his appear-
ance against him ; talks much and with great spirit
of people, but never ill-naturedly.

Octoher 23. — Dined very pleasantly at the Palace.
The Bishop was all animation and good-humour,
but too unsettled to leave any memorable impres-
sion. I like Mrs. Stanley much — a shrewd, sensible,
observing woman. She told me much about her
Bishop ; how very trying his position was on first
settling at Norwich, for his predecessor was an
amiable, indolent, old man, \\ho let things take their
course, and a very bad course they took, all which
the present man has to correct as way opens, and

-^;tat. 24. yOURNALS OF CAROLINE FOX. 21

continually sacrifices popularity to a sense of

London, October 30. — An early call in Cheyne
Row, Jane Carlyle was very brilliant, dotting off,
with little reserve, characters and circumstances
with a marvellous perception of what was really
significant and effective in them, so that every word
told. She spoke of some Americans who called
yesterday to take leave, and her hand got such a
squeeze that she almost screamed, '' for all my rings
are utilitarian and have seals." She says that Car-
lyle has to take a journey always after writing a
book, and then gets so wearv with knocking about
that he has to write another book to recover from it.
When the books are done they know little or nothing
of them, but she judges, from the frecjuent adoption
of some of his phrases in books of the day, that they
are telling in the land.

Met John Sterling and H, Mill, and went to Pro-
fessor Owen's, where W. E, Forster and Barclay
joined us. Here we saw the great bone — the actual
bone — of a bird which a sailor brought to Owen
from Sydney, and out of which he has mentally
constructed an immense Ostrich, And we saw the
series of vast bottles, each filled with a fixed Idea.


Sterling said he was quite awe-struck at the thought
of being with a man who knew them all ! Owen
gave us a little lecture on the brain : that when it
is much worked a certain portion is actually lost ;
adding, that " Strafford," he supposed, cost its
author about two ounces. He and Sterling then
got into a delicate little discussion upon Dr. John-
son's taste for a good hater. Mrs. Owen supposed
that differences in opinion would be settled by defini-
tion, so Sterling defined it as the sort of feeling
which Owen would entertain towards Sir Everard
Home, who destroyed John Hunter's papers ; he
would not do him any harm, but he would not go
out of his way to prevent his being well punished.
This led to discussion on the wicked waste of
Thought which Home had thus committed. Facts
and results of positive worth have been irrevocably
lost. Sara Coleridge is writing a defence of her
father's theology, proving how very orthodox he
was and how well he deserved to be the pet son of
the Church. Sterling remarked that she shows the
limited nature of a woman's mind in her '' Phan-
tasmion;" she does not make Ariel an element, but
the whole thing is Ariel, and therefore very weari-
some and unsubstantial.

( 23 )



"A pard-like spirit, beautiful and swift." — Shelley.

Falmouth, January 9. — Fanny Allen sends a
glorious letter from Verran. He says : " I have
three cows^ three slip pigs ; I've plenty of grass,
and a good sale for butter and cream. I've the
pleasure to tell you that I've also got a wife, and
my wedding-day was yesterday."

Some boys to dinner; interested them and our-
selves with Dickens's beautiful human- hearted
"Christmas Carol."

January 12. — Finished my week's work at the
Infant School, and wrote in the Visitors' Report
Book, that as many eminent men were very stupid
at school, there was every hope for the sixty-three

January 16. — I have had a treat in the following
kind letter from Carlvle : —


"Chelsea, \i,th JamuDy 1844.

"Dear Miss Caroline, — Your message is far
from an intrusion ; such a musical little voice
coming out of the remote West, in these dull days,
is not unwelcome to me, is rather apt to be too
welcome ! For undue praise is the poison of human
souls : he that would live healthily, let him learn to
go along entirely without praise. Sincere praises,
coming in a musical voice in dull times, how is one
to guard against them !

" I like Verran's picture of himself somewhat
better this time. It is good that he has got a wife :
his manner of announcing that great fact, too, is
very original ! ' Four cows, with plenty of grass,
three slip pigs.' What are slip pigs ? Pigs that
have slipt or left their dam, and now feed on spoon-
meat ? All these things are good. On the whole,
it was a benefit to lift this poor man out of the dark
subterranean regions into the upper daylight, to the
sight of the sky and green world. But it was not
I mainly; no, it was another than I. The poor
man, if well let alone, I think will now do well.
Well let alone: it is an invaluable rule in many
things — apt to be miserably forgotten in the case of
Grace Darlings and such like !


"By the by, ought not you, with your swift
neat pen, to draw up, on half a sheet of paper,
an exact narrative of this man's act of heroism —
authentic, exact in every detail of it — and reposit
it in some safe place for a memorial of the same ?
There is no more genuine use that the art of
writing can be turned to than the like of this.
Think of it.

" I am about wTiting upon Oliver Cromwell —
still ahout it ; for the thing will not stir from the
spot, let me shove it never so desperately! It
approaches the impossible, this task of mine, more
nearly than any task I ever had. How awaken an
oblivious world, incognisant of Cromwells, all in-
credulous of such ; how resuscitate a Hero sunk
under the disastrous wrecks of two such centuries
as lie dead on him ?

" If I had a Fortunatus' Hat, I would fly into
deepest silence, — perhaps into green Cornwall to-
wards the Land's End, to meditate this sad problem
of mine, far from Babylon and its jarrings and its
discords, and ugly fog and mud, in sight of the mere
earth and sea, and the sky with its stars. But I
have not such a hat, there is none such going, one
must learn to do without such.


"Adieu, dear Miss Caroline. Salute your brother
in my name, — your brother and sister, and all that
have any remembrance of me. My wife, pretty
well in health, sends you her kindest regards. — I
remain, ever yours, most sincerely,

"T. Carlvle."

Ft'lnuary 7. — Eliza Dunstan died to-day. It was
such a child's deathbed, so innocent, so unpretend-
ing. She loved to hold her father's hand, he, poor
fellow, kneeling by her in silent agony. She thought
none could nurse her so well as father. Her spirit
was most tenderly released. It is a wonderful
thought, that sudden total change of hers. Has
Heaven its Infant Schools ? Who can tell ?

March 8. — Mr. Dew told us much about Dr.
Arnold, one of whose pupils he was. Such was his
power over the hearts of the boys that they dreaded
doing anything wrong lest it should pain him ;
they looked forward to his weekly sermons with
as much delight as to a holiday, and as they were
quite private, if anything remarkable had taken
place in the week, they knew that it would be
noticed on the Sunday. The class books they
had to study were rich in marginal notes from


his pencil, which made them live and become
a pleasure, instead of a weariness, to flesh and

March 11. — Mrs. Carlyle told W. E. Forster that
" Hyperion " answered, and Longfellow has married
the young ladv he wrote it at. Bon !

yipril 2. — I finished "Deerbrook" with much
regret. It is a brave book, and inspires trust and
love, faith in its fulness, resignation in its meek-
ness. One has a vicious desire to know Miss
Martineau's private history.

^prll 4. — On reading Nichol's " Solar System,"
Papa said, "That Light only comes to those
objects capable of receiving it." A truth purely
physical, it is to be observed.

^pi'il 8. — Read a letter from Harriet Martineau,
describing the irresistible influence under which she
uttered her " Life in the Sick-Room," and the
numerous deeply interesting responses and echoes
it has awakened, proving how much such a book
was needed.

London, May 25. — Overtook John Mill in the
Strand, and had a pleasant little chat with him
about the Francias in the National Gallery, which
he cannot forgive for their hard drv manner ; the


Guides in the Dulwich Gallery, he thinks, do not
deserve Sterling's criticisms, though he heartily
agrees with him about the Carlo Dolces.

May 27. — Called on the Carlyles. He was
poorly, and asleep on the sofa when we went in.
We told them of Barclay's engagement. "Well,
they must club together all the good sense they've
got between them ; that's the way, I suppose,"
was the valediction bestowed. He groaned over
Oliver Cromwell, for his progress in that memorial
is slow and painful : all that had been said or
written in his favour was destroyed or ignored
when Charles H. came to reign; as a Calvinistic
Christian he was despised, and as a Ruler and
Regicide he was hated ; the people would not
forgive him for having seemed to deceive them,
and so they dug up his body and hanged it at
Tyburn, and have been telling the most abominable
lies about him ever since ; lately there has been
some better feeling, but the case is still very bad.
" Upon the whole," he added, " I don't believe a
truer, more right-hearted Englishman than Oliver
ever existed. Wherever you find a line of his
own writing you may be sure to find nothing
but truth there." We conijiared his jirinciple of


governing to Dr. Francia's in Paraguay — giving
the people a despotism to deliver them from an-
archy. "Why, Francia was a very small man
compared with Oliver; his Idea was not a high
one : he had an ignorant, uncultivated set of
people to put right, and he certainly did it very
cleverly, with all his mechanical regulations ; but
he was a verv different man to Oliver." Mrs.
Carlyle here said, "Why, a short time ago Francia
was all in favour, and so he would be again if vou
had but a little contradiction ! " Then, speaking
of the wretched mistakes which different ages make
concerning their Greatest, he said, "Whv, the
Jews took Jesus for a scoundrel, and thought all
thev could do with Him was to nail Him up on
a gallows. Ah! that was a bad business; and so
He has returned to Heaven, and they go wandering
about the streets buying old clothes ! "

Falmouth, Juhj 21. — The following lines were
sent to Anna Maria by Sterling, to put in our
copy of Schleiermacher's Dialogues : —

"This, our World, with all its changes,
Pleases me so much the more,
That wherever Fancy ranges,

There's a Truth unknown before.


And in every land and season,
One the life in great and small ;

This is Plato's heavenly Reason,
Schleiermacher's All-in-all.

Head and heart let us embrace it,

Seeking not the falsely new :
In an infant's laugh we trace it,

Stars reply, Yea, Life is true."

We were delighted to watch Uncle Joshua in
his sweet companionship with Nature ; the little
birds are now so intimate and trustful that they
come when he calls them and eat crumbs out
of his mouth. It is a charming and beautiful

jlugust 12. — Sir Charles Lemon and Lady De
Dunstanville to lunch. Sir Charles has been with
Bunsen lately, and both heartily share our enthu-
siasm about Dr. Arnold. Sir Charles says he is a
man whom he always loved and valued ; how sad it
was that his friends not only did not understand
but would not trust him, fancying he would run
wild on politics or something else.

August 21. — Andrew Brandram, the very respect-
able and respected Secretary of the Bible Society,
appeared before us once more with his shaggy eye-
brows. He held a large Bible Meeting here, and


told us many good things. There is a gHmpse of
an opening for the Bible in China^ which it will be
highly interesting to watch. In India the demand
and supply is most satisfactory ; about fifty years
ago they could not find a Bible in Calcutta, and in
Madras were obliged to swear on a scrap of a
Prayer-book at the opening of a court-martial. In
New Zealand the natives held a council before the
last miserable war, when one of them entreated the
rest to " Remember the Book, remember the Book :
it tells us not to fight ; so if we do, mischief must
come of it.'^ But the majority found it expedient
to forget it as completely as the English had done,
and the result is sad matter of history. In Belgium
the same Book is establishing its position and pro-
ducing very positive effects ; in fact, the state of
things in general is satisfactory ; funds increase,
openings increase, oppositions increase, and zeal
increases in an equal proportion.

August 22. — Andrew Brandram gave us at break-
fast many personal recollections of curious people.
J. J. Gurney recommended George Borrow to their
Committee; so he stalked up to London, and thev
gave him a hymn to translate into the Manchow
language, and the same to one of their own people


to translate also. When compared they proved to
be very different. When put before their reader^
he had the candour to say that Sorrow's was much
the better of the two. On this they sent him to St.
Petersburg to get it printed^ and then gave him
business in Portugal, which he took the libertv
greatly to extend, and to do such good as occurred
to his mind in a highly executive manner.

September 19. — We are told of Stephen Grellet
once preaching to the Friends of a certain meeting,
saying, " You are starched before you are washed !"

Windermere, September 28. — Hartley Coleridge
came to us whilst Anna Maria was sketching near
Fox How, and talked of Dr. Arnold. He is just
now reading his " Life and Letters " with extreme
interest. He used seldom to be with him in his
mountain rambles, because he walked always so far
and so fast. When Hartley Coleridge was at Col-
lege, the Rugby boys were proverbially the worst,
their moral training had been so neglected ; but
now Dr. Arnold's influence has reformed not onlv
that, but raised the tone of the other public

September 30. — Thought much on those stimu-
lating lines of John Sterling's : —


" 'Tis worth a wise man's best of life,
'Tis worth a thousand years of strife,
If thou canst lessen but by one,
The countless ills beneath the sun."

vSo in the strength of this feeHng we helped a damsel
to collect her calves and drive them into a field.

October i. — We floated about Windermere with
Hartley Coleridge. It was all very, very beautiful.
Hartley Coleridge sparkled away famously, but I
have preserved little. He showed us the house
where Charles Lloyd liv^ed, and where he with
Coleridge and Lamb used to dash away their
thoughts and fancies. His remembrances of Lloyd
were truly pathetic : he believes that much which is
attributed to him as madness was simply his own
horrible imaginations, which he would regard as
facts, and mention to others as things which he had
himself done. Query : Is not this of the essence of
madness ? His wife was one of the best of women,
and it was a cruel task to her to give hints to
strangers of his state, which she often had to do, in
order that injustice might not be done him. Tenny-
son he knows and loves. He said, "My sister has
some real power ; she was a great deal with my
father during the latter years of his life." He

VOL. II. c


admires her " Phantasmion/' but wishes it cut up
into shorter stories. He thinks her thoroughly
equal to her subject when she treats of Rationalism.
He is a most affectionate brother, and laments her
weak, overdone state of health. He hopes to bring
out his own second volume of Poems this year or
next, and rejoices to hear of any who sincerely
sympathise with them. Speaking of the Arnolds,
he said they are a most gifted family. I asked
what specially in their education distinguished them.
He rose from the dinner-table, as his manner is, and
answered, " Why, they were suckled on Latin and
weaned upon Greek ! " He spoke of his father
being one day in company with some celebrated
man, and some man who was not celebrated ; the
latter wore leather breeches, and S. T. Coleridge
had the delight of observing him taking notes of
their conversation with a pin in the creases of the
leather! He talked of his own transmigrations,
and his ecclesiastical antipathies, and his trials of
school-keeping: he likes teaching, but keeping the
boys in order passes his powers ; his experience
convinces him that the clever boys are generally
the best, the stupid ones taking refuge in cunning.
He talked of Wordsworth with high respect, but no


enthusiasm ; his last published Poems were com-
posed before the " Peter Bell " era : it was the
World in its chaotic state, and the thoughts are
therefore often large and shapeless, like the Mam-
moths and Megatheriums of Nature. The reason
for his not permitting the Prologue to the " Excur-
sion" to be published till after his death is, he
believes, that the benefit of copyright may be
enjoyed longer. He talked funnily of the necessity
of every woman having two names, one for youth
and one for mature age. After dinner he read us
his beautiful "Dancing Nautilus," and the "Birth-
day of Mrs. Blanchard," and the "New Year's
Ode," with more understanding and feeling than
rhythmic harmony — at least, so it struck me ; and
concluded the evening with some glorious prose
passages from his "Biographia Borealis," from
" Roger Ascham," a sonorous and deep-seeing
summary of the thoughts which Lady Jane Grey
has left us by her little life, so beautiful and sad ;
and from his "William Roscoe," in which he
delivered his upright independent thoughts on the

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