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Eng. St. George the Martyr parish.om old cata Canterbury.

The register booke of the parish of St. George the martyr, within the citie of Canterburie, of christenings, mariages and burials. 1538-1800 online

. (page 1 of 38)
Online LibraryEng. St. George the Martyr parish.om old cata CanterburyThe register booke of the parish of St. George the martyr, within the citie of Canterburie, of christenings, mariages and burials. 1538-1800 → online text (page 1 of 38)
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and vague shadows of the Father, the Son. the ^e good.

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the Atonement the perception of the uses of martyne rela-

suffering: the Kingdom of Heaven the sure eyoUndor,

Wstory towards\a sounder, sweeter, and happie^nd we

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churches, the waWde crosses and the saintly rtinton's

creeds, the formu^ies, the venerated texte. th«he was

hymns, the sacramAits and the incense-whaftemy ol

these but faint shadoWkof the grand qualities andn, since

ments of the heart? the pnest is a student of hievous

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the touch, the vibration. \and the beauty of lifed was

he power of love; the dignity of truth ; the majes of he,

beautiful; the proud self-relknce of fathers ; tbn this

heroism of mothers; the gra<^ous frankness of

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MRS. LYNN LINTON

HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND OPINIONS



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BY THE SAME AUTHOR

The Life and Letters of Charles Kbene of "Punch**
Tennyson and his Pre-Raphaelite Illustrators
George Cruikshank's Portraits of Himself
His Golf-Madness, and other Queer Stories
Society Straws



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MRS. LVNN LINTON

By /xrmisiian «/ Messrs. Jr. &• D. Drnvney



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.'^^ppp^/'S?:. '■'•'■■ : " •• -f ^- »:^



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»



MRS. LYNN LINTON

HER LIFE, LETTERS, AND OPINIONS



GEORGE SOMES J-AYARD



WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS



METHUEN & CO.

36 ESSEX STREET W.C.

LONDON

1901



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TO
MY FRIEND OF TWENTY YEARS

WILLOUGHBY HYETT DICKINSON

I AM PROUD TO

DEDICATE

THIS BOOK



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6«W

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" H^g may i§ sung (altkott^h we kmaw not why) thai we Uve our iwet,
like coral insects^ to build up insensibly ^ in the twilight of tho seas
of time, the re^ <(f righteousness. And we may be sure {although we
see not how) it is a thing worth doing." R. L. Stbvbnson



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c^\^^



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PREFACE



IN 1885, Mrs. Ijynn Linton published what was to her
friends the most interesting of all her works. Therein,
under the guise of the Autobiography of Christopher
Kirkland^ she gave a sufficiently candid account of the first
threescore years of her own somewhat chequered career.

Unfortunately for the success of the book, it was published
as a three-volume novel, and, as such, miscarried. Written
though it was with heart's blood, it failed to convince those
who would have revelled in an avowed " Confession."

It treated largely, as was inevitable, of persons with whom
Mrs. Linton had been brought into contact, and in an
unfortunate moment she conceived the idea of reversing her
own sex and that of many of her characters for their better
disguise. To those who could read between the lines the
effect was somewhat bizarre, while to those not in the secret
the story was in parts incomprehensible. Thus the book
enjoyed a lesser vogue than any of her three-volume novels,
and never reached a second edition. And yet it is a human
document of real importance and engrossing interest.

In a list of her works drawn out for a friend, Mrs.
Linton inserted against Christopher Kirkland the words which
Goethe had made famous, " Wahrheit und Dichtung," and to
Miss Bird in after life she wrote of it —

" It was an outpour no one hears me make by word of
mouth, a confession of sorrow, suffering, trial, and determina-
tion not to be beaten, which few suspect as the underlying
truth of my life."

And, read as the story of a soul, it is surely worthy to
rank with the most touching of self-revelations ever given
to the world.

To me, as Mrs. Linton's biographer, the failure of the



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viii PREFACE

book has, of course, proved an unmixed advantage. Had it
obtained anything like a fair measure of success, I should
have been in two minds as to the extent to which it should
be used in the following pages. As it is, I have not hesitated
— indeed, I have felt it obligatory — to make copious extracts,
dotting the i*s and crossing the t's where necessary. Nor
have I scrupled to readjust names and sexes in such
quotations as have been made, for the constant pulling-up of
the reader by a bracketed (he) here or a bracketed (she) there
would have proved both tiresome and offensive. No efforts
have been spared to test the accuracy of all facts which have
been thus conveyed. Particularly was I fortunate in obtain-
ing the co-operation of Mrs. Gedge, Mrs. Linton's dearly-loved
sister, who is since deceased.

If any there chance to be who put down this book with
a desire to know more of its subject, I would recommend
them to obtain a copy of Christopher Kirkland itself, and read
the three volumes from beginning to end.

I would take this opportunity of tendering my hearty
thanks to Miss Ada Gedge for the untiring and ungrudg-
ing help which she has given me in the preparation of
this book ; to the owners of the copyright of Christopher
Kirkland for their kindness in allowing me to make copious
extracts from that work; to Mrs. Hartley, Miss Beatrice
Harraden, Mrs. Berridge, Mrs. W. K. Clifford, Mrs. Campbell
Praed, Mrs. Alec Tweedie, Miss Amy Murray, Miss Bird,
Lady Priestley, Lady Wardle, Sir Harry Johnston, Canon
Rawnsley, Dr. Richard Gamett, Mr. Harry Orrinsmith, Mr.
Salient, Mr. Sidney Low, Mr. Mackenzie Bell, Mr. W. E.
Adams, Mr. A. W. Benn, Major Brickmann, Mr. J. F. Fuller,
Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Rider Hagg^ard, Mr. John Stafford, and Dr.
Kiallmark, for their valuable notes ; to Mr. Herbert Spencer
and others, for allowing me to print their letters ; to my friends
Mr. H. A. Acworth and Mr. H. W. Smith, for their kindness in
reading my manuscript ; to Miss Hogarth, for permission to
print the letters of Charles Dickens ; and last, but not least,
to my wife, my best and most relentless critic, to whom this
work should have been dedicated had I been allowed to
have my way.

G. S. L.



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CONTENTS



CHAP.








PAGE


L Early Years ...... i


II. Early Years {(Continued) .




18


III. Eliza Lynn at Seventeen




39


IV. From Crosthwaite to London .




41


V. Early Life in London— 1845-1851




50


VI. Social Life and Friendships in the *


* Fifties "


64


VIL 1851-1857




77


VIII. Marriage— 1858






88


IX. Marriage (Continued)— iZs^iSSy






99


X. Walter Savage Landor and £.


L. L.




no


XL Literary Work— 1858- 1867






"S


XIL The •♦Saturday Review** ,


UND :


rHE Woman




Question— 1866-1868






. 136


XIIL 1868-1871








■ 151


XIV. Spiritualism








16s


XV. 1872-1876








179


XVI. 1877-1879








197


XVIL 1880-1885








. 230


XVIII. 1885-1888








. 346


XIX. 1889-1890








, 262


XX. 1891-1892








• 377


XXI. 1893-1895 .








. 289


XXII. 1896-1897 •








. 318


XXIIL 1898 .








• 339


XXIV. 1898 (Continued)








• 355


Appendices .








• 375


Bibliographical








• 379


Index .








. 381



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



Mrs, Lynn Linton (^From a Photo by Messrs. W.
&* D, Downey) ....

Mrs. James Lynn ....

Eliza Lynn .....

WiLUAM JAMSS Linton {Circa 1858}

Mrs. Lynn Linton {About the time of her Mar-
riage—iZiZ) .....

Brantwood {As enlarged by Ruskin)

Walter Savage Landor

Gadshill House ....

The Authoress of '*the Girl of the Period
{As imagined by Matt. Morgan) .

Mrs. Lynn Linton {From the Portrait by the Hon,
John Collier), ....

William James Linton {From the Engraving by
Mr. IV. Biscombe Gardner)

Mrs. Lynn Linton {From a Photo by Messrs.
Elliot &* Fry) ....



Frontispiece
Facing page 8

if » 90

n »> 99

» tl 105

» i> "8

» » 143

» » 287



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THE LIFE OF

MRS. LYNN LINTON



CHAPTER I
EABLY YEARS

ELIZABETH LYNN (best known to the world as Mrs.
Lynn Linton) was bom at Crosthwaite Vicarage, in
the parish of Crosthwaite, Cumberland, on the loth
day of February 1822.

Her paternal grandfather was a cadet of the Lynns of
Norfolk, to whom lands were granted in the parish of
Sparham by James i. As a lad of eighteen he ran away
from home and enlisted in the Blues. He eventually obtained
his commission, and served with distinction in the Seven
Years' War.^

By his wife, a descendant of Sir John Narborough (a
distinguished naval officer, also of Norfolk origin), he had
issue James Lynn (bom 17th September 1776), the father
of the subject of this memoir.

Educated at the Grammar School, Rochester, James Lynn
proceeded to Wadham College, Oxford, took his degree, and
was ordained to the curacy of Horsham, Sussex. Thence he
became successively curate of the Parish Church, Maidstone,
and minor canon of Rochester. In addition to this last
appointment, he held the offices of chaplain to the garrison

^ A propos of their Norfolk origin, Mrs. Linton remembered her father saying
that if he or his had their rights, half Norwich would have been theirs.

I



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2 THE LIFE OF MRS. LYNN LINTON

at Chatham and to the Argonaut Hospital Ship. In 1804
he was appointed to the perpetual curacy df Strood, Kent,
and in 181 1 combined with it the perpetual curacy of
Sebergham ^

Six years before this (1805), Mr. Lynn had married
Charlotte Alicia, daughter of Samuel Goodenough, then
Dean of Rochester, and afterwards Bishop of Carlisle.

In 1 8 14 he resigned the curacy of Strood, and was
appointed by his father-in-law to the rectory of Caldbeck in
Cumberland. In 1820 he became, in addition. Vicar of
Cro^thwaite' and chaplain to the bishop. Thus ended his
clerical migrations.

Whilst at Strood he purchased the Gadshill property
(afterwards famous as the residence of Charles Dickens).
This he retained until his death on ist February 1855, at the
age of seventy-eight.

So much for Eliza Lynn's paternal origin. Her maternal
grandfather was, as has been said, Samuel Goodenough,
Bishop of Carlisle. Amongst other offices he held that of
Botanist to Queen Charlotte, a fact from which the students
of heredity will doubtless trace the passionate devotion of
his granddaughter to what was to prove one of her lifelong
hobbies. It was of him that the following well-known
punning couplet was written: —

'''Twas well enough that Goodenough before the lords should preach,
For sure enough they're bad enough for Goodenough to teach."

Miss Goodenough was little more than a child when the
young minor canon of Rochester Cathedral, the Rev. James
Lynn, determined to make her his wife. The young couple
began their housekeeping in the January of 1805, the year
after Mr. Lynn's appointment to Strood. Then followed
seventeen years of married life, and twelve children were in

^ It may be mentioned as a curious coincidence, that in going over the Parish
Register for his work, The History of Strood, Mr. Henry Smetham came acro«
the foUowing entiy : ** Eliza Lynn was buried the joth day of October, 1577/'

' To avoid confusion later on, it should here be stated that the town of Keswick
was part of the parish of Crosthwaite, and the two names are often used
interchangeably.



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EARLY YEARS 3

due course born, of whom Eliza, as the subject of this memoir
was always called, was the last. Mrs. Lynn survived the birth
of her youngest daughter only a few months.

Thus we have it that Eliza's was practically a motherless
childhood (a circumstance, as we shall see, of the first
importance), for although Mr. Lynn married a second time,
this was not until his family was grown up, and his youngest
daughter was out in the world. His second wife was Miss
Elizabeth Coare, who died childless, 17th April 1848.

The names of the children of James and Alicia Lynn will
be found in Appendix A,

So much for the bare outlines of Elizabeth Lynn's origin.
We will now proceed to the far more important consideration
of the circumstances and influences by which she was sur-
rounded on her appearance upon what was to prove a scene
of vast experience and striking vicissitudes.

Vicar Lynn, as in the Cumberland fashion he was
generally called, was, at the time of his youngest daughter's
birth, forty-six years of age. Before half a year was out
he found himself, as we have seen, a widower, with twelve
children, rang^ing from the eldest son of sixteen to the baby
daughter of five months.

Of him at this terrible crisis in his life, his daughter wrote
sixty years later —

** My poor dear father 1 The loss of my beautiful mother,
and, a year after her death, that of the eldest girl, who seems
to have been one of those sweet mother-sisters sometimes
found as the eldest of the family, had tried him almost
beyond his strength. His life henceforth' was a mingled web
of passion and tears — ^now irritated and now despairing —
with ever that pathetic prostration at the foot of the Cross,
where he sought to lay down his burden of sorrow and to
take up instead resignation to the will of God — where he
sought the peace he never found ! He had lost the best out
of his life, and he could not fill up the gap with what
remained."

To the heavily stricken man, the task that lay before him



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4 THE LIFE OF MRS. LYNN LINTON

of rearing his children might well appear hopeless, and though
he set to work with a strong determination to do his duty by
them, it practically came in the end to his finding anything
like individual superintendence, for which nature had by no
means fitted him, quite beyond his powers. As Mrs. Linton
wrote —

" One of our family traditions, rounded off, of course, by
repetition and the natural desire to make a good story, tells
how that, after our mother's death, my grandfather sent for
my father and urged him to do such and such things, whereby
he might increase his income and provide for the fitting
conduct of his family. To each proposal my father found
insuperable objections. At last the bishop, losing patience,
said angrily —

" ' In the name of heaven, Mr. Lynn, what do you mean to
do for your children ? *

" * Sit in the study, my lord, smoke my pipe, and commit
them to the care of Providence,' was my father's calm reply.

"And he acted on his decision. He did emphatically
commit us to the care of Providence, and he was satisfied
with his trustee."

This, no doubt, as Mrs. Linton says, has gained in the
telling. At the same time, in effect it was true. Passionately
attached to his children, as those who are alive can testify,
often performing for them even womanly offices when they
were young and sick, it is surely not surprising that, as they
grew older, this sensitive and sorrow-laden man, " easily won
and easily wounded," scholar and lover of books as he was,
should lose touch with them, and leave his increasingly
difficult task to the Providence in whom he trusted.

No one but an enthusiast could have contemplated with
equal mind the task of being father and mother in one to the
twelve children ranging from the ages of sixteen to one year,
and no one but a genius could have grappled personally with
the problem of their education. Even Mrs. Linton herself,
writing with the natural resentment of one who felt that she
had lost so much by a lack of the advantages with which
others of like social standing in those days were usually



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EARLY YEARS 5

blessed, makes but a poor case against her father on this
score. Not that it must be supposed for an instant that she
did not cherish his memory, and, as occasion offered, speak
of him with loyalty, pride, and affection, but she felt it due
to herself that the truth concerning the disabilities under
which she had laboured in early life should be clearly set
forth.

Here is what she wrote regarding this matter —
'^ There was one thing I have never understood: why
my father, so well read and even learned in his own person,
did not care to give his children the education proper to
their birth and his own standing. The elders among us
came off" best, for the mother had had her hand on them,
and the bishop too had had his say ; but the younger ones
were lamentably n^lected. I do not know why. We were
not poor. Certainly, we were a large tribe to provide for, and
my father often made a ' poor mouth ' ; but his income was
good, the cost of living was relatively small, and things might
have been better than they were. At the worst, my father
might have taught us himself. He was a good classic and a
sound historian; and though his mathematics did not go
very deep, they were better than our ignorance. But he was
both too impatient and too indolent to be able to teach, and
I doubt if the experiment would have answered had he
tried it"

By which it is clear that she practically endorses her
father's inaction, and justifies the self-distrust which led him to
forego the rdle of pedagogue to his boys,^ whilst as regards
the girls, it must be remembered that he was one of the large
majority in those days who had a strong prejudice against
intellectual pursuits for women, and could not away with the
learned lady of the period. He held to the old-fashioned
ideal of " Marthas for workadays and Marys for Sundays."

The following deliberate description of her father as she
remembered him will not be without interest: —

" Naturally indolent and self-indulgent in his habits, but

' Eventually all the sons except Samuel, who went to sea, and Edmund, who
died young, were sent to college.



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6 THE LIFE OF MRS, LYNN LINTON

a man of the strictest temperance — ^never once in his whole
life, in that drinking age, having exceeded the bounds of
absolute sobriety; fond of shining in society, where he
knew how to make his mark, but almost impossible to drag
out of his study for any form of social intercourse ; flattered
by the notice of the great when it came to him, but neglect-
ing all his opportunities, and too proud to accept patronage
even when offered; a Tory in politics and a Democrat in
action ; defying his diocesan and believing in his divine
ordination ; contemptuous of the people as a political factor,
but kind and familiar in personal intercourse with the poor ;
clever, well read, and somewhat vain of his knowledge, but
void of ambition and indifferent to the name in literature
which he might undoubtedly have won with a little industry ;
not liberal as a home provider, but largely and unostenta-
tiously generous in the parish; fond like a woman of his
children when infants, but unable to reconcile himself to
the needs of their adolescence, and refusing to recognise the
rights of their maturity ; thinking it derogatory to his parental
dignity to discuss any matter whatsoever rationally with his
sons, and believing in the awful power of a father's curse,
yet caressing in manner and playful in speech even when
he was an old man and we were no longer young ; with a
heart of gold and a temper of fire — my father was a man of
strangely complex character, not to be dismissed in a couple
of phrases.

" With a nature tossed and traversed by passion, and a
conscience that tortured him when his besetting sin had
conquered his better resolve once more, as so often before,
he was in some things like David, for whose character he
had the most intimate kind of personal sympathy. ' For I
acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me,' was
the broken chord of his lament. But to us children, the echo
of his loud midnight prayers, waking us from our sleep and
breaking the solemn stillness of the night — the sound of his
passionate weeping, mingled in sobbing unison with the



Online LibraryEng. St. George the Martyr parish.om old cata CanterburyThe register booke of the parish of St. George the martyr, within the citie of Canterburie, of christenings, mariages and burials. 1538-1800 → online text (page 1 of 38)