« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
there, the Wynne Finchs, Montalembert, Mrs. Craven, and Père Gratry, he went to Switzerland with my mother. At Fribourg, where they were staying for a night only, he was again seized with hemorrhage, and the end came very quickly. These words from a contemporary letter seem to give the impression made by his sudden and untimely death :
I do not remember another instance of death that has left such a blank in London society and among people of the most diverse dispositions and opinions. There was something so fine and genial in his nature that everyone who fell in his way was attracted, and one is quite surprised to find the most case-hardened men of the world talking of him now that he is gone with something that resembles tenderness and affection.
Loved and regretted by the friends of his London life, he was incomparably more so in his own home, for the fine gifts of his heart and intellect were enhanced by a charm of manner, an inborn courtesy, that drew all hearts to him. To this day, over forty years since his death, he is remembered in the island he loved so much and served so loyally, with a faithful and vivid affection rarely to be found in these times of hurrying unrest and indifference.
He was laid to rest beneath the beautiful old church in Cal. bourne village in the presence of crowds of sad friends gathered there, rich and poor, great and small. The words of the inscription on the stone above his resting-place were suggested by Dr. Newman.
Mr. George Venables 10 in a notice privately printed in the year of his death, after complimenting him on his idiomatic French, his acquaintance with the Classics, and his literary activities, was good enough to add :
If Sir John Simeon's disposition had been pushing and actively ambitious, he might easily have achieved greater worldly success and wider notoriety, and if his life had been prolonged the appreciating esteem of his numerous friends, among whom many were themselves distinguished, would gradually have created for him a general reputation. To a certain extent his admirable moral qualities stood in the way of his intellectual and practical capacity.
This certainly savours of the pompous and stilted fashion of the time, and one cannot help thinking how differently treated would be the appreciation to-day of an intimate friend. For my part I
• John Ball to Sir Henry Layard.
10 Mr. Venables was a great friend of my father's. It may be remembered that he broke Thackeray's nose in a fight at Charterhouse School, and was supposed to be the original of George Warrington in Pendennis. He suggested to Tennyson the line in The Princess : ‘If that hypothesis of theirs be sound.' This has a legal smack about it; explained by the fact that Mr. Venables was at the time a leading counsel at the Parliamentary Bar, in the brilliant days of Mr. Hope Scott.
turn, with a slight sense of relief, to the beautiful sonnets of Aubrey De Vere" to my father's memory, which Mr. Wilfrid Ward kindly allows me to reproduce in extenso :
This day we keep our Candlemas in snow.
had reached the fullness of her charms.
It failed thee not in death.
11 Of Aubrey De Vere Mr. Wilfrid Ward writes : 'To my mind the friend of Tennyson whose saintliness most completely had his sympathy, of whom Sarah Coleridge said that he had more entirely a poet's nature even than her own father or any other of the poets she had known.'
The following verses by my father I have chosen from a set of twelve poems of which Aubrey De Vere thought highly. He wrote of these : 'They are full of the sweetness and spirituality of his nature.' The poetry of these pieces seems to me for the most part very beautiful, as well as the sentiment, and many of the poems have a completeness, stateliness, and finish about them which show with what artistic skill he would have written if he had made the art a careful object of pursuit and given time to it :
I have many recollections of Cardinal Newman, Cardinal Manning, and Lord Tennyson, yet they seem slight in comparison with their significance for me, when it comes to writing them down. I shall never forget my first impression of Dr. Newman. He was coming to stay with us for a day or two in London, and I had formed all kinds of conceptions of his looks and ways.
reality far exceeded the imagined, and I told my mother, rather to her surprise, that I thought he had an angel's face. I felt, I think, the spell of one of that small transfigured band which the world cannot tame.'
D Newman gave me his ' Apologia pro vitâ sua,' wrote my name in it, and the words, ' as a memorial for years to come that she may remember me in her good prayers.' From that time onward he never failed to remember my birthday or my saint's day. He had a remarkable memory and regard for anniversaries, just as Dr. Jowett had. On his own birthday he wrote in 1867, Birthdays are awful things now : as minute guns by night. I heard his first sermon in London as Cardinal. His affection for Littlemore is well known. My mother took me there once, and I sent the Cardinal some little bits of the ilex from the garden. He was pleased with me, and wrote me a charming letter of thanks.
My mother and Cardinal Manning were close friends, and kept up a regular correspondence from about 1854 till his death in 1891. Not the least part of a remarkable personal charm comes out in the humour-half playful, balf ironical, with a quality of making the topic interesting, sometimes as it seemed in spite of itself-which flavoured his letters. I remember well, too, a way he had of characterising his acquaintance: the comments were punctuated by a telling pause and a sort of sniff.
Good fellow,' he would say of Mr. So-and-so; 'Excellent fellow'; then the pause and the sniff ; 'mute as a fish.' One realised hidden mysteries of unseen worth in Mr. So-and-so, and he remained pinned and labelled, as it were, like a specimen in one's mind. We often went to hear him preach, but admirable as they were held to be in matter, his sermons were harassed-to my mind-by the slow delivery, and their leisurely diffuseness. He had a habit of saying 'I now digress,' which was apt to cause confusion and even dismay in the minds and souls of his congregation. It meant that he had been visited by some radiant but irrelevant and misty inspiration, and these will-o'-the-wisps often led him a long way out of his course, and landed us nowhere in particular. In the days I am thinking of people were more patient of time in the pulpit, and I often wonder how Cardinal Manning's discourses would have fared in these days of twenty or even ten minutes' sermons. As a girl I often visited him in his lonely and sombre rooms,'as Mr. Purcell describes them, at Archbishop's House in York Place, Westminster," which now exists no more. I see him so clearly in his
12 1. This was originally Cardinal Wiseman's house. The lease was purchased and presented to Cardinal Wiseman soon after his conversion by Miss Gladstone. Purcell, vol. vi. p. 257.
Vol. LXXI-No. 422
rose-coloured cassock seated in a high-backed Italian chair : books stacked around on tables, chairs, and floor, the grey light from the tall, gaunt windows on his ascetic face, which at last became so attenuated that I always believed he denied himself food and fire to give to the poor he so greatly loved, and whom he helped without ceasing in a truly Apostolic way. He certainly retained for himself but the bare necessaries of life. He never kept any accounts; he called it writing epitaphs on dead money. My recollections of Lord Tennyson are most vivid.
He was very good to me just because I was my father's daughter, and would take me wonderful walks in London. These were attended with terrifying excitements; his sight was no longer very good, but impatient of any delay he would dash into the thickest traffic, even in those days sufficiently alarming, to investigate the sooty buds inside the railings of some square gardens, or anything else that happened to take his fancy for the moment on the other side of the street. I proudly accompanied him to the first night of The Cup, where our pleasure was a little disturbed by his anxiety lest I should prefer The Corsican Brothers, which had preceded it. I was able to reassure him on this point, and I do not think he could have had a more enthusiastic companion. We went behind the scenes, after the performance, to visit Miss Ellen Terry, in her glorious robes, and to inspect the wonderful solid pillars of the Temple of Artemis--a' masterpiece of stage art. I remember, too, like many others, the pleasure of his reading aloud. I never was in the least afraid of him, and I recollect his own distress at having dissolved a young lady into tears by taxing her with dividing her time between her baby and her looking-glass.'
This is not the place for dwelling on the close friendship which subsisted between the poet and my father, but many things at home bear witness to it. He gave my father the manuscript of In Memoriam. It was on his birthday in the library at Swainston that Tennyson asked him to reach him a book from a shelf.
As he did so, there fell out the manuscript of In Memoriam, which he had put there as a surprise.
It is now the cherished possession of the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, to which it was given by my mother and Hallam Tennyson in 1897.
One day at Farringford my father came upon the beautiful lyric 'O that 't were possible, which had appeared years before in the Tribute, an ephemeral publication of the time. He implored Tennyson to introduce it into a dramatic poem, and gave him no peace until he set about writing Maud. Swainston and its cedars claim the distinction that part of the poem was written there. 13 And it was pacing the garden walks of
* Harold was written in my schoolroom in our house in Eaton Place, which the Tennysons rented for some months.