The Project Gutenberg eBook of Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Volume II

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Title: Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Volume II

Author: Margaret Fuller

Editor: W. H. Channing

James Freeman Clarke

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Release date: August 3, 2004 [eBook #13106]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Leah Moser and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.



* * * * *

  Only a learned and a manly soul
    I purposed her, that should with even powers
  The rock, the spindle, and the shears control
    Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours.


  Però che ogni diletto nostro e doglia
  Sta in sì e nò saper, voler, potere;
  Adunque quel sol può, che col dovere
  Ne trae la ragion fuor di sua soglia.

  Adunque tu, lettor di queste note,
  S'a tè vuoi esser buono, e agli altri caro,
  Vogli sempre poter quel che tu debbi.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851,

  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts

  Stereotyped by






IX. HOMEWARD By W.H. Channing



* * * * *

  Lo raggio della grazia, onde s'accende
  Verace amore, e che poi cresce amando,
  Multiplicato in tè tanto risplende,
  Che ti conduce su per quella scala,
  U' senza risalir nessun discende,
  Qual ti negasse 'l vin della sua fiàla
  Por la tua sete, in libertà non fôra,
  Se non com' acqua oh' al mar non si cala."


  "Weite Welt und breites Leben,
  Langer Jahre redlich Streben,
  Stets geforscht und stets gegründet,
  Nie geschlossen, oft geründet,
  Aeltestes bewahrt mit Treue,
  Freundlich aufgefasstes Neue,
  Heitern Sinn und reine Zwecke:
  Nun! man kommt wohl eine Strecke."


                  "My purpose holds
  To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
  Of all the western stars, until I die.
  It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
  It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles."


"Remember how august the heart is. It contains the temple not only of Love but of Conscience; and a whisper is heard from the extremity of one to the extremity of the other."


  "If all the gentlest-hearted friends I knew
   Concentred in one heart their gentleness,
   That still grew gentler till its pulse was less
   For life than pity,—I should yet be slow
   To bring my own heart nakedly below
   The palm of such a friend, that he should press
   My false, ideal joy and fickle woe
   Out to full light and knowledge."




* * * * *


It was while Margaret was residing at Jamaica Plain, in the summer of 1839, that we first really met as friends, though for several years previous we had been upon terms of kindest mutual regard. And, as the best way of showing how her wonderful character opened upon me, the growth of our acquaintance shall be briefly traced.

The earliest recollection of Margaret is as a schoolmate of my sisters, in Boston. At that period she was considered a prodigy of talent and accomplishment; but a sad feeling prevailed, that she had been overtasked by her father, who wished to train her like a boy, and that she was paying the penalty for undue application, in nearsightedness, awkward manners, extravagant tendencies of thought, and a pedantic style of talk, that made her a butt for the ridicule of frivolous companions. Some seasons later, I call to mind seeing, at the "Commencements" and "Exhibitions" of Harvard University, a girl, plain in appearance, but of dashing air, who was invariably the centre of a listening group, and kept their merry interest alive by sparkles of wit and incessant small-talk. The bystanders called her familiarly, "Margaret," "Margaret Fuller;" for, though young, she was already noted for conversational gifts, and had the rare skill of attracting to her society, not spirited collegians only, but men mature in culture and of established reputation. It was impossible not to admire her fluency and fun; yet, though curiosity was piqued as to this entertaining personage, I never sought an introduction, but, on the contrary, rather shunned encounter with one so armed from head to foot in saucy sprightliness.

About 1830, however, we often met in the social circles of Cambridge, and I began to observe her more nearly. At first, her vivacity, decisive tone, downrightness, and contempt of conventional standards, continued to repel. She appeared too intense in expression, action, emphasis, to be pleasing, and wanting in that retenue which we associate with delicate dignity. Occasionally, also, words flashed from her of such scathing satire, that prudence counselled the keeping at safe distance from a body so surcharged with electricity. Then, again, there was an imperial—shall it be said imperious?—air, exacting deference to her judgments and loyalty to her behests, that prompted pride to retaliatory measures. She paid slight heed, moreover, to the trim palings of etiquette, but swept through the garden-beds and into the doorway of one's confidence so cavalierly, that a reserved person felt inclined to lock himself up in his sanctum. Finally, to the coolly-scanning eye, her friendships wore a look of such romantic exaggeration, that she seemed to walk enveloped in a shining fog of sentimentalism. In brief, it must candidly be confessed, that I then suspected her of affecting the part of a Yankee Corinna.

But soon I was charmed, unaware, with the sagacity of her sallies, the profound thoughts carelessly dropped by her on transient topics, the breadth and richness of culture manifested in her allusions or quotations, her easy comprehension of new views, her just discrimination, and, above all, her truthfulness. "Truth at all cost," was plainly her ruling maxim. This it was that made her criticism so trenchant, her contempt of pretence so quick and stern, her speech so naked in frankness, her gaze so searching, her whole attitude so alert. Her estimates of men, books, manners, events, art, duty, destiny, were moulded after a grand ideal; and she was a severe judge from the very loftiness of her standard. Her stately deportment, border though it might on arrogance, but expressed high-heartedness. Her independence, even if haughty and rash, was the natural action of a self-centred will, that waited only fit occasion to prove itself heroic. Her earnestness to read the hidden history of others was the gauge of her own emotion. The enthusiasm that made her speech so affluent, when measured by the average scale, was the unconscious overflow of a poetic temperament. And the ardor of her friends' affection proved the faithfulness of her love. Thus gradually the mist melted away, till I caught a glimpse of her real self. We were one evening talking of American literature,—she contrasting its boyish crudity, half boastful, half timid, with the tempered, manly equipoise of thorough-bred European writers, and I asserting that in its mingled practicality and aspiration might be read bright auguries; when, betrayed by sympathy, she laid bare her secret hope of what Woman might be and do, as an author, in our Republic. The sketch was an outline only, and dashed off with a few swift strokes, but therein appeared her own portrait, and we were strangers no more.

It was through the medium of others, however, that at this time I best learned to appreciate Margaret's nobleness of nature and principle. My most intimate friend in the Theological School, James Freeman Clarke, was her constant companion in exploring the rich gardens of German literature; and from his descriptions I formed a vivid image of her industry, comprehensiveness, buoyancy, patience, and came to honor her intelligent interest in high problems of science, her aspirations after spiritual greatness, her fine æsthetic taste, her religiousness. By power to quicken other minds, she showed how living was her own. Yet more near were we brought by common attraction toward a youthful visitor in our circle, the untouched freshness of whose beauty was but the transparent garb of a serene, confiding, and harmonious soul, and whose polished grace, at once modest and naïve, sportive and sweet, fulfilled the charm of innate goodness of heart. Susceptible in temperament, anticipating with ardent fancy the lot of a lovely and refined woman, and morbidly exaggerating her own slight personal defects, Margaret seemed to long, as it were, to transfuse with her force this nymph-like form, and to fill her to glowing with her own lyric fire. No drop of envy tainted the sisterly love, with which she sought by genial sympathy thus to live in another's experience, to be her guardian-angel, to shield her from contact with the unworthy, to rouse each generous impulse, to invigorate thought by truth incarnate in beauty, and with unfelt ministry to weave bright threads in her web of fate. Thus more and more Margaret became an object of respectful interest, in whose honor, magnanimity and strength I learned implicitly to trust.

Separation, however, hindered our growing acquaintance, as we both left Cambridge, and, with the exception of a few chance meetings in Boston and a ramble or two in the glens and on the beaches of Rhode Island, held no further intercourse till the summer of 1839, when, as has been already said, the friendship, long before rooted, grew up and leafed and bloomed.



* * * * *

I have no hope of conveying to readers my sense of the beauty of our relation, as it lies in the past with brightness falling on it from Margaret's risen spirit. It would be like printing a chapter of autobiography, to describe what is so grateful in memory, its influence upon one's self. And much of her inner life, as confidentially disclosed, could not be represented without betraying a sacred trust. All that can be done is to open the outer courts, and give a clue for loving hearts to follow. To such these few sentences may serve as a guide.

'When I feel, as I do this morning, the poem of existence, I am repaid for all trial. The bitterness of wounded affection, the disgust at unworthy care, the aching sense of how far deeds are transcended by our lowest aspirations, pass away as I lean on the bosom of Nature, and inhale new life from her breath. Could but love, like knowledge, be its own reward!'

'Oftentimes I have found in those of my own sex more gentleness, grace, and purity, than in myself; but seldom the heroism which I feel within my own breast. I blame not those who think the heart cannot bleed because it is so strong; but little they dream of what lies concealed beneath the determined courage. Yet mine has been the Spartan sternness, smiling while it hides the wound. I long rather for the Christian spirit, which even on the cross prays, "Father, forgive them," and rises above fortitude to heavenly satisfaction.'

* * * * *

'Remember that only through aspirations, which sometimes make me what is called unreasonable, have I been enabled to vanquish unpropitious circumstances, and save my soul alive.'

* * * * *

'All the good I have ever done has been by calling on every nature for its highest. I will admit that sometimes I have been wanting in gentleness, but never in tenderness, nor in noble faith.'

* * * * *

'The heart which hopes and dares is also accessible to terror, and this falls upon it like a thunderbolt. It can never defend itself at the moment, it is so surprised. There is no defence but to strive for an equable temper of courageous submission, of obedient energy, that shall make assault less easy to the foe.

'This is the dart within the heart, as well as I can tell it:—At moments, the music of the universe, which daily I am upheld by hearing, seems to stop. I fall like a bird when the sun is eclipsed, not looking for such darkness. The sense of my individual law—that lamp of life—flickers. I am repelled in what is most natural to me. I feel as, when a suffering child, I would go and lie with my face to the ground, to sob away my little life.'

* * * * *

'In early years, when, though so frank as to the thoughts of the mind, I put no heart confidence in any human being, my refuge was in my journal. I have burned those records of my youth, with its bitter tears, and struggles, and aspirations. Those aspirations were high, and have gained only broader foundations and wider reach. But the leaves had done their work. For years to write there, instead of speaking, had enabled me to soothe myself; and the Spirit was often my friend, when I sought no other. Once again I am willing to take up the cross of loneliness. Resolves are idle, but the anguish of my soul has been, deep. It will not be easy to profane life by rhetoric.'

* * * * *

'I woke thinking of the monks of La Trappe;—how could they bear their silence? When the game of life was lost for me, in youthful anguish I knew well the desire for that vow; but if I had taken it, my heart would have burned out my physical existence long ago.'

* * * * *

'Save me from plunging into the depths to learn the worst, or from being led astray by the winged joys of childish feeling. I pray for truth in proportion as there is strength to receive.'

* * * * *

'My law is incapable of a charter. I pass all bounds, and cannot do otherwise. Those whom it seems to me I am to meet again in the Ages, I meet, soul to soul, now. I have no knowledge of any circumstances except the degree of affinity.'

* * * * *

'I feel that my impatient nature needs the dark days. I would learn the art of limitation, without compromise, and act out my faith with a delicate fidelity. When loneliness becomes too oppressive, I feel Him drawing me nearer, to be soothed by the smile of an All-Intelligent Love. He will not permit the freedom essential to growth to be checked. If I can give myself up to Him, I shall not be too proud, too impetuous, neither too timid, and fearful of a wound or cloud.'



* * * * *

The summer of 1839 saw the full dawn of the Transcendental movement in New England. The rise of this enthusiasm was as mysterious as that of any form of revival; and only they who were of the faith could comprehend how bright was this morning-time of a new hope. Transcendentalism was an assertion of the inalienable integrity of man, of the immanence of Divinity in instinct. In part, it was a reaction against Puritan Orthodoxy; in part, an effect of renewed study of the ancients, of Oriental Pantheists, of Plato and the Alexandrians, of Plutarch's Morals, Seneca and Epictetus; in part, the natural product of the culture of the place and time. On the somewhat stunted stock of Unitarianism,—whose characteristic dogma was trust in individual reason as correlative to Supreme Wisdom,—had been grafted German Idealism, as taught by masters of most various schools,—by Kant and Jacobi, Fichte and Novalis, Schelling and Hegel, Schleiermacher and De Wette, by Madame de Stael, Cousin, Coleridge, and Carlyle; and the result was a vague yet exalting conception of the godlike nature of the human spirit. Transcendentalism, as viewed by its disciples, was a pilgrimage from the idolatrous world of creeds and rituals to the temple of the Living God in the soul. It was a putting to silence of tradition and formulas, that the Sacred Oracle might be heard through intuitions of the single-eyed and pure-hearted. Amidst materialists, zealots, and sceptics, the Transcendentalist believed in perpetual inspiration, the miraculous power of will, and a birthright to universal good. He sought to hold communion face to face with the unnameable Spirit of his spirit, and gave himself up to the embrace of nature's beautiful joy, as a babe seeks the breast of a mother. To him the curse seemed past; and love was without fear. "All mine is thine" sounded forth to him in ceaseless benediction, from flowers and stars, through the poetry, art, heroism of all ages, in the aspirations of his own genius, and the budding promise of the time. His work was to be faithful, as all saints, sages, and lovers of man had been, to Truth, as the very Word of God. His maxims were,—"Trust, dare and be; infinite good is ready for your asking; seek and find. All that your fellows can claim or need is that you should become, in fact, your highest self; fulfil, then, your ideal." Hence, among the strong, withdrawal to private study and contemplation, that they might be "alone with the Alone;" solemn yet glad devotedness to the Divine leadings in the inmost will; calm concentration of thought to wait for and receive wisdom; dignified independence, stern yet sweet, of fashion and public opinion; honest originality of speech and conduct, exempt alike from apology or dictation, from servility or scorn. Hence, too, among the weak, whimsies, affectation, rude disregard of proprieties, slothful neglect of common duties, surrender to the claims of natural appetite, self-indulgence, self-absorption, and self-idolatry.

By their very posture of mind, as seekers of the new, the Transcendentalists were critics and "come-outers" from the old. Neither the church, the state, the college, society, nor even reform associations, had a hold upon their hearts. The past might be well enough for those who, without make-belief, could yet put faith in common dogmas and usages; but for them the matin-bells of a new day were chiming, and the herald-trump of freedom was heard upon the mountains. Hence, leaving ecclesiastical organizations, political parties, and familiar circles, which to them were brown with drought, they sought in covert nooks of friendship for running waters, and fruit from the tree of life. The journal, the letter, became of greater worth than the printed page; for they felt that systematic results were not yet to be looked for, and that in sallies of conjecture, glimpses and flights of ecstasy, the "Newness" lifted her veil to her votaries. Thus, by mere attraction of affinity, grew together the brotherhood of the "Like-minded," as they were pleasantly nicknamed by outsiders, and by themselves, on the ground that no two were of the same opinion. The only password of membership to this association, which had no compact, records, or officers, was a hopeful and liberal spirit; and its chance conventions were determined merely by the desire of the caller for a "talk," or by the arrival of some guest from a distance with a budget of presumptive novelties. Its "symposium" was a pic-nic, whereto each brought of his gains, as he felt prompted, a bunch of wild grapes from the woods, or bread-corn from his threshing-floor. The tone of the assemblies was cordial welcome for every one's peculiarity; and scholars, farmers, mechanics, merchants, married women, and maidens, met there on a level of courteous respect. The only guest not tolerated was intolerance; though strict justice might add, that these "Illuminati" were as unconscious of their special cant as smokers are of the perfume of their weed, and that a professed declaration of universal independence turned out in practice to be rather oligarchic.

Of the class of persons most frequently found at these meetings
Margaret has left the following sketch:—

'"I am not mad, most noble Festus," was Paul's rejoinder, as he turned upon his vulgar censor with the grace of a courtier, the dignity of a prophet, and the mildness of a saint. But many there are, who, adhering to the faith of the soul with that unusual earnestness which the world calls "mad," can answer their critics only by the eloquence of their characters and lives. Now, the other day, while visiting a person whose highest merit, so far as I know, is to save his pennies, I was astounded by hearing him allude to some of most approved worth among us, thus: "You know we consider those men insane."

'What this meant, I could not at first well guess, so completely was my scale of character turned topsy-turvy. But revolving the subject afterward, I perceived that WE was the multiple of Festus, and THOSE MEN of Paul. All the circumstances seemed the same as in that Syrian hall; for the persons in question were they who cared more for doing good than for fortune and success,—more for the one risen from the dead than for fleshly life,—more for the Being in whom we live and move than for King Agrippa.

'Among this band of candidates for the mad-house, I found the young poet who valued insight of nature's beauty, and the power of chanting to his fellow-men a heavenly music, above the prospect of fortune, political power, or a standing in fashionable society. At the division of the goods of this earth, he was wandering like Schiller's poet. But the difference between American and German regulations would seem to be, that in Germany the poet, when not "with Jove," is left at peace on earth; while here he is, by a self-constituted police, declared "mad."

'Another of this band was the young girl who, early taking a solemn view of the duties of life, found it difficult to serve an apprenticeship to its follies. She could not turn her sweetness into "manner," nor cultivate love of approbation at the expense of virginity of heart. In so called society she found no outlet for her truest, fairest self, and so preferred to live with external nature, a few friends, her pencil, instrument, and books. She, they say, is "mad."

'And he, the enthusiast for reform, who gives away fortune, standing in the world, peace, and only not life, because bigotry is now afraid to exact the pound of flesh as well as the ducats,—he, whose heart beats high with hopes for the welfare of his race, is "mad."

'And he, the philosopher, who does not tie down his speculation to the banner of the day, but lets the wings of his thought upbear him where they will, as if they were stronger and surer than the balloon let off for the amusement of the populace,—he must be "mad." Off with him to the moon! that paradise of noble fools, who had visions of possibilities too grand and lovely for this sober earth.

'And ye, friends, and lovers, who see, through all the films of human nature, in those you love, a divine energy, worthy of creatures who have their being in very God, ye, too, are "mad" to think they can walk in the dust, and yet shake it from their feet when they come upon the green. These are no winged Mercuries, no silver-sandalled Madonnas. Listen to "the world's" truth and soberness, and we will show you that your heart would be as well placed in a hospital, as in these air-born palaces.

'And thou, priest, seek thy God among the people, and not in the shrine. The light need not penetrate thine own soul. Thou canst catch the true inspiration from the eyes of thy auditors. Not the Soul of the World, not the ever-flowing voice of nature, but the articulate accents of practical utility, should find thy ear ever ready. Keep always among men, and consider what they like; for in the silence of thine own breast will be heard the voices that make men "mad." Why shouldst thou judge of the consciousness of others by thine own? May not thine own soul have been made morbid, by retiring too much within? If Jesus of Nazareth had not fasted and prayed so much alone, the devil could never have tempted him; if he had observed the public mind more patiently and carefully, he would have waited till the time was ripe, and the minds of men prepared for what he had to say. He would thus have escaped the ignominious death, which so prematurely cut short his "usefulness." Jewry would thus, gently, soberly, and without disturbance, have been led to a better course.

'"Children of this generation!"—ye Festuses and Agrippas!—ye are wiser, we grant, than "the children of light;" yet we advise you to commend to a higher tribunal those whom much learning, or much love, has made "mad." For if they stay here, almost will they persuade even you!'

Amidst these meetings of the Transcendentalists it was, that, after years of separation, I again found Margaret. Of this body she was member by grace of nature. Her romantic freshness of heart, her craving for the truth, her self-trust, had prepared her from childhood to be a pioneer in prairie-land; and her discipline in German schools had given definite form and tendency to her idealism. Her critical yet aspiring intellect filled her with longing for germs of positive affirmation in place of the chaff of thrice-sifted negation; while her æsthetic instinct responded in accord to the praise of Beauty as the beloved heir of Good and Truth, whose right it is to reign. On the other hand, strong common-sense saved her from becoming visionary, while she was too well-read as a scholar to be caught by conceits, and had been too sternly tried by sorrow to fall into fanciful effeminacy. It was a pleasing surprise to see how this friend of earlier days was acknowledged as a peer of the realm, in this new world of thought. Men,—her superiors in years, fame and social position,—treated her more with the frankness due from equal to equal, than the half-condescending deference with which scholars are wont to adapt themselves to women. They did not talk down to her standard, nor translate their dialect into popular phrase, but trusted to her power of interpretation. It was evident that they prized her verdict, respected her criticism, feared her rebuke, and looked to her as an umpire. Very observable was it, also, how, in side-talks with her, they became confidential, seemed to glow and brighten into their best mood, and poured out in full measure what they but scantily hinted in the circle at large.



* * * * *

It was quite a study to watch the phases through which Margaret passed, in one of these assemblies. There was something in the air and step with which she chose her place in the company, betokening an instinctive sense, that, in intellect, she was of blood royal and needed to ask no favors. And then she slowly gathered her attention to take in the significance of the scene. Near-sighted and habitually using an eye-glass, she rapidly scanned the forms and faces, pausing intently where the expression of particular heads or groups suggested thought, and ending her survey with some apt home-thrust to her next neighbors, as if to establish full rapport, and so to become a medium for the circulating life. Only when thus in magnetic relations with all present, by a clear impress of their state and place, did she seem prepared to rise to a higher stage of communion. Then she listened, with ear finely vibrating to every tone, with all capacities responsive in sympathy, with a swift and ductile power of appreciation, that made her feel to the quick the varying moods of different speakers, and yet the while with coolest self-possession. Now and then a slight smile, flickering over her countenance, as lightning plays on the surface of a cloud, marked the inward process whereby she was harmonizing in equilibrium opposing thoughts. And, as occasion offered, a felicitous quotation, pungent apothegm, or symbolic epithet, dropped unawares in undertone, showed how swiftly scattered rays were brought in her mind to a focus.

When her turn came, by a graceful transition she resumed the subject where preceding speakers had left it, and, briefly summing up their results, proceeded to unfold her own view. Her opening was deliberate, like the progress of some massive force gaining its momentum; but as she felt her way, and moving in a congenial element, the sweep of her speech became grand. The style of her eloquence was sententious, free from prettiness, direct, vigorous, charged with vitality. Articulateness, just emphasis and varied accent, brought out most delicate shades and brilliant points of meaning, while a rhythmical collocation of words gave a finished form to every thought. She was affluent in historic illustration and literary allusion, as well as in novel hints. She knew how to concentrate into racy phrases the essential truth gathered from wide research, and distilled with patient toil; and by skilful treatment she could make green again the wastes of common-place. Her statements, however rapid, showed breadth of comprehension, ready memory, impartial judgment, nice analysis of differences, power of penetrating through surfaces to realities, fixed regard to central laws and habitual communion with the Life of life. Critics, indeed, might have been tempted to sneer at a certain oracular grandiloquence, that bore away her soberness in moments of elation; though even the most captious must presently have smiled at the humor of her descriptive touches, her dexterous exposure of folly and pretension, the swift stroke of her bright wit, her shrewd discernment, promptitude, and presence of mind. The reverential, too, might have been pained at the sternness wherewith popular men, measures, and established customs, were tried and found guilty, at her tribunal; but even while blaming her aspirations as rash, revolutionary and impractical, no honest conservative could fail to recognize the sincerity of her aim. And every deep observer of character would have found the explanation of what seemed vehement or too high-strung, in the longing of a spirited woman to break every trammel that checked her growth or fettered her movement.

In conversations like these, one saw that the richness of Margaret's genius resulted from a rare combination of opposite qualities. To her might have been well applied the words first used as describing George Sand: "Thou large-brained Woman, and large-hearted Man." She blended in closest union and swift interplay feminine receptiveness with masculine energy. She was at once impressible and creative, impulsive and deliberate, pliant in sympathy yet firmly self-centred, confidingly responsive while commanding in originality. By the vivid intensity of her conceptions, she brought out in those around their own consciousness, and, by the glowing vigor of her intellect, roused into action their torpid powers. On the other hand, she reproduced a truth, whose germ had just been imbibed from others, moulded after her own image and quickened by her own life, with marvellous rapidity. And the presence of congenial minds so stimulated the prolific power of her imagination, that she was herself astonished at the fresh beauty of her new-born thoughts. 'There is a mortifying sense,' she writes,

'of having played the Mirabeau after a talk with a circle of intelligent persons. They come with a store of acquired knowledge and reflection, on the subject in debate, about which I may know little, and have reflected less; yet, by mere apprehensiveness and prompt intuition, I may appear their superior. Spontaneously I appropriate all their material, and turn it to my own ends, as if it was my inheritance from a long train of ancestors. Rays of truth flash out at the moment, and they are startled by the light thrown over their familiar domain. Still they are gainers, for I give them new impulse, and they go on their way rejoicing in the bright glimpses they have caught. I should despise myself, if I purposely appeared thus brilliant, but I am inspired as by a power higher than my own.'

All friends will bear witness to the strict fidelity of this sketch. There were seasons when she seemed borne irresistibly on to the verge of prophecy, and fully embodied one's notion of a sibyl.

Admirable as Margaret appeared in public, I was yet more affected by this peculiar mingling of impressibility and power to influence, when brought within her private sphere. I know not how otherwise to describe her subtle charm, than by saying that she was at once a clairvoyante and a magnetizer. She read another's bosom-secret, and she imparted of her own force. She interpreted the cipher in the talisman of one's destiny, that he had tried in vain to spell alone; by sympathy she brought out the invisible characters traced by experience on his heart; and in the mirror of her conscience he might see the image of his very self, as dwarfed in actual appearance, or developed after the divine ideal. Her sincerity was terrible. In her frank exposure no foible was spared, though by her very reproof she roused dormant courage and self-confidence. And so unerring seemed her insight, that her companion felt as if standing bare before a disembodied spirit, and communicated without reserve thoughts and emotions, which, even to himself, he had scarcely named.

This penetration it was that caused Margaret to be so dreaded, in general society, by superficial observers. They, who came nigh enough to test the quality of her spirit, could not but perceive how impersonal was her justice; but, contrasted with the dead flat of conventional tolerance, her candor certainly looked rugged and sharp. The frivolous were annoyed at her contempt of their childishness, the ostentatious piqued at her insensibility to their show, and the decent scared lest they should be stripped of their shams; partisans were vexed by her spurning their leaders; and professional sneerers,—civil in public to those whom in private they slandered,—could not pardon the severe truth whereby she drew the sting from their spite. Indeed, how could so undisguised a censor but shock the prejudices of the moderate, and wound the sensibilities of the diffident; how but enrage the worshippers of new demi-gods in literature, art and fashion, whose pet shrines she demolished; how but cut to the quick, alike by silence or by speech, the self-love of the vain, whose claims she ignored? So gratuitous, indeed, appeared her hypercriticism, that I could not refrain from remonstrance, and to one of my appeals she thus replied:

'If a horror for the mania of little great men, so prevalent in this country,—if aversion to the sentimental exaggerations to which so many minds are prone,—if finding that most men praise, as well as blame, too readily, and that overpraise desecrates the lips and makes the breath unworthy to blow the coal of devotion,—if rejection of the ——s and ——s, from a sense that the priestess must reserve her pæans for Apollo,—if untiring effort to form my mind to justice and revere only the superlatively good, that my praise might be praise; if this be to offend, then have I offended.'



* * * * *

Several talks among the Transcendentalists, during the autumn of 1839, turned upon the propriety of establishing an organ for the expression of freer views than the conservative journals were ready to welcome. The result was the publication of the "Dial," the first number of which appeared early in the summer of 1840, under the editorship of Margaret, aided by R.W. Emerson and George Ripley. How moderate were her own hopes, in regard to this enterprise, is clearly enough shown by passages from her correspondence.

'Jamaica Plain, 22d March, 1840. * * * I have a great deal written, but, as I read it over, scarce a word seems pertinent to the place or time. When I meet people, it is easy to adapt myself to them; but when I write, it is into another world,—not a better one, perhaps, but one with very dissimilar habits of thought to this wherein I am domesticated. How much those of us, who have been formed by the European mind, have to unlearn, and lay aside, if we would act here! I would fain do something worthily that belonged to the country where I was born, but most times I fear it may not be.

'What others can do,—whether all that has been said is the mere restlessness of discontent, or there are thoughts really struggling for utterance,—will be tested now. A perfectly free organ is to be offered for the expression of individual thought and character. There are no party measures to be carried, no particular standard to be set up. A fair, calm tone, a recognition of universal principles, will, I hope, pervade the essays in every form. I trust there will be a spirit neither of dogmatism nor of compromise, and that this journal will aim, not at leading public opinion, but at stimulating each man to judge for himself, and to think more deeply and more nobly, by letting him see how some minds are kept alive by a wise self-trust. We must not be sanguine as to the amount of talent which will be brought to bear on this publication. All concerned are rather indifferent, and there is no great promise for the present. We cannot show high culture, and I doubt about vigorous thought. But we shall manifest free action as far as it goes, and a high aim. It were much if a periodical could be kept open, not to accomplish any outward object, but merely to afford an avenue for what of liberal and calm thought might be originated among us, by the wants of individual minds.' * *

* * * * *

'April 19, 1840.—Things go on pretty well, but doubtless people will be disappointed, for they seem to be looking for the Gospel of Transcendentalism. It may prove as Jouffroy says it was with the successive French ministries: "The public wants something positive, and, seeing that such and such persons are excellent at fault-finding, it raises them to be rulers, when, lo! they have no noble and full Yea, to match their shrill and bold Nay, and so are pulled down again." Mr. Emerson knows best what he wants; but he has already said it in various ways. Yet, this experiment is well worth trying; hearts beat so high, they must be full of something, and here is a way to breathe it out quite freely. It is for dear New England that I want this review. For myself, if I had wished to write a few pages now and then, there were ways and means enough of disposing of them. But in truth I have not much to say; for since I have had leisure to look at myself, I find that, so far from being an original genius, I have not yet learned to think to any depth, and that the utmost I have done in life has been to form my character to a certain consistency, cultivate my tastes, and learn to tell the truth with a little better grace than I did at first. For this the world will not care much, so I shall hazard a few critical remarks only, or an unpretending chalk sketch now and then, till I have learned to do something. There will be beautiful poesies; about prose we know not yet so well. We shall be the means of publishing the little Charles Emerson left as a mark of his noble course, and, though it lies in fragments, all who read will be gainers.'

* * * * *

'1840.—Since the Revolution, there has been little, in the circumstances of this country, to call out the higher sentiments. The effect of continued prosperity is the same on nations as on individuals,—it leaves the nobler faculties undeveloped. The need of bringing out the physical resources of a vast extent of country, the commercial and political fever incident to our institutions, tend to fix the eyes of men on what is local and temporary, on the external advantages of their condition. The superficial diffusion of knowledge, unless attended by a correspondent deepening of its sources, is likely to vulgarize rather than to raise the thought of a nation, depriving them of another sort of education through sentiments of reverence, and leading the multitude to believe themselves capable of judging what they but dimly discern. They see a wide surface, and forget the difference between seeing and knowing. In this hasty way of thinking and living they traverse so much ground that they forget that not the sleeping railroad passenger, but the botanist, the geologist, the poet, really see the country, and that, to the former, "a miss is as good as a mile." In a word, the tendency of circumstances has been to make our people superficial, irreverent, and more anxious to get a living than to live mentally and morally. This tendency is no way balanced by the slight literary culture common here, which is mostly English, and consists in a careless reading of publications of the day, having the same utilitarian tendency with our own proceedings. The infrequency of acquaintance with any of the great fathers of English lore marks this state of things.

'New England is now old enough,—some there have leisure enough,—to look at all this; and the consequence is a violent reaction, in a small minority, against a mode of culture that rears such fruits. They see that political freedom does not necessarily produce liberality of mind, nor freedom in church institutions—vital religion; and, seeing that these changes cannot be wrought from without inwards, they are trying to quicken the soul, that they may work from within outwards. Disgusted with the vulgarity of a commercial aristocracy, they become radicals; disgusted with the materialistic working of "rational" religion, they become mystics. They quarrel with all that is, because it is not spiritual enough. They would, perhaps, be patient if they thought this the mere sensuality of childhood in our nation, which it might outgrow; but they think that they see the evil widening, deepening,—not only debasing the life, but corrupting the thought, of our people, and they feel that if they know not well what should be done, yet that the duty of every good man is to utter a protest against what is done amiss.

'Is this protest undiscriminating? are these opinions crude? do these proceedings threaten to sap the bulwarks on which men at present depend? I confess it all, yet I see in these men promise of a better wisdom than in their opponents. Their hope for man is grounded on his destiny as an immortal soul, and not as a mere comfort-loving inhabitant of earth, or as a subscriber to the social contract. It was not meant that the soul should cultivate the earth, but that the earth should educate and maintain the soul. Man is not made for society, but society is made for man. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual. In these principles I have confidence so profound, that I am not afraid to trust those who hold them, despite their partial views, imperfectly developed characters, and frequent want of practical sagacity. I believe, if they have opportunity to state and discuss their opinions, they will gradually sift them, ascertain their grounds and aims with clearness, and do the work this country needs. I hope for them as for "the leaven that is hidden in the bushel of meal, till all be leavened." The leaven is not good by itself, neither is the meal; let them combine, and we shall yet have bread.

'Utopia it is impossible to build up. At least, my hopes for our race on this one planet are more limited than those of most of my friends. I accept the limitations of human nature, and believe a wise acknowledgment of them one of the best conditions of progress. Yet every noble scheme, every poetic manifestation, prophesies to man his eventual destiny. And were not man ever more sanguine than facts at the moment justify, he would remain torpid, or be sunk in sensuality. It is on this ground that I sympathize with what is called the "Transcendental party," and that I feel their aim to be the true one. They acknowledge in the nature of man an arbiter for his deeds,—a standard transcending sense and time,—and are, in my view, the true utilitarians. They are but at the beginning of their course, and will, I hope, learn how to make use of the past, as well as to aspire for the future, and to be true in the present moment.

'My position as a woman, and the many private duties which have filled my life, have prevented my thinking deeply on several of the great subjects which these friends have at heart. I suppose, if ever I become capable of judging, I shall differ from most of them on important points. But I am not afraid to trust any who 'are true, and in intent noble, with their own course, nor to aid in enabling them to express their thoughts, whether I coincide with them or not.

'On the subject of Christianity, my mind is clear. If Divine, it will stand the test of any comparison. I believe the reason it has so imperfectly answered to the aspirations of its Founder is, that men have received it on external grounds. I believe that a religion, thus received, may give the life an external decorum, but will never open the fountains of holiness in the soul.

'One often thinks of Hamlet as the true representative of idealism in its excess. Yet if, in his short life, man be liable to some excess, should we not rather prefer to have the will palsied like Hamlet, by a deep-searching tendency and desire for poetic perfection, than to have it enlightened by worldly sagacity, as in the case of Julius Cæsar, or made intense by pride alone, as in that of Coriolanus?

'After all, I believe it is absurd to attempt to speak on these subjects within the limits of a letter. I will try to say what I mean in print some day. Yet one word as to "the material," in man. Is it not the object of all philosophy, as well as of religion and poetry, to prevent its prevalence? Must not those who see most truly be ever making statements of the truth to combat this sluggishness, or worldliness? What else are sages, poets, preachers, born to do? Men go an undulating course,—sometimes on the hill, sometimes in the valley. But he only is in the right who in the valley forgets not the hill-prospect, and knows in darkness that the sun will rise again. That is the real life which is subordinated to, not merged in, the ideal; he is only wise who can bring the lowest act of his life into sympathy with its highest thought. And this I take to be the one only aim of our pilgrimage here. I agree with those who think that no true philosophy will try to ignore or annihilate the material part of man, but will rather seek to put it in its place, as servant and minister to the soul.'



* * * * *

In 1839 I had met Margaret upon the plane of intellect. In the summer of 1840, on my return from the West, she was to be revealed in a new aspect.

It was a radiant and refreshing morning, when I entered the parlor of her pleasant house, standing upon a slope beyond Jamaica Plain to the south. She was absent at the moment, and there was opportunity to look from the windows on a cheerful prospect, over orchards and meadows, to the wooded hills and the western sky. Presently Margaret appeared, bearing in her hand a vase of flowers, which she had been gathering in the garden. After exchange of greetings, her first words were of the flowers, each of which was symbolic to her of emotion, and associated with the memory of some friend. I remember her references only to the Daphne Odora, the Provence Rose, the sweet-scented Verbena, and the Heliotrope; the latter being her chosen emblem, true bride of the sun that it is.

From flowers she passed to engravings hanging round the room. 'Here,' said she, 'are Dante and Beatrice.

  "Approach, and know that I am Beatrice.
  The power of ancient love was strong within me."

'She is beautiful enough, is not she, for that higher moment? But Dante! Yet who could paint a Dante,—and Dante in heaven? They give but his shadow, as he walked in the forest-maze of earth. Then here is the Madonna del Pesce; not divine, like the Foligno, not deeply maternal, like the Seggiola, not the beätified "Mother of God" of the Dresden gallery, but graceful, and "not too bright and good for human nature's daily food." And here is Raphael himself, the young seer of beauty, with eyes softly contemplative, yet lit with central fires,' &c.

There were gems, too, and medallions and seals, to be examined, each enigmatical, and each blended by remembrances with some fair hour of her past life.

Talk on art led the way to Greece and the Greeks, whose mythology Margaret was studying afresh. She had been culling the blooms of that poetic land, and could not but offer me leaves from her garland. She spoke of the statue of Minerva-Polias, cut roughly from an olive-tree, yet cherished as the heaven-descended image of the most sacred shrine, to which was due the Panathenaic festival.

'The less ideal perfection in the figure, the greater the reverence of the adorer. Was not this because spiritual imagination makes light of results, and needs only a germ whence to unfold Olympic splendors?'

She spoke of the wooden column, left standing from the ruins of the first temple to Juno, amidst the marble walls of the magnificent fane erected in its place:—

    'This is a most beautiful type, is not it, of the manner in
    which life's earliest experiences become glorified by our
    perfecting destiny?'

'In the temple of Love and the Graces, one Grace bore a rose, a second a branch of myrtle, a third dice;—who can read that riddle?

'"Better is it," said Appollonius, "on entering a small shrine to find there a statue of gold and ivory, than in a large temple to behold only a coarse figure of terra cotta." How often, after leaving with disgust the so-called great affairs of men, do we find traces of angels' visits in quiet scenes of home.

'The Hours and the Graces appear as ornaments on all thrones and shrines, except those of Vulcan and Pluto. Alas for us, when we become so sunk in utilitarian toil as to be blind to the beauty with which even common cares are daily wreathed!'

And so on and on, with myth and allusion.

Next, Margaret spoke of the friends whose generosity had provided the decorations on her walls, and the illustrated books for her table,—friends who were fellow-students in art, history, or science,—friends whose very life she shared. Her heart seemed full to overflow with sympathy for their joys and sorrows, their special trials and struggles, their peculiar tendencies of character and respective relations. The existence of each was to her a sacred process, whose developments she watched with awe, and whose leadings she reverently sought to aid. She had scores of pretty anecdotes to tell, sweet bowers of sentiment to open, significant lessons of experience to interpret, and scraps of journals or letters to read aloud, as the speediest means of introducing me to her chosen circle. There was a fascinating spell in her piquant descriptions, and a genial glow of sympathy animated to characteristic movement the figures, who in varying pantomime replaced one another on the theatre of her fancy. Frost-bound New England melted into a dreamland of romance beneath the spice-breeze of her Eastern narrative. Sticklers for propriety might have found fault at the freedom with which she confided her friends' histories to one who was a comparative stranger to them; but I could not but note how conscientiousness reined in her sensibilities and curbed their career, as they reached the due bounds of privacy. She did but realize one's conception of the transparent truthfulness that will pervade advanced societies of the future, where the very atmosphere shall be honorable faith.

Nearer and nearer Margaret was approaching a secret throned in her heart that day; and the preceding transitions were but a prelude of her orchestra before the entrance of the festal group. Unconsciously she made these preparations for paying worthy honors to a high sentiment. She had lately heard of the betrothal of two of her best-loved friends; and she wished to communicate the graceful story in a way that should do justice to the facts and to her own feelings. It was by a spontaneous impulse of her genius, and with no voluntary foreshaping, that she had grouped the previous tales; but no drama could have been more artistically constructed than the steps whereby she led me onward to the denouement; and the look, tone, words, with which she told it, were fluent with melody as the song of an improvisatrice.

Scarcely had she finished, when, offering some light refreshment,—as it was now past noon,—she proposed a walk in the open air. She led the way to Bussey's wood, her favorite retreat during the past year, where she had thought and read, or talked with intimate friends. We climbed the rocky path, resting a moment or two at every pretty point, till, reaching a moss-cushioned ledge near the summit, she seated herself. For a time she was silent, entranced in delighted communion with the exquisite hue of the sky, seen through interlacing boughs and trembling leaves, and the play of shine and shadow over the wide landscape. But soon, arousing from her reverie, she took up the thread of the morning's talk. My part was to listen; for I was absorbed in contemplating this, to me, quite novel form of character. It has been seen how my early distaste for Margaret's society was gradually changed to admiration. Like all her friends, I had passed through an avenue of sphinxes before reaching the temple. But now it appeared that thus far I had never been admitted to the adytum.

As, leaning on one arm, she poured out her stream of thought, turning now and then her eyes full upon me, to see whether I caught her meaning, there was leisure to study her thoroughly. Her temperament was predominantly what the physiologists would call nervous-sanguine; and the gray eye, rich brown hair and light complexion, with the muscular and well-developed frame, bespoke delicacy balanced by vigor. Here was a sensitive yet powerful being, fit at once for rapture or sustained effort, intensely active, prompt for adventure, firm for trial. She certainly had not beauty; yet the high arched dome of the head, the changeful expressiveness of every feature, and her whole air of mingled dignity and impulse, gave her a commanding charm. Especially characteristic were two physical traits. The first was a contraction of the eyelids almost to a point,—a trick caught from near-sightedness,—and then a sudden dilation, till the iris seemed to emit flashes;—an effect, no doubt, dependent on her highly-magnetized condition. The second was a singular pliancy of the vertebræ and muscles of the neck, enabling her by a mere movement to denote each varying emotion; in moments of tenderness, or pensive feeling, its curves were swan-like in grace, but when she was scornful or indignant it contracted, and made swift turns like that of a bird of prey. Finally, in the animation, yet abandon of Margaret's attitude and look, were rarely blended the fiery force of northern, and the soft languor of southern races.

Meantime, as I was thus, through her physiognomy, tracing the outlines of her spiritual form, she was narrating chapters from the book of experience. How superficially, heretofore, had I known her! We had met chiefly as scholars. But now I saw before me one whose whole life had been a poem,—of boundless aspiration and hope almost wild in its daring,—of indomitable effort amidst poignant disappointment,—of widest range, yet persistent unity. Yes! here was a poet in deed, a true worshipper of Apollo, who had steadfastly striven to brighten and make glad existence, to harmonize all jarring and discordant strings, to fuse most hard conditions and cast them in a symmetric mould, to piece fragmentary fortunes into a mosaic symbol of heavenly order. Here was one, fond as a child of joy, eager as a native of the tropics for swift transition from luxurious rest to passionate excitement, prodigal to pour her mingled force of will, thought, sentiment, into the life of the moment, all radiant with imagination, longing for communion with artists of every age in their inspired hours, fitted by genius and culture to mingle as an equal in the most refined circles of Europe, and yet her youth and early womanhood had passed away amid the very decent, yet drudging, descendants of the prim Puritans. Trained among those who could have discerned her peculiar power, and early fed with the fruits of beauty for which her spirit pined, she would have developed into one of the finest lyrists, romancers and critics, that the modern literary world has seen. This she knew; and this tantalization of her fate she keenly felt.

But the tragedy of Margaret's history was deeper yet. Behind the poet was the woman,—the fond and relying, the heroic and disinterested woman. The very glow of her poetic enthusiasm was but an outflush of trustful affection; the very restlessness of her intellect was the confession that her heart had found no home. A "book-worm," "a dilettante," "a pedant," I had heard her sneeringly called; but now it was evident that her seeming insensibility was virgin pride, and her absorption in study the natural vent of emotions, which had met no object worthy of life-long attachment. At once, many of her peculiarities became intelligible. Fitfulness, unlooked-for changes of mood, misconceptions of words and actions, substitution of fancy for fact,—which had annoyed me during the previous season, as inconsistent in a person of such capacious judgment and sustained self-government,—were now referred to the morbid influence of affections pent up to prey upon themselves. And, what was still more interesting, the clue was given to a singular credulousness, by which, in spite of her unusual penetration, Margaret might be led away blindfold. As this revelation of her ardent nature burst upon me, and as, rapidly recalling the past, I saw how faithful she had kept to her high purposes,—how patient, gentle, and thoughtful for others, how active in self-improvement and usefulness, how wisely dignified she had been,—I could not but bow to her in reverence.

We walked back to the house amid a rosy sunset, and it was with no surprise that I heard her complain of an agonizing nervous headache, which compelled her at once to retire, and call for assistance. As for myself, while going homeward, I reflected with astonishment on the unflagging spiritual energy with which, for hour after hour, she had swept over lands and seas of thought, and, as my own excitement cooled, I became conscious of exhaustion, as if a week's life had been concentrated in a day.

The interview, thus hastily sketched, may serve as a fair type of our usual intercourse. Always I found her open-eyed to beauty, fresh for wonder, with wings poised for flight, and fanning the coming breeze of inspiration. Always she seemed to see before her,

  "A shape all light, which with one hand did fling
    Dew on the earth, as if she were the dawn,
  And the invisible rain did ever sing
    A silver music on the mossy lawn."

Yet more and more distinctly did I catch a plaintive tone of sorrow in her thought and speech, like the wail of an Æolian harp heard at intervals from some upper window. She had never met one who could love her as she could love; and in the orange-grove of her affections the white, perfumed blossoms and golden fruit wasted away unclaimed. Through the mask of slight personal defects and ungraceful manners, of superficial hauteur and egotism, and occasional extravagance of sentiment, no equal had recognized the rare beauty of her spirit. She was yet alone.

Among her papers remains this pathetic petition:—

'I am weary of thinking. I suffer great fatigue from living. Oh God, take me! take me wholly! Thou knowest that I love none but Thee. All this beautiful poesy of my being lies in Thee. Deeply I feel it. I ask nothing. Each desire, each passionate feeling, is on the surface only; inmostly Thou keepest me strong and pure. Yet always to be thus going out into moments, into nature, and love, and thought! Father, I am weary! Reassume me for a while, I pray Thee. Oh let me rest awhile in Thee, Thou only Love! In the depth of my prayer I suffer much. Take me only awhile. No fellow-being will receive me. I cannot pause; they will not detain me by their love. Take me awhile, and again I will go forth on a renewed service. It is not that I repine, my Father, but I sink from want of rest, and none will shelter me. Thou knowest it all. Bathe me in the living waters of Thy Love.'



* * * * *

Yet, conscious as she was of an unfulfilled destiny, and of an undeveloped being, Margaret was no pining sentimentalist. The gums oozing from wounded boughs she burned as incense in her oratory; but in outward relations she was munificent with sympathy.

'Let me be, Theodora, a bearer of heavenly gifts to my fellows,'

is written in her journals, and her life fulfilled the aspiration. The more one observed her, the more surprising appeared the variety, earnestness, and constancy of her friendships. Far and wide reached her wires of communication, and incessant was the interchange of messages of good-will. She was never so preoccupied and absorbed as to deny a claimant for her affectionate interest; she never turned her visitors back upon themselves, mortified and vexed at being misunderstood. With delicate justice she appreciated the special form, force, tendency of utterly dissimilar characters and her heart responded to every appeal alike of humblest suffering or loftiest endeavor. In the plain, yet eloquent phrase of the backwoodsman, "the string of her door-latch was always out," and every wayfarer was free to share the shelter of her roof, or a seat beside her hearth-stone. Or, rather, it might be said, in symbol of her wealth of spirit, her palace, with its galleries of art, its libraries and festal-halls, welcomed all guests who could enjoy and use them.

She was, indeed, The Friend. This was her vocation. She bore at her girdle a golden key to unlock all caskets of confidence. Into whatever home she entered she brought a benediction of truth, justice, tolerance, and honor; and to every one who sought her to confess, or seek counsel, she spoke the needed word of stern yet benignant wisdom. To how many was the forming of her acquaintance an era of renovation, of awakening from sloth, indulgence or despair, to heroic mastery of fate, of inward serenity and strength, of new-birth to real self-hood, of catholic sympathies, of energy consecrated to the Supreme Good. Thus writes to her one who stands among the foremost in his own department: "What I am I owe, in large measure, to the stimulus you imparted. You roused my heart with high hopes; you raised my aims from paltry and vain pursuits to those which tasked and fed the soul; you inspired me with a great ambition, and made me see the worth and meaning of life; you awakened in me confidence in my own powers, showed me my special and distinct ability, and quickened my individual consciousness by intelligent sympathy with tendencies and feelings which I but half understood; you gave me to myself. This is a most benign influence to exercise, and for it, above all other benefits, gratitude is due. Therefore have you an inexhaustible bank of gratitude to draw from. Bless God that he has allotted to you such a ministry."

The following extracts from her letters will show how profusely Margaret poured out her treasures upon her friends; but they reveal, too, the painful processes of alchemy whereby she transmuted her lead into gold.

'Your idea of friendship apparently does not include intellectual intimacy, as mine does, but consists of mutual esteem and spiritual encouragement. This is the thought represented, on antique gems and bas-reliefs, of the meeting between God and Goddess, I find; for they rather offer one another the full flower of being, than grow together. As in the figures before me, Jupiter, king of Gods and men, meets Juno, the sister and queen, not as a chivalric suppliant, but as a stately claimant; and she, crowned, pure, majestic, holds the veil aside to reveal herself to her august spouse.'

* * * * *

'How variously friendship is represented in literature! Sometimes the two friends kindle beacons from afar to apprize one another that they are constant, vigilant, and each content in his several home. Sometimes, two pilgrims, they go different routes in service of the same saint, and remember one another as they give alms, learn wisdom, or pray in shrines along the road. Sometimes, two knights, they bid farewell with mailed hand of truth and honor all unstained, as they ride forth on their chosen path to test the spirit of high emprise, and free the world from wrong,—to meet again for unexpected succor in the hour of peril, or in joyful surprise to share a frugal banquet on the plat of greensward opening from forest glades. Sometimes, proprietors of two neighboring estates, they have interviews in the evening to communicate their experiments and plans, or to study together the stars from an observatory; if either is engaged he simply declares it; they share enjoyments cordially; they exchange praise or blame frankly; in citizen-like good-fellowship they impart their gains.

'All these views of friendship are noble and beautiful, yet they are not enough for our manifold nature. Friends should be our incentives to Right, yet not only our guiding, but our prophetic stars. To love by sight is much, to love by faith is more; together they make up the entire love, without which heart, mind, and soul cannot be alike satisfied. Friends should love not merely for the absolute worth of each to the other, but on account of a mutual fitness of character. They are not merely one another's priests or gods, but ministering angels, exercising in their part the same function as the Great Soul does in the whole,—of seeing the perfect through the imperfect, nay, creating it there. Why am I to love my friend the less for any obstruction in his life? Is not that the very time for me to love most tenderly, when I must see his life in despite of seeming? When he shows it to me I can only admire; I do not give myself, I am taken captive.

'But how shall I express my meaning? Perhaps I can do so from the tales of chivalry, where I find what corresponds far more thoroughly with my nature, than in these stoical statements. The friend of Amadis expects to hear prodigies of valor of the absent Preux, but if he be mutilated in one of his first battles, shall he be mistrusted by the brother of his soul, more than if he had been tested in a hundred? If Britomart finds Artegall bound in the enchanter's spell, can she doubt therefore him whom she has seen in the magic glass? A Britomart does battle in his cause, and frees him from the evil power, while a dame of less nobleness might sit and watch the enchanted sleep, weeping night and day, or spur on her white palfrey to find some one more helpful than herself. These friends in chivalry are always faithful through the dark hours to the bright. The Douglas motto, "tender and true," seems to me most worthy of the strongest breast. To borrow again from Spencer, I am entirely satisfied with the fate of the three brothers. I could not die while there was yet life in my brother's breast. I would return from the shades and nerve him with twofold life for the fight. I could do it, for our hearts beat with one blood. Do you not see the truth and happiness of this waiting tenderness? The verse—

      "Have I a lover
        Who is noble and free,
      I would he were nobler
        Than to love me,"—

does not come home to my heart, though this does:—

      "I could not love thee, sweet, so much,
        Loved I not honor more."

* * * 'October 10th, 1840.—I felt singular pleasure in seeing you quote Hood's lines on "Melancholy." I thought nobody knew and loved his serious poems except myself, and two or three others, to whom I imparted them.[A] Do you like, also, the ode to Autumn, and—

"Sigh on, sad heart, for love's eclipse"?

It was a beautiful time when I first read these poems. I was staying in Hallowell, Maine, and could find no books that I liked, except Hood's poems. You know how the town is built, like a terraced garden on the river's bank; I used to go every afternoon to the granite quarry which crowns these terraces, and read till the sunset came casting its last glory on the opposite bank. They were such afternoons as those in September and October, clear, soft, and radiant. Nature held nothing back. 'Tis many years since, and I have never again seen the Kennebec, but remember it as a stream of noble character. It was the first river I ever sailed up, realizing all which that emblem discloses of life. Greater still would the charm have been to sail downward along an unknown stream, seeking not a home, but a ship upon the ocean.'

* * * * *

'Newbury, Oct. 18, 1840.—It rained, and the day was pale and sorrowful, the thick-fallen leaves even shrouded the river. We went out in the boat, and sat under the bridge. The pallid silence, the constant fall of the rain and leaves, were most soothing, life had been for many weeks so crowded with thought and feeling, pain and pleasure, rapture and care. Nature seemed gently to fold us in her matron's mantle. On such days the fall of the leaf does not bring sadness, only meditation. Earth seemed to loose the record of past summer hours from her permanent life, as lightly, and spontaneously, as the great genius casts behind him a literature,—the Odyssey he has outgrown. In the evening the rain ceased, the west wind came, and we went out in the boat again for some hours; indeed, we staid till the last clouds passed from the moon. Then we climbed the hill to see the full light in solemn sweetness over fields, and trees, and river.

'I never enjoyed anything more in its way than the three days alone with —— in her boat, upon the little river. Not without reason was it that Goethe limits the days of intercourse to three, in the Wanderjahre. If you have lived so long in uninterrupted communion with any noble being, and with nature, a remembrance of man's limitations seems to call on Polycrates to cast forth his ring. She seemed the very genius of the scene, so calm, so lofty, and so secluded. I never saw any place that seemed to me so much like home. The beauty, though so great, is so unobtrusive.

'As we glided along the river, I could frame my community far more naturally and rationally than ——. A few friends should settle upon the banks of a stream like this, planting their homesteads. Some should be farmers, some woodmen, others bakers, millers, &c. By land, they should carry to one another the commodities; on the river they should meet for society. At sunset many, of course, would be out in their boats, but they would love the hour too much ever to disturb one another. I saw the spot where we should discuss the high mysteries that Milton speaks of. Also, I saw the spot where I would invite select friends to live through the noon of night, in silent communion. When we wished to have merely playful chat, or talk on politics or social reform, we would gather in the mill, and arrange those affairs while grinding the corn. What a happy place for children to grow up in! Would it not suit little —— to go to school to the cardinal flowers in her boat, beneath the great oak-tree? I think she would learn more than in a phalanx of juvenile florists. But, truly, why has such a thing never been? One of these valleys so immediately suggests an image of the fair company that might fill it, and live so easily, so naturally, so wisely. Can we not people the banks of some such affectionate little stream? I distrust ambitious plans, such as Phalansterian organizations!

'—— is quite bent on trying his experiment. I hope he may succeed; but as they were talking the other evening, I thought of the river, and all the pretty symbols the tide-mill presents, and felt if I could at all adjust the economics to the more simple procedure, I would far rather be the miller, hoping to attract by natural affinity some congenial baker, "und so weiter." However, one thing seems sure, that many persons will soon, somehow, somewhere, throw off a part, at least, of these terrible weights of the social contract, and see if they cannot lie more at ease in the lap of Nature. I do not feel the same interest in these plans, as if I had a firmer hold on life, but I listen with much pleasure to the good suggestions.'

* * * * *

'Oct. 19th, 1840. —— was here. Generally I go out of the room when he comes, for his great excitability makes me nervous, and his fondness for detail is wearisome. But to-night I was too much fatigued to do anything else, and did not like to leave mother; so I lay on the sofa while she talked with him.

'My mind often wandered, yet ever and anon, as I listened again to him, I was struck with admiration at the compensations of Nature. Here is a man, isolated from his kind beyond any I know, of an ambitious temper and without an object of tender affections and without a love or a friend. I don't suppose any mortal, unless it be his aged mother, cares more for him than we do,—scarce any value him so much. The disease, which has left him, in the eyes of men, a scathed and blighted tree, has driven him back to Nature, and she has not refused him sympathy. I was surprised by the refinement of his observations on the animals, his pets. He has carried his intercourse with them to a degree of perfection we rarely attain with our human friends. There is no misunderstanding between him and his dogs and birds; and how rich has been the acquaintance in suggestion! Then the flowers! I liked to hear him, for he recorded all their pretty ways,—not like a botanist, but a lover. His interview with the Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain was most romantic. And what he said of the Yuca seems to me so pretty, that I will write it down, though somewhat more concisely than he told it:—

'"I had kept these plants of the Yuca Filamentosa six or seven years, though they had never bloomed. I knew nothing of them, and had no notion of what feelings they would excite. Last June I found in bud the one which had the most favorable exposure. A week or two after, another, which was more in the shade, put out flower-buds, and I thought I should be able to watch them, one after the other; but, no! the one which was most favored waited for the other, and both flowered together at the full of the moon. This struck me as very singular, but as soon as I saw the flower by moonlight I understood it. This flower is made for the moon, as the Heliotrope is for the sun, and refuses other influences or to display her beauty in any other light.

'"The first night I saw it in flower, I was conscious of a peculiar delight, I may even say rapture. Many white flowers are far more beautiful by day; the lily, for instance, with its firm, thick leaf, needs the broadest light to manifest its purity. But these transparent leaves of greenish white, which look dull in the day, are melted by the moon to glistening silver. And not only does the plant not appear in its destined hue by day, but the flower, though, as bell-shaped, it cannot quite close again after having once expanded, yet presses its petals together as closely as it can, hangs down its little blossoms, and its tall stalk seems at noon to have reared itself only to betray a shabby insignificance. Thus, too, with the leaves, which have burst asunder suddenly like the fan-palm to make way for the stalk,—their edges in the day time look ragged and unfinished, as if nature had left them in a hurry for some more pleasing task. On the day after the evening when I had thought it so beautiful, I could not conceive how I had made such a mistake.

'"But the second evening I went out into the garden again. In clearest moonlight stood my flower, more beautiful than ever. The stalk pierced the air like a spear, all the little bells had erected themselves around it in most graceful array, with petals more transparent than silver, and of softer light than the diamond. Their edges were clearly, but not sharply defined. They seemed to have been made by the moon's rays. The leaves, which had looked ragged by day, now seemed fringed by most delicate gossamer, and the plant might claim with pride its distinctive epithet of Filamentosa. I looked at it till my feelings became so strong that I longed to share it. The thought which filled my mind was that here we saw the type of pure feminine beauty in the moon's own flower. I have since had further opportunity of watching the Yuca, and verified these observations, that she will not flower till the full moon, and chooses to hide her beauty from the eye of day."

    'Might not this be made into a true poem, if written out
    merely as history of the plant, and no observer introduced?
    How finely it harmonizes with all legends of Isis, Diana, &c.!
    It is what I tried to say in the sonnet,—

          Woman's heaven,
      Where palest lights a silvery sheen diffuse.

    'In tracing these correspondences, one really does take hold
    of a Truth, of a Divine Thought.' * *

* * * * *

'October 25th, 1840.—This week I have not read any book, nor once walked in the woods and fields. I meant to give its days to setting outward things in order, and its evenings to writing. But, I know not how it is, I can never simplify my life; always so many ties, so many claims! However, soon the winter winds will chant matins and vespers, which may make my house a cell, and in a snowy veil enfold me for my prayer. If I cannot dedicate myself this time, I will not expect it again. Surely it should be! These Carnival masks have crowded on me long enough, and Lent must be at hand. * *

'—— and —— have been writing me letters, to answer which required all the time and thought I could give for a day or two. ——'s were of joyful recognition, and so beautiful I would give much to show them to you. ——'s have singularly affected me. They are noble, wise, of most unfriendly friendliness. I don't know why it is, I always seem to myself to have gone so much further with a friend than I really have. Just as at Newport I thought —— met me, when he did not, and sang a joyful song which found no echo, so here —— asks me questions which I thought had been answered in the first days of our acquaintance, and coldly enumerates all the charming qualities which make it impossible for him to part with me! He scolds me, though in the sweetest and solemnest way. I will not quote his words, though their beauty tempts me, for they do not apply, they do not touch ME.

'Why is it that the religion of my nature is so much hidden from my peers? why do they question me, who never question them? why persist to regard as a meteor an orb of assured hope? Can no soul know me wholly? shall I never know the deep delight of gratitude to any but the All-Knowing? I shall wait for —— very peaceably, in reverent love as ever; but I cannot see why he should not have the pleasure of knowing now a friend, who has been "so tender and true."'

* * * * *

'—— was here, and spent twenty-four hours in telling me a tale of deepest tragedy. Its sad changes should be written out in Godwin's best manner: such are the themes he loved, as did also Rousseau. Through all the dark shadows shone a pure white ray, one high, spiritual character, a man, too, and of advanced age. I begin to respect men more,—I mean actual men. What men may be, I know; but the men of to-day have seemed to me of such coarse fibre, or else such poor wan shadows!

'—— had scarcely gone, when —— came and wished to spend a few hours with me. I was totally exhausted, but I lay down, and she sat beside me, and poured out all her noble feelings and bright fancies. There was little light in the room, and she gleamed like a cloud

—"of pearl and opal,"

and reminded me more than ever of

—"the light-haired Lombardess Singing a song of her own native land,"

to the dying Correggio, beside the fountain.

'I am astonished to see how much Bettine's book is to all these people. This shows how little courage they have had to live out themselves. She really brings them a revelation. The men wish they had been loved by Bettine; the girls wish to write down the thoughts that come, and see if just such a book does not grow up. ——, however, was one of the few who do not over-estimate her; she truly thought Bettine only publishes what many burn. Would not genius be common as light, if men trusted their higher selves?'

* * * * *

'I heard in town that —— is a father, and has gone to see his child. This news made me more grave even than such news usually does; I suppose because I have known the growth of his character so intimately. I called to mind a letter he had written me of what we had expected of our fathers. The ideal father, the profoundly wise, provident, divinely tender and benign, he is indeed the God of the human heart. How solemn this moment of being called to prepare the way, to make way for another generation! What fulfilment does it claim in the character of a man, that he should be worthy to be a father!—what purity of motive, what dignity, what knowledge! When I recollect how deep the anguish, how deeper still the want, with which I walked alone in hours of childish passion, and called for a Father, often saying the word a hundred times, till stifled by sobs, how great seems the duty that name imposes! Were but the harmony preserved throughout! Could the child keep learning his earthly, as he does his heavenly Father, from all best experience of life, till at last it were the climax: "I am the Father. Have ye seen me?—ye have seen the Father." But how many sons have we to make one father? Surely, to spirits, not only purified but perfected, this must appear the climax of earthly being,—a wise and worthy parentage. Here I always sympathize with Mr. Alcott. He views the relation truly.'

* * * * *

'Dec. 3, 1840. —— bids me regard her "as a sick child;" and the words recall some of the sweetest hours of existence. My brother Edward was born on my birth-day, and they said he should be my child. But he sickened and died just as the bud of his existence showed its first bright hues. He was some weeks wasting away, and I took care of him always half the night. He was a beautiful child, and became very dear to me then. Still in lonely woods the upturned violets show me the pleading softness of his large blue eyes, in those hours when I would have given worlds to prevent his suffering, and could not. I used to carry him about in my arms for hours; it soothed him, and I loved to feel his gentle weight of helpless purity upon my heart, while night listened around. At last, when death came, and the soul took wing like an overtasked bird from his sweet form, I felt what I feel now. Might I free ——, as that angel freed him!

'In daily life I could never hope to be an unfailing fountain of energy and bounteous love. My health is frail; my earthly life is shrunk to a scanty rill; I am little better than an aspiration, which the ages will reward, by empowering me to incessant acts of vigorous beauty. But now it is well with me to be with those who do not suffer overmuch to have me suffer. It is best for me to serve where I can better bear to fall short. I could visit —— more nobly than in daily life, through the soul of our souls. When she named me her Priestess, that name made me perfectly happy. Long has been my consecration; may I not meet those I hold dear at the altar? How would I pile up the votive offerings, and crowd the fires with incense? Life might be full and fair; for, in my own way, I could live for my friends.' * *

* * * * *

'Dec. 8th, 1840.—My book of amusement has been the Evenings of St. Petersburg. I do not find the praises bestowed on it at all exaggerated. Yet De Maistre is too logical for me. I only catch a thought here and there along the page. There is a grandeur even in the subtlety of his mind. He walks with a step so still, that, but for his dignity, it would be stealthy, yet with brow erect and wide, eye grave and deep. He is a man such as I have never known before.' * *

'I went to see Mrs. Wood in the Somnambula. Nothing could spoil this opera, which expresses an ecstasy, a trance of feeling, better than anything I ever heard. I have loved every melody in it for years, and it was happiness to listen to the exquisite modulations as they flowed out of one another, endless ripples on a river deep, wide and strewed with blossoms. I never have known any one more to be loved than Bellini. No wonder the Italians make pilgrimages to his grave. In him thought and feeling flow always in one tide; he never divides himself. He is as melancholy as he is sweet; yet his melancholy is not impassioned, but purely tender.'

* * * * *

'Dec. 15, 1840.—I have not time to write out as I should this sweet story of Melissa, but here is the outline:—

'More than four years ago she received an injury, which caused her great pain in the spine, and went to the next country town to get medical advice. She stopped at the house of a poor blacksmith, an acquaintance only, and has never since been able to be moved. Her mother and sister come by turns to take care of her. She cannot help herself in any way, but is as completely dependent as an infant. The blacksmith and his wife gave her the best room in their house, have ever since ministered to her as to a child of their own, and, when people pity them for having to bear such a burthen, they say, "It is none, but a blessing."

'Melissa suffers all the time, and great pain. She cannot amuse or employ herself in any way, and all these years has been as dependent on others for new thoughts, as for daily cares. Yet her mind has deepened, and her character refined, under those stern teachers, Pain and Gratitude, till she has become the patron saint of the village, and the muse of the village school-mistress. She has a peculiar aversion to egotism, and could not bear to have her mother enlarge upon her sufferings.

    '"Perhaps it will pain the lady to hear that," said the mild,
    religious sufferer, who had borne all without a complaint.

    "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." The poor are the
    generous: the injured, the patient and loving.

All that —— said of this girl was in perfect harmony with what De Maistre says of the saint of St. Petersburg, who, almost devoured by cancer, when, asked, "Quelle est la premiere grace que vous demanderez a Dieu, ma chére enfant, lorsque vous serez devant lui?" she replied, "Je lui demanderai pour mes bienfaiteurs la grace de Paimer autant que je l'aime."

'When they were lamenting for her, "Je ne suis pas, dit elle, aussi malheureuse que vous le croyez; Dieu me fait la grace de ne peuser, qu'a lui."' * *

'Next of Edith. Tall, gaunt, hard-favored was this candidate for the American calendar; but Bonilacia might be her name. From her earliest years she had valued all she knew, only as she was to teach it again. Her highest ambition was to be the school-mistress; her recreation to dress the little ragged things, and take care of them out of school hours. She had some taste for nursing the grown-up, but this was quite subordinate to her care of the buds of the forest. Pure, perfectly beneficent, lived Edith, and never thought of any thing or person, but for its own sake. When she had attained midway the hill of life, she happened to be boarding in the house with a young farmer, who was lost in admiration of her lore. How he wished he, too, could read! "What, can't you read? O, let me teach you!"—"You never can; I was too thick-skulled to learn even at school. I am sure I never could now." But Edith was not to be daunted by any fancies of incapacity, and set to work with utmost zeal to teach this great grown man the primer. She succeeded, and won his heart thereby. He wished to requite the raising him from the night of ignorance, as Howard and Nicholas Poussin did the kind ones who raised them from the night of the tomb, by the gift of his hand. Edith consented, on condition that she might still keep school. So he had his sister come to "keep things straight." Edith and he go out in the morning,—he to his field, she to her school, and meet again at eventide, to talk, and plan and, I hope, to read also.

'The first use Edith made of her accession of property through her wedded estate, was to give away all she thought superfluous to a poor family she had long pitied, and to invite a poor sick woman to her "spare chamber." Notwithstanding a course like this, her husband has grown rich, and proves that the pattern of the widow's cruse was not lost in Jewry.

'Edith has become the Natalia of the village, as is Melissa its "Schöne Seele."'

* * * * *

'Dec., 22, 1840.—"Community" seems dwindling to a point, and I fancy the best use of the plan, as projected thus far, will prove the good talks it has caused here, upon principles. I feel and find great want of wisdom in myself and the others. We are not ripe to reconstruct society yet. O Christopher Columbus! how art thou to be admired, when we see how other men go to work with their lesser enterprises! —— knows deepest what he wants, but not well how to get it. —— has a better perception of means, and less insight as to principles; but this movement has done him a world of good. All should say, however, that they consider this plan as a mere experiment, and are willing to fail. I tell them that they are not ready till they can say that. —— says he can bear to be treated unjustly by all concerned,—which is much. He is too sanguine, as it appears to me, but his aim is worthy, and, with his courage and clear intellect, his experiment will not, at least to him, be a failure.'

* * * * *

'Feb. 19, 1841.—Have I never yet seen so much as one of my spiritual family? The other night they sat round me, so many who have thought they loved, or who begin to love me. I felt myself kindling the same fire in all their souls. I looked on each, and no eye repelled me. Yet there was no warmth for me on all those altars. Their natures seemed deep, yet there was 'not one from which I could draw the living fountain. I could only cheat the hour with them, prize, admire, and pity. It was sad; yet who would have seen sadness in me? * *

'Once I was almost all intellect; now I am almost all feeling. Nature vindicates her rights, and I feel all Italy glowing beneath the Saxon crust. This cannot last long; I shall burn to ashes if all this smoulders here much longer. I must die if I do not burst forth in genius or heroism.

'I meant to have translated the best passages of "Die Gunderode,"—which I prefer to Bettine's correspondence with Goethe. The two girls are equal natures, and both in earnest. Goethe made a puppet-show, for his private entertainment, of Bettine's life, and we wonder she did not feel he was not worthy of her homage. Gunderode is to me dear and admirable, Bettine only interesting. Gunderode is of religious grace, Bettine the fulness of instinctive impulse; Gunderode is the ideal, Bettine nature; Gunderode throws herself into the river because the world is all too narrow, Bettine lives and follows out every freakish fancy, till the enchanting child degenerates into an eccentric and undignified old woman. There is a medium somewhere. Philip Sidney found it; others had it found for them by fate.'

* * * * *

'March 29. 1841.—* * Others have looked at society with far deeper consideration than I. I have felt so unrelated to this sphere, that it has not been hard for me to be true. Also, I do not believe in Society. I feel that every man must struggle with these enormous ills, in some way, in every age; in that of Moses, or Plato, or Angelo, as in our own. So it has not moved me much to see my time so corrupt, but it would if I were in a false position.

'—— went out to his farm yesterday, full of cheer, as one who doeth a deed with sincere good will. He has shown a steadfastness and earnestness of purpose most grateful to behold. I do not know what their scheme will ripen to; at present it does not deeply engage my hopes. It is thus far only a little better way than others. I doubt if they will get free from all they deprecate in society.'

* * * * *

'Paradise Farm, Newport, July, 1841.—Here are no deep forests, no stern mountains, nor narrow, sacred valleys; but the little white farm-house looks down from its gentle slope on the boundless sea, and beneath the moon, beyond the glistening corn-fields, is heard the endless surge. All around the house is most gentle and friendly, with many common flowers, that seem to have planted themselves, and the domestic honey-suckle carefully trained over the little window. Around are all the common farm-house sounds,—the poultry making a pleasant recitative between the carols of singing birds; even geese and turkeys are not inharmonious when modulated by the diapasons of the beach. The orchard of very old apple-trees, whose twisted forms tell of the glorious winds that have here held revelry, protects a little homely garden, such as gives to me an indescribable refreshment, where the undivided vegetable plots and flourishing young fruit-trees, mingling carelessly, seem as if man had dropt the seeds just where he wanted the plants, and they had sprung up at once. The family, too, look, at first glance, well-suited to the place,—homely, kindly, unoppressed, of honest pride and mutual love, not unworthy to look out upon the far-shining sea.

'Many, many sweet little things would I tell you, only they are so very little. I feel just now as if I could live and die here. I am out in the open air all the time, except about two hours in the early morning. And now the moon is fairly gone late in the evening. While she was here, we staid out, too. Everything seems sweet here, so homely, so kindly; the old people chatting so contentedly, the young men and girls laughing together in the fields,—not vulgarly, but in the true kinsfolk way,—little children singing in the house and beneath the berry-bushes. The never-ceasing break of the surf is a continual symphony, calming the spirits which this delicious air might else exalt too much. Everything on the beach becomes a picture; the casting the seine, the ploughing the deep for seaweed. This, when they do it with horses, is prettiest of all; but when you see the oxen in the surf, you lose all faith in the story of Europa, as the gay waves tumble in on their lazy sides. The bull would be a fine object on the shore, but not, not in the water. Nothing short of a dolphin will do! Late to-night, from the highest Paradise rocks, seeing —— wandering, and the horsemen careering on the beach, so spectrally passing into nature, amid the pale, brooding twilight, I almost thought myself in the land of souls!

'But in the morning it is life, all cordial and common. This half-fisherman, half-farmer life seems very favorable to manliness. I like to talk with the fishermen; they are not boorish, not limited, but keen-eyed, and of a certain rude gentleness. Two or three days ago I saw the sweetest picture. There is a very tall rock, one of the natural pulpits, at one end of the beach. As I approached, I beheld a young fisherman with his little girl; he had nestled her into a hollow of the rock, and was standing before her, with his arms round her, and looking up in her face. Never was anything so pretty. I stood and stared, country fashion; and presently he scrambled up to the very top with her in his arms. She screamed a little as they went, but when they were fairly up on the crest of the rock, she chuckled, and stretched her tiny hand over his neck, to go still further. Yet, when she found he did not wish it, she leaned against his shoulder, and he sat, feeling himself in the child like that exquisite Madonna, and looking out over the great sea. Surely, the "kindred points of heaven and home" were known in his breast, whatever guise they might assume.

'The sea is not always lovely and bounteous, though generally, since we have been here, she has beamed her bluest. The night of the full moon we staid out on the far rocks. The afternoon was fair: the sun set nobly, wrapped in a violet mantle, which he left to the moon, in parting. She not only rose red, lowering, and of impatient attitude, but kept hiding her head all the evening with an angry, struggling movement. —— said, "This is not Dian;" and I replied, "No; now we see the Hecate." But the damp, cold wind came sobbing, and the waves began wailing, too, till I was seized with a feeling of terror, such as I never had before, even in the darkest, and most treacherous, rustling wood. The moon seemed sternly to give me up to the dæmons of the rock, and the waves to mourn a tragic chorus, till I felt their cold grasp. I suffered so much, that I feared we should never get home without some fatal catastrophe. Never was I more relieved than when, as we came up the hill, the moon suddenly shone forth. It was ten o'clock, and here every human sound is hushed, and lamp put out at that hour. How tenderly the grapes and tall corn-ears glistened and nodded! and the trees stretched out their friendly arms, and the scent of every humblest herb was like a word of love. The waves, also, at that moment put on a silvery gleam, and looked most soft and regretful. That was a real voice from nature.'

* * * * *

'February, 1842.—I am deeply sad at the loss of little Waldo, from whom I hoped more than from almost any living being. I cannot yet reconcile myself to the thought that the sun shines upon the grave of the beautiful blue-eyed boy, and I shall see him no more.

'Five years he was an angel to us, and I know not that any person was ever more the theme of thought to me. As I walk the streets they swarm with apparently worthless lives, and the question will rise, why he, why just he, who "bore within himself the golden future," must be torn away? His father will meet him again; but to me he seems lost, and yet that is weakness. I must meet that which he represented, since I so truly loved it. He was the only child I ever saw, that I sometimes wished I could have called mine.

'I loved him more than any child I ever knew, as he was of nature more fair and noble. You would be surprised to know how dear he was to my imagination. I saw him but little, and it was well; for it is unwise to bind the heart where there is no claim. But it is all gone, and is another of the lessons brought by each year, that we are to expect suggestions only, and not fulfilments, from each form of beauty, and to regard them merely as Angels of The Beauty.'

* * * * *

'June, 1842.—Why must children be with perfect people, any more than people wait to be perfect to be friends? The secret is,—is it not?—for parents to feel and be willing their children should know that they are but little older than themselves: only a class above, and able to give them some help in learning their lesson. Then parent and child keep growing together, in the same house. Let them blunder as we blundered. God is patient for us; why should not we be for them? Aspiration teaches always, and God leads, by inches. A perfect being would hurt a child no less than an imperfect.'

* * * * *

'It always makes my annoyances seem light, to be riding about to visit these fine houses. Not that I am intolerant towards the rich, but I cannot help feeling at such times how much characters require the discipline of difficult circumstances. To say nothing of the need the soul has of a peace and courage that cannot be disturbed, even as to the intellect, how can one be sure of not sitting down in the midst of indulgence to pamper tastes alone, and how easy to cheat one's self with the fancy that a little easy reading or writing is quite work. I am safer; I do not sleep on roses. I smile to myself, when with these friends, at their care of me. I let them do as they will, for I know it will not last long enough to spoil me.'

* * * * *

'I take great pleasure in talking with Aunt Mary.[B] Her strong and simple nature checks not, falters not. Her experience is entirely unlike mine, as, indeed, is that of most others whom I know. No rapture, no subtle process, no slow fermentation in the unknown depths, but a rill struck out from the rock, clear and cool in all its course, the still, small voice. She says the guide of her life has shown itself rather as a restraining, than an impelling principle. I like her life, too, as far as I see it; it is dignified and true.'

* * * * *

'Cambridge, July, 1842.—A letter at Providence would have been like manna in the wilderness. I came into the very midst of the fuss,[C] and, tedious as it was at the time, I am glad to have seen it. I shall in future be able to believe real, what I have read with a dim disbelief of such times and tendencies. There is, indeed, little good, little cheer, in what I have seen: a city full of grown-up people as wild, as mischief-seeking, as full of prejudice, careless slander, and exaggeration, as a herd of boys in the play-ground of the worst boarding-school. Women whom I have seen, as the domestic cat, gentle, graceful, cajoling, suddenly showing the disposition, if not the force, of the tigress. I thought I appreciated the monstrous growths of rumor before, but I never did. The Latin poet, though used to a court, has faintly described what I saw and heard often, in going the length of a street. It is astonishing what force, purity and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods. These absurdities, of course, are linked with good qualities, with energy of feeling, and with a love of morality, though narrowed and vulgarized by the absence of the intelligence which should enlighten. I had the good discipline of trying to make allowance for those making none, to be charitable to their want of charity, and cool without being cold. But I don't know when I have felt such an aversion to my environment, and prayed so earnestly day by day,—"O, Eternal! purge from my inmost heart this hot haste about ephemeral trifles," and "keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me."

'What a change from the almost vestal quiet of "Aunt Mary's" life, to all this open-windowed, open-eyed screaming of "poltroon," "nefarious plan," "entire depravity," &c. &c.'

* * * * *

'July, 1842. Boston.—I have been entertaining the girls here with my old experiences at Groton. They have been very fresh in my mind this week. Had I but been as wise in such matters then as now, how easy and fair I might have made the whole! Too late, too late to live, but not too late to think! And as that maxim of the wise Oriental teaches, "the Acts of this life shall be the Fate of the next."'

* * * 'I would have my friends tender of me, not because I am frail, but because I am capable of strength;—patient, because they see in me a principle that must, at last, harmonize all the exuberance of my character. I did not well understand what you felt, but I am willing to admit that what you said of my "over-great impetuosity" is just. You will, perhaps, feel it more and more. It may at times hide my better self. When it does, speak, I entreat, as harshly as you feel. Let me be always sure I know the worst I believe you will be thus just, thus true, for we are both servants of Truth.'

* * * * *

'August, 1842. Cambridge.—Few have eyes for the pretty little features of a scene. In this, men are not so good as boys. Artists are always thus young; poets are; but the pilgrim does not lay aside his belt of steel, nor the merchant his pack, to worship the flowers on the fountain's brink. I feel, like Herbert, the weight of "business to be done," but the bird-like particle would skim and sing at these sweet places. It seems strange to leave them; and that we do so, while so fitted to live deeply in them, shows that beauty is the end but not the means.

'I have just been reading the new poems of Tennyson. Much has he thought, much suffered, since the first ecstasy of so fine an organization clothed all the world with rosy light. He has not suffered himself to become a mere intellectual voluptuary, nor the songster of fancy and passion, but has earnestly revolved the problems of life, and his conclusions are calmly noble. In these later verses is a still, deep sweetness; how different from the intoxicating, sensuous melody of his earlier cadence! I have loved him much this time, and taken him to heart as a brother. One of his themes has long been my favorite,—the last expedition of Ulysses,—and his, like mine, is the Ulysses of the Odyssey, with his deep romance of wisdom, and not the worldling of the Iliad. How finely marked his slight description of himself and of Telemachus. In Dora, Locksley Hall, the Two Voices, Morte D'Arthur, I find my own life, much of it, written truly out.'

* * * * *

Concord, August 25. 1842.—Beneath this roof of peace, beneficence, and intellectual activity, I find just the alternation of repose and satisfying pleasure that I need. * * *

    'Do not find fault with the hermits and scholars. The true text

      "Mine own Telemachus
      He does his work—I mine."

'All do the work, whether they will or no; but he is "mine own Telemachus" who does it in the spirit of religion, never believing that the last results can be arrested in any one measure or set of measures, listening always to the voice of the Spirit,—and who does this more than ——?

'After the first excitement of intimacy with him,—when I was made so happy by his high tendency, absolute purity, the freedom and infinite graces of an intellect cultivated much beyond any I had known,—came with me the questioning season. I was greatly disappointed in my relation to him. I was, indeed, always called on to be worthy,—this benefit was sure in our friendship. But I found no intelligence of my best self; far less was it revealed to me in new modes; for not only did he seem to want the living faith which enables one to discharge this holiest office of a friend, but he absolutely distrusted me in every region of my life with which he was unacquainted. The same trait I detected in his relations with others. He had faith in the Universal, but not in the Individual Man: he met men, not as a brother, but as a critic. Philosophy appeared to chill instead of exalting the poet.

'But now I am better acquainted with him. His "accept" is true; the "I shall learn," with which he answers every accusation, is no less true. No one can feel his limitations, in fact, more than he, though he always speaks confidently from his present knowledge as all he has yet, and never qualifies or explains. He feels himself "shut up in a crystal cell," from which only "a great love or a great task could release me," and hardly expects either from what remains in this life. But I already see so well how these limitations have fitted him for his peculiar work, that I can no longer quarrel with them; while from his eyes looks out the angel that must sooner or later break every chain. Leave him in his cell affirming absolute truth; protesting against humanity, if so he appears to do; the calm observer of the courses of things. Surely, "he keeps true to his thought, which is the great matter." He has already paid his debt to his time; how much more he will give we cannot know; but already I feel how invaluable is a cool mind, like his, amid the warring elements around us. As I look at him more by his own law, I understand him better; and as I understand him better, differences melt away. My inmost heart blesses the fate that gave me birth in the same clime and time, and that has drawn me into such a close bond with him as, it is my hopeful faith, will never be broken, but from sphere to sphere ever more hallowed. * * *

'What did you mean by saying I had imbibed much of his way of thought? I do indeed feel his life stealing gradually into mine; and I sometimes think that my work would have been more simple, and my unfolding to a temporal activity more rapid and easy, if we had never met. But when I look forward to eternal growth, I am always aware that I am far larger and deeper for him. His influence has been to me that of lofty assurance and sweet serenity. He says, I come to him as the European to the Hindoo, or the gay Trouvére to the Puritan in his steeple hat. Of course this implies that our meeting is partial. I present to him the many forms of nature and solicit with music; he melts them all into spirit and reproves performance with prayer. When I am with God alone, I adore in silence. With nature I am filled and grow only. With most men I bring words of now past life, and do actions suggested by the wants of their natures rather than my own. But he stops me from doing anything, and makes me think.'

* * * * *

October, 1842 * * To me, individually, Dr. Channing's kindness was great; his trust and esteem were steady, though limited, and I owe him a large debt of gratitude.

'His private character was gentle, simple, and perfectly harmonious, though somewhat rigid and restricted in its operations. It was easy to love, and a happiness to know him, though never, I think, a source of the highest social pleasure to be with him. His department was ethics; and as a literary companion, he did not throw himself heartily into the works of creative genius, but looked, wherever he read, for a moral. In criticism he was deficient in "individuality," if by that the phrenologists mean the power of seizing on the peculiar meanings of special forms. I have heard it said, that, under changed conditions, he might have been a poet. He had, indeed, the poetic sense of a creative spirit working everywhere. Man and nature were living to him; and though he did not yield to sentiment in particulars he did in universals. But his mind was not recreative, or even representative.

'He was deeply interesting to me as having so true a respect for woman. This feeling in him was not chivalrous; it was not the sentiment of an artist; it was not the affectionateness of the common son of Adam, who knows that only her presence can mitigate his loneliness; but it was a religious reverence. To him she was a soul with an immortal destiny. Nor was there at the bottom of his heart one grain of masculine assumption. He did not wish that Man should protect her, but that God should protect her and teach her the meaning of her lot.

'In his public relations he is to be regarded not only as a check upon the evil tendencies of his era, but yet more as a prophet of a better age already dawning as he leaves us. In his later days he filled yet another office of taking the middle ground between parties. Here he was a fairer figure than ever before. His morning prayer was, "Give me more light; keep my soul open to the light;" and it was answered. He steered his middle course with sails spotless and untorn. He was preserved in a wonderful degree from the prejudices of his own past, the passions of the present, and the exaggerations of those who look forward to the future. In the writings where, after long and patient survey, he sums up the evidence on both sides, and stands umpire, with the judicial authority of a pure intent, a steadfast patience, and a long experience, the mild wisdom of age is beautifully tempered by the ingenuous sweetness of youth. These pieces resemble charges to a jury; they have always been heard with affectionate deference, if not with assent, and have, exerted a purifying influence.' * *

* * * * *

'November, 1842.—When souls meet direct and all secret thoughts are laid open, we shall need no forbearance, no prevention, no care-taking of any kind. Love will be pure light, and each action simple,—too simple to be noble. But there will not be always so much to pardon in ourselves and others. Yesterday we had at my class a conversation on Faith. Deeply true things were said and felt. But to-day the virtue has gone out of me; I have accepted all, and yet there will come these hours of weariness,—weariness of human nature in myself and others. "Could ye not watch one hour?" Not one faithfully through! * * To speak with open heart and "tongue affectionate and true,"—to enjoy real repose and the consciousness of a thorough mutual understanding in the presence of friends when we do meet, is what is needed. That being granted, I do believe I should not wish any surrender of time or thought from a human being. But I have always a sense that I cannot meet or be met in haste; as —— said he could not look at the works of art in a chance half-hour, so cannot I thus rudely and hastily turn over the leaves of any mind. In peace, in stillness that permits the soul to flow, beneath the open sky, I would see those I love.'

[Footnote A: This was some years before their reprint in this country, it should be noticed.]

[Footnote B: Miss Rotch, of New Bedford.]

[Footnote C: The Dorr rebellion.]



* * * * *

In the preceding extracts will have been noticed frequent reference to the Association Movement, which, during the winter of 1840-41, was beginning to appear simultaneously at several points in New England. In Boston and its vicinity several friends, for whose characters Margaret felt the highest honor, and with many of whose views, theoretic and practical, she accorded, were earnestly considering the possibility of making such industrial, social, and educational arrangements, as would simplify economies, combine leisure for study with healthful and honest toil, avert unjust collisions of caste, equalize refinements, awaken generous affections, diffuse courtesy, and sweeten and sanctify life as a whole. Chief among these was the Rev. George Ripley, who, convinced by his experience in a faithful ministry, that the need was urgent for a thorough application of the professed principles of Fraternity to actual relations, was about staking his all of fortune, reputation, position, and influence, in an attempt to organize a joint-stock community at Brook Farm. How Margaret was inclined to regard this movement has been already indicated. While at heart sympathizing with the heroism that prompted it, in judgment she considered it premature. But true to her noble self, though regretting the seemingly gratuitous sacrifice of her friends, she gave them without stint the cheer of her encouragement and the light of her counsel. She visited them often; entering genially into their trials and pleasures, and missing no chance to drop good seed in every furrow upturned by the ploughshare or softened by the rain. In the secluded yet intensely animated circle of these co-workers I frequently met her during several succeeding years, and rejoice to bear testimony to the justice, magnanimity, wisdom, patience, and many-sided good-will, that governed her every thought and deed. The feelings with which she watched the progress of this experiment are thus exhibited in her journals:—

'My hopes might lead to Association, too,—an association, if not of efforts, yet of destinies. In such an one I live with several already, feeling that each one, by acting out his own, casts light upon a mutual destiny, and illustrates the thought of a mastermind. It is a constellation, not a phalanx, to which I would belong.'

* * * * *

'Why bind oneself to a central or any doctrine? How much nobler stands a man entirely unpledged, unbound! Association may be the great experiment of the age, still it is only an experiment. It is not worth while to lay such stress on it; let us try it, induce others to try it,—that is enough.'

* * * * *

'It is amusing to see how the solitary characters tend to outwardness,—to association,—while the social and sympathetic ones emphasize the value of solitude,—of concentration,—so that we hear from each the word which, from his structure, we least expect.'

* * * * *

'On Friday I came to Brook Farm. The first day or two here is desolate. You seem to belong to nobody—to have a right to speak to nobody; but very soon you learn to take care of yourself, and then the freedom of the place is delightful.

'It is fine to see how thoroughly Mr. and Mrs. R. act out, in their own persons, what they intend.

'All Saturday I was off in the woods. In the evening we had a general conversation, opened by me, upon Education, in its largest sense, and on what we can do for ourselves and others. I took my usual ground: The aim is perfection; patience the road. The present object is to give ourselves and others a tolerable chance. Let us not be too ambitious in our hopes as to immediate results. Our lives should be considered as a tendency, an approximation only. Parents and teachers expect to do too much. They are not legislators, but only interpreters to the next generation. Soon, very soon, does the parent become merely the elder brother of his child;—a little wiser, it is to be hoped. —— differed from me as to some things I said about the gradations of experience,—that "to be brought prematurely near perfect beings would chill and discourage." He thought it would cheer and console. He spoke well,—with a youthful nobleness. —— said "that the most perfect person would be the most impersonal"—philosophical bull that, I trow—"and, consequently, would impede us least from God." Mr. R. spoke admirably on the nature of loyalty. The people showed a good deal of the sans-culotte tendency in their manners,—throwing themselves on the floor, yawning, and going out when they had heard enough. Yet, as the majority differ from me, to begin with,—that being the reason this subject was chosen,—they showed, on the whole, more respect and interest than I had expected. As I am accustomed to deference, however, and need it for the boldness and animation which my part requires, I did not speak with as much force as usual. Still, I should like to have to face all this; it would have the same good effects that the Athenian assemblies had on the minds obliged to encounter them.

'Sunday. A glorious day;—the woods full of perfume. I was out all the morning. In the afternoon, Mrs. R. and I had a talk. I said my position would be too uncertain here, as I could not work. —— said:—"They would all like to work for a person of genius. They would not like to have this service claimed from them, but would like to render it of their own accord." "Yes," I told her; "but where would be my repose, when they were always to be judging whether I was worth it or not. It would be the same position the clergyman is in, or the wandering beggar with his harp. Each day you must prove yourself anew. You are not in immediate relations with material things."

'We talked of the principles of the community. I said I had not a right to come, because all the confidence in it I had was as an experiment worth trying, and that it was a part of the great wave of inspired thought. —— declared they none of them had confidence beyond this; but they seem to me to have. Then I said, "that though I entirely agreed about the dignity of labor, and had always wished for the present change, yet I did not agree with the principle of paying for services by time;[A] neither did I believe in the hope of excluding evil, for that was a growth of nature, and one condition of the development of good." We had valuable discussion on these points.

'All Monday morning in the woods again. Afternoon, out with the drawing party; I felt the evils of want of conventional refinement, in the impudence with which one of the girls treated me. She has since thought of it with regret, I notice; and, by every day's observation of me, will see that she ought not to have done it.'

* * * * *

'In the evening, a husking in the barn. Men, women, and children, all engaged. It was a most picturesque scene, only not quite light enough to bring it out fully. I staid and helped about half an hour, then took a long walk beneath the stars.'

* * * * *

'Wednesday. I have been too much absorbed to-day by others, and it has made me almost sick. Mrs. —— came to see me, and we had an excellent talk, which occupied nearly all the morning. Then Mrs. —— wanted to see me, but after a few minutes I found I could not bear it, and lay down to rest. Then —— came. Poor man;—his feelings and work are wearing on him. He looks really ill now. Then —— and I went to walk in the woods. I was deeply interested in all she told me. If I were to write down all she and four other married women have confided to me, these three days past, it would make a cento, on one subject, in five parts. Certainly there should be some great design in my life; its attractions are so invariable.'

* * * * *

'In the evening, a conversation on Impulse. The reason for choosing this subject is the great tendency here to advocate spontaneousness, at the expense of reflection. It was a much better conversation than the one before. None yawned, for none came, this time, from mere curiosity. There were about thirty-five present, which is a large enough circle. Many engaged in the talk. I defended nature, as I always do;—the spirit ascending through, not superseding, nature. But in the scale of Sense, Intellect, Spirit, I advocated to-night the claims of Intellect, because those present were rather disposed to postpone them. On the nature of Beauty we had good talk. —— spoke well. She seemed in a much more reverent humor than the other night, and enjoyed the large plans of the universe which were unrolled. ——, seated on the floor, with the light falling from behind on his long gold locks, made, with sweet, serene aspect, and composed tones, a good exposé of his way of viewing things.'

* * * * *

'Saturday. Well, good-by, Brook Farm. I know more about this place than I did when I came; but the only way to be qualified for a judge of such an experiment would be to become an active, though unimpassioned, associate in trying it. Some good things are proven, and as for individuals, they are gainers. Has not —— vied, in her deeds of love, with "my Cid," and the holy Ottilia? That girl who was so rude to me stood waiting, with a timid air, to bid me good-by. Truly, the soft answer turneth away wrath.

'I have found myself here in the amusing position of a conservative. Even so is it with Mr. R. There are too many young people in proportion to the others. I heard myself saying, with a grave air, "Play out the play, gentles." Thus, from generation to generation, rises and falls the wave.'

Again, a year afterward, she writes:—

'Here I have passed a very pleasant week. The tone of the society is much sweeter than when I was here a year ago. There is a pervading spirit of mutual tolerance and gentleness, with great sincerity. There is no longer a passion for grotesque freaks of liberty, but a disposition, rather, to study and enjoy the liberty of law. The great development of mind and character observable in several instances, persuades me that this state of things affords a fine studio for the soul-sculptor. To a casual observer it may seem as if there was not enough of character here to interest, because there are no figures sufficiently distinguished to be worth painting for the crowd; but there is enough of individuality in free play to yield instruction; and one might have, from a few months' residence here, enough of the human drama to feed thought for a long time.'

Thus much for Margaret's impressions of Brook Farm and its inmates. What influence she in turn exerted on those she met there, may be seen from the following affectionate tribute, offered by one of the young girls alluded to in the journal:—

"Would that I might aid even slightly, in doing justice to the noble-hearted woman whose departure we must all mourn. But I feel myself wholly powerless to do so; and after I explain what my relation to her was, you will understand how this can be, without holding me indolent or unsympathetic.

"When I first met Miss Fuller, I had already cut from my moorings, and was sailing on the broad sea of experience, conscious that I possessed unusual powers of endurance, and that I should meet with sufficient to test their strength. She made no offer of guidance, and once or twice, in the succeeding year, alluded to the fact that she 'had never helped me.' This was in a particular sense, of course, for she helped all who knew her. She was interested in my rough history, but could not be intimate, in any just sense, with a soul so unbalanced, so inharmonious as mine then was. For my part, I reverenced her. She was to me the embodiment of wisdom and tenderness. I heard her converse, and, in the rich and varied intonations of her voice, I recognized a being to whom every shade of sentiment was familiar. She knew, if not by experience then by no questionable intuition, how to interpret the inner life of every man and woman; and, by interpreting, she could soothe and strengthen. To her, psychology was an open book. When she came to Brook Farm, it was my delight to wait on one so worthy of all service,—to arrange her late breakfast in some remnants of ancient China, and to save her, if it might be, some little fatigue or annoyance, during each day. After a while she seemed to lose sight of my more prominent and disagreeable peculiarities, and treated me with affectionate regard."

Being a confirmed Socialist, I often had occasion to discuss with Margaret the problems involved in the "Combined Order" of life; and though unmoved by her scepticism, I could not but admire the sagacity, foresight, comprehensiveness, and catholic sympathy with which she surveyed this complicated subject. Her objections, to be sure, were of the usual kind, and turned mainly upon two points,—the difficulty of so allying labor and capital as to secure the hoped-for coöperation, and the danger of merging the individual in the mass to such degree as to paralyze energy, heroism, and genius; but these objections were urged in a way that brought out her originality and generous hopes. There was nothing abject, timid, or conventional in her doubts. The end sought she prized; but the means she questioned. Though pleased in listening to sanguine visions of the future, she was slow to credit that an organization by "Groups and Series" would yield due incentive for personal development, while ensuring equilibrium through exact and universal justice. She felt, too, that Society was not a machine to be put together and set in motion, but a living body, whose breath must be Divine inspiration, and whose healthful growth is only hindered by forcing. Finally, while longing as earnestly as any Socialist for "Liberty and Law made one in living union," and assured in faith that an era was coming of "Attractive Industry" and "Harmony," she was still for herself inclined to seek sovereign independence in comparative isolation. Indeed, at this period, Margaret was in spirit and in thought preëminently a Transcendentalist.

[Footnote A: This was a transitional arrangement only.]



* * * * *

In regard to Transcendentalism again, there was reason to rejoice in having found a friend, so firm to keep her own ground, while so liberal to comprehend another's stand-point, as was Margaret. She knew, not only theoretically, but practically, how endless are the diversities of human character and of Divine discipline, and she reverenced fellow-spirits too sincerely ever to wish to warp them to her will, or to repress their normal development. She was stern but in one claim, that each should be faithful to apparent leadings of the Truth; and could avow widest differences of conviction without feeling that love was thereby chilled, or the hand withheld from cordial aid. Especially did she render service by enabling one,—through her blended insight, candor, and clearness of understanding,—to see in bright reflection his own mental state.

It would be doing injustice to a person like Margaret, always more enthusiastic than philosophical, to attribute to her anything like a system of theology; for, hopeful, reverent, aspiring, and free from scepticism, she felt too profoundly the vastness of the universe and of destiny ever to presume that with her span rule she could measure the Infinite. Yet the tendency of her thoughts can readily be traced in the following passages from note-books and letters:—

'When others say to me, and not without apparent ground, that "the Outward Church is a folly which keeps men from enjoying the communion of the Church Invisible, and that in the desire to be helped by, and to help others, men lose sight of the only sufficient help, which they might find by faithful solitary intentness of spirit," I answer it is true, and the present deadness and emptiness summon us to turn our thoughts in that direction. Being now without any positive form of religion, any unattractive symbols, or mysterious rites, we are in the less danger of stopping at surfaces, of accepting a mediator instead of the Father, a sacrament instead of the Holy Ghost. And when I see how little there is to impede and bewilder us, I cannot but accept,—should it be for many years,—the forlornness, the want of fit expression, the darkness as to what is to be expressed, even that characterize our time.

'But I do not, therefore, as some of our friends do, believe that it will always be so, and that the church is tottering to its grave, never to rise again. The church was the growth of human nature, and it is so still. It is but one result of the impulse which makes two friends clasp one another's hands, look into one another's eyes at sight of beauty, or the utterance of a feeling of piety. So soon as the Spirit has mourned and sought, and waited long enough to open new depths, and has found something to express, there will again be a Cultus, a Church. The very people, who say that none is needed, make one at once. They talk with, they write to one another. They listen to music, they sustain themselves with the poets; they like that one voice should tell the thoughts of several minds, one gesture proclaim that the same life is at the same moment in many breasts.

'I am myself most happy in my lonely Sundays, and do not feel the need of any social worship, as I have not for several years, which I have passed in the same way. Sunday is to me priceless as a day of peace and solitary reflection. To all who will, it may be true, that, as Herbert says:—

      "Sundays the pillars are
      On which Heaven's palace arched lies;
      The other days fill up the space
      And hollow room with vanities;"

and yet in no wise "vanities," when filtered by the Sunday crucible. After much troubling of the waters of my life, a radiant thought of the meaning and beauty of earthly existence will descend like a healing angel. The stillness permits me to hear a pure tone from the One in All. But often I am not alone. The many now, whose hearts, panting for truth and love, have been made known to me, whose lives flow in the same direction as mine, and are enlightened by the same star, are with me. I am in church, the church invisible, undefiled by inadequate expression. Our communion is perfect; it is that of a common aspiration; and where two or three are gathered together in one region, whether in the flesh or the spirit, He will grant their request. Other communion would be a happiness,—to break together the bread of mutual thought, to drink the wine of loving life,—but it is not necessary.

'Yet I cannot but feel that the crowd of men whose pursuits are not intellectual, who are not brought by their daily walk into converse with sages and poets, who win their bread from an earth whose mysteries are not open to them, whose worldly intercourse is more likely to stifle than to encourage the sparks of love and faith in their breasts, need on that day quickening more than repose. The church is now rather a lecture-room than a place of worship; it should be a school for mutual instruction. I must rejoice when any one, who lays spiritual things to heart, feels the call rather to mingle with men, than to retire and seek by himself.

'You speak of men going up to worship by "households," &c. Were the actual family the intellectual family, this might be; but as social life now is, how can it? Do we not constantly see the child, born in the flesh to one father, choose in the spirit another? No doubt this is wrong, since the sign does not stand for the thing signified, but it is one feature of the time. How will it end? Can families worship together till it does end?

* * * * *

'I have let myself be cheated out of my Sunday, by going to hear Mr. ——. As he began by reading the first chapter of Isaiah, and the fourth of John's Epistle, I made mental comments with pure delight. "Bring no more vain oblations." "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." "We know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because he hath given us of the Spirit." Then pealed the organ, full of solemn assurance. But straightway uprose the preacher to deny mysteries, to deny the second birth, to deny influx, and to renounce the sovereign gift of insight, for the sake of what he deemed a "rational" exercise of will. As he spoke I could not choose but deny him all through, and could scarce refrain from rising to expound, in the light of my own faith, the words of those wiser Jews which had been read. Was it not a sin to exchange friendly greeting as we parted, and yet tell him no word of what was in my mind?

'Still I saw why he looked at things as he did. The old religionists did talk about "grace, conversion," and the like, technically, without striving to enter into the idea, till they quite lost sight of it. Undervaluing the intellect, they became slaves of a sect, instead of organs of the Spirit. This Unitarianism has had its place. There was a time for asserting "the dignity of human nature," and for explaining total depravity into temporary inadequacy,—a time to say that the truths of essence, if simplified at all in statement from their infinite variety of existence, should be spoken of as One, rather than Three, though that number, if they would only let it reproduce itself simply, is of highest significance. Yet the time seems now to have come for reinterpreting the old dogmas. For one I would now preach the Holy Ghost as zealously as they have been preaching Man, and faith instead of the understanding, and mysticism instead &c. But why go on? It certainly is by no means useless to preach. In my experience of the divine gifts of solitude, I had forgotten what might be done in this other way. That crowd of upturned faces, with their look of unintelligent complacency! Give tears and groans, rather, if there be a mixture of physical excitement and bigotry. Mr. —— is heard because, though he has not entered into the secret of piety, he wishes to be heard, and with a good purpose,—can make a forcible statement, and kindle himself with his own thoughts. How many persons must there be who cannot worship alone, since they are content with so little! Can none wake the spark that will melt them, till they take beautiful forms? Were one to come now, who could purge us with fire, how would these masses glow and be clarified!

'Mr. —— made a good suggestion:—"Such things could not be said in the open air." Let men preach for the open air, and speak now thunder and lightning, now dew and rustling leaves. Yet must the preacher have the thought of his day before he can be its voice. None have it yet; but some of our friends, perhaps, are nearer than the religious world at large, because neither ready to dogmatize, as if they had got it, nor content to stop short with mere impressions and presumptuous hopes. I feel that a great truth is coming. Sometimes it seems as if we should have it among us in a day. Many steps of the Temple have been ascended, steps of purest alabaster, and of shining jasper, also of rough-brick, and slippery moss-grown stone. We shall reach what we long for, since we trust and do not fear, for our God knows not fear, only reverence, and his plan is All in All.'

* * * * *

'Who can expect to utter an absolutely pure and clear tone on these high subjects? Our earthly atmosphere is too gross to permit it. Yet, a severe statement has rather an undue charm for me, as I have a nature of great emotion, which loves free abandonment. I am ready to welcome a descending Moses, come to turn all men from idolatries. For my priests have been very generally of the Pagan greatness, revering nature and seeking excellence, but in the path of progress, not of renunciation. The lyric inspirations of the poet come very differently on the ear from the "still, small voice." They are, in fact, all one revelation; but one must be at the centre to interpret it. To that centre I have again and again been drawn, but my large natural life has been, as yet, but partially transfused with spiritual consciousness. I shun a premature narrowness, and bide my time. But I am drawn to look at natures who take a different way, because they seem to complete my being for me. They, too, tolerate me in my many phases for the same reason, probably. It pleased me to see, in one of the figures by which the Gnostics illustrated the progress of man, that Severity corresponded to Magnificence.'

* * * * *

'In my quiet retreat, I read Xenophon, and became more acquainted with his Socrates. I had before known only the Socrates of Plato, one much more to my mind. Socrates conformed to the Greek Church, and it is evident with a sincere reverence, because it was the growth of the national mind. He thought best to stand on its platform, and to illustrate, though with keen truth, by received forms. This was his right way, as his influence was naturally private, for individuals who could in some degree respond to the teachings of his dæmon; he knew the multitude would not understand him. But it was the other way that Jesus took, preaching in the fields, and plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath.'

* * * * *

'Is it my defect of spiritual experience, that while that weight of sagacity, which is the iron to the dart of genius, is needful to satisfy me, the undertone of another and a deeper knowledge does not please, does not command me? Even in Handel's Messiah, I am half incredulous, half impatient, when the sadness of the second part comes to check, before it interprets, the promise of the first; and the strain, "Was ever sorrow like to his sorrow," is not for me, as I have been, as I am. Yet Handel was worthy to speak of Christ. The great chorus, "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," if understood in the large sense of every man his own Saviour, and Jesus only representative of the way all must walk to accomplish our destiny, is indeed a worthy gospel.'

* * * * *

'Ever since —— told me how his feelings had changed towards Jesus, I have wished much to write some sort of a Credo, out of my present state, but have had no time till last night. I have not satisfied myself in the least, and have written very hastily, yet, though not full enough to be true, this statement is nowhere false to me.

* * * 'Whatever has been permitted by the law of being, must be for good, and only in time not good. We trust, and are led forward by experience. Light gives experience of outward life, faith of inward life, and then we discern, however faintly, the necessary harmony of the two. The moment we have broken through an obstruction, not accidentally, but by the aid of faith, we begin to interpret the Universe, and to apprehend why evil is permitted. Evil is obstruction; Good is accomplishment.

'It would seem that the Divine Being designs through man to express distinctly what the other forms of nature only intimate, and that wherever man remains imbedded in nature, whether from sensuality, or because he is not yet awakened to consciousness, the purpose of the whole remains unfulfilled. Hence our displeasure when Man is not in a sense above Nature. Yet, when he is not so closely bound with all other manifestations, as duly to express their Spirit, we are also displeased. He must be at once the highest form of Nature, and conscious of the meaning she has been striving successively to unfold through those below him. Centuries pass; whole races of men are expended in the effort to produce one that shall realize this Ideal, and publish Spirit in the human form. Here and there is a degree of success. Life enough is lived through a man, to justify the great difficulties attendant on the existence of mankind. And then throughout all realms of thought vibrates the affirmation, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

'I do not mean to lay an undue stress upon the position and office of man merely because I am of his race, and understand best the scope of his destiny. The history of the earth, the motions of the heavenly bodies, suggest already modes of being higher than ours, and which fulfil more deeply the office of interpretation. But I do suppose man's life to be the rivet in one series of the great chain, and that all higher existences are analogous to his. Music suggests their mode of being, and, when carried up on its strong wings, we foresee how the next step in the soul's ascension shall interpret man to the universe, as he now interprets those forms beneath himself. * *

'The law of Spirit is identical, whether displaying itself as genius, or as piety, but its modes of expression are distinct dialects. All souls desire to become the fathers of souls, as citizens, legislators, poets, artists, sages, saints; and, so far as they are true to the law of their incorruptible essence, they are all Anointed, all Emanuel, all Messiah; but they are all brutes and devils so far as subjected to the law of corruptible existence.

'As wherever there is a tendency a form is gradually evolved, as its Type,—so is it the law of each class and order of human thoughts to produce a form which shall be the visible representation of its aim and strivings, and stand before it as its King. This effort to produce a kingly type it was, that clothed itself with power as Brahma or Osiris, that gave laws as Confucius or Moses, that embodied music and eloquence in the Apollo. This it was that incarnated itself, at one time as Plato, at another as Michel Angelo, at another as Luther, &c. Ever seeking, it has produced Ideal after Ideal of the beauty, into which mankind is capable of being developed; and one of the highest, in some respects the very highest, of these kingly types, was the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

'Few believe more in his history than myself, and it is very dear to me. I believe, in my own way, in the long preparation of ages for his coming, and the truth of prophecy that announced him. I see a necessity, in the character of Jesus, why Abraham should have been the founder of his nation, Moses its lawgiver, and David its king and poet. I believe in the genesis of the patriarchs, as given in the Old Testament. I believe in the prophets,—that they foreknew not only what their nation longed for, but what the development of universal Man requires,—a Redeemer, an Atoner, a Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world. I believe that Jesus came when the time was ripe, and that he was peculiarly a messenger and Son of God. I have nothing to say in denial of the story of his birth; whatever the actual circumstances were, he was born of a Virgin, and the tale expresses a truth of the soul. I have no objection to the miracles, except where they do not happen to please one's feelings. Why should not a spirit, so consecrate and intent, develop new laws, and make matter plastic? I can imagine him walking the waves, without any violation of my usual habits of thought. He could not remain in the tomb, they say; certainly not,—death is impossible to such a being. He remained upon earth; most true, and all who have met him since on the way, have felt their hearts burn within them. He ascended to heaven; surely, how could it be otherwise?

'Would I could express with some depth what I feel as to religion in my very soul; it would be a clear note of calm assurance. But for the present this must suffice with regard to Christ. I am grateful here, as everywhere, when Spirit bears fruit in fulness; it attests the justice of aspiration, it kindles faith, it rebukes sloth, it enlightens resolve. But so does a beautiful infant. Christ's life is only one modification of the universal harmony. I will not loathe sects, persuasions, systems, though I cannot abide in them one moment, for I see that by most men they are still needed. To them their banners, their tents; let them be Fire-worshippers, Platonists, Christians; let them live in the shadow of past revelations. But, oh, Father of our souls, the One, let me seek Thee! I would seek Thee in these forms, and in proportion as they reveal Thee, they teach me to go beyond themselves. I would learn from them all, looking only to Thee! But let me set no limits from the past, to my own soul, or to any soul.

'Ages may not produce one worthy to loose the shoes of the Prophet of Nazareth; yet there will surely be another manifestation of that Word which was in the beginning. And all future manifestations will come, like Christianity, "not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil." The very greatness of this manifestation demands a greater. As an Abraham called for a Moses, and a Moses for a David, so does Christ for another Ideal. We want a life more complete and various than that of Christ. We have had a Messiah to teach and reconcile; let us now have a Man to live out all the symbolical forms of human life, with the calm beauty of a Greek God, with the deep consciousness of a Moses, with the holy love and purity of Jesus.'



* * * * *

To one studying the signs of the times, it was quite instructive to watch the moods of a mind so sensitive as Margaret's; for her delicate meter indicated in advance each coming change in the air-currents of thought. But I was chiefly interested in the processes whereby she was gaining harmony and unity. The more one studied her, the more plainly he saw that her peculiar power was the result of fresh, fervent, exhaustless, and indomitable affections. The emotive force in her, indeed, was immense in volume, and most various in tendency; and it was wonderful to observe the outward equability of one inwardly so impassioned.

This was, in fact, the first problem to be solved in gaining real knowledge of her commanding character: "How did a person, by constitution so impetuous, become so habitually serene?" In temperament Margaret seemed a Bacchante,[A] prompt for wild excitement, and fearless to tread by night the mountain forest, with song and dance of delirious mirth; yet constantly she wore the laurel in token of purification, and, with water from fresh fountains, cleansed the statue of Minerva. Stagnancy and torpor were intolerable to her free and elastic impulses; a brilliant fancy threw over each place and incident Arcadian splendor; and eager desire, with energetic purposes, filled her with the consciousness of large latent life: and yet the lower instincts were duly subordinated to the higher, and dignified self-control ordered her deportment. Somehow, according to the doctrine of the wise Jacob Boehme, the fierce, hungry fire had met in embrace the meek, cool water, and was bringing to birth the pleasant light-flame of love. The transformation, though not perfected, was fairly begun.

Partly I could see how this change had been wrought. Ill health, pain, disappointment, care, had tamed her spirits. A wide range through the romantic literature of ancient and modern times had exalted while expending her passions. In the world of imagination, she had discharged the stormful energy which would have been destructive in actual life. And in thought she had bound herself to the mast while sailing past the Sirens. Through sympathy, also, from childhood, with the tragi-comedy of many lives around her, she had gained experience of the laws and limitations of providential order. Gradually, too, she had risen to higher planes of hope, whence opened wider prospects of destiny and duty. More than all, by that attraction of opposites which a strong will is most apt to feel, she had sought, as chosen companions, persons of scrupulous reserve, of modest coolness, and severe elevation of view. Finally, she had been taught, by a discipline specially fitted to her dispositions, to trust the leadings of the Divine Spirit. The result was, that at this period Margaret had become a Mystic. Her prisoned emotions found the freedom they pined for in contemplation of nature's exquisite harmonies,—in poetic regards of the glory that enspheres human existence, when seen as a whole from beyond the clouds,—and above all in exultant consciousness of life ever influent from the All-Living.

A few passages from, her papers will best illustrate this proneness to rapture.

'My tendency is, I presume, rather to a great natural than to a deep religious life. But though others may be more conscientious and delicate, few have so steady a faith in Divine Love. I may be arrogant and impetuous, but I am never harsh and morbid. May there not be a mediation, rather than a conflict, between piety and genius? Greek and Jew, Italian and Saxon, are surely but leaves on one stern, at last.'

* * * * *

'I am in danger of giving myself up to experiences till they so steep me in ideal passion that the desired goal is forgotten in the rich present. Yet I think I am learning how to use life more wisely.'

* * * * *

'Forgive me, beautiful ones, who earlier learned the harmony of your beings,—with whom eye, voice, and hand are already true to the soul! Forgive me still some "lispings and stammerings of the passionate age." Teach me,—me, also,—to utter my paean in its full sweetness. These long lines are radii from one centre; aid me to fill the circumference. Then each moment, each act, shall be true. The pupil has found the carbuncle,[B] but knows not yet how to use it day by day. But "though his companions wondered at the pupil, the master loved him." He loves me, my friends. Do ye trust me. Wash the tears and black stains from the records of my life by the benignity of a true glance; make each discord harmony, by striking again the key-note; forget the imperfect interviews, burn the imperfect letters, till at last the full song bursts forth, the key-stone is given from heaven to the arch, the past is all pardoned and atoned for, and we live forever in the Now.' * *

* * * * *

'Henceforth I hope I shall not write letters thus full of childish feeling; for in feeling I am indeed a child, and the least of children. Soon I must return into the Intellect, for there in sight, at least, I am a man, and could write the words very calmly and in steadfast flow. But, lately, the intellect has been so subordinated to the soul, that I am not free to enter the Basilikon, and plead and hear till I am called. But let me not stay too long in this Sicilian valley, gathering my flowers, for "night cometh."'

* * * * *

'The other evening, while hearing the Creation, in the music of "There shoots the healing plant," I felt what I would ever feel for suffering souls. Somewhere in nature is the Moly, the Nepenthe, desired from the earliest ages of mankind. No wonder the music dwelt so exultingly on the passage:—

"In native worth and honor clad."

Yes; even so would I ever see man. I will wait, and never despair, through all the dull years.'

* * * * *

'I am "too fiery." Even so. Ceres put her foster child in the fire because she loved him. If they thought so before, will they not far more now? Yet I wish to be seen as I am, and would lose all rather than soften away anything. Let my friends be patient and gentle, and teach me to be so. I never promised any one patience or gentleness, for those beautiful traits are not natural to me; but I would learn them. Can I not?'

* * * * *

'Of all the books, and men, and women, that have touched me these weeks past, what has most entered my soul is the music I have heard,—the masterly expression from that violin; the triumph of the orchestra, after the exploits on the piano; Braham, in his best efforts, when he kept true to the dignity of art; the Messiah, which has been given on two successive Sundays, and the last time in a way that deeply expressed its divine life; but above all, Beethoven's seventh symphony. What majesty! what depth! what tearful sweetness! what victory! This was truly a fire upon an altar. There are a succession of soaring passages, near the end of the third movement, which touch me most deeply. Though soaring, they hold on with a stress which almost breaks the chains of matter to the hearer. O, how refreshing, after polemics and philosophy, to soar thus on strong wings! Yes, Father, I will wander in dark ways with the crowd, since thou seest best for me to be tied down. But only in thy free ether do I know myself. When I read Beethoven's life, I said, "I will never repine." When I heard this symphony, I said, "I will triumph."

* * * * *

'To-day I have finished the life of Raphael, by Quatremere de Quincy, which has so long engaged me. It scarce goes deeper than a catalogue raisonnée, but is very complete in its way. I could make all that splendid era alive to me, and inhale the full flower of the Sanzio. Easily one soars to worship these angels of Genius. To venerate the Saints you must well nigh be one.

'I went out upon the lonely rock which commands so delicious a panoramic view. A very mild breeze had sprung up after the extreme heat. A sunset of the melting kind was succeeded by a perfectly clear moon-rise. Here I sat, and thought of Raphael. I was drawn high up in the heaven of beauty, and the mists were dried from the white plumes of contemplation.'#/

'Only by emotion do we know thee, Nature. To lean upon thy heart, and feel its pulses vibrate to our own;—that is knowledge, for that is love, the love of infinite beauty, of infinite love. Thought will never make us be born again.

'My fault is that I think I feel too much. O that my friends would teach me that "simple art of not too much!" How can I expect them to bear the ceaseless eloquence of my nature?'

* * * * *

'Often it has seemed that I have come near enough to the limits to see what they are. But suddenly arises afar the Fata Morgana, and tells of new Sicilies, of their flowery valleys and fields of golden grain. Then, as I would draw near, my little bark is shattered on the rock, and I am left on the cold wave. Yet with my island in sight I do not sink.'

* * * * *

'I look not fairly to myself, at the present moment. If noble growths are always slow, others may ripen far worthier fruit than is permitted to my tropical heats and tornadoes. Let me clasp the cross on my breast, as I have done a thousand times before.'

      'Let me but gather from the earth one full-grown fragrant flower;
      Within my bosom let it bloom through, its one blooming hour;
      Within my bosom let it die, and to its latest breath
      My own shall answer, "Having lived, I shrink not now from death."
      It is this niggard halfness that turns my heart to stone;
      'T is the cup seen, not tasted, that makes the infant moan.
      For once let me press firm my lips upon the moment's brow,
      For once let me distinctly feel I am all happy now,
      And bliss shall seal a blessing upon that moment's brow.'

'I was in a state of celestial happiness, which lasted a great while. For months I was all radiant with faith, and love, and life. I began to be myself. Night and day were equally beautiful, and the lowest and highest equally holy. Before, it had seemed as if the Divine only gleamed upon me; but then it poured into and through me a tide of light. I have passed down from the rosy mountain, now; but I do not forget its pure air, nor how the storms looked as they rolled beneath my feet. I have received my assurance, and if the shadows should lie upon me for a century, they could never make me forgetful of the true hour. Patiently I bide my time.'

The last passage describes a peculiar illumination, to which Margaret often referred as the period when her earthly being culminated, and when, in the noon-tide of loving enthusiasm, she felt wholly at one with God, with Man, and the Universe. It was ever after, to her, an earnest that she was of the Elect. In a letter to one of her confidential female friends, she thus fondly looks back to this experience on the mount of transfiguration:—

'You know how, when the leadings of my life found their interpretation, I longed to share my joy with those I prized most; for I felt that if they could but understand the past we should meet entirely. They received me, some more, some less, according to the degree of intimacy between our natures. But now I have done with the past, and again move forward. The path looks more difficult, but I am better able to bear its trials. We shall have much communion, even if not in the deepest places. I feel no need of isolation, but only of temperance in thought and speech, that the essence may not evaporate in words, but grow plenteous within. The Life will give me to my own. I am not yet so worthy to love as some others are, because my manifold nature is not yet harmonized enough to be faithful, and I begin, to see how much it was the want of a pure music in me that has made the good doubt me. Yet have I been true to the best light I had, and if I am so now much will be given.

'During my last weeks of solitude I was very happy, and all that had troubled me became clearer. The angel was not weary of waiting for Gunhilde, till she had unravelled her mesh of thought, and seeds of mercy, of purification, were planted in the breast. Whatever the past has been, I feel that I have always been reading on and on, and that the Soul of all souls has been patient in love to mine. New assurances were given me, that if I would be faithful and humble, there was no experience that would not tell its heavenly errand. If shadows have fallen, already they give way to a fairer if more tempered light; and for the present I am so happy that the spirit kneels.

'Life, is richly worth living, with its continual revelations of mighty woe, yet infinite hope: and I take it to my breast. Amid these scenes of beauty, all that is little, foreign, unworthy, vanishes like a dream. So shall it be some time amidst the Everlasting Beauty, when true joy shall begin and never cease.'

Filled thus as Margaret was with ecstasy, she was yet more than willing,—even glad,—to bear her share in the universal sorrow. Well she knew that pain must be proportioned to the fineness and fervor of her organization; that the very keenness of her sensibility exposed her to constant disappointment or disgust; that no friend, however faithful, could meet the demands of desires so eager, of sympathies so absorbing. Contrasted with her radiant visions, how dreary looked actual existence; how galling was the friction of petty hindrances; how heavy the yoke of drudging care! Even success seemed failure, when measured by her conscious aim; and experience had brought out to consciousness excesses and defects, which humbled pride while shaming self-confidence. But suffering as she did with all the intensity of so passionate a nature, Margaret still welcomed the searching discipline. 'It is only when Persephone returns from lower earth that she weds Dyonysos, and passes from central sadness into glowing joy,' she writes. And again: 'I have no belief in beautiful lives; we are born to be mutilated; and the blood must flow till in every vein its place is supplied by the Divine ichor.' And she reiterates: 'The method of Providence with me is evidently that of "cross-biassing," as Herbert hath it. In a word, to her own conscience and to intimate friends she avowed, without reserve, that there was in her 'much rude matter that needed to be spiritualized.' Comment would but weaken the pathos of the following passages, in which so plainly appears a once wilful temper striving, with child-like faith, to obey:—

'I have been a chosen one; the lesson of renunciation was early, fully taught, and the heart of stone quite broken through. The Great Spirit wished to leave me no refuge but itself. Convictions have been given, enough to guide me many years if I am steadfast. How deeply, how gratefully I feel this blessing, as the fabric of others' hopes are shivering round me. Peace will not always flow thus softly in my life; but, O, our Father! how many hours has He consecrated to Himself. How often has the Spirit chosen the time, when no ray came from without, to descend upon the orphan life!'

* * * * *

'A humbler, tenderer spirit! Yes, I long for it. But how to gain it? I see no way but prayerfully to bend myself to meet the hour. Let friends be patient with me, and pardon some faint-heartedness. The buds will shiver in the cold air when the sheaths drop. It will not be so long. The word "Patience" has been spoken; it shall be my talisman. A nobler courage will be given, with gentleness and humility. My conviction is clear that all my troubles are needed, and that one who has had so much light thrown upon the path, has no excuse for faltering steps.'

* * * * *

'Could we command enthusiasm; had we an interest with the gods which would light up those sacred fires at will, we should be even seraphic in our influences. But life, if not a complete waste of wearisome hours, must be checkered with them; and I find that just those very times, when I feel all glowing and radiant in the happiness of receiving and giving out again the divine fluid, are preludes to hours of languor, weariness, and paltry doubt, born of—-

            "The secret soul's mistrust
      To find her fair ethereal wings
        Weighed down by vile, degraded dust."

'To this, all who have chosen or been chosen to a life of thought must submit. Yet I rejoice in my heritage. Should I venture to complain? Perhaps, if I were to reckon up the hours of bodily pain, those passed in society with which I could not coalesce, those of ineffectual endeavor to penetrate the secrets of nature and of art, or, worse still, to reproduce the beautiful in some way for myself, I should find they far outnumbered those of delightful sensation, of full and soothing thought, of gratified tastes and affections, and of proud hope. Yet these last, if few, how lovely, how rich in presage! None, who have known them, can in their worst estate fail to hope that they may be again upborne to higher, purer blue.'

* * * * *

'As I was steeped in the divine tenth book of the Republic, came ——'s letter, in which he so insultingly retracts his engagements. I finished the book obstinately, but could get little good of it; then went to ask comfort of the descending sun in the woods and fields. What a comment it was on the disparity between my pursuits and my situation to receive such a letter while reading that book! However, I will not let life's mean perplexities blur from my eye the page of Plato; nor, if natural tears must be dropt, murmur at a lot, which, with all its bitterness, has given time and opportunity to cherish an even passionate love for Truth and Beauty.'

* * * * *

'Black Friday it has been, and my heart is well nigh wearied out. Shall I never be able to act and live with persons of views high as my own? or, at least, with some steadiness of feeling for me to calculate upon? Ah, me! what woes within and without; what assaults of folly; what mean distresses; and, oh, what wounds from cherished hands! Were ye the persons who should stab thus? Had I, too, the Roman right to fold my robe about me decently, and breathe the last sigh! The last! Horrible, indeed, should sobs, deep as these, be drawn to all eternity. But no; life could not hold out for more than one lease of sorrow. This anguish, however, will be wearied out, as I know by experience, alas! of how many such hours.'

* * * * *

'I am reminded to-day of the autumn hours at Jamaica Plain, where, after arranging everything for others that they wanted of me, I found myself, at last, alone in my still home, where everything, for once, reflected my feelings. It was so still, the air seemed full of spirits. How happy I was! with what sweet and solemn happiness! All things had tended to a crisis in me, and I was in a higher state, mentally and spiritually, than I ever was before or shall be again, till death shall introduce me to a new sphere. I purposed to spend the winter in study and self-collection, and to write constantly. I thought I should thus be induced to embody in beautiful forms all that lay in my mind, and that life would ripen into genius. But a very little while these fair hopes bloomed; and, since I was checked then, I do never expect to blossom forth on earth, and all postponements come naturally. At that time it seemed as if angels left me. Yet, now, I think they still are near. Renunciation appears to be entire, and I quite content; yet, probably, 't is no such thing, and that work is to be done over and over again.'

* * * * *

'Do you believe our prayers avail for one another? and that happiness is good for the soul? Pray, then, for me, that I may have a little peace,—some green and flowery spot, 'mid which my thoughts may rest; yet not upon fallacy, but only upon something genuine. I am deeply homesick, yet where is that home? If not on earth, why should we look to heaven? I would fain truly live wherever I must abide, and bear with full energy on my lot, whatever it is. He, who alone knoweth, will affirm that. I have tried to work whole-hearted from an earnest faith. Yet my hand is often languid, and my heart is slow. I would be gone; but whither? I know not; if I cannot make this spot of ground yield the corn and roses, famine must be my lot forever and ever, surely.'

* * * * *

'I remember how at a similar time of perplexity, when there were none to counsel, hardly one to sympathize, and when the conflicting wishes of so many whom I loved pressed the aching heart on every side, after months of groping and fruitless thought, the merest trifle precipitated the whole mass; all became clear as crystal, and I saw of what use the tedious preparation had been, by the deep content I felt in the result.'

* * * * *

'Beethoven! Tasso! It is well to think of you! What sufferings from baseness, from coldness! How rare and momentary were the flashes of joy, of confidence and tenderness, in these noblest lives! Yet could not their genius be repressed. The Eternal Justice lives. O, Father, teach the spirit the meaning of sorrow, and light up the generous fires of love and hope and faith, without which I cannot live!'

* * * * *

'What signifies it that Thou dost always give me to drink more deeply of the inner fountains? And why do I seek a reason for these repulsions and strange arrangements of my mortal lot, when I always gain from them a deeper love for all men, and a deeper trust in Thee? Wonderful are thy ways! But lead me the darkest and the coldest as Thou wilt.'

* * * * *

'Please, good Genius of my life, to make me very patient, resolute, gentle, while no less ardent; and after having tried me well, please present, at the end of some thousand years or so, a sphere of congenial and consecutive labors; of heart-felt, heart-filling wishes carried out into life on the instant; of aims obviously, inevitably proportioned to my highest nature. Sometime, in God's good time, let me live as swift and earnest as a flash of the eye. Meanwhile, let me gather force slowly, and drift along lazily, like yonder cloud, and be content to end in a few tears at last.'

* * * * *

'To-night I lay on the sofa, and saw how the flame shot up from beneath, through the mass of coal that had been piled above. It shot up in wild beautiful jets, and then unexpectedly sank again, and all was black, unsightly and forlorn. And thus, I thought, is it with my life at present. Yet if the fire beneath persists and conquers, that black dead mass will become all radiant, life-giving, fit for the altar or the domestic hearth. Yes, and it shall be so.'

* * * * *

'My tendency at present is to the deepest privacy. Where can I hide till I am given to myself? Yet I love the others more and more. When they are with me I must give them the best from my scrip. I see their infirmities, and would fain heal them, forgetful of my own! But am I left one moment alone, then, a poor wandering pilgrim, but no saint, I would seek the shrine, and would therein die to the world. Then if from the poor relics some miracles might be wrought, that should be for my fellows. Yet some of the saints were able to work in their generation, for they had renounced all!'

* * * * *

'Forget, if you can, all of petulant or overstrained that may have displeased you in me, and commend me in your prayers to my best self. When, in the solitude of the spirit, comes upon you some air from the distance, a breath of aspiration, of faith, of pure tenderness, then believe that the Power which has guided me so faithfully, emboldens my thoughts to frame a prayer for you.'

* * * * *

'Beneath all pain inflicted by Nature, be not only serene, but more; let it avail thee in prayer. Put up, at the moment of greatest suffering, a prayer; not for thy own escape, but for the enfranchisement of some being dear to thee, and the Sovereign Spirit will accept thy ransom.'

* * * * *

'Strive, strive, my soul, to be innocent; yes! beneficent. Does any man wound thee? not only forgive, but Work into thy thought intelligence of the kind of pain, that thou mayest never inflict it on another spirit. Then its work is done; it will never search thy whole nature again. O, love much, and be forgiven!'

* * * * *

'No! we cannot leave society while one clod remains unpervaded by divine life. We cannot live and grow in consecrated earth, alone. Let us rather learn to stand up like the Holy Father, and with extended arms bless the whole world.'

* * * * *

'It will be happiness indeed, if, on passing this first stage, we are permitted, in some degree, to alleviate the ills of those we love,—to lead them on a little way; to aid them when they call. Often it seems to me, it would be sweet to feel that I had certainly conferred one benefit. All my poor little schemes for others are apparently blighted, and now, as ever, I am referred to the Secular year for the interpretation of my moments.'

In one of Margaret's manuscripts is found this beautiful symbol:—'There is a species of Cactus, from whose outer bark, if torn by an ignorant person, there exudes a poisonous liquid; but the natives, who know the plant, strike to the core, and there find a sweet, refreshing juice, that renews their strength.' Surely the preceding extracts prove that she was learning how to draw life-giving virtue from the very heart of evil. No superficial experience of sorrow embittered her with angry despair; but through profound acceptance, she sought to imbibe, from every ill, peace, purity and gentleness.

* * * * *

The two fiery trials through which she had been made to pass, and through which she was yet to pass again and again,—obstruction to the development of her genius, and loneliness of heart,—were the very furnace needed to burn the dross from her gold, till it could fitly image the Heavenly Refiner. By inherited traits, and indiscreet treatment, self-love had early become so excessive that only severest discipline could transmute it to disinterestedness. Pity for her own misfortunes had, indeed, taught her to curb her youthful scorn for mediocrity, and filled her with considerateness and delicate sensibility. Constant experience, too, of the wonderful modes whereby her fate was shaped by overruling mercy, had chastened her love of personal sway, and her passion for a commanding career; and Margaret could humble herself,—did often humble herself,—with an all-resigning contrition, that was most touching to witness in one naturally so haughty. Of this the following letter to a valued friend gives illustration:—

'I ought, I know, to have laid aside my own cares and griefs, been on the alert for intelligence that would gratify you, and written letters such as would have been of use and given pleasure to my wise, tender, ever faithful friend. But no; I first intruded on your happiness with my sorrowful epistles, and then, because you did not seem to understand my position, with sullen petulance I resolved to write no more. Nay, worse; I tried to harden my heart against you, and felt, "If you cannot be all, you shall be nothing."

'It was a bad omen that I lost the locket you gave me, which I had constantly worn. Had that been daily before my eyes, to remind me of all your worth,—of the generosity with which you, a ripe and wise character, received me to the privileges of equal friendship; of the sincerity with which you reproved and the love with which you pardoned my faults; of how much you taught me, and bore with from me,—it would have softened the flint of my heart, and I should have relaxed from my isolation.

'How shall I apologize for feelings which I now recognize as having been so cold, so bitter and unjust? I can only say I have suffered greatly, till the tone of my spirits seems destroyed. Since I have been at leisure to realize how very ill I have been, under what constant pain and many annoyances I have kept myself upright, and how, if I have not done my work, I have learned my lesson to the end, I should be inclined to excuse myself for every fault, except this neglect and ingratitude against friends. Yet, if you can forgive, I will try to forgive myself, and I do think I shall never so deeply sin again.'

Yet, though thus frank to own to herself and to her peers her errors, Margaret cherished a trust in her powers, a confidence in her destiny, and an ideal of her being, place and influence, so lofty as to be extravagant. In the morning-hour and mountain-air of aspiration, her shadow moved before her, of gigantic size, upon the snow-white vapor.

In accordance with her earnest charge, 'Be true as Truth to me,' I could not but expose this propensity to self-delusion; and her answer is her best explanation and defence:—

'I protest against your applying to me, even in your most transient thought, such an epithet as "determined exaggeration." Exaggeration, if you will; but not determined. No; I would have all open to the light, and would let my boughs be pruned, when they grow rank and unfruitful, even if I felt the knife to the quick of my being. Very fain would I have a rational modesty, without self-distrust; and may the knowledge of my failures leaven my soul, and check its intemperance. If you saw me wholly, you would not, I think, feel as you do; for you would recognize the force, that regulates my life and tempers the ardor with an eventual calmness. You would see, too, that the more I take my flight in poetical enthusiasm, the stronger materials I bring back for my nest. Certainly I am nowise yet an angel; but neither am I an utterly weak woman, and far less a cold intellect. God is rarely afar off. Exquisite nature is all around. Life affords vicissitudes enough to try the energies of the human will. I can pray, I can act, I can learn, I can constantly immerse myself in the Divine Beauty. But I also need to love my fellow-men, and to meet the responsive glance of my spiritual kindred.'

Again, she says:—

'I like to hear you express your sense of my defects. The word "arrogance" does not, indeed, appear to me to be just; probably because I do not understand what you mean. But in due time I doubtless shall; for so repeatedly have you used it, that it must stand for something real in my large and rich, yet irregular and unclarified nature. But though I like to hear you, as I say, and think somehow your reproof does me good, by myself, I return to my native bias, and feel as if there was plenty of room in the universe for my faults, and as if I could not spend time in thinking of them, when so many things interest me more. I have no defiance or coldness, however, as to these spiritual facts which I do not know; but I must follow my own law, and bide my time, even if, like Oedipus, I should return a criminal, blind and outcast, to ask aid from the gods. Such possibilities, I confess, give me great awe; for I have more sense than most, of the tragic depths that may open suddenly in the life. Yet, believing in God, anguish cannot be despair, nor guilt perdition. I feel sure that I have never wilfully chosen, and that my life has been docile to such truth as was shown it. In an environment like mine, what may have seemed too lofty or ambitious in my character was absolutely needed to keep the heart from breaking and enthusiasm from extinction.'

Such Egoism as this, though lacking the angel grace of unconsciousness, has a stoical grandeur that commands respect. Indeed, in all that Margaret spoke, wrote, or did, no cynic could detect the taint of meanness. Her elation came not from opium fumes of vanity, inhaled in close chambers of conceit, but from the stimulus of sunshine, fresh breezes, and swift movement upon the winged steed of poesy. Her existence was bright with romantic interest to herself. There was an amplitude and elevation in her aim, which were worthy, as she felt, of human honor and of heavenly aid; and she was buoyed up by a courageous good-will, amidst all evils, that she knew would have been recognized as heroic in the chivalric times, when "every morning brought a noble chance." Neither was her self-regard of an engrossing temper. On the contrary, the sense of personal dignity taught her the worth of the lowliest human being, and her intense desire for harmonious conditions quickened a boundless compassion for the squalid, downcast, and drudging multitude. She aspired to live in majestic fulness of benignant and joyful activity, leaving a track of light with every footstep; and, like the radiant Iduna, bearing to man the golden apples of immortality, she would have made each meeting with her fellows rich with some boon that should never fade, but brighten in bloom forever.

This characteristic self-esteem determined the quality of Margaret's influence, which was singularly penetrating, and most beneficent where most deeply and continuously felt. Chance acquaintance with her, like a breath from the tropics, might have prematurely burst the buds of feeling in sensitive hearts, leaving after blight and barrenness. Natures, small in compass and of fragile substance, might have been distorted and shattered by attempts to mould themselves on her grand model. And in her seeming unchartered impulses,—whose latent law was honorable integrity,—eccentric spirits might have found encouragement for capricious license. Her morbid subjectivity, too, might, by contagion, have affected others with undue self-consciousness. And, finally, even intimate friends might have been tempted, by her flattering love, to exaggerate their own importance, until they recognized that her regard for them was but one niche in a Pantheon at whose every shrine she offered incense. But these ill effects were superficial accidents. The peculiarity of her power was to make all who were in concert with her feel the miracle of existence. She lived herself with such concentrated force in the moments, that she was always effulgent with thought and affection,—with conscience, courage, resource, decision, a penetrating and forecasting wisdom. Hence, to associates, her presence seemed to touch even common scenes and drudging cares with splendor, as when, through the scud of a rain-storm, sunbeams break from serene blue openings, crowning familiar things with sudden glory. By manifold sympathies, yet central unity, she seemed in herself to be a goodly company, and her words and deeds imparted the virtue of a collective life. So tender was her affection, that, like a guardian genius, she made her friends' souls her own, and identified herself with their fortunes; and yet, so pure and high withal was her justice, that, in her recognition of their past success and present claims, there came a summons for fresh endeavor after the perfect. The very thought of her roused manliness to emulate the vigorous freedom, with which one was assured, that wherever placed she was that instant acting; and the mere mention of her name was an inspiration of magnanimity, and faithfulness, and truth.

'"Sincere has been their striving; great their love,"

'is a sufficient apology for any life,' wrote Margaret; and how preëminently were these words descriptive of herself. Hers was indeed

  "The equal temper of heroic hearts,
  Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will,
  To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

This indomitable aspiration found utterance in the following verses, on


  'In times of old, as we are told,
      When men more childlike at the feet
    Of Jesus sat than now,
  A chivalry was known, more bold
  Than ours, and yet of stricter vow,
      And worship more complete.

  'Knights of the Rosy Cross! they bore
  Its weight within the breast, but wore
    Without the sign, in glistening ruby bright.
  The gall and vinegar they drank alone,
  But to the world at large would only own
    The wine of faith, sparkling with rosy light.

  'They knew the secret of the sacred oil,
    Which, poured upon the prophet's head,
      Could keep him wise and pure for aye,
  Apart from all that might distract or soil;
    With this their lamps they fed,
  Which burn in their sepulchral shrines,
      Unfading night and day.

    'The pass-word now is lost
  To that initiation full and free;
    Daily we pay the cost
  Of our slow schooling for divine degree.
    We know no means to feed an undying lamp,
    Our lights go out in every wind and damp.

    'We wear the cross of Ebony and Gold,
  Upon a dark back-ground a form of light,
    A heavenly hope within a bosom cold,
  A starry promise in a frequent night;
    And oft the dying lamp must trim again,
    For we are conscious, thoughtful, striving men.

  'Yet be we faithful to this present trust,
  Clasp to a heart resigned this faithful Must;
      Though deepest dark our efforts should enfold,
      Unwearied mine to find the vein of gold;
  Forget not oft to waft the prayer on high;—
  The rosy dawn again shall fill the sky.

  'And by that lovely light all truth revealed,—
  The cherished forms, which sad distrust concealed,
      Transfigured, yet the same, will round us stand,
      The kindred angels of a faithful band;
  Ruby and ebon cross then cast aside,
  No lamp more needed, for the night has died.

  '"Be to the best thou knowest ever true,"
    Is all the creed.
  Then be thy talisman of rosy hue,
    Or fenced with thorns, that wearing, thou must bleed,
  Or, gentle pledge of love's prophetic view,
    The faithful steps it will securely lead.

  'Happy are all who reach that distant shore,
    And bathe in heavenly day;
  Happiest are those who high the banner bore,
    To marshal others on the way,
  Or waited for them, fainting and way-worn,
    By burthens overborne.'

[Footnote A: This sentence was written before I was aware that Margaret, as will be seen hereafter, had used the same symbol to describe Madame Sand. The first impulse, of course, when I discovered this coincidence, was to strike out the above passage; yet, on second thought, I have retained it, as indicating an actual resemblance between these two grand women. In Margaret, however, the benediction of their noble-hearted sister, Elizabeth Barrett, had already been fulfilled; for she to "woman's claim" had ever joined

"the angel-grace Of a pure genius sanctified from blame."]

[Footnote B: Novalis.]



* * * * *

  "How much, preventing God, how much. I owe
    To the defences thou hast round me set!
  Example, Custom, Fear, Occasion slow,—
    These scorned bondsmen were my parapet.
    I dare not peep over this parapet,
  To gauge with glance the roaring gulf below,
  The depths of sin to which I had descended,
  Had not these me against myself defended."

  "Di tè, finor, chiesto non hai severa
  Ragione a tè; di sua virtù non cade
  Sospetto in cor conscio a se stesso."


  "He that lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend;
  Eternity mourns that. 'Tis an ill cure
  For life's worst ills, to have no time to feel them.
  Where sorrow's held intrusive, and turned out,
  There wisdom, will not enter, nor true power,
  Nor aught that dignifies humanity."


  "That time of year thou may'st in me behold,
    When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
  Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
    Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
  In me thou seest the twilight of such day,
    As after sunset fadeth in the west;
  Which by and by black night doth take away,—
    Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
  In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
    That on the ashes of his youth doth lie;
  As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
    Consumed with that which it was nourished by."

SHAKSPEARE. [Sonnet lxxiii.]

  "Aber zufrieden mit stillerem Ruhme,
  Brechen die Frauen des Augenblick's Blume,
  Nähren sie sorgsam mit liebendem Fleiss,
  Freier in ihrem gebundenen Wirken,
  Reicher als er in des Wissens Bezirken
  Und in der Dichtung unendlichem Kreiz."


  "Not like to like, but like in difference;
  Yet in the long years liker must they grow,—
  The man be more of woman, she of man;
  He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
  Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world;
  She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care;
  More as the double-natured poet each;
  Till at the last she set herself to man,
  Like perfect music unto noble words."




* * * * *


Incessant exertion in teaching and writing, added to pecuniary anxieties and domestic cares, had so exhausted Margaret's energy, in 1844, that she felt a craving for fresh interests, and resolved to seek an entire change of scene amid freer fields of action.

'The tax on my mind is such,' she writes,

'and I am so unwell, that I can scarcely keep up the spring of my spirits, and sometimes fear that I cannot go through with the engagements of the winter. But I have never stopped yet in fulfilling what I have undertaken, and hope I shall not be compelled to now. How farcical seems the preparation needed to gain a few moments' life; yet just so the plant works all the year round for a few days' flower.'

But in brighter mood she says, again:—

'I congratulate myself that I persisted, against every persuasion, in doing all I could last winter; for now I am and shall be free from debt, and I look on the position of debtor with a dread worthy of some respectable Dutch burgomaster. My little plans for others, too, have succeeded; our small household is well arranged, and all goes smoothly as a wheel turns round. Mother, moreover, has learned not to be over-anxious when I suffer, so that I am not obliged to suppress my feelings when it is best to yield to them. Thus, having more calmness, I feel often that a sweet serenity is breathed through every trifling duty. I am truly grateful for being enabled to fulfil obligations which to some might seem humble, but which to me are sacred.'

And in mid-summer comes this pleasant picture:—

'Every day, I rose and attended to the many little calls which are always on me, and which have been more of late. Then, about eleven, I would sit down to write, at my window, close to which is the apple-tree, lately full of blossoms, and now of yellow birds. Opposite me was Del Sarto's Madonna; behind me Silenus, holding in his arms the infant Pan. I felt very content with my pen, my daily bouquet, and my yellow birds. About five I would go out and walk till dark; then would arrive my proofs, like crabbed old guardians, coming to tea every night. So passed each day. The 23d of May, my birth-day, about one o'clock, I wrote the last line of my little book;[A] then I went to Mount Auburn, and walked gently among the graves.'

As the brothers had now left college, and had entered or were entering upon professional and commercial life, while the sister was married, and the mother felt calls to visit in turn her scattered children, it was determined to break up the "Home." 'As a family,' Margaret writes,

'we are henceforth to be parted. But though for months I had been preparing for this separation, the last moments were very sad. Such tears are childish tears, I know, and belie a deeper wisdom. It is foolish in me to be so anxious about my family. As I went along, it seemed as if all I did was for God's sake; but if it had been, could I now thus fear? My relations to them are altogether fair, so far as they go. As to their being no more to me than others of my kind, there is surely a mystic thrill betwixt children of one mother, which can never cease to be felt till the soul is quite born anew. The earthly family is the scaffold whereby we build the spiritual one. The glimpses we here obtain of what such relations should be are to me an earnest that the family is of Divine Order, and not a mere school of preparation. And in the state of perfect being which we call Heaven, I am assured that family ties will attain to that glorified beauty of harmonious adaptation, which stellar groups in the pure blue typify.'

Margaret's admirable fidelity, as daughter and sister,—amidst her incessant literary pursuits, and her far-reaching friendships,—can be justly appreciated by those only who were in her confidence; but from the following slight sketches generous hearts can readily infer what was the quality of her home-affections.

'Mother writes from Canton that my dear old grandmother is dead. I regret that you never saw her. She was a picture of primitive piety, as she sat holding the "Saint's Rest" in her hand, with her bowed, trembling figure, and her emphatic nods, and her sweet blue eyes. They were bright to the last, though she was ninety. It is a great loss to mother, who felt a large place warmed in her heart by the fond and grateful love of this aged parent.'

'We cannot be sufficiently grateful for our mother,—so so fair a blossom of the white amaranth; truly to us a mother in this, that we can venerate her piety. Our relations to her have known no jar. Nothing vulgar has sullied them; and in this respect life has been truly domesticated. Indeed, when I compare my lot with others, it seems to have had a more than usual likeness to home; for relations have been as noble as sincerity could make them, and there has been a frequent breath of refined affection, with its sweet courtesies. Mother thanks God in her prayers for "all the acts of mutual love which have been permitted;" and looking back, I see that these have really been many. I do not recognize this, as the days pass, for to my desires life would be such a flower-chain of symbols, that what is done seems very scanty, and the thread shows too much.

'She has just brought me a little bouquet. Her flowers have suffered greatly by my neglect, when I would be engrossed by other things in her absences. But, not to be disgusted or deterred, whenever she can glean one pretty enough, she brings it to me. Here is the bouquet,—a very delicate rose, with its half-blown bud, heliotrope, geranium, lady-pea, heart's-ease; all sweet-scented flowers! Moved by their beauty, I wrote a short note, to which this is the reply. Just like herself![B]

'"I should not love my flowers if they did not put forth all the strength they have, in gratitude for your preserving care, last winter, and your wasted feelings over the unavoidable effects of the frost, that came so unexpectedly to nip their budding beauties. I appreciate all you have done, knowing at what cost any plant must be nourished by one who sows in fields more precious than those opened, in early life, to my culture. One must have grown up with flowers, and found joy and sweetness in them, amidst disagreeable occupations, to take delight in their whole existence as I do. They have long had power to bring me into harmony with the Creator, and to soothe almost any irritation. Therefore I understand your love for these beautiful things, and it gives me real pleasure to procure them for you.

'"You have done everything that the most affectionate and loving daughter could, under all circumstances. My faith in your generous desire to increase my happiness is founded on the knowledge I have gained of your disposition, through your whole life. I should ask your sympathy and aid, whenever it could be available, knowing that you would give it first to me. Waste no thought on neglected duties. I know of none. Let us pursue our appointed paths, aiding each other in rough places; and if I live to need the being led by the hand, I always feel that you will perform this office wisely and tenderly. We shall ever have perfect peace between us. Yours, in all love."'

Margaret adds:—

'It has been, and still is, hard for me to give up the thought of serenity, and freedom from toil and care, for mother, in the evening of a day which has been all one work of disinterested love. But I am now confident that she will learn from every trial its lesson; and if I cannot be her protector, I can be at least her counsellor and soother.'

From the less private parts of Margaret's correspondence with the younger members of the family, some passages may be selected, as attesting her quick and penetrating sympathy, her strict truth, and influential wisdom. They may be fitly prefaced by these few but emphatic words from a letter of one of her brothers:—

"I was much impressed, during my childhood, at Groton, with an incident that first disclosed to me the tenderness of Margaret's character. I had always viewed her as a being of different nature from myself, to whose altitudes of intellectual life I had no thought of ascending. She had been absent during the winter, and on her return asked me for some account of my experiences. Supposing that she could not enter into such insignificant details, I was not frank or warm in my confidence, though I gave no reason for my reserve; and the matter had passed from my mind, when our mother told me that Margaret had shed tears, because I seemed to heed so little her sisterly sympathy. 'Tears from one so learned,' thought I, 'for the sake of one so inferior!' Afterwards, my heart opened to her, as to no earthly friend.

"The characteristic trait of Margaret, to which all her talents and acquirements were subordinate, was sympathy,—universal sympathy. She had that large intelligence and magnanimity which enabled her to comprehend the struggles and triumphs of every form of character. Loving all about her, whether rich or poor, rude or cultivated, as equally formed after a Divine Original, with an equal birth-right of immortal growth, she regarded rather their aspirations than their accomplishments. And this was the source of her marvellous influence. Those who had never thought of their own destiny, nor put faith in their own faculties, found in her society not so much a display of her gifts, as surprising discoveries of their own. She revealed to them the truth, that all can be noble by fidelity to the highest self. She appreciated, with delicate tenderness, each one's peculiar trials, and, while never attempting to make the unhappy feel that their miseries were unreal, she pointed out the compensations of their lot, and taught them how to live above misfortune. She had consolation and advice for every one in trouble, and wrote long letters to many friends, at the expense not only of precious time, but of physical pain.

"When now, with the experience of a man, I look back upon her wise guardianship over our childhood, her indefatigable labors for our education, her constant supervision in our family affairs, her minute instructions as to the management of multifarious details, her painful conscientiousness in every duty; and then reflect on her native inaptitude and even disgust for practical affairs, on her sacrifice,—in the very flower of her genius,—of her favorite pursuits, on her incessant drudgery and waste of health, on her patient bearing of burdens, and courageous conflict with difficult circumstances, her character stands before me as heroic."

It was to this brother that Margaret wrote as follows:—

'It is a great pleasure to me to give you this book; both that I have a brother whom I think worthy to value it, and that I can give him something worthy to be valued more and more through all his life. Whatever height we may attain in knowledge, whatever facility in the expression of thoughts, will only enable us to do more justice to what is drawn from so deep a source of faith and intellect, and arrayed, oftentimes, in the fairest hues of nature. Yet it may not be well for a young mind to dwell too near one tuned to so high a pitch as this writer, lest, by trying to come into concord with him, the natural tones be overstrained, and the strings weakened by untimely pressure. Do not attempt, therefore, to read this book through, but keep it with you, and when the spirit is fresh and earnest turn to it. It is full of the tide-marks of great thoughts, but these can be understood by one only who has gained, by experience, some knowledge of these tides. The ancient sages knew how to greet a brother who had consecrated his life to thought, and was never disturbed from his purpose by a lower aim. But it is only to those perfected in purity that Pythagoras can show a golden thigh.

'One word as to your late readings. They came in a timely way to admonish you, amidst mere disciplines, as to the future uses of such disciplines. But systems of philosophy are mere pictures to him, who has not yet learned how to systematize. From an inward opening of your nature these knowledges must begin to be evolved, ere you can apprehend aught beyond their beauty, as revealed in the mind of another. Study in a reverent and patient spirit, blessing the day that leads you the least step onward. Do not ride hobbies. Do not hasten to conclusions. Be not coldly sceptical towards any thinker, neither credulous of his views. A man, whose mind is full of error, may give us the genial sense of truth, as a tropical sun, while it rears crocodiles, yet ripens the wine of the palm-tree.

'To turn again to my Ancients: while they believed in self-reliance with a force little known in our day, they dreaded no pains of initiation, but fitted themselves for intelligent recognition of the truths on which our being is based, by slow gradations of travel, study, speech, silence, bravery, and patience. That so it may be with you, dear ——, hopes your sister and friend.'

A few extracts from family letters written at different times, and under various conditions, may be added.

'I read with great interest the papers you left with me. The picture and the emotions suggested are genuine. The youthful figure, no doubt, stands portress at the gate of Infinite Beauty; yet I would say to one I loved as I do you, do not waste these emotions, nor the occasions which excite them. There is danger of prodigality,—of lavishing the best treasures of the breast on objects that cannot be the permanent ones. It is true, that whatever thought is awakened in the mind becomes truly ours; but it is a great happiness to owe these influences to a cause so proportioned to our strength as to grow with it. I say this merely because I fear that the virginity of heart which I believe essential to feeling a real love, in all its force and purity, may be endangered by too careless excursions into the realms of fancy.'

* * * * *

'It is told us, we should pray, "lead us not into temptation;" and I agree. Yet I think it cannot be, that, with a good disposition, and the means you have had to form your mind and discern a higher standard, your conduct or happiness can be so dependent on circumstances, as you seem to think. I never advised your taking a course which would blunt your finer powers and I do not believe that winning the means of pecuniary independence need do so. I have not found that it does, in my own case, placed at much greater disadvantage than you are. I have never considered, either, that there was any misfortune in your lot. Health, good abilities, and a well-placed youth, form a union of advantages possessed by few, and which leaves you little excuse for fault or failure. And so to your better genius and the instruction of the One Wise, I commend you.'

* * * * *

'It gave me great pleasure to get your last letter, for these little impromptu effusions are the genuine letters. I rejoice that man and nature seem harmonious to you, and that the heart beats in unison with the voices of Spring. May all that is manly, sincere, and pure, in your wishes, be realized! Obliged to live myself without the sanctuary of the central relations, yet feeling I must still not despair, nor fail to profit by the precious gifts of life, while "leaning upon our Father's hand," I still rejoice, if any one can, in the true temper, and with well-founded hopes, secure a greater completeness of earthly existence. This fortune is as likely to be yours, as any one's I know. It seems to me dangerous, however, to meddle with the future. I never lay my hand on it to grasp it with impunity.'

* * * * *

'Of late I have often thought of you with strong yearnings of affection and desire to see you. It would seem to me, also, that I had not devoted myself to you enough, if I were not conscious that by any more attention to the absent than I have paid, I should have missed the needed instructions from the present. And I feel that any bond of true value will endure necessary neglect.'

* * * * *

'There is almost too much of bitter mixed in the cup of life. You say religion is a mere sentiment with you, and that if you are disappointed in your first, your very first hopes and plans, you do not know whether you shall be able to act well. I do not myself see how a reflecting soul can endure the passage through life, except by confidence in a Power that must at last order all things right, and the resolution that it shall not be our own fault if we are not happy,—that we will resolutely deserve to be happy. There are many bright glimpses in life, many still hours; much worthy toil, some deep and noble joys; but, then, there are so many, and such long, intervals, when we are kept from all we want, and must perish but for such thoughts.'

* * * * *

'You need not fear, dear ——, my doing anything to chill you. I am only too glad of the pure happiness you so sweetly describe. I well understand what you say of its invigorating you for every enterprise. I was always sure it would be so with me,—that resigned, I could do well, but happy I could do excellently. Happiness must, with the well-born, expand the generous affections towards all men, and invigorate one to deserve what the gods have given.'

Margaret's charities and courtesies were not limited to her kindred. She fell, at once, into agreeable relations with her domestics, became their confidant, teacher, and helper, studied their characters, consulted their convenience, warned them of their dangers or weaknesses, and rejoiced to gratify their worthy tastes; and, in return, no lady could receive, from servants, more punctual or hearty attendance. She knew how to command and how to persuade, and her sympathy was perfect. They felt the power of her mind, her hardy directness, prompt judgment, decision and fertility of resource, and liked to aid one who knew so well her own wants. 'Around my path,' she writes,

'how much humble love continually flows. These every-day and lowly friends never forget my wishes, never censure my whims, make no demands on me, and load me with gifts and uncomplaining service. Though sometimes forgetful of their claims, I try to make it up when we do meet, and I trust give little pain as I pass along this world.'

Even in extreme cases of debasement she found more to admire than to contemn, and won the confidence of the fallen by manifesting her real respect. "There was in my family," writes a friend, "a very handsome young girl, who had been vicious in her habits, and so enamored of one of her lovers, that when he deserted her, she attempted to drown herself. She was rescued, and some good people were eager to reform her life. While she was engaged in housework for us, Margaret saw her, and one day asked —— if she could not help her. —— replied: 'No! for should I begin to talk with her, I should show my consciousness of her history so much as to be painful.' Margaret was very indignant at this weakness. Said she,

'This girl is taken away, you know, from all her objects of interest, and must feel her life vacant and dreary. Her mind should be employed; she should be made to feel her powers.'

It was plain that if Margaret had been near her, she would have devoted herself at once to her education and reestablishment."

About the time of breaking up their home, Margaret thus expressed, to one of her brothers, her hopes and plans.

'You wish, dear ——, that I was not obliged to toil and spin, but could live, for a while, like the lilies. I wish so, too, for life has fatigued me, my strength is little, and the present state of my mind demands repose and refreshment, that it may ripen some fruit worthy of the long and deep experiences through which I have passed. I do not regret that I have shared the labors and cares of the suffering million, and have acquired a feeling sense of the conditions under which the Divine has appointed the development of the human. Yet, if our family affairs could now be so arranged, that I might be tolerably tranquil for the next six or eight years, I should go out of life better satisfied with the page I have turned in it, than I shall if I must still toil on. A noble career is yet before me, if I can be unimpeded by cares. I have given almost all my young energies to personal relations; but, at present, I feel inclined to impel the general stream of thought. Let my nearest friends also wish that I should now take share in more public life.'

[Footnote A: Summer on the Lakes.]

[Footnote B: The editor must offer as excuse for printing, without permission asked, this note, found carefully preserved among Margaret's papers, that he knew no other way of so truly indicating the relation between mother and daughter. This lily is eloquent of the valley where it grew. W.H.C.]


Seeking thus, at once, expansion and rest in new employments, Margaret determined, in the autumn of 1844, to accept a liberal offer of Messrs. Greeley and McElrath, to become a constant contributor to the New York Tribune. But before entering upon her new duties, she found relaxation, for a few weeks, amid the grand scenery of the Hudson. In October, she writes from Fishkill Landing:—

'Can I find words to tell you how I enjoy being here, encircled by the majestic beauty of these mountains? I felt regret, indeed, in bidding farewell to Boston, so many marks of affection were shown me at the last, and so many friendships, true if imperfect, were left behind. But now I am glad to feel enfranchized in the society of Nature. I have a well-ordered, quiet house to dwell in, with nobody's humors to consult but my own. From my windows I see over the tops of variegated trees the river, with its purple heights beyond, and a few moments' walk brings me to the lovely shore, where sails are gliding continually by, and the huge steamers sweep past with echoing tread, and a train of waves, whose rush relieves the monotone of the ripples. In the country behind us are mountain-paths, and lonely glens, with gurgling streams, and many-voiced water-falls. And over all are spread the gorgeous hues of autumn.'

And again:—

'"From the brain of the purple mountain" flows forth cheer to my somewhat weary mind. I feel refreshed amid these bolder shapes of nature. Mere gentle and winning landscapes are not enough. How I wish my birth had been cast among the sources of the streams, where the voice of hidden torrents is heard by night, and the eagle soars, and the thunder resounds in prolonged peals, and wide blue shadows fall like brooding wings across the valleys! Amid such scenes, I expand and feel at home. All the fine days I spend among the mountain passes, along the mountain brooks, or beside the stately river. I enjoy just the tranquil happiness I need in communion with this fair grandeur.'

And, again:—

'The boldness, sweetness, and variety here, are just what I like. I could pass the autumn in watching the exquisite changes of light and shade on the heights across the river. How idle to pretend that one could live and write as well amid fallow flat fields! This majesty, this calm splendor, could not but exhilarate the mind, and make it nobly free and plastic.'

These few weeks among the Highlands,—spent mostly in the open air, under October's golden sunshine, the slumberous softness of the Indian summer, or the brilliant, breezy skies of November,—were an important era for Margaret. She had—

                      "lost the dream of Doing
              And the other dream of Done;
                The first spring in the pursuing,
              The first pride in the Begun,
  First recoil from incompleteness in the face of what is won."

But she was striving, also, to use her own words, 'to be patient to the very depths of the heart, to expect no hasty realizations, not to make her own plan her law of life, but to learn the law and plan of God.' She adds, however:—

'What heaven it must be to have the happy sense of accomplishing something, and to feel the glow of action without exhausted weariness! Surely the race would have worn itself out by corrosion, if men in all ages had suffered, as we now do, from the consciousness of an unattained Ideal.'

Extracts from journals will best reveal her state of mind.

'I have a dim consciousness of what the terrible experiences must be by which the free poetic element is harmonized with the spirit of religion. In their essence and their end these are one, but rarely in actual existence. I would keep what was pure and noble in my old native freedom, with that consciousness of falling below the best convictions which now binds me to the basest of mankind, and find some new truth that shall reconcile and unite them. Once it seemed to me, that my heart was so capable of goodness, my mind of clearness, that all should acknowledge and claim me as a friend. But now I see that these impulses were prophetic of a yet distant period. The "intensity" of passion, which so often unfits me for life, or, rather, for life here, is to be moderated, not into dulness or languor, but a gentler, steadier energy.'

'The stateliest, strongest vessel must sometimes be brought into port to rent. If she will not submit to be fastened to the dock, stripped of her rigging, and scrutinized by unwashed artificers, she may spring a leak when riding most proudly on the subject wave. Norway fir nor English oak can resist forever the insidious assaults of the seemingly conquered ocean. The man who clears the barnacles from the keel is more essential than he who hoists the pennant on the lofty mast.'

* * * * *

'A week of more suffering than I have had for a long time,—from Sunday to Sunday,—headache night and day! And not only there has been no respite, but it has been fixed in one spot—between the eyebrows!—what does that promise?—till it grew real torture. Then it has been depressing to be able to do so little, when there was so much I had at heart to do. It seems that the black and white guardians, depicted on the Etrurian monuments, and in many a legend, are always fighting for my life. Whenever I have any cherished purpose, either outward obstacles swarm around, which the hand that would be drawing beautiful lines must be always busy in brushing away, or comes this great vulture, and fastens his iron talons on the brain.

'But at such times the soul rises up, like some fair child in whom sleep has been mistaken for death, a living flower in the dark tomb. He casts aside his shrouds and bands, rosy and fresh from the long trance, undismayed, not seeing how to get out, yet sure there is a way.

'I think the black jailer laughs now, hoping that while I want to show that Woman can have the free, full action of intellect, he will prove in my own self that she has not physical force to bear it. Indeed, I am too poor an example, and do wish I was bodily strong and fair. Yet, I will not be turned from the deeper convictions.'

'Driven from home to home, as a Renouncer, I gain the poetry of each. Keys of gold, silver, iron, lead, are in my casket. Though no one loves me as I would be loved, I yet love many well enough to see into their eventual beauty. Meanwhile, I have no fetters, and when one perceives how others are bound in false relations, this surely should be regarded as a privilege. And so varied have been my sympathies, that this isolation will not, I trust, make me cold, ignorant, nor partial. My history presents much superficial, temporary tragedy. The Woman in me kneels and weeps in tender rapture; the Man in me rushes forth, but only to be baffled. Yet the time will come, when, from the union of this tragic king and queen, shall be born a radiant sovereign self.'

* * * * *

'I have quite a desire to try my powers in a narrative poem; but my head teems with plans, of which there will be time for very few only to take form. Milton, it is said, made for himself a list of a hundred subjects for dramas, and the recorder of the fact seems to think this many. I think it very few, so filled is life with innumerable themes.'

* * * * *

'Sunday Evening.—I have employed some hours of the day, with great satisfaction, in copying the Poet's Dreams from the Pentameron of Landor. I do not often have time for such slow, pleasing labor. I have thus imprinted the words in my mind, so that they will often recur in their original beauty.

'I have added three sonnets of Petrarca, all written after the death of Laura. They are among his noblest, all pertinent to the subject, and giving three aspects of that one mood. The last lines of the last sonnet are a fit motto for Boccaccio's dream.

'In copying both together, I find the prose of the Englishman worthy of the verse of the Italian. It is a happiness to see such marble beauty in the halls of a contemporary.

    'How fine it is to see the terms "onesto," "gentile," used in
    their original sense and force.

             'Soft, solemn day!
      Where earth and heaven together seem to meet,
        I have been blest to greet
      From human thought a kindred sway;
        In thought these stood
        So near the simple Good,
      That what we nobleness and honor call,
      They viewed as honesty, the common dower of all.'

Margaret was reading, in these weeks, the Four Books of Confucius,
the Desatir, some of Taylor's translations from the Greek, a work on
Scandinavian Mythology, Moehler's Symbolism, Fourier's Noveau Monde
Industriel, and Landor's Pentameron,—but she says, in her journal,

    'No book is good enough to read in the open air, among these
    mountains; even the best seem partial, civic, limiting,
    instead of being, as man's voice should be, a tone higher than

And again:—

'This morning came ——'s letter, announcing Sterling's death:—

'"Weep for Dedalus all that is fairest."

'The news was very sad: Sterling did so earnestly wish to do a man's work, and had done so small a portion of his own. This made me feel how fast my years are flitting by, and nothing done. Yet these few beautiful days of leisure I cannot resolve to give at all to work. I want absolute rest, to let the mind lie fallow, to keep my whole nature open to the influx of truth.'

At this very time, however, she was longing to write with full freedom and power. 'Formerly,' she says,

'the pen did not seem to me an instrument capable of expressing the spirit of a life like mine. An enchanter's mirror, on which, with a word, could be made to rise all apparitions of the universe, grouped in new relations; a magic ring, that could transport the wearer, himself invisible, into each region of grandeur or beauty; a divining-rod, to tell where lie the secret fountains of refreshment; a wand, to invoke elemental spirits;—only such as these seemed fit to embody one's thought with sufficient swiftness and force. In earlier years I aspired to wield the sceptre or the lyre; for I loved with wise design and irresistible command to mould many to one purpose, and it seemed all that man could desire to breathe in music and speak in words, the harmonies of the universe. But the golden lyre was not given to my hand, and I am but the prophecy of a poet. Let me use, then, the slow pen. I will make no formal vow to the long-scorned Muse; I assume no garland; I dare not even dedicate myself as a novice; I can promise neither patience nor energy:—but I will court excellence, so far as an humble heart and open eye can merit it, and, if I may gradually grow to some degree of worthiness in this mode of expression, I shall be grateful.'


It was on "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" that Margaret was now testing her power as a writer. 'I have finished the pamphlet,' she writes, 'though the last day it kept spinning out beneath my hand. After taking a long walk, early one most exhilarating morning, I sat down to work, and did not give it the last stroke till near nine in the evening. Then I felt a delightful glow, as if I had put a good deal of my true life in it, and as if, should I go away now, the measure of my foot-print would be left on the earth.'

A few extracts from her manuscripts upon this subject may be of interest, as indicating the spirit and aim with which she wrote:—

'To those of us who hate emphasis and exaggeration, who believe that whatever is good of its kind is good, who shrink from love of excitement and love of sway, who, while ready for duties of many kinds, dislike pledges and bonds to any,—this talk about "Woman's Sphere," "Woman's Mission," and all such phrases as mark the present consciousness of an impending transition from old conventions to greater freedom, are most repulsive. And it demands some valor to lift one's head amidst the shower of public squibs, private sneers, anger, scorn, derision, called out by the demand that women should be put on a par with their brethren, legally and politically; that they should hold property not by permission but by right, and that they should take an active part in all great movements. But though, with Mignon, we are prompted to characterize heaven as the place where

"Sie fragen nicht nach Mann nie Weib,"

yet it is plain that we must face this agitation; and beyond the dull clouds overhead hangs in the horizon Venus, as morning-star, no less fair, though of more melting beauty, than the glorious Jupiter, who shares with her the watch.

* * * * *

'The full, free expression of feeling must be rare, for this book of Bettina Brentano's to produce such an effect. Men who have lived in the society of women all their days, seem never before to have dreamed of their nature; they are filled with wonderment and delight at these revelations, and because they see the woman, fancy her a genius. But in truth her inspiration is nowise extraordinary; and I have letters from various friends, lying unnoticed in my portfolio, which are quite as beautiful. For one, I think that these veins of gold should pass in secret through the earth, inaccessible to all who will not take the trouble to mine for them. I do not like Bettina for publishing her heart, and am ready to repeat to her Serlo's reproof to Aurelia.'

* * * * *

'How terrible must be the tragedy of a woman who awakes to find that she has given herself wholly to a person for whom she is not eternally fitted! I cannot look on marriage as on the other experiments of life: it is the one grand type that should be kept forever sacred. There are two kinds of love experienced by high and rich souls. The first seeks, according to Plato's myth, another half, as being not entire in itself, but needing a kindred nature to unlock its secret chambers of emotion, and to act with quickening influence on all its powers, by full harmony of senses, affections, intellect, will; the second is purely ideal, beholding in its object divine perfection, and delighting in it only in degree as it symbolizes the essential good. But why is not this love steadily directed to the Central Spirit, since in no form, however suggestive in beauty, can God be fully revealed? Love's delusion is owing to one of man's most godlike qualities,—the earnestness with which he would concentrate his whole being, and thus experience the Now of the I Am. Yet the noblest are not long deluded; they love really the Infinite Beauty, though they may still keep before them a human form, as the Isis, who promises hereafter a seat at the golden tables. How high is Michel Angelo's love, for instance, compared with Petrarch's! Petrarch longs, languishes; and it is only after the death of Laura that his muse puts on celestial plumage. But Michel always soars; his love is a stairway to the heavens.

* * * * *

'Might not we women do something in regard to this Texas Annexation project? I have never felt that I had any call to take part in public affairs before; but this is a great moral question, and we have an obvious right to express our convictions. I should like to convene meetings of the women everywhere, and take our stand.

* * * * *

'Had Christendom but been true to its standard, while accommodating its modes of operation to the calls of successive times, woman would now have not only equal power with man,—for of that omnipotent nature will never permit her to be defrauded,—but a chartered power, too fully recognized to be abused. Indeed, all that is wanting is, that man should prove his own freedom by making her free. Let him abandon conventional restriction, as a vestige of that Oriental barbarity which confined woman to a seraglio. Let him trust her entirely, and give her every privilege already acquired for himself,—elective franchise, tenure of property, liberty to speak in public assemblies, &c.

'Nature has pointed out her ordinary sphere by the circumstances of her physical existence. She cannot wander far. If here and there the gods send their missives through women, as through men, let them speak without remonstrance. In no age have men been able wholly to hinder them. A Deborah must always be a spiritual mother in Israel; a Corinna may be excluded from the Olympic games, yet all men will hear her song, and a Pindar sit at her feet. It is man's fault that there ever were Aspasias and Ninons. These exquisite forms were intended for the shrines of virtue.

'Neither need men fear to lose their domestic deities. Woman is born for love, and it is impossible to turn her from seeking it. Men should deserve her love as an inheritance, rather than seize and guard it like a prey. Were they noble, they would strive rather not to be loved too much, and to turn her from idolatry to the true, the only Love. Then, children of one Father, they could not err, nor misconceive one another.

'Society is now so complex, that it is no longer possible to educate woman merely as woman; the tasks which come to her hand are so various, and so large a proportion of women are thrown entirely upon their own resources. I admit that this is not their state of perfect development; but it seems as if heaven, having so long issued its edict in poetry and religion, without securing intelligent obedience, now commanded the world in prose, to take a high and rational view. The lesson reads to me thus:—

'Sex, like rank, wealth, beauty, or talent, is but an accident of birth. As you would not educate a soul to be an aristocrat, so do not to be a woman. A general regard to her usual sphere is dictated in the economy of nature. You need never enforce these provisions rigorously. Achilles had long plied the distaff as a princess, yet, at first sight of a sword, he seized it. So with woman, one hour of love would teach her more of her proper relations, than all your formulas and conventions. Express your views, men, of what you seek in woman: thus best do you give them laws. Learn, women, what you should demand of men: thus only can they become themselves. Turn both from the contemplation of what is merely phenomenal in your existence, to your permanent life as souls. Man, do not prescribe how the Divine shall display itself in woman. Woman, do not expect to see all of God in man. Fellow-pilgrims and helpmeets are ye, Apollo and Diana, twins of one heavenly birth, both beneficent, and both armed. Man, fear not to yield to woman's hand both the quiver and the lyre; for if her urn be filled with light, she will use both to the glory of God. There is but one doctrine for ye both, and that is the doctrine of the SOUL.

Thus, in communion with the serene loveliness of mother-earth, and inspired with memories of Isis and Ceres, of Minerva and Freia, and all the commanding forms beneath which earlier ages symbolized their sense of the Divine Spirit in woman, Margaret cherished visions of the future, and responded with full heart to the poet's prophecy:—

  "Then comes the statelier Eden back to men;
  Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm;
  Then springs the crowning race of human-kind."

It was but after the usual order of our discordant life,—where Purgatory lies so nigh to Paradise,—that she should thence be summoned to pass a Sunday with the prisoners at Sing-Sing. This was the period when, in fulfilment of the sagacious and humane counsels of Judge Edmonds, a system of kind discipline, combined with education, was in practice at that penitentiary, and when the female department was under the matronly charge of Mrs. E.W. Farnum, aided by Mrs. Johnson, Miss Bruce, and other ladies, who all united sisterly sympathy with energetic firmness. Margaret thus describes her impressions:—

'We arrived on Saturday evening, in such resplendent moonlight, that we might have mistaken the prison for a palace, had we not known but too well what those massive walls contained.

'Sunday morning we attended service in the chapel of the male convicts. They listened with earnest attention, and many were moved to tears. I never felt such sympathy with an audience as when, at the words "Men and brethren," that sea of faces, marked with the scars of every ill, were upturned, and the shell of brutality burst apart at the touch of love. I knew that at least heavenly truth would not be kept out by self-complacence and dependence on good appearances.

'After twelve at noon, all are confined in their cells, that the keepers may have rest from their weekly fatigue. But I was allowed to have some of the women out to talk with, and the interview was very pleasant. They showed the natural aptitude of the sex for refinement. These women were among the so-called worst, and all from the lowest haunts of vice. Yet nothing could have been more decorous than their conduct, while it was also frank; and they showed a sensibility and sense of propriety, which would not have disgraced any society. All passed, indeed, much as in one of my Boston classes. I told them I was writing about Woman; and, as my path had been a favored one, I wanted to gain information from those who had been tempted and afflicted. They seemed to reply in the same spirit in which I asked. Several, however, expressed a wish to see me alone, as they could then say all, which they could not bear to before one another. I shall go there again, and take time for this. It is very gratifying to see the influence these few months of gentle and intelligent treatment have had upon these women; indeed, it is wonderful.'

So much were her sympathies awakened by this visit, that she rejoiced in the opportunity, soon after offered, of passing Christmas with these outcasts, and gladly consented to address the women in their chapel. "There was," says one present, "a most touching tenderness, blended with dignity, in her air and tone, as, seated in the desk, she looked round upon her fallen sisters, and begun: 'To me the pleasant office has been given, of 'wishing you a happy Christmas.' A simultaneous movement of obeisance rippled over the audience, with a murmured 'Thank you;' and a smile was spread upon those sad countenances, like sunrise sparkling on a pool." A few words from this discourse,—which was extemporaneous, but of which she afterward made an imperfect record,—will show the temper in which she spoke:—

'I have passed other Christmas days happily, but never felt as now, how fitting it is that this festival should come among the snows and chills of winter; for, to many of you, I trust, it is the birth-day of a higher life, when the sun of good-will is beginning to return, and the evergreen of hope gives promise of the eternal year. * * *

'Some months ago, we were told of the riot, the license, and defying spirit which made this place so wretched, and the conduct of some now here was such that the world said:—"Women once lost are far worse than abandoned men, and cannot be restored." But, no! It is not so! I know my sex better. It is because women have so much feeling, and such a rooted respect for purity, that they seem so shameless and insolent, when they feel that they have erred and that others think ill of them. They know that even the worst of men would like to see women pure as angels, and when they meet man's look of scorn, the desperate passion that rises is a perverted pride, which might have been their guardian angel. Might have been! Rather let me say, which may be; for the great improvement so rapidly wrought here gives us all warm hopes. * * *

'Be not in haste to leave these walls. Yesterday, one of you, who was praised, replied, that "if she did well she hoped that efforts would be made to have her pardoned." I can feel the monotony and dreariness of your confinement, but I entreat you to believe that for many of you it would be the greatest misfortune to be taken from here too soon. You know, better than I can, the temptations that await you in the world; and you must now perceive how dark is the gulf of sin and sorrow, towards which they would hurry you. Here, you have friends indeed; friends to your better selves; able and ready to help you. Born of unfortunate marriages, inheriting dangerous inclinations, neglected in childhood, with bad habits and bad associates, as certainly must be the case with some of you, how terrible will be the struggle when you leave this shelter! O, be sure that you are fitted to triumph over evil, before you again expose yourselves to it! And, instead of wasting your time and strength in vain wishes, use this opportunity to prepare yourselves for a better course of life, when you are set free. * * *

'When I was here before, I was grieved by hearing several of you say, "I will tell you what you wish to know, if I can be alone with you; but not before the other prisoners; for, if they know my past faults, they will taunt me with them." O, never do that! To taunt the fallen is the part of a fiend. And you! you were meant by Heaven to become angels of sympathy and love. It says in the Scripture: "Their angels do always behold in heaven the face of my Father." So was it with you in your childhood; so is it now. Your angels stand forever there to intercede for you; and to you they call to be gentle and good. Nothing can so grieve and discourage those heavenly friends as when you mock the suffering. It was one of the highest praises of Jesus, "The bruised reed he will not break." Remember that, and never insult, where you cannot aid, a companion. * * *

'Let me warn you earnestly against acting insincerely, and appearing to wish to do right for the sake of approbation I know you must prize the good opinion of your friendly protectors; but do not buy it at the cost of truth. Try to be, not to seem. Only so far as you earnestly wish to do right for the sake of right, can you gain a principle that will sustain you hereafter; and that is what we wish, not fair appearances now. A career can never be happy that begins with falsehood. Be inwardly, outwardly true; then you will never be weakened or hardened by the consciousness of playing a part; and if, hereafter, the unfeeling or thoughtless give you pain, or take the dreadful risk of pushing back a soul emerging from darkness, you will feel the strong support of a good conscience. * * *

'And never be discouraged; never despond; never say, "It is too late." Fear not, even if you relapse again and again. Many of you have much to contend with. Some may be so faulty, by temperament or habit, that they can never on this earth lead a wholly fair and harmonious life, however much they strive. Yet do what you can. If in one act,—for one day,—you can do right, let that live like a point of light in your memory; for if you have done well once you can again. If you fall, do not lie grovelling; but rise upon your feet once more, and struggle bravely on. And if aroused conscience makes you suffer keenly, have patience to bear it. God will not let you suffer more than you need to fit you for his grace. At the very moment of your utmost pain, persist to seek his aid, and it will be given abundantly. Cultivate this spirit of prayer. I do not mean agitation and excitement, but a deep desire for truth, purity, and goodness, and you will daily learn how near He is to every one of 'us.''

These fragments, from a hasty report transcribed when the impressions of the hour had grown faint, give but a shadow of the broad good sense, hearty fellow-feeling, and pathetic hopefulness, which made so effective her truly womanly appeal.

This intercourse with the most unfortunate of her sex, and a desire to learn more of the causes of their degradation, and of the means of restoring them, led Margaret, immediately on reaching New York, to visit the various benevolent institutions, and especially the prisons on Blackwell's Island. And it was while walking among the beds of the lazar-house,—mis-called "hospital,"—which then, to the disgrace of the city, was the cess-pool of its social filth, that an incident occurred, as touching as it was surprising to herself. A woman was pointed out who bore a very bad character, as hardened, sulky, and impenetrable. She was in bad health and rapidly failing. Margaret requested to be left alone with her; and to her question, 'Are you 'willing to die?' the woman answered, "Yes;" adding, with her usual bitterness, "not on religious grounds, though." 'That is well,—to understand yourself,' was Margaret's rejoinder. She then began to talk with her about her health, and her few comforts, until the conversation deepened in interest. At length, as Margaret rose to go, she said: 'Is there not anything I can do 'for you?' The woman replied: "I should be glad if you will pray with me."

The condition of these wretched beings was brought the more home to her heart, as the buildings were directly in sight from Mr. Greeley's house, at Turtle Bay, where Margaret, on her arrival, went to reside. 'Seven hundred females,' she writes,

'are now confined in the Penitentiary opposite this point. We can pass over in a boat in a few minutes. I mean to visit, talk, and read with them. I have always felt great interest in those women who are trampled in the mud to gratify the brute appetites of men, and wished that I might be brought naturally into contact with them. Now I am.'


It was early in December of 1844 that Margaret took up her abode with Mr. and Mrs. Greeley, in a spacious old wooden mansion, somewhat ruinous, but delightfully situated on the East River, which she thus describes:—

'This place is, to me, entirely charming; it is so completely in the country, and all around is so bold and free. It is two miles or more from the thickly settled parts of New York, but omnibuses and cars give me constant access to the city, and, while I can readily see what and whom I will, I can command time and retirement. Stopping on the Haarlem road, you enter a lane nearly a quarter of a mile long, and going by a small brook and pond that locks in the place, and ascending a slightly rising ground, get sight of the house, which, old-fashioned and of mellow tint, fronts on a flower-garden filled with shrubs, large vines, and trim box borders. On both sides of the house are beautiful trees, standing fair, full-grown, and clear. Passing through a wide hall, you come out upon a piazza, stretching the whole length of the house, where one can walk in all weathers; and thence by a step or two, on a lawn, with picturesque masses of rocks, shrubs and trees, overlooking the East River. Gravel paths lead, by several turns, down the steep bank to the water's edge, where round the rocky point a small bay curves, in which boats are lying. And, owing to the currents, and the set of the tide, the sails glide sidelong, seeming to greet the house as they sweep by. The beauty here, seen by moonlight, is truly transporting. I enjoy it greatly, and the genius loci receives me as to a home.'

Here Margaret remained for a year and more, writing regularly for the Tribune. And how high an estimate this prolonged and near acquaintance led her to form for its Editor, will appear from a few passages in her letters:—

'Mr. Greeley is a man of genuine excellence, honorable, benevolent, and of an uncorrupted disposition. He is sagacious, and, in his way, of even great abilities. In modes of life and manner he is a man of the people, and of the American people.' And again:—Mr. Greeley is in many ways very interesting for me to know. He teaches me things, which my own influence on those, who have hitherto approached me, has prevented me from learning. In our business and friendly relations, we are on terms of solid good-will and mutual respect. With the exception of my own mother, I think him the most disinterestedly generous person I have ever known.'

And later she writes:—

'You have heard that the Tribune Office was burned to the ground. For a day I thought it must make a difference, but it has served only to increase my admiration for Mr. Greeley's smiling courage. He has really a strong character.'

On the other side, Mr. Greeley thus records his recollections of his friend:—

"My first acquaintance with Margaret Fuller was made through the pages of 'The Dial.' The lofty range and rare ability of that work, and its un-American richness of culture and ripeness of thought, naturally filled the 'fit audience, though few,' with a high estimate of those who were known as its conductors and principal writers. Yet I do not now remember that any article, which strongly impressed me, was recognized as from the pen of its female editor, prior to the appearance of 'The Great Lawsuit,' afterwards matured into the volume more distinctively, yet not quite accurately, entitled 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century.' I think this can hardly have failed to make a deep impression on the mind of every thoughtful reader, as the production of an original, vigorous, and earnest mind. 'Summer on the Lakes,' which appeared some time after that essay, though before its expansion into a book, struck me as less ambitious in its aim, but more graceful and delicate in its execution; and as one of the clearest and most graphic delineations, ever given, of the Great Lakes, of the Prairies, and of the receding barbarism, and the rapidly advancing, but rude, repulsive semi-civilization, which were contending with most unequal forces for the possession of those rich lands. I still consider 'Summer on the Lakes' unequalled, especially in its pictures of the Prairies and of the sunnier aspects of Pioneer life.

"Yet, it was the suggestion of Mrs. Greeley,—who had spent some weeks of successive seasons in or near Boston, and who had there made the personal acquaintance of Miss Fuller, and formed a very high estimate and warm attachment for her,—that induced me, in the autumn of 1844, to offer her terms, which were accepted, for her assistance in the literary department of the Tribune. A home in my family was included in the stipulation. I was myself barely acquainted with her, when she thus came to reside with us, and I did not fully appreciate her nobler qualities for some months afterward. Though we were members of the same household, we scarcely met save at breakfast; and my time and thoughts were absorbed in duties and cares, which left me little leisure or inclination for the amenities of social intercourse. Fortune seemed to delight in placing us two in relations of friendly antagonism,—or rather, to develop all possible contrasts in our ideas and social habits. She was naturally inclined to luxury and a good appearance before the world. My pride, if I had any, delighted in bare walls and rugged fare. She was addicted to strong tea and coffee, both which I rejected and contemned, even in the most homoeopathic dilutions: while, my general health being sound, and hers sadly impaired, I could not fail to find in her dietetic habits the causes of her almost habitual illness; and once, while we were still barely acquainted, when she came to the breakfast-table with a very severe headache, I was tempted to attribute it to her strong potations of the Chinese leaf the night before. She told me quite frankly that she 'declined being lectured on the food or beverage she saw fit to take;' which was but reasonable in one who had arrived at her maturity of intellect and fixedness of habits. So the subject was thenceforth tacitly avoided between us; but, though words were suppressed, looks and involuntary gestures could not so well be; and an utter divergency of views on this and kindred themes created a perceptible distance between us.

"Her earlier contributions to the Tribune were not her best, and I did not at first prize her aid so highly as I afterwards learned to do. She wrote always freshly, vigorously, but not always clearly; for her full and intimate acquaintance with continental literature, especially German, seemed to have marred her felicity and readiness of expression in her mother tongue. While I never met another woman who conversed more freely or lucidly, the attempt to commit her thoughts to paper seemed to induce a singular embarrassment and hesitation. She could write only when in the vein; and this needed often to be waited for through several days, while the occasion sometimes required an immediate utterance. The new book must be reviewed before other journals had thoroughly dissected and discussed it, else the ablest critique would command no general attention, and perhaps be, by the greater number, unread. That the writer should wait the flow of inspiration, or at least the recurrence of elasticity of spirits and relative health of body, will not seem unreasonable to the general reader; but to the inveterate hack-horse of the daily press, accustomed to write at any time, on any subject, and with a rapidity limited only by the physical ability to form the requisite pen-strokes, the notion of waiting for a brighter day, or a happier frame of mind, appears fantastic and absurd. He would as soon think of waiting for a change in the moon. Hence, while I realized that her contributions evinced rare intellectual wealth and force, I did not value them as I should have done had they been written more fluently and promptly. They often seemed to make their appearance 'a day after the fair.'

"One other point of tacit antagonism between us may as well be noted. Margaret was always a most earnest, devoted champion of the Emancipation of Women, from their past and present condition of inferiority, to an independence on Men. She demanded for them the fullest recognition of Social and Political Equality with the rougher sex; the freest access to all stations, professions, employments, which are open to any. To this demand I heartily acceded. It seemed to me, however, that her clear perceptions of abstract right were often overborne, in practice, by the influence of education and habit; that while she demanded absolute equality for Woman, she exacted a deference and courtesy from men to women, as women, which was entirely inconsistent with that requirement. In my view, the equalizing theory can be enforced only by ignoring the habitual discrimination of men and women, as forming separate classes, and regarding all alike as simply persons,—as human beings. So long as a lady shall deem herself in need of some gentleman's arm to conduct her properly out of a dining or ball-room,—so long as she shall consider it dangerous or unbecoming to walk half a mile alone by night,—I cannot see how the 'Woman's Rights' theory is ever to be anything more than a logically defensible abstraction. In this view Margaret did not at all concur, and the diversity was the incitement to much perfectly good-natured, but nevertheless sharpish sparring between us. Whenever she said or did anything implying the usual demand of Woman on the courtesy and protection of Manhood, I was apt, before complying, to look her in the face and exclaim with marked emphasis,—quoting from her 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century,'—'LET THEM BE SEA-CAPTAINS IF THEY WILL!' Of course, this was given and received as raillery, but it did not tend to ripen our intimacy or quicken my esteem into admiration. Though no unkind word ever passed between us, nor any approach to one, yet we two dwelt for months under the same roof, as scarcely more than acquaintances, meeting once a day at a common board, and having certain business relations with each other. Personally, I regarded her rather as my wife's cherished friend than as my own, possessing many lofty qualities and some prominent weaknesses, and a good deal spoiled by the unmeasured flattery of her little circle of inordinate admirers. For myself, burning no incense on any human shrine, I half-consciously resolved to 'keep my eye beam clear,' and escape the fascination which she seemed to exert over the eminent and cultivated persons, mainly women, who came to our out-of-the-way dwelling to visit her, and who seemed generally to regard her with a strangely Oriental adoration.

"But as time wore on, and I became inevitably better and better acquainted with her, I found myself drawn, almost irresistibly, into the general current. I found that her faults and weaknesses were all superficial and obvious to the most casual, if undazzled, observer. They rather dwindled than expanded upon a fuller knowledge; or rather, took on new and brighter aspects in the light of her radiant and lofty soul. I learned to know her as a most fearless and unselfish champion of Truth and Human Good at all hazards, ready to be their standard-bearer through danger and obloquy, and, if need be, their martyr. I think few have more keenly appreciated the material goods of life,—Rank, Riches, Power, Luxury, Enjoyment; but I know none who would have more cheerfully surrendered them all, if the well-being of our Race could thereby have been promoted. I have never met another in whom the inspiring hope of Immortality was so strengthened into profoundest conviction. She did not believe in our future and unending existence,—she knew it, and lived ever in the broad glare of its morning twilight. With a limited income and liberal wants, she was yet generous beyond the bounds of reason. Had the gold of California been all her own, she would have disbursed nine tenths of it in eager and well-directed efforts to stay, or at least diminish, the flood of human misery. And it is but fair to state, that the liberality she evinced was fully paralleled by the liberality she experienced at the hands of others. Had she needed thousands, and made her wants known, she had friends who would have cheerfully supplied her. I think few persons, in their pecuniary dealings, have experienced and evinced more of the better qualities of human nature than Margaret Fuller. She seemed to inspire those who approached her with that generosity which was a part of her nature.

"Of her writings I do not purpose to speak critically. I think most of her contributions to the Tribune, while she remained with us, were characterized by a directness, terseness, and practicality, which are wanting in some of her earlier productions. Good judges have confirmed my own opinion, that, while her essays in the Dial are more elaborate and ambitious, her reviews in the Tribune are far better adapted to win the favor and sway the judgment of the great majority of readers. But, one characteristic of her writings I feel bound to commend,—their absolute truthfulness. She never asked how this would sound, nor whether that would do, nor what would be the effect of saying anything; but simply, 'Is it the truth? Is it such as the public should know?' And if her judgment answered, 'Yes,' she uttered it; no matter what turmoil it might excite, nor what odium it might draw down on her own head. Perfect conscientiousness was an unfailing characteristic of her literary efforts. Even the severest of her critiques,—that on Longfellow's Poems,—for which an impulse in personal pique has been alleged, I happen with certainty to know had no such origin. When I first handed her the book to review, she excused herself, assigning the wide divergence of her views of Poetry from those of the author and his school, as her reason. She thus induced me to attempt the task of reviewing it myself. But day after day sped by, and I could find no hour that was not absolutely required for the performance of some duty that would not be put off, nor turned over to another. At length I carried the book back to her in utter despair of ever finding an hour in which even to look through it; and, at my renewed and earnest request, she reluctantly undertook its discussion. The statement of these facts is but an act of justice to her memory.

"Profoundly religious,—though her creed was, at once, very broad and very short, with a genuine love for inferiors in social position, whom she was habitually studying, by her counsel and teachings, to elevate and improve,—she won the confidence and affection of those who attracted her, by unbounded sympathy and trust. She probably knew the cherished secrets of more hearts than any one else, because she freely imparted her own. With a full share both of intellectual and of family pride, she preëminently recognized and responded to the essential brotherhood of all human kind, and needed but to know that a fellow-being required her counsel or assistance, to render her, riot merely willing, but eager to impart it. Loving ease, luxury, and the world's good opinion, she stood ready to renounce them all, at the call of pity or of duty. I think no one, not radically averse to the whole system of domestic servitude, would have treated servants, of whatever class, with such uniform and thoughtful consideration,—a regard which wholly merged their factitious condition in their antecedent and permanent humanity. I think few servants ever lived weeks with her, who were not dignified and lastingly benefited by her influence and her counsels. They might be at first repelled, by what seemed her too stately manner and exacting disposition, but they soon learned to esteem and love her.

"I have known few women, and scarcely another maiden, who had the heart and the courage to speak with such frank compassion, in mixed circles, of the most degraded and outcast portion of the sex. The contemplation of their treatment, especially by the guilty authors of their ruin, moved her to a calm and mournful indignation, which she did not attempt to suppress nor control. Others were willing to pity and deplore; Margaret was more inclined to vindicate and to redeem. She did not hesitate to avow that on meeting some of these abused, unhappy sisters, she had been surprised to find them scarcely fallen morally below the ordinary standard of Womanhood,—realizing and loathing their debasement; anxious to escape it; and only repelled by the sad consciousness that for them sympathy and society remained only so long as they should persist in the ways of pollution. Those who have read her 'Woman,' may remember some daring comparisons therein suggested between these Pariahs of society and large classes of their respectable sisters; and that was no fitful expression,—no sudden outbreak,—but impelled by her most deliberate convictions. I think, if she had been born to large fortune, a house of refuge for all female outcasts desiring to return to the ways of Virtue, would have been one of her most cherished and first realized conceptions.

"Her love of children was one of her most prominent characteristics. The pleasure she enjoyed in their society was fully counterpoised by that she imparted. To them she was never lofty, nor reserved, nor mystical; for no one had ever a more perfect faculty for entering into their sports, their feelings, their enjoyments. She could narrate almost any story in language level to their capacities, and in a manner calculated to bring out their hearty and often boisterously expressed delight. She possessed marvellous powers of observation and imitation or mimicry; and, had she been attracted to the stage, would have been the first actress America has produced, whether in tragedy or comedy. Her faculty of mimicking was not needed to commend her to the hearts of children, but it had its effect in increasing the fascinations of her genial nature and heartfelt joy in their society. To amuse and instruct them was an achievement for which she would readily forego any personal object; and her intuitive perception of the toys, games, stories, rhymes, &c., best adapted to arrest and enchain their attention, was unsurpassed. Between her and my only child, then living, who was eight months old when she came to us, and something over two years when she sailed for Europe, tendrils of affection gradually intertwined themselves, which I trust Death has not severed, but rather multiplied and strengthened. She became his teacher, playmate, and monitor; and he requited her with a prodigality of love and admiration.

"I shall not soon forget their meeting in my office, after some weeks' separation, just before she left us forever. His mother had brought him in from the country and left him asleep on my sofa, while she was absent making purchases, and he had rolled off and hurt himself in the fall, waking with the shock in a phrensy of anger, just before Margaret, hearing of his arrival, rushed into the office to find him. I was vainly attempting to soothe him as she entered; but he was running from one end to the other of the office, crying passionately, and refusing to be pacified. She hastened to him, in perfect confidence that her endearments would calm the current of his feelings,—that the sound of her well-remembered voice would banish all thought of his pain,—and that another moment would see him restored to gentleness; but, half-wakened, he did not heed her, and probably did not even realize who it was that caught him repeatedly in her arms and tenderly insisted that he should restrain himself. At last she desisted in despair; and, with the bitter tears streaming down her face, observed:—'Pickie, many friends have treated me unkindly, but no one had ever the power to cut me to the heart, as you have!' Being thus let alone, he soon came to himself, and their mutual delight in the meeting was rather heightened by the momentary estrangement.

"They had one more meeting; their last on earth! 'Aunty Margaret' was to embark for Europe on a certain day, and 'Pickie' was brought into the city to bid her farewell. They met this time also at my office, and together we thence repaired to the ferry-boat, on which she was returning to her residence in Brooklyn to complete her preparations for the voyage. There they took a tender and affecting leave of each other. But soon his mother called at the office, on her way to the departing ship, and we were easily persuaded to accompany her thither, and say farewell once more, to the manifest satisfaction of both Margaret and the youngest of her devoted friends. Thus they parted, never to meet again in time. She sent him messages and presents repeatedly from Europe; and he, when somewhat older, dictated a letter in return, which was joyfully received and acknowledged. When the mother of our great-souled friend spent some days with us nearly two years afterward, 'Pickie' talked to her often and lovingly of 'Aunty Margaret,' proposing that they two should 'take a boat and go over and see her,'—for, to his infantile conception, the low coast of Long Island, visible just across the East River, was that Europe to which she had sailed, and where she was unaccountably detained so long. Alas! a far longer and more adventurous journey was required to reunite those loving souls! The 12th of July, 1849, saw him stricken down, from health to death, by the relentless cholera; and my letter, announcing that calamity, drew from her a burst of passionate sorrow, such as hardly any bereavement but the loss of a very near relative could have impelled. Another year had just ended, when a calamity, equally sudden, bereft a wide circle of her likewise, with her husband and infant son. Little did I fear, when I bade her a confident Good-by, on the deck of her outward-bound ship, that the sea would close over her earthly remains, ere we should meet again; far less that the light of my eyes and the cynosure of my hopes, who then bade her a tenderer and sadder farewell, would precede her on the dim pathway to that 'Father's house,' whence is no returning! Ah, well! God is above all, and gracious alike in what he conceals and what he discloses;—benignant and bounteous, as well when he reclaims as when he bestows. In a few years, at farthest, our loved and lost ones will welcome us to their home."

Favorably as Mr. Greeley speaks of Margaret's articles in the Tribune, it is yet true that she never brought her full power to bear upon them; partly because she was too much exhausted by previous over-work, partly because it hindered her free action to aim at popular effect. Her own estimate of them is thus expressed:—

'I go on very moderately, for my strength is not great, and I am connected with one who is anxious that I should not overtask it. Body and mind, I have long required rest and mere amusement, and now obey Nature as much as I can. If she pleases to restore me to an energetic state, she will by-and-by; if not, I can only hope this world will not turn me out of doors too abruptly. I value my present position very much, as enabling me to speak effectually some right words to a large circle; and, while I can do so, am content.'

Again she says,—

'I am pleased with your sympathy about the Tribune, for I do not find much among my old friends. They think I ought to produce something excellent, while I am satisfied to aid in the great work of popular education. I never regarded literature merely as a collection of exquisite products, but rather as a means of mutual interpretation. Feeling that many are reached and in some degree helped, the thoughts of every day seem worth noting, though in a form that does not inspire me.'

The most valuable of her contributions, according to her own judgment, were the Criticisms on Contemporary Authors in Europe and America. A few of these were revised in the spring of 1846, and, in connection with some of her best articles selected from the Dial, Western Messenger, American Monthly, &c., appeared in two volumes of Wiley and Putnam's Library of American Books, under the title of PAPERS ON ART AND LITERATURE.


Heralded by her reputation, as a scholar, writer, and talker, and brought continually before the public by her articles in the Tribune, Margaret found a circle of acquaintance opening before her, as wide, various, and rich, as time and inclination permitted her to know. Persons sought her in her country retreat, attracted alike by idle curiosity, desire for aid, and respectful sympathy. She visited freely in several interesting families in New York and Brooklyn: occasionally accepted invitations to evening parties, and often met, at the somewhat celebrated soirées of Miss Lynch, the assembled authors, artists, critics, wits, and dilettanti of New York. As was inevitable, also, for one of such powerful magnetic influence, liberal soul and broad judgment, she once again became, as elsewhere she had been, a confidant and counsellor of the tempted and troubled; and her geniality, lively conversation, and ever fresh love, gave her a home in many hearts. But the subdued tone of her spirits at this period led her to prefer seclusion.

Of her own social habits she writes:—

'It is not well to keep entirely apart from the stream of common life; so, though I never go out when busy, nor keep late hours, I find it pleasanter and better to enter somewhat into society. I thus meet with many entertaining acquaintance, and some friends. I can never, indeed, expect, in America, or in this world, to form relations with nobler persons than I have already known; nor can I put my heart into these new ties as into the old ones, though probably it would still respond to commanding excellence. But my present circle satisfies my wants. As to what is called "good society," I am wholly indifferent. I know several women, whom I like very much, and yet more men. I hear good music, which answers my social desires better than any other intercourse can; and I love four or five interesting children, in whom I always find more genuine sympathy than in their elders.'

Of the impression produced by Margaret on those who were but slightly acquainted with her, some notion may be formed from the following sketch:—

"In general society, she commanded respect rather than admiration All persons were curious to see her, and in full rooms her fine head and spiritual expression at once marked her out from the crowd; but the most were repelled by what seemed conceit, pedantry, and a harsh spirit of criticism, while, on her part, she appeared to regard those around her as frivolous, superficial, and conventional. Indeed, I must frankly confess, that we did not meet in pleasant relations, except now and then, when the lifting of a veil, as it were, revealed for a moment the true life of each. Yet I was fond of looking at her from a distance, and defending her when silly people were inclined to cavil at her want of feminine graces. Then I would say, 'I would like to be an artist now, that I might paint, not the care-worn countenance and the uneasy air of one seemingly out of harmony with the scene about her, but the soul that sometimes looks out from under those large lids. Michel Angelo would have made her a Sibyl.' I remember I was surprised to find her height no greater; for her writings had always given me an impression of magnitude. Thus I studied though I avoided her, admitting, the while, proudly and joyously, that she was a woman to reverence. A trifling incident, however, gave me the key to much in her character, of which, before, I had not dreamed. It was one evening, after a Valentine party, where Frances Osgood, Margaret Fuller, and other literary ladies, had attracted some attention, that, as we were in the dressing-room preparing to go home, I heard Margaret sigh deeply. Surprised and moved, I said, 'Why?'—'Alone, as usual,' was her pathetic answer, followed by a few sweet, womanly remarks, touching as they were beautiful. Often, after, I found myself recalling her look and tone, with tears in my eyes; for before I had regarded her as a being cold, and abstracted, if not scornful."

Cold, abstracted, and scornful! About this very time it was that
Margaret wrote in her journal:—

'Father, let me not injure my fellows during this period of repression. I feel that when we meet my tones are not so sweet as I would have them. O, let me not wound! I, who know so well how wounds can burn and ache, should not inflict them. Let my touch be light and gentle. Let me keep myself uninvaded, but let me not fail to be kind and tender, when need is. Yet I would not assume an overstrained poetic magnanimity. Help me to do just right, and no more. O, make truth profound and simple in me!'


'The heart bleeds,—faith almost gives way, to see man's seventy years of chrysalis. Is it not too long? Enthusiasm must struggle fiercely to burn clear amid these fogs. In what little, low, dark cells of care and prejudice, without one soaring thought or melodious fancy, do poor mortals—well-intentioned enough, and with religious aspiration too—forever creep. And yet the sun sets to-day as gloriously bright as ever it did on the temples of Athens, and the evening star rises as heavenly pure as it rose on the eye of Dante. O, Father! help me to free my fellows from the conventional bonds whereby their sight is holden. By purity and freedom let me teach them justice.'

And yet again:—

'There comes a consciousness that I have no real hold on life,—no real, permanent connection with any soul. I seem a wandering Intelligence, driven from spot to spot, that I may learn all secrets, and fulfil a circle of knowledge. This thought envelopes me as a cold atmosphere. I 'do not see how I shall go through this destiny. I can, if it is mine; but I do not feel that I can.'

Casual observers mistook Margaret's lofty idealism for personal pride; but thus speaks one who really knew her:—"You come like one of the great powers of nature, harmonizing with all beauty of the soul or of the earth. You cannot be discordant with anything that is true and deep. I thank God for the noble privilege of being recognized by so large, tender, and radiant a soul as thine."



        "I go to prove my soul.
  I see my way, as birds their trackless way.
  In some time, God's good time, I shall arrive
  He guides me and the bird. In his good time!"


  "One, who, if He be called upon to face
  Some awful moment, to which Heaven has joined
  Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
  Is happy as a lover, and attired
  With sudden brightness, like a man inspired;
  And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
  In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw."


  "Italia! Italia! O tu cui feo la sorte
    Dono infelice di bellezza, ond' hai
    Funesta dote d' infiniti guai,
    Che in fronte scritti per gran doglia porte.
  Deh, fossi tu men bella, ò almen píù forte!"


     "Oh, not to guess it at the first.
  But I did guess it,—that is, I divined,
  Felt by an instinct how it was;—why else
  Should I pronounce you free from all that heap
  Of sins, which had been irredeemable?
  I felt they were not yours."


     "Nests there are many of this very year,
  Many the nests are, which the winds shall shake,
     The rains run through and other birds beat down
  Yours, O Aspasia! rests against the temple
     Of heavenly love, and, thence inviolate,
  It shall not fall this winter, nor the next."


  "Lift up your heart upon the knees of God,
  Losing yourself, your smallness and your darkness
  In His great light, who fills and moves the world,
  Who hath alone the quiet of perfect motion."




* * * * *

[It has been judged best to let Margaret herself tell the story of her travels. In the spring of 1846, her valued friends, Marcus Spring and lady, of New York, had decided to make a tour in Europe, with their son, and they invited Miss Fuller to accompany them. An arrangement was soon made on such terms as she could accept, and the party sailed from Boston in the "Cambria," on the first of August. The following narrative is made up of letters addressed by her to various correspondents. Some extracts, describing distinguished persons whom she saw, have been borrowed from her letters to the New York Tribune.]


Liverpool, Aug. 16, 1846.

My dear Mother:—

The last two days at sea passed well enough, as a number of agreeable persons were introduced to me, and there were several whom I knew before. I enjoyed nothing on the sea; the excessively bracing air so affected me that I could not bear to look at it. The sight of land delighted me. The tall crags, with their breakers and circling sea-birds; then the green fields, how glad! We had a very fine day to come ashore, and made the shortest passage ever known. The stewardess said, "Any one who complained this time tempted the Almighty." I did not complain, but I could hardly have borne another day. I had no appetite; but am now making up for all deficiencies, and feel already a renovation beginning from the voyage; and, still more, from freedom and entire change of scene.

We came here Wednesday, at noon; next day we went to Manchester; the following day to Chester; returning here Saturday evening.

On Sunday we went to hear James Martineau; were introduced to him, and other leading persons. The next day and evening I passed in the society of very pleasant people, who have made every exertion to give me the means of seeing and learning; but they have used up all my strength.



As soon as I reached England, I found how right we were in supposing there was elsewhere a greater range of interesting character among the men, than with us. I do not find, indeed, any so valuable as three or four among the most marked we have known; but many that are strongly individual, and have a fund of hidden life.

In Westmoreland, I knew, and have since been seeing in London, a man, such as would interest you a good deal; Mr. Atkinson. He is sometimes called the "prince of the English mesmerisers;" and he has the fine instinctive nature you may suppose from that. He is a man of about thirty; in the fulness of his powers; tall, and finely formed, with a head for Leonardo to paint; mild and composed, but powerful and sagacious; he does not think, but perceives and acts. He is intimate with artists, having studied architecture himself as a profession; but has some fortune on which he lives. Sometimes stationary and acting in the affairs of other men; sometimes wandering about the world and learning; he seems bound by no tie, yet looks as if he had relatives in every place.

I saw, also, a man,—an artist,—severe and antique in his spirit; he seemed burdened by the sorrows of aspiration; yet very calm, as secure in the justice of fate. What he does is bad, but full of a great desire. His name is David Scott. I saw another,—a pupil of De la Roche,—very handsome, and full of a voluptuous enjoyment of nature: him I liked a little in a different way.

By far the most beauteous person I have seen is Joseph Mazzini. If you ever see Saunders' "People's Journal," you can read articles by him that will give you some notion of his mind, especially one on his friends, headed "Italian Martyrs." He is one in whom holiness has purified, but somewhat dwarfed the man.

* * * * *

Our visit to Mr. Wordsworth was fortunate. He is seventy-six; but his is a florid, fair old age. He walked with us to all his haunts about the house. Its situation is beautiful, and the "Rydalian Laurels" are magnificent. Still, I saw abodes among the hills that I should have preferred for Wordsworth; more wild and still more romantic. The fresh and lovely Rydal Mount seems merely the retirement of a gentleman, rather than the haunt of a poet. He showed his benignity of disposition in several little things, especially in his attentions to a young boy we had with us. This boy had left the circus, exhibiting its feats of horsemanship, in Ambleside, "for that day only," at his own desire to see Wordsworth; and I feared he would be dissatisfied, as I know I should have been at his age, if, when called to see a poet, I had found no Apollo flaming with youthful glory, laurel-crowned, and lyre in hand; but, instead, a reverend old man clothed in black, and walking with cautious step along the level garden-path. However, he was not disappointed; and Wordsworth, in his turn, seemed to feel and prize a congenial nature in this child.

Taking us into the house, he showed us the picture of his sister, repeating with much expression some lines of hers, and those so famous of his about her, beginning "Five years," &c.; also, his own picture, by Inman, of whom he spoke with esteem. I had asked to see a picture in that room, which has been described in one of the finest of his later poems. A hundred times had I wished to see this picture, yet when seen was not disappointed by it. The light was unfavorable, but it had a light of its own,—

"whose mild gleam Of beauty never ceases to enrich The common light."

Mr. Wordsworth is fond of the hollyhock; a partiality scarcely deserved by the flower, but which marks the simplicity of his tastes. He had made a long avenue of them, of all colors, from the crimson brown to rose, straw-color, and white, and pleased himself with having made proselytes to a liking for them, among his neighbors.

I never have seen such magnificent fuchsias as at Ambleside, and there was one to be seen in every cottage-yard. They are no longer here under the shelter of the green-house, as with us, and as they used to be in England. The plant, from its grace and finished elegance, being a great favorite of mine, I should like to see it as frequently and of as luxuriant growth at home, and asked their mode of culture, which I here mark down for the benefit of all who may be interested. Make a bed of bog-earth and sand; put down slips of the fuchsia, and give them a great deal of water; this is all they need. People leave them out here in winter, but perhaps they would not bear the cold of our Januaries.

Mr. Wordsworth spoke with more liberality than we expected of the recent measures about the Corn-laws, saying that "the principle was certainly right, though whether existing interests had been as carefully attended to as was right, he was not prepared to say," &c. His neighbors were pleased to hear of his speaking thus mildly, and hailed it as a sign that he was opening his mind to more light on these subjects. They lament that his habits of seclusion keep him ignorant of the real wants of England and the world. Living in this region, which is cultivated by small proprietors, where there is little poverty, vice, or misery, he hears not the voice which cries so loudly from other parts of England, and will not be stilled by sweet, poetic suasion, or philosophy, for it is the cry of men in the jaws of destruction.

It was pleasant to find the reverence inspired by this great and pure mind warmest near home. Our landlady, in heaping praises upon him, added, constantly, "and Mrs. Wordsworth, too." "Do the people here," said I, "value Mr. Wordsworth most because he is a celebrated writer?" "Truly, madam," said she, "I think it is because he is so kind a neighbor."

"True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home."


At Edinburgh we were in the wrong season, and many persons we most wished to see were absent. We had, however, the good fortune to find Dr. Andrew Combe, who received us with great kindness. I was impressed with great and affectionate respect, by the benign and even temper of his mind, his extensive and accurate knowledge, accompanied by a large and intelligent liberality. Of our country he spoke very wisely and hopefully.

* * * * *

I had the satisfaction, not easily attainable now, of seeing De Quincey for some hours, and in the mood of conversation. As one belonging to the Wordsworth and Coleridge constellation (he, too, is now seventy years of age), the thoughts and knowledge of Mr. De Quincey lie in the past, and oftentimes he spoke of matters now become trite to one of a later culture. But to all that fell from his lips, his eloquence, subtle and forcible as the wind, full and gently falling as the evening dew, lent a peculiar charm. He is an admirable narrator; not rapid, but gliding along like a rivulet through a green meadow, giving and taking a thousand little beauties not absolutely required to give his story due relief, but each, in itself, a separate boon.

I admired, too, his urbanity; so opposite to the rapid, slang, Vivian-Greyish style, current in the literary conversation of the day. "Sixty years since," men had time to do things better and more gracefully.


With Dr. Chalmers we passed a couple of hours. He is old now, but still full of vigor and fire. We had an opportunity of hearing a fine burst of indignant eloquence from him. "I shall blush to my very bones," said he, "if the Chaarrch" (sound these two rrs with as much burr as possible, and you will get an idea of his mode of pronouncing that unweariable word,) "if the Chaarrch yield to the storm." He alluded to the outcry now raised by the Abolitionists against the Free Church, whose motto is, "Send back the money;" i.e., the money taken from the American slaveholders. Dr. C. felt, that if they did not yield from conviction, they must not to assault. His manner in speaking of this gave me a hint of the nature of his eloquence. He seldom preaches now.

* * * * *

A Scottish gentleman told me the following story:—Burns, still only in the dawn of his celebrity, was invited to dine with one of the neighboring so-called gentry, unhappily quite void of true gentle blood. On arriving, he found his plate set in the servants' room. After dinner, he was invited into a room where guests were assembled, and, a chair being placed for him at the lower end of the board, a glass of wine was offered, and he was requested to sing one of his songs for the entertainment, of the company. He drank off the wine, and thundered forth in reply his grand song "For a' that and a' that," and having finished his prophecy and prayer, nature's nobleman left his churlish entertainers to hide their heads in the home they had disgraced.


At Inversnaid, we took a boat to go down Loch Lomond, to the little inn of Rowardennan, from which the ascent is made of Ben Lomond. We found a day of ten thousand, for our purpose; but, unhappily, a large party had come with the sun, and engaged all the horses, so that if we went, it must be on foot. This was something of an enterprise for me, as the ascent is four miles, and toward the summit quite fatiguing. However, in the pride of newly-gained health and strength, I was ready, and set forth with Mr. S. alone. We took no guide, and the people of the house did not advise us to take one, as they ought.

On reaching the peak, the sight was one of beauty and grandeur such as imagination never painted. You see around you no plain ground, but on every side constellations, or groups of hills, exquisitely dressed in the soft purple of the heather, amid which gleam the lakes, like eyes that tell the secrets of the earth, and drink in those of the heavens. Peak beyond peak caught from the shifting light all the colors of the prism, and, on the furthest, angel companies seemed hovering in glorious white robes.

About four o'clock we began our descent. Near the summit, the traces of the path are not distinct, and I said to Mr. S., after a while, that we had lost it. He said he thought that was of no consequence; we could find our way down. I said I thought it was, as the ground was full of springs that were bridged over in the pathway. He accordingly went to look for it, and I stood still, because I was so tired I did not like to waste any labor.

Soon he called to me that he had found it, and I followed in the direction where he seemed to be. But I mistook, overshot it, and saw him no more. In about ten minutes I became alarmed, and called him many times. It seems, he on his side shouted also, but the brow of some hill was between us, and we neither saw nor heard one another. I then thought I would make the best of my way down, and I should find him when I arrived. But, in doing so, I found the justice of my apprehension about the springs, so soon as I got to the foot of the hills; for I would sink up to my knees in bog, and must go up the hills again, seeking better crossing places. Thus I lost much time. Nevertheless, in the twilight, I saw, at last, the lake, and the inn of Rowardennan on its shore.

Between me and it, lay, direct, a high heathery hill, which I afterwards found is called "The Tongue," because hemmed in on three sides by a water-course. It looked as if, could I only get to the bottom of that, I should be on comparatively level ground. I then attempted to descend in the water-course, but, finding that impracticable, climbed on the hill again, and let myself down by the heather, for it was very steep, and full of deep holes. With great fatigue, I got to the bottom, but when I was about to cross the water-course there, I felt afraid, it looked so deep in the dim twilight. I got down as far as I could by the root of a tree, and threw down a stone. It sounded very hollow, and I was afraid to jump. The shepherds told me afterwards, if I had, I should probably have killed myself, it was so deep, and the bed of the torrent full of sharp stones.

I then tried to ascend the hill again, for there was no other way to get off it; but soon sank down utterly exhausted. When able to get up again, and look about me, it was completely dark. I saw, far below me, a light, that looked about as big as a pin's head, that I knew to be from the inn at Rowardennan, but heard no sound except the rush of the waterfall, and the sighing of the night wind.

For the first few minutes after I perceived I had come to my night's lodging, such as it was, the circumstance looked appalling. I was very lightly clad, my feet and dress were very wet, I had only a little shawl to throw round me, and the cold autumn wind had already come, and the night mist was to fall on me, all fevered and exhausted as I was. I thought I should not live through the night, or, if I did, I must be an invalid henceforward. I could not even keep myself warm by walking, for, now it was dark, it would be too dangerous to stir. My only chance, however, lay in motion, and my only help in myself; and so convinced was I of this, that I did keep in motion the whole of that long night, imprisoned as I was on such a little perch of that great mountain.

For about two hours, I saw the stars, and very cheery and companionable they looked; but then the mist fell, and I saw nothing more, except such apparitions as visited Ossian, on the hill-side, when he went out by night, and struck the bosky shield, and called to him the spirits of the heroes, and the white-armed maids, with their blue eyes of grief. To me, too, came those visionary shapes. Floating slowly and gracefully, their white robes would unfurl from the great body of mist in which they had been engaged, and come upon me with a kiss pervasively cold as that of death. Then the moon rose. I could not see her, but her silver light filled the mist. Now I knew it was two o'clock, and that, having weathered out so much of the night, I might the rest; and the hours hardly seemed long to me more.

It may give an idea of the extent of the mountain, that, though I called, every now and then, with all my force, in case by chance some aid might be near, and though no less than twenty men, with their dogs, were looking for me, I never heard a sound, except the rush of the waterfall and the sighing of the night wind, and once or twice the startling of the grouse in the heather. It was sublime indeed,—a never-to-be-forgotten presentation of stern, serene realities. At last came the signs of day,—the gradual clearing and breaking up; some faint sounds from I know not what; the little flies, too, arose from their bed amid the purple heather, and bit me. Truly they were very welcome to do so. But what was my disappointment to find the mist so thick, that I could see neither lake nor inn, nor anything to guide me. I had to go by guess, and, as it happened, my Yankee method served me well. I ascended the hill, crossed the torrent, in the waterfall, first drinking some of the water, which was as good at that time as ambrosia. I crossed in that place, because the waterfall made steps, as it were, to the next hill. To be sure, they were covered with water, but I was already entirely wet with the mist, so that it did not matter. I kept on scrambling, as it happened, in the right direction, till, about seven, some of the shepherds found me. The moment they came, all my feverish strength departed, and they carried me home, where my arrival relieved my friends of distress far greater than I had undergone; for I had my grand solitude, my Ossianic visions, and the pleasure of sustaining myself; while they had only doubt, amounting to anguish, and a fruitless search through the night.

Entirely contrary to my forebodings, I only suffered for this a few days, and was able to take a parting look at my prison, as I went down the lake, with feelings of complacency. It was a majestic-looking hill, that Tongue, with the deep ravines on either side, and the richest robe of heather I have anywhere seen.

Mr. S. gave all the men who were looking for me a dinner in the barn, and he and Mrs. S. ministered to them; and they talked of Burns,—really the national writer, and known by them, apparently, as none other is,—and of hair-breadth 'scapes by flood and fell. Afterwards they were all brought up to see me, and it was gratifying to note the good breeding and good feeling with which they deported themselves. Indeed, this adventure created quite an intimate feeling between us and the people there. I had been much pleased before, in attending one of their dances, at the genuine independence and politeness of their conduct. They were willing to dance their Highland flings and strathspeys, for our amusement, and did it as naturally and as freely as they would have offered the stranger the best chair.


I have mentioned with satisfaction seeing some persons who illustrated the past dynasty in the progress of thought here: Wordsworth, Dr. Chalmers, De Quincey, Andrew Combe. With a still higher pleasure, because to one of my own sex, whom I have honored almost above any, I went to pay my court to Joanna Baillie. I found on her brow, not, indeed, a coronal of gold; but a serenity and strength undimmed and unbroken by the weight of more than fourscore years, or by the scanty appreciation which her thoughts have received. We found her in her little calm retreat, at Hampstead, surrounded by marks of love and reverence from distinguished and excellent friends. Near her was the sister, older than herself, yet still sprightly and full of active kindness, whose character and their mutual relations she has, in one of her last poems, indicated with such a happy mixture of sagacity, humor, and tender pathos, and with so absolute a truth of outline.

* * * * *

Mary and William Howitt are the main support of the People's Journal. I saw them several times at their cheerful and elegant home. In Mary Howitt, I found the same engaging traits of character we are led to expect from her books for children. At their house, I became acquainted with Dr. Southwood Smith, the well-known philanthropist. He is at present engaged in the construction of good tenements, calculated to improve the condition of the working people.


Paris, Nov. 16, 1846.—I meant to write on my arrival in London, six weeks ago; but as it was not what is technically called "the season," I thought I had best send all my letters of introduction at once, that I might glean what few good people I could. But more than I expected were in town. These introduced others, and in three days I was engaged in such a crowd of acquaintance, that I had hardly time to dress, and none to sleep, during all the weeks I was in London.

I enjoyed the time extremely. I find myself much in my element in European society. It does not, indeed, come up to my ideal, but so many of the encumbrances are cleared away that used to weary me in America, that I can enjoy a freer play of faculty, and feel, if not like a bird in the air, at least as easy as a fish in water.

In Edinburgh, I met Dr. Brown. He is still quite a young man, but with a high ambition, and, I should think, commensurate powers. But all is yet in the bud with him. He has a friend, David Scott, a painter, full of imagination, and very earnest in his views of art. I had some pleasant hours with them, and the last night which they and I passed with De Quincey, a real grand conversazione, quite in the Landor style, which lasted, in full harmony, some hours.


Of the people I saw in London, you will wish me to speak first of the Carlyles. Mr. C. came to see me at once, and appointed an evening to be passed at their house. That first time, I was delighted with him. He was in a very sweet humor,—full of wit and pathos, without being overbearing or oppressive. I was quite carried away with the rich flow of his discourse; and the hearty, noble earnestness of his personal being brought back the charm which once was upon his writing, before I wearied of it. I admired his Scotch, his way of singing his great full sentences, so that each one was like the stanza of a narrative ballad. He let me talk, now and then, enough to free my lungs and change my position, so that I did not get tired. That evening, he talked of the present state of things in England, giving light, witty sketches of the men of the day, fanatics and others, and some sweet, homely stories he told of things he had known of the Scotch peasantry. Of you he spoke with hearty kindness; and he told, with beautiful feeling, a story of some poor farmer, or artisan, in the country, who on Sunday lays aside the cark and care of that dirty English world, and sits reading the Essays, and looking upon the sea.

I left him that night, intending to go out very often to their house. I assure you there never was anything so witty as Carlyle's description of —— ——. It was enough to kill one with laughing. I, on my side, contributed a story to his fund of anecdote on this subject, and it was fully appreciated. Carlyle is worth a thousand of you for that;—he is not ashamed to laugh, when he is amused, but goes on in a cordial human fashion.

The second time, Mr. C. had a dinner-party, at which was a witty, French, flippant sort of man, author of a History of Philosophy, and now writing a Life of Goethe, a task for which he must be as unfit as irreligion and sparkling shallowness can make him. But he told stories admirably, and was allowed sometimes to interrupt Carlyle a little, of which one was glad, for, that night, he was in his more acrid mood; and, though much more brilliant than on the former evening, grew wearisome to me, who disclaimed and rejected almost everything he said.

For a couple of hours, he was talking about poetry, and the whole harangue was one eloquent proclamation of the defects in his own mind. Tennyson wrote in verse because the schoolmasters had taught him that it was great to do so, and had thus, unfortunately, been turned from the true path for a man. Burns had, in like manner, been turned from his vocation. Shakspeare had not had the good sense to see that it would have been better to write straight on in prose;—and such nonsense, which, though amusing enough at first, he ran to death after a while. The most amusing part is always when he comes back to some refrain, as in the French Revolution of the sea-green. In this instance, it was Petrarch and Laura, the last word pronounced with his ineffable sarcasm of drawl. Although he said this over fifty times, I could not ever help laughing when Laura would come,—Carlyle running his chin out, when he spoke it, and his eyes glancing till they looked like the eyes and beak of a bird of prey. Poor Laura! Lucky for her that her poet had already got her safely canonized beyond the reach of this Teufelsdrockh vulture.

The worst of hearing Carlyle is that you cannot interrupt him. I understand the habit and power of haranguing have increased very much upon him, so that you are a perfect prisoner when he has once got hold of you. To interrupt him is a physical impossibility. If you get a chance to remonstrate for a moment, he raises his voice and bears you down. True, he does you no injustice, and, with his admirable penetration, sees the disclaimer in your mind, so that you are not morally delinquent; but it is not pleasant to be unable to utter it. The latter part of the evening, however, he paid us for this, by a series of sketches, in his finest style of railing and raillery, of modern French literature, not one of them, perhaps, perfectly just, but all drawn with the finest, boldest strokes, and, from his point of view, masterly. All were depreciating, except that of Béranger. Of him he spoke with perfect justice, because with hearty sympathy.

I had, afterward, some talk with Mrs. C., whom hitherto I had only seen, for who can speak while her husband is there? I like her very much;—she is full of grace, sweetness, and talent. Her eyes are sad and charming. * * *

After this, they went to stay at Lord Ashburton's, and I only saw them once more, when they came to pass an evening with us. Unluckily, Mazzini was with us, whose society, when he was there alone, I enjoyed more than any. He is a beauteous and pure music; also, he is a dear friend of Mrs. C.; but his being there gave the conversation a turn to "progress" and ideal subjects, and C. was fluent in invectives on all our "rose-water imbecilities." We all felt distant from him, and Mazzini, after some vain efforts to remonstrate, became very sad. Mrs. C. said to me, "These are but opinions to Carlyle; but to Mazzini, who has given his all, and helped bring his friends to the scaffold, in pursuit of such subjects, it is a matter of life and death."

All Carlyle's talk, that evening, was a defence of mere force,—success the test of right;—if people would not behave well, put collars round their necks;—find a hero, and let them be his slaves, &c. It was very Titanic, and anti-celestial. I wish the last evening had been more melodious. However, I bid Carlyle farewell with feelings of the warmest friendship and admiration. We cannot feel otherwise to a great and noble nature, whether it harmonize with our own or not. I never appreciated the work he has done for his age till I saw England. I could not. You must stand in the shadow of that mountain of shams, to know how hard it is to cast light across it.

Honor to Carlyle! Hoch! Although in the wine with which we drink this health, I, for one, must mingle the despised "rose-water."

And now, having to your eye shown the defects of my own mind, in the sketch of another, I will pass on more lowly,—more willing to be imperfect,—since Fate permits such noble creatures, after all, to be only this or that. It is much if one is not only a crow or magpie;—Carlyle is only a lion. Some time we may, all in full, be intelligent and humanly fair.


Paris, Dec, 1846.—Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings, his talk is still an amazement and a splendor scarcely to be faced with steady eyes. He does not converse;—only harangues. It is the usual misfortune of such marked men,—happily not one invariable or inevitable,—that they cannot allow other minds room to breathe, and show themselves in their atmosphere, and thus miss the refreshment and instruction which the greatest never cease to need from the experience of the humblest. Carlyle allows no one a chance, but bears down all opposition, not only by his wit and onset of words, resistless in their sharpness as so many bayonets, but by actual physical superiority,—raising his voice, and rushing on his opponent with a torrent of sound. This is not in the least from unwillingness to allow freedom to others. On the contrary, no man would more enjoy a manly resistance to his thought. But it is the habit of a mind accustomed to follow out its own impulse, as the hawk its prey, and which knows not how to stop in the chase. Carlyle, indeed, is arrogant and overbearing; but in his arrogance there is no littleness,—no self-love. It is the heroic arrogance of some old Scandinavian conqueror;—it is his nature, and the untamable energy that has given him power to crush the dragons. You do not love him, perhaps, nor revere; and perhaps, also, he would only laugh at you if you did; but you like him heartily, and like to see him the powerful smith, the Siegfried, melting all the old iron in his furnace till it glows to a sunset red, and burns you, if you senselessly go too near. He seems, to me, quite isolated,—lonely as the desert,—yet never was a man more fitted to prize a man, could he find one to match his mood. He finds them, but only in the past. He sings, rather than talks. He pours upon you a kind of satirical, heroical, critical poem, with regular cadences, and generally, near the beginning, hits upon some singular epithet, which serves as a refrain when his song is full, or with which, as with a knitting needle, he catches up the stitches, if he has chanced, now and then, to let fall a row. For the higher kinds of poetry he has no sense, and his talk on that subject is delightfully and gorgeously absurd. He sometimes stops a minute to laugh at it himself, then begins anew with fresh vigor; for all the spirits he is driving before him seem to him as Fata Morgana, ugly masks, in fact, if he can but make them turn about; but he laughs that they seem to others such dainty Ariels. His talk, like his books, is full of pictures; his critical strokes masterly. Allow for his point of view, and his survey is admirable. He is a large subject. I cannot speak more or wiselier of him now, nor needs it;—his works are true, to blame and praise him,—the Siegfried of England,—great and powerful, if not quite invulnerable, and of a might rather to destroy evil, than legislate for good.

Of Dr. Wilkinson I saw a good deal, and found him a substantial person,—a sane, strong, and well-exercised mind,—but in the last degree unpoetical in its structure. He is very simple, natural, and good; excellent to see, though one cannot go far with him; and he would be worth more in writing, if he could get time to write, than in personal intercourse. He may yet find time;—he is scarcely more than thirty. Dr. W. wished to introduce me to Mr. Clissold, but I had not time; shall find it, if in London again. Tennyson was not in town.

Browning has just married Miss Barrett, and gone to Italy. I may meet them there. Bailey is helping his father with a newspaper! His wife and child (Philip Festus by name) came to see me. I am to make them a visit on my return. Marston I saw several times, and found him full of talent. That is all I want to say at present;—he is a delicate nature, that can only be known in its own way and time. I went to see his "Patrician's Daughter." It is an admirable play for the stage. At the house of W.J. Fox, I saw first himself, an eloquent man, of great practical ability, then Cooper, (of the "Purgatory of Suicides,") and others.

My poor selection of miscellanies has been courteously greeted in the London journals. Openings were made for me to write, had I but leisure; it is for that I look to a second stay in London, since several topics came before me on which I wished to write and publish there.

* * * * *

I became acquainted with a gentleman who is intimate with all the English artists, especially Stanfield and Turner, but was only able to go to his house once, at this time. Pictures I found but little time for, yet enough to feel what they are now to be to me. I was only at the Dulwich and National Galleries and Hampton Court. Also, have seen the Vandykes, at Warwick; but all the precious private collections I was obliged to leave untouched, except one of Turner's, to which I gave a day. For the British Museum, I had only one day, which I spent in the Greek and Egyptian Rooms, unable even to look at the vast collections of drawings, &c. But if I live there a few months, I shall go often. O, were life but longer, and my strength greater! Ever I am bewildered by the riches of existence, had I but more time to open the oysters, and get out the pearls. Yet some are mine, if only for a necklace or rosary.



Paris, Dec. 26, 1846.—In Paris I have been obliged to give a great deal of time to French, in order to gain the power of speaking, without which I might as usefully be in a well as here. That has prevented my doing nearly as much as I would. Could I remain six months in this great focus of civilized life, the time would be all too short for my desires and needs.

My Essay on American Literature has been translated into French, and published in "La Revue Indépendante," one of the leading journals of Paris; only, with that delight at manufacturing names for which the French are proverbial, they put, instead of Margaret, Elizabeth. Write to ——, that aunt Elizabeth has appeared unexpectedly before the French public! She will not enjoy her honors long, as a future number, which is to contain a notice of "Woman in the Nineteenth Century," will rectify the mistake.

I have been asked, also, to remain in correspondence with La Revue Indépendante, after my return to the United States, which will be very pleasant and advantageous to me.

I have some French acquaintance, and begin to take pleasure in them, now that we can hold intercourse more easily. Among others, a Madame Pauline Roland I find an interesting woman. She is an intimate friend of Béranger and of Pierre Leroux.

We occupy a charming suite of apartments, Hotel Rougement, Boulevard Poissonière. It is a new hotel, and has not the arched gateways and gloomy court-yard of the old mansions. My room, though small, is very pretty, with the thick, flowered carpet and marble slabs; the French clock, with Cupid, of course, over the fireplace, in which burns a bright little wood fire; the canopy bedstead, and inevitable large mirror; the curtains, too, are thick and rich, the closet, &c., excellent, the attendance good. But for all this, one pays dear. We do not find that one can live pleasantly at Paris for little money; and we prefer to economize by a briefer stay, if at all.


Paris, Jan. 18, 1847, and Naples, March 17, 1847.—You wished to hear of George Sand, or, as they say in Paris, "Madame Sand." I find that all we had heard of her was true in the outline; I had supposed it might be exaggerated. She had every reason to leave her husband,—a stupid, brutal man, who insulted and neglected her. He afterwards gave up their child to her for a sum of money. But the love for which she left him lasted not well, and she has had a series of lovers, and I am told has one now, with whom she lives on the footing of combined means, independent friendship! But she takes rank in society like a man, for the weight of her thoughts, and has just given her daughter in marriage. Her son is a grown-up young man, an artist. Many women visit her, and esteem it an honor. Even an American here, and with the feelings of our country on such subjects, Mrs. ——, thinks of her with high esteem. She has broken with La Mennais, of whom she was once a disciple.

I observed to Dr. François, who is an intimate of hers, and loves and admires her, that it did not seem a good sign that she breaks with her friends. He said it was not so with her early friends; that she has chosen to buy a chateau in the region where she passed her childhood, and that the people there love and have always loved her dearly. She is now at the chateau, and, I begin to fear, will not come to town before I go. Since I came, I have read two charming stories recently written by her. Another longer one she has just sold to La Presse for fifteen thousand francs. She does not receive nearly as much for her writings as Balzac, Dumas, or Sue. She has a much greater influence than they, but a less circulation.

She stays at the chateau, because the poor people there were suffering so much, and she could help them. She has subscribed twenty thousand francs for their relief, in the scarcity of the winter. It is a great deal to earn by one's pen: a novel of several volumes sold for only fifteen thousand francs, as I mentioned before. * * *

At last, however, she came; and I went to see her at her house, Place d'Orleans. I found it a handsome modern residence. She had not answered my letter, written about a week before, and I felt a little anxious lest she should not receive me; for she is too much the mark of impertinent curiosity, as well as too busy, to be easily accessible to strangers. I am by no means timid, but I have suffered, for the first time in France, some of the torments of mauvaise honte, enough to see what they must be to many.

It is the custom to go and call on those to whom you bring letters, and push yourself upon their notice; thus you must go quite ignorant whether they are disposed to be cordial. My name is always murdered by the foreign servants who announce me. I speak very bad French; only lately have I had sufficient command of it to infuse some of my natural spirit in my discourse. This has been a great trial to me, who am eloquent and free in my own tongue, to be forced to feel my thoughts struggling in vain for utterance.

The servant who admitted me was in the picturesque costume of a peasant, and, as Madame Sand afterward told me, her god-daughter, whom she had brought from her province. She announced me as "Madame Salere," and returned into the ante-room to tell me. "Madame says she does not know you" I began to think I was doomed to a rebuff, among the crowd who deserve it. However, to make assurance sure, I said, "Ask if she has not received a letter from me." As I spoke, Madame S. opened the door, and stood looking at me an instant. Our eyes met. I never shall forget her look at that moment. The doorway made a frame for her figure; she is large, but well-formed. She was dressed in a robe of dark violet silk, with a black mantle on her shoulders, her beautiful hair dressed with the greatest taste, her whole appearance and attitude, in its simple and lady-like dignity, presenting an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar caricature idea of George Sand. Her face is a very little like the portraits, but much finer; the upper part of the forehead and eyes are beautiful, the lower, strong and masculine, expressive of a hardy temperament and strong passions, but not in the least coarse; the complexion olive, and the air of the whole head Spanish, (as, indeed, she was born at Madrid, and is only on one side of French blood.) All these details I saw at a glance; but what fixed my attention was the expression of goodness, nobleness, and power, that pervaded the whole,—the truly human heart and nature that shone in the eyes. As our eyes met, she said, "C'est vous" and held out her hand. I took it, and went into her little study; we sat down a moment, then I said, "Il me fait de bien de vous voir" and I am sure I said it with my whole heart, for it made me very happy to see such a woman, so large and so developed a character, and everything that is good in it so really good. I loved, shall always love her.

She looked away, and said, "Ah! vous m'avez écrit une lettre charmante" This was all the preliminary of our talk, which then went on as if we had always known one another. She told me, before I went away, that she was going that very day to write to me; that when the servant announced me she did not recognize the name, but after a minute it struck her that it might be La dame Americaine, as the foreigners very commonly call me, for they find my name hard to remember. She was very much pressed for time, as she was then preparing copy for the printer, and, having just returned, there were many applications to see her, but she wanted me to stay then, saying, "It is better to throw things aside, and seize the present moment." I staid a good part of the day, and was very glad afterwards, for I did not see her again uninterrupted. Another day I was there, and saw her in her circle. Her daughter and another lady were present, and a number of gentlemen. Her position there was of an intellectual woman and good friend,—the same as my own in the circle of my acquaintance as distinguished from my intimates. Her daughter is just about to be married. It is said, there is no congeniality between her and her mother; but for her son she seems to have much love, and he loves and admires her extremely. I understand he has a good and free character, without conspicuous talent.

Her way of talking is just like her writing,—lively, picturesque, with an undertone of deep feeling, and the same skill in striking the nail on the head every now and then with a blow.

We did not talk at all of personal or private matters. I saw, as one sees in her writings, the want of an independent, interior life, but I did not feel it as a fault, there is so much in her of her kind. I heartily enjoyed the sense of so rich, so prolific, so ardent a genius. I liked the woman in her, too, very much; I never liked a woman better.

For the rest I do not care to write about it much, for I cannot, in the room and time I have to spend, express my thoughts as I would; but as near as I can express the sum total, it is this. S—— and others who admire her, are anxious to make a fancy picture of her, and represent her as a Helena (in the Seven Chords of the Lyre); all whose mistakes are the fault of the present state of society. But to me the truth seems to be this. She has that purity in her soul, for she knows well how to love and prize its beauty; but she herself is quite another sort of person. She needs no defence, but only to be understood, for she has bravely acted out her nature, and always with good intentions. She might have loved one man permanently, if she could have found one contemporary with her who could interest and command her throughout her range; but there was hardly a possibility of that, for such a person. Thus she has naturally changed the objects of her affection, and several times. Also, there may have been something of the Bacchante in her life, and of the love of night and storm, and the free raptures amid which roamed on the mountain-tops the followers of Cybele, the great goddess, the great mother. But she was never coarse, never gross, and I am sure her generous heart has not failed to draw some rich drops from every kind of wine-press. When she has done with an intimacy, she likes to break it off suddenly, and this has happened often, both with men and women. Many calumnies upon her are traceable to this cause.

I forgot to mention, that, while talking, she does smoke all the time her little cigarette. This is now a common practice among ladies abroad, but I believe originated with her.

For the rest, she holds her place in the literary and social world of France like a man, and seems full of energy and courage in it. I suppose she has suffered much, but she has also enjoyed and done much, and her expression is one of calmness and happiness. I was sorry to see her exploitant her talent so carelessly. She does too much, and this cannot last forever; but "Teverino" and the "Mare au Diable," which she has lately published, are as original, as masterly in truth, and as free in invention, as anything she has done.

Afterwards I saw Chopin, not with her, although he lives with her, and has for the last twelve years. I went to see him in his room with one of his friends. He is always ill, and as frail as a snow-drop, but an exquisite genius. He played to me, and I liked his talking scarcely less. Madame S. loved Liszt before him; she has thus been intimate with the two opposite sides of the musical world. Mickiewicz says, "Chopin talks with spirit, and gives us the Ariel view of the universe. Liszt is the eloquent tribune to the world of men, a little vulgar and showy certainly, but I like the tribune best." It is said here, that Madame S. has long had only a friendship for Chopin, who, perhaps, on his side prefers to be a lover, and a jealous lover; but she does not leave him, because he needs her care so much, when sick and suffering. About all this, I do not know; you cannot know much about anything in France, except what you see with your two eyes. Lying is ingrained in "la grande nation" as they so plainly show no less in literature than life.


In France the theatre is living; you see something really good, and good throughout. Not one touch of that stage-strut and vulgar bombast of tone, which the English actor fancies indispensable to scenic illusion, is tolerated here. For the first time in my life, I saw something represented in a style uniformly good, and should have found sufficient proof, if I had needed any, that all men will prefer what is good to what is bad, if only a fair opportunity for choice be allowed. When I came here, my first thought was to go and see Mademoiselle Rachel. I was sure that in her I should find a true genius. I went to see her seven or eight times, always in parts that required great force of soul, and purity of taste, even to conceive them, and only once had reason to find fault with her. On one single occasion, I saw her violate the harmony of the character, to produce effect at a particular moment; but, almost invariably, I found her a true artist, worthy Greece, and worthy at many moments to have her conceptions immortalized in marble.

Her range even in high tragedy is limited. She can only express the darker passions, and grief in its most desolate aspects. Nature has not gifted her with those softer and more flowery attributes, that lend to pathos its utmost tenderness. She does not melt to tears, or calm or elevate the heart by the presence of that tragic beauty that needs all the assaults of fate to make it show its immortal sweetness. Her noblest aspect is when sometimes she expresses truth in some severe shape, and rises, simple and austere, above the mixed elements around her. On the dark side, she is very great in hatred and revenge. I admired her more in Phèdre than in any other part in which I saw her; the guilty love inspired by the hatred of a goddess was expressed, in all its symptoms, with a force and terrible naturalness, that almost suffocated the beholder. After she had taken the poison, the exhaustion and paralysis of the system,—the sad, cold, calm submission to Fate,—were still more grand.

I had heard so much about the power of her eye in one fixed look, and the expression she could concentrate in a single word, that the utmost results could only satisfy my expectations. It is, indeed, something magnificent to see the dark cloud give out such sparks, each one fit to deal a separate death; but it was not that I admired most in her. It was the grandeur, truth, and depth of her conception of each part, and the sustained purity with which she represented it.

The French language from her lips is a divine dialect; it is stripped of its national and personal peculiarities, and becomes what any language must, moulded by such a genius, the pure music of the heart and soul. I never could remember her tone in speaking any word; it was too perfect; you had received the thought quite direct. Yet, had I never heard her speak a word, my mind would be filled by her attitudes. Nothing more graceful can be conceived, nor could the genius of sculpture surpass her management of the antique drapery.

She has no beauty, except in the intellectual severity of her outline, and she bears marks of race, that will grow stronger every year, and make her ugly at last. Still it will be a grandiose, gypsy, or rather Sibylline ugliness, well adapted to the expression of some tragic parts. Only it seems as if she could not live long; she expends force enough upon a part to furnish out a dozen common lives.


Paris, Jan. 18, 1847.—I can hardly tell you what a fever consumes me, from sense of the brevity of my time and opportunity. Here I cannot sleep at night, because I have been able to do so little in the day. Constantly I try to calm my mind into content with small achievements, but it is difficult. You will say, it is not so mightily worth knowing, after all, this picture and natural history of Europe. Very true; but I am so constituted that it pains me to come away, having touched only the glass over the picture.

I am assiduous daily at the Academy lectures, picture galleries, Chamber of Deputies,—last week, at the court and court ball. So far as my previous preparation enabled me, I get something from all these brilliant shows,—thoughts, images, fresh impulse. But I need, to initiate me into various little secrets of the place and time,—necessary for me to look at things to my satisfaction,—some friend, such as I do not find here. My steps have not been fortunate in Paris, as they were in England. No doubt, the person exists here, whose aid I want; indeed, I feel that it is so; but we do not meet, and the time draws near for me to depart.

French people I find slippery, as they do not know exactly what to make of me, the rather as I have not the command of their language. I see them, their brilliancy, grace, and variety, the thousand slight refinements of their speech and manner, but cannot meet them in their way. My French teacher says, I speak and act like an Italian, and I hope, in Italy, I shall find myself more at home.

I had, the other day, the luck to be introduced to Béranger, who is the only person beside George Sand I cared very particularly to see here. I went to call on La Mennais, to whom I had a letter. I found him in a little study; his secretary was writing in a large room through which I passed. With him was a somewhat citizen-looking, but vivacious elderly man, whom I was, at first, sorry to see, having wished for half an hour's undisturbed visit to the Apostle of Democracy. But those feelings were quickly displaced by joy, when he named to me the great national lyrist of France, the great Béranger. I had not expected to see him at all, for he is not to be seen in any show place; he lives in the hearts of the people, and needs no homage from their eyes. I was very happy, in that little study, in the presence of these two men, whose influence has been so real and so great. Béranger has been much to me,—his wit, his pathos, and exquisite lyric grace. I have not received influence from La Mennais, but I see well what he has been, and is, to Europe.



As my visit to you was cut short before I was quite satisfied, it was my intention to seek you again immediately; although I felt some scruples at occupying your valuable time, when I express myself so imperfectly in your language. But I have been almost constantly ill since, and now am not sure of finding time to pay you my respects before leaving Paris for Italy. In case this should be impossible, I take the liberty to write, and to present you two little volumes of mine. It is only as a tribute of respect. I regret that they do not contain some pieces of mine which might be more interesting to you, as illustrative of the state of affairs in our country. Some such will find their place in subsequent numbers. These, I hope, you will, if you do not read them, accept kindly as a salutation from our hemisphere. Many there delight to know you as a great apostle of the ideas which are to be our life, if Heaven intends us a great and permanent life. I count myself happy in having seen you, and in finding with you Béranger, the genuine poet, the genuine man of France. I have felt all the enchantment of the lyre of Béranger; have paid my warmest homage to the truth and wisdom adorned with such charms, such wit and pathos. It was a great pleasure to see himself. If your leisure permits, Monsieur, I will ask a few lines in reply. I should like to keep some words from your hand, in case I should not look upon you more here below; and am always, with gratitude for the light you have shed on so many darkened spirits,

Yours, most respectfully,


* * * * *

Paris, Jan., 1847.—I missed hearing M. Guizot, (I am sorry for it,) in his speech on the Montpensier marriage. I saw the little Duchess, the innocent or ignorant topic of all this disturbance, when presented at court. She went round the circle on the arm of the queen. Though only fourteen, she looks twenty, but has something fresh, engaging, and girlish about her.

I attended not only at the presentation, but at the ball given at the Tuileries directly after. These are fine shows, as the suite of apartments is very handsome, brilliantly lighted,—the French ladies surpassing all others in the art of dress; indeed, it gave me much pleasure to see them. Certainly there are many ugly ones; but they are so well dressed, and have such an air of graceful vivacity, that the general effect was of a flower-garden. As often happens, several American women were among the most distinguished for positive beauty; one from Philadelphia, who is by many persons considered the prettiest ornament of the dress circle at the Italian opera, was especially marked by the attention of the king. However, these ladies, even if here a long time, do not attain the air and manner of French women. The magnetic fluid that envelops them is less brilliant and exhilarating in its attractions.

Among the crowd wandered Leverrier, in the costume of Academician, looking as if he had lost, not found, his planet. French savants are more generally men of the world, and even men of fashion, than those of other climates; but, in his case, he seemed not to find it easy to exchange the music of the spheres for the music of fiddles.

Speaking of Leverrier leads to another of my disappointments. I went to the Sorbonne to hear him lecture, not dreaming that the old pedantic and theological character of those halls was strictly kept up in these days of light. An old guardian of the inner temple seeing me approach, had his speech all ready, and, manning the entrance, said, with a disdainful air, before we had time to utter a word, "Monsieur may enter if he pleases, but madame must remain here" (i.e., in the court-yard). After some exclamations of surprise, I found an alternative in the Hotel de Clugny, where I passed an hour very delightfully, while waiting for my companion.

I was more fortunate in hearing Arago, and he justified all my expectations. Clear, rapid, full, and equal, his discourse is worthy its celebrity, and I felt repaid for the four hours one is obliged to spend in going, in waiting, and in hearing, for the lecture begins at half past one, and you must be there before twelve to get a seat, so constant and animated is his popularity.

I was present on one good occasion, at the Academy,—the day that M. Rémusat was received there, in the place of Royer Collard. I looked down, from one of the tribunes, upon the flower of the celebrities of France; that is to say, of the celebrities which are authentic, comme il faut. Among them were many marked faces, many fine heads; but, in reading the works of poets, we always fancy them about the age of Apollo himself, and I found with pain some of my favorites quite old, and very unlike the company on Parnassus, as represented by Raphael. Some, however, were venerable, even noble to behold.

The poorer classes have suffered from hunger this winter. All signs of this are kept out of sight in Paris. A pamphlet called "The Voice of Famine," stating facts, though in a tone of vulgar and exaggerated declamation, was suppressed as soon as published. While Louis Philippe lives, the gases may not burst up to flame, but the need of radical measures of reform is strongly felt in France; and the time will come, before long, when such will be imperatively demanded.


The doctrines of Fourier are making progress, and wherever they spread, the necessity of some practical application of the precepts of Christ, in lieu of the mummeries of a worn-out ritual, cannot fail to be felt. The more I see of the terrible ills which infest the body politic of Europe, the more indignation I feel at the selfishness or stupidity of those in my own country who oppose an examination of these subjects,—such as is animated by the hope of prevention. Educated in an age of gross materialism, Fourier is tainted by its faults; in attempts to reorganize society, he commits the error of making soul the result of health of body, instead of body the clothing of soul; but his heart was that of a genuine lover of his kind, of a philanthropist in the sense of Jesus; his views are large and noble; his life was one of devout study on these subjects, and I should pity the person who, after the briefest sojourn in Manchester and Lyons, the most superficial acquaintance with the population of London and Paris, could seek to hinder a study of his thoughts, or be wanting in reverence for his purposes.


To the actually so-called Chamber of Deputies, I was indebted for a sight of the manuscripts of Rousseau treasured in their library. I saw them and touched them,—those manuscripts just as he has celebrated them, written on the fine white paper, tied with ribbon. Yellow and faded age has made them, yet at their touch I seemed to feel the fire of youth, immortally glowing, more and more expansive, with which his soul has pervaded this century. He was the precursor of all we most prize. True, his blood was mixed with madness, and the course of his actual life made some detours through villanous places; but his spirit was intimate with the fundamental truths of human nature, and fraught with prophecy. There is none who has given birth to more life for this age; his gifts are yet untold; they are too present with us; but he who thinks really must often think with Rousseau, and learn him ever more and more. Such is the method of genius,—to ripen fruit for the crowd by those rays of whose heat they complain.


Naples, March 15, 1847.—Mickiewicz, the Polish poet, first introduced the Essays to acquaintance in Paris. I did not meet him anywhere, and, as I heard a great deal of him which charmed me, I sent him your poems, and asked him to come and see me. He came, and I found in him the man I had long wished to see, with the intellect and passions in due proportion for a full and healthy human being, with a soul constantly inspiring. Unhappily, it was a very short time before I came away. How much time had I wasted on others which I might have given to this real and important relation.

After hearing music from Chopin and Neukomm, I quitted Paris on the 25th February, and came, via Chalons, Lyons, Avignon, (where I waded through melting snow to Laura's tomb,) Arles, to Marseilles; thence, by steamer, to Genoa, Leghorn, and Pisa. Seen through a cutting wind, the marble palaces, the gardens, the magnificent water-view of Genoa, failed to charm. Only at Naples have I found my Italy. Between Leghorn and Naples, our boat was run into by another, and we only just escaped being drowned.


Rome, May, 1847.—Of the fragments of the great time, I have now seen nearly all that are treasured up here. I have as yet nothing of consequence to say of them. Others have often given good hints as to how they look. As to what they are, it can only be known by approximating to the state of soul out of which they grew. They are many and precious; yet is there not so much of high excellence as I looked for. They will not float the heart on a boundless sea of feeling, like the starry night on our Western Prairies. Yet I love much to see the galleries of marbles, even where there are not many separately admirable, amid the cypresses and ilexes of Roman villas; and a picture that is good at all, looks best in one of these old palaces. I have heard owls hoot in the Colosseum by moonlight, and they spoke more to the purpose than I ever heard any other voice on that subject. I have seen all the pomps of Holy Week in St. Peter's, and found them less imposing than an habitual acquaintance with the church itself, with processions of monks and nuns stealing in, now and then, or the swell of vespers from some side chapel. The ceremonies of the church have been numerous and splendid, during our stay, and they borrow unusual interest from the love and expectation inspired by the present pontiff. He is a man of noble and good aspect, who has set his heart on doing something solid for the benefit of man. A week or two ago, the Cardinal Secretary published a circular, inviting the departments to measures which would give the people a sort of representative council. Nothing could seem more limited than this improvement, but it was a great measure for Rome. At night, the Corso was illuminated, and many thousands passed through it in a torch-bearing procession, on their way to the Quirinal, to thank the Pope, upbearing a banner on which the edict was printed.


Rome, May 7, 1847.—I write not to you about these countries, of the famous people I see, of magnificent shows and places. All these things are only to me an illuminated margin on the text of my inward life. Earlier, they would have been more. Art is not important to me now. I like only what little I find that is transcendently good, and even with that feel very familiar and calm. I take interest in the state of the people, their manners, the state of the race in them. I see the future dawning; it is in important aspects Fourier's future. But I like no Fourierites; they are terribly wearisome here in Europe; the tide of things does not wash through them as violently as with us, and they have time to run in the tread-mill of system. Still, they serve this great future which I shall not live to see. I must be born again.


Florence, June 20, 1847.—I have just come hither from Rome. Every minute, day and night, there is something to be seen or done at Rome, which we cannot bear to lose. We lived on the Corso, and all night long, after the weather became fine, there was conversation or music before my window. I never seemed really to sleep while there, and now, at Florence, where there is less to excite, and I live in a more quiet quarter, I feel as if I needed to sleep all the time, and cannot rest as I ought, there is so much to do.

I now speak French fluently, though not correctly, yet well enough to make my thoughts avail in the cultivated society here, where it is much spoken. But to know the common people, and to feel truly in Italy, I ought to speak and understand the spoken Italian well, and I am now cultivating this sedulously. If I remain, I shall have, for many reasons, advantages for observation and enjoyment, such as are seldom permitted to a foreigner.

I forgot to mention one little thing rather interesting. At the Miserere of the Sistine chapel, I sat beside Goethe's favorite daughter-in-law, Ottilia, to whom I was introduced by Mrs. Jameson.


Florence, July 1, 1847.—I do not wish to go through Germany in a hurried way, and am equally unsatisfied to fly through Italy; and shall, therefore, leaving my companions in Switzerland, take a servant to accompany me, and return hither, and hence to Rome for the autumn, perhaps the winter. I should always suffer the pain of Tantalus thinking of Rome, if I could not see it more thoroughly than I have as yet even begun to; for it was all outside the two months, just finding out where objects were. I had only just begun to know them, when I was obliged to leave. The prospect of returning presents many charms, but it leaves me alone in the midst of a strange land.

I find myself happily situated here, in many respects. The Marchioness Arconati Visconti, to whom I brought a letter from a friend of hers in France, has been good to me as a sister, and introduced me to many interesting acquaintance. The sculptors, Powers and Greenough, I have seen much and well. Other acquaintance I possess, less known to fame, but not less attractive.

Florence is not like Rome. At first, I could not bear the change; yet, for the study of the fine arts, it is a still richer place. Worlds of thought have risen in my mind; some time you will have light from all.

* * * * *

Milan, Aug. 9, 1847.—Passing from Florence, I came to Bologna. A woman should love Bologna, for there has the intellect of woman been cherished. In their Certosa, they proudly show the monument to Matilda Tambreni, late Greek professor there. In their anatomical hall, is the bust of a woman, professor of anatomy. In art, they have had Properzia di Rossi, Elisabetta Sirani, Lavinia Fontana, and delight to give their works a conspicuous place. In other cities, the men alone have their Casino dei Nobili, where they give balls and conversazioni. Here, women have one, and are the soul of society. In Milan, also, I see, in the Ambrosian Library, the bust of a female mathematician.


Lago di Garda, Aug. 1, 1847.—Do not let what I have written disturb you as to my health. I have rested now, and am as well as usual. This advantage I derive from being alone, that, if I feel the need of it, I can stop.

I left Venice four days ago; have seen well Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, and am reposing, for two nights and a day, in this tranquil room which overlooks the beautiful Lake of Garda. The air is sweet and pure, and I hear no noise except the waves breaking on the shore.

I think of you a great deal, especially when there are flowers. Florence was all flowers. I have many magnolias and jasmines. I always wish you could see them. The other day, on the island of San Lazaro, at the Armenian Convent, where Lord Byron used to go, I thought of you, seeing the garden full of immense oleanders in full bloom. One sees them everywhere at Venice.


Milan, Aug. 9, 1847.—I remained at Venice near a week after your departure, to get strong and tranquil again. Saw all the pictures, if not enough, yet pretty well. My journey here was very profitable. Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, I saw really well, and much there is to see. Certainly I had learned more than ever in any previous ten days of my existence, and have formed an idea of what is needed for the study of art in these regions. But, at Brescia, I was taken ill with fever. I cannot tell you how much I was alarmed when it seemed to me it was affecting my head. I had no medicine; nothing could I do except abstain entirely from food, and drink cold water. The second day, I had a bed made in a carriage, and came on here. I am now pretty well, only very weak.


Milan, Aug. 10, 1847.—Since writing you from Florence, I have passed the mountains; two full, rich days at Bologna; one at Ravenna; more than a fortnight at Venice, intoxicated with the place, and with Venetian art, only to be really felt and known in its birth-place. I have passed some hours at Vicenza, seeing mainly the Palladian structures; a day at Verona,—a week had been better; seen Mantua, with great delight; several days in Lago di Garda,—truly happy days there; then, to Brescia, where I saw the Titians, the exquisite Raphael, the Scavi, and the Brescian Hills. I could charm you by pictures, had I time.

To-day, for the first time, I have seen Manzoni. Manzoni has spiritual efficacy in his looks; his eyes glow still with delicate tenderness, as when he first saw Lucia, or felt them fill at the image of Father Cristoforo. His manners are very engaging, frank, expansive; every word betokens the habitual elevation of his thoughts; and (what you care for so much) he says distinct, good things; but you must not expect me to note them down. He lives in the house of his fathers, in the simplest manner. He has taken the liberty to marry a new wife for his own pleasure and companionship, and the people around him do not like it, because she does not, to their fancy, make a good pendant to him. But I liked her very well, and saw why he married her. They asked me to return often, if I pleased, and I mean to go once or twice, for Manzoni seems to like to talk with me.

* * * * *

Rome, Oct., 1847.—Leaving Milan, I went on the Lago Maggiore, and afterward into Switzerland. Of this tour I shall not speak here; it was a little romance by itself.

Returning from Switzerland, I passed a fortnight on the Lake of Como, and afterward visited Lugano. There is no exaggeration in the enthusiastic feeling with which artists and poets have viewed these Italian lakes. The "Titan" of Richter, the "Wanderjahre" of Goethe, the Elena of Taylor, the pictures of Turner, had not prepared me for the visions of beauty that daily entranced the eyes and heart in those regions. To our country, Nature has been most bounteous, but we have nothing in the same class that can compare with these lakes, as seen under the Italian heaven. As to those persons who have pretended to discover that the effects of light and atmosphere were no finer than they found in our own lake scenery, I can only say that they must be exceedingly obtuse in organization,—a defect not uncommon among Americans.

Nature seems to have labored to express her full heart in as many ways as possible, when she made these lakes, moulded and planted their shores. Lago Maggiore is grandiose, resplendent in its beauty; the view of the Alps gives a sort of lyric exaltation to the scene. Lago di Garda is so soft and fair on one side,—the ruins of ancient palaces rise softly with the beauties of that shore; but at the other end, amid the Tyrol, it is so sublime, so calm, so concentrated in its meaning! Como cannot be better described in generals than in the words of Taylor:—

"Softly sublime, profusely fair"

Lugano is more savage, more free in its beauty. I was on it in a high gale; there was little danger, just enough to exhilarate; its waters wild, and clouds blowing across its peaks. I like the boatmen on these lakes; they have strong and prompt character; of simple features, they are more honest and manly than Italian men are found in the thoroughfares; their talk is not so witty as that of the Venetian gondoliers, but picturesque, and what the French call incisive. Very touching were some of their histories, as they told them to me, while pausing sometimes on the lake. Grossi gives a true picture of such a man in his family relations; the story may be found in "Marco Visconti."

On this lake, I met Lady Franklin, wife of the celebrated navigator. She has been in the United States, and showed equal penetration and candor in remarks on what she had seen there. She gave me interesting particulars as to the state of things in Van Diemen's Land, where she passed seven years, when her husband was in authority there.


Lake of Como, Aug. 22, 1847.—Rome was much poisoned to me. But, after a time, its genius triumphed, and I became absorbed in its proper life. Again I suffered from parting, and have since resolved to return, and pass at least a part of the winter there. People may write and prate as they please of Rome, they cannot convey thus a portion of its spirit. The whole heart must be yielded up to it. It is something really transcendent, both spirit and body. Those last glorious nights, in which I wandered about amid the old walls and columns, or sat by the fountains in the Piazza del Popolo, or by the river, were worth an age of pain,—only one hates pain in Italy.

Tuscany I did not like as well. It is a great place to study the history of character and art. Indeed, there I did really begin to study, as well as gaze and feel. But I did not like it. Florence is more in its spirit like Boston, than like an Italian city. I knew a good many Italians, but they were busy and intellectual, not like those I had known before. But Florence is full of really good, great pictures. There first I saw some of the great masters. Andrea del Sarto, in particular, one sees only there, and he is worth much. His wife, whom he always paints, and for whom he was so infatuated, has some bad qualities, and in what is good a certain wild nature or diablerie.

Bologna is truly an Italian city, one in which I should like to live; full of hidden things, and its wonders of art are very grand. The Caracci and their friends had vast force; not much depth, but enough force to occupy one a good while,—and Domenichino, when good at all, is very great.

Venice was a dream of enchantment; there was no disappointment. Art and life are one. There is one glow of joy, one deep shade of passionate melancholy; Giorgione, as a man, I care more for now than any of the artists, though he had no ideas.

In the first week, floating about in a gondola, I seemed to find myself again.

I was not always alone in Venice, but have come through the fertile plains of Lombardy, seen the lakes Garda and Maggiore, and a part of Switzerland, alone, except for occasional episodes of companionship, sometimes romantic enough.

In Milan I stayed a while, and knew some radicals, young, and interested in ideas. Here, on the lake, I have fallen into contact with some of the higher society,—duchesses, marquises, and the like. My friend here is Madame Arconati, Marchioness Visconti. I have formed connection with a fair and brilliant Polish lady, born Princess Radzivill. It is rather pleasant to come a little on the traces of these famous histories; also, both these ladies take pleasure in telling me of spheres so unlike mine, and do it well.

The life here on the lake is precisely what we once imagined as being so pleasant. These people have charming villas and gardens on the lake, adorned with fine works of art. They go to see one another in boats. You can be all the time in a boat, if you like; if you want more excitement, or wild flowers, you climb the mountains. I have been here for some time, and shall stay a week longer. I have found soft repose here. Now, I am to return to Rome, seeing many things by the way.


Florence, Sept. 25, 1847.—I hope not to want a further remittance for a long time. I shall not, if I can settle myself at Rome so as to avoid spoliation. That is very difficult in this country. I have suffered from it already. The haste, the fatigue, the frequent illness in travelling, have tormented me. At Rome I shall settle myself for five months, and make arrangements to the best of my judgment, and with counsel of experienced friends, and have some hope of economy while there; but am not sure, as much more vigilance than I can promise is needed against the treachery of servants and the cunning of landlords.

You are disappointed by my letter from Rome. But I did not feel equal then to speaking of the things of Rome, and shall not, till better acquaintance has steadied my mind. It is a matter of conscience with me not to make use of crude impressions, and what they call here "coffee-house intelligence," as travellers generally do. I prefer skimming over the surface of things, till I feel solidly ready to write.

Milan I left with great regret, and hope to return. I knew there a circle of the aspiring youth, such as I have not in any other city. I formed many friendships, and learned a great deal. One of the young men, Guerrieri by name, (and of the famous Gonzaga family,) I really love. He has a noble soul, the quietest sensibility, and a brilliant and ardent, though not a great, mind. He is eight-and-twenty. After studying medicine for the culture, he has taken law as his profession. His mind and that of Hicks, an artist of our country now here, a little younger, are two that would interest you greatly. Guerrieri speaks no English; I speak French now as fluently as English, but incorrectly. To make use of it, I ought to have learned it earlier.

Arriving here, Mr. Mozier, an American, who from a prosperous merchant has turned sculptor, come hither to live, and promises much excellence in his profession, urged me so much to his house, that I came. At first, I was ill from fatigue, and staid several days in bed; but his wife took tender care of me, and the quiet of their house and regular simple diet have restored me. As soon as I have seen a few things here, I shall go to Rome. On my way, I stopped at Parma,—saw the works of Correggio and Parmegiano. I have now seen what Italy contains most important of the great past; I begin to hope for her also a great future,—the signs have improved so much since I came. I am most fortunate to be here at this time.

Interrupted, as always. How happy I should be if my abode at Rome would allow some chance for tranquil and continuous effort. But I dare not hope much, from the difficulty of making any domestic arrangements that can be relied on. The fruit of the moment is so precious, that I must not complain. I learn much; but to do anything with what I learn is, under such circumstances, impossible. Besides, I am in great need of repose; I am almost inert from fatigue of body and spirit.


Florence, Sept., 1847.—I cannot even begin to speak of the magnificent scenes of nature, nor the works of art, that have raised and filled my mind since I wrote from Naples. Now I begin to be in Italy! but I wish to drink deep of this cup before I speak my enamored words. Enough to say, Italy receives me as a long-lost child, and I feel myself at home here, and if I ever tell anything about it, you will hear something real and domestic. Among strangers I wish most to speak to you of my friend the Marchioness A. Visconti, a Milanese. She is a specimen of the really high-bred lady, such as I have not known. Without any physical beauty, the grace and harmony of her manners produce all the impression of beauty. She has also a mind strong, clear, precise, and much cultivated. She has a modest nobleness that you would dearly love. She is intimate with many of the first men. She seems to love me much, and to wish I should have whatever is hers. I take great pleasure in her friendship.


Rome, Oct. 28, 1847.—I am happily settled for the winter, quite by myself, in a neat, tranquil apartment in the Corso, where I see all the motions of Rome,—in a house of loving Italians, who treat me well, and do not interrupt me, except for service. I live alone, eat alone, walk alone, and enjoy unspeakably the stillness, after all the rush and excitement of the past year.

I shall make no acquaintance from whom I do not hope a good deal, as my time will be like pure gold to me this winter; and, just for happiness, Rome itself is sufficient.

To-day is the last of the October feasts of the Trasteverini. I have been, this afternoon, to see them dancing. This morning I was out, with half Rome, to see the Civic Guard manoeuvring in that great field near the tomb of Cecilia Metella, which is full of ruins. The effect was noble, as the band played the Bolognese march, and six thousand Romans passed in battle array amid these fragments of the great time.


Rome, Oct. 29, 1847.—I am trying to economize,—anxious to keep the Roman expenses for six months within the limits of four hundred dollars. Rome is not as cheap a place as Florence, but then I would not give a pin to live in Florence.

We have just had glorious times with the October feasts, when all the Roman people were out. I am now truly happy here, quiet and familiar; no longer a staring, sight-seeing stranger, riding about finely dressed in a coach to see muses and sibyls. I see these forms now in the natural manner, and am contented.

Keep free from false ties; they are the curse of life. I find myself so happy here, alone and free.


Rome, Oct. 1847.—I arrived in Rome again nearly a fortnight ago, and all mean things were forgotten in the joy that rushed over me like a flood. Now I saw the true Rome. I came with no false expectations, and I came to live in tranquil companionship, not in the restless impertinence of sight-seeing, so much more painful here than anywhere else.

I had made a good visit to Vicenza; a truly Italian town, with much to see and study. But all other places faded away, now that I again saw St. Peter's, and heard the music of the fountains.

The Italian autumn is not as beautiful as I expected, neither in the vintage of Tuscany nor here. The country is really sere and brown; but the weather is fine, and these October feasts are charming. Two days I have been at the Villa Borghese. There are races, balloons, and, above all, the private gardens open, and good music on the little lake.

TO ——.

Rome, morning of the 17th Nov., 1847.—It seems great folly to send the enclosed letter. I have written it in my nightly fever. All day I dissipate my thoughts on outward beauty. I have many thoughts, happiest moments, but as yet I do not have even this part in a congenial way. I go about in a coach with several people; but English and Americans are not at home here. Since I have experienced the different atmosphere of the European mind, and been allied with it, nay, mingled in the bonds of love, I suffer more than ever from that which is peculiarly American or English. I should like to cease from hearing the language for a time. Perhaps I should return to it; but at present I am in a state of unnatural divorce from what I was most allied to.

There is a Polish countess here, who likes me much. She has been very handsome, still is, in the style of the full-blown rose. She is a widow, very rich, one of the emancipated women, naturally vivacious, and with talent. This woman envies me; she says, "How happy you are; so free, so serene, so attractive, so self-possessed!" I say not a word, but I do not look on myself as particularly enviable. A little money would have made me much more so; a little money would have enabled me to come here long ago, and find those that belong to me, or at least try my experiments; then my health would never have sunk, nor the best years of my life been wasted in useless friction. Had I money now,—could I only remain, take a faithful servant, and live alone, and still see those I love when it is best, that would suit me. It seems to me, very soon I shall be calmed, and begin to enjoy.


Rome, Dec. 16, 1847.—My life at Rome is thus far all I hoped. I have not been so well since I was a child, nor so happy ever, as during the last six weeks. I wrote you about my home; it continues good, perfectly clean, food wholesome, service exact. For all this I pay, but not immoderately. I think the sum total of my expenses here, for six months, will not exceed four hundred and fifty dollars.

My marchesa, of whom I rent my rooms, is the greatest liar I ever knew, and the most interested, heartless creature. But she thinks it for her interest to please me, as she sees I have a good many persons who value me; and I have been able, without offending her, to make it understood that I do not wish her society. Thus I remain undisturbed.

Every Monday evening, I receive my acquaintance. I give no refreshment, but only light the saloon, and decorate it with fresh flowers, of which I have plenty still. How I wish you could see them!

Among the frequent guests are known to you Mr. and Mrs. Cranch, Mr. and Mrs. Story. Mr. S. has finally given up law, for the artist's life. His plans are not matured, but he passes the winter at Rome.

On other evenings, I do not receive company, unless by appointment. I spend them chiefly in writing or study. I have now around me the books I need to know Italy and Rome. I study with delight, now that I can verify everything. The days are invariably fine, and each day I am out from eleven till five, exploring some new object of interest, often at a great distance.


Rome, Dec. 20, 1847.—Nothing less than two or three years, free from care and forced labor, would heal all my hurts, and renew my life-blood at its source. Since Destiny will not grant me that, I hope she will not leave me long in the world, for I am tired of keeping myself up in the water without corks, and without strength to swim. I should like to go to sleep, and be born again into a state where my young life should not be prematurely taxed.

Italy has been glorious to me, and there have been hours in which I received the full benefit of the vision. In Rome, I have known some blessed, quiet days, when I could yield myself to be soothed and instructed by the great thoughts and memories of the place. But those days are swiftly passing. Soon I must begin to exert myself, for there is this incubus of the future, and none to help me, if I am not prudent to face it. So ridiculous, too, this mortal coil,—such small things!

I find how true was the lure that always drew me towards Europe. It was no false instinct that said I might here find an atmosphere to develop me in ways I need. Had I only come ten years earlier! Now my life must be a failure, so much strength has been wasted on abstractions, which only came because I grew not in the right soil. However, it is a less failure than with most others, and not worth thinking twice about. Heaven has room enough, and good chances in store, and I can live a great deal in the years that remain.


Rome, Dec. 20, 1847.—I don't know whether you take an interest in the present state of things in Italy, but you would if you were here. It is a fine time to see the people. As to the Pope, it is as difficult here as elsewhere to put new wine into old bottles, and there is something false as well as ludicrous in the spectacle of the people first driving their princes to do a little justice, and then evviva-ing them at such a rate. This does not apply to the Pope; he is a real great heart, a generous man. The love for him is genuine, and I like to be within its influence. It was his heart that gave the impulse, and this people has shown, to the shame of English and other prejudice, how unspoiled they were at the core, how open, nay, how wondrous swift to answer a generous appeal!

They are also gaining some education by the present freedom of the press and of discussion. I should like to write a letter for England, giving my view of the present position of things here.

* * * * *

Rome, October 18, 1847.—In the spring, when I came to Rome, the people were in the intoxication of joy at the first serious measures of reform taken by the Pope. I saw with pleasure their childlike joy and trust. Still doubts were always present whether this joy was not premature. From the people themselves the help must come, and not from the princes. Rome, to resume her glory, must cease to be an ecclesiastical capital. Whilst I sympathized with the warm love of the people, the adulation of leading writers, who were willing to take all from the prince of the Church as a gift and a bounty, instead of steadily implying that it was the right of the people, was very repulsive to me. Passing into Tuscany, I found the liberty of the press just established. The Grand Duke, a well-intentioned, though dull, man, had dared to declare himself an Italian prince. I arrived in Florence too late for the great fête of the 12th September, in honor of the grant of the National Guard, but the day was made memorable by the most generous feeling on all sides. Some days before were passed by reconciling all strifes, composing all differences between cities, districts, and individuals. On that day they all embraced in sign of this; exchanged banners as a token that they would fight for one another.


The Americans took their share in this occasion, and Greenough,—one of the few Americans who, living in Italy, takes the pains to know whether it is alive or dead, who penetrates beyond the cheats of tradesmen, and the cunning of a mob corrupted by centuries of slavery, to know the real mind, the vital blood of Italy,—took a leading part. I am sorry to say that a large portion of my countrymen here take the same slothful and prejudiced view as the English, and, after many years' sojourn, betray entire ignorance of Italian literature and Italian life beyond what is attainable in a month's passage through the thoroughfares. However, they did show, this time, a becoming spirit, and erected the American Eagle where its cry ought to be heard from afar. Crawford, here in Rome, has had the just feeling to join the Guard, and it is a real sacrifice for an artist to spend time on the exercises; but it well becomes the sculptor of Orpheus. In reference to what I have said of many Americans in Italy, I will only add that they talk about the corrupt and degenerate state of Italy as they do about that of our slaves at home. They come ready trained to that mode of reasoning which affirms, that, because men are degraded by bad institutions, they are not fit for better. I will only add some words upon the happy augury I draw from the wise docility of the people. With what readiness they listened to wise counsel and the hopes of the Pope that they would give no advantage to his enemies at a time when they were so fevered by the knowledge that conspiracy was at work in their midst! That was a time of trial. On all these occasions of popular excitement their conduct is like music, in such order, and with such union of the melody of feeling with discretion where to stop; but what is wonderful is that they acted in the same manner on that difficult occasion. The influence of the Pope here is without bounds; he can always calm the crowd at once. But in Tuscany, where they have no such one idol, they listened in the same way on a very trying occasion. The first announcement of the regulation for the Tuscan National Guard terribly disappointed the people. They felt that the Grand Duke, after suffering them to demonstrate such trust and joy on this feast of the 12th, did not really trust, on his side; that he meant to limit them all he could; they felt baffled, cheated; hence young men in anger tore down at once the symbols of satisfaction and respect; but the leading men went among the people, begged them to be calm, and wait till a deputation had seen the Grand Duke. The people listened at once to men who, they were sure, had at heart their best good—waited; the Grand Duke became convinced, and all ended without disturbance. If the people continue to act thus, their hopes cannot be baffled.

The American in Europe would fain encourage the hearts of these long-oppressed nations, now daring to hope for a new era, by reciting triumphant testimony from the experience of his own country. But we must stammer and blush when we speak of many things. I take pride here, that I may really say the liberty of the press works well, and that checks and balances naturally evolve from it, which suffice to its government. I may say, that the minds of our people are alert, and that talent has a free chance to rise. It is much. But dare I say, that political ambition is not as darkly sullied as in other countries? Dare I say, that men of most influence in political life are those who represent most virtue, or even intellectual power? Can I say, our social laws are generally better, or show a nobler insight into the wants of man and woman? I do indeed say what I believe, that voluntary association for improvement in these particulars will be the grand means for my nation to grow, and give a nobler harmony to the coming age. Then there is this cancer of slavery, and this wicked war that has grown out of it. How dare I speak of these things here? I listen to the same arguments against the emancipation of Italy, that are used against the emancipation of our blacks; the same arguments in favor of the spoliation of Poland, as for the conquest of Mexico.

How it pleases me here to think of the Abolitionists! I could never endure to be with them at home; they were so tedious, often so narrow, always so rabid and exaggerated in their tone. But, after all, they had a high motive, something eternal in their desire and life; and, if it was not the only thing worth thinking of, it was really something worth living and dying for, to free a great nation from such a blot, such a plague. God strengthen them, and make them wise to achieve their purpose!

I please myself, too, with remembering some ardent souls among the American youth, who, I trust, will yet expand and help to give soul to the huge, over-fed, too-hastily-grown-up body. May they be constant! "Were man but constant, he were perfect." It is to the youth that Hope addresses itself. But I dare not expect too much of them. I am not very old; yet of those who, in life's morning, I saw touched by the light of a high hope, many have seceded. Some have become voluptuaries; some mere family men, who think it is quite life enough to win bread for half a dozen people, and treat them decently; others are lost through indolence and vacillation. Yet some remain constant.

"I have witnessed many a shipwreck, yet still beat noble hearts."

* * * * *

Rome, January, 1848.—As one becomes domesticated here, ancient and modern Rome, at first so jumbled together, begin to separate. You see where objects and limits anciently were. When this happens, one feels first truly at ease in Rome. Then the old kings, the consuls, the tribunes, the emperors, the warriors of eagle sight and remorseless beak, return for us, and the toga-clad procession finds room to sweep across the scene; the seven hills tower, the innumerable temples glitter, and the Via Sacra swarms with triumphal life once more.

* * * * *

Rome, Jan. 12, 1848.—In Rome, here, the new Council is inaugurated, and the elections have given tolerable satisfaction. Twenty-four carriages had been lent by the princes and nobles, at the request of the city, to convey the councillors. Each deputy was followed by his target and banner. In the evening, there was a ball given at the Argentine. Lord Minto was there, Prince Corsini, now senator, the Torlonias, in uniform of the Civic Guard, Princess Torlonia, in a sash of their colors given her by the Civic Guard, which she waved in answer to their greetings. But the beautiful show of the evening was the Trasteverini dancing the Saltarello in their most beautiful costume. I saw them thus to much greater advantage than ever before. Several were nobly handsome, and danced admirably. The saltarello enchants me; in this is really the Italian wine, the Italian sun.

The Pope, in receiving the councillors, made a speech, intimating that he meant only to improve, not to reform and should keep things safe locked with the keys of St. Peter.

I was happy the first two months of my stay here, seeing all the great things at my leisure. But now, after a month of continuous rain, Rome is no more Rome. The atmosphere is far worse than that of Paris. It is impossible to walk in the thick mud. The ruins, and other great objects, always solemn, appear terribly gloomy, steeped in black rain and cloud; and my apartment, in a street of high houses, is dark all day. The bad weather may continue all this month and all next. If I could use the time for work, I should not care; but this climate makes me so ill, I can do but little.


Rome, Jan. 12, 1848.—My time in Lombardy and Switzerland was a series of beautiful pictures, dramatic episodes, not without some original life in myself. When I wrote to you from Como, I had a peaceful season. I floated on the lake with my graceful Polish countess, hearing her stories of heroic sorrow; or I walked in the delicious gardens of the villas, with many another summer friend. Red banners floated, children sang and shouted, the lakes of Venus and Diana glittered in the sun. The pretty girls of Bellaggio, with their coral necklaces, brought flowers to the "American countess," and "hoped she would be as happy as she deserved." Whether this cautious wish is fulfilled, I know not, but certainly I left all the glitter of life behind at Como.

My days at Milan were not unmarked. I have known some happy hours, but they all lead to sorrow; and not only the cups of wine, but of milk, seem drugged with poison for me. It does not seem to be my fault, this Destiny; I do not court these things,—they come. I am a poor magnet, with power to be wounded by the bodies I attract.

Leaving Milan, I had a brilliant day in Parma. I had not known Correggio before; he deserves all his fame. I stood in the parlor of the Abbess, the person for whom all was done, and Paradise seemed opened by the nymph, upon her car of light, and the divine children peeping through the vines. Sweet soul of love! I should weary of you, too; but it was glorious that day.

I had another good day, too, crossing the Apennines. The young crescent moon rose in orange twilight, just as I reached the highest peak. I was alone on foot; I heard no sound; I prayed.

At Florence, I was very ill. For three weeks, my life hung upon a thread. The effect of the Italian climate on my health is not favorable. I feel as if I had received a great injury. I am tired and woe-worn; often, in the bed, I wish I could weep my life away. However, they brought me gruel, I took it, and after a while rose up again. In the time of the vintage, I went alone to Sienna. This is a real untouched Italian place. This excursion, and the grapes, restored me at that time.

When I arrived in Rome, I was at first intoxicated to be here. The weather was beautiful, and many circumstances combined to place me in a kind of passive, childlike well-being. That is all over now, and, with this year, I enter upon a sphere of my destiny so difficult, that I, at present, see no way out, except through the gate of death. It is useless to write of it; you are at a distance and cannot help me;—whether accident or angel will, I have no intimation. I have no reason to hope I shall not reap what I have sown, and do not. Yet how I shall endure it I cannot guess; it is all a dark, sad enigma. The beautiful forms of art charm no more, and a love, in which there is all fondness, but no help, flatters in vain. I am all alone; nobody around me sees any of this. My numerous friendly acquaintances are troubled if they see me ill, and who so affectionate and kind as Mr. and Mrs. S.?


Rome, Jan. 14, 1848.—What black and foolish calumnies are these on Mazzini! It is as much for his interest as his honor to let things take their course, at present. To expect anything else, is to suppose him base. And on what act of his life dares any one found such an insinuation? I do not wonder that you were annoyed at his manner of addressing the Pope; but to me it seems that he speaks as he should,—near God and beyond the tomb; not from power to power, but from soul to soul, without regard to temporal dignities. It must be admitted that the etiquette, Most Holy Father, &c., jars with this.


Rome, March 14, 1848.—Mickiewicz is with me here, and will remain some time; it was he I wanted to see, more than any other person, in going back to Paris, and I have him much better here. France itself I should like to see, but remain undecided, on account of my health, which has suffered so much, this winter, that I must make it the first object in moving for the summer. One physician thinks it will of itself revive, when once the rains have passed, which have now lasted from 16th December to this day. At present, I am not able to leave the fire, or exert myself at all.

* * * * *

In all the descriptions of the Roman Carnival, the fact has been omitted of daily rain. I felt, indeed, ashamed to perceive it, when no one else seemed to, whilst the open windows caused me convulsive cough and headache. The carriages, with their cargoes of happy women dressed in their ball dresses and costumes, drove up and down, even in the pouring rain. The two handsome contadine, who serve me, took off their woollen gowns, and sat five hours at a time, in the street, in white cambric dresses, and straw hats turned up with roses. I never saw anything like the merry good-humor of these people. I should always be ashamed to complain of anything here. But I had always looked forward to the Roman Carnival as a time when I could play too; and it even surpassed my expectations, with its exuberant gayety and innocent frolic, but I was unable to take much part. The others threw flowers all day, and went to masked balls all night; but I went out only once, in a carriage, and was more exhausted with the storm of flowers and sweet looks than I could be by a storm of hail. I went to the German Artists' ball, where were some pretty costumes, and beautiful music; and to the Italian masked ball, where interest lies in intrigue.

I have scarcely gone to the galleries, damp and cold as tombs; or to the mouldy old splendor of churches, where, by the way, they are just wailing over the theft of St. Andrew's head, for the sake of the jewels. It is quite a new era for this population to plunder the churches; but they are suffering terribly, and Pio's municipality does, as yet, nothing.


Rome, March 29, 1848.—I have been engrossed, stunned almost, by the public events that have succeeded one another with such rapidity and grandeur. It is a time such as I always dreamed of, and for long secretly hoped to see. I rejoice to be in Europe at this time, and shall return possessed of a great history. Perhaps I shall be called to act. At present, I know not where to go, what to do. War is everywhere. I cannot leave Rome, and the men of Rome are marching out every day into Lombardy. The citadel of Milan is in the hands of my friends, Guerriere, &c., but there may be need to spill much blood yet in Italy. France and Germany are riot in such a state that I can go there now. A glorious flame burns higher and higher in the heart of the nations.

* * * * *

The rain was constant through the Roman winter, falling in torrents from 16th December to 19th March. Now the Italian heavens wear again their deep blue, the sun is glorious, the melancholy lustres are stealing again over the Campagna, and hundreds of larks sing unwearied above its ruins. Nature seems in sympathy with the great events that are transpiring. How much has happened since I wrote!—the resistance of Sicily, and the revolution of Naples; now the fall of Louis Philippe; and Metternich is crushed in Austria. I saw the Austrian arms dragged through the streets here, and burned in the Piazza del Popolo. The Italians embraced one another, and cried, miracolo, Providenza! the Tribune Ciccronachio fed the flame with fagots; Adam Mickiewicz, the great poet of Poland, long exiled from his country, looked on; while Polish women brought little pieces that had been scattered in the street, and threw into the flames. When the double-headed eagle was pulled down from the lofty portal of the Palazzo di Venezia, the people placed there, in its stead, one of white and gold, inscribed with the name, ALTA ITALIA; and instantly the news followed, that Milan, Venice, Modena, and Parma, were driving out their tyrants. These news were received in Rome with indescribable rapture. Men danced, and women wept with joy along the street. The youths rushed to enrol themselves in regiments to go to the frontier. In the Colosseum, their names were received.

* * * * *

Rome, April 1, 1848.-Yesterday, on returning from Ostia, I find the official news, that the Viceroy Ranieri has capitulated at Verona; that Italy is free, independent, and one. I trust this will prove no April foolery. It seems too good, too speedy a realization of hope.

* * * * *

Rome, April 30, 1848.—It is a time such as I always dreamed of; and that fire burns in the hearts of men around me which can keep me warm. Have I something to do here? or am I only to cheer on the warriors, and after write the history of their deeds? The first is all I have done yet, but many have blessed me for my sympathy, and blest me by the action it impelled.

My private fortunes are dark and tangled; my strength to govern them (perhaps that I am enervated by this climate) much diminished. I have thrown myself on God, and perhaps he will make my temporal state very tragical. I am more of a child than ever, and hate suffering more than ever, but suppose I shall live with it, if it must come.

I did not get your letter, about having the rosary blessed for ——, before I left Rome, and now, I suppose, she would not wish it, as none can now attach any value to the blessing of Pius IX. Those who loved him can no longer defend him. It has become obvious, that those first acts of his in the papacy were merely the result of a kindly, good-natured temperament; that he had not thought to understand their bearing, nor force to abide by it. He seems quite destitute of moral courage. He is not resolute either on the wrong or right side. First, he abandoned the liberal party; then, yielding to the will of the people, and uniting, in appearance, with a liberal ministry, he let the cardinals betray it, and defeat the hopes of Italy. He cried peace, peace! but had not a word of blame for the sanguinary acts of the King of Naples, a word of sympathy for the victims of Lombardy. Seizing the moment of dejection in the nation, he put in this retrograde ministry; sanctioned their acts, daily more impudent: let them neutralize the constitution he himself had given; and when the people slew his minister, and assaulted him in his own palace, he yielded anew; he dared not die, or even run the slight risk,—for only by accident could he have perished. His person as a Pope is still respected, though his character as a man is despised. All the people compare him with Pius VII. saying to the French, "Slay me if you will; I cannot yield," and feel the difference.

I was on Monte Cavallo yesterday. The common people were staring at the broken windows and burnt door of the palace where they have so often gone to receive a blessing, the children playing, "Sedia Papale. Morte ai Cardinali, e morte al Papa!"

The men of straw are going down in Italy everywhere; the real men rising into power. Montanelli, Guerazzi, Mazzini, are real men; their influence is of character. Had we only been born a little later! Mazzini has returned from his seventeen years' exile, "to see what he foresaw." He has a mind far in advance of his times, and yet Mazzini sees not all.

* * * * *

Rome, May 7, 1848.—Good and loving hearts will be unprepared, and for a time must suffer much from the final dereliction of Pius IX. to the cause of freedom. After the revolution opened in Lombardy, the troops of the line were sent thither; the volunteers rushed to accompany them, the priests preached the war as a crusade, the Pope blessed the banners. The report that the Austrians had taken and hung as a brigand one of the Roman Civic Guard,—a well-known artist engaged in the war of Lombardy,—roused the people; and they went to the Pope, to demand that he should declare war against the Austrians. The Pope summoned a consistory, and then declared in his speech that he had only intended local reforms; that he regretted the misuse that had been made of his name; and wound up by lamenting the war as offensive to the spirit of religion. A momentary stupefaction, followed by a passion of indignation, in which the words traitor and imbecile were heard, received this astounding speech. The Pope was besieged with deputations, and, after two days' struggle, was obliged to place the power in the hands of persons most opposed to him, and nominally acquiesce in their proceedings.

TO R.W.E. (in London).

Rome, May 19, 1848.—I should like to return with you, but I have much to do and learn in Europe yet. I am deeply interested in this public drama, and wish to see it played out. Methinks I have my part therein, either as actor or historian.

I cannot marvel at your readiness to close the book of European society. The shifting scenes entertain poorly. The flux of thought and feeling leaves some fertilizing soil; but for me, few indeed are the persons I should wish to see again; nor do I care to push the inquiry further. The simplest and most retired life would now please me, only I would not like to be confined to it, in case I grew weary, and now and then craved variety, for exhilaration. I want some scenes of natural beauty, and, imperfect as love is, I want human beings to love, as I suffocate without. For intellectual stimulus, books would mainly supply it, when wanted.

Why did you not try to be in Paris at the opening of the Assembly?
There were elements worth scanning.


Rome, May 20, 1848.—My health is much revived by the spring here, as gloriously beautiful as the winter was dreary. We know nothing of spring in our country. Here the soft and brilliant weather is unbroken, except now and then by a copious shower, which keeps everything fresh. The trees, the flowers, the bird-songs are in perfection. I have enjoyed greatly my walks in the villas, where the grounds are of three or four miles in extent, and like free nature in the wood-glades and still paths; while they have an added charm in the music of their many fountains, and the soft gleam, here and there, of sarcophagus or pillar.

I have been a few days at Albano, and explored its beautiful environs alone, to much greater advantage than I could last year, in the carriage with my friends.

I went, also, to Frascati and Ostia, with an English family, who had a good carriage, and were kindly, intelligent people, who could not disturb the Roman landscape.

Now I am going into the country, where I can live very cheaply, even keeping a servant of my own, without which guard I should not venture alone into the unknown and wilder regions.

I have been so disconcerted by my Roman winter, that I dare not plan decisively again. The enervating breath of Rome paralyzes my body, but I know and love her. The expression, "City of the Soul," designates her, and her alone.


Rome, May 27, 1848.—This is my last day at Rome. I have been passing several days at Subiaco and Tivoli, and return again to the country to-morrow. These scenes of natural beauty have filled my heart, and increased, if possible, my desire that the people who have this rich inheritance may no longer be deprived of its benefits by bad institutions.

The people of Subiaco are poor, though very industrious, and cultivating every inch of ground, with even English care and neatness;—so ignorant and uncultivated, while so finely and strongly made by Nature. May God grant now, to this people, what they need!

An illumination took place last night, in honor of the "Illustrious Gioberti." He is received here with great triumph, his carriage followed with shouts of "Viva Gioberti, morte ai Jesuiti!" which must be pain to the many Jesuits, who, it is said, still linger here in disguise. His triumphs are shared by Mamiani and Orioli, self-trumpeted celebrities, self-constituted rulers of the Roman states,—men of straw, to my mind, whom the fire already kindled will burn into a handful of ashes.

I sit in my obscure corner, and watch the progress of events. It is the position that pleases me best, and, I believe, the most favorable one. Everything confirms me in my radicalism; and, without any desire to hasten matters, indeed with surprise to see them rush so like a torrent, I seem to see them all tending to realize my own hopes.

My health and spirits now much restored, I am beginning to set down some of my impressions. I am going into the mountains, hoping there to find pure, strengthening air, and tranquillity for so many days as to allow me to do something.

TO R.F. F——.

Rieti, July 1, 1848.—Italy is as beautiful as even I hoped, and I should wish to stay here several years, if I had a moderate fixed income. One wants but little money here, and can have with it many of the noblest enjoyments. I should have been very glad if fate would allow me a few years of congenial life, at the end of not a few of struggle and suffering. But I do not hope it; my fate will be the same to the close,—beautiful gifts shown, and then withdrawn, or offered on conditions that make acceptance impossible.


Corpus Domini, June 22, 1848.—I write such a great number of letters, having not less than a hundred correspondents, that it seems, every day, as if I had just written to each. There is no one, surely, this side of the salt sea, with whom I wish more to keep up the interchange of thought than with you.

I believe, if you could know my heart as God knows it, and see the causes that regulate my conduct, you would always love me. But already, in absence, I have lost, for the present, some of those who were dear to me, by failure of letters, or false report. After sorrowing much about a falsehood told me of a dearest friend, I found his letter at Torlonia's, which had been there ten months, and, duly received, would have made all right. There is something fatal in my destiny about correspondence.

But I will say no more of this; only the loss of that letter to you, at such an unfortunate time,—just when I most wished to seem the loving and grateful friend I was,—made me fear it might be my destiny to lose you too. But if any cross event shall do me this ill turn on earth, we shall meet again in that clear state of intelligence which men call heaven.

I see by the journals that you have not lost Montanelli. That noble mind is still spared to Italy. The Pope's heart is incapable of treason; but he has fallen short of the office fate assigned him.

I am no bigoted Republican, yet I think that form of government will eventually pervade the civilized world. Italy may not be ripe for it yet, but I doubt if she finds peace earlier; and this hasty annexation of Lombardy to the crown of Sardinia seems, to me, as well as I can judge, an act unworthy and unwise. Base, indeed, the monarch, if it was needed, and weak no less than base; for he was already too far engaged in the Italian cause to retire with honor or wisdom.

I am here, in a lonely mountain home, writing the narrative of my European experience. To this I devote great part of the day. Three or four hours I pass in the open air, on donkey or on foot. When I have exhausted this spot, perhaps I shall try another. Apply as I may, it will take three months, at least, to finish my book. It grows upon me.


Rieti, July 11, 1848.—Once I had resolution to face my difficulties myself, and try to give only what was pleasant to others; but now that my courage has fairly given way, and the fatigue of life is beyond my strength, I do not prize myself, or expect others to prize me.

Some years ago, I thought you very unjust, because you did not lend full faith to my spiritual experiences; but I see you were quite right. I thought I had tasted of the true elixir, and that the want of daily bread, or the pangs of imprisonment, would never make me a complaining beggar. A widow, I expected still to have the cruse full for others. Those were glorious hours, and angels certainly visited me; but there must have been too much earth,—too much taint of weakness and folly, so that baptism did not suffice. I know now those same things, but at present they are words, not living spells.

I hear, at this moment, the clock of the Church del Purgatorio telling noon in this mountain solitude. Snow yet lingers on these mountain-tops, after forty days of hottest sunshine, last night broken by a few clouds, prefatory to a thunder storm this morning. It has been so hot here, that even the peasant in the field says, "Non porro píù resistere," and slumbers in the shade, rather than the sun. I love to see their patriarchal ways of guarding the sheep and tilling the fields. They are a simple race. Remote from the corruptions of foreign travel, they do not ask for money, but smile upon and bless me as I pass,—for the Italians love me; they say I am so "simpatica." I never see any English or Americans, and now think wholly in Italian: only the surgeon who bled me, the other day, was proud to speak a little French, which he had learned at Tunis! The ignorance of this people is amusing. I am to them a divine visitant,—an instructive Ceres,—telling them wonderful tales of foreign customs, and even legends of the lives of their own saints. They are people whom I could love and live with. Bread and grapes among them would suffice me.


Rome, Nov. 16, 1848.—* * * Of other circumstances which complicate my position I cannot write. Were you here, I would confide in you fully, and have more than once, in the silence of the night, recited to you those most strange and romantic chapters in the story of my sad life. At one time when I thought I might die, I empowered a person, who has given me, as far as possible to him, the aid and sympathy of a brother, to communicate them to you, on his return to the United States. But now I think we shall meet again, and I am sure you will always love your daughter, and will know gladly that in all events she has tried to aid and striven never to injure her fellows. In earlier days, I dreamed of doing and being much, but now am content with the Magdalen to rest my plea hereon, "She has loved much."

You, loved mother, keep me informed, as you have, of important facts, especially the worst. The thought of you, the knowledge of your angelic nature, is always one of my greatest supports. Happy those who have such a mother! Myriad instances of selfishness and corruption of heart cannot destroy the confidence in human nature.

I am again in Rome, situated for the first time entirely to my mind. I have but one room, but large; and everything about the bed so gracefully and adroitly disposed that it makes a beautiful parlor, and of course I pay much less. I have the sun all day, and an excellent chimney. It is very high and has pure air, and the most beautiful view all around imaginable. Add, that I am with the dearest, delightful old couple one can imagine, quick, prompt, and kind, sensible and contented. Having no children, they like to regard me and the Prussian sculptor, my neighbor, as such; yet are too delicate and too busy ever to intrude. In the attic, dwells a priest, who insists on making my fire when Antonia is away. To be sure, he pays himself for his trouble, by asking a great many questions. The stories below are occupied by a frightful Russian princess with moustaches, and a footman who ties her bonnet for her; and a fat English lady, with a fine carriage, who gives all her money to the church, and has made for the house a terrace of flowers that would delight you. Antonia has her flowers in a humble balcony, her birds, and an immense black cat; always addressed by both husband and wife as "Amoretto," (little love!)

The house looks out on the Piazza Barberini, and I see both that palace and the Pope's. The scene to-day has been one of terrible interest. The poor, weak Pope has fallen more and more under the dominion of the cardinals, till at last all truth was hidden from his eyes. He had suffered the minister, Rossi, to go on, tightening the reins, and, because the people preserved a sullen silence, he thought they would bear it. Yesterday, the Chamber of Deputies, illegally prorogued, was opened anew. Rossi, after two or three most unpopular measures, had the imprudence to call the troops of the line to defend him, instead of the National Guard. On the 14th, the Pope had invested him with the privileges of a Roman citizen: (he had renounced his country when an exile, and returned to it as ambassador of Louis Philippe.) This position he enjoyed but one day. Yesterday, as he descended from his carriage, to enter the Chamber, the crowd howled and hissed; then pushed him, and, as he turned his head in consequence, a sure hand stabbed him in the back. He said no word, but died almost instantly in the arms of a cardinal. The act was undoubtedly the result of the combination of many, from the dexterity with which it was accomplished, and the silence which ensued. Those who had not abetted beforehand seemed entirely to approve when done. The troops of the line, on whom he had relied, remained at their posts, and looked coolly on. In the evening, they walked the streets with the people, singing, "Happy the hand which rids the world of a tyrant!" Had Rossi lived to enter the Chamber, he would have seen the most terrible and imposing mark of denunciation known in the history of nations,—the whole house, without a single exception, seated on the benches of opposition. The news of his death was received by the deputies with the same cold silence as by the people. For me, I never thought to have heard of a violent death with satisfaction, but this act affected me as one of terrible justice.

To-day, all the troops and the people united and went to the Quirinal to demand a change of measures. They found the Swiss Guard drawn out, and the Pope dared not show himself. They attempted to force the door of his palace, to enter his presence, and the guard fired. I saw a man borne by wounded. The drum beat to call out the National Guard. The carriage of Prince Barberini has returned with its frightened inmates and liveried retinue, and they have suddenly barred up the court-yard gate. Antonia, seeing it, observes, "Thank Heaven, we are poor, we have nothing to fear!" This is the echo of a sentiment which will soon be universal in Europe.

Never feel any apprehensions for my safety from such causes. There are those who will protect me, if necessary, and, besides, I am on the conquering side. These events have, to me, the deepest interest. These days are what I always longed for,—were I only free from private care! But, when the best and noblest want bread to give to the cause of liberty, I can just not demand that of them; their blood they would give me.

You cannot conceive the enchantment of this place. So much I suffered here last January and February, I thought myself a little weaned; but, returning, my heart swelled even to tears with the cry of the poet:—

"O, Rome, my country, city of the soul!"

Those have not lived who have not seen Rome. Warned, however, by the last winter, I dared not rent my lodgings for the year. I hope I am acclimated. I have been through what is called the grape-cure, much more charming, certainly, than the water-cure. At present I am very well; but, alas! because I have gone to bed early, and done very little. I do not know if I can maintain any labor. As to my life, I think that it is not the will of Heaven it should terminate very soon. I have had another strange escape. I had taken passage in the diligence to come to Rome; two rivers were to be passed,—the Turano and the Tiber,—but passed by good bridges, and a road excellent when not broken unexpectedly by torrents from the mountains. The diligence sets out between three and four in the morning, long before light. The director sent me word that the Marchioness Crispoldi had taken for herself and family a coach extraordinary, which would start two hours later, and that I could have a place in that, if I liked; so I accepted. The weather had been beautiful, but, on the eve of the day fixed for my departure, the wind rose, and the rain fell in torrents. I observed that the river which passed my window was much swollen, and rushed with great violence. In the night, I heard its voice still stronger, and felt glad I had not to set out in the dark. I rose with twilight, and was expecting my carriage, and wondering at its delay, when I heard, that the great diligence, several miles below, had been seized by a torrent; the horses were up to their necks in water, before any one dreamed of the danger. The postilion called on all the saints, and threw himself into the water. The door of the diligence could not be opened, and the passengers forced themselves, one after another, into the cold water,—dark too. Had I been there I had fared ill; a pair of strong men were ill after it, though all escaped with life.

For several days, there was no going to Rome; but, at last, we set forth in two great diligences, with all the horses of the route. For many miles, the mountains and ravines were covered with snow; I seemed to have returned to my own country and climate. Few miles passed, before the conductor injured his leg under the wheel, and I had the pain of seeing him suffer all the way, while "Blood of Jesus," "Souls of Purgatory," was the mildest beginning of an answer to the jeers of the postilions upon his paleness. We stopped at a miserable osteria, in whose cellar we found a magnificent remain of Cyclopean architecture,—as indeed in Italy one is paid at every step, for discomfort or danger, by some precious subject of thought. We proceeded very slowly, and reached just at night a solitary little inn, which marks the site of the ancient home of the Sabine virgins, snatched away to become the mothers of Rome. We were there saluted with the news that the Tiber, also, had overflowed its banks, and it was very doubtful if we could pass. But what else to do? There were no accommodations in the house for thirty people, or even for three, and to sleep in the carriages, in that wet air of the marshes, was a more certain danger than to attempt the passage. So we set forth; the moon, almost at the full, smiling sadly on the ancient grandeurs, then half draped in mist, then drawing over her face a thin white veil. As we approached the Tiber, the towers and domes of Rome could be seen, like a cloud lying low on the horizon. The road and the meadows, alike under water, lay between us and it, one sheet of silver. The horses entered; they behaved nobly; we proceeded, every moment uncertain if the water would not become deep; but the scene was beautiful, and I enjoyed it highly. I have never yet felt afraid when really in the presence of danger, though sometimes in its apprehension.

At last we entered the gate; the diligence stopping to be examined, I walked to the gate of Villa Ludovisi, and saw its rich shrubberies of myrtle, and its statues so pale and eloquent in the moonlight.

Is it not cruel that I cannot earn six hundred dollars a year, living here? I could live on that well, now I know Italy. Where I have been, this summer, a great basket of grapes sells for one cent!—delicious salad, enough for three or four persons, one cent,—a pair of chickens, fifteen cents. Foreigners cannot live so, but I could, now that I speak the language fluently, and know the price of everything. Everybody loves, and wants to serve me, and I cannot earn this pitiful sum to learn and do what I want.

Of course, I wish to see America again; but in my own time, when I am ready, and not to weep over hopes destroyed and projects unfulfilled.

My dear friend, Madame Arconati, has shown me generous love;—a contadina, whom I have known this summer, hardly less. Every Sunday, she came in her holiday dress,—beautiful corset of red silk richly embroidered, rich petticoat, nice shoes and stockings, and handsome coral necklace, on one arm an immense basket of grapes, in the other a pair of live chickens, to be eaten by me for her sake, ("per amore mio,") and wanted no present, no reward; it was, as she said, "for the honor and pleasure of her acquaintance." The old father of the family never met me but he took off his hat and said, "Madame, it is to me a consolation to see you." Are there not sweet flowers of affection in life, glorious moments, great thoughts?—why must they be so dearly paid for?

Many Americans have shown me great and thoughtful kindness, and none more so than W. S—— and his wife. They are now in Florence, but may return. I do not know whether I shall stay here or not; shall be guided much by the state of my health.

All is quieted now in Rome. Late at night the Pope had to yield, but not till the door of his palace was half burnt, and his confessor killed. This man, Parma, provoked his fate by firing on the people from a window. It seems the Pope never gave order to fire; his guard acted from a sudden impulse of their own. The new ministry chosen are little inclined to accept. It is almost impossible for any one to act, unless the Pope is stripped of his temporal power, and the hour for that is not yet quite ripe; though they talk more and more of proclaiming the Republic, and even of calling my friend Mazzini.

If I came home at this moment, I should feel as if forced to leave my own house, my own people, and the hour which I had always longed for. If I do come in this way, all I can promise is to plague other people as little as possible. My own plans and desires will be postponed to another world.

Do not feel anxious about me. Some higher power leads me through strange, dark, thorny paths, broken at times by glades opening down into prospects of sunny beauty, into which I am not permitted to enter. If God disposes for us, it is not for nothing. This I can say, my heart is in some respects better, it is kinder and more humble. Also, my mental acquisitions have certainly been great, however inadequate to my desires.


Rome, Nov. 23, 1848.—Mazzini has stood alone in Italy, on a sunny height, far above the stature of other men. He has fought a great fight against folly, compromise, and treason; steadfast in his convictions, and of almost miraculous energy to sustain them, is he. He has foes; and at this moment, while he heads the insurrection in the Valtellina, the Roman people murmur his name, and long to call him here.

How often rings in my ear the consolatory word of Körner, after many struggles, many undeceptions, "Though the million suffer shipwreck, yet noble hearts survive!"

I grieve to say, the good-natured Pio has shown himself utterly derelict, alike without resolution to abide by the good or the ill. He is now abandoned and despised by both parties. The people do not trust his word, for they know he shrinks from the danger, and shuts the door to pray quietly in his closet, whilst he knows the cardinals are misusing his name to violate his pledges. The cardinals, chased from Rome, talk of electing an anti-Pope; because, when there was danger, he has always yielded to the people, and they say he has overstepped his prerogative, and broken his papal oath. No one abuses him, for it is felt that in a more private station he would have acted a kindly part; but he has failed of so high a vocation, and balked so noble a hope, that no one respects him either. Who would have believed, a year ago, that the people would assail his palace? I was on Monte Cavallo yesterday, and saw the broken windows, the burnt doors, the walls marked by shot, just beneath the loggia, on which we have seen him giving the benediction. But this would never have happened, if his guard had not fired first on the people. It is true it was without his order, but, under a different man, the Swiss would never have dared to incur such a responsibility.

Our old acquaintance, Sterbini, has risen to the ministry. He has a certain influence, from his consistency and independence, but has little talent.

Of me you wish to know; but there is little I can tell you at this distance. I have had happy hours, learned much, suffered much, and outward things have not gone fortunately with me. I have had glorious hopes, but they are overclouded now, and the future looks darker than ever, indeed, quite impossible to my steps. I have no hope, unless that God will show me some way I do not know of now; but I do not wish to trouble you with more of this.


Rome, Dec. 9, 1848.—As to Florence itself, I do not like it, with the exception of the galleries and churches, and Michel Angelo's marbles. I do not like it, for the reason you do, because it seems like home. It seems a kind of Boston to me,—the same good and the same ill; I have had enough of both. But I have so many dear friends in Boston, that I must always wish to go there sometimes; and there are so many precious objects of study in Florence, that a stay of several months could not fail to be full of interest. Still, the spring must be the time to be in Florence; there are so many charming spots to visit in the environs, much nearer than those you go to in Rome, within scope of an afternoon's drive. I saw them only when parched with sun and covered with dust. In the spring they must be very beautiful.

* * * * *

December, 1848.—I felt much what you wrote, "if it were well with my heart." How seldom it is that a mortal is permitted to enjoy a paradisaical scene, unhaunted by some painful vision from the past or the future! With me, too, dark clouds of care and sorrow have sometimes blotted out the sunshine. I have not lost from my side an only sister, but have been severed from some visions still so dear, they looked almost like hopes. The future seems too difficult for me. I have been as happy as I could, and I feel that this summer, as last, had I been with my country folks, the picture of Italy would not have been so lively to me. Now I have been quite off the beaten track of travel, have seen, thought, spoken, dreamed only what is Italian. I have learned much, received many strong and clear impressions. While among the mountains, I was for a good while quite alone, except for occasional chat with the contadine, who wanted to know if Pius IX. was not un gran carbonaro!—a reputation which he surely ought to have forfeited by this time. About me they were disturbed: "E sempre sola soletta," they said, "eh perche?"

Later, I made one of those accidental acquaintances, such as I have spoken of to you in my life of Lombardy, which may be called romantic: two brothers, elderly men, the last of a very noble family, formerly lords of many castles, still of more than one; both unmarried, men of great polish and culture. None of the consequences ensued that would in romances: they did not any way adopt me, nor give me a casket of diamonds, nor any of their pictures, among which were originals by several of the greatest masters, nor their rich cabinets, nor miniatures on agate, nor carving in wood and ivory. They only showed me their things, and their family archives of more than a hundred volumes, (containing most interesting documents about Poland, where four of their ancestors were nuncios,) manuscript letters from Tasso, and the like. With comments on these, and legendary lore enough to furnish Cooper or Walter Scott with a thousand romances, they enriched me; unhappily, I shall never have the strength or talent to make due use of it. I was sorry to leave them, for now I have recrossed the frontier into the Roman States. I will not tell you where,—I know not that I shall ever tell where,—these months have been passed. The great Goethe hid thus in Italy; "Then," said he, "I did indeed feel alone,—when no former friend could form an idea where I was." Why should not —— and I enjoy this fantastic luxury of incognito also, when we can so much more easily?

I will not name the place, but I will describe it. The rooms are spacious and airy; the loggia of the sleeping room is rude, but it overhangs a lovely little river, with its hedge of willows. Opposite is a large and rich vineyard; on one side a ruined tower, on the other an old casino, with its avenues of cypress, give human interest to the scene. A cleft amid the mountains full of light leads on the eye to a soft blue peak, very distant. At night the young moon trembles in the river, and its soft murmur soothes me to sleep; it needs, for I have had lately a bad attack upon the nerves, and been obliged to stop writing for the present. I think I shall stay here some time, though I suppose there are such sweet places all over Italy, if one only looks for one's self. Poor, beautiful Italy! how she has been injured of late! It is dreadful to see the incapacity and meanness of those to whom she had confided the care of her redemption.

I have thus far passed this past month of fine weather most delightfully in revisiting my haunts of the autumn before. Then, too, I was uncommonly well and strong; it was the golden period of my Roman life. The experience what long confinement may be expected after, from the winter rains, has decided me never to make my hay when the sun shines: i.e., to give no fine day to books and pens.

The places of interest I am nearest now are villas Albani and Ludovisi, and Santa Agnese, St. Lorenzo, and the vineyards near Porta Maggiore. I have passed one day in a visit to Torre dei Schiavi and the neighborhood, and another on Monte Mario, both Rome and the Campagna-day golden in the mellowest lustre of the Italian sun. * * * But to you I may tell, that I always go with Ossoli, the most congenial companion I ever had for jaunts of this kind. We go out in the morning, carrying the roast chestnuts from Rome; the bread and wine are found in some lonely little osteria; and so we dine; and reach Rome again, just in time to see it, from a little distance, gilded by the sunset.

This moon having been so clear, and the air so warm, we have visited, on successive evenings, all the places we fancied: Monte Cavallo, now so lonely and abandoned,—no lights there but moon and stars,—Trinità de' Monti, Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Forum. So now, if the rain must come, or I be driven from Rome, I have all the images fair and fresh in my mind.

About public events, why remain ignorant? Take a daily paper in the house. The Italian press has recovered from the effervescence of childish spirits;—you can now approximate to the truth from its reports. There are many good papers now in Italy. Whatever represents the Montanelli ministry is best for you. That gives the lead now. I see good articles copied from the "Alba."


Rome, Feb. 5, 1849.—I am so delighted to get your letter, that I must answer on the instant. I try with all my force to march straight onwards,—to answer the claims of the day; to act out my feeling as seems right at the time, and not heed the consequences;—but in my affections I am tender and weak; where I have really loved, a barrier, a break, causes me great suffering. I read in your letter that I am still dear to you as you to me. I always felt, that if we had passed more time together,—if the intimacy, for which there was ground in the inner nature, had become consolidated,—no after differences of opinion or conduct could have destroyed, though they might interrupt its pleasure. But it was of few days' standing,—our interviews much interrupted. I felt as if I knew you much better than you could me, because I had occasion to see you amid your various and habitual relations. I was afraid you might change, or become indifferent; now I hope not.

True, I have written, shall write, about the affairs of Italy, what you will much dislike, if ever you see it. I have done, may do, many things that would be very unpleasing to you; yet there is a congeniality, I dare to say, pure, and strong, and good, at the bottom of the heart, far, far deeper than these differences, that would always, on a real meeting, keep us friends. For me, I could never have but one feeling towards you.

Now, for the first time, I enjoy a full communion with the spirit of Rome. Last winter, I had here many friends; now all are dispersed, and sometimes I long to exchange thoughts with a friendly circle; but generally I am better content to live thus:—the impression made by all the records of genius around is more unbroken; I begin to be very familiar with them. The sun shines always, when last winter it never shone. I feel strong; I can go everywhere on foot. I pass whole days abroad; sometimes I take a book, but seldom read it:—why should I, when every stone talks?

In spring, I shall go often out of town. I have read "La Rome Souterraine" of Didier, and it makes me wish to see Ardea and Nettuno. Ostia is the only one of those desolate sites that I know yet. I study sometimes Niebuhr, and other books about Rome, but not to any great profit.

In the circle of my friends, two have fallen. One a person of great wisdom, strength, and calmness. She was ever to me a most tender friend, and one whose sympathy I highly valued. Like you by nature and education conservative, she was through thought liberal. With no exuberance or passionate impulsiveness herself, she knew how to allow for these in others. The other was a woman of my years, of the most precious gifts in heart and genius. She had also beauty and fortune. She died at last of weariness and intellectual inanition. She never, to any of us, her friends, hinted her sufferings. But they were obvious in her poems, which, with great dignity, expressed a resolute but most mournful resignation.


Rome, Feb. 23, 1849.—It is something if one can get free foot-hold on the earth, so as not to be jostled out of hearing the music, if there should be any spirits in the air to make such.

For my part, I have led rather too lonely a life of late. Before, it seemed as if too many voices of men startled away the inspirations; but having now lived eight months much alone, I doubt that good has come of it, and think to return, and go with others for a little. I have realized in these last days the thought of Goethe,—"He who would in loneliness live, ah! he is soon alone. Each one loves, each one lives, and leaves him to his pain." I went away and hid, all summer. Not content with that, I said, on returning to Rome, I must be busy and receive people little. They have taken me at my word, and hardly one comes to see me. Now, if I want play and prattle, I shall have to run after them. It is fair enough that we all, in turn, should be made to feel our need of one another.

Never was such a winter as this. Ten weeks now of unbroken sunshine and the mildest breezes. Of course, its price is to be paid. The spring, usually divine here, with luxuriant foliage and multitudinous roses, will be all scorched and dusty. There is fear, too, of want of food for the poor Roman state.

I pass my days in writing, walking, occasional visits to the galleries. I read little, except the newspapers; these take up an hour or two of the day. I own, my thoughts are quite fixed on the daily bulletin of men and things. I expect to write the history, but because it is so much in my heart. If you were here, I rather think you would be impassive, like the two most esteemed Americans I see. They do not believe in the sentimental nations. Hungarians, Poles, Italians, are too demonstrative for them, too fiery, too impressible. They like better the loyal, slow-moving Germans: even the Russian, with his dog's nose and gentlemanly servility, pleases them better than my people. There is an antagonism of race.


Rome, June 6, 1849.—The help I needed was external, practical. I knew myself all the difficulties and pains of my position; they were beyond present relief; from sympathy I could struggle with them, but had not life enough left, afterwards, to be a companion of any worth. To be with persons generous and refined, who would not pain; who would sometimes lend a helping hand across the ditches of this strange insidious marsh, was all I could have now, and this you gave.

On Sunday, from our loggia, I witnessed a terrible, a real battle. It began at four in the morning: it lasted to the last gleam of light. The musket-fire was almost unintermitted; the roll of the cannon, especially from St. Angelo, most majestic. As all passed at Porta San Pancrazio and Villa Pamfili, I saw the smoke of every discharge, the flash of the bayonets; with a glass could see the men. Both French and Italians fought with the most obstinate valor. The French could not use their heavy cannon, being always driven away by the legions Garibaldi and ——, when trying to find positions for them. The loss on our side is about three hundred killed and wounded; theirs must be much greater. In one casino have been found seventy dead bodies of theirs. I find the wounded men at the hospital in a transport of indignation. The French soldiers fought so furiously, that they think them false as their general, and cannot endure the remembrance of their visits, during the armistice, and talk of brotherhood. You will have heard how all went:—how Lesseps, after appearing here fifteen days as plenipotentiary, signed a treaty not dishonorable to Rome; then Oudinot refused to ratify it, saying, the plenipotentiary had surpassed his powers: Lesseps runs back to Paris, and Oudinot attacks:—an affair alike infamous for the French from beginning to end. The cannonade on one side has continued day and night, (being full moon,) till this morning; they seeking to advance or take other positions, the Romans firing on them. The French throw rockets into the town: one burst in the court-yard of the hospital, just as I arrived there yesterday, agitating the poor sufferers very much; they said they did not want to die like mice in a trap.


Rome, March 9, 1849.—Last night, Mazzini came to see me. You will have heard how he was called to Italy, and received at Leghorn like a prince, as he is; unhappily, in fact, the only one, the only great Italian. It is expected, that, if the republic lasts, he will be President. He has been made a Roman citizen, and elected to the Assembly; the labels bearing, in giant letters, "Giuseppe Mazzini, cittadino Romano," are yet up all over Rome. He entered by night, on foot, to avoid demonstrations, no doubt, and enjoy the quiet of his own thoughts, at so great a moment. The people went under his windows the next night, and called him out to speak; but I did not know about it. Last night, I heard a ring; then somebody speak my name; the voice struck upon me at once. He looks more divine than ever, after all his new, strange sufferings. He asked after all of you. He stayed two hours, and we talked, though rapidly, of everything. He hopes to come often, but the crisis is tremendous, and all will come on him; since, if any one can save Italy from her foes, inward and outward, it will be he. But he is very doubtful whether this be possible; the foes are too many, too strong, too subtle. Yet Heaven helps sometimes. I only grieve I cannot aid him; freely would I give my life to aid him, only bargaining for a quick death. I don't like slow torture. I fear that it is in reserve for him, to survive defeat. True, he can never be utterly defeated; but to see Italy bleeding, prostrate once more, will be very dreadful for him.

He has sent me tickets, twice, to hear him speak in the Assembly. It was a fine, commanding voice. But, when he finished, he looked very exhausted and melancholy. He looks as if the great battle he had fought had been too much for his strength, and that he was only sustained by the fire of the soul.

All this I write to you, because you said, when I was suffering at leaving Mazzini,—"You will meet him in heaven." This I believe will be, despite all my faults.

[In April, 1849, Margaret was appointed, by the "Roman Commission for the succor of the wounded," to the charge of the hospital of the Fate-Bene Fratetti; the Princess Belgioioso having charge of the one already opened. The following is a copy of the original letter from the Princess, which is written in English, announcing the appointment.]

Comitato di Soccorso Pei Feriti, } April 30, 1849. }

Dear Miss Fuller:—

You are named Regolatrice of the Hospital of the Fate-Rene Fratelli. Go there at twelve, if the alarm bell has not rung before. When you arrive there, you will receive all the women coming for the wounded, and give them your directions, so that you are sure to have a certain number of them night and day.

May God help us.
of Belgioioso.
Miss Fuller, Piazza Barberini, No. 60.


Rome, June 10, 1849.—I received your letter amid the round of cannonade and musketry. It was a terrible battle fought here from the first till the last light of day. I could see all its progress from my balcony. The Italians fought like lions. It is a truly heroic spirit that animates them. They make a stand here for honor and their rights, with little ground for hope that they can resist, now they are betrayed by France.

Since the 30th April, I go almost daily to the hospitals, and, though I have suffered,—for I had no idea before, how terrible gunshot-wounds and wound-fever are,—yet I have taken pleasure, and great pleasure, in being with the men; there is scarcely one who is not moved by a noble spirit. Many, especially among the Lombards, are the flower of the Italian youth. When they begin to get better, I carry them books and flowers; they read, and we talk.

The palace of the Pope, on the Quirinal, is now used for convalescents. In those beautiful gardens, I walk with them,—one with his sling, another with his crutch. The gardener plays off all his water-works for the defenders of the country, and gathers flowers for me, their friend.

A day or two since, we sat in the Pope's little pavilion, where he used to give private audience. The sun was going gloriously down over Monte Mario, where gleamed the white tents of the French light-horse among the trees. The cannonade was heard at intervals. Two bright-eyed boys sat at our feet, and gathered up eagerly every word said by the heroes of the day. It was a beautiful hour, stolen from the midst of ruin and sorrow; and tales were told as full of grace and pathos as in the gardens of Boccaccio, only in a very different spirit,—with noble hope for man, with reverence for woman.

The young ladies of the family, very young girls, were filled with enthusiasm for the suffering, wounded patriots, and they wished to go to the hospital to give their services. Excepting the three superintendents, none but married ladies were permitted to serve there, but their services were accepted. Their governess then wished to go too, and, as she could speak several languages, she was admitted to the rooms of the wounded soldiers, to interpret for them, as the nurses knew nothing but Italian, and many of these poor men were suffering, because they could not make their wishes known. Some are French, some German, and many Poles. Indeed, I am afraid it is too true that there were comparatively but few Romans among them. This young lady passed several nights there.

Should I never return,—and sometimes I despair of doing so, it seems so far off, so difficult, I am caught in such a net of ties here,—if ever you know of my life here, I think you will only wonder at the constancy with which I have sustained myself; the degree of profit to which, amid great difficulties, I have put the time, at least in the way of observation. Meanwhile, love me all you can; let me feel, that, amid the fearful agitations of the world, there are pure hands, with healthful, even pulse, stretched out toward me, if I claim their grasp.

I feel profoundly for Mazzini; at moments I am tempted to say, "Cursed with every granted prayer,"—so cunning is the dæmon. He is become the inspiring soul of his people. He saw Rome, to which all his hopes through life tended, for the first time as a Roman citizen, and to become in a few days its ruler. He has animated, he sustains her to a glorious effort, which, if it fails, this time, will not in the age. His country will be free. Yet to me it would be so dreadful to cause all this bloodshed, to dig the graves of such martyrs.

Then Rome is being destroyed; her glorious oaks; her villas, haunts of sacred beauty, that seemed the possession of the world forever,—the villa of Raphael, the villa of Albani, home of Winkelmann, and the best expression of the ideal of modern Rome, and so many other sanctuaries of beauty,—all must perish, lest a foe should level his musket from their shelter. I could not, could not!

I know not, dear friend, whether I ever shall get home across that great ocean, but here in Rome I shall no longer wish to live. O, Rome, my country! could I imagine that the triumph of what I held dear was to heap such desolation on thy head!

Speaking of the republic, you say, do not I wish Italy had a great man? Mazzini is a great man. In mind, a great poetic statesman; in heart, a lover; in action, decisive and full of resource as Cæsar. Dearly I love Mazzini. He came in, just as I had finished the first letter to you. His soft, radiant look makes melancholy music in my soul; it consecrates my present life, that, like the Magdalen, I may, at the important hour, shed all the consecrated ointment on his head. There is one, Mazzini, who understands thee well; who knew thee no less when an object of popular fear, than now of idolatry; and who, if the pen be not held too feebly, will help posterity to know thee too.


Rome, July 8, 1849.—I do not yet find myself tranquil and recruited from the painful excitements of these last days. But, amid the ruined hopes of Rome, the shameful oppressions she is beginning to suffer, amid these noble, bleeding martyrs, my brothers, I cannot fix my thoughts on anything else.

I write that you may assure mother of my safety, which in the last days began to be seriously imperilled. Say, that as soon as I can find means of conveyance, without an expense too enormous, I shall go again into the mountains. There I shall find pure, bracing air, and I hope stillness, for a time. Say, she need feel no anxiety, if she do not hear from me for some time. I may feel indisposed to write, as I do now; my heart is too full.

Private hopes of mine are fallen with the hopes of Italy. I have played for a new stake, and lost it. Life looks too difficult. But for the present I shall try to wave all thought of self and renew my strength.

After the attempt at revolution in France failed, could I have influenced Mazzini, I should have prayed him to capitulate, and yet I feel that no honorable terms can be made with such a foe, and that the only way is never to yield; but the sound of the musketry, the sense that men were perishing in a hopeless contest, had become too terrible for my nerves. I did not see Mazzini, the last two weeks of the republic. When the French entered, he walked about the streets, to see how the people bore themselves, and then went to the house of a friend. In the upper chamber of a poor house, with his life-long friends,—the Modenas,—I found him. Modena, who abandoned not only what other men hold dear,—home, fortune, peace,—but also endured, without the power of using the prime of his great artist-talent, a ten years' exile in a foreign land; his wife every way worthy of him,—such a woman as I am not.

Mazzini had suffered millions more than I could; he had borne his fearful responsibility; he had let his dearest friends perish; he had passed all these nights without sleep; in two short months, he had grown old; all the vital juices seemed exhausted; his eyes were all blood-shot; his skin orange; flesh he had none; his hair was mixed with white: his hand was painful to the touch; but he had never flinched, never quailed; had protested in the last hour against surrender; sweet and calm, but full of a more fiery purpose than ever; in him I revered the hero, and owned myself not of that mould.

You say truly, I shall come home humbler. God grant it may be entirely humble! In future, while more than ever deeply penetrated with principles, and the need of the martyr spirit to sustain them, I will ever own that there are few worthy, and that I am one of the least.

A silken glove might be as good a gauntlet as one of steel, but I, infirm of mood, turn sick even now as I think of the past.

* * * * *

July, 1849.—I cannot tell you what I endured in leaving Rome; abandoning the wounded soldiers; knowing that there is no provision made for them, when they rise from the beds where they have been thrown by a noble courage, where they have suffered with a noble patience. Some of the poorer men, who rise bereft even of the right arm,—one having lost both the right arm and the right leg,—I could have provided for with a small sum. Could I have sold my hair, or blood from my arm, I would have done it. Had any of the rich Americans remained in Rome, they would have given it to me; they helped nobly at first, in the service of the hospitals, when there was far less need; but they had all gone. What would I have given that I could have spoken to one of the Lawrences, or the Phillipses; they could and would have saved the misery. These poor men are left helpless in the power of a mean and vindictive foe. You felt so oppressed in the slave-states; imagine what I felt at seeing all the noblest youth, all the genius of this dear land, again enslaved.


Rieti, Aug. 28, 1849.—You say, you are glad I have had this great opportunity for carrying out my principles. Would it were so! I found myself inferior in courage and fortitude to the occasion. I knew not how to bear the havoc and anguish incident to the struggle for these principles. I rejoiced that it lay not with me to cut down the trees, to destroy the Elysian gardens, for the defence of Rome; I do not know that I could have done it. And the sight of these far nobler growths, the beautiful young men, mown down in their stately prime, became too much for me. I forget the great ideas, to sympathize with the poor mothers, who had nursed their precious forms, only to see them all lopped and gashed. You say, I sustained them; often have they sustained my courage: one, kissing the pieces of bone that were so painfully extracted from his arm, hanging them round his neck to be worn as the true relics of to-day; mementoes that he also had done and borne something for his country and the hopes of humanity. One fair young man, who is made a cripple for life, clasped my hand as he saw me crying over the spasms I could not relieve, and faintly cried, "Viva l'Italia." "Think only, cara bona donna" said a poor wounded soldier, "that I can always wear my uniform on festas, just as it is now, with the holes where the balls went through, for a memory." "God is good; God knows," they often said to me, when I had not a word to cheer them.


Beneath the ruins of the Roman Republic, how many private fortunes were buried! and among these victims was Margaret. In that catastrophe, were swallowed up hopes sacredly cherished by her through weary months, at the risk of all she most prized.

Soon after the entrance of the French, she wrote thus, to the resident
Envoy of the United States:

My dear Mr. Cass,—I beg you to come and see me, and give me your counsel, and, if need be, your aid, to get away from Rome. From what I hear this morning, I fear we may be once more shut up here; and I shall die, to be again separated from what I hold most dear. There are, as yet, no horses on the way we want to go, or we should post immediately.

You may feel, like me, sad, in these last moments, to leave this injured Rome. So many noble hearts I abandon here, whose woes I have known! I feel, if I could not aid, I might soothe. But for my child, I would not go, till some men, now sick, know whether they shall live or die.

* * * * *

Her child! Where was he? In RIETI,—at the foot of the Umbrian
Apennines,—a day's journey to the north-east of Rome. Thither
Margaret escaped with her husband, and thence she wrote the following

Dearest Mother,—I received your letter a few hours before leaving Rome. Like all of yours, it refreshed me, and gave me as much satisfaction as anything could, at that sad time. Its spirit is of eternity, and befits an epoch when wickedness and perfidy so impudently triumph, and the best blood of the generous and honorable is poured out like water, seemingly in vain.

I cannot tell you what I suffered to abandon the wounded to the care of their mean foes; to see the young men, that were faithful to their vows, hunted from their homes,—hunted like wild beasts; denied a refuge in every civilized land. Many of those I loved are sunk to the bottom of the sea, by Austrian cannon, or will be shot. Others are in penury, grief, and exile. May God give due recompense for all that has been endured!

My mind still agitated, and my spirits worn out, I have not felt like writing to any one. Yet the magnificent summer does not smile quite in vain for me. Much exercise in the open air, living much on milk and fruit, have recruited my health, and I am regaining the habit of sleep, which a month of nightly cannonade in Rome had destroyed.

* * * * *

Receiving, a few days since, a packet of letters from America, I opened them with more feeling of hope and good cheer, than for a long time past. The first words that met my eye were these, in the hand of Mr. Greeley:—"Ah, Margaret, the world grows dark with us! You grieve, for Rome is fallen;—I mourn, for Pickie is dead."

I have shed rivers of tears over the inexpressibly affecting letter thus begun. One would think I might have become familiar enough with images of death and destruction; yet somehow the image of Pickie's little dancing figure, lying, stiff and stark, between his parents, has made me weep more than all else. There was little hope he could do justice to himself, or lead a happy life in so perplexed a world; but never was a character of richer capacity,—never a more charming child. To me he was most dear, and would always have been so. Had he become stained with earthly faults, I could never have forgotten what he was when fresh from the soul's home, and what he was to me when my soul pined for sympathy, pure and unalloyed.

The three children I have seen who were fairest in my eyes, and gave most promise of the future, were Waldo, Pickie, Hermann Clarke;—all nipped in the bud. Endless thoughts has this given me, and a resolve to seek the realization of all hopes and plans elsewhere, which resolve will weigh with me as much as it can weigh before the silver cord is finally loosed. Till then, Earth, our mother, always finds strange, unexpected ways to draw us back to her bosom,—to make us seek anew a nutriment which has never failed to cause us frequent sickness.

* * * * *

This brings me to the main object of my present letter,—a piece of intelligence about myself, which I had hoped I might be able to communicate in such a way as to give you pleasure. That I cannot,—after suffering much in silence with that hope,—is like the rest of my earthly destiny.

The first moment, it may cause you a pang to know that your eldest child might long ago have been addressed by another name than yours, and has a little son a year old.

But, beloved mother, do not feel this long. I do assure you, that it was only great love for you that kept me silent. I have abstained a hundred times, when your sympathy, your counsel, would have been most precious, from a wish not to harass you with anxiety. Even now I would abstain, but it has become necessary, on account of the child, for us to live publicly and permanently together; and we have no hope, in the present state of Italian affairs, that we can do it at any better advantage, for several years, than now.

My husband is a Roman, of a noble but now impoverished house. His mother died when he was an infant, his father is dead since we met, leaving some property, but encumbered with debts, and in the present state of Rome hardly available, except by living there. He has three older brothers, all provided for in the Papal service,—one as Secretary of the Privy Chamber, the other two as members of the Guard Noble. A similar career would have been opened to him, but he embraced liberal principles, and, with the fall of the Republic, has lost all, as well as the favor of his family, who all sided with the Pope. Meanwhile, having been an officer in the Republican service, it was best for him to leave Rome. He has taken what little money he had, and we plan to live in Florence for the winter. If he or I can get the means, we shall come together to the United States, in the summer;—earlier we could not, on account of the child.

He is not in any respect such a person as people in general would expect to find with me. He had no instructor except an old priest, who entirely neglected his education; and of all that is contained in books he is absolutely ignorant, and he has no enthusiasm of character. On the other hand, he has excellent practical sense; has been a judicious observer of all that passed before his eyes; has a nice sense of duty, which, in its unfailing, minute activity, may put most enthusiasts to shame; a very sweet temper, and great native refinement. His love for me has been unswerving and most tender. I have never suffered a pain that he could relieve. His devotion, when I am ill, is to be compared only with yours. His delicacy in trifles, his sweet domestic graces, remind me of E——. In him I have found a home, and one that interferes with no tie. Amid many ills and cares, we have had much joy together, in the sympathy with natural beauty,—with our child,—with all that is innocent and sweet.

I do not know whether he will always love me so well, for I am the elder, and the difference will become, in a few years, more perceptible than now. But life is so uncertain, and it is so necessary to take good things with their limitations, that I have not thought it worth while to calculate too curiously.

However my other friends may feel, I am sure that you will love him very much, and that he will love you no less. Could we all live together, on a moderate income, you would find peace with us. Heaven grant, that, on returning, I may gain means to effect this object. He, of course, can do nothing, while we are in the United States, but perhaps I can; and now that my health is better, I shall be able to exert myself, if sure that my child is watched by those who love him, and who are good and pure.

* * * * *

What shall I say of my child? All might seem hyperbole, even to my dearest mother. In him I find satisfaction, for the first time, to the deep wants of my heart. Yet, thinking of those other sweet ones fled, I must look upon him as a treasure only lent. He is a fair child, with blue eyes and light hair; very affectionate, graceful, and sportive. He was baptized, in the Roman Catholic Church, by the name of Angelo Eugene Philip, for his father, grandfather, and my brother. He inherits the title of marquis.

Write the name of my child in your Bible, ANGELO OSSOLI, born September 5, 1848. God grant he may live to see you, and may prove worthy of your love!

More I do not feel strength to say. You can hardly guess how all attempt to express something about the great struggles and experiences of my European life enfeebles me. When I get home,—if ever I do,—it will be told without this fatigue and excitement. I trust there will be a little repose, before entering anew on this wearisome conflict.

I had addressed you twice,—once under the impression that I should not survive the birth of my child; again during the siege of Rome, the father and I being both in danger. I took Mrs. Story, and, when she left Rome, Mr. Cass, into my confidence. Both were kind as sister and brother. Amid much pain and struggle, sweet, is the memory of the generous love I received from William and Emelyn Story, and their uncle. They helped me gently through a most difficult period. Mr. Cass, also, who did not know me at all, has done everything possible for me.

* * * * *

A letter to her sister fills out these portraits of her husband and child.

* * * * *

About Ossoli[B] I do not like to say much, as he is an exceedingly delicate person. He is not precisely reserved, but it is not natural to him to talk about the objects of strong affection. I am sure he would not try to describe me to his sister, but would rather she would take her own impression of me; and, as much as possible, I wish to do the same by him. I presume that, to many of my friends, he will be nothing, and they will not understand that I should have life in common with him. But I do not think he will care;—he has not the slightest tinge of self-love. He has, throughout our intercourse, been used to my having many such ties. He has no wish to be anything to persons with whom he does not feel spontaneously bound, and when I am occupied, is happy in himself. But some of my friends and my family, who will see him in the details of practical life, cannot fail to prize the purity and simple strength of his character; and, should he continue to love me as he has done, his companionship will be an inestimable blessing to me. I say if, because all human affections are frail, and I have experienced too great revulsions in my own, not to know it. Yet I feel great confidence in the permanence of his love. It has been unblemished so far, under many trials; especially as I have been more desponding and unreasonable, in many ways, than I ever was before, and more so, I hope, than I ever shall be again. But at all such times, he never had a thought except to sustain and cheer me. He is capable of the sacred love,—the love passing that of woman. He showed it to his father, to Rome, to me. Now he loves his child in the same way. I think he will be an excellent father, though he could not speculate about it, nor, indeed, about anything.

Our meeting was singular,—fateful, I may say. Very soon he offered me his hand through life, but I never dreamed I should take it. I loved him, and felt very unhappy to leave him; but the connection seemed so every way unfit, I did not hesitate a moment. He, however, thought I should return to him, as I did. I acted upon a strong impulse, and could not analyze at all what passed in my mind. I neither rejoice nor grieve;—for bad or for good, I acted out my character Had I never connected myself with any one, my path was clear; now it is all hid; but, in that case, my development must have been partial. As to marriage, I think the intercourse of heart and mind may be fully enjoyed without entering into this partnership of daily life. Still, I do not find it burdensome. The friction that I have seen mar so much the domestic happiness of others does not occur with us, or, at least, has not occurred. Then, there is the pleasure of always being at hand to help one another.

Still, the great novelty, the immense gain, to me, is my relation with my child. I thought the mother's heart lived in me before, but it did not;—I knew nothing about it. Yet, before his birth, I dreaded it. I thought I should not survive: but if I did, and my child did, was I not cruel to bring another into this terrible world? I could not, at that time, get any other view. When he was born, that deep melancholy changed at once into rapture: but it did not last long. Then came the prudential motherhood. I grew a coward, a care-taker, not only for the morrow, but, impiously faithless, for twenty or thirty years ahead. It seemed very wicked to have brought the little tender thing into the midst of cares and perplexities we had not feared in the least for ourselves. I imagined everything;—he was to be in danger of every enormity the Croats were then committing upon the infants of Lombardy;—the house would be burned over his head; but, if he escaped, how were we to get money to buy his bibs and primers? Then his father was to be killed in the fighting, and I to die of my cough, &c. &c.

During the siege of Rome, I could not see my little boy. What I endured at that time, in various ways, not many would survive. In the burning sun, I went, every day, to wait, in the crowd, for letters about him. Often they did not come. I saw blood that had streamed on the wall where Ossoli was. I have a piece of a bomb that burst close to him. I sought solace in tending the suffering men; but when I beheld the beautiful fair young men bleeding to death, or mutilated for life, I felt the woe of all the mothers who had nursed each to that full flower, to see them thus cut down. I felt the consolation, too,—for those youths died worthily. I was a Mater Dolorosa, and I remembered that she who helped Angelino into the world came from the sign of the Mater Dolorosa. I thought, even if he lives, if he comes into the world at this great troubled time, terrible with perplexed duties, it may be to die thus at twenty years, one of a glorious hecatomb, indeed, but still a sacrifice! It seemed then I was willing he should die.

* * * * *

Angelino's birth-place is thus sketched:

My baby saw mountains when he first looked forward into the world. RIETI,—not only an old classic town of Italy, but one founded by what are now called the Aborigines,—is a hive of very ancient dwellings with red brown roofs, a citadel and several towers. It is in a plain, twelve miles in diameter one way, not much less the other, and entirely encircled with mountains of the noblest form. Casinos and hermitages gleam here and there on their lower slopes. This plain is almost the richest in Italy, and full of vineyards. Rieti is near the foot of the hills on one side, and the rapid Velino makes almost the circuit of its walls, on its way to Terni. I had my apartment shut out from the family, on the bank of this river, and saw the mountains, as I lay on my restless couch. There was a piazza, too, or, as they call it here, a loggia, which hung over the river, where I walked most of the night, for I could not sleep at all in those months. In the wild autumn storms, the stream became a roaring torrent, constantly lit up by lightning flashes, and the sound of its rush was very sublime. I see it yet, as it swept away on its dark green current the heaps of burning straw which the children let down from the bridge. Opposite my window was a vineyard, whose white and purple clusters were my food for three months. It was pretty to watch the vintage,—the asses and wagons loaded with this wealth of amber and rubies,—the naked boys, singing in the trees on which the vines are trained, as they cut the grapes,—the nut-brown maids and matrons, in their red corsets and white head-clothes, receiving them below, while the babies and little children were frolicking in the grass.

In Rieti, the ancient Umbrians were married thus. In presence of friends, the man and maid received together the gifts of fire and water; the bridegroom then conducted to his house the bride. At the door, he gave her the keys, and, entering, threw behind him nuts, as a sign that he renounced all the frivolities of boyhood.

I intend to write all that relates to the birth of Angelino, in a little book, which I shall, I hope, show you sometime. I have begun it, and then stopped;—it seemed to me he would die. If he lives, I shall finish it, before the details are at all faded in my mind. Rieti is a place where I should have liked to have him born, and where I should like to have him now,—but that the people are so wicked. They are the most ferocious and mercenary population of Italy. I did not know this, when I went there, and merely expected to be solitary and quiet among poor people. But they looked on the "Marchioness" as an ignorant Inglese, and they fancy all Inglesi have wealth untold. Me they were bent on plundering in every way. They made me suffer terribly in the first days.

[Footnote A: The first part of this chapter is edited by R.W.E.; the remainder by W.H.C.]

[Footnote B: Giovanni Angelo Ossoli.]


The high-minded friend, spoken of with such grateful affection by Margaret, in her letter to her mother, thus gracefully narrates the romance of her marriage; and the narrative is a noble proof of the heroic disinterestedness with which, amidst her own engrossing trials, Margaret devoted herself to others. Mrs. Story writes as follows:—

"During the month of November, 1847, we arrived in Rome, purposing to spend the winter there. At that time, Margaret was living in the house of the Marchesa ——, in the Corso, Ultimo Piano. Her rooms were pleasant and cheerful, with a certain air of elegance and refinement, but they had not a sunny exposure, that all-essential requisite for health, during the damp Roman winter. Margaret suffered from ill health this winter, and she afterwards attributed it mainly to the fact, that she had not the sun. As soon as she heard of our arrival, she stretched forth a friendly, cordial hand, and greeted us most warmly. She gave us great assistance in our search for convenient lodgings, and we were soon happily established near her. Our intercourse was henceforth most frequent and intimate, and knew no cloud nor coldness. Daily we were much with her, and daily we felt more sensible of the worth and value of our friend. To me she seemed so unlike what I had thought her to be in America, that I continually said, 'How have I misjudged you,—you are not at all such a person as I took you to be.' To this she replied, 'I am not the same person, but in many respects another;—my life has new channels now, and how thankful I am that I have been able to come out into larger interests,—but, partly, you did not know me at home in the true light.' It was true, that I had not known her much personally, when in Boston; but through her friends, who were mine also, I had learned to think of her as a person on intellectual stilts, with a large share of arrogance, and little sweetness of temper. How unlike to this was she now!—so delicate, so simple, confiding, and affectionate; with a true womanly heart and soul, sensitive and generous, and, what was to me a still greater surprise, possessed of so broad a charity, that she could cover with its mantle the faults and defects of all about her.

"We soon became acquainted with the young Marquis Ossoli, and met him frequently at Margaret's rooms. He appeared to be of a reserved and gentle nature, with quiet, gentleman-like manners, and there was something melancholy in the expression of his face, which made one desire to know more of him. In figure, he was tall, and of slender frame, with dark hair and eyes; we judged that he was about thirty years of age, possibly younger. Margaret spoke of him most frankly, and soon told us the history of her first acquaintance with him, which, as nearly as I can recall, was as follows:—

"She went to hear vespers, the evening of 'Holy Thursday,' soon after her first coming to Rome, in the spring of 1847, at St. Peter's. She proposed to her companions that some place in the church should be designated, where, after the services, they should meet,—she being inclined, as was her custom always in St. Peter's, to wander alone among the different chapels. When, at length, she saw that the crowd was dispersing, she returned to the place assigned, but could not find her party. In some perplexity, she walked about, with her glass carefully examining each group. Presently, a young man of gentlemanly address came up to her, and begged, if she were seeking any one, that he might be permitted to assist her; and together they continued the search through all parts of the church. At last, it became evident, beyond a doubt, that her party could no longer be there, and, as it was then quite late, the crowd all gone, they went out into the piazza to find a carriage, in which she might go home. In the piazza, in front of St. Peter's, generally may be found many carriages; but, owing to the delay they had made, there were then none, and Margaret was compelled to walk, with her stranger friend, the long distance between the Vatican and the Corso. At this time, she had little command of the language for conversational purposes, and their words were few, though enough to create in each a desire for further knowledge and acquaintance. At her door, they parted, and Margaret, finding her friends already at home, related the adventure."

This chance meeting at vesper service in St. Peter's prepared the way for many interviews; and it was before Margaret's departure for Venice, Milan, and Como, that Ossoli first offered her his hand, and was refused. Mrs. Story continues:—

"After her return to Rome, they met again, and he became her constant visitor; and as, in those days, Margaret watched with intense interest the tide of political events, his mind was also turned in the direction of liberty and better government. Whether Ossoli, unassisted, would have been able to emancipate himself from the influence of his family and early education, both eminently conservative and narrow, may be a question; but that he did throw off the shackles, and espouse the cause of Roman liberty with warm zeal, is most certain. Margaret had known Mazzini in London, had partaken of his schemes for the future of his country, and was taking every pains to inform herself in regard to the action of all parties, with a view to write a history of the period. Ossoli brought her every intelligence that might be of interest to her, and busied himself in learning the views of both parties, that she might be able to judge the matter impartially.

"Here I may say, that, in the estimation of most of those who were in Italy at this time, the loss of Margaret's history and notes is a great and irreparable one. No one could have possessed so many avenues of direct information from both sides. While she was the friend and correspondent of Mazzini, and knew the springs of action of his party; through her husband's family and connections, she knew the other view; so that, whatever might be the value of her deductions, her facts could not have been other than of highest worth. Together, Margaret and Ossoli went to the meetings of either side; and to her he carried all the flying reports of the day, such as he had heard in the café, or through his friends.

"In a short time, we went to Naples, and Margaret, in the course of a few months, to Aquila and Rieti. Meanwhile, we heard from her often by letter, and wrote to urge her to join us in our villa at Sorrento. During this summer, she wrote constantly upon her history of the Italian movement, for which she had collected materials through the past winter. We did not again meet, until the following spring, March, 1849, when we went from Florence back to Rome. Once more we were with her, then, in most familiar every-day intercourse, and as at this time a change of government had taken place,—the Pope having gone to Molo di Gaeta.—we watched with her the great movements of the day. Ossoli was now actively interested on the liberal side; he was holding the office of captain in the Guardia Civica, and enthusiastically looking forward to the success of the new measures.

"During the spring of 1849, Mazzini came to Rome. He went at once to see Margaret, and at her rooms met Ossoli. After this interview with Mazzini, it was quite evident that they had lost something of the faith and hopeful certainty with which they had regarded the issue, for Mazzini had discovered the want of singleness of purpose in the leaders of the Provisional Government. Still zealously Margaret and Ossoli aided in everything the progress of events; and when it was certain that the French had landed forces at Civita Vecchia, and would attack Rome, Ossoli took station with his men on the walls of the Vatican gardens, where he remained faithfully to the end of the attack. Margaret had, at the same time, the entire charge of one of the hospitals, and was the assistant of the Princess Belgioioso, in charge of 'dei Pellegrini,' where, during the first day, they received seventy wounded men, French and Romans.

"Night and day, Margaret was occupied, and, with the princess, so ordered and disposed the hospitals, that their conduct was truly admirable. All the work was skilfully divided, so that there was no confusion or hurry and, from the chaotic condition in which these places had been left by the priests,—who previously had charge of them,—they brought them to a state of perfect regularity and discipline. Of money they had very little, and they were obliged to give their time and thoughts, in its place. From the Americans in Rome, they raised a subscription for the aid of the wounded of either party; but, besides this, they had scarcely any means to use. I have walked through the wards with Margaret, and seen how comforting was her presence to the poor suffering men. 'How long will the Signora stay?' 'When will the Signora come again?' they eagerly asked. For each one's peculiar tastes she had a care: to one she carried books; to another she told the news of the day; and listened to another's oft-repeated tale of wrongs, as the best sympathy she could give. They raised themselves up on their elbows, to get the last glimpse of her as she was going away. There were some of the sturdy fellows of Garibaldi's Legion there, and to them she listened, as they spoke with delight of their chief, of his courage and skill; for he seemed to have won the hearts of his men in a remarkable manner.

"One incident I may as well narrate in this connection. It happened, that, some time before the coming of the French, while Margaret was travelling quite by herself, on her return from a visit to her child, who was out at nurse in the country, she rested for an hour or two at a little wayside osteria. While there, she was startled by the padrone, who, with great alarm, rushed into the room, and said, 'We are quite lost! here is the Legion Garibaldi! These men always pillage, and, if we do not give all up to them without pay, they will kill us.' Margaret looked out upon the road, and saw that it was quite true, that the legion was coming thither with all speed. For a moment, she said, she felt uncomfortably; for such was the exaggerated account of the conduct of the men, that she thought it quite possible that they would take her horses, and so leave her without the means of proceeding on her journey. On they came, and she determined to offer them a lunch at her own expense; having faith that gentleness and courtesy was the best protection from injury. Accordingly, as soon as they arrived, and rushed boisterously into the osteria, she rose, and said to the padrone, 'Give these good men wine and bread on my account; for, after their ride, they must need refreshment.' Immediately, the noise and confusion subsided; with respectful bows to her, they seated themselves and partook of the lunch, giving her an account of their journey. When she was ready to go, and her vettura was at the door, they waited upon her, took down the steps, and assisted her with much gentleness and respectfulness of manner, and she drove off, wondering how men with such natures could have the reputation they had. And, so far as we could gather, except in this instance, their conduct was of a most disorderly kind.

"Again, on another occasion, she showed how great was her power over rude men. This was when two contadini at Rieti, being in a violent quarrel, had rushed upon each other with knives. Margaret was called by the women bystanders, as the Signora who could most influence them to peace. She went directly up to the men, whose rage was truly awful to behold, and, stepping between them, commanded them to separate. They parted, but with such a look of deadly revenge, that Margaret felt her work was but half accomplished. She therefore sought them out separately, and talked with each, urging forgiveness; it was long, however, before she could see any change of purpose, and only by repeated conversations was it, that she brought about her desire, and saw them meet as friends. After this, her reputation as peace-maker was great, and the women in the neighborhood came to her with long tales of trouble, urging her intervention. I have never known anything more extraordinary than this influence of hers over the passion and violence of the Italian character. Repeated instances come to my mind, when a look from her has had more power to quiet excitement, than any arguments and reasonings that could be brought to bear upon the subject. Something quite superior and apart from them, the people thought her, and yet knew her as the gentle and considerate judge of their vices.

"I may also mention here, that Margaret's charities, according to her means, were larger than those of any other whom I ever knew. At one time, in Rome, while she lived upon the simplest, slenderest fare, spending only some ten or twelve cents a day for her dinner, she lent, unsolicited, her last fifty dollars to an artist, who was then in need. That it would ever be returned to her, she did not know; but the doubt did not restrain the hand from giving. In this instance, it was soon repaid her; but her charities were not always towards the most deserving. Repeated instances of the false pretences, under which demands for charity are made, were known to her after she had given to unworthy objects; but no experience of this sort ever checked her kindly impulse to give, and being once deceived taught her no lesson of distrust. She ever listened with ready ear to all who came to her in any form of distress. Indeed, to use the language of another friend, 'the prevalent impression at Rome, among all who knew her, was, that she was a mild saint and a ministering angel.'

"I have, in order to bring in these instances of her influence on those about her, deviated from my track. We return to the life she led in Rome during the attack of the French, and her charge of the hospitals, where she spent daily some seven or eight hours, and, often, the entire night. Her feeble frame was a good deal shaken by so uncommon a demand upon her strength, while, at the same time, the anxiety of her mind was intense. I well remember how exhausted and weary she was; how pale and agitated she returned to us after her day's and night's watching; how eagerly she asked for news of Ossoli, and how seldom we had any to give her, for he was unable to send her a word for two or three days at a time. Letters from the country there were few or none, as the communication between Rieti and Rome was cut off.

"After one such day, she called me to her bedside, and said that I must consent, for her sake, to keep the SECRET she was about to confide. Then she told me of her marriage; where her child was, and where he was born; and gave me certain papers and parchment documents which I was to keep; and, in the event of her and her husband's death, I was to take the boy to her mother in America, and confide him to her care, and that of her friend, Mrs. ——.

"The papers thus given me, I had perfect liberty to read; but after she had told me her story, I desired no confirmation of this fact, beyond what her words had given. One or two of the papers she opened, and we together read them. One was written on parchment, in Latin, and was a certificate, given by the priest who married them, saying that Angelo Eugene Ossoli was the legal heir of whatever title and fortune should come to his father. To this was affixed his seal, with those of the other witnesses, and the Ossoli crest was drawn in full upon the paper. There was also a book, in which Margaret had written the history of her acquaintance and marriage with Ossoli, and of the birth of her child. In giving that to me, she said, 'If I do not survive to tell this myself to my family, this book will be to them invaluable. Therefore keep it for them. If I live, it will be of no use, for my word will be all that they will ask.' I took the papers, and locked them up. Never feeling any desire to look into them, I never did; and as she gave them to me, I returned them to her, when I left Rome for Switzerland.

"After this, she often spoke to me of the necessity there had been, and still existed, for her keeping her marriage a secret. At the time, I argued in favor of her making it public, but subsequent events have shown me the wisdom of her decision. The explanation she gave me of the secret marriage was this:

"They were married in December, soon after,—as I think, though I am not positive,—the death of the old Marquis Ossoli. The estate he had left was undivided, and the two brothers, attached to the Papal household, were to be the executors. This patrimony was not large, but, when fairly divided, would bring to each a little property,—an income sufficient, with economy, for life in Rome. Everyone knows, that law is subject to ecclesiastical influence in Rome, and that marriage with a Protestant would be destructive to all prospects of favorable administration. And beside being of another religious faith, there was, in this case, the additional crime of having married a liberal,—one who had publicly interested herself in radical views. Taking the two facts together, there was good reason to suppose, that, if the marriage were known, Ossoli must be a beggar, and a banished man, under the then existing government; while, by waiting a little, there was a chance,—a fair one, too,—of an honorable post under the new government, whose formation every one was anticipating. Leaving Rome, too, at that time, was deserting the field wherein they might hope to work much good, and where they felt that they were needed. Ossoli's brothers had long before begun to look jealously upon him. Knowing his acquaintance with Margaret, they feared the influence she might exert over his mind in favor of liberal sentiments, and had not hesitated to threaten him with the Papal displeasure. Ossoli's education had been such, that it certainly argues an uncommon elevation of character, that he remained so firm and single in his political views, and was so indifferent to the pecuniary advantages which his former position offered, since, during many years, the Ossoli family had been high in favor and in office, in Rome, and the same vista opened for his own future, had he chosen to follow their lead. The Pope left for Molo di Gaeta, and then came a suspension of all legal procedure, so that the estate was never divided, before we left Italy, and I do not know that it has ever been.

"Ossoli had the feeling, that, while his own sister and family could not be informed of his marriage, no others should know of it; and from day to day they hoped on for the favorable change which should enable them to declare it. Their child was born; and, for his sake, in order to defend him, as Margaret said, from the stings of poverty, they were patient waiters for the restored law of the land. Margaret felt that she would, at any cost to herself, gladly secure for her child a condition above want; and, although it was a severe trial,—as her letters to us attest,—she resolved to wait, and hope, and keep her secret. At the time when she took me into her confidence, she was so full of anxiety and dread of some shock, from which she might not recover, that it was absolutely necessary to make it known to some friend. She was living with us at the time, and she gave it to me. Most sacredly, but timidly, did I keep her secret; for, all the while, I was tormented with a desire to be of active service to her, and I was incapacitated from any action by the position in which I was placed.

"Ossoli's post was one of considerable danger, he being in one of the most exposed places; and, as Margaret saw his wounded and dying comrades, she felt that another shot might take him from her, or bring him to her care in the hospital. Eagerly she watched the carts, as they came up with their suffering loads, dreading that her worst fears might be confirmed. No argument of ours could persuade Ossoli to leave his post to take food or rest. Sometimes we went to him, and carried a concealed basket of provisions, but he shared it with so many of his fellows, that his own portion must have been almost nothing. Haggard, worn, and pale, he walked over the Vatican grounds with us, pointing out, now here, now there, where some poor fellow's blood sprinkled the wall; Margaret was with us, and for a few moments they could have an anxious talk about their child.

"To get to the child, or to send to him, was quite impossible, and for days they were in complete ignorance about him. At length, a letter came; and in it the nurse declared that unless they should immediately send her, in advance-payment, a certain sum of money, she would altogether abandon Angelo. It seemed, at first, impossible to forward the money, the road was so insecure, and the bearer of any parcel was so likely to be seized by one party or the other, and to be treated as a spy. But finally, after much consideration, the sum was sent to the address of a physician, who had been charged with the care of the child. I think it did reach its destination, and for a while answered the purpose of keeping the wretched woman faithful to her charge."


Extracts from Margaret's and Ossoli's letters will guide us more into the heart of this home-tragedy, so sanctified with holy hope, sweet love, and patient heroism. They shall be introduced by a passage from a journal written many years before.

"My Child! O, Father, give me a bud on my tree of life, so scathed by the lightning and bound by the frost! Surely a being born wholly of my being, would not let me lie so still and cold in lonely sadness. This is a new sorrow; for always, before, I have wanted a superior or equal, but now it seems that only the feeling of a parent for a child could exhaust the richness of one's soul. All powerful Nature, how dost thou lead me into thy heart and rebuke every factitious feeling, every thought of pride, which has severed me from the Universe! How did I aspire to be a pure flame, ever pointing upward on the altar! But these thoughts of consecration, though true to the time, are false to the whole. There needs no consecration to the wise heart for all is pervaded by One Spirit, and the Soul of all existence is the Holy of Holies. I thought ages would pass, before I had this parent feeling, and then, that the desire would rise from my fulness of being. But now it springs up in my poverty and sadness. I am well aware that I ought not to be so happy. I do not deserve to be well beloved in any way, far less as the mother by her child. I am too rough and blurred an image of the Creator, to become a bestower of life. Yet, if I refuse to be anything else than my highest self, the true beauty will finally glow out in fulness."

At what cost, were bought the blessings so long pined for! Early in the summer of 1848, Margaret left Rome for Aquila, a small, old town, once a baronial residence, perched among the mountains of Abruzzi. She thus sketches her retreat:—

"I am in the midst of a theatre of glorious, snow-crowned mountains, whose pedestals are garlanded with the olive and mulberry, and along whose sides run bridle-paths, fringed with almond groves and vineyards. The valleys are yellow with saffron flowers; the grain fields enamelled with the brilliant blue corn-flower and red poppy. They are of intoxicating beauty, and like nothing in America. The old genius of Europe has so mellowed even the marbles here, that one cannot have the feeling of holy virgin loneliness, as in the New World. The spirits of the dead crowd me in most solitary places. Here and there, gleam churches or shrines. The little town, much ruined, lies on the slope of a hill, with the houses of the barons gone to decay, and unused churches, over whose arched portals are faded frescoes, with the open belfry, and stone wheel-windows, always so beautiful. Sweet little paths lead away through the fields to convents,—one of Passionists, another of Capuchins; and the draped figures of the monks, pacing up and down the hills, look very peaceful. In the churches still open, are pictures, not by great masters, but of quiet, domestic style, which please me much, especially one of the Virgin offering her breast to the child Jesus. There is often sweet music in these churches; they are dressed with fresh flowers, and the incense is not oppressive, so freely sweeps through them the mountain breeze."

Here Margaret remained but a month, while Ossoli was kept fast by his guard duties in Rome. "Addio, tutto caro," she writes; "I shall receive you with the greatest joy, when you can come. If it were only possible to be nearer to you! for, except the good air and the security, this place does not please me." And again:—"How much I long to be near you! You write nothing of yourself, and this makes me anxious and sad. Dear and good! I pray for thee often, now that it is all I can do for thee. We must hope that Destiny will at last grow weary of persecuting. Ever thy affectionate." Meantime Ossoli writes:—"Why do you not send me tidings of yourself, every post-day? since the post leaves Aquila three times a week. I send you journals or letters every time the post leaves Rome. You should do the same. Take courage, and thus you will make me happier also; and you can think how sad I must feel in not being near you, dearest, to care for all your wants."

By the middle of July, Margaret could bear her loneliness no longer, and, passing the mountains, advanced to Rieti, within the frontier of the Papal States. Here Ossoli could sometimes visit her on a Sunday, by travelling in the night from Rome. "Do not fail to come," writes Margaret. "I shall have your coffee warm. You will arrive early, and I can see the diligence pass the bridge from my window." But now threatened a new trial, terrible under the circumstances, yet met with the loving heroism that characterized all her conduct. The civic guard was ordered to prepare for marching to Bologna. Under date of August 17th, Ossoli writes:—"Mia Cara! How deplorable is my state! I have suffered a most severe struggle. If your condition were other than it is, I could resolve more easily; but, in the present moment, I cannot leave you! Ah, how cruel is Destiny! I understand well how much you would sacrifice yourself for me, and am deeply grateful; but I cannot yet decide." Margaret is alone, without a single friend, and not only among strangers, but surrounded by people so avaricious, cunning, and unscrupulous, that she has to be constantly on the watch to avoid being fleeced; she is very poor, and has no confidant, even in Rome, to consult with; she is ill, and fears death in the near crisis; yet thus, with true Roman greatness, she counsels her husband:—"It seems, indeed, a marvel how all things go contrary to us! That, just at this moment, you should be called upon to go away. But do what is for your honor. If honor requires it, go. I will try to sustain myself. I leave it to your judgment when to come,—if, indeed, you can ever come again! At least, we have had some hours of peace together, if now it is all over. Adieu, love; I embrace thee always, and pray for thy welfare. Most affectionately, adieu."

* * * * *

From this trial, however, she was spared. Pio Nono hesitated to send the civic guard to the north of Italy. Then Margaret writes:—"On our own account, love, I shall be most grateful, if you are not obliged to go. But how unworthy, in the Pope! He seems now a man without a heart. And that traitor, Charles Albert! He will bear the curse of all future ages. Can you learn particulars from Milan? I feel sad for our poor friends there; how much they must suffer! * * * I shall be much more tranquil to have you at my side, for it would be sad to die alone, without the touch of one dear hand. Still, I repeat what I said in my last; if duty prevents you from coming, I will endeavor to take care of myself." Again, two days later, she says:—"I feel, love, a profound sympathy with you, but am not able to give perfectly wise counsel. It seems to me, indeed, the worst possible moment to take up arms, except in the cause of duty, of honor; for, with the Pope so cold, and his ministers so undecided, nothing can be well or successfully done. If it is possible for you to wait for two or three weeks, the public state will be determined,—as will also mine,—and you can judge more calmly. Otherwise, it seems to me that I ought to say nothing. Only, if you go, come here first. I must see you once more. Adieu, dear. Our misfortunes are many and unlooked for. Not often does destiny demand a greater price for some happy moments. Yet never do I repent of our affection; and for thee, if not for me, I hope that life has still some good in store. Once again, adieu! May God give thee counsel and help, since they are not in the power of thy affectionate Margherita."

On the 5th of September, Ossoli was "at her side," and together, with glad and grateful hearts, they welcomed their boy; though the father was compelled to return the next day to Rome. Even then, however, a new chapter of sorrows was opening. By indiscreet treatment, Margaret was thrown into violent fever, and became unable to nurse her child. Her waiting maid, also, proved so treacherous, that she was forced to dismiss her, and wished "never to set eyes on her more;" and the family, with whom she was living, displayed most detestable meanness. Thus helpless, ill, and solitary, she could not even now enjoy the mother's privilege. Yet she writes cheerfully:—"My present nurse is a very good one, and I feel relieved. We must have courage but it is a great care, alone and ignorant, to guard an infant in its first days of life. He is very pretty for his age; and, without knowing what name I intended giving him, the people in the house call him Angiolino, because he is so lovely." Again:—"He is so dear! It seems to me, among all disasters and difficulties, that if he lives and is well, he will become a treasure for us two, that will compensate us for everything." And yet again:—"This —— is faithless, like the rest. Spite of all his promises, he will not bring the matter to inoculate Nino, though, all about us, persons are dying with small-pox. I cannot sleep by night, and I weep by day, I am so disgusted; but you are too far off to help me. The baby is more beautiful every hour. He is worth all the trouble he causes me,—poor child that I am,—alone here, and abused by everybody."

Yet new struggles; new sorrows! Ossoli writes:—

"Our affairs must be managed with the utmost caution imaginable, since my thought would be to keep the baby out of Rome for the sake of greater secrecy, if only we can find a good nurse who will take care of him like a mother." To which Margaret replies:—"He is always so charming, how can I ever, ever leave him! I wake in the night,—I look at him. I think: Ah, it is impossible! He is so beautiful and good, I could die for him!" Once more:—"In seeking rooms, do not pledge me to remain in Rome, for it seems to me, often, I cannot stay long without seeing the boy. He is so dear, and life seems so uncertain. It is necessary that I should be in Rome a month, at least, to write, and also to be near you. But I must be free to return here, if I feel too anxious and suffering for him. O, love! how difficult is life! But thou art good! If it were only possible to make thee happy!" And, finally, "Signora speaks very highly of ——, the nurse of Angelo, and says that her aunt is an excellent woman, and that the brothers are all good. Her conduct pleases me well. This consoles me a little, in the prospect of leaving my child, if that is necessary."

So, early in November, Ossoli came for her, and they returned together. In December, however, Margaret passed a week more with her darling, making two fatiguing and perilous journeys, as snows had fallen on the mountains, and the streams were much swollen by the rains. And then, from the combined motives of being near her husband, watching and taking part in the impending struggle of liberalism, earning support by her pen, preparing her book, and avoiding suspicion, she remained for three months in Rome. "How many nights I have passed," she writes, "entirely in contriving possible means, by which, through resolution and effort on my part, that one sacrifice could be avoided. But it was impossible. I could not take the nurse from her family; I could not remove Angelo, without immense difficulty and risk. It is singular, how everything has worked to give me more and more sorrow. Could I but have remained in peace, cherishing the messenger dove, I should have asked no more, but should have felt overpaid for all the pains and bafflings of my sad and broken life." In March, she flies back to Rieti, and finds "our treasure in the best of health, and plump, though small. When first I took him in my arms, he made no sound, but leaned his head against my bosom, and kept it there, as if he would say, How could you leave me? They told me, that all the day of my departure he would not be comforted, always looking toward the door. He has been a strangely precocious infant, I think, through sympathy with me, for I worked very hard before his birth, with the hope that all my spirit might be incarnated in him. In that regard, it may have been good for him to be with these more instinctively joyous natures. I see that he is more serene, is less sensitive, than when with me, and sleeps better. The most solid happiness I have known has been when he has gone to sleep in my arms. What cruel sacrifices have I made to guard my secret for the present, and to have the mode of disclosure at my own option! It will, indeed, be just like all the rest, if these sacrifices are made in vain."

* * * * *

At Rieti, Margaret rested till the middle of April, when, returning once more to Rome, she was, as we have seen, shut up within the beleagured city.

The siege ended, the anxious mother was free to seek her child once more, in his nest among the mountains. Her fears had been but too prophetic. "Though the physician sent me reassuring letters," she writes, "I yet often seemed to hear Angelino calling to me amid the roar of the cannon, and always his tone was of crying. And when I came, I found mine own fast waning to the tomb! His nurse, lovely and innocent as she appeared, had betrayed him, for lack of a few scudi! He was worn to a skeleton; his sweet, childish grace all gone! Everything I had endured seemed light to what I felt when I saw him too weak to smile, or lift his wasted little hand. Now, by incessant care, we have brought him back,—who knows if that be a deed of love?—into this hard world once more. But I could not let him go, unless I went with him; and I do hope that the cruel law of my life will, at least, not oblige us to be separated. When I saw his first returning smile,—that poor, wan, feeble smile!—and more than four weeks we watched him night and day, before we saw it,—new resolution dawned in my heart. I resolved to live, day by day, hour by hour, for his dear sake. So, if he is only treasure lent,—if he too must go, as sweet Waldo, Pickie, Hermann, did,—as all my children do!—I shall at least have these days and hours with him."

How intolerable was this last blow to one stretched so long on the rack, is plain from Margaret's letters. "I shall never again," she writes, "be perfectly, be religiously generous, so terribly do I need for myself the love I have given to other sufferers. When you read this, I hope your heart will be happy; for I still like to know that others are happy,—it consoles me." Again her agony wrung from her these bitter words,—the bitterest she ever uttered,—words of transient madness, yet most characteristic:—"Oh God! help me, is all my cry. Yet I have little faith in the Paternal love I need, so ruthless or so negligent seems the government of this earth. I feel calm, yet sternly, towards Fate. This last plot against me has been so cruelly, cunningly wrought, that I shall never acquiesce. I submit, because useless resistance is degrading, but I demand an explanation. I see that it is probable I shall never receive one, while I live here, and suppose I can bear the rest of the suspense, since I have comprehended all its difficulties in the first moments. Meanwhile, I live day by day, though not on manna." But now comes a sweeter, gentler strain:—"I have been the object of great love from the noble and the humble; I have felt it towards both. Yet I am tired out,—tired of thinking and hoping,—tired of seeing men err and bleed. I take interest in some plans,—Socialism for instance,—but the interest is shallow as the plans. These are needed, are even good; but man will still blunder and weep, as he has done for so many thousand years. Coward and footsore, gladly would I creep into some green recess, where I might see a few not unfriendly faces, and where not more wretches should come than I could relieve. Yes! I am weary, and faith soars and sings no more. Nothing good of me is left except at the bottom of the heart, a melting tenderness:—'She loves much.'"


Morning rainbows usher in tempests, and certainly youth's romantic visions had prefigured a stormy day of life for Margaret. But there was yet to be a serene and glowing hour before the sun went down. Angelo grew strong and lively once more; rest and peace restored her elasticity of spirit, and extracts from various letters will show in what tranquil blessedness, the autumn and winter glided by. After a few weeks' residence at Rieti, the happy three journeyed on, by way of Perugia, to Florence, where they arrived at the end of September. Thence, Margaret writes:—

It was so pleasant at Perugia! The pure mountain air is such perfect elixir, the walks are so beautiful on every side, and there is so much to excite generous and consoling feelings! I think the works of the Umbrian school are never well seen except in their home;—they suffer by comparison with works more rich in coloring, more genial, more full of common life. The depth and tenderness of their expression is lost on an observer stimulated to a point out of their range. Now, I can prize them. We went every morning to some church rich in pictures, returning at noon for breakfast. After breakfast, we went into the country, or to sit and read under the trees near San Pietro. Thus I read Nicolo di' Lapi, a book unenlivened by a spark of genius, but interesting, to me, as illustrative of Florence.

Our little boy gained strength rapidly there;—every day he was able to go out with us more. He is now full of life and gayety. We hope he will live, and grow into a stout man yet.

Our journey here was delightful;—it is the first time I have seen Tuscany when the purple grape hangs garlanded from tree to tree. We were in the early days of the vintage: the fields were animated by men and women, some of the latter with such pretty little bare feet, and shy, soft eyes, under the round straw hat. They were beginning to cut the vines, but had not done enough to spoil any of the beauty.

Here, too, I feel better pleased than ever before. Florence seems so cheerful and busy, after ruined Rome, I feel as if I could forget the disasters of the day, for a while, in looking on the treasures she inherits.

* * * * *

To-day we have been out in the country, and found a little chapel, full of contadine, their lovers waiting outside the door. They looked charming in their black veils,—the straw hat hanging on the arm,—with shy, glancing eyes, and cheeks pinched rosy by the cold; for it is cold here as in New England. On foot, we have explored a great part of the environs; and till now I had no conception of their beauty. When here before, I took only the regular drives, as prescribed for all lady and gentlemen travellers. This evening we returned by a path that led to the banks of the Arno. The Duomo, with the snowy mountains, were glorious in the rosy tint and haze, just before sunset. What a difference it makes to come home to a child!—how it fills up all the gaps of life, just in the way that is most consoling, most refreshing! Formerly, I used to feel sad at that hour; the day had not been nobly spent, I had not done my duty to myself and others, and I felt so lonely! Now I never feel lonely; for, even if my little boy dies, our souls will remain eternally united. And I feel infinite hope for him,—hope that he will serve God and man more loyally than I have done; and, seeing how full he is of life,—how much he can afford to throw away,—I feel the inexhaustibleness of nature, and console myself for my own incapacities.

* * * * *

Florence, Oct. 14, 1849.—Weary in spirit, with the deep disappointments of the last year, I wish to dwell little on these things for the moment, but seek some consolation in the affections. My little boy is quite well now, and I often am happy in seeing how joyous and full of activity he seems. Ossoli, too, feels happier here. The future is full of difficulties for us, but, having settled our plans for the present, we shall set it aside while we may. "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof;" and if the good be not always sufficient, in our case it is; so let us say grace to our dinner of herbs.

* * * * *

Florence, Nov. 7.—Dearest Mother,—Of all your endless acts and words of love, never was any so dear to me as your last letter;—so generous, so sweet, so holy! What on earth is so precious as a mother's love; and who has a mother like mine!

I was thinking of you and my father, all that first day of October, wishing to write, only there was much to disturb me that day, as the police were threatening to send us away. It is only since I have had my own child that I have known how much I always failed to do what I might have done for the happiness of you both; only since I have seen so much of men and their trials, that I have learned to prize my father as he deserved; only since I have had a heart daily and hourly testifying to me its love, that I have understood, too late, what it was for you to be deprived of it. It seems to me as if I had never sympathized with you as I ought, or tried to embellish and sustain your life, as far as is possible, after such an irreparable wound.

It will be sad for me to leave Italy, uncertain of return. Yet when I think of you, beloved mother; of brothers and sisters, and many friends, I wish to come. Ossoli is perfectly willing. He leaves in Rome a sister, whom he dearly loves. His aunt is dying now. He will go among strangers; but to him, as to all the young Italians, America seems the land of liberty. He hopes, too, that a new revolution will favor return, after a number of years, and that then he may find really a home in Italy. All this is dark;—we can judge only for the present moment. The decision will rest with me, and I shall wait till the last moment, as I always do, that I may have all the reasons before me.

I thought, to-day, ah, if she could only be with us now! But who knows how long this interval of peace will last? I have learned to prize such, as the halcyon prelude to the storm. It is now about a fortnight, since the police gave us leave to stay, and we feel safe in our little apartment. We have no servant except the nurse, with occasional aid from the porter's wife, and now live comfortably so, tormented by no one, helping ourselves. In the evenings, we have a little fire now;—the baby sits on his stool between us. He makes me think how I sat on mine, in the chaise, between you and father. He is exceedingly fond of flowers;—he has been enchanted, this evening, by this splendid Gardenia, and these many crimson flowers that were given me at Villa Correggi, where a friend took us in his carriage. It was a luxury, this ride, as we have entirely renounced the use of a carriage for ourselves. How enchanted you would have been with that villa! It seems now as if, with the certainty of a very limited income, we could be so happy! But I suppose, if we had it, one of us would die, or the baby. Do not you die, my beloved mother;—let us together have some halcyon moments, again, with God, with nature, with sweet childhood, with the remembrance of pure trust and good intent; away from perfidy and care, and the blight of noble designs.

Ossoli wishes you were here, almost as much as I. When there is anything really lovely and tranquil, he often says, "Would not 'La Madre' like that?" He wept when he heard your letter. I never saw him weep at any other time, except when his father died, and when the French entered Rome. He has, I think, even a more holy feeling about a mother, from having lost his own, when very small. It has been a life-long want with him. He often shows me a little scar on his face, made by a jealous dog, when his mother was caressing him as an infant. He prizes that blemish much.

* * * * *

Florence, December 1, 1849.—I do not know what to write about the baby, he changes so much,—has so many characters. He is like me in that, for his father's character is simple and uniform, though not monotonous, any more than are the flowers of spring flowers of the valley. Angelino is now in the most perfect rosy health,—a very gay, impetuous, ardent, but sweet-tempered child. He seems to me to have nothing in common with his first babyhood, with its ecstatic smiles, its exquisite sensitiveness, and a distinction in the gesture and attitudes that struck everybody. His temperament is apparently changed by taking the milk of these robust women. He is now come to quite a knowing age,—fifteen months.

In the morning, as soon as dressed, he signs to come into our room; then draws our curtain with his little dimpled hand, kisses me rather violently, pats my face, laughs, crows, shows his teeth, blows like the bellows, stretches himself, and says "bravo." Then, having shown off all his accomplishments, he expects, as a reward, to be tied in his chair, and have his playthings. These engage him busily, but still he calls to us to sing and drum, to enliven the scene. Sometimes he summons me to kiss his hand, and laughs very much at this. Enchanting is that baby-laugh, all dimples and glitter,—so strangely arch and innocent! Then I wash and dress him. That is his great time. He makes it last as long as he can, insisting to dress and wash me the while, kicking, throwing the water about, and full of all manner of tricks, such as, I think, girls never dream of. Then comes his walk;—we have beautiful walks here for him, protected by fine trees, always warm in mid-winter. The bands are playing in the distance, and children of all ages are moving about, and sitting with their nurses. His walk and sleep give me about three hours in the middle of the day.

I feel so refreshed by his young life, and Ossoli diffuses such a power and sweetness over every day, that I cannot endure to think yet of our future. Too much have we suffered already, trying to command it. I do not feel force to make any effort yet. I suppose that very soon now I must do something, and hope I shall feel able when the time comes. My constitution seems making an effort to rally, by dint of much sleep. I had slept so little, for a year and a half, and, after the birth of the child, I had such anxiety and anguish when separated from him, that I was consumed as by nightly fever. The last two months at Rome would have destroyed almost any woman. Then, when I went to him, he was so ill, and I was constantly up with him at night, carrying him about. Now, for two months, we have been tranquil. We have resolved to enjoy being together as much as we can, in this brief interval,—perhaps all we shall ever know of peace. It is very sad we have no money, we could be so quietly happy a while. I rejoice in all Ossoli did; but the results, in this our earthly state, are disastrous, especially as my strength is now so impaired. This much I hope, in life or death, to be no more separated from Angelino.

Last winter, I made the most vehement efforts at least to redeem the time, hoping thus good for the future. But, of at least two volumes written at that time, no line seems of any worth. I had suffered much constraint,—much that was uncongenial, harassing, even torturing, before; but this kind of pain found me unprepared;—the position of a mother separated from her only child is too frightfully unnatural.

* * * * *

The Christmas holidays interest me now, through my child, as they never did for myself. I like to go out to watch the young generation who will be his contemporaries. On Monday, we went to the Caseine. After we had taken the drive, we sat down on a stone seat in the sunny walk, to see the people pass;—the Grand Duke and his children; the elegant Austrian officers, who will be driven out of Italy when Angelino is a man; Princess Demidoff; Harry Lorrequer; an absurd brood of fops; many lovely children; many little frisking dogs, with their bells, &c. The sun shone brightly on the Arno; a barque moved gently by; all seemed good to the baby. He laid himself back in my arms, smiling, singing to himself, and dancing his feet. I hope he will retain some trace in his mind of the perpetual exhilarating picture of Italy. It cannot but be important in its influence while yet a child, to walk in these stately gardens, full of sculpture, and hear the untiring music of the fountains.

Christmas-eve we went to the Annunziata, for midnight mass. Though the service is not splendid here as in Rome, we yet enjoyed it;—sitting in one of the side chapels, at the foot of a monument, watching the rich crowds steal gently by, every eye gleaming, every gesture softened by the influence of the pealing choir, and the hundred silver lamps swinging their full light, in honor of the abused Emanuel.

But far finest was it to pass through the Duomo. No one was there. Only the altars were lit up, and the priests, who were singing, could not be seen by the faint light. The vast solemnity of the interior is thus really felt. The hour was worthy of Brunelleschi. I hope he walked there so. The Duomo is more divine than St. Peter's, and worthy of genius pure and unbroken. St. Peter's is, like Rome, a mixture of sublimest heaven with corruptest earth. I adore the Duomo, though no place can now be to me like St. Peter's, where has been passed the splendidest part of my life. My feeling was always perfectly regal, on entering the piazza of St. Peter's. No spot on earth is worthier the sunlight;—on none does it fall so fondly.

* * * * *

You ask me, how I employ myself here. I have been much engaged in writing out my impressions, which will be of worth so far as correct. I am anxious only to do historical justice to facts and persons; but there will not, so far as I am aware, be much thought, for I believe I have scarce expressed what lies deepest in my mind. I take no pains, but let the good genius guide my pen. I did long to lead a simple, natural life, at home, learning of my child, and writing only when imperatively urged by the need of utterance; but when we were forced to give up the hope of subsisting on a narrow independence, without tie to the public, we gave up the peculiar beauty of our lives, and I strive no more. I only hope to make good terms with the publishers.

Then, I have been occupied somewhat in reading Louis Blanc's Ten Years, Lamartine's Girondists, and other books of that class, which throw light on recent transactions.

I go into society, too, somewhat, and see several delightful persons, in an intimate way. The Americans meet twice a week, at the house of Messrs. Mozier and Chapman, and I am often present, on account of the friendly interest of those resident here. With our friends, the Greenoughs, I have twice gone to the opera. Then I see the Brownings often, and love and admire them both, more and more, as I know them better. Mr. Browning enriches every hour I pass with him, and is a most cordial, true, and noble man. One of my most highly prized Italian friends, also, Marchioness Arconati Visconti, of Milan, is passing the winter here, and I see her almost every day.

* * * * *

My love for Ossoli is most pure and tender, nor has any one, except my mother or little children, loved me so genuinely as he does. To some, I have been obliged to make myself known; others have loved me with a mixture of fancy and enthusiasm, excited by my talent at embellishing life. But Ossoli loves me from simple affinity;—he loves to be with me, and to serve and soothe me. Life will probably be a severe struggle, but I hope I shall be able to live through all that is before us, and not neglect my child or his father. He has suffered enough since we met;—it has ploughed furrows in his life. He has done all he could, and cannot blame himself. Our outward destiny looks dark, but we must brave it as we can. I trust we shall always feel mutual tenderness, and Ossoli has a simple, childlike piety, that will make it easier for him.


Pure and peaceful as was the joy of Margaret's Florence winter, it was ensured and perfected by the fidelity of friends, who hedged around with honor the garden of her home. She had been called to pass through a most trying ordeal, and the verdict of her peers was heightened esteem and love. With what dignified gratitude she accepted this well-earned proof of confidence, will appear from the following extracts.


Thus far, my friends have received news that must have been an unpleasant surprise to them, in a way that, á moi, does them great honor. None have shown littleness or displeasure, at being denied my confidence while they were giving their own. Many have expressed the warmest sympathy, and only one has shown a disposition to transgress the limit I myself had marked, and to ask questions. With her, I think, this was because she was annoyed by what people said, and wished to be able to answer them. I replied to her, that I had communicated already all I intended, and should not go into detail;—that when unkind things were said about me, she should let them pass. Will you, dear E——, do the same? I am sure your affection for me will prompt you to add, that you feel confident whatever I have done has been in a good spirit, and not contrary to my ideas of right. For the rest, you will not admit for me,—as I do not for myself,—the rights of the social inquisition of the United States to know all the details of my affairs. If my mother is content; if Ossoli and I are content; if our child, when grown up, shall be content; that is enough. You and I know enough of the United States to be sure that many persons there will blame whatever is peculiar. The lower-minded persons, everywhere, are sure to think that whatever is mysterious must be bad. But I think there will remain for me a sufficient number of friends to keep my heart warm, and to help me earn my bread;—that is all that is of any consequence. Ossoli seems to me more lovely and good every day; our darling child is well now, and every day more gay and playful. For his sake I shall have courage; and hope some good angel will show us the way out of our external difficulties.


It was like you to receive with such kindness the news of my marriage. A less generous person would have been displeased, that, when we had been drawn so together,—when we had talked so freely, and you had shown towards me such sweet friendship,—I had not told you. Often did I long to do so, but I had, for reasons that seemed important, made a law to myself to keep this secret as rigidly as possible, up to a certain moment. That moment came. Its decisions were not such as I had hoped; but it left me, at least, without that painful burden, which I trust never to bear again. Nature keeps so many secrets, that I had supposed the moral writers exaggerated the dangers and plagues of keeping them; but they cannot exaggerate. All that can be said about mine is, that I at least acted out, with, to me, tragic thoroughness, "The wonder, a woman keeps a secret." As to my not telling you, I can merely say, that I was keeping the information from my family and dearest friends at home; and, had you remained near me a very little later, you would have been the very first person to whom I should have spoken, as you would have been the first, on this side of the water, to whom I should have written, had I known where to address you. Yet I hardly hoped for your sympathy, dear W——. I am very glad if I have it. May brotherly love ever be returned unto you in like measure. Ossoli desires his love and respect to be testified to you both.


Reading a book called "The Last Days of the Republic in Rome," I see that my letter, giving my impressions of that period, may well have seemed to you strangely partial. If we can meet as once we did, and compare notes in the same spirit of candor, while making mutual allowance for our different points of view, your testimony and opinions would be invaluable to me. But will you have patience with my democracy,—my revolutionary spirit? Believe that in thought I am more radical than ever. The heart of Margaret you know,—it is always the same. Mazzini is immortally dear to me—a thousand times deafer for all the trial I saw made of him in Rome;—dearer for all he suffered. Many of his brave friends perished there. We who, less worthy, survive, would fain make up for the loss, by our increased devotion to him, the purest, the most disinterested of patriots, the most affectionate of brothers. You will not love me less that I am true to him.

Then, again, how will it affect you to know that I have united my destiny with that of an obscure young man,—younger than myself; a person of no intellectual culture, and in whom, in short, you will see no reason for my choosing; yet more, that this union is of long standing; that we have with us our child, of a year old, and that it is only lately I acquainted my family with the fact?

If you decide to meet with me as before, and wish to say something about the matter to your friends, it will be true to declare that there have been pecuniary reasons for this concealment. But to you, in confidence, I add, this is only half the truth; and I cannot explain, or satisfy my dear friend further. I should wish to meet her independent of all relations, but, as we live in the midst of "society," she would have to inquire for me now as Margaret Ossoli. That being done, I should like to say nothing more on the subject.

However you may feel about all this, dear Madame Arconati, you will always be the same in my eyes. I earnestly wish you may not feel estranged; but, if you do, I would prefer that you should act upon it. Let us meet as friends, or not at all. In all events, I remain ever yours,



My loved friend,—I read your letter with greatest content. I did not know but that there might seem something offensively strange in the circumstances I mentioned to you. Goethe says, "There is nothing men pardon so little as singular conduct, for which no reason is given;" and, remembering this, I have been a little surprised at the even increased warmth of interest with which the little American society of Florence has received me, with the unexpected accessories of husband and child,—asking no questions, and seemingly satisfied to find me thus accompanied. With you, indeed, I thought it would be so, because you are above the world; only, as you have always walked in the beaten path, though with noble port, and feet undefiled, I thought you might not like your friends to be running about in these blind alleys. It glads my heart, indeed, that you do not care for this, and that we may meet in love.

You speak of our children. Ah! dear friend, I do, indeed, feel we shall have deep sympathy there. I do not believe mine will be a brilliant child, and, indeed, I see nothing peculiar about him. Yet he is to me a source of ineffable joys,—far purer, deeper, than anything I ever felt before,—like what Nature had sometimes given, but more intimate, more sweet. He loves me very much; his little heart clings to mine. I trust, if he lives, to sow there no seeds which are not good, to be always growing better for his sake. Ossoli, too, will be a good father. He has very little of what is called intellectual development, but unspoiled instincts, affections pure and constant, and a quiet sense of duty, which, to me,—who have seen much of the great faults in characters of enthusiasm and genius,—seems of highest value.

When you write by post, please direct "Marchesa Ossoli," as all the letters come to that address. I did not explain myself on that point. The fact is, it looks to me silly for a radical like me to be carrying a title; and yet, while Ossoli is in his native land, it seems disjoining myself from him, not to bear it. It is a sort of thing that does not naturally belong to me, and, unsustained by fortune, is but a souvenir even for Ossoli. Yet it has appeared to me, that for him to drop an inherited title would be, in some sort, to acquiesce in his brothers' disclaiming him, and to abandon a right he may passively wish to maintain for his child. How does it seem to you? I am not very clear about it. If Ossoli should drop the title, it would be a suitable moment to do so on becoming an inhabitant of Republican America.


What you say of the meddling curiosity of people repels me, it is so different here. When I made my appearance with a husband and a child of a year old, nobody did the least act to annoy me. All were most cordial; none asked or implied questions. Yet there were not a few who might justly have complained, that, when they were confiding to me all their affairs, and doing much to serve me, I had observed absolute silence to them. Others might, for more than one reason, be displeased at the choice I made. All have acted in the kindliest and most refined manner. An Italian lady, with whom I was intimate,—who might be qualified in the Court Journal, as one of the highest rank, sustained by the most scrupulous decorum,—when I wrote, "Dear friend, I am married; I have a child. There are particulars, as to my reasons for keeping this secret, I do not wish to tell. This is rather an odd affair; will it make any difference in our relations?"—answered, "What difference can it make, except that I shall love you more, now that we can sympathize as mothers?" Her first visit here was to me: she adopted at once Ossoli and the child to her love.

—— wrote me that —— was a little hurt, at first, that I did not tell him, even in the trying days of Rome, but left him to hear it, as he unluckily did, at the table d'hôte in Venice; but his second and prevailing thought was regret that he had not known it, so as to soothe and aid me,—to visit Ossoli at his post,—to go to the child in the country. Wholly in that spirit was the fine letter he wrote me, one of my treasures. The little American society have been most cordial and attentive; one lady, who has been most intimate with me, dropped a tear over the difficulties before me, but she said, "Since you have seen fit to take the step, all your friends have to do, now, is to make it as easy for you as they can."


I am glad to have people favorably impressed, because I feel lazy and weak, unequal to the trouble of friction, or the pain of conquest. Still, I feel a good deal of contempt for those so easily disconcerted or reässured. I was not a child; I had lived in the midst of that New England society, in a way that entitled me to esteem, and a favorable interpretation, where there was doubt about my motives or actions. I pity those who are inclined to think ill, when they might as well have inclined the other way. However, let them go; there are many in the world who stand the test, enough to keep us from shivering to death. I am, on the whole, fortunate in friends whom I can truly esteem, and in whom I know the kernel and substance of their being too well to be misled by seemings.


I had a letter from my mother, last summer, speaking of the fact, that she had never been present at the marriage of one of her children. A pang of remorse came as I read it, and I thought, if Angelino dies,[A] I will not give her the pain of knowing that I have kept this secret from her;—she shall hear of this connection, as if it were something new. When I found he would live, I wrote to her and others. It half killed me to write those few letters, and yet, I know, many are wondering that I did not write more, and more particularly. My mother received my communication in the highest spirit. She said, she was sure a first object with me had been, now and always, to save her pain. She blessed us. She rejoiced that she should not die feeling there was no one left to love me with the devotion she thought I needed. She expressed no regret at our poverty, but offered her feeble means. Her letter was a noble crown to her life of disinterested, purifying love.

[Footnote A: This was when Margaret found Nino so ill at Rieti.]


The following notes respecting Margaret's residence in Florence were furnished to the editors by Mr. W.H. Hurlbut.

I passed about six weeks in the city of Florence, during the months of March and April, 1850. During the whole of that time Madame Ossoli was residing in a house at the corner of the Via della Misericordia and the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. This house is one of those large, well built modern houses that show strangely in the streets of the stately Tuscan city. But if her rooms were less characteristically Italian, they were the more comfortable, and, though small, had a quiet, home-like air. Her windows opened upon a fine view of the beautiful Piazza; for such was their position, that while the card-board façade of the church of Sta. Maria Novella could only be seen at an angle, the exquisite Campanile rose fair and full against the sky. She enjoyed this most graceful tower very much, and, I think, preferred it even to Giotto's noble work. Its quiet religious grace was grateful to her spirit, which seemed to be yearning for peace from the cares that had so vexed and heated the world about her for a year past.

I saw her frequently at these rooms, where, surrounded by her books and papers, she used to devote her mornings to her literary labors. Once or twice I called in the morning, and found her quite immersed in manuscripts and journals. Her evenings were passed usually in the society of her friends, at her own rooms, or at theirs. With the pleasant circle of Americans, then living in Florence, she was on the best terms, and though she seemed always to bring with her her own most intimate society, and never to be quite free from the company of busy thoughts, and the cares to which her life had introduced her, she was always cheerful, and her remarkable powers of conversation subserved on all occasions the kindliest, purposes of good-will in social intercourse.

The friends with whom she seemed to be on the terms of most sympathy, were an Italian lady, the Marchesa Arconati Visconti,[A]—the exquisite sweetness of whose voice interpreted, even to those who knew her only as a transient acquaintance, the harmony of her nature,—and some English residents in Florence, among whom I need only name Mr. and Mrs. Browning, to satisfy the most anxious friends of Madame Ossoli that the last months of her Italian life were cheered by all the light that communion with gifted and noble natures could afford.

The Marchesa Arconati used to persuade Madame Ossoli to occasional excursions with her into the environs of Florence, and she passed some days of the beautiful spring weather at the villa of that lady.

Her delight in nature seemed to be a source of great comfort and strength to her. I shall not easily forget the account she gave me, on the evening of one delicious Sunday in April, of a walk which she had taken with her husband in the afternoon of that day, to the hill of San Miniato. The amethystine beauty of the Apennines,—the cypress trees that sentinel the way up to the ancient and deserted church,—the church itself, standing high and lonely on its hill, begirt with the vine-clad, crumbling walls of Michel Angelo,—the repose of the dome-crowned city in the vale below,—seemed to have wrought their impression with peculiar force upon her mind that afternoon. On their way home, they had entered the conventual church that stands half way up the hill, just as the vesper service was beginning, and she spoke of the simple spirit of devotion that filled the place, and of the gentle wonder with which, to use her own words, the "peasant women turned their glances, the soft dark glances of the Tuscan peasant's eyes," upon the strangers, with a singular enthusiasm. She was in the habit of taking such walks with her husband, and she never returned from one of them, I believe, without some new impression of beauty and of lasting truth. While her judgment, intense in its sincerity, tested, like an aqua regia, the value of all facts that came within her notice, her sympathies seemed, by an instinctive and unerring action, to transmute all her experiences instantly into permanent treasures.

The economy of the house in which she lived afforded me occasions for observing the decisive power, both of control and of consolation, which she could exert over others. Her maid,—an impetuous girl of Rieti, a town which rivals Tivoli as a hot-bed of homicide,—was constantly involved in disputes with a young Jewess, who occupied the floor above Madame Ossoli. On one occasion, this Jewess offered the maid a deliberate and unprovoked insult. The girl of Rieti, snatching up a knife, ran up stairs to revenge herself after her national fashion. The porter's little daughter followed her and, running into Madame Ossoli's rooms, besought her interference. Madame Ossoli reached the apartment of the Jewess, just in time to interpose between that beetle-browed lady and her infuriated assailant. Those who know the insane license of spirit which distinguishes the Roman mountaineers, will understand that this was a position of no slight hazard. The Jewess aggravated the danger of the offence by the obstinate maliciousness of her aspect and words. Such, however, was Madame Ossoli's entire self-possession and forbearance, that she was able to hold her ground, and to remonstrate with this difficult pair of antagonists so effectually, as to bring the maid to penitent tears, and the Jewess to a confession of her injustice, and a promise of future good behavior.

The porter of the house, who lived in a dark cavernous hole on the first floor, was slowly dying of a consumption, the sufferings of which were imbittered by the chill dampness of his abode. His hollow voice and hacking cough, however, could not veil the grateful accent with which he uttered any allusion to Madame Ossoli. He was so close a prisoner to his narrow, windowless chamber, that when I inquired for Madame Ossoli he was often obliged to call his little daughter, before he could tell me whether Madame was at home, or not; and he always tempered the official uniformity of the question with some word of tenderness. Indeed, he rarely pronounced her name; sufficiently indicating to the child whom it was that I was seeking, by the affectionate epithet he used, "Lita! e la cara Signora in casa?"

The composure and force of Madame Ossoli's character would, indeed, have given her a strong influence for good over any person with whom she was brought into contact; but this influence must have been even extraordinary over the impulsive and ill-disciplined children of passion and of sorrow, among whom she was thrown in Italy.

Her husband related to me once, with a most reverent enthusiasm, some stories of the good she had done in Rieti, during her residence there. The Spanish troops were quartered in that town, and the dissipated habits of the officers, as well as the excesses of the soldiery, kept the place in a constant irritation. Though overwhelmed with cares and anxieties, Madame Ossoli found time and collectedness of mind enough to interest herself in the distresses of the towns-people, and to pour the soothing oil of a wise sympathy upon their wounded and indignant feelings. On one occasion, as the Marchese told me, she undoubtedly saved the lives of a family in Rieti, by inducing them to pass over in silence an insult offered to one of them by an intoxicated Spanish soldier,—and, on another, she interfered between two brothers, maddened by passion, and threatening to stain the family hearth with the guilt of fratricide.[B]

Such incidents, and the calm tenor of Madame Ossoli's confident hopes.—the assured faith and unshaken bravery, with which she met and turned aside the complicated troubles, rising sometimes into absolute perils, of their last year in Italy,—seemed to have inspired her husband with a feeling of respect for her, amounting to reverence. This feeling, modifying the manifest tenderness with which he hung upon her every word and look, and sought to anticipate her simplest wishes, was luminously visible in the air and manner of his affectionate devotion to her.

The frank and simple recognition of his wife's singular nobleness, which he always displayed, was the best evidence that his own nature was of a fine and noble strain. And those who knew him best, are, I believe, unanimous in testifying that his character did in no respect belie the evidence borne by his manly and truthful countenance, to its warmth and its sincerity. He seemed quite absorbed in his wife and child. I cannot remember ever to have found Madame Ossoli alone, on those evenings when she remained at home. Her husband was always with her. The picture of their room rises clearly on my memory. A small square room, sparingly, yet sufficiently furnished, with polished floor and frescoed ceiling,—and, drawn up closely before the cheerful fire, an oval table, on which stood a monkish lamp of brass, with depending chains that support quaint classic cups for the olive oil. There, seated beside his wife, I was sure to find the Marchese, reading from some patriotic book, and dressed in the dark brown, red-corded coat of the Guardia Civica, which it was his melancholy pleasure to wear at home. So long as the conversation could be carried on in Italian, he used to remain, though he rarely joined in it to any considerable degree; but if a number of English and American visitors came in, he used to take his leave and go to the Café d'Italia, being very unwilling, as Madame Ossoli told me, to impose any seeming restraint, by his presence, upon her friends, with whom he was unable to converse. For the same reason, he rarely remained with her at the houses of her English or American friends, though he always accompanied her thither, and returned to escort her home.

I conversed with him so little that I can hardly venture to make any remarks on the impression which I received from his conversation, with regard to the character of his mind. Notwithstanding his general reserve and curtness of speech, on two or three occasions he showed himself to possess quite a quick and vivid fancy, and even a certain share of humor. I have heard him tell stories remarkably well. One tale, especially, which related to a dream he had in early life, about a treasure concealed in his father's house, which was thrice repeated, and made so strong an impression on his mind as to induce him to batter a certain panel in the library almost to pieces, in vain, but which received something like a confirmation from the fact, that a Roman attorney, who rented that and other rooms from the family, after his father's death, grew suddenly and unaccountably rich,—I remember as being told with great felicity and vivacity of expression.

His recollections of the trouble and the dangers through which he had passed with his wife seemed to be overpoweringly painful. On one occasion, he began to tell me a story of their stay in the mountains: He had gone out to walk, and had unconsciously crossed the Neapolitan frontier. Suddenly meeting with a party of the Neapolitan gendarmerie, he was called to account for his trespass, and being unable to produce any papers testifying to his loyalty, or the legality of his existence, he was carried off, despite his protestations, and lodged for the night in a miserable guard-house, whence he-was taken, next morning, to the head-quarters of the officer commanding in the neighborhood. Here, matters might have gone badly with him, but for the accident that he had upon his person a business letter directed to himself as the Marchese Ossoli. A certain abbé, the regimental chaplain, having once spent some time in Rome, recognized the name as that of an officer in the Pope's Guardia Nobile,[C] whereupon, the Neapolitan officers not only ordered him to be released, but sent him back, with many apologies, in a carriage, and under an armed escort, to the Roman territory. When he reached this part of his story, and came to his meeting with Madame Ossoli, the remembrance of her terrible distress during the period of his detention so overcame him, that he was quite unable to go on.

Towards their child he manifested an overflowing tenderness, and most affectionate care.

Notwithstanding the intense contempt and hatred which Signore Ossoli, in common with all the Italian liberals, cherished towards the ecclesiastical body, he seemed to be a very devout Catholic. He used to attend regularly the vesper service, in some of the older and quieter churches of Florence; and, though I presume Madame Ossoli never accepted in any degree the Roman Catholic forms of faith, she frequently accompanied him on these occasions. And I know that she enjoyed the devotional influences of the church ritual, as performed in the cathedral, and at Santa Croce, especially during the Easter-week.

Though condemned by her somewhat uncertain position at Florence,[D] as well as by the state of things in Tuscany at that time, to a comparative inaction, Madame Ossoli never seemed to lose in the least the warmth of her interest in the affairs of Italy, nor did she bate one jot of heart or hope for the future of that country. She was much depressed, however, I think, by the apparent apathy and prostration of the Liberals in Tuscany; and the presence of the Austrian troops in Florence was as painful and annoying to her, as it could have been to any Florentine patriot. When it was understood that Prince Lichtenstein had requested the Grand Duke to order a general illumination in honor of the anniversary of the battle of Novara, Madame Ossoli, I recollect, was more moved, than I remember on any other occasion to have seen her. And she used to speak very regretfully of the change which had come over the spirit of Florence, since her former residence there. Then all was gayety and hope. Bodies of artisans, gathering recruits as they passed along, used to form themselves into choral bands, as they returned from their work at the close of the day, and filled the air with the chants of liberty. Now, all was a sombre and desolate silence.

Her own various cares so occupied Madame Ossoli that she seemed to be very much withdrawn from the world of art. During the whole time of my stay in Florence, I do not think she once visited either of the Grand Ducal Galleries, and the only studio in which she seemed to feel any very strong interest, was that of Mademoiselle Favand, a lady whose independence of character, self-reliance, and courageous genius, could hardly have failed to attract her congenial sympathies.

But among all my remembrances of Madame Ossoli, there are none more beautiful or more enduring than those which recall to me another person, a young stranger, alone and in feeble health, who found, in her society, her sympathy, and her counsels, a constant atmosphere of comfort and of peace. Every morning, wild-flowers, freshly gathered, were laid upon her table by the grateful hands of this young man; every evening, beside her seat in her little room, his mild, pure face was to be seen, bright with a quiet happiness, that must have bound his heart by no weak ties to her with whose fate his own was so closely to be linked.

And the recollection of such benign and holy influences breathed upon the human hearts of those who came within her sphere, will not, I trust, be valueless to those friends, in whose love her memory is enshrined with more immortal honors than the world can give or take away.

[Footnote A: Just before I left Florence, Madame Ossoli showed me a small marble figure of a child, playing among flowers or vine leaves, which, she said, was a portrait of the child of Madame Arconati, presented to her by that lady. I mention this circumstance, because I have understood that a figure answering this description was recovered from the wreck of the Elizabeth.]

[Footnote B: The circumstances of this story, perhaps, deserve to be recorded. The brothers were two young men, the sons and the chief supports of Madame Ossoli's landlord at Rieti. They were both married,—the younger one to a beautiful girl, who had brought him no dowry, and who, in the opinion of her husband's family, had not shown a proper disposition to bear her share of the domestic burdens and duties. The bickerings and disputes which resulted from this state of affairs, on one unlucky day, took the form of an open and violent quarrel. The younger son, who was absent from home when the conflict began, returned to find it at its height, and was received by his wife with passionate tears, and by his relations with sharp recriminations. His brother, especially, took it upon himself to upbraid him, in the name of all his family, for bringing into their home-circle such a firebrand of discord. Charges and counter charges followed in rapid succession, and hasty words soon led to blows. From blows the appeal to the knife was swiftly made, and when Madame Ossoli, attracted by the unusual clamor, entered upon the scene of action, she found that blood had been already drawn, and that the younger brother was only restrained from following up the first assault by the united force of all the females, who hung about him, while the older brother, grasping a heavy billet of wood, and pale with rage, stood awaiting his antagonist. Passing through the group of weeping and terrified women, Madame Ossoli made her way up to the younger brother and, laying her hand upon his shoulder, asked him to put down his weapon and listen to her. It was in vain that he attempted to ignore her presence. Before the spell of her calm, firm, well-known voice, his fury melted away. She spoke to him again, and besought him to show himself a man, and to master his foolish and wicked rage. With a sudden impulse, he flung his knife upon the ground, turned to Madame Ossoli, clasped and kissed her hand, and then running towards his brother, the two met in a fraternal embrace, which brought the threatened tragedy to a joyful termination.]

[Footnote C: It will be understood, that this officer was the
Marchese's older brother, who still adheres to the Papal cause.]

[Footnote D: She believed herself to be, and I suppose really was, under the surveillance of the police during her residence in Florence.]



* * * * *

  Last, having thus revealed all I could love
  And having received all love bestowed on it,
  I would die: so preserving through my course
  God full on me, as I was full on men:
  And He would grant my prayer—"I have gone through
  All loveliness of life; make more for me,
  If not for men,—or take me to Thyself,
  Eternal, Infinite Love!"


        Till another open for me
        In God's Eden-land unknown,
        With an angel at the doorway,
        White with gazing at His Throne;
  And a saint's voice in the palm-trees, singing,—"ALL IS LOST, and won."


  La ne venimmo: e lo scaglión primaio
    Bianco marmo éra si pulito e terso,
    Ch'io mi specchiava in esso, qual io paio.
  Era 'l secondo tinto, píù che pérso,
    D'una petrina ruvida ed arsiccia,
    Crepata per lo lungo e per traverso.
  Lo terzo, che di sopra s'ammassiccia,
    Pôrfido mi parea si fiammegiante,
    Come sangue che fuor di vena spiccia.
  Sopra questa teneva ambo le piante
    L' angel di Dio, sedendo in su la soglia,
    Che mi sembiava pietra di diamante.
  Per li tre gradi su di buona voglia
    Mi trasse 'l daca mio, dicendo, chiodi
    Umilmente che 'l serráme scioglia.


  Che luce è questa, e qual nuova beltate?
    Dicean tra lor; perch' abito si adorno
    Dal mondo errante a quest 'alto soggiorno
    Non sail mai in tutta questa etàte.
  Ella contenta aver cangiato albergo,
    Si paragona pur coi più perfetti.




Spring, bright prophet of God's eternal youth, herald forever eloquent of heaven's undying joy, has once more wrought its miracle of resurrection on the vineyards and olive-groves of Tuscany, and touched with gently-wakening fingers the myrtle and the orange in the gardens of Florence. The Apennines have put aside their snowy winding-sheet, and their untroubled faces salute with rosy gleams of promise the new day, while flowers smile upward to the serene sky amid the grass and grain fields, and fruit is swelling beneath the blossoms along the plains of Arno. "The Italian spring," writes Margaret, "is as good as Paradise. Days come of glorious sunshine and gently-flowing airs, that expand the heart and uplift the whole nature. The birds are twittering their first notes of love; the ground is enamelled with anemones, cowslips, and crocuses; every old wall and ruin puts on its festoon and garland; and the heavens stoop daily nearer, till the earth is folded in an embrace of light, and her every pulse beats music."

"This world is indeed a sad place, despite its sunshine, birds, and crocuses. But I never felt as happy as now, when I always find the glad eyes of my little boy to welcome me. I feel the tie between him and me so real and deep-rooted, that even death shall not part us. So sweet is this unimpassioned love, it knows no dark reactions, it does not idealize, and cannot be daunted by the faults of its object. Nothing but a child can take the worst bitterness out of life, and break the spell of loneliness. I shall not be alone in other worlds, whenever Eternity may call me."

And now her face is turned homeward. "I am homesick," she had written years before, "but where is that HOME?"


  "My heart is very tired,—my strength is low,—
  My hands are full of blossoms plucked before,
  Held dead within them till myself shall die."


Many motives drew Margaret to her native land: heart-weariness at the reaction in Europe; desire of publishing to best advantage the book whereby she hoped at once to do justice to great principles and brave men, and to earn bread for her dear ones and herself; and, above all, yearning to be again among her family and earliest associates. "I go back," she writes, "prepared for difficulties; but it will be a consolation to be with my mother, brothers, sister, and old friends, and I find it imperatively necessary to be in the United States, for a while at least, to make such arrangements with the printers as may free me from immediate care. I did think, at one time, of coming alone with Angelino, and then writing for Ossoli to come later, or returning to Italy; knowing that it will be painful for him to go, and that there he must have many lonely hours. But he is separated from his old employments and natural companions, while no career is open for him at present. Then, I would not take his child away for several months; for his heart is fixed upon him as fervently as mine. And, again, it would not only be very strange and sad to be so long without his love and care, but I should be continually solicitous about his welfare. Ossoli, indeed, cannot but feel solitary at first, and I am much more anxious about his happiness than my own. Still, he will have our boy, and the love of my family, especially of my mother, to cheer him, and quiet communings with nature give him pleasure so simple and profound, that I hope he will make a new life for himself, in our unknown country, till changes favor our return to his own. I trust, that we shall find the means to come together, and to remain together."

Considerations of economy determined them, spite of many misgivings, to take passage in a merchantman from Leghorn. "I am suffering," she writes, "as never before, from the horrors of indecision. Happy the fowls of the air, who do not have to think so much about their arrangements! The barque Elizabeth will take us, and is said to be an uncommonly good vessel, nearly new, and well kept. We may be two months at sea, but to go by way of France would more than double the expense. Yet, now that I am on the point of deciding to come in her, people daily dissuade me, saying that I have no conception of what a voyage of sixty or seventy days will be in point of fatigue and suffering; that the insecurity, compared with packet-ships or steamers, is great; that the cabin, being on deck, will be terribly exposed, in case of a gale, &c., &c. I am well aware of the proneness of volunteer counsellors to frighten and excite one, and have generally disregarded them. But this time I feel a trembling solicitude on account of my child, and am doubtful, harassed, almost ill." And again, under date of April 21, she says: "I had intended, if I went by way of France, to take the packet-ship 'Argo,' from Havre; and I had requested Mrs. —— to procure and forward to me some of my effects left at Paris, in charge of Miss F——, when, taking up Galignani, my eye fell on these words: 'Died, 4th of April, Miss F——; 'and, turning the page, I read, 'The wreck of the Argo,'—a somewhat singular combination! There were notices, also, of the loss of the fine English steamer Adelaide, and of the American packet John Skiddy. Safety is not to be secured, then, by the wisest foresight. I shall embark more composedly in our merchant-ship, praying fervently, indeed, that it may not be my lot to lose my boy at sea, either by unsolaced illness, or amid the howling waves; or, if so, that Ossoli, Angelo, and I may go together, and that the anguish may be brief."

Their state-rooms were taken, their trunks packed, their preparations finished, they were just leaving Florence, when letters came, which, had they reached her a week earlier, would probably have induced them to remain in Italy. But Margaret had already by letter appointed a rendezvous for the scattered members of her family in July; and she would not break her engagements with the commander of the barque. It was destined that they were to sail,—to sail in the Elizabeth, to sail then. And, even in the hour of parting, clouds, whose tops were golden in the sunshine, whose base was gloomy on the waters, beckoned them onward. "Beware of the sea," had been a singular prophecy, given to Ossoli when a boy, by a fortune-teller, and this was the first ship he had ever set his foot on. More than ordinary apprehensions of risk, too, hovered before Margaret. "I am absurdly fearful," she writes, "and various omens have combined to give me a dark feeling. I am become indeed a miserable coward, for the sake of Angelino. I fear heat and cold, fear the voyage, fear biting poverty. I hope I shall not be forced to be as brave for him, as I have been for myself, and that, if I succeed to rear him, he will be neither a weak nor a bad man. But I love him too much! In case of mishap, however, I shall perish with my husband and my child, and we may be transferred to some happier state." And again: "I feel perfectly willing to stay my threescore years and ten, if it be thought I need so much tuition from this planet; but it seems to me that my future upon earth will soon close. It may be terribly trying, but it will not be so very long, now. God will transplant the root, if he wills to rear it into fruit-bearing." And, finally: "I have a vague expectation of some crisis,—I know not what. But it has long seemed, that, in the year 1850, I should stand on a plateau in the ascent of life, where I should be allowed to pause for a while, and take more clear and commanding views than ever before. Yet my life proceeds as regularly as the fates of a Greek tragedy, and I can but accept the pages as they turn." * *

* * * * *

These were her parting words:—

"Florence, May 14, 1850.—I will believe, I shall be welcome with my treasures,—my husband and child. For me, I long so much to see you! Should anything hinder our meeting upon earth, think of your daughter, as one who always wished, at least, to do her duty, and who always cherished you, according as her mind opened to discover excellence.

"Give dear love, too, to my brothers; and first to my eldest, faithful friend! Eugene; a sister's love to Ellen; love to my kind and good aunts, and to my dear cousin. E.,—God bless them!

"I hope we shall be able to pass some time together yet, in this world. But, if God decrees otherwise,—here and HEREAFTER,—my dearest mother,

"Your loving child, MARGARET."


The seventeenth of May, the day of sailing, came, and the Elizabeth lay waiting for her company. Yet, even then, dark presentiments so overshadowed Margaret, that she passed one anxious hour more in hesitation, before she could resolve to go on board. But Captain Hasty was so fine a model of the New England seaman, strong-minded, prompt, calm, decided, courteous; Mrs. Hasty was so refined, gentle, and hospitable; both had already formed so warm an attachment for the little family, in their few interviews at Florence and Leghorn; Celeste Paolini, a young Italian girl, who had engaged to render kindly services to Angelino, was so lady-like and pleasing; their only other fellow-passenger, Mr. Horace Sumner, of Boston, was so obliging and agreeable a friend; and the good ship herself looked so trim, substantial, and cheery, that it seemed weak and wrong to turn back. They embarked; and, for the first few days, all went prosperously, till fear was forgotten. Soft breezes sweep them tranquilly over the smooth bosom of the Mediterranean; Angelino sits among his heaps of toys, or listens to the seraphine, or leans his head with fondling hands upon the white goat, who is now to be his foster-parent, or in the captain's arms moves to and fro, gazing curiously at spars and rigging, or watches with delight the swelling canvass; while, under the constant stars, above the unresting sea, Margaret and Ossoli pace the deck of their small ocean-home, and think of storms left behind,—perhaps of coming tempests.

But now Captain Hasty fell ill with fever, could hardly drag himself from his state-room to give necessary orders, and lay upon the bed or sofa, in fast-increased distress, though glad to bid Nino good-day, to kiss his cheek, and pat his hand. Still, the strong man grew weaker, till he could no longer draw from beneath the pillow his daily friend, the Bible, though his mind was yet clear to follow his wife's voice, as she read aloud the morning and evening chapter. But alas for the brave, stout seaman! alas for the young wife, on almost her first voyage! alas for crew! alas for company! alas for the friends of Margaret! The fever proved to be confluent small-pox, in the most malignant form. The good commander had received his release from earthly duty. The Elizabeth must lose her guardian. With calm con-[Transcriber's note: A word appears to be missing here.] authorities refused permission for any one to land, and directed that the burial should be made at sea. As the news spread through the port, the ships dropped their flags half-mast, and at sunset, towed by the boat of a neighboring frigate, the crew of the Elizabeth bore the body of their late chief, wrapped in the flag of his nation, to its rest in deep water. Golden twilight flooded the western sky, and shadows of high-piled clouds lay purple on the broad Atlantic. In that calm, summer sunset funeral, what eye foresaw the morning of horror, of which it was the sad forerunner?

At Gibraltar, they were detained a week by adverse winds, but, on the 9th of June, set sail again. The second day after, Angelino sickened with the dreadful malady, and soon became so ill, that his life was despaired of. His eyes were closed, his head and face swollen out of shape, his body covered with eruption. Though inexperienced in the disease, the parents wisely treated their boy with cooling drinks, and wet applications to the skin; under their incessant care, the fever abated, and, to their unspeakable joy, he rapidly recovered. Sobered and saddened, they could again hope, and enjoy the beauty of the calm sky and sea. Once more Nino laughs, as he splashes in his morning bath, and playfully prolongs the meal, which the careful father has prepared with his own hand, or, if he has been angered, rests his head upon his mother's breast, while his palm is pressed against her cheek, as, bending down, she sings to him; once more, he sits among his toys, or fondles and plays with the white-haired goat, or walks up and down in the arms of the steward, who has a boy of just his age, at home, now waiting to embrace him; or among the sailors, with whom he is a universal favorite, prattles in baby dialect as he tries to imitate their cry, to work the pumps, and pull the ropes. Ossoli and Sumner, meanwhile, exchange alternate lessons in Italian and English. And Margaret, among her papers, gives the last touches to her book on Italy, or with words of hope and love comforts like a mother the heart-broken widow. Slowly, yet peacefully, pass the long summer days, the mellow moonlit nights; slowly, and with even flight, the good Elizabeth, under gentle airs from the tropics, bears them safely onward. Four thousand miles of ocean lie behind; they are nearly home.


  "There are blind ways provided, the foredone
  Heart-weary player in this pageant world
  Drops out by, letting the main masque defile
  By the conspicuous portal:—I am through,
  Just through."


On Thursday, July 18th, at noon, the Elizabeth was off the Jersey coast, somewhere between Cape May and Barnegat; and, as the weather was thick, with a fresh breeze blowing from the east of south, the officer in command, desirous to secure a good offing, stood east-north-east. His purpose was, when daylight showed the highlands of Neversink, to take a pilot, and run before the wind past Sandy Hook. So confident, indeed, was he of safety, that he promised his passengers to land them early in the morning at New York. With this hope, their trunks were packed, the preparations made to greet their friends, the last good-night was spoken, and with grateful hearts Margaret and Ossoli put Nino to rest, for the last time, as they thought, on ship-board,—for the last time, as it was to be, on earth!

By nine o'clock, the breeze rose to a gale, which every hour increased in violence, till at midnight it became a hurricane. Yet, as the Elizabeth was new and strong, and as the commander, trusting to an occasional cast of the lead, assured them that they were not nearing the Jersey coast,—which alone he dreaded,—the passengers remained in their state-rooms, and caught such uneasy sleep as the howling storm and tossing ship permitted. Utterly unconscious, they were, even then, amidst perils, whence only by promptest energy was it possible to escape. Though under close-reefed sails, their vessel was making way far more swiftly than any one on board had dreamed of; and for hours, with the combined force of currents and the tempest, had been driving headlong towards the sand-bars of Long Island. About four o'clock, on Friday morning, July 19th, she struck,—first draggingly, then hard and harder,—on Fire Island beach.

The main and mizzen masts were at once cut away; but the heavy marble in her hold had broken through her bottom, and she bilged. Her bow held fast, her stern swung round, she careened inland, her broadside was bared to the shock of the billows, and the waves made a clear breach over her with every swell. The doom of the poor Elizabeth was sealed now, and no human power could save her. She lay at the mercy of the maddened ocean.

At the first jar, the passengers, knowing but too well its fatal import, sprang from their berths. Then came the cry of "Cut away," followed by the crash of falling timbers, and the thunder of the seas, as they broke across the deck. In a moment more, the cabin skylight was dashed in pieces by the breakers, and the spray, pouring down like a cataract, put out the lights, while the cabin door was wrenched from its fastenings, and the waves swept in and out. One scream, one only, was heard from Margaret's state-room; and Sumner and Mrs. Hasty, meeting in the cabin, clasped hands, with these few but touching words: "We must die." "Let us die calmly, then." "I hope so, Mrs. Hasty." It was in the gray dusk, and amid the awful tumult, that the companions in misfortune met. The side of the cabin to the leeward had already settled under water; and furniture, trunks, and fragments of the skylight were floating to and fro; while the inclined position of the floor made it difficult to stand; and every sea, as it broke over the bulwarks, splashed in through the open roof. The windward cabin-walls, however, still yielded partial shelter, and against it, seated side by side, half leaning backwards, with feet braced upon the long table, they awaited what next should come. At first. Nino, alarmed at the uproar, the darkness, and the rushing water, while shivering with the wet, cried passionately; but soon his mother, wrapping him in such garments as were at hand and folding him to her bosom, sang him to sleep. Celeste too was in an agony of terror, till Ossoli, with soothing words and a long and fervent prayer, restored her to self-control and trust. Then calmly they rested, side by side, exchanging kindly partings and sending messages to friends, if any should survive to be their bearer. Meanwhile, the boats having been swamped or carried away, and the carpenter's tools washed overboard, the crew had retreated to the top-gallant forecastle; but, as the passengers saw and heard nothing of them, they supposed that the officers and crew had deserted the ship, and that they were left alone. Thus passed three hours.

At length, about seven, as there were signs that the cabin would soon break up, and any death seemed preferable to that of being crushed among the ruins, Mrs. Hasty made her way to the door, and, looking out at intervals between the seas as they swept across the vessel amidships, saw some one standing by the foremast. His face was toward the shore. She screamed and beckoned, but her voice was lost amid the roar of the wind and breakers, and her gestures were unnoticed. Soon, however, Davis, the mate, through the door of the forecastle caught sight of her, and, at once comprehending the danger, summoned the men to go to the rescue. At first none dared to risk with him the perilous attempt; but, cool and resolute, he set forth by himself, and now holding to the bulwarks, now stooping as the waves combed over, he succeeded in reaching the cabin. Two sailors, emboldened by his example, followed. Preparations were instantly made to conduct the passengers to the forecastle, which, as being more strongly built and lying further up the sands, was the least exposed part of the ship. Mrs. Hasty volunteered to go the first. With one hand clasped by Davis, while with the other each grasped the rail, they started, a sailor moving close behind. But hardly had they taken three steps, when a sea broke loose her hold, and swept her into the hatch-way. "Let me go," she cried, "your life is important to all on board." But cheerily, and with a smile,[B] he answered, "Not quite yet;" and, seizing in his teeth her long hair, as it floated past him, he caught with both hands at some near support, and, aided by the seaman, set her once again upon her feet. A few moments more of struggle brought them safely through. In turn, each of the passengers was helped thus laboriously across the deck, though, as the broken rail and cordage had at one place fallen in the way, the passage was dangerous and difficult in the extreme. Angelino was borne in a canvas bag, slung round the neck of a sailor. Within the forecastle, which was comparatively dry and sheltered, they now seated themselves, and, wrapped in the loose overcoats of the seamen, regained some warmth. Three times more, however, the mate made his way to the cabin; once, to save her late husband's watch, for Mrs. Hasty; again for some doubloons, money-drafts, and rings in Margaret's desk; and, finally, to procure a bottle of wine and a drum of figs for their refreshment. It was after his last return, that Margaret said to Mrs. Hasty, "There still remains what, if I live, will be of more value to me than anything," referring, probably, to her manuscript on Italy; but it seemed too selfish to ask their brave preserver to run the risk again.

There was opportunity now to learn their situation, and to discuss the chances of escape. At the distance of only a few hundred yards, appeared the shore,—a lonely waste of sand-hills, so far as could be seen through the spray and driving rain. But men had been early observed, gazing at the wreck, and, later, a wagon had been drawn upon the beach. There was no sign of a life-boat, however, or of any attempt at rescue; and, about nine o'clock, it was determined that some one should try to land by swimming, and, if possible, get help. Though it seemed almost sure death to trust one's self to the surf, a sailor, with a life-preserver, jumped overboard, and, notwithstanding a current drifting him to leeward, was seen to reach the shore. A second, with the aid of a spar, followed in safety; and Sumner, encouraged by their success, sprang over also; but, either struck by some piece of the wreck, or unable to combat with the waves, he sank. Another hour or more passed by; but though persons were busy gathering into carts whatever spoil was stranded, no life-boat yet appeared; and, after much deliberation, the plan was proposed,—and, as it was then understood, agreed to,—that the passengers should attempt to land, each seated upon a plank, and grasping handles of rope, while a sailor swam behind. Here, too, Mrs. Hasty was the first to venture, under the guard of Davis. Once and again, during their passage, the plank was rolled wholly over, and once and again was righted, with its bearer, by the dauntless steersman; and when, at length, tossed by the surf upon the sands, the half-drowned woman still holding, as in a death-struggle, to the ropes, was about to be swept back by the undertow, he caught her in his arms, and, with the assistance of a bystander, placed her high upon the beach. Thus twice in one day had he perilled his own life to save that of the widow of his captain, and even over that dismal tragedy his devotedness casts one gleam of light.

Now came Margaret's turn. But she steadily refused to be separated from Ossoli and Angelo. On a raft with them, she would have boldly encountered the surf, but alone she would not go. Probably, she had appeared to assent to the plan for escaping upon planks, with the view of inducing Mrs. Hasty to trust herself to the care of the best man on board; very possibly, also, she had never learned the result of their attempt, as, seated within the forecastle, she could not see the beach. She knew, too, that if a life-boat could be sent, Davis was one who would neglect no effort to expedite its coming. While she was yet declining all persuasions, word was given from the deck, that the life-boat had finally appeared. For a moment, the news lighted up again the flickering fire of hope. They might yet be saved,—be saved together! Alas! to the experienced eyes of the sailors it too soon became evident that there was no attempt to launch or man her. The last chance of aid from shore, then, was gone utterly. They must rely on their own strength, or perish. And if ever they were to escape, the time had come; for, at noon, the storm had somewhat lulled; but already the tide had turned, and it was plain that the wreck could not hold together through another flood. In this emergency, the commanding officer, who until now had remained at his post, once more appealed to Margaret to try to escape,—urging that the ship would inevitably break up soon; that it was mere suicide to remain longer; that he did not feel free to sacrifice the lives of the crew, or to throw away his own; finally, that he would himself take Angelo, and that sailors should go with Celeste, Ossoli, and herself. But, as before, Margaret decisively declared that she would not be parted from her husband or her child. The order was then given to "save themselves," and all but four of the crew jumped over, several of whom, together with the commander, reached shore alive, though severely bruised and wounded by the drifting fragments. There is a sad consolation in believing that, if Margaret judged it to be impossible that the three should escape, she in all probability was right. It required a most rare, combination of courage, promptness and persistency, to do what Davis had done for Mrs. Hasty. We may not conjecture the crowd of thoughts which influenced the lovers, the parents, in this awful crisis; but doubtless one wish was ever uppermost,—that, God willing, the last hour might come for ALL, if it must come for one.

It was now past three o'clock, and as, with the rising tide, the gale swelled once more to its former violence, the remnants of the barque fast yielded to the resistless waves. The cabin went by the board, the after-parts broke up, and the stem settled out of sight. Soon, too, the forecastle was filled with water, and the helpless little band were driven to the deck, where they clustered round the foremast. Presently, even this frail support was loosened from the hull, and rose and fell with every billow. It was plain to all that the final moment drew swiftly nigh. Of the four seamen who still stood by the passengers, three were as efficient as any among the crew of the Elizabeth. These were the steward, carpenter, and cook. The fourth was an old sailor, who, broken down by hardships and sickness, was going home to die. These men were once again persuading Margaret, Ossoli and Celeste to try the planks, which they held ready in the lee of the ship, and the steward, by whom Nino was so much beloved, had just taken the little fellow in his arms, with the pledge that he would save him or die, when a sea struck the forecastle, and the foremast fell, carrying with it the deck, and all upon it. The steward and Angelino were washed upon the beach, both dead, though warm, some twenty minutes after. The cook and carpenter were thrown far upon the foremast, and saved themselves by swimming. Celeste and Ossoli caught for a moment by the rigging, but the next wave swallowed them up. Margaret sank at once. When last seen, she had been seated at the foot of the foremast, still clad in her white night-dress, with her hair fallen loose upon her shoulders. It was over,—that twelve hours' communion, face to face, with Death! It was over! and the prayer was granted, "that Ossoli, Angelo, and I, may go together, and that the anguish may be brief!"

* * * * *

A passage from the journal of a friend of Margaret, whom the news of the wreck drew at once to the scene, shall close this mournful story:—

"The hull of the Elizabeth, with the foremast still bound to it by cordage, lies so near the shore, that it seems as if a dozen oar-strokes would carry a boat alongside. And as one looks at it glittering in the sunshine, and rocking gently in the swell, it is hard to feel reconciled to our loss. Seven resolute men might have saved every soul on board. I know how different was the prospect on that awful morning, when the most violent gale that had visited our coast for years, drove the billows up to the very foot of the sand-hills, and when the sea in foaming torrents swept across the beach into the bay behind. Yet I cannot but reluctantly declare my judgment, that this terrible tragedy is to be attributed, so far as human agency is looked at, to our wretched system, or no-system, of life-boats. The life-boat at Fire Island light-house, three miles distant only, was not brought to the beach till between twelve and one o'clock, more than eight hours after the Elizabeth was stranded, and more than six hours after the wreck could easily have been seen. When the life-boat did finally come, the beachmen could not be persuaded to launch or man her. And even the mortar, by which a rope could and should have been thrown on board, was not once fired. A single lesson like this might certainly suffice to teach the government, insurance companies, and humane societies, the urgent need, that to every life-boat should be attached ORGANIZED CREWS, stimulated to do their work faithfully, by ample pay for actual service, generous salvage-fees for cargoes and persons, and a pension to surviving friends where life is lost. * * *

"No trace has yet been found of Margaret's manuscript on Italy, though the denials of the wreckers as to having seen it, are not in the least to be depended on. For, greedy after richer spoil, they might well have overlooked a mass of written paper; and, even had they kept it, they would be slow to give up what would so clearly prove their participation in the heartless robbery, that is now exciting such universal horror and indignation. Possibly it was washed away before reaching the shore, as several of the trunks, it is said, were open and empty, when thrown upon the beach. But it is sad to think, that very possibly the brutal hands of pirates may have tossed to the winds, or scattered on the sands, pages so rich with experience and life. The only papers of value saved, were the love-letters of Margaret and Ossoli.[C]

"It is a touching coincidence, that the only one of Margaret's treasures which reached the shore, was the lifeless form of Angelino. When the body, stripped of every rag by the waves, was rescued from the surf, a sailor took it reverently in his arms, and, wrapping it in his neckcloth, bore it to the nearest house. There, when washed, and dressed in a child's frock, found in Margaret's trunk, it was laid upon a bed; and as the rescued seamen gathered round their late playfellow and pet, there were few dry eyes in the circle. Several of them mourned for Nino, as if he had been their own; and even the callous wreckers were softened, for the moment, by a sight so full of pathetic beauty. The next day, borne upon their shoulders in a chest, which one of the sailors gave for a coffin, it was buried in a hollow among the sand heaps. As I stood beside the lonely little mound, it seemed that never was seen a more affecting type of orphanage. Around, wiry and stiff, were scanty spires of beach-grass; near by, dwarf-cedars, blown flat by wintry winds, stood like grim guardians; only at the grave-head a stunted wild-rose, wilted and scraggy, was struggling for existence. Thoughts came of the desolate childhood of many a little one in this hard world; and there was joy in the assurance, that Angelo was neither motherless nor fatherless, and that Margaret and her husband were not childless in that New World, which so suddenly they had entered together.

"To-morrow, Margaret's mother, sister, and brothers will remove Nino's body to New England."

* * * * *

Was this, then, thy welcome home? A howling hurricane, the pitiless sea, wreck on a sand-bar, an idle life-boat, beach-pirates, and not one friend! In those twelve hours of agony, did the last scene appear but as the fitting close for a life of storms, where no safe haven was ever in reach; where thy richest treasures were so often stranded; where even the dearest and nearest seemed always too far off, or just too late, to help.

Ah, no! not so. The clouds were gloomy on the waters, truly; but their tops were golden in the sun. It was in the Father's House that welcome awaited thee.

  "Glory to God! to God! he saith,
  Knowledge by suffering entereth,
  And Life is perfected by Death."

[Footnote A: The following account is as accurate, even in minute details, as conversation with several of the survivors enabled me to make it.—W.H.C.]

[Footnote B: Mrs. Hasty's own words while describing the incident.]

[Footnote C: The letters from which extracts were quoted in the previous chapter.]