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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 23: 1853-54

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
‣ Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Coral for Mary Monica.—Dinner on a herring.—Resigns editorship.—Letter to Milman.—Haydon’s “Memoirs.”—Last meeting with Wilson.—Journey to Rome.—Meets Thackeray.—Studies Italian.—Visits Horace’s Villa.—Dines out.—An invalid in Rome.—Letter to Mrs. Hope Scott.—Failure of vital powers.—Pio Nono.—A beatification.—Excavations.—Mrs. Sartoris.—Manning’s eloquence.—Swathed pictures.—Studying Hebrew and Arabic.—Father William Lockhart.—Longs for British fare.—Spirit-rapping.—Letter to Milman.—Wiseman and Manning.—The last poem.—Duchy of Lancaster.—Retiring allowance.—Dinner with Manning.—Return to England.—Medal for Mary Monica.—” Shorn condition.”—Last letter to Milman.—Milton Lockhart.—Pleasant last summer.—” My wound is deep.”—Letter to Mrs. Hope Scott.—“Be good!”—Promised visit to Abbotsford.—Misunderstanding as to Lockhart’s last visit.—Last letter to his daughter.—Description by an old servant, “What a beautiful face he had!”—His love of his granddaughter.—Takes farewell of Chiefswood.—Last hours.—“A soft sleep.”—His religious ideas.—His poem on immortality.

With the death of Walter may begin the last chapter of a life of sorrows bravely borne. The diary, after Walter’s death, contains nothing of note. On April 14, we find, “Bought a coral for Mary Monica,” his little grandchild, who received all that tender love of babies which had marked Lockhart from his boyhood. Mr. Hope now added to his own name that of Scott, his wife being the
last lineal descendant of
Sir Walter. Lockhart writes thus to Mrs. Hope Scott:—

Sussex Place, March 10, 1853.

Dear Charlotte,—I address you by your new name, earnestly hoping it may be attended henceforth with more of prosperity than has been the case for a long while, and that it may be transmitted in your lineage. Every one speaks most rapturously of Mary Monica. Uncle Bob says—‘a splendid baby,’ and so on. I have seen nobody lately at all except your husband and William, who dined here yesterday, and both appeared in good health and appetite and spirits, and were, as usual, most agreeable company, in the evening both sleeping like tops from 8 to 10.30, when, with some difficulty, having read out my book and the candles being nearly done, I contrived to expel them. If your new house be like No. 36 (Mrs. Lane Fox’s), it is a very nice one; and I trust you will cultivate her society for the good of your soul.

“You see that William Alexander is dead. Boyd went over to Ballochmyle some days before, but never saw William in life, being forced to go to bed as soon as he got there. He had got home before the funeral, which Claud went down on Monday to superintend.”

On April 30, Lockhart notes that he dined at Mr. Hope Scott’s. “Sat between Lytton-Bulwer and
Editor of the Examiner.” The engagement book, once so full of names of good company and records of old feasts, is very blank. Mr. Gleig says that Lockhart starved himself, living on tea and bread and butter; there is an entry of a dinner “on a herring.” Dr. Fergusson persuaded him to return to rather more generous fare. On July 5 he notes—

Brodie and Fergusson agree that I must not attempt next Quarterly Review.”

He therefore went to Brighton with his son-in-law. On July 16 he notes—

“I suppose my last number of the Quarterly Review.”

His last article, and he only wrote part of it, was on Cockburn’sLife of Jeffrey,” in 1852.1 Henceforth that busy pen, which had produced so many volumes of “copy,” was to be idle, save for letter-writing. In one note he cites a jest of Mr. Hope Scott’s about certain friends of theirs, “an excellent family, if they could be taken homeopathically.”

From Milman he did not conceal his condition. The kindness and justice of Haydon’s remarks on himself in the Memoirs long ago cited, but only published in 1853, cannot but have given him pleasure, which may be detected in this note:—

Sussex Place, July 27, 1853.

My dear Dean,—I am very grateful to Mrs. Milman and you, and hope to profit, ere I go abroad,

1 No. clxxxi.

by your kind invitation; but though I am better than when you last called here, I am still far from being fit for the experiment of a visit even to old friends. In fact, I am not able to be much out of bed, and my daughter is not at all aware of my condition in many respects. You shall hear by-and-by again, and I am hopeful of amended prospects. I quite hold to Rome for the winter, supposing strength for such a journey, when the proper season arrives; and I rather think
Murray has already made suitable arrangements in that view. At all events, I am for the present at least emeritus.

“You will be entertained, I think, and interested with the Haydon Memoirs, which Tom Taylor has edited neatly, and, I believe, in a perfectly candid spirit.—Yours very truly,

J. G. Lockhart.”

On August 6 he notes, “Gave up Abbotsford MSS. to Hope and Cha as functus officio.” When in Scotland he “called on Wilson, but did not see him.” Mrs. Gordon has described the last meeting of these old allies. The Professor, too, was descending into the Valley of the Shadow. Through thirty-seven years their affection, though not untried, had lasted unbroken. It has been necessary, inevitable, here to illustrate aspects of Wilson’s character which have been hitherto overlooked. He has been represented as a figure of light, accompanied by the dark shadow of Lockhart.
On Lockhart has been cast blame which was not his, though, indeed, he was far from blameless. It is not with pleasure that I have observed and chronicled the failings, the capricious, and, as it were, the accidental, rather than essential, less happy qualities of Wilson’s large, strenuous, affectionate, and usually genial nature.

Lockhart was advised, too late, to seek southern air—too late he sought for rest. On September 27 he was at Abbotsford, on October 4 he left England. He notes that on October 7 he saw Thackeray in the Louvre—Thackeray with years of work and fame still before him. The two men do not seem ever to have been intimate, though both were “Fraserians,” nor do I remember to have often noticed Thackeray’s name as a guest at any table where Lockhart was dining. In the separate edition of “Theodore Hook,” Lockhart adds to some comments on novels made ten years earlier—“This was written long before Mr. Thackeray made a full revelation of his talents in ‘Vanity Fair.’” That immortal work was welcomed, as it should be, by Miss Rigby, in the too celebrated review which also dealt with “Jane Eyre.”

Lockhart reached Civita Vecchia on October 15. It is characteristic of his mental activity that his entry for October 18 is—“Dante with Dr. Lucentini.”

Mr. Gleig, in his Quarterly article, quotes Dr. Lucentini’s appreciation of the most eager and acute of his pupils. They would argue together;
Lockhart, in the fretfulness of pain, would grow too eager, and apologise next day, “Do forgive me; I was so ill.” He wrote long letters from Italy to his daughter, and it certainly seems that he exerted himself too much. He records a visit to Hadrian’s Villa, and another, over roads unmended for many centuries, to the supposed site of the villa of Horace. “The views were delightful; the roads not touched since Horace’s time.”

He was often in the society of Mrs. Sartoris, of whom he speaks with strong admiration. The worst of it was that, being able “to eat but little meat,” he was constantly dining out, and the strain on a wrecked constitution was needlessly great. Lockhart throughout life had shared in the one vice of General Gordon—he smoked too much. Mr. Cadell had remonstrated with him about his fondness for the weed long ago, and Sir Walter had hinted at it. We do not learn whether or not he had limited the number of his cigars, as is probable. The loneliness of an invalid in Rome, among crowds of busy people of pleasure, or students of archæology, doubtless drove him into society, which must have exhausted his nervous energies, now sunk very low. He never exaggerates his sufferings in his letters home; these require little of comment, thus:—

Via Gregoriana, Rome, October 21, 1853.

My dear Charlotte,—We arrived here in
safety last Saturday night, although our passage from Marseilles had not been smooth, insomuch that we had to run for shelter to Elba, and I spent some hours in walking over Porto Ferrajo and its environs. The place is small but very strong, and (being Italian) very clean—as poor as possible; the market produced nothing that looked eatable but some tomatoes. A garrison of 700 or 800 men to watch over many political prisoners and the few natives.
Napoleon’s palace in town not so big as Huntly Burn, and its garden abounding only in cannon and balls; a villa across a bay seemed somewhat more considerable.

“The Admiral” (he was staying with Mr. Robert Hay in Rome) “has a neat flat of some five or six rooms, some of them looking over a large extent of Rome, including St. Peter’s and many more fine things. I have a very tolerable room to the rear, and could not have been lodged better, I am sure, in this town. No woman servant at all. A man comes in to cook twice per day, all the rest done by the lad and my courier. Hay very kind indeed. As yet few or no fine folks here. Fanny Kemble and Mrs. Sartoris are near us, and dined with us one day, and Hay has drunk tea twice with them. In a short time there will be the Duke of Northumberland, Lord Northampton, and a world of grandees. At church on Sunday, behold Baron and Lady Parker, Lady C. Denison, Mr. D., and Dr. Locock, all bound for England from Naples.
Miss Parker to be married to Colonel Lowther’s second son, and miladi enchanted. Jim looked very much shrunk, and, I think, generally changed for the worse. I have seen Dr. Pantaleone, who has, and I believe justly, a high reputation. He, after due examination, is of the same opinion as Brodie and Co.—that I am not suffering from any distinct disease, unless irritability of the mucous membrane, but rather from a general decadence of the vital powers, and I do not think his expectations of recovery are high; but I am trying a prescription of his, and you shall hear again by-and-by. Many days I am sick and helpless utterly, but on others able to enjoy a walk or drive, and yesterday was out for hours with Hay and a capital cicerone, Peter, lately our Minister here. The appetite much as before—that is, null.

“I wish you would write to Miss Joanna or Mrs. Ellis, and tell my report about myself; also to Cousin Kate, for this is the only epistle I venture on.—With love to you all,

J. G. Lockhart.”
Rome, November 2, 1853.

Dear Charlotte,—I had yesterday yours of October 21, which told me about a ball, &c. I have nothing so brilliant, I think, to communicate. Yes, on Sunday was the beatification of one Bobola, I think, a Polish Jesuit, however, murdered by the Russians one hundred years ago, and I then saw,
for the first time,
Pius IX., who looked very comfortable, blessing away right and left, between lines of French soldiers, who seemed to pay very little attention to the concern. Considerable crowd and lots of trumpets. The Pope gave a dinner a few days ago, which made some sensation. It was in a summer-house of the Vatican garden, and the guests the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, Borghesa, and another prince, Wiseman, and another cardinal. My ‘Professor’—that is, little dominie, who spends an hour in the morning to brush up my Italian, says the English Cardinal has come to get some dispensations connected with a late legal dispute about votes on monastic property. I have not made acquaintance with any Italians, except my doctor, who is a very agreeable one, and the Duke of Sermoneta, an accomplished one. They dine apparently wherever an English spread occurs, and the rest of the company has hitherto been about as unvaried. I dine out continually, mostly with Hay and Peter; but occasionally with Mrs. Sartoris, or her sister Fanny, who are good cicerones as to the picturesque points of view in the Campagna. Great excavations have been made since I was here on the line of the Appian Way, and many fine monuments revealed. For instance, one to Seneca, with a frieze, showing the chief circumstances of his life, and, very neatly, those of his death. Another, very large, but not near so old, is that of the baker, a favourite slave, that is, of some great man under
Aurelian, and in this all the operations of the craft are cut in very bold relief. On either side, for two or three miles, you have these works still in progress; and the Pope drives out ever and anon to inspect, in company with his architect, Canina, who publishes, at enormous length, on every new discovery, a thick tome, for example, about the baker! The photographs of the antiquities are abundant, and mostly very excellent, but absurdly dear.

“I am certainly, since I wrote last, somewhat bettered as respects appetite; with eggs and fish I breakfast well, and with soup and fish dine tolerably. Meat not yet within my reach exactly, though once I did contrive to deal with part of a cold partridge. The weather is said to have been unfavourable; it is still as hot as English August, but with occasional rains, or rather floods.

“I will, for sake of Mary Monica, go to St. Monica’s tomb some day soon.

J. G. Lockhart.”

His diary gives a worse account of his health than do his letters.

Rome, December 2, 1853.

My dear Charlotte,—Since I had your last comfortable letter I indited a reply to one of Kate’s, and thought she would probably send it on, but it now seems long since I heard from or about you, and I must not be lazy any longer. Give me good news of yourself, your man, and Mary Monica. I am able
to report very well, on the whole, as to myself. The weather is still, with rare exceptions, beautiful—cold unless in the sun—but the sun usually powerful most of the day, the sky as bright as ever June saw in England, and the whole aspect of field and tree as fine as possible. It is a principal charm of Italy, and especially Rome, that every garden and park, large or small, abounds in the most luxuriant and picturesque of evergreens—ilexes in avenues—stone-pines in groves—myrtle hedges by the mile—lemon ditto (the divinest fragrance!). What with riding under
Hay’s orders, and driving with Mrs. Sartoris, I am becoming an adept in the Campagna beauties for seven or ten miles round, and she proves an inexhaustible fund of entertainment in her talk meantime, about anything but poetry and picturesques, her course of life having been one not imagined by me, and by her portrayed with a marvellous, though not at all harsh or uncharitable frankness. In fact, she is a delightful person—worth five hundred Fanny Kembles, even in talent, which is not her forte. You will have inferred considerable improvement in strength: it is certainly so, and the surest sign is the appetite, which has now recovered itself, I may say, to one’s utmost wish. I eat good breakfast and fair dinner, and though the hands and feet are still cold as before, I may hope that symptom also will yield by-and-by.

“Our life is gay—we dine out four or five times a week—once always with Duke of Northumberland
and may, if we please, go to dinner every night—some lady or other having assumed a particular one weekly. The Palazzo Doria is the only great Roman house opened yet, and we were at the assembly t’other night, when I saw some splendid beauties, and more red stockings than I perhaps ever shall again. The rooms most magnificent, and the Shrewsbury princess very courteous. Every day comes a new batch of London beau monde. As I write I have your short but agreeable epistle of Nov. 21. Why do you not continue your report about poor
Lord Robertson? I had a line from him the day after the attack, but only a line, and am certainly not a little anxious, though I think if there had been any considerable alarm you could hardly have written without alluding to the subject. Last Sunday I heard Cardinal Wiseman preach in English at S. Andrea de’ Frati, and capably he performed—a good contrast to the donkeys of our Anglican Chapel. I think I saw Manning’s skull spot in the dark church, and also a gleam of spectacles very like Mr. Allies’s, but no symptom as yet of the Carstairs noblesse. Pius IX. is lodged again at the Vatican, which he should never have left, as it is excellently fortified. At the —— —— (?) there might be six or eight French officers, but they seemed all generals—certainly not one youngish man. The French ambassador is the only diplomat that opens his house at all—whence sad complaints of our ladies.

J. G. Lockhart.”

His health had made but a brief rally, as this letter confesses:—

Rome, January 16, 1854.

Dear Charlotte,—I was well pleased with all the news of your last, and quite approve especially the kitchen plan, for my recollection of many summer evenings poisoned by smells is lively enough. I have had rather a bad week, and am not yet able to leave my own room; but I daresay, in a day or two, I shall be as well as I have ever managed to feel of late. For a new variety I have been, indeed am, suffering under earache—whence a constant misery, steaming, &c., &c. Never experienced this before. About my last outing was to hear Manning preach an Epiphany sermon in the S. Andrea della Valle, and, as I had not heard him before, I was, of course, greatly struck and pleased with his voice and action—the latter I think the most graceful I ever saw in a pulpit performer. He called since, and made himself very agreeable, and is to show me his college, &c., one afternoon.

“The Admiral is very happy, as the Dorias, Borgheses, and some other princely ones, have been inviting him to dine. Borghese, he reports, feels confident that the Czar will be in London within three years. Well, if so, I calculate Murchison will not cut his old friend, but, on the contrary, patronise us all, to comfort us what he can under our woe about the downfall of the Royal
Albert—I mean his Siberian doom.1 Certainly I have now had enough, not of Rome, but of that Piazza di Spagna Rome, to which fate at present binds me, and which I should suppose might be very well matched by any three or four crescents of Leamington or Torquay—that is, were such a place so lucky as to have booked half-a-dozen real grandees for the nonce.
Philpotts would do well for a Pont. Max., and there would be no difficulty to fill the place of Monsignor Talbot. I was vexed at not seeing the noble Domenichinos of that church when Manning held forth, but most were covered by the delightful red and yellow petticoats, in which it is proper that naves and aisles should be wrapped during high festivals, and the grandest of all, the altarpiece, by a colossal præsepe or group of gigantic wooden dolls, to represent the whole company at Bethlehem—not forgetting, in course, the angels in the vault, or the three black kings and their camels’ heads. Manning calmly said the præsepe was ‘for the people,’ and he hoped I would see the picture by-and-by. To be sure—all quite right.

“Yesterday, a letter from Holt at Paris; mentions some serious money losses, and that he had been over to Versailles, to see a grave which some one unknown had surrounded with violets. If Hope gets to town, I do trust he will show all kindness to that little man, and consult with him

1 The Crimean trouble is referred to.

somewhat as to my own matters; for, arrive when I may, I shall find overwhelming botheration, and the necessity, nevertheless, of coming to some speedy arrangement as to future locality, and so on. I suppose the end will be a tiny cot within two or three miles of town, or a sequestered flat near the Clubs, if such a thing be comeatable. It signifies little which; but if I could find that my Duchy need not at all fetter me, as possibly is the fact, then I might take a wider circle of my compasses, and aspire to a garden and a quarter-deck walk of decent amplitude in Herts or Surrey. Other things occur in dreams and visions of the night occasionally—we shall see. I beg my best compliments to
Miss Hope Scott, and all other young ladies of Tweedside. You will smile, but I continue to read a good deal, though the most, I own, in bed. Dr. Pantaleone has a good library, and is most liberal with its stores, and I have got through a great many sound books connected with this town and its history.

“I have also taken up Hebrew with an eye to Arabic, that is, in case I should spend a season in the East, after all, before settling down at Hampstead or Watford. I find I can easily recover the Hebrew I had lost—not very much I own—but better than nothing, and I have gone so far at least as to get an Arabic grammar from the most authentic quarter here, through a Mr. Howard, late
of the Blues, who is now rigged as reverendly as
Manning, and probably lodges in the same cloister.—Ever yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.”

The spirit, courage, gaiety, and energy of Lockhart never shone more brightly than in these days of illness and exile.

Piazza di Spagna, March 15, 1854.

My dear Charlotte,—I was much gratified with your last and in all its parts, but in return for so many bits of good news I have really nothing to say, except that I have settled to take a steamboat at Civita Vecchia on the 29th of this month, and it promises to reach Marseilles in twenty-seven hours. I need not hurry myself as to the French part of my journey, and will probably bestow a day or two on objects of interest as yet unvisited by me; but I shall soon (D.V.) get to Paris (Hôtel Windsor, Rue de Rivoli), and I hope to find H. Ellis and wife there or thereabouts; having spent a few days with whom, I may expect to cross to Old England and occupy once more, though for the last time and not for long, my customary quarters in Sussex Place.

“I have found that several acquaintances go by the boat I mention; particularly William Osborne and his wife, who will to the best of their power help me. She was Caroline Montagu of Rokeby, an old
friend and stalwart beauty—a most agreeable woman, and married to a very agreeable man—a brother of
Lord Godolphin’s.

“When tolerably well I have made various little expeditions to see celebrated places within a day’s drive, and mostly with the two Kemble ladies, and an artist or two of their suite. Next Saturday the like is to happen if the sun shines, and before I quit Civita Vecchia I shall, I believe, contrive to spend three or four days in that vicinity, where Etruscan antiquities (Cornato, Tarquinii, &c.) abound. But I am at best very uncertain in any arrangements of this nature, for I am subject to seizures that lay me quite on my back for two or three days. I am to-day better than I have usually been for some weeks: but the constant recurrence of most wearisome symptoms is enough to break one’s spirit, even if one had any left to be broken. I am entirely satisfied that travel is insanity for a sick creature; and once established again in a home, however humble, I shall not be likely to quit it on any such speculation.

“Hope and you will be sorry to hear that R. Monteith and all his family have been laid up with ‘Roman fever,’ so called, ending in what we call typhus. One little girl died on Saturday, and I greatly fear my next intelligence may be the death of another of them, with that of poor R. Monteith himself. William Lockhart (the monk), known to you, sees them hourly, and lets me know daily.
Yesterday the last Sacraments were to be administered to R. Monteith. This William Lockhart came over with
Manning, and will return with him. He is very near to the Lees, and I knew his father well in early life. He seems a most amiable young man, and is very kind to me, as, indeed, sundry of his cloth here are. I understand I am in bad odour with the good Anglicans for going to hear Papist sermons pretty often; but, first, I get Protestant ones (or can) readily at home; and, second, the specimens here are better bad.

“You both, I think, were acquainted with the Bishop of Salisbury. I am sorry for his death. My old master, Jenkyns, too, has dropt. I wonder who will be the new Bishop; but I do not look for Milman. More likely Whewell; Hallam is, I hear, mending decidedly.

“The day I touch a bit of well-dressed cod or salmon, with a slice of roast beef or mutton, and glass of sound ale or port, I fancy I shall feel greatly comforted. There is nothing wholesome or refreshing to be had in this infernal place for love or money. Wherefore, may perdition attend the population, from Pope Pio to the beggar on the stairs.

“My chief companion and next-door neighbour (in the house) is old Lord Stanhope—occupied mostly with the spirit-rapping—I fancy a prime victim of the mediums. He says there is much preaching here on the subject, the tone being that the facts are all correct, but the whole the work
of Satan. Indeed, that is what I have picked up from my orthodox friends here.—Affectionately yours ever,

J. G. Lockhart.”

David Dunglas Home was not yet in Rome at this time; some inferior medium was at work. Lockhart’s dislike of Italian cookery and of the detestable wines of Italy comes out in a letter to Milman:—

Rome, Casa Serny, March 21, 1854.

My dear Milman,—I am ashamed of not having sooner acknowledged a very kind and interesting epistle from the Deanery; but as I have been quite idle, you will readily understand and excuse. My health has had many ups and downs; when tolerably well I have tried to do something (occidentally and orientally), but in general I have been too unwell for such matters. At this hour I am better by much than usual, and hope to keep so during my homeward travels. I do not, on the whole, think I have been improved by foreign drugs, and sigh for home comforts—oh, how deeply!

“I had only yesterday a complete leave of absence as to Duchy of Lancaster, but this does not alter my programme, as I must, whatever order I may take about future modes of existence, go to Sussex Place, for a little while at all events, to settle about surrender of house there at Michaelmas, &c. I have no notion where I shall plant me, or how
occupy my time, but if, as I would fain still hope, I am to be capable of some work, I know myself too well not to attempt to a certain extent a resumption of the old habits. Many jobs may suggest themselves by-and-by for filling up a few hours daily in an otherwise objectless existence. I rather think the temptation of society, and especially friendship, will prevent me from fixing at any considerable distance from London: nous verrons. Even if you be (as I hope) the new bishop, you won’t be without a town-house any more than a comeatable palace in the country. I am sorry to see that good little
Jenkyns is no more; also not a little so at the sudden departure of poor Talfourd. Manning is poorly in looks, but charming in converse, and I see a good deal of him very quietly; also of my namesake William Lockhart (son of L. of St. Mary’s Hall by a Miss Jacob), who has given up a fair fortune to be a monk of some new order—a fine, handsome, amiable young man; and I may say the same of a Herbert Vaughan, a priest too, though secular, eldest son of a rich Welsh squire, another handsome, elegant, good-natured, young English gentleman, gone the way of Newman! The Cardinal, Manning, and a Dr. English preach, it seems, in pretty regular succession at a church near me here, and I have attended them all frequently—Manning with real delight as well as pain—Wiseman with unmingled aversion and disgust.” (An extremely severe expression of opinion, or
prejudice, follows, but need not be quoted.)

“My tender homages wait on your lady. I quite enter into her and your distress on the loss of Lady Milman, for whom, though meeting her but rarely, I had always a very particular liking as well as respect. Truly grieved I am for Sir William, and ever yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.”
“Beds black with bugs,
Monks fat as slugs,
Beggars groaning,
Thieves atoning,
Leering models, lounging artists,
Strutting, strumming Bonapartists;
Mutton young, and stinking mullet,
Wine sharp enough for Rossi’s gullet.
Fancying these, make speed to Rome,
Curse beef and beer, law, truth, and home;
For me, I’d jump at once to ——,
Before returning.
“J. G. L.”

These are, perhaps, Lockhart’s last verses.

Still from Rome he writes to Mr. Hope Scott about his post in the Duchy of Lancaster:—

Rome, March 20, 1854.

Dear Hope,—I think it very probable that you have had some communication, since you reached town, with Mr. Strutt, and will therefore hear, without surprise, what he now communicates to me, viz., that my resignation as auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster will be acceptable with reference to certain
proposed reforms, &c., &c., but that
Prince Albert desires me to receive a retired allowance equal to the salary. This is exceedingly gracious, and I have of course written accordingly to Mr. Strutt.

“This will in no inconsiderable degree lighten my difficulties as to arranging for the future course of my domesticities, and I trust William and you will bestow some reflection on it with that view. I do not wish such matters to be talked of generally, but I will thank you to mention the occurrence confidentially to Holt, Fergusson, and Christie, also to Mr. Murray, when you are next passing Albemarle Street. I mean to take steamer on the 29th at Civita Vecchia, and, D.V., to reach London some ten days later.

“You will be happy to learn that Monteith is thought to have decidedly got the turn. He has not yet heard of the child’s death. Manning has just been here with this news, and is to dine with me solo at 1.30 on Wednesday, which will be a great treat to me. I asked him to invite Vaughan or W. Lockhart, both of whom I am as fond of as he is, but he preferred a two-handed talk for once.—Yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.”

Lockhart reached Sussex Place again, and those comforts which Rome could not yield. He writes:—

Tuesday, April 11, 1854.

Dear Charlotte,—I am writing in my old
chair in my own old room once more. I stood my long journey well enough, having pleasant society throughout—viz.,
William Osborne and his wife (Caroline Montagu of Rokeby), and their niece, Miss Fazakerley, and as far as Paris, the Duke of Wellington. The Rhone being dried up, we found difficulty in getting the boat replaced, but finally hired and posted (five maîtres and five domestiques) in a solemn cast-off diligence. At Lyons we reached running water again, and on to Paris so and by rail. I dined one day with Ellis, but never saw miladi, she being really ill. My only other visit was to Versailles—of which when we meet.

“I have not yet seen Holt, but I hope to do so this evening, and anticipate, with his help and Woolford’s, escaping from this house before that month expires. I am to be myself on trial as respects climate, &c., and believe my wisest plan will be to deposit my books, &c., at the Pantechnicon (all but a few boxes full), and hire for the nonce a lodging not far from my clubs; in which case Hannah might sigh a long farewell.

“I have a medal of Pius IX. for M. M., with sundry rosaries and so on, at your commands.

“Two more very old allies of mine are just buried, I see—John Wilson and the Dean of Wells (Jenkyns of Balliol).

“I am to dine to-day with Murchison, who looks doubly august with his increase of fortune, which
must atone for my shorn condition in purse and person.—Affectionately yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

Shorn, indeed, Lockhart was. He had never been rich; he had no valuable copyrights; the years of a large income had ended with the first flush of Murray’s Family Library; his expenses in consequence of Walter’s faults had been great. Now he had to resign the Quarterly Review, and this is the time when Miss Martineau speaks of him as “opulent,” and owner of a lucrative landed estate!

Sussex Place, April 18, 1854.

Dearest Charlotte,—I shall be very happy to dine with you on the appointed day, when I hope to see M. M.1 in great beauty and attraction, and her papa and mamma strong and well. I have seen Lady Hope, and was delighted with her vigorous looks—also Lady F. H., who seems as jolly as ever, all woes notwithstanding. I have nothing to say of myself but that I don’t feel as if I were at all the worse for being here—if anything, the contrary, and take what share I can in the great quest of a shelter; but I daresay your arrival will find that still on foot. It seems to be extremely hard to get at anything decent on decent terms anywhere, and actually impossible in the civilised regions of the town. Christie is not yet seen by me—he is at Beaumanoir. Lady

1 M. M. is Mary Monica, his grandchild.

Davy is in her white hairs and no roses, but in very fair spirits—quite herself indeed. Oh! on Easter Sunday I was good boy and went to the old ——’s” (the family best taken homeopathically), “with the usual cod and pigeon-pie, &c., &c.; he rayther doited, I fear—all the rest as of yore. Scotty very nice. So is neighbour Daisy here—very. Poor Mrs. Grant seems much shaken and aged. Frank (Grant) has now finished his me to his own satisfaction, and threatens engraving; but I have not had any other opinion. My own is that there is very little resemblance to the senior whom I should shave every morning.

“I am not surprised, but sorry, to hear whispers of a separation between —— —— and her virtuoso, whose neglects have at last exhausted her patience; but I shall have particulars whenever I meet the Eastlakes, and till then mum.”

The following brief note is his last to his old friend Dean Milman:—

“19th July 1854

Dear Dean,—I have now read your book all through, and am very sorry to find myself at finis, but hope to see more vols, speedily. This is a real good history, most learned, instructive, and abundant in sense and taste. I beg pardon for praising it—excuse the presumptuous habits of an old editor.

“I think A. Stanley’s article a very able and interesting one—in fact, the best thing he has as yet
printed—always excepting passages in his ‘
Arnold,’ which neither he nor another will readily beat.—Yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

In August, Lockhart retreated to his brother’s hospitable house at Milton Lockhart. His health was not mending; a chilliness in the hands and feet, and great weakness, were the most notable symptoms. “Bob,” in the following letter, is his brother Robert, then on the point of being married.

It is pleasant to think that his latest summer, in his own country, was happy in warmth, a grateful breeze, and the “sheathed” sun, on which he quotes Wordsworth. He, like Scott, made a final visit to Douglas and its stern monuments; and he remembered, we may be sure, that day of dark and lowering heat, when Sir Walter, moved beyond himself, quoted—
“My wound is deep, I fain would sleep.”

Deep was Lockhart’s wound, beyond all healing, and rest was near. How touchingly his words in the following letter on youth and health, and on people’s duty to be “what it is easy to preach,” recall Scott’s “Be a good man, my dear!” But he addressed, and he knew it, one to whom it was easy to be good:—

Milton, August 29, 1854.

Dear Charlotte,—Kate says I should write, but I really have nothing to say except what she is
sure to have said to you lately. She and
William are both most kind, and so is Bob (when he can be spared us for a little), in their attention to my ease and comforts. The pony has hitherto served me no great deal, because my bones are so naked that the surface gets easily injured, and the poor man can’t attempt remounting for some while. Otherwise, I should expect real good from that exercise, and we shall see by-and-by how things go on. I am not better, I think, on the whole, but not worse, and for this one should be thankful.

“The weather is delicious—warm, very warm, but a gentle breeze keeping the leaves in motion all about, and the sun sheathed, as Wordsworth hath it, with a soft grey layer of cloud. To-day I am tempted to try the pony again, though, besides other griefs, I can get no companion—William just once, and yet God only knows what he does all day before sleeping hours.

“I am glad to fancy you all enjoying yourselves (I include Lady D. and sweet M. M.), in this heavenly summer season—such a rarity beneath our sky. If people knew beforehand what it is to lose health, and all that can’t survive health, they would in youth be what it is easy to preach—do you try. I fancy it costs none of you very much effort either to be good or happy.—Yours affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.”
Milton, September 9, 1854.

Dear Charlotte,—I am probably doing what William ought to have done—anyhow, your grouse arrived this morning, and will be very useful. I have lived on grouse-soup ever since I came to Milton, with the addition of some curds and cream, lots of butter-milk, and now, behold, a kebbock procured from a renowned dairy hard by for my special benefit! I am, in some minor respects, rather better, and persist therefore in riding almost daily for two or three hours, but the feebleness in the limbs, I fear, progresses still. It is with considerable difficulty I get my legs over the saddle, and I never even attempt more than a walk.

“I suppose I must soon think of moving southwards, and that will include a little visit to you, unless you shall have shown yourselves here at any rate; but I don’t mean that I don’t wish and intend to be with you whether you have been here or not. If I feel tolerably up to any visiting, I will, if I can, go to Bob’s wedding,1 but I doubt if I shall be able, and suspect the absence of so ghastly a visage and form may be much more to the hilarifying of Kate (who alone will remember it) than the presence of your most obedient.

“We have the most heavenly weather. Kate and I went with William yesterday to Douglas to show her the monuments, and that he might call

1 The wedding of his brother, Mr. Robert Lockhart.

at the castle. Lord D. was not well enough to be seen.

Lord Peter is to be here on Thursday; going on Saturday to the Belhavens, who have just returned from the Rhine. My respects attend all the fair, not excepting M. M.

J. G. Lockhart.”

Lockhart’s final visit to Abbotsford has sometimes been represented as the sudden freak of a stricken man to die at home. The foregoing and following letters prove that he had always contemplated and promised a visit to his daughter. Mr. Ornsby, in his “Life of James Hope Scott,”1 writes thus: “Mr. and Mrs. Hope Scott went to see him at Milton Lockhart, and entreated him to come to Abbotsford. He at first decidedly refused, and his will was a strong one; but some time after, when the house was full of Catholic guests, he suddenly announced that he wished to go immediately to Abbotsford.”

This makes a rather ungracious impression. Lockhart’s letters, of course, remove it; he always meant to go to see his daughter and “M. M.

This is his last letter to his daughter. He journeyed to Abbotsford, and died among those dearest to him:—

Milton Lockhart, 29th September 1854.

Dear Charlotte,—I am certainly somewhat

1 Vol. ii. p. 147.

stronger on my poor limbs, but as I have not learnt to eat, the difficulty is only protracted by such changes. However, I write merely to say that your last to Kate greatly surprised and perplexed me; for I had not before had the least notion about your two visits, and fully believed that
Hope would be off for his English trip before Monday next. Meantime I had settled in my own mind that, if I should feel courageous enough for a day of travel, I would quit this place by, at latest, the middle day of October—if possible a week sooner. As to that point, I have had no letter lately from Fergusson; he has left mine unanswered; so I concluded that in absence he would rather not interfere. But as you will no doubt come hither on Monday, I need not trouble you with more of this to-day. It seems a bit of destiny that M. M. and J. G. L. do not meet in a hurry. I am very sorry to hear of Lady Davy’s new attack, but she has a vitality that I may well envy. Love to you all.

J. G. Lockhart.”

The date of Lockhart’s arrival at Abbotsford is unrecorded.

An old servant of Mrs. Maxwell Scott’s family, Mrs. Doyle, gives this touching description of Lockhart’s fondness for his little grandchild, which partly deals with his dying days at Abbotsford.

She used to be quite frightened at him, as a
baby, when he lived at Regent’s Park. Poor gentleman, he used to be so often ill, and when we used to go to see him, he would be in his dressing-gown and a red cap. She would cry, and I had to take her out and walk in the garden. Her mother used to be so vexed, and used to talk to her.
Mr. Lockhart told Dr. Locock what a naughty little girl she was! At last she was good, and pleased to let her grandpapa take her in his arms, and he kissed her, and I saw the tears run down his cheeks. I remember when Mr. Hope Scott came home, how dear Mrs. Hope Scott met him on the stair to tell him baby had been good to her grandpapa, and let him take her in his arms: he came straight to the nursery to kiss her, and tell her she had been a good baby. When Mr. Lockhart was ill at Abbotsford, how he loved to hear her running about the house. He said it was life to him. What a beautiful face he had! What a dream it all seems: how often I sit and think of these days.”

Mr. Ornsby, in his “Life of James Hope Scott,”1 says: “He arrived there hardly able to get out of his carriage, and it was at once perceived that he was a dying man. He desired to drive about and take leave of various places.”

We can imagine his last visits to Chiefswood, Huntly Burn, the Rhymer’s Glen, Torwoodlee, Gledswood, perhaps “the dowie dens of Yarrow,”—“displaying, however, a sort of stoical fortitude,

1 Vol. ii. p. 147.

and never making a direct allusion to what was impending. To save him fatigue it was important he should have his room near the library, but he shrank from accepting the dining-room (where
Sir Walter had died), and it required all Mr. Hope Scott’s peculiar tact and kindness to induce him to establish himself in the breakfast-room close by. There he remained until the end. Yet he would not suffer any one to nurse him, till, one night, he fell down on the floor, and, after that, offered no further opposition. Father Lockhart, a distant cousin, was now telegraphed for, from whom, during Mr. Lockhart’s stay in Rome, he had received much kind attention, for which he was always grateful. He did not object to his kinsman’s attendance, though a priest; and yielded also when asked to allow his daughter to say a few prayers by his bedside. . . . The end came suddenly. Mr. and Mrs. Hope Scott were quickly called in, and found Miss Lockhart (affectionately called in the family ‘Cousin Kate’) reading the prayers for the dying. Mr. Lockhart died on November 25.”

He was buried, by his desire, in Dryburgh Abbey, “at the feet of Sir Walter Scott,” within hearing of the Tweed. Mrs. Robert Lockhart, at that time a bride, makes the following extracts from letters of her husband, who was in attendance on the dying man:—

“I was in the dining-room during the night, which is next the sick-room. It is the room in which old Sir Walter died. My thoughts during
the night I can scarcely describe, thinking of my poor brother in his younger days, with the Scott family, now all gone.”

Abbotsford, November 26, 1854.

“I arrived early this morning, but, alas! too late for the momentary gratification of being with him at the last. As Dr. Clarkson had assured us, his end was but a soft sleep—no pain, no struggle. The change is not great from what he appeared lately, and his expression is mild. My poor mother was brought before me so perfectly. In death he resembles her far more than he did in life.”

The biographer of Father William Lockhart informs me that the Father used to read to Lockhart, in his last days, passages from “The Garden of the Soul.” Mr. Gleig says, touching his religious creed, that a clergyman, an Oxford friend (probably himself), used to walk with Lockhart on Sunday afternoons in Regent’s Park. “With whatever topic their colloquy began, it invariably fell off, so to speak, of its own accord into discussions upon the character and teaching of the Saviour; upon the influence exercised by both over the opinions and habits of mankind; upon the light thrown by them on man’s future state and present destiny. . . . Lockhart was never so charming as in these discussions. It was evident that the subject filled his whole mind, for the views which he enunciated were
large, broad, and most reverential—free at once from the bigoted dogmatism which passes current in certain circles for religion, and from the loose, unmeaning jargon which is too often accepted as ‘rational Christianity.’ . . .”

Of religion, in his extant letters, Lockhart never speaks, save in some brief ejaculation, or in acknowledging and humbly bowing to that Will which so often, and so severely, tried his own. Lockhart, in his will, left little memorials to his surviving friends, and a sum of one hundred pounds to Mr. Christie, “for a purpose which he knows”—veteris haud immemor amicitiæ.

Mr. Froude, in his “Thomas Carlyle,”1 writes of “a poem sent to him (in part) by a friend whom he rarely saw, who is seldom mentioned in connection with his history, yet who then and always was exceptionally dear to him. The lines themselves were often on his lips to the end of his own life, and will not be easily forgotten by any one who reads them.”

These lines came to him who now writes, with Lockhart’s letter to Carlyle, in an hour of sorrow, and will not be forgotten while memory endures. They are written in full on a page pasted into one of Lockhart’s diary books, and are dated June 21, 1841. They had been seen by Mrs. Norton, who, in one of her letters to him—letters singularly vivid, but clouded by many torturing anxieties—says

1 Vol. i. p. 249.

that “some good angel must have caught him in a trap.”

“When youthful faith has fled,
Of loving take thy leave;
Be constant to the dead,
The dead cannot deceive.
Sweet, modest flowers of spring,
How fleet your balmy day!
And man’s brief year can bring
No secondary May.
No earthly burst again
Of gladness out of gloom;
Fond hope and vision vain,
Ungrateful to the tomb!
But ’tis an old belief,
That on some solemn shore,
Beyond the sphere of grief,
Dear friends will meet once more.
Beyond the sphere of time,
And sin, and fate’s control,
Serene in changeless prime
Of body and of soul.
That creed I fain would keep,
That hope I’ll not forego;
Eternal be the sleep,
Unless to waken so.”

So may he have wakened—out of weakness made strong, out of weariness refreshed—to meet the eyes of her whom he never ceased to love and long for, and of that great soul beside whose mortal ashes his own body lies at rest.