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Chapter 1

LADY BYRON AS I KNEW HER.


An editorial in The London Times' of Sept. 18 says:--


'The perplexing feature in this "True Story" is, that it is impossible
to distinguish what part in it is the editress's, and what Lady
Byron's own. We are given the impression made on Mrs. Stowe's mind by
Lady Byron's statements; but it would have been more satisfactory if
the statement itself had been reproduced as bare as possible, and been
left to make its own impression on the public.'

In reply to this, I will say, that in my article I gave a brief synopsis
of the subject-matter of Lady Byron's communications; and I think it must
be quite evident to the world that the main fact on which the story turns
was one which could not possibly be misunderstood, and the remembrance of
which no lapse of time could ever weaken.

Lady Byron's communications were made to me in language clear, precise,
terrible; and many of her phrases and sentences I could repeat at this
day, word for word. But if I had reproduced them at first, as 'The
Times' suggests, word for word, the public horror and incredulity would
have been doubled. It was necessary that the brutality of the story
should, in some degree, be veiled and softened.

The publication, by Lord Lindsay, of Lady Anne Barnard's communication,
makes it now possible to tell fully, and in Lady Byron's own words,
certain incidents that yet remain untold. To me, who know the whole
history, the revelations in Lady Anne's account, and the story related by
Lady Byron, are like fragments of a dissected map: they fit together,
piece by piece, and form one connected whole.

In confirmation of the general facts of this interview, I have the
testimony of a sister who accompanied me on this visit, and to whom,
immediately after it, I recounted the story.

Her testimony on the subject is as follows:--


'MY DEAR SISTER,--I have a perfect recollection of going with you to
visit Lady Byron at the time spoken of in your published article. We
arrived at her house in the morning; and, after lunch, Lady Byron and
yourself spent the whole time till evening alone together.

'After we retired to our apartment that night, you related to me the
story given in your published account, though with many more
particulars than you have yet thought fit to give to the public.

'You stated to me that Lady Byron was strongly impressed with the idea
that it might be her duty to publish a statement during her lifetime,
and also the reasons which induced her to think so. You appeared at
that time quite disposed to think that justice required this step, and
asked my opinion. We passed most of the night in conversation on the
subject,--a conversation often resumed, from time to time, during
several weeks in which you were considering what opinion to give.

'I was strongly of opinion that justice required the publication of
the truth, but felt exceedingly averse to its being done by Lady Byron
herself during her own lifetime, when she personally would be subject
to the comments and misconceptions of motives which would certainly
follow such a communication.

'Your sister,

'M. F. PERKINS.'


I am now about to complete the account of my conversation with Lady
Byron; but as the credibility of a history depends greatly on the
character of its narrator, and as especial pains have been taken to
destroy the belief in this story by representing it to be the wanderings
of a broken-down mind in a state of dotage and mental hallucination, I
shall preface the narrative with some account of Lady Byron as she was
during the time of our mutual acquaintance and friendship.

This account may, perhaps, be deemed superfluous in England, where so
many knew her; but in America, where, from Maine to California, her
character has been discussed and traduced, it is of importance to give
interested thousands an opportunity of learning what kind of a woman Lady
Byron was.

Her character as given by Lord Byron in his Journal, after her first
refusal of him, is this:--


'She is a very superior woman, and very little spoiled; which is
strange in an heiress, a girl of twenty, a peeress that is to be in
her own right, an only child, and a savante, who has always had her
own way. She is a poetess, a mathematician, a metaphysician; yet,
withal, very kind, generous, and gentle, with very little pretension.
Any other head would be turned with half her acquisitions and a tenth
of her advantages.'

Such was Lady Byron at twenty. I formed her acquaintance in the year
1853, during my first visit in England. I met her at a lunch-party in
the house of one of her friends.

The party had many notables; but, among them all, my attention was fixed
principally on Lady Byron. She was at this time sixty-one years of age,
but still had, to a remarkable degree, that personal attraction which is
commonly considered to belong only to youth and beauty.

Her form was slight, giving an impression of fragility; her motions were
both graceful and decided; her eyes bright, and full of interest and
quick observation. Her silvery-white hair seemed to lend a grace to the
transparent purity of her complexion, and her small hands had a pearly
whiteness. I recollect she wore a plain widow's cap of a transparent
material; and was dressed in some delicate shade of lavender, which
harmonised well with her complexion.

When I was introduced to her, I felt in a moment the words of her
husband:--


'There was awe in the homage that she drew;
Her spirit seemed as seated on a throne.'

Calm, self-poised, and thoughtful, she seemed to me rather to resemble an
interested spectator of the world's affairs, than an actor involved in
its trials; yet the sweetness of her smile, and a certain very delicate
sense of humour in her remarks, made the way of acquaintance easy.

Her first remarks were a little playful; but in a few moments we were
speaking on what every one in those days was talking to me about,--the
slavery question in America.

It need not be remarked, that, when any one subject especially occupies
the public mind, those known to be interested in it are compelled to
listen to many weary platitudes. Lady Byron's remarks, however, caught
my ear and arrested my attention by their peculiar incisive quality,
their originality, and the evidence they gave that she was as well
informed on all our matters as the best American statesman could be. I
had no wearisome course to go over with her as to the difference between
the General Government and State Governments, nor explanations of the
United States Constitution; for she had the whole before her mind with a
perfect clearness. Her morality upon the slavery question, too,
impressed me as something far higher and deeper than the common
sentimentalism of the day. Many of her words surprised me greatly, and
gave me new material for thought.

I found I was in company with a commanding mind, and hastened to gain
instruction from her on another point where my interest had been aroused.
I had recently been much excited by Kingsley's novels, 'Alton Locke' and
'Yeast,' on the position of religious thought in England. From these
works I had gathered, that under the apparent placid uniformity of the
Established Church of England, and of 'good society' as founded on it,
there was moving a secret current of speculative enquiry, doubt, and
dissent; but I had met, as yet, with no person among my various
acquaintances in England who seemed either aware of this fact, or able to
guide my mind respecting it. The moment I mentioned the subject to Lady
Byron, I received an answer which showed me that the whole ground was
familiar to her, and that she was capable of giving me full information.
She had studied with careful thoughtfulness all the social and religious
tendencies of England during her generation. One of her remarks has
often since occurred to me. Speaking of the Oxford movement, she said
the time had come when the English Church could no longer remain as it
was. It must either restore the past, or create a future. The Oxford
movement attempted the former; and of the future she was beginning to
speak, when our conversation was interrupted by the presentation of other
parties.

Subsequently, in reply to a note from her on some benevolent business, I
alluded to that conversation, and expressed a wish that she would finish
giving me her views of the religious state of England. A portion of the
letter that she wrote me in reply I insert, as being very characteristic
in many respects:--


'Various causes have been assigned for the decaying state of the
English Church; which seems the more strange, because the clergy have
improved, morally and intellectually, in the last twenty years. Then
why should their influence be diminished? I think it is owing to the
diffusion of a spirit of free enquiry.

'Doubts have arisen in the minds of many who are unhappily bound by
subscription not to doubt; and, in consequence, they are habitually
pretending either to believe or to disbelieve. The state of Denmark
cannot but be rotten, when to seem is the first object of the
witnesses of truth.

'They may lead better lives, and bring forward abler arguments; but
their efforts are paralysed by that unsoundness. I see the High
Churchman professing to believe in the existence of a church, when the
most palpable facts must show him that no such church exists; the
"Low" Churchman professing to believe in exceptional interpositions
which his philosophy secretly questions; the "Broad" Churchman
professing as absolute an attachment to the Established Church as the
narrowest could feel, while he is preaching such principles as will at
last pull it down.

'I ask you, my friend, whether there would not be more faith, as well
as earnestness, if all would speak out. There would be more unanimity
too, because they would all agree in a certain basis. Would not a
wider love supersede the creed-bound charity of sects?

'I am aware that I have touched on a point of difference between us,
and I will not regret it; for I think the differences of mind are
analogous to those differences of nature, which, in the most
comprehensive survey, are the very elements of harmony.

'I am not at all prone to put forth my own opinions; but the tone in
which you have written to me claims an unusual degree of openness on
my part. I look upon creeds of all kinds as chains,--far worse chains
than those you would break,--as the causes of much hypocrisy and
infidelity. I hold it to be a sin to make a child say, "I believe."
Lead it to utter that belief spontaneously. I also consider the
institution of an exclusive priesthood, though having been of service
in some respects, as retarding the progress of Christianity at
present. I desire to see a lay ministry.

'I will not give you more of my heterodoxy at present: perhaps I need
your pardon, connected as you are with the Church, for having said so
much.

'There are causes of decay known to be at work in my frame, which lead
me to believe I may not have time to grow wiser; and I must therefore
leave it to others to correct the conclusions I have now formed from
my life's experience. I should feel happy to discuss them personally
with you; for it would be soul to soul. In that confidence I am yours
most truly,

'A. I. NOEL BYRON.'


It is not necessary to prove to the reader that this letter is not in the
style of a broken-down old woman subject to mental hallucinations. It
shows Lady Byron's habits of clear, searching analysis, her
thoughtfulness, and, above all, that peculiar reverence for truth and
sincerity which was a leading characteristic of her moral nature. {139}
It also shows her views of the probable shortness of her stay on earth,
derived from the opinion of physicians about her disease, which was a
gradual ossification of the lungs. It has been asserted that pulmonary
diseases, while they slowly and surely sap the physical life, often
appear to give added vigour to the play of the moral and intellectual
powers.

I parted from Lady Byron, feeling richer in that I had found one more
pearl of great price on the shore of life.

Three years after this, I visited England to obtain a copyright for the
issue of my novel of 'Dred.'

The hope of once more seeing Lady Byron was one of the brightest
anticipations held out to me in this journey. I found London quite
deserted; but, hearing that Lady Byron was still in town, I sent to her,
saying in my note, that, in case she was not well enough to call, I would
visit her. Her reply I give:--


'MY DEAR FRIEND,--I will be indebted to you for our meeting, as I am
barely able to leave my room. It is not a time for small
personalities, if they could ever exist with you; and, dressed or
undressed, I shall hope to see you after two o'clock.

'Yours very truly,

'A. I. NOEL BYRON.'


I found Lady Byron in her sick-room,--that place which she made so
different from the chamber of ordinary invalids. Her sick-room seemed
only a telegraphic station whence her vivid mind was flashing out all
over the world.

By her bedside stood a table covered with books, pamphlets, and files of
letters, all arranged with exquisite order, and each expressing some of
her varied interests. From that sick-bed she still directed, with
systematic care, her various works of benevolence, and watched with
intelligent attention the course of science, literature, and religion;
and the versatility and activity of her mind, the flow of brilliant and
penetrating thought on all the topics of the day, gave to the
conversations of her retired room a peculiar charm. You forgot that she
was an invalid; for she rarely had a word of her own personalities, and
the charm of her conversation carried you invariably from herself to the
subjects of which she was thinking. All the new books, the literature of
the hour, were lighted up by her keen, searching, yet always kindly
criticism; and it was charming to get her fresh, genuine, clear-cut modes
of expression, so different from the world-worn phrases of what is called
good society. Her opinions were always perfectly clear and positive, and
given with the freedom of one who has long stood in a position to judge
the world and its ways from her own standpoint. But it was not merely in
general literature and science that her heart lay; it was following
always with eager interest the progress of humanity over the whole world.

This was the period of the great battle for liberty in Kansas. The
English papers were daily filled with the thrilling particulars of that
desperate struggle, and Lady Byron entered with heart and soul into it.

Her first letter to me, at this time, is on this subject. It was while
'Dred' was going through the press.


'CAMBRIDGE TERRACE, Aug. 15.

'MY DEAR MRS. STOWE,--Messrs. Chambers liked the proposal to publish
the Kansas Letters. The more the public know of these matters, the
better prepared they will be for your book. The moment for its
publication seems well chosen. There is always in England a floating
fund of sympathy for what is above the everyday sordid cares of life;
and these better feelings, so nobly invested for the last two years in
Florence Nightingale's career, are just set free. To what will they
next be attached? If you can lay hold of them, they may bring about a
deeper abolition than any legislative one,--the abolition of the heart-
heresy that man's worth comes, not from God, but from man.

'I have been obliged to give up exertion again, but hope soon to be
able to call and make the acquaintance of your daughters. In case you
wish to consult H. Martineau's pamphlets, I send more copies. Do not
think of answering: I have occupied too much of your time in reading.

'Yours affectionately,

'A. I. NOEL BYRON.'


As soon as a copy of 'Dred' was through the press, I sent it to her,
saying that I had been reproved by some excellent people for representing
too faithfully the profane language of some of the wicked characters. To
this she sent the following reply:--

'Your book, dear Mrs. Stowe, is of the little leaven kind, and must
prove a great moral force; perhaps not manifestly so much as secretly.
And yet I can hardly conceive so much power without immediate and
sensible effects: only there will be a strong disposition to resist on
the part of all hollow-hearted professors of religion, whose
heathenisms you so unsparingly expose. They have a class feeling like
others.

'To the young, and to those who do not reflect much on what is offered
to their belief, you will do great good by showing how spiritual food
is often adulterated. The bread from heaven is in the same case as
bakers' bread.

'If there is truth in what I heard Lord Byron say, that works of
fiction live only by the amount of truth which they contain, your
story is sure of a long life. Of the few critiques I have seen, the
best is in "The Examiner." I find an obtuseness as to the spirit and
aim of the book, as if you had designed to make the best novel of the
season, or to keep up the reputation of one. You are reproached, as
Walter Scott was, with too much scriptural quotation; not, that I have
heard, with phrases of an opposite character.

'The effects of such reading till a late hour one evening appeared to
influence me very singularly in a dream. The most horrible spectres
presented themselves, and I woke in an agony of fear; but a faith
still stronger arose, and I became courageous from trust in God, and
felt calm. Did you do this? It is very insignificant among the many
things you certainly will do unknown to yourself. I know more than
ever before how to value communion with you. I have sent Robertson's
Sermons for you; and, with kind regards to your family, am

'Yours affectionately,

'A. I. NOEL BYRON.'


I was struck in this note with the mention of Lord Byron, and, the next
time I saw her, alluded to it, and remarked upon the peculiar qualities
of his mind as shown in some of his more serious conversations with Dr.
Kennedy.

She seemed pleased to continue the subject, and went on to say many
things of his singular character and genius, more penetrating and more
appreciative than is often met with among critics.

I told her that I had been from childhood powerfully influenced by him;
and began to tell her how much, as a child, I had been affected by the
news of his death,--giving up all my plays, and going off to a lonely
hillside, where I spent the afternoon thinking of him. She interrupted
me before I had quite finished, with a quick, impulsive movement. 'I
know all that,' she said: 'I heard it all from Mrs. ---; and it was one
of the things that made me wish to know you. I think you could
understand him.' We talked for some time of him then; she, with her pale
face slightly flushed, speaking, as any other great man's widow might,
only of what was purest and best in his works, and what were his
undeniable virtues and good traits, especially in early life. She told
me many pleasant little speeches made by him to herself; and, though
there was running through all this a shade of melancholy, one could never
have conjectured that there were under all any deeper recollections than
the circumstances of an ordinary separation might bring.

Not many days after, with the unselfishness which was so marked a trait
with her, she chose a day when she could be out of her room, and invited
our family party, consisting of my husband, sister, and children, to
lunch with her.

What showed itself especially in this interview was her tenderness for
all young people. She had often enquired after mine; asked about their
characters, habits, and tastes; and on this occasion she found an
opportunity to talk with each one separately, and to make them all feel
at ease, so that they were able to talk with her. She seemed interested
to point out to them what they should see and study in London; and the
charm of her conversation left on their minds an impression that
subsequent years have never effaced. I record this incident, because it
shows how little Lady Byron assumed the privileges or had the character
of an invalid absorbed in herself, and likely to brood over her own woes
and wrongs.

Here was a family of strangers stranded in a dull season in London, and
there was no manner of obligation upon her to exert herself to show them
attention. Her state of health would have been an all-sufficient reason
why she should not do it; and her doing it was simply a specimen of that
unselfish care for others, even down to the least detail, of which her
life was full.

A little while after, at her request, I went, with my husband and son, to
pass an evening at her house.

There were a few persons present whom she thought I should be interested
to know,--a Miss Goldsmid, daughter of Baron Goldsmid, and Lord Ockham,
her grandson, eldest son and heir of the Earl of Lovelace, to whom she
introduced my son.

I had heard much of the eccentricities of this young nobleman, and was
exceedingly struck with his personal appearance. His bodily frame was of
the order of the Farnese Hercules,--a wonderful development of physical
and muscular strength. His hands were those of a blacksmith. He was
broadly and squarely made, with a finely-shaped head, and dark eyes of
surpassing brilliancy. I have seldom seen a more interesting combination
than his whole appearance presented.

When all were engaged in talking, Lady Byron came and sat down by me, and
glancing across to Lord Ockham and my son, who were talking together, she
looked at me, and smiled. I immediately expressed my admiration of his
fine eyes and the intellectual expression of his countenance, and my
wonder at the uncommon muscular development of his frame.

She said that that of itself would account for many of Ockham's
eccentricities. He had a body that required a more vigorous animal life
than his station gave scope for, and this had often led him to seek it in
what the world calls low society; that he had been to sea as a sailor,
and was now working as a mechanic on the iron work of 'The Great
Eastern.' He had laid aside his title, and went in daily with the other
workmen, requesting them to call him simply Ockham.

I said that there was something to my mind very fine about this, even
though it might show some want of proper balance.

She said he had noble traits, and that she felt assured he would yet
accomplish something worthy of himself. 'The great difficulty with our
nobility is apt to be, that they do not understand the working-classes,
so as to feel for them properly; and Ockham is now going through an
experience which may yet fit him to do great good when he comes to the
peerage. I am trying to influence him to do good among the workmen, and
to interest himself in schools for their children. I think,' she added,
'I have great influence over Ockham,--the greater, perhaps, that I never
make any claim to authority.'

This conversation is very characteristic of Lady Byron as showing her
benevolent analysis of character, and the peculiar hopefulness she always
had in regard to the future of every one brought in connection with her.
Her moral hopefulness was something very singular; and in this respect
she was so different from the rest of the world, that it would be
difficult to make her understood. Her tolerance of wrong-doing would
have seemed to many quite latitudinarian, and impressed them as if she
had lost all just horror of what was morally wrong in transgression; but
it seemed her fixed habit to see faults only as diseases and
immaturities, and to expect them to fall away with time.

She saw the germs of good in what others regarded as only evil. She
expected valuable results to come from what the world looked on only as
eccentricities; {147} and she incessantly devoted herself to the task of
guarding those whom the world condemned, and guiding them to those higher
results of which she often thought that even their faults were prophetic.

Before I quit this sketch of Lady Byron as I knew her, I will give one
more of her letters. My return from that visit in Europe was met by the
sudden death of the son mentioned in the foregoing account. At the time
of this sorrow, Lady Byron was too unwell to write to me. The letter
given alludes to this event, and speaks also of two coloured persons of
remarkable talent, in whose career in England she had taken a deep
interest. One of them is the 'friend' she speaks of.


'LONDON, Feb. 6, 1859.

DEAR MRS. STOWE,--I seem to feel our friend as a bridge, over which
our broken outward communication can be renewed without effort. Why
broken? The words I would have uttered at one time were like drops of
blood from my heart. Now I sympathise with the calmness you have
gained, and can speak of your loss as I do of my own. Loss and
restoration are more and more linked in my mind, but "to the present
live." As long as they are in God's world they are in ours. I ask no
other consolation.

'Mrs. W---'s recovery has astonished me, and her husband's prospects
give me great satisfaction. They have achieved a benefit to their
coloured people. She had a mission which her burning soul has worked
out, almost in defiance of death. But who is "called" without being
"crucified," man or woman? I know of none.

'I fear that H. Martineau was too sanguine in her persuasion that the
slave power had received a serious check from the ruin of so many of
your Mammon-worshippers. With the return of commercial facilities,
that article of commerce will again find purchasers enough to raise
its value. Not that way is the iniquity to be overthrown. A deeper
moral earthquake is needed. {148} We English had ours in India; and
though the cases are far from being alike, yet a consciousness of what
we ought to have been and ought to be toward the natives could not
have been awakened by less than the reddened waters of the Ganges. So
I fear you will have to look on a day of judgment worse than has been
painted.

'As to all the frauds and impositions which have been disclosed by the
failures, what a want of the sense of personal responsibility they
show. It seems to be thought that "association" will "cover a
multitude of sins;" as if "and Co." could enter heaven. A firm may be
described as a partnership for lowering the standard of morals. Even
ecclesiastical bodies are not free from the "and Co.;" very different
from "the goodly fellowship of the apostles."

'The better class of young gentlemen in England are seized with a
mediaeval mania, to which Ruskin has contributed much. The chief
reason for regretting it is that taste is made to supersede
benevolence. The money that would save thousands from perishing or
suffering must be applied to raise the Gothic edifice where their last
prayer may be uttered. Charity may be dead, while Art has glorified
her. This is worse than Catholicism, which cultivates heart and eye
together. The first cathedral was Truth, at the beginning of the
fourth century, just as Christianity was exchanging a heavenly for an
earthly crown. True religion may have to cast away the symbol for the
spirit before "the kingdom" can come.

'While I am speculating to little purpose, perhaps you are doing--what?
Might not a biography from your pen bring forth again some great, half-
obscured soul to act on the world? Even Sir Philip Sidney ought to be
superseded by a still nobler type.

'This must go immediately, to be in time for the bearer, of whose
meeting with you I shall think as the friend of both. May it be
happy!

'Your affectionate

'A. I. N. B.'


One letter more from Lady Byron I give,--the last I received from her:--

LONDON, May 3, 1859.

DEAR FRIEND,--I have found, particularly as to yourself, that, if I
did not answer from the first impulse, all had evaporated. Your
letter came by 'The Niagara,' which brought Fanny Kemble to learn the
loss of her best friend, the Miss F---- whom you saw at my house.

'Her death, after an illness in which she was to the last a minister
of good to others, is a soul-loss to me also; and your remarks are
most appropriate to my feelings. I have been taught, however, to
accept survivorship; even to feel it, in some cases, Heaven's best
blessing.

'I have an intense interest in your new novel. {149} More power in
these few numbers than in any of your former writings, relating, at
least, to my own mind. It would amuse you to hear my granddaughter
and myself attempting to foresee the future of the love-story; being,
for the moment, quite persuaded that James is at sea, and the minister
about to ruin himself. We think that Mary will labour to be in love
with the self-devoted man, under her mother's influence, and from that
hyper-conscientiousness so common with good girls; but we don't wish
her to succeed. Then what is to become of her older lover? Time will
show.

'The lady you desired to introduce to me will be welcomed as of you.
She has been misled with respect to my having any house in Yorkshire
(New Leeds). I am in London now to be of a little use to A----; not
ostensibly, for I can neither go out, nor give parties: but I am the
confidential friend to whom she likes to bring her social gatherings,
as she can see something of the world with others. Age and infirmity
seem to be overlooked in what she calls the harmony between us,--not
perfect agreement of opinion (which I should regret, with almost fifty
years of difference), but the spirit-union: can you say what it is?

'I am interrupted by a note from Mrs. K----. She says that she cannot
write of our lost friend yet, though she is less sad than she will be.
Mrs. F---- may like to hear of her arrival, should you be in
communication with our friend. She is the type of youth in age.

'I often converse with Miss S----, a judicious friend of the W----s,
about what is likely to await them. She would not succeed here as
well as where she was a novelty. The character of our climate this
year has been injurious to the respiratory organs; but I hope still to
serve them.

'I have just missed Dale Owen, with whom I wished to have conversed on
spiritualism. {150} Harris is lecturing here on religion. I do not
hear him praised.

'People are looking for helps to believe, everywhere but in life,--in
music, in architecture, in antiquity, in ceremony; and upon all these
is written, "Thou shalt not believe." At least, if this be faith,
happier the unbeliever. I am willing to see through that materialism;
but, if I am to rest there, I would rend the veil.

'June 1.

'The day of the packet's sailing. I shall hope to be visited by you
here. The best flowers sent me have been placed in your little vases,
giving life to the remembrance of you, though not, like them, to pass
away.

'Ever yours,

'A. I. NOEL BYRON.'


Shortly after, I was in England again, and had one more opportunity of
resuming our personal intercourse. The first time that I called on Lady
Byron, I saw her in one of those periods of utter physical exhaustion to
which she was subject on account of the constant pressure of cares beyond
her strength. All who knew her will testify, that, in a state of health
which would lead most persons to become helpless absorbents of service
from others, she was assuming burdens, and making outlays of her vital
powers in acts of love and service, with a generosity that often reduced
her to utter exhaustion. But none who knew or loved her ever
misinterpreted the coldness of those seasons of exhaustion. We knew that
it was not the spirit that was chilled, but only the frail mortal
tabernacle. When I called on her at this time, she could not see me at
first; and when, at last, she came, it was evident that she was in a
state of utter prostration. Her hands were like ice; her face was deadly
pale; and she conversed with a restraint and difficulty which showed what
exertion it was for her to keep up at all. I left as soon as possible,
with an appointment for another interview. That interview was my last on
earth with her, and is still beautiful in memory. It was a long, still
summer afternoon, spent alone with her in a garden, where we walked
together. She was enjoying one of those bright intervals of freedom from
pain and languor, in which her spirits always rose so buoyant and
youthful; and her eye brightened, and her step became elastic.

One last little incident is cherished as most expressive of her. When it
became time for me to leave, she took me in her carriage to the station.
As we were almost there, I missed my gloves, and said, 'I must have left
them; but there is not time to go back.'

With one of those quick, impulsive motions which were so natural to her
in doing a kindness, she drew off her own and said, 'Take mine if they
will serve you.'

I hesitated a moment; and then the thought, that I might never see her
again, came over me, and I said, 'Oh, yes! thanks.' That was the last
earthly word of love between us. But, thank God, those who love worthily
never meet for the last time: there is always a future.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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