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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home to one very strongly the meaning of the
words, ' Woe unto you when all men speak well
of you.' "

Of Shelley: he said he was a victim of the
want of sympathy ; some one had remarked, he
disbelieved in the Devil, not in God. The God
of love had never been revealed to him, and the
powers that were had done everything to veil
Him from that glowing heart, so that in his
despair he had conjured up a power of evil, an
almighty malignity, and supposed that he it was
which men worshipped.

June I. — Went to call on poor Lady Franklin,
who was out. She spends most of her days in a
room she has taken in Spring Gardens, where she
sees all the people who can tell or suggest anything.
She is just going to America, which is thought very
good for her, as she is in such a restless, excited
state of feeling.

June 5. — Went to Harley Street to hear Maurice's
lecture. It was so full and solemn that it left us all
trembling with emotion. Then we passed into the
presence of Richard Trench, whose great sorrowful
face seemed to fill the room. We sat round a table
with about thirty young disciples, and listened to


his comments on the chapter of Saint John which
was then read.

fime 7. — The Buxtons, the Guizot party and their
friend. Mademoiselle de Latour Chabaud, came here,
and we went together to the Joseph Frys at Plashet
Cottage — a long and interesting drive. Made-
moiselle de Latour was born in prison during the
former Revolution, just after her father had been
beheaded. Old Madame Guizot, who was in attend-
ance on her imprisoned husband, looked after the
poor lying-in lady, and finally adopted the child,
who has turned out admirably, addicting herself to
all sorts of philanthropies, schools, &c., in Paris, and
renouncing them all to share and soothe her friends'
exile now. She spoke with warm affection of the
old Madame Guizot; it was beautifully ordered
that she should believe a report true that her son
had reached England four days before he actually
arrived. Mademoiselle de Latour knew that it was
false, but did not think it necessary to undeceive the
dear old lady — the days were then like months.
Pauline Guizot gave very interesting accounts of
their and their father's escape. They left their
house at the beginning of the Revolution and
took refuo^e at the houses of their friends, and


the girls were very soon able to come over to
England with no great difficulty. Their brother
came as son to an American gentleman, and began
by remembering he must always tutoyer, which he
felt very awkward. " How d'ye do ? " was his
entire stock of English, and for a whole hour he
had the fright of totally forgetting his assumed
name. Their father escaped in a woman's dress,
into which he had a good deal of difficulty in
insinuating himself; and when he arrived at his
friend's house, the portress looked into his face,
and said, '' You are M. Guizot." " Yes," he said :
"but you'll do me no injury?" " Certainly not,"
said she, " for you've always protected honest men,"
So she took him upstairs and hid him, and for the
rest of the day entertained him with an account of
the difficulties she and her husband had in bringing
up their four children. Then he was arrayed as a
livery servant and attached to a gentleman who was
in anguish at his carrying his carpet-bag. They had
to wait two terrible hours at the railway station
before they could get off. On arriving in England,
a railway director gave him instantly the blessed
news that his daughters and all his dear belongings
were safe. They none of them have any patience


with Lamartine^ thinking him an altogether would-
be great man, attempting impossibilities and failing
utterly, yet still considering himself the greatest of
his age. I had a most interesting drive home
with Guizot, his eldest daughter, and Mademoiselle
Chabaud. He talked of Michelet and his brilliant
powers, but considers him rather mad now, as,
otherwise, he must be a bad man — this not so
much to be deduced from his writings as from his
conduct. He, too, is possessed with the idea of
being called to be immensely great, something
quite unlike his fellows — a sort of Mahomet ; and
because France did not see quite so much in him
as he saw in himself, he thought the Government
must be all wrong, and concentrating its powers to
prevent his being duly recognised. Spoke highly of
his " Jeanne d'Arc," but more highly still of " Les
Documents," from which his story is compiled.
Talked on the state of the poor in England and
France : they have nothing like Poor-laws, but the
poor are supported by private charity, which is
found amply sufficient. Then the multitude of
small allotments encourage industry and increase
property, as well as giving their owners a happy sense
of independence. In regard to food and houses, they


live much less expensively than the English, but their
clothing costs more; there is none of the accumula-
tion of poverty which there is with us, owing to the
proportion of agriculturists to manufacturers being
exactly the converse of ours, and manufacturing
property being so precarious. As for the Free
Trade question, he thinks it an experiment which
it must take ten years to determine upon, but he in-
clines to think that the Farmers must suffer when
they would compete with Russia, Denmark, and
Holland. As for Ireland and its woeful problems,
he can only shrug his shoulders, and has no political
panacea to offer. The happy state of the French
peasants, he fears, is all over for the present ; they
have accounts of grievous distress from the overturn
of so many regular sources of income. He spoke of
London as the first commercial city in the world,
Liverpool the second. New York the third, and
Marseilles the fourth. Gazing at the endless multi-
tude of shops, he remarked, " It looks as if there
were people who had nothing to do but to buy," But
Mademoiselle Guizot \yas the really interesting one
— earnest and clear; her quiet, large, dark eyes set
the seal to every worthy word, and every word was
worthy. She spoke of the solid education which


their father had chosen for them^ which in France
is so rare that they kept their classical attainments
a strict secret. Dante is her Poet, and Vinet her
Theologian, because they are both so "firm;" the
Germans repel her because she finds them so vague
in all their thinkings and doings. Vinet they knew :
he was very shy, but most delightful when they
could induce him thoroughly to forget himself.
Now she says, " I delight to think of him asso-
ciating with all the good of all ages — angels, pro-
phets, and apostles — with all their perfections and
none of their imperfections." She speaks of their
little Protestant community in France as so closely
bound together by a real spirit of Fraternity, such
as one cannot look for in large bodies as in England.
The French are divided into two parties only —
Rationalists and Evangelicals ; the former is the
larger party. She is indignant at the attacks on F.
D. Maurice and Archdeacon Hare without knowing
them personally, but sees that such people cannot
look to being understood in this world. This she
has constantly to feel with respect to her father, in
whom she infinitely delights. She assists him in
some of his literary work : they very much value
the present rest for him, and the opportunity it


gives them of being so much more acquainted with
him than they ever were before. In France^ women
now take far less part in poHtics than they used to
do, because parties have for long been too excitable
and distinct to be safely meddled with. Not a new
feature ! Guizot is shorter than my remembrance
of him in 1840, when he was at the meeting pre-
liminary to the fatal Niger Expedition ; he looks
about sixty, a face of many furrows, quiet, deep-
set, grey eyes, a thin expressive face, full of quiet
sagacity, though very animated in conversation,
hands and all taking their share. His little bit of
red ribbon seems the only relic of official greatness

June 8. — We met Bunsen and Guizot at an out-
of-doors party at the Frys'. The two politicians
walked up and down the lawn in long and earnest
discourse ; the character of their faces as unlike as
that of two men whose objects in life have been in
many respects so similar, can well be. The French-
man sagacious, circumspect, and lean; the German's
ample, genial countenance spoke of trust in God,
trust in man, and trust in himself.

June 9. — Went to Laurence's, and he took us to
see Samuel Rogers's pictures. He has some capital


drawings^ a letter of Milton's, and the rooms ' are
decorated with all sorts of curiosities. A large
dinner-party at Abel Smith's. C. Buxton spoke of
a day's shooting in Norfolk with Sir Robert Peel,
when he was by far the best shot of the party. He
talked incessantly of farming, and with a knowledge
far deeper than they had met with before ; in fact,
he was the whole man in everything, and yet so cold
and unapproachable that they felt quite frightened
at him.

June 12. — Went to the House of Commons and
heard Cobden bring on his Arbitration Motion to
produce Universal Peace. He has a good face, and
is a clear, manly speaker. A French lady, who was
with us in our little box, informed us that she was
staying at his house, that she had travelled with him
and his wife in Spain, and concluded by accepting
him as her standard of perfection. We were much
pleased with the debate; it showed that there was
much more willingness to listen to moral argument,
and much less disposition to snub and ridicule such
a proposal, than we had expected. Lord Palmer-
ston's was a very manly speech. We left whilst
Milner Gibson was speaking.

June 13. — Steamed to Chelsea, and paid Mrs.


Caflyle a humane little visit. I don't think she
roasted a single soul, or even body. She talked in
rather a melancholy way of herself and of life in
general, professing that it was only the Faith that
all things are well put together — which all sensible
people must believe — that prevents our sending to
the nearest chemist's shop for sixpennyworth of
arsenic ; but now one just endures it while it lasts,
and that is all we can do. We said a few modest
words in honour of existence, which she answered
by, "But I can't enjoy Joy, as Henry Taylor says.
He, however, cured this incapacity of his by taking
to himself a bright little wife, who first came to him
in the way of consolation, but has now become real
simple Joy." Carlyle is sitting now to a miniature-
painter, and Samuel Laurence has been drawing
her ; she bargained with him at starting not to
treat the subject as an Italian artist had done, and
make her a something between St. Cecilia and an
improper female. She caught a glimpse of her own
profile the other day, and it gave her a great start,
it looked such a gloomy headachy creature. Laur-
ence she likes vastly, thinking that he alone of
artists has a fund of unrealised ideas : Richmond
has produced his, but with Laurence there is more


kept back than what is given. She talked with
much affection and gratitude of W. E, Forster, and
cannot understand his not marrying ; remarking,
" I think he's the sort of person that would have
suited me very well ! " She talked of the Sterling
Memoir by Julius Hare, and of Captain Sterling's
literary designs : in these her husband means to
take no part; he would, by doing so, get into a
controversy which he would sooner avoid : had he
undertaken the matter at the beginning, he would
have been very short and avoided religious questions

June 20. — To Wandsworth, and met Elihu Burritt
at dinner. Exceedingly pleased with him ; his face
is strikingly beautiful, delicately chiselled, bespeak-
ing much refinement and quiet strength. He is a
natural gentleman, and seems to have attained the
blessed point of self-forgetfulness, springing from
ever-present remembrance of better things. That
Cobden evening was the happiest in his life ; he
felt it a triumph, and knew how it must tell on
Europe that in the midst of all the wars and tumults
of most nations, the greatest legislative body in the
world should put all their policies aside, and for
hours be in deliberation on a vast moral question.


Cobden got a larger number of votes than on the
introduction of any other of his great subjects, and
yet he came out of the House, after his speech,
earnestly apologising for having done so little jus-
tice to their subject. Punch is acting capitally in
the matter, and has an ineffable picture of his
Dream of peace, and a serious caustic article as

full/ I. — Edward Fry to tea; very pleasant and
unaffected by all his learning and college successes.
Much talk on Coleridge, whom he values greatly.
Southey used to be vastly annoyed by his imprac-
ticableness. Some one defined genius as a sort of
phosphorescence throughout the character, residing
neither in the heart nor the intellect, but pervading

July 2. — Dined at St. Mark's College. Derwent
Coleridge talked on the duty of dignifying the
office of a schoolmaster, and giving him the hope
of rising to preferment in the Church. But first
they had to act as clerks, to supplant those who
are now so often a drawback to the Establishment.
Once only was he quite overcome by one of these
worthies. He had been dining at a whitebait party
where the toastmaster successively proclaimed each



toast behind the speaker's chair; and soon after,
preaching at a friend's church, he was startled by
hearing the responses and the Amen given in the
very same tone and twang which had so lately
uttered, " Gentlemen, fill your glasses." Spoke
of Macaulay's brilliant talking, and large sacrifices
to effect both in writing and conversation : he is
a man of immense talent, not genius ; talent being
defined as power of adapting the acquisitions of
others, genius as something individual. Mary Cole-
ridge told us much of Helen Faucit. She is full
of strength and grace, and though cold in surface
there is a burning Etna beneath. Of S. T, Cole-
ridge and her earliest intercourse with him : when
in the midst of the highest talk he would turn to
her, smooth her hair, look into her face, and say,
— " God bless you, my pretty child, my pretty
Mary ! " He was most tender and affectionate,
and always treated her as if she were six years old.
They tried hard to bring him to Cornwall, but
the Gilmans would not suffer it, though the old
man wished it much ; and all his family felt so
grateful to the Gilmans for having befriended him
and devoted themselves to him when he was most
lonely, that they had not the heart to insist on anv


change, although they begged Mrs. Gihnan to come
with him. Mary Coleridge used to be wonder-
struck by his talk, though she could only then carry
away very small portions. Derwent Coleridge likes
much the specimen which Julius Hare has printed,
but does not greatly regret that more has not been
literally preserved — for it is preserved, he says, in
living men around us, whom it has animated and
almost inspired. Samuel Clarke joined in, and was
very interesting: first on Art, on which he seems
to feel deeply and justly, Flaxman's "Dante"
entirely satisfies him. Retsch's "Chess-player"
Derwent Coleridge thinks one of the grandest Art
accomplishments of our age. S. Clarke is now
Sub-Principal of the College, which prospers, and
they have most comforting accounts of those they
send forth. We explored the chapel by twilight :
it is Byzantine and very striking ; the coloured
glass, the ambulatory separated from the church
by pillars, and the architectural feeling throughout,
very impressive. They are criticised by High and
Low Church, because they choose rather to take
their own position than unite with either party.
The ecclesiastical feeling of the whole colony, com-
bined with so much of Poetry and Art, would have


exceedingly met the tendencies of that religious
epicurean — S. T. Coleridge.

July 3. — Canon Rogers having presented us to
Mr, Bergam, he kindly introduced us to the gem
and cameo rooms at the British Museum. Here
was the transcendent Barberini Vase^ and the large
cameo^ probably of Paris's head. When the British
Museum prosecuted the Iconoclast^ it was for break-
ing the glass shade which covered the Vase^ which
alone is strictly its property, as they are only the
wardens of the Vase for the Portland family. Here
are some choice gems, but not yet well arranged,
the subject not being sufficiently studied. Mr.
Bergam is a great antiquary, and gave us so many
personal histories of the things as to add greatly to
their interest. He showed us the Nimroud Ivories,
which Professor Owen saved from powdering away
by boiling in gelatine. The Greek gold ornaments
are extremely beautiful and elaborate, some as old
as Homer ; the myrtle wreath is quite lovely. He
took us through the Egyptian Gallery; those old
lions of basalt are almost contemporary with Abra-
ham. On the two sides of the bust of Homer were
found the letters Gamma and Delta, which suggests
the very curious question. What Poet could have


been considered such anterior to him ? One whose
works are now altogether lost ? For the busts were
arranged alphabetically in the old Greek Gallery.
Examined some endlessly interesting MSS, in the
Library, and enjoyed our good friend's erudition.
Then we spent a few more very edifying hours with
him in his Den looking over the magnificent series of
Greek coins, on which, he lectured very luminously.
The ^Eginetan are the oldest known — little mis-
shapen lumps of silver, with a beetle more or less
developed ; but Herodotus speaks of the Lydian as
beautiful, so they must be older still. The Syra-
cusan of the best age of Art are by far the finest,
some of them exquisite, with the noble heads of
Jupiter, Proserpina, Hercules, and Neptune. It is
very curious that the Athenian coins with the head
of Minerva are the least beautiful, even at the
noblest period ; it seems as though they were super-
stitiously attached to some traditional notion of
their goddess — possibly it is the head of the old
sacred wooden statue which always reappears.
Alexander's head was never stamped on coins dur-
ing his life;^ but in the time of Lysimachus, a face

^ Query correct ?


very like his appeared on the coins with the horn of
Jupiter Amnion — in fact, altogether a Divinity. It
is eminently beautiful and full of fire. Cleopatra,
it is evident, must have fascinated rather by her wit
and conversation than by her beauty.

July 4. — We joined Professor Owen in his Mu-
seum. He showed us some of the vertebrae of the
genuine sea-serpent ; the commonly reported ones
are really a very long species of shark, and when a
pair are following each other, and appearing from
time to time above water, they look of course won-
drously long. Thirty feet is in reality their general
length, but he has had evidence of one of sixty feet.
Gave a little exposition of his bone and limb theory,
the repetition of the same thing under all sorts of
modifications. For the arm of a man, the fore-leg
of a beast, the wing of a bird, the fin of a fish, there
is first one bone, this passes into two, and ramifies
into any number necessary, whether it be a bat's
wing for flying, or a mole's paw for grubbing. The
ideal perfection is most nearly approached by fishes,
their construction being the simplest and most com-
formable to the perfect arch. He spoke of the im-
possibility of any living creature capable of existing
in the Moon, because they must do without air or


water ; but, he added, there is no physiological
reason against Ezekiel's beasts existing in some of
the Planets.

F. Newman joined us, to show us their new
treasures of Flaxman's bas-reliefs. Found Miss
Denman there, the presenter, and sister-in-law to
Flaxman. Finding us enthusiastically disposed, she
most graciously invited us to go home with her
and see his most finished works. She was very
communicative about him, as the Star which had
set in her Heaven, and it was a most serene, mild,
and radiant one, and those who came under its
influence seemed to live anew in a Golden Age.
He was ever ready with advice and friendship for
those artists who needed it ; his wife was his great
helper, reading for him in poetry and history, and
assisting him by wise and earnest sympathy. Miss
Denman would have liked to found a Flaxman
Gallery and leave it to the Nation, but no fit
freehold could be purchased. At her house are
choice things indeed, — a little world of Thought,
Fancy, and Feeling, "music wrought in stone,"
devotion expressed in form, harmony, grace, and
simplicity. We saw the illustrations of the Lord's
Prayer ! lovely young female figures clinging to their


Guardian Angel, going out into Life, and saying
by every look and attitude, " Lead us not into
temptation." And the " Deliver us from evil "
was full of terror and dismay, but yet of trust in
an Infinite Deliverer.

We looked in on Laurence on our way home,
and admired his sketch of Aunt Backhouse, which
looks hewn out of granite.

Falmouth, September 4. — Dined at Carclew ; met
Henry Hallam, his son Henry, and daughter. The
historian is a fine-looking, white-haired man, of
between sixty and seventy. Something in the line
of feature reminds one of Cuvier and Goethe, all
is so clear and definite. He talks much, but with
no pedantry, and enjoys a funny story quite as
much as a recondite philological fact. He thinks
the English infatuated about German critics, and
showing it by their indiscriminate imitation of
them, tasteless as he considers them. Bunsen does
not play the Niebuhr with Egypt, but argues
elaborately from the inscriptions in favour of the
formerly received early history of that country,
that the Kings referred to in the monuments were
successive monarchs, not contemporary Rulers of
different parts of Egypt. Guizot is going on


quietly and happily in Normandy, waiting till his
country wants him, and meanwhile continuing his
English history from Cromwell — a work likely to
be extremely valuable. When in London, he
would sometimes ask his friends to come in an
evening, and he would read Racine, &c., to them.
His daughters were brought up by their grand-
mother, who cherished their striking independence
of character : there is danger of the son studying
too much ; he is very clever and very eager in his
nature. Ledru Rollin has taken the house next
to the one formerly Guizot's at Brompton, and
lives there with his capital English wife. Sir
Charles Lemon is just come from Paris, where he
finds them at the theatres making infinite fun of
their pet Republic. " What shall we try next ? "
asked De Toqueville one evening when Sir Charles
was taking tea there. " Oh, try a Queen, to be
sure ; we find it answer famously, and the
Duchesse d'Orleans would do it to perfection,"
The difficulty seems that they would have to alter
the Salic law. Young Henry Hallam was break-
fasting somewhere in London with Louis Blanc,
who for two hours talked incessantly and almost
always about himself. He is a very little man, and


though eloquent on his one idea, gives you no
feehng of power or trustworthiness, there is so
mueh showy declamation instead. Carlyle was
there, and it was the veriest fun to watch their
conversation. Carlyle's French was a literal trans-
lation of his own untranslatable English, uttered
too in his own broad Scotch. Louis Blanc could
not at all understand him, but would listen atten-
tively and then answer very wide of the mark.
Henry Hallam is very agreeable, sensible, and
modest, and at dinner asked if I knew anything
of a man of whom he had heard much though he
had never met him — Sterling. He spoke of the
peculiar affection and loyalty which all who had

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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 7 of 19)