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Chapter 13

OLD SCENES REVISITED, 1856.


EN ROUTE TO ROME.--TRIALS OF TRAVEL.--A MIDNIGHT ARRIVAL AND AN
INHOSPITABLE RECEPTION.--GLORIES OP THE ETERNAL CITY.--NAPLES AND
VESUVIUS.--VENICE.--HOLY WEEK IN ROME.--RETURN TO ENGLAND.--LETTER
FROM HARRIET MARTINEAU ON "DRED."--A WORD FROM MR. PRESCOTT ON
"DRED."--FAREWELL TO LADY BYRON.

After leaving Paris Mrs. Stowe and her sister, Mrs. Perkins, traveled
leisurely through the South of France toward Italy, stopping at
Amiens, Lyons, and Marseilles. At this place they took steamer for
Genoa, Leghorn, and Civita Vecchia. During their last night on
shipboard they met with an accident, of which, and their subsequent
trials in reaching Rome, Mrs. Stowe writes as follows:--

About eleven o'clock, as I had just tranquilly laid down in my berth,
I was roused by a grating crash, accompanied by a shock that shook the
whole ship, and followed by the sound of a general rush on deck,
trampling, scuffling, and cries. I rushed to the door and saw all the
gentlemen hurrying on their clothes and getting confusedly towards the
stairway. I went back to Mary, and we put on our things in silence,
and, as soon as we could, got into the upper saloon. It was an hour
before we could learn anything certainly, except that we had run into
another vessel. The fate of the Arctic came to us both, but we did not
mention it to each other; indeed, a quieter, more silent company you
would not often see. Had I had any confidence in the administration of
the boat, it would have been better, but as I had not, I sat in
momentary uncertainty. Had we then known, as we have since, the fate
of a boat recently sunk in the Mediterranean by a similar
carelessness, it would have increased our fears. By a singular chance
an officer, whose wife and children were lost on board that boat, was
on board ours, and happened to be on the forward part of the boat when
the accident occurred. The captain and mate were both below; there was
nobody looking out, and had not this officer himself called out to
stop the boat, we should have struck her with such force as to have
sunk us. As it was, we turned aside and the shock came on a paddle-
wheel, which was broken by it, for when, after two hours' delay, we
tried to start and had gone a little way, there was another crash and
the paddle-wheel fell down. You may be sure we did little sleeping
that night. It was an inexpressible desolation to think that we might
never again see those we loved. No one knows how much one thinks, and
how rapidly, in such hours.

In the Naples boat that was sunk a short time ago, the women perished
in a dreadful way. The shock threw the chimney directly across the
egress from below, so that they could not get on deck, and they were
all drowned in the cabin.

We went limping along with one broken limb till the next day about
eleven, when we reached Civita Vecchia, where there were two hours
more of delay about passports. Then we, that is, Mary and I, and a Dr.
Edison from Philadelphia, with his son Alfred, took a carriage to
Rome, but they gave us a miserable thing that looked as if it had been
made soon after the deluge. About eight o'clock at night, on a lonely
stretch of road, the wheel came off. We got out, and our postilions
stood silently regarding matters. None of us could speak Italian, they
could not speak French; but the driver at last conveyed the idea that
for five francs he could get a man to come and mend the wheel. The
five francs were promised, and he untackled a horse and rode off. Mary
and I walked up and down the dark, desolate road, occasionally
reminding each other that we were on classic ground, and laughing at
the oddity of our lonely, starlight promenade. After a while our
driver came back, Tag, Rag, and Bobtail at his heels. I don't think I
can do greater justice to Italian costumes than by this respectable
form of words.

Then there was another consultation. They put a bit of rotten timber
under to pry the carriage up. Fortunately, it did not break, as we all
expected it would, till after the wheel was on. Then a new train of
thought was suggested. How was it to be kept on? Evidently they had
not thought far in that direction, for they had brought neither hammer
nor nail, nor tool of any kind, and therefore they looked first at the
wheel, then at each other, and then at us. The doctor now produced a
little gimlet, with the help of which the broken fragments of the
former linchpin were pushed out, and the way was cleared for a new
one. Then they began knocking a fence to pieces to get out nails, but
none could be found to fit. At last another ambassador was sent back
for nails. While we were thus waiting, the diligence, in which many of
our ship's company were jogging on to Rome, came up. They had plenty
of room inside, and one of the party, seeing our distress, tried hard
to make the driver stop, but he doggedly persisted in going on, and
declared if anybody got down to help us he would leave him behind.

An interesting little episode here occurred. It was raining, and Mary
and I proposed, as the wheel was now on, to take our seats. We had no
sooner done so than the horses were taken with a sudden fit of
animation and ran off with us in the most vivacious manner, Tag, Rag,
and Co. shouting in the rear. Some heaps of stone a little in advance
presented an interesting prospect by way of a terminus. However, the
horses were luckily captured before the wheel was off again; and our
ambassador being now returned, we were set right and again proceeded.

I must not forget to remark that at every post where we changed horses
and drivers, we had a pitched battle with the driver for more money
than we had been told was the regular rate, and the carriage was
surrounded with a perfect mob of ragged, shock-headed, black-eyed
people, whose words all ended in "ino," and who raved and ranted at us
till finally we paid much more than we ought, to get rid of them.

At the gates of Rome the official, after looking at our passports,
coolly told the doctor that if he had a mind to pay him five francs he
could go in without further disturbance, but if not he would keep the
baggage till morning. This form of statement had the recommendation of
such precision and neatness of expression that we paid him forthwith,
and into Rome we dashed at two o'clock in the morning of the 9th of
February, 1857, in a drizzling rain.

We drove to the Hotel d'Angleterre,--it was full,--and ditto to four
or five others, and in the last effort our refractory wheel came off
again, and we all got out into the street. About a dozen lean, ragged
"corbies," who are called porters and who are always lying in wait for
travelers, pounced upon us. They took down our baggage in a twinkling,
and putting it all into the street surrounded it, and chattered over
it, while M. and I stood in the rain and received first lessons in
Italian. How we did try to say something! but they couldn't talk
anything but in "ino" as aforesaid. The doctor finally found a man who
could speak a word or two of French, and leaving Mary, Alfred, and me
to keep watch over our pile of trunks, he went off with him to apply
for lodgings. I have heard many flowery accounts of first impressions
of Rome. I must say ours was somewhat sombre.

A young man came by and addressed us in English. How cheering! We
almost flew upon him. We begged him, at least, to lend us his Italian
to call another carriage, and he did so. A carriage which was passing
was luckily secured, and Mary and I, with all our store of boxes and
little parcels, were placed in it out of the rain, at least. Here we
sat while the doctor from time to time returned from his wanderings to
tell us he could find no place. "Can it be," said I, "that we are to
be obliged to spend a night in the streets?" What made it seem more
odd was the knowledge that, could we only find them, we had friends
enough in Rome who would be glad to entertain us. We began to
speculate on lodgings. Who knows what we may get entrapped into?
Alfred suggested stories he had read of beds placed on trap-doors,--of
testers which screwed down on people and smothered them; and so, when
at last the doctor announced lodgings found, we followed in rather an
uncertain frame of mind.

We alighted at a dirty stone passage, smelling of cats and onions,
damp, cold, and earthy, we went up stone stairways, and at last were
ushered into two very decent chambers, where we might lay our heads.
The "corbies" all followed us,--black-haired, black-browed, ragged,
and clamorous as ever. They insisted that we should pay the pretty
little sum of twenty francs, or four dollars, for bringing our trunks
about twenty steps. The doctor modestly but firmly declined to be thus
imposed upon, and then ensued a general "chatteration;" one and all
fell into attitudes, and the "inos" and "issimos" rolled freely. "For
pity's sake get them off," we said; so we made a truce for ten francs,
but still they clamored, forced their way even into our bedroom, and
were only repulsed by a loud and combined volley of "No, no, noes!"
which we all set up at once, upon which they retreated.

Our hostess was a little French woman, and that reassured us. I
examined the room, and seeing no trace of treacherous testers, or
trap-doors, resolved to avail myself without fear of the invitation of
a very clean, white bed, where I slept till morning without dreaming.

The next day we sent our cards to M. Bartholimeu, and before we had
finished breakfast he was on the spot. We then learned that he had
been watching the diligence office for over a week, and that he had
the pleasant set of apartments we are now occupying all ready and
waiting for us.

_March 1._

MY DEAR HUSBAND,--Every day is opening to me a new world of wonders
here in Italy. I have been in the Catacombs, where I was shown many
memorials of the primitive Christians, and to-day we are going to the
Vatican. The weather is sunny and beautiful beyond measure, and
flowers are springing in the fields on every side. Oh, my dear, how I
do long to have you here to enjoy what you are so much better fitted
to appreciate than I,--this wonderful combination of the past and the
present, of what has been and what is!

Think of strolling leisurely through the Forum, of seeing the very
stones that were laid in the time of the Republic, of rambling over
the ruined Palace of the Cæsars, of walking under the Arch of Titus,
of seeing the Dying Gladiator, and whole ranges of rooms filled with
wonders of art, all in one morning! All this I did on Saturday, and
only wanted you. You know so much more and could appreciate so much
better. At the Palace of the Cæesars, where the very dust is a
_mélange_ of exquisite marbles, I saw for the first time an
acanthus growing, and picked my first leaf.

Our little _ménage_ moves on prosperously; the doctor takes
excellent care of us and we of him. One sees everybody here at Rome,
John Bright, Mrs. Hemans' son, Mrs. Gaskell, etc., etc. Over five
thousand English travelers are said to be here. Jacob Abbot and wife
are coming. Rome is a world! Rome is an astonishment! Papal Rome is an
enchantress! Old as she is, she is like Niñon d'Enelos,--the young
fall in love with her.

You will hear next from us at Naples.

Affectionately yours,

H. B. S.

From Rome the travelers went to Naples, and after visiting Pompeii and
Herculaneum made the ascent of Vesuvius, a graphic account of which is
contained in a letter written at this time by Mrs. Stowe to her
daughters in Paris. After describing the preparations and start, she
says:--

"Gradually the ascent became steeper and steeper, till at length it
was all our horses could do to pull us up. The treatment of horses in
Naples is a thing that takes away much from the pleasure and comfort
of such travelers as have the least feeling for animals. The people
seem absolutely to have no consideration for them. You often see
vehicles drawn by one horse carrying fourteen or fifteen great, stout
men and women. This is the worse as the streets are paved with flat
stones which are exceedingly slippery. On going up hill the drivers
invariably race their horses, urging them on with a constant storm of
blows.

"As the ascent of the mountain became steeper, the horses panted and
trembled in a way that made us feel that we could not sit in the
carriage, yet the guide and driver never made the slightest motion to
leave the box. At last three of us got out and walked, and invited our
guide to do the same, yet with all this relief the last part of the
ascent was terrible, and the rascally fellows actually forced the
horses to it by beating them with long poles on the back of their
legs. No Englishman or American would ever allow a horse to be treated
so.

"The Hermitage is a small cabin, where one can buy a little wine or
any other refreshment one may need. There is a species of wine made of
the grapes of Vesuvius, called 'Lachryma Christi,' that has a great
reputation. Here was a miscellaneous collection of beggars, ragged
boys, men playing guitars, bawling donkey drivers, and people wanting
to sell sticks or minerals, the former to assist in the ascent, and
the latter as specimens of the place. In the midst of the commotion we
were placed on our donkeys, and the serious, pensive brutes moved
away. At last we reached the top of the mountain, and I gladly sprang
on firm land. The whole top of the mountain was covered with wavering
wreaths of smoke, from the shadows of which emerged two English
gentlemen, who congratulated us on our safe arrival, and assured us
that we were fortunate in our day, as the mountain was very active. We
could hear a hollow, roaring sound, like the burning of a great
furnace, but saw nothing. 'Is this all?' I said. 'Oh, no. Wait till
the guide comes up with the rest of the party,' and soon one after
another came up, and we then followed the guide up a cloudy, rocky
path, the noise of the fire constantly becoming nearer. Finally we
stood on the verge of a vast, circular pit about forty feet deep, the
floor of which is of black, ropy waves of congealed lava.

"The sides are sulphur cliffs, stained in every brilliant shade, from
lightest yellow to deepest orange and brown. In the midst of the lava
floor rises a black cone, the chimney of the great furnace. This was
burning and flaming like the furnace of a glass-house, and every few
moments throwing up showers of cinders and melted lava which fell with
a rattling sound on the black floor of the pit. One small bit of the
lava came over and fell at our feet, and a gentleman lighted his cigar
at it.

"All around where we stood the smoke was issuing from every chance
rent and fissure of the rock, and the Neapolitans who crowded round us
were every moment soliciting us to let them cook us an egg in one of
these rifts, and, overcome by persuasion, I did so, and found it very
nicely boiled, or rather steamed, though the shell tasted of Glauber's
salt and sulphur.

"The whole place recalled to my mind so vividly Milton's description
of the infernal regions, that I could not but believe that he had
drawn the imagery from this source. Milton, as we all know, was some
time in Italy, and, although I do not recollect any account of his
visiting Vesuvius, I cannot think how he should have shaped his
language so coincidently to the phenomena if he had not.

"On the way down the mountain our ladies astonished the natives by
making an express stipulation that our donkeys were not to be beaten,--
why, they could not conjecture. The idea of any feeling of compassion
for an animal is so foreign to a Neapolitan's thoughts that they
supposed it must be some want of courage on our part. When, once in a
while, the old habit so prevailed that the boy felt that he must
strike the donkey, and when I forbade him, he would say, 'Courage,
signora, courage.'

"Time would fail me to tell the whole of our adventures in Southern
Italy. We left it with regret, and I will tell you some time by word
of mouth what else we saw.

"We went by water from Naples to Leghorn, and were gloriously seasick,
all of us. From Leghorn we went to Florence, where we abode two weeks
nearly. Two days ago we left Florence and started for Venice, stopping
one day and two nights _en route_ at Bologna, Here we saw the
great university, now used as a library, the walls of which are
literally covered with the emblazoned names and coats of arms of
distinguished men who were educated there.

"_Venice_. The great trouble of traveling in Europe, or indeed of
traveling anywhere, is that you can never _catch_ romance. No
sooner are you in any place than being there seems the most natural,
matter-of-fact occurrence in the world. Nothing looks foreign or
strange to you. You take your tea and your dinner, eat, drink, and
sleep as aforetime, and scarcely realize where you are or what you are
seeing. But Venice is an exception to this state of things; it is all
romance from beginning to end, and never ceases to seem strange and
picturesque.

"It was a rainy evening when our cars rumbled over the long railroad
bridge across the lagoon that leads to the station. Nothing but flat,
dreary swamps, and then the wide expanse of sea on either side. The
cars stopped, and the train, being a long one, left us a little out of
the station. We got out in a driving rain, in company with flocks of
Austrian soldiers, with whom the third-class cars were filled. We went
through a long passage, and emerged into a room where all nations
seemed commingling; Italians, Germans, French, Austrians, Orientals,
all in wet weather trim.

"Soon, however, the news was brought that our baggage was looked out
and our gondolas ready.

"The first plunge under the low, black hood of a gondola, especially
of a rainy night, has something funereal in it. Four of us sat
cowering together, and looked, out of the rain-dropped little windows
at the sides, at the scene. Gondolas of all sizes were gliding up and
down, with their sharp, fishy-looking prows of steel pushing their
ways silently among each other, while gondoliers shouted and jabbered,
and made as much confusion in their way as terrestrial hackmen on dry
land. Soon, however, trunks and carpet-bags being adjusted, we pushed
off, and went gliding away up the Grand Canal, with a motion so calm
that we could scarce discern it except by the moving of objects on
shore. Venice, _la belle_, appeared to as much disadvantage as a
beautiful woman bedraggled in a thunder-storm."

"_Lake Como_. We stayed in Venice five days, and during that time
saw all the sights that it could enter the head of a _valet-de-
place_ to afflict us with. It is an affliction, however, for which
there is no remedy, because you want to see the things, and would be
very sorry if you went home without having done so. From Venice we
went to Milan to see the cathedral and Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last
Supper.' The former is superb, and of the latter I am convinced, from
the little that remains of it, that it _was_ the greatest picture
the world ever saw. We shall run back to Rome for Holy Week, and then
to Paris.

"_Rome_. From Lake Como we came back here for Holy Week, and now
it is over.

"'What do you think of it?'

"Certainly no thoughtful or sensitive person, no person impressible
either through the senses or the religious feelings, can fail to feel
it deeply.

"In the first place, the mere fact of the different nations of the
earth moving, so many of them, with one accord, to so old and
venerable a city, to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, is
something in itself affecting. Whatever dispute there may be about the
other commemorative feasts of Christendom, the time of this epoch is
fixed unerringly by the Jews' Passover. That great and solemn feast,
therefore, stands as an historical monument to mark the date of the
most important and thrilling events which this world ever witnessed.

"When one sees the city filling with strangers, pilgrims arriving on
foot, the very shops decorating themselves in expectancy, every church
arranging its services, the prices even of temporal matters raised by
the crowd and its demands, he naturally thinks, Wherefore, why is all
this? and he must be very careless indeed if it do not bring to mind,
in a more real way than before, that at this very time, so many years
ago, Christ and his apostles were living actors in the scenes thus
celebrated to-day."

As the spring was now well advanced, it was deemed advisable to bring
this pleasant journey to a close, and for Mrs. Stowe at least it was
imperative that she return to America. Therefore, leaving Rome with
many regrets and lingering, backward glances, the two sisters hurried
to Paris, where they found their brother-in-law, Mr. John Hooker,
awaiting them. Under date of May 3 Mrs. Stowe writes from Paris to her
husband: "Here I am once more, safe in Paris after a fatiguing
journey. I found the girls well, and greatly improved in their
studies. As to bringing them home with me now, I have come to the
conclusion that it would not be expedient. A few months more of study
here will do them a world of good. I have, therefore, arranged that
they shall come in November in the Arago, with a party of friends who
are going at that time.

"John Hooker is here, so Mary is going with him and some others for a
few weeks into Switzerland. I have some business affairs to settle in
England, and shall sail from Liverpool in the Europa on the sixth of
June. I am _so_ homesick to-day, and long with a great longing to
be with you once more. I am impatient to go, and yet dread the voyage.
Still, to reach you I must commit myself once more to the ocean, of
which at times I have a nervous horror, as to the arms of my Father.
'The sea is his, and He made it.' It is a rude, noisy old servant, but
it is always obedient to his will, and cannot carry me beyond his
power and love, wherever or to whatever it bears me."

Having established her daughters in a Protestant boarding-school in
Paris, Mrs. Stowe proceeded to London. While there she received the
following letter from Harriet Martineau:--

AMBLESIDE, _June_ 1.

DEAR MRS. STOWE,--I have been at my wits' end to learn how to reach
you, as your note bore no direction but "London." Arnolds, Croppers,
and others could give no light, and the newspapers tell only where you
_had_ been. So I commit this to your publishers, trusting that it
will find you somewhere, and in time, perhaps, bring you here.
_Can't_ you come? You are aware that we shall never meet if you
don't come soon. I see no strangers at all, but I hope to have breath
and strength enough for a little talk with you, if you could come. You
could have perfect freedom at the times when I am laid up, and we
could seize my "capability seasons" for our talk.

The weather and scenery are usually splendid just now. Did I see you
(in white frock and black silk apron) when I was in Ohio in 1835? Your
sister I knew well, and I have a clear recollection of your father. I
believe and hope you were the young lady in the black silk apron.

Do you know I rather dreaded reading your book! Sick people _are_
weak: and one of my chief weaknesses is dislike of novels,--(except
some old ones which I almost know by heart). I knew that with you I
should be safe from the cobweb-spinning of our modern subjective
novelists and the jaunty vulgarity of our "funny philosophers"--the
Dickens sort, who have tired us out. But I dreaded the alternative,--
the too strong interest. But oh! the delight I have had in "Dred!" The
genius carries all before it, and drowns everything in glorious
pleasure. So marked a work of genius claims exemption from every sort
of comparison; but, _as you ask for my opinion of the book_, you
may like to know that I think it far superior to "Uncle Tom." I have
no doubt that a multitude of people will say it is a falling off,
because they made up their minds that any new book of yours must be
inferior to that, and because it is so rare a thing for a prodigious
fame to be sustained by a second book; but, in my own mind I am
entirely convinced that the second book is by far the best. Such
faults as you have are in the artistic department, and there is less
defect in "Dred" than in "Uncle Tom," and the whole material and
treatment seem to me richer and more substantial. I have had critiques
of "Dred" from the two very wisest people I know--perfectly unlike
each other (the critics, I mean), and they delight me by thinking
exactly like each other and like me. They distinctly prefer it to
"Uncle Tom." To say the plain truth, it seems to me so splendid a work
of genius that nothing that I can say can give you an idea of the
intensity of admiration with which I read it. It seemed to me, as I
told my nieces, that our English fiction writers had better shut up
altogether and have done with it, for one will have no patience with
any but didactic writing after yours. My nieces (and you may have
heard that Maria, my nurse, is very, very clever) are thoroughly
possessed with the book, and Maria says she feels as if a fresh
department of human life had been opened to her since this day week. I
feel the freshness no less, while, from my travels, I can be even more
assured of the truthfulness of your wonderful representation. I see no
limit to the good it may do by suddenly splitting open Southern life,
for everybody to look into. It is precisely the thing that is most
wanted,--just as "Uncle Tom" was wanted, three years since, to show
what negro slavery in your republic was like. It is plantation-life,
particularly in the present case, that I mean. As for your exposure of
the weakness and helplessness to the churches, I deeply honor you for
the courage with which you have made the exposure; but I don't suppose
that any amendment is to be looked for in that direction. You have
unburdened your own soul in that matter, and if they had been
corrigible, you would have helped a good many more. But I don't expect
that result. The Southern railing at you will be something unequaled,
I suppose. I hear that three of us have the honor of being abused from
day to day already, as most portentous and shocking women, you, Mrs.
Chapman, and myself as (the traveler of twenty years ago). Not only
newspapers, but pamphlets of such denunciation are circulated, I'm
told. I'm afraid now I, and even Mrs. Chapman, must lose our fame, and
all the railing will be engrossed by you. My little function is to
keep English people tolerably right, by means of a London daily paper,
while the danger of misinformation and misreading from the "Times"
continues. I can't conceive how such a paper as the "Times" can fail
to be _better informed_ than it is. At times it seems as if its
New York correspondent was making game of it. The able and excellent
editor of the "Daily News" gives me complete liberty on American
subjects, and Mrs. Chapman's and other friends' constant supply of
information enables me to use this liberty for making the cause better
understood. I hope I shall hear that you are coming. It is like a
great impertinence--my having written so freely about your book: but
you asked my opinion,--that is all I can say. Thank you much for
sending the book to me. If you come you will write our names in it,
and this will make it a valuable legacy to a nephew or niece.

Believe me gratefully and affectionately yours,

HARRIET MARTINEAU.

In London Mrs. Stowe also received the following letter from Prescott,
the historian, which after long wandering had finally rested quietly
at her English publishers awaiting her coming.

PEPPERELL, _October_ 4, 1856.

MY DEAR MRS. STOWE,--I am much obliged to you for the copy of "Dred"
which Mr. Phillips put into my hands. It has furnished us our
evening's amusement since we have been in the country, where we spend
the brilliant month of October.

The African race are much indebted to you for showing up the good
sides of their characters, their cheerfulness, and especially their
powers of humor, which are admirably set off by their peculiar
_patois_, in the same manner as the expression of the Scottish
sentiment is by the peculiar Scottish dialect. People differ; but I
was most struck among your characters with Uncle Tiff and Nina. The
former a variation of good old Uncle Tom, though conceived in a
merrier vein than belonged to that sedate personage; the difference of
their tempers in this respect being well suited to the difference of
the circumstances in which they were placed. But Nina, to my mind, is
the true _hero_ of the book, which I should have named after her
instead of "Dred." She is indeed a charming conception, full of what
is called character, and what is masculine in her nature is toned down
by such a delightful sweetness and kindness of disposition as makes
her perfectly fascinating. I cannot forgive you for smothering her so
prematurely. No _dramatis personæ_ could afford the loss of such
a character. But I will not bore you with criticism, of which you have
had quite enough. I must thank you, however, for giving Tom Gordon a
guttapercha cane to perform his flagellations with.

I congratulate you on the brilliant success of the work, unexampled
even in this age of authorship; and, as Mr. Phillips informs me,
greater even in the old country than in ours. I am glad you are likely
to settle the question and show that a Yankee writer can get a
copyright in England--little thanks to our own government, which
compels him to go there in order to get it.

With sincere regard, believe me, dear Mrs. Stowe,

Very truly yours,

WM. H. PRESCOTT.

From Liverpool, on the eve of her departure for America, Mrs. Stowe
wrote to her daughters in Paris:--

I spent the day before leaving London with Lady Byron. She is lovelier
than ever, and inquired kindly about you both. I left London to go to
Manchester, and reaching there found the Rev. Mr. Gaskell waiting to
welcome me in the station. Mrs. Gaskell seems lovely at home, where
besides being a writer she proves herself to be a first-class
housekeeper, and performs all the duties of a minister's wife. After
spending a delightful day with her I came here to the beautiful
"Dingle," which is more enchanting than ever. I am staying with Mrs.
Edward Cropper, Lord Denman's daughter.

I want you to tell Aunt Mary that Mr. Ruskin lives with his father at
a place called Denmark Hill, Camberwell. He has told me that the
gallery of Turner pictures there is open to me or my friends at any
time of the day or night. Both young and old Mr. Ruskin are fine
fellows, sociable and hearty, and will cordially welcome any of my
friends who desire to look at their pictures.

I write in haste, as I must be aboard the ship tomorrow at eight
o'clock. So good-by, my dear girls, from your ever affectionate
mother.

Her last letter written before sailing was to Lady Byron, and serves
to show how warm an intimacy had sprung up between them. It was as
follows:--

_June_ 5, 1857.

DEAR FRIEND,--I left you with a strange sort of yearning, throbbing
feeling--you make me feel quite as I did years ago, a sort of
girlishness quite odd for me. I have felt a strange longing to send
you something. Don't smile when you see what it turns out to be. I
have a weakness for your pretty Parian things; it is one of my own
home peculiarities to have strong passions for pretty tea-cups and
other little matters for my own quiet meals, when, as often happens, I
am too unwell to join the family. So I send you a cup made of
primroses, a funny little pitcher, quite large enough for cream, and a
little vase for violets and primroses--which will be lovely together--
and when you use it think of me and that I love you more than I can
say.

I often think how strange it is that I should _know_ you--you who
were a sort of legend of my early days--that I should love you is only
a natural result. You seem to me to stand on the confines of that land
where the poor formalities which separate hearts here pass like mist
before the sun, and therefore it is that I feel the language of love
must not startle you as strange or unfamiliar. You are so nearly there
in spirit that I fear with every adieu that it may be the last; yet
did you pass within the veil I should not feel you lost.

I have got past the time when I feel that my heavenly friends are
_lost_ by going there. I feel them _nearer_, rather than
farther off.

So good-by, dear, dear friend, and if you see morning in our Father's
house before I do, carry my love to those that wait for me, and if I
pass first, you will find me there, and we shall love each other
_forever_.

Ever yours,

H. B. STOWE.

The homeward voyage proved a prosperous one, and it was followed by a
joyous welcome to the "Cabin" in Andover. The world seemed very
bright, and amid all her happiness came no intimation of the terrible
blow about to descend upon the head of the devoted mother.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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