RECORD: Litchfield, H. E. ed. 1904. Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Cambridge: University Press printed. Volume 1.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned by John van Wyhe 2007, transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 10.2010. RN1

NOTE: The copy scanned was lent by Milo Keynes who wrote 'the sheets of which were got from Aunt Etty's house when she died by my mother for me'.

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A Century of Family Letters

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Emma Darwin, at 31.

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Wife of Charles Darwin

A Century of Family Letters

by her daughter


In Two Volumes



Privately Printed


Printed at the University Press


[All Rights reserved.]

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Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need.

Ode to Duty, WORDSWORTH.


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A NUMBER of family letters (originally in the possession of my aunt Elizabeth Wedgwood) were found amongst my mother's papers, and were placed in my hands by her executors, my brothers William and George. These form the basis of the earlier part of this book. Broadly speaking they cover the period during which my grandfather Josiah Wedgwood lived at Maer Hall in Staffordshire, and I shall speak of them as the 'Maer letters.'

I had felt after my mother's death that some record of her life and character would be of value to her grandchildren and began to put down all that I could remember with this view. Whilst reading these old letters in order to get light on her youth and early middle life, I became much interested in the personalities of the writers and it seemed best to alter and enlarge the scope of my book. It now includes such of the Maer letters as are of interest in themselves as well as those that bear on my mother. The letters written by the Allens, my grandmother Mrs Josiah Wedgwood

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and her sisters, fill most of the first volume and there are but few of my mother's until the second.

My husband's death in January 1903 has been in many ways an irreparable loss to this book. His criticism and help would have been of value for every page. Without his aid all that part which springs from the Maer letters would have been impossible. The whole mass of letters was in absolute confusion and many of them were undated. It was the habit of the family to send letters to and from London in the boxes of goods despatched from the works at Etruria; thus many letters have no postmark. As the writers generally dated by at most the day of month, the date is entirely a matter of inference. During the enforced leisure of a long illness my husband arranged, dated and annotated them, a task which required the same sort of minute care and endless patience as the piecing out of a gigantic puzzle. The date of any family event once found, perhaps by some allusion to contemporary politics, thus forming a clue for other dates. I should have had neither the skill nor the patience for this task. Everyone of the hundreds of letters was read aloud to me by him and we discussed together what was worth preserving. In the earlier chapters most of the notes are written by him. Some of these may appear superfluous, but it should be remembered that my object has been to make the book interesting to the younger members of the family.

Square brackets indicate words not found in the original letters, and dots omissions. But many omissions are made without putting any sign that this has been done. Neither the punctuation nor the spelling has been rigidly followed. But the sense has never wittingly been altered, although occasionally a word evidently omitted has been added without putting any sign that this has been done.

I have to thank my brother George for making the pedigrees of the Allen, Wedgwood and Darwin families. For convenience of reference these are given at the beginning of both the first and second volumes. As an additional help a list of the principal characters has been prepared, and this also is printed in both volumes.

I have received valuable help, criticism and encouragement from various friends and especially from Professor A. V. Dicey, Miss M. J. Shaen and my brother Francis. To the late Sir John Simon, I, in fact, owe the first idea of beginning any such writing. After the loss of my mother in 1896, he told me that he was sure it would be my best help and comfort; and to the day of his death in July 1904, he never ceased to interest himself in its progress, having read the whole in the typewritten copy and following the proofs as they came from the press.

I wish to thank Mr John Murray for kindly allowing me to make use of several of the illustrations in More Letters of Charles Darwin. I cordially thank Messrs Elliott and Fry for their permission to have copies of the fine portrait of my father in the second volume of that work, and

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Messrs Barraud for the same permission with regard to their portrait of my mother. I have also to thank Messrs Maull and Fox for allowing me to reproduce an early photograph of my mother, and Mr Prescott Row, the Editor of the Homeland Handbook Association, and Mr G. W. Smith for their kind permission to make use of Mr Smith's excellent photograph of Down Village.

Miss Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place, Mr Godfrey Wedgwood, Mr Rowland Wedgwood and my brothers William and Horace have been so good as to allow me to reproduce various family pictures. I also wish to thank Miss M. J. Shaen for allowing me to use her excellent photograph of my mother, taken in the drawing-room at Down three months before her death.

Finally I have only to add that these volumes have been prepared for private circulation only, and I expressly desire that their privacy may be respected.




The Allens of Cresselly—Josiah and John Wedgwood—A family meeting at Broadstairs in 1798—Tom Wedgwood the first photographer—Josiah settles at Gunville. pages 1—26



Departure of the Mackintoshes for India—Meeting of their friends in London—Harriet Surtees and her husband—A press-gang story—Tom Wedgwood's death—Return of the Josiah Wedgwoods to Staffordshire—Sarah Wedgwood and Jessie Allen. 27—38



Jessie, Emma, and Fanny Allen at Dulwich—The Mackintoshes in Great George Street—London parties and Madame de Staël 39—65



The Josiah Wedgwoods—Life at Maer—The Doveleys—A picnic at Trentham—Emma Caldwell's picture of the family life, with Emma Darwin's comment seventy-two years later. 66—84



Elizabeth Wedgwood with the John Wedgwoods and Drewes at Exeter—The battle of Waterloo—Young Tom Wedgwood's campaigning experiences—His letters from Waterloo and Paris—Fanny Allen's pro-Buonapartism—The Maer party at a raceball. 85—100

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The Allen sisters abroad—Paris after Waterloo—Geneva—Fanny Allen and William Clifford, a seeming attachment—Home news from Mrs Josiah, Charlotte Wedgwood at 18, a family gathering at Bath—The Surtees, a long cross-country journey—Geneva society—Visitors at Etruria, Kitty Mackintosh and her daughers, the Sydney Smiths—The Allen sisters' journey to Florence 101—126



The John Wedgwoods—A reverse of fortune, his bank having been within an ace of failure—Mrs Josiah Wedgwood's account of the crisis—Their move to Betley. 127—131



The Allen sisters at Pisa with Caroline Drewe and her family—Sismondi's courtship—Algernon Langton and Marianne Drewe—Sarah Wedgwood and Jessie Allen. 132—144



The Josiah Wedgwoods stay six months in Paris with their four girls—The Collos Cousins—William Cliford—French life—Letters to brothers at home—Dancing lessons, society, and housekeeping—Emma's earliest extant letter. 145—158



Jessie Allen and Sismondi—Her hesitations about accepting him—An outpour to her sister—Bessy's reply—Some account of Sismondi—Their early married life—Posting across France, a troublesome journey. 159—171


Fanny and Emma Wedgwood at 13 and 11 years old—Their aunt Emma Allen's account of them—A gigantic cheese from Geneva—Races and Race-Balls—Life at the Mount, Shrewsbury—Taking Fanny and Emma to School in London—The Sismondis at Geneva—The Tollets at Betley. 172—192



Kitty Wedgwood's death—A Darwin-Wedgwood party at Scarborough—Visit to Sydney Smith's at Foston Rectory—Winter parties at Geneva—Bessy's lessening strength—Her girls visiting the Swinton Hollands—The Anti-slavery movement, a memorable debate in Parliament—An averted duel—A Confirmation at Maer—Revels and flirtations—Sarah Wedgwood coming to live on Maer Heath. 193—215



Gertrude Allen's death at Gloucester—Fanny and Emma Allen return to Cresselly—The John Wedgwoods at Gloucester, where their daughter Caroline dies—The Maer Wedgwoods' Grand Tour—A stay of five weeks at Geneva—Jos with his four girls in Italy—A Tour to Chamounix—Allen Wedgwood takes possession at Maer Vicarage—Anti-slavery agitation. 216—242



The Sismondis in England—Fanny and Emma Wedgwood go with them back to Geneva—Bessy and her daughters Elizabeth and Charlotte at Amptihill—Frank Wedgwood's account of Maer—Life at Geneva—Sarah Wedgwood's generosity—The Prince of Denmark and Mrs Lambton—Edward Drewe's love-affair—Harry Wedgwood on French plays—Josiah Wedgwood, accompanied by Caroline Darwin, fetches Fanny and Emma home—Jessie's sorrow at their departure. 243—281



The Mackintoshes at Maer—A bazaar at Newcastle—Fanny Allen the first companion in the world—Bessy on the Drewe-Prévost affair—The house in York Street sold—Harry, Hensleigh, and Frank—The John Wedgwoods abroad—Edward Drewe's marriage—The Mackintoshes settle at Clapham—Emma more popular than her sisters—Bessy's illness at Roehampton—The John Wedgwoods leave Geneva—Fanny and Emma dragonesses at archery—Elizabeth Wedgwood and Mrs Drewe on the Rhine—Harriet Surtees at Chêne—Harry Wedgwood's engagement—A gay week at Woodhouse. 282—311

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Lady Mackintosh's death—Sir James has a seat on the Board of Control—Hensleigh Wedgwood engaged to Fanny Mackintosh—Elizabeth in London, the second reading of the Reform Bill, Mrs Rich and Mr Scott, a meeting between Wordsworth and Jeffrey—Josiah Wedgwood defeated at Newcastle—Fanny and Emma Wedgwood at Mrs Holland's—Edward and Adèle Drewe's glorious entry at Grange—A Tour in Wales—Threatenings of cholera—The Sismondis accept an invitation for Christmas at Cresselly—Mrs Patterson and Countess Guiccioli—Charles Darwin sails in the "Beagle". 312—331



Hensleigh Wedgwood appointed a Police Magistrate in London—His marriage to Fanny Mackintosh—Charlotte Wedgwood's engagement to Charles Langton—Fanny Allen and the Irvingites —The Sismondis return to Geneva, taking Fanny Allen with them—Sir James Mackintosh's death—Charlotte Wedgwood marries Charles Langton—Frank Wedgwood marries Fanny Mosley—Charlotte at Ripley—Fanny Wedgwood's death 332—349



Josiah Wedgwood elected for Stoke-upon-Trent—Bessy's fall at Roehampton and serious illness—The Langtons at Onibury—Miss Martineau and Mrs Marsh—Hensleigh Wedgwood's scruples as to administering oaths—William Clifford abroad—Madame de Sismondi's cure at Schinznach, her tour in Switzerland and visit to Queen Hortense at Constance. 350—368



Elizabeth at Clapham—The Sismondis plan a twelve months' absence from Chêne—Fanny Allen on Mr Scott—Emma visits Cresselly, the Hill, and Onibury—Mrs John Wedgwood's sudden death at Shrewsbury—Emma at musical festivals—Charles Darwin returns from his voyage round the World—Dr Holland thinks his journal not worth publishing—Emma at Edinburgh—C. D. on marriage. 369—392



The younger Josiah's engagement to his cousin Caroline Darwin—The Sismondis at Pescia—A tour in the Apennines—Charles Darwin refuses Elizabeth's invitation to a music meeting—Mrs Norton at Cresselly—Emma at Shrewsbury and Onibury—Hensleigh resigns his Police Magistracy—A family meeting in Paris—Bro's illness 393—412



Engagement. 413—440



The wedding at Maer—Caroline's baby dies—Life at Gower Street, their first dinner-party—Hensleigh becomes Registrar of Cabs—Elizabeth gives up the Sunday-school—Charles and Emma's first visit to Maer—Their child born Dec. 27, 1839. 441—468


Mrs Charles Darwin, 1839. From a water-colour painting by George Richmond, R.A., in possession of W. E. Darwin. Frontispiece

The Wedgwood Family at Etruria Hall in or about 1780. From the picture by George Stubbs, R.A., in possession of Godfrey Wedgwood of Idlerocks, Staffordshire. Stubbs was the famous animal painter of the time, and was especially noted for his pictures of horses. to face p. 12

Thomas Wedgwood. From a chalk drawing belonging to Miss Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place. Artist unknown. to face p. 18

Josiah Wedgwood of Maer Hall. From the portrait by Owen in possession of Miss Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place. to face p. 24

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Elizabeth (Allen), Wife of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer Hall. From the portrait by Romney in the possession of Miss Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place. Painted when she was about twenty-eight to face p. 32

Fanny Allen, aged 24. From a miniature by Leakey, in possession of Mrs Godfrey Wedgwood of Idlerocks, Staffordshire to face p. 46

Maer Hall. From a pencil sketch by Charlotte Wedgwood (Mrs C. Langton in possession of Godfrey Wedgwood of Idlerocks, Staffordshire to face p. 66

J. C. de Sismondi. From a portrait by Madame A. Munier-Romilly given to the Musée Rath at Geneva by Hensleigh Wedgwood to face p. 166

Madame de Sismondi, aged 45. From a miniature by Leakey in possession of Mrs R. B. Litchfield. Mrs J. Wedgwood writes of this picture, painted for her: "It is not your merry look when you chuse to make Sismondi stare, but it is your resigned look, when you are entertaining company and are not much entertained yourself" to face p. 170

Charles and Catherine Darwin, 1816. From a coloured chalk drawing by Sharples, in possession of Miss Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place to face p. 178

Mrs John Wedgwood, aged 54. From a water-colour painting by John Linnell in possession of Rowland Wedgwood of Slindon. Mrs John Wedgwood writes of this picture: "I did not know till I saw myself transferred to paper how grim and haggard I looked, but my children are very well pleased, and so I am" to face p. 380


The Allens came originally from the north of Ireland and settled in Pembrokeshire in about 1600. The estate of Cresselly was acquired by marriage with Joan Bartlett, mother of John Bartlett Allen.

Children of John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly

1. Elizabeth (Bessy) (1764—1846) m. Josiah Wedgwood of Maer.

2. Catherine (Kitty) (1765—1830) m. Sir James Mackintosh.

3. Caroline (1768—1835) m. Rev. Edward Drewe.

4. John Hensleigh (1769—1843) of Cresselly, m. Gertrude Seymour.

5. Louisa Jane (Jane or Jenny) (1771—1836) m. John Wedgwood.

6. Lancelot Baugh (Baugh) (1774—1845), Master of Dulwich College, m. 2cc.

7. Harriet (Sometimes called Sad) (1776—1847) m. Rev. Matthew Surtees, of North Cerney.

8. Jessie (1777—1853) m. J. C. de Sismondi, historian.

9. Octavia, died young.

10. Emma (1780—1866) unmarried.

11. Frances (Fanny) (1781—1875) unmarried.

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Children of John Hensleigh Allen of Cresselly

1. Seymour Phillips (1814—1861) of Cresselly, m. Catherine dau. of Earl of Portsmouth.

2. Henry George, b. 1815.

3. John Hensleigh (1818—1868).

4. Isabella Georgina, m. G. Lort Phillips of Laurenny.

Children of Sir James and Lady Mackintosh.

1. Bessy (1799—1823) unmarried.

2. Fanny (1800—1889) m. her cousin Hensleigh Wedgwood.

3. Robert (1806—1864) m. Mary Appleton.

Children of Mrs Drewe.

1. Harriet, Lady Gifford.

2. Georgina, Lady Alderson.

3. Edward, m. Adèle Prévost. and others.

Before the year 1500 the Wedgwoods were the squires of Wedgwood and Harakels in Staffordshire. In 1572 a confirmation of arms was granted to the squire of that time. The ancestors of the Wedgwoods of Etruria separated from the senior branch about 1600. The Wedgwoods of Harakels possessed at least some portion of these estates until the middle or end of the eighteenth century when they became extinct.

Children of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria

1. Susannah (1765—1817) m. Dr Robert Waring Darwin Charles Darwin was their son.

2. John (1766—1844) Banker, m. Jane Allen.

3. Josiah (1769—1843) of Maer, Potter, m. Elizabeth Allen.

4. Thomas (1771—1805).

5. Catherine (Kitty) (1774—1823) unmarried.

6. Sarah Elizabeth (1778—1856) unmarried.

Children of John Wedgwood (1766—1844).

1. Sarah Elizabeth (Sally, then Eliza) (1795—1857) unmarried.

2. Rev. John Allen (Allen) (1796—1882), Vicar of Maer.

3. Thomas (Tom) (1797—1862) Colonel in the guards, m. Anne Tyler.

4. Caroline, died young.

5. Jessie (1804—1872) m. her cousin Harry Wedgwood.

6. Robert (1806—1880) m. 2cc.

Children of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer

1. Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) (1793—1880) unmarried.

2. Josiah (Joe or Jos) (1795—1880) of Leith Hill Place, m. his cousin Caroline Darwin.

3. Charlotte (1797—1862) m. Rev. Charles Langton.

4. Henry Allen (Harry) (1799—1885) Barrister, m. his cousin Jessie Wedgwood.

5. Francis (1800—1888) Potter, m. Frances Mosley.

6. Hensleigh (1803—1891) Police Magistrate, Philologist, m. his cousin Fanny Mackintosh.

7. Fanny (1806—1832) unmarried.

8. Emma (1808—1896) m. her cousin Charles Darwin.

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In the year 1500 the Darwins were yeomen, living at Marton, between Gainsborough and Lincoln, William Darwin (1573—1644) was Yeoman of the Royal Armoury of Greenwich to James I. and Charles I.; he married a widow of good family and became possessed of Cleatham Hall, Kirton-in-Lindsey. His son William fought for the King in the Civil War, and his grandson, also William, married the heiress of Elston Hall, Notts. Erasmus Darwin, born at Elston, 1731, Poet and father of Dr Robert Waring Darwin of Shrewsbury, was the youngest son of the then Squire of Elston.

Children of Dr Robert Waring Darwin (1766—1848)
and his wife Susannah Wedgwood (1765—1817).

1. Marianne (1798—1858) m. Dr Henry Parker.

2. Caroline (1800—1888) m. her cousin Josiah Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place.

3. Susan (1803—1866) unmarried.

4. Erasmus Alvey (1804—1881) unmarried.

5. Charles Robert (1809—1882) m. his cousin Emma Wedgwood.

6. Catherine (1810—1866) m., late in life, Rev. Charles Langton. Charlotte Wedgwood was his 1st wife.


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The Allens of Cresselly—Josiah and John Wedgwood—A family meeting at Broadstairs in 1798—Tom Wedgwood the first photographer—Josiah settles at Gunville.

EMMA WEDGWOOD was born on May 2nd, 1808, at Maer Hall, in Staffordshire. She was the youngest child of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer, the second son of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, the great potter. Her mother was Elizabeth, the daughter of John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly, Pembrokeshire.

As the letters of Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sisters, and her sisters to her, form the material of the early part of this family record, I have found it convenient to begin with an account of the Allen family.

John Bartlett Allen had eleven children who lived to grow up. Their mother died before my record begins. His temper and disposition made it a most unhappy home. There are many allusions to this in these letters. Harriet, the fifth daughter, is described as marrying a man she could barely tolerate, to escape from her father's society.

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Sir James Mackintosh, who married Catharine, the second daughter, thus describes the life at Cresselly in a letter to JosiahWedgwood:

9th Nov. 1800.

……We left the "2 maidens all forlorn at the House that Jack built" in tolerable good spirits considering the gloomy solitude to which they are condemned. We have heard from good little Emma [Allen] (she really is the best girl in the world), and are happy to hear that the Squire has been pleased to be infinitely more cordial and gracious to his two poor prisoners than he ever was before, so that bating an absolute want of amusement and a perpetual constraint in conversation they may be pretty comfortable. Mme de Maintenon complains of her situation with Louis XIV., "Quelle triste occupation de ranimer une âme éteinte, et d'amuser un homme qui n'est plus amusable!"

I remember my father's telling me that Mr Allen used to thump his fist on the table and order his daughters to talk when he wished to be entertained after dinner. Dr Darwin, of Shrewsbury, considered that this Schehezerade kind of training helped to make them the remarkably good talkers they were universally considered to be. They formed an interesting group of women, handsome, spirited, clever, and deeply devoted to each other.

It has seemed to me that the unhappy life at home drew the sisters and brothers peculiarly close together. It is rare, I think, for sisterly love to last with such a passionate intensity on into middle life; usually the still closer ties of husband and children absorb and calm these feelings. They wrote long and intimate letters with much grace and charm of expression. Indeed my father told me that Mrs Josiah Wedgwood ("Aunt Bessy" as he always called his aunt, afterwards his mother-in-law) was considered to be the Madame de Sévigné of the family.

Elizabeth Allen (Mrs Josiah Wedgwood), always called Bessy, was the eldest of the family, and the centre to whom her sisters turned, secure of love and sympathy. She had great personal beauty. This is evident from the delightful picture of her by Romney, belonging to Sophy Wedgwood her grand-daughter. Miss Edgeworth speaks of her "radiantly cheerful countenance"; she is called their sun, and after her death it is said that her look and voice are a brightness gone from the world for ever. Her character as revealed in the long series of letters grows upon one in a singular way. There is such practical wisdom and such unvarying sweetness, deep sympathy, and delicacy of feeling. Her hospitality and kindness were unbounded, and she had a constant desire to share her good things. There are incessant allusions in the letters to her many presents, varying from articles of clothing, jam, and hams, to large and generous money gifts.

I feel in this part of her character how entirely my mother was her true daughter. She had not, indeed, the same power of displaying such boundless hospitality. Many visitors and long visits were impossible during my father's lifetime from his bad health, and in her old age they tired her too much. But there was the same wish to give, the same


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delightful courtesy and unfailing consideration for the unprosperous.

Sir James Mackintosh thus describes his sister-in-law Bessy in a letter to her brother, John Allen of Cresselly, dated Ampthill Park, 3 Dec., 1827:

I passed three months at Maer most agreeably in all that depended on the Rulers. Before I went I sometimes suspected that you had all exaggerated the Excellencies of your eldest sister, without going quite so far as to suppose that she was a graven image whom you had set up to fall down before and worship (as my friend Fanny might in the like case say); but I now adopt your Worship. I never saw any other person whose acts of civility or friendship depended so little on Rule or Habit, and were so constantly refreshed from the Wellhead of Kindness with the Infusions of which they seemed to sparkle. Her benignity is indeed most graceful. I used to rally her on the gentlest mistress in England having the noisiest household. Both the elder girls1 are excellent, and the second is charming. The rest of the Family are more good than agreeable. I except Hensleigh, who is, I fear, doomed to ill-health.

There is much in this character which reminds me of my mother, and many traits I perceive in Bessy which are repeated in her daughter. In both there was great sensitiveness under a calm exterior. Bessy writers, "I am but an anxious creature for myself and friends and often see fear where no fear is," and I remember my mother in her old age saying to me, "I find it very difficult to hope now." But I

1 Elizabeth and Charlotte are the two elder girls. Jos, Frank, Fanny, and Emma would be those who are "more good than agreeable." As Emma speaks about this time with surprise of his shaking hands with her, it is probable that he did not give them much opening to be agreeable.

must add that in her youth and middle age she had plenty of courage and hopefulness, indeed she was courageous to the point of rashness in some of her happy-go-lucky arrangements.

Catharine Allen (Kitty as she was always called) married James, afterwards Sir James, Mackintosh. She was an able woman, with a fine character in many respects. Her marriage, happy at first, afterwards became clouded, and she suffered greatly from the debt and difficulty in which they gradually were involved. She was entirely high-minded about money matters, and her economy in her dress was, as my mother told me, inconceivable. She was greatly interested in all questions of humanity, and was, I believe, one of the founders of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The letters often speak of her great agreeableness in conversation.

Caroline Allen married Edward Drewe, a Devonshire parson, and brother of the Squire of Grange, near Honiton. He died early, and he was for many years a widow. She lost many children from consumption, and was much commiserated in her sister's letters. Her daughters, Harriet Lady Gifford and Georgina Lady Alderson, mother of the late Marchioness of Salisbury, often appear in the later letters.

Louisa Jane Allen (always called Jane or Jenny) was the beauty of the family, and also to a certain extent its spoilt child. She married John, the eldest son of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria. Soon after his father's death he became a partner in a London bank

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and lived for some time in London. He was evidently not a good business man, and they were often in difficulties. Later, when they lived at Cote House, near Bristol, he devoted much time to gardening, and the Horticultural Society owes its origin to him. In the letters his kindness of heart and the Wedgwood reserve are the qualities most often mentioned.

Jenny, his wife, is described thus by her younger sister Emma in a letter to their sister Bessy, Mrs Josiah Wedgwood:

BARING PLACE, EXETER, July 22, 1815.

……Jenny is one of the sweetest creatures God ever made, and I think Him ten thousand times that I have you and her for sisters. I am sure it would be worth going many hundred miles for the sake of a reception from either of you. The furniture in this house is so good; it abounds so with flowers and there is such an air of elegance about it, that you cannot feel that its lovely mistress is misplaced in it.

Bessy speaks of her "incomparable cheerfulness, and says "with her the sun always shines, and she seems to trip rather than slide down the hill of life"; and again in 1829, when Jenny was 58 years old, "Jenny's youth and beauty is the admiration of all the world, and she was thought the other day to be young enough to be Eliza's daughter." Eliza, it must be said, is Jenny's eldest daughter, so she was considered to look of an age to be her own grand-daughter. My mother used to tell us how the warmth and graciousness of her aunt Jane's welcome was something quite unique in charm.

Bessy writes of her two sisters Jenny Wedgwood and Caroline Drewe, Jan. 3, 1816:

Jenny and I have spent a long time together now and not one ungentle word or look has escaped to cloud our affection, so tender if anything ails you in body or mind and so free from selfishness in any way. I think I could make her yet more perfect, and she always receives every suggestion with so much sweet humility that I almost reproach myself for not having the courage to try. I never saw Caroline more charming. There is something so delightfully fresh in her hilarity, and she is so willing and able to contribute her share to enrich society, that I think her very nearly the most agreeable woman I know. Yet I should rank her character under Jenny's. She has not her tenderness. There is more locality in her feelings, and she is more taken up with her own views and concerns, but she is more agreeable where both are so agreeable.

Harriet Allen's marriage to Matthew Surtees, Rector of North Cerney, in Wiltshire, was a very unhappy one. She was marrying a man they all detested, with, as her sister Jessie says, "an almost culpable want of affection"; and only did so to escape the unhappiness of her father's home and society. Mr Surtees had a peculiarly odious disposition, jealous, ill-tempered, and narrow; he kept her as a slave all his life. Bessy, however, writing shortly before his death in 1824, says of her sister Harriet, "she is positively very much attached to him, incredible as it may seem, but her gentle nature could not see a person so dependent on her for my comfort without becoming so." The happiness of Harriet's life was her devotion to her sister Jessie, in whose letters she is called "little Sad" or "anxious Sad."

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In Elizabeth Grant's "Diary of a Highland Lady" there is a mention of her as "very pretty, and very tiny."

Jessie Allen married Sismondi the historian. She was, with the exception of Bessy, the most beloved by all the other sisters. She was the favourite of her nephews and nieces, and had a peculiar love for Emma Wedgwood, her "little darling" as she calls her. She must have been a most delightful companion, full of vivacity and gaiety, and with the power of intense devotion to those she loved. She was handsome, with brilliant colouring, large grey eyes, and dark hair. Her nephew, George Baugh Allen, described her to me as "the most charming woman he had ever known." Her sister Bessy's letters to her "dearest of the dear," as she calls her, shew a peculiar warmth. In one she writes "my silence has nothing to do with forgetfulness. Those who love you, my Jess, are not liable to that accident."

Octavia Allen died at the age of 21, and only appears once or twice in the earlier letters. The two youngest sisters, Emma and Fanny Allen, who never married, were important members of the group.

Emma Allen was the only plain woman among the sisters. She talks of her "half-formed face," and she was quite aware how much more the beautiful Jessie and the vivacious and piquant Fanny were sought after. But she had no doubt of her welcome at Maer. She ends a letter in 1803 to her sister Bessy (sixteen years older than herself and whose marriage took place when Emma was twelve years old):

I have a very earnest desire to have some other communication than letter writing with my dear Bessy, whom it is now four years since I have seen. I do long to see you very much, and your children and I am determined to pay you a visit soon after Christmas or at least before I return home to Cresselly. It has always been a subject of regret to me to have spent so little of my life with you, whom I so dearly love and admire more than anybody in the world.

Bessy writers of her (1826), "We shall miss her very much. If I did not love and value her as I do, I should feel the benign influence of her contented spirit and tranquil soul."

Fanny Allen was more like sister than aunt to her elder nieces. She was very pretty, vivacious and clever, with some sharpness in her marked character and great charm—a pet of Sir James Mackintosh, and, probably in consequence, a fierce Whig and devoted admirer of Napoleon. I remember her as a delightful little old lady, full of point and vigour and still as straight as a dart. She lived to be 94 years old, dying at Tenby in May, 1875.

Of the two brothers it is not necessary to say much, as there are no letters from or to them in the Maer collection. John Hensleigh Allen, after his father's death the Squire of Cresselly, was the favourite, and had apparently a most sunny, happy disposition, and was, like his own son Harry, a good raconteur. Lancelot Baugh, called Baugh,

[pages] 10 - 11

was Master of Dulwich College, where his sisters often visited him.

Josiah Wedgwood, the second son of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, married Elizabeth Allen in December 1792, when he was 23 years old and she 28. They are always called Jos and Bessy, and in speaking of them I shall use these names. There are but few letters from him and most of them are singularly inexpressive, and cannot. I think, give a true view of his character, which deeply impressed such different people as Dr Robert Darwin, Sismondi the historian, and the whole group of his sisters-in-law. Fanny Allen says, "Daddy Joe is always right, always just, and always generous." Dr Darwin considered him one of the wisest men he had ever known, and Jessie Sismondi writes (19 Nov., 1842), "I believe he was the man Sismondi loved best in the world. I know he was the one he thought highest of." His children too held his memory in the deepest reverence.

He inspired awe as well as respect. My mother told me that her mother was not quite at ease with him and a little afraid of annoying and vexing him. She spoke as if she had not shared this fear, and as if it was not really fair to her father1. He was silent and grave, but just and kind, and with no harshness of temper. I have a dim impression of being told that Bessy considered men as dangerous creatures who must be humoured. Probably her early life

1 He must have been very indulgent to his wife's wishes, for I have been told that no cows were kept at Maer as the moaning of the cows when their calves were taken away distressed her.

at Cresselly had shaken her nerves and left impressions that she never got over. I see traces of this timidity in her letters, but also of strong and deep affection. A little speech of Sydney Smith's, quoted to me by my mother, "Wedgwood's an excellent man—it is a pity he hates his friends," throws a side light on his character. His nieces the Darwins were, as girls, afraid of him, and I have been told that they were astounded at their brother Charles talking to him freely as if he was a common mortal, and that this trust on Charles' part made his uncle fond of him. My father says of him in his Autobiography, "He was silent and reserved, so as to be a rather awful man; but he sometimes talked openly with me. He was the very type of an upright man, with the clearest judgment. I do not believe that any power on earth could have made him swerve an inch from what he considered the right course."

He had apparently not known Bessy for more than a few months before his marriage. This letter to his father is the first record of their meeting:

Josiah Wedgwood to his father.

TENBY, August 20, 1792.

Dear Sir,

You will have heard by a letter of mine to Tom that we have had a very gay week at Haverfordwest Assizes. I have not been at Cresselly since, but as I left them all very well I hope to find them so to-morrow. The family at Cresselly is altogether the most charming one I have ever been introduced to, and their society makes no small addition to the pleasure I have received from this

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excursion. I am very happy to perceive that their spirits are not much affected by their Father's marriage1. Our pleasures here are very simple, riding, walking, bathing, with a little dance twice a week.

You are so kind as to say that you shall be glad to see me and my sister, but I hope you have no objection to me staying a while longer, as much on my sister's account as my own, for I am afraid she has little chance of bringing Miss Allen back with her. Mosley sends his best respects and love to you all.

I am,

Your affectionate and dutiful son,

During the first few years of marriage they lived apparently at Little Etruria, a house near Etruria Hall which had been built for Bentley, his father's partner.

Etruria was quite a rural spot in those old days. Emma Allen thus described it some ten years later: "I spent Saturday morning in walking with John [Wedgwood] over the works, which gratified me very much. I think Etruria [Hall] altogether a very nice place, much too good for its present inhabitants2, and I felt interested in everything I saw there. I imagined it occupied by you and all the Wedgwoods and how comfortable it must then have been. The green gate leading from one house to the other, which I had heard so much of from those I loved, immediately caught my attention."

1 His second marriage to the daughter of a coal-miner. She was not brought to Cresselly.

2 Some cousins concerned in the management of the works.


d. young

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After his father's death in 1795 Josiah Wedgwood and his wife were more or less wanderers for some years. They lived first at Stoke d'Abernon, in Surrey, and from 1800—1805 at Gunville, in Dorset-shine. He appears to have trusted the management of the potteries almost entirely to his partner and cousin Mr Byerley, with only occasional visits to Etruria.

There are but few letters of those old days—none of any interest till 1798. In that year Kitty and Harriet Allen had both married. Caroline and Jenny Allen had been married for some years, so that there were four sisters now left at Cresselly, Jessie, Octavia, Emma, and Fanny.

The following letter describes a meeting of Bessy and her two sisters Jessie and Octavia, with the Mackintoshes at Broadstairs. It must have been the first time she had seen her sister Kitty since her marriage to Mackintosh in April of the same year. Bessy appears at this time to be taking care of Octavia, who was threatened with consumption.

Mrs Fosiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

BROADSTAIRS,17th Oct. [1798].

We found Kitty very well and in good spirits as usual. She visits hardly anybody here, which is very prudent. Mr M. still continues the fondest and the best-humoured husband I ever saw. The children1 are very manageable and the least troublesome of any I ever saw, and what will

1 His three daughters, Maitland, Mary, and Catherine, by his first wife Catherine Stuart.

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give you pleasure, I think she makes a very kind and attentive stepmother. Jessie and I have a snug little lodging twenty yards from theirs; we board with Kitty, and Ocky sleeps in the house with her to avoid the inconvenience of going out of nights. This is our present establishment, which we find very comfortable……We have been at two balls, one at Margate, the other at Ramsgate, the last was a very genteel one, where we saw a multitude of pretty women, the first was infinitely vulgar. At Margate, Ocky danced with an Officer who looked very like her friend Capt. Scourfield at a distance, but fell very short when he came near, having but one eye. Some relations of Mr Mackintosh's introduced us all to partners, such as they were, but it must be confessed they were but very so-so. When we went to Ramsgate, the Master of the Ceremonies asked us all to dance, but Jessie and I were too delicate or too proud to like to commission him to solicit the hand of anybody, and chose to sit still. Kitty and Ocky's love of dancing was stronger than their delicate feelings on this subject, and he brought up a couple of partners to them. Ocky's was tolerably genteel, but Kitty's not quite so much so, being rather more upon the establishment of a boy than suits her taste. Ocky's partner however had like to have paid dear for the pleasure of dancing with her, for when we came to tea, she undertook to make it, and the urn being what we call very tripless, she pulled it over and scalded her poor beau's leg; however, I don't believe he was very hurt, as he danced two or three dances afterwards and Ocky recovered of her fright enough to dance another set with him. We came away in very good time, and I don't think she is at all the worse for it this morning. There is to be a very grand Ball at Guildford on account of Nelson's victory the 25th, and we are all going1….

1 When they return, that is, to Stoke d'Abernon. The Battle of the Nile was on August 1st this year.

Jessie Allen appears to have spent a whole year away from Cresselly, many months apparently with the Josiah Wedgwoods. On her return to Cresselly she writes to her sister Bessy (June 10, 1799): "One thing I do entreat, which is that you take the greatest possible care of your dear self. Get rid if you can of some of the superabundant affection and feeling you have for your own family. At present I am sure you have too much either for your own health or happiness; this is most disinterested advice on my part, for what on earth do I love more or prize higher than your affection for us?" She gives a graphic picture of her nervous dread at returning to Cresselly and her happiness that her younger sister Emma had not to return with her. She writes, "Now she is safe, and I am where I ought to have been long ago. I cannot tell you how much I dreaded my first arrival here, and my nervousness got to such a height as almost amounted to misery."

The following is an undated draft of a letter from Bessy to her youngest sister Fanny, seventeen years her junior. It must certainly have been written whilst Fanny was quite a girl, probably about 1800, and reveals the character of Bessy the "so wise, so tender sister." Fanny too all through her long life often had "the naughtiness in her"—"that little sharp Fan," as Jessie calls her. But I know nothing as to what called for Bessy's reproof in this case.

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Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister, Fanny Allen.

ETRURIA, Saturday.

My dear Fanny,

It is not with very pleasant feelings that I consider that there is but one day between this and the end of your visit, and as I fear I shall not have an opportunity or feel it in my power to say all I wish when we part, I chuse this way of conveying to you my tenderest wishes for your happiness. I cannot forbear telling you how amiable your conduct has appeared to me ever since our conversation in the Garden. Your silence left me rather in doubt whether you did not either think me unjust, or feel angry with me for what might appear impertinent. I saw I had given you great pain, and I felt very sorry for it. But your kind and obliging manner to me ever since has completely done away every apprehension of that sort, and I see and appreciate as it deserves the delicacy of your conduct. Not only have I never observed in a single instance what I had mentioned to you, but you have taken care by the most affectionate and attentive behaviour to let me see that you were not angry. Continue my dear Fanny to watch over your own character, with a sincere desire of perfecting it as much as is in your power, and you will make the happiness of all belonging to you. You have very little to do, for God has given you an excellent temper, and a very good understanding. Do not therefore content yourself with a mediocrity of goodness. You are now at a happy time of life when almost everything is in your own power, and your character may be said to be in your own hands, to make or mar it for ever. If you humbly look into yourself, you are a better judge of your failings than any other person can be, but do not seek to palliate or veil them from your own heart. Your friends will value you for your excellences.

In any account of the Wedgwoods the passionate love and admiration of Jos for his invalid brother Tom1 must not be omitted. This younger brother died in 1805, when he was only 34 years old, after a life of terrible suffering from some illness which is never explained. He was a remarkable man in many directions—the friend and benefactor of Coleridge, and practically the first discoverer of photography although he was unable to "fix" his pictures. His appearance must have been very striking. Fanny Allen tells of "the effect that his appearance and manner had on Mackintosh's ‘set' as they were called." "Sydney Smith was almost awed"; and she narrates how at a party assembled to see a picture by Da Vinci, a head of Christ, Dugald Stewart2 said, "You are looking at that head—I cannot keep my eyes from the head of Mr Wedgwood (who was looking intently down at the picture), it is the finest head I ever saw." Wordsworth too describes his appearance: "His calm and dignified manner, united with his tall person and beautiful face, produced in me an impression of sublimity beyond what I ever experienced from the appearance of any other human being."

Tom lived with Jos and Bessy after their marriage when he was not wandering in search of health, and interested himself much in the education of his little nephews and nieces. His doctrinaire

1 See Tom Wedgwood, the First Photographer, by R. B. Litchfield.

2 Famous at this time as the leading representative of philosophical studies in England. He held the chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh from 1785 to 1820.

L. 2

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views founded on Rousseau must have been trying to his sister-in-law. In other ways, too, the situation must have been difficult and have needed her unalterable sweetness of character and tact to make the home happy.

The following letter from Jos to Tom is in curious contrast with his usual reserved and somewhat arid style of writing. The brothers had just parted at Falmouth. It was practically their first separation—Tom going to make a stay in the West Indies for his health.

Josiah Wedgwood to his brother Tom.

GUNVILLE, Feb. 28, 1800.

My dear Tom,

I cannot resist the temptation of employing my first moment of leisure to unburden my heart in writing to you. The distance that separates us, the affecting circumstances under which we parted our former inseparable life and perfect friendship, unite to deepen the emotion with which I think of you, and give an importance and solemnity that is new to my communication with you. I did not know till now how dearly I love you, nor do you know with what deep regret I forebore to accompany you. It was a subject I could not talk to you upon, though I was perpetually desirous to make you acquainted with all my feelings upon it. I would not without necessity leave my wife and children, and I believed that I ought not; yet my resolution was not taken without a mixture of self-reproach. But I repeat the promise I made you at Falmouth.

I have not yet been able to think of you with dry eyes, but a little time will harden me. It is not so necessary for me to see you, as to know that you are well and happy. Nothing could be more disinterested than the love I bear


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you. I know that my wife and children would alone render me happy, but I see, with the most heartfelt concern, that your admirable qualifications are rendered ineffectual for your happiness, and your fame, by your miserable health. But I have a full conviction that your constitution is strong and elastic, and that your present experiment bids fair to remove the derangement of your machine. I look forward with hope and joy to our meeting again, and I am sure that seeing you again, well and vigorous, will be a moment of the purest happiness I can feel.

Perhaps this may be the last time that I shall write to you in this strain. If it should for a time revive your sorrow, it cannot long injure your tranquillity, to be told that I love you, esteem you and admire you truly and deeply.

I took possession of this place this morning with very different feelings from those I should have had if we had been together. I have made up my mind to-day not to add anything to the buildings until I shall have become better acquainted with the place. On looking more closely at the stables I see that 15 or 20 pounds laid out will enable them to serve a year or two, and I shall not be in a hurry to do more.

The last-waggon load from Upcott came about an hour after me, with all the live-stock in good condition. I was very well pleased to be saluted by a neigh from the gig-horse the moment he heard my voice—Dido is so like Donna that I thought it was she recovered.—I find the aloes were not quite so good a bargain as we thought, for they were killed by the frost when they were brought.

I shall be here en famille in about 10days, and possibly my mother and sister with us, but I do not know. In the beginning of April we go to town and there stay to the end of May. Whether we shall then go to Cresselly or Etruria—I do not know.


[pages] 20 - 21

I have written to Gregory Watt1 to send me a copying machine, that I may send duplicates by another packet, a precaution you must not forget. I will send you more copying paper. I shall curse the French with great sincerity if they take the packet bearing your first letter. How anxiously will it be expected, and with what emotion will it be opened and read! You will hear from us in a month, or less, after your arrival, and we must not expect to hear from you in less than four months from your departure, Very few of the letters I write afford me any pleasure, but I foresee a great pleasure in writing to you all that comes, and just as it comes. There is a pleasure in tender regret for the absence and misfortunes of a person one loves, and corresponding with that person is the complete fruition of it. I feel like Æneas clasping the shade of Creusa; I call up your image but it is not substantial. Farewell, dear Tom.

The following letters are after Tom's return from the West Indies, the expedition having proved a complete failure. The Wedgwoods are not yet settled in Gunville, and Bessy is visiting her father and sisters at Cresselly.

Josiah Wedgwood to his wife at Cresselly.

CHRISTCHURCH, July 31, 1800.

I am just returned from a very pleasant evening walk with B and Jos2. I find they recollect many things about Etruria that surprised me, particularly in Jos. Our last half-hour was by moonlight on the sea-shore, the waves pouring gently at our feet. The delightful scenery and the innocent prattle of the children have disposed me to write to you, rather than to complete the task I had set

1 Son of the famous James, and an intimate friend of the brothers.

2 Elizabeth and Josiah, the two eldest children, aged 7 and 5.

myself for this evening of easting up a part of my building accounts. I think it was well imagined of two lovers or friends, separated from each other, to fix the days and hours of writing to each other, that they might be sure that each was occupied about the other at one moment. I hope this invention was of two lovers; if it had been told me of two women, or two men, I should call it romantic affectation. I never in my most philosophical days agreed with the opinion of the proscribers of marriage and upholders of universal concubinage—the expression is as detestable as the idea—and I cannot conceive that any but a corrupt libertine can be sincere in approving it. Who that had felt in himself the tranquil, but penetrating charm of an intimate and long-continued union with a woman sensible to his pains and his pleasures, participating in his hopes, strengthening his good dispositions, and gently discouraging his harshness and petulance, and more than all, who is become flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, by bearing him children, who that is susceptible of that delightful and ennobling sympathy, would truck it for the wandering gratifications and ferocious contests of brutes. And these men are improvers of the condition of mankind! If one did not know them to be better than they profess to be, one would be afraid to hold converse with them. It is singular that Rousseau, who has given so admirable a picture of domestic education, and infused it with all the powers of his eloquence, should have sent his children to the Enfans trouvés, and that Godwin, whose writings tend to make a foundling hospital of the world, should have been an affectionate husband, and is now a tender father to his wife's and his own child. I am and will be your affectionate husband, and we are and will be tender parents to our dear children. I have no pleasures that I can compare with those I derive from you and from them. Your idea fills me, and I clasp you as the heroes of poetry clasp the shades of the departed.

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My sisters went to look at Chettle on Sunday, and were much taken with it.… My mother speaks of you as her dear Bessy. She says she does not know enough of Dorsetshire to be prejudiced for or against it, but she shall be very glad to be near Tom and me and her dear Bessy, and the word with her has a deeper meaning than with some who use it oftener. She is not demonstrative, but she is affectionate. Chettle is to be vacant at Michaelmas. Besides the advantage of my mother and sisters as neighbours, which will be particularly great to Tom, we get the command of a very good manour.

I have just sent up my income return, and I have given in £874 as the tenth of my last year's income. I cannot say but it grudges me to pay such a sum to be squandered, as I believe it will, mischievously….I have set some additional hands to work at Gunville, and I do not yet despair of Tom and me getting in by the 1st Sept., and its being ready for you by the time your furlough will expire, to which, by the bye, I hope you will conform like a good soldier….Our tête-à-tête1 here is tolerably endurable. We seldom meet for five minutes except at dinner, and then with eating, drinking, and helping the children, we manage to pass an hour with a few remarks. I believe if we were to live twenty years together we should make no further progress in intimacy. However, she does exceedingly well in her situation; she did not come here to amuse me. I do not see any signs of melancholy about her. I fancy my sister's visit has cheered her for a while.

I rely on your discretion to keep my letters to yourself; they may do between you and me, but your quizzing sisters would be tremendous. Give my love to them all, and believe me with heartfelt tenderness, your affectionate husband,


1With Miss Dennis the governess.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

CRESSELLY, Friday, August 21st, 1800.

………I shall not bring either of my sisters away with me, and it once came into my head to gratify Mary Allen with an invitation, but I thought perhaps you would be quite as well pleased if I did not, and as Tom is so unwell that he would rather not have a stranger of our party. Another scheme came into my head and died away in the same manner. It was to take Mary Ridgway for a little time into our house. Not to associate with us but with Miss Dennis, and the Children, when she might do plain work and learn to wash and iron and have meat enough, for they say at Pembroke that the Children are really half starved… ….

I will write very soon again to compensate for my present idleness and I will then settle the plan of my journey. I like all your schemes extremely, but I am doubtful of the prudence of the Eastbury one. I feel stupified to death, I believe it is the change of weather, triste comme un diable. My sisters join in kind love. Adieu my only friend, I mean in comparison of all my others. E.W.

My love to Miss Dennis and the dear little Philosophers.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

CRESSELLY, Aug. 28th, 1800.

I have felt my heart very heavy with the idea that you would be angry with me for prolonging my stay after my repeated promises that I would not, but I really found it impossible to resist. I am not sure that it would have been right to have done so. If my Father's account of his own situation was accurate it certainly would have been barbarous in me not to have staid, and as he thinks it so, the effect would be much the same on his feelings. But I

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am sure I am not just to you in doubting for an instant that you will enter into my feelings. I am sure I suffer more in the delay than it is possible you can, because it is more my own doing. I am persuaded your next letter will do away all my present feelings, but the comfort of meeting you will be more than I can express.

Farewell, dear Jos, love to the Children and Miss Dennis.

Josiah Wedgwood to his wife at Cresselly.

CHRISTCHURCH, August 28, 1800.

……You cannot refuse your father a few days, as he makes a point of your staying longer than the time you had fixed, and I hope Mackintosh and J. Allen will enliven them, so as to make them pleasanter than those you have hitherto passed at Cresselly. I will not affect to say that this difficulty thrown in the way of your return is not disagreeable to me, but you need not apprehend that there is anything of anger in the sentiment. I should be more displeased with your apprehension of anger, if I did not consider that the atmosphere you have lately breathed inspires fear. I am truly sorry that your visit has turned out so little to your satisfaction, and sorry that you will set out low spirited on so long a solitary journey…….I hope you are assured that shooting would not interfere with any plan for meeting you. Shooting is a pleasant thing, and I must have active exercise, but its pleasures are subordinate indeed to those in which the affections are engaged. And it is not on my own account that I am now at all eager about it. You know how much Tom has set his heart and his hopes upon it, and I am certain you have too much kindness for him to grudge the sacrifice of part of my time to this object. I have been sometimes afraid you might think I take from you to give to him, but I have never perceived that you did, and it is a source of sincere gratification to me, and increases my esteem for you, to know

of Maer Hall, Staffordshire

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that you are without jealousy on the subject, and that you return the sincere affection he bears for you…….

I am glad you have not executed either of your schemes. Mary Allen I have no objection to but as taking up room, which at present we cannot spare. As to the poor little Ridgway, I should have been very sorry if you had put your scheme with respect to her in practice. I do not know that she is a fit companion for children. If filled, as I suppose, with the notions common with uneducated Welsh persons, I am sure she is not. She would have been a fish out of water, and you would not have known what to do with her. Above all things preserve the agreeableness of your home….

I wish to heaven I could make you chear up. I owe you a spite for being cast down for nothing. My love to all your party, and I am and ever shall be, your affectionate J.W.

I go to Gunville to-morrow for good.

Mrs Josiah Wedgewood to her husband.

CRESSELLY, Sept. 1st 1800.

My dear Jos,

Contrary to your calculation, I received your letter of the 28th this evening, and it has made me very happy. I now hasten to write you my last dispatch from Cresselly, but I must make it short, as it is late, and I have taken a long walk which has tired me. I have been a fool to make myself at all uneasy upon the subject, when I knew at the same time that you would not be angry with me, but I don't know how it was, I thought you might feel uncomfortable, and indeed I felt so myself at the thoughts of our meeting being deferred. I have always written to you from the feelings of the moment, and perhaps I have sometimes given you a stronger impression of my being out of spirits than was just. John Allen and

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Mackintosh have enlivened our society very much, and I think my Father begins to relish society more than he did. I fancied he was a little afraid of Mackintosh at first, but he has now found out that he is by no means overbearing, and he finds himself comfortable in his company.

I am very glad I did not pursue my two schemes with relation to M. Allen and M. Ridgway, and I think you are perfectly right in what you say. I had no notion that our house was in so backward a state when I thought of Harriet [Surtees] paying us a visit, but if I find it inconvenient when we get to Gunville it will be very easy to put them off.

I am very glad you acquit me of all jealousy with respect to dear Tom. I really deserve it, for there are no sacrifices I would not make to be of any service to him, compatible with my other duties. I hope he has joined you by this time, and that he finds he can pursue his game with pleasure and advantage. My kind love to him.

I am, my dearest Jos,
Yours ever,



Departure of the Mackintoshes for India—Meeting of their friends in London—Harriet Surtees and her husband—A press-gang story—Tom Wedgwood's death—Return of the Josiah Wedgwoods to Staffordshire—Sarah Wedgwood and Jessie Allen.

MR ALLEN died in 1803. His son John Hensleigh Allen now lived at Cresselly with his three unmarried sisters, Jessie, Emma, and Fanny. Mackintosh had just been knighted on being made Recorder of Bombay, and his wife was on the same occasion presented at Court. Her sister, Fanny Allen, is paying them a last visit before they sail.

Fanny Allen to her sister, Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

DOVER STREET, January 11th [1804].

….I am glad to tell you that Kitty's spirits are pretty well recovered since parting with you. The day you left us she was terribly depressed. You know Mackintosh asked Dr Davy1, the Sydney Smiths and Horner2 to dine

1 Brother of Sir Humphry Davy.

2 Francis Horner (1778—1817), Whig Statesman, born at Edinburgh, was one of the group of young men, the Sydney Smith, Brougham and Jeffrey set, who started the Edinburgh Review. In Parliament he became a great authority on finance, and Lord Cockburn, the Scotch Judge, described him as "possessed of greater public influence than any other private man." His early death at thirty-eight was a great public loss. "I never," said Sydney Smith, "saw any one who combined together so much talent, worth, and warmth of heart." One of Sydney Smith's letters has a pleasant sentence about him: "Horner is ill. He was desired to read amusing books. Upon searching his library it appeared he had no amusing books. The nearest of any work of that description was the ‘Indian Trader's Complete Guide'."

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here and, before the evening was over, I think they were of great service to her spirits. She still holds to her intention of visiting Gunville, though most people, and Sharp in particular, think it will be hazardous. We have not heard more of their departure since you left us…….

We had a very grand dinner at Erskine's1, and, what I did not expect, I found it very pleasant. The whole-house of Kemble was there (with the exception of John Kemble), Nat Bond, a Mr Morrice Lawrence, Sharp, Boddington, and ourselves. Erskine was not as lively as he was the day he dined here; he was quite absorbed in Mrs Siddons and to my mind much in love with her. She looked uncommonly handsome, but was much too dignified to be pleasant in conversation. I was very much gratified by seeing her and hearing her talk on acting which she did very unaffectedly. I must not forget to tell you she admired my gown exceedingly. She said she thought it one of the prettiest dresses she ever saw….Mrs Erskine asked Lady Harrington to introduce Kitty, and if she goes she [Lady H.] has promised to do so. Otherwise she has given in her name to the Lady-in-waiting, and I believe has mentioned to the Queen Kitty's desire of being introduced. Miss Stewart has promised us places to see her if she goes. The Nares dined here on Saturday last; Kitty asked

1 Thomas Erskine (1750—1823), the famous advocate, became Lord Chancellor and a peer about two years after this.

the S. Smiths, Charles Warren1, Horner and Sharp2 to meet them. We had one of the pleasantest and merriest days I have passed for a long time. Mrs Nares looked uncommonly handsome and was in very good spirits, and I hope enjoyed her day very much. Sydney Smith was in his highest spirits, and pleased me particularly by talking of my sisters in the way I wish to hear them talked of, as the very first of women. "I cannot tell you," he told me, "how much I admire and like all your sisters; they have a warmth and friendliness of manner that is delightful, but I think that Mrs Jos Wedgwood surpasses you all."

I think I have given you a very exact account of ourselves since yon left us, and answered all your questions with the exception of the one about our friend B., which 1 really don't know how to answer. I think we are just in the same state as when you left us, not advanced and I don't think gone back, and most probably in the same place we shall ever be. He goes with us I believe to the play on Friday to see Mrs Siddons in Desdemona….

The next letter tells of what I think must have been almost the only visit Harriet Surtees was allowed to pay her sister. At least in 1827, after the death of Mr Surtees, it appears as if Emma Wedgwood,

1 Charles Warren (1767—1823), line engraver and active member of the Society of Arts. He had a great reputation as an illustrator of books, Gil Blas, Don Quixote, etc.

2 Richard Sharp (1759—1834), commonly called "Conversation Sharp," was a well-known figure in the literary society of the time, He had known Johnson and Burke in his youth, and was intimate with Mackintosh, Rogers, Wordsworth, Canning, and the Holland-house set. Like Campbell the poet he had been one of Tom Wedgwood's best friends. Mackintosh called him the keenest critic he knew. He had made money as a merchant, and as a London hatter. His country home at Fredley Farm near Mickleham in Surrey was a favourite meeting place for his friends. Boddington was Sharp's partner in his West Indian business.

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aged nineteen, was then first making her aunt's acquaintance.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister, Fanny Allen.

GUNVILLE, Sunday [15th or 22 nd January, 1804.]

……I am glad you were too honest a girl to coquet or disqualify1 about B., and I depend upon your telling me the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…….

We are going on very harmoniously. Surtees is in high good humour, but so fidgetty that I don't wonder that Harriet is so thin; she looks very well, but I think she is flat. I cannot join Jessie in thinking she is anything like a happy woman. Her spirits arc not low, but there is no spring, no liveliness or self-enjoyment at all. I don't know whether she was naturally so grave, or whether it is acquired of late years, but we have had no sort of épanchement de cœur. I have not ventured upon any leading conversation, nor has she led to anything of that sort; and I daresay we shall not. She seems rather pleased at the thoughts of this ball at Blandford, and desires you will not forget to send her clothes off in time. In looking over the account of the birthday the first person that struck my eye was Lady Mackintosh. I take for granted you were in the presence chamber with Miss Stewart, a parcel of shabby plebeians, looking on the honours that had fallen upon the family; and I desire you will give me a more particular account of Kitty's presentation, reception, and appearance. I am however more anxious to hear of many other things relating to poor dear Kitty, and which I hope I shall in a day or two either from herself or one of you…….

I believe, my little Fanny, I owe a little of your flattering representation of what Sydney Smith said of me to your good nature. You thought it a pity I should not

1 Does this mean disclaim? I do not know who B. was.

come in for a little of what F. B. used to call "the delicious essence," and so you very kindly sent me a little. However I am much obliged to you for your kind intention in refreshing my memory with the sound of a compliment, which I must confess has still some power to charm, vain mortals as we are…….

Fanny Allen to her sister, Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

ALBEMARLE STREET, Saturday [Jan. 28th, 1804.]

……Kitty and Mackintosh left town this morning, and have left me one of the heaviest hearts I have ever had. I can scarcely bear to think on their kindness to me at present. The whole week has been uncommonly painful, what with the hurry of packing and the uncertainty and expectation of going every day. It was some comfort for me to see that Kitty's spirits kept up very tolerably to the last. I did not see her this morning, but I hear she was pretty cheerful. Mackintosh was rather low, but I trust they will both feel the quitting England but trifling. I should not be much surprised if they were detained a week at Ryde; in that case Sharp, Horner, and perhaps Sydney Smith, will go down and pass the time with them. That will be very desirable for them, and I cannot but say I should envy them very much—that is to say the visitors. I don't know and I almost fear you have not heard from any of us since Kitty's presentation at Court. Miss Stewart drest her uncommonly well and prettily, and she cut an exceeding good figure; the Queen talked very graciously to her, and she met with very great civility from a great many people on the occasion, particularly from Lady Harrington, who asked her to come to her evening party on Sunday last. On the whole I was very glad Kitty went to Court. It was something for her to think of, and above all there is nothing like a little vanity to buoy up the spirits.

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By the way you did me very great injustice in supposing I added to S. Smith's speech concerning you, for I will not call it a compliment. I never think a compliment worth repeating that I am obliged to add to. As a punishment for your unbelief, I have a great mind not to tell you that, instead of adding, I kept back part of the good things he said of you. Mackintosh, Kitty and I dined with the Smiths on Sunday last, and I have scarcely ever passed a pleasanter or merrier day. The company as usual were Sharp, Rogers, Horner and Boddington. We remained there till twelve, and you will accuse me, I suppose, of gross flattery, if I were to tell you, you were again the subject of a very warm eulogium from more of the gentlemen than Sydney Smith. It was a very humorous dispute and amused me very much. I will not detail it you, because of your unbelief. But Sydney put an end to that part of it which treated of the different degrees of dependence they could place in you and my other sisters in case of any emergency, by declaring he would rely on your kindness to nurse him during a fever, and Jenny's only in a toothache—this was unanswerable and unanswered. They have asked me to spend a few days with them this next week, which I think I shall do. I expect Sydney almost every minute to fix the day. I am happy to have it in my power to cultivate a friendship with them both; I have met with no people in London that I like so much as I do them, or who have showed me more unremitting kindness…….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

GUNVILLE, Sunday Morning, May 5th [1805].

My dear Jos,

The only thing that has occurred since I wrote last has been the taking of poor Job Harding by the Pressgang, which has excited a great sensation in the village,

From a Pertrail by Romney

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and for which I am very truly concerned. The night before last they knocked at the door and told the Hardings to get up, us the Press-gang were at Hinton and were coming to take them. Job got up and went down stairs, but they had broke open the door and seized him and carried him off, without giving him time to tie his garters or to put on his coat. The other brother Jem was very ill from a chill, but the Lieut, went up and satisfied himself as to the truth of it, and he had humanity enough to leave him behind, though he said they should come for him very soon. They then went to George Collin's, but he would not open the door or answer when they called, but prepared to stand on the defensive, for which purpose he broke the child's crib to have the stick as a weapon of defence. The crew hearing the crash, thought he had broke through to the next house and made his escape; and so they went off, and he escaped for this time, but I am afraid they will get him and Jem Harding. The poor wife of Job (unlike her namesake in the Bible) is gone off this morning to comfort her husband and to take him some necessaries, and I suppose the pay she received last night, which amounted to 16s., to which Tom added some articles from his wardrobe, and I a guinea; and A. Harding's wife went with her out of friendship (a walk of 40 miles to and from Poole). A good many others of the women went to sand her. I saw a letter to-day from him to his wife, written in such a simple honest style, that it interested me very much fit his favour. The other two men are frightened to death at the thought of their turn coming next; and they don't lie at home. But what a sad life it is to be feeling the torments of fear, and skulking like a felon, and that for such a length of time as they probably will. Our waggoner coming from Poole yesterday met poor Harding escorted by three men armed, and himself pinioned. I declare this circumstance almost made a Bethlem Gabor of me.

L. 3

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B.1 had a letter from my Joe yesterday. He asks whether Papa does not mean to come and see him before the holidays, as many of the boys' fathers are coming to see their sons. He says the holidays will begin next Wednesday six weeks, and if we fetch him a week before, the five weeks will soon run out; and I wish you would write to Mr Coleridge to mention the matter of his coming home a week before they break up, and then I can tell my Joe of it, which will make him very happy. I had nearly resolved upon setting off to see him to-morrow, but I have thought better of it. The journey so long, the time of being with him so short, and the pain of parting considered, I think it will be as well not to think of seeing him before the holidays.

I heard from Harriet [Surtees] yesterday, and the living is really given from them, and what is worse Harry Ridley has got it. This has made Surtees furious, but I hope they will have the wisdom to keep their anger to themselves and not to make a temporary slight into an irreparable breach. Dr Ridley has now £3,000 per annum in church preferment from the Chancellor2. If it were not for poor Harriet I believe I should smile at the disappointment of the Revd. Matthew. Mr Fialon is here and shall put this letter in the post for me, therefore, my dear Jos, adieu for the present. Believe me ever yours,

E. W.

Tom Wedgwood's state had become more and more suffering, and his death on 10th July, 1805, at Eastbury, the place he had bought for himself his mother and his two sisters near Gunville, was a blessed release.

1 Elizabeth, the eldest child. Joe, now aged ten, was at school at Ottery St Mary with Mr George Coleridge, brother of the poet. He was a delicate little boy, and I think it was his first year at school.

2 Lord Eldon's wife was sister to Mr Surtees.

Bessy writes to her sisters:

July 10th, 1805.

……Indeed the more I think of him the more his character rises in my opinion; he really was too good for this world. Such a crowd of feelings and remembrances fill my mind while I am recalling all his past kindnesses to me and mine, and to all his acquaintances, that I feel myself quite unfit to make his panegyric, but I trust my children will ever remember him with veneration as an honour to the family to which he belonged…….

July 27th, 1805.

……Eastbury was always rather gloomy in my eyes, now it looks the picture of Melancholy, and poor Tom's empty rooms I cannot look upon without a painful serrement de cœur, like himself, hid behind the high laurels, melancholy and retired. His forsaken windows remind me continually of himself, and I can hardly forbear expecting to see him walking out in his way, throwing one foot before the other in a despairing manner as if he did not care whether the other ever followed. He was laid in the Vault here on Tuesday se'ennight. Oh! how [word torn off] the Bell sounded that day…….

After Tom Wedgwood's death the Josiah Wedgwoods left Dorsetshire. Maer Hall had been bought a year or two earlier, but they did not inhabit it fully till about 1807. And about 1812 they seem to have moved for a time to Etruria, I think for the sake of economy, the income from the Pottery having gone down through the crippling of our continental trade in the war-time, and income-tax being at 2s. in the pound. They came back finally in 1819.


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The following letter is from Sarah Wedgwood, the youngest sister of Jos. She never married, although she had innumerable proposals.

Sarah Wedgwood to Jessie Allen.

DARLASTON1, Sept. 5 [probably 1807].

My dear Jessie,

It is a long time since I have written a letter from feeling an inclination to do so. Since the humour is now on me I will indulge it tho' it is late; all the world is gone to bed, and my writing tackle is miserable…….

Your conjecture that Buxton might become a pet place with me has not been realised. Nothing ever was much duller; the company during the whole fortnight I was there continued in the same insipid way they set out, neither genteel, agreeable, sensible, nor anything but good-humoured and civil; you cannot think how few exceptions there were. We went out but once while I staid; that was to the play on Saturday to see Elliston in the Honeymoon and the Hunter of the Alps. I was very much entertained—more pleased (don't tell) than I was at any play in London. All but Elliston were execrable actors, but the play itself is amusing and he acts charmingly; but the farce, there I was in my glory! crying at a farce! (the last time I had cried before was at Astley's). Before I proceed, I must say for my credit's sake what I know to be true, that the farce is one of the poorest things that ever was seen—that granted, I proceed to say how delighted I was with it. There were two of the dearest little children in the world acting in it. In general I am quite of the opinion of the person whom

1 Darlaston Hall, a house not far from Etruria, to which old Mrs Wedgwood and her daughters first came when Gunville and Eastbury were given up, before they moved to Parkfields, near Barlaston.

Baugh [Allen] quotes as admiring Herod on these occasions, but I must rejoice that these two were spared; one was not the least affected in the world, the other only the least in the world; they were like two children saying the thing in earnest, and Elliston, dear delightful Elliston, never in my life did I see anything so sweet and pretty as his way of acting with them. The mixture of tenderness and fun in his manner to them was bewitching. I wish you had seen one of the dear little things telling him not to be frightened when he turned round suddenly and saw him, and Elliston's sweet comical look in return. But charming as this was (and how superb it must appear in description!) it was nothing to a scene afterwards where he divided a cake between the two little things who were starving. What an idiot you must think me! I don't care, I did enjoy it beyond measure: I was so delighted that I was obliged to make little Sally1 my confidante when I got home, there being nobody else at hand. It is well for you you were not there, you would have been well tired of my raptures2.

Jos and Bessy and Kitty [Wedgwood] went to a fête at Crewe Hall on Saturday morning. The chief amusements were to have been out of doors, but owing to the badness of the day they could not go out, and had not much to do within. There were about a hundred people there, and five rooms open; they had a luncheon at three o'clock, coffee and ices afterwards and a dance, some very nice singing too by Miss Crewe and some other ladies. Lady Crewe was so much distressed by the badness of the day that she was not like herself, but very civil and

1 Her niece, Sarah Elizabeth, John Wedgwood's eldest child, later called Eliza.

2 They are justified to us by the two Essays of Charles Lamb: "To the Shade of Elliston," beginning "Joyousest of once embodied spirits," and "Ellistoniana." Leigh Hunt called him "the best lover on die stage."

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attentive. Miss Crewe they all thought charming. They knew a good many people there, and did not feel at all like lost sheep. They came away at six o'clock. Jos danced away—the ladies did not—but Kitty was engaged to dance with Mr Ricketts when they came away. I would not have gone for the world, as society by daylight is my aversion.

We are going to have a grand dinner-party here on Tuesday. We shall be sixteen, the Tollets with several friends, Whalleys with ditto, and W. Sneyds. In a moment of insanity we had invited the Meafordites1 too; happily they were engaged or I don't know what would have become of us; we are now two more than our dinner-table will hold with all possible squeezing, and we have calculated that seven must sit on the drawing-room sofa. We must hope for a cool day.

I have read nothing lately, and as to my thoughts I have never once found pleasure or profit in their company since I left London. I was not quite well before I went to Buxton, and I hope that was what made me so disagreeable; if I am to be subject to these devildum humours I had rather my body should be to blame than my mind: I am well now, and I hope come to my senses a little, but not come to my Fenton state of perfection yet. You don't tell me whether you have recovered your spirits; have you? Pray let me know if W. K. makes his proposals in due form; you would make such a popular dame that it will be a thousand pities if you refuse him and miss your vocation.

We went to look at Maer the other day; it is wonderfully improved, and will be one of the pleasantest places in the country. It does not seem to be nearly ready, but the painting is finished and the papering nearly; the walk round the pool, if they make it, will be delightful; the new road is a prodigious improvement….

1 The Jervises, Lord St Vincent's family.



Jessie, Emma, and Fanny Allen at Dulwich—The Mackintoshes in Great George Street—London parties and Madame de Staël.

In 1812 John Hensleigh Allen married Gertrude, daughter of Lord Robert Seymour. His three sisters had lived with him since his father's death in 1803, and this nine years was often looked back on as a time of peculiar happiness to all. Their home at Cresselly now came to an end, and they went first to the Josiah Wedgwoods and there stayed eight months. This long and happy visit laid the foundation of the lifelong friendship between the aunts and their nieces.

The following letters were written whilst they were in or near London, after the visit to Staffordshire was over. Sir James and Lady Mackintosh had returned from India and were living in Great George Street, Westminster, and Baugh Allen was now at Dulwich. To be. near him the Allen sisters had taken lodgings at Dulwich, but were often at Great George Street. In the following letter "little Fan" is their niece, Fanny Mackintosh, aged about 13, and Kitty is their sister Lady Mackintosh.

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Emma Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

DULWICH, July 2nd [1813].

……The next day, Saturday, which you know was fixed for my going down here, Kitty was just enough to provoke a saint, and made me feel as if I was enchanted in her house. At breakfast I talked of my going, and told her I wished to go by the 4 o'clock coach; to this she agreed and made me understand she would bid John take places at that time, and our dinner was ordered before three. Kitty however placed herself at her writing, and would give me no satisfactory answer, but bid me not disturb her every now and then when I questioned her what she had done. At four, she sent John to ask what time the coach went over the bridge, and he found the Dulwich coach just gone, and the last coach would not go till 10, which was too late. Then she had many schemes afloat about our going in the Sydenham coach, or in fact going into any coach we could find that would take us near the park; for she was resolved I should go down somehow. Sometimes she would in the intervals of her writing propose that she, Jessie, or I should walk down, then with a "Don't disturb me now, child" she went on with her letter till 6. When that was finished and dispatched, all her schemes for me ended by her sending for a hackney-coach, into which we four sisters got and little Fanny, and went altogether to Dulwich, drank tea with Baugh, where I and little Fan remained, and the rest departed. The evening was beautiful and the country in high perfection, and we all enjoyed the drive in our old hack, and Kitty was so agreeable and in such high spirits that I quite forgave her for being such a Mrs Worry till 6. It gave me however rather a distaste for George Street, so that I feel no desire to return to it, and am perfectly satisfied with my lodgings and enjoy the quiet and regularity of them. If I had had an idea I could have made myself as comfortable in them as I now

find I am, I should like to have settled here in time for you to have witnessed it; for I am convinced we shall not ourselves derive more satisfaction from the conviction of our own comfort than you will, so tender an interest have you taken about us, and so largely have you contributed to our happiness and comforts in various ways. I felt at one time so unreasonably acutely the loss of John [Allen]'s society in his marriage, that I thought I would not for any reward repass the period of it; now however I feel I would, if it was to be followed by so much kindness and affection as we found in Staffordshire. The feeling of that remains a lasting satisfaction….

Jessie Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.


……I have wanted to write to you for several days but have been too busy. We began the job of arranging the books1 on Tuesday, and found it so much a heavier task than we expected, that it kept us hard at work till Saturday night, not finding leisure even for a walk, and is not finished at last; and what is, so ill done that I am sure Mackintosh will not let it stand. Our labours have been something like the Spanish war, constantly at work but for no useful or happy purpose.

In the last happy eight months I have passed with you, dearest Bessy, I have so much to thank you for that I know not where to begin or end. I must take refuge in seeming ungrateful, and saying nothing tho' I have felt it at my heart's core. After you left us Kitty gave me your present for flowers. I have chosen some of the most beautiful that ever was seen. I used to hate myself à la Flore; if I become fantastic the sin is yours. Certainly I never admired myself so much as when I wore your chaplet

1 The books were three deep, I hear from Sir James's grand-daughter, Mrs Godfrey Wedgwood.

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on Wednesday at Mrs Philipps's party. Lady Romilly told me she could not take her eyes from my head the whole evening, my flowers were so beautiful.

We did not go on Tuesday to Lady Davy's1; Kitty took a long walk and tired herelf so she could not dress, and go; tho' I believe if we had been very desirous she would have constrained herself to have gone. But as we thought we should have seen Mme de Staël at Mr Philipps's the next evening where we were asked to meet her, we would not let our wish of going be seen by her. I am sorry she did not herself feel disposed to go, as we missed a pleasant evening and a sight of the lion, which we did not remedy, as it happened, the next evening. Mme de Staël dined With the Philipps's, and went off from table to dress herself and daughter for the Prince's fête. She was to have a private presentation to the Queen at nine o'clock, unluckily for us, as that hurried her away sooner than she otherwise would have gone. We had however a very agreeable evening, conversing a great deal with Mr Wishaw and Charles Grant2 more quietly and longer than one generally does at a rout. The former told us he had dined the preceding Sunday at Mr Pigou's, where Mine de Staël made several of her most eloquent harangues, and he had never been a more delighted listener. It is her favourite and best mode of showing herself. In common conversing, he told us, she appeared like any other clever woman, but in one of these harangues there is such a burst of feeling, such eloquent language, and such deep thought, and so much action, that it is the most extraordinary and interesting thing he has ever witnessed. Her subjects, he said, were invective against Buonaparte, praise of Bernadotte, the state of Europe, and above all the happiness of Englishmen. Her daughter was there and seemed a sensible, modest, plain girl. She said she was come to England to

1 Wife of Sir Humphry Davy.

2 Afterwards Lord Glenelg.

give her children a religious education. Her book on suicide is just coming out, and is dedicated to Bernadotte, who she says is exceedingly beloved by the Swedes, whom he renders happy as it is possible. She complains heavily of the London hours and large parties. I hope it will not drive her from London before next June….

Emma Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

GREAT GEORGE STREET, July 28 [1813].

……The next day Tuesday was the Vauxhall day1, and so tedious a one it was, and the circumstances of it were altogether so vexatious, that I do not know whether I shall have patience to tell you about it. In the first place Kitty's head was in a gale of wind all day—forgot to order her horses, borrowed the Bosanquet's, whose cross coachman was from quarter before ten till half after one driving us there, all which time being stewed four in a chaise, and having near a mile afterwards to walk through a frightful crowd, so exhausted our spirits that we found none to enjoy the spectacle on first entering; yet I must allow it was very striking. Fanny [Allen] was the only one of us who picked up a beau, and she shared our old friend Hare2 for an hour with Lydia White. His coxcombical powers have eat out his agreeable ones. After we had walked till we were tired, which was not long, we got into a room near the garden gates to watch for the drawing up of the carriage, and there we had to wait till six in the morning, when we had almost the whole time

1 Fête at Vauxhall Gardens to celebrate the victory of Victoria in the preceding month.

2 Francis Hare (or Hare-Naylor) b. 1753, d. 1815, father of Archdeacon Julius Hare, and his brothers Francis, Augustus, and Marcus. He was much in Italy, and was one of the first to give commissions to Flaxman the sculptor when a youth in Rome. (See D. N. B.)

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Lord Hertford's1 company, who looked tired like any dog. He heard Kitty abuse this party to her heart's content. She was very clamorous for something to eat. It was wonderful how good her spirits continued throughout the whole of it; the most agreeable part of the time was when we got into the carriage and drove home without obstruction. When there, found Mackintosh in bed, and that we had gone to Vauxhall a quarter too soon, or a great many quarters too late, for Mackintosh and Mr Rogers, with whom M. had that day dined, came here at ten for us, and they in their hack made their way so well that they got to the gardens in less than an hour, and were home here again by two, after seeing and knowing all the best company. This was too provoking a miss for us. Since, we have only been at Mr Boddington's party, which was thought by everyone a remarkably agreeable one; I found it much too short, for I had hardly time to look about me before I was taken away; for M.'s sleeping at Holland House obliged Kitty to leave sooner, for the purpose of setting him down first. Both Fanny and I were that night introduced to Madame de Staël, but that night I wanted courage to get near enough to hear her, the room was too light. M. and Kitty were delighted with their dinner party. It chiefly consisted of Sir Samuel2 and Lady Romilly,

1 The Allen sisters would naturally know the Marquis of Hertford, their brother John's wife, Gertrude Allen, being his niece (daughter of Lord Robert Seymour). He is generally believed to have been the original of Thackeray's "Marquis of Steyne," as also of Disraeli's "Lord Monmouth." He was a great collector of pictures and works of art. The magnificent collection in Manchester Square, bequeathed to the nation by the widow of his son Sir Richard Wallace, was formed by him.

2 Whig statesman, now best remembered as the man whose persistent efforts brought about a mitigation of the then terribly severe criminal law, under which some two hundred different offences were punishable by death. Five years after this he died by his own hand, in a fit of despondency caused, it was thought, by the shock of his wife's sudden death. The Miss Romilly who married Baugh Allen in 1820 was his niece.

Tierney1 and Ward, and Mme de Staël and her son. Sir Samuel awed Madame from her usual harangues into very agreeable conversation, and he was by all hands allowed to have been very charming. Mr Tierney said he never saw Mackintosh more agreeable, and Mac said much the same of him, so Lord Holland said he was convinced it must have been a most agreeable day. Mackintosh generally shews himself among us some part of the day, and gives us an account of all he sees and hears at Holland House and elsewhere. He is in very good spirits and appears to enjoy himself very much. The other day he witnessed a scene there between the Marquis Wellesley2 and Mme de Staël that he said he shall never forget. At dinner she attacked him for his speech on the Swedish Treaty, which he repelled with so much address that he was the admiration of the whole table. His sarcasm was so tempered with humour and politeness, keeping it strictly to answering her and never attacking her, tho' everyone saw she was entirely in his power, that he could not fail to delight the whole company, while he did not in the least offend her once. Mack thought she looked as if she suspected the smile that was passing over the face of the company, and acknowledged her ignorance of that kind of warfare by turning to Mackintosh and saying, "Ah! il est bien facile de m'attraper." After dinner she stood up and harangued for half-an-hour against peace in the style of the "Regicide Peace." This was so entirely against the sentiments of every one present that Lord Holland did not give it so pleasant a reception as the Marquis did her

1 Noted Whig politician (b. 1761, d. 1830). As to Ward, see p. 49

2 Eldest brother of the Duke of Wellington (b. 1760, d. 1842). He had made his fame as Governor-General of India (1797—1805) during the critical time of the Mahratta war, and had since been our Ambassador at Madrid and Foreign Minister. He was a brilliant classical scholar.

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attack upon him, but gravely declared his opinions were entirely contrary to hers on that subject. When she went away he declared she was the most presumptuous woman he had ever met with….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Jessie Allen.

PARKFIELDS1, July 25 [1813].

My dear Jess,

I think Mme de Staël is not only witty herself but the cause of wit in others, for I have just seen two of the pleasantest letters imaginable from you and Fanny [Allen] about her. I have heard that Lady Davy said that before she knew la de Staël she was only an ordinary woman, and to her she owed all her elevation. Far be it from me to insinuate, Ladies, that you are only ordinary women, but certainly the accounts you have given of her is in your very best stile, and have amused and interested us very much. You have all been so good to us country folks since I left you, that you beggar thanks. While we are waiting till it is time to go to Church, if Sarah had but a decent pen, I would scribble a letter to you, but your letter being at home you must not expect an answer to its contents…….

As to Fanny's going to Mrs Clifford's, she must not go unless she has a mind to have William Clifford. If she goes to Perrystone and afterwards refuses W. C., I will say of her that she is the greatest coquet in England.

I came here last night with Jos, who is gone by this morning's mail to Exeter and from thence to Cornwall. He thinks of spending one day with Tom Poole2 at Stowey,

1 House not far from Maer, where old Mrs Josiah Wedgwood lived with her daughters Kitty and Sarah.

2 Tom Poole, tanner, farmer and land-agent, of Nether Stowey in Somersetshire, was an attached friend of Tom and Josiah Wedgwood. It was through him that they became known to Coleridge. See the Memoir in D. N.B., also Tom Wedgwood the First Photographer, by R. B. Litchfield, and Thomas Poole and his Friends, by Mrs Sandford.

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but I dare say he is gone to see his friend Mme de Staël. Kitty [Wedgwood] and Miss Morgan are on their tour; I saw two letters from K. highly expressive of their enjoyment. It was from Capel Curig, which they had made their head-quarters for a week, making riding excursions from thence. Kitty's enjoyment of these sort of things seems to make her quite a new creature. Her letters from these little inns among the mountains are full of life, spirit, and humour…….

Etruria, Sunday night. Frank [her son] and I have had a very pleasant ride home this evening. I heard a story at Parkfields that has made a great sensation at Shrewsbury, but so much care has been taken to keep it out of the papers that you will not see it there.

A gent12came to the Talbot Inn and ordered a chaise and four to take him on the Oswestry road, ordering the drivers to stop where they met a chaise with a lady in it. About ten miles off a chaise and four with a lady made its appearance. The Gent13 got out of his own chaise into hers, and ordered the Post boys to drive back to Shrewsbury to the Lion. The Master of the Talbot was so highly offended at this, that he went in to a set of Gent13 who were drinking in his house, and communicated his suspicions, and that this gent12, who called himself Capt. Brown, was a Frenchman making his escape. Away went the whole party to the other Inn in pursuit of this Frenchman, and began their questions—his name, Capt. Brown, his profession, the Army. They shewed him the Army List. His name was not there. He then said he was the Duke of Brunswick1. This they scouted and asked him why he was not on his own territories. He got

1 Brother of Queen Caroline, born 1771. Killed two years later at Quatre Bras.

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into such a passion that he knocked one of them down with a chair, and forcing his way out made his escape. However that would not do; they halloed "Stop thief" after him, and brought him back, and he was locked up in a room with his fair companion all night, with a couple of sentinels at the door. The next morning, which was Friday, they sent to Mr Cecil Forrester to identify the man. He said he did not know the Duke of Brunswick personally, and began to cross-examine him. "Were you at the Prince's Fête?"—" Yes."—" Who led out the Princess Charlotte?"—" Myself." Mr Forrester became staggered; he said he could not venture to release him upon his own authority, but he shewed his belief in the truth of his story by sending him fruit, fish, etc.; but still they were both in prison. An express was then sent off to Lord Liverpool [Prime Minister] and Mr Jenkinson came down, identified the Duke, and he was immediately set at liberty, after having been in durance from Thursday till Sunday. He was in a violent passion, not, he said, so much on his own account as the Lady's, whose character he feared would not be mended by this little exploit. He offered to tell Mr J. who she was but he declined knowing. He wanted very much to punish his persecutors, and Mr J. had some difficulty in persuading him that could not be done in England, as he ought to have had his passport. This anecdote will not help the respect in which John Bull considers sovereign Princes at present….

Jessie Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

DULWICH, July 31st [1813].

Many boxes1 have gone to Etruria since I received your letter, my own Elizabeth, and in many have I promised to put in my answer, and my thanks ; but I have been very dissipated and consequently very idle. I have found

1 The family often sent letters by the boxes going to and fro between Etruria and the London office.

out that taking one's pleasure, usually called idleness, is the busiest thing in the world. After next Tuesday, when we mean to exhibit in a grand breakfast, much against my own inclination, we shall lay up in Dulwich quietly for the remainder of the summer. Emma [Allen] tells me she wrote to ask your father to bring you up with him and to be in time for it. Few things in this world would give me more pleasure than receiving you here; I am convinced I could make it very agreeable to you, and when I tell you that my happiness in Staffordshire this winter did not terminate in my visit there, but that I carried you off in the most precious corner of my heart amongst my sisters, I leave you to guess the happiness it would give me to have you with us. My knowledge of you, my dear little Lotty, and Joe1, has been a permanent gain to me. I am certainly sufficiently older to feel very Auntish, but you three come to my heart in the dearest relationship I know, as brothers and sisters. I am afraid this occasion is gone by, but remember once for all, that should any opportunity of coming to Town occur that you could venture to take, or that Charlotte being stronger might, that you do not wait for any further invitation, but take it and come, to only half a bed it is true, but to the warmest welcome you could ever receive anywhere…….

On Thursday I went to Kitty [Mackintosh]'s, to be ready for her evening party, which did not turn out as pleasant as might have been expected from the excellent company assembled there; indeed I thought it very dull, but publish not this in Gath, neither proclaim it in the streets of Askalon, for behold la Baronne de Staël was there, Lord Byron, the poet Rogers, wicked Ward2, his

1 Josiah junior, familiarly called Joe, is now 18½ years old, Charlotte is 16½, Elizabeth 19½, Jessie is 36.

2 William Ward, 3rd Viscount Dudley. It was upon him that Rogers made the epigram:
"Ward has no heart they say; but I deny it.
He has a heart—he gets his speeches by it."

L. 4

[pages] 50 - 51

enemy who reviewed him in the Quarterly, and whom he hates most cordially, and divers others of inferior note. This was the first of Mackintosh's Staëliennes evenings and it was a complete failure. Mme de Staël came into the room very much out of spirits, and as she was the principal person it of course threw a damp over the listeners; she hardly said anything at first, and Mack's efforts to restore her to her noble self were excellent, but almost awful from the silence with which they were received. The pleasantest part of the room was a little back settlement first formed by little Patito and myself. Mme de Staël would not, as before, sit still and converse with Mackintosh, but was pursuing Lord Byron, who was continually escaping from her; and then she had recourse to Mr Ward, but still standing or walking about like one uneasy. The Swedish Ambassador, the Count de Palema, was also there, with whom she talked a little; but nothing passed worth recording except a characteristic speech of Lord Byron's. He said he was going to Athens, and from thence to Persia and India, and asked Mack for letters to Rich1 at Bagdad. Mme de Staël affected to believe he was not in earnest, that he could not seriously mean to leave England, and proposed to him the misery of "finding himself alone, abandoned and dying in a distant land." "One is sufficiently fatigued with one's friends during life, I should find it hard to be bored with them in death also." "Ah! my Lord, you are happy, you have felt the happiness d'être entouré moi je crains d'être abandonnée." The conversation was in French and her answer sounded more elegant than I can make it. I wish I was a better French woman. Lord Byron is an interesting looking person, pale and strong lines. When he speaks, contrary to other people's, his countenance takes a much severer expression; he does

1 Claudius Rich, a remarkable orientalist, married Mary, Mackintosh's second daughter by his first wife. Before he was 24 he was appointed the East India Company's Resident at Bagdad "by mere merit."

not look ill-natured till he speaks. Mr Rogers was out of humour at meeting Ward, and went off almost immediately, and Ward was sneering at everybody and everything, amongst others at Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope." Campbell was to have been there but was prevented by a friend's visit. Mme de Staël brought her daughter to Kitty's, which is reckoned a great mark of distinction. She is rather pretty, very modest, and very silent. I endeavoured to make her talk, but did not Succeed very capitally. The party broke up at half-past twelve, and the general feeling must have been that it was a dull one.

You will be surprised to hear that I have quite a dread of Tuesday, and heartily wish it over. Mackintosh invited all these people to breakfast with us without consulting us, and without considering that we have not room for half of those he has asked. On my return from Letitia's1 I found I had to provide room and a breakfast for Mme de Staël, her son and daughter, Campbell and his wife, Mrs Graham, Sharp, Mack and his wife, George Newnham and Baugh, the only two I have invited. We shall be altogether a party of fourteen, our little room only holds eight. I was therefore obliged to borrow Baugh's room at the College. Mackintosh intended us an immense pleasure, and I dare not tell him how very far from one it is to me, or he would accuse me of a brutal disregard of genius. The fact is, I have very little pleasure in their company; after all, they put forth their best in writing. I would much rather read their works; that is surer than their society, which fails in giving one pleasure at least 6 times for once that it succeeds, and then is seldom equal to one's expectation. Oh! how far preferable a friendly visit would be. If a detachment from Etruria only were coming, with what a far happier, lighter heart I should prepare for them! I foresee that Talleyrand will not be the only one "si fatigué d'esprit." There are a few already that venture to laugh,

1Letitia Knox, an old friend.


[pages] 52 - 53

one or two that acknowledge she tires them, and some that prophesy that in the long run Mme de Staël would be tiresome; so that I think she will be likely to visit Athens sooner than she intended.

When I was at Letitia's I went with her to call on Catalani1, and was excessively pleased with her. She had just had a visit from a set of Custom-House officers, information having been laid that she had contraband goods, and she gave so animated an account of the whole scene that it was quite a beautiful piece of acting. There is something I think quite charming about her, so much sensibility and a naiveté so unaffected……

I am glad the rides about Etruria are so much prettier than you expected. What tho' it is not so delightful a place as that dear Maer, I have no doubt you will be as happy there, for happiness is like heaven, more a state than a place. I have given you such a dose as to completely tire myself, which I do not fear doing you.

God bless my dear Elizabeth, I am ever her affectionate


I can't put such a cold, antique thing as aunt. Let me hear soon.

1 Angelica Catalani (I779—1849) was the greatest singer of her time and one of the very greatest the world has ever seen. She had a glorious voice, and wonderful powers of execution. She could sing as a "sweet sustained note" the G which is eight notes above the upper treble line. She was a simple, pious, modest, generous woman, and gave away a great part of what she earned. It is mentioned that in one year she made £16,000. She sang in England from 1805 to 1813, and again from 1824 to 1828. Mr Litchfield remembered his mother describing the immense effect Catalani produced when singing "God save the King" at one of the Hereford Festivals in the Twenties.

Jessie Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

DULWICH, November 22 [1813].

My dear Bessy,

I have been thinking of writing to you some days, wondering much whether I owe you a letter or you me, fearing to commit my dignity, but I trace again your provident kindness in an immense piece of the finest brawn I have ever seen. How eternal and continual are your kindnesses, dearest Bessy. Since I have written to you we have had five packages, containing things most useful and most pleasant. Emma and Fanny were writing to you and therefore at the time told you, I hope, how excellent your gifts were, and how obliged we were, but I must repeat it for my own satisfaction. You shock me, tho', by paying the carriage. You make your presents extravagant to yourself, and what bargains after all they would be to us and leave their carriage on their heads. We are going to feast on your plumbs to-day. Never was anything more acceptable, for those little supernumeraries that one can do so well without, one grudges to pay so extravagantly as one does here. Did either of us tell you that Mrs Tyler and Bessy Leach had furnished us with a store of ham for the twelvemonth, like yourself paying the carriage for it that their present might be complete? Our friends have taken such care of us that we have never lived more luxuriously. I am in a humour to dote upon the world, it goes so fairly with me just now. This last year has shown humanity more lovely to me than I had ever seen it before, and I have always loved it. I suppose you have heard the generosity and active kindness of the Warden1 towards

1 Dr John Allen, well known in connection with Holland House. Baugh Allen was Master of Dulwich College. The bill mentioned overleaf was not carried, and Baugh did not marry Miss Romilly till six years later, when John Allen succeeded him in the Mastership.

[pages] 54 - 55

Baugh [Allen] in undertaking, in his absence, the plan of enabling him to marry and retain his place at the College. He wished to have completed it without consulting him, but that was found impracticable. He [Baugh] must also put his hand to the plough, but all this I have no doubt you know already. What is to the purpose is that affairs are going on swimmingly; the Chancellor and the Archbishop not only consent but approve the measure; the bill is to be brought into Parliament to-day, and I believe there is little reason to fear its not being carried through. I hardly dare trust myself to give way to all the joy I feel, lest a disappointment comes, but if he is thus made happy, what a brilliant year for the Allens! I believe this is yet a secret, so you must be discreet. Is it not very generous and kind of the dear old Warden? He knew Baugh's intention of marrying next year and therefore was certain of a speedy succession, but this he resigns for ever in all probability. He thought Baugh's health was affected by his anxious situation and was therefore determined to exert himself to the utmost to relieve him, and will I trust be successful. Baugh gives an excellent account too of the dearest of Jacks. He seems entirely happy, and his wife a gentle, good creature. Tom Allen writes for the first time in his life like a happy man, and Bird [Allen] and his wife perfectly content and rich. What a star presides over the Allens this excellent year!

Sara1 came here on Friday to dinner, having spent a day in George Street in her way, one of the few luckily that Mackintosh was at home. She is to see Mme de Staël either next Saturday or Sunday at Mackintosh's. He

1 Sarah Wedgewood, youngest sister of Jos, was one of the many women who fell in love with Jessie Allen. But as is so often the case with such attachments, it produced unhappiness for Sarah, who was sore at not receiving enough affection in return for her devotion. It is characteristic that Jessie always spells her name "Sara."

gave her so kind a reception and was so agreeable as to send her to us in high spirits. I wish her visit may turn out well for her, but I think we were bold to ask her, yet if she can see Mme de Staël once or twice she would put up with much.

We have found the Barrys disobliging1, and have had a little altercation with them, but at present we are at peace with them, and the old man would behave well but for his wife and daughters. In all transactions how much better it is to deal with men than women—they are the nobler creatures, that is certain. Emma and I made our first appearance at a Dulwich rout on Saturday evening, at a Mr Druse's. He has four good-natured, rather clever daughters, who asked us in person as a favour, and I could not refuse them, tho' I meditated sending them an excuse, if rain or a good one had offered, but none did, and we went. Emma looked a little woebegone, but I did not mind it. I made the girls play and sing, there was a pretty-looking, good supper, and we went off immediately after. There was no gentility nor much sense in a party of between thirty and forty fat, rich, happy-looking people. Fanny [Allen] ought to have written to you. She has been staying a fortnight lately at the seat of intellect, but she has brought us home very little. Mackintosh does not seem much better, and I am afraid will not be well enough to cut a figure in Parliament this Session, or do anything but chat with the old Dowagers. Lady Holland and Mme de Staël have entered the lists together and divide the prize, and terribly does he lose his precious time between them. I wish the latter had remained longer with the Grown Prince2. Fanny went to a party at her house but heard more music than conversation, but Mme de Staël talked to her, and seemed at last to know her, and said she was very pretty.

1 They were lodging with the Barrys.

2 Bernadotte became Crown Prince of Sweden in 1810.

[pages] 56 - 57

I have just been reading Anne Caldwell's1 play and am delighted with it. It has infinitely surpassed my expectations. She is a person of extraordinary genius I think. The poetry is really beautiful. I hardly ever read anything that filled my mind with more poetic images; the scenery is exquisite, and there is a warmth, a purity and delicacy in the sentiment I have scarcely ever met with, and that is very delightful. The songs are excessively pretty. I want to read again Miss Baillie's2 "Hope," which I thought the prettiest of her compositions, yet, from memory, I doubt if Anne's is not a more delightful thing. This would rank Anne very high in genius, as Miss Baillie was ranked by Mackintosh, when in India, as the third greatest living genius. Mme de Staël and Goethe the German were the two others. Extraordinary, that in a classification of this sort by such a judge as Mack, two of the three should have been women. 1 shall, I think, let Campbell see Anne's play if I find it succeeds with Mackintosh. Fan read it aloud on Sunday evening, and Baugh was as much delighted with it as I am. Dr Holland2 has not yet recovered from the effects of his Icelandic tour to have

1 Afterwards Mrs Marsh, author of Two Old Men's Tales, etc.

2 Joanna Baillie, a poetess who had then a great reputation, best known by her "Plays on the Passions."

3 Dr Holland, mentioned frequently in these letters, was a cousin of the Wedgwoods and Darwins. His father was Peter Holland, surgeon, of Knutsford (the "Cranford" of Mrs Gaskell's book), and his mother, Mary Willett, was daughter of Catharine Wedgwood, a sister of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, the potter. Dr Holland was thus a second cousin of the children of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer, and also of the children of John Wedgwood and Susannah Darwin. He became a popular London doctor, was made Physician to Queen Victoria in 1837, and a Baronet in 1853. In 1822 he married Margaret Emma Caldwell of the Linley Wood family. She died in 1830, and he afterwards married Saba Smith, daughter of Sydney, who died in 1866. Sir Henry Holland published a volume of Recollections in 1872, and died in 1873. His eldest son (formerly Colonial Secretary) is now Viscount Knutsford.

been so cold about it. Will men never be just to women? If they have dabbled themselves in ink the least in the world, the thing is impossible.………

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

PARKFIELDS, Nov. 27 [1813].

My dear Emma,

Nothing can be more delightful than the present course of events, public and private, a post is quite flat now if it does not bring news of a revolution1. Mr Whitbread and I are coming fast round to the ministry, but all the public news does not delight me so much as what Jess tells me of Baugh's affairs. I do think it most generous in the Warden to have interested himself so kindly in the business.

Give my kind love to Sarah and thank her for her letter. In the pleasing uncertainty in which her mind was when she wrote to me, I cannot guess whether she will be glad or sorry to hear that we have left the Church-going Clause in our Articles2, but so it is, and I make no doubt but she will be resigned either way. Tell her also that we like all her alterations exceedingly and think all she has done judicious, and what is more, Miss Morgan thinks so too. Mr Houlbrooke says there is only one annuitant at Liverpool. Sarah must feel very happy after all her trouble to be out of the bother of the Club just now, no disparagement to the pleasure of your company, my dear Ladies.

If you don't some of you marry the Warden after this you will be very ungrateful. We are all come here (dovelies3 also) to stay till Tuesday. On Thursday we go to

1 Wellington's army entered France 7 Oct. 1813 and the battle of Leipsic was fought 16th to 18th Oct.

2 Referring to the "Prudent Man's Friend Society," see p. 87.

3 The family name for the two little girls Fanny and Emma Wedgwood.

[pages] 58 - 59

Linley1 to stay till Saturday and I have issued cards for a grand dinner on the 7th.

Jessie's praise of Anne Caldwell's play is a very striking contrast to Dr Holland's frigid approbation. 1 have not read it yet, but I shall feel much interest to know what the judges with you say of it….

Jessie Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.


……On Monday Mackintosh, Fanny [Allen] and I dined with the Bosanquets. Kitty had an accidental sickness which prevented her going out that day, but which had no further consequences, and she is well now. We had a pleasant day, but owing to Mackintosh, whom I never saw more excellent. He happened to be well and in good spirits. There was no one particular to excite him; Mr Hallam2 was the best man after himself, but was better in what he drew from M. than what he produced himself. Mrs Bos was flashy, and 1 beg leave to observe that I never met two more disagreeable women than Mrs Hallam and Mrs Puller, the only ladies besides ourselves, or a more disagreeable man than Mr Puller. For once the conversation was general at that house, and well it was for me, as Mr Puller would have been my mate, had Mrs Bos, as is usual with her, made it a St Valentine's Day. The fog was so thick we were almost obliged to feel

1 The Caldwells' house, Linley Wood, near Talk o' th' Hill.

2 Henry Hallam (1777—1859), then known as a scholar and Edinburgh Reviewer. He had not yet brought out the book which made his fame as a historian, Europe during the Middle Ages. Few men have been more universally admired and respected than he was during a long life. But its happiness was clouded by the deaths of three children in early youth—one of them the "A. H. H." of In Memoriam, through whom the name must live, whatever posterity may think of the father's books.

our way home. It took us above an hour to make the transit, but Mackintosh was as agreeable as it was possible to be, amidst the variety of cautions he was giving John to take care of us.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we dined at the George Freres, and had a pleasant day amidst a party we did not know, and of no note, but more men than women luckily, and for the most part sensible and unpretending. Mackintosh dined with Ward. We took him up in our way back and passed another very agreeable hour or two in the streets with him, the fog worse than before. Me had a most brilliant party at Ward's, but the conversation was not equal to the company; he was not well and did not himself exhibit, and it was evident the Bossy day had been more agreeable to him, tho' he would never own it. Mme de Staël, Brougham, Lord Byron, Sharp, and some others of not very inferior note were the party. Mack and Brougham fraternized almost affectionately, and the latter and Mme de Staël were far better friends than were expected. They talked chiefly to each other so that Brougham, I suppose, is entirely softened to her. He and Horner stand almost alone in not admiring her book1. They are two powerful oppositions, but I do not believe the faction against it gains much in numbers.

Thursday—Mackintosh went yesterday to the Staffords at Richmond, with the Staëls. He does not return till tomorrow, He received a very kind and approving letter from Lord Grey on Wednesday. Lord G. writes immediately after reading his speech, and seems warmly and unaffectedly to admire it, particularly the part on Switzerland, and this particularly pleases Mackintosh. He felt a good deal the Examiner's attack on Sunday in the critique on Grattan, so that nothing could be better timed than Lord Grey's praise, How unfit for public life M. is. His unresenting nature lays him open to every coward. I wish he had the

1 De l'Allemagne.

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baton of Diogenes to lay about him a little. Brougham complimented him on his speech and expressed sorrow, with some feeling, on his illness. Mackintosh is convinced he is not the writer of those parliamentary critiques in the Examiner, and is much pleased to believe he is not; it is odd so good a writer is not known. Mackintosh goes to Whitbread's on Sunday: he does not think it wise to refuse the friendly invitation of so potent a defender, but while he is so constantly engaged it is impossible he can get well. Lady Holland has sent him two invitations since yesterday; he dines I believe to-day with the Duchess of Devonshire. I cannot endure that these old Jesabels should make such a property of him. How he wastes his strength and time amongst them!

Mme de Staël loses some considerable property in the Italian funds; she says that peace is her death-warrant, but she is reconciled that it should be for the sake of Europe. She will, I imagine, find it difficult to live in London even tho' her income did not diminish. M. found her in tears on Tuesday on account of her pecuniary losses. Have you heard that old Edge worth is enraged with the reception that Mme de Staël receives, and says it renders valueless what the "pure Maria Edgeworth" received? If Mine de Staël hears this she will not, as she Intended, go to Edgeworthstown in her tour through Ireland ; and that she will hear it, there is no doubt, as she has very ready ears….

Emma Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

DULWICH, Febry. 10th [1814].

Dearest Bessy,

In spite of my most earnest entreaty that you would spare your eyes and time and not spend them, most precious as they are, in my service, here is the gown arrived and such a beauty. I thought I should never cease to admire it. You have so far surpassed Fanny's in taste

and elegance that I may avoid wearing it the same time, in mercy to hers, for she agrees with me in admiring it far beyond her own, and hers is a taste you do not despise. What pains it must have cost you! I had no idea you could have made it so beautiful. However they have not been spent only in making me smart, for I feel there is something delightful in possessing the work of a loved hand. I must therefore thank you most tenderly for what I find so valuable.

Kitty brought Fanny and Jessie home the day before yesterday, after the former had spent ten days in town and the latter three. Fanny had one delightful day at George Street Sharp and Wishaw dined there and Mme de Staël and Miss Berry1 came in the evening. Madame talked of herself and her works in the most open way and the whole party declared they had never seen her more delightful. She said she should never write another novel because she could never again feel the passion of love, and it was necessary for her to feel the passion she described. There was one thing she said she deeply repented having written, that on divorce in Delphine. On Saturday the Staëls again dined with the Mackintoshes and Payne-Knight2. Both Jessie and Fanny were then present, but they were far from enjoying it, the dinner was such a curious scene of blunder of the servants, odd management and under-directions from Kitty, who was too much occupied with

1 Mary Berry (1763—1852) and her sister Agnes (a year younger) were the two clever and attractive young ladies who so bewitched Horace Walpole in his old age. He was about fifty years their senior. He called them his twin wives, offered to marry Mary, settled them at Little Strawberry Hill in order to have them always near, and left them the house with £4,000 apiece. From the beginning to the middle of the last century they were conspicuous figures in London society, their house becoming a rendezvous of noted literary people. They were "links with the past." Mary lived to within two months of ninety, and the sisters had been constant companions for eighty-eight years.

2 The famous classical archæologist, collector of gems, etc.

[pages] 62 - 63

her bad dinner to promote conversation or have any time for it. The evening of that day there was a small but very brilliant party, consisting of the Staffords, Lansdownes and Kinnairds. My sisters appeared well pleased that they had seen the party, but I fancy at the time being there was not much pleasure in the sight. They were however much taken with Lady Lansdowne and Lady Charlotte Gore's manners, and Mr Knight they thought very agreeable in spite of his bad countenance—but I must not encroach on Jessie's province, and forestall by a dry sketch what she has been seeing and will soon narrate to you.

Mackintosh is going on with his month's confinement from evening parties out of his own house, and he thinks himself the better for it. Kitty is coming down here to-morrow and has invited me to return with her to be present at a party at Mrs Warren's on Saturday, but I do not think I shall go; it is not worth the trouble. Since I have lost half my pleasure in Mackintosh's company I feel very little disposed to go to George Street without Jessie's or Fanny's support, for he is always so glad to see them that going with them secures me a kind welcome also; but I sometimes think I am perhaps doing foolishly in not seeking society which is often so excellent, and which, when 1 am quite out of the way of, I may regret.

Now, as the prospect for our going abroad appears so fair, I have begun with great spirit Italian, but as I am so unfortunately slow in everything, I am afraid if I dissipate myself with going often to town I shall never accomplish my task.

It is almost a week since I have seen Baugh. He left my precious gown here yesterday but we were out when he called. Nothing can be more brisk than the correspondence between him and Mrs W.1 He has sometimes letters

1 Mrs Waddington, Madame d'Arblay's "beautiful Miss Port," grand-niece of Mrs Delaney and mother of Fanny, Baroness de Bunsen.

from her twice a week; such mad rhapsody about Mme de Stael I never read, but it is design not feeling that produces it. She puts engines to work to get intimate with Madame, and I have no doubt she will succeed. I believe Baugh's gossip to her has been the cause of bringing Mackintosh and Longman into a scrape with Mme D'Arblay. She wrote a hurt and angry letter to her bookseller for having shewn the proof-sheets of her book to Mackintosh and Mme de Staël. That he had done so she had had from undoubted authority. That authority I suspect was Mrs W.'s, derived from Baugh, but I hope Mack will not know what a mischievous gossip he is…….

Fanny Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

DULWICH, March II [1814].

……I am afraid Anne [Caldwell] has now no chance or a very little one of receiving a note from the Baroness. The arrival of Count Merveldt, the Austrian Ambassador, shipwrecked the little thing. She [Mme de S.] had sent in the morning to Mack's for Anne's name, but after the Count's visit I did not hear a word more of the matter. Mackintosh is so good-natured, that I have no doubt if we were to suggest it to him again, he would get Mme de Staël to write a note again, or more properly compleat her intention, but I doubt if it is wise for Anne's sake; I have never known any good from thus laying trains for praise or compliments; it turns somehow or other to mortification in the end. Mme de Staël's compliment will be in return for Anne's praise, and she will think no more about her, as she has heard nothing of Anne to interest her except that she is her adorer, and Mack told her she was a clever girl in order to make the praise more palatable. If Mme de S. would write her a little billet from her own impulse it would be invaluable, but when it is prompted it is nothing and I would rather not receive it—it is like the Magician in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments who paid for what

[pages] 64 - 65

he bought in beautiful new coin, but when it was looked at again it was leaves clipped round in the shape of money only.

Jessie went last Friday with Kitty to one of Mme de Staël's grand parties, it was very full, and more Stars there than you have had any night this fortnight. Jessie met our neighbour Tom Campbell1 there, looking very much pleased. He is installed in Mme de Staël's house. The young Baron la gone abroad, for a fortnight, as Mme de Staël says, and she very good-naturedly wrote to Campbell to offer him her son's apartments during his absence. Rocca2 sat at the bottom of the table and they again talk a little, but this is nonsense. Lord Glenbervie told Miss Kinnaird that he saw Lady Mackintosh at Mme de Staël's with a beautiful woman on her arm. This suffices to shew Jessie's success. Kitty amused Baugh by assuring him that the Duke of Devonshire looked at Jessie…….

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

DULWIC, March 24th [1814].

……I heard from Anne [Caldwell] to-day—her letter was written under the influence of joy and grief and it was difficult to say which predominated, The grief3 you know, and the joy was caused by Madame de Staël's billet, which you will see. I am delighted it has given her so much pleasure and that it should come at a time when it was so acceptable. She says: "You would have been pleased if you had seen the ray of pleasure that Mme de Staël's note threw upon yesterday's gloomy evening—I had the delight

1 The poet. He lived for some time at or near Dulwich.

2 Albert de Rocca, a young Italian officer, whose acquaintance Mme de Staël had made some years before. It became known after her death that she had married him in 181 (, she being 45 years old and he 24 They had one son, who was not acknowledged during her lifetime.

3 General Skerritt, engaged to her sister, had just been wounded.

of reading it to my father." I wish there was any chance of her being in town this spring. She would then be introduced to her Goddess and Mack would remind Mme de Staël to say something to the clever Miss Caldwell which would place Anne in heaven. I had the note from Mack a week ago, but I did not like to send it immediately on the account of Genl. Skerritt's being wounded. I am rejoiced it arrived at such an à propos time as it seems to have done.

Baugh's affairs are, I am afraid, going on very ill, that is to say there is very little chance of success. Everybody seemed to be too sanguine at first. I wish they may have fallen into the contrary extreme. Lady Holland will be as much vexed as Baugh almost, at the failure, as it may prevent Mr Allen's1 attending her abroad next winter. She asked Kitty with great anxiety if Baugh meant to marry in case of the Bill not passing and then asked a very strange question, whether it was an engagement from affection?—this to me sounds very impertinent. The Wanderer is to be out on Monday. It is the most interesting novel I ever read. That Arch Jezebel Lady Holland has stood in our way to-day again, in having the 5 vols. Mackintosh sent it there before Kitty could lay hands on it We have not heard anything of Lord Byron's match which you mention from Staffordshire. He called at M.'s yesterday. You have heard that it was Mackintosh who wrote that letter in his favour in the Morning Chronicle. Lord Byron knows from whence it came and is so thankful, he does not know how sufficiently to express his thanks. This is a secret, as ‘tis called…….

The Wanderer by Madame d'Arblay, was however generally considered a complete failure, and Fanny Allen's judgment has not been confirmed by posterity.

1 Dr John Allen. See note p. 53.

L. 5

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The Josiah Wedgwoods—Life at Maer—The Doveleys—A picnic at Trentham—Emma Caldwell's picture of the family life, with Emma Darwin's comment seventy-two years later.

WE now leave the earlier life in which the group of Allens are the chief figures, and take up the story of Emma Wedgwood.

Josiah Wedgwood of Maer had nine children, of whom eight lived to grow up. Emma was the youngest child, born May 2nd, 1808.

Maer Hall, where Emma spent her life till she married, was so deeply beloved by the whole group that their children even have inherited a kind of sacred feeling about it. "The echoes of a light-hearted gaiety seem to linger about the Maer of my recollection….It was to my childish eyes a scene of perfect beauty." Thus writes my cousin Julia Wedgwood in her little memoir of her father1. My father often spoke to us of its wonderful charm, and it was a deep regret to all that it passed out of the family after the death of Josiah Wedgwood and his wife. In the old days it was a large but unpretending Stone house, now altered out of all knowledge. It was an Elizabethan building, and on the

1 Hensleigh Wedgwood, Bedford Coll. Magazine, Dec. 1902.

From drawing by Charlotte Wedgwood

[page break] - [pages] 67

garden side a pretty porch with pillars was left unaltered, but the latticed windows had been sashed according to the taste of the time. It stood on a slope? leading down to a small lake or mere (always spoken of as the pool), fed by springs so that the water was clear, from which the place took its name. "Capability Brown," the well-known landscape gardener of those days, had had a hand in making the place, and had turned the marshy end of the pool next the house into a kind of fish's tail, as my mother used to describe it. There was a boat on the pool which was a great joy to the children and young people, and there was capital skating in winter. A delightful up and down sandy walk round the pool a mile in length, diversified and well wooded, was one of the charms of the place. The garden, always bright and gay with old-fashioned flowers, lay between the house and the pool, and the little church was just outside the domain. My father used to say in fun that our mother only cared for flowers which had grown at Maer. There was a great deal of wild heath and wood around, and the country is still as rural as ever and quite unspoiled by mines and manufactories. My father writes in his Autobiography: "In the summer the whole family used often to sit on the steps of the old portico with the flower-garden in front, and with the steep wooded bank opposite the house reflected in the lake, with here and there a fish rising or a water bird paddling about. Nothing has left a more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer." I can remember his description of these enchanting


[pages] 68 - 69

evenings, and his happy look and sigh of reminiscence, as he recalled the past, and told how nothing else was ever like it—what good talk there was, not the mere personal gossip which such family talk is apt to become, and how delightfully Charlotte sang (the elder cousin for whom he had a boy's adoration), and then the charm of garden, pool, and woody walk.

The household at Maer was kept up without any display, but there was every comfort that an ordinary squire's household would have at the time. The garden was the special province of Elizabeth, the eldest daughter. A number of horses were kept, chiefly for riding. These were turned out to grass in the summer and taken up as they were wanted, but apparently they had no regular carriage horses in the earlier time, and when the large carriage was used posters were hired.

It was the centre of attraction to different members of the family who, at one time or another, settled in the neighbourhood. Parkfields, where old Mrs Wedgwood and her daughters Kitty and Sarah lived, was not far off. Afterwards, when Sarah was left alone, on the death of her mother in 1815 and of Kitty in 1823, Camphill on Maer Heath was built for her. The John Wedgwoods came to a cottage at Betley, eight miles from Maer. And as the sons married, all but one settled near their father's home—the Harrys at Seabridge, the Franks at Etruria Hall, and the Joses (junior) at Fenton.

Bessy's boundless hospitality kept Maer constantly full of relations and old friends. My father

speaks, in one of his letters to my mother before they were married, of his fear of her finding their quiet evenings dull, after living all her life with such large and agreeable parties "as only Maer can boast of." Besides these gatherings of relations and friends, their society chiefly consisted in frequent intercourse with two or three families within easy riding distance, although they mixed in the county society and went to the Race balls and other county functions. Mr Tollet of Betley Hall, a squire and experimenter in agriculture, and his daughters, a group of clever spirited girls, were among their best friends. Betley was about eight miles from Maer, and my mother told me she felt as if she knew every stock and stone on the road. The Mount, Shrewsbury, the home of Dr Robert Darwin and his wife Susannah, Jos's sister, was a long day's ride of some twenty miles, and the visits between the two houses were frequent. There was a warm friendship between Dr Darwin and his brother-in-law, but Mrs Darwin is seldom mentioned, and I do not imagine there was any great intimacy between the sisters-in-law. Emma Allen writes, "Mrs Darwin remains here a few days longer. I like her exceedingly but not her children [aged 5 and 3], who are more rude and disagreeable than any I ever knew, and yet they are better here than they were at Shrewsbury." A third family also appears continually on the scene, the Caldwells of Linley Wood. Anne Caldwell, the eldest daughter, became well known in later life as Mrs Marsh, the author of Two Old Men's Tales and other novels.

[pages] 70 - 71

The picture of Maer given in the old letters makes one feel that few homes could have been happier or better suited to develop a fine character. There was no idleness, but no bustle or hurry, and an atmosphere of peace, hospitality, and cordiality. They were all readers and they all loved the beauty of the place. And with such visitors as Sydney Smith and Mackintosh, there must often have been excellent talk.

The following is an account by Anne Caldwell1 of one of Sydney Smith's visits:

It was his custom to stroll about the room in which we were sitting, and which was lined with books, taking down one lot after another, sometimes reading or quoting aloud, sometimes discussing any subject that arose. He took down a sort of record of those men who had lived to a great age. "A record of little value." said Mrs Wedgwood, "as to live longer than other people can hardly be the desire of any one." " It is not so much the longevity," he answered, "that is valued as the original build and constitution, that condition of health and habit of life which not only leads to longevity, but makes life enjoyable while it lasts, that renders the subject interesting and worth enquiry." "You must preach, Mr Smith," said Mrs Wedgwood (it was Saturday). "We must go and try the pulpit then," said he, "to see if it suits me." So to the church we walked, and how he amused us by his droll way of "trying the pulpit" as he called it.

The family were zealous in all efforts to help their poorer neighbours, Elizabeth especially being often spoken of as overworking herself in all she

1 Group of Englishmen, by Miss Meteyard, p. 388.

did. Emma Allen, after saying that she should not be afraid of taking charge of her other nieces and making them happy, writes to Bessy (July 19, 1814), "About a child of yours I could not have the same feelings, because, dearly as I love them, I should dread to take them from the home they are blessed with, happy creatures!"

When they were contemplating the move to Etruria from motives of economy, Elizabeth writes to her father (Sept. 1812): "Mamma does not at all I think let the thoughts of leaving Maer harass her; she is in excellent spirits; and as for us, you and mamma make us so happy that where we live will signify very little to us."

The children of Josiah Wedgwood inherited their share of the good qualities of their father and mother, and especially a remarkable sincerity of character. Elizabeth Wedgwood, the eldest child, was one of the most unselfish women that ever lived. She suffered from a curvature of the spine1, but in spite of this disability was vigorous and healthy till extreme old age. She had boundless energy and activity in many directions, teaching in village schools, reading, gardening, touring, and above all in works of kindness and help. Her aunt Jessie wrote of her (May 23, 1816) as that "sweetest of human beings," and of "her own lovely character" appearing in her letters.

There is frequent mention of the charm of "Joe," as the eldest son Josiah was then called to

1 I have been told that one remedy tried was whipping her back with nettles.

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distinguish him from his father. He was considered to be like his uncle Tom in face. He had wide general knowledge and a remarkable mind, but he inherited his father's silence and gravity. His mother writes on Ap. 11, 1821, of his behaviour at a London dinner-party; "My Joe was looking very genteel and complacent, but I heard no sound." He lived at Maer and was his father's partner, riding in regularly to the Works at Etruria.

Jessie Allen writes of him in 1815, when he went abroad with their party:

I trust you will have no occasion for any uneasiness in your Joe, he seems quite recovered. You should not yourself watch him with more anxious tenderness than I will on the journey, and I think an Italian winter will be of great service to him. That he has not a strong constitution is the only drawback you have to the most entire satisfaction in him. Not only I, but John and Mrs Allen, and all our party, think him matchless as a young man; such good taste, natural gentility, grace, good sense, and sweet temper we have never before seen combined in one person. He reminds us exceedingly of his uncle Tom, without his fastidiousness. His manners I think are quite charming, and so does Lady Davy. Mackintosh says he sees no fault in him whatever but being too spiritless for youth. Oh how content I would be with my own Joe were he indeed mine! I have discovered that Harry [now 16] is very sweet tempered, well disposed and clever.

To this letter his mother replies [Oct. 30, 1815]:

……I cannot express how gratifying it was to me to read the character you give of my Joe, and so beautifully drawn too. Jos and I read it together, and sat up after the rest had gone to read it again, and I felt that it

was one of the sweet drops of life to listen to the praise of one's children when it is given honestly. I am the more pleased at your testimony to his modesty and good manners, because feeling no doubt as to his good sense and good nature I was more diffident as to the embellishments of manner, not thinking myself a fair judge, and having always been afraid of marring instead of mending by any admonition on that subject, though feeling all the while that it is the manners that excite affection. I trust my Hal will benefit in that way by the change from the schoolboy society he has been used to that of men, and that you will find him attentive to any suggestions from either of you, and that you will for love of me take the irksome task of telling him of anything you think wrong, or anything that he might mend.

Charlotte, the next sister (afterwards Mrs Charles Langton), had considerable beauty and charm. She was a good artist, and made many water-colour sketches and pencil drawings after the manner of Copley Fielding, of whom she took lessons. These have great delicacy and refinement in their old-fashioned style. She had a beautiful voice with great flexibility, and my mother often told me how charming her natural shake was. She and Elizabeth sang duets together with great effect; Elizabeth had a high clear soprano, and it is evident their music was greatly admired. "I had a profusion of compliments upon the girls' singing, enough to last them for the next twelvemonths at least," Bessy writes from Paris (June 1, 1818). Charlotte, too, is spoken of as having a clear head and good understanding.

The three younger brothers Harry, Frank, and Hensleigh were all good looking, and all had good

[pages] 74 - 75

abilities. Harry, who became a barrister, had wit and power of expression and a gift for drawing, though never cultivated. He was a particular favourite in the Darwin household at Shrewsbury, and could take any liberty with his uncle the doctor. One day on coming back from a sale Harry told him that there was something in the catalogue which he decidedly ought to buy. "Tut, tut," said the doctor, "but what is it?" "Why a ‘ditto to correspond,' for you know how much you hate writing letters."

One or two of his epigrams still live at Cambridge. The tradition is that Mr Sheepshanks of Jesus College posted the following notice: "The classical lectures for the current term will be on the Satyrs of Juvenal." Harry put up the following underneath1:

The Satyrs of old were Satyrs of note,
With the head of a Man and the feet of a Goat;
But the Satyr of Jesus does these far surpass
With the Shanks of a Sheep and the head of an Ass.

1 Mrs Kempson, his daughter, has sent me the following version which she believes is correct, and adds that her father told her laughing it was the most injust thing he ever said of anyone, as Mr Sheepshanks was by no means an ass:

The Satyrs of old were people of note,
With the head of a man and the legs of a goal;
But the Satyrs of Cambridge all others surpass
With the shanks of a sheep and the head of an ass.

Dr Henry Jackson tells me that Sheepshanks of Jesus was seemingly not a Fellow and asks is it possible that Sheepshanks of Trinity was meant. Mr Tuckwell in his recollections of Oxford has erroneously attributed this skit to Dr Nares, Oxford Professor of Modern History.

On Shelford, an unpopular examiner, Harry wrote:

They say that men pluck geese in Shelford Fen,
But here we see a Shelford goose pluck men.

He published a delightful child's story illustrated by himself, The Bird-Talisman. This my mother had reprinted in her old age to preserve it for the family.

Frank worked steadily at the Potteries till quite old age. He had a delightful geniality and cordiality of nature and his hearty laugh was refreshing to hear. He was as absolutely un-self-occupied as man could be, and lived an admirable life,—hard working and almost stoical in its simplicity, dignified, steadfast, and transparently sincere. My father's words about his uncle Jos might be applied to him also:"He was the very type of an upright man……. I do not believe that any power on earth could have made him swerve an inch from what he considered the right course."

Hensleigh1 was a high Wrangler and Fellow of Christ's. He was well known as a philologist and was author of the Dictionary of English Etymology and other works. The letters shew what a charming companion he was, as my mother used often to tell me.

At the end of this large family of brothers and sisters came two little girls, Frances born 1806, and Emma born May 2nd, 1808, when her mother was 44 years old. The two children formed an inseparable pair, and were the pets of the family.

1 He took double honours in 1824 as 8th Wrangler and was last in the third class of the first Classical Tripos which was ever held. The "Wooden Spoon" is the cant name for the last man in the third class of the Mathematical Tripos and his name (Wedgwood) caused the last in the Classical Tripos to be called "Wooden Wedge."

[pages] 76 - 77

The "Doveleys," as they were called, are often appearing in the letters. Their mother writes from Cresselly, 25 Aug. 1812, "I am glad old Hal takes kindly to politics and that the Doveleys are good and agreeable. Theirs are the only pretensions I like."

At the date of the following letter Fanny and Emma are seven and five years old.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

ETRURIA, July 15th, 1813.

……I am so deeply in debt to you all, dear girls, for your agreeable letters and pleasant details of all you have done, are doing, and are going to do, that I don't know where to begin, but I have made a beginning more to shew my good will, than with any expectation of finishing my letter for to-night's post, being now waiting for the carriage to take myself and my eight children to pay a visit to the most amiable Griffin1, who was rash enough last Sunday to ask us and even to insist upon having the Doveleys of the party. We are now going to set out as many as we can cram in the Gimcrack, and the boys upon the ponies.

Friday. We went according to promise, and were particularly lucky in having the finest day that ever was seen. Jos was treacherous and did not go, but I went with my eight children. It always makes a scheme so flat when any of the guests secede that I did not go with any very lively expectations, and these were still further quelled when I saw our party. The Miss Griffins, utter strangers, and Mr Ralph Sneyd of Keel, who I thought would be much too fine to bear the company of an old mother and eight children. However I must do the latter the justice

1A Mr Griffinhoof, living near Trentham Park.

to say, he bore it very well, and he seemed to partake so largely of the good humour of our host, that the party went off extremely well. The two sisters were conversable, and rather agreeable; we sat down to an excellent cold dinner at two, and a dessert of the best grapes and a profusion of strawberries and cream which were much relished. Soon after dinner we went into Trentham Park, where we found a very good boat moored, into which we all went, and Mr Sneyd and R. Griffin rowed us while Jos [the son] steered. We amused ourselves on the water and in the grounds till it was time to return to tea. We had a good deal of literary conversation, as Mr Sneyd has a very pretty smattering of literary topics and a good deal of taste, though a little affected, and Griffin has great aspirations after the same. We made some attempts at singing, which was the worst part of the entertainment, as my girls are so stupid they cannot sing without music, and after making two or three abortive attempts were forced to give it up. The two little girls were in silent enjoyment, very grave, and very demure all day, but they were very happy while running about the park. We came away about 8 o'clock, Harry and Frank riding the ponies driving and tearing all the way, and the rest of us in the landelet.

We spent Sunday at Maer, taking cold meat, and I never saw it look so pretty. There was a profusion of roses in blow and there was a wildness about it that I thought was very delightful. We drank tea with Mrs Harding, which I had rather not have done; as I wanted to Spend more time at Maer, but she was so pressing we could not resist. We liked our Sunday so much that we think of going again next Sunday.

Jessie Allen commenting on this account sends "a very tender kiss to the Doveleys, the tenderest to Emma, but do not tell her so. How much I should have liked to see her little prim face on the water."

[pages] 78 - 79

Fanny Allen writes to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood (Oct. 11, 1813): "Sarah [Wedgwood] gives an excellent report of the poetical taste of little Emma. I hope this will grow on her. Is she not the first of you that has read through Paradise Lost? You must not let this be a reproach to you any longer now Emma has set you the example." My mother told us about this apparently precocious taste for a child of five, how she began Paradise Lost and asked her mother to finish it for her, and how nice it was of her mother not to refuse.

But little more is to be gleaned of her early childhood. In January 1816, when she was nearly eight years old, her mother tells how the two little girls were to pay a visit alone, "at which they are much pleased, and the more so because they are to go by themselves as we can't spare Mary, and they bridle not a little at the idea of dressing and doing for themselves." Her aunt Sarah Wedgwood writes to Jessie Allen (Feb. 26, 1817), "Little Emma continues to be the sweetest little girl in the world. The whooping-cough makes her more sweet and gentle than ever. I find that she retains that first place that she has ever held in that part of my affections which are devoted to children. As Mr Wordsworth divides his poems into 'poems referring to the period of childhood,' ditto to old age etc., why may not I my affections ?"

A pleasant account of the Maer family life three years later, when Emma was eleven years old, is given in a journal kept by Emma Caldwell. My mother's comment, written to her niece Julia

Wedgwood in 1891, seventy-two years later, is added.

Extract from a Journal of Emma Caldwell, afterwards Mrs Henry Holland.

July 7, 1819. My Aunt took me to Maer. I had a sad serrement de cœur when I came in sight of the dear place. I remembered the visits I used to spend there with my dear Louisa [a sister who died] and one in particular when the hay was just in the same state. No place fills me with such recollections as Maer.

Miss Emma Allen, Charlotte [Wedgwood], with Caroline [Darwin] came to dinner from Shrewsbury.

9th. Rode with Charlotte and Harry to Newcastle. A very pleasant ride indeed. Harry agreeable—I do like a person easy to talk to for my own pleasure, even though they may not be as agreeable as another could be if he let out what is treasured up1.—Sailed and rowed in the boat.

10th. Mr Wicksted2 and Ellen Tollet called. We had a brisk gale and gallant sail round the pool.

11th. Mr W., Charlotte and Caroline [Darwin] set out for Wales.

Elizabeth, Harry, Emma and I rode to Hanchurch through Swinnerton Park. Delightful day, and very pleasant. Mama fetched me home.

I never saw anything pleasanter than the ways of going on of this family, and one reason is the freedom of speech upon every subject; there is no difference in politics or principles of any kind that makes it treason to speak one's mind openly, and they all do it. There is a simplicity of good sense about them, that no one ever dreams of not differing upon any subject where they feel inclined. As

1 This is a reference to the elder brother, Jos.

2 Charles, the only son of Mr Tollet of Betley Hall, had taken the name of Wicksted on inheriting Shakenhurst in Worcestershire.

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no things are said from party or prejudice, there is no bitterness in discussing opinions. I believe this could not be the case if there was a decided difference of party principle in the members of a family. It is greatly desirable that should not happen.

The part of the intellectual character most improved by the Wedgwood education is good sense, which is indeed their pre-eminent quality. It is one of the most important, and in the end will promote more of their own and others' happiness than any other quality. The moral quality most promoted by their education is benevolence, which combined with good sense, gives all that education can give. The two little girls are happy, gay, amiable, sensible, and though not particularly energetic in learning, yet will acquire all that is necessary by their steady perseverance. They have freedom in their actions in this house as well as in their principles. Doors and windows stand open, you are nowhere in confinement; you may do as you like; you are surrounded by books that all look most tempting to read ; you will always find some pleasant topic of conversation, or may start one, as all things are talked of in the general family. All this sounds and is delightful.

Mrs Charles Darwin to her niece Julia Wedgwood.

Autumn, 1891.

My dear Snow,

I cannot tell you what vivid pleasure this [journal] has given me, if only in putting me in mind of that ride; which was a great honour to a little girl, of course. I remember my wonder at Emma [Caldwell] being able to force herself (she was very tall and not slender) into Eilz's habit, and I wonder what Eliz, herself could have worn, some make-shift I suppose. I remember Harry's high spirits and the short gallops we took up the little pitches of the pretty wood we were skirting. It is clear that Jos excited some interest in her mind.

I doubt whether common sense can be learnt by education; no doubt it may be improved. There would be no liberty at Linley Wood while Mr Caldwell was in the room. He was a high tory, and I have no doubt those clever daughters had all sorts of Liberal crotchets. Mrs Caldwell was genial and delightful. There was the same want of liberty at Shrewsbury1 whenever the Dr was in the room; but then he was genial and sympathetic, only nobody must go on about their own talk.

Emma was pretty, with bright brown hair, very long, silky and thick, grey eyes and fresh complexion, a firm chin, well-formed mouth, a high forehead and straight nose. She was of medium height, with wide well-formed shoulders and pretty hands and arms. She had a graceful and dignified carriage. The only picture of her till old age is the water-colour drawing by Richmond, done soon after her marriage (reproduced in this volume), but it was not considered to have much likeness.

Fanny was not pretty, she was rather short and her face much freckled. She was orderly and industrious. Emma had gaieté de cœur, spirit, initiative, and most ability of the two. Her mother's nickname for Fanny, "Mrs Pedigree," no doubt alludes to her curious tastes, of which there are many evidences—lists of temperatures, lists of words in different languages, housekeeping memoranda etc. These were treasured by my mother ever since Fanny's

1 The Mount, Dr Darwin's house.

L. 6

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death at the age of 26. There is something strangely pathetic in finding these simple records thus carefully kept for sixty years or more after they were written.

Emma's nickname at the same time was "Little Miss Slip-Slop," and that also is revealing as to her character. She was never tidy or orderly as to little things. It was the schatten-seite to a delightfully large-minded, unfussy way of taking life which is more common amongst men than amongst women. My father said after he married that he made up his mind to give up all his natural taste for tidiness, and that he would not allow himself to feel annoyed by her calm disregard for such details. He would say, laughing, the only sure place to find a pin or a pair of scissors was his study.

I remember one little anecdote told me by my mother about her sister Fanny. When their cousin, Mrs Swinton Holland, gave three little brooches to Fanny, herself, and their cousin Jessie Wedgwood, Fanny had first choice, and Emma saw distinctly that Fanny was choosing the least pretty one, but she herself had not unselfishness enough to act in the same way, and her turn coming next, she chose the prettiest. Her grandchildren may like to know that of the two little amethyst brooches I have Emma's and their aunt Bessy has Fanny's.

Emma's childhood must have been an ideally happy one under the gentle, wise rule of her mother. Elizabeth and Charlotte taught their two little sisters their lessons. My mother told me they had a long morning's work, nine till one I think, and then nothing else at all to do for the rest of the day1, no preparations or work of any kind. I often think how different this training is from that of the modern child; and judged by results it does not lose in comparison. I should also imagine that this freedom and liberty for hours every day—liberty to read, to think, to amuse themselves—must have greatly aided in the remarkable independence of her character and way of thinking. It is certainly the fact that all the sisters were well educated women, judged by any modern standard. Emma knew French well and had a fair knowledge of Italian and German2. Her general knowledge was wide, but this may have been mainly acquired in a long life of reading. I should add that I only mean such general knowledge as one expects to find in an ordinary cultivated woman. The lists kept by Fanny of books read, and the carefully annotated New Testament (now in my possession), shew their industry.

Emma's handwriting, which did not change much in all her eighty-eight years of life, was delightful to read and to see, and like herself, was firm, calm, and transparently clear. She did not write quickly, but had an even, steady pace which got over a great deal of ground in its leisurely way. She was capable in all she undertook, a beautiful needlewoman, a good

1 This (does not quite agree with their aunt Emma Allen's account in 1819, but it is my distinct memory of what my mother said.

2 My father often said that where she failed in making out and translating a sentence for him in German, a non-scientific German would generally also fail.


[pages] 84 - 85

archer; and she rode, danced, and skated. She drew a little, though she says herself, probably truly, it was quite worthless. Her gift was music. She played delightfully on the piano, keeping it up till the very end of her life. She had a crisp and fine touch and played always with intelligence and insight, and delightful simplicity. But she could endure nothing sentimental or dragging, and "slow movements" were occasionally under her treatment somewhat too "allegro." There was always vigour and spirit but not passion—in fact her character shewed itself in her style. She was an excellent reader of music, and to the end of her life tried over new things, appreciating some, but not all, of the more modern kind. She had lessons from Moscheles and two or three from Chopin. But I remember her telling me she did not think she had ever practised more than an hour a day in her whole life. Unless, however, she was ill, I believe she hardly passed a day without playing to herself, for her own entertainment, if it was only for ten minutes. It is remarkable, however, that she should have attained such excellence on so small an expenditure of trouble.



The John Wedgwoods and Drewes at Exeter—Elizabeth Wedgwood with them in the Waterloo time—Arrival of news of victory at Shrewsbury—Young Tom Wedgwood's campaigning experiences—His letters from Waterloo and Paris—Fanny Allen's pro-Buona-partism—The Maer party at a Race ball.

I NOW take up the thread of the "Maer Letters." Some of those given here, as regards date, could equally have been placed in the third chapter, but as they illustrate the character of the younger generation this appeared to be the best arrangement.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Jessie Allen.

ETRURIA, Feb. 18th, 1814.

……We all returned from Parkfields on Tuesday, having spent a very comfortable week there. Sarah [Wedgwood] was in very cheerful spirits, though I suspect we interrupted her plan of writing. I was very glad to hear from two side winds that she was employed in that way, as I am sure what she does she will do well. We sent our two little boys to school from there, and upon enquiring into the contents of the parting purse I found to my great surprise that there

[pages] 86 - 87

was a guinea hoarded up in it. It was a joint concern and I asked Hensleigh for what purpose. "I don't like to tell." "Why?" "I am afraid of being laughed at" "I think you may trust me, I am not used to laugh at you, but how can I know whether it is a proper use?" "It is not an improper use, and we wished to consult you because we did not know what to buy, but the writing master has been very kind to us and we wished to give him something, but it must not be before we go away, or he will think, and the boys will think, that we wish to coax him." "I don't think any way of spending your money can be more proper than shewing your gratitude, therefore if you will trust me with the guinea I will execute the commission for you." We had then a consultation about the taste of the writing master, and it was agreed that as he was fond of poetry, unless we found something better, which would not be very easy, we were to get a volume of Lord Byron's poems. If this is twaddling pray excuse it.

And now to tell you my opinion of the Corsair. I think it beautiful beyond all his other works. The last canto is full of beauties. What a genius he is! Like Shakespear, the commonest stories become gold under his hands, but I don't like the dedication, it is very affected. I don't believe the pretence he makes of not caring for the opinions of those: who are unknown to him, and I should think worse of him if I did. Who can sincerely despise the opinions of his fellow-men? and what affectation to pretend to do so if he does not, and this from a man, too, who was driven half mad by the castigation of the Edinburgh Review.

I received dear Emma [Allen]'s letter when I was at Parkfields, and I am charmed to hear she liked the black gown. I thought myself the chenille was a bright thought to enliven the insupportable monotony of my green leaves. As for the trimming of the body, it is in the hands of fate and Charlotte, so I have no responsibility about it.

I hear excellent accounts of Caroline [Drewe] and Jenny [Wedgwood]'s health and looks from their Staffordshire visitors. They have had a ball at Caroline's1, where among a number of pretty girls, Emma Caldwell [afterwards wife of Dr Holland] was pronounced the fairest Sally2 has got half a lover, but a great beauty has got the other half, so except upon musical evenings Sally is ill off, but then she is altogether triumphant, and then the beauty is in despair. Joe writes very pleasant letters from Edinburgh. He mixes quite as much in society as he wishes, and in very agreeable society. Dr Holland3 is very highly spoken of there. He is going to town very soon and I think he would much like to be introduced to Mackintosh, but I don't think we shall give him one, for fear of adding any to the importunes that beset him.

I shall send you by this post the Bristol newspaper because there is the first report of the "Prudent Man's Friend Society." It is drawn up by Miss Morgan and I think very well done. You will see what good she has done in one year. If she can but follow it up, I do sincerely think she will rank with the first philanthropists of the age. If you have an opportunity I should like you to shew it to Mrs Bosanquet, because I think those two sisters mistake Miss Morgan's character.

Do you know that I shall not be surprised if Aunt Jones pays me a visit. I have written to ask her. She seemed so forlorn at Creswell that I thought I owed it to my father's sister to do it. Not but what John and Mrs Allen are very kind….

1 Mrs Drewe and the John Wedgwoods were now living at Exeter.

2 Sarah Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Wedgwood, afterwards called Eliza.

3 See ante, p. 56.

[pages] 88 - 89

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughter Elizabeth, at the John Wedgwoods, Baring Place, Exeter.

ETRURIA. [21 June, 1815.]

……Last night brought me your letter, my Elizabeth, and I was very glad to find you had so pleasant a journey. Your second day we thought would be delayed with rain, as I think it rained all day here. Your drive upon the barouche seat was therefore much more than we expected. I cannot recollect a syllable of what you allude to about callers at Maer, so you are quite right in saying you dared say I had forgotten it; therefore, my dear girl, if you remember it with any unpleasant feeling I hope you will do so no longer. If you had stept a pace back in my mind, (which is not the case, as I cannot recollect the circumstance) you would have stept a hundred forward by the frank-hearted candour with which you speak of it. Your upright heart will never suffer you to go far astray while you judge your own faults with so much severity, and I, on my part, hope I shall ever continue to be grateful, as I am now, to Heaven, for having given you to me.

I heard last night from your father. He spent a day with the boys at Rugby in his way; he had eight boys, Sneyds, Kinnersly, Chetwodes and Tomlinson to sup with him on Saturday night, and on Sunday he took our boys with him to Dunchurch, where they strolled and sauntered till 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when Jos got into the mail, and they walked back to Rugby. Frank is got into the shell, and Hensleigh is near the top of the upper fourth…….

Here is a very pleasant letter from Sally to you, which we thought it was a pity should go for nothing, and so we opened it, and so we read it. We are in a very reading humour at present, having done the same thing by Jenny [Wedgwood]'s to Fanny [Allen]. We were very glad to have both, as they gave us late intelligence from Baring

Place, and as you are now at the fountain-head it would be no use to send them to you, but Jenny's is gone into the fire and Sally's is just going.

I called upon Jess Bourne a few days ago, according to my promise, and in consequence of what his daughter said I asked him to come here yesterday evening that I might talk to him. However I heard nothing of him, and concluded he had not found himself equal to it. But talking to Charlotte the cook last night she told me that he had come in, but very near fainted after he had come into her room, he then took some water, said he had walked fast, and went out to the door to recover himself but would return. He did so, but did not come in again, his face was quite pale, his lips quivering, and his eyes full of tears. He never asked for me, I suppose he could not. I have sent Charlotte [Wedgwood] to see him to-day and to see whether I can do anything to comfort him. How strange that a man who feels so acutely could act as he has done. I called yesterday at the two Betleys. Mrs Tollet pressed Charlotte to stay a day or two behind me, but I found Lotes liked coming home better, so I made some excuse….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen, at Baring Place, Exeter.

[THE MOUNT], SHREWSBURY, June 28, 1815.

What a flood of good news, my dearest Emma. I feel quite overwhelmed with it. I am obliged to Elizabeth and you for two most welcome letters, but yours has the prior claim. We are particularly grateful for the good news of Tom1, which we received with the most heartfelt pleasure. Oh how much do I sympathize with our dear Jenny upon what she must feel, at not only hearing that

1 Second son of John Wedgwood, in the Scots Fusilier Guards, aged 17.

[pages] 90 - 91

her little hero is safe, but that he has behaved so well in this most severe engagement [Waterloo, 18th June], and not the least of her pleasure (I ought to use a much stronger word) must be the consideration, the thought he shewed of writing from the field of battle to allay the fears of his family, and lastly his modesty, after all that he has gone through. We should be very glad to see his letter, which perhaps you could send us through London by a frank. It will be a feather in his cap as long as he lives to have been in this battle, perhaps the most glorious England ever fought. What they must have suffered in being 48 hours without food, and fighting all the time! Tell Jenny (and John if he is returned) that we congratulate them with all our hearts. Yesterday we were put upon the qui vive by hearing in the morning that there was a report that Buonaparte had surrendered1, and not believing that to be possible, yet being persuaded there must be some good news, we waited the arrival of the mail with great impatience; and when we heard it was coming by, out we all flew to the gates, like Caroline to see the Duchess of Rutland, pell-mell, servants, children, and all. We had the gratification to see it come up dressed all over laurels and favours, and as it dropt Dr Darwin's bag at the gate you may guess our trepidation in opening our letters. Jos had sent me a Courier which contained all the account of Buonaparte's abdication, and I had at the same time the pleasure of Elizabeth's letter. It is impossible to express our satisfaction and wonder. What will become of Buonaparte is the constant question? Some of our abominable papers are urging strongly the putting him to death, but Dr Darwin's scheme of sending him to St Helena is the best I have heard. Who will now be King of France? If England keeps to her declaration she must

1 His surrender to Captain Maitland of the Bellerophon did not take place till July 15th.

not interfere, but I suspect the Bourbons will at least have a congé d'élire in their favour, and yet I think Louis the 18th will never be able to keep his seat upon such a tripless1 throne. We shall be almost as impatient for to-night's paper as we were for the last. Jos talks of leaving town to-morrow, but I don't know whether he will go home or come here. I take it for granted we shall now have peace, and then I suppose you will be set a-gandering again. The bells are ringing and the guns firing away at a great rate.

We came here on Monday evening, dining and spending two or three hours at Hawkestone in our way. We brought the two ponies here, and Charlotte and I rode Fancy in turns. The day was very pleasant, and I liked it a great deal better than going all the way in a post-chaise. We are here in the middle of the hay harvest, and the flower-garden looks beautiful. I find myself very comfortable here; there is everything to make me so, and I always enjoy the society of Mrs D., and I am pleased to see the young things2 enjoy themselves so well. There is an evening riding party of three every day (Joe being the constant escort), which is a very popular thing. The Dr as usual is very much engaged. He was out all yesterday. Jos sent to me the night before I left home to send him up a list of what things we could spare for Maer, so the Macs are really thinking about it, but what change these wonderful events will make I don't know. I am glad to find Irish affairs arc going on well. It will be comical enough if Jessie [her sister, now travelling in Ireland] gets Sir Charles Dillon as a lover, though I think he will hardly be a successful one….

1 Meaning, apparently unsteady: see letter 17 Oct. 1798 and the "tripless urn."

2 The ages of the young Darwins at this time were: Marianne (afterwards Mrs Parker) 17; Caroline (who married Jos Wedgwood 22 years later) 14½; Susan 12; Erasmus 10½; Charles 6; Catharine 5.

[pages] 92 - 93

The letter of Tom Wedgwood alluded to above, and two others written when he was with the army in France, are given here. He was a boy of seventeen, ensign in the Scots Fusilier Guards. The first letter is written the day after Waterloo. The fighting of the 16th must be that of Quatre Bras. The house and garden which he describes as repeatedly attacked by the French (on the 18th) is evidently the Chateau of Hougoumont; and he seems to have been in the memorable charge which ended the day.

Tom Wedgwood to his mother Mrs John Wedgwood.

NIVELLES, June 19th, 1815.

My dear Mother,

I take the earliest opportunity to tell you that we have had some very hard fighting, but that we have gained a most complete victory, and also that I am quite well and safe and have escaped unhurt. We removed from our quarters last Saturday week at Herrisenes and went to a village called Petit Roux, where we remained some time in quiet, but on Friday morning the 16th, at 2 o'clock, we were turned out and ordered to be under arms and ready to march at a moment's notice. Accordingly we marched at 5 o'clock to Braine-le-Comte and then waited for a few hours for other troops to come up, then marched and took up a position close to this town and about five leagues from our original quarters. We had just begun to pitch our tents when we had another order lo march on immediately against the French, who had attacked the Prussians in great force, three leagues farther on, near a village called Jenappe. We arrived there about five o'clock. The 1st Regiment and Cold-streams attacked the French with the bayonet and drove

them back. We were kept as a reserve on the top of a hill, where we lay down in order to avoid the shots and shells, which were playing on us in great abundance. At 9 o'clock both parties ceased for want of light, but the French were driven back about half a league. The 1st Guards suffered much—had about 10 officers killed or wounded, and among the latter was Capt. Luttrell, but very slightly. Two very unfortunate accidents happened to them. They were charging a regiment of French, who came to a parley and said they would come over to us, but it was only a trick to wait for some cavalry which were coming on. They both attacked the 1st Guards together and repulsed them with a great loss. After that they met with a French regiment who were cloaked in red, and did not find that they were French until too late, and in consequence were repulsed a second time. We only lost a few men from the shells, and we lay all night in the field without any cover in consequence of our baggage being left behind.

Next morning our regiment was sent into a wood to skirmish. We had a little fighting. About 5 o'clock we were obliged to retreat in consequence of the French having driven back the left wing, where the Prussians were placed. We went back and took up a position on the heights of St Jean, about 4 leagues back. The French returned in the evening, and cannonaded us till dark. We all slept on the bare ground, with nothing either above or beneath us, in one of the most rainy nights possible, and before morning the ground on which we were was ankle-deep in mud. The French retired early in the morning, but came about 10 o'clock again in immense force. It is said they had 100,000 men, and we had at first 60,000 men, chiefly English, excepting a few Dutch and Belgic, the chief part of whom ran away at the first attack. The action commenced at about ½-past eleven by our artillery, which was drawn up about 20 yards before

[pages] 94 - 95

the first line, which was composed of our division and the 3rd Division of the line. The French attacked a wood on our right, on the skirts of which there was a house, surrounded with a small wall, in which were placed the light infantry companies of the Coldstream Guards and our regiment, with orders to defend it to the last. The French were driven back, but advanced again with a fresh force, and succeeded in gaining entrance into the wood. They then sent fire-balls upon the house and set a barn and all the out-houses on fire. After being exposed to a heavy fire of shot and grape and shells for two hours and a half, in which we had 3 officers wounded besides a number of men, the right wing of our regiment and my company went to the assistance of the Coldstreams in the wood, in which there was a very heavy fire of musquetry. The French were during the whole of this [time firing] at the house into which my company and another entered, nearly one hundred men having now been consumed in the flames. The French forced the gates 3 times, and 3 times were driven back with immense loss, for we were firing at one another at about 5 yards distance. There was a large garden to the house which was surrounded by a wall on 2 sides, the house on the 3rd, and on the remaining side a hedge. We had another company brought into it, and a few Dutch who lined the garden wall, in which they made port-holes and annoyed the French very much. About 5 o'clock the French gained ground very much and made the English retire from the position on the heights, but were again driven back by a strong column consisting of cavalry and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 1st Guards, and the remaining part of our's, and after a hard struggle were obliged to give ground and retreat through the wood. They attacked the house again with renewed force and vigour, but could not force it. The house had a great deal of the walls down with their cannon, but they could not gain admittance. We afterwards received a fresh reinforcement of Guards into the house, and my company was sent out to skirmish. About 8 o'clock the first Guards and a part of ours charged the French with the bayonet and drove them entirely from the house. About that time a body of about 3000 Prussians came up, and the French immediately retreated at a great pace, all our cavalry following them, with our regiments, drove them back double quick and dispersed them entirely.

My regiment had lost 16 officers killed and wounded, including Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Gordon, and Canning of my company, who were among the number of killed. Capt Ashton of my company is also killed. The Duke of Wellington told us that he never saw soldiers behave so well as the Guards. The French have lost about 90 pieces of cannon and an immense number of killed and wounded. The Belgic troops who ran away went to Brussels, where all our baggage was, and said that we were entirely defeated, and that the French were advancing close at their heels. The consequence was that the people of Brussels began to pillage our baggage, but were soon stopped. I understand that my baggage horse is either killed or stolen; but I do not know yet, as we have not seen the baggage since the 15th, and all that time we have been lying on the ground, without any covering and not able to change our clothes. We have had nothing to cat, except a very little biscuit, and I have not tasted food now for 48 hours; but I am just going to have some, and I believe our baggage is to come up to-morrow. Another [trouble] is, that it is with the greatest difficulty we can get water, and what we did was horribly bad. I am now writing from the field in which we are to bivouac to-night, and therefore you must excuse the conciseness of this letter and I cannot get any more paper.

Good-bye, my dear mother, and believe me, most affectionately,


[pages] 96 - 97

Tom Wedgwood to his mother Mrs John Wedgwood.

June 24th, 1815.

……We had the post of honor and were the first to begin the attack. At the affair of the 16th I was rather nervous at first, for we came quite unawares to the field after an amazing long march, and I had not time to get collected but soon got right again. On the 18th I did not feel at all in the same way, as we expected the action, and I was prepared. I trusted in God and He has been pleased to spare me, for which I hope I am as thankful as I ought. The most disagreeable part was when we were on the top of our position, lying down doing nothing, with the shells and shot coming over like hailstones, and every now and then seeing 1 or 2 men killed. We had 2 officers wounded in that way. It was a very mournful sight next morning when I was on parade to see but little more than one-half the number of men that there were the morning before, and not quite one-half the officers. The Duke of Wellington was very much pleased with us, but I do not believe he was so much so with the cavalry, as they did not do what was expected of them……. We were five days without any baggage tents or anything else, and you have no idea of what we underwent during that time, sleeping in the fields without even a hedge to cover us, generally raining the whole night and the ground ankle-deep in mud. I was 48 hours without eating anything, even a bit of biscuit, and having very often to send above a mile for water, but now we have got our baggage and tents and are much better off. We are now about 8 leagues from the frontier, and are, I believe, to march straight for Paris. Most or the villages we pass through have the white flag hanging out, and vive le roi written on the houses. As yet we have found the people very civil, and they say they are very glad to see us. The Belgic troops behaved excessively bad, both in action and out, plundering and illtreating the inhabitants. I wish they would send them back to their own country, I think they will do us more harm than good. We have had two actions and they have run away both times. At the first action the Duke of Wellington was slightly wounded, and was saved being taken prisoner by the 92nd Regiment, who formed a square round him and by that means saved him…….

Tom Wedgwood to his father John Wedgwood.

PARIS, July 15, 1815.

……All the Emperors and Kings are now in Paris. I was on guard at the Emperor of Russia's on the 13th. He treated us very generously. The guard consisted of 100 men; he gave them 150 lbs. of meat, 200 lbs. of bread, 100 bottles of very good wine, and vegetables. The officers had an excellent dinner and might call at any time for anything……. About the middle of dinner Platoff1 came in and sat with us for a couple of hours and talked with us quite familiarly. He said he enjoyed his visit to England more than anything in his life, and that he liked the English women better than any others, and when he went out he shook us by the hand most heartily…….

I think the French are the most impertinent and most civil people in the world. As a proof of the latter, I was on guard at one of the gates of Paris and had black crape round my arm. A gentleman with two women came up to me in a very civil way and beseeched to know what was the meaning of the crape round my arm. I told them, but that was not sufficient for they asked who for, which made me stare, however I told them and walked away…….

This 3 weeks' campaigning has only affected me in one way, it made my legs very sore. For the first 3 days I did [not] take off my boots and they got wet several times and

1The famous Cossack commander.

L. 7

[pages] 98 - 99

dried again on my feet, and when I got them off at last, I could not get them on again without cutting the leather half way down my foot, the consequence was that the insteps of my feet were made quite raw. There is also another thing which I cannot account for in the least. My face is quite contracted on one side; and when I smile my mouth gets quite to the left side of my face, and when I eat my upper jaw does not come exactly on my under one, and I cannot shut one of my eyes without the other, which I could do before; however I do not feel it quite so much as before…….

His niece Caroline Wedgwood tells me that his face never entirely recovered the paralysis brought on by the exposure and want of food.

Fanny Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

August 2nd, [1815].

My dear Bessy,

I congratulate you on having your boys with you, on having seen Miss O'Neil and on John [Allen]'s having another son, but I do not congratulate you on Buonaparte's being in England, or the state of affairs in France, which I think detestable. I hope Davoust will preserve the army of the Loire, and defend France successfully against the Allies. Caroline [Drewe] and I have made a compact that we are not to talk politics, or I believe it would be more just if I were to say that I am never to say a word about politics either to her or before her, and this she says is all for my good. I have not one on my side, therefore it is as well to be silent. I hope I shall find you all stout Whigs on our return, to recompense me for the pain I have suffered to hear such atrocious sentiments expressed about France as I have done since I have been in the sweet county of Devonshire. I wish Joe would chaperon us this autumn to Italy, by the way of Germany. I would rather not see Paris in its present state…….

Your letter to Emma [Allen] is just come in and it is refreshing to me to hear a humane sentiment respecting Buonaparte.

John Wedgwood has a strong inclination to go to Paris, and, if he meets with anyone who is going that he knows, I have no doubt that he will go. Paris will be very disagreeable now I should think. I see the Louvre is shut to all but the military, which is preparatory to the [pictures] being moved I suppose. Lewis deserves to be tied hand and foot, and thrown out of France…….

I was at the Assize ball and danced with Abram Moore, who was so drunk that almost everyone was smiling as we went down the room. We have been at a play since Jane left us, and had Dr Miller for a beau, as Kitty would say, and he performed his duty well, as he walked home with us afterwards…….Kitty and Mackintosh are still dreaming on in town, and I am afraid their intention of going to Maer will end this year as it did last. Kitty holds a sublime and imperial silence to us, so we know nothing of her movements, not even whether she has been to call on the Duchess of Wellington…….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughter Elizabeth (who is
staying with the John Wedgwoods at Exeter).

ETRURIA, Aug. 13th, 1815,

……Joe has no intention of putting a foot in France. Lord Bathurst told Mrs Sneyd that it would be madness in any Englishman doing it further than Paris. I fully expect another explosion in France, and then what shall we have got by our battle of Waterloo, what, for our 20,000 lives and a hundred million of money? As for Buonaparte, he is suffering retribution certainly, but it may


[pages] 100 - 101

be a good lesson to the world, and it certainly is a mild retribution for the murder of the Duke D'Enghien, Wright, and Palm the bookseller. As to right, all war is a violation of right, and I don't know what we could have done with him since we engaged so wickedly in the war at all. It would have been too dangerous to have kept him here to set France in a flame whenever he saw a fit opportunity. He will be in banishment, but he will have every comfort in his banishment, and he will not be worse off than the Officers of the Regiments who guard him: not but I feel some emotions of pity towards him too, but I don't know what else can be done with him…….

We have had very gay races, not that we went to the course any flay, but there was more nobility than usual, inasmuch as the [Chetwodes] were there in full force. It was Miss Louisa's but, and Lady Harriet I Was told was in the greatest fuss about their dress that could be; but I am sure it was fuss thrown away, as it generally is, for nobody seemed to observe how they were dressed. Charlotte was very well off in partners, as she danced with the steward, Stim, Dr Belcombe, and a Capt. Vincent. There were but four sets danced. Joe danced with Eliza Caldwell, Fanny Crewe, and Anne Caldwell. Joe is much improved in his dancing. I can't say much for my Hal in that way, but I was surprised he went at all. As for me, I yawned in company with Mrs Caldwell till about 5 in the morning, but I think I was rather in request too1, as I was asked three times to dance. The handsomest girl there was a Miss Evans, the innkeeper of Wolverhampton's daughter, whose beauty did not redeem her parentage from many a sneer, and "Do you know who she is?" soon passed from one end of the room to the other…….

1She was 51 this year.



The Allen sisters abroad—Paris after Waterloo—Geneva—Fanny Allen and William Clifford, a seeming attachment—Home news from Mrs Josiah, Charlotte Wedgwood at 18, a family gathering at Bath—The Surtees, a long cross-country journey—Geneva society—Visitors at Etruria, Kitty Mackintosh and her daughters, the Sydney Smiths—The Allen sisters' journey to Florence.

IN the autumn of 1815 the three sisters Jessie, Emma, and Fanny Allen went abroad for three years. Jessie was 38, Emma 35, and Fanny 34 years old.

The Continent was only just opened to English travellers after the Peace. They were in Paris when the Louvre was being dismantled of the stolen treasures.

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

PARIS, Sept. 16, 1815.

My dear Elizabeth,

Here I am at present in a state so much happier than when I parted from you that I have longed to write to one of the beloved ones at Etruria, for I know how glad they will be to hear that, instead of repenting, I rejoice in

[pages] 102 - 103

my decision of leaving England, though till I had talked with Mackintosh, it was still passing in my mind to return from town to Staffordshire. But he so entirely reconciled me to the scheme that I became every hour happier that I spent in town, and so many of those I love going with me took from it the sadness I dreaded at quitting England. I knew the worst was passed when I parted from you dear ones of Etruria, but till the time came I hardly knew how heavy that would be; however we have had much sunshine since…….

At one of the posts between Dieppe and Rouen, while the horses were changing, we walked under the shade of some trees and fell in with an English soldier, who told us he was quartered at a French Count's, whose name he did not know, but who, he said, was a very good gentleman, and very kind to him and three more soldiers that were quartered in his house, and if there was any news always came and told them of it. He invited us to look at the Chateau. We did so, and while we were standing at the gates the Countess saw us and sent her servant to invite us in. We declined it because of our incapability of conversing in French, with the excuse of want of time, but the Countess with three other ladies joined us before we could get back to the carriage, and asked a thousand impertinent questions with the most gracious manners in the world; where we came from, what part of England we lived in, whether Jessie was married or not, what relation we were to John Wedgwood, &c., &c. This was the only thing like an adventure we met with during our journey from Dieppe to Paris. I thought Malmaison a charming residence. An English soldier was keeping the gates, and there my Lord Combermere has taken up his quarters. I understand he is the only Englishman who has followed Blucher's example and lives at free quarters at the inns. The women always spoke well of the English and otherwise of the Prussians, who they said took everything "à point de l'épée." We met a great number of them on our road. Once they greeted us with "God save the King!" In return they had nothing from Fanny but abhorrence; you may guess how the sight of them made her blood boil. Since she has arrived here she has heard that the evil they have done has been much exaggerated, and this from a quarter she generally gives credit to. I don't know that what she has heard in their favour has softened her to them, but she is now too well pleased with her present situation to be very angry at anything. Our first entrance to Paris far surpassed our expectations, I think nothing can be finer than the entrance along the Avenue de Neuilly, from which we passed to the Champs Elysées, where all the British are encamped. It was a most beautiful and extraordinary sight, far, far surpassing anything I had fancied. The buildings are beautiful, and as far surpass those of London, as London does Paris in the neatness of the streets. Those of Paris are more dirty and disagreeable than I even expected, from all I had heard, to find them. These lodgings are handsome ones and I like them much, but we pay much for them, 250 livres a week…….

The gallery of the Louvre is beautiful beyond expression, but I saw nothing of the sublime in it to have the effect Mrs Abercromby described. If I were to mention one thing beyond the others that have charmed me it would be the Apollo. There is a beauty in that which the most ignorant eye must see, beyond all description. It is a pity Jenny1 did not come with us, there is much here that would please her. I feel still rather uncomfortable staring at naked statues with men all round one. We have met with a surprising number of our acquaintances since we came to Paris, not less than six in the first day; and this gave us a very English feeling. The Cawdors [Pembroke-shire neighbours] were the first, and their accost was more

1 Wife of John Wedgwood who accompanied them to Paris.

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affectionate than I ever knew it. They continued with us as long as Lady Cawdor could remain, and after he put Lady Cawdor in the carriage he returned to do the honours of the Louvre to us…….

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

[PARIS], Sept. 25th, 1815.

……I cannot tell you with what affection I look on your and Charlotte's remembrance of me. I almost grudge to take out a needle or displace the thread, it looks like disturbing your work. It was so thoughtful of my sweet little Lotty to send mc the view of Etruria. I shall often look at it and image you and your mother about it. We are just going to try to get into the Louvre. We have however failed—and instead we called on Mrs Collos1 with John [their brother], she had just parted with James Allen, therefore she was not in as good spirits as usual; she complimented John very much on his appearance, and wondered at the pitch of beauty he had reached. We spent yesterday at Versailles and St Cloud, I believe I am singular in my opinion; but Versailles rather disappointed me, or I should say did not come up to my expectation. The fête at St Cloud was very striking. It was a complete fair with pretty-looking fountains and fireworks; it was so completely French that it was worth seeing by all the English. At Mme Catalani's concert the other night I had very tender love made me by a Russian officer, moustached and painted up to his eyes. He chose well considering my hatred. He asked me if it was my mother that was with me; I cannot guess whether this was Jessie or Emma. He begged to know what hotel I was at, said he should carry remembrances away with him, and asked me whether I would not also—he tried me in all

1 As to Mrs Collos see page 146.

languages, and then said, "You know the language of love." I tell you this that you may know how a Russian makes love…….W. Clifford makes a good comparison in the way of opposition to G. Newnham [an acquaintance who had not called], overflowing with kindness and affection. He has been all over Paris endeavouring to get us a Shakespeare, and what is remarkable in such a place, in vain. He was too late by one day for a copy….

Jessie Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

Monday Night [Sept. 1815, PARIS].

……One little word of tenderness to my own Bessy before I go to bed. It will be but a little word for it is late and I must be up early. I claim to write to her a comfortable letter as soon as we arrive at Geneva. Since I have been in Paris I have found no time for doing anything beyond it. I have just finished my prayers for you, and that I may find you on my return as I leave you. After that, no long absences; for no good will happen if I quit my guardian Angel….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen (at Geneva).

ETRURIA, Oct. 30th, 1815.

I feel the want of your society, dearest Fanny, too much not to be a little sad at sitting down to write to you at such a distance, but I shall mend of that as I go on, and you will be looking out for another letter by this time. My little letter to you is returned from Paris, and, as I don't think travelling mends letters as it does Madeira, I will not send it now…….

Sir Samuel Romilly, I hear, reports that you must waltz yourselves into society at Geneva, and that if he had stayed there, he should have been obliged to waltz himself.

[pages] 106 - 107

So I suppose you are all pocketing your prudery as fast as you can. We have received Joe's, giving an account of his having placed my Hal. The place seems promising, but the salary is high, not that I wonder at or blame a man who gets himself well paid for the company of a raw boy.

I wish I may be the first to tell you of Harriet Drewe's conquest. Last Sunday I had a letter from Caroline [Drewe], the beginning of which was written in very low spirits. She had had a conversation with Mr William1 in which he seemed to have no intention of continuing to her the 60 from the Grange Estate, though he promised her 100 per an. to educate Frank when he was 14. She had been thinking that with all her economy she could not live at Exeter, and she had half finished this dismal letter when in came Mr Gilford and laid himself and fortune at Harriet's feet. You may guess the tone of the remainder of the letter, for besides being one of the cleverest and most agreeable men going, he makes by his profession already between 2000 and 3000 per ann., and has realized 12,000. Harriet was so frightened that she was near fainting. He is now admitted as a declared lover, but nothing is yet settled and we have not heard again. Charlotte Drewe2 is now as you may suppose very impatient to join her sisters and I like her the better for it. She has a great deal of affection about her, and her manners are simple. I tried her temper upon one occasion, in which she took what I said to her so well that I am convinced of her good nature, for though it was only a question of manner it is a ticklish thing to find fault with. Mary Havard is married, and is come with her husband to take possession of the

1 Mr William Drewe, brother of Caroline's late husband (Rev. E. Drewe), is the present owner of the Grange Estate, to which her son Edward ultimately succeeded.

2 Charlotte Drewe was visiting at Maer. She, and two younger children, Frank and Louisa, all died in early youth (1817–18). Harriet's lover became Lord Gifford. They married in 1816. He died 1826, she in 1857.

Leopard at Burslem. Their master parted with them very amicably and made her a present of one guinea, and to Pepper, who had lived with him twenty years and had served him in the capacity of butler, valet, and keeper, he gave two pounds. See how good servants are rewarded when they happen to meet with generous masters! What is become of W. Cilford my dear Fanny? I mean his person, not his heart, for if our friends are all right you have the latter safe enough. The question I would ask is whether you have been equally generous to him? and if so, I don't know that there is anything to be said against it, provided the income would not be too small. Tell me how you spend your time, and how you find the society, and above all whether you think you shall make out your two years or not, and how you get on in conversation….

Fanny Allen, in answer, wrote this dignified expression of her feeling for Mr Clifford. No one could write anything so open now, and it is interesting as shewing the difference in our habits of feeling and manners. She was thirty-four years old then and it was the romance of her life. It must be remembered that her sister Bessy to whom this letter was written was almost like a mother to her, being seventeen years older.

GENEVA, Dec, 31, 1815.

……We have received a little note from W. Clifford a few hours before he left Paris, telling us of his immediate journey to England and begging to hear from us, how we go on. I have left myself too little room to dilate on anything, but my inmost heart is yours at command. I think all my friends were out in their opinion respecting his sentiments. He feels a very tender friendship for me, but I do not think it is love. If he had given me his heart he

[pages] 108 - 109

should have had mine; there is no man out of my own family I love so much. He still talks of meeting us in Switzerland or Italy in the summer, but I do not think he has health or spirits for the journey. This is only for you, Jos, and the two girls—one is loath to acknowledge the readiness to give one's affection where it had not been asked.

William Clifford, owner of a small but beautiful property in Herefordshire, Perristone by name, was a very dear friend of the Allen family. He died in 1850 aged about 70. He must have been strikingly handsome, judging from a portrait of him in his old age by Watts, of which my mother had an engraving. It shews him with sad-looking dark eyes, picturesque while hair, and clear-cut strongly marked features. He never married, though he was much attracted by other members of the family in later days.

A little packet of his letters exists in the Maer collection of which I have given one or two. They are to Jessie and Bessy, with but one to Fanny Allen. As I read these letters, a certain flavour in his character appeared to me to bear a curious if faint resemblance to something in Edward Fitzgerald; the thought kept constantly recurring. Clifford's life, too, was in some respects similar—a hermit-like existence for no apparent reason, great power of winning and keeping friends, the same sense of failure, incurable hesitation, deep melancholy and a playful charm and sense of humour. He once said he had never taken any step he had not regretted, and this seems to have been the only reason against a marriage which to all appearance would have added more to his happiness than even to hers. There was however a remarkably unembarrassed intimacy on both sides which lasted till his death. He was an intimate friend of Chevalier Bunsen. There is a story of his saying, "Bunsen always holds my hand when we meet and puts it next his heart. It is inconvenient when it happens at the soup, as it generally does."

The following gives an account of a great family gathering at Bath. The party was Mrs Drewe and one of her daughters, the John Wedgwoods, Kitty and Sarah Wedgwood (sisters of Josiah of Maer), the Darwins, and Bessy with her daughter Charlotte. The Allens are now at Geneva and have made friends with Sismondi.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen.

ETRURIA, Jan. 3rd, 1816.

……I am agreeably surprised to see how quick the communication is between us. Jessie will by this time have received my last from Bath, in which we all disclaimed giving an opinion worth having about your going into Italy with Sismondi. The more I think of it, the less I see any objection to it, always supposing that he is not a lover, which I can hardly suppose. If he is, and Jess is resolved against him, it might embarrass her, and perhaps would not be right to him…….

I enjoyed my fortnight at Bath very much. Kitty [Wedgwood] was our housekeeper, and a busy time she had with us, for we were a pretty round party when we were joined by the Darwins. The more you can penetrate through the reserve of Kitty's character, the more you will

[pages] 110 - 111

see the beauty of it. Poor Sarah1 was a good deal unhinged by Henry Swinney's appearance among us, but now her troubles are at an end, I think she is enjoying herself very much. I was exceedingly taken with Henry Swinney, there was something so good-natured, and simple, and unaffected that I felt that it would be easy to love him, if I saw much of him. He dined twice with us, and went to every public place with the party whenever he could. I advised Sarah to consider the matter well before she rejected him, as she certainly is not happy in her present situation, and nothing can alter that for the better except, it might be, marriage. That I could see no objection to him but his youth, and that was for her to consider. Kitty told her the same thing, but her answer was that she had no hesitation whatever, her mind was made up that they were every way unsuitable. Last night I had a letter from her wherein she tells me that she had had a letter from him which enabled her to put an end to the whole affair, and she seems much more comfortable. She was very nervous while this was in agitation. She slept inside Caroline [Drewe's] and my room, and we used to curl our hair together over the fire, and discuss Mr Swinney. She was very much pleased we liked him so much, for she was continually oscillating between her wish to be kind to him and her fear of giving him false hopes by so doing. But I daresay you will have a much fuller account of these things from herself as I believe she writes to Jessie by this conveyance. We all parted for our different homes on Thursday last. Mrs Darwin asked Charlotte to remain behind, and as I thought she would like it, and the little variety she sees here would make it desirable in point of improvement to her, I consented, so she is now taking lessons of Miss Sharpe in singing and other lessons, drawing and dancing, and a high favourite she is with everybody. She begins now to talk very agreeably in company. All I

1Sarah Wedgwood is now 39 years of age.

am afraid is her present peace and repose being injured by finding out that she is admired. There is at present such an incomparable repose in her appearance, that it would be a thousand pities it should be disturbed.

Harry's last letter1 was dated November 10th tell him, and I am very glad to find by it that his hard studies do not seem to have abated his spirits, and as to his whiskers, I beg he will not be uneasy about them, as he has found out that he may use burnt cork. I had rather hear that his head was upright on his shoulders than that his whiskers were a yard long.

But to return to my journey. I took the Oxford mail from Bath to Cirencester, and got to North Cerney to dinner. I was received very civilly by Mr Surtees; as to Harriet her spirits seem to me so quelled that there was no great expression of pleasure, though I firmly believe she was as glad to see me as she could be. But I never saw anything so different as her manner is to that of my other sisters. She speaks so low and so slow, that she gives me quite the impression of a person labouring under some immediate calamity, and yet I don't think these are her feelings, and we had some very comfortable conversation together. You all are the grand subjects that interest her, and I think letters seem to be the only comfort of her life, for the seeing her friends has so much alloy with it, that I doubt whether it gives her much pleasure. I have promised to send her any letters of yours that will do for circulation. Surtees was really as civil to me as he could be, yet I think him the most incomparably disagreeable man I ever saw, and we used to sit so long after dinner that I used to be ready to die of sleep. Neither sitting upright nor looking in the fire would keep me awake. On Monday I left them, and pursuing my journey, sometimes in the public coaches and sometimes in hack chaises, I got home long

1 Harry Wedgwood is now studying at Geneva, boarding with a family.

[pages] 112 - 113

before dinner. I had rather go in a public coach a great deal, than in a hack chaise by myself, it is so cold and dismal, and one sometimes meets very odd characters in the coach, but one constantly runs the risk of having one's feelings jarred by incivility, which I think is the most disagreeable part of that mode of travelling. I found it very dismal travelling alone, lying down in my clothes because I was to be called at 5 next morning and knew nobody would be up to help me, getting up and sitting by the kitchen fire till it was time to go. All this with a companion would be matter of amusement, but alone it is rather dreary. I found my Elizabeth and her father quite well and glad to see me home again, and my little boys well and in excellent spirits, but they seem to me hardly grown at all. Erasmus Darwin is spending his holidays here. He is an inoffensive lad. Jos is very busy about schools, infirmaries, and those sort of things. Harry says you have got a new lover. Give my love to him and to my dear Jess and Emma. Farewell my very dear Fanny, believe me

Ever affectionately yours,
E. W.

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

GENEVA, Jan. 14th [1816].

……I congratulate you and all your party on the return of your blessed sun among you1, tho' there was no gloom in its absence I can fully feel the joy of its return, and rejoice with you in it with my whole heart.

Mrs Greathead gave a very pretty little ball last week which was thought very agreeable by all the dames, but for myself I thought it rather too long, as I generally do in my quiescent state if my non-dancing English men fail me, which they did very much that night. Think of my luck

1 Mrs Josiah Wedgwood's return from Bath and North Cerney.

in the foot way. I resolved on learning to waltz, took my first lesson on Xmas Eve, and that very day hurt the side of my foot which has kept me here ever since; and I have not been able to walk beyond church, and often with difficulty there. So ends my prospect of becoming a waltzer, and to tell you a secret I am afraid there is some prospect of gout before me, but for the world I must not whisper that ugly name or the dream of our tender years would vanish. I wish you had seen the Countess Zoutoff's tender manner when she found we were without parents. Her passion for Jessie is nearly as strong as ever, but Jessie began two weeks ago to find it a bore, and now heartily wishes she would take herself off to Russia and all inclination to be her companion is gone. At the old Countess Golowfkin's, where my sisters meet her on Sunday nights, she, and a Madame Batinie, a parasite of the old Countess, make parties against each other, and eagerly gather on their sides the best they can, either to converse or play childish games. Jessie's Countess generally has the worst of it, and if she [Jessie] is ever so agreeably engaged in conversation, calls her off and insists on her being attached to her side. Last night Fanny would not obey the call, but kept the enemies' ground, which made the Countess so angry that she told Jessie seriously she was not her friend. On their return last night a little after 9 they found Sismondi awaiting them with Madame Coutouly. Sismondi urged us so strongly to give him an answer whether we would go with him or not next month into Italy that we engaged to make up our minds by the following Saturday. The letters we received from England rather encouraged our going, and one from Joe from Naples marked so strongly the enormous advantage we should find in having Sismondi our guide and protector from imposition in Italy, added to which, Mrs Welds seeing not the least impropriety in our accepting his protection, as we were three, had nearly decided us on going, but we thought first we might

L. 8

[pages] 114 - 115

as well ask Madame Constant's opinion, which I found occasion to do at Mrs Greathead's ball. Her opinion was in favour of it, but at the same time asked my permission to put it to her husband1; she did so, and two days after came here with his opinion, which was so far against our going that we wrote immediately to Sismondi to give it up. Madame Constant is the only charming woman we first found here who has retained her charms, and in my eyes they are very much increased by the sweet manner in which she entered into this business of ours, so delicate and so full of feeling: I wish you could see and know her Both Jessie and I felt the giving up the Italian scheme a very great disappointment As to Fanny one of her wayward dégoûts was on her, and I believe she found it a relief when the prospect of being shut up with Sismondi for a fortnight in a carriage was removed, but Jessie felt the disappointment of this, her favourite scheme, so much that at first I was disposed to feel as much for her in being obliged to give it up as for him. However, by good fortune, she was engaged that night to a ball and supper where she had more dancing and merrier dancing than any she has had before at Geneva, and Sismondi and the Italian scheme was quite forgotten till the next morning, when he came with the hope of changing our purpose, but in vain. Now Jessie has discovered the report of her going to marry him is strong enough to make her dislike the idea of going with him, and now she is a little afraid he will manage to get some married lady to join our party and we shall have no excuse for not going with him. He is the kindest, best, tenderest friend in the world, but for a

1 Henri Benjamin Constant (born of a French Huguenot family at Lausanne in 1767—d. 1830) was a French author and politician of some note. He had Studied at Oxford in his youth. Like Mme de Staël, he was banished from France for denouncing Napoleon's despotic acts, and he travelled with her in Germany and Italy. Three years after this time he became leader of the Liberal party in the French Chamber.

lover, heaven defend him from thinking of it. I hardly ever saw anyone less calculated to excite the tender passion than himself, more ugly and more awkward than is common, with a kind of Italian caper and kissing of the hand which is by no means agreeable. To do him justice, however, he is far from professing the lover; indeed his professions are all against it, but I often doubt whether his feelings are. His anxiety for our going with him may be all the want of society, which he feels particularly at Pescia and therefore is eager to get us there to help him out with his nine months' visit to his mother. An Englishman with half his store of mind would feel himself tolerably independent of society, but with him it is a want that he is wretched without; he goes into it, is looked cold on, or fancies he is looked cold on, and returns home in a miserable state of dejection, but still goes if he has an invitation next day.

Sismondi tries to persuade us we are very much neglected here. I cannot for my life think it. We were at two balls last week, and have two or three invitations before us this week; they are more than I am disposed to accept, and quite enough to prevent the suspicion of neglect; considering we give nothing in return, I think great favour is shewn us. The gayest thing we have before us is the Prince of Mecklenberg's ball, which is to take place on Tuesday, the 28th; eight hundred people are asked, to whom he is to give a supper, and his father requests him to spare no expense in the business. Young Monod is one of his teachers and to him I fancy we owe our invitation.

Notwithstanding all you have heard of the charming people here, there is not one who will make me regret Geneva so much as our Hal1. He is almost as kind and affectionate to us as you could be yourself, and we shall miss his beaming face and gay spirits appearing among us every vacant moment. I wish you could see him when he mounts the stairs to inform us of an invitation to a ball. I

1 Harry Wedgwood, their nephew.


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have not room to tell you now how much the agreeable parts of his character are improved, he is so sociable and so gay that he's sure of being a favourite through life…….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

ETRURIA, Jan. 21st [1816].

I have not yet thanked you individually, dearest Emma, for the interesting letter I got from you whilst I was at Cheltenham. It was very well it came there, for we wanted amusement cruelly there, and did not find it so easy to get into society there as you have done at Geneva. Not but we were very comfortable among ourselves, but that we could have been at home. I think I told you that we met Henry Swinney at Bath and how much I liked him. When I left Bath he had not declared himself, but he did so the day after by letter, and Sarah's answer was as decisive and as kind as she could make it. I think she was very wise to reject him on the score of age, if she had no other objection, for ten years is a fearful difference on the wrong side. I don't know whether Fanny [Allen] is right in her estimate of William Clifford's sentiments with respect to herself, but if he is the man to make her happy, most ardently should I desire the connection. How charming the frank-hearted manner in which she speaks of him in her last. There is something very delightful in the vrai of her character. A word of affection or commendation from her is pure gold, for which reason I am so pleased at the favourable report she makes of my Hal's improvements. I know she would not say so "because she thought it would please me," as the poor Collier did to my father, but if she could not commend, she would say nothing. I intreat you, among the petites morales, to make him hold up his head, or else it must be terribly in the way of his waltzing partner. We have been so quiet since I came home that I have few annals to give you. We have indeed been asked out six or seven times, but I began by refusing, because I would not leave my boys for the remainder of my holidays, and I was very glad of being under the necessity of keeping up my consistency. Last Tuesday was the Assembly, but Elizabeth did not wish to go, and I was very glad not to. We are expecting the Cid1 and family on Wednesday to stay two or three days. I wrote to ask the Macks to meet them, but the Knight is at Dropmore, and Kitty cannot yet give me a decisive answer, whether she can come or not…….

Harriet [Drewe] and Mr Gifford are to be married the first week in April. He has not yet got a house, but is thinking of one that is now vacant by the death of Judge Heath in Bedford Square. He would not hear of taking Harriet's £700, which was very handsome of him, and very convenient to Caroline [Drewe]. She means to part with her man-servant as one mode of saving; but I am sure she will find a great difference in losing Harriet and one of her sisters, who will probably always be with her. I think the dress and going out of the girls costs Caroline more than she is aware. She calls it £15 a-piece, but I think she might as well say £2…….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen.

January 30th [1816].

……I am glad you have decided against going to Italy with Sismondi, not because I see any impropriety in it, but because I should not have liked your being so much farther off. But if M. Constant is against it, it is decisive, as men are always better judges than women, and he is besides (as the Smiths tell me) a very sensible man. The Smiths came here on Wednesday to dinner from Mr Phillpps's of Manchester. Mrs Sydney, Saba, Emily,

1 Sydney Smith.

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Douglas, and a sweet infant of two years old, called Windham, in their own chaise, a very good-looking affair that Sydney bought last year in London for £70. The Cid himself came in the coach. We had no company to meet them on Wednesday, but on Thursday I asked the three girl Caldwells, who stayed with us till Sunday, and very much they enjoyed their visit. I determined not to make any parties while they were here as I thought it would in a great measure spoil our enjoyment, and I had reason to think from what they told Kitty that it would not add to theirs. You would be surprised to hear how little literary our conversation was. I don't think we talked of any book but Rhoda, which is a novel by Miss Jackson, very good, but which I thought the Cid over-praised. He was in very high fooling every day but the last, when, whether he was made flat by the departure of his three great admirers, or whether he was vexed by some letters he received I don't know, but he was silent and walking up and down the room great part of the evening. We got him to read prayers and a sermon in the afternoon. The sermon was one he had preached at Sedgeley, it was against envy, and very good. He recovered his spirits next morning when Elizabeth and I walked to Newcastle and saw him depart in a Birmingham coach. They go to Bath to see the father. Mrs Sydney and her children stay there two months, Sydney I suppose as short a time as his filial piety will allow, as he hates Bath mortally, and loves London spiritually. I thought the Cid looked better than when I saw him last, but lie gets fat. Mrs Sydney is both younger and handsomer than she was when here last. More good-humoured she could not be. Saba is grown a very genteel girl and seems perfectly good-humoured and amiable, but, like Fanny Waddington, is so educated that all nature is gone, answering every word you say with a sweet undistinguishing smile that says nothing. She must be clever from her parentage, but it is impossible to find it out through all the teaching she has had. Douglas is to go to school in about two years, but it is high time he was there already. He is too much brought forward and grows conceited and arrogant. Emily is a very pleasing little girl and very clever. We had not much politics either. Sydney seems to think the Whigs' case hopeless, and speaks very gaily of his narrow circumstances; but he will never be distressed. He has too strong a mind not to act up to circumstances, and he is too wise to poison the happiness in his power by outrunning his income. It is easy to see that he is a rational and strict economist. He takes things very quietly. He does not like the Bourbons, but he thinks it is better they should be on the throne of France than Buonaparte, and he thinks the sending Buonaparte to St Helena the best thing that could have been done. To have kept him safely in England would have been impossible and he would have made disturbances. This week Parliament opens, and the opposition intend to divide against the minister. Mackintosh's furniture is sold, but not the house. I expect some of his great friends will give him an invitation to their houses in town, but Sydney says no, now that it would be a real accommodation it would be against all rule. Kitty, I expect here, and I hope she will stay long enough to make it an accommodation, which by shutting up Weedon Lodge it might be. I shall be very sorry to miss Mackintosh but I don't expect he will ever come here.

There has been a very great sensation here from the failure of Roscoe's Bank at Liverpool and Mr Eyton's at Shrewsbury. The county is certainly very much distressed at this time. The farmers are ruined, and they have not taken advantage of the years of plenty they have had, but have lived upon the fat of the land, and they have scarcely any of them made any provision for this pressure. England will pay dear enough for putting Louis upon the throne of France in the end. But to return to these

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unfortunate bankers, Mr Roscoe at 65 with nine children is now penniless, and in the deepest distress.

I am sorry to think that my little boys will leave us on the 10th. They have been so amiable these holidays that they will make us regret their loss very much, not a single jar with each other has occurred, and I trust their tempers will be as excellent as some of their predecessors'. The kind manner in which you speak of my Hal also gives me exquisite pleasure. I wish to heaven you would all come home when he does. I will then not be disappointed of my ball.

How grateful to me, my dearest Fanny, was the proof of your confidence you gave me in your last. I should hardly think anybody good enough for you, but from your and Jessie's and Emma's opinion I think higher of William Clifford than almost anybody else, and should rejoice, if he were the man, to hear of his crossing the Alps. Elizabeth received last night an incomparably agreeable letter from our dear Emma [Allen] in which the only unpleasant thing was her being confined with chilblains. Poor Sismondi! though if he finds any married lady as you seem to think he will do, I cannot think why you cannot then go with him, as then the only objection will be obviated. Yet Emma says she is afraid he will. C'est ce que je ne comprends pas. I honour M. Constant for being so staunch in his opinion. A friend who will give advice that he knows is unpalatable is, on some occasions, invaluable. I do not reply or comment upon many parts of your letters because I think you had rather hear something from here, but we do enjoy every part of them exceedingly. I think Kitty will be arrived by the time we hear next from you. I shall send this to Mr Canning because I think you have had so many letters lately that you will not mind its being a long time on the road, and we must manage your pockets. I perceive by Emma's letter that you never give any parties, which is very well, but on going away would it not be a pretty thing to give one just as an acknowledgement to your friends?……

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

ETRURIA, Feb. 24th [1816].

……You could not have told us anything more agreeable than what you say of my Hal's civility, good-humour, and affectionate conduct to his aunts, but as I think you would rather have some intelligence from home than observations upon yours I will proceed. Kitty [Mackintosh] and her two girls came here on Monday se'nnight and very comfortable we have been together ever since. I hope and believe they will stay as long as Mackintosh stays in town, and that I suppose will be for the session. He writes very often to Kitty and his letters are journalwise, so that we know every day what he is doing. He went first of all into lodgings, but Lord Holland has asked him to his house and he is now there. I suppose you know that Lord Holland is in Bobus's1 house in Savile Row. M. says that it is impossible to know how amiable Lord H. is without being in the house with him. M. seems to complain a good deal of nervousness. He seems to keep his own hours, and eats his chicken alone whenever he is not well enough to join the party. He goes to bed at 12 and always finds a supper laid for him at an early hour, though they do not go to bed till three or four o'clock. Every evening there is a collection of distinguished men and agreeable women to be found there after the play and opera, and I think it must be the pleasantest house to visit at in London. Mackintosh has spoken once upon the subject of the treaties, but the debate was long, and the Morning Chronicle gave scarcely any report of it. He

1 "Bobus" (Robert) Smith, Sydney's elder brother: his child-name stuck to him at Eton and through life.

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was not however satisfied with it himself, but he is too fastidious, as well to himself as to everyone else. Horner's speech on the same side seems to have gained great applause. I don't suppose the history goes on at present, but Fanny [Mackintosh] is copying some of the original letters of Prince Eugene from the Marlborough Papers, and Kitty and she are very busy every morning translating something for Mackintosh. They really work very hard at it, for they go up soon after breakfast and seldom come down till dinner. I believe however there is some secret about it. Kitty's spirits and health are excellent, and there is so much life and originality in her conversation that her society is a great pleasure to us. We sit together all the evening, and the mornings I am not sorry to have at my own disposal. She has got a very decent manservant here and her little horses. She says they do very well for saddle-horses, but we have not been tempted by the weather to try them yet; I shall, however, soon. Meantime we make them pay for their keep by using them instead of hiring posters when we want to go out. I never saw two such grave girls as the two Mackintoshes, but I think them both clever. Fanny [Mackintosh, aged 16] seems to have a very clear head and a great deal of information very clearly arranged. She is a furious politician, as is likely, but I am not clear whether she is aware of the distinction that everybody ought to feel between patriotism and party spirit. Kitty is very kind and indulgent to them, but she has not accustomed them to prompt obedience. Bessy [Mackintosh] takes very kindly to my little girls and they seem to go on vastly well together. The house in Great George Street is not sold. No more was offered for it than £1600; the furniture was sold except the two largest tables, which were bought in, but the remainder fetched very little, but these are such vexatious subjects that we never touch on them, and you had better take no notice in your answer…….

I don't wonder at your feeling so much the departure of the good and amiable Sismondi. It is not possible to withhold one's affection from such a man as that, if he were as ugly as the Beast in the old tale. You have already had so many agreeable results from your determination, that you have good reasons to trust to this, and go on cheerfully down the stream of life plucking all the flowers that lie in your way, without being anxious to know whether you have fallen upon the most favourable current…….

Emma Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.


……You will be almost as much surprised by the date of my letter as I am to find myself here. It appears to be very much like a dream, but I must tell you how it came to pass. After the flatness of Sismondi's departure and with feelings of despair about ever accomplishing our journey into Italy, at least during the year he was there, we put our names down with a voiturier for company into Italy this spring. Much sooner than we expected a voiturier, by name Populus, much recommended to us for the care he took of ladies, offered to convey us to Florence with a Mr Cunningham, a young man about your Joe's age, of very respectable character and good manners, who also took an old servant with him, who might be of service to us, as he spoke all the languages. We consulted our friends the Welds on this offer and they thought it too good an opportunity for us not to take advantage of. We were therefore introduced to our compagnon de voyage, whom we found out to be a nephew of Mrs Dugald Stewart's and brother of Lady Ashburnham. We were much pleased with his manners, which are remarkably gentle and polished, and, tho' he is thought very handsome, and in two years' time comes into possession of several thousands a year, we

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agreed to go with him, fearless of any scandal attaching to our doing so, for when it was known that he was only of the age of our nephew, it couldn't be supposed we had any designs of marrying him. We agreed therefore with Populus to take us to Florence for £44, feeding and lodging us all the way except at those towns where we chose to stop for our own pleasure, and there we were to pay 15 francs a day for him and his horses.

On Monday the 26th of February we left Geneva in a coach and six good horses. Our Harry, with a sociableness that so much reminded me of his mother, got up at 5 to send us on our way, tho' he had a walk of 2 miles back to take through the rain. His sociableness and frankness are two of his qualities that I delight in. I wish it could have been consistent with his education for him to have taken this journey with us; how he would have enjoyed it. I shall not attempt to describe to you the beauties of towns and countries that we have seen on our way, because you do not delight in description nor I in describing, suffice it therefore to say that we three and our handsome young gentleman took the route of Mount Cenis, which we crossed on the 5th day after leaving Geneva. Buonaparte's road over it is a capital one, so little steep that horses might trot down any part of it, yet it winds you by the side of the most tremendous precipices and over the tops of some of the highest mountains. The sun shone bright on us that day when we put up at the first Italian inn at the town of Susa. But for yours and my distaste for description, I could give you a beautiful one of this country from Susa to Turin. That capital appeared very handsome to us on first entering, but its excessive regularity at last became tiresome. We remained from Saturday till Tuesday, which time we employed in running about to see the churches, palaces, &c.; and here was the first place we discovered what a beauty we were travelling with, for every man and woman turned round to look at him, and his conscious and shy look amused me very much. At the Cathedral, where the royal family were at Mass, we heard the finest music possible; the King looked good-natured and foolish, is not popular, but the first thing he did was to abolish torture. At Milan we found a most delightful letter from Sismondi welcoming our coming into Italy, which assured us of finding such friends in it in himself, his mother and sister, and expressed so much joy at the thoughts of again meeting us, that this friendly letter rejoiced us all. In the world we could hardly have found a more thoughtful, kind and active friend than he has been to us.

Modena is a very striking town on first entering, from its handsome gateway, broad streets, and gaily painted houses, but nothing looks gay or alive in the streets of Italian towns; the men you see there look so shabby, and women, you hardly ever see any. The day after, we got to Bologna, upon the whole the most remarkable town we have seen yet. Here we rested two days; sent a letter to a M. Mezzofanti1, professor at the University, who came to us and gave us a list of the things worth seeing and his company, which was worth a great deal. Of Florence I cannot tell you much yet, as I have only been out once at the gallery. Owing to Sismondi, Madame de Staël had been on the look-out for us, and the Duchess de Broglie2 called the morning after our arrival, gave us a general invitation to her mother's for every evening, and a particular one to introduce us to the lady of the Russian ambassador, and to as much of the Florentine society as

1 Mezzofanti (born 1774, died 1849), afterwards Cardinal and Keeper of the Vatican Library and an astounding linguist. He was said to know sixty-four languages and talk forty-eight. Byron called him "a walking polyglot, a monster of languages and Briareus of parts of speech." He amused people in Ireland by being able to talk English with the brogue to his hosts as well as Erse to the natives.

2 Albertine, daughter of Madame de Staël.

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we pleased. Albertine had no longer her London saucy manners but they were simple and she was almost kind to us. The next evening Jessie and Fanny went to her house and she took them with her to the Russian ambassador's and introduced them to a great number of foreign nobility, as well as English, with which Florence is at this time filled, Lord Burghersh, the English ambassador, Lord A. Hamilton and several others. Fanny waltzed away with great spirit with two Italian noblemen. Jessie had not courage for that but remained the chief of the evening on the arm of Madame de Staël. I make my first appearance in the Florentine world to-morrow at Madame de Staël's. By that time I hope Sismondi will be arrived. His anxiety about us made him write two of the kindest letters in the world to prevent our feeling forlorn on first coming here. You may guess, as we did, that Madame de Staël's active attentions to us have been owing to him, he is so anxious to give us what he considers the best thing in the world, society. He and his mother and sister have been already on the look-out for a house or lodgings that we should like at Pescia, but they will not decide till we arrive, but he appears to insist that we should put ourselves under their direction. This is not exactly the year to come out of England for cheapness. He tells us at Pescia, and we heard the same on the road, that all the articles of life in them are double their usual price. A bad harvest and Murat's armies were the causes assigned. Sismondi comes here immediately and remains about ten days with Madame de Staël, then takes us back with him to Pescia…….



The John Wedgwoods—A reverse of fortune, his bank having been Within an ace of failure—Mrs Josiah Wedgwood's account of the crisis—Their move to Betley.

IN the summer of 1816 a crisis occurred in the fortunes of the John Wedgwoods. The bank in which he was a partner had apparently been in a shaky state for some time and there was imminent danger of bankruptcy. He had sunk nearly the whole of his property in the concern.

Mrs John Wedgwood to her brother-in-law Josiah Wedgwood.

[LONDON], August 14 [1816].

My dear Jos,

I have no doubt that John has thanked you for your letter of the 10th, but I am anxious to add my thanks to his, for what was indeed a type of yourself, in its wisdom and kindness. I can also give you the only reward in my power (but which you will not think trifling), in the assurance that poor John has found considerable relief in acting on your advice. He had last night a quiet comfortable night, and awakened to-day refreshed and with quiet nerves. The confidence you urged him to make to me and the

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children was indeed suspected by me long, tho' I believe it was proved by the immediate shock it gave me that I had feared more than expected it. All my four children have borne it as I could have wished them, with entire resignation if the blow does fall on us, and with renewed tenderness to their father and myself. Tom I mention particularly, because he has hitherto seen life more in its holiday dress than the rest, but who, I am convinced, will concur without a moment's hesitation in every regulation of economy it may be necessary to adopt. How poor John has been able to endure as well as he has, what has been his lot for the last few month, I cannot tell, but I have the comfort of thinking that his health is not hurt by it, and for the future, whatever may betide us, I am sure his load will be the lighter for our participation. If reserve were not incurable, I should hope he would lose the habit of being so from his late sufferings, and the relief I am sure he has had from opening his mind; at the same time I must bear testimony to the beauty of his temper, which with such a load on his heart has never for an instant been betrayed into the slightest irritation, nor indeed has it made him withdraw from general sympathy in what was happening round him.

Yesterday was a day of dreadful anxiety to us, but towards the evening money, in the course of business, flowed in, and when they shut shop their spirits were a good deal revived. This however is only temporary, and I will keep this open to tell you the result of to-day: if we are at last to fall, I grieve over these delays, but I am anxious to assure you, and my dear and anxious Bessy that all our spirits are suffering much less than you may imagine them to do. The idea of ruin has so often been present to my mind, that it comes at last without a shock. Indeed a chance call from Mr Parke yesterday presented us with schemes as a resource for our future life, if the worst befalls us. His daughter is now at Boulogne, where the houses and articles of life are so cheap that I don't know that we could do better than in going there. One of its greatest advantages is the ease and cheapness of getting there. It is not so far as Exeter from hence, and then, my dear Jos, I should not feel as if I was going to quit you for ever, as I am sure our best friends would not fail to seek us out. Sometimes the society of my friends is dearer to me "than gold, yea, than much fine gold," therefore, I will not if I can help it, go beyond their reach. Till post-time farewell.

Our fate is not determined, and each day's struggle brings us nearer to relief, we hope, for such is promised. To-morrow will seal our doom either for good or for bad.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sisters.

[LONDON] 22 August, 1816.

I am now at liberty, my dear girls, to tell you the true reason of my coming up to town in this violent hurry. Secrecy is no longer necessary, as last night the whole affairs here were transferred to Coutts's. This is no longer a bank, but all the old customers are referred to Coutts. It is a most desirable arrangement to this house, which must otherwise have stopt. Your balance and everybody else's is now at Coutts's, and everybody must be very glad to find their money there, If this had not happened they must have stopt this week, though they had property enough to pay 40s. in the pound, but there was no time. They therefore laid their whole accounts open to Coutts's lawyers, who verified everything with the most scrupulous exactness, and this whole week has been passed in the different negotiations, and in a state of anxiety on our parts difficult to describe. The definitive deeds were not signed till 4 o'clock this morning, and the partners of both houses were here up all night, and several times during the investigation they were nearly off. Thank God however it

L. 9

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is now settled, and will be announced in to-morrow's papers.

Jos and I came up last Friday sennight upon hearing that the bank could not go on another day. We travelled nearly all night and got here to breakfast. Our design was to bring Jenny and her children all down to Etruria. We found them, all but John, Very much distressed, and he was very firm. We had no hope, and I was only here to enable Jenny to support the shock when it came. Mr Vizard thought of this scheme, and it was proposed to Sir W. Paston's bank, who declined. It was then offered to Coutts's, who from their being above all fear of a run were induced to take it, and they suppose they will get 3 or 4000 a year by it. We have been like drowning persons rescued from death. The bank now finishes in an honourable way at least, and all the horrors of bankruptcy are escaped. This was the thing that affected Jenny and Sally most, and they feel themselves quite in high spirits to-day, at having escaped; and for my own part I feel just the same. I will enter upon another sheet because I think you had so much rather pay a little more than have this interesting subject curtailed. We were obliged to be very cautious all the week, for if a breath of suspicion had gone out while it was pending, there would have been a run, and all would have been over. Happily dear Jenny's health has stood it wonderfully. The circular letters all go out to-morrow, and we are going to dine upon a haunch of venison from Dr Darwin, and on Tuesday we all go out of town in our gimcrack for Etruria, and I trust we never shall spend so anxious and unhappy a week as the last. I took Jenny out to Hampton Court yesterday, as well to be out of the way, as to see the Philippses. We had a delightful drive, and dear Jenny's elastic spirits rose to a very pleasant pitch. It is wonderful to see the composure with which they all bear the wreck of their fortunes, now they are secure of not being in the Gazette. That evil appeared so enormous, that everything else is thought light in the comparison. They will now stay with us till some arrangement can be made as to their future plans…….

John was largely helped in his difficulties by his brother Jos, his sisters Kitty and Sarah, and his brother-in-law, Dr Darwin. Dr Darwin also promised that his income should never sink below £1,0001.

It was after this time that Mr Tollet let them have a small house at Betley at a low rent, for the pleasure of their society, and also to be of service to them in their changed fortunes. Bessy mentions his great kindness to Jane with enthusiasm. "I almost worship Mr Tollet," she writes. This arrangement continued until 1824, I think the longest time they ever stayed in one house. It was a great delight to Bessy to have her beloved sister so near her, and a pleasure to both families.

1 I find from a letter of March 30, 1824, that £6000 was settled on them in 1816 by Jos, Kitty, Sarah, and Dr Darwin, and a few years later Kitty, Sarah, and Dr Darwin made another settlement of £6000.


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The Allen sisters at Pisa, with Caroline Drewe and her family—Sisimondi's courtship—Algernon Langton and Marianne Drewe—Sarah Wedgwood and Jessie Allen.

THE following letter gives an account of a large family gathering at Pisa. Mrs Drewe's two children, Frank and Louisa, were dying of consumption, and she had brought them there as a last hope. Her two daughters Marianne and Georgina (afterwards Mrs Algernon Langton and Lady Alderson) were in the first bloom of their youth, Marianne a beauty and Georgina very piquant and attractive. Jessie, Emma, and Fanny Allen were also staying there to be a support and help to their sister, Mrs Drewe.

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

PISA, Jan. 16th [1817].

……Poor Caroline has much more of fear than hope about them [her dying children], and at times her spirits give way very much, but in general her natural good spirits shew themselves, and William Clifford is delighted with what he calls her merry looks. Marianne and Georgina [Drewe] are both in excellent health and they and their

singing are much in vogue at Pisa. The old professors, who are said to be the best company going in this dull town, have taken a great fancy to the two girls, and one of them, who appears half mad, threatens us a visit every evening.

Dear William Clifford has been with us during the last six weeks, and has shewn himself so inexpressibly amiable that every individual of our party is to-day in mourning for his loss. He had great hopes of finding us at Florence, ready to depart for Rome, when he came there, and that his carriage might convey us, but finding us gone to Pisa he followed us here. At first he wished to prevail on us to change our quarters for Rome, but he soon saw Louisa and Frank [Drewe] were not in a situation to make a journey at this time of year, and he had too much feeling to wish to entice us from Caroline [Drewe] at present. Here therefore he stayed, for the sake of the company that I believe he likes best in the world; and would have stayed among it longer, if he did not consider it as a duty to return soon to England, that he might not lose his influence over his nephew, and before he does return, Rome must be visited. He takes the deepest interest in his brother's children, considering them very much as if they were his own. If he forms any future schemes of life, it appears all to have a reference to them. But his common disposition is not to look forward, and I sometimes dread he has reason to think his days will be too short to make them worth thinking about1. I am afraid his state of health will prevent his thinking of a wife, which he stands much in need of to make him comfortable and take care of him. You know how highly I always thought of his understanding and character. Now they are considerably raised in my opinion. His judgment is excellent on every point, and I know no one whom it is so satisfactory to discuss a subject with as him, he is always so right and so gentle. He enters into all our

1He died in 1850 aged about 70.

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feelings so ardently that I do feel him a very precious friend, and I wish to God his better health would make me feel more secure of him. He was so unhappy when he thought of leaving us about a fortnight ago by himself, that we proposed going over with him to Pescia, to see if Sismondi was inclined to travel with him to Rome. Sismondi was very glad of the offer, but it was no sooner accepted than William Clifford appeared to suffer so much from shyness, that I think he repented he had made it; however, it gave him an excuse to his own mind for remaining here another week, and upon the whole he left us in better spirits than I expected. I shall be curious to see the account of their journey which we are promised from both gentlemen. I wish they may take up their quarters together at Rome, for I am sure the more W. C. is known the more he must be liked by a person of feeling; the foreigners are more apt to wonder at, than admire, his habit of keeping in the background all his own excellence.

We hoped the last day of his stay with us should have been a snug one, and to our family dinner only Major Langton, Sismondi, and W. Clifford were invited. But we had not risen from it before two professors and a friend of theirs were announced. One was a decent man, Santi by name, who was satisfied with a visit of an hour long. But the other two remained till 12, during which time the Italian and patience of the whole party was spent. Sismondi went up to the mad professor and told him, as it was very difficult for the ladies longer to support a conversation in a strange language, they must introduce some plays to amuse them. He would not take this as a hint to be gone, tho' it appeared to us broad enough, but entered with great spirit into magical music and blind-man's-buff, which caused our provoked feelings to vent themselves in some hearty fits of laughter. To see our mad and melancholy men so seriously engaged to catch the young ladies made a most ludicrous scene. From Major Langton's long arms it was almost impossible to escape, and the priest made such an inhuman growl that when he came near me, it had something of the effect of horror and fascination. He is now looking over my shoulder, and if he could read what I am writing, he would. This dreadful man promises to visit us every day for the next three months, and Jessie and Fanny will not agree to shut the doors against him, because of the help he may give them in Italian. For me, I prefer paying a quiet priest for an hour's instruction.

Major Langton has now been en pension during the last month, his spirits are so improved that he has grown in favour with the whole party; even in his state of melancholy he was always a favourite of mine, always so gentle, well-bred and sweet tempered. I think he is attached to Marianne1, but I am not sure; it is however at present an attachment that does not sadden him, and I wish it never may. He has many schemes floating in his head of getting into the Church or getting a consulship. If he could realize these schemes, or rather one of them, I think Marianne would not be cruel. His affection to her and her sisters, and excessive tenderness to the invalids, must win its way into her heart. Mr Leonard Horner2 is also one of our sociable evening men; he comes in to refresh himself for an hour or two after the nursing of his brother, but always returns by ten, at which hour Francis Horner goes to bed. He has a very good voice and sings very agreeably with the girls, or the Scotch songs by himself.

Our friends the Constants are become great friends with

1 Major Algernon Langton took orders and married Marianne Drewe in 1820. She died in 1822 after giving birth to one child, Bennet Langton.

2 Leonard Horner, brother of Francis Horner, the statesman (see note on p. 27) and well known as a geologist. He was father of the late Lady Lyell and of our old friends Mrs Lyell, Madame Pertz, and the Miss Horners.

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the Drewes, also the Hautvilles another Geneva family, who are enchanted with Georgina and are willing to carry her off to Geneva. She enjoys excessively going out to drink tea and dance with them, but as she had a slight touch of the pain in her chest by going out last time, tho' it was in a carriage, I think she will not be suffered to go again. Health has now become so dreadful a subject of anxiety to her poor mother, that not the least risk must be run. She is a most agreeable girl, full of spirits and fun, and it is the interest of the whole party to keep her blithe.

We surprised the Sismondis very much by appearing among them last week, and they shewed so much pleasure that I enjoyed it very much, in spite of a very cold drive there in an open carriage. We three and W. Clifford were the whole of our party. We put up at the little inn with which Joe is so well acquainted, took our dinner there, and spent our evening at the Sis's, and took our leave of them the next morning, after we had arranged the object of our visit……

The following introspective letter from Josiah Wedgwood's youngest sister Sarah has an interest of its own. She had had a grande passion for Jessie, and had suffered from not receiving, as she thought, a sufficient return from the much adored Jessie. Sarah's nature was a difficult one, very sensitive and very rigid in her strong views on all subjects, especially on conduct, her own and other people's. She was deeply religious, an ardent humanitarian, and so generous with her money that almost all her large fortune had been given away when she died quite an old lady at Down in 1856.

Sarah Wedgwood to Jessie Allen.

ETRURIA, Feb. 26 [1817].

My dear Jessie,

Reading some old letters of yours the other day gave me an inclination to write to you. On the other hand I had never since I was born had less to say to you; the last four months have passed more entirely without incident of any kind than I could have thought it possible for so long a space of time to do, and the four to come seem likely to be as little variegated.

I need say nothing to the chief part of the contents of your letter, as you have heard that John [Wedgwood] and Jane have given up the thoughts of going abroad, and are going to place themselves where you had placed them in your wishes. The Betley scheme is in all our opinions a very excellent one, and it is very agreeable to their own feelings; if you saw the cheerfulness of all that family you would set your mind very much at ease about them. We are in great hopes that their income will not be much diminished by the late change, and then certainly it will be a most happy thing for John and Jane to be rid of an anxiety which has embittered their life for many years, particularly John's. He seems a much happier person than he was, even now before his affairs are fully settled; so don't torment yourself any more on their account.

You used me very cruelly in saying you had a great deal that was interesting to tell me, and then not saying a word on any subject that was interesting, except about Mr W. Clifford. On that subject I hardly know myself what I wish; yes I do, I wish that that might be which you say will not; but if wishes had any power in these no-fairy days, I should be very much afraid to wish this; for, charming as Mr W. C. is, I think the happiness of his wife would always be a very doubtful thing. I feel much less

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doubt about the chance that M. Sismondi's wife would have of being happy, and I do hope you have not been influenced in refusing so to be, by any reasons but wise ones. By unwise reasons, I mean the fear of John Allen's expressive eye when you present his brother-in-law to him, and such little feelings, which I know you would find it difficult to shake off, and which it would be a thousand pities that you should attend to, if for them you give up the greatest happiness this world can give—that of spending your life with a person who suits you, who loves you, and whom you love. For such a destiny I would run the gauntlet of all the quizzing that this quizzing age could shoot at me. If you find you have done wrong, and that you are not happy, don't be ashamed to own that you have changed your mind to one, who would perhaps give his right hand to hear it.

I am staying at Etruria while some alterations are going on in the house at Parkfields. Kitty is at Clifton; she talks of putting her long-talked-of scheme in execution of going to Dorsetshire. I hope she will, as she has quite set her heart upon riding once more on those downs.

I cannot take your advice in the regulation of my feelings about my friends. Friendship is to me a much more serious thing than it is to you; with me, I may almost say, it is the only thing. I must be happy in friendship or do without happiness. I do not mean "or be unhappy," because I have found more than once that by changing myself from a feeling to a thinking being, I can go on pretty well, but I am unfortunately subject to relapses. What a friend I could make out of two of mine. If I could add the agreeableness, the charming and interesting qualities of Mrs S.1 to the fine understanding and excellent and high

1 Mary Ann Schimmelpennick (1778—1856) was a daughter of Samuel Galton, of Birmingham, and sister of Samuel Tertius Galton (father of my father's first cousin Francis Galton). Her husband was a Dutch Bristol merchant. She was brought up as a Quaker, but afterwards joined the Moravian Church. As a girl she had the character of a mischief-maker, and one of her relations declared she had been the means of breaking off thirteen engagements. But she afterwards became a most virtuous, religious, and learned lady. She wrote on the "Theory of Beauty," and on the "History of Port Royal." She made a large collection of books on this last subject, which now belongs to Sion College.

qualities of heart and soul of Anne Caldwell, and if this Superb creature would condescend to be my friend, I should think I had found such a treasure as the world never saw. But the gods are as likely to annihilate space and time to make two lovers happy, as to work the miracle that I desire at their hands.

Anne has been spending some time with me lately, and I have had a great deal of writing intercourse with her besides. The result of a more thorough knowledge of her has been an increased love and admiration of her. I don't think people in general are aware of the very great superiority of her understanding; I know you are, so I am not afraid of saying to you what I think of her. Besides her understanding, I have a great admiration of her wisdom. I don't mean that she is able always to act wisely herself, but she has a great deal of wisdom when she is not led astray by her feelings, or nerves, or anything of that sort. One thing that I value very particularly in her as a companion, is that I have never any thought or feeling de trop in my intercourse with her. With almost everybody one feels, "This part of my heart and mind and soul finds an answering heart mind and soul in this person, but there is another part of me which is of no use in this friendship, that part I must reserve for such another person," but with Anne no part need wait. Whatever mood I am in, I find something in her that suits that mood; and I never have to keep back any thought or feeling from the consideration that some other person will be more likely to enter into it. This is partly owing to the richness and fulness of her

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mind, and the strength of her feelings, and partly to our ways of thinking and feeling being alike. I think you will be surprised after all I have said in Anne's praise, that I should not be perfectly satisfied and have no longings for this compound friend composed "of every creature's best": you will perhaps, still think me very foolish when I have explained myself, but that is a thing I never minded with you, and this letter is entirely for your own eye. It is my misfortune to be not of an affectionate disposition, though affection is almost the only thing in the world that I value; I don't know why I should be ashamed to own what I cannot possibly help, an extreme fastidiousness about charm and agreeable qualities; there are very few persons in the world who are agreeable and charming enough in appearance, manner, and conversation to give me a lively pleasure, and I seem as if I could not feel affection enough to satisfy me without that. It is partly owing I suppose to my so seldom feeling a lively affection, that I feel its sweetness so very sensibly when I can catch it, and that I seem almost as if I could not bear to be without it.

I have been hesitating whether I would send you this strange letter begun yesterday. I think I will venture, as we had the satisfaction of hearing a better account from Pisa last night, so that I hope you will be in a humour to be indulgent to one of the épanchements de cœur, which I seem impelled now and then to offer to your mercy.

I think I have never written to you since I read Glenarvon. I agree with you in admiring it exceedingly in some respects, though I think you must have been absolutely crazy when you said it was not against Lady Caroline Lamb to have written and published it. I do think that was one of the most shameless acts that a woman was ever guilty of. I am surprised that so little was said of the beauty of the work. I did not think the moral feeling of the London world had been so strong, as to prevent them from seeing or owning the power of fine

writing. I almost think that as a picture of the feelings, Glenarvon is superior to any work I ever read; if I did not feel sure that the author described her own feelings, I should think her a woman of great genius. As it is, I am very much inclined to think her, in that particular department of representing feeling, superior to Madame de Staël, for she too, I believe, can only paint what she has felt or seen. If the eloquence, energy, and beauty of many scenes in Glenarvon had been bestowed on a less abominable subject, what an admirable work it would have been. That is not quite true neither, for she could never write a tolerable story. I have a particular taste for Lady Caroline's humour, as well as her passionné writing. I think it is remarkably easy and entertaining. It must be owing to the same severe morality which surprised me about Glenarvon, that we hear so little of Lord Byron's last volume of poetry. I suppose one ought to admire that goodness which makes people insensible to beautiful poetry because the writer behaved ill to his wife, but I can't find it in myself, and I admire some of his late poems very much. We have been reading the new edition of Wordsworth's poetry, in which there are several new things. I like some of them very much, yet I don't know if we (meaning by "we" the Miss Allens and myself) have not admired Wordsworth rather above his merits. My present notion is (how surprised he would be to hear that any human being could have such a notion) that he has not understanding enough to be a very fine poet. I have been reading a pamphlet by Mr Coleridge, which he calls "the Statesman's manual, a lay sermon." It would quite have killed us if it had come out some years ago, when we were fighting in his cause against his despisers and haters. I do think I never did read such stuff as the sermon, such an affectation of the most sublime and important meaning and so much no-meaning in reality. I can't see how any human being could possibly learn anything either about their duties, or anything else, by the

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whole sermon. The notes I like much better, but he has the vilest way of writing that ever man had; he is as insolent as his brother-Lakers1, takes the same high ground, no mortal can tell why, except that it pleases them to think that their proper place is on a throne, and he writes more unintelligibly, more bombastically than any of them……

Considering that I began with nothing to say, I think I have travelled over a good deal of paper, I hope what I have heard is true about the cheapness of postage at Pisa. Tell me what you pay for this great packet of—I don't know what. Give my kind love and best wishes to Mrs Drewe and all your party. Farewell, my dear Jessie, ever yours affectionately, S. W.

The letter just given shews as might have been foreseen, that Sismondi had fallen in love with Jessie Allen, and had proposed to her, meeting at first with a refusal.

The Allens left Pisa in the spring, after Frank and Louisa Drewe's death, and went to Frascati.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

ETRURIA, Aug. 25, 1817.

….I am very sorry you have lost some of your friends, and very glad you have lost others. We shall now be looking out for your dispatches by the inconceivable Mrs Waddington. I hope you have not been indiscreet in what yon have sent by her. What is become of our Jess that she is so idle at her pen? Great are the lamentations upon that subject. Sarah [Wedgwood] says she has not heard from her since Janry; I have not for the last six months, and

1 Meaning Wordsworth and Southey, all three living in the Lake country.

Baugh says he has heard from neither of you for the last nine months……

If you make a long stay abroad, my dear sisters, you will find many vacancies on your return; but I am far from urging my Caroline [Drewe] on this subject, lest it might be better for Marianne and Georgina to stay where they are. God will, I hope, direct her for the best, and remove from her the tendency towards thinking that whatever she does is worst. I wish William Clifford would really come here, I should be so glad to see him, but he never will; his shyness will keep him off from our large family, I am sure.

Sarah has been unwell and out of spirits, but she is reviving now, but I don't think she ever will be happy at Parkfields. There is not enough to do. She is incomparably benevolent, but she has not patience to enter sufficiently into the details to produce occupation. For instance, she gave a very large sum to the poor of this parish to be distributed in clothing; but she gave it to the overseer, in consequence of which it was done at a stroke. It only saved the poor rate, and when she had given the money, there was nothing more to be done. Had she managed it herself it would have been occupation, besides the more immediate exertion of her benevolent feelings. I dare say you have heard of Kitty and Sarah's munificent present to the distressed poor in Cardiganshire. If you have, it will bear repetition. Lord Robert1 made quite an eloquent and most heartbreaking statement on the distress of the poor among the hills last winter, in the House of Commons, which made a great impression. The Chancellor of the Exchequer sent him 50 out of his private purse to assist them. Kitty and Sarah sent him 200.

The X's are exceedingly pleased with this match of—'s, and I like him very well. She is I believe now

1 Lord Robert Seymour of Taliarris, father-in-law of John Allen of Cresselly.

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entirely attached to him. Nobody ever took more pains to be in love than she did, but she has succeeded, and will, I hope, be very happy. All bridegrooms are Nonsuches, but he really does seem very amiable.

Frank and Hensleigh returned to Rugby on Saturday, and I felt the loss of them to our society very much, they are both so good-humoured and so intelligent. My Hal was very pleasant when he was at home, but he has more faults than they have. But he receives admonition with docility, and I hope you will see him much improved when you meet.

Tell me a little of your rate of living, for now that your annuities are about to be in part redeemed, I am like old Martha, as Kitty calls me, troubled lest your income should fall short. I hope you will not stay long enough away to make me cry, like Mrs Evans of Panty-trendy, "to see you so frenchified." At any rate, do not stay long enough to give you a feeling of estrangement when you come among us.

I have framed my Fanny's beautiful portrait, and it stands on the drawing-room chimney-piece, and is admired by every one, even the fastidious Jos says it is excellent. I have got John Allen's as a companion to it, which puts me in a passion, but having no better I am forced to take up with that. I mean to frame Caroline [Drewe] also. Can you get me a good one of yourself and Jessie? I should be very glad to pay for them, of about the size of Fanny's. I should delight to have them. A thousand loves to you all, my dear sisters and nieces, E. W.



The Josiah Wedgwoods stay six months in Paris with their four girls—The Collos Cousins—William Clifford—French life—Letters to brothers at home—Dancing lessons, society, and housekeeping—Emma's earliest extant letter.

IN 1818 Josiah Wedgwood, his wife, and his four daughters journeyed to Paris and stayed there some months. Elizabeth was 24, Charlotte 21, Fanny nearly 12, and Emma nearly 10 years old. Young as she was, Emma vividly remembered all through her long life the impression of this first landing in France, She often spoke to us of the enchantment of the first arrival, the strangeness of it all, the foreign aspect of Calais, and even its smell. And then the interest of posting to Paris.

The society of William Clifford, who has been already mentioned, made a great part of the pleasure of their stay in Paris. All four daughters were more or less in love with him, even Emma at ten years old. He appeared to have been especially attracted by Charlotte, then in the first bloom of her beauty and with the charm of her beautiful voice and singing. He also greatly admired Mr Wedgwood,

L. 10

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and Bessy wrote of him during this stay: "His whole life seems to be made up of regrets, and his constant refrain is 'I wish I had known Mr Wedgwood early in life.'"

Madame Collos, who also appears in these Paris letters, was a sister of James Allen of Freestone, in Pembrokeshire1, a first cousin of Bessy and her sisters. Monsieur Collos had been a refugee and had no doubt met his wife in England. He was a fishmonger by trade.

Charlotte Wedgwood to her brother Henry Allen Wedgwood.

PARIS, March 19 [1818].

My dear Harry,

We arrived here last Saturday, after being from Wednesday morning on the road. We found a letter from Madame Collos at the Barrier, directing us where to go, and we found very pleasant lodgings at I'Hôtel du Mont Blanc, rue de la Paix ; it is a very gay situation…. Yesterday we drank tea with Mme Collos, and after tea went to see the scholars of the dancing-master who teaches the children to dance. I was very much amused with little Louis, who pressed me and the little girls very much to dance, and when at last he prevailed on Fanny, he made her an elegant bow and kissed her hand with as good a grace as Sir Charles Grandison could, which had a very ridiculous effect, as the little gentleman is but seven years old and very little for

1 James Allen of Freestone and his sister were children of Roger Allen, a younger brother of John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly. James Allen at one time kept a mercer's or draper's shop in Cheapside. He and his wife appear constantly in the later letters of Mme Sismondi and her sisters; she calls them (11 July 1847) "the nicest old couple I know."

his age; and when we got up to go to the dancing-school, he took out Emma, gave her his arm, and led her off. Friday 20. Yesterday was the grand procession of Long-champ, which we made part of; it was the gayest sight I ever saw, the day was beautiful and there were such crowds of people that it appeared as if Paris must have emptied itself. They were all dressed in the gayest colours, and some of the equipages were most magnificent, particularly the Duke of Wellington's, which was the finest of all, the different ambassadors and some of the royal families. We got into the line of carriages and were more than two hours before we got home. Sismondi drank tea with us, he talked a great deal; he is not near so ugly as he has always been represented to us. I should like to see more of him, but he seems to be so much engaged that I don't suppose we shall see him often. We have a maid named Aglaë who gives us some amusement from being so exceedingly French; she makes a good contrast with our valet de place, who is the stupidest German that ever was seen, and she makes heavy complaints of his stupidity; when first he came, and she found that his name was Paul, "Ah monsieur," she said, "c'est dommage que je ne suis pas Virginie." I have so little practice in speaking French that I don't expect to be able to speak it much better than I did before we came.

Send this letter to Frank and Hensleigh, as we intend to make the same letter always do for you three. I think as we are accomplishing ourselves, I had better engage a writing master. We have not begun with our masters yet. I am, my dear Harry, your affectionate sister, Charlotte Wedgwood.

The letter is not very well written even for Charlotte, but her handwriting never has the delicate flow of her mother's and her sister Emma's.


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Elizabeth Wedgwood to her brother Harry Wedgwood.

April 8, 1818.

……We are grown very grand people, we have been in company with a Queen, sitting quite at our ease as if we were as good as she, and not even rising when she came in and went out. It was at Mme Récamier's1, to whom we had letters from Miss Edgeworth, and she has been remarkably civil to us. She asked the Queen of Sweden on purpose for us to see her and offered to present Mamma, but she would not accept the honour. The Queen is a very plain little woman, in a large bonnet and shawl. Mamma sat by a very merry lady who has taken a fancy to her and is coming to visit her. M. Sismondi was there, M. Benjamin Constant, M. Chateauvieux, so we were quite among the literati. A very chatty gentleman who talked English fell to the share of Aunt Kitty [Wedgwood] and me, and went over now and then to Charlotte and would make her talk French, which she hates doing….

I think Paris is a much more beautiful city than London, though there is not that appearance of solid wealth as in the many well-built streets of London; but we have nothing to compare with the Place Louis Quinze for elegance. The cleanness too is so delightful. The weather is just now become quite hot, after a great deal of sharp weather, and a garden full of tares at the back of the house is becoming quite green.

Our great stay and support here is Mr Clifford, who comes in at all hours, and we see him at least twice a day.

1 The clever and beautiful Mme Récamier was at this time a woman of forty-one. For more than twenty years her salon had been the resort of the brightest wits of the time. She lived till 1849.

If he is a day without seeing us, he comes to see if we are much altered. He has a friend from Versailles come to his hotel for a few days, and lie has been very busy doing his friendship, which makes him all the merrier when he comes to us. His friend took him ten morning calls the first day. I like Mr Clifford exceedingly, he is the merriest man I ever saw, but so gentle with it, and so feeling, and seems to like us all so much, that I do not know what we should do without him. We have been doing our utmost to make him buy a new hat, and I expect him to come in presently to shew his transformation by a French hat. The girls [Fanny and Emma] are very busy with their master. They have found a friend in Harriet Collos, who is a little older than them and cannot speak English. Mamma has been thinking a little of putting them to a French school, which they rather like the thoughts of, to my surprise. Mme Gautier has promised to get us if she can to some French balls, and accordingly we are taking some lessons of a Mulatto man in a black night-cap and iron-heel boots, who we hope will make us accomplished dancers. But it is a secret, as we think ourselves too old to learn and are ashamed of it.

We are going to-night to a soirée at Mme Catalani's. We dined there the other day and had rather an odd day. There were two Italian ladies there, sister-in-law and niece of Catalani, and a very vulgar Frenchwoman, who all talked as fast and loud as possible. After dinner Catalani called Charlotte over to her, whisked off her handkerchief, pulled down her shoulders, pinched her stays together, and declared she held herself like a grand-papa. You would have laughed to see Charlotte in the hands of two or three foreigners pulling her about so, and paying her plenty of compliments into the bargain. She submitted to it all wonderfully well considering. We are getting quite dissipated, invitations are coming in so fast. And now, my

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dear Harry, I shall finish this letter to Frank; because the poor man has scalded his leg and is laid up, and must have something to amuse him. So you must send him this letter, and do not let it be a week on your window first. So good-bye.

My poor dear Frank, How come you not to have left off your old trick of killing and maiming yourself, do you like it still? You must have a bad scald to lay you up so long. I think you are quite right about Gil Blas, and therefore it is not a book that I care whether I read or not. Mamma and Charlotte and I dined the other day at Mr Newnham's, where we met the great traveller Baron Humboldt1, who is the most amusing man I have seen a long time, and talks faster than anybody but Dr Darwin, but so clear that you can hear all he says, that is [word torn off] near for he spoke French. He was talking a great deal about the Northern expedition that Hensleigh's friends know so much about. He said that beyond a certain northern latitude the Aurora Borealis is never seen. They talked a great deal about our old friends in the South Sea Islands, and said that all Tameamehah's fleet is built of drift-wood from the coast of America. He mentioned a snow-mine in India where the snow has been covered with lava, and they dig it out like a mine; Emma begs me to lend her the remainder, so good-bye my dear Frank.

1 Alexander von Humboldt (1769—1856), the great naturalist whose travels in S. America had made him famous. Those travels with all the wonders of tropical scenery are described in his delightful book Aspects of Nature; and it was, I believe, in part the reading of that book that made Charles Darwin eager to accept the offer of the post of naturalist on the "Beagle." For a meeting between him and Humboldt in 1842 see a letter of 8 Feb. in that year.

From Emma Wedgwood, aged 10 years, less 3 Weeks,
to her brother Frank.

My dear Frank,

We have got such numbers of masters. Two belong to Charlotte and two to us. I like the Coloes very except the youngest Louis who bothers one very much. At the dancing school there is a little dance every Friday and we go and dance very often they are going this moment to put in the post-office yours Emma Wedgwood.

This little letter is, I believe, the only scrap that has been preserved of Emma's writing when a child. The look of it is not at all prophetic of the beautiful hand of her after-life. The words run in a very tipsy fashion across the page and seem as if formed with much labour. The address on the letter is Henry Allen Wedgwood. Jesus College, Cambridge, who redirects it to F. Wedgwood, Esq., at Mrs Bucknill's, Rugby. On the "flaps" is a letter to Harry from his father telling him in rather sharp terms that he has not answered a letter in which some enquiries were made about certain "auditoires" or lectures at Geneva, where Harry had been at a tutor's and where Frank and Hensleigh were soon to go. But in another corner of the sheet there is a P.S. "I have to make the amende as to the auditoires, as you sent me the information to London. Au reste I persist in my admonition not to neglect writing, as you are apt to do, to us and your brothers."

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Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen.

PARIS, 15 May 1818, rue Caumartin, No. 19.

……Nothing can be more comfortably settled than we are here. We have a remarkably pretty little house to ourselves, in the genteelest part of the town. The girls take a dancing-lesson every morning, Italian, French, singing and music three times a week; so it is not our fault if we are not very accomplished, but I am afraid we may forget to read. Nothing can exceed the kindness or the agreeableness of your two friends, but alas! Mr Clifford goes to England on Monday, and you must direct to him at Mrs Bosanquet's. The Caldwells are here and are as busy as possible, but I am afraid they lose some enjoyment in their eagerness not to miss any. Mr C. took them a little in dudgeon at first, as he feared they would interfere with the snugness of this place, but he went with us yesterday to Hotel Tamise, rue de la Paix, where they are to drink tea and liked them very much, only he was rather angry at Eliza Caldwell's having no voice…….

I should have a thousand affectionate messages to you if I could spare paper, but that I cannot. I am obliged to make free with the top of Mr Clifford's letter, as it is, and I don't know whether he has finished. I am going to pay a visit to Madame Récamier on Sunday and to return by Sceaux. Mrs Cellos we see pretty often, though I am afraid not quite so often as she wishes. It is natural for her to wish it, but the consciousness of that sometimes makes me feel uneasy in not doing more, but I cannot find time or inclination. She is very affectionate and full of zeal in our service, but I think you had better give her no commissions before you come here of any sort….

William Clifford to Fanny Allen.

My dear,

It is all the fault of that irreproachable Mrs Wedgwood that I did not write to you long ago, for I have been bursting with affection ever since I received your kind letter and not known what to do with it. I began a letter yesterday, but I got bothered with Mrs Collos's English (as she is pleased to think it), and now here is the same hashed up again. I go on liking the house of Wedgwood vastly, but it is now nearly over, for I am leaving Paris next week and I am not so extravagant as to keep up an establishment of useless friends out of reach. Your Mr Sismondi is in high bloom, and very constant to you, notwithstanding a great deal else to do or to enjoy. I now and then try to tease him into some sort of a kindness towards me but he seems to have made up his mind on that point….

Your sentence on me that I am never to be in love is rather disheartening, and I got another letter at the same time to the same effect; and it will perhaps set me about trying one of these days, but I suspect with you that it is not my vocation. I have nothing more to say without looking for it, which would be as bad for you as me. Remember me most kindly to Mrs Drewe, Misses Marianne and Georgina, and let my old friends of all believe me ever very sincerely theirs,


Which do I like best of Misses Elizabeth or Charlotte?

It is characteristic that he merely echoes Fanny Allen's query as to which he likes best, Elizabeth or Charlotte, and gives her no answer, although it is certain that Charlotte attracted him, and I have an impression that Elizabeth did not. It is

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something like the late Henry Bradshaw, of Cambridge, who when he was sent two post-cards with "yes" on one and "no" on the other and a request that one might be posted in answer to an invitation, posted both.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her father in England.

RUE CAUMARTIN, May 24, 1818.

……We had a day at Montmorenci last week with Mr Clifford and the Caldwells which I enjoyed very much, and he is now acquainted enough with them and likes them enough to be quite pleasant with them. The weather was delicious, we mounted our asses and went into the woods, which are the prettiest things now you can imagine, fine chestnut trees over grass, and a great deal of copse of chestnut, which makes by far the prettiest kind of under-wood, so soft and rich and thick and without brambles. We took a baggage ass with provisions, and three ragged boys to drive, and spent all the day under the trees. Some old people and women and children followed us all the while and took their station near us, I suppose in hopes of the scraps of the dinner. It was amusing to see the difference between our two French servants and any English ones. They were playing all manner of pranks with the asses and screaming and laughing like boys, quite as much at ease as if we were not looking on. They enjoyed the day full as much as we. Emma and Fanny were very happy on their asses, and quacked accordingly. We came home and ate ices at Mr Stamford's hotel, after a very different day indeed from our St Germain's party of pleasure. Last night we had our soirée which Mr Clifford foretold before you went. It did as well as a collection of people, few of whom knew one another, could do. There was a whist party for the Baronne de Barbier, who is a fat, happy-looking woman. Sismondi and Mr Newnham had a political discussion; John Blunt had the Caldwells to talk to, and did his best with one of the Mademoiselles de Barbier, and Mrs Strolling sang several songs with a very fine voice indeed but not near so well as we heard her at her own house.

We had a dutiful day with the Truanderie1 last week. They came and drank tea as well as the Caldwells, and we all went to Tivoli, but it was so very cold several of us came home before the fireworks. Mme Collos refused an invitation to our soirée, which I was glad of I confess. Mamma is writing such a quantity of letters to-day that I think it will be happy if she is ever able to write another. She was very tolerably satisfied with our performance last night, and with flowers and a lustre the room looked very pretty, and very proud Gorsau was of it. I think she is remarkably well now and never tired. She and Charlotte Went to another gay party at the Creeds, where there was dancing and singing. Eliza Wedgwood [her cousin, daughter of John] and I staid at home and made tea for Mr Clifford. He was rather doleful at first for the loss of Mamma and Charlotte, but we had a very pleasant evening….

I do not know to what Bessy refers in the next letter, but it is probably some generous gift to one of her sisters.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

SATURDAY, June 6, 1818.

I must answer your letter this moment my dear Jos, while the impression of its kindness is warm in my heart. You cannot guess half the pleasure it gave me, valuing your approbation and your affection more than anything

1 The Collos's lived in the Truanderie.

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in this world. I am very glad one cause of my uneasiness is removed in the generous resolution you have taken, and another still more important in the improving state of Jenny's health. Poor Caroline's1 hard fate still presses heavily on my heart….

We are all much pleased at the improving prospect of our Swiss tour, though we had made up our minds to come home with a very good grace if it could not have been accomplished.

Mr Clifford is really gone. He went with Mr Clive2 early yesterday morning. He spent the day preceding with us, and he seemed quite low at parting. He gave us all three a very pretty fan apiece as a parting gage d'amitié, but Charlotte is decidedly his favourite, and with any other person in the world I should say it was love, but he persists in saying he shall never see any of us again. Mr Sismondi and Mr Gallois were very agreeable and suitable to each other the day they dined here. They were amusing themselves a little with Madame Récamier's establishment at Val de Grace, the place we visited her at, though they did not speak of it as if it was at all against her reputation. They said that she and M. Montmorenci had hired the house of M. de Chateaubriand, as a joint concern, but it was so small that there was no room either for Madame de Montmorenci, or M. de Récamier, and that she had consulted her friends and they had told her there was nothing odd in the scheme. They like the place so much that they talk of purchasing it between them.

1 Mrs Drewe, who was in Italy with her children. Her daughter Charlotte left in England was dying. Two other children had died shortly before this.

2 Edward Bolton Clive of Whitfield, sometime M.P. for Hereford and father of the Rev. Archer Clive, who married in 1840 Caroline Meysey-Wigley, authoress of "Why Paul Ferrol killed his wife" and other works, daughter and co-heiress of Mr Meysey-Wigley of Shakenhurst, whose daughter Mary married Mr Tollet's only son.

M. Récamier returns to Paris every evening. I did not hear what Madame de Montmorenci does.

Our restorateur's bill comes to a little more than 5 Napoleons a week, finding our own bread. Our washing nearly 2 Napoleons, our bread about 17 francs. Butter, milk and cream 1.10 per diem. Then there is water and wood and numbers of other little things, but one certainly lives cheaper here than one would do in London….

On the 24th June, the father, mother, Elizabeth and Charlotte went to Switzerland, partly to place Frank and Hensleigh with Mr Chenevière at Geneva, where Harry had formerly been. The two little girls were left at a boarding-school in Paris during the absence of some months. The only allusion I find to the plan is that the children liked the idea of it, and as they had made so little progress in French their stay at the school would help them. Every Sunday they passed in the Rue Truanderie with their mother's cousin Madame Collos. My mother has often told us how the house smelt of fish and how they could not bear little Louis, and wondered that her mother risked leaving such little girls alone in Paris. Mme Collos was goodnatured, but evidently most foolish and unpractical, and I judge not very ladylike. Even the unworldly and uncritical Elizabeth confessed to being glad she did not come to their soirée.

I have no more foreign letters to give, and in September they returned to Maer.

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The following is from the little girls' former nurse.

CHESTER, Dec. 8, 1818.

My dear little friends,

I have neglected you very long after your desiring an answer, but I thought I should meet with an opertunity and so I have. I was very happy you may be sure to se a line from those whom I love and to hear of evry body being got quite well and I think Tritton your little Dog must be a Treasure to you to go about with. I wish I could come and go with you and se how much you are grown. I am affraid of you ovr growing me at least by recolection of old times when your legs was so short you could not get up and down Maer Hills but used to ride upon my back—those were pleasant days endeed I am very happy now with my aunt and Mrs Robberts two old whomen for companions now not little Doveleys—Mrs Robberts is 84 years of age and my aunt is 74 both very cheerfull and good tempered and me very busy from morning till night…….You did not tell me how you liked being left in Parris when all the party left you to go into Swisserland. I dair say you thought it was for the best and was very orderly about it. I dair say your cubboard ware you put your clothes is very tiday you can find your things in the dark Hannah says you are very tiday I hope she is good-natured to you and then I know you will be to her…….Now with evry warm wish for your Health and Happiness I am yours affectionately


Please to remember me kindly to Peeter and Molly.



Jessie Allen and Sismondi—Her hesitations about accepting him—An outpour to her sister—Bessy's reply—Some account of Sismondi—Their early married life—Posting across France, a troublesome journey.

IN the autumn of 1818 Jessie, Emma, and Fanny Allen came back after their three years' absence on the Continent. As has appeared, Sismondi had proposed to Jessie in 1816 and had continued his suit although she had always refused him. The following letter shews her frame of mind. She is staying at Cresselly with her brother John and his wife.

Jessie Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Dec. 2 [1818].

I love to be called upon for a letter by my own Bessy. Mrs Allen received yours yesterday, and there was a sweet remembrance to me. I have not written to you since I have been in England, because others have, from where I have been, which rendered it unnecessary. I have been myself in such a painful state of indecision and doubt I could not have any pleasure in writing, and I did not like

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to speak openly till I knew my own mind better; and I was continually expecting to know it, and continually awoke hesitating, indecisive, and uncomfortable as I went to bed. I would have given anything to have talked with you, consulted with you, but I should have had no comfort in writing. I forget that all this is algebra to you, but I left Geneva promising Sismondi to reconsider his offer, and try if while in England I found my heart steadily rejected him. It did not, even while I persisted in refusing him. I did not intend he should find that out, nevertheless; but he did in our many tête-à-têtes at Chamouny, and above all I betrayed myself when we came to part. This occasioned his renewing his offer, with an affection and a warmth of feeling that might have made me happy if half-a-hundred other affections had not drawn me another way, and shame and irresolution and timidity had not frightened me, and made me uncertain of myself, and doubtful, after my return, whether I should have courage to answer the hopes I had raised. He expressed himself with a vehemence that frightened me while these doubts tormented me, and I wrote coldly, and to remind him of the terms on which we parted, which were, that we were each to try if we could live happy separately. We were each to use our best efforts to do so, and only take the remedy of marriage if we found we failed, using the utmost openness and frankness one with the other. After we parted I found he loved me too well to be placed on such terms, and that indecision was the worst state in the world to have thrown a nature so impetuous, so naturally decisive as his. My letter, which I only intended to prepare him for what I could not answer would not be, hurt him inexpressibly; this grieved me, and I wrote to him again soothingly and tenderly, but in the meanwhile I received three letters that appeared to me harsh, and that gave me an idea that the fortnight I had allowed my cold letters to operate on him had cooled his affection, that the mischief to him was done

and could not be undone, and therefore the best thing I could do now was to hurt no others, and to finish with Sismondi. Under this impression I wrote to him yesterday, but just as I had finished my letter came one from him in answer to my kind one, by which I perceive I was deceived, that he loves me as tenderly as ever; and this effort has shewn me also more of my own heart than I knew. I love him more than I would allow even to myself, and I begin to think I cannot be happy separate for ever from him. I did not send that letter, and thus I now stand, and thus painfully have I passed the last month, mixed nevertheless with moments of exquisite pleasure from all the tendernesses and happiness of a return to a very dear country, and a delightful family, which I must always think and say mine is, when no one hears me but one that will sympathise with me. These joys tho', only made my situation and my choice more difficult. At first I intended saying nothing to John [Allen] or to anyone till my mind was made up. I knew they would tell me to consult my own feelings only. But I found secrecy from John was intolerable, as it would be from you and Jane [Wedgwood] if I held any intercourse with you. I therefore, trembling, bathed in dew, cheeks burning and mouth parched, opened my case to him. Anything was better than reserve with one so tender, so considerate of my future comfort, that his mind seemed solely occupied with plans for us, so that every word he uttered, every look was a reproach to me. I was much happier after having spoken to him. I never will have mystery with those I love. John was not more vexed than I might have expected. He said indeed it was the greatest blow he could have received; his cherished hope had been that we should have passed the close of our day together; that my marriage would be to him the same as if I took the veil in a distant country, but that after all I must consult only my own heart. He would rather not see me at all than

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see me unhappy. That he thought the wisest way was for me to consider, not whether I could be happy with Sismondi. but whether I should be unhappy without him, "for he believed no one ever had so much to give up as I had." And indeed that is true. When I think on all I have to give up, I question how it is possible. I appear to myself unaccountable that I should have arrived in a situation to place it in doubt; but when I take the pen to put an end to it. I am panic-struck, and so much tenderness in spite of myself is expressed, that my letter, when I say no, only tells how painful it is to me and how many regrets must follow. I must however finally decide in a day or two. I cannot wait even your answer. I have been horribly diffuse, intending to be very concise, I doubt also if I have been clear, I am sure I have been very candid. I believe I have shown you the utmost of my feelings on both sides. I long to know your opinion, or feelings rather, tho' they can be of no use. Dearest Bessy, it is very hard to act in opposition to the opinion and feelings of all we have ever loved. I want you to comfort me. We have had here the most delightful reception that could be given. It is impossible to be more attentive to our comfort than Mrs Allen, or more tender than my own Jack. The way he has taught his children to love us before they knew us, tells his own affection. They are the finest children I ever saw; Harry1 is I think a beauty, they are not so much spoiled as I expected, but too much so, to be as engaging as they would be naturally. They are the most affectionate children I have ever met with, and that their little faces express, but I perceive no symptom of genius in either….Give our tender love to my dear Jenny [Wedgwood], Jos, and all I love, which you will find out from all you love yourself, and God for ever bless my own own.

1 H. G. Allen, afterwards Q.C. and M.P., born 1815, John Allen's second son, living at Paskeston near Pembroke, 1903.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Jessie Allen.

SHREWSBURY, Dec. 6 [1818].

My being at this place, dearest Jessie, has occasioned a delay of two or three days in my getting your letter, which I did not do till last night, otherwise I could not have let it remain a day unanswered. How little did I think of the painful struggles you were going through, at the time when I imagined you giving and receiving unalloyed pleasure, and how sorry I am that the very circumstances that are so gratifying in other cases, the extreme love of your friends, only serve to add to your difficulties. But this is not now to be considered. You Would not yourself wish them to be insensible to your value, to be insensible to your, I will not call it loss, but absence. Your own happiness, my dearest Jessie, is the point upon which we must all fix our eyes, and I pray God to direct you for the best. I cannot read the sweet and candid picture you have given me of your own heart without being persuaded that you will be unhappy in giving up Sismondi, and which of us would not a thousand times rather see you happy with him, than have your society, if you yourself are to be the victim of your too tender nature? We have all made our election without reference to you, and you have a full right to do the same. In comparing your situation and ours, we don't stand at all upon the same ground. We risk the loss of a very great pleasure, but you risk the happiness of your life; therefore dear dear Jessie, lay aside every consideration that will prevent your seeing what that is, and be assured we all love you too dearly to repine, if happiness should be the result, whichever way you decide. Perhaps the die will be cast before this reaches you, and if it is, I am anxious that you should feel no misgivings to torment you. To be united to a man you so entirely love and approve, is


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worth some sacrifices; and you must let it balance whatever there is of this nature in marrying Sismondi. From having lived two years abroad, you are a better judge of the life you are likely to lead than most women who follow their husbands to a distant country, and very few women have had the opportunities of knowing the character of the man they many that you have. I think you cannot be happy in giving up the man you love, and I see no reason to doubt your being happy with him. I don't touch upon income, because no doubt you have not let that go without some consideration. I say nothing of my own opinion of him, because I saw too little of him to make it of any importance, but he appeared to me everything that is amiable, and his sentiments and tastes are all so congenial to your own, that if he lived in England, and had a little more money, we should all rejoice in the connection….

Your account of the children is delightful, and I am convinced from what you say that it is a good thing to teach children to be affectionate, and it is not so likely to do (what I used to fear) give them grimace, as to inspire them with the real feeling…

The engagement took place and the following is Mr Clifford's congratulatory letter.

William Clifford to Jessie Allen.


My dear friend,

I cannot help writing direct to yourself, though with the risk of being somewhat in the way, to tell you my most earnest wishes for your happiness. You have chosen a very able, a most excellent man, who loves you very ardently—at least I believe all this, but Mrs Wedgwood sneers so at my penetration that I am afraid of putting it on paper. You must make it a marriage article that Mr Sismondi is to be no longer my enemy. I expect to find in him an affectionate friend-in-law. You know I was always magnanimous, and did justice to his 1001 fine qualities, in spite of his perverse dislike to my poor self, and I do not grudge him the best wife in the world.

I long to be among you, but I should have been terribly in the way during all this secret concoction, and I had a lucky escape of it.

God bless you, my dear friend. When you see M. Sismondi will you remember to make him my warmest congratulations, and for the life of you let there be no change in your kindness to your own G.—a name, however, so little respectful that I cannot reconcile myself to writing it, though truly glad to hear it once again.

Saturday, WHITFIELD.

Jessie married Sismondi in April 1819. He was then 46 and she was 42. The plunge when taken proved at first more than she could endure, and she was wretched at leaving England. But she gradually became inured to her separation from her sisters and from England, and her deep attachment to Sismondi and his passionate devotion to her made her completely happy.

Jean Charles Leonard Simon de Sismondi (to give him his full name), born in 1773, came of an Italian family which had been settled in Geneva for two or more generations and bore the name Simond. He called himself de Sismondi, claiming descent from the noble Pisan family of that name. At this time (1819) he was a person of importance in the literary world, having lately completed his history of the Italian Republics, the work which made his

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fame. He had passed through great troubles and dangers in early life. At the time of the "terror" in Paris (1794), there was a similar outburst of democratic fury at Geneva, and he and his family narrowly escaped being massacred. They fled to Tuscany, losing most of their property. On getting back to Geneva Sismondi devoted himself to literature, and attached himself to the circle of Mme de Staël at Coppet. At this time, being quite poor, he wrote hundreds of articles in Michaud's Biographie Universelle at six francs an article! It was just about the time of his engagement that he began his great Histoire des Français, at which he worked some eight or ten hours a day for twenty-three years. He died when finishing the 28th volume, leaving one more to be added by a continuator. It was the first continuous history of France, and made him the foremost historian of his time. St Beuve in one of his Nouveaux Lundis (Vol. VI. 1866), gives it great, though curiously qualified praise: "Si j'avais à conseiller à une jeune personne sérieuse, à une lectrice douée de patience, un livre d'histoire de France qui ne faussât en rien les idées, et où aucun système artificiel ne masquât les faits, ce serait encore Sismondi, que je conseillerais de préférence à tout autre." Why he recommends it to the lectrice in particular he does not explain. The encore may be perhaps an allusion to Henri Martin's great work, which must have superseded the Histoire des Français. Sismondi wrote several books on Political Economy, wherein he attacked tooth and nail the fundamental principles of the orthodox economists. Some of his


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denunciations of competition, machinery, &c., remind one of the utterances of Ruskin. He advocated what we now know as "profit-sharing."

In earlier and later life Sismondi gave proofs that he was a man of courage. During the terror of 1794 a proscribed syndic fled for refuge to his mother's country-house, which touched the French frontier. He, by her direction, hid the fugitive in a pavilion in the garden. At midnight troops were heard approaching. He rushed to rouse the syndic but could not wake him; whereupon he tried, alone, to resist the soldiers as they attacked the door of the pavilion. He was knocked down by a blow from a musket. The syndic gave himself up, was marched off the premises, and shot.

In 1838 Louis Napoleon (afterwards Napoleon III.) was in Geneva. Louis Philippe's government protested against his being allowed to live there plotting against the French monarchy. At this Switzerland was very wroth, and Genevan patriotism flamed up into a white heat of indignation. Sismondi believed, probably with justice, that the French government had right on its side, maintaining that L. N.'s claim to be a Swiss citizen was a mere pretence, historical facts having made all Buonapartes irrevocably Frenchmen. This attitude made him terribly unpopular, and his friends feared the populace would set his house on fire. The incident shewed his political foresight as well as his courage, for at that time L.N. was thought merely a conspirator pour rire. Sismondi perceived that the man had capacities, and forces at his back, which were not to be despised.

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A little anecdote is told illustrating his kindly nature. He employed for many years a locksmith who was a wretchedly bad workman and did everything wrong. A friend asked, "But why do you keep him on?" The answer was, "I really can't give the poor man up; I am his last customer1."

Sismondi had affectations and small vanities which were very distasteful to English ideas. I remember my mother's describing how he would say "petite Emma," as she was coming into the room, in an affectedly caressing way that was dreadful to Wedgwood feelings. She also considered that there was a want of manliness in his nature, and contrasted him in this respect with her father. And he was extraordinarily ugly. But in all essentials he was worthy of Jessie, and he was boundlessly hospitable and kind to all his English connections. His sister-in-law Fanny, in spite of her real regard for him, behaved like a spoilt child, refusing to get out on the side of the carriage where he stood for fear of having to take his hand. That he made her welcome to his house for months at a time shews true magnanimity of nature, and illustrates his profound devotion to his wife.

The following letters written two years after

1 These paragraphs about Sismondi were given me by my husband. No regular life of him, apparently, was ever published, and the notices in the Biographical dictionaries give hardly any personal details. Vol. 72 of the Quarterly Review (1843) contains a long and interesting account of him, and Edmond Scherer's Littérature Contemporaine du XVIIIme siècle (2nd edn. 1876) has much about him and the Geneva-Coppet literary people of the time, Mme de Staël, Bonstetten, Benjamin Constant, &c. None of these accounts say anything of his wife beyond mentioning the fact of his marriage.

Jessie's marriage, and describing her return home from an absence in England, may best come in here and thus finish the picture of her early married life.

Fanny Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, 31 May, 1821.

……When we drove up here Sismondi was in a transport, like a child that could not contain itself, at the door, and Jessie looked also delighted to see him again. Their meeting has given me great satisfaction. He has been as busy as a bee to get the house in order for her; it is made very comfortable, and so clean that it is a luxury after the inns of France. The library downstairs is a nice room, entirely covered with books, the drawing-room, where we are now sitting, will when it is carpeted be comfortable also, it is fitted up with red and gold-colour calico, which looks warm. Then there are two sofas, and when there is a large table, and it gets the look of habitation it will be a nice room. Our bedroom is large and commodious, a light yellow paper and white beds. Sismondi has papered nearly all the rooms in Jessie's absence; he has bought a little carriage, a horse, and a cow; he is very fond and proud of his purchases. He said he had made £120 by his lectures. He bore the disappointment of Jessie's failure1 uncommonly well, though he still thinks that he is right and the English bookseller wrong, respecting the probable sale of an English translation of his French History. Jessie found her bureau filled with money, both for her allowance and for the business of the house. Sismondi appears to me to hit the right middle of liberality and prudence. He is an excellent man, and Jessie looks very happy and beaming with him. She has not been

1 Jessie Sismondi had attempted to arrange for the publication of a translation of his history made by her.

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fatigued, and to-day she is in your purple gown, looking better than I have ever seen her do at all. You will be interested in all these particulars about her, and I am sure it will give you pleasure. You know we expected to find the poor beast gasping in the garden but Beauty has had better luck in reality than in the tale….

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, June 1, 1821.

……I never saw such rapture as his to meet Jessie, or such a state of happiness ever since we arrived. Jessie also appears gay and happy, and amuses herself in talking nonsense to puzzle him. She is much pleased with the alterations he has made in the house. There are two very agreeable summer sitting-rooms, in winter I suppose there will be a difficulty in keeping them warm. At present, and particularly when the weather gets hot, we shall find the coolness and space of this house quite the thing.

I have not cared to repeat the account of our journey because I wrote it yesterday to Baugh [Allen], but for fear you should desire to know it, I must tell you that out departure from London was upon the whole far less sad than I expected it. While we were crossing Westminster Bridge, poor Jessie recalled how far less her feelings then were than when she crossed it two years before. She soon became composed afterwards, and when we arrived at Dover was in a comfortable state of spirits, nor have they failed her at all since.

To avoid Paris we took the upper route, but to shorten it, were directed at Calais not to go so far as Cambray, in following which direction we fell into the most detestable roads that ever were, and we got frightened and tired, expecting the carriage to break to pieces, and were obliged to walk for near two posts, Thursday was a very heavy day on us. After toiling all day till six in the evening, among bad roads which made us tremble for our carriage

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after we had got out of it, when we arrived at the Post, the one before St Quentin, they assured us we should have a charming road on; but unluckily we soon found that we had to contend with roads infinitely worse than what we had passed in the morning, and it became so deep and narrow, that before the carriage stuck fast, we felt assured the foolish boy who was driving us had mistook his way. When it did we scrambled out as we could. Jessie stood guard on the carriage while Fanny and I ran different ways over a great wide ploughed plain, almost at the extent of which I observed a farm-house. However before I reached that I fell in with some waggoners, and they and their horses after a time helped us out of the rut; then we took one of them as a guide to the Saint Quentin road, for we were, as we expected, in some cross one in which, they told us, if we had gone much further we must inevitably have been overturned, We had to walk full two hours following our unhappy-looking carriage, appearing every five minutes as if it was going to be plunged [word torn off]. The villages we passed through were like Jeffrestone, quite as full of [mire], and darkness was coming on so fast, I wonder we escaped being swallowed up in it. It was quite dark when we arrived on the pavé, and never was I more glad in my life to arrive at any place; and we arrived at St Quentin between ten and eleven, tired and out of humour, which a dirty inn did not improve. The next day we had still to contend with bad roads, but fatigue made us take them as gently as possible, and as our carriage had escaped the day before with no more damage than six franks repaired, we began to feel confidence in it; and Fanny's outcries when the carriage went aside subsided, and I was surprised to observe how little harm so much fatigue did her. After, or rather before we arrived at Dijon, and from thence on to this place, our journey was entirely agreeable, the travelling in and view from the Jura finer than I ever thought it before. The weather was splendid, and Mont Blanc broke on us in all its glory….

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Fanny and Emma Wedgwood at 13 and 11 years old—Their aunt Emma Allen's account of them—A gigantic cheese from Geneva—Races and Race-Balls—Life at the Mount, Shrewsbury—Taking Fanny and Emma to School in London—The Sismondis at Geneva—The Tollets at Betley.

IN 1819 the Wedgwoods left Etruria for good and from now onwards lived at Maer. Whilst the house was being painted the family went to Cresselly, leaving little Fanny and Emma, then 13 and 11 years old, under the charge of their aunt Emma Allen at Maer.

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

MAER HALL, Nov. 15th, 1819.

…Emma says you are all so good about writing from Cresselly, that she thinks once a week will not be good enough for us to reply to you. In compliance with her opinion I advance my time for writing to you….Now for an account of the home department, which is just as flourishing as it can be. I marvel at the strength of the girls' spirits as much as I do at the perfection of their tempers, I feel now very sure that not only a cross word never passes between them, but that an irritable feeling never arises Fanny, to be sure, is calmness itself, but the vivacity of Emma's feelings, without perfectly knowing her, would make me expect that Fanny's reproofs, which she often gives with an elder sister air, would ruffle her a little; but I have never seen that expressive face take the shadow of an angry look, and I do think her love for Fanny is the prettiest thing I ever saw. But I am observing to you what I am sure you have observed yourself a thousand times, but these little creatures have filled my mind more than any other subject lately, so I like to let a little of it out to you. I ascribe much of Emma's joyous nature to have been secured, if not caused, by Fanny's yielding disposition; had the other met with a cross or an opposing sister there was every chance that with her ardent feelings, her temper had become irritable. Now she is made the happiest being that ever was looked on, and so much affection in her nature as will secure her from selfishness; and I believe it is according to Sarah's theory that plant and weed do not grow together. I am almost afraid to tell you how active we are, for fear you should expect more fruits from it than we shall be able to produce. We get up all three of us now every day by candle light; to-day we were at breakfast at ½ after 7, and by 10 the Bible and the reading Italian was over with both girls, when I left them for Betley1. In general we find ample employment till 1, and then find an hour for music when we come in at 3 or half after. I believe I told you before that they declared their resolution of taking an additional half-hour to their music. I believe they have not missed doing so for one day since, between dinner and tea. The drawing has rather fallen, through mending stockings, talking nonsense, and playing with kitten. I do not know what their father will say at such a show of cats, but 3 is now our number except at schooltime, and then kitten is expelled, for I found she

1 Betley, 8 miles off, where the John Wedgwoods and Tollets lived.

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made one idle as much as either of them; there is something very irresistible in the gambols of such a little crum of a thing. In spite of Joe and the cats, we contrive to keep the room very comfortable and tolerably tidy, it is what I labour most at. Their father's coming down tomorrow will, I hope, stimulate them to fresh exertions, as I assure them he approves of tidiness. The worst news I have to tell you is that I fear Triton is lost. He would frequent Lightfoot's, and it is supposed a soldier enticed him away; he has not been heard of since this day week, when the girls and I first missed him in our morning walk. Good night, dear Elisabeth, I am very tired, so I wonder why I wrote so much to you.

Affectionately yours E. A.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

[MAER] March 23, 1820.

……Your Parmesan cheese and the noble basket of figs are arrived safe, and the size and beauty of the cheese has been the wonder of Maer. Mr and Mrs Harding came over to see it, and pronounced it the most beautiful cheese that ever was seen, and I got them the receipt from Jenny [Wedgwood's] letter and they are determined to try it this summer. We were obliged to saw it, and we lived upon the sawdust for some days. A thousand thanks for that and the figs. I hope you will taste them both with us, and see how excellent they are, though you will not have the endearing sentiment that gives them such an increased value to us. I have sent a piece to Parkfields, Betley, and London, and I have got one for Mardocks when Kitty [Mackintosh] goes, and I have got such a quantity besides; it is indeed a magnificent cheese. You ask, my Jess, what the carriage was, and in compliance with your wishes I must tell you that it was somewhere about £3, so that it does not reach the value of it, as you fancied it might, as I believe Parmesan cheese sells at 1s. 6d. a pound, and this I believe does not come to 6d.

Kitty M. has written to desire me to send the horses for her on Saturday. She also encloses us a letter from Mr Leslie1 to Mackintosh, pressing him exceedingly to offer himself for the vacant chair at Edinburgh, assuring him that for some years it will be worth £1500 per ann., and saying that he thinks if he proposes himself there will be no opposition to him, and that he may attend Parliament, as he will be at liberty from March till November. I wish exceedingly he would offer. Kitty's opposition is very much abated, but Lord Lansdowne and Lady Holland are both against it from selfish motives no doubt; for those people who fare sumptuously every day have no idea that anybody is ever in want of a dinner, and when full gorged themselves have leisure to speculate at their ease upon the conduct of their poorer neighbours. Lady Holland had the face the other day to ask Baugh [Allen] to put off his marriage for a year! Her only motive, to keep the Warden2 a little longer in her shackles, and this is the way she balances her own slightest conveniences with the happiness of others… ….

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, May 16, 1820.

…Kitty Mackintosh and her daughters went on Wednesday, and her visit here was entirely agreeable from

1 John Leslie (1766—1832), son of a Scottish carpenter, was at this time Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh. He was well known lo the Wedgwood circle through his friendship with Tom Wedgwood, who had been his fellow-student at Edinburgh, and who had secured to him an annuity of £150 a year to enable him to work at Physical Science. (See Tom Wedgwood the First Photographer.)

2 Dr John Allen, of Holland House, Warden of Dulwich College. He succeeded to the Mastership when this was vacated on Baugh Allen's marriage.

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beginning to end. She was kind and affectionate to me and good-humoured and agreeable to every body. I think I may say with truth that no cloud ever interrupted the pleasure I had in her society. Her girls seem very happy with her, and though she gives them multitudes of directions, as she neither insists upon obedience, nor goes out of humour when she is not obeyed, it does not interrupt the general harmony. It had only this bad effect that Fanny [Mackintosh] constantly mounts the opposition coach and drives it with the most uninterrupted composure.

The above is an extract from a letter, 23 pages in length, to be sent by hand to Geneva. This shews the extent to which Bessy wished to share her life with her sister, if it was not for "saving her purse."

The John Wedgwoods, as has been said, were now living at Betley, eight miles away. "Eliza" is the eldest daughter, now about 25 years old, the "Sally" of the earlier letters (she being the third Sarah Elizabeth in the Wedgwood family). She was an invalid, but though she was thought to be a "fading flower," lived to the age of 62. Of Allen, the eldest son, who took orders, we shall hear more as the Vicar of Maer. Tom, mentioned as at the races, is the young soldier who was at Waterloo. Caroline, the second daughter, died at the age of 26. Jessie, the third daughter and the beauty of the family, became the wife of Harry Wedgwood. "Bob" is the youngest, now a boy of fourteen.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, July 31st, 1820.

……Having given you a little respite, it is time, dearest of the dear, to begin again. We have now had the pleasure of hearing from those who have seen you, and that seems to lessen the distance between us and we have the happiness of hearing that you are looking well and in good spirits and happy. Jos and Charlotte and I rode over to visit Sarah [Wedgwood] in her solitude at Parkfields and she read us a letter from Kitty [Wedgwood] telling her all these good things, and speaking warmly of Sismondi's and your kindness and hospitality to them. I felt quite surprised to hear of their already fixing their time for setting out homewards. All your friends are well. This is the first thing to be told, I shall amplify as I go on.

The Races began yesterday, and by accident we have had the smartest set-out we ever had, as our carriage is new, and being so many we were obliged to have four horses; and the post-boys had been stimulated by a rival inn to sport new blue jackets and silver-laced hats, so we went to the Course gloriously. Eliza, Caroline, Tom and Bob Wedgwood are with us, and I find it much more comfortable not to have any outlyers. To-day however we have the Sneyd-Kynnerslys, who dine and go to the ball. Eliza Wedgwood is Lady Patroness, but she is looking very ill, and she has no vanity to gratify. I can't think what is the reason, she seems to have no disorder, but she is just like a fading flower. Charlotte had a new pink spencer and bonnet, and I never saw her look so handsome in my life. (N.B. You need not answer any of these sort of remarks.) Sarah [Wedgwood] lent us her phaeton, and I put in it little Pepper and Mustard, alias Fanny and Emma, to go to the Course, but that might have been a serious matter, as the horse took fright, and overturned

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them and their driver; but luckily without the smallest injury to any of them. After the Course we went to Dr Belcombe's to tea, and then to the Play.

Friday. The Races are over, and we are once more quiet and a little dull, not that the excitement has been great. We have had one very good ball, and one abortion of one last night that I had the misfortune of being prime agent in, and at which there were not more than 20 people. They are not like our old Haverford meetings, when we could dance six nights together…….

These races and race-balls appear to have played a large part in country life. Fanny Allen, after describing their Pembrokeshire race meeting and ball in Nov. 1820, says, "We had races, which I enjoyed the most of all the proceedings; it was the prettiest race I ever saw. I believe that among amusements my passion is horse-racing."

Susannah, the sister of Josiah Wedgwood, and wife of Dr Robert Darwin, had died in 1817, when Marianne, the eldest daughter, was 19 years old, and Charles and Catharine only eight and seven.

Marianne and Caroline took charge of the household on the death of their mother, and Caroline taught her little brother and sister, Charles and Catharine.

The following letter tells of a gathering of girls to take singing-lessons at Dr Darwin's, the Mount, Shrewsbury. The Miss Parkers, I imagine, would be sisters of Dr Parker, who married Marianne Darwin four years later, and the Miss Owens of Woodhouse were the daughters of a Shropshire squire living some miles from Shrewsbury.

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Elizabeth Wedgwood to her aunt Fanny Allen.

SHREWSBURY, 30 Nov., 1820.

My dear Fanny,

When we came here we found the Dr at Berwick where Lady Hill is very ill after her confinement, so we had a quiet dinner with nobody but Erasmus, who is exceedingly improved and was very sociable and pleasant. The next day Caroline was very busy scrattling1and making a gown which was to be done in one day, and having her hair cut and the rooms arranged. Marianne and Susan came to dinner, and we had a pleasant evening. Sunday we dined at half-past one, drest afterwards, and sat about 3 hours expecting the tide to come in about dark, and rather stiff and awful the evening was. I now like Mrs Owen very much, but her manners are at first very grave and cold. Miss Owen is a very little girl of 16, a most prodigious friend of Susan's, and Mr Sor is constantly making fun of their friendship, for which Susan hates him heartily, but Miss Owen does not mind. They sit by one another, and then Mr Sor quizzes them, then they sit asunder, but all in vain; he says such entertaining things with such amusing looks that it is impossible not to laugh. Miss Owen began the Mysteries of Udolpho when first she came, but Mrs Owen thought it would take her up so much that she would not be able to attend to her singing, so she first tried to reason her out of it, and when that had not much effect, she gave her a shilling to put off reading it till she went home, and gave her Guy Mannering and the Romance of the Forest to read meanwhile; but she says she should like to have the book again and give back the shilling. We dine at 6 and

1 "Scrattle," a word not to be found in dictionaries. It means tidying up, arranging and seeing to things.


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the whole morning is taken up with the lessons, except about half-an-hour given Mr Sor to run on the gravel walks. Then after tea till bed-time Mr Sor sits at the pianoforte and plays and sings different things from memory, sometimes roars a whole chorus till he is quite red in the face, or some pretty French songs, or plays the guitar. Then all we young ladies perform our different performances. Charlotte and I always sing a trio with Mr Sor, which is perfectly delightful, he sings so beautifully. I should like to spend our whole lessons singing with him instead of learning. Last night he made us laugh till we cried with taking off the whole French opera, Lais, who roars in the depths of his stomach, and Madame Somebody who shakes her two arms at once.

There is just come in a heap of new music and everybody is rushing to examine it, so I shall go after the rest. Mr Sor stays here till next Saturday week and we shall stay a little longer…….

My father kept to the end of his life a warm friendship for Sarah, the eldest Miss Owen (afterwards Mrs Haliburton), and many were the stories we heard about his visits to Woodhouse.

The life at Maer, with its careless freedom and absence of restraint, was a great contrast to that at the Mount. There all was orderly and correct, and everyone must conform to the Doctor's views of what was right. He was extremely kind, and my mother was attached to him, but her feeling was that no one could be quite at ease in his presence. When he was in the room no one must speak so that he did not hear, and she would describe how he would say, "Hm, hm, what is Emma saying?" I remember her telling us that a boy was a naturally uncongenial animal to the Doctor. He was cautious, even timid as to bodily dangers, though with great moral fearlessness, and the adventuresomeness and untidiness of a boy were equally distasteful to him. No son however could have been more devoted and more reverent than our father. Indeed, when he said, "My father thought or did so and so," we all knew that in his mind there could then be no further question in the matter; what his father did or thought was for him absolutely true, right, and wise.

Caroline and Susan Darwin had both high animal spirits, and my mother has always described the great charm of their society, especially of Caroline's, the mixture of vivacity, sweetness, abounding life, and deep feeling.

Caroline was not regularly handsome but very effective, with brilliant eyes and colouring, and black hair growing low on her wide forehead. " She looked like a Duchess," her cousin Frank Wedgwood says of her (Nov. 19th, 1828). Both were tall, and Susan must have had considerable beauty. Susan Darwin and Jessie Wedgwood, daughter of John Wedgwood and also very pretty, both great flirts in a harmless way, received in fun the nicknames of "Kitty and Lydia" in allusion to Kitty and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice. My father told me that anything in coat and trousers from eight years to eighty was fair game to Susan, but I always heard that she had a settled resolution against being married.

In January 1822 Fanny and Emma (then aged

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15 3/4 and 13 3/4) were taken up by their mother to London to be placed at school at a Mrs Mayer's at Greville House, on Paddington Green. Paddington was then, of course, a semi-rural village. Their mother's letter describing the journey up, written to Elizabeth at Maer, is comically like my mother's casual style, first telling how "poor Fanny and Emma were so sick all yesterday that they could not bear the windows up, so that Jos and I travelled in a gale of wind, and very cold it was;" then how Mr Truefitt the hairdresser, says, the girls have "beautiful heads of hair comme de règle," discussing the bad roads and returning to Mr Truefitt's advice as to hair-brushes, interspersed with various domestic directions.

She describes the school as a comfortable old house, and Mrs Mayer as a good-humoured, motherly sort of woman, but "not strikingly genteel," and adds, "Fanny and Emma went very cheerfully, but shed a few tears at parting, and Fanny was most affected, which I did not expect, but I think Emma always liked the scheme best." The teaching at this school could not have been very enlightened. In French history they never got beyond Charlemagne, as with every new girl the class began again at the beginning with Clovis. Emma was one of the show performers on the piano, and was one day sent for to play to George IVth's Mrs Fitzherbert. One of their pleasures at school was being taken out walks by their brother Harry, which he was constant in doing. He was at this time reading for the bar.

They only spent one year at Mrs Mayer's, though Emma was barely 15 at the end of the time. After this her education was continued under Elizabeth's and Charlotte's supervision, with occasional masters in the different accomplishments.

All letters to and from the girls were read by Mrs Mayer, and Bessy tells Jessie Sismondi that she shall not let her wish that they should write to her be obeyed, as she is sure their letters thus supervised would not be worth the postage. No letters from the girls whilst they were at school have been preserved, and hardly any of those written to them. No doubt this supervision checked all spontaneity. In one, their mother writes that she is glad to perceive from their mention of Mrs Mayer to their cousins who came to see them, that they have hearts alive to kindness when it is shewn them. "It mends our hearts to feel warmth towards those that are kind to us, and this I hope will urge you never to forget how kind your aunts have always been to you, and do not forget a message now and then of enquiry or affection towards them."

She tells them of a quaint idea of hers of giving prizes to the quietest boys and girls in the Sunday-school, which was taught by Elizabeth and the family at Maer. This school gave all the education the village children received. Emma, after her return from school, also taught there every Sunday, and composed and had printed in large print at Newcastle four little stories with simple words. We, her own children, were taught to read out of this little book, and were fond of these stories, which are among

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some of our earliest recollections. We especially enjoyed her mis-spelling, as we thought it, of the word "plumb" in a story about a "plumb-pie."

At this time Bessy was 58 years old. That she cannot have looked her age we may gather from one of her letters to Fanny Allen, who was 17 years younger.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen at Geneva.

[LONDON] Jan. 22, 1822.

…At dinner we had Mr Whishaw and Mr Vizard, a very pleasant day, but the best part of the whole was that Mr Whishaw took me for you, my Fanny, all dinner time. I have not been so pleased a great while. I had a new cap on. I will always put it on when I mean to be charming. Now when I have so long been pitying myself for growing old and ugly to be taken for my Fan! I thought he attended to me more than usual at dinner, but I only set it down to my being particularly agreeable.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, April 8th, 1822.

I have now two delightful letters to thank my Jessie for, and I can send this for nothing by Edward Holland, which is a great encourager to begin a long letter. I shall send you the two last Edinburgh Reviews by him, indeed, I should have done so before if I had not imagined you had them in some other way. Blackwoood's Magazine is always running at the E. Review and at all the authors with a malignity that I don't know how to account for. A number is regularly sent to Mackintosh at Brooks', he does not know from whom, and it generally contains some abuse of himself. It is astonishing the ill-will he excites, and I do believe it is nothing but his ill manners, for as to political animosity, he cannot excite that, one would think, being the most moderate of the whole set….

I think you used Fanny [Allen] very ill, not to let her see her lover. I see you keep up your old ways of managing her and Emma. Was there ever such a saucy way of rejecting a poor lovier?….

I beg, my Jessie, you will not say anything to take off from the pleasure I have in being Scott purveyor to your highness. I think Mr Sharp undervalues Scott. The five ladies he ventured to compare to him were, Mrs Radcliffe, Madame d'Arblay, Miss Edgeworth, Miss Austen, and Mrs Brunton,—the latter surely very inferior. It is very odd, if true, but I am assured Miss Austen's works do not sell well, and Mackintosh rates her above them all, even Scott himself I think. Miss Edgeworth is now in lodgings in London, shewing the world her sisters, and her sisters to the world. She has been spinning out visits to all her acquaintance, and she has the credit of wanting to marry up the young ones; but Fanny is delicate, and I should think it very likely she might go off as so many of her family have done. Eliza [Wedgwood] met them at a dinner Mrs Holland1 gave them in Russell Square the other day; but it was altogether a great mess, they came three-quarters of an hour after the dinner-hour, and went off before tea, to two other parties. Her chief topic was dress, and the true Parisian cut of a gown. Surely this is affectation.

1 The Swinton Holland family, whom the Maer Wedgwoods visited frequently in London, were related to them in the same way as Peter Holland (see note p. 56). Swinton Holland (a brother of Peter) married Anne Willett, niece of old Josiah Wedgwood, and thus a first cousin of Josiah of Maer. Swinton Holland's children were therefore second cousins of the Maer children.

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Harry has had the good fortune to get in at Mrs Somerville's1, which I am very glad of, though I don't know how it came about. As I have often told you when I have been vexed at my children's deficiencies, I must tell how gratified I have been by such a warm panegyric on Harry from Mrs Holland, which I have just read; not on his talents, but on his agreeableness, social qualities, and his kind and affectionate disposition. Kitty [Wedgwood] to whom the letter was addressed knowing what pleasure it would give me, sent it me yesterday by Jos who was at Parkfields.

Jos has ordered me a little one-horse phaeton, instead of the char-a-banc that I was thinking of, and that gave you so much trouble. I think I shall not ride much any more2; I am grown timid, and my arm continues weak. I don't think however, as it is not the bridle hand, that it would hinder me if my spirit was better. However when I have got my Shandredan I shall not want to ride.

I have nearly, my Jessie, told you all I can think of at present, and as I should not like my letter to be read by any except your three dear selves, I hope you will put it in the fire when you have done with it. I should be as well pleased at the fate of my letter as you were at that of your translation. I am so glad you were not disappointed; next time you may be beforehand with any other translator, nor will you need to have it corrected.

In the following letter "the highest class of feelings" evidently mean a mother's, and the circumstance which would give Jessie greater happiness than any other is to have had children of her own.

1 A lady known for her devotion to mathematics and physical science, subjects then thought quite beyond a woman's province. Shortly after this she made a name by an English popular edition of Laplace's Mécanique Céleste. She died aged 90, in 1872. Somerville College, Oxford, takes its name from her.

2 She had had a bad fall from her horse shortly before.

Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

GENEVA, Dec. 19, 1822.

…We are made very happy by the good account you give of yourself. You have occupied my thoughts and feelings very much since my presentiment gave me the first alarm; more than I liked to say while you were still unwell; it seems the same thoughts and prayers occupied us at the same time. I believe I am a little superstitious in my loves and friendships, and I like to encourage it contrary to my understanding, because it is agreeable to my feelings to give as it were a little sacredness to them. You would think me a fool if you knew what notice I take of periods, coincidences, similarities, and the whole train of accidents that constitute the lighter superstitions; I often think if I were you, how fearless I should feel of death. Perhaps it is our duty to aspire to the highest degree of perfection we are capable of in this life, but my aspirations, my hopes, my prayers even, do not go beyond what you are; and oh that I may one day reach that so as to be inseparably united to you. A very warm devotional feeling is more a great enjoyment to oneself than necessary to our salvation, I should hope, from its depending so much on the physical constitution of our nature. The mother of a family can never hang so loose on life as one whose cares and hopes terminate in her own generation. I should feel ever ready to quit life if I had but reached your standard, and this is one of my consolations for never having known the highest class of feelings granted us.

I have been interrupted no less than three times in this little scrap of a letter; I do not know now what I was going to say and I see what I have already said is broken out of all time and tune, so that I believe I won't send it, but at all events I shall put it by till I am in a better humour. I hate having the chain of my thoughts and

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feelings broken when once I have begun a letter. When I return to it it gives me a disgust for what I have already written—we shall see how that will be to-morrow. I was full of nothing but you and myself when I began, but now the accounts of the ménage (as we Genevoises call it), a mantuamaker and a little talking Irishwoman, has put 20 other things in my head. Farewell to you and me for to-day.

20th. This goes, though it is a pity to shew what a goose I am, but I do not mind it to you, who have love enough and to spare for me to shew myself under what colours I choose. My boast of "hanging loose on life" needs some explanation, lest you may think it arises from a sad feeling, or a want of happiness, which is by no means the case. I am afraid of its being an audacious feeling, till I am what you are, and therefore do not give it all the encouragement I might, but I am so contented with it that I sometimes think I would not change it for a circumstance that would, I have always thought, give greater happiness than anything in this world, that is, supposing I had as much good luck, if luck it might be called, as you have had, lest it should bind me too much to life. You are not to imagine that I have any discontent with my present existence, because I do not feel more bound to it. I am not sure I did not feel the same when I was with John [Allen] at Cresselly, but I am very timid of the future; the latter days of those who have not youth and life around them must necessarily be mournful at the best, and might be very painful. As soon as I am worthy I should be glad to escape from it, yet my daily life is almost as happy and as gay as it was in my best days, I believe, and will be so as long as I keep in sight all I love—alas, it is but mental sight. But if I had settled in England I could not have lived with all, nor could I have even seen them more often; and I have one that, if a longing seizes me, will let me go to-morrow; and that every day I live with him makes me the more feel how much he suits me, how much he loves me and who will stay by me to the end, and whom I love to a degree that makes me often forget all I have lost. Who is there in life that has not to weigh the good and evil? and it often happens to me that the evil kicks the beam. I have only to keep my thoughts from the past and the future, the present is calm, comfortable, happy, and frequently from animal spirits joyous. I do not pretend that Sis is the most agreeable man that lives, but to me he is a choice companion. I have more thoughts and feelings in common with him than I have even with the sisters I have most lived with; and then such tenderness, such indulgence as I had never imagined or hoped for, and a firmness to resist me when I am a fool, for which I love him all the better, though he thwarts me; but there are times I like being thwarted. As for the material of life, I have never at any period felt so completely easy. I have no wish ungratified, I have my pockets generally full, and a year's income in advance. Dearest of Bessys, when I talk to you of myself I cannot help being loquacious. I began my letter heart and head full of you, and I have tumbled into myself with glorious egoism. I do not exaggerate when I say all this happiness that I have been displaying to you is gone when you are ailing.

We luckily came into the town the day before the first snow, and find ourselves very comfortable. We have not yet gone out much, but in the fortnight that we have been already housed, we have had three of our reading soirées which have been very agreeable, and I have given one little talking one, which went off with great success. I do not much admire the English that remain this year; there is not one interesting woman, or one very agreeable man. But by some means we are become acquainted with all; they frequently give balls and are disposed to be sociable and even gay, if they were but enough.

I find here I am very apt to make friendships with bad

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women, by some means or other I have great attraction for them. There is a Russian here, daughter to one of the Russian ministers, a Prince Lapaukyne, that has taken a great fancy to me, and has deputed me sometimes to chaperon her daughter, a fair clever girl who they say is really a daughter of the Emperor Alexander, and whom her reputed father will they say make one of the greatest heiresses in Europe. Her mother is very handsome and very elegant and modest in her manner. She is also very clever, and as agreeable company as a person can be, whose character does not keep pace with her other attractions. I am not myself sure she is out of the course, but she is out of society, and under very suspicious circumstances. I cannot abandon her also, but I am not sorry that she has set off to-day for Paris…….

Mrs Fosiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Jan. 30 1823.

……I am going to begin a letter to you, my beloved Jessie, without knowing when it will be finished; for I am going presently to spend a couple of days at Betley Hall. There is so much warmth of feeling and real excellence in Mrs Tollet's character, that I always like my visits there, and going out always does me good I think. But I will not fall into egotism before I have told the very great pleasure your last gave me, by entering so fully into your own situation and feelings, and by giving me such an entire conviction of your happiness. Dearest Jessie, how much I am obliged to you for it. What could console us for your distance, but the knowing this? and how very much does it increase my affection (shall I call it?) for Sismondi. He would be an odd person if he did not value such a wife, but how many odd ones are there in the world for one Sismondi. Give him therefore my love with more than usual warmth.

Sunday. I took this to Betley on Thursday thinking I might find some odds or ends of time to finish it, but they never came and I brought it home as I took it there. Jos and I, with Elizabeth and the two younger girls, went to pay a friendly visit, where by agreement there was to be no party to meet us. I enjoyed my visit very much, liking Mrs Tollet and the girls so much as I do. We had a great deal of working, talking, and singing. Mrs Tollet is exceedingly religious, and I think her duty to God is the first object of her thoughts. She is also so single-hearted that it is a great pleasure to be with her, and to read a heart so entirely without guile.

Next week Georgina and Marianne [Tollet] are coming to return Fanny and Emma's visit, and I did a very popular act by inviting Miss Smith (the governess) to come with them. The proposal was received by acclamation by this very good-natured family, and by Miss Smith With great apparent pleasure. My pity for that unfortunate class would always incline me to do what was in my power to relieve the tediousness of their lives, but in this case Miss Smith is so good that I have quite a reverence for her character, as the girls have represented her to us. She is extremely happy and cheerful in her situation, and she employs her whole spare time in visiting all the poor of the village, taking an interest about them, working for them, and representing their wants to Mrs Tollet; listening to all their complaints and comforting them. It is not everywhere that she would have the liberty to go among the cottagers, but she has found kindred feelings in the people she has fallen amongst, and I never saw anybody look happier than she appears to be….

I am very much complimented on my improved looks, which only convinces me how ill I looked before. With respect to my soul's health, oh how I wish I was what your too flattering opinion makes me. Do you know that I never feel so humbled as when I look at the picture in

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your imagination and compare it with myself; but still I love the affection that does so misrepresent me and would not lose it for worlds.

I have been reading a good deal about the doctrine of original sin and the being born again, and I am puzzled. If we are incapable of the least effort of ourselves, and must owe every good thought to the inspiration of God, it seems to put good and evil out of our own power. Is this Calvinism? This is Mrs Tollet's doctrine, and I believe that of most of the evangelical clergy….



Kitty Wedgwood's death—A Wedgwood-Darwin party at Scarborough—Visit to Sydney Smith's at Foston Rectory—Winter parties at Geneva—Bessy's lessening strength—Her girls visiting the Swinton Hollands—The Anti-slavery movement, a memorable debate in Parliament—An averted duel—A Confirmation at Maer—Revels and flirtations—Sarah Wedgwood coming to live on Maer Heath.

KITTY WEDGEWOOD, the elder of Jos's two unmarried sisters, died after a long illness in the early Summer of 1823. Many expressions in the letters shew that Bessy had a great admiration for her character. She wrote to Fanny Allen (Jan. 3, 1816), "The more you can penetrate through the reserve of Kitty's character the more you will see the beauty of it." Dr Robert Darwin used to say that she was the only woman he ever knew who thought for herself in matters of religion. By this death her sister Sarah was left completely alone (their mother having died in 1815), and plans for her leaving Parkfields and building on Maer Heath began to be made. But she had not a happy disposition, and Bessy had doubts as to how it would answer.

L. 13

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Later on in this same summer the Josiah Wedgwoods made a trip to Scarborough. Bessy writes (June 13th), "We travel in the phaeton, holding four, and a stanhope for two. This will make us longer on the road, but as our object is to see the country it is rather an advantage, and I expect great improvement in my own health from the moderate way in which we propose taking the journey."

In a letter to her sister Fanny, recently returned from Geneva, she says, "I feel a great desire to refresh my oldness with a new scene," and adds, "some causes of anxiety I have had, and they do not pass lightly over my mind." In another letter written the year before she wrote, "When I consult my feelings, they are often so lively that I am obliged to watch my expressions for fear of their appearing to want truth." She was now 59, and her sensitive temperament caused her to suffer keenly as she grew older and less able to meet the troubles of life.

Marianne and Susan Darwin were also to meet the party at Scarborough, greatly to the satisfaction of both sides. Bessy describes the Darwins as her daughters' most intimate friends, and says of Caroline "she deserves the name of a sweet girl more than anyone I know." About this time she first formed the wish for the marriage that took place thirteen years later between Caroline and her eldest son Jos.

The following gives an account of a visit to Sydney Smith at his parsonage, Foston-le-Clay, eight miles from York. He had been his own architect, and it was there "he bought an ancient green chariot which he christened the ‘Immortal,' to be drawn by his cart-horses; had his furniture made by the village carpenter; caught up a girl ‘made like a milestone,' christened her ‘Bunch,' and appointed her butler." It is said in Reid's Life that the gardens he provided for his parishioners, at a nominal rent, are still called "Sydney's orchards1."

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Mme Sismondi.

SCARBRO', August 30th, 1823.

……I have been waiting for something very agreeable to season my letter with before I wrote to my ever dear Jessie, but we are much too quiet to give me any hope, and I cannot rest any longer without telling you how very much I like my precious ring that Fanny [Allen] brought me from you. I think it very pretty, but it is of more value to me than if it were of rubies, coming from the dear hand that sent it. It also puts me constantly in mind of you, not only because you were the giver, but because you yourself wore one of the same kind when I last saw you, and I never look down upon my hands without thinking of you, and it is never off but when I go to bed.

You will delight to hear that our Fanny [Allen]2 looks and is in high health; her complexion is much finer than when we parted, and she looks not a day older, and in my opinion prettier. She is also in excellent spirits and adds very much to the pleasure of our domicile.

It is curious to see how much quieter we are here than even at Maer, for we don't know a single person here, though the town is full of very smart-looking people and very gay equipages. Au reste it is a pleasant place, very

1 See Dict. Nat. Biog.

2 Also at Scarborough.


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pretty walking on the sands and on the cliffs each side of the bay, but the beach very, very inferior to Tenby, and the whole place infinitely inferior. We went to the first ball, and the attendance was so thin that it quite discouraged the girls, and though I tried to persuade them to try again I could not succeed. The poor master of the ceremonies looked so melancholy that he excited my tenderest sympathy. I think public balls are getting quite out of fashion. At last York Race ball, which used to be a place where all the grandees of this very opulent county used to delight in shewing themselves, there were only seven couple. I think it is your stately quadrilles that have made the balls so dismal, because the English ladies now dance them as if they were at a funeral and dancing the dance of death. They used to hop them about in a very ungraceful manner, and finding that was mauvais ton, they now burlesque the French gentle movement. There are a very good company of strolling players here, but they play to such empty houses that I don't know how they exist; and yet they gave us wax candles last night and were rewarded by an unusually good house; but it seemed an extraordinary piece of good fortune. Last week Fanny Allen, our two eldest and I, paid a visit at Sydney Smith's about 30 miles from here, and were rewarded by four of the merriest days I ever spent. They have built a very pretty Parsonage, and furnished it very comfortably, without being expensive. I never saw such a manager as Mrs Smith. Everything is so well done without bustle that I can't think how she contrives it. They have a large farm, which he says he manages better than any farmer in Yorkshire; the effect of it is however an air of plenty in every department that is very agreeable. Mrs Smith reminds me of Mrs Nares in her clever ways of managing, which I never saw equalled. They see a great deal of company, and in the most agreeable way of friends coming from a distance to spend some days, and not stiff dinner visits. I like the daughters too very much; Saba is not handsome, but has a very elegant figure. Emily is in my opinion very much so, she has a most beautiful figure, very tall, very brown, bright black eyes, and fine teeth. She is coming out for the first time at the approaching Music-meeting at York, and great are the preparations therefor. We saw two of the dresses which were to make a figure there, one for each was sent down by Miss Fox and Miss Vernon; a white tulle, worked one in blue and the other in pink, and the second dress was from Mrs Smith's old Indian stores, a silver gauze. Mrs Smith has taught them everything, and they sing and dance extremely well. They are all certainly in a much happier and more desirable situation than as they were in London……

Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

GENEVA, January 28, 1824.

It is a long time, dearest Bessy, since you have had the pleasure of paying for a letter from me, though you have had news of us recently enough; it is to be sure of little consequence to whom the letter is addressed in a circle where all are beloved, but I have a great pleasure in giving and receiving the endearing terms from you. I have great hopes that this will be one of my golden years, who knows, perhaps your dear face may shine upon me? I do not see why I may not see you at Chêne. I like to think it probable, and the little improvements we are making give me so much the more pleasure because I think it possible you may look in upon them. If you do not this year you surely will another, so it is only my joy deferred. In all the prosperity of the English manufacturer surely Jos prospers, and I know he only waits to have his pockets full to visit Italy and see again Switzerland, in a more sane and tranquil state of mind

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than he did the last, when he hurried us all up in the middle of the night. For my own part I feel vexed to have lost so entirely all taste for travelling. A journey weighs upon my mind as a penance more than a pleasure, and though I remain alone, I am glad not to have to go to Paris with Sismondi this April; thus pleasures drop from us like leaves, one by one, till we arrive to feeling that repose is the greatest of all pleasures. Poor Emma [Allen] is confined with broken chilblains. It is not for want of fires that she has them, as poor Baugh at 50 has caught them like a boy at Cresselly, for I endeavour to keep up a continual blaze, and our winter rooms are very warm. What could John mean by keeping himself and his friends without fire such an October as we have had? How I detest the economy of the rich, always falling meanly on the necessaries of life. You shall want bread and fire in a house where you may be gorged with dainties. I remember feeling hunger all through the day at Dunster Castle till 6 o'clock, when a glutton's dinner was put before one of two dozen dishes. Talking of niggards reminds me of George Watkins, who I hear has lost his poor little submissive wife. Her death gave me a very sad feeling. Our fellowship has long ceased, but I remember when I once loved her, and sorely pitied her. I never saw anyone lead so wearisome a life or bear it so meekly. Her understanding, and her character too, withered under the narrow-mindedness of her sole companion, and it is the hardest, the most inexplicable of all dispensations when one becomes a lower being by the very means that makes one an unhappy one. It is my earnest prayer that my little Sad1 may escape this worst of all misfortunes. I received a letter from her yesterday. Her husband was much better again, and there was a wild gaiety in her letter, as if some great good luck had befallen her. I believe it is his last illness, and how

1 Her sister Harriet Surtees.

his death might change her existence. I believe she will come to live with me when she is free, but will she be happy? Will she be melancholy? She will depend entirely on me; am I alone sufficient for her? And above all, will she like Sismondi? It needs all my love for him to make me amends for all I lose in living out of England and so distant from so many I love, yet Harriet will do it for me perhaps. Dearest little Sad, if I can make you gay and happy, so that your latter days shall be better than your first, it will be enough for me. But if I see her sad from again making a melancholy choice, that she will be too indolent, perhaps too tender to change, I know she will destroy great happiness, greater than I ever expected to attain after once hope had ceased to "wave her golden hair," before my young, vain, unreasonable eye. I think I am poetical to-day. You shall have no verse nevertheless, you dearest of Bessys, so do not prepare yourself to taste it, as Mackintosh used to tell us we ought to do to relish Rogers properly.

I saw a letter the other day from Mr Mallet to Mrs Marcet, which said Mackintosh's history was in great forwardness, that he had this winter read parts of the first volume to Lord Holland, who liked it very much, and it would be published in the spring. How much I wish the news were true.

We have no particularly interesting people here this winter; it flows on, however, very agreeably. My Thursday evenings are in great repute, so that I even receive solicitations of admittance, but this more embarrasses than pleases me, because it is ill-natured, pedantic, and a thousand evil things to refuse, yet their convenience and agreeableness is completely destroyed by admitting numbers. It is a great fashion and a great pride to admit as many men as possible in the soirées and I am the only one who exclude or rather limit them, and it is one of the great reasons that my soirées are more agreeable, because

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the conversation being general, the women take a part. Besides my poor little gentle Marcette, who does very well to give tea to a dozen people, would be ramfuzled to give to forty. Mrs Marcet1 is inclined, I think, to manage me, and I do not feel inclined to resist because she likes me and flatters me. I intended this year to save giving a large party by admitting by little and little into the Thursday evenings all to whom I owe any civility. Accordingly I began with Sis's sacred société de dimanche, and took Mme de Candolle to begin. Mrs Marcet, who observe is self-invited, said to me the other day, "Oh, I hope you mean to ask Mme de Candolle again, she enjoyed it so much." "Indeed, I do not know, I have a great many to ask; it is not so easy to me to give every week large parties, I have no men-servants. It is only as many as the maid can serve tea to that it is convenient to have." "But you may always hire a man here, it is so easy; they are always to be had for 3 francs." The dialogue ceased, but thought I to myself I shall say no more but certainly take my own way. Our parties are not at all the more agreeable for having Mrs Marcet, but she is out of spirits, and she likes coming and she is heartily welcome, but I am never sorry when something keeps her away; she adds very little to society and very often interrupts conversation by creating a double one, in which she speaks so loud as to finish by annihilating a better one. There is, however, a perfect naturalness in her and good sense that makes me like her company, even though she sometimes tires me by bad taste, and sometimes putting an im-

1 Mrs Marcet was the daughter of a Swiss merchant settled in London. Her husband was a Genevese by birth, who had been a London physician but lived at Geneva after his retirement from practice. She was the author of excellent little books on scientific subjects, which had a vast circulation. Her "Conversations on Political Economy" was her best known work and was warmly praised by the leading Economists.

portance which rich people are apt to do in their own little affairs, so as to make the prime part of the conversation.

We have a good deal of musick this winter, and I enjoy it very much; every other Monday we go to an amateur concert where the musick is really very pretty, our subscription 30 florins (a florin is something less than 6d.), for which there were ten concerts, an amusement not too expensive. Last Wednesday the first singer from Vienna stopt and sang to us in her way to Milan. She is very young, her voice magnificent, little inferior to Catalani…….

Bessy, as has appeared, had been remarkably young for her age, but about this time her health began to break and she speaks of being altered and a little aged. She thus describes her life (March 9th, 1824): "I only divide my time between riding Peggy and reading Sévigné by the fire with an interlude of knitting my stocking." She had lost her nerve for horse exercise after her accident two years ago, and she describes how she got "a little ass" (Peggy) on which she rode whilst the girls walked beside her. I remember my mother telling me of these walks on the sandy paths amongst the wild heath and through the fields of Maer as if they were one of the happy memories of her youth.

The following is written during a visit of Elizabeth and Fanny Wedgwood to the Swinton Hollands in Russell Square.

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Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughter Elizabeth.

SUNDAY NIGHT [7 March, 1824].

……I have missed you and Fanny very much, and that makes me think that if any of you marry I shall feel very dismal without you. However, I hope you will enjoy your lark as much as possible. I am glad Emma1 [Holland] has shewn her old cordiality to you, and I daresay Anne [Marsh] will do the same. Let me advise you by no means to stand upon your points with any of your friends. I am sure it is not the way to be happy or wise either. Don't lose any opportunity of calling when it comes in your way without minding whether you owe them a visit, for a volunteer at a convenient season may sometimes spare you a long walk at an inconvenient one. And I beg you will as much as you can attend to your aunt Mackintosh, whose feelings at this time are, I fear, a little sore, and whose share of happiness is, alas, too slender…….

Addition by Charlotte Wedgwood on the same sheet.

My dear Elizabeth,

You left word with me to send a bottle of physick to Llewis's child without mentioning what physick it was to be. There is come a bottle from Mr Turner's which, as nobody owns, I conclude to be the one, and I shall venture to send it if I hear from Mr Turner that it is made from a prescription that is in your drawer…….

In the letters there are frequent allusions to Elizabeth's doctoring of the poor people and children, and it is impossible to help thinking that they

1 Anne and Emma Caldwell, now Mrs Marsh and Mrs Henry Holland.

ran a good deal of risk. Her mother speaks of two grains of calomel being given to a young child every other night, but as it was worse and had a sore mouth it was stopped. And Elizabeth writes to her sister Fanny (March 20, 1827), "Little George Phillips has been ill, but with the help of three bleedings, a blister and three doses of calomel, I think I have made a cure of him, as it was high time, you will think, I should."

Emma Wedgwood to her sister Elizabeth at Russell Square.

[MAER, March, 1824.]

……Will you get four fine cambrick pocket handkerchiefs and eight common ones for everyday? Then a common printed cotton gown. I do not wish to give more than 10s. for it. I should like a blue, pink or buff one. If you happen to be in a ribbon shop, will you get 3 yds. of not very handsome ribbon for a turned straw bonnet. I am quite indifferent about the colour, except not straw colour. Do not give yourself any trouble about the rib, for I can get it very well here.

Goodbye, my dear Elizabeth.

Yours ever,
EM. W.

We have just received your nice long letter. We are very anxious for you not to get a coral comb. If you have got one, the family begs you will change it. When you buy your comb, will you ask the price of very small garnets.

The above letter, of which the beginning is lost, was mentioned to me by my mother in her old

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age, as bringing back scenes so long ago that it seemed like another life. A year or two later it was she who took charge of her elder sister's dress and appearance. Elizabeth and Charlotte were both extremely indifferent on the subject, and Elizabeth was always wanting all her money for purposes of charity. Their mother wrote to her husband (April, 1825), "pray make the girls go out well appointed. My dear Eliz. I particularly mistrust because she always goes on the principle of wearing the nearest to inadmissible she can."

Emma, with her clever hands, was hair-dresser to the whole party on all state occasions, and she used to twist up the long hair into little bows on the top of the head, with curls on each side; this she described to me as most becoming. Her own glossy brown hair kept its warm tint almost to the end of her life, with hardly a grey hair in it. It was abundant and long. She could sit on it, but Charlotte's beautiful silky golden hair reached to her knees.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughter Elizabeth at Russell Square.

[March, 1824.)

My dearest Girl, I must add my thanks to Emma's letter, for your most agreeable letter. I delight in your spending your time so agreeably as you seem to be doing, and you have brought in so much in a week too. Your brothers are all in a ferment at the idea of Mrs Rich's giving Sir Walter Scott her Turkish dagger. Think of Frank's indignation, which is now boiling over in full steam.

Harry and Hensleigh borrowed Meg of Jane [Wedgwood, his aunt] and rode and tied all the way home from Shrewsbury, and Pepper kept watch by the side of the horse till the other came up. He is worthy of being Eliza [Wedgwood]'s dog for goodness.

The Turkish dagger mentioned above must have been some precious gift to Mr Rich when he was Resident in Persia, where he died at Shirâz in 1820.

There are allusions in various letters to Eliza Wedgwood's goodness. She was a strong evangelical, and also was naturally not inclined to the gaieties of life, partly no doubt from weak health and spirits.

The great debate described in the following letter, and especially Brougham's speech, formed an epoch in the history of the struggle for the abolition of slavery. Smith was a missionary clergyman in the West Indies, who had worked among the negroes. The planters accused him of having excited their discontent and incited them to rise against the whites. After an outrageously unfair trial he was convicted and sentenced to be hung; but his execution was adjourned until the views of the home Government could be known. Meanwhile he died from the effects of confinement in an unhealthy dungeon. Brougham denounced the trial as a "monstrous violation of justice in form as well as substance," and moved a vote of censure on the Demerara Government.

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Fanny Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

9, KING STREET SUNDAY [13 June, 1824].

……Macksh came in rather tired from his economics, but he was very merry and pleasant during dinner. Harriet Gifford sat with us while we dined, and took Macksh down to the House. We got in soon after five, or a little before six. The House was in a great bustle as we got in, owing to Gourley's attack on Brougham1. I was very much alarmed at first, fearing our principal performer would be prevented from appearing on the boards that night, but I was relieved on seeing him in his place, and hearing him get up and give an account of the assault. The debate on Smith began almost immediately, and I certainly never had such a treat in my life. Lushington's2 speech was sensible, but his manner was too theatrical and his voice pompous. Tindal answered him. It was his début, and his taste was strange in chusing so odious a subject to begin his House of Commons career. It did not appear to me a good speech, though some said it was. Williams' speech was very good indeed. Copley's, the best on his side of the House, I think. Wilberforce's feeble, and no attention was given to him, which was very bad, or as Mackintosh said brutal. Canning's speech was not a very good one; he had a bad cause and he appeared to feel the weight of it. Denman spoke very well. Sir Joseph Gosh's speech was received with great applause, but Brougham's speech was delightful. He spoke for an

1 He had been violently assaulted in the lobby of the House by a lunatic named Gourley.

2 Most of the speakers mentioned were leading lawyers, Lushington, Tindal, Denman and Scarlett (Lord Abinger), all became famous Judges; Copley, then Attorney-General, was afterwards Lord Lyndhurst and Lord Chancellor. Peel was then Home Secretary, Canning Foreign Secretary, in the Tory ministry. Wilberforce was in failing health and gave up parliamentary life soon after this.

hour and 10 or 20 minutes, and it was the most incomparable thing I ever heard. I could have screamed or jumped with delight. He handled Scarlett and Canning to my soul's content—tossed them about like a cat a couple of mice from one paw to another, teased them and threw them into the air, with equal grace and strength. Copley and Tindal had their share. The cheers of the House was like a dram to one. Mack said that Brougham's speech gained 3 votes, one a West Indian, and had sent off 8 from the House without voting. The Ayes and Noes sounded so equally numerous, that the division was a very interesting moment, and the cheers were glorious on the numbers being told. I saw Mr Canning pick up his papers very much crestfallen and walk off very slowly. He kept his head down all the time of Brougham's speech, and Mack said Peel looked extremely disturbed at it, visibly so. John [Allen] and M. came up to the ventilator1 in a great state of excitation; the former said it was the best speech he had ever heard in debate. I must not forget to tell you our pretty history in the ventilator. Mr Money brought up Mr Inglis2 to us. He staid to hear a little, and our Cerberus came in and sent him off. Mrs Littleton and Lady Georgina Bathurst came late, only to hear Canning's speech, and as soon as Brougham was up they told their gentlemen they were ready to go and went off!!! Mr Horton Wilmot was not forgotten in Brougham's speech; he threw a pebble and felled him to the ground. We found broad daylight below stairs, and

1 The ventilator was the then Ladies' Gallery. The old house (before the fire of 1835) was the ancient St Stephen's Chapel—its site is the present hall where the statues of statesmen are. In this a ceiling had been put below the high gothic vault of the building, and in this ceiling there was a large oval opening round which the ladies sat, looking down into the House below—ministerial ladies on one side, opposition on the other. One heard there better than anywhere in the House.

2 Afterwards Sir Robert Inglis, the well-known Tory M.P.

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the faithful W. Wright in the Coffee house. We all walked together up Whitehall, M. in great spirits and London looking still, and free from smoke. I never saw it in such beauty. We took leave of John just as we got into a hackney coach, which I was sorry for, as I liked the walk better, and the red eastern sky looked beautiful. It was after 4 before we got to bed; and I slept soundly till eleven, when I got up, with only the penalty of a headache, which I will gladly pay again for such another night…….

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Sept. 14th [1824].

……Yesterday brought to a happy conclusion a disagreeable business between John [Allen] and Sir John Owen. John arranged matters so well that he contrived to set us perfectly at rest respecting his movements, so that after Saturday last, when we were uneasy lest John should meet Sir John in Pembroke, we felt nothing more about the business till last night, when he brought us Sir John's explanation of some offensive words he had used in a letter to him. But to make you understand better, I must tell you that Mr Adams and John, as joint trustees for Mr Phillips, thought it right to lay out a certain sum of money, left in Lord Milford's will for the purpose, in the purchase of land; and at the auction of Sir W. Paxton's estates lately, bought a valuable lot, at the valuation of a man of business near to Onilton1, and Sir John's son-in-law Mr Meare's property. Both Sir John and Lady Owen have been very violent about this and have pretended it was done in enmity against him. John wrote to him last week saying that he hoped that neither he nor Mr Owen would abstain from shooting over the estate just purchased, that he should scarcely have taken the liberty of mentioning

1 Onilton, Sir John Owen's place.

this, if it had not been told him that they had considered the object of their buying this estate as hostile to him, which was very far from being the case. In answer to this civil letter, John received on Friday last a most silly and insolent one from Sir John, saying that he should never accept any obligation from those who were so little his friends, and that he should consider it neither honourable nor (something else, I forget what) to buy an estate in opposition to the wishes of a gentleman, the next neighbour. You will observe that these are not the words of the letter but only the purport of it.

John was of course very much annoyed at receiving this, and the following morning went to Pembroke, pretending on money business, but really to look for some person to carry a message to Sir John. General Adams, whom he had fixed on, he found gone to Haverford-west, therefore he was obliged to leave a letter for him. On Sunday he rode out to meet him, and found Gen. A.'s servant with his refusal on the score of relationship to Sir John. Yesterday morning he wrote to Lord Cawdor to beg he would meet him at eleven o'clock at Pembroke. He was almost driven to despair for someone to carry his message. He felt he had scarcely a right to ask Ld. Cawdor; he was therefore very much pleased when Lord Cawdor undertook the business with great kindness, though he said it was rather unpleasant on account of the coldness that there had been between him and Sir John respecting the Lord Lieutenancy of the county. He rode off immediately to Onilton and asked to see Sir John, who at first denied himself; but on receiving a note from him, he came running out and brought him back. Lord Cawdor said he was very violent with John in this conversation and talked a great deal of nonsense, about the injury of buying contiguous lands. Lord Cawdor endeavoured to set him right, and told him that according to his principle there must be an end of auctions altogether, and that he also

L. 14

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should be glad to buy an estate of Sir William Paxton's which lay close to him, if he could keep off all bidders, and get it cheap. Sir John said, "Oh! he did not mean that, he did not want to get it cheap." After some difficulty to keep him to his point, Lord C. got him to say that he had no meaning in using the word "honorable" but to round his sentence, "honorable" was "liberal." "gentlemanly," etc. Lord Cawdor wrote a definition of Sir John's offensive sentence according to his new mode, which Sir John said was what he meant, and that he had no intention of implying unworthy motives to John. And with this paper Lord C. rode off, and was back again with John soon after 2 at Pembroke. They dined together at the Club, and John returned with lighter spirits and a gayer look than he had worn for the three preceding days. This affair is another proof of the imprudence of making anything that looks like an apology for what you have done, that bears an unpleasing aspect. An apology ought never to be made but when you are absolutely in the wrong, and are willing to be considered so….

Emma was confirmed in the autumn of 1824. Her mother writes as to this to Elizabeth (June 1824), "As the confirmation will soon take place I think it will be right in Emma [now 16] to be confirmed, and therefore I hope she will feel no objection. I daresay some of the Tollets will go, so I should advise your enquiring of Mrs Tollet, as perhaps it would be agreeable to join her party. You and Fanny had better go with Emma, and if your aunt Sarah's horses and carriage are disengaged, I advise you to ask her to lend them to you, that you may make the most respectable appearance you can." She then goes on to say that Emma had better read a little on the subject, "but do not let her be alarmed at that, it will be but little and the subject is simple"; and adds that if she is very averse to it, "perhaps one ought not to press it, any more than as an opinion that it is better done than omitted, as it is better to conform to the ceremonies of our Church than to omit them, and one does not know that in omitting them we are not liable to sin." This strikes one as a very eighteenth-century way of viewing one of the most solemn ceremonies of her Church, with no concealment of the fact that anxiety ;is to the carriage and respectability of appearance was prominently in her mind. I should imagine there was no reason really to doubt Emma's willingness. The entry in her diary, Sept. 17th, 1824: "Confirmed with Jessie" [Wedgwood, her cousin] shews that it took place.

A few days afterwards these entries follow:

30th Sept. Susan [Darwin], Catherine [Darwin], and Robert [Wedgwood, son of John] came: "wicked times."

1st Oct. Revels; 2nd, Revels; 4th, Revels; 5th, Acted some of Merry Wives; 6th Oct., quiet evening!!!!!

A letter of Bessy's tells of the fun that went on.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister fanny Allen at Cresselly.

MAER, Oct. 6th, 1824.

……I have been wanting to write to you, my ever dear Fanny, some time, but these young things have kept me in such a whirl of noise, and ins and outs, that I have not


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found any leisure. I may say to you under the rose, and without the smallest disrespect to the company, that a little calm will be very agreeable, and on Saturday I expect it; and if the weakness of human nature forces me to expect it without pain, it is not my fault. Susan and Catherine Darwin came here by the back carriage, when their sisters went away, and the Tag Rag company, led on by Harry, is again set up. As for Harry, he is in the highest state of excitation just now you can conceive; (private) very much in love, and not very cruelly treated by his mistress. You must not drop a word of this to anyone but Emma [Allen], as I should get into a horrid scrape with him if he knew that I spoke of it, and I only tell you to divert you in your solitude The fact is that he certainly is épris au dernier point with Jessie [Wedgwood], Whether it will last after she is gone is another thing, but I think it is very well she is going. (Now do remember, my dear Fan, not to speak of and not to leave my letter about. This by way of parenthesis, and now I shall go on.) They have been dancing every night and last night acting besides. She is looking very pretty, very merry, sitting always by him, and very much taken up with him. Whether she sees her power and her vanity is pleased by exerting it, or whether she is unconscious I don't know, but as I said before I am glad she is going. At the same time I like her very much, and if he and she could afford to marry, I should desire no better. After all he may forget when she is gone, but I am sure there is danger in their being together, and I don't much like mounting guard every evening till it pleases them to go to bed, or watching them talking nonsense and playing "beggar my neighbour" or other such lover-like pastimes. Susan [Darwin] comes in second best, and I was in hopes would have caused a diversion, but she has no chance. In short we are just now very flirtish, very noisy, very merry, and very foolish. Last night they performed some scenes in the "Merry Wives of Windsor" without Falstaff, for Job's and my amusement, for they had no other audience. The parts were thus cast: Mrs Page, Susan; Mrs Anne Page, Jessie (both looked uncommonly pretty in long waists); Mrs Quickly, Elizabeth, excellently acted; Dr Caius, Harry; and Slender, Frank, very well acted; Sir Hugh Evans, Hensleigh, and Mine Host, Joe, very indifferent; Master Shallow. Emma, very good; Mr Fenton and Simple, Fanny; and Mr Page, Catharine Darwin, very fair; the other characters were left out. If they had known their parts more perfect, it would have gone off very well, but Charlotte, who was prompter, was obliged to lift up her voice so often that it had a very deadening effect, and the want of audience too is very flat. After the play there was a ball. Elizabeth and Charlotte are too old for these revels….[They are 30 and 27.]

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen.


……We came here, that is Charlotte and I, from Stych on Saturday. We went to Stych1 on Thursday, and I went as chaperon to the Drayton Assembly, with Miss Clive, Susan Darwin, Charlotte and Fanny [Wedgwood now aged 18], with Joe and William and Edward Clive, but it was a bad and very thin ball and double the number of ladies to the gentlemen. I like the two young men very much. Edward set up a grand flirtation with Susan, who is the only one of the family who has the least talents that way, and like my dear Caroline [Drewe] I could not help fancying that William was a good deal pleased with Charlotte. We staid the following day there pleasantly

1 Stych, a house three miles from Market Drayton, belonging to Lord Clive and let to his brother. William Clive was Vicar of Welshpool. He married Marianne Tollet in 1829.

[pages] 214 - 215

enough, and on Saturday morning Susan went back to Maer to join Sarah [Wedgwood, her aunt] for London. Fanny [Wedgwood] went with her, and Charlotte came on here with me, but she has paid for her whistle in having caught such a cold that she had till to-day entirely lost her voice. I find myself very comfortable here, the Dr is very kind and I am always very fond of Caroline. I wish I could inspire Joe with my sentiments, for I should like her for my daughter more than anybody I know. I have been with her to-day at her infant school, and I could scarcely refrain from tears (but not tears of sorrow) at seeing the little creatures, all at the word of command, drop down on their knees and say the Lord's Prayer. They sung two hymns very tolerably, and a whole set of them, none more than four years old, seemed to me quite perfect in their multiplication table. I was quite surprized at their proficiency; not that they were all quite under command, for some of the new comers were toddling about the room without knowing what they were about, and others were lying down upon a bed that was placed in a corner of a room for that purpose. Caroline means to send you down the report, if she can get it ready for Lady Bath, as we think it will shew at once the necessary expenses, and all that she may want to know. At the same time the reality is not so picturesque as the description, which a person who wishes to put it in practice must be prepared for. She must not expect to see rosy little cherubs in white frocks and pink sashes, but on the contrary perhaps, for the most part, pale, sickly, and dirty little children; but this will enhance the virtue of those who seek them out. I admire Caroline's animation about it, her perseverance, her gentleness to the children, and I thought all the time how happy the man who should call her his wife, and how much I should like my Joe to be that man.

Are you not surprized at Sarah's going to build on Maer Heath? I am very glad of it, for I think it will give her interest and occupation. You can't think how happy she seems in making her plan and settling the site of her new abode, and she says she is quite amazed at herself that she should ever build a house with a south aspect! a cross light! and a bow window! all of which she now meditates. She and Susan [Darwin] were to set out yesterday (Monday), they would be three nights on the road. Harry [Wedgwood] has taken a house for them in Bolton Street, and the trusty Thomas and the two maids are gone forward to be ready to receive them…….

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Gertrude Allen's death at Gloucester—Fanny and Emma Allen return to Cresselly—The John Wedgwoods also at Gloucester, where their daughter Caroline dies—The Maer family's Grand Tour—A stay of five weeks at Geneva—Jos with his four girls in Italy—Frank Wedgwood at Maer—Tour to Chamounix—They reach home by October—Allen Wedgwood takes possession at Maer Vicarage—Anti-slavery agitation.

IN the latter part of 1824 there was much family trouble. The John Wedgwoods were at Gloucester in order that their daughter Caroline, who was in fact dying, might be attended by Dr Baron. At the same time Allen Wedgwood, the eldest son, fell dangerously ill, and Gertrude Allen, wife of John Allen of Cresselly, dying of consumption, was also there to be under Dr Baron, and there she died in January, 1825.

This circumstance altered Emma and Fanny Allen's life. They went to live at Cresselly with their now widowed brother John, and his four children1 became the great interest of their lives.

1 This group of Allen children (my mother's first cousins) was as follows: Seymour Phillips (called as a child Bob) 11 years old, Henry George (Harry) 10 years old, John Hensleigh 6 years old, Isabel Georgina (Isabella or Pippy).

Fanny's pet was the lovely Johnny. Emma devoted herself to little Isabella. After regretting that her sister Jessie had no children, Emma writes: "It is very consoling to live among the springing things when you are yourself declining, and without children I sometimes think it is almost impossible to grow old with grace." And it is pleasant to read that "Isabella is become, perhaps from imitation of Johnny, nearly as fond of me as he is of Fanny. Her favourite place is now on my lap. She is so volatile that I daresay this taste of hers will not last, but it appears so strange to me to have anything so fond of me that I feel it is creating in me a feeling that will not pass away." Emma Allen's attitude was striking in her dignified and open acceptance of the fact that everywhere her sisters were more popular than herself. She said of her brother in 1818, "John I am sure shews me more affection than he ever did before, and if you could but know how I have always loved him you may guess how delightful his tender manners are to me."

Caroline Wedgwood also died in January, 1825, at Gloucester. Her death affected her family deeply. They had been inclined towards Evangelicalism before, but this loss combined with the influence of Dr Baron made them adopt a rigid evangelical creed which seemed narrow to the Josiah Wedgwoods.

In the autumn of 1824 a scheme had begun to mature for the Maer family making a long tour to Switzerland and Italy. It appears that this had been a wish of Jos's ever since early youth, and

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now there was the additional joy for all of seeing their beloved Jessie Sismondi in her Swiss home. The journey was however put off so that Maer might be open to receive the John Wedgwoods. Bessy writes to her sister Emma before Caroline Wedgwood's death: "If the worst happens very soon, I hope our poor Jenny will come here with Eliza to try in the quiet of this place to recover a little from the effects of this most sad winter, and we have put off our going till the beginning of February with that view, and shall probably defer it further if we find it will do any good." Deferring the tour further would probably have meant curtailing the Italian part or even missing Easter in Rome—a considerable sacrifice. Whether the John Wedgwoods went to Maer I do not know, but the foreign party left England on February 15, 1825.

Many preparations for the journey were planned in the letters to and from Geneva, and one perceives what an affair it then was to take a large party abroad. Amongst other arrangements two carriages had to be bought. Bessy writes to Jessie Sismondi asking her to get evening gowns for the girls, which she appears to think can be made by simply giving the length of their skirts, with a remark that they are not fond of having their things tight. But Elizabeth more practically says. "Unless your mantua maker is a witch, it is impossible she should make our bodies, so do not trouble her about the size."

They went by Paris to Geneva, the faithful Bessy giving up an evening to seeing Madame Collos (the fishmonger's wife often mentioned in the letters of 1818). In a former letter in speaking of a proposed visit of the Sismondis to Paris, Bessy wrote to Jessie (April 8, 1822): "When you go to Paris how will you get off from the Grande Truanderie? It will be something of a bore, though my heart smites me while I write it. It would not however be necessary for you to do so much duty as it would be for me, if I were at Paris. I sometimes think it would be difficult to do, as Kitty [Mackintosh] says she always does, 'exactly the right thing.'" This reminds me of my mother who never neglected any humble friend or relation, especially if their society was not found generally amusing, yet never took an exacting view of the duties of others.

It was decided that Bessy's health would not permit her to join in the Italian tour, so after the whole party had been five weeks at Geneva, Jos and the four daughters, with Henri the Courier, set off on the 8th of March to cross Mont Cenis, Bessy staying behind with the Sismondis. Elizabeth writes to her mother from Aix to express her "longing desire" that she should have been of the party, and says "it has felt to-day like anything but a party of pleasure."

The Sismondis are just making their annual spring move to their little campagne two or three miles out of Geneva, and Bessy writes thus to Fanny Allen who is visiting the John Wedgwoods at their present abode, Kingscote in Gloucestershire.

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Mrs Fosiah Wedgwood to her sister Fanny Allen at Kingscote.

GENEVA, Ap. 21, 1825.

Jessie is gone to Chêne with Sismondi to hang up her curtains and to scrattle about, as we go there to-morrow, and she piques herself upon my finding it very comfortable. I have been waiting for a little pause in her correspondence to thank you, dearest of Fannys, for yours of the 6th of last month. But another from my ever dear Jenny [Wedgwood] has made my gratitude to you both overflow, and I am enjoying being "by myself," that I may write to you quite at my ease in this little drawing-room, with a good fire, and just at Emma [Allen]'s own end of the table where she used to study. I pretend to study French, but in a very dawdling manner. Indeed we dawdle a good deal over everything, and can with some difficulty breakfast before 10 o'clock, do no work, and scarcely read at all. I hope we shall mend our manners when we get to Chêne.

I felt a little low-spirited when they all went, but I trust my Jessie did not perceive it, and I am now extremely comfortable. Who could be otherwise with such a kind, such an affectionate and such an agreeable hostess? Yet to give up sweet Italy and noble Rome, never again to have a chance of seeing them! I did it willingly, but it was something like putting on a blister, it made me smart.

Jessie gave a grand Soirée last night, which, she insists upon it, has offended all her company. I saw no signs of it, but she says that many of the second set gave out signs of dissatisfaction at being so grouped, and a few of the aristocrats would think themselves encanaillés. She asked about 60, but more than 20 sent excuses, and those of the best, and the Tag Rags sat all one side of the room, not moving from their seats and doing nothing. The gentlemen having no seats were obliged to stand. Poor Madame Piscara and Madame Rossi sat as usual, almost by themselves, and it is no small proof of the pride and ill-nature of this place, the manner in which these two harmless women are treated. I never saw such a place for taking huff. Madame Soret has taken me so much en grippe that she will hardly speak to me, and I can't guess how I have offended her. I thought her very tiresome at Mr Simond's party the first time we met, but I don't recollect I ever said so to anybody. But to return to Jessie's party—I played cards with Madame Butiné, the most forbidding woman I ever saw, Mr Viesseux whom I liked very well, and young Spencer son of the Poet1, beau comme l'amour, but too sensible of it. Jessie did not ask any of her select acquaintance, Madame Constant, de Candolle, and half a score others who she said would think themselves affronted to be asked to such a party—did you ever hear the like? I feel as if I were walking upon eggs among them. Yet I like a great many of them, but I don't much enjoy the feeling of being so much on sufferance with my bad French among them, and I am discouraged in getting the better of it from seeing what little progress Jessie has made. I doubt our modest Harriet's being entirely happy here if ever it is her fate to settle here. Jessie is in fact everything to her, but will Jessie be enough? Jessie had a letter from her yesterday written in such gay spirits that it was quite delightful to see, yet Surtees seems very ill2. She speaks in another place so prettily upon sisterly affection that I must quote her. "Could she know the infinite blessing of sisterly affection, and the happiness it can give when there is little other source from whence to draw it, she would foster and nourish the holy flame with a vestal's care"—I have spoiled it by taking it out of its place, but it shews you the source of her own happiness.

1 W. R. Spencer (1769—1834), a minor pool who had a certain popularity. He appears I think in Rejected Addresses: "Who fills the butchers' shops with big blue flies?"

2 He was thought to be dying and died two years later.

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Jessie grumbles exceedingly at going so soon to Chêne, but I like it. I never saw such an universal favourite as she is among the men. I have been speculating upon the reason, and I think I have discovered it to be a little degree of coquetry that she mixes up in her manner that makes her so attractive Mr Pictet1 is I think in love with her, and Mr de Candolle seeks her company with more gallantry than common acquaintance usually use. The whole town is in mourning and grief for Professor Pictet who is to be buried to-morrow. I don't like Madame Simond, but am much pleased with Madame de Candolle, Bossi, Dumont, and Favre2. We scarcely over fall in with any young girls as they are all with their Societies. I suppose there were a doz. young men here last night and only two young women. To-night is the select Thursday evening—we expect Mme Constant and Mme de Candolle. God bless you all now at Kingscote. My dearly beloveds', E. W.

There are many letters from her husband and the girls while on their Italian journey. His express a certain flatness which disappoints her. In the case

1 Adolphe Pictet (1799—1875) was an Ethnologist and wrote on Celts and Aryans. The old Professor, Marcus Auguste Pictet (b. 1752) was a Physicist.

2 These four names appear constantly in the Geneva letters. De Candolle (1778—1841), the famous Botanist, was Professor of Natural History there from 1816 to his death. Bossi is mentioned by Edouard Scherer as one of the literary Geneva-Coppet circle. Dumont was one of Sismondi's best friends and one of the foremost figures in the intellectual society of Geneva. He was a friend of Mackintosh and other leading English Liberals and bad been intimate in England with Bentham, of whose doctrines he was the chief continental apostle. Favre was a man of great learning and a profound historical student—Mme de Staël called him "mon érudit.quot; He and Sismondi had been prison companions thirty years before this, at the time of the Genevan "terror." The Simonds were presumably relatives of Sismondi.

of the girls, too, there is not as much enjoyment as I should have expected, but my mother told us she never felt well all the tour, and I think that their father's want of enjoyment may have deadened theirs. They were all deeply impressed with the misery of Italy. Jos says, "I never saw so much misery in so small a space before, and really it is paying dear for any pleasure that travelling affords, to be besieged by crowds of hideous men, women, and children begging importunately every time we stop to change horses." Spite of all drawbacks, however, it was an immense advantage in enlarging Emma's sympathy and outlook. Almost to within a few years of my father's death she had day-dreams of a tour to Switzerland, and her sympathy in our tours was always fresh and keen.

Their aunt Jessie had been anxious about the girls' dress and appearance. Elizabeth writes to her mother after a party at Florence (Ap. 1825): "Emma acquitted herself very well with the nice lady on the sofa; and tell Jessie we dressed our hair as we thought in good style. I do not know how the curtsies were performed." My mother told me they were plentifully stared at, four very English-looking girls, all with very fresh complexions and pink cheeks and all with spectacles. At Sorrento she said the courier locked them up in their room to ensure their safety from insult when they were left alone for a little.

Bessy meanwhile joined in the sociability of Geneva and Chêne and enjoyed it all. A young Englishman (I think the beautiful Mr Spencer)

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became much devoted to her and is called her "Cavaliere Servente." She writes to her husband to express uneasiness at having felt obliged to play cards on Sunday out of civility, to which he answers (30 March, 1825): "One word about your playing cards on Sunday, as you do not think it wrong to do so, why should you object to Caroline [Drewe] or Jane [Wedgwood] knowing that you did? I am rather afraid of Evangelicism spreading amongst us, though I have some confidence in the genuine good sense of the Maerites for keeping it out, or if it must come for having the disease in a very mild form."

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her mother (at Chêne).


My dear Mamma,

I am very much pleased that you have found it Mr Clifford, I always thought there was but one. I am glad too that he is such a young one, for the refreshment of your eyes. There was something I liked in the little I saw of him, and I am not in the surprise you are at what makes him take to you. I wish to goodness you may be able to accomplish meeting us at Milan. I should not think you would find it difficult to join a party going there, even if Jessie should not bring you. It would be delightful to find you there. We look upon ourselves as the very luckiest people that ever were, to have a second illumination of St Peter's and fireworks on purpose for us as it were; and we saw it all so well that we had nothing to regret. We were rather in a puzzle as to our dress, as the invitation to Torlonia's theatre was to spend the evening, and we should have to sit in an open gallery over the river. We consulted Mrs Bunsen1, who told us to go full dressed; so to prevent catching cold Charlotte and I put pink handkerchiefs on our heads, and our black satins, which are the most comfortable gowns in the world. At half-past 6 we set out to take our station in the place of St Peter, which, the way we went, is two miles off. By the time we got there the paper lanthorns were lighted, and we saw the men sticking to the outside of the dome, and climbing up the cross. As it grew dark the illumination became more and more beautiful, and when the clock struck eight, the whole church looked alive with torches, and in half a minute the entire church and porticos became the most brilliant scene I ever saw. We drove away almost directly to Torlonia's, where there were a great number of fine people, nobody that we knew but Mr and Mrs Bunsen. When it was all over we went upstairs to the saloon and eat some ice. Everybody looked extremely dull, and we came away in a quarter-of-an-hour to drive up the Monte Pincio, for another view of St Peter's before we went to bed.

Sunday. I am sorry you have taken at all to heart Papa's simile for himself. I think he enjoys what he sees here as much or more than any of us. He has not so much pleasure in the travelling itself, but he liked that better when he had thrown all trouble and anxiety off his shoulders by going with a vetturino; so much so that I shall prefer going on in the same way. When he cannot indulge any desire to make haste it prevents his feeling in a hurry. We shall be only three days getting to Naples in that way.

We went last night at 7 to see the pilgrims at supper. All pilgrims are fed and lodged for three days, and waited on at supper by a society of ladies and gentlemen, princesses and cardinals. We went very luckily

1 Frances, daughter of the Allens' old friend Mrs Waddington and wife of Baron Bunsen.

L. 15

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without Papa, who would have been heartily tired as it turned out, but we had an amusing evening. We knocked at the door and were announced as four foreign ladies, and found ourselves in a great hall with tables with lamps and writing things, and a few men in red gowns laughing and talking and bustling backwards and forwards. There we stood helpless some time, not knowing where to go; till at last the old man in red who let us in, after a quantity of gabbling and gesticulating which we could make nothing, of, fairly put us out into the street again and shut the door on us. By this time the carriage was gone, so there we staid in the dirt and the dark, till the door was opened again to let in some more ladies, and we pushed in after them and followed them thro' the hall and several more places, full of bustle and pilgrims and soldiers, till we got upstairs to where the women pilgrims were to sup. There we found two very long well lighted rooms with tables down each side, and I should think some hundreds of ladies without their bonnets and most of them in white aprons to serve. There was a middle room besides, where there was a set of women with towels on their heads, listening to a sermon from a man in red. After this they went on their knees, and said such a number of Ave Marias that I was tired waiting to see the end, and they must have wanted their suppers terribly which they did not get till near ten o'clock. The Princess Doria was going about directing, and the Queen of Etruria's daughter and two other young Princesses Ruspoli, who looked as if they were carrying about the trays for fun. We were almost the only strangers there, as the Princess had given orders that none should be let in that night, as she was expecting the King and Queen of Naples. However nobody looked sour on us, and indeed I never knew such civil people. One good-humoured talking lady staid with us great part of the time; another took me about and told me who the people were; another genteel young lady who was serving talked English to us, and at last said she and her mother and sister would be happy to visit us; and if we were fond of music, she played the harp and her sister the piano. So we exchanged directions and we are to call on her to-morrow. She was pleasing and natural. Another lady began a conversation in English with me with "Are you an Englishman?" and was very civil. The King and Queen with the Duke of Lucca in a red gown and various other great people came in, and at last we came away, guided by our first friend, whom we set down with a fat friend of hers; and at parting she also gave us her direction and desired us to call, so that even you could not have wished a more productive evening in the way of society. By the way I must say how friendly Mrs Bunsen is she is pleasing from an appearance of great modesty and gentleness, but she still runs on in the same monotonous way she used to do.

Charlotte Wedgwood to her mother.

[ROME], April 29, 1825.

…We like Rome so much that all Jessie's scoldings cannot persuade us to be sorry we left Florence so soon. Now that we are within a week of the end of our month here, I grudge every day that passes. I scarcely know why I like it so much. I think it suits Papa too very well. All his time that is not occupied in seeing sights, he employs, as it appears very much to his satisfaction, in looking out of the window and watching the idle groups of common people that this square is constantly filled with. They are so picturesque, and I think handsome, that they afford constant amusement. We want nothing, my dear Mama, but that your strength would have permitted you to come with us; but when we are resting from our travels our life is much more fatiguing than on the journey, which would never have done for you; even Papa has sometimes been


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quite fatigued at the end of the day. The English are leaving Rome very fast. Last Sunday there was a very thin congregation, and the Vatican, which the first day we went to it was like a gay promenade with the numbers of English, is now left to the Pilgrims and ourselves. We always meet crowds of them, and their simple staring mahogany faces and the pay dresses of the women make a great part of the amusement of going there. They seem to take very much to Elizabeth, having applied to her several times for any information they wanted, and she has had long conversations with some of them.

On Thursday we were to take the Persianis to Villa Borghese, but it reined and we could only bring them here. But we found not the least difficulty in entertaining them, as we had only the two girls whom I like very much. Giulietta seems to me to have some very heretical notions, at least there are many points of their church rules that she made not the least scruple to disapprove very much, and she said the priests were selfish and thought of nobody but themselves. And her opinion of Convents and Nuns seems very bad; she gave us an account of the dreadful life they lead at the two strictest of the convents. I can not conceive how such horrible places have existed so long. They are called Vivi sepolti, and no name could be so descriptive of them…

The following is from Frank, left at Maer with his brother Jos, and both going regularly to work at the Potteries.

Frank Wedgwood to his sister Fanny.

MAER, WEDNESDAY, April 27 [1825].

Dear Fanny,

I mean to write you a very long letter all about Maer. In the first place, Moses Harding came in the other night very considerately with a very long face, to break the bad news to us that the Guernsey Heifer had died in labour that morning, so there is an end of the calf that Thomas the Good, in his great care for Aunt Sarah, desired might be kept for her. One of the wild ducks is sitting; if ever she rears her family in spite of Squib, pikes, foxes, weasels and water-rats, she may set up for a pattern of maternal care. Peggy is banished to the Moss for biting the hedges, and somebody has built her a snug little hut of stumps out of a hedge that has been grubbed up, hurdles and so forth. I think Squib pined when I was at Edinburgh, for I left him fat and found him lean, and now he is getting his flesh again; yet he will not go to Etruria with me, and if he does not set Jos set out to come back, he had rather stay all night there than come home with me. The gardens look rather dismal as yet, and the strawberries (nothing but my regard for truth could make me let you know it, mother) still worse. It is supposed that Jos and I shall not have above three or four times as many as we can eat. Not one plant in five of what were set last Autumn is visible. The other day Harry sent me down a frank, to say that he wrote in a great hurry to tell me to cut off all the pear blossoms but three from every bunch, as soon as they began to come out; but, as might be supposed, he was just too late for all the trees but one. I know you will like to hear, mother, that Mr Snape is in very good spirits. He was rather piano in church last Sunday and when I called on him afterwards, he said he had just been eating something by way of a restorative. No wonder he gets so obese if he eats an extra meal every time he fancies himself un well.

I have had the school two Sundays. I take them in the servants' hall, which is better than the laundry, there are fewer things for them to spoil, particularly now there is some wet plastering in the washhouse. I got on pretty well with them, particularly the second time; I follow

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Elizabeth's plan of giving them each a ticket and one for the cleanest hands. When service is in the afternoon, I get all the school over at once and the subject of going to church is not mentioned between us; I have stuck up a notice in school that I will punish them if they behave ill there. I think it is great nonsense your taking children that go to day schools. I am very busy pruning oak trees, and as soon as Mester Dabbs has set th' taties, and I have planted half a dozen evergreens, I shall take one of the men into my service and do great execution amongst [dead] boughs and snags. I am so busy now that I have not time to read over the pottery Gazette; indeed if you saw us dispatch our dinner you would think that we had hardly time for that; I do not think I shall practise much at shooting1 this year.

We have had some turns out in the potteries, chiefly I believe because the masters, in their eagerness to undersell one another, keep increasing the sizes of their ware without increasing the prices of making; they have had some meetings at Newcastle and Hanley to try to bring all the sizes to a common standard, in which I should think that they will not succeed. Last week the colliers turned out, so that many of the works stopped for want of coals; the chief grievance of the colliers was a kind of middlemen, and now I believe they have gained their point and are coming to work again. I do hope they will not frighten the parliament into re-enacting the combination laws. As Jos and I do not spend much of our time in chattering, and to be even with you, we have agreed to keep journals too. I will give you an extract from mine. Monday. Went to Etruria as usual; rained a little; thought at one time of putting on my great-coat, however it went off; cauliflower boiled crisp. Tuesday. Squib went rather farther than usual with me, viz., to Maer field-gate.

1 Archery meetings. Frank Wedgwood was a very good shot.

Barbara would not drink. Wednesday. Got wet. Thursday. Ditto. Friday. Ditto twice. Saturday. Counted 21 carts going to market; the fire went out; told the boy to light it again, which he did; thought the damsons tasted salt; Jos said "No, it was fancy." Jos's journal I have not seen, but I believe it is conciser than mine. Apropos to journals it would save you much trouble if you were to write a family journal, for they must all be exactly the same; do not let me find "excessively" more than once a day in it.

This letter will go to Geneva first, which I hope you will not take amiss.

My love to all of you,

Your affectionate brother, F. W.

Josiah Wedgwood to his wife (at Chêne).

SORRENTO, May 24, 1825.

…All these boasted places only confirm my preference of England and of Maer, I am quite surprised at the attachment of your sisters to Rome, especially as I suppose they had not a carriage constantly, for the filthy habits of the people and the total neglect of the police as to cleanliness, make the town very disagreeable even for a man to walk about in, and intolerable I should have supposed for English women. As one instance, towards evening you every now and then hear vessels emptied of water, or some less innocent contents, from the windows of the houses, without notice; and as far as I could ever perceive without the precaution of looking whether the street was clear…… I believe I shall quit this country without any desire ever to return to it, but if possible with a deeper detestation of the principles which cause its degradation, and a more heartfelt approbation of the contrary ones which are in operation in our own happy country, and of the men who are supporting them. I don't know whether the Italians

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are subject to the same annoyance, or whether, if subject, they become insensible to it, but the mere importunity of the miserable beggars that you meet with at every step, and who ask for alms with loud cries and as much earnestness as if their existence depended on succeeding in each instance, makes a walk a scene of persecution. In short this country has so many odious or painful circumstances which move one's indignation, contempt, or compassion so powerfully that the charms of scenery and of climate cannot have their proper effect. In short I remain at least as good a John Bull as I came out. You must not think however that I have looked only at one side. I have had much pleasure, and I have satisfied a wish almost as old as my memory, and I must not expect to escape the lot of human nature that there is disappointment in the gratification of all desires. "Man never is but always to be blest." I heartily wish you could have partaken of my pleasures or disappointments, but many, I believe most, of the pleasures would have been fatigues to you. I trust however that this first long separation will be our last. I turned my face northward from Paestum with the feeling of being on my way to meet you……

Till I hear what you have fixed upon, we cannot decide upon our future route, but if you do not contrive to meet us at Milan for the purpose of going with us to Venice, I rather think we shall not be unlikely to give up Venice altogether. I suspect that by that time we shall have been long enough upon the road, and that we shall think the sight of Venice will scarcely repay us for lengthening our route so much, unless we should find that it would be through a beautiful country, and that I think it cannot be. We think that Canaletto and the Panorama have made us familiar with the appearance of Venice, and besides the appearance, there is not much for such cursory travellers as we are, except some pictures. After my lamentations in my last for the want of the boasted blue sky of Italy, you will be sorry to hear that the sky has been obstinately grey and the atmosphere hazy; and I am satisfied that we have scarcely ever in England so many days together so unfavourable for showing scenery as we have had here. I am afraid you will think me a very smell-fungus, but I believe there has been more humbug about Italy than any other country in the world, and travellers have affected raptures that they have not felt. Whatever I may express, I shall certainly feel very great delight at seeing a certain chienne de visage again, a feeling in which my companions will share for they love you dearly. I am, my dear Bess, Your most affectionate J. W.

As a make up for having missed going to Florence, Rome and Naples, Bessy arranged to meet the party at Milan in the middle of June and continue the tour to Venice. Jessie Sismondi took care of her for the five days' journey over the Simplon. But it appeared that she had altogether miscalculated her strength, and as soon as she had recovered from her journey to Milan, they all returned over the Simplon, reaching Chêne on July 3rd.

In August they took a trip of ten days to Chamounix, and September saw the party on their way home, viâ Dijon, Rheims, and Calais. Bessy writes from Chalons to Jessie Sismondi (Sept. 9, 1825): "I can hardly reconcile myself to having lost you—to you I could venture to lay open my most foolish feelings certain of your gentle sympathy. You have certainly the happiest mixture in the world of tenderness and gaiety, and you make everybody happy who lives with you as I have done for the last six months."

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Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

[CHÊNE], FRIDAY, Sept. 9 [1825].

…This is the fifth day since your departure, and I am still very sad. However I am getting better, and I am glad the few first nasty days are finished. I make use now of the word nasty, without the fear of a forfeit before my eyes. I thought my days had become too few to wish any over but I have rejoiced when each of these last have finished. I long to become once more habituated to our tête-à-tête, as yet it is very melancholy, and Sis feels it as much as myself nearly. Dearest Bessy, how long have I been accustomed to your sweet face as my inmate; you seem by this visit to belong doubly to me, and how do you think I can live without it now? I never felt a parting so much and so long before; there is no describing the desolation of the house—the very cats seemed to feel it. The servants seemed to have pity on me, and come to me with a gentle step and low voice and sad look as if a death had been in the house. They have been expatiating to M. Hermes on the Angels they have had to serve, from whom I have had it again in language that you would all laugh at as exaggerated, but which suits me exactly. How I doat on you all, from Jos, to whom I owe so much happiness, down to that dear little merry Emma! I am in hopes I shall have a line to-day to tell me how you all go on. I have no longer any anxiety for that dear child, thank heaven, but I have a little for you, Madam; and I want grievously to hear how you are, and whether you are able to make decent day journeys, and whether Jos escapes the lumbago or sciatica, He is not quite so young as be looks. I want him to get home easily for his nasty canal meeting, now that I should not profit by his missing it. In short I long for a letter, and shall go by and by to the town in spite of the rain to see if I have the good luck of a word from, it seems to me now, the only people I love in the world. I hate everybody here, I believe it is very true that women know how to love only by contrast. I am unwilling to think that it is a fault peculiarly my own, I must correct it if it is; when faults are general to nature I do not trouble my head about them; it is in vain to struggle against them, and if I succeeded in destroying one it is ten to one I did not destroy with it some great charm. Yesterday when I sat at church between Mdlle D'Illan and her uncle Dumont, I hated them both. I looked at one and then the other, and thought of my own amongst whom I had sat there so often this blessed year, and it was impossible not to think to myself, how ugly they look. They came in after church and I took such an aversion to Mdlle D'Illan that I could not look at her, and was obliged to talk to her cutting open the leaves of a book. I was obliged to ask her to come in the evening with her uncle, and sweetheart Bellot, but I suppose it was with a very ill grace; for though they promised, they did not come, and I was quite as well pleased. I wonder whether anybody can behave so ungraciously as myself when a blue devil gets into me. I always think how I should hate Jessie if I was not she, yet I cannot smooth my brow and look other. Munier gave us a beautiful sermon; it was yesterday the great national fast, a day set apart for an examination of the blessings of heaven on this land, and the faults of the people. It follows the Great Communion, and is a day more sacredly and universally kept than any Sunday, in Commemorating the blessings, prosperity, and general happiness of Switzerland. He contrasted it with the misery and sufferings of the Greeks, with very great eloquence but very shortly, and asked our prayers as fellow Christians of a Christian people engaged in a defensive war against extermination, whose sufferings were beyond description. It was impossible to say a few words

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with greater beauty and feeling and piety. Yet that little goose Mdlle D'Illan snuffled out she did not like politics, in sermons. Minder's review of his own parish, of their peculiar faults, and of the rules he gave them for their correction was admirable. How I wished for you! but when and where do I not wish for you? Yesterday evening above all; I could with difficulty restrain tears when I looked round my cold room, and had to answer questions about you—my throat closed more than once. I never wanted the girls so much, having a set of young Englishmen to entertain, and only the little Princess and my triste self to amuse them. There were Dr Holland, and Capt. Elton, and Mr Vernon, son of the Archbishop of York, and Mr Allen, the two Prévosts, Bonstetten1, Bartoli who looked round the room for Mdlle Charlotte and was aghast when I told him you were all finally gone. The Princess2 looked very happy talking Italian with Puni and Bartoli; she heard news of her Aunt Palafox from the former who has been travelling in Spain for his amusement. They all sat round the dining-table to tea, but I am afraid it looked a triste shop. Feeling out of spirits I had invited no one, but on Wednesday poured in the above English recommandés, and made me feel sorry I had not endeavoured to amuse them better. Mr Vernon looked very melancholy, some would say sanctified, and not very genteel, yet I liked him, he seemed so perfectly natural; and whether their [evangelical] faith is right or wrong, it is greatly in a young man's favour to occupy himself

1 Karl von Bonstetten (1745—1832), a constant figure in die Sismondi circle, was a Swiss publicist of European repute, and had been in middle life a politician. He was an author of some note, writing on (inter alia) the Laws of the Imagination and on Climate as affecting human character. He had studied in his youth at Cambridge, Leyden and Paris.

2 There is nothing to shew who the "little Princess Pietra Santa" was. I presume her Aunt Palafox was wife of the famous Don Joseph Palafox "immortalized by his heroic defence of Saragossa in 1808–9."

earnestly about it; it always gives me a feeling of respect and even something like affection. Mr Vernon contrasts well with Captain Elton. He is the brother of Mrs Hallam, a jolly naval Captain full of gaiety and high spirits, finding his own amusement like a jolly tar. I am not sure even he had not taken too much champagne—he was easily pleased. only "hoped to God I would not make him talk French aloud, he did not dislike talking it apart with some pretty woman"and accordingly stole round behind Pietra Santa's sopha and looked very well pleased as long as he could detain her from Puni. He praised my champagne, asked my pardon, but when he had called the day before, he could not help running in among the flowers he so enjoyed the sight of them and a green field. I felt all my love of the navy character awake within me. How I did wish for my angelick voices to delight him; they still sing in my ears and I know would have enchanted him…….

I ought to give you a journal before I fill too much of this sheet, at least I like one myself, hour by hour almost, soon after I have parted. I staid by myself on Monday till near 3 o'clock before I could be in trim enough even for Sis. At four Sis went to his old house and I to sit the while with Marie, whom I found very ill indeed. We returned at 6 to dinner, but the bise blew so cold and I felt so chilled I thought everything very nasty except the fire, and that would not warm me. We both fell asleep. We tried to read German together but it would not do. "Grand Dieu, que j'ai été tourmenté tout le jour par les voix délicieuses de ces enfants, et les airs enchantants qu'elles ont chantés hier. Est-il possible que je ne les entendrai plus?" Guess who said this as we separated soon after ten. I have found a pretty little pair of scissors of Fanny's which I have put by for her. I still feel her dear head as it fell affectionately on my neck for the last time. Beloved child, may God bless her and all of you, whom I love more than I can express. I can never speak tenderly enough

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for Sis. Mutton and Mole [ponies] wait to take me and my letter to the post.

The party got back to Maer about the 1st October after a nine months' absence.

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Oct. 7, 1825.

My dearest Aunt Jessie,

I am very glad to have this little bit to tell you what longings I have to see you again since we parted. I am very sorry you happened to sec that horrid letter of Jos's. We meant to have kept it a profound secret from you, the Canal meeting being put off. It gave us such a pang as soon as we heard of it; but never mind for we will come and see you again. You can't think with what pleasure I think of it, but I am afraid it will be a long time first. Charlotte is at the Derby music meeting or she would thank you very much for your letter, and dear M. Sismondi for his nice affectionate little note. I am sure I thank him with all my heart for my share of it. I enjoy being at home very much, though it looks rather rainy and stormy at present. I do hope that you will quite have got over our going away by the time you get this. I cannot bear to think of you as being melancholy. Everybody compliments Mamma on her good looks, and says she looks much better than when she went away. You and my uncle and our charming visit at Chênc are never very long out of my mind. I think it is the happiest time I ever spent, and that is saying a great deal. I will enjoy it again some time.

Good-bye, my own aunt Jessie,

Emma W.

Jessie writes to Bessy (13 Nov. 1825): "I answered your last lovely letter to Emma because her postscript was irresistible. I love to encourage the tenderness of children I love as if they were my own, and who will, I hope, from time to time supply to me the place of them. It is a tie the tenderer between us if you will let me participate in the choicest blessing you have, or any mother ever had as they tell me here. I am so little disposed to question it that I would they were my own."

The natural longings of a childless woman can more than once be traced in Jessie's letters and appear in her attitude towards her nieces. She was happy in winning a warm response to the passionate love she felt for them. My cousin, Julia Wedgwood, tells me that the romance of Elizabeth's life was her love for her aunt Jessie, and Emma's was equally warm. She was from early days her aunt's pet child, and the relation only became closer all through her girlhood. After her marriage the cares of husband and children prevented her from much intercourse, but the love lasted through life.

The only event worth chronicling in the following winter 1825–6 is the coming of Allen, eldest son of John Wedgwood, to take possession of the little living at Maer. He is still lame after his long illness. In a letter from Kingscote (the John Wedgwoods), in May, 1825, his aunt Fanny Allen writes:

Allen is still going about on his crutches. He appears feeble, and I should he afraid would never be any better than an invalid. He has invalid habits also, which I am

[pages] 240 - 241

not at all sure is a bad thing for him, as it gives him thought and occupation. Last week I was amazed at his watching the clock to have his tea precisely as the clock was at half-past eight. Eliza [Wedgwood] had had the tea in for our whole party at eight or perhaps a little before on Jane's account, as the dinner was at three, for Allen to have his meals divided so as to have six hours' interval between them. The general tea was finished at quarter-past eight, and he sat watching the clock till the right minute to order in the tea-kettle. He puts Jane [his mother] and Eliza something beside their patience, so it is well that he will have an establishment of his own, and arrange his meals according to his own fancy.

This is exactly as I remember him 40 years later. He died over 86 years of age, having spent a long life largely occupied in taking care of his health, for he remained an invalid. He had a kindly simple nature, and, like his father, was devoted to flowers and gardening. When he came to Maer, Bessy in her abounding hospitality said to him, "Allen, remember we shall always be glad to see you any and every time." This speech was taken literally, and I believe for years he came up once in the morning to see what letters had come, once in the afternoon, I suppose to see what they were going to do, and in the evening when they came out from dinner he was settled in the one armchair. The burden was heavy and Allen's own brothers and sisters were unhappy at his untactful conduct. His uncle Jos occasionally talked of representing to him that they sometimes wanted to be alone, but was too kind-hearted and long-suffering ever to act on his intentions. However by 1833 these visits had come to an end, I think through some representation of his brother Robert, and Allen had succeeded in breaking the iron chain of habit. Emma Wedgwood writes in that year: "Nothing can be more modest than he is; indeed I wish he would come in sometimes without being asked. He is so thoroughly amiable that one gets fond of him."

The letters about this time shew that Emma suffered much from the headaches which did not cease to torment her till complete old age. There is much doubt as to whether Dr Darwin's preparation of zinc will blacken "Emma's pretty face." and great is Sismondi's indignation at any such risk being run.

One constant interest of the Maer family during these years was the anti-slavery agitation. Bessy writes to Jessie (March 13, 1826): "We are exceedingly interested in the abolition of slavery. Jos has exerted himself wonderfully for a man of his retired habits in getting up a County Petition, and has succeeded and it has been presented. We have also got up a local one from the four neighbouring parishes hereabouts; and I hope shall never let the matter rest. There is certainly a great stir in England at this moment. The Clergy and the Methodists have taken it up very warmly, and now that England is awakened I trust in God this enormity will cease."

Two years later she writes: "Sarah [Wedgwood] is living very comfortably at Camphill. Her mind now is absorbed very much by her interest in favour of the Blacks. She spends a great deal in the

L. 16

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circulation of anti-slavery publications, and she has herself written or compiled a little pamphlet for the benefit of those who are not sufficiently interested in the subject to seek for information among the many books that are written. We have established a Ladies' Society at Newcastle, but we don't meet with much success among the higher gentry. The set below them (our Rue Basse) is much more impressible." The girls too were eager in this cause. A quaint evidence of it remains in the fact of many of the old journals, lists of books, and prayers being bound in the covers of the anti-slavery pamphlets and tracts.



The Sismondis in England—Fanny and Emma Wedgwood go with them back to Geneva—Bessy and her daughters Elizabeth and Charlotte at Ampthill—Frank Wedgwood's account of Maer—Life at Geneva—Sarah Wedgwood's generosity—The Prince of Denmark and Mrs Lambton—Edward Drewe's love-affair—Harry Wedgwood on French play—Josiah Wedgwood, accompanied by Caroline Darwin, fetches Fanny and Emma home—Jessie's sorrow at their departure.

IN the spring of 1826 the Sismondis came over to England. The visit was a great pleasure and success, except that Jessie was not able to see Harriet Surtees, her poor imprisoned "Sad." Fanny Allen writes of Jessie (May 25, 1826), "her countenance is as charming as ever, which makes her better worth looking at than any beauty I know." Harry Wedgwood describes Sismondi's bows as tremendous: "he and I salute one another in the style of the frontispiece to Les Précieuses Ridicules, and he ought to have married good Mistress Accost instead of Aunt Jessie."


[pages] 244 - 245

After staying in London with the Mackintoshes they went, towards the end of June, to Maer. Bessy writes: "he is such an entire lover of music that the evenings are completely filled up with it." "Je n'ai pas éprouvé un moment un plaisir égal à celui que me donnait 'Un palpito atroce' ou 'O notte soave,'" Sismondi tells Elizabeth, writing from Paris, where he went at the end of August, leaving Jessie to pay her Cresselly and other visits alone.

As these visits drew to a close, Bessy decided to send Fanny and Emma back with her sister Jessie to spend eight months at Geneva. It was an effort to part with them, but she thinks it will be good for the girls, they wish it, and it will soften the parting for Jessie.

Madame Sismondi also has her nephew Edward Drewe, a boy of 21, to convoy out. He had left Oxford, but he was not intended for any profession, being the heir-expectant of Grange, the Devonshire estate, then in the possession of an uncle 79 years old. Bessy is a little afraid her sister Mrs Drewe may think she has views on him for Fanny or Emma, as he is prospectively such a good match. The Drewe family had just had a great loss. Lord Gifford had died in the midst of his brilliant career, leaving his wife, Harriet, a widow after only ten years of marriage. He had become Attorney-General soon after their marriage, then Master of the Rolls, and was expected to succeed to the woolsack on Lord Eldon's vacating it.

Bessy went to London to see Jessie and the girls off. She describes the parting to her husband, writing from Ampthill, a house lent to Sir James Mackintosh by Lord Holland (Nov. 19, 1826):

Our little girls shed a few tears at parting with me yesterday but they went off very stoutly and not at all repenting. I am surprized at my own tranquillity at the thoughts of losing them for so long a time; when I hear that they are safe on the other side of the Channel I shall be quite easy.

She writes them these few words of advice.

I am sure you will make it your duty and your pleasure to enliven your Aunt Jessie's winter by your cheerfulness as much as she will yours by her gaiety. Shew yourselves pleased with what she does for you, and do not be afraid of making the gratitude that you must feel both for her and Sismondi apparent in your manners to both.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

AMPTHILL PARK, Nov. 24 [1826].

……We are very comfortable here, and not so cold as we were at first. Charlotte and I smuggle an hour's conversation with Sir James every evening after dinner, by remaining in the eating room while Kitty [Lady Mackintosh] goes to her darling newspaper, and Fanny [Mackintosh] takes the opportunity of going to the pianoforte. At these times he seems to enjoy conversation, and he is so wise and luminous in all his views, that I feel that I have made a step towards wisdom in listening to him. I am sure he has great feeling; he spoke with such tenderness of his unfortunate daughter1 the other night, and with such gratitude of Dr Darling for his attentions to her that he filled my eyes with tears.

1 Lady Wiseman, afterwards Mrs Turnbull.

[pages] 246 - 247

Kitty is writing to Sarah [Wedgwood] upon the Cruelty subject. She has been getting a man convicted of cruelty to his ass, and he is sent to prison, but Kitty has been visiting his wife and supplying her with money and blankets while he is away, and Kitty told me that the wife seemed not displeased that the man was gone.

Charlotte, who is very comfortably sleeping by the fire, would join me, if she were alive, in love to you and your three companions, not forgetting Tony. Hoping at no unreasonable distance to see that chien de visage,

I remain, my dear Jos,
Your affectionate E. W.

The four travellers, Mme Sismondi, Fanny and Emma Wedgwood, and Edward Drewe, reached Calais on 25th Nov. 1826. Emma writes that day to her mother:

Aunt Jessie told us that she did not know how she could have borne leaving England if we had not gone with her, but now she did not mind. Edward is very happy running about looking at carriages and seeing about passports. Luckily everybody here speaks English……We came over with half-a-dozen smugglers who tensed us very much to wear some plaid cloth cloaks for them, as they said they would not take them from us but they would from them, but we would not, as you may suppose.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband.

AMPTHILL PARK Nov. 28 [1826].

My dear Jos,

I write to rejoice with you over the safe arrival of our dear children and their companions on the other side the water. It is so pleasant to receive the letter before one had begun to expect it. Now I am quite easy about them, and feel very glad that their company has been such a support to Jessie.

Charlotte and I have great pleasure in our evening's conversation with Sir James. He perceives her good understanding and seems to take a pleasure in talking to her. After tea he reads to us aloud some German stories translated by Gillies, which being short and full of wild incident, are just the things for reading aloud, and he reads admirably. His spirits are pretty fair, which I wonder at, considering how full his thoughts are of "fair occasions gone for ever by." He is now, he says, obliged to toil like a labourer because he would not work when he was so much better able to do it, but if he can but live to get his history through the press, of which he now seems to doubt, he will compound for all the rest. He is working very hard, and at the same time takes as much care as he can of his health, but he looks ill, and I never saw any one's hand shake as his does……

The following fragment of a letter from Marianne Thornton to the well-known Hannah More gives an interesting side-light on Fanny Mackintosh and the life at Ampthill. It is written from Milton Bryan, a house belonging to Sir Robert Inglis, who took Charge of the large family of Thorntons when their father, Henry Thornton of Battersea Rise, and their mother, both died in 1815. Marianne, the eldest daughter, was only 18 at that time. It records the beginning of a devoted friendship between Fanny Mackintosh and Marianne, which played a large part in both their lives.

[pages] 248 - 249

Marianne Thornton to Hannah More.

Feb. 12th, 1827.

I found my sisters here setting up a warm friendship with a new country neighbour, Miss Mackintosh, daughter of the Sir James, who has Ampthill Park here, a place of Lord Holland's, which his lordship has lent Sir James while he writes his history. Miss Mackintosh is everything his daughter should be—and more, much more than anyone would expect her to be—very clever, full of information, yet loving fun as well as any child, and abounding in life and spirits. Yet as pious and devoted as if she had been a Miss Wilberforce, and most anxious to do good in the wretched village, which under the Holland influence you will guess has had little done for it. She canters here on any cart- or coach-horse she can find, and returns loaded with good books and good advice as to how to proceed from the Miss Inglises, who are well able to give both. She never mentions her father's religious opinions, but seems so excessively fond of him, and he of her, that I think her father and Robert Hall's friend cannot but end well.

The following was written whilst Frank Wedgwood, his brother Jos, and their father were alone at Maer; Bessy, and her daughters Elizabeth and Charlotte, being still at Ampthill.

Frank Wedgwood to his sister Fanny {at Geneva).
MAER, Dec. 9, 1826.

Dear Phimphas,

I suppose by this time you will be very glad to hear something about Maer, and therefore though there is not much to tell about it, I take this opportunity (to wit the post) of letting you know what little there is. You and Emma were regretted as much as you could wish at Betley Hall. Maryanne [Tollet] wanted particularly to play with Emma on the pianoforte as none of her own sisters can play fast enough, or slow enough, or well enough, I forget which. Some time back Tom Horsley came over one Sunday, perfumed like a civet-cat, with his sister and a female friend supposed to be the Mrs Tom Horsley elect, to do the service and read for Allen [Wedgwood] (who did not at all wish it). He put his two women into our seat, and accordingly Jos and I slunk away and took a walk, and left my father to bear all the brunt of the two young ladies and Tom's flowery sermon, which was evidently meant for your ears and the other females of the family, as the perfume was for your noses. The poor man did not know that there were only three males in the house, and of those three only one, the oldest (I cannot say the gravest), would stay to hear him. However I dare say he will manage better next time, as he says Allen has only to hold up his finger to him as he goes by, and he will come and help him any time. "I am a plain, John Bull sort of a fellow, if I did not like to come I would say so, so you need not be afraid of asking me." Allen preached against drunkenness last Sunday, and luckily Mr Horsley was in church and said that Allen was rather hard upon him. My father is taking advantage of your all being out to plunge, as he dearly loves to do, over head and cars in brick and mortar. He has enlarged the pantry, turned a cellar into a bedroom for Richard (that he may be near Tony, who sleeps in the kitchen, in case he should want anything in the night), and made the shoe-hole, that dismal hole, into a dairy. Once, and once only, has Tony made his appearance in the upper regions, and then he was sent back to his banishment, where I visit him every Saturday night after the servants are gone to bed, and I go

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to see how my varnished boots that are hung up in the kitchen are going on. The time Tony came up was the night my father came home, and Betty I suppose wanted to make an appeal to his paternal heart (as honest servants do neglected children sometimes, but whether it is in novels or in ancient history, I cannot tax my memory to say). However the experiment did not answer, for instead of bursting into tears and folding him to his heart and promising to be both father and mother to him, he ordered him down-stairs again. I found the chestnuts a great resource as long as they lasted, before my father came back; for though Allen did his best by looking out Monsters in the Philosophical Transactions and commenting thereon to amuse Jos and me, still he could not supply the place of a mother and four daughters, talking seldom less than three at a time on the subject of mantua making. You may tell Edward Drewe that I am going to dine at Mr Meeke's next Thursday, and to the Stone ball afterwards; and I will do my best to console Miss Susan Astbury for his absence—that is always supposing that Miss Joule's prior claims on me do not interfere. Jos and I are also going to Dilhorne on Monday for the Cheadle ball. I hope to get a waltz at the Stone ball. I suppose you and Emma will be turning away all winter like teetotums. Allen is in a great quandary about his flower-garden. His garden is so shapeless that it is very difficult to get anything like a decent set of shapes in; and he has set his mind against leeches and tadpoles….

Their mother writes many little instructions to the two girls at Geneva. She begs them to pay regularly for their letters and to be exact in their accounts, "this is more for one of you than the other, your consciences will tell you which," and it is easy to guess that the exact Fanny needed no such reminder. Also, "I wish you would generally or always say something to or of your aunt Sarah (Wedgwood) in your letters; she always enquires very kindly of you, and I should like to have something to say from you to her."

Emma Wedgwood to her sister Elizabeth.
GENEVA, Thursday, 4 Jan. (1827).

My dear Elizabeth,

Thank you very much for your letter which told us all the news we wanted to hear. I think you must feel very comfortable at home, especially if you have such disagreeable snow and wind as we have here, which would have been unbearable at Ampthill.

This week has been very quiet except Monday, when there was a ball at the Theatre in commemoration of the restoration of the Republic, where everybody may come that pays 6 fr. The whole Theatre was quite full and it looked very pretty. We were to dance with whoever asked us. The first man I danced with was very disagreeable and vulgar, which put me rather in despair for the rest of the ball; however the rest of my partners were very tidy, so I liked it very well. I had the good luck to dance with one or two Englishmen. I was quite surprised to see the shopkeepers here look so much worse than any English shopkeepers. I had much rather dance even with Mr Timmis than with most of the people there. When I was afraid any particularly horrid-looking man was going to ask me to dance I began such a very earnest conversation with Fanny that they could not interrupt me. The room looked very gay from having a great many people in uniform, especially the prince of Denmark and his three governors. Sismondi was very indignant with the behaviour of some English young ladies sitting by us, who,

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when anybody asked them to dance that they were not acquainted with, looked very glum and answered, "Je ne danse pas."

We have hardly stirred out since Monday. The snow is now very deep and there is a piercing bise, so we do not mean to attempt going out to-day.

I have had a music-master for more than a fortnight now. He is a German and despises every music but German very much. I think he is a very good master, for he makes me learn the same piece of music for an immense time, and talks continually of my learning to play things without missing a note. He takes great pains about playing with expression, but I think he plays with so much expression himself that it is as if he was mad. Fanny has enquired about a drawing-master, but the Marcets, who are great connoisseurs, tell her they are all very bad. When first we came here we were troubled with not being able to find time to do anything, but now we find a little more, not that we get up early.

Yesterday evening was very dull, partly owing to the Prince of Denmark, his two governors and his physician coming. Sismondi received them very awkwardly, but luckily they went away to a ball in a quarter of an hour. The Prince gives a ball on the 18th at his house in the country to which we are to go, and we are to go to the Redoute this day (Saturday) week. These are our only balls at present. I have made great progress in hairdressing, and I make both our heads look very dashing. We have only had the odious hairdresser once, and then we disliked him so much that I mean to have a fight to get the other next time. I find I like the Genevese much better than I expected I should, particularly the young ladies. Adèle Prévost1 has just been sitting an hour with us. She is very pleasant. She told us M. de Staël is now

1 Afterwards engaged to Edward Drewe.

well enough to go a courting in a sedan chair, which is not at all romantic. We are to meet her this evening at Mme Pictet Menet's, where we shall meet the Marcets also. I wish they would not ask us so often to meet them, for I like meeting anyone else better. They never listen to a word one says, tho' they are very civil.

Sismondi and we get on very well together, and we talk very well and listen very tolerably. He is more affectionate than ever, which I am very grateful for. I am afraid he will never leave off kissing our hands. I was in hopes he would after we had been here sometime, but he is more constant than ever.

I was very much surprised with Aunt Jessie reproaching us for not talking enough to Edward [Drewe], It is a very unjust charge, for I always talk as much as ever I can to him, particularly when he looks dismal in company.

I am sorry Tony is become so fat, I do not know what he will do without me to whip him and starve him. He must have enjoyed his stay in the kitchen very much.

Sunday, Yesterday we went to Mme Pictet Menet's and had a very comfortable evening, which finished by dancing, to my great joy, for I had the fidgets of wanting to dance, ever since the ball at the Theatre. I get on in waltzing very well.

Is the school as full as it was when we left home? You must tell us everything in the world that you have been doing, and all about that charming place, Maer. One feels interest about the most insignificant things from being such an immense way off. Mme Beamont and Edward sung last night, but I assure you nobody sings as well as you and Charlotte.

We are going to have a comfortable evening at home to-night without Sismondi. You must not think me wicked for putting that. I like him much better than I did. Aunt Jessie is very happy and comfortable now. I think Sismondi was rather melancholy after she came first,

[pages] 254 - 255

because she was in low spirits. Good bye my dearest Elizabeth, our best loves to all of you, dear Papa, Mamma and everybody. Your affectionate sister, Emma w.

I heard that Aunt Sarah has not got into her new house yet. Will you give her my best love?

Her words about the expressive playing of her master "as if he was mad" are delightfully characteristic. She always kept the same horror of any exaggeration of feeling. Her wonder as to what Tony will do without her "to whip him and starve him," makes one think she was a better disciplinarian in her youth, for her little fox-terrier Dicky, her constant companion for the last twelve years of her life, was so little whipped and starved that he never understood that obedience was a duty, and was often coaxed to eat his biscuits by her holding them hidden in her hand, snatching them away and pretending he should not have them.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

MAER, January 16 [1827].

Sarah dined here the other day in very good spirits, though the troubles and complaints of her small establishment are beginning to come in, and she has done too much for their accommodation not to be expected to do more. While I am upon the subject of Sarah, I cannot resist telling you that she subscribed £200 to the distressed manufacturers at the general Committee under an anonymous signature, besides £20 to the immediate neighbourhood of Etruria under her own, but you must not notice this or I may get into a scrape for telling. I do believe she has given away near £1000 last year in different acts of benevolence. Who can say that a woman is not as capable of managing a large fortune as a man, or that a single woman has not as many opportunities of doing good as a married one? I wish I could preach singularity among my poor neighbours I know; for I do believe that if nobody would marry who could not maintain a family till they were thirty years old, there would be no poor in England. The distress all round us makes this now more apparent than ever, and yet in the town of Newcastle there was never known so many poor marriages as this year. Many young couples under twenty have been married, who had not a single article of furniture to begin the world with and have been obliged to go back to their parents with the prospect of an increase of misery.

My two little girls seem very happy at Geneva and will Spend a much gayer winter than they would have had at home. I wish they may also reap the benefit of being with two such minds (for I must say that Sis. possesses also a superior one, however one may owe him a grudge) and Jessie's is beyond discussion. I hope they will open their eyes wide to what is excellent and then they must be the better for it……

Fanny Wedgwood to her mother.

January 21st, Tuesday [1827].

……On Thursday the Prince of Denmark gave a grand ball at the Casino (the place where the Redoutes are given), to which we went. It was a very pretty sight. In the middle of the ball they danced a cotillion which I should think lasted upwards of an hour, which cut a great many people off from dancing. The Prince danced almost all evening with Mrs Lambton, and after we were gone people say there was a scene between them, some say that he threw himself at her feet, others that he gave her his feather; what did happen I don't know, but Edward [Drewve] looks and talks very mysteriously about it and all

[pages] 256 - 257

Geneva is very busy talking her over. I suppose she has been very imprudent, but I think they judge her very harshly, for if she did flirt a good deal with the Prince, he is only a boy of 18, so she might think there was no great harm in it. But whatever has happened people seem to cut her now, for she is going to give a ball on Tuesday week, and I am afraid many people will send her excuses, for several have said to Aunt Jessie, "You don't mean to go of course,"as if she had completely lost her character. However, Aunt Jessie means to stick by her and go to the ball if we are the only people there, so she does not encourage Edward to tell anything against her……

Dear Mamma, you need not be afraid, though we are very happy and comfortable here, that we shall be sorry to come back to you. I love Maer much too well not to be glad always when I come home. Sismondi is very affectionate, and I try to return it, but I am afraid I shall never like his company much. We go to bed so late in general that we have not a great deal of time in the morning, but we are tolerably industrious in general, and we very seldom miss taking a walk. I enjoy our walks with Aunt Jessie very much, she always talks so pleasantly. We will be very careful about colds, and not go out in the evenings if we have got bad ones, but we have been very clear from them as yet. I shall be very glad to hear when Aunt Sarah has got into her new house1, I think she must be very uncomfortable at Woore this bad weather. Will you give her our love?

I am surprised to see all the old men come to the balls here. I should have thought they would much rather have stayed away. Sismondi looks very unhappy at them, I never saw such an anxious-looking man as he is. I hear we ought to go to all the balls in white, so I think it is great nonsense putting on mourning2 at all, but we must do as other people do……

1 Camp Hill, just built on Maer Heath.

2 On account of the Duke of York's death.

Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

GENEVA, 27 Jan. [1827].

What a dear letter I have left so long unnoticed, my beloved Bessy! Do not think from that, that I have been insensible to its merit, or have loved one bit less its dear writer; on the contrary my love for you burns daily and never sleeps but when I sleep myself, and not always then, for I dream much of you. It burns daily by means of your two children, who are a delight to me every instant of the day; otherwise I do not know that you would have more than your share, but I cannot help your being uppermost when I hourly feel the benefit of your love and confidence. They make my winter pass much too quick, and every Saturday we exclaim at another week's decease. They have too many happy ones before them to feel with much sadness its loss, but it does make me saddish, and frightened too. I feel too much as if I could not be happy, deprived of every one of my own family. This place and this people look very ugly after their sweet faces and my own dear land, above all Cresselly, where sometimes I am afraid my heart lies interred, I can never tell you the benefit you and Jos have conferred on me in letting me take back your two children; it has covered so well, even if it has not destroyed, the sadness I could never have conquered without them. I would not for the world have taken back to my own Sis a doleful aspect after all he had done for me, and for his own glad one to see me back, but without them I am sure I could never have succeeded. As it is we are all gay and happy, and Sismondi far from being the least so. He loves Emma and Fanny and enters into all their little interests of vanity with greater warmth than I do, because he does not understand as well as I do how completely without vanity they are. If they are not immediately taken out to dance he swears, and can hardly

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stay in the room. If they dance he can look on unwearied, and support all the ennui of a ball-room, which he never could bear since he had himself left off dancing. They surpass even my hopes of giving him pleasure; he enjoys every moment at home, and has a greater interest when we go out. He thinks them very pretty, and will tell them so, in spite of all my injunctions and threats that I will tell you. They do not however seem to give him the least credit, and the other day Emma laughed in his face when he said on occasion of our admiring the beauty of Emma Pictet that he would not give one of his own little Emma Wedgwoods for ten Emma Pictets. He admires Fanny very much, and as he never hides anything he feels, he tells her he thinks her very pretty—will this do her any harm, think you? None at all I believe, for they will not believe themselves a bit more good-looking because he calls them jolie


I suppose the girls have told you all the gossip of the place up to a few days since. They have been writing generally, I think, one or other every eight or ten days. They will have told you that we had all promised to go to Mrs Lambton's ball, of the event of the Prince of Denmark's ball, etc. I have to tell you that we are set free—that Mrs Lambton has put off her ball without assigning any reason, but I understand on account of everybody's sending in excuses, and that we are very glad to be set free from stepping forward, almost alone, to support a vain and foolish woman, to say no worse of her, tho' I was determined not to join in the general insult on occasion of her showing us a civility, and so I declared to all who asked me; and I thought I made some look a little ashamed when I asked them why I should be expected to join in a general insult, the malevolence of which I disapproved far more than I did the foolish vanity of a woman, whom a boy of 18 had preferred to dance with a whole evening instead of doing the honours to those stiff-humoured Genevoises, which if he had done, or properly divided his favours, all would have been right.

I hope the girls had dancing enough on Saturday, they could hardly stand when they came in. They are remarkably well, and look so blooming that I receive endless compliments on their fraîcheur. Dearest Bessy, I could not help laughing at your charge that they should keep an exact account of little items, letters, bills, etc.; they seem to me as exact as you could be yourself. Sis and I find daily something in the quiet qualities to love them the better for, but Sis wishes exceedingly to inspire them with some more showy ones. He tries to persuade them of the solid virtue of benevolence in the art and love of conversing; that in many moments of ennui they may by that power divert the real sorrow they may cheer and console; in short he finds very pretty arguments in favour of a little coquetry. But do not fear, I do not think you will find them one bit more coquettes than when you trusted them to us. The firmest conviction of the advantages of a quality will never teach it us, and they would prove very sturdy pupils against even the approaches of what they conceived evil. If he succeeds in convincing them of the virtue of not giving way to a disposition of silence, that casts almost imperceptibly a gloom around them, he will do them a great service; and I do not fear at all the coquetry that might ensue from his doctrine. You will I am afraid, from what I have said, think they are more silent than their neighbours, I have expressed myself so awkwardly. Not at all; Sismondi reproaches me more than he does them. Conversation is an art learnt by foreigners from the moment they can speak, and to which I cannot as I have told him aspire, nor is it so much needed in our dear untalking land. There is a pretty gaiety about Emma, always ready to answer to any liveliness and sometimes to throw it out herself, that will cheer everybody that lives with or approaches her. There is


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some disposition to silence in Fanny, which I am glad to see Sismondi perseveringly combat, and I think no one can be so persevering as he is. He says always he thinks Emma the prettiest, but he acts as if he thought Fanny was, he says there is something particularly pleasing to his taste in her countenance. I am very glad of it; the world soon shows which is really the prettiest, and when two go so much together, it is difficult that the one not preferred should not be mortified. Fanny looks remarkably well in a ball-room; she holds herself well, is most radiant in her person and brilliant in her colouring; so thai it is never known we perceive the difference. Do not take any notice of any remark I make on them in your letters here. An observation only, sent so far, looks like a reproach, especially if it is repeated. Sis and I have a scheme of making them good conversers, we are working in concert very secretly, and are afraid the smallest thing may interrupt our plan. How I do wish they were my own children, from whom I should never be separated, with whom I might play what pranks I pleased. Sis thinks Edward all the fools on earth not to be in love with Emma, he cannot imagine how it can be avoided. Edward goes out now almost every evening, he is much liked from his gaiety, his good breeding, and his charmante figure. But he comes to us morning and evening whenever he can. For my own part I love him very tenderly; I have never met with such docility in any human being, or hardly more affection, and always such perfect good and gentle breeding, that in living a long life with him one is sure of being secure from the smallest rudeness, even roughness. Not so with his sisters; he has all their sweet temper. One of his merits is loving you very warmly. He has just come in and told me to give his love to you in as tender a message as I could pen. I am convinced Caroline has done the wisest thing she could in sending him here. The fashion of the place is strict morality; he will always go in the extreme of the fashion……

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her sister Fanny.

MAER, Saturday, Feb. 17 [1827].

……Caroline Darwin left us yesterday—we could not get her to stay any longer, tho' we assured her she would not find herself the least wanted when she got home. She says she has been in a foolish talking humour so long that she is quite tired, and is gone home hoping Susan will let her be serious. I wish I had come in the middle of her foolish fit. She has got a fancy for birds again, and has had a set of Avadevats from London. They travelled one of the cold nights and came in so miserably cold and thirsty. Caroline had her trunk lost by the carrier, and has had to make out a list of her lost things; she was not quite so dismal at it as Allen [Wedgwood] in former days at the same employment, but it was very heart-breaking recollecting one French worked handkerchief after another. Our dinner-party, though it was not composed of very brilliant materials, went off very well, and Tony was so much nursed and admired that he has been thought a beauty ever since. The ball next day at Newcastle was so full they had two sets, but I have not heard what money was raised. (I have since, £80.) Two of the Miss Sneyds came with their brother, who did not dance, but Mrs Northen said with great glee to Charlotte, I do believe Mr Ralph Sneyd was going to ask you or Harriet to dance! so if they are not flattered I don't know what they would have. Frank found it very dull, but then the right Miss Charleywood was not there, and he would not try the wrong one, who was a pleasant girl.

Hensleigh and Erasmus [Darwin] make very comfortable companions. H. breakfasts with him every Sunday, for other days their hours do not much agree. Caroline D. says Erasmus likes Hensleigh extremely, and has a very high opinion of his learning. She had a very pleasant

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letter from Charles [Darwin] while she was here, begging to know whether Wilcox [the gamekeeper] was still Lord paramount here, and if she could find out without much trouble, he should like particularly to know how many head of game have been killed. He and Erasmus are quite troublesome in being so fond of letters from home. We are expecting Harry down next week. He has got to sit on a commission of bankruptcy at Burslem for which he gets three guineas a time, and will have four sittings, but as he comes down on purpose from London it will not make his fortune. I don't know how he will bear the news that his widgeon, that he left us such a charge to feed and break the ice for, was found dead soon after he went. Very much to Squib's benefit (only the puppy wearies him out of his life), Harry has left him behind with us this time……

There was an idea that Frank should come out and fetch his sisters home. This was not carried out and their father came instead.

Emma Wedgwood to her mother.

GENEVA, 25 March, 1827.

My dear Mamma,

We went last Sunday to Madame Achard's, which exempts us from going for three weeks so I cannot have a better time for writing to you. This is like the fleas and Stony Stratford……

I see you, as well as we, are thinking about our coming home. I hope you will settle about the time. It will be much pleasanter with respect to Aunt Jessie that she should not think us wanting to go away. I hope that Uncle Allen [John Allen of Cresselly] will be coming abroad this spring, that he may prevent her feeling melancholy when we go away. She is more and more affectionate every day, I am afraid she will miss us very much if she does not see some of her brothers or sisters. How I shall enjoy seeing you again my dear Mamma, we shall have a great deal of gossip to tell you. I hope when Frank comes he will not stay here one night and set off home early the next morning. Aunt Jessie will be very much disappointed if he does not stay with her some time, and it will make it such a stupid journey for him if he is in a very great hurry, besides he must see Mlle Muller, who I am sure is much merrier and more amusing than even Miss Charleywood, and who inquires very tenderly after him. Aunt Jessie was thinking of our making a little tour with Frank. I know we should enjoy it very much, but we have already had so much pleasure and been so long from home, that if you and Papa had rather we came home sooner, we shall be perfectly satisfied. I assure you I do not wish anything about it. And you are always so ready to give us pleasure that I am sure you will, if you have not some good objection or wish……

Aunt Jessie has just given me leave to tell you of Edward's love affair, which I have been longing to do all thro' this letter. However you must keep it a secret till you hear of it from Aunt Drewe. He has fallen in love and proposed to Adèle Prévost and she has accepted him, to our great surprise, as she is 24 [Edward being 21]. Aunt Jessie wrote a fortnight ago to Aunt D. about it. For my part I think she will make a very nice wife for him. She is rather pretty but very old looking. Aunt Jessie thinks her age an insuperable objection to the match. She would like to know what you think about the match. Adèle's father gives a reluctant consent in case Aunt D. has no objection. The courtship was very short; I don't think he met her 10 times before he proposed and was accepted. I was very much amused by sitting by her at the concert, with Edward very triumphant behind us, saying "Shall I go away?" I think you saw her when you

[pages] 264 - 265

were here. She has the most sober, steady manners, and not at all the sort of person to fall desperately in love. She talks English very well, luckily. What a pity I did not begin this delightful subject before; now I have no more room. It amuses me very much, but Aunt Jessie is vexed about it Good bye dearest Mamma. Your affectionate Emma W.

Jessie Sismondi adds in the same letter:

Dearest Bessy,

I thank you for your nice and dear letter, all but where you have said something about sending for the girls. I beseech you not to hurry them; I shall now have no one to replace them, and I dread the approach of summer. But enough of myself, you have granted me enough and I ought to be grateful. Never, never, can I tell you, what a benefit they have been to me. Sufficient, if they knew how great, to make them happy tho' they had had no pleasure themselves, But you will allow them, I'm sure, to see a little of Switzerland before they leave it, les petits Cantons at least; and they will hardly be green before June, the spring is so very late. Do not let Frank set out before the month of May, or if he does, be it to remain quiet. Let me yet have them thro' May if you possibly can. I am ashamed to ask for more than you are ready to grant and they to stay. Edwd's love affair annoys me till I hear how Caroline takes it. I wish it had been Emma, I should have had no trouble.

Emma Wedgwood to her mother.

GENEVA, Ap. 24 [1827].

My dear Mamma,

I cannot tell whom I owe a letter most to, but Elizabeth and Charlotte must not be offended, but take this as addressed to you all. I was rather surprised to find you did not expect to see us home before July. I shall be very sorry to leave Aunt Jessie whenever it happens, but then I shall be so glad to come home and see you all that I don't mean to trouble my head about anything, but let things take their course according to Aunt Jessie's maxim. Sometimes I take a violent longing to go home, but it goes off in 5 minutes. Edward's love affair goes on very peaceably. I believe Aunt Drewe would not like it to be known, but it is already known all over Geneva, and that is the only place that signifies. They have settled to wait till he comes into his fortune.

We were at the last Redoute on Saturday: it was very pleasant. Fanny has had quite enough of balls, but I am sorry they are over.

My dear Papa, We have just received yours and Charlotte's letter and we are quite delighted with your scheme. Caroline Darwin's coming too makes it much more delightful. She enjoys everything so much and is such a pleasant companion.

I am very much surprised at Georgina [Alderson]'s inviting Charlotte tho' I don't think it quite such an unmerited honour as she does. Your letter has put me in such a dissipated state that I am writing like a fool, so I had better leave off. Goodbye, my dear Papa and Mamma,

Your affectionate daughter,


My mother often spoke of this stay at Geneva as one of great enjoyment, chiefly I think the society of the beloved aunt Jessie, but also the balls and sociability of Geneva. I remember her saying that after dancing with your partner it was de rigueur not to say one word to him but to be brought straight back to your chaperon. Also you did not bow to him if you met him again in the town.

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The love affair mentioned in the foregoing letters caused a great family commotion, and it was apropos of this and of all the letters to and fro, that Harry Wedgwood composed the quatrain often quoted in the family:

Write, write, write a letter!
Good advice will make us better.
Sisters, Brothers, Father, Mother,
Let us all advise each other!

Charlotte Wedgwood (staying with her cousin Georgian Alderson) to her sister Emma.


……I came here on Tuesday night by the mail, under Harry's escort. We were under the hard necessity of getting up at three o'clock and then driving to Stone, expecting all the way to be too late for the mail. Our fat phaeton mare was never so hurried in her life, for unlike dear Duchess, there is scarcely any persuading her even with the whip to get on. We arrived in time, however, and had a very beautiful day and good journey, and arrived near eleven without being at all tired. There is no travelling that fatigues one so little as the mail. I could not help grudging to leave the country at this beautiful time of year, and particularly the garden, for the time is just coming on when I expected to see the effect of all my arranging of the flowers, that I took such pains with last year; and the peonies were just coming out. We had been working very hard for the last ten days for the bazaar for the Spanish and Italian refugees; I, in drawing chiefly, and Elizabeth and Mamma embroidering work-bags and making pen-wipers and skreens. Hensleigh covered himself with glory by imagining some Burmese skreens which Elizabeth executed.…

Georgina is very good-natured in asking my brothers. She is very fond of her baby1, which is a very nice one and pretty now, tho' she does not promise to be so. Mr Alderson is a pleasant host. He puts one so completely at ease, which is seldom the case with the master of a house. He is sociable and rather merry and talks a good deal and very agreeably. I have come to the end of all I have to tell you, and here is a whole page before me to be filled, I must therefore do what I don't like, put my letter by, and see what time will produce.

Sunday 13th. Yesterday the Aldersons gave a dinnerparty. Dr and Mrs Maltby, Chief Justice Littledale, the Andersons and the Lockharts were the party. Mrs Lockhart2 is particularly pleasing, she is so simple, natural, and modest. Mr Lockhart is remarkably handsome, and I think, notwithstanding my prejudices, would be agreeable if he would come out more, but he seems reserved. Georgina managed for me to sit next him at dinner. A few more came in the evening, among them, the Luttrells, whom I like. Mr A. and Georgina are obstinate about making me sing, which I had much rather avoid. G. never sings herself, which leaves me the only musician, and except people are particularly fond of music, it is the most dullifying thing that can be to a party. One feels it rather hard to be obliged either to bore the company or be disobliging. Aunt Mackintosh arrived in town last night in order to hear Chalmers3 preach, she returns tomorrow or next day. Fanny [Mackintosh] and I went to hear him on Friday at the opening of the new Scotch church. He has a very bad voice, but is certainly a very

1 The late Marchioness of Salisbury.

2 Sophia, daughter of Sir Walter Scott.

3 Dr Thomas Chalmers (1780—1847) theologian, preacher and philanthropist. Lotkhart said he had never heard "a preacher whose eloquence is capable of producing an effect so strong and irresistible as his."

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fine preacher. If he had but Mr Irving's1 beautiful voice he would be perfect. Mr Irving gave a prayer of an hour's length, which is I think more than twice too long. Moreover his praying is so theatrical as to be disagreeable,—a much worse fault in praying than in preaching. There was an immense crowd, and quite a riot at one time made by the people outside breaking in.

Frank is going about seeing sights in the most exemplary manner, and is sometimes ten hours on his legs. I have been expecting him to grow restive and take his place in the mail back again one morning, but Hensleigh thinks he will stay out his three weeks.

I never knew such a bustle as I have been in. That and the trouble of one's clothes are the disadvantages of London. I feel as if I had time for nothing. Every minute that I have is required for drawing, that my lessons may not be thrown away upon me. I have had two, and like Mr Copley Fielding very much.

Believe me, my dear Emma,
Yr Affect., C. W.

Early in 1827 Harriet Surtees's long servitude ended with the death of her husband, and Bessy

1 Edward Irving (1792—1834), divine and founder of the Irvingite or Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. The movement is remembered in connection with outbursts of articulate but totally unintelligible expression, called "speaking with unknown tongues," which took place about this time. The speakers regarded themselves as the mere channel of some divine influence. Irving himself never spoke the "unknown tongues," but was exceedingly indignant with "the heedless sons of Belial" who maintained that it was mere gibberish, and protested it only wanted the ear of him whose native tongue it is to make it a very masterpiece of powerful speech. Mary Campbell, who first had the gift in a little farmhouse at the head of the Gaerloch, conjectured for unknown reasons that it was the language of the Pelew Islanders. Irving was a lover of Jane Welsh (Mrs Carlyle). "If I had married Irving, we should have heard nothing of the tongues," Mrs Carlyle wrote long afterwards. See Dict, Nat. Biog.

went to stay with her. She had not, I think, any settled place of abode during the first years of her widowhood, but stayed much with the Sismondis. The following letter from Harry (now a barrister in London) was written to his mother just after her visit to Mrs Surtees, and while she was with the John Wedgwoods at Kingscote.

Harry Wedgwood to his mother


5, ESSEX COURT, TEMPLE, Thursday [24 May, 1827].,

My dear Mother,

I congratulate you on your change of quarters from Cheltenham to Kingscote, though my own goût paysager is not so strong as it used to be, or my taste for London is stronger. London is full of dirt and ugliness and vulgarity, but London is London after all, and it is something to have the freshest news and the freshest fish, and to see everybody and everything. Here am I a Staffordshire man 150 miles from home, and yet of Staffordshire people alone I have seen and heard of I don't know how many. Is it nothing to have Mr and Mrs Tomlinson and Miss Tomlinson, of whom Jos himself said that she was no worse than other young ladies? What greater advantages should I enjoy at Hanley or Cowbridge or Burslem or Tunstall? The country is a very good place to see good company in, but is very blank by itself, and so I daresay Jos and Allen have found it by this time. What brilliant evenings they must be spending together, what a flow of soul! I pity even Squib when I think of it. We have all been stirring about here in town, plenty of dinners, plays, and operas, but all in the family way as Matthews says, which I think a very pleasant way (whatever Mrs Alderson does at this time). It must be confessed Mrs——'s family dinner was tant soit pen ennuyeux.

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Nobody shall persuade me that ——is either the most agreeable or the cleverest man in London. If he was he would not have shocked Charles Darwin by saying that a whale has cold blood, or the universe by eating with his knife, or me by the patronising manner in which he mentioned what he had done with Ministers in favour of Sir J. Mackintosh. He said Lord Lyndhurst had asked him as to Sir J.'s health and capabilities, of which he had made as favourable a report as he could; and Ld. L. had also, I think, said something about making him a Baron of the Exchequer; but that is out of the question, for though the work in London is nothing, and therefore he might easily do that, neither his health nor his legal knowledge can be fit for circuit.

Fanny Mackintosh, Charlotte and I went with Mrs Swinton Holland and her two daughters to [Rossini's] Semiramide, for reports of which I refer you to Charlotte, only it was a sort of music in which I could have whistled a part all through, so that it cannot be very original. Mlle Pasta's acting was very fine, and worth 10 nights of Miss M. Tree's "Home sweet Home" work, or Miss O'Neill's pulling away at the pocket handkerchief which hung at the small of her back. There was no ballet. On Monday I went with, or rather after, Caroline Darwin, Charlotte and Frank to the French play, where I was confirmed in my opinion of the superiority of French plays and actors over English. In the Demoiselle à Marier, the demoiselle comes jumping in in her morning gown, and boasting of what a breakfast she has eaten, and what a walk she is going to take, when she is packed off by her maman to put on her best gown to receive a visitor. This horrifies her, for she is sure she shall have to sing; accordingly when the visitor arrives, in come all the family en grande tenue and Mademoiselle as awkward and frightened as possible. She is bid to hold up her head and say something, and is sent to fetch her drawing of the tête de Romulus, but to her great relief the visitor is so disgusted with all this exhibition that he declares off. However he stays to dinner, and Mademoiselle takes off her fine gown, and is so happy and pleasant at being released that she and the gentleman fall in love and it is all settled. An English actress would have been hoydenish when she was not affected, and vulgar all through, but this French one never seemed to think of the audience, or of her dress or attitudes, but was just as if she acted for her amusement. Charlotte and I both remarked that in all these French petites pièces all the characters are made extremely good-natured, and that makes another contrast with English afterpieces. A third contrast is in the women's dresses, which I think are not only infinitely better but much cleaner at the French Theatre.

Having gone through my dissipations it is time I should inform you that I have won Uncle Allen's cause for him, that is with the assistance of the Attorney-General and Taunton. It was tried the day before yesterday before Littledale. I was in a horrid fright, for I was responsible to Uncle Allen in three several capacities of Pleader, Counsel, and nephew, and he chose to come and sit in court to quiet my nerves. However the other side did not take the only objection I was afraid of, and we got a verdict for the sum awarded. I had nothing to do but to open the pleadings and ask one question and so I earned six guineas. The Attorney-General was very civil, and was graciously pleased to enquire whether my father was John or Jos, and hoped he should be often "with me" at Westminster.

You will probably have heard from Charlotte how the first day's bazaar [for the Greeks] went off. She and Hensleigh were there. There was an immense crowd and everything sold very dear. The Burmese screens went directly, and so did Charlotte's pictures; the best at 30s.

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and so downwards. I should not wonder if I might have sold a goose trap if I had sent one. I had a brilliant idea for something which would have fetched any money, but it did not occur soon enough, and so it must wait till the next bazaar, but it certainly will be the prettiest toy ever invented.…

At the end of May Jos, accompanied by Caroline and Charles Darwin, set out to fetch the two girls home from Geneva. Charles was only to go as far as Paris and then return. This was the sole and only time he ever set foot on the Continent.

Josiah Wedgwood to his daughters Fanny and Emma at Geneva.

PARIS, Saturday, 26 May, 1827.

My dear little Girls,

….I am very glad that I induced Car. D. to come with me. I need not tell you how agreeable a companion she is, and she has so much taste for beauty that it is a pleasure to travel with her. She has not seen Jessie [Sismondi], I believe, since she married, but unless I am much mistaken Jessie will like her much and Jessie's husband too, at least I expect and hope it. To return to our journey and voyages; I went to bed the moment I got on board at 1 o'clock, and lay till we got into Dieppe at 11. Caroline was ill, but took not the least harm, and Charles, though not quite well, made a very hearty dinner on roast beef. We should have been tempted to stay a day at Rouen, if the weather had been good, but it has been detestable ever since we landed till this afternoon. (P.S.—Rain again.) I am glad you have got the great Henri, but my mind misgives me that he knows nothing of German, which I neglected to mention to you as a necessary requisite, N'importe—his great qualities will make up for the trifling circumstance of not one of the party speaking the language of the country.

Tell my dear Jessie that her addition to your former letter to your mother was not thrown away upon me. Nobody can do kind things with so much grace as she does.…

Caroline Darwin to Fanny and Emma Wedgwood.

26 May, 1827.

My dear Fanny and Emma,

(I know you like being classed together, and as Charlotte and Eliz. to this day speak of you both as if you were but one, I shall follow their example.) Many thanks for being so glad that I joined this delightful excursion. It was very good natured of Uncle Jos to think of me, but there never was a kinder person and the pleasantest travelling companion. I am quite losing all my former fear, and Charles, who came with us as far as Paris, joins me in a chorus of admiration whenever he leaves the room. But as you know all his merits nearly as well as I do I will say no more.

Paris is looking so gay and pretty after London. I cannot think how anyone can compare them, and the common people are so merry and look so happy. The roads here from Dieppe were detestable from the rain, and we were quite cross from being shaken about, but the postilions, who were likewise quite wet, had a joke and a bright smile for every friend they met.…

This description of the gaiety of the French would hardly be echoed by any modern traveller. I think anyone would say a London cabman looks happier than his Paris brother.

The party stayed three or four weeks with the

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Sismondis, then all set off home, making a little Swiss tour on the way. They went by Grindelwald, Meyringen and Lucerne to Schaffhausen, then through the Black Forest to Heidelberg and Mainz, thence down the Rhine by steamer to Rotterdam, and reached home (viâ Antwerp), by the end of July.

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, Sunday, 1st July [1827].

Thank you. my dear Emma, for your little note from Lausanne which I was very glad indeed to receive. To know you were all safe there, and Caroline well, and your delightful tour actually begun, was great pleasure to me. You have had more beautiful weather since you departed than you have had the whole time you were here. Thursday and Friday were perfect, that rich hot blue air and the Mont Blanc snowy-white and clear, half-way up the sky, made me wish for you, made me angry you were not here or that everything looked so beautiful. My dearest children, if I was to say I did not miss you, that the house was not very empty, very silent, and very desolate, I should not say what was true. But you will, I know, be glad to hear I am not very sad, that my spirits are pretty good, and that I think more on my good fortune in having you so long, having had so much more of my own Jos than I expected, and seeing and renewing my affection for Caroline Darwin, than on the loss I have sustained, which I endeavour to think as little of as possible. And for that I drive the image of my little idiot for the present out of mind as much as I am able, but it is an obstinate little toad that holds its place very tenaciously. I never thanked the dearest Jos for the benefit he had done me in lending you me so long, or said a word of the good he had done me, but the fact is I could not have spoken of it unmoved, and he hates an ugly face. I therefore trusted to his tender heart to read mine.

If you are like me. you will like to have a very minute account of our days since you left us. Soon after quitting a place I like to know the disposition of every moment if it were possible, so here is a little journal for you. After coaxing myself in my own room for about an hour after you went, I found Edward [Drewe] gone, and Sismondi and I sat down to our téte-à-téte dinner for the first time since the 17th of May, 1826, 13 months and 10 days exactly. I cannot say that either of us enjoyed it. It was soon interrupted by the return of Edward before we had risen from the table, his manner gentle and affectionate as one that was to supply a loss. We all walked to the distant field and sat down on the hay, very silent and not very rejoicing. On our return to tea we found Adèle had again called and was astounded and grieved to hear you were gone. This set us talking on Edward's affair, on which he spoke very wisely and very confidentially with Sismondi till near eleven o'clock. Apropos, he said to me, "What a sweet disposition Emma has! I asked her to write to Adèle, she rather refused at first, but seeing it hurt me she went immediately and wrote this note." I don't know whether it was the impulse to say immediately what one knows, or the love of truth, or envy of praise, but I answered, "Oh she had written that last night, I saw it lying on the chimney-piece." It sounded so ill-natured I could not help laughing. Are you angry you little thing? So much for Wednesday, and I am glad it is over.

Monday, 2nd July. My dearest children how can you travel? The heat to-day is 88 in the shade. We have taken your hatbox to the office, and the keeper assures us it will be at Schaffhausen on Friday. How came grandpapa. Henri to forget it, and we all to overlook it, tho' it was conveniently enough placed for that on the bath in the


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little parlour? Edward brought in the newspaper yesterday in his way from church, and dined and went to Mme Achard's with us, where there was great lamentation about your departure, particularly from Mlle Moulton, who seemed sorry on her own account, and Mme Achard full of feeling about it on mine, and so was M. Pictet and Madame Falquet, they made me sad à force de pitié. Madame Pasteur could not talk without tears of your going away. I know no life of greater bodily Suffering than hers, yet she is not unhappy, nor ever without a considerable degree of employment. The little Bourdillon was very grateful for your box of comfits; Cécile told me it was yesterday of the greatest use in stopping a passionate flood of tears because she could not go to see the distribution of prizes.

This excessive heat has almost destroyed all my roses, but you would wonder to see what beautiful poppies I have, so large and double they make the garden look gaudy in spite of all I have weeded out.

Tuesday, 3rd. We have this morning had Suriotes to breakfast; he was one of the Greek deputies in London, through whose hand our poor loan slipped, Lord knows how, for I am sure he does not; he is a clever man and his conversation was very agreeable. He is on his road to Greece; he seems to think that Greece is lost as far as fighting goes—a remnant might still be saved by negotiation, but he seemed discouraged more than he was hopeful. We have just too had a visit from Lady Cawdor1, looking very fine and handsome, and she was agreeable too, but for the little laugh that accompanies all the sensible things she says. She told us she had just received a letter from Lord Carlisle that the Corn Bill had passed the second reading in the House of Lords, so that is well finished. She said Lord Lansdowne had given great trouble by his

1 Lady Cawdor, an old friend, was one of the great ladies of Pembrokeshire. She was daughter of the 2nd Marquis of Bath.

indecision and weakness, but that she believed he would take office presently. He would have Ld. Dudley's place, who only held it temporarily out of friendship to Canning, and she always thought Mackintosh would come in with him. I wish he may, but I dwelt a good deal on the hardship of overlooking him, in hopes she may report it to her brother and he to Canning. She said it was prefectly true that the King was very angry with the ex-ministers, above all with the Duke of Wellington. He said Canning had in the first instance been forced on him, and then they wanted to force him to send him out, but this time he should be his own master. You must not notice this as coming from Lady Cawdor, I suppose. She told me Lord Carlisle was the Ambassador between Canning and Ld. Lansdowne, and that he had found it so difficult a task it had given him a fit of illness. Give my love to Caroline and tell her not to forget her promise of a wedding excursion. I am sure she would not if she had looked at the M. Blane yesterday.

Madame Sismondi to her niece Fanny Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, July 10 [1827].

……The house still feels very empty without you, very silent, very triste, above all of an evening, and Thursday I thought it odious. To be rid of this evening melancholy we go out in the char pretty regularly as soon as the sun is sufficiently low. We stay out late and return by brilliant moonlight. With some management I have escaped any dejection after your loss, and that is so much more than I expected that I am much pleased with myself. My spirits have not sunk at all, and I have escaped a great evil. For when I am low no one is so prostrate as I am, no one so disagreeable, as your Aunt Sara used to say, and she was right. I know my own dear children love me well enough to rejoice I escape an evil, though that evil might

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have been so greatly flattering to their vanity (of which I rejoice to think they have none by the by). The truth is from the beginning of your stay I have had my feelings in training to meet with courage the termination which I knew must too speedily come. I was determined Sismondi should have no reason to regret the visits of those I love, but that he should feel they permanently benefited me. I am happy to tell you he was quite as low as I was myself, and that our feelings never were in more perfect unison. Since my letter to Emma I have read again Medwin's conversations of Byron, and going one evening to town for the second vol. I received a letter from Lady Byron saying she was at Sécheron; so putting the vol. in my pocket I went and paid her a visit. I sat with her till I fancied I saw symptoms of thinking our visit long enough, or I should have liked to have stayed longer, though Sismondi thought her intolerable. She talked more than I expected, and her manner was less cold. She talked like a sensible and good woman. She looks thin, pale, and old for her age, there is a stiffness in her features, and she has a mouth that could never admit her to be very pretty. She speaks in the low and languid tone that Sismondi thinks so insupportable. She was sitting apparently writing at a table on which lay open a manuscript book that looked very like a journal. Her husband in Don Juan accuses her with some impatience of writing journals; at another table sat a young man reading who took little notice of us or our visit, and spoke only to question Lady Byron on something she said in a manner not quite civil. Ada, a child of ten or twelve, went out as we came in, and so rapidly that I could not see her; but luckily she returned before we went, with her face all illuminated, in spite of some expression of timidity, to bid her mother look at the Mont Blanc red with the setting sun. I never saw a finer child; brilliant with health, a gay, open, sweet-tempered expression, but no regular lines of beauty; yet she may turn out a great beauty; and nobody can say what her childish, unformed features might turn out, and her mouth and eyes are very fine. She is fair, and has not the least resemblance to Lord Byron. We invited Lady Byron to tea the Thursday, but she was going to Chamouny and declined, but promised me a visit from Ouchy, where she is going to stay some time. This was Wednesday. On Thursday I intended having a brilliant soirée for Lady Cawdor, and invited the flower of our neighbourhood, the Constants, etc. Not one of them came, though many promised, and have never told me why they did not. Mlles Moulton and Trembly came, but so late they were of little use to me. I had the Prince of Denmark too, but no dear little Fanny to talk to him; and the young Farquhar, the most chatteracious English lad I ever saw, and accordingly he is called charmant garçon here,—intolerable I think. Edward [Drewe] and Captain Campbell became immediately such good friends that they sat together two hours and a half in the most animated conversation. Edward's facility of making friends and of conversation for new people astonishes me. Apropos it was Cookson sent him those two jars of pickles and one of preserves. There is a tenderness in those kind of gifts that give one a good opinion and very kind feeling towards Cookson.

On giving Edward his allowance the 1st of July we found so far from having saved anything he had spent more than his allowance; I could think of no better plan (that he would follow, that is to say), than to persuade him to go to St Gervais, where he can live for five francs a day and can have nothing to buy, being no shops of any kind, and an almost impossible thing to get anything from Geneva. He is gone this morning in the diligence, another triumph I gained; he wanting to take a char and to prove to me it was the cheapest way. I was obliged to call Adèle to my assistance to make him go. She came to

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breakfast with me last Friday, and I entertained her by relating Edward's extravagance. He flew into a passion with me, which I repaid him with interest. After my telling him he was too stupid to understand the meaning of words, and that I would rather beat my head against a stone wall than talk to him, he had the humility to throw his arms around my neck and ask my pardon, as if I, too, had not sinned. To say the truth I was ashamed of myself; he has a very sweet, unresenting disposition.

On Friday I went again to Lady Cawdor, and asked her to come and breakfast with us on Sunday or drink tea again on Saturday. She refused both invitations, which gave me great pleasure, but said she would meet me on Sunday at La Boissière. So here ends the plague of my hospitality to her; she is looking still very handsome and was much admired here on Thursday, and at La Boissière on Sunday. Certainly she has the sweetest countenance I ever beheld in a woman of her age. Age generally long before 50 gives us a few wrinkles that look very like frowns; her brow is still smooth and polished as at 20.

Here is the summing up of all our history. Give my love to your father and to Emma very tenderly, and to you, my dear Caroline [Darwin], I give it myself, thanking you most warmly for the few affectionate lines that closed Fanny's letter. I wish I could think myself at all worthy of the desire yon had so long felt of seeing me again. By the pleasure you gave me, I was alone worthy of it—I love you more than you can love me. I do not wish you to feel that sacredness of affection which an exile feels for anyone she loves coming from her own loved country. Your affections are ardent enough without that help, and will, I hope, lead you to visit me again when time and opportunity offer. You will be as heartily welcome by Sismondi as by myself.…

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

COLOGNE, Friday, July 20 [1827].

….Fanny found your letter here. I must say you write the pleasantest letters in the world, because you tell your own feelings and that is what one is most interested about. I shall leave to Fanny to tell you about our delightful journey from Mayence here, because she has much more taste for the beauties of nature than I have. I am sorry for Edward at Gervais, but I have no doubt he will make many bosom friends in a short time, as he always does. I wish I had been by to see you in such a passion, you naughty woman.…

After getting to Maer Emma writes (31 July, 1827) that she feels it quite natural to be at home, and she is very happy, though very idle and dissipated. And again, "Mamma read aloud all the poison for us in your last letter. I suppose she thought M. Moulton's compliments will not ruin us for life. Those cunning old men know that anything about vos aimables nièces will go down with you."

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The Mackintoshes at Maer—A bazaar at Newcastle—Fanny Allen the first companion in the world—Bessy on the Drewe-Prévost affair—The house in York Street sold—Harry, Hensleigh, and Frank—The John Wedgwoods abroad—Edward Drewe's marriage—The Mackintoshes settle at Clapham—Emma more popular than her sisters—Bessy's illness at Roehampton—The John Wedgwoods leave Geneva—Fanny and Emma dragonnesses at archery—Elizabeth Wedgwood and Mrs Drewe on the Rhine—Harriet Surtees at Chêne—Harry Wedgwood's engagement—A gay week at Woodhouse.

FANNY and Emma found a large party at Maer on their return from Geneva. The aunts Caroline Drewe and Harriet Surtees were there, as well as the Mackintoshes. It was soon after the death of Mr Surtees, and Emma writes as if she hardly knew her aunt Harriet, whom she thinks more like her mother than any of her other aunts. The Mackintoshes had come for a stay of six months. Book-shelves and writing-tables had been specially prepared for Sir James to work at his History. Emma writes, "Sir James shook hands with me, to my great surprise. He is very pleasant and talkative." It was during this visit that he found various of the younger members of the family "more good than agreeable." Bessy describes his bearing the bitter disappointment of getting nothing in Canning's Cabinet1 with calmness and fortitude, and several times mentions with pleasure that no shade of disagreement has ever interfered with her enjoyment of her sister Kitty's society. Lady Mackintosh was attempting amongst other things to reform Smithlield cattle market, and some very good letters by her on this subject were published in the Times.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Monday, Aug. 27, 1837.

My dearest Jessie


This is to travel in our Fanny [Allen]'s pocket to Geneva, and therefore I will begin to get it ready. No doubt you will have letters enough from others, but still I must add a word of tenderness to the heap, from my own self.

Mackintosh is come home after attending poor Canning's funeral. Alas! what a loss he is to all Europe. There were many at the funeral (M. said), who could not control their grief……M. had a long conversation with Dr Holland about Canning's illness. It was his misfortune, and everybody's misfortune, that he was so pressed by circumstances, that he had not time to be ill. When Dr Holland came

1 Canning's Cabinet of 1827 was composed of Whigs and Tories, and, according to Scarlett, Canning was surprised that Mackintosh was not proposed as one of his colleagues by the Whigs. Mackintosh was shortly afterwards made a Privy Councillor, but it seems that he had not made a sufficient mark as a practical politician, or was regarded as too infirm in health to be fit for any important office. His health had suffered permanently from the Indian climate (Leslie Stephen in Dict, Nat. Biog.). In the Whig government of Nov. 1830 he was made a Commissioner of the Board of Control.

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to him the first day, Canning said to him, "Dr, I have been struggling with illness these three months, and it has now conquered me." He had had shivering fits for four days, during which he had been giving dinners, and attending to his business. Dr Holland had no hope of him from the first day. On one of these days when he was so ill, he had his Secretary with him at his bedside for three hours over accounts. After he had done he said, "Now let's have a tug at Portugal." "No, sir," said the Secretary, "you have done enough, you must take repose," and he took his advice and fell asleep.

M. is in very agreeable spirits. I think he finds himself comfortable here, and he is a great acquisition to us in point of society. He generally sits a good while conversing after breakfast, then he goes up to his room for the morning, and we don't see him till dinner. He has his horse here, and rides every day before dinner. He has his own books, and he is established in the middle room upstairs for his study, and he sleeps in the next. In the evening he joins us at tea, and if we have no other company he is very obliging in reading anything we like to us, and he reads so well that it is a great treat. Kitty is also very comfortable; she spends almost all day in her own room and is very busy at her studies, amongst which the newspapers have their usual share, but always on the side of benevolence and humanity.

Wednesday. Time wears, and I must take care not to be too late with this letter for Fanny and John [Allen]. We have got a large party here to-day; Marianne and Georgina Tollet, Dr Mackenzie and Fred Tomlinson, besides Fanny Mack. and Charlotte Wedgwood, who are coming from Shrewsbury. Fanny M. does not look near so well as she used to do. I hardly ever saw so sweet a temper, or anybody so truly obliging and free from selfishness.

You take so much interest in my inmost feelings that I think you will wish to know how I like my two little girls now that I look with a fresh eye upon them. I think you and my kind Sismondi have done them good, but I don't perceive any marks of spoilation that I rather expected from both your kindness. I perceive that they converse with much more ease than they did, and are quite as unaffected. Emma is a little bronzed, but Fanny is one degree nearer prettiness than she was; but I hope she will never make the mistake of thinking that she is pretty. I must give you the same caution that you did to me when they were with you, which was, not to notice any of my remarks upon themselves; for they would think it hard to be debarred from any part of your letters, and you know how remarks get strength by repetition.

Harriet [Surtees] is so full and exact a correspondent, that I need tell you nothing from Kingscote [the John Wedgwoods]. I heard from Harry yesterday, who found it in his way to go from the Hereford Assizes, before he joined the Carmarthen Circuit1. Harriet's income will be too small to allow her to keep house comfortably, but her gentle, cheerful and accommodating disposition will always make her company precious to us all. She has only to chuse where she will be. Her modest docility is so striking that it almost makes one afraid to propose anything to her, for fear of her doing what she would rather not do. I believe that (in England) she prefers Kingscote as a residence, and perhaps she is right. We are not quite quiet enough for her…….

John Allen and his sister Fanny were at Geneva in the autumn of 1827 en route for Rome. In the Baroness Bunsen's Journal to her mother she writes:

1 Allusion to Harry's attachment to his cousin Jessie. Kingscote is near Berkeley, some dozen miles S. of Gloucester.

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Rome, 29 Nov. 18271. The company of Mr Allen is a real pleasure to me. I am more than ever aware of all that is good and excellent and respectable about him, but is foibles have grown old with him as well as his good qualities, and he is as fond as ever of repeating anecdotes of Brooks's: he has however changed the chit-chat of Holland House for that of Woburn, and the names of Scarlett, Brougham, etc. for those of the Russells and the Seymours.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen at Cresselly.

MAER, Oct. 31st, 1827.

Having just put your letter in the fire, unread by any save Elizabeth and myself, I proceed to answer it, my ever dear Emma.……

It is not like my dear gentle John [Allen] to speak as he does of the——family. We are all accused of a clannish feeling with respect to each other that has a tendency to make us inconsiderate to other people, and I think John's feelings for Caroline [Drewe] blind him, and make him unjust. I was very much amused by a bon mot of Mr Alderson's, apropos to this subject, which Harriet Gifford told me. Speaking (I believe a little too roughly) on the sort of exclusive feeling that all Caroline's sisters have for her, "I declare," said he, "if I were to break both my legs Mrs Drewe's sisters would only say 'Poor Caroline'." This of course never got to Caroline's ears, nor do I mean it should. My dear Emma, your anecdote of hanging the dog is quite odious, but I am very glad Seymour [aged 12] shewed so much feeling about it. It is a great matter to secure that point with a boy, and I hope you expressed your anger to George Edwardes without reserve. As to their being sportsmen, John himself is a proof that a man may be one without much harm to his general character,

1 Life and Letters of Frances, Baroness Bunsen. Vol. r. p. 294.

and with the guards you judiciously use to the boys, in pointing out the tendency to cruelty, we may hope for the best result. I cannot think that John's children can turn out ill.……

One word more of our clan—my dear Emma, I would not upon any account press Jessie to return with John [Allen]. It would be very unfair to Sismondi, and the opportunity is not a reason strong enough to make him so unhappy as I think her coming would do.……

Kitty [Mackintosh] is very busy about a number of good things, and she has been in correspondence with numbers of people. Mackintosh has had one or two fits of giddiness but they did not last a minute, but it has very much interrupted the history, which goes on so slowly that I am quite in despair about it. He can't do much at a time now for fear of his head; he will do nothing after dinner, and he generally takes two walks and a ride in the morning, so that when he is best able there is not much time for it. His spirits arc cheerful enough, but the mortification has sunk deep, and will not now be cured by anything that is likely to occur. He is in a very amiable humour, and so friendly to me that I have begun to love him. We play a rubber every night, which he enjoys very much, and considering he is a genius, he plays very decently. The Darwins go on Monday. I like them very much, but I shall not be sorry to have our party lessened. There is very little pleasure in what the young ones call a row. Hcnsleigh is gone, and him we all regret. He and Fanny Mack, are great friends and cronies. Good-night, my dearest Emma, everybody is gone to bed and I am tired writing. My love to the boys and Pippy and our friends at Freestone, and pray tell me how Sally Howels is, and give my love to her. Adieu, E. W.

All this autumn Maer must have been full to overflowing. Susan and Catherine Darwin came

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for a month, and Harry appears to have filled up some spare time in flirting with Susan, although his real love was his cousin Jessie, daughter of John Wedgwood.

Emma Wedgwood, now nineteen, was leading a happy, girlish life, taking what parties, balls and archery meetings came in her way. Charlotte and Elizabeth were only too happy to retire from all gaieties in favour of the younger girls. My mother used to tell us that at these balls they had white soup and pikelets for refreshments, and she said it was a work of danger consuming slippery buttery pikelets in ball costume.

Since the Genevan visit, Emma, in writing to Jessie Sismondi, expresses herself with greater warmth and expansiveness than is usual with her, and often signs herself "your affectionate child." Jessie adopts the phrase and from this time forth generally calls Fanny and Emma her children.

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Sunday [April, 1828].

My dearest Aunt Jessie,

Mamma sent us down your letter some time ago, and we were rejoiced indeed to see your dear handwriting. We did not hear of your illness till we heard you were recovering, but that was not enough to prevent our feeling very uneasy about you.……

We are expecting Mamma, Papa and Eliz. from London on Tuesday. It was a great disappointment to us their not coming on [last] Thursday. We had made everything ready and got Tony washed, and settled what a comfortable evening we should have hearing all the news, when the letter came, and we did nothing but lament.

We have been making a great many things for this Bazaar, which is for building fever wards to the Infirmary. We are to sell them ourselves, and our heads have been so full of it, that if I don't take care I shall write about nothing else. However I will not say a word more about it till it is over. Mrs Tollet called here yesterday and she thinks literally of nothing else, and after talking about it without ceasing for two hours, her parting injunction to us was, "Well, girls, I advise you not to tire yourselves with talking."

Friday. On Tuesday Charlotte, Fanny, and I went to Newcastle to arrange our table. Besides our own things Mrs Caldwell had sent us a very pretty set of things to sell on our table, and Miss Morgan and Miss Buller some more, so that our table looked very nice with some pink calico on the wall behind us, pinned all over with skreens and bags. On Wednesday morning Aunt Sarah took two of us in her carriage, very smart in those white hats you are acquainted with, which were of great use. All the world was there, smart people and common people, and the room was so crowded one could hardly stir about. It was very amusing selling, and we sold nearly all our things the first day. Charlotte's drawings came to great honour. A gentleman bought a pound's worth of them, and paid two pounds for them, and another paid a guinea where 15s. were marked. Our great difficulty was not having enough cheap things for the shopkeepers and young girls who had not much money to spend. Yesterday we went with Mamma to the second day's sale, which turned out much better than we expected. We were very much amused with making raffles for some of our expensive bags, and we sold off every rag on our table, getting cheaper and cheaper as it got later in the day. The proceeds of the first day was £700, and I think the second day must have got £300, which was

L. 19

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twice as much as we expected. Our table got £59, of which £34 was our own making. We feel it a great relief that it is over, as we have been very much bothered lately with getting our things done in time. And now we don't mean to mention the name of a bazaar for the next three-years. I hope you have not been much tired of this long sprose my dear Aunt Jessie. I am very glad Edward [Drewe] is going to be married in May, I am sure it is much the best thing for him. If I was his mother I should be very glad to have him off my hands. I am going to finish your stool for Edward to take over. The top is the same as the one you have got but the sides are different, which I hope you won't mind. Be sure you don't say when you get it, "Well it's a wonder such a little idiot could make a decent stool."

I think a great deal of the delightful winter we spent with you. By far the part which gives me most pleasure to think of is your Affection for us, and your and my dear uncle's sympathizing with us in all our pleasures. My dearest aunt Jessie I hope you know how tenderly I love you, but it is no use telling it to you for you will believe it without.

Your affectionate,

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, May 21st [1828].

I have received by Edward your pretty stool, my dear little Emma. You cannot imagine the pleasure it gives me, since I have done nothing but lament my folly in having given away the other to a person who cares nothing about me. I confess this you have sent me is still prettier and admirably worked, and I am at last consoled for the loss of the other, though you can give me no consolation for being a fool. No indeed, I did not say. "It is a wonder the poor little idiot could work such a stool," but I did call Maryanne and Elise to look at what Mademoiselle Emma had sent me, and they were in the greatest admiration that you could have worked so beautifully. "Eh! c'est Mademoiselle Emma elle-même qui a fait cela!" and there was no end to their exclamations.……

One always takes liberties with those one loves. I felt I loved you enough and you me to need no assurances of form between us, and put by writing to you as a pleasant task that awaited my leisure. While John and Fanny [her brother and sister] were with me I gave myself a complete holyday. Alas! it was but for one short eight days, but it was more than I had I expected, and I felt very grateful and satisfied and enjoyed the week extremely. The good spirits they gave me gave me also strength, and I walked with them sometimes near a mile, tho' I had hardly mounted the staircase without help before they came. They both looked remarkably well, and John younger and better than he did going. Both were pleased with their journey, and John spoke in the highest terms of the incomparable companion he found in Fanny. And well he might, for independent of the attention she pays him and all the care she takes of his health and pleasure, she never gives herself any holyday in her efforts to entertain him. I should not call it effort, for her conversation is rich, flowing, spirited, without the least effort; only I mean if he is tired of reading she is always ready to refresh him, and often puts down her book when she would rather read, or walks with him when she would rather sit still. This constant exercise of her understanding keeps it in great force, and I have no doubt she will preserve its power later than any other person, as well as accomplish herself in being the first companion in the world, and by that be the best consoler in sorrow, and the best comforter in sickness. I bore the parting from them better than I could have hoped. I saw the carriage drive out with the empty place


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I once hoped to fill without flinching. But in this I had no merit, I felt I was not strong enough to travel, and I never long for what I cannot do. The excitation of the week and the emotion of parting laid my strength prostrate for two days, and raised my pulse to above 70. But since that I have regained a double portion of strength, and my pulse has retaken its usual slow beat. Everybody who has seen me since their departure compliments me on the good they have done me and on my improved looks. I am perfectly well, and have still all the enjoyment in finding myself so—as if I had not had nearly three months to accustom myself to it.

The spring has been beautiful; we have greatly enlarged our garden, we have built a new kitchen, we have made a poultry court. M. Pasteur has given me six fine hens that give us fresh eggs every day. I have fifteen merry little chickens, and I spend a great deal of time among them, so that I have changed my mode of living. I have a much more material existence, and perhaps shall find better health in it. My long sickness has retarded my flower-garden, but I mean henceforward to direct the kitchen-garden also, and now that I have a decent kitchen I shall often be head cook. The misfortune is that Sis is no gourmand; he will not thank me for my dainties, or know them as such, and I shall have little encouragement.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, June 1st, 1828.

……I do love your Sis with all my heart for his kindness in pressing you to invite Edward to your house. Poor lad, I felt very sorry for him during the squally visit I had at Roehampton1.……Caroline [Drewe] bothered herself by

1 Lady Gifford, Edward Drewe's sister, lived at Roehampton for some time and Mrs Drewe was often there.

asking advice1 after she had acted. If she had taken no one step after her first letter, she would not have suffered near so much. I do believe as a general maxim it is far better not to ask advice on most occasions. I am afraid we made her a little angry (certainly we disappointed her) by not being able to see M. Prévost's offer, of taking the young ones in, and making them an allowance, in a very odious point of view; as it seems to us (that is to Jos, Elizabeth, and me) a very natural offer, where money was the obstacle, to remove it if possible; and whatever you may please to think, my Jess,as to her being in love, I dare say her father thinks her éperduement. When I put myself in their place, I cannot feel that I should think much of pleasing the Drewes.

Jos went to London to-day about selling his house in York Street2. He has long been thinking of doing so, as it has not answered for some years, but the procrastination natural to an uncertain step has hitherto stopt him. I don't know whether it is a prudent thing or not, for I really am in entire ignorance of Jos's finances, nor do I believe he knows his own income, but he says the produce of the works was deficient in a very large sum last year. Still he is so perfectly at his ease that I am not afraid. I don't believe we are in any danger, and I believe if we were to be much poorer than we are, it would take very little from the happiness of any of us. My poor Hal is the one I feel most anxious about. I begin to despair of his making anything like a competence at the bar, and I believe he has set his heart upon his cousin [Jessie Wedgwood], as many others have done before him in vain. Hensleigh is I think very heart whole, but he is much more likely to succeed in

1 As to her son Edward's immediate marriage without waiting till he came into his estate.

2 The London show-rooms. It was on the east side of the southern end of the street and afterwards became a chapel. Mr Stopford Brooke preached there for many years.

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his profession. He has two or three years more in store and he is more industrious; I believe also he has more talent. It is a great thing for us that with four grown-up sons they are none of them extravagant. What should we do if they were? Frank is an excellent fellow, he is right-minded, steady, and just what an English merchant (if you can call him such) ought to be, exact to punctilio in all his dealings, active and industrious. My daughters are also excellent. As I conceal nothing from you, I may confess that my hopes of seeing them happily settled in life diminish every year, and are now grown very flat. But these are worldly views, and I hope they will also every year give way to something better, and if we cannot turn the tide of prosperity our own way, I hope we may learn to be content without it. All this is under the rose. They are all too greedy after any letters of yours to let me easily keep them to myself; therefore take no notice. You will I daresay have heard from Jenny [Mrs John Wedgwood] from Havre. I am very sorry they are gone abroad, because I fear the expense for them and they do not know how to do upon a little. 1 am a little vexed and mortified that they have given up all thoughts of settling in Staffordshire. Jenny and I have lived many years in close neighbourhood without the shadow of disagreement or coolness, and I should like to have tried once more and finished our lives so. Many loves from here to you and Sis, and pray give my love to poor Ned. Ever yours, dearest of the dear, E. W.

The John Wedgwoods, as the above letter reminds us, were a much-wandering family. In the summer of this year they were at Honfleur in Normandy, and by the autumn in Geneva, where they remained, either with or near the Sismondis, for about eight months. In the summer of 1829 they were in Italy, and on getting back to England fixed themselves for a time in a house near Abergavenny, called "the Hill."

In June 1828 the Drewe-Prévost engagement ended by the lovers marrying. Bessy, in the many discussions on this subject, is characteristically calm as compared with the impetuous Jessie. After their marriage the breeze calmed down, so far at least as the letters shew, and Adèle was warmly welcomed by her mother-in-law when they came to England

The Mackintoshes had now made a home at Clapham near their friends the Thorntons. Harriet Surtees, who visited all her sisters in her widowhood, no doubt for the first time for years, is described as having recovered her health and beauty, and is persuaded by her sister Kitty Mackintosh to leave off her widow's cap and curl her hair again. Bessy writes (Dec. 4, 1828) of her during this stay, "Mr Henry Thornton is her great admirer, and says she has the sweetest expression when she speaks and smiles that he ever saw, and a gentleness and timidity of manner that is very charming."

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Oct. 6, 1828.

……Jos is just returned from London, having sold the house in York Street for £16,000, with which price he is satisfied, it being more than he gave for it, but whether it will increase or lessen our income remains to be seen. I am the less anxious about that question from never having known what our income was……

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We have had John [Allen] with us for a fortnight, and he was as cheerful and as agreeable as ever I saw him; there are three of our family that never grow old, and he is one. I was a little afraid that his spirits would be low after parting with his boys, but they were not at all. Jos was obliged to go to London during the time, which I was very sorry for, but John was so sociable that he made me feel the loss of a coadjutor to entertain him as little as possible. It happened, as usual, that we had the house full of cousins, but I contrived to get a little driving and a little riding with John, very much to my satisfaction, and in the evening he always seemed pleased with the girls' music. My own anxious heart sometimes played its usual tricks in damping my own enjoyment, under my fears of not making it agreeable to him, but this is a malady of my own which I believe will never leave me.

Jos makes a very comfortable report of the Mackintoshes' house at Clapham, and I think it is the best hit they have made at all. I am particularly pleased that Fanny [Mackintosh] is fallen into friendship with the Thorntons and Inglises, as they are very good people. She writes here very often and her letters are particularly agreeable. I may well be interested about her, for I think she and Hensleigh will never help falling in love with each other, so much as they are together.

Emma is going down with Miss Morgan to pay a visit to the Miss Aclands at Clifton. Fanny was also asked, but she preferred staying at home, and Emma anticipates a very pleasant outing. Her manners are in her favour, and she is more popular than any of my girls. Her manners to men are very much to my taste, for they are easy and undesigning without coquetry. Charlotte is too distant, and Fanny a little stiff. Elizabeth is very agreeable in my eyes, but she wants personal attraction, and she and Charlotte give way to the two young ones in amusements and going out.……

About this visit of Emma's to Clifton, Catharine Darwin writes (28 Sept. 1828), "I have no doubt your going to Clifton will answer to you, as you have an unfeigned passion for gaiety and novelty in my opinion."

In the winter of 1828–9, Maer has for the first time a regular pair of carriage horses, which is a great pleasure to Bessy, and Emma writes to her aunt Jessie that her mother will "tire the roads driving about." It seems strange that living with so much hospitality and comfort this luxury should not have been hers till she was 64 years old.

In March 1829 Bessy went up to London with her husband to Palace Yard, where he lodged, going on the next day to visit Lady Mackintosh at Clapham. Hensleigh came to act the part of a daughter to her, and do her little errands. He writes an account of her arrival to Elizabeth at Maer, dated 31st March, 1829, and adds, "My mother is in a great hurry. She is going to be called for at 4 o'clock by Aunt Mackintosh, so what she is in such a hurry about I don't see." His mother continues:

My dear Elizabeth, that impertinent Hensleigh is just gone and has left me his letter to finish. I am not at all in a hurry, but I put him to write to you while I tucked up my gown, which is quite under my feet. However, after having run my tuck nearly half over, I found the flounce had been put on so uneven that I could not bring my tuck in a parallel line to it, and I pulled out my work again.

Dear Hen. I don't wonder some people like him, he is so sociable and so pleasant. He has just been buying me a sash and a watch-ribbon to save me the going out, which I never like to do in London except in my coach.……

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The "some people" who like Hensleigh is no doubt an allusion to Fanny Mackintosh.

After the visit to Clapham, Bessy went to her niece Lady Gifford at Roehampton. While there she had a mysterious seizure from which it was feared at first she would not recover. It was supposed at the time to have been from an overdose of syrup of poppies, but was afterwards thought to be the first of the epileptic fits which now gradually began to come on. There was great anxiety about this illness, and they were thankful as soon as she recovered enough to return home.

During this summer Bessy expresses uneasiness about Lady Mackintosh's mental state. She writes (July 18, 1829), "I have now and then a nameless fear about Kitty which makes me wish she should be soothed by her family as much as possible, and when I think how short a time we may some of us have together, I am desirous above all things that our last years may pass in harmony and affection."

The following letter tells of the end of the long stay of John and Jane Wedgwood and their two daughters, Eliza and Jessie, with the Sismondis.

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, July 9th, 1829.

At last I have time to thank you, dearest little Emma, for your sweet letter. It gave me great pleasure in many ways. First and foremost that your affection to me is so vivid that you need the expressing of it now and then. I hope you will often indulge this amiable inclination, for it is always to my very great pleasure, whether or not I have time to answer it. Be certain that you excite my gratitude and warm my love to you whenever I see your handwriting, and read your affectionate expressions. How warmly I return them to you! There is much to answer in your letter, which amused me exceedingly, but I think you will be better amused if I give you our history since you last heard of us. Jessie [Wedgwood] has kept you bien au fait of their adventures; I shall therefore speak of myself. We returned last Sunday evening from "sending them," if you know the Cresselly expression, as far as Interlaken. I enjoyed the journey while with them exceedingly, in spite of much bad weather. The return I was more than melancholy, so that the rain, which poured on us for the greatest part of the way, was indifferent to me. After I had got back to Thun [from Interlaken], I found I might have finished the day with my beloveds without prolonging our stay from home, and without increasing our expenses. It was only transferring a half day from Vevay. I was in despair and odiously disagreeable to Sis for the greatest part of the way back. My spirits began to cheer at Bulle, and from Château St Denis to Vevay I was again in great enjoyment. But that was Saturday afternoon, and I had been odious since Wednesday one o'clock, when I parted from the dear ones who had made the last 8 months so happy, and who had cured me of all my ails. On Sunday we returned from Vevay in the steamboat, having been absent ten days and spent sixteen napoleons. I enjoyed my return home, it looked so clean and fresh and smelt so sweet, but it feels solitary after having been so long so well filled. My good health gives me now such strong spirits that little makes me gay and nothing long sad. Lady Davy1 came a few hours after our

1 Lady Davy often appears in the letters. At this time she had been a widow a few months. Sir Humphry Davy, the famous chemist, was an early friend of Josiah and Tom Wedgwood, who made his acquaintance in 1797 when he was only a doctor's boy at Penzance, and he afterwards helped Tom in his photographic work. Lady D. was a clever and brilliant woman and made rather a figure in London society, but many people found her very disagreeable. She died in 1855.

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return. I suffered her to go away to her inn without inviting her to return to us. I fancied I saw that she was disappointed; it is painful to disappoint people's expectation of you, and I felt uneasy; and yesterday when we dined with her at her inn and saw that she was melancholy, solitary, nervous, I prest her to return to us, and she comes on Saturday to breakfast. If the weather permits we are going another little tour with her.

I was very sorry indeed to part with Eliza and Jessie; you may imagine how sad with Jane. I had not known these as well as my other nieces, so that I have made, it seems, an acquisition in the knowledge and love of them. Eliza is another Elizabeth; I perceived in Jessie a resemblance to my own [sister] Fanny that could only make her more dear to me. They have the same irritability of the physical nerve, the same decision of opinion, and originality; the sprightliness of understanding, too, is very similar. She is very agreeable and so is my dear Eliza, who says witty things in so quiet a manner they are lost to more than one half who are by.……

The John Wedgwoods went to Maer soon after their return. Jessie Wedgwood, John's youngest daughter, was now 25.

Mrs josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

MAER, Sept. 3rd, 1829.

……Jessie [Wedgwood] is I think prettier than I ever saw her, and she really is uncommonly pretty. She went with us to the Archery on Thursday last, and was very much admired; and what is more, she got the first prize, a

beautiful pair of earrings. I had the three prizes in my possession at setting out, in right of my office of Lady Patroness, and I narrowly escaped bringing them all back again as I did before, but luckily by a little juggling between Fanny and Emma, they contrived to let Mrs Meeke in for the last prize. Fanny was entitled to the two first prizes, but it being a law that they were not to go to the same person, Fanny made her election for the second prize, which gave Jessie the first. It is comical enough that even a visitor at Maer should be so successful, as in the case of both Jessie and Miss A. As for Fanny and Emma, they are quite dragonesses, but nothing pleased me so much in their success, as the sincerity with which they tried to waive their glories in favour of the other competitors; and nothing pleased my little Emma so much as losing the second prize which was so near being judged in her favour. Perhaps they carried their scruples further than necessary, but there was a delicacy in the feeling that I could not but feel pleased with. Miss A. is gone, very much to my satisfaction, but don't tell Harry I said so. Flirting girls are dreadful bad company, and make everybody that comes within their influence very bad company also.……Jenny [Mrs John Wedgwood] received a letter from Jessie [Sismondi] last week, in which she describes her sufferings at not having heard from any of us in almost frantic terms; and it has put me on the stool of repentance for my part of the neglect. Her feelings turned upon not hearing from Harriet [Surtees] for twenty days after the 1st of August, when she said she was positively to begin her journey. How it happened that Harriet did not give her notice of the delay I can't imagine, she, that is always so regular. Jessie was convinced that she was either dead, or too ill to begin her journey. I am really very sorry that our Jessie is so much the victim of her feelings, and these feelings are unreasonable, for if either of these two misfortunes had happened she must have heard. She said

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that when the firsl letter (after 7 weeks) came from Jenny, she tore it all to pieces in her nervous efforts to open it; and for some time she could not read it for tears. I take blame to myself for having been so long in writing, but then I had no conception but that she was hearing within the usual intervals from some one or other of us. She now proposes that we should all write at stated times, and she has allotted me the 15th, or from that to the 20th of each month, and I intend to follow that suggestion and begin from this present month.…

Jessie Sismondi appears to have been a perfect magnet to her family. The eight months' visit of her sister Jane had only just ended when Harriet Surtees set out to her, and Lady Mackintosh, now in a melancholy state of health, was also on the way out.

The following letter alludes to an act of goodness of Elizabeth Wedgwood in taking her aunt Caroline Drewe, who had become very deaf and was often in depressed spirits, a tour on the Rhine.

Madame Sismondi to Elizabeth Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, Octobre 16 [1829].

It was very pretty of you, my best Elizabeth, to feel the want of writing to me as you approached me; would you had stretched on to pay me a visit. I think from your Aunt Drewe's letter the excursion has been of service to her; her mind seems filled with beautiful images of pictures and prospects, and that is perhaps the most important thing for one who must live within herself. She says "she is in better health and that she feels a stronger resolution to submit with resignation to her infirmity." I am afraid, my dear Elizabeth, it was a long deprivation to you to be out of your dear Maer, but yon have done a great service and to one who is very sensible of it, tho' it is not much in her nature to express gratitude. She says to me, "My sweet little guardian was to me the Elizabeth she is to everyone." We received a week ago a letter from Miss Mackenzie from paris, saying in the first part of her letter that she believed Kitty would come on here, in the second that she did not think she would, in the third that she would speak for herself.…

You have probably seen in the newspapers what a loss Geneva and we have had in the death of Dumont1. The loss is irreparable and we are in despair, but I believe I have already mentioned it in my letter to Jane. The body was embalmed and brought here and buried on Tuesday, the whole town following as mourners. I never knew a mind so rich, a conversation so inexhaustible, a person so full of anecdote, of which he never repeated, not indeed enough to please my taste. I like a twice-told tale very much. The ranks of those I love thin most rapidly here, and there are none rising to fill their places. We are in great anxiety for Mme de Staël's2 little one; it is dangerously ill. I saw her a short time before she set out for Broglie3, hanging so fondly over it, saying it was more than life to her, laying before us all her plans for his education and happiness. She appeared to me so amiable, so sensible, I envied her for Caroline [Drewe] since she had come so near her for her daughter-in-law. The child had fallen downstairs and though he was not hurt at all, she had been long unwell from terror. I feel so interested for her I cannot help mingling her in my prayers for those I love,

1 See note, page 222.

2 Wife of the son of the famous Mme de Staël. Edward Drewe had been attracted by her during his long stay in Geneva (1826—7) before her marriage, when she was Mlle Vernet.

3 The Due de Broglie had married Albertine de Staël, her sister-in-law.

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in this cruel trial. Harriet [Surtees] received a letter from Fanny Mackintosh from Broglie. I admire Fanny M.'s letters very much, they are simple, very sensible, very affectionate, and agreeable from a constant appearance of good and right feeling in them. She and her father were also without letters from Kitty, so that I cannot guess what is become of her. I think she must be on the road.…

I think Harriet much improved in looks since she has been here, her oldness [she is 53] begins to wear off a little. It might perhaps have been a good deal owing to the journey, for nothing gives so worn a look as travelling. What confounds me is the oldness of her person; it is like aunt Jones's, and so is her motion. It made me sad at first, but it must be so, and I might as well grieve that we shall die, as that we grow old, only I do not like to find myself younger and stronger than she is. During my ill health, it was often a pleasure to me to feel myself the weakest part of the chain. I have lost that pleasure now, but in revenge I have such a feeling of well-being, of gaiety, youth, health, &c. I cannot regret it: I can regret nothing. I have not had such feelings before, since long before I left Cresselly for the first time. Harriet is so associated with the merriment, folly, nonsense of my childhood, that she has brought it all back to me; and a wise person would sometimes think us drunk, if they heard all the nonsense and laughter we give way to. Sismondi looks astonished, confounded, tho' pleased, and asks the meaning of things to which there is none. That passes his comprehension, but he laughs nevertheless from our merriment. Dearest little Sad, she is not a bit afraid of him, and I trust will recover her nerves entirely in such perfect repose as she will find here from all that can agitate her. She has no dislike at all to our soirées, she makes tea for me sometimes, and looks tranquil and at her ease at them. We begin now to be solitary, and I expect no company for the next three months. It is a time of year I enjoy exceedingly. I am very busy laying out a flower-garden before the dining-room door, and am terribly puzzled how to arrange well my squares and long beds, which is all one can do on a piece of ground as flat as one's hand and not much bigger. When my own Bessy writes next, just sketch on her paper on as small a space as you can a plan of yours.…

In November Harry's long courtship of his cousin, Jessie Wedgwood, was crowned with success. Bessy wrote with great pleasure of "the nice wife Harry has found for himself," and adds, "the more I think of it, the more I am satisfied."

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.

26 Nov. 1829.

……Harry will now have a stronger motive than ever he had before to apply, and I am sure he will be content with a little if he can make her happy, which I hope to God he will do. This business having led to some investigation of property, it has been a great satisfaction to me (not alone on Jessie's account as you will readily believe) to find that John [Wedgwood]'s property and income was so good. By what I can find his children will inherit more than £30,000 from him between them, besides their share of Kitty [Wedgwood]'s property, which is to be equally divided between all the nephews and nieces; so that Jessie's children will inherit a very pretty property from her eventually, and I am rather proud of Harry making such a good match. Harry picks up a very tolerable share of business in this country.…

My little Emma is gone up with Harry to pay Fanny Mackintosh a visit, and I have only just heard of her arrival at Clapham, and seeing the dining-room all lighted

L. 20

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up as she drove into the court, and the Historian himself in full discourse (as she saw through the window) with a party of gentlemen. Emma, however, desired to be shown up to Mrs Rich's room (Fanny's step-sister], where she had a very comfortable cup of tea and dish of chat with her. Fanny came up to ask Emma whether she would come down and see Mr Wilberforce and Mr Whishaw and Mr R. Grant, all which she declined, and I dare say M. thought her a great fool for doing so.…

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Feb. 15, 1830

……Jos is gone to London but he did not leave a very flourishing house behind, most of the family being more or less teased with colds. Charlotte's is the worst, having been confined a fortnight, and she is now sitting up on the sopha in her Night-Cap and Bed-gown, looking the goodest person you ever saw, and reading Lovers' Vows for the improvement of her mind. I think Mrs Caldwell says truth of us, in saying we are the most moving family she knows.

Harry very often comes over to see us, and seems very content in making his preparations there at a snail's pace. I wish he may succeed in making it comfortable for Jessie, but one of his last performances has been buying a new hearth-rug for the dining-room, black and white, and by his own account it looks like a pall—I think I must take it off his hands. I am reading Madame de Maintenon's letters, and though I have neither respect nor admiration for her character, I find so many sentiments and feelings that I have myself experienced, that I find a good deal of enjoyment in running through them.

I have the greatest love and admiration of Eliza's character, yet I own it has not been raised by the manner in which she has seemed to feel her sister's marriage, because it seems to me so unreasonable. If two sisters live together one must marry first, or both must remain single for the other's sake, which would be a preposterous supposition.…

Harry married on the 26 Oct. 1830 and went to live in the family house at Etruria, shutting up the rooms they did not need.

The following letter is undated but may be put at about 1830. In that year Catharine Darwin was 20 and Susan 27 years old. The Owens of Woodhouse, as has been said, were intimate friends of the Darwins.

Catharine Darwin to her cousin Emma Wedgwood.


My dear Emma,

Susan and I are just returned from our rackety week, and my head is in a most rackety state. As my frank is for to-morrow1, it will be very pleasant to send you a true and sober account of it all. Tuesday, I took Susan to Woodhouse and then went on to Tedesmere, where I found but a small party, as they had had various disappointments. I was so comfortably at my ease from being the only young lady, and it was so little formal, that I rather enjoyed it. I had a most delightful ball and danced every dance as long as I was there. There was a great superfluity of gentlemen, so that you may fancy what a charming ball it was. I found the Woodhouse immense party great comforts, and not at all formidable. Certainly an Oswestry ball is far better than the Shrewsbury ones. It is a little

1 A member of Parliament franking a letter was bound to write on it the date (in words), and the name of the addressee, and the frank was good for that date only.


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room and nobody is formal, no grandees, and always plenty of gentlemen, that first of all considerations. The next morning I was delighted to change the Baron's abode for Woodhouse. The Owens sent their pony carriage over for me. There was an immense party there. We had all kinds of games and dancing till 12, when Mr Owen instantly dissolved the party. They were all rather tired after the ball, and I did not myself think it half so delightful as it describes, and I suspect nothing ever is so pleasant in reality as it is in description. It is hardly possible for common mortals in my opinion to wind up their spirits to the Woodhouse pitch; more than half the gentlemen indeed were a little too much stimulated. I enjoyed a great deal of it however very much, and there was a great deal of laughing and fun. There was the most immense party at dinner on Friday. There were a number of people invited to dinner, under the belief that the former party in the house would be gone by that time, but when Friday morning came the Owens pressed the Leightons and us so much to stay that we did till to-day. It was a grand puzzle how in the world to dine 29; it was at last settled to have two side-tables, each of 6; 2 gentlemen, a President and Vice-President, and 4 ladies. We drew lots for our places, and each had a ticket; the rival side-tables betted who could make most noise. Ours consisted of Lingen Burton and Mr Kenyon, Sarah [Owen], Clare [Leighton], a Miss Longueville (poor unfortunate stranger) and I; the other was Frank Leighton, Mr Dodeswell, Susan [Darwin], Fanny [Owen], Louisa, and another wretched Miss Longueville. Of course each party stand up for themselves; we certainly had famous fun this evening. There were quantities of waltzing, dancing, games, &c. till about I, when the Leightons drove home to Shrewsbury. The whole party I should think must be pretty well fagged to-day, as this has gone on for nearly a week. Fanny Owen was the belle. I do not wonder, for I never saw such a charming girl altogether as she is. Susan was in her glory, and in violent spirits. She would call this a most unfair account of things if she was to see it, and would send you a far more flaming description. I should think that I enjoyed it about half as much as she did. At last my Journal is come to an end. I have just heard from Charles to say that he comes home on Monday, and I am so glad to find that he likes the Foxes as much as I did, as he says, "that they are all perfect." I am afraid you will hear as much about them from him, as you did from me. Good-bye, dear Emma, my best love to my dear old Fan.

Even yours, E. C. DARWIN.

I have just been talking to Susan over our gay doings and she has just said "what a delightful visit I have had. I never enjoyed anything like it—so gay—we never talked a word of common sense all day." Guaranteed by me. Susan gives leave for this anecdote.

My father had many stories of the fun that went on at Woodhouse. He was very fond of all the Owens, and he had evidently been greatly attracted by Fanny Owen. I can remember, as a child, the expression of his face and the very place where he stood in Stonyfield at Down, as he told me once how charming she looked when she insisted on firing off one of their guns, and though the kick made her shoulder black and blue gave no sign. He was a great favourite with old Mr Owen, a peppery and despotic squire of the old school. The household was large and not always very orderly. Mr Owen used to hear, or imagined he heard, people walking about late at night; so he determined to trap them and piled

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up a mass of crockery at the top of the stairs. Hearing a noise late at night, he went out to catch the offender and be ready for the crash, but forgetting exactly where his trap was laid, himself sent all the crockery flying down the stairs. Mrs Owen told the story the next morning at breakfast, and said she laughed so much when Mr Owen came back and told her what had happened, that, as she put it, "he nearly kicked her out of bed." Another of my father's stories was how Mr Owen heard a noise of some sort in the middle of the night, and got up and looked out of his window. There he saw a woman sitting on some steps leading into the garden. So he went off to call one of his sons known as a fleet runner, and told him he was needed to run after and catch this unknown woman. As soon as they approached the window, off set the woman and off set young Mr Owen after her. But as he got near, he perceived it was one of the underservants, and telling her to run for her life, he promised he would not catch her, knowing she would be dismissed on the spot if he brought her back. Great, as may be imagined, was old Mr Owen's wrath and scorn when his son came back alone, much blown, and saying he hadn't been able to catch the girl. The explanation was that she had come home loo late, and instead of rousing the house decided she had better sit outside and wait for the morning. The secret was never revealed to old Mr Owen.

It is interesting, I think, as showing how much more luxurious we are, that in another letter from Catharine Darwin this year she dilates on the luxury of being allowed a fire to work by in her father's bedroom. This is in December, and she fills half a page with apologies, and says it is not quite so extravagant as it sounds, as when they are alone the dining-room fire need not be lighted till dinner. I wonder how many men making such an income as Dr Darwin now practise such economy. In contrast to Catharine Darwin's view that Emma had "an unfeigned passion for gaiety," her mother writes, apropos of a visit to London being put off (8 March 1830), "Fanny and Emma are very quiet in what is called pleasure at all times."

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Lady Mackintosh's death—Sir James has a seat on the Board of Control—Hensleigh Wedgwood engaged to Fanny Mackintosh—Elizabeth in London, the second reading of the Reform Bill, Mrs Rich and Mr Scott, a meeting between Wordsworth and Jeffrey—Josiah Wedgwood defeated at Newcastle—Fanny and Emma Wedgwood at Mrs Holland's—Edward and Adèle Drewe's glorious entry at Grange—A Tour in Wales—Threatenings of cholera—The Sismondis accept an invitation for Christmas at Cresselly—Mrs Patterson and Countess Guiccioli—Charles Darwin sails in the Beagle.

LADY MACKINTOSH, as has been said before, had left home in the autumn of 1829, and after staying in Paris went to Chêne to be with her sister. She died there on the 6th May 1830, from what appears to have been a paralytic seizure.

Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood,

[CHÊNE], May 25th, 1830.

[After speaking of Lady Mackintosh's illness.]

She was, too, so little demonstrative herself that one could never shew her the little caressing tendernesses that others are continually exciting and which she seemed to disdain, tho' I have reason to think she did not in reality, but would have been cheered and comforted in accepting. One evening that we had been sitting up together very late, she was more than usually gloomy, yet would not go to bed, tho' after one. Harriet [Surtees] affected to leave her by herself at that hour, threw her arms round her neck and kissed her as she wished her good night. She never answered, never returned it, never looked at her. Yet the next morning she told me she had felt it tenderly. Her faults of temperament were redeemed by many great and noble virtues, and I cannot but think her death, thus sudden and without suffering, is a most merciful dispensation. She could neither make herself nor others happy, and I dreaded the future (which must necessarily have darkened more and more on her as she advanced) so much, that it seems to me as if a great evil was withdrawn from me, in its being denied to her. If she could have got Fanny [her daughter] out to her I think she had some vague notion of never returning. The suspicion of this, that the pains in her limbs were exaggerated for this purpose, made me slow to perceive her real ails and harden my feelings towards her. The event has shown how unjust I was in my suspicions, and I now believe she made very light of the fore-running symptoms of her terrible disorder. Here, dearest Bessy, is my remorse, and that is really my sorrow for her, and not that she has escaped from a life her many virtues and her great means of happiness failed of making happy to her. The disorder had been stealing on all the winter and was clearly no one stroke. I would give the world now that instead of being shy to notice her oddities I had seen them as they truly were, symptoms of her disease, had taken her in my arms and beseeched her to tell me all she felt. I felt this bitterly when I saw her lie a week unable to speak or to feel an embrace. I thank heaven she has escaped from a painful existence without much suffering.……Her husband and children will be easily enough reconciled to her loss, alas! she has been long lost to them. I shall not therefore give them or others the particulars that I now give you, it would seem a treachery

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to her memory. I wish them to grieve a little for her: but yon have tenderness enough to receive them as sacred reconcilements to a very mournful event, and I trust will not be too much affected by them. I cannot bear to be the instrument by which you shed one tear. Dearest Bessy, you are become doubly, trebly precious to me and my prayers are uttered for you with redoubled fervor.…

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

MAER, 17 June, 1830.

……I feel exactly as you do. I go back to think over what I could have done to have made her happier, and I am sad when I think that she was less cordial to me the last year, and that I might have done more for her. But for you, my beloved, it is the hardest thing in the world that you should suffer from these feelings. If any suspicion crossed your thoughts that there was more perverseness than malady in our poor sister's state, it must have been involuntary, and if you never gave it vent to herself, it cannot be a matter of reproach to you. I am witness that as far as one could judge from her letters she was perfectly satisfied with everything at your house, and I grieve now at having burnt her last letter, because it was written in so cheerful a mood that I should now derive comfort in reading it, perfectly collected and expressing but one regret that Fanny had not joined her.…

As will appear in the next letter, Sir James Mackintosh, after being passed over so often, was offered an appointment as member of the Board of Control1—a place that his friends thought unworthy

1 The home government of the East India Company consisted of the Court of Proprietors, the Court of Directors, and the Board of Control. The President of the Board of Control might be called a Secretary of State for the affairs of India, and practically conducted the business, but rarely calling upon his colleagues for assistance.

of his talents. Charles Greville writes: "If he had not been a man 'whom no sense of wrongs Could move to vengeance' he would have flung the India Board in Lord Grey's face when he was insulted with the offer of it1." And Jessie Sismondi writes (5 Feb. 1831) "I felt bitterly the place his friends had found for him, and shed tears, not of a soft nature for him, but of rage against his soi-disant friends. His has been a life sown thick with mortifications, notwithstanding that he was gifted high enough to have bid defiance at least to that feeling."

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Madame Sismondi.

THE HILL. [The John Wedgwoods' house
near Abergavenny.] Nov. 22, 1830.

I am coming now into order, my dearest Jessie, and this is very near my old days for writing, but I have left your last letter in my desk at home, so that if any part of it requires an answer, it must stand over to next month. Meantime I shall begin telling. We are all agog about the late extraordinary change of Ministry2, it was such a surprize that I don't think anyone on either side expected it the least, nor I suppose would it have happened if his Highness's troops had been sufficiently upon guard, as in that case they would not have been in a minority. I shall run the risk of tiring you by repetition in naming the new Ministry as they now are, but nobody can guess how long it may stand. Fanny [Allen] had a letter from Mackintosh

1 Greville's Diaries, Vol. III. p. 317.

2 The resignation of the Duke of Wellington's Tory Ministry, 16 Nov., and the formation of the Whig Ministry under Lord Grey, which ultimately carried the great Reform Act. Lord Grey became Prime Minister 17 Nov. See 72 Ann. Register (1830) pp. 163—165.

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last night, and I will copy what he says for your information, he is now in little lodgings in Maddox Street.

"Never was there an event so singular as the overthrow of the Duke by the first resolution1 of a H. of C. chosen under his reign. It is probable that if he and his accomplices had done their worst, they might have delayed it. But from despairing of more than a fortnight's painful struggle, it is likely that they were wearied into submission. Some of the minority were so stupid as not to be aware of the consequence of their votes to their friends in power. Brougham has in the last 18 days shown his strength and his lunacy, He had a dreadful scene with Lord Grey, the exact object of which I could not make out. But after an altercation so violent, and such language of disregard towards the new ministers in the H. of C. by B., it was thought impossible that he should now join them. At ten o'clock last night I received a note from Lady Holland closing with these words, marked as I shall mark them. Brougham is Chancellor!!! his new title is Lord Inglewood2, Brougham's possession of the Great Seal has, I am told by Dr Holland, produced the most intense alarm among lawyers and parsons. With him he brings rashness and odium, but without him in either house there could not have been a fortnight's administration. Lord Melbourne, a lazy and singular man, will be a bad secretary in the Home department, Lord Auckland is President of the Council; Lord Lansdowne refused the office, prompted they say by Lady L's dislike of London. Every living

1 The motion by Sir Henry Parnell on the Civil List, which was carried against Wellington's Ministry on 15 Nov. by a majority of 29. The new Parliament had been elected on the death of George IV. whilst Wellington was Prime Minister. (Ibid.)

2 Brougham did not take the title of Inglewood. He received the Great Seal 22 Nov., was created Baron of Brougham and Vaux on 23 Nov. and was sworn in Chancellor on the 25 Nov. Sec 6 Dict, of Nat. Biog. p. 453.

soul thinks that Lyndhurst would have been a scandal. Lambton [Lord Durham] is bad, and the Government in the House of Commons, after Lord Inglewood's flight upwards, will not be so immeasurably above their opponents as they may now imagine. The two best appointments are Denman (Attorney General) with which I am delighted, and Anglesea, Lord Lt. of Ireland, Bickersteth is spoken of as Sol. General."

So far Mackintosh's letter, which I have copied thinking it would at once let you into the state of things, and as I suppose it is confidential you may perhaps avoid quoting M.'s name to any English or foreigners who would repeat him over again. I must add that M. himself has the appointment of a seat in the Board of Control under Charles Grant1, who is President. This last is not quite as we could have wished for him, but it is £1500 per an., and it would be senseless to grumble at getting the £10,000 prize in the Lottery because we do not get the £20,000; and He will have solid comfort, and leisure in his present appointment. They now talk of taking a furnished house for a year, and I hope they will not launch out too much at first, as considering the "alacrity in sinking" that the Whigs possess, another turn of the wheel may again put them at the bottom.

My coming here was a start of my own. Finding that both Caroline [Drewe] and Fanny [Allen] were here, and wishing to visit Jenny [Wedgwood] in her new abode, and being entirely unengaged, I set off with my two eldest daughters and Eliza Wedgwood, who wanted to return home, and we had an agreeable journey with our own horses, of three days from Shrewsbury. Caroline [Drewe] is in good spirits for her. She has been much gratified by Edward's affectionate and really proper behaviour on many occasions, and I am sure it will be a very great increase to her happiness to have him and his children and Adèle at

1 Afterwards Lord Glenelg.

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Grange. Edward has asked her as a favour to go down and superintend the alterations necessary at Grange, and also to stay there to receive them and set them agoing after their arrival. This was very pretty of him, and it will be such a pleasant and interesting employment for her that she already takes great pleasure in settling where the nursery &c. shall be, and how furnished. Edward is quite adored (Car. says) in the neighbourhood by all his poor tenants and neighbours, from his gracious manners, shaking hands with them after Church &c. In short he seems to have done all he had to do in the best possible way.…

He had recently inherited the Grange estate. Apropos to some trouble he got into from following his brother-in-law Baron Alderson's advice, Bessy (27 Dec. 1830) repeats a sentiment which she deeply felt and had expressed before. "I have more than once observed that advice does mischief, I suppose because the adviser feels no responsibility and therefore shabby feelings operate without the drawback of self-reproach."

In 1831 Hensleigh became formally engaged to his cousin Fanny Mackintosh. The following letter from Elizabeth is written during a visit to the Mackintoshes. Mrs Rich, a daughter of Mackintosh by his first wife, was now a widow and lived with him. Her husband1 had died at Shirâz, and Mrs Rich's hair went snowy white, it was said, the night after she heard of his death.

1 See note, p. 50.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

March 27, 1831.

My dear Jessie,

I have been here enjoying myself very much these last five weeks. It has been a most interesting time to be at head quarters, and very pleasant quarters they are. Sir James, in spite of being up almost every night till near 4 o'clock, looks quite a different man from what he was last year, and says himself that he has not felt so well for six years.

The two nights of the struggle on the second reading of the Reform Bill, Fanny [Mackintosh] went down to Mrs Robert Grant's, which is in George Street just by the House of Commons, to be at hand to hear the result, and to receive bulletins from the Thorntons in the ventilator. It was amusing to sec how interested even Mrs R. G.'s servants were—the housemaid coming in "if you please ma'am John has just been over, and Lord Mahon was speaking against" I sat up for them at home as long as I could, but could not last till 4 in the morning; but even at that hour there was a crowd about the House of Commons who cheered the reform members as they came out. The members in the house were so vehement that Miss Thornton in the chimney expected to hear them come to blows—(a sally). I have never seen near so much of Mrs Rich before and I like her very much. She must once, I am sure, have been a very lively person, and now is one of the most agreeable people in a tête-à-tête I ever saw. She is quite cheerful and talks more before her father than she used to do. She has her own line of acquaintance among whom she is very much engaged. She has taken me four Fridays to hear Mr Scott1 (whom

1 Alexander John Scott (b.1805—d. 1866) had been a minister of the Scotch church, and at one time an assistant of Edward Irving. He was ejected from the pastorate of the Scotch church at Woolwich, but remained there some years preaching to a little congregation of his own disciples. Later he became the first Principal of Owens College, Manchester. He was a man of great mental power, great learning, and a singularly impressive personality, as we know from the testimony of various notable persons, Carlyle, Bunsen, Frederick Maurice, George Macdonald, Fanny Kemble, and others.

[pages] 320 - 321

she delights in) preach in Miss Farrer's1 drawing room. I now despair of much liking him, which I should like be able to do as much as she does; but he seems to me to try too much to put things in an uncommon point of view, and to get into regions that we can know nothing about. There are about 50 ladies (I think) to hear him every Friday. He prays, and reads a chapter and then speaks his discourse, which is certainly a very striking piece of oratory. Another little society of five or six ladies that Mrs Rich belongs to meet once a week to read the Bible and pray together; in short I think it is growing into a very religious world. The only thing I think is a pity is the number of people who believe In the Scotch miracles [Edward Irving], and the number of people who perform them. There are at least half a dozen other people, some maid servants and some ladies, who speak with tongues, besides the Port Glasgow people, and when Mrs Rich gives one the accounts with the solemnity of perfect belief in them herself, one is almost infected by it oneself.

Fanny had a grand dinner yesterday, Bishop Coplestone2. Sir T. Denman (whom I admire very much—he has

1 Aunt of the 1st Lord Farrar.

2 It was indeed a grand dinner. Bishop Copleston (of Llandaff), 1776—1849, came of a very old family, was a decided tory, famous for his bodily strength and activity, and a remarkable man in many directions. He wrote a parody on the early numbers of the Edin. Rev, "full of the finest irony," Dict. Nat. Biog.
Sir Thomas Denman (1779—1854) afterwards Lord Chief Justice, now Attorney-general. He was "gifted with a handsome face, a winning, though shy, manner, an exquisite voice, and a tall and active figure." Dict. Nat. Biog.
The well-known Francis Jeffrey (1773—1850) founder of the Edin. Rev. and now Lord Advocate in Lord Grey's ministry.
Lord Nugent (1788—1850), younger son of the first Marquis of Buckingham, M.P. for Aylesbury, an extreme whig and supporter of Queen Caroline.
Richard Lalor Sheil (1791—1851) dramatist and Irish politician.
The ladies were also distinguished. Lady Gifford, the eldest of the handsome Miss Drewes and widow of the first Lord Gifford, and Marianne Thornton, a woman of remarkable character, one of the well-known Clapham Thorntons, handsome, dignified, witty, and an admirable talker.

all the dignity of virtue in his look and manner), Jeffrey. Lord Nugent and Sheil, and for ladies Lady Gifford and Miss Thornton. There was a party in the evening too which was made memorable by bringing Wordsworth and Jeffrey together. When Sir James proposed to Mr Wordsworth to introduce them to one another he did not agree to it: "We are fire and water," he said, "and if we meet we shall only hiss—besides he has been doing his utmost to destroy me. But he has not succeeded1." Sir James said, "and he really is one of your greatest admirers," and upon that he took Mr Wordsworth by the shoulders and turned him round to Jeffrey and left them together. They immediately began talking, and Sir James came very proud to tell us what he had done, and to fetch us to see them; and Mr Wordsworth looked very happy and complacent. Mr Lockhart said it was the best thing he ever saw done. The two enemies liked one another's company so much,

1 Wordsworth would of course think of Jeffrey only as the man who had done all that critical authority could do to bring to naught the work of his life by proclaiming to the world that his poems were worthless. No wonder that he should shun a personal encounter in a friend's house. Jeffrey is now, perhaps, best remembered by the monumental words with which (seventeen years before this time) the Edinburgh Review had saluted the appearance of the Excursion "This will never do!" He had heaped like contempt on the two little volumes of 1807 wherein the world had read for the first time the "Ode to Duty," the "Song at the feast of Brougham Castle," and the "Immortality Ode"!

L. 21

[pages] 322 - 323

that when the rest of the party broke up at past II, they remained talking together with Sir James, discussing poets, orators, and novelists till one o'clock, with Mr Sheil listening with all his ears, and Mr Empson1 and Fanny and Uncle Baugh as audience. I, alas! was obliged to carry my head to bed. Sir James enjoyed his two hours' talk very much.

My father is attending the canal in New Palace Yard. He has got his little mare with him, which makes him take it very patiently and prevents his falling sick. He is going down to Maer and his water-works the end of this week, but I mean to let him go without me. Now I am in this bustle I like to stay and see a little more of it. But the thing I am most anxious to hear is the debate on Tuesday on Slavery. Macaulay's speech on the reform bill almost made me cry with admiration, and I expect his speech on so much more interesting a subject to be the finest thing that ever was heard. It is most unfortunate for this question that it should come on now. Who has leisure to listen to the still small voice of justice in the midst of such a turmoil? And what ought this nation to expect at the hand of God but calamities and disgraces as long as we will not hear it, and suffer those daily murders to go on? Fanny has just been reading a little of one of Jeffrey's reviews of Wordsworth, and W. really shewed no small degree of placability in his good fellowship with him last night.…

In the spring of 1831 Josiah Wedgwood was induced to stand for Newcastle. The following tells of his defeat

1 William Empson (1791—1852), Editor of the Edinburgh Review from 1847 and successor to Mackintosh as Professor of "Polity and the Laws of England" at Haileybury. Brougham called him a bad imitation Of Macaulay.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her sister Emma Allen.
(At Mrs Holland's, New Norfolk St., Park Lane.)

MAER. May II, 1831.

……I thank you very much, my dear sisters, for the warmth with which you have taken up our cause. I am not less warm on yours and if you [John Allen] had come in at Pembroke, I should have been consoled for being thrown out at Newcastle. As it is, I think Jos is very little disappointed; it is not a pleasant situation to be baffled, but it was so much on public grounds that he stood, that his personal feeling is not much, and I believe what he has belongs to the gentlemen who have brought him in. However the election was carried on with no unnecessary expense, as it seemed by mutual understanding, as there was no treating, and the out-voters were not brought in; so that I hope there has not been much money thrown away.……I fully expect that we shall be members for Stoke upon Trent1, i.e. the Potteries, and if we arr it will be a much pleasanter seat. Jos had not before this quite made up his mind to accept it if it should be offered him, but what has lately passed has settled that part of the question; and, if I live so long, I shall like to be obliged to spend some part of every year in London. But I have great misgivings that I may not, and though it does not in any degree lower my spirits, it gives me a degree of uncertainty as to worldly matters that flatters hope. If it would please God to give me brighter hopes instead, I should be happy, and that I hope will come nearer and nearer its I approach the confines. One of my dearest earthly hopes is now to

1 The expectation was that in the Reform Bill Ihe Potteries would be given a seat and that Josiah Wedgwood would be the first member elected.


[pages] 324 - 325

see Jessie [Sismondi] and my castle is to meet her at Paris, or to return with her if she comes to England which I hope she will do.……I feel a little flat this week after the excitement of the last, but ça ira. Farewell my dear Emma, with warmest love to you all.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughters Fanny and Emma.

MAER, May 20th, 1831.

My dear girls,

……I feel very grateful to Mrs Holland for the pleasant visit you have had with her, and to her good-natured daughters for promoting your pleasure so much as they have done. We have now pretty well done with our Newcastle bustles, as they were yesterday finished by a dinner given to your father by the Mayor and Burgesses, from which they did not come home till near 12 o'clock. There dined about 90, and they were drinking toasts and cheering all the evening. Harry and Frank dined there, and had their healths drunk and returned thanks in neat speeches, &c. Frank had one compliment paid him, for his canvassing accomplishments, which I did not expect, viz. that he was so good a canvasser that the gentleman who spoke believed that if it had been for himself, he would have been returned—voilà!

We have beautiful summer weather now, which I mention for the honour of Staffordshire, as it sometimes lies under a bad name for weather. I have had a delightful letter from your aunt Caroline [Drewe] giving a glorious account of Edward's entry into his own country, and of the delight given and received by Adèle on the occasion, who looked, she said, quite lovely when she was introduced to his tenants, and received them charmingly; but I dare say you have heard this before. We are going to have a dissipated week the next, being engaged to Linley [Cald-wells] next Wednesday, to Betley [Tollets] for two days on Thursday, and to Shrewsbury on Tuesday the 31st. The Dr sent us a very pressing invitation to come, which I was glad your father was at liberty to accept.

Mr Hulme comes here regularly every Sunday, and dines after evening service. His conversation is too like Blackwood's Magazine, but he is cheerful and we don't mind hiin. Gipums is getting larger, and I am beginning to sigh over the puppies who are so soon to meet a watery grave, mais que faire?.……

After this the Edward Drewes appear no more in these pages, although there are casual allusions in various letters to their prosperous and happy life, and one in especial speaks of their paying a visit to the Pembrokeshire relations, travelling there with four horses in great style.

The girls were brought home from London by their father, and Bessy writes that "they have had their fill of amusements and going about, and to crown all are very glad to come home."

In the autumn Fanny, Emma and their brother Hensleigh accompanied their mother and aunt Drewe in a driving tour in North Wales. Bessy writes (Oct. 2nd, 1831) "Good weather, good eating and a lovely country put us all in excellent humour. Hensleigh, who drove one in his gig, was a treasure to us, so cheerful and obliging."

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Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, Oct. 3 [1831].

I think, my dear little Emma, there is a vacancy in my correspondence with your mother, and I know I have had a very sweet letter from you, and therefore I shall slip in my thanks to your little idle self, for know that I had "called and abused you" for not having written to me the annals of your London visit before I received your letter; which so softened my heart towards you that you are again my precious child. Be quite sure that trifles gain weight by distance, or, which is the same thing, tenderness gives them weight, therefore never trouble yourself to think anything is not worth sending me. The time draws near of my seeing some of you, if not all, and my heart already begins to beat, though I keep it as quiet as I can by never allowing myself to dwell in thought an instant on what so many things threaten to hinder. The first is cholera, against which we are taking such precautions it cannot but persuade me it is near at hand. If it breaks out here, of course we shall not be allowed to pass the frontier of France, and if at Paris, we should not enter that. I am frightened at drawing so many more precious than myself into the jaws of danger. I cannot but think a country house in England is the safest place, safer than a crowded city. But I want to know if you in England partake these vague fears. It seems not by your letters. Then the danger is certainly nearer us, for nothing else is heard of. Many here are already as much agitated as if the malady was at Plain-palais. What does your father say? who I take always to be the wisest as well as tenderest counsellor in difficulties. For my own part, I am at this moment so agitated with hope, fear, anxiety, that I am anything but wise, and this unnatural state makes me feel so superstitious, I am almost inclined to do nothing and not move, lie on my face as the men do in a pit, till the fire-damp has exploded. I am very anxious about Harriet's return. The cholera has broken out at Vienna some time, and the emperor and Metternich, having more enemies than friends to get rid of, let their subjects circulate freely in all their states with certificates of health, so I expect every day to see a cordon sanitaire established between us and Milan, from whence she is to come. I have now lost nearly all my familiars here, and have no one now that I need stand much in fear of losing, or they would go. Mme Favre has indeed taken to me with great affection lately, and she is I always think very agreeable. If I was nearer Mrs Marcet I should see much of her, for my affection continues very steadily attached to her. But I can profit little, so I hope she is safe. We had a very agreeable dinner with her since Harriet [Surtees] went away. Sismondi had a great mind not to go because she reserved her invitation for her absence. But perhaps it is exigeant to demand, love me, love my dog (not that that applies to my sweet Sad). It is not what I can do, there-fore I must not ask it of others. She is too worldly to sacrifice the smallest feeling of the agreeable to benevolence, and therefore I ought not to love her, but I do in spite of myself, worldly as she is. She possesses my pet quality of simplicity larger than anybody I know, tho' not so humbly. I have had great pleasure in my readings lately. Mack's second vol.1 is the most agreeable reading I ever fell in with, and I have finished Paris' Life of Davy, with a much greater admiration of his subject; which should be the first object of biography, after truth, so I ought not to say Paris has done his work ill. But he has done it very uninterestingly I think. Lady Davy must be displeased tho' she sent it to me without comment. John [Allen of Cresselly] has just sent to ask us to spend the

1 His History of England was published in 1830.

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Christmas with him before going to Paris. If I could hope Sis would not be wretched there, I would gladly accept, but he as well as everybody else are too odious when they are not happy, for me to venture.…

Spite of what she says at the end of this letter her brother John's invitation to Cresselly was accepted by both.

Madame Sismondi to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood,

CHÊNE, Oct. 20 [1831].

……Sis now looks forward to the visit with pleasure, I with delight. My poor little Sad perhaps yet does not know of it, for yesterday when I almost expected to see her, her six weeks being terminated, came a letter with the postmark Conegliano, on the Vienna road from Venice. Judge if I was not in a passion; Miss S., my evil genius, had lost her passport—delayed to send back to Venice for a new one—then she is oftener ill than well, sets off at 11 in the morning instead of 8, as she promises over night, or 6, as any reasonable voiturier traveller would do. I feel as I do sometimes in my sleep when I cannot put my cloaths on. I have got Sis to set off the 3rd of Nov., but will she be here, will she be rested and ready to set out? This is at present my fidget. We must travel voiturier, which among many conveniences and suitablenesses has its plagues for an impatient spirit. We shall be at Paris, supposing always Harriet comes back in time, about the 13th, stay three or four days there……[reaching] Cresselly, my beloved Cresselly, about 1st Dec taking Jane [Wedg-wood, her sister, near Abergavenny] in the way. This is giving as short delays as we can with such slow going. We pass all Dec. there, and then, alas, begins our long journey back. Will you not, beloved Bessy, with Elizabeth and Charlotte return with us to Paris? We will cherish you as the apple of our eye, take such care of you, go as slow as you please in vetturino, which is no fatigue. You and your two dear and wisest children will stay with us at Paris till April or May, when we separate our different ways. Your girls would take such care of you, and some one of your many boys would come to escort you back, perhaps the old boy himself, my own Jos, who is the youngest of them all. A journey in that season would not be disagreeable. I live in hopes all this may be done, and I am as happy as a princess, and think no more about the cholera, or tumults, or war, of which two last, to say the truth. I had never any fear. I am making my preparations, and heaven grant us a happy meeting. If you expect I can write sense to-day you are very much mistaken, my own dear Bessy, I can do no such thing for thinking of your sweet sweet face and your dear dear voice, and a thousand other things which all finish in a prayer for our happy meeting. I told John I should write no more to anyone, for I can write no more than a fool when the prospect of seeing them is close before my nose; so I might as well have spared your purse to-day, but your letter gave me an ecstacy so you must take its consequences.

We have had, after a dropping summer, the most beautiful autumn I ever remember to have seen. I do not exaggerate when I say I never stirred out without an ecstacy. The warm golden colours at home, the gilded snow and blue in the distance, gave such a view that every walk became a prayer. But Harriet in Italy has not had this weather. She had little sun even at Venice. We have besides had that phenomenal light after sunset which no one has explained, and which has been so bright in Italy as to give superstitious awe and fear to the people. Here it has only been very lovely, very transparent, very deep red, or orange that has remained long after the moon was up, and almost tamed its brightness. In the west was the golden light the other evening, and in the east the silver as

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we returned home between 6 and 7, and both very bright and very beautiful.…

We had two and twenty carriages in our little courtyard last night and more than I could reckon in our salon, in which were of all nations, but of Englishmen only two, Jos's friend Mr Chetwynd and his friend Mr Lamb, whom we saw act the other night very well and in a very pretty, indeed more than pretty, theatre, Mr Chetwynd was Henry IVth superbly dressed. We had several Polonais last night. We had some perfectly delicious singing from the Prince Beljiojoso—how I wished for Elizabeth and Charlotte! He wanted so much some ladies or men to sing beside himself to keep him in countenance. He will never come now the same evening with the Countess Guiccioli for fear of being made to sing with her, which, altho' she has a superb voice, he cannot bear to do. I like to hear them sing together very much. If you will be a good girl and come to Paris, you shall hear him too. The preceding Wednesday I had the hard little Mrs Patterson too1. Guiccioli, who had been very intimate with her at Florence, seeing one person in a room full of strangers, crossed it eagerly to speak to her; the hard little woman turned her back on her eager accost, with a rudeness remarked by everybody in such a little room, and the Guiccioli was so overcome, not being well before, that I thought she would have fainted. Her hand was bathed in a cold sweat. I gave her some wine and water, pretending that it was the terror of singing. I sent a young Frenchman to scold her [Mrs Patterson], and ask her why she did such a thing. She said "Oh it is not for her conduct with Lord Byron, that I have nothing to do with—but she is such a hard little cold dry-hearted woman, I could give you

1 Elizabeth Patterson, daughter of a merchant in Baltimore, ex-wife of Jerome Bonaparte. The marriage was declared null by Napoleon, and Jerome was forced to marry Catherine, daughter of the King of Würtemberg.

a thousand little odious traits of her"!! Who ever knows themselves?……

In December 1831 Charles Darwin sailed for his five years' voyage round the world. He was often at Maer, but I find hardly any allusions to him in the letters. Fanny Wedgwood writes in an undated scrap: "Charles Darwin sails to-morrow, he writes in great spirits, more charmed than ever with the Captain, and he seems fully to expect that they will go round the world, as he says the instructions of the Admiralty were all as Capt. Fitzroy pleased."

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Hensleigh Wedgwood appointed a Police Magistrate in London—His marriage to Fanny Mackintosh—Charlotte Wedgwood's engagement to Charles Langton—Fanny Allen and the Irvingites—The Sismondis return to Geneva, taking Fanny Allen with them—Sir James Mackintosh's death—Charlotte Wedgwood marries Charles Langton—Frank Wedgwood marries Fanny Mosley—Charlotte at Ripley—Fanny Wedgwood's death.

HENSLEIGH, to the great delight of everyone and after many hopes and fears, was appointed to a Police Magistracy at the end of 1831. This meant that his marriage could now prudently take place. Emma Wedgwood writes to Fanny Mackintosh Dec. 6th, 1831:

My dearest Fanny,

You may think how pleased I was at your note. Hensleigh's last letter was so low that I had almost given up all hopes, and the first line of your letter struck me in the contrary sense from what you meant. It was delightful indeed when I found out how it was. How nice it is my dear dear old wife. Now don't be long a marrying.…

Madame Sismondi to her niece Fanny Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Dec. 24, 1831.

……I congratulate you from my heart on the nicest sister that ever entered into the ranks. You certainly are the luckiest girls hitherto in your brothers' loves. May your luck continue.…

I claimed the turn to write you a long and causy1 letter, but I have no time even to read the newspaper. I do nothing but enjoy myself, and that I do to the utmost, as well as the sweetest of all receptions from my own John [Allen], whom I never saw better or gayer. And your mother too looks beyond my hopes well, and so does everybody. I have nothing to sadden me, and that is saying much for a return to the place of my youth and gaiety and of twelve years of happiness. I regret every day and every hour that passes. May you, my dear Fanny, do the same where you are, for it is a most sweet sorrow—as for more, I am far too dissipate-minded to write it, so God bless you.


The following is an account of the wedding and its various difficulties. The "Roehampton party" means Harriet, Lady Gifford and her contingent, and the "Dutchess" was the family name for Lady Alderson.

Fanny Wedgwood to her brother Frank.

DULWICH, January 11, 1832.

My dear Frank,

We have got a free morning here to write our accounts of the wedding, and we are all hard at work upon it. On Monday I was rather distressed to see two Miss

1 Word formed from French "causer," often used in the family.

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Thorntons walk in at eleven o'clock. However they went up to Fanny's room, and she set them to work to mark her things and make themselves generally useful; and Harriet [Gifford] came in not long after, and we all worked hard for the Bride, shopping and making favours, &c All this time Hensleigh was lying in bed thinking himself very unwell, and he was just beginning a note to say he must put off the wedding till Thursday, when his Doctor came and told him he was quite well and must eat a chop and drink some wine. So he wrote to Fanny that he was coming to dinner, and begged her to buy a ring, which certainly was not very decorous. However she told Sophy Thornton to get it, which she did. When he did come he looked very thin and unbridal; however he said he was well. I forgot to say that on Saturday we found out to Fanny's great dismay that they could not be married in All Souls, Langham Place, as it was a different district from Cumberland Street. Hensleigh went to the Clerk at All Souls who seemed to think there would be no difficulty in H.'s swearing that they had lived 15 days at Langham [Place], though they had only lived 5. However H. chose to have a conscience and would not do it; so then he tried Gray's Inn Chapel and found that would not do, and at last we drove to Doctors' Commons, and found that it must be done in St Andrew's, Holborn, which is Hensleigh's parish. Fanny said at first that she would not be married there, that she would wait a fortnight; thinking I suppose that it would not look well in the newspapers to be married in Holborn; however that was all talk, and she bore her fate pretty well at last. Well, Tuesday morning we all got up; I was dressed up in a white silk wedding gown of Mrs Vicars' to enact one of the bridesmaids. The Thorntons had fished it out for somebody to wear and none of them would, so they made me, and by intense squeezing I got into it; some of the company arrived and it was near eleven, and Fanny had not made her appearance (for why her gown was not come, which was a white poplin presented by Lady Holland); so as it was getting late they took me and Stripped me of my fine gown and Fanny put it on, with a white bonnet and a lace veil, which last was given her by Miss Fox. We then set out, the Aldersons' carriage going first with Robert [Mackintosh] and Tom [Wedgwood] to pick up Hensleigh; and Sir James, Fanny and Mrs Rich in the last. There were four other carriages full. We found all the Thorntons, Inglises, some Melvilles and Dr Dealtry (to marry them) at the Church; we were all there. Fanny was come, and we had waited some little time, but the carriage with Hensleigh did not appear. We began to be in a fright for fear he was ill again, or had lost the license or something; but our fears were quieted when we heard that the carriage had to put down the judge [Baron Alderson] in Lincoln's Inn before it took up Hensleigh. When the first carriage-full had waited about ten minutes, he came and the marriage began. Hensleigh and Fanny behaved with great decorum, and they neither of them had their spectacles on; the Clerk was rather puzzled to find out who were the bridesmaids; he came whispering about for them, and Miss Malthus and I stood forward, and I suppose Emma was the third, as we were all three in lilac silk. Dr Dealtry made the service very long by reading the tiresome exhortation at the end. We came home from the wedding in carriages with magnificent favours, which made an old woman in the crowd say, "Well, if I was going to be married, I would not have all those ribbons to tell people what I was about." There were a good number of very dirty people in the church who kept pressing on our children and destroying the beauty of our appearances. I think there was no crying at the wedding; I was rather more afraid of Hensleigh than of Fanny, but I did not see either of their faces, and they spoke so low I could hardly hear them, so I cannot absolutely answer for them. They

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two and Mrs Rich came back together in Sir James's chariot, in which they were to travel. When we came home we found that the real wedding gown was arrived, so Fanny tried to put it on but found it too short; and it was not half so pretty as what she had on; so she put on her travelling dress, and then we went down to breakfast, which was very elegant; and we were I think 42 people, about 10 of them children. Those that were not at the wedding were Messrs Whishaw, Empson. Langton1, Holden the Secretary, Dr Holland, and the Aldersons. The Judge was very pleasant and added to the hilarity of the party; the Bride and Bridegroom's health was drunk, and Hensleigh returned thanks in a neat speech. Soon after they set off in their chariot and pair with Mary Burrowes to Hastings, where they will stay ten days. The company gradually dispersed, and we (that is all the Roehampton people), Robert [Mackintosh], Erasmus [Darwin], and Tom [Wedgwood] and the Aldersons came to Dulwich [Baugh Allen's house) to dinner. We had to wait an immense time before we set off because Lawson was too busy drinking punch, I suppose, to get ready in time; however at last we did go, and we had a very merry dinner. The Judge was very merry, her Grace not at all Dutchesslike, but very gracious; the only extraneous person was a Mr Pugh, who is an attorney, and it is supposed Uncle Baugh wants to marry to some of us. The jokes at dinner were all about matrimony, and everybody behaved in the most improper manner, Mr Pugh telling Charlotte that all his hopes rested on her, when people were betting which sidle of the table would marry first, which certainly was as good as a proposal. The Dr is coming here to-day; we think he volunteered as soon as he heard we were here.…

The "Dr" mentioned at the end was Dr Holland, who had lost his first wife two years ago.

1 Probably the Rev. Charles Langton.

Hensleigh and Fanny were to make a joint household with Sir James and Robert Mackintosh—a necessary plan, as neither Sir James nor Fanny would consent to leave each other. An expensive house at a rent of £500 a year was taken in Langham Place. Hensleigh owned that living with Sir James would be a considerable sacrifice when it came to the point.

It was during this visit that Charlotte first saw Charles Langton1, and after only a fortnight's acquaintance became engaged to him. Fanny Wedgwood wrote in her Diary on the 12th Jan., "The happiest day of my life. Mr Langton proposed to Charlotte and we were all in a perfect ecstasy." He was a clergyman but had at that time no living. He had been tutor in Lord Craven's family.

The Hensleigh Wedgwoods had a very short honeymoon. Emma Wedgwood staid on in London till after their return, perhaps partly to help in buying Charlotte's trousseau.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister Elisabeth.

[LONDON], Jan. 27, 1832.

Fanny is very pleasant and open in telling one how happy she is, and in shewing her fondness for Hensleigh, which she does in a nice, playful manner.…

After luncheon Harriet [Gifford] and Charlotte went to Howell and James' to get Charlotte's clothes. She got a

1 Algernon Langton. Charles's uncle, had married Marianne Drewe, sitter of Lady Alderson and Lady Gifford. She died in 1822, and I imagine it was this that brought Charles Langton into the Wedgwood circle.

L. 22

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green silk pelisse and a virtuous coloured silk gown, which will touch your heart and which we all highly approve of, and for the evening, a black satin and an apricot coloured silk, and a pink muslinish sort of thing for commoner occasions, and that is all she means to get, except a white muslin.

When they came back they found Dr Holland drinking tea here, and he paid his congratulations to Charlotte with great tendresse. He looked wearied at Sir James, who was certainly very tiresome to him, and never would listen to him or let him finish what he was saying.

In the morning Mr Langton had taken Charlotte to Howell and James' and made her choose presents for him to give us, a beautiful gold pencil-case for Fanny, and a very pretty ring for me; so Charlotte knew our different weaknesses very well. Mrs Rich and Miss Cardale were going to the Ventilator, and as there was a spare place I went with them. We arrived unluckily too late to hear Spencer Percival's furious speech for a general fast1. We came in for the tail of Lord Althorp's, which we could not hear. Several people were coughed down who supported Mr Percival, and there was a good deal of impatience during his second speech (though they listened very attentively to his first); which made Mrs Rich think the whole house in such a dreadful state of impiety and rebellion against God that she was crying bitterly most of the time. As soon as Mr Percival had withdrawn his motion he came up to his wife who was in the Ventilator and talked to Mrs Rich, and I was very much pleased with the good-humour and mildness of his manner just after hearing such a violent speech from him. I heard him saying that he had been very well listened to, but that he felt so completely that the whole House was against him that it was as if he was talking against a stone wall.

1 The general fast was to be for the cholera, which was then raging. It was the first appearance of the disease in England.

After we had put Miss Cardale home Mrs Rich talked to me about the tongues. The youngest Miss Cardale is often heard in her own room talking the tongues1 and making religious exclamations. She is got to look very much worn and depressed, and would wish very much not to have any more manifestations. Poor thing, I should think she would become quite mad soon.…

The following tells of Frank Wedgwood's engagement to Fanny Mosley, daughter of the rector of Rolleston, in Devonshire. This makes the fourth Fanny in the Maer circle, and to avoid confusion I shall always distinguish Hensleigh's and Frank's wives as Fanny Hensleigh and Fanny Frank.

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

DULWICH, March 1, 1832.

……You are all as busy as possible now I suppose with your two brides and arrangements for my dear Lotty's wedding. I think she pays your judgments or tastes too great a compliment in getting a white bonnet. Caroline [Drewe] who has just left us, talked of the fashion being to be married in a veil. This is certainly the prettiest costume and it would save the carriage of a bonnet, which I am now thinking is a great evil, so that you would have had something more to do with me, had I been in Charlotte's place, before you would have got me to send for a white bonnet, having bought a straw one. I have a pleasing impression of Miss Mosley, from what you have all said, and I rejoice very much at it for Frank's and your

1 These religious exclamations, and the repetitions spoken of in the next letter, were much associated with the speaking in "unknown tongues," and were in both cases thought to be the direct result of some divine influence. See note, p. 268.


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sakes.…I do not know whether F.E.W. [Fanny Hensleigh] mentioned my going with Mrs Rich to Mr Irving's early prayer meeting last week. I repeated it again, yesterday, and I am come out of my experiences more unbelieving than I was before—indeed I think I had a little belief. I expected I am sure something extraordinary, something at least that I could not account for, and there was nothing out of the common way, except indeed the extravagance of minds not quite sane. It was perfectly dark when we got to the church, which was very faintly lighted by two small globe lights on a table under the reading-desk, where Mr Irving sat like a magician. There were the usual prayers and two psalms sung, and a chapter in the Bible from Kings, of Elijah destroying the prophets of Baal, which he likened in his (Irving's) prayer afterwards to the ministry of our Church generally, and said that the ministry of Christ's Church had fallen to them who had the gifts of the Spirit given to them. After Mr Irving had finished he lay back in his chair, and gifted Mr Backster from Doncaster came forward. He read the 1st of Acts and during the course of his reading he raved like a maniac; repeating the same word or phrase six or seven times over, and mixing up finally the chapter in Kings, the 1st of Acts, and all the Revelations together, and raving with as small a portion of the Spirit, I should have thought, if they had not said otherwise, as any teacher ever had. He continually returned to the prophets of Baal. On walking home afterwards with Mrs Rich, I told her that I should have thought Mr Backster insane if left to my own judgment; she told me she thought every repetition that he had used commanded by the Spirit, and quoted the verse "line upon line," &c. as the authority. The last day I was there it was pretty nearly the same thing again, except that Mr Irving had a more affected manner and his tone was lower, as also Mr Backster, who did not rave, but spoke in a sepulchral tone of the probable persecutions they would undergo, and a recommendation to behave as Christ did. He began "Oh that he would rend the Heavens and come down," this he repeated several times, and also "the Enemy is amongst us"; then another man prayed in a crying tone; then Miss Emily Cardale repeated much of what Mrs Rich writes, in a shrill tone and in an unvarying note, with her figure perfectly still: "Oh you do not know Christ" six times over; then "Christ is love," and so on in texts of Scripture for about 10 minutes I should think; and then Mr Irving thanked God in prayer for the messages sent us by the Spirit, and we were out at 10 minutes after 8. Mrs Rich appeared much affected during the whole course of the service, so I made no observation on our way back, and listened to her and a friend whom we picked up on the way, talking of these wonderful things.

I went down on Wednesday to Dulwich and had the good luck to meet Peter Hoare as my companion in the coach. I found Jessie and Sismondi wearied to death and out of all patience with B. as an host, always offering them their way and never letting them take it. It is fortunate that Jessie does not exert her critical talents nearer home. May she never do it I pray. Sismondi over-acts his character till he has not a bit of the original.…

The Sismondis, accompanied by Fanny Allen, left England in March, having much extended their stay. The accident, alluded to in the following letter to Sir James Mackintosh, was that of a chicken-bone sticking in his throat. The quarantine they underwent was on account of the cholera.

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Fanny Allen to her brother-in-law Sir James Mackintosh.

March 13, 1832.

My dear Mackintosh,

……Sismondi told you of our bad passage and how we fared in the Quarantine Station. The first, to be sure, was as bad as possible, but it did not do either Jessie or me as much mischief as your chicken-bone. I do not know whether I am indebted to the strength of my constitution or to the merits of sea-water for my escape from cold or fever after sitting 14 hours in clothes drenched through by the waves. The Quarantine was not disagreeable; it was rather more an odd position than a disagreeable one. I do not consider the three days there as lost days; our company were more French than English, and I was amused at observing their different manner and character. We did not suffer from cold in our station, though it was a mere wooden shed, divided into three parts for the men, women, and our common sitting-room. The beds were excellent, and our eating not bad, so that we were not to be pitied; though I must add we enjoyed Dessin's Inn very much when we were let out of our Quarantine. Sismondi bought a French travelling carriage which took us and all our luggage, very comfortably and moderately, my share for the whole expenses of the journey from Calais being only 6 Napoleons.…

Sismondi made a course of visits yesterday morning to his friends. He reports the impression he received was, that among the ministerialists, when they talked of and rather expected the downfall of our ministry, they seemed to him to look with something of satisfaction to the return of Sir R. Peel and the Duke. Sismondi called on Madame de Broglie1 yesterday and saw her. She looked ill, and

1 Albertine, the daughter of Madame de Slaël, married to the Duc de Broglie. She was distinguished by her beauty in youth, and in her maturity by a deep and somewhat evangelical type of religion.

very low, but she talked with great calmness of the illness and death of her daughter, who suffered, poor child, very much before her death. The economy of the Citizen King is talked of, which is as it should be. A brother of Copley Fielding, the water-colour painter, gives lessons to the royal family, and he says the King bargains for a sheet of drawing-paper. Paris looks very handsome and we have a bright sun for some hours in the day; on our way here we paid a visit at St Denis to all Sismondi's old friends, Dagobert and Pepin le Bref. It is an interesting walk among the dead. I know nothing more of Paris, except that the ladies' bonnets are very small; they wear feathers in them. I feel very anxious respecting the Reform question and all that hangs to it in England, also of the cholera. I trust that we shall hear from one of you, it would be a great treat to have a few lines from yourself; but you have too much to do for me to ask it, and sometimes, when I am very disinterested, even to wish it. God bless you, and preserve your health.

Yours, dear Mackintosh, affectionately,


Mackintosh died on May 30th, 1832, having never recovered from the effects of the accident to his throat mentioned in the previous letter. Jessie Sismondi, a year before, had written of him to her sister Bessy (5th Feb. 1831):

I think of his life which I now look on as almost finished with the greatest pity; not without blame, it is true, but it is almost lost in pity. He had an understanding to comprehend all the beauties of the high moral feelings and those of affection, but not the heart ever to feel them, so that he knew their heaven, sighed for it, yet, as if a curse was on him, could never put his foot into it. He

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loved passionately and fondly only one person [his wife] in the world, and she never could love him, though he was the only person in the world that truly loved her.

Years ago Coleridge wrote of him to Tom Wedgwood, "I never doubted that he means to fulfil his engagements with you; but he is one of those weak-moraled men, with whom the meaning to do a thing means nothing. He promises with his whole Heart, but there is always a little speck of cold felt at the core that transubstantiates the whole resolve into a Lie, even in his own consciousness1." The coincidence of these views as to the essential want in Mackintosh's nature is striking, and confirms the belief that what made his life a failure was not his ill-health but some radical disability of the will. My father always considered him by far the most interesting talker he ever heard, and it will be remembered how Jessie and Fanny Allen found wandering with him for hours in a London fog, a delight to be remembered and chronicled. His daughter Fanny was deeply attached to him, and the short time spent with her after her happy marriage must have been a ray of sunshine ending his troubled career.

Charlotte Wedgwood was married on 22nd March, 1832, and Frank Wedgwood on 26th April, so that this was a most marrying year. Catherine Darwin, writing to Fanny Wedgwood of Charlotte, says, "Your account of her sounds charming and

1 Tom Wedgwood the First Photographer, by R. B. Litchfield, p. 138.

just what she so amply deserves. It is very nice that a perfect person should be enjoying perfect happiness."

The Langtons began their married life at Ripley in Surrey, where they were for about a year.

Charlotte Langton to her sister Fanny Wedgwood.

RIPLEY, WEDNESDAY [August 6, 1832].

……Very fortunately we have had the most beautiful weather since my aunts came, so that with the help of our dear little ponies who are getting great pets, I have not found the least difficulty in entertaining them. These pretty drives make me wish more and more that Elizabeth may be able to return with the Hensleighs, I should so enjoy taking them with her. The prettiest of them I must describe for Hensleigh's and Fanny's edification, because they went part of it when they went to Sheir. Instead of going down the hill at Sheir we turned off to the left along the top of the ridge, a turf drive thro' foresty ground, with patches of trees, shrubs and fern, commanding that beautiful view up and down the Albury Valley. We went along it for about two miles, I don't know how much farther it continues but Charles thinks all the way to Dorking. We then explored a new way home and lost our way, but when we attempted to go this drive again the turf was so hard and slippery that the ponies slipped about too much, and we could only shew part of it to my aunts, but for riding it would be quite delightful.

I do not think that we shall bring our ponies to Maer. Besides crowding the stables there, the three-year old must be too young for a journey one would think, tho' he drew us four no very light ones 24 miles the other day, and came back as fresh as possible, pushing on whenever the

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reins were slackened. The only thing that makes Charles think of it is the danger of their being stolen, and I believe we shall have them taken up every night to secure them.

With love to my dear Mama and all at home,

I am, my dear Fan's,

Affect. C. L.

Charles Langton's caution was a marked element in his character. My father often told us how he would not take a charming house, Baston, on Hayes Common, when they were looking for houses and wished to settle near my parents, because he saw one rough-looking man on the Common and thought therefore it would not be safe for Charlotte and their little boy to walk alone there. Very likely his caution about the ponies was however quite reasonable, horsestealing being much commoner then than now.

This summer Emma lost the sister-companion, Fanny, from whom she had never been parted for more than a week or two. She died on Aug. 20th, 1832, after a few days' illness from some inflammatory attack. Her sister Charlotte writes to Emma (31 Aug. 1832), "I feel with you, dear Emma, that all our recollections and associations with our Fanny are peculiarly free from anything bitter or painful. She was so gentle that a harsh word could hardly ever have been addressed to her, and her wishes and expectations for herself were so unpretending that it made her life one of much calm happiness and very free from disappointments and anxieties." Her mother speaks of beginning to take comfort in the thoughts of her innocent life, in which, as far as could be prevented, no cloud ever darkened her happiness.

Amongst my mother's papers there is a short record of her feelings on this loss—the first that ever came really close to her. It is evidently written entirely for herself.

……At 9 came on the fatal attack and in 5 minutes we lost our gentle, sweet Fanny, the most without selfishness of anybody I ever saw, and her loss has left a blank which will never be filled up. Oh, Lord, help me to become more like her, and grant that I may join her with Thee never to part again.

I trust that my Fanny's sweet image will never pass from my mind. Let me always keep it in my mind as a motive for holiness. What exquisite happiness it will be to be with her again, to tell her how I loved her who has been joined with me in almost every enjoyment of my life.…

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Sept. 15 [1832].

My dearest aunt Jessie,

How grateful I feel to you, my dear aunts, for the love and sympathy you have for us. Mamma and Elizabeth set off on a little tour in North Wales last Monday with uncle Baugh. I have great hopes it will do Mamma a great deal of good. She has found it more difficult to recover her cheerfulness than we have, but change and travelling always act upon her spirits very much. I do not like that you should be thinking of us as more unhappy than we are. I think we all feel cheerful and susceptible of happiness. I do not expect or wish to miss our Fanny less than we do now. The remembrance

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of her is so sweet and unmixed with any bitter feeling that it is a pleasure to be put in mind of her in every way. I feel as if it was a very long time since we had lost her, though it is only a month next Monday. I suppose it was from having thought of little besides since then. In looking over her desk, I have found many little journals of happy visits and journeys that we have been together, which are a great comfort and bring them so close to my memory. Sometimes I feel a sad blank at the thoughts of having lost my sweet, gentle companion who has been so closely joined with me ever since we were born, but I try to keep my mind fixed upon the hope of being with her again, never to part again. Such a separation as this seems to make the next world feel such a reality—it seems to bring it so much nearer to one's mind and gives one such a desire to be found worthy of being with her. Hers has been a gentle, happy life and I think her spirits were weak, and she would not have borne up so well as the rest of us in the sorrows she must have gone through had she remained here. I feel a great pleasure in telling you how faultless she was, tho' I think you know it as well as I do. I remember so many things when she was quite a little girl, which shewed how completely without selfishness she was even then, and she was always ready to give up little things or great ones. I am sure Papa misses his little secretary as he used to call her. She suited him so well. There was nobody out of her own family she loved so much as you. How happy we were together with you. I am sure dear M. Sismondi has mourned her, for he loved her very much.

I am very sorry you feel so anxious about the cholera. It has been mild at Newcastle and I hope is abating, much more than half recover. There is no fear of it here, as it has not even spread to the Potteries, which are so much nearer. It has been dreadfully bad at Bilston, an iron place not much larger than Newcastle, and hundreds have died in a month. There has been a large subscription for them; there are said to be 300 orphan families to be provided for. I believe it is a wretched place and the people very low. Thank my dear aunt Fanny for her anxiety that we should take care of our healths. There is no need to mind me, as I am very strong and have very little to do, but I do want Elizabeth to take great care of herself, and I try to save her going about among the cottages whenever she will let me.…

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Josiah Wedgwood elected for Stoke-upon-Trent—Bessy's fall at Roehampton and serious illness—The Langtons at Onibury—Miss Martineau and Mrs Marsh—Hensleigh Wedgwood's scruples as lo administering oaths—William Clifford abroad—Madame de Sismondi's cure at Schinznach, her tour in Switzerland and visit to Queen Hortense at Constance.

AT the end of 1832 Josiah Wedgwood was elected in the first reformed Parliament for Stoke-upon-Trent.

Emma and Elizabeth Wedgwood to Madame Sismondi.

16 Dec. 1832.

My dearest aunt Jessie,

Mamma has been saying she meant to write to you every day since the election, but I think our news will be quite flat if we leave it any longer, and now I am afraid we shall not be the first to tell you that Papa was elected by a handsome majority. The numbers were Wedgwood 822, Davenport 625, Heathcote 588, Mason 240. Mr Mason is a thorough-going Radical, so we were all very glad at his being so low on the poll. Papa and all of us were very much pleased at his coming in so grandly, especially as he is become too Tory for these Radical times. We were very secure after the first day's poll. Jessie [Wedgwood] and I went to Hanley to see the candidates going to Stoke to be nominated. Papa went first with his sons and some more gentlemen, his proposer and seconder, in the carriage open with 4 horses; a few carriages followed, and then the tag-rag and bobtail in gigs, carts and phaetons. Then came Davenport, who looked much more numerous, which made us rather low: I suppose we should have been still lower if we had gone to the nomination, for Papa was received with silence, Mr Davenport with hisses and hootings, Mr Heathcote with some applause, and Mr Mason with rapture, which shews how little a nomination shews one of how matters will turn out. They all spoke after they had been proposed, and then had a public dinner at Hanley. Papa's speech looks well in the newspapers. He was listened to without applause, as he says, tho' the newspaper is more obliging and gives him a good many cheers. The next two days the voting took place, and what a pleasant short affair it is now to what it used to be. There was some rioting and some who voted for Davenport had all their windows broke.…

Charles [Langton] and Charlotte are still with us. He has offered himself for a visit at Lord Craven's and Charlotte will stay here the while. It is very nice of him not getting impatient to be at home again. We are all very fond of him. His manners to Mamma are quite charming, so playful and attentive. He has not a spark of the natural enmity that most people have for their mothers-in-law. Mamma enjoyed her little trip to see their living very much. The country about Onibury1 is very pretty, and the poor people well off and a very small parish.

Miss Langdon [former governess] is coming for a visitation on Monday, but we none of us mind her now she is

1 Charles Langton's living to which he had just been appointed, between Church Stretton and Ludlow.

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grown cheerful and talkative. Eliz. will finish this, so goodbye my dearest aunt Jessie, with my best love to my dear uncle.

My dear Jessie,

We are all the more pleased with results of this election from not having been very sanguine beforehand—indeed quite the reverse—and we waited with great impatience the return of old Craddock on the grey mare, whom we sent to bring us the result of the first day's poll; and the unfeeling man met with a good supper at Etruria and kept us on tenter-hooks till 10 o'clock. I was pleased to see Charles [Langton] so interested, but indeed in what are we not pleased with him? he is the most amiable and agreeable inmate that ever was, always pleasant and never flat, and the more I see of him the more fortunate I think Lotty. I am sure he would reconcile even Fanny [Allen] to his not being Mr Arthur Clive if she saw something of him.

Frank will be very glad when this election is over. He is on his cousin Sir Oswald [Mosley]'s committee too, and has had double work to do, but he does not take to speechifying for either of them. His wife gives her first evening party on Tuesday, to which all the gayer parts of this household are going. She has got a Mr Locke, an excellent singer, who makes very good music with Charlotte in duets, and Emma to accompany. Harry and Jessie are beginning the preparation of their house of Keel1. In some respects it will be a very pleasant situation for them, within 5 miles of the Tollets as well as us.…

As to Jos's going into Parliament Bessy says, writing to Jessie Sismondi (22 Dec. 1832), that she

1 Keel was a house not far away into which Harry and Jessie moved early in 1833. They had given up Etruria Hall to the newly married Franks.

is not only gratified at seeing his character rated as it deserves, but that she cannot help thinking it will give their children a lift in point of station, "a worldly feeling I must confess, but one I find myself not able to contend with." In the same letter she speaks of her listlessness and languor making it painful for her to write; and it is evident now that her health had seriously failed. In March 1833 she promises not to be so long again without writing, and speaks of lying awake a prey to sorrowful musings. But she mentions her enjoyment of the first grandchild, Godfrey (the son of Frank), and how she is continually finding new beauties in his "little snub face." And in the same letter her graciousness of nature is shown in a warm expression of admiration for Jane, who is visiting them "blooming as a girl," and of her love for Jessie, "You are par excellence the best beloved of all the sisterhood, and what is more you are not envied on that account."

About this time my mother had a burst of four or five proposals, after a girlhood passed entirely without any kind of love affair. She said "we got quite weary of it."

In the spring Bessy and her daughters paid long visits to the married children, Charlotte still at Ripley, and Hensleigh at Clapham. Seeing both her children so happy seems to have soothed her anxious mind. She also visited the other relations settled in or near London. While staying with her niece, Lady Gifford, at Roehampton, she had a fall which broke some bone, and she was never able to

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walk again No doubt this fall took place during an epileptic fit, for from this time onwards she was subject to such seizures.

Emma writes to Jessie Sismondi (Aug. 5, 1833), giving details of the illness when it was thought her mother was dying, and saying nothing can be kinder than Harriet Gifford or Dr Holland who attended her. She continues:

It is such a pleasure to send you such a good account, for I am sure nobody will feel more (or so much) joy than you at my dear Mamma's recovery. Jos and Frank came up for a few days to see her and are now gone back, and Charlotte who came on Monday goes back to-morrow to Onibury, where C. Langton is very busy getting ready the old parsonage which they mean to live in till the new one is built. We feel impatient to be able to see the time when we can return home, but we must not think of it yet, and it is very lucky Mamma does not feel at all impatient to move. Fanny and Hensleigh have been coming constantly, and she is the nicest nurse possible, and endeared herself very much to us by her affectionate feelings for Mamma and joy at her recovery. Papa is not able to come as often as he wishes, as he is on a Liverpool Committee and the Slavery Bill in the evenings; so he is only able to come on Saturdays and stay till Monday.

Harriet and I went to the Ventilator to hear O'Connell's quarrel with the Reporters, whom he accuses of reporting his speeches falsely, whereupon they say now they will not report a word more of his; so now he declares they shall not report at all, and he had the gallery cleared of all the strangers and the reporters amongst them yesterday. It was a most foolish passionate thing to do as the Reporters are sure to gain the day in the end. Harriet [Gifford] had a levee in the Ventilator, of Mr Devitt, who is as pleasant and good-humoured as he used to be at Geneva, Mr Hall, and Capt. Dundas and Mr Young. They said that O'Connell was much mortified at the debate, but I should have thought he had been used to many worse baitings than he received last night.

Fanny's baby [Snow, six months old] is a nice pretty little thing and one gets very fond of it. How I wish Charlotte had such another. I can't fancy anybody happier than she would be, but it is in vain to wish l am sure. She desires her most affectionate love to you. ——is in much better heart about B. now than she was at the beginning of the holidays, but she is entirely dissatisfied with the school. It is a pity——is so easily cast down about her, as girls are sure to turn out well, and high spirits and troublesomeness seem to be B.'s faults, which are sure to mend. Robert Mack, is in very good spirits. He has taken to making puns at a great rate, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but one is always sure of half-a-dozen at least.…

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Thursday [10 Oct. 1833].

My dearest aunt Jessie,

……Papa and Eliz. came home on Tuesday after spending a week at Onibury. They took a walk every morning though they had very middling weather to see the pretty country in. Mr Langton used to be rather afraid of Papa, but I think he has quite got over that, and they talked away together very well, Eliz. says. I think he is never quite at his ease when any of our men are there, at least he is not near so merry as when there is nobody by but Mamma, or one of us. Papa has persuaded them to come here for all the winter mouths, as though this is not a very warm house, it is much warmer than theirs. He was going to have a curate any how for the winter, so he may just as well come liere, and it will be very pleasant


[pages] 356 - 357

for us having them for so long a visit. They will begin building in the spring, and nothing can be prettier than the situation they have chosen on the banks of the river, with a very pretty view up and down the valley. I was there the week before with Aunt Sarah, and saw a good many of their neighbours. Charlotte was rather unhappy at the outside of her house being so untidy when some smart people called, but Charles takes everything easy and Charlotte has a decided turn against scrattling, so that their tidying goes on at a very slow pace, and as they are to leave the place, they have no inclination to do much. Susan Darwin says they had much better have her for a week to set them to rights, and I am sure she would do more than C. in a month. Harry is now taking a tour with Dr Darwin among some of the southern counties to look at Cathedrals, for which they both have a great taste. Susan is with them so I am sure Harry will enjoy his tour, tho' he had not much inclination to set off, he has had so much travelling with his circuit and registering votes.…

I wish you could see what a nice boy Godfrey [9 months old] is. He has very pretty eyes and a most engaging smile. Frank was a long time before he took much notice of him, but now he is very fond of him and enchants him with tossing him so high. Snow is much the most entertaining of the two, she is such a careless, smiling little thing and never looks as if she was thinking of anything. Hensleigh is deep in etymology again. He finds it very interesting and absorbing. I don't know whether it will ever come to anything.

The other day Miss Martineau1 dined at Clapham with Mrs Marsh, and she made Fanny feel very awkward by saying, "I was much distressed to hear from several quarters that you were disgusted at my conversation some

1 Harriet Martineau (at this time 31 years old), was becoming a literary lion, through the great success of her Political Economy stories.

time ago." I don't know what answer Fanny made, but it was true that we were all rather shocked at some of her opinions on matrimony, and we had been talking about it to Mrs Marsh, and I have no doubt that was the way it came round to her in some of their arguments on that subject. Miss M. took such a fancy to Fanny that I am sorry she found out she had not pleased her, and it shewed great good nature her mentioning it in that open way to her. We were all rather contrite at having said anything about her opinions to Mrs Marsh and Dr Holland; and it was partly our fault, as we drove her on to say that she thought marriage ought to be dissoluble for any cause however slight. It is a pity her being so open, as it will excite a great prejudice against her and make people consider her, though very unjustly, as if she was not a moral person. She is so happy, good-humoured and conceited that she will not much mind what people say of her. I scorn to spin out a letter, so I will wish you goodbye my dearest.

The following relates to the proposed resignation by Hensleigh of his Police Magistracy on account of scruples with regard to administering oaths, He put off the final step till 1837.

Josiah Wedgwood to Monsieur and Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Dec. 21, 1833.

My dear Jessie and Sismondi,

I received your affectionate and most gratifying letter only last night, and I must not lose a day to send you my cordial thanks for it. You will have heard that Hensleigh did not send in his resignation and that, for the present at least, he docs not intend to do it. The resolution was most hasty and rash, and I don't pretend either

[pages] 358 - 359

to justify or account for it, but I conceive that the overwhelming interest that he has in retaining his office had the effect which would be natural with some minds, that it alarmed him and made him distrust all the suggestions of his understanding in favour of retaining his post, that he was, in short, fascinated, and ended the struggle like the little bird who jumps into the open mouth of the glaring snake. Having now got over the first impression, I am in hopes that the arguments for retaining his office will have their due weight with him, and especially as his mind is now turned to exertion for the removal of unnecessary oaths, in which he must sec that his situation as an acting magistrate will give him a weight which would be lost by giving up his office. If after taking sufficient time to restore the equilibrium of his mind, after giving the subject ample and deliberate consideration, taking all means of informing himself and profiting by the learning and judgment of others, he should form a solid conviction that administration of oaths by a Magistrate is forbidden by the gospel, there can be no doubt that it will be his duty to resign; and however great may be one's concern one cannot blame him, though even then he cannot expect to be supported by much of the sympathy, respect, and admiration, which are given to great sacrifices for objects which all men feel to interest human nature.

Your kind solicitude induces me to say of myself that I am quite well, and I suppose even my looks are better than on the occasion when they created Jessie's compassion, I was rather surprised at Jessie's pity for my lot in life, having always thought myself a fortunate man. It is true I have suffered some losses in which my affections were much concerned, and some misfortunes; the chief of which, my dear Bessy's state, is lightened and almost removed by the gentleness, sweetness, and cheerfulness with which she bears her lot, and with which her delightful nature shines out to the last.… Our whole family are now assembled except Hensleigh, all well; and I often think that if they have all taken the quiet path of life, they have none of them made us ashamed or sorry. Of some of them I might say much more without your dissent.

Believe me, my dear brother and sister,

Affectionately yours,

As Jessie desired I have kept your letter to myself.

Bessy's letters practically ceased with her failing health and the gradual enfeeblement of her mind, which now slowly began to come on. From this time until her death in 1846 she never walked again. These thirteen long years of helplessness feel sad to think of, but the anxieties which had weighed on her quite left her, and the brightness and wonderful sweetness of her nature made it a pleasure to be with her, especially to Elizabeth. My mother felt more and more, as time went on, the sadness of her increasingly impaired mind.

William Clifford, of Perristone in Herefordshire, will no doubt be remembered in the letters of 1815, and also in 1818 when the Wedgwood family were in Paris. Two orphan nieces now lived with him, and the following are written whilst he was on the Continent, where, as he wrote to Mrs Wedgwood, "it is thought proper that I should go to complete my young ladies. I suppose Paris is the place, and once in motion, my inertness is not likely soon to stop. I hate the thoughts of it, and shall contrast it all bitterly with our merry days there.

[pages] 360 - 361

My first look out shall be for Aglaë1 who I dare say after your excellent lecture has turned out incomparable. You talk of growing old, but you will never know anything about the matter—for myself, I feel older than anybody ever was before, and the everlasting hills themselves are quite as fit to move."

From William Clifford to Madame Sismondi.

[PARIS, July, 1833].

My dear Madam, I have just this moment got the most cordial letter ever written, even from the Principality. But it was not very logical, for I do love you very much yet I won't drive straight to your most hospitable house, with my tribe, but I will give you every moment of my time at the risk of making poor Mr Sismondi ill, to see how I spend my day, but you shall hide it from him as much as you can, or persuade him I am doing something all the while. I know he will do his best to like me for your sake, and I will like him for his own very sincerely, though he was in a cruel hurry to part us all when we were once together again. All this time I have very little hope of getting to Geneva at all. We certainly shall not leave Paris for some time to come, and then, if we do not turn back, we shall be anxious to get to Rome, and avoid as much as we can temptation on our way. Overtaking Henry is out of the question, and I want to leave Switzerland for our return, as nothing does after it. You know I love the longest letter and read it over and over again. I began two or three to you about Christmas time, wishing you a merry Christmas. Then I thought spring might draw you to Paris. Thank you for all you say of my dear nephew. I can promise he is the better liked, the more he

1 Mr Wedgwood's naughty maid when they were in Paris in 1818.

is known, and my nieces too are very well in their way, but I am pretty well worn out and very much tired of it all—and it is all very much tired of me.

Still very faithfully yours, WILLIAM CLIFFORD.

Now I have had one letter from you, I long for another. Do.

William Clifford to Madame Sismondi.

GENOA, October, 1833.

My dear Madame Sismondi. You are a good person to get well again so soon1, but pray be very careful, those stools are too small and too light. And do keep quiet a little longer than is necessary. A pretty way you have of amusing your friends who come from so far. A letter from my dear Miss Fanny [Allen] got here at last, and she is on the whole reconciled to Mrs Wedgwood's state as better than she expected—particularly in the main point— "her memory quite good, the same truth of observation, the same gentleness and kindness of character," and "a cheerfulness that so peculiarly belonged to her about her still. She suffers little or no pain." All this you know already, and is great comfort, but they seem to have little hope of her getting better than she is. It is happy for Mrs Langton that she is married.

Thank you for all you say of my girls, but you do not know much about them. All fine you say of me is likely to be true, for you have known me off and on 36 years, but there is no reason I should triumph over M. Sismondi. On the contrary, tell him, I am his obliged and faithful servant, W. CLIFFORD.

In the journal Baroness Bunsen wrote for her mother, Mrs Waddington, there is the following

1 Alluding to an accident of a fall from a stool.

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mention of Mr Clifford during his stay in Rome, where he spent the winter 1833–4.

Dec. 4, 1833. In the evening, if we are at home and have not too many visitors, I finish up my sketches. For this I had a bit of praise from Mr Clifford which greatly pleased me. The day after he had seen me thus employed he said, "How I like that making the most of odd times! it is what everybody ought to do, and what I never do! and thus I have done nothing, and learnt nothing in my life." Mr Clifford's being here is a great pleasure to us: he is really a delightful person, entering into everything and enjoying everything like a child1.

William Clifford to Madame Sismondi.

[ROME], May 4th [1834].

[After explaining why he had broken his resolution of not giving anyone a letter of recommendation to Monsieur Sismondi.]

Now this done, I proceed to tell you of ourselves. I suspect you and M. Sis. care most for the rising generation. My two nieces have had anything but a pleasant winter. Emily had not been three days in Rome before she caught small-pox. The effects of it lasted till we were about departure, and then by way of finale she caught scarlet fever, but now she is got pretty well and ready to catch something else. This threw us sadly out of the great occupation of society. You may suppose we were not very popular, having nothing to give people but contagion. But we did not much care for them, not having M. Sis. to fight for us. Ld. and Ly. James Hay were very civil and we fancied them much, but they were very much occupied so we did not often meet. The girl is just what you say, so sunny and cheerful, and certainly made after

1 Life and Letters of Frances, Baroness Bunsen, Vol. I., p. 404.

the old receipt of making your hay when the sun shines. They are gone and everybody else also. We are always the survivors. Ly. Davy is on the brink of departure. I have never yet told her of your kindness to cows and keeping a neighbour by way of company to your own, which I hope will atone for your cruelty to horses. Miss Mackenzie to say the truth is uncommonly agreeable, and makes me waste a great deal of time in scolding her horrid uncomfortable ways. She returned to England with renewed affection for the old land, and I think will subside there one of these days. Your family are good for nothing about writing, so I know none of their adventures. I was at a wedding yesterday (Palazzo Cafferalli), which brought many a tear to my eye, foolish enough in this world of chance and change. Meanwhile let those that remain in it try to like and cherish one another, and write soon. Direct to Perristone near Ross, where we mean to return, slowly, slowly. I have given all my hurry to my nephew, which he calls dispatch, and will run as unmercifully as you would have done poor Lady Davy's pair of horses. And do tell me a great deal of news—I won't begin again, so good-bye. Remember me properly to the great historian. Very faithfully and sincerely yours, W. C.

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Sunday, July 13, 1834.

……I shall be very glad to hear that the Douche1 has done you good. How odd it seems that remedy lasting from Mme de Sevigné's time. Her account of the way she spent her time at the Baths is very like yours, except that she dressed and undressed much oftener. I was wanting to write to you all the time I was at Clapham, but I was very idle, and also I wrote home very often: I had a

1 At Schinznach, where she had gone for the baths.

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very happy stay there, and I always enjoy myself particularly in Hensleigh and Fanny's company. There is such constant placidity and comfort through the house, and such warm affection between them that it makes one happy to see it. Papa used to ride down every day almost, and always stay from Saturday till Monday, and he finds himself very comfortable there, and likes devoting himself to Snow's amusement very much. I heard a good deal of beautiful music, and corrupted Aunt Emma [Allen] so far as to persuade her to go to three operas with me. She stayed a fortnight with us, which I enjoyed very much as she is a person one always loves the better for being with.… When the children are in the house one does nothing but go after them. Mamma keeps a supply of comfits and raisins for them, and they are in great danger of being made sick if one did not stop her hand a little sometimes.…

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, July 29, 1834.

I believe I owe you for many letters, my dear Emma, for all of which I thank you warmly. I found yours of the 13th here awaiting my return from the little tour we had been taking in Switzerland, after our cure at Schinznach, of which I gave Elizabeth an account. I trust that the sea air will do for her what I have a feeling it must do for everybody, cure them of all ails. How I long to breathe it! the mountain air of which I have been taking a potion comes only next to it. We found all well on our return last Wednesday, and I thank Heaven no ill news from England in the many letters that lay waiting for me on the tables, and which I opened with a beating heart. I so enjoyed the first part of our tour; all the little circumstances and incidents were always so much in our favour that I superstitiously began to fear some ill luck at the end. At Vevay I met poof Mrs Marcet for the first time since her loss1. She was overcome almost to fainting at first, but attributed it to heat and fatigue, said she would lie down and return to us in half-an-hour, which she did, talking on in different subjects and no allusion was made on either side to what, it was but too visible, both our hearts were full [of]. She intended to return with us in the steamboat the next day, but when the morning came she had not courage, and sent to excuse herself on account of her brother's illness. I am nearly sure it was because we were in the boat—she would suffer less with strangers. This feeling prevents my going to see her, yet I am afraid of appearing cold by not. Our national reserve in sorrow makes the action of friends much more difficult, and I regret a little of the Genevais expansiveness in sorrow.

We, that is Sismondi and I and our portmanteau, left Schinznach on the 9th of this month in a nice little onehorse cabriolet, that stole softly and quietly over the ground, and quick too, directing our course north-eastward. We saw the baths of Baden, Zurich, the Rhine in its fall, and in its course through Switzerland, Constance, St Gall, the pretty Lake of Wallenstadt, where I read your name with your father's in the inn book which vividly brought back the time you so sweetly alluded to, my Emma, which can never return for either of us—but whatever returns as before? It is our wisdom to separate and treasure up only those remembrances that soothe. Happily created being that you are, you have nothing to do with the first process; with you all is comfort, and sure hope of an eternal union in the only abiding place. There too, may I hope, my many tears of separation will be wiped away. But I have fallen on sadness without intending it. So to return to my tour. We saw Glarus, the lovely Canton of

1 The death of her husband.

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Schwytz with its many crystal lakes, and the beautiful walnut trees dipping their luxuriant branches in them, Lucerne, Berne, Fribourg, and Vevay—this took us exactly a fortnight, and the expence as nearly as possible to a Napoleon a day each, and travel as economically in Switzerland as you please you cannot spend less. At Constance we spent a day with the Queen Hortense1, and it was the most interesting of our journey. She is become fat, and does not look as if she had ever been handsome, but she has a very pleasing expression of sweet temper and great kindness in manner. We arrived about 2 o'clock and did not leave till 8, and the whole six hours were passed in causerie, with the exception of a dinner of one course quickly despatched, and I found it much too short for all she had to tell and shew us. I felt much as if I was playing at Kings and Queens, in addressing her as "Majesty," but a better feeling than courtesy forbids us take away the title from the unprosperous unless they have themselves the good sense to drop it. She speaks of all her wrongs without the least resentment, with a philosophic calmness that would indicate a higher understanding than I suspect she possesses, but it is only suspicion, for she might be very clever for anything I know to the contrary. She talked very openly of her past life, regretted she had not been earlier aware of the importance and of the extraordinariness, please to let the word pass—of it, that she might have taken daily notes of it. It seemed to her at the time the natural course of life, and she passed through heedlessly. She read us part of her journal or memoir that had reference to her mother's divorce. It evinced the sternness of purpose that is always given to Buonaparte, but it shewed also tenderness and strength of affection in the

1 Ex-Queen of Holland, daughter of the Empress Josephine and Beauharnais her first husband, and mother of Louis Napoleon (afterwards Emperor) now a youth of 25. She was living apart from her husband.

bitter tears even to sobs which he sometimes gave way to in carrying it through. She shewed us in her cabinet a cast of Buonaparte taken after his death. It looked affecting from an expression of deep yet quiet suffering. Near this cast she had preserved the portrait of his second wife and child, on which his dying eyes were fixed, and which always hung at St Helena before his little camp bed. Over these was hung the Cashmere sash he wore at the battle of the Pyramids, blackened with gunpowder. He had given it to her to wrap round her head one day that she had taken cold. She shewed us also the scapulaire of Charlemagne; it was taken from his tomb at Aix-la-Chapelle and given by the town to her mother when she visited it as Empress. There was in it a bit of the true cross enchased in crystal as big as a turkey egg, that set in jewels and a bit of a gold chain that fastened it round his neck. She had several interesting portraits, and is herself no contemptible artist. She takes strong likenesses and finishes them very prettily. Her Chateau of Ehrenberg is beautifully situated on the steep side of a mountain covered with the richest vegetation, the most magnificent oak and walnut trees looking down directly into the Lake of Constance, it is furnished as the most elegant and most comfortable boudoir of Paris would be. It was delicious to take shelter in it from the scorching sun. She has two dames d'honneur, an Italian physician, and a French artist living with her besides her son the Prince Louis [afterwards Napoleon III.]. She told us she believed she would come this winter to Geneva, for the sake of making her son live in a way more consonant to his age than with her at Constance. She gave us a book she has just published, and that I am sure would interest you very much, memoirs of her son's escape from Italy after the last Revolution, and after her eldest son's death.

I have just received my dear Mackintosh's History of the Revolution, and your letter has lain by in consequence.

[pages] 368 - 369

I cannot read it with quiet nerves. The Memoir1 prefixed does not so sorely vex me as it does Fanny [Allen], tho' done by no friendly hand. There is no malignity, which I feared, and he has quoted so largely and so judiciously from Mackintosh's early writing and late speeches, that it must raise M. in the opinion of everyone who reads; and then when M. speaks so well of himself what signifies the opinion and judgment of the foolish writer? It can do him no harm. This should be a warning to Robert not to cut out anything but what is absolutely necessary of his father's writing, whether journal or letters. I am rather afraid of Robert's over-delicacy of home subjects; yet those will shew M. in the brightest light, and they are those after all that make known the true character.…

1 A fragment of a "History of the Revolution in 1688" was published after Mackintosh's death with a memoir prefixed by a Mr Wallace.



Elizabeth at Clapham—The Sismondis plan a twelve months' absence from Chêne—Fanny Allen on Mr Scott—Emma visits Cresselly, the Hill, and Onibury—Mrs John Wedgwood's sudden death at Shrewsbury—Emma at musical festivals—Charles Darwin returns from his voyage round the world—Dr Holland thinks his journal not worth publishing—Emma at Edinburgh—C. D. on marriage.

EMMA WEDGWOOD in 1835 was 27 years old, and her girlhood was left behind. The loss of her sister Fanny, and her mother's failure in health, altered the whole conditions of her existence. It is as nurse and caretaker that she now appears, and also as aunt to the next generation, which numbered four. The two sisters, Elizabeth and Emma, could not leave home at the same time, one must always be there to be with their mother.

Elisabeth Wedgwood to her mother.

CLAPHAM, Tuesday, 3 March [1835].

……Saturday we dined at Waterloo1 with Eras. [Darwin], Robert [Mackintosh] and Mr George Marsh. Anne [Marsh, née Caldwell] was very pleasant, and when

1 Waterloo, Kilburn, where Mr and Mrs Arthur Marsh lived.

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we got round the fire after dinner she talked a great deal with an openness that was very engaging about her book [Two Old Men's Tales] and her feelings. I was in hopes that her being known as the author would have saved her from hearing disagreeable things; but she told us of some things that had been said that she would have given a thousand pounds rather than they should have been said. I cannot think who could tell her. She was very much amused when she dined at Lady Milman's to find Mr Murray paying court to her as if she was somebody. I think the vexation of being known has more than counterbalanced the pleasure of her success, but the pleasure of the writing itself seems to be very great. Anne's children are a very nice-looking, pleasing, healthy set, and I am sure Anne must be a very engaging mother to them, she is so open with them. (I can hardly write for Snow [just two years old] who is romancing on, and acting, and speechifying, but what it is all about I have not an idea, but "jingle, jingle," comes in very often in the discourse. I have just made out "a large wind blew the little wind down," with a very important shake of the head). There is wind enough to-day to blow many things down besides little winds. We have had a course of horrid weather, so cold and such storms, there is no doing anything but sit in the house. Yesterday Miss Thornton and Etta [her sister] dined here specifically to meet Erasmus, and Hensleigh says that Etta as good as proposed to him, only unluckily he did not hear, and Hensleigh could not remember what she said. We had a very pleasant evening. I never saw anything prettier than Snow dancing in a pink silk frock Marianne [Thornton] brought for her to try; she dances so very gracefully and so unconsciously of all our looking and laughing……

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Friday, Ap. II [1835].

……We have had visits here from the Franks and Harrys, Susan Darwin, and the Hollands, so that I have not been at all solitary. I think Susan quite won Allen [Wedgwood]'s heart by her attentions. She was missed one day and nobody could find her anywhere, when at last she was discovered sitting very comfortably with Allen, with a bottle of cowslip wine and some sweetmeats before them. She says Allen coloured up very much when [his brother Tom] the Colonel's face was seen prying in at the window but she was quite hardened herself. I think she is the happiest person I know, such constant gay spirits and such little things give her so much enjoyment……

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

May 3, 1835.

……I commissioned Harriet [Surtees, now at Chêne] to thank my beloved Bessy for her welcome present of Mrs Marsh's book and the Brünners. I think Anne's Tales particularly interesting; they both robbed me of some of those precious tears I am so chary of shedding. I prefer the first, there is greater purity and far greater truth. "The Admiral's Daughter" is deficient in both these qualities, and interesting as it is, I can hardly forgive its immorality. Nevertheless I should like to read more by the same author, and shall be sorry if indeed she is, as she now feels, exhausted. I have received the last Edinburgh too, and have again and again to thank her [Bessy]. She is much too generous habitually to me, I blush when I receive supernumeraries. If she is one-tenth part as prodigal to others as she is to me, she will not reserve for herself enough even for "a ha'porth of snuff, God bless


[pages] 372 - 373

her," as Montagu1 would say, but I say it with more fervour and less affectation.

Like you I do not know whereabouts you are in our history, so forgive me if I radote. Harriet wrote lately to your aunt Sara [Wedgwood], and doubtless told her of our plan of going into Italy in August for a twelvemonth. For my own part, I quit my dear little Chêne and all its dumb inhabitants with great pain. I hate moving, I hate travelling, and already I have been crying over the warning I have given all the servants who have been crying too, tho' we do not go till August. We must kill all our fowls, sell our cow, and we do not know what to do with our horses. In short there is pain beforehand, and fatigue and sorrow after.

We are going this evening to take leave of our great friend Lady Osborne, who goes to Ireland soon, and I take to her a cadeau for my dear old friend Mrs Dillon. It is the first handsome present I ever made (that is to say handsome for my purse), and you cannot think how much happiness it gives me to make it—I am only afraid it will never reach her. It is a chain of gold enamel, nearly £15, and it is astonishingly cheap, I have seldom seen so handsome a one. My generous Sis. insists upon paying for it, but then I should not feel it my gift, so he shall not have that pleasure.

1 Basil Montagu (1770—1851), natural son of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. James Hackman, a clergyman, fell desperately in love with Martha Ray, Basil Montagu's mother, whilst she was living with Lord Sandwich as a kind of unacknowledged wife. Hackman, failing to get her consent to marry him, shot her through the head at Covent Garden Theatre, for which he was hung in 1779. Boswell accompanied him in his coach to Tyburn. Basil Montagu was a well-known man in the literary world, a friend of Coleridge, Wordsworth, Mackintosh, etc. He had tried to marry Sarah Wedgwood, it was always supposed for her money, but at what date does not appear. His circumstances were at a low ebb in 1800. See Tom Wedgwood, the First Photographer, p. 78.

Fanny Allen to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

DULWICH, May 11th [1835].

My dear Emma,

I do not see why Elizabeth is to pay for every letter of mine to Maer, therefore I shall charge you this time, as I want to tell you what a prospect of pleasure you have given me in your promise to visit us this autumn. I speak only in my own person now, but I am sure that this feeling will be equally felt by Emma [Allen] and that you will bring a bright sun to our autumn. In the meanwhile do not get any lover or attachment which will cause this scheme to fall through.

I have been running about so constantly this last week that I have been behindhand in my information to Elizabeth of my proceedings. I am not quite comfortable if I do not impart to her my spring life of '35, of which she participated two most pleasant months. The day I placed her at Notting Hill, I stopped at Clapham [the Hensleigh Wedgwoods], and spent Sunday and Monday there, that is to say the morning of Monday, for at 2 o'clock we fly'd it to London. Fanny and I took baths in Bond Street—they dined at Lady Inglis's and I tête-à-tête with Robert [Mackintosh]. I am rather inclined to be of William Clifford's opinion about tête-à-têtes, they are not amusing things. I had more of pain than pleasure in our conversation, and more fear than hope for poor Robert when I quitted him at ten o'clock. I found Hensleigh overcome with fatigue at his dull day, and I was a little oppressed by my interesting one. I returned here the next day. I added one sentence to Elizth's green book of Snowiana, which she will see next month. We admired her art of putting down the things. I felt that the detail smothered what you wanted to tell. When I am away, Snow quotes me as calling her "Snigs Snags and Snogs." She was

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very proud of having her hair curled, and when I said, "Oh Snow, what will Aunt Rich say to this curling?" she acted, with her hands out and strong emphasis, "Oh! Snigs Snogs, how elegant you are!"

I am very sorry that Elizabeth and I did not accomplish our Woolwich1 scheme during her stay. I went on Saturday there by myself in the true vagabonding style, and returned with Miss Farrer last night—and my visit was well worth my trouble. I enjoyed it entirely and I could not help regretting a hundred times that Elizabeth had lost what I am sure she would have enjoyed even more than I did. Mrs Rich said I must be punctual for the Woolwich coach at 3, at Charing Cross. In spite of Miss F.'s eloquence we were there to the minute, but there was no coach, and none to start till a quarter after 5—an omnibus had gone a quarter of an hour before. We then drove to the Elephant and Castle where we found a Greenwich coach, into which I got with the promise that I should pass immediately into an omnibus for Woolwich on my arrival. That was false, for I waited a good halfhour in an omnibus office, but it was cool and clean and I did not mind it, and I liked my omnibus part of the journey very well; and I found dear Mrs Rich and Miss Kerr looking so full of anxiety for me on my landing, that I felt very grateful for so much affection. We had a good mile and a half to walk to Mr Scott's cottage. Mrs S. is very handsome and has very sweet manners, and during this evening I felt the full value of my omnibus carriage [in its] being without excellent Miss Farrer. Mr Scott came in from his ride very soon after I got there, and when I had refreshed myself from the dust and heat of the day, I was fresh and alive to anything I might hear. The mention of Hensleigh and his word-book led us easily into conversation, and I was very much struck by

1 To hear Mr Scott preach. See note, p. 319.

the simpleness and truth of his mind. He spoke of the minds of poets, of their intentions in writing—and particularly of the sarcasm of Cowper's. He showed this in reading bits from his works; from these we mounted to St Paul and his difficult chapters in Romans. I went tired but very much gratified to bed. Yesterday morning the subjects were biblical but treated so candidly—mentioning his own opinions, but giving attention and even weight to yours—that though the remainder of the day was fatiguing, I was glad to see and hear him as a teacher in his little community……

My kindest best love to your mother and to each of you. Yours dear little Emoo,

Most affectionately,

In the autumn of this year Emma was three months away from home, paying visits to the John Wedgwoods at The Hill (near Abergavenny) on her way to and also coming back from Cresselly; and ending up with a week at Onibury, where the Langtons were settled after their return from 8 or 9 months spent in Madeira. They had gone there for the sake of Charles Langton's health, which had given cause for anxiety in the autumn of 1834.

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Nov. 29 [1835].

……Now I must give you a little more rapture about Cresselly and its inmates. In the first place Uncle Allen makes all the meals and occasions when all the family assembles so very cheerful and pleasant. He was in constant gay spirits and most agreeable, except when Seymour [eldest son, æt. 20] was too enthusiastic about horses and

[pages] 376 - 377

bothered him a little with questions. Aunt Fanny [Allen] was in charming spirits and conversation, which was a fresh pleasure to me every day, especially in our walks, and they used to curl their hair with me.

Both my Aunts [Fanny and Emma] enjoyed Robert [Mackintosh]'s stay there very much, and he improved our party very much. I think he is truly attached to both of them as he ought to be I am sure. At. Fanny scolds him and says what she likes to him, which must be good for him as she is the only person in the world who ventures to do so. He is sent off to Windsor as his first stage in his Counselship, and Erasmus is gone as his Clerk, which surprized us all that so idle a man should like to undertake it (viz. the Clerk), as it is supposed he will have a good deal to do. The girls at Shrewsbury tell him they are afraid the King will have a very bad bargain.

I liked renewing my recollections of Tenby, and it looked as bright and pretty as it used to when I was a child. The rocks and the Wash I had never seen before and I think it was the grandest thing I ever saw. We had a fine bright day with a very high wind which dashed up the sea most beautifully. We were all great figures with the wind blowing our hair and petticoats no how, and had the good luck just to escape falling in with a large party of Stackpole [Earl Cawdor's place] grandees, who arrived just after we set off home.

I think Charles Langton is really the better for Madeira. They have made a nice small house of it, with a pretty drawing-room nicely furnished, and they are putting up a porch, and a stove to keep themselves warm. They have been visiting about a good deal this autumn, which Charles likes, and it is very good for Charlotte's soul, and I think she rather likes it too, though she is lazy. We have the Franks with us now. Little Amy has been very unwell. She is very pretty, and such a patient mild look when she is ill that it is quite pity-moving to see her.

Elizabeth's son Godfrey1 is very handsome and engaging.

A Miss X. of this country is making a great noise in the world. She has been in love with her father's coachman for 10 years and is now quite resolved to marry him. Her father is in despair about it, and says he will shoot himself if she does, and he and the other sisters are so ill that they think they will die of it. The coachman is drunken and a bad man, and engaged to the cook, but Miss X. remains quite steady in her purpose and as she is 25 nobody can stop her.2……

I don't deserve that you should write soon I am sure, but I shall be very glad to have a letter. I am very much interested in all Genevese gossip. Give my love to my dear M. Sismondi. I hope he cares about me still. I shall always love him for his great kindness and affection to us [herself and Fanny]. I hear aunt Fanny has been affronting Mary3 of Freestone with some joke about little Capt. Foley. She had the naughtiness in her sometimes when I was there about him, and I used to reprove her for joking. Eliz. is very well and stout, and not over-worked with sick folk at present. Good-bye my dearest Aunt Jessie.

EM. W.

Her aunt Fanny Allen writes to her warmly regretting her departure from Cresselly, where she had spent seven weeks, and saying that even the dog is not reconciled to it.

1 Godfrey, eldest son of Frank Wedgwood, Elizabeth's particular pet.

2 Strange to say, Miss X. was believed to be happy in her married life. She lived according to her husband's position and brought up her children in the same rank of life.

3 Daughter of James Allen of Freestone, see p. 146.

[pages] 378 - 379

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, Jan. 2, 1836.

……I have foolishly delayed to answer a very sweet letter that gave me great pleasure, tho' I gave you no proof of it, and I desire now to offer you, as well as all my beloveds at Maer, my wishes, which may well be called prayers, for a happy new year, and my wishes also, tho' retrospective, that you have had a merry Christmas. I this moment interrupted my letter to hear one read from Sara [Wedgwood] to Harriet [Surtees]. She gives an excellent account of my own Bessy, who had been at church and sacrament without being even exhausted. She says, "3 of our young ones had been at a Cheadle ball." In those surely my little Emma is included; so I am glad to see one of my wishes fulfilled, that you have been merry. This good account from Maer has made me gay, and I needed it, for I am arrived at that period in life when the entrance on another year and the parting with the last gives me the sensation of hearing the tocsin, and yesterday my heart was heavy. One needs the joyous bustle of youth or childhood around one at this season to give a less awful sound to the bell, and perhaps the want is more strongly felt in a country where children play so great a part that the aged seem to lose their identity in them.

I was delighted to read your rapture with Cresselly and its dear [ones]. You know it is my Paradiso—but why did you leave it so soon? just as something gay was going on. Let me try for some Geneva gossip, since you like it. The most important part of this world, I presume, is ourselves. I may therefore tell you first that we are "brave and hearty," that Sismondi is working like a horse to finish a thick vol. on Government legislation and political economy before he goes to Italy in Febry, which we now purpose.

All our neighbours are in the town and the whole country seems our own. I rather like it. We are going this evening to a little soirée at the de Walets whom I believe you know. I expect to meet Liszt the great pianist, and hope to hear him, tho' he affects now literature and the Paris fop more than musick. To be in keeping with the latter character, he is here with a French countess, whose husband remains at Paris and does not care where or how she is. I had a little soirée on Wednesday which went off pretty well for me, as I talked chiefly with M. Munier—but I believe some of my company found it a terrible seccatura.

Mons. de Walet and Liszt made a little French conversation about the table, and the rest were English, who listened as if it was a comedy acting before them, but taking no part and shewing too little approbation for the performers not to be soon knocked up……

Fanny Allen continued to correspond with Emma evidently as a result of the Cresselly visit. She writes (March 2, 1836):

Did I tell you what success your beasts met with at the school? I have been trying my hand at a lion, but it looks like nothing at all. I wish you would do me a bear and a lion, good sized, any leisure time of yours, and let them be by you for any opportunity that may happen in the next 5 or 6 months. The beasts your acquaintance here are all well. Clio wins her way with everyone. John's particular love to you. You have won his heart completely.

The first-mentioned "beasts" were cut out in paper, for which art she had a particular talent, though I remember pigs as being her chef d'œuvres. Alas! we have not kept one specimen for her grandchildren to see.

[pages] 380 - [page break]

The John Wedgwoods had left The Hill in 1835, and had gone to winter at Cresselly and Tenby, intending finally to settle in Staffordshire. Indeed I think they had already taken Seabridge, a house within a few miles of Maer. Jane, who had never had good health, was now seriously ill. Fanny Allen in various letters blinds herself to the condition of this beloved sister. The end came quite suddenly during a stay at Shrewsbury, where they went to consult Dr Darwin.

Fanny Allen to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Ap. 25, 1836.

My dear Emma,

We were totally unprepared for the intelligence from Shrewsbury yesterday, it seems yet to me like a painful dream that makes me restless. One's understanding as well as one's eyes are holden sometimes with regard to the illness of those dear to one; and it has been so in this instance more than in any other case I ever remember. Almost every word and action of hers during the past winter is before me, and I can think and speak of nothing else; and my own foolish blindness is before me too. What affection we have lost with her! There never was such ardent and unbounded affection as in her; it seemed as if her religious feelings had given her a power of loving unknown to less pious characters. The last ten months have carried away with them a treasure of affection, of tenderness, and of religious example to us. I trust the prayers of these two dear sisters1 for us may be heard, and that we may join them in a very few years.

I feel very sorry for the shock poor Tom [Wedgwood]

1 Caroline, Mrs Drewe, died in 1835.

aged 54
From a water-colour printing by Linnell

[page break] - [pages] 381

will have felt at Clifton; his state of mind was so happy, that sorrow is doubly felt under its influence. I think his marriage with Anne Tylor promises as much happiness as is ever likely to fall to the share of anyone, weighing all matters fairly. Anne has a most sweet and gentle nature as well as temper, a most ardent affection for him and all his family, and is liberal as daylight.

My tender love to dearest Bessy,

Ever affectionately yours, my dear Emma,


In 1836 and 1837 I have several letters of my mother's to Fanny Hensleigh. They remind me of her letters in quite old age, the same casual, careless style, often giving a picture of the family life in few words with a happy touch, but intermixed with little details which would now be of no interest.

Emma went to the Manchester Festival this year and heard Malibran, who made an undying impression on her. She often spoke of her charm as quite unequalled, and specially of her possessing the full beauty of a soprano and contralto voice. She must have had an orgy of music that summer, for she also went to the Festival at Worcester, staying with her cousin Charlotte Isaac (neé Holland), at Henwick. There she heard Clara Novello. She writes to Fanny Hensleigh:

Clara has such a simple dawdling little voice and way of speaking, one feels quite surprised that such sounds can come out of her1. There is something quite tragical in poor Malibran's death [23 Sept. 1836] especially after

1 Clara Novello was then a girl of 18, but she was already famous, having been singing in public for two or three years.

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having seen her singing away so few days before. Mrs Novello, who is an acquaintance of Charlotte's [Mrs Isaac], told her that as soon as ever Malibran was dead, de Beriot (her husband) set off to Brussels without even leaving a servant with the body1. It is hardly possible that he should not have cared for her. I have been wishing to have you for a companion at these concerts so much……

These festivals were an immense joy to her all through her youth, and in this way she heard a good deal of the best music. The mention of Clara Novello reminds me that when she sang the solo verse of "God save the Queen" at the opening of the Crystal Palace in 1854, for almost the only time in my life, I saw my mother lose her self-control and sob audibly.

Charles Darwin returned from his voyage round the world in Oct. 1836. His father had strongly objected to his going, but added, "If you can find any man of common sense who advises you to go, I will give my consent." His uncle Jos was that sensible man, and thus Charles calls him his First Lord of the Admiralty.

Charles Darwin to his uncle Josiah Wedgwood.

[SHREWSBURY, Oct. 5th, 1836].

My dear Uncle,

The Beagle arrived on Sunday evening and I reached home late last night. My head is quite confused with so much delight, but I cannot allow my sisters to tell you first how happy I am to see all my dear friends again.

1 "Two hours after her death he was in his carriage on his way to Brussels to secure her property." Grove, Dict. of Music.

I am obliged to return in three or four days to London when the Beagle will be paid off, and then I shall pay Shrewsbury a longer visit. I am most anxious once again to see Maer and all its inhabitants, so that in the course of two or three weeks I hope in person to thank you, as being my First Lord of the Admiralty. I am so very happy I hardly know what I am writing.

Believe me,

Your most affectionate nephew,

Remember me most kindly to aunt Bessy and all at dear Maer.

Caroline Darwin adds:

My dear Elizabeth,

Charles is come home so little altered in looks from what he was five years ago and not a bit changed in his own dear self. He had landed at Falmouth on Sunday evening, and travelled night and day till he came to Shrewsbury late last night. We heard nothing of him till this morning when he walked in just before breakfast. We have had the very happiest morning—Charles so full of affection and delight at seeing my father looking so well and being with us all again.

He is looking very thin but well—he was so much pleased by finding your and Charlotte's kind notes ready to receive him. I shall indeed enjoy, my dear Eliz., going to Maer with him. How happy he will be to see you all again. When I began this letter I did not know he would feel tranquil enough to write himself, but he said he must be the first to tell uncle Jos of his arrival. He feels so very grateful to, uncle Jos and you all, and has been asking about every one of you.

Now we have him really again at home I intend to begin to be glad he went this expedition, and now I can

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allow he has gained happiness and interest for the rest of his life. Good-bye dear Eliz. It is pleasant to write to those who sympathise so entirely with us.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.

MAER, Monday [21 oct. 1836).

……We are getting impatient for Charles [Darwin]'s arrival. The Langtons must go on Monday any how, so I hope he will come soon. We all ought to get up a little knowledge for him. I have taken to no deeper study than Capt. Head's gallop1 which I have never read before. I am afraid it won't instruct me much. Charles seems to have been much struck with the sight of Hensleigh walking up the street with a bandbox in one hand and a child in the other. He seems to have nearly settled in favour of living at Cambridge, which is a pity for Erasmus's sake; but I should feel sure that Charles would like Cambridge best, as he has a particular spite to London I believe.……

I am sure your best feelings will be gratified at hearing how plain I think little S. He has not a pretty expression, and his eyes have a likeness to a ferret's, and then he has such a croaking voice that Bro's2 and Snow's soft little voices appear a great contrast.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.

MAER, Friday [October 28th, 1836].

……It is quite melancholy to hear you talking of the fine weather while we have actually a very tolerably deep snow for the Langtons to get home in. They were very

1 Sir Francis Head's "Rapid Journies across the Pampas" published in 1828.

2 "Bro" is the baby name of Mackintosh Wedgwood, Hensleigh's and Fanny's boy, now aged 2½, Snow, his sister a year older.

sorry to give up seeing Charles here, but his last letter gave no hopes of his being here this week. We are very glad to keep Caroline [Darwin] or we should be very dull, but she will wait for Charles anyhow.

Allen [Wedgwood] has been spending two days at Etruria and has come home quite brisk and gay. He would be so much better if he could always go a-visiting.

Snow had no business to get a cough last week, it was so very pleasant. I took to gardening at a great rate. I think one enjoys being alive more in that sort of late autumn fine weather than at any other time of the year. Good-bye my dear F.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.

MAER, Monday [Nov. 21, 1836].

……We enjoyed Charles's visit uncommonly. We had been very handsome in inviting all the outlyers of the family to meet him, and the last morning the chaise from Tern Hill1 did not come, and we persuaded them to stay, and had just made ourselves comfortable and planned a walk when the chaise arrived. However we got them to let us send it off, though Caroline [Darwin] felt it to be rather naughty, and we had a very nice snug day of them to ourselves. Charles talked away most pleasantly all the time; we plied him with questions without any mercy. Harry and Frank made the most of him and enjoyed him thoroughly. Caroline looks so happy and proud of him it is delightful to see her. We had her a whole month, and I never enjoyed a visit of hers so much; she was so very nice and settled herself more at home here than usual. Mrs Holland and Louisa [her daughter] are amused with the Tollets and like them, but poor Ellen

1 Tern Hill, on the road to Shrewsbury.

L. 25

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[Tollet] is very poorly to-day, and I fully believe she is going to have the chicken-pox.

Charles was quite angry with Charlotte's picture, He studied it many times to see if he could find any likeness and said: "I hope to fate she is not like that picture." I suppose he has rather a poetical idea of her, for the picture is certainly very like.

Thursday. Poor Ellen's malady turns out to be the chicken-pox, so she is confined to her apartment. I fully expect to have it, but it does not much signify as it is very trifling. Mrs Wicksted1 is foraging for recruits for the Newcastle ball, but as her own sister in law [Ellen Tollet] will not go, duty does not call me.……

My mother's calm anticipation of catching chicken-pox is just her character in later days.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Dec. 14 [1836].

My dear Jessie,

I received your dear letter (which would have made me blush, but that it is so pleasant to be loved even more than one deserves) while our pleasant guests were with us. Sorry indeed we were to lose them this day week. I never saw uncle Allen looking better nor in better spirits in my life. His perpetual pleasant and sweet looks and merry laugh were quite delightful to see and hear. He enjoyed very much seeing my mother so well and gay, and she was exhilarated by his company in a manner that she would not have been capable of two or three years ago. They had a merry battle at whist every night, in which numberless old scraps of songs used to come forth from the extraordinary store-houses of both

1 Wife of Charles Wicksted, only son of Mr Tollet, see p. 79.

their memories, and enquiries about people so long gone by that the wonder was how they even recollected their names.……

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.

MAER, Saturday, 17th Dec. 1836.

……We are in such a dissipated humour that we have actually invited the Mainwarings and Mrs Moreton for next Wednesday, and then we shall be clear of the world for a year to come.

Catherine [Darwin] tells me they are very anxious to have your and H.'s real opinion of Charles's journal. I am convinced Dr Holland is mistaken if he thinks it not worth publishing. I don't believe he is any judge as to what is amusing or interesting. Cath. does not approve of its being mixed up with Capt. Fitzroy's, and wants it to be put altogether by itself in an Appendix1.

I envy you Mr Scott's lectures. If he makes you understand the Epistle to the Romans I shall think him a great genius. We had a very nice visit from Godfrey2. It was pleasant to see how fond he is of his little maid, he always saved some dessert or asked for some for her.

1 The Journal was originally published in 1839 as vol. III. of the Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of her Majesty's ships 'Adventure' and 'Beagle' between the years 1826 and 1836, &c. In 1845 it was published "corrected, with additions" as a volume of Murray's 'Colonial and Home Library' under the title of Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the countries visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle,' &c.
In his autobiography (Life and Letters, 1. p. 80) C. D. wrote, "The success of this my first literary child always tickles my vanity more than that of any of my other books."

2 Godfrey Wedgwood was now just upon four years old; Amy his sister was 17 months.


[pages] 388 - 389

His only bon mot was enquiring what papa's overalls were and saying. "Are they to prevent his hurting his knees when he tumbles down?" I began teaching him to read, which he did not much like but never rebelled.……

Emma, accompanied by her brother Jos, went to Edinburgh this winter to pay a visit of about two months to her cousin Lady Gifford, who was then living there.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.


EDINBURGH, Tuesday [Jan. 24. 1837].

……We found Harriet [Gifford] blazing with gas in a handsome house, and she gave us a very pleasant, cordial reception. We are quite surprized at the wonderful civility of all Harriet's friends calling upon us and inviting us out just as if we were somebody, and I think their manners are so much more civil and cordial than English people's. We have the Celtic ball on Friday and that is all our gaiety at present. We found all the family here just recovering from the influenza and looking ill, especially Harriet, who I think is a good deal oldened.

Godfrey's picture turned out very successful; Mr Holmes1 has carried him off and means to put him in the Suffolk St. exhibition. It is much more beautifully painted than Mr Richmond, but I don't believe he has so much talent. Indeed he is such a perfect little idiot that one can't imagine how he has sense enough to do anything.

1 James Holmes (1777—1860), water-colour and miniature painter. "His paintings were esteemed for careful finish and good colour." He had many distinguished sitters, amongst others Lord Byron. He spent his later years in Shropshire.

He used to say, "I'm just a going to walk round your beautiful river" [meaning the pool], till one day Shot fell upon him and tore his cheek, and he would not venture out again. We were very sorry for the poor little man, for the fright put him quite out of spirits, and I don't think he will ever venture to face a dog again, as he seems to think they have a particular spite to him. And I think it must be so, or what could have possessed Shot? Lord Gifford is coming next week, which I am sorry for, as I hate a boy of that age [19], one has nothing to say to them. I don't think I shall want any clothes but a bonnet, which I have got, as I don't expect many balls; and I have a new muslin which will do for two or three.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

EDINBURGH, Friday [1837].

The people are wonderfully civil here, when we came home we found Sir Charles and Lady Bell had been calling on Mr and Mrs Wedgwood (I suppose they took us for the Hensleighs), and we are to drink tea there this evening.

Saturday. We had a pleasant merry dinner with the Trimtons, and at 9½ they set us down at Lady Bell's on their way home. It was the regular Whig lawyer party, the Jeffreys, Murrays, and some more. Lady Bell1 was very sweet, engaging, and pretty, talked about "Susan Darwin and the French play" and enquired after you. Sir Charles was very affable and civil too, and wanted to place Jos in a seat of honour on a sofa between two strange ladies; however he bowed himself out of that scrape and sat by the tea table, and talked away very prettily with a

1 Wife of Sir Charles, the anatomist, famous for his ever-memorable discoveries as to sensory and motor nerves. In her old age she lived in London and was a well-known figure in scientific circles, where she was as charming as she is here described in earlier life.

[pages] 390 - 391

Miss Bell in spectacles, a niece of Sir Charles's. I sat by another Miss Bell who looked the best girl in the world, so my evening was comfortable but not very amusing.

Emma Wedgwood to her cousin and sister-in-law Jessie Wedgwood.

Feb. 28 [1837].

I have quite got rid of my influenza, which is a most unpleasant disorder and left me rather pulled down. I missed two balls and two parties in my sick week, but I am afraid you won't pity me much when you hear that I have four more balls in view, which is enough to satisfy anybody. I was rather sorry to miss a dinner at the Jeffreys, Mrs J. and her daughter seem so thoroughly good-natured that they incline one to like them directly, and he looks quite as much so, though one is obliged to believe that he must have a stock of sharpness somehow. I don't think I have seen any very pleasant people here, though altogether it is very amusing and gay.

Fanny Hensleigh writes to her hoping that she will be "smart enough" for her gaieties. A fear of this kind creeps out more than once amongst the cousinhood. Certainly no one thought less of dress in her middle life, either for herself or her daughters, although she was always suitably yet simply dressed. But quite in old age she recognised its importance. I remember her saying that she felt it dismal how little interest her sister Charlotte had in making herself look nice, and when we, her daughters, were middle-aged she took interest in our clothes. But as a girl I remember being left a good deal to my own unguided fancy.

In the following letter Emma alludes to a rumour of Charles Darwin becoming engaged to a Miss ——. There used to be also jokes about Erasmus and Miss Martineau, of whom his father, the Doctor, apparently had a holy horror.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood.

MAER [May 23, 1837].

……Disputes run very high here upon the subject of Violet1. Some of the party are quite convinced it is written by a woman and have some suspicions it is Mrs Marsh. She acted very well when she was here if it is hers, and did not show the least interest on the subject. I think it is much too clever for the author of the two last old men [Old Men's Tales]. Aunt Fanny [Allen] is in a rapture with Sartor and feels quite convinced that Teufels-dröckh is meant for Coleridge, and we want to know from Erasmus whether Mr Carlyle was a friend of Coleridge's. She thinks all the conversations and thoughts are so exactly like Coleridge. For my part it is such very hard reading that I think I must give it up.

Godfrey's dislike to reading continues quite alarming, and I am obliged to coax down his lesson with a French plum or something of that nature. I shall be very curious to know whether Susan and Catherine [Darwin] really like Miss Martineau—I expect they will. They seem to take very kindly to their other sister.

We find Pickwick not at all too low for our taste, and it reads aloud much better than to oneself.

She had always a good opinion of a little bribery for getting over small childish difficulties. Even when there was no difficulty she sometimes resorted

1 Violet la danseuse, a pathetic novel that had a great success.

[pages] 392 - 393

to it. I remember a funny instance of her using gingerbread as a bribe to her little grandson Bernard, then about four years old, to induce him to stop drawing the house from the lawn at Down. He had sat there all the morning and she was wearied at his pertinacity.

Charles Darwin was now settled in London. Some rough notes of his which were kept by my mother and endorsed by her "C.D. on marriage," show that ideas on this subject were floating through his head. They are undated but were probably written in 1837.

They were roughly, almost illegibly, jotted down on scraps of paper and perhaps hardly written in earnest. Among the advantages are: "Children (if it please God)—constant companion (& friend in old age)—charms of music & female chit-chat." Among the disadvantages: —Terrible loss of time, if many children forced to gain one's bread, fighting about no society." But he continues, "What is the use of working without sympathy from near and dear friends? Who are near and dear friends to the old, except relatives?" And his conclusion is: "My God, it is intolerable to think of spending one's whole life like a neuter bee, working, working, and nothing after all.—No, no won't do.—Imagine living all one's days solitarily in smoky, dirty London house—Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa, with good fire and books and music perhaps—compare this vision with the dingy reality of Gt Marlboro' St

Marry, marry, marry. Q. E. D."


The younger Josiah's engagement to his cousin Caroline Darwin—The Sismondis at Pescia—A tour in the Apennines—Charles Darwin refuses Elizabeth's invitation to a music meeting—Mrs Norton at Cresselly—Emma at Shrewsbury and Onibury—Hensleigh resigns his Police Magistracy—A family meeting in Paris—Bro's illness.

THE following letters were written just before Jos Wedgwood and his cousin Caroline Darwin were engaged. He was 42, and she was 37 years old. Bessy had longed for this to happen thirteen years ago.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her sister Emma Wedgwood.

SHREWSBURY, Wednesday [21 June, 1837].

Dear Emma,

Jos arrived after us here about a quarter-of-an-hour. Both Fanny [Allen] and I were afraid to look at either of them, as they were both very shy. Indeed you must take everything we say with the tail to it of "as far as we can judge without seeing either of them." I proposed to go out into the garden before dinner, which we did, and Jos staid in with the Dr. I thought Caroline looked very pale, and she has been nervous all the evening, but when we all walked out together after tea again she several times addressed Jos, who has talked as much or more than usual; only the Dr has talked so much and

[pages] 394 - 395

so agreeably that there has been no possibility of anyone else saying much. Fanny Allen thinks "as far &c." that Caroline looks complacent, so far I am sure that there is nothing repelling or keeping off in her manner.

Only think how wonderfully open Jos is become—at Hodnet, to Fanny's utter surprise, he began before her: "Eliz, in case I succeed in my present pursuit, can I tell my mother, or will she not be able to keep the secret?" and then we talked on a little. I said I supposed if he was accepted he would not wish it to be kept secret. He said, Oh no, he should be proud to have it known, but Caroline might. Fanny asked him whether he would like to live at Camp Hill. He said he should, but he did not know whether he must not live nearer his business, and stick a little closer to it; Frank had had rather more than his share of it hitherto. He did tell my father last night, which I should like to have known time enough to talk with him about it. Two pages upon one evening is pretty well for you.

[Addition by Fanny Allen.]

Dear Emma,

I think matters are going on just as you would wish. Shyness, constraining complacency on Caroline's part, pleased exertion, and a melting sweetness on Jos's.

I hope Elizabeth told you of his openness at Hodnet I think him the most unreserved person I know.

Yours ever, F. A.

Fanny Allen to her sister Mrs Josiah Wedgwood.

SHREWSBURY, Wednesday Night,
21 June, 1837.

My dear Bessy,

I feel inclined to fulfil your request of hearing from us from hence, immediately. I have spent such a happy two months in a house where I have always enjoyed myself, and have never passed a sad week, that it is grateful to me to tell you this, and to thank my dear Jos, yourself and Emma, for all my happiness. We got here by quarter to 5, a little before Jos; he baited his horse at Hodnet, and we found Mark with his horse ready baited. The Dr and Caroline gave us a very affectionate reception, and have pressed us to remain beyond Friday, but I go in consideration of my consistency. The house looks beautiful with roses, geraniums, orange flowers, and fresh paint. The girls [Susan and Catherine] return on Saturday, but Charles does not escort them, as he finds he cannot leave town quite so early. We walked in the garden, and sat down on the garden seat between dinner and tea, the Dr chatting and appearing in high spirits. Adieu dear Bessy, my best of loves to your two dear companions,

Ever yours most tenderly

Elizabeth was on her road to visit the Langtons, Shrewsbury being a half-way house between Maer and Onibury. She only stayed at Shrewsbury two nights, leaving Jos to be one night alone with Caroline and the Dr before Susan and Catherine came back from London. The engagement took place during the visit.

Emma Wedgwood to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood, at Onibury.

MAER, Sunday [1st July, 1837].

My dear Eliz.,

On Friday I went directly after breakfast on the pony to tell aunt Sarah the good news, and took a nice little note of Jos's to her, which was rapturous enough to please her very much. Later in the day I went to

[pages] 396 - 397

Seabridge [the Harry Wedgwoods] time enough to have a talk with them before dinner, before the Tollets came. Jos had called in his way to Etruria to tell them, which had pleased them. He was so agitated he could hardly tell them. They were very much surprised, and I was wrong in my notion that it had come into their heads. They were very full of joy and sympathy. I should have been dreadfully put to to help telling the Tollets, but luckily Harry saved me that agony by telling himself. They were very much surprised. Eliza and Jessie [Wedgwood] thought of a delightful little scheme for me, which I am going to put in practice by their kind help in coming to take care of Mamma, viz. to go to Shrewsbury for a few days. It will be so very nice to see them while it is so fresh. They pressed me so warmly to go that I do not believe they feel the least uneasiness about being with Mamma.

Jos is in an agony of impatience, and said to me yesterday: "I have sent another hurrying letter to Frank, but whether he comes or not, I shall go and leave the works to themselves, for I cannot bear to stay any longer." He had your letter in his hand, and said something half finished with great feeling, about not having said half enough in his letter to you, I understood. I asked to see your letter, which he shewed me, tearing off the beginning; which makes me long to see what he wrote to you, as I guess what it was. It is delightful to see how much attached he is to her. Whenever I have talked to him alone he has burst out, in a way as if he could not contain himself, about her exquisite charm. What did she say to him? I shall die if I never know. I tried to make him tell me, but he was too cute for that. I long to talk it over with dear Charlotte. If I have the goodness in me I shall return home on Thursday, but as I can hear every day by the coach now the railroad is open, I might possibly stay three nights. Tell me if you think I had the least better not, as two days will quite satisfy me. I shall so enjoy seeing them. I think dear Caroline will be pleased with some things I can tell her.

The Sismondis were now at Pescia, carrying out the long stay in Italy spoken of in the last chapter. Harriet Surtees was still with them and also Emma Allen.

Emma Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

VALCHIUSA [PESCIA] July 1 [1837].

…Jessie's great deafness prevents conversation being half so agreeable and gay with her as it used to be. I am sure I could converse more pleasantly with her if she would use a trumpet; but tho' she is not merry as she used to be, it is a great point that she is not melancholy. She is calm and sweet as ever, and ever will be one of the sweetest beings the sun ever shone on. There is no hopes of her coming to England this year or the next, but her intentions are fixed on giving John [Allen] the meeting at Paris in the spring. I think she would have preferred coming with us to England in September, but that Sis would not listen to. He has been very amiable ever since our return from Rome, and I am surprised how very well he does without any society, for of the society of the country he sees nothing, and of his sister's relations very little. Old Forti with his odd-looking daughter, for whom every now and then he receives a proposal of marriage, come here now and then to tea, as do the Desideris—that is the name of the Doctor who married Sis's niece. There is something stiff and cold about her, but he looks handsome and very happy; besides these we see our old clamouring beauty from Pescia, who is very like Aunt Jones, and a young abbot walks every Monday morning about five miles for the purpose of gathering a little

[pages] 398 - 399

English. At first Jessie thought it would be a bore, and declined his proposal of coming here for that purpose, but soon her heart relented, and he comes here with his exercises, which she corrects, while I attend to his reading and read a little Italian to him. We are now concocting a scheme for Vallombrosa which will engage us about a week. We set out on it next Monday. Sismondi very good-naturedly came into our wishes—he has no eye for scenery, and no pleasure in it; I feel therefore, when he agrees to our scheme that we owe him the more, though his company is a pleasure the less. I suspect it is with no small pleasure he anticipates having his wife to himself this autumn and winter; it is a treat that he has been very long without, and I feel it has been hard on him to have seen so much of people he could never get a taste for, no more than they could for him. But it is a great comfort for me to observe how perfect Jessie's affection is for him. He is quite sufficient for her happiness, and she adopts with such admirable grace all his tastes and even his whims. I believe there is one thing keeps me out of his favour, which is I cannot read up to what he writes. I cannot admire or approve of all his notions, and he is too sensitive for me to dare to criticise them. He appears to me the most conservative man I know, as far as cherishing old ways, or what I should call old abuses, and opposing all improvement. Not even infant schools and savings-banks escape his condemnation, while beggary meets with his strenuous support. Of course the present state of distress in the trading world confirms him in his system, and I fancy his pen is going full tilt on the subject. But he has such an intemperate horror of cotton manufacture that he could not bear my saying it had added to the comfort of our poor in giving them sheets in their beds, which in my youth few of them knew.….

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

PESCIA, 16 July, 1837.

My dear Emma,

My letter cannot go till to-morrow, but I am so delighted with the news you bring, I must give vent to my joy.

Dear Joe, how heartily I wish you health and long life to enjoy the happiness your wise choice has insured. His excessive modesty has always kept him ignorant how tenderly he was loved. I dare say he does not know that he has always been the dearest of my nephews, that I have still by me the few long and affectionate letters he ever wrote to me, and that in '35, I read over what he had written in '15. I beg too you will give my love to dear Caroline Darwin. May she be rewarded for her acceptance of our Joe by being the fondest loved and happiest wife on earth. I long to hear they are married. They have waited so long to know they loved each other that there is no use to wait any longer. A house is nonsense when Maer is so large.

Monday 17. I am a little quieter to-day though just as glad, but I can proceed to other matters, and to begin I will tell you that last week the thermometer here was 90 and above. We (not one of us as you know very youthy) had the courage to undertake a riding excursion in the mountains, which answered entirely; after we got out of the valleys the temperature was delightful, like some of your finest and freshest September days, with that autumnal transparency of air that cuts sharply every line, every leaf. Our ride through the brilliant green chestnut trees—how I enjoyed it; our first sanctuary, Vallombrosa, was beyond my expectations beautiful. I give you no description for that's a bore, but the water there was clear and delicious, better than champagne; the dinner most

[pages] 400 - 401

excellent, the earth covered with strawberries and flowers, and the fragrant hay that they had gathered on the mountains and were making on their pretty lawn, scenting the whole air. It was far too delightful to quit that day, so we spent it there, and had excellent beds in a house apart for travellers. Our only mishaps were, rain coming on just as we were within two miles of the point of the highest mountain, where the view was magnificent to the two seas, and the falling down of Sismondi and his horse as we descended the slippery and rocky road. He was happily unscathed, and we are most grateful to be let off with only a little fear.

The next day we were on horseback by four. You cannot imagine how delightful the early morning air is in those mountains, with the merry song of nightingales (there never was such a mistake in poetry as to call them melancholy). The first part of the ride is beautiful, on the edge of a richly wooded rock of a great height overlooking in the distance the vale of Arno and the flowery Florence. At Camaldoli we were received much in the same way as at Vallombrosa. Our guide said the monks were there more "amorosi," and so indeed we found them. Sismondi found a friend under his white cowl, a Pesciatino, a clever and "enlightened" man. The white monks seemed the aristocracy of the monkish orders, we were struck with the personal beauty of many. They were all fat and blooming; I guess not much given to rigid fasting. At Vallombrosa they were in black, at La Verna in ragged brown and dirty and poor looking, as if the servants of the two other orders. These last are supported entirely by begging; yet about 200 persons are daily fed at the convent, and not ill, to judge by the breakfast they gave us. We indeed made a handsome present for it. It is rather costly to go from convent to convent, but it is a delightful tour to make, for they are always placed in Italy high and beautifully. I want Joe, who knows everything, to tell me why the Apennines are so much cooler than the Alps. I have searched for coolness in each, and beyond a doubt the first have infinitely the advantage.

Of all the party, including Sismondi, I was the one least tired, who enjoyed it most, and was most ready to begin again; so I need not tell you how I am, or how well I have got over an indisposition in which I thought myself in more danger than I did in either of my great illnesses. Am I become more cowardly in my old age? for certainly I was nothing like so ill….

Charles Darwin to his cousin Elizabeth Wedgwood.

Monday Evening


My dear Elizabeth,

I am very much obliged to you for thinking of so pleasant a party as the Music Meeting would have been to me. It would have been like the never-to-be-forgotten [one] many years ago. But I find I cannot leave London: consider the infinite importance to a young author of his first proof-sheets, and I hope by about the time of the Music to be a third through my volume. You will say I am utterly unworthy of a Music Meeting, when I tell you that I think I would sooner pay Maer a quiet visit, than hear all the drums and fiddles in the world together. I gave your message to Susan, who says she is much obliged, but that she has not courage for the scheme. The only reason I can find out is that she is growing very old. Has it not been most unfortunate my father having been, now during his third tour, made prisoner by the gout? Erasmus's house has suited him very well, but he is most anxious to get home.…To write a book I do not doubt is a very grand thing, but there ought to be a deal of satisfaction from some source to repay one for all one loses. What a waste of life to stop all summer in this ugly Marlborough Street,

L. 26

[pages] 402 - 403

and see nothing but the same odious house on the opposite side, as often as one looks out. I long to pay Shrewsbury a visit, and pray recollect I have put your most good-natured invitation a little further back in the autumn when I will be quite free. Give my love to all at Maer and believe me, dear Elizabeth,

Yours affectionately,

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Sept. 28th [1837].

My dear Elizabeth,

What a treat you have had at Birmingham! I could almost envy you some part of it, though I do not think I do, but resign myself to the conviction that I shall never go to a Music Meeting in the course of my life.

You will not guess whom we are expecting here to-day, so I may as well tell you. You know we are not fastidious in the morals of our lady friends from the example of the Countess Guiccioli, and Mrs Norton is our expected guest. Charles Brinsley Sheridan comes with her, and a Mrs Barton, who has been staying at Tenby this summer. John [Allen] met this party at Baugh's two days ago, and asked them here, after seeing the dock-yard and launch to day—Baugh of course is master of the ceremonies. Lady Cawdor has been staying here these last two days; she is just gone, but she said she should have had no objection to meeting Mrs Norton at all. Though the trial1 revealed a mode of going on that was rather strange and not altogether

1 The trial was a year before this. She was accused of an intrigue with Lord Melbourne (Prime Minister). The result entirely vindicated her character. It is said that some of Lord M.'s notes to her gave Dickens hints for Mr Pickwick's "chops and tomato sauce" letter to Mrs Bardell.

respectable, her guilt or innocence she put out of the question.…

Our ladies are gone, and I have been a good deal amused on the whole. Mrs Norton is a very fine actress, scarcely inferior to Grisi, I think. Her manner is very striking, so perfectly still; which was strongly contrasted by her companion Mrs Barton, who had all the flutter and unquietness of vanity, that most restless of all feelings. Mrs N. is very beautiful—the countenance of a sybil. She sang several songs to us, some of her own composition, and Moore's, and others; her voice and manner of singing are quite perfect. I have not enjoyed anything so much for a long time as when she sat at the instrument. Mrs Barton divided it a little too much with her, and sang badly and with pretension. Mr Sheridan is a sensible man but he talks little, and leaves the stage clear for his niece, who does her part incomparably, neither talking too much nor too little. Everything she does or says is so perfectly sensible and in good taste, and yet I should say she is not attractive. Mrs Barton sails for Ireland to-night, but I should not be surprised if we were to see Mrs Norton and Mr Sheridan here again; they stay a fortnight longer at Tenby.

Baugh is in very good spirits and is fully occupied administering advice and comfort to Mrs Norton, who has carried away the hearts of Harry and Johnny [Fanny Allen's nephews]. They are wild with enthusiasm. Her singing carried all before it.…

Emma Wedgwood to her sister-in-law Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood

ONIBURY, Friday [3 Nov. 1837].

My dear Fanny,

I set out on my travels last Tuesday week and got to Shrewsbury. Susan was at Woodhouse, but I had plenty of pleasant talk with Catherine, and Susan came


[pages] 404 - 405

home on Friday. She had been to the birth-day at Wynnstay, which is the grandest thing that can be seen; more than 200 people sitting down to a magnificent dinner upon plate and a ball and supper afterwards. The pole of their carriage was broken in coming to the door, so they were rather in a quandary. Everybody went away but those who were staying in the house, when young Sir Watkin, who was very tipsy, offered them his chariot, which they thankfully accepted. It was rather a squeeze and Susan came home sitting at the bottom of the carriage.…I find a week long enough at Shrewsbury, as one gets rather fatigued by the Dr's talk, especially the two whole hours just before dinner. It is best to be there in the middle of summer, as one has more sitting out with the girls. The Dr has been as pleasant as possible, and I never saw [him enjoy] anything so much as Susan's account of all her gaieties. I came here on Monday in a storm, and was very glad to exchange old Eyton for the brisk ponies at Stretton. Eyton is grown old and if possible goes slower than Stumpy. The days have been passing very snugly since I came. Till yesterday the weather was horrid, and I quite enjoy the novelty of reading a good deal, and have the luck of finding Scott's life here and several books I wanted to read. Charles [Langton]'s hands are very full of business, what with the organ, setting up a bath in his dressing-room with a patent invention of his own for pumping up hot water, altering the kitchen grate and all the other grates in the house, with another patent invention to avoid draughts, which I shall certainly recommend at Clayton1, if it succeeds here, the cow being confined &c., he is very busy, and has only time to study a little of Pickwick between whiles. Charlotte is getting a proper degree of interest about the cows, and is very

1 Jos and Caroline Wedgwood's first abode. They had been married three months. The house was about 3 miles from Etruria.

dutifully gone this morning to see the new-born calf. A dinner-party is gradually brewing here, but it takes so much screwing up of their courage that it will not happen in my time.

Poor [Harriet] Martineau seems going down the hill with Hensleigh and Erasmus, so I hope you will stick by her. The Dr read the first article in the Westminster Review before he knew it was not hers, and wasted a great deal of good indignation, and even now he can hardly believe it is not hers. I am sorry to say I wish to read the Vicar of Wrexhill. Is it so bad that one would be ashamed to own to having read it? for my morality extends no further than that. The woods about here are still in great beauty and we seem likely to have a fine day, but the clay soil makes a scrambling walk almost out of the question at this time of the year. Hensleigh's letter was sent on here and you may be sure we made much of it, as it was a day of incessant rain and Charlotte in bed with a headache, so that I had a little too much leisure time for my studies. I think Eliz. will soon set out to Henwick after my return. Good-bye my dear Fanny, send me some children-talk.

Hensleigh had followed his father's wishes and had not thrown up his Police Magistracy in 1834. But he now felt he could no longer constrain his conscience. The loss of the income was a most serious one to them, and meant their being reduced to live on £400 a year. Fanny showed great magnanimity in the way she bore the loss of fortune for a scruple that she did not share.

[pages] 406 - 407

Fanny Allen to her niece Elizabeth Wedgwood.

CRESSELLY, Dec. 17, 1837.

My dear Elizabeth,

I have received a sweet letter from Fanny, telling us of Hensleigh's decision, He has done his part nobly, for I cannot doubt that this pause of four years has been a sacrifice made to his wife and family, and a compleat trial of the truth of his inward guide. It is also an assurance, as it seems to me, that his first decision was not a hasty one. He must have looked at the subject ten thousand times for once that any other person less interested could have done; and though I am very sorry that his conscience demands the sacrifice, I feel when I think of him alone, that I am glad his struggle is over. Fanny is the wife one would wish him, and she does her part as well as he does his; and they will be rewarded, though it most probably may not be in pounds, shillings and pence. I rejoice to hear from Fanny also that your father, who is the next person to be considered, takes it so well. I should expect it from him, for Hensleigh has been taught by his parents. It is the first instance I have known of a great sacrifice made to a Christian principle; I endeavour to check and keep down the expectation or hope of reward, but it will come, and I cannot help it. I was very glad to hear John [Allen] say, after reading Fanny's letter, which touched him a good deal: "With these feelings Hensleigh could do no otherwise than he has done." He has commonly more worldly feelings than I like to see in him and he sometimes from want of thought gives them out before his children; but though he is exceedingly sorry for Hensleigh's decision he considers it as a thing sealed and apart from argument. When they get into your happy and peaceful harbour, I trust all the painful or painfullest part of their trial will be over.…

Do not fail to give my affectionate love to Joe and Caroline when you see them. How does your mother take it? Ever dearest Elizabeth and Emma,

Yours entirely,

I think you will all have a delightful winter together.

At the end of the Sismondis' long stay in Italy, before settling again at Chêne they went to Paris, where was a great family gathering. John Allen of Cresselly and his daughter Isabella, Harry and Jessie Wedgwood, Emma Wedgwood and Catherine Darwin all made a trip to Paris to meet them and there spent about three weeks.

Emma Wedgwood to her mother.

BOULOGNE, May 15, 1838, Sunday.

My dear Mamma,

Here we are safe and sound after a most excellent passage. We set off yesterday at 12 o'clock from London Bridge Stairs. Going down the river was a pretty sight, everything looked so bright. We staid upon deck till 7 o'clock, when there began to be some swell and we went below to a most detestable ladies' cabin and an odious stewardess, as they all are. It got smoother afterwards and I went on deck. This morning we have had our breakfast interrupted only by running to the window to look at the diligences going by, and Harry is gone to look after the luggage.

I will now go back to the beginning of our adventures. We had a very pleasant drive to Birmingham, Harry in a rapture with the green meadows full of yellow flowers all the way. We set off by the railway at 9 next morning, arrived at Rugby at 11½, and got into a coach without the

[pages] 408 - 409

least bustle. We found our four hours in the coach so far more fatiguing than the rest of the journey that we advise aunt Harriet to come by the railroad after all1. Eras met us at the station to tell us that Bro [Hensleigh's boy] had the scarlet fever, so we drove to Marlborough St. [Erasmus' rooms] to see what we would do, and his servant went and got us rooms at the Glocester Coffee House, which I warn all my friends against. All this made our spirits very low. The next day things mended, and the benevolent will all rejoice to hear that we really got to the Lady of Lyons. Good-natured Harry went over the town to look for a Squire for us and picked up Frederick Leech who was pleasant and good-humoured. It was very pretty and charming, and Macready managed to make himself look quite young and lovely. It was a great piece of good fortune and one duly appreciated by me.…

There are no letters of interest from Paris, and after three weeks there together the English party came straight back to England, and the Sismondis returned to Clêne after their absence of a year.

Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, June 25, 1838.

……What happiness I had with you all! how young it made me! I was told yesterday I was "rajeunie." No wonder, since I had my merry little Em. for three weeks or more. I feel enriched by the dear sight of you all, and now if Eliz. and Em. [Allen] would but come—but peace, how can I hope such luck in one little year? Travelling

1 I should guess from the accounts of the journey that this was Emma's first experience of a railway. The travelling would seem to us very slow, 2½hours to get from Birmingham to Rugby, a journey which is now done in 45 or 50 minutes.

seems to me now so easy and so pleasant. Some great change has taken place in my constitution, for it does me good instead of ill as formerly. I think Chêne now so pretty and so comfortable, I wonder we could stay away so long. We had fireworks, and really a beautiful serenade of six German musicians got up by our poor neighbours to celebrate our return. It was impossible to make any of them, not even the performers, take a sou, hardly even a glass of wine.…

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

[MAER], July 21, 1838.

I assure you I found myself rather flat and dull after all my dissipation and pleasure, but we have had such a sober quiet fortnight to ourselves that I am sobered now, and can read my book. The beginning of my stay in London was very pleasant till poor Bro fell ill. Robert Mackintosh was very bright and pleasant, and dined with us or came in the evening every day, and Charles [Darwin] used to come from next door, so we were a very pleasant, merry party. Robert is working very hard writing at his office, whatever that may be, for nobody but Harry ventures to ask him; and I was amused to see what a quantity of pumping it took to get a strait answer from him. The Hensleighs and I went on the Sunday to Woolwich, which I enjoyed particularly. Not entirely Mr Scott's1 merit, but it was a beautiful day, and such a pretty place and a nice drive, but I did like Mr Scott's sermon very much. Mr Carlyle dined with us in Marlborough St. which you won't care about. I did not hear much of what he said after, but his look is quite remarkably pleasant, and he has the most straitforward manner in the world and talks the broadest Scotch. (I was very glad to know how apropos the trumpet came in, and I want to know how you con

1 See ante, p. 319.

[pages] 410 - 411

tinue to like it.) Then poor Bro fell ill, and we thought of little else. I never saw such self-command as Fanny [Hensleigh]'s, managing to look cheerful almost all day except early in the morning, when she was overdone with the night's watching. She looked very miserable the morning I came away, sitting on the bed watching his poor little miserable face, which was enough to make anybody cry to look at. It was the only time I saw her crying. The day we almost expected to hear of his death, a letter came to say he had rallied and taken to food and had laughed. You may fancy how happy we were. Your letter came in that happy morning too.

I have been meeting Monsieur Sismondi's name very often lately in Wilberforce's Life with expressions of great respect. I am disappointed in the Life. His dull sons have put in such a quantity of repetition that one is quite weary of the same religious sentiment repeated 50 times over in nearly the same words. And they have been very spiteful about poor old Clarkson, who is blind and 80 years old, which I think might have made them careful not to hurt him, and one feels very sure their father never would. Wilberforce's letters I think are not very agreeable or clever, but very sweet (in a good sense).

Elizabeth's smart gown is much admired and just the becoming colour. She has worn it twice which shews she is getting extravagant. The first time, I must own, I was obliged to be rather strict with her to make her put it on. I have been perpetrating a practical joke with Elizabeth's help, the first we were ever guilty of in our lives. We have been writing a letter from d'Etchégoyen to Uncle Allen proposing a visit to Cresselly. There were some beautiful sentences in it extracted from a real letter of his to Harry which arrived not long ago. I am not sure that it will come very apropos if Uncle Allen is not quite recovered from the gout. We had a call from——the other day; Mrs C. she is now. It set me speculating on what principle men choose wives. She is very silly, affected, and extremely plain, pretty near 50 and no money; and Mr C., a fine-looking gentlemanlike man of some fortune. She looks very happy and exulting. Goodbye my dearest Aunt Jessie.

EM. W.

Emma Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Nov. 1, 1838.

My dear aunt Jessie,

It is so long since I wrote I hardly know where to begin. How happy you must feel that all fear of war is over1. I don't at all understand the merits of the case, but I admire the spirit of so small a state as Geneva standing up against great big France.

I have been gadding again since I came home from Miss Wigley's2. I went with Miss Morgan to Bristol to visit Mrs Harrison, who was Ellen Acland. I thought as I had a comfortable escort both ways I would do a piece of friendship once in a way, and it answered very well. She was very affectionate and glad to have me. I Staid a little more than a fortnight and enjoyed some rides on those beautiful downs. Certainly riding is a different thing there to what it is here along the roads and between the hedges. I enjoyed coming home again, and found Mamma very well; and in a few days Charlotte joined us for a week, having left her husband by himself, as he cannot leave his living any more this year. I am very fond of Charles [Langton] but certainly I enjoy Charlotte's company more without him. There is something very reposing and satisfactory in her company. She has taken out a fresh lease of good looks and youth, and looks quite pretty and fat again.

1 See p. 167.

2 Afterwards Mrs Archer Clive, and authoress of "Why Paul Ferrol killed his wife," etc.

[pages] 412 - 413

The other day we went a very pleasant alouette, viz.: Louisa Holland, Harry, and I set out on the railroad to Stafford. We then hired a little carriage, and drove out of the town about three miles, and after putting up the horse we took a long walk in Cannock Chase, which is real old forest scenery and very pretty, and quite worth seeing—pretty glades with oak trees running up on the wild heath. We returned home to a late dinner and met our phaeton at the Whitmore Station.

I met with a great misfortune to-day in my nice new Parisian merino gown, which I was wearing almost for the first time. I was carrying a great can of treacle-posset to an old woman and turned it over upon my flounce. I came home rather sticky and dejected, but I find it will wash out and be none the worse. I tell you this interesting event because I know you hate slopping your gowns so much.

Our pretty neighbour Miss Mainwaring is going to be married to a Mr Coyney. It is pleasant the Mainwarings being so unsociable. They never ask us to dinner but once [a year] and hardly ever call, which is very comfortable. Our last neighbours there used to invite us much too often.…




IT seems to have been in the summer of 1838 that my father determined to ask Emma to be his wife. He was however far from hopeful, partly because of his looks, for he had the strange idea that his delightful face, so full of power and sweetness, was repellently plain. The proposal was made in the autumn, and on Sunday, Nov. 11, he entered in his little diary the words "The day of days."

The letters which follow show how warmly the engagement was received by friends and relatives alike.

Charles Darwin to Charles Lyell1.

SHREWSBURY, Monday [November 12, 1838].

My dear Lyell,

I suppose you will be in Hart St. to-morrow, the 14th. I write because I cannot avoid wishing to be the first person to tell Mrs Lyell and yourself that I have the very good, and shortly since very unexpected fortune, of

1 Sir Charles Lyell, the great geologist.

[pages] 414 - 415

going to be married. The lady is my cousin, Miss Emma Wedgwood, the sister of Hensleigh Wedgwood, and of the elder brother who married my sister, so we are connected by manifold ties, besides on my part by the most sincere love and hearty gratitude to her for accepting such a one as myself.

I determined when last at Maer to try my chance, but I hardly expected such good fortune would turn up for me. I shall be in town in the middle or latter end of the ensuing week. I fear you will say I might very well have left my story untold till we met. But I deeply feel your kindness and friendship towards me, which in truth, I may say, has been one chief source of happiness to me ever since my return to England: so you must excuse me. I am well sure, that Mrs Lyell, who has sympathy for everyone near her, will give me her hearty congratulations.

Believe me my dear Lyell,

Yours most truly obliged,

Dr Darwin to Josiah Wedgwood.

SHREWSBURY, 13 Nov. 1838.

Dear Wedgwood,

Emma having accepted Charles gives me as great happiness as Jos having married Caroline, and I cannot say more.

On that marriage Bessy said she should not have had more pleasure if it had been Victoria, and you may assure her I feel as grateful to her for Emma, as if it had been Martineau herself that Charles had obtained. Pray give my love to Elizabeth, I fear I ought to condole with her, as the loss will be very great.

Ever dear Wedgwood, your affectionate Brother,


Josiah Wedgwood to Dr Darwin.

MAER, 15 Nov. 1838.

My dear Doctor,

A good, chearful, and affectionate daughter is the greatest blessing a man can have, after a good wife—if I could have given such a wife to Charles without parting with a daughter there would be no drawback from my entire satisfaction in bestowing Emma upon him. You lately gave up a daughter—it is my turn now. At our time of life our happiness must be in a great measure reflected from our families, and I think there are few fathers who have on the whole more cause to be satisfied with the conduct and present circumstances and future prospects of our families. I could have parted with Emma to no one for whom I would so soon and so entirely feel as a father, and I am happy in believing that Charles entertains the kindest feelings for his uncle-father.

I propose to do for Emma what I did for Charlotte and for three of my sons, give a bond for £5000 and, to allow her £400 a year, as long as my income will supply it, which I have no reason for thinking will not be as long as I live.

Give my love to your fireside and believe me,

Affectionately yours,

My dear Uncle,

I have begged a bit of Papa's letter to thank you from my heart for the delightful way in which you have received me into your family, and to thank my dear Marianne and Susan for their affectionate notes, which gave me the greatest pleasure. One of the things that gave me most happiness is Charles's thorough affection and value for Papa. I am, my dear uncle, yours affectionately,


[pages] 416 - 417

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

SHREWSBURY, Wednesday Morning
[14 Nov. 1838].

My dear Emma,

Marianne and Susan will have told you what joy and happiness the news gave all here. We have had innumerable cogitations; and the one conclusion I exult in is that there was never anyone so lucky as I have been, or so good as you. Indeed I can assure you, many times since leaving Maer, I have thought how little I expressed how much I owe to you; and as often as I think this, I vow to try to make myself good enough somewhat to deserve you. I hope you have taken deep thought about the sundry knotty points you will have to decide on. We must have a great deal of talk together when I come back on Saturday. Do have a fire in the Library—it is such a good place to have some quiet talk together. The question of houses, suburbs versus central London—rages violently around each fireplace in this house. Suburbs have rather the advantage at present; and this, of course, rather inclines one to seek out the arguments on the other side. The Governor gives much good advice to live, wherever it may be, the first year prudently and quietly. My chief fear is, that you will find, after living all your life with such large and agreeable parties as Maer only can boast of, our quiet evenings dull. You must bear in mind, as some young lady said, "all men are brutes," and that I take the line of being a solitary brute, so you must listen with much suspicion to all arguments in favour of retired places. I am so selfish, that I feel to have you to myself is having you so much more completely that I am not to be trusted. Like a child that has something it loves beyond measure, I long to dwell on the words my own dear Emma. As I am writing just as things come uppermost in my mind, I beg of you not to read my letters to anyone, for then I can fancy I am sitting by the side of my own dear future wife, and to her own self I do not care what nonsense I talk—so let me have my way, and scribble, without caring whether it be sense or nonsense.…

My father echoes and re-echoes uncle Jos's words, "You have drawn a prize!" Certainly no man could by possibility receive a more cordial welcome than I did from every one at Maer on Monday morning. My life has been very happy and very fortunate, and many of my pleasantest remembrances are mingled up with scenes at Maer, and now it is crowned. My own dear Emma, I kiss the hands with all humbleness and gratitude, which have so filled up for me the cup of happiness—It is my most earnest wish I may make myself worthy of you. Good-bye.

Most affectionately yours,

I would tear this letter up, and write it again, for it is a very silly one, but I can't write a better one.

Since writing the former part the post has brought in your own dear note to Katty. You tell me to be a good boy, and so I must be, but let me earnestly beg of you not to make up your mind in a hurry: you say truly Elizabeth never thinks of herself, but there is another person who never thinks of herself, but now she has to think of two people, and I am, thank Heaven for it, that other person. You must be absolute arbitress, but do, dear Emma, remember life is short, and two months is the sixth part of the year, and that year, the first, from which for my part, things shall hereafter date. Whatever you do will be right, but it will be too good to be unselfish for me until I am part of you—Dearest Emma, good-bye.

L. 27

[pages] 418 - 419

Emma Wedgwood to Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Nov. 15th [1838].

My dear Aunt Jessie,

Nothing is pleasanter than writing good news, and I am sure you will be pleased with what I have to tell you. When you asked me about Charles Darwin, I did not tell you half the good I thought of him for fear you should suspect something, and though I knew how much I liked him, I was not the least sure of his feelings, as he is so affectionate, and so fond of Maer and all of us and demonstrative in his manners, that I did not think it meant anything, and the week I spent in London on my return from Paris, I felt sure he did not care about me, only that he was very unwell at the time. He came to see us in the month of August, was in very high spirits and I was very happy in his company, and had the feeling that if he saw more of me, he would really like me. He came down again last Thursday with aunt Fanny, and on Sunday he spoke to me, which was quite a surprise, as I thought we might go on in the sort of friendship we were in for years, and very likely nothing come of it after all. I was too much bewildered all day to feel my happiness and there was a large party in the house, so we did not tell anybody except Papa and Elizabeth and Catherine. Dear Papa, I wish you could have seen his tears of joy, for he has always had a great regard for Charles, and Charles looks up to him with the greatest reverence and affection. I believe we both looked very dismal (as he had a bad headache) for when aunt Fanny and Jessie [Wedgwood] went to bed they were wondering what was the matter and almost thought something quite the reverse had happened. Fanny Hensleigh was cuter, and knew quite well what had happened. I went into their rooms at night, and we had a large party talking it over till very late, when I was seized with hunger, and Hensleigh went down to forage in the kitchen and found a loaf and 2 lb. butter and a carving knife, which made us an elegant refection. Catherine was delighted, indeed I was so glad to find that all of them had been wishing for it and settling it. It is a match that every soul has been making for us, so we could not have helped it if we had not liked it ourselves. He and Catherine went off to Shrewsbury on Monday, so that I had not much to do with him, but we had time for some satisfactory little talks which made us feel at ease.

I must now tell you what I think of him, first premising that Eliz. thinks pretty nearly the same, as my opinion may not go for much with you. He is the most open, transparent man I ever saw, and every word expresses his real thoughts. He is particularly affectionate and very nice to his father and sisters, and perfectly sweet tempered, and possesses some minor qualities that add particularly to one's happiness, such as not being fastidious, and being humane to animals. We shall live in London, where he is fully occupied with being Secretary to the Geological Society and conducting a publication upon the animals of Australia1. I am so glad he is a busy man. Dear Eliz. rejoices most sweetly with me and forgets herself entirely, as, without meaning a compliment to myself, I am afraid she must miss me very much. I am sure I could not have brought myself to rejoice in her marrying. Mamma takes it very comfortably and amuses herself a good deal with planning about houses, trousseaux and wedding-cake, which last we were in hopes she would not have thought of, as it is a useless trouble and expense. I bless the railroad every day of my life, and Charles is so fond of Maer that I am sure he will always be ready to steam down whenever he can, so that we shall always be within reach of home.

1 The Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle.


[pages] 420 - 421

I think I have egotized nearly enough, but I feel sure that you and my dear uncle will enter entirely into my happiness.

Catherine and Charles's return home made a great sensation, for she had written word that they were not coming till Tuesday. Susan says the Dr looked very much pleased when he heard the cause of their return. Aunt Sarah was delighted; she told Eliz. she had quite given it up in despair. We are going to dine with her to-day, when we shall do a considerable quantity of talking. I don't think it of as much consequence as she does that Charles drinks no wine, but I think it a pleasant thing. The real crook in my lot I have withheld from you, but I must own it to you sooner or later. It is that he has a great dislike to going to the play, so that I am afraid we shall have some domestic dissensions on that head unless I can get Martineau to take me sometimes. On the other hand he stands concerts very well. He told me he should have spoken to me in August but was afraid, and I was pleased to find that he was not very sure of his answer this time. It was certainly a very unnecessary fear. Charlotte returned home before he came, which was very vexatious, and I am afraid she is too good a wife to leave her husband again so soon. I have been writing a good many letters so I will wish you good bye, my dearest. Give my tenderest of loves to M. Sismondi. I now rejoice more than ever in having met you at Paris. Your affectionate

EM. W.

I went strait into the Sunday School after the important interview, but found I was turning into an idiot and so came away.

Monsieur Sismondi to Emma Wedgwood.

CHÊNE, 23 Novembre, 1838.

Chère Emma,

C'est moi qui prens la plume avant ma femme, parceque je veux être le premier à embrasser, au moins, en idée, ma jolie nièce, à la féliciter du bonheur que je vois commencer pour elle, ou si elle est trop fière pour le permettre, à me féliciter du moins moi-même de ce que cette charmante personne, si faite pour le mariage, si faite pour répandre du bonheur autour d'elle, va enfin accomplir sa destinée. Tout ce qu'on peut désirer dans un époux me semble réuni dans celui à qui vous donnez la main, je mets au premier rang de ses qualités le bon goût de vous avoir choisie et d'avoir su vous plaire, mais il a tenu déjà beaucoup de place dans les lettres de toute votre famille quoique aucune ne m'eut préparé à ce qu'il en devint partie, et toutes donnoient l'envie de le connoître et de l'aimer. Cette envie est redoublée à présent que ma gentille nièce faite avec lui la plus grosse de ses alouettes comme elle les appelle; j'espère et je compte que vous lui ferez, voir votre Suisse, et que vous nous le ferez voir.

Il a un grand ouvrage à publier, tant mieux, c'est une garantie de bonheur pour la femme autant que pour le mari, qu'une occupation sédentaire, mais il y aura un tems de relâche, et pendant cette intermission du travail, je l'espère, vous viendrez nous voir pendant que nous durons encore.…

Chère Emma, dites à votre père, je vous prie, combien je prens part à sa joie. Nous disons ici que l'amitié a besoin de communications regulières, je les regrette bien vivement avec lui, je voudrois de tems en tems renouveler des sentiments, des pensées, des témoignages, et son souvenir, mais au moins il me fait éprouver que votre

[pages] 422 - 423

manière anglaise d'être mort l'un pour l'autre dès qu'on est séparé, n'ebranle point l'amitié, car je sens pour lui la même vivacité d'affection, le même respect pour son caractère, la même joie dans sa joie, que si je l'avois vu encore hier. Rappelez-moi avec une sincère amitié à tout les votres, préparez votre époux à me vouloir un peu de bien, et aimez-moi—adieu.


Madame Sismondi to her niece Emma Wedgwood.

Sismondi has taken the first place on my sheet of paper because he would not be limited in space, for the expression of his sympathy in your happiness. I was indeed delighted with your letter, and went to bed yesterday as gay and awoke as joyous as if I was going to be married myself. Dearest Emma, I conceive no greater happiness this side heaven than that you are this moment enjoying. Everything I have ever heard of C. Darwin I have particularly liked, and have long wished for what has now taken place, that he would woo and win you. I love him all the better that he unites to all his other qualifications that most rare one of knowing how well to chuse a wife, a friend, companion, mother of his children, all of which men in general never think of. I am glad you bring Elizabeth as voucher of the pretty character you have given of him, I might perhaps not have believed all on your word only, but I should have believed you thought so, and have enjoyed with you the exquisite happiness you must necessarily feel in saying, such is my protector, guide, friend, companion for the rest of life, and God grant you a long and happy one together. I hope some of your larks may bring you out to us before your cares and business make you prisoners. I know I shall love him, I am grateful to him for saving you from Erasmus. I was always afraid of that. I knew you would be a Mrs Darwin from your hands; and seeing Charles did not come on, which Fan and I used to speculate on and expect in every letter from Maer, I began to fear it was Erasmus. Now that your person will belong to another as well as yourself, I beg you not to go to Cranbourne Alley to cloathe it, nor even to the Palais Royal. I do not believe in the economy of it; a substantially good thing is never to be found in such places. I will answer for Jessie's Paris hat, lasting at least two of yours. But be that as it will, if you do pay a little more, be always dressed in good taste; do not despise those little cares which give everyone more pleasing looks, because you know you have married a man who is above caring for such little things. No man is above caring for them, for they feel the effect imperceptibly to themselves. I have seen it even in my half-blind husband. The taste of men is almost universally good in all that relates to dress decoration and ornament. They are themselves little aware of it, because they are seldom called to judge of it, but let them choose and it is always simple and handsome, so let those be your piédestals. You have given me no intimation when the wedding is to take place, if I had a mind to go to it. Yet that is always the first question put after an information of that sort.

A match here which had set everybody talking, has just been broken off in a way which has set them talking still more, and which I, worldly as I am, find quite sublime. One of our oldest English baronets, with a show place for beauty in England, with £30,000 per ann., fell in love with a daughter of one of our pasteurs, with whom the baronet had been en pension. He had neither father nor mother to consult, but Mons. Eymer, the girl's father, refused his consent for two years, saying his daughter was too young. This autumn Sir J. Thussel, as far as I can make out the name pronounced by a foreigner, returned triumphant to claim his promise and his bride, preceded by a magnificent suite of diamonds and other magnificent gifts. The day

[pages] 424 - 425

was fixed, but Mlle. Eymer, only 17, became more and more sad. At last she told her father, "I have been dazzled by the offer, but I do not love him; I have never known a happy moment since I accepted him. I feel all my happiness remains in my own country and my own family. I therefore retract my promise and will not go with him." Her father represented to her that she must never hope to marry another, that affairs between them had gone too far, she had been too long considered the wife of another for any Genevais ever to think of her, but to do as she pleased. She said she was quite aware of the truth of what he said, but if she never quitted the parental roof she would not leave it then, and for a man she did not love: so packed up her diamonds and other gifts, and returned them to the baronet with his congé. He is on his road to England, sick of love and disappointment, and she is making a little tour with her mother while the wonder lasts. She tried on her diamonds before returning them, and shewing herself in them to her mother, "Regarde-moi bien Maman, car très assurément tu ne me verras jamais plus en diamans." Her decision taken, she was gay with joy, and had hardly once smiled when her greatness hung over her. Now do not judge this after your 3 or 400 pr. ann. or your father's comfortable establishment, but after a Swiss pasteur's daughter, a dowerless girl, one who will probably be obliged to have recourse to some occupation to aid even her simple way of living, and tell me if it is not sublime at 17 to know so well where and how to fix her happiness.

What angelic love is that of sisters! Dear Elizabeth's unselfish rejoicings in your happiness are a proof. That men are the greatest fools that walk the earth is proved in her being still to be asked for. What a wife she would make, what a mother, what a relation in life she is! Give her my tenderest of loves. I cannot but be glad, too, that she remains to her beloved father and mother. May God bless her, and them, and you all indeed, and give you, my dearest Emma, all the happiness you anticipate and I fervently wish you.

J. S.

Her two earliest friends Georgina and Ellen Tollet wrote as follows. Their friendship in after life included my father, and was only ended by death. I inherited my share and have the happiest memories of these two able and delightful women.

Georgina Tollet to Emma Wedgwood.

[13 or 14 Nov. 1838.]

My dear, dear Emma,

I hope I am as glad as I ought to be at the thing happening that I have been longing for, but you ought to be gratified at my selfish sorrow when I think of losing my earliest friend. It is seldom one thinks two people so enviable as we think you and Charles; we think you as lucky as you could possibly wish, but we must allow that we have still better reason to know that he is indeed a blessed man. I certainly was surprised at its coming so soon; it was very handsome in him to fancy he doubted. It is very like a marriage of Miss Austen's, can I say more! Those greedy girls Ellen and Carry are crying out to write. You must come any day before Friday in the week. I don't give Catherine Darwin any credit for what you call her good nature. I shall write to her soon and tell her what I think of her luck.

Heaven bless you, Your loving friend,


[pages] 426 - 427

Ellen Tollet to Emma Wedgwood.

Dear Old Soul. I think it quite unfeeling that Elizabeth was not mentioned by Georgy and Carry till just the last, so I shall begin with pitying her. I really was not much surprised, I had thought it so very likely—almost sure to be! but not so soon. You two will be quite too happy together, and I hope you will have a chimney that smokes, or something of that sort to prevent your being quite intoxicated. It will be quite enchanting to come and see you, but you will be an untold loss. You are the only single girl of our own age in this country worth caring much for—but life is short and one ought to be cheerful as long as one is neither cold nor hungry, I am both just now.

With 5000 Loves,

Yr. loving fd. E. H. T.

Charles was, as his letters shew, very keen for the marriage to follow quickly. Emma appears to have felt doubts as to leaving Elizabeth alone, to a life that was one of watching and nursing. Her father's health was now much broken and the letters speak of his being troubled with some kind of shaking palsy. Her mother, as has been said, had long been a complete invalid.

No letters from my mother to my father have been preserved, either before or after marriage. Whether she destroyed them on his death, or whether he did not keep them, I do not know, but he had not the habit of keeping letters. A selection from those he wrote to her during the engagement, all of which she carefully treasured, are here given.

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

[Postmark 23 Nov. 1838], ATHENÆUM, Tuesday Night.

……On Saturday I dined with the Lyells, and spent one of the pleasantest evenings I ever did in my life. Lyell grew quite audacious at the thoughts of having a married geological companion, and proposed going to dine at the Athenæum together and leaving our wives at home. Poor man, he would as soon "eat his head" as do such an action, whilst I feel as yet as bold as a lion. We had much geological and economical talk, the latter very profitable. By the way if you will take my advice, you will not think of reading [Lyell's] Elements [of Geology], for depend upon it you will hereafter have plenty of geology. On Sunday evening Erasmus took me to drink tea with the Carlyles; it was my first visit. One must always like Thomas, and I felt particularly well towards him, as Erasmus had told me he had propounded that a certain lady was one of the nicest girls he had ever seen. Jenny [Mrs Carlyle] sent some civil messages to you, but which, from the effects of an hysterical sort of giggle, were not very intelligible. It is high treason, but I cannot think that Jenny is either quite natural or lady-like……

And now for the great question of houses. Erasmus and myself have taken several very long walks; and the difficulties are really frightful. Houses are very scarce and the landlords are all gone mad, they ask such prices. Erasmus takes it to heart even more than I do, and declares I ought to end all my letters to you "yours inconsolably." This day I have given up to deep cogitations regarding the future, in as far as houses are concerned. It would take up too much paper to give all the pros and cons: but I feel sure that a central house would be best for both of us, for two or three years. I am tied to London, for rather more than that period; and whilst this is the

[pages] 428 - 429

case, I do not doubt it is wisest to reap all the advantages of London life: more especially as every reason will urge us to pay frequent visits to real country, which the suburbs never afford. After the two or three years are out, we then might decide whether to go on living in the same house, or suburb, supposing I should be tied for a little longer to London, and ultimately to decide, whether the pleasures of retirement and country (gardens, walks, &c.) are preferable to society, &c., &c. It is no use thinking of this question at present. I repeat, I do not doubt your first decision was right: let us make the most of London, whilst we are compelled to be there; the case would be different if we were deciding for life, for then we might wish to possess the advantages both of country and town, though both in a lesser degree, in the suburbs.

Until yesterday I intended to have paid Maer a visit on Thursday week, the day after the Geolog. Soc., but yesterday I heard of the death of the mother of Mr Owen, who was to write the next number of the Government work, which now he will not probably be able to do, and I am put to my wit's end to get some other number ready. How long this will delay me I can hardly yet tell. I hope most earnestly not long, for I am impatient to see you again. It is most provoking I cannot settle down to work in earnest, just at the very time I most want to do so. There is the appendix of the Journal and half-a-dozen things besides this unlucky number, all waiting my good pleasure—every night I make vows and break them in the morning. I do long to be seated beside you again, in the Library; one can then almost feel in anticipation the happiness to come. I have just read your letter over again for the fifth time. My own dear Emma, I feel as if I had been guilty of some very selfish action in obtaining such a good dear wife with no sacrifice at all on my part—as I have said before I must try and make a very dutiful and grateful husband. Believe me, dear Emma, most affectionately yours, C. DARWIN.

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

[30 November, 1838], Friday Evening,

[After many details on house hunting and domestic affairs.]

Powers of sentimentality forgive me for sending such a letter: it surely ought to have been written on foolscap paper, and closed with a wafer. I told you I should write to you as if you really were my own dear, dear wife, and have not I kept my word most stoutly? My excuse must be, I have seen no one for these two days: and what can a man have to say, who works all morning in describing hawks and owls, and then rushes out and walks in a bewildered manner up one street and down another, looking out for the words "To let". I called, however, to-day on the Lyells. I cannot tell you how particularly pleasant and cordial Lyell's manner has been to me: I am sure he will be a steady and sure friend to both of us. He told me he heard from his sister (whom I know) in Scotland this morning, and she says, "So Mr Darwin is going to be married: I suppose he will be buried in the country, and lost to geology." She little knows what a good, strict wife I am going to be married to, who will send me to my lessons and make me better, I trust, in every respect, as I am sure she will infinitely happier and happier the longer I live to enjoy my good fortune. Lyell and Madame gave me a very long and solemn lecture on the extreme importance, for our future comfort during our whole London lives, of choosing slowly and deliberately our visiting acquaintance: every disagreeable or commonplace acquaintance must separate us from our relations and real friends (that is without we give up our whole lives to visiting), for the evenings we sacrifice might have been spent with them or at the theatre. Lyell said we shall find the truth of his words before we have lived a year in London. How provokingly small the paper is, my own very dear Emma.

Good-night, C. D.

[pages] 430 - 431

Emma Wedgwood to Monsieur and Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Friday, Dec. 28, 1838.

My dear Uncle,

I have been a long time without thanking you for your kind, affectionate letter, which gave me the greatest pleasure, but I have been away to London with Fanny and Hensleigh to help Charles to look for a house. I thought we should only have to walk out into the street and take one, but we found it very difficult, and after a fortnight's hard work I came home without having taken any, but I heard yesterday that Charles had succeeded in taking one that we had very much set our hearts upon in Gower Street, so that is very pleasantly settled.

How I should enjoy coming to see you and my dear aunt Jessie; and I have some hopes that we shall accomplish it some day or other, as Charles has the most lively wish to see Switzerland and the Alps, and then I should send him off to geologise at Chamounix by himself, and I should stay with you. But I am afraid it cannot be this year or next either, he is too busy. I quite agree with you in the happiness of having plenty to do. You don't seem at all afraid of making me vain in what you say, but indeed, I don't think you will give me any worse feeling than the warmest gratitude and affection in return for yours. I am going to write about dress and all sorts of frivolity to aunt Jessie, as I think it will suit her better than you, so I will wish you goodbye, my very dear uncle, and believe me, yours affectionately, EMMA W. Papa wishes to speak for himself.

Thank you, my dear aunt Jessie, for your warm congratulations and sympathy with my happiness. I was very glad to return home last Saturday, as I grudge every day away from home now. Fanny and Hensleigh look so comfortable in their nice little house that I feel quite sorry to think how soon they must give it up. We had a fly every day and used to go into town to look at houses and [buy] my clothes, and I think I have obeyed your orders, for though I have not bought many things, they are all very dear and the milliner's bill would do your heart good to see. I have bought a sort of greenish-grey rich silk for the wedding, which I expect papa to approve of entirely, and a remarkably lovely white chip bonnet trimmed with blonde and flowers. Harriet has given me a very handsome plaid satin, a dark one, which is very gorgeous, handsomely made up with black lace; and that and my blue Paris gown, which I have only worn once, and the other blue and white sort of thing will set me up for the present. Jessie [Wedgwood] and Susan [Darwin] gave Fanny strict orders not to let me be shabby. (And a grand velvet shawl too.) Our gaieties were first going to the play, which Charles actually proposed to do himself but I am afraid it was only a little shewing off. It was the Tempest, and we all thought it very tiresome (I shall like plays I know still notwithstanding). We also went to a party at Sir Robert Inglis's, who is the kindest of men and shook me by the hand "till our hearts were like to break," and I did not know when we could leave off again.

Another day we dined at the Aldersons' and met a family of Sam Hoare's. I thought I knew the young ladies' faces very well, and soon discovered that they had come over in the steam-boat with us, so that did for a topic of conversation for some time. They all looked full of happiness and goodness, as well as a brother of theirs, a young clergyman. The presence of so much goodness made G. feel very good too, for she was in the happiest state of affectation I ever saw. The judge was merry and highly delighted with his own puns.

I admire your little pasteur's daughter extremely, but I think she should have been a little more sorry for the baronet, though he was rich.

Mama is quite well. I must tell you what sort of a

[pages] 432 - 433

house ours is that you may fancy me. A front drawingroom with three windows, and a back one, rather smaller, with a cheerful look-out on a set of little gardens, which will be of great value to us in summer to take a mouthful of fresh air; and that will be our sitting-room for quietness' sake. It is furnished, but rather ugly. Goodbye, my dearest, no more room.

It was evident that in choosing their house they neither of them gave a thought to the artistic side of the question. That it should be cheap and have the requisite number of rooms and be in a part of London where they wished to live were the sole considerations.

No. 12, Upper Gower Street, afterwards 110, Gower Street, and now swallowed up in Shoolbred's, was the house taken. I well remember my father's often laughing over the ugliness of the furniture with which they began life, and their calm indifference certainly shews a curious change in the relative importance of such details then and now. "Macaw Cottage" he christened it, as the colours of the walls and furniture were those of a macaw. The dear old mahogany arm-chairs at Down, covered in red stamped velvet, came out of it, and I think the old dining-room sofa.

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

Saturday Afternoon [29 December, 1838].

My dear Emma,

I am tired with having been all day at business work, but I cannot let a post go by without writing to tell you Gower Street is ours, yellow curtains and all. I have to-day paid some advance money, signed an agreement, and had the key given over to me, and the old woman informed me I was her master henceforth……I long for the day when we shall enter the house together; how glorious it will be to see you seated by the fire of our own house. Oh, that it were the 14th instead of the 24th. Good-bye my own dear Emma.

I find I must wait in town till the latter end of next week, on account of the lease and paying the money, and I suspect I must attend the Geolog. Soc. on the 9th, so my plans are hampered. But what does anything signify to the possessor of Macaw Cottage?

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

Monday, Jan. I, 18391,

And the first of our marriage!!

My dear Emma,

Many thanks for your two most kind, dear, and affectionate letters, which I received this morning. I will finish this letter to-morrow. I sit down just to date and begin it, that I may enjoy the infinite satisfaction of writing to my own dear wife that is to be, the very first evening of my entering our house. After writing to you on Saturday evening I thought much of the happy future, and in consequence did not close my eyes till long past 2 o'clock, awoke at 5 and could not go to sleep—got up and set to work with the good resolution of spending a quiet day—about 11 o'clock found that would never do, so rang for Conington and said, "I am very sorry to spoil your Sunday, but begin packing up I must, as I cannot rest." "Pack up Sir, what for?" said Mr Conington with

1 Tuesday was the 1st January 1839, thus the date should have been Monday, 31 December 1838.

L. 28

[pages] 434 - 435

his eyes open with astonishment, as if it was the first notice he had received of my flitting. So we arranged some of the specimens of Natural History, but did no real packing up. I, however, sorted a multitude of papers. This morning however we began early and in earnest, and I may be allowed to boast, when I say that by half-past three we had two large vans full of goods, well and carefully packed. By six o'clock we had them all safely here. There is nothing left but some few dozen drawers of shells, which must be carried by hand. I was astounded, and so was Erasmus, at the bulk of my luggage, and the porters were even more so at the weight of those containing my Geological Specimens. There never was so good a house for me, and I devoutly trust you will approve of it equally. The little garden is worth its weight in gold. About 8 o'clock the old lady here cooked me some eggs and bacon (as I had no dinner) and with some tea I felt supremely comfortable. How I wish my own dear lady had been here. My room is so quiet, that the contrast to Marlborough [Street] is as remarkable as it is delightful. It is now near 9, and I will write no more, as I am thoroughly tired in the legs, but wish you a good night, my own good dear Emma, C. D.

Tuesday morning. Once more I must thank you for your letters, which I have just read. I have been busy at work all morning, and have made my own room quite charming, so comfortable.

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

Wednesday Evening, ATHENÆUM [2 Jan. 1839].

My dear Emma,

After a good day's work, here am I sitting very comfortably, and feeling just that degree of lassitude which a man enjoys after a day's shooting terminated by an excellent dinner. All my goods are in their proper places, and one of the front attics (henceforward to be called the Museum) is quite filled, but holds everything very well: my room downstairs would hold more and so will allow things to grow, and things will always grow. I walked for half-an-hour in the garden to-day and much enjoyed the advantage of so easily getting a mouthful of air. Erasmus's dinner yesterday was a very pleasant one: Carlyle was in high force, and talked away most steadily; to my mind Carlyle is the best worth listening to of any man I know. The Hensleighs were there and were very pleasant also. Such society, I think, is worth all other and more brilliant kinds many times over. I find I cannot by any exertion get up the due amount of admiration for Mrs Carlyle: I do not know whether you find it so, but I am not able to understand half the words she speaks, from her Scotch pronunciation. She certainly is very far from natural; or to use the expression Hensleigh so often quotes, she is not an unconscious person……

I long for the hour of inducting you into the glory, I dare not say comfort, of Gower Street. I wish I could make the drawing-room look as comfortable as my own studio: but I daresay a fire will temporarily make things better, but the day of some signal reform must come, otherwise our taste of harmonious colours will assuredly be spoilt for the rest of our lives.

I feel so stupid and comfortable, so dull in the noddle and weary in the legs, that I must wish you a good night, just like a real country Squire after a hard day's shooting. So good-bye my dear Emma, Ever your affectionate,



[pages] 436 - 437

Charles Darwin in Emma Wedgwood.

Sunday Night, 12, UPPER GOWER STREET, [6 Jan. 1839].

My dear Emma,

I have just returned from my little dinner at the Lyells' in which I did some geology and some scrattle about coal and coal-merchants. You will say it was high time, for when I came in and began to poke the fire, Margaret said, "You must take care Sir, there is only one lump left for to-night and to-morrow morning." So it is high time to order coal. I meant to have written to you by yesterday's post, but I turned idle just at the right minute, but I hope you won't turn angry at the post-time minute. I am really ashamed of my letters of late, they have been so very egotistical, but what can be expected from a young householder who thinks of nothing but himself and our house all day long. By the way, this puts me in mind to give you a scolding for writing to me about "your" house: is it not our house? what is there, from me the geologist to the black sparrows in the garden, which is not your own property? and this puts me in mind to give you another scolding for sending me those square little sneers about my writing. Whoever read hieroglyphics without the context, and is not my hand more like hieroglyphics than common writing? Bad hand as it is, it serves me to tell you, you are my own dear Emma, and there is an end of my scolding.

For the last three days I have been working very hard at my Glen Roy paper. The three days' moving of my goods rested me almost as much as a visit in the country. I have finished 65 pages and have only 15 more, so I think I shall have done them by Wednesday. You will say that the house is too good when you hear that I have lost all wish of going beyond the limits of the spacious and beautiful garden. To-day, however, it rained so heavily that I had my walk in the drawing-room. With a little judgment we shall make the room comfortable, I can see. I have been trying the plan of working for an hour before breakfast, and find it succeeds admirably. I jump up (following Sir W. Scott's rule, for, as he says, once turn on your side and all is over) at 8, and breakfast at 10, so that I get rather more than an hour, and begin again at 11 quite fresh. You see I quote Sir W. Scott. I am reading in the evenings at the Athenæum his life, and am in the sixth volume. I never read anything so interesting as his diary, and yet somehow I do not feel much reverence, or even affection towards him, excepting to be sure, when he is talking about Johnnie, his grandson. I am well off for books, for I have a second in hand there almost more interesting, and that is poor Mungo Park's travels, which I never read before. It is enough to make one angry to think that having escaped once, he would return again: and yet to a man possessing the coolness under danger which Park had, I can fancy nothing so intensely interesting as exploring such a wonderful country: it is a strange mixture our love of excitement and tranquillity. You will say a little excitement at the theatre is very good for the soul, and I shall say a little tranquillity at home is better for the body……

You tell me to mention when I received your last letter: it came on Friday, the day after it was written.— Good night and good-bye, my dearest, C. D.

The marriage was fixed for January 29th, 1839, at Maer. Charles made one hurried visit there in the middle of January, and on his return lo Gower Street, wrote:

[pages] 438 - 439

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

Sunday Night, ATHENÆUM [20 Jan. 1839].

……I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my Maer visit, I felt in anticipation my future tranquil life: how I do hope you may be as happy as I know I shall be: but it frightens me, as often as I think of what a family you have been one of. I was thinking this morning how it came that I, who am fond of talking and am scarcely ever out of spirits, should so entirely rest my notions of happiness on quietness and a good deal of solitude. But I believe the explanation is very simple, and I mention it because it will give you hopes that I shall gradually grow less of a brute. It is that during the five years of my voyage (and indeed I may add these two last), which from the active manner in which they have been passed may be said to be the commencement of my real life, the whole of my pleasure was derived from what passed in my mind while admiring views by myself, travelling across the wild deserts or glorious forests, or pacing the deck of the poor little Beagle at night. Excuse this much egotism, I give it you because I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there is greater happiness than building theories and accumulating facts in silence and solitude. My own dearest Emma, I earnestly pray you may never regret the great, and I will add very good deed, you are to perform on the Tuesday. My own dear future wife, God bless you……

The Lyells called on me to-day after church, as Lyell was so full of Geology he was obliged to disgorge; and I dine there on Tuesday for an especial conference. I was quite ashamed of myself to-day, for we talked for half-an-hour unsophisticated Geology, with poor Mrs Lyell sitting by, a monument of patience. I want practice in ill-treating the female sex. I did not observe Lyell had any compunction; I hope to harden my conscience in time: few husbands seem to find it difficult to effect this.

Since my return I have taken several looks, as you will readily believe, into the drawing-room. I suppose my taste of harmonious colours is already deteriorated, for I declare the room begins to look less ugly. I take so much pleasure in the house, I declare I am just like a great overgrown child with a new toy; but then, not like a real child, I long to have a co-partner and possessor.

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood.

Saturday, SHREWSBURY (26 Jan. 1839].

My dear Emma,

I have ten minutes to write in and I am determined to show you that I think myself of sufficient consequence for you to care to hear our plans. The house is in such a bustle, that I do not know what I write. I have got the ring, which is the most important piece of news I have to tell. My two last days in London, when I wanted to have most leisure, were rendered very uncomfortable by a bad headache, which continued two days and two nights, so that I doubted whether it ever meant to go and allow me to be married. The railroad yesterday, however, quite cured me. Before I came to Maer last time, I was eager in my mind for the advantage of going straight home after the awful ceremony. You, however, made me just as determined on the advantages of not going straight home, and now your last letter (for which I return you thanks, for being so good a girl as to write) has just put me half way between the two plans. This will give you hopes of my being a very docile husband, thus to have become twice absolute convert to your scheme. I settled the matter by telling the housemaid to have fires lighted

[pages] 440 - 441

on Tuesday, and if we did not come then to have them Wednesday, so that you may decide precisely as you please at any moment you please. I went as near a falsehood as any honest man could do, by pretending to deliberate and saying in a very hesitating voice, "You need not have a fire on Monday," by which anyone would suppose we were to be married on that morning. Whether I took them in I do not know. The carriage is at the door all this time, so that I cannot write any more. I had intended to have written to you, my dear little wife, a long letter, but I do not know what I have said, but I know you are a very dear good soul, so good-bye.

Ever yours affectionately,



The wedding at Maer—Caroline's baby dies—Life at Gower Street, their first dinner-party—Hensleigh becomes Registrar of Cabs— Elizabeth gives up the Sunday-school—Charles and Emma's first visit to Maer—Their child born Dec. 27, 1839.

THE wedding took place on Tuesday, the 29th January, 1839, at Maer Church. It was perfectly quiet, with no festivities, and they went at once to Upper Gower Street.

Emma Darwin to her mother.

GOWER STREET, Thursday [Jan. 31, 1839].

My dear Mamma,

It was quite a relief to me to find on coming out of Church on Tuesday that you were still asleep, which spared you and me the pain of parting, though it is only for a short time. So now we have only the pleasure of looking forward to our next meeting. We eat our sandwiches with grateful hearts for all the care that was taken of us, and the bottle of water was the greatest comfort. The house here was blazing with fires and looked very comfortable and we are getting to think the furniture quite tasteful. Yesterday we went in a fly to buy an arm-chair, but it was so slippery and snowy we did not do much. We picked up some novels at the library. To-day I

[pages] 442 - 443

suspect we shall not go out as it is snowing at a great rate. I have been facing the Cook in her own region to-day, and found fault with the boiling of the potatoes, which I thought would make a good beginning and set me up a little. On Monday or Tuesday we are going to give our first dinner-party to the Hensleighs and Erasmus. I hope the H.'s will sleep here, we shall see them so much more comfortably. I came away full of love and gratitude to all the dear affectionate faces I left behind me. They are too many to particularize. Tell my dear Eliz. I long to hear from her. Nothing can be too minute from dear home. I was very sorry to leave Caroline so uneasy and looking so unwell. I am impatient to hear of her and the baby. I don't know how to express affection enough to my dear, kind Papa, but he will take it upon trust.

Good-bye my dearest Mamma,

Your affectionate and very happy daughter,
E. D.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her aunt Fanny Allen.

MAER, Friday, Feb. 1, 1839.

My dear Fanny,

I have no heart to write you an account of the wedding, it has had such a sad sequel. Yesterday Caroline lost her poor baby.…….She is as miserable as anyone can be, but she exerts herself very much, and I think the best thing to counterbalance her own grief will be her anxiety about Jos. Of course the chief part of his feeling is for her, but he often cannot command himself when he is sitting with her, and is obliged to leave the room. She came into my mother's room to see us two hours after its death, which I took exceedingly kindly of her, and came into the drawing-room this evening to see my mother again and Charles [Langton] whom she had not seen. She does her utmost not to yield, but she is very unwell and I never felt greater pity for anyone in my life. It is quite affecting to see poor dear Jos's face and hear his depressed voice. The Dr [Dr Darwin] came yesterday at 5, and C. had a good deal of comfort in talking over everything with him, the more so, I have no doubt, from the exceeding interest he has always taken in the poor little thing. The funeral is to be to-morrow—Susan and Charlotte, as well as my father, will attend; tho' Caroline desired he would not, thinking it would be bad for him, she will be gratified that he does. They will go to Fenton in the evening and Susan will go there on Monday, which I am as glad of for Jos's sake (who seems to find her the greatest comfort) as for C.'s. It will make him not so unwilling to go as usual to his employment—but what poor Caroline will find to do I cannot think; for the last so many months the thoughts of this precious child and the preparations for it have occupied her in an intense way that I never saw in anyone else. But I will write no more on this sad subject.

We had such a happy and sweet little letter from Emma to-day that neither my father nor mother could read it without tears….The ceremony was got through very stout-heartedly, and then there was not much more time but for Em. to change her clothes and pack her wedding bonnet and sit a little by the dining-room fire with Charlotte and me before she set off, and I did not much mind anything but just the last. It is no small happiness to have had such a companion of my life for so long; since the time she could speak, I have never had one moment's pain for her, and a share of daily pleasure such as few people have it in their power to shed around them. I am more afraid of my father's missing her than my mother. They had not to be sure a great deal of talk together, but her sunny face will leave a vacancy….

[pages] 444 - 445

Emma Darwin to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

GOWER STREET, Saturday [2 Feb. 1839].

My dear Elizabeth,

Your letter was indeed a shock, and one quite unexpected by me, though not so much so for Charles, as Susan had told him how much alarmed she was at the baby's looks. Poor dear Caroline what fortitude she has. To-day they are returning home and a miserable return it will be. I could not believe what was coming when I read your letter.

My dear sweet Elizabeth, how I do thank you for your love for me. I have been wishing to tell you that though my own selfish happiness filled my thoughts so much, I never forgot what your dear affectionate heart would feel in losing me, and I am afraid there are many little troubles or discomforts that I helped a little to lighten to you. In your case I never could have behaved as you did; and don't think I am complimenting myself, for I am sure you would miss a sister very much, if she only loved you half as well as I do you. The time will fly very quick before our Maer visit.

On Thursday, Charles and I did some shopping, which he professes rather to like, and I bought my morning gown, a sort of clarety-brown satin turque, very unobjectionable. And then we went slopping through the melted snow to Broadwood's, where we tried the pianoforte which had Mr Stevens' name written in it, and it sounded beautiful as far as we could judge. It has none of the faults of touch that ours at Maer has, and seems to me quite as easy as the Seabridge one. If you were virtuous perhaps you would write a note to Mr Stevens1 to say that I like it particularly in every way, and never heard a P. F. I admired more.

1 Rev. Thomas Stevens, founder and first Warden of Bradfield College and Squarson of the parish. He married Caroline Tollet.

We hope to have it home to-day. Yesterday we trudged out again, and half-ruined ourselves at the plate shop, and in the evening we actually went to the play, which Charles thinks will look very well in the eyes of the world.…

I am cockered up and spoilt as much as heart can wish and I do think, though you and Char, may keep this to yourself, that there is not so affectionate an individual as the one in question to be found anywhere else. After this candid and impartial opinion I say no more. I am so glad my dear Mama was comfortable all about the wedding. Give her my best love and to Papa and Charlotte. I wish I had Fortunatus's cap to come and curl my hair over that dear old fire with you and Charlotte. I did so enjoy my walks and talks with Charlotte. Good-bye my dearest.

EM. D.

The piano mentioned above was her father's present to her. I remember it well as a dear old friend in a handsome mahogany case. It never went out of tune, and lasted far better than any of the later ones. For the sake of quiet they lived, grand piano and all, in the smallish back room looking on the smoky garden, which smoky though it was, was a great boon to their country souls.

Her mother wrote her one letter—I should think almost the last. The handwriting shows the effort it cost her.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her daughter Emma Darwin.

MAER, February 4 [1839]

A thousand thanks to you, dearest Emma, for your delightful letter which from the cheerful happy tone of it drew tears of pleasure from my old eyes. I am truly thankful to find you so happy, and still more so that you

[pages] 446 - 447

are sensible of it, and I pray heaven that this may only be the beginning of a life full of peace and tranquillity. My affection for Charles is much increased by considering him as the author of all your comfort, and I enjoy the thoughts of your tasty curtains and your arm-chairs, hoping your Piano is by this time added to them. Mr Stevens is now below, strumming away upon our old affair, and I hope the girls have told him that you like the one he has fixed upon for you.…

I have had excellent nights, and have escaped my morning sicknesses for a good many days. These are among my present blessings for which I am very thankful. I can write no more except tender love to Charles and to the Hensleighs and thanks for your letter to Elizabeth. I hope to have another happy letter from you soon. God bless you, my ever dear, you will have no difficulty in believing me your affectionate "Mum,"


Elizabeth Wedgwood to her sister Emma Darwin.

MAER, Monday Night, February 4 [1839].

My dearest Emma,

I can hardly tell you how your affectionate expressions go to my heart. I have felt them too sacred to read them to anybody but Charlotte, and only part to her, tho' she is very comfortable and very sympathising. We have just had a long talk over my fire, for this is the only quiet and private time I can find to write to you in. I do not however deserve your compliment, for it was only sometimes that I minded much beforehand the thoughts of losing you. The wedding was a sort of thing always in view to intercept one's attention. I have minded the reality more than I expected, but that will not last, and I shall doubly enjoy the piece of your society I shall get, now I shall not have it all. I shall be obliged to practise more decision of character now I have not you to help me to settle everything great and small. I have always felt ashamed of the compliments in the letters to my unselfishness, for what mother ever was not rejoiced at a daughter's making a happy marriage, and people look on it as a thing of course. And so it is, though there are not many daughters or sisters have so many qualities for making those they live with happy. I think indeed Susan runs you hard. She is gone to-day to Fenton, where she will stay all the week at least, and she will be of the greatest comfort to Jos at any rate.

You have had your dinner-party to-day and I dare say Charles looked very proud to have you at the head of his table. I found Mary, the night before last, sitting by my fire crying over a poem she had cut out of the paper, "The Bride's farewell to her Parents," dated the 29th of January too. There really were many pretty thoughts in it.

My father says he should like to have a drawing of you, which I am very glad of. Is Mr Richmond come back? I don't know whether Mr Holmes is better than him or not, I rather think he is tho'.

Emma Darwin to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

GOWER STREET, Tuesday, February 5 [1839].

My dear Elizabeth,

I can't remember what we did on Saturday except walking about a good deal and meeting a pianoforte van in Gower Street, to which Charles shouted to know whether it was coming to No. 12, and learnt to our great satisfaction that it was. Besides its own merits, it makes the room look so much more comfortable, and we expect Hensleigh and Fanny to be struck dumb to-day at our beautiful appearance. I have given Charles a large dose of music every evening, but he still seems to find an overture of Rossini's a very refreshing interlude.

[pages] 448 - 449

Yesterday we trudged out again and just by the Athenæum, Charles was highly amused at seeing Mr Horner1 going to cut us; however he stopped him, and Mr H. said he thought we were incog. and was not going to speak to us. Charles said his face, trying to pretend not to see us, was the most comical thing he ever saw. He has a very pleasant merry manner. In the evening a note came to Charles from him in which he says that the sight he saw opposite the Athenæum caused a great sensation among his ladies, so Charles supposes the Horneritas made a great chatter.

To-day we feel much excited with the thoughts of our first dinner-party, turkey and vitings if you wish to know. The blue wall looks much better now we have a few prints and drawings hung up. We have Barmouth2 on one side of the fireplace which looks remarkably well, the other side is blank. If Charlotte should have any curiosity to know the size of Barmouth it is 13 inches by 8½. Ahem!

I long for some news of poor Caroline. Write quite openly, for I shall keep your letters to myself, and only read aloud parts. I hope Charlotte will write to me one of these days. Give my best love to my dear Mamma and Papa. I hope some of you have complimented Allen on the way he did the service.

Good-bye, my dear Eliz.

Emma Darwin to her mother.

GOWER STREET, Thursday [8th Feb. 1839].

My dearest Mamma,

I cannot tell you how pleased I was to see your dear handwriting and how much I thank you for writing me such a nice long letter. I shall always preserve

1 Leonard Horner, Warden of the University of London and Inspector of Factories. See Vol. 1. p. 135.

2 A water-colour painting of Barmouth by Charlotte Langton.

it with great care. I was very glad to find you have had such comfortable nights. I will now go back to my annals. On Tuesday when we returned from our walk Margaret told us that two gentlemen had been there with a letter of great importance for Hensleigh, and that they had been to Notting Hill after him. We began speculating whether it could be any piece of good fortune for him, but we settled that it was most likely only about oaths. Very soon after Hensleigh came in, quite agitated with happiness at having obtained this registrarship1. It is such a wonderful piece of good fortune I could hardly believe it; and it is given him in such a gratifying way, without any testimonials or bothering of anybody, and it is so pleasant not to have had any suspense. I should like to know whether it is all Lord John Russell's doing, or whether Lady Holland has had any hand in it. She has been very civil lately and sent them 2 dozen apples, &c. Fanny looked very happy about it too. Hensleigh had called on Mr Whittle Hervey and was charmed with his manners. He does not think it will be at all a hard place. He will be employed from 10 till 4, about four days a week. Fanny's maids have been very uneasy at the shortness of our housemaid and are afraid that she is not tall enough to tie my gown. She is about the size of Betty Slaney, so I hope Fanny set their minds at case on that point. Our dinner went off very well, though Erasmus tells us it was a base imitation of the Marlborough Street dinners, and certainly the likeness was very striking. But when the plum-pudding appeared he knocked under, and confessed himself conquered very humbly. And then Edward is such a perfect Adantless in his best livery that he is quite a sight. Fanny and Hensleigh slept here, and Hensleigh went the next morning to the office. It seemed very odd beginning all at

1 Registration of cabs, an office of less emolument and importance than the magistracy he had given up.

L. 29

[pages] 450 - 451

once. Catherine has very considerately sent us a Shrewsbury paper that we may see ourselves in print, and as she drew us up she has all an author's feelings on the subject. Charles is not quite used to my honours yet, as he took up a letter to me the other day and could not conceive who Mrs C. Darwin could mean. He has set to his work in good earnest now. The Lyells have called and we were rather sorry to miss them. We are going to call on them to-day at an out-of-the-way hour when we shall be sure to find them in. Yesterday we settled to sit up in state till four o'clock, to see all the crowds who should come, but there only came two callers. Lady Inglis has called, and I am thinking of going there this morning to see Mrs Rich, who is poorly and staying with Lady I. We then walked in the Regent's Park and were caught in the rain, which agitated us both a good deal for fear of spoiling my best bonnet. It however was none the worse. I am very much pleased that Papa wants a drawing of me. I don't know whether Mr Richmond is come back. I will go and get it done when you have settled who is best.

Charles desires his best love to you. Will you tell Mary, with my love, that I forgot to tell her about Pitman's Lectures, which I wish her to have as a Keepsake from me, and Elizabeth is to get it bound for her.

My mother told me that when they came to London it was never considered possible to do anything but keep a man-servant, but that they should have been much happier with only women, though Edward, as appears from this letter, was such a perfect "Adantless" (Adonis) in his best livery. They were not fortunate in their men-servants till Parslow came, who stayed about 50 years.

Fanny Hensleigh Wedgwood to Mrs Marsh

(Anne Caldwell) at Boulogne.

February 13th [1839].

……Your New Year's wishes and hopes do indeed seem now like prophetic anticipations, my dear Anne, when you say that you expect every day to hear of something pleasant arising to us, and though I had very little hope of the kind when I was comforting myself with your wise and true sympathy, I was very grateful to you for it all, and I shall be more ready than ever to take confidence from you. We had hoped to have had a talk with Mr Marsh to tell him about this affair, but as we have unluckily missed him, I must tell you how surprised we have been at this proof of Ld. John's good sense and discrimination, and we hear from Lady Holland that he mentioned his intentions of offering it as soon as the vacancy was known to him, and since has written a very pretty letter to H. to that effect. It is only to be £500 a year, so we shall not be extremely rich, and my year's practice in economy will be very useful.……

I often think of all your good advice about the children, and beg leave to mention for my own credit that Snow has attended no children's parties this winter, not even Mrs Hutton's, tho' Lady Coltman softly insinuated her surprise, as the last time she had seen Snow was at a ball two years ago. It did seem most unnatural to see none of your girls among the groups there.

You will hear from Mr Marsh that Emma is established in her new home; and most comfortable and snug they looked the only day we have as yet broke in on them. Yesterday they dined here for the first time. Emma is looking very pretty and unanxious, and I suppose there are


[pages] 452 - 453

not many two people happier than she and Charles. I want to know and hear what effect she makes in the London world, if the word can be applied to such simplicity and transparency, and [to one] who has so little notion of making an effect. They made their first appearance in the world at Dr Holland's, where they had a very pleasant day, Hibberts, Coltmans, &c. We have been unusually dissipated also of late in the evening party line, and Mr Rogers has been taking us up, I can't think why, inviting us to breakfast and a party, and coming out here to present me with a lovely copy of his poems. We met a little collection of blue ladies, H. Martineau, Mrs Austin1, Mrs Marcet, &c., which is I believe quite a new line for him. Mrs Austin is much found fault with for being too aristocratic; since she has gone to Mayfair they say she only frequents parties of the highest distinction.……

Elizabeth appears to have given up teaching the Sunday-school this spring. I suppose there was now a regular week-day school, so that it did not seem necessary. When the Wedgwood family began the Sunday-school no other education was attainable for the village children.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her sister Emma Darwin.

MAER, Sunday Morning [3 March, 1839].

My dear Emma,

It is really quite luxurious of a Sunday morning to find myself with nothing to do. I am beginning this letter to you purely to say how pleasant it is. I feel so

1 Wife of John Austin, philosophical jurist. She was one of the Taylors of Norwich, translator and author of various works, a beauty, and mother of the beautiful Lady Duff Gordon.

idle I can hardly sit to anything else. How much obliged I am to the beggars for their singular and generous forbearance in not coming near one of a Sunday, for I cannot imagine any other motive but kind consideration for me for that piece of self-denial of theirs, which is clearly so much against their own interest. About five-and-twenty years I have had the unsatisfactory bother of that school, I should think. I hope I have done with it for life. The other school is not likely to be very orderly; but I think the children learn, and I mean to try what some switching of fingers, steadily administered to Tommy and Billy Philips will do. If it does not succeed they must be turned out. I was very glad to hear Caroline [Wedgwood] has been writing to them at Seabridge to ask for some plants, and says she is a good deal out of doors. They expect to stay at Fenton till July, but I wonder she has any heart to do anything to the place, and very glad. The only time I miss you much is in my room at night. I keep on my fire, and have got a table full of books, but it will feel at present that you are gone. Very soon, I hope, it will begin to feel that you are coming. It was a beautiful day yesterday and I did a little bit of gardening. To-day the wind is so east that I have not stirred out but to church. Good-bye my dear Em. It is the greatest pleasure that can be, your letters.

I well remember my aunt Elizabeth's teaching in the little school she set up close to her Sussex home where she moved after her parents' death. There she went regularly every morning for an hour or two. Her excessive delight in giving up the Maer school makes one appreciate more what the effort and self-sacrifice must have been in this later work. The mention of beggars brings up a sad part of her life. She let herself be preyed upon by all kinds of

[pages] 454 - 455

worthless people and impostors, and must have done a great deal of harm, as well as in other ways so much good.

Emma Allen to her niece Emma Darwin.

CRESSELLY, March 7 [1839].

My dear Emma,

How generous you have been in repaying my few lines with such a nice long letter. The tone of happiness and affection with which it was written was very delightful to Fanny and me, and very earnestly do I pray that such happiness may long continue. Many are concerned in the prayer, for most true it is, my sweet Emma, you have been the source of happiness to many. Dear Elizabeth in having the largest share of you must have had our earnest sympathy in your removal from her, but I am beyond measure pleased that the Sunday School is at an end at Maer. It made it such a day of labour when there was even 2 or 3 of you to partake of it, as made me very sorry often to witness; and if it had been my way to meddle in such things, I should have urged you to have given it up long ago, and to have taken repose on that day which is so healthy for mind and body, and which for my own part I enjoy more than on any other day. This may be from long association, but it always makes me sorry to see others deprived or depriving themselves of it. And who in the world requires a day of rest more than dear active Elizabeth, and I do enjoy it for her even at this distance.……

Charlotte Langton to her sister Emma Darwin.

[ONIBURY, March, 1839].

My dear Emma,

I think it will be a very good plan for your and Elizth.'s letters to be made to do double duty, and save you both a good deal of repetition; and it will serve my purpose very well too, for I sometimes feel it absolutely necessary to give a sign of life when I have not wherewithal to fill a sheet or half a sheet, and on those occasions it will be a great relief to me to have a letter to hook on to. Elizabeth seems to enjoy her Sundays very much. Her pity is thrown away upon me, our Sunday-School is so short. Religion and virtue is all that I mean to teach, other things being taught at the day school. But as at the end of half-an-hour I find those topics totally exhausted, I am obliged to resort to a little reading, and a great relief it is.…

From Fanny Allen to Mrs Marsh (Anne Caldwell) at Boulogne.

TENBY, March 5th [1839].

My dear Anne,

Your letter has been with me, as a companion, for nearly six weeks, watching for a quiet couple of hours that I might tell you what pleasure your warm and affectionate measure of me gives me. I feel myself of greater value from your opinion of me. I believe praise, after the age of vanity, is of great use to character, by raising your own standard, for it must be a natural feeling not to betray the opinion those whom you value greatly have formed of you. Continue to love me, dear Anne, and I will try not to lose an affection so dear to me. Since I wrote last, indeed since you wrote, how much the Wedgwoods have enjoyed and suffered! Poor Caroline's sorrow is I am afraid yet green.…

Elizth. has suffered from the loss of Emma more than she expected I fancy—her joy at Emma's happy prospects, while I was there, kept her from falling back on herself and thinking of her loss, but that time must have come.

Emma is as happy as possible, as she has always been—there never was a person born under a happier star than

[pages] 456 - 457

she, her feelings are the most healthful possible; joy and sorrow are felt by her in their due proportions, nothing robs her of the enjoyment that happy circumstances would naturally give. Her account of her life with Charles Darwin and in her new ménage is very pleasant.…

I have been long convinced that it is for the happiness of children, that they should not have amusements or pleasures too readily or they become none, a healthful poverty is the atmosphere of both a good education and happiness for children. Two of the happiest families I know are those whose amusements could not be purchased if they would—there is a curse on all that is bought in that way. My two examples enjoyed more real pleasure than those whom I knew had what they coveted immediately; they were always devouring the amusements of the age in advance, and at 16 and 17 they were ennuied and blasé—Alas! this is the history of ——'s children; if he could not have afforded to have attended to their fantastic whims, how much happier it would have been for them. I have heard many people regret riches for their children's sake, when I felt the conviction that a blessing attended the want. You are a very happy mother, and I have no doubt you are a more affectionate mother by being from circumstances brought in closer contact with your children; and they again must gain immensely by this, so whatever your loss is, they have gained, I am convinced, by your fall in fortune1.

I did not see Sydney Smith while I was in town, so I must have expressed myself ill, but what pleased me as a token of his remembrance, was receiving an affectionate little note from him, hearing I was at the Aldersons'. You have seen his little pamphlet against the ballot, he says everything that can be said against it, but I am not of his

1 Mr Marsh was a partner of Fauntleroy, the famous forger, and their bank, Marsh, Sibbald and Co., was ruined when the forgeries were discovered. Fauntleroy was tried and hung in 1824.

Opinion, and he does not touch the moral part of it. If you give a political right to poor people you should secure that the use of it does not injure them, otherwise do not give it them. Macaulay is our great man, I believe; the article you mention of his is an excellent one. I am reading Sismondi's French History and I am glad to find it very interesting and pleasant reading; he is an honest writer, that loves the mass of mankind, and you see his character in every page. I am so glad to like what he writes, and to like himself, indeed, so much better than I ever expected to do at one time. This is probably owing to both our characters being mitigated. He has as great a dislike and fear of radicalism as you have—this is a change in him. In this country the radicals, as they call them, maintain in politics the moral questions, and while that is the case, I cannot help being of their opinion. How is it that I never hear a word now of your brother Stamford? These questions remind me of him—does he mean to settle at Linley? or is he thinking of marrying in the meanwhile? if he lives there he must marry and re-people it again, or the shades of the past will make it a too painful residence. How pretty the little wood was covered with blue-bells in Spring! but then you and your sisters lighted the place up with a glory that I shall not soon see again.

Adieu, my dear Anne, you never gave me cause to forgive you for any neglect. [From] a busy person, such as you are, with children that required your constant time, I could not and did not expect answers to my letters. I found you always the same when I saw you, and it was by that I took the measure of your affection. Give my kind love to all your girls,

Ever yours most tenderly,


[pages] 458 - 459

Emma Darwin to her sister Charlotte Langton.

GOWER STREET, Friday [15 March, 1839].

I am anxious to hear when you are coming up. I hope it may be soon, I should so enjoy seeing you and Charles here my dear Lotty.

My Charles has been very unwell since Sunday. We went to church at King's College and found the church not warmed, and not more than half-a-dozen people in it, and he was so very cold that I believe it was that which has made him so unwell. We had Ellen Tollet to dine with us yesterday and go to the play, and I think it has cured Charles; at least he is much better to-day, and he was very much interested and clapped and applauded with all his heart. It was the new play of Richelieu, and it was a pleasant sight to see the pit crammed full of people listening with all their ears. It is an interesting play and very well acted, but Macready tottered and made himself too old; and it was quite ridiculous when he was called for at the end of the play he came tottering on, though not so much as when he was acting. His dress was frightful too; he looked like an old woman in a scarlet pelisse and fur tippet, but his acting was excellent. Charles and Ellen got on very well together, though he rather shocked her by some brutal sentiments, as if he thought a new married man might see too much of his sisters-in-law, and she stood up very warmly for Mr Stevens's feelings towards her and Georgina.

I must tell you of our domestic troubles. I have a great desire to part with the cook, and yet have no fault to find with her but a general feeling that she is too cute, and is rather making the most of us. I particularly wish not to find out any dishonesty, that I may be able to give her a character, and so I shall take courage to-morrow and tell her she does not suit, and I hope she will take it quietly and not require any explanation. Susan has heard of somebody she thinks will do, and it will be quite refreshing to have a countrified woman. I have rather a desire to send off the housemaid too, but I have really no fault to find with her but being vulgar and plain, and as she is really a very good servant, it would be foolish, for a whim I suppose.

Ellen was talking to me about old Mr Wedgwood1. She fully believes it was Mr Harding's tattling which did the mischief. He had left Mrs Wood 100,000 in the first will and they were rich before, so it is provoking to think how little the money was wanted by them. One of their castles in the air was building a nice parsonage for Allen, which would have been money well employed by way of getting him a wife too. If Tom had got the estate, it would have given Miss Charlotte Yea a pang I think. Erasmus walked in to tea on Monday evening, which he does not often do. I expect Charles to get quite fond of the theatre, but as to dinners and parties he gets worse I think, and I don't care how few dinners we go to either. Drinking wine disagrees with him, and it is so tiresome not drinking that he can't resist one glass. Next week we dine at Dulwich and go to Blagrove's concert, which I am afraid will be a great deal too deep for Charles.

Emma Darwin to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

GOWER STREET, Good-Friday [29 March, 1839].

……Thank you for your letter which came to-day. I forgot to mention the basket and so I suppose did Fanny [Hensleigh]. All the poultry was quite fresh and Fanny says the turkey was excellent, and Maer tongues

1 Old Mr Wedgwood of Bignall End having no heirs had at one time thought of leaving his money to the John Wedgwoods, it is supposed because of the similarity of name, for there was no relationship.

[pages] 460 - 461

are quite as superior as Hartfield pork. On Thursday Mr Sedgwick1 called and was very pleasant; there is something remarkably fresh and odd about him. The Henslows come on Monday, and Charles is much more alarmed at the thoughts of them than I am. On Monday the Lyells dine with us; Tuesday we shall leave open for any public amusement they may like to go to; Wednesday they dine at the Lyells; and Thursday we all dine at Dr Fitton's, if they stay so long, so we have plenty of things cut out for them. The cook is pretty good so I am not afraid about the dinners.

Snow was rather naughty one day here, so after they were gone to bed and she had been repentant, Fanny heard her say to Bro., "Oh Bro., I can't bear it, turn your face towards me, kiss me Bro." So Bro. cautiously asked, "Is your face wet with tears?" However he turned and kissed her which seemed to give her great comfort.

Emma Darwin to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

UPPER GOWER STREET, Tuesday, April 2, 1839.

……I must tell you how our learned party went off yesterday. Mr and Mrs Henslow2 came at four o'clock

1 Rev. Adam Sedgwick (1785—1873), Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Woodwardian Professor of Geology and afterwards Canon of Norwich. "He was one of the great leaders in the heroic age of geology" (Dict. Nat. Biog.). My father was introduced to him by Henslow in 1831, and was taken by him on a geological tour. He tells how Sedgwick sent him to make independent observations, and adds: "I have little doubt he did this for my good, as I was too ignorant to have aided him."

2 The Rev. John Stevens Henslow (1796—1861), Professor of Botany at Cambridge, and afterwards Rector of Hitcham, Suffolk. My father, one of his favourite pupils, tells how, as an undergraduate, he was awestruck at the amount of his knowledge, and yet perfectly at ease with him, owing to his transparent sincerity of character and kindness of heart.

and she, like a discreet woman, went up to her room till dinner. The rest of the company consisted of Mr and Mrs Lyell and Leonora Horner, Dr Fitton and Mr Robert Brown1, We had some time to wait before dinner for Dr Fitton, which is always awful, and, in my opinion, Mr Lyell is enough to flatten a party, as he never speaks above his breath, so that everybody keeps lowering their tone to his. Mr Brown, whom Humboldt calls "the glory of Great Britain," looks so shy, as if he longed to shrink into himself and disappear entirely; however, not withstanding those two dead weights, viz, the greatest botanist and the greatest geologist in Europe, we did very well and had no pauses. Mrs Henslow has a good, loud, sharp voice which was a great comfort, and Mrs Lyell has a very constant supply of talk. Mr H. was very glad to meet Mr Brown, as the two great botanists had a great deal to say to each other. Charles was dreadfully exhausted when it was over, and is only as well as can be expected to-day. There never were easier guests than the Henslows, as he has taken himself off all day, and she is gone out in a fly to pay calls, and Charles and I have been walking in the garden. He is rather ashamed of himself for finding his dear friends such a burden. Mr Henslow is so very nice and comfortable that it is a pleasure to look at him. It is said of him that he never wishes to eat, but always eats everything offered to him. The dinner was very good.……

The Langtons had come up to stay with the Hensleigh Wedgwoods at Notting Hill, and Marianne Parker was also in London visiting her brother Erasmuns Darwin in Great Marlborough Street.

1 W. H. Fitton (1780—1861), physician and geologist, and sometime president of the Geological Society. Robert Brown (1773—1858), the famous botanist. In 1810 he became librarian to Sir Joseph Banks, who left him his library and house in Soho Square. There Brown worked for nearly 60 years. See Dict. Nat. Biog.

[pages] 462 - 463

Emma Darwin to her sister Elizabeth Wedgwood.

[GOWER STREET], Monday, April 8 [1839].

……On Friday we went to hear the Messiah at Exeter Hall, and though we were half-an-hour before it began, there was no place vacant but the very back rows, which were a great deal too far off even for the choruses. Braham sang, but I had rather not hear him, it is such forcing and shouting. I don't know whether Charles's musical taste is getting too refined for Handel, but he did not admire it as much as he used to do. On Saturday we dined at Notting Hill. Charlotte is looking blooming. Erny1 has taken a great fancy to her. He really is the most beautiful child I ever saw, now when his eyes and cheeks are bright, and looks something like Puck. He is not a bit shy.… Yesterday evening the Marlborough Street party drank tea with us, and admired all our belongings, from the P. F. down to the teaspoons as much as we could wish. I must say we gave them a few hints as to what points we expected them to notice. What weather this is, a regular snow storm this morning. It is very provoking for all the country cousins. Everybody is much interested in Deerbrook2. I advise you to order it. Give my best love to my dear Mamma. It is delightful to think how soon I shall see her and Papa and you, dear Eliz. Good-bye,

Yours ever,
EM. D.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her sister Emma Darwin.

MAER, Tuesday Night [9 April, 1839].

……To-morrow month you will be here which will soon be here; and the fortnight, alas! soon gone, but then there will be your visit in August to look forward

1 The Hensleigh Wedgwood' second son.

2 By Miss Martineau.

to next, and my run up to you sometime. Mr Holland1 and Bessy went to-day at one o'clock. He is a lively minded old man certainly, but as he arrived at one on Monday we are glad to lose him to-day.

I went and had a good batch of gardening after they were gone, planting a great patch of crocuses, in imitation of Shrewsbury, in the grass, and sowing seeds; till at last a feeling took me by surprise that I was doing it all alone and for nobody else to take any interest in, and I took a fit of sadness, which, however, will not come again, for one really does take interest in the plants for their own sakes, and one likes gardening like any other art for its own sake. Moreover the little Spring bed is very gay and pretty. It has been a real bright day to-day though with an east wind still.…

Elizabeth's expressions of sadness at gardening alone, thus breaking through her exceeding reserve and habit of never thinking still less speaking about herself, show how deeply she felt Emma's loss.

Elizabeth Wedgwood to her aunt Madame Sismondi.

MAER, Wednesday, 5 June [1839].

…I have been enjoying three weeks of Emma's company. She and Charles stayed a fortnight here and I went on with them to Shrewsbury, Eliza [Wedgwood] kindly taking my place here meanwhile; and the feeling she was procuring me a great pleasure, and the retirement, made her, I think, quite enjoy her week. It was agreed by all the members of the colony that Emma's time was so short she could not be spared to divide any of it amongst them away from Maer, and that they would all come and see her here, so that we had the whole

1 Peter Holland of Knutsford, father of Sir Henry Holland and grandfather of Lord Knutsford.

[pages] 464 - 465

of her visit. It was rather spoilt by Charles being so unwell almost the whole time of his stay in the country, and Emma not very well herself. Charles got some of his father's good doctoring and is much better again, but I suppose he is feeling the effect of too much exertion in every way during his voyage and must be careful not to work his head too hard now. His journal is come out at last along with two other thick volumes of Capt. Fitzroy and Capt. King of the same voyage, but I have not had time to read it yet. It is a great pleasure to see Emma so entirely happy with her lot, with the most affectionate husband possible, upon whom none of her pleasant qualities are thrown away, who delights in her music, and admires her dress. I quite agreed with all your good advice to her on that head, and I even mean to dress well myself now the credit of the family rests on me.

You do give me some very nice doses of poison, dearest Jessie, if I believed anything about them except that you love me—but of the rest of what you say so beautifully, I hope I do feel most gratefully the truth. There cannot be a happier or easier task than making the lives comfortable of my father and mother. There never were people who gave so much and required so little. Indeed it often makes me ashamed and touches me very tenderly to see my father get up to pay me some little kind attention that would come so much more appropriately from me to him. We have very seldom been only our own selves since Emma went. Now I have had these three weeks of her company. I feel satisfied and think no more of her loss, and have got rid of the fits of sadness that would take me sometimes unawares. The Hensleighs are coming down the end of this month, and Hensleigh will return to town after bringing them down, and I then mean to run up with him and see Emma in her own house for ten days or so. The Hensleighs have just taken a house four doors only from Emma, which Emma very much likes. She will find it a great comfort, for they are neither of them idle people to fall into the error of running in and out at all hours. Charles goes to his own room to work after breakfast till two o'clock, so that Emma has a good deal of time to herself in the mornings, which I should think very comfortable. The Hensleighs' house is described as a very comfortable one—a front drawing-room for Mrs Rich, a back drawing-room with three windows looking on a little garden, which [last] will be invaluable for the children to dig in, and into which the dining-room below opens. The other night while Snow was undressing she desired her mother to write down some verses she had been making. I must send you them, for I think they are more than mere parrot verses of a child with a good memory. She is 6½. The last line I suppose gives a child an idea of more perfect happiness than it does its elders—there is nothing they dislike so much as going to bed.

In the month of May,
When the fields look gay,
Nothing seemed to have sorrow;
Oh wait till to-morrow
When there will come a wintry day
That will drive away this joyful May.
We, like the flowers, fade away,
For we are made of dust and clay,
And then there comes a wintry blast
Which drives them away with the wind and the past.
But for the saints there's another May
Which is a longer happier day,
Where they never say good-night,
Always peace and never fight,
With crowns of glory on their heads,
There they never rest on their beds.

I shall be surprised if Ernest does not turn out something extraordinary both in character and mind. He is like you in the face, with a pair of eyes that even now threaten and command.…

[pages] 466 - 467

Elizabeth speaks in a later letter of her mother's restlessness and making 'schemes,' an expression which in their letters always means a trip or journey of some sort. She was to be taken to the Frank Wedgwoods at Etruria to satisfy her, but I think the plan could not have been carried out.

Mrs Josiah Wedgwood to her husband in Gower Street.

MAER, Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 1839.

My dear Jos,

I need not I am sure tell you how glad I was to receive your letter yesterday, giving so good a report of your journey and of the outlyers in London.

We have not rejoiced in your absence nor 'rode Towzer,' because you are away, and the only visitors I have had have been my little birds, who have found out my store of suet. The principal is one Greater Titmouse, who had nearly usurped the whole bracket and is so pugnacious that he presents arms whenever one of the other little birds presumes to show himself on the bracket. Jessie [Wedgwood] is a most welcome as well as agreeable third; she came on Saturday, bringing with her the kind offering of a little pig and I hope she will stay till we are tired of her. Elizabeth gave me a fright last night by taking a hot bottle to bed, lest it should burst and scald her, but I got reassured by hearing that you used one almost every night without injury, and I slept my usual good night.

I have two commissions for you, the first to buy some Dutch beef for grating; the second, a Magic Lantern to make my court to the darlings here. You may bring these two articles with you or send them by Elizabeth.

Ever yours, my dear Jos,
E. W.

Elizabeth went up to be with Emma for the birth of her first child, which took place on Dec. 27th, 1839.

Their mother writes:

MAER HALL, December 28, 1839.

My dear Elizabeth,

I received your letter of good news yesterday with great joy. It cost me a good cry, but such tears are precious and I was very happy while shedding them. Remember my love and blessing to both parents of the welcome stranger, who will, I hope, be as great a comfort to them as their predecessors have been to us. We have been guessing at his name and have guessed Robert. So no more from your affectionate mother, as Fanny has been so kind as to promise a little gossip of her own in addition to this. Ever yours, my dearest Elizabeth,


These two are the last of her letters—the writing so changed from the beautiful penmanship of the early letters that no one would know they were by the same hand.

William Erasmus, called Doddy, was an immense joy to both parents. My father had an unusual delight in his babies, and we have all a vivid memory of him as the most delightful of playfellows. Emma, as mother, was all that was tender and comfortable. Her perfect temper and perfect sympathy made her children feel absolutely at their ease with her, and sure of comfort in every trouble great or small, and her unselfishness made them know that she would never find anything a burden, so

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that they went to her with all the many little needs of a child for help or explanation. Our elder cousin, Julia Wedgwood, said that the only place in my father's and mother's house where you might be sure of not meeting a child, was the nursery, and as a matter of fact we did live with our parents far more than do most children. Many a time, even during his working hours, was a sick child tucked up on my father's sofa, to be quiet and safe and soothed by his presence.

My mother had ten children and suffered much from ill-health and discomforts during those years. Many of her children were delicate and difficult to rear, and three died. My father was often seriously ill and always suffering, so that her life was full of care, anxiety, and hard work. But her perfect union with him, and the sense that she made every minute of every weary hour more bearable to him, supported her.

I think that these letters show that she was born good, but her life of unselfishness and fortitude made her what we, her children, knew her, and anxious and laborious as her life was, I believe it to have been happy as well as blessed.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 30 April, 2022