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der the titles of “A Country Ball," and ing out their minds than conversation ; “Packing Up after the Ball."
and it was some years before they met. During these youthful days Caroline No one, however, better deserved the paid a visit to some relations in Jersey, once coveted name of “une charmante and reproduced her hosts long afterwards raconteuse" than Miss Bowles. She had as the gentle clergyman, Mr. Seale, and a quaint caustic style of telling an anechis sweet old maiden sister, Mrs. Helen, dote that was entirely her own; and in in her " Chapters on Churchyards." ghost stories she was inimitable.
At that time she had no idea of writing Besides being agreeable herself, she for publication. On the contrary, the had the rare talent of making every one prejudice against female authorship was she wished to please feel agreeable too; so strong in the circle to which she be- and rather surprised her visitors now and longed that she would have shrunk from then, not with her own talents, but with incurring it.
those they appeared to be gifted with in It may readily be imagined that with so her society. It is still only fair to add, many pleasant accomplishments, and a that her strong sense of the ridiculous, tolerably good fortune, Miss Bowles bad and her utter absence of sentimentality, many admirers. She did indeed return disappointed comparative strangers, who the long attachment of one in every re-expected something pathetic from the spect worthy of her ; but it was at last writer of many touching poems. decided by the family conclave that her Things common enough in themselves, engagement should be broken off, owing however, when they had passed through to want of sufficient means on the gentle- the crucible of her mind, were found to man's part. She submitted her own have unlooked-for ore adhering to them. judgment to that of her relations, but she No one more readily caught a friend's formed no other engagement till she ac- idea ; but it was quite a chance whether cepted Robert Southey. From that time she would hold it up in a comical light, or she turned to literature as her “chief re- with a variety of new shades added to it source from wearying thoughts.”
that came from her own fancy; or how, Her first long poem was a novel in indeed, if it happened to have struck her verse, called “ Ellen Fitzarthur.” Southey imagination at all, she would finally diswas then at the height of his fame, and pose of it! after long hesitation she ventured to send Everywhere, of course, she was a welthe manuscript to him, determining to come guest; and there were many abide by his opinion as to whether it delightful houses amongst the "walks " should go into a publisher's hands or not. of the New Forest at which she occaHe read it with great interest, and wrote sionally stayed. Calshot Castle (of which judiciously and kindly to his unknown two Sir Harry Burrards had successively correspondent, whom he warmly encour- been governors) continued after the aged." The poem, followed by several death of her uncle to be the home of his shorter pieces, was accordingly pub- widow and family. No one who sees it lished ; and the latter especially were from the Solent, standing round and grim very much admired. In those happy days on a long neck of rocky beach which runs authoresses were very few, and she at out to sea, would think of it as a pleasant once received, through her bookseller,j ladies' abode. But such it was. The letters of praise from many distinguished deep embrasures of the windows in the writers. After her mother's death, in ordinary sitting-room, each formed a re1817, part of her fortune was lost in the cess for drawing or writing, or some failure of an Indian bank ; and as she artistic fancy-work; the walls were covnow lived alone, with her faithful ered with books, carvings, and pictures “bonne” and two other attached ser- painted by various members of that acvants, at Buckland Cottage, she found complished family; and the heavy butthe reward of her labours very useful. tresses were made to afford shelter to But she never thoroughly settled down flowers, and abundance of climbing into what could be called a literary life. plants. She kept up an animated correspondence The woods that surrounded “ Luttrell's with Southey, who from the first felt the Folly” were not far off ; and the cottages charm of her sympathy, and wrote fre- of the Forest, half-hidden by moss and quently and fully about his own works, house-leek, formed endless subjects for with abundant criticisms on those of the pencil; as well as the ever-shifting others. Letter-writing was naturally to lights and shadows on the shores of the them both a more perfect means of pour-) Isle of Wight. The old fortress was as much a home to Caroline Bowles as attached to him by the strongest ties of Buckland. Comparatively early in her affection and gratitude. For them he long acquaintance with Southey, she worked so hard that he denied himself was gratified by his mention of Paul the rest and change of scene that might Burrard, who was aide-de-camp to Sir have prolonged his life, and perhaps John Moore at Coruña, and fell mortally made his enormous learning and induswounded, just after his chief had been try more productive of books that paid. struck, when scarcely nineteen.
No one enjoyed a holiday more thoroughThese are some of Southey's lines :- ly, and it may be well imagined that with Not unprepared
so agreeable a guest he put forth his The heroic youth was found, for in the ways
pleasantest powers. Of piety had he been trained ; and what
There was no lack of conversation at The dutiful child upon his mother's knees
Greta Hall of an evening; but excepting Had learned, the soldier faithfully observed.
for a short hour's walk, which he took as In chamber or in tent, the Book of God a duty every day, he remained as usual Was his beloved manual ; and his life shut up with his writing, appointing his Beseem'd the lessons which from thence he friend Wordsworth to show her the coundrew.
try. Mr. Wordsworth, she said, used to For gallant as he was, and blithe of heart,
walk for miles by the side of her pony, Expert of hand, and keen of eye, and prompt pointing out every fold of the hills, with In intellect, religion was the crown Of all his noble properties.
their glens and tarns. Scarcely a shadow
from the passing clouds swept across lake Upon the spot from whence he just had seen
or upland pasture without his remarking His General borne away, the appointed ball
it. He was fond of repeating his own Reach'd him. But not on that Gallician poetry in illustration of the scenery, and ground
did so with a strong north-country accent, Was it his fate, like many a British heart, and very sonorous voice, pronouncing the To mingle with the soil : the sea received "l"in such words as “ walk" and "talk," His mortal relics — to a watery grave in a peculiar manner. Consign'd, so near his native shore, so near When Miss Bowles left Keswick, she His father's house, that they who loved him carried away a characteristic present
best, Unconscious of its import, heard the gun
from Southey - an extract he had made Which fired his knell.
while in Portugal from an old wooden
bound book, which he found in a convent It was about the time this poem was library; It had apparently never been written that Miss Bowles paid her first opened, since the monks had chained it visit to Keswick, where Mr. and Mrs. so near the ceiling that he had to stand Southey were surrounded with their large on a high ladder to reach it, and to write household. Her host was chained so out the legend, for it was covered with resolutely to his desk among the books thick cobwebs. of his library, that he was only able to She also took back to Buckland Cotgive up one day to the enjoyment of tage a drawing she had made of the inteshowing her the scenery of his beloved rior of that pleasant room in which the hills.
family collected of an evening with their On that exquisite summer's day, a frequent guests, but which overflowed party had been got up by the young with the books of the master of the people, who had themselves prepared the house. These were dear to him as the meal that was spread somewhere near the dearest friends, and he loved an old vol. Falls of Lodore. Sara Coleridge, who ume with creamy paper, and broad black was then in the bloom of her ethereal printing, finely bound in vellum or Rusbeauty, had made a basketful of remark- sia leather, right well, almost to the last. ably nice cakes ; and Caroline Bowles The view of his library, with the open kept a record of the charming figure box of books just arrived by coach from offering them to her friends, in a sketch, London, in the foreground, soon took which was in due time lithographed. It its place in Miss Bowles' pretty drawingcontains likenesses of all who were as- room ; and the extract from the monkish sembled on that occasion, and is named volume, made its appearance in “ The “A Picnic among the Hills.”
Legend of Santarem;" which she pubShe had met Southey first in London (as lished a good while afterwards. Southey far as I recollect) at her publishers', the used to say that “she only required conMessrs. Blackwood; but she now saw centration of thought and energies to him in the midst of his family, who were produce a great work.” This she never
attempted, nor was it at all within the amusement of guests staying at that hosscope of her powers. She contented her- pitable house. On one occasion, when self with sending beautiful and popular she happened to meet a large party assketches to Blackwood's Magazine, which sembled there for Christmas festivities, were chiefly taken from domestic inci- she, like every one else, appeared thordents belonging to her own family his- oughly mystified by a bundle of torn lettories. The pathetic story of Andrew ters which the hostess had picked up in Cleaves, which is probably her best, be- the corridor, and which had apparently longed purely to fiction; but is worked met with some accident on their way to up with wonderfully graphic details. It the post-office. Everybody was requested was written while she was watching the to claim from among them his or her dying bed of “ma bonne,” who lived to property, the signatures being unluckily unusual old age, and sank to rest in the missing. They contained ostrictures, arms of her nurse-child, by whom she more or less true, on every one's manwas so fondly cherished. She is men- ners, aspirations, and general character; tioned in several poems as the last of and so well was the deception kept up that household which had surrounded her that it was not traced to its proper source youth.
for some time. The good Quaker, Bernard Barton, About the year 1831, Edward Irving, used often to persuade Miss Bowles to then still a popular preacher, and unwrite for his Annual. Alaric Watts also doubtedly a man of noble intellectual claimed frequent contributions from her powers, came for a short summer-holiday pen; and her works became especially with his wife, to Mrs. Baring-Wall's house popular in America, where Washington at Lymington. He preached (as is comIrving had revived the love of all things mon with Scotch ministers) at the Indepertaining to old-fashioned English life. pendent Chapel, and its narrow walls She was very often amused by letters could not contain the eager crowds who from her American admirers, who im- flocked to hear him. He therefore agreed plored her to cross the Atlantic and to to the generally expressed wish, and it gladden their country with her presence. was given out that he would preach once Than such a prospect, as may well be on Milford Common, near ihe old ensupposed, nothing could have been far- campment of the French Royalists. ther from her wishes ! Her health had A golden afternoon glowing on the always been delicate, and did not im- harvest-fields and hedgerows by which it prove as she advanced in life — on the is surrounded, and on the Solent dotted contrary, she was subject to severe suffer- with white sails, brought out all the caring from neuralgic and other causes, riages of the neighbourhood. Most which made her frequently unable to see people declared they were driving that her most intimate friends. It was a very way by chance : but so it was, that they great pleasure to her, therefore, to alter all stopped to hear, and it certainly was and improve her little domain, which she an hour worth stopping for. did with the proceeds of " The Widow's The great preacher was then in the Tale,” and other works. She iound an prime of life and of energy, with a magunfailing source of interest in her con- nificent figure, which could well bear to servatory; and the rustic dairy, richly stand with the westering sun for a backfurnished with old China, which she had ground; and a great crowd gathered in built under a great elm-tree on her lawn; front of him, watching every change of and also in her little pony carriage, in his countenance, and catching to its farwhich she constantly visited her poor thest outskirts every intonation of his people on the outskirts of the New For- wonderfully flexible voice. He preached est, followed by her great black mastiff. on the great harvest to be gathered in by
One of her greatest friends for many all who were ready to serve the Lord of years was an accomplished Swiss lady, the harvest. His imagery was taken whose husband was descended from from the surrounding scenery and the Lord Chesterfield's “Dayrolles," and associations of the place, and the effect who as a widow had happily settled near was electrical. No one who heard that Lymington.
sermon ever thought very hardly in afterWhen well enough to enjoy the parties days of Irving himself, however much often given by Lady Neale at Walhampton, they may have dissented from his peno one was more cheerful than Miss culiar views and conduct. Bowles, or contributed more to the Miss Bowles was of course there in
LIVING AGE. VOL. VIII. 372
her pretty pony carriage ; and on the voted watchfulness, accompanied by the following morning she met him (with the necessity for literary labour. writer) at Mrs. Wall's house.
On the 16th of November, 1837, Elith They had a long conversation, in the Southey sank painlessly and peacefully course of which Mr. Irving spoke warmly to rest. However thankful her husband of the obligations he owed to Coleridge must have been for such a release from at the beginning of his career in London. suffering, he did not recover the loss of He loved, he said, “to watch for Cole- one who had been for two-thirds of his ridge's grand ideas looming through the life his chief object as be wis hers. His mist.”
friends persuaded him to seek restored Caroline Bowles afterwards remarked health and cheerfulness by going abroad ; that he reminded her, as a preacher, of and on his return to England he paid a Robert Hall, whose eloquence till then visit of some weeks to Buckland Cottage, she had thought unsurpassed ; and in arriving there in October, 1838. personal appearance of Mr. Southey. His spirits revived in the society of his She was convinced that if the latter old friend, and a few months later he could have held ten minutes' conversa- wrote thus to Walter Savage Landor : tion with Edward Irving, against whom “Reduced in number as my family has he had written with extreme bitterness, been within the last few years, my spirits “they would have stalked together away would hardly recover their habitual an: towards Brockenhurst, the best friends healthy cheerfulness if I had not prein the world.” But Southey never had vailed' on Miss Bowles to share my lot such an opportunity, and Miss Bowles for the remainder of our lives. There is never saw Irving again.
just such a disparity of age as is fitting, In the course of the same summer she We have been well acquainted with each had the pleasure of a second visit from other more than twenty years, and a more Southey ; but the chief part of his time perfect conformity of disposition could was occupied in writing for the Quarterly not exist : so that in resolving upon Review.
what must be either the weakest or the In a letter to Mrs. Hodson he says : wisest act of a sexagenarian's life, I am “The remainder of the paper was written well assured that, according to human at Caroline Bowles', where I shut myself foresight, I have judged well and acted up for eleven days, refusing all invita- wisely, both for myself and my remaining tions, seeing no visitors, and never going daughter.” out, excepting when she mounted her He naturally did not allude to the fact, Shetland pony and I walked by her side that when he first made an offer to Carofor an hour or two before dinner.” So line Bowles, she “ refused to burden him far, indeed, did he carry this sauvagerie, with an invalid wife.” That objection that on one occasion, when an old and was happily removed by her gaining an dear relative of his hostess persuaded her unwonted degree of health ; and on the to open the door of the room in which 5th of June, 1839, she was married to Southey was writing, she was so much him at Boldre Church. struck by his air of annoyance that she The rest of the summer was chiefly directly closed it. As they met again, spent in paying visits among her relaher guest exclaimed, “When you had tions, to whom her husband now showed shown my.mane and my tail, you might himself in the pleasantest character. He as well have let me roar ! ”
was extremely agreeable, when thoroughIn 1834 his great sorrow came upon ly at his ease in society ; and he apparhim in the illness of his wife, which ently took great interest in the new family ended in mental alienation.
circle in which he found himself so cor“Forty years," he writes, "has she dially welcomed. The first symptoms of been the life of my life, and I have left failure of memory soon unhappily apher this day in a lunatic asylum. God peared, but they were looked upon as who has visited me with this affliction, inere absence of mind, and excited no has given me strength to bear it, and will, uneasiness. I know, support me to the end, whatever Southey had once dedicated a poem to that may be."
Caroline Bowles, his "kind friend and His letters at this period all breathe sister poetess,” called “The sinner well the same spirit of resignation and of saved.” It was the story of “the wretched steadfast endurance, but his health was Eliemon who sold his soul to the degreatly impaired by three years of de- mon;" and of course belonged to a class of subjects which had a singular attrac-dred a-year, in consideration of the bention for him. He explained that the efits received by literature from her Satan of the Middle Ages appeared to husband's works. This pension had him a purely mythological personage, been granted owing to the unceasing whom he had as much right to use as he efforts of her brother-in-law, Dr. Southey, would have had to introduce Pan or on her behalf; and was therefore all the Faunus into a poem. This in some de- more welcome to her. gree accounts for the reasonable offence She paid at least one visit to London given by many – too many of his writ- to see the beautiful recumbent statue of ings. Quite a new subject was now to Southey which lies above his tomb. The engage his own pen and his wife's. They original intention and agreement with Mr. projected and partly accomplished á Lough, the sculptor, was, that the monupoem, which was to take up and weave ment should be of Caen stone; but with together the legends of our Saxon hero, characteristic liberality he executed it in Robin Hood. Mrs. Southey was full of white marble ; he presented also a fine hope, when he had settled again amongst cast of the bust to his widow. When the his old pursuits and friends and books, writer of these brief records went to see that he would entirely recover a healthy it at his studio, Mr. Lough remarked tone of mind, and all his former vigour; how like Mrs. Southey's eye and the exand she still looked forward to many pression of her features was to her hus. happy years, This, however, as we all band's. know, was a fallacious hope ; his mentall In 1853 Caroline Southey also passed powers gradually diminished; and al- away. Only a few hours before her though he long enjoyed hearing her read, death she was watching a fine East-Indiaand nearly to the end loved the sound of man that had purposely been run aground her voice and of her name, the torch near the Needles, to avoid swamping a burnt lower and lower till it was finally little fishing-boat that crossed her track. extinguished. The last year of his life She observed to Lady Burrard, who was was passed in a tranquil dreamy state, with her to the last, how impossible it in which he recognized no one, not even was for her to realize that death was his wife.
close at hand, with her mind so fully Robert Southey died on the 21st of awake to all the interests of life! Her March, 1843, and was borne to his rest early prayer was fulfilled, as it seemed, to on a stormy morning in the beautiful the letter churchyard of Crosthwaite. Few besides
Come not in terrors clad to claim his own family and immediate neighbours
An unresisting prey; followed his remains; but his intimate
Come like an evening shadow, Death friend Mr. Wordsworth crossed the hills
So stealthily, so silently on that wild morning to be present at And shut mine eyes, and steal my breath; the funeral.
Then willingly, I willingly, As soon as her shattered health al
With thee I'll go away. lowed her to undertake the journey to She lies in the churchyard at Lyming. Hampshire, Mrs. Southey returned to ton, surrounded by many generations of Buckland Cottage. There surrounded her kindred, far away from the stormby her nearest relations and oldest swept grave of her poet-friend and husfriends, she gradually recovered the en- band. But it is right that some memoergies of a mind shaken indeed by long rial of her should be associated with his anxiety and sorrow, but not weakened.
name and memory.
E. O. Her old gaiety was forever gone, and she shrunk from any new literary exertion. During the remaining years of her life she chiefly occupied herself with ar
From Blackwood's Magazine. ranging a complete edition of her works, including the finished portions of " Robin THE DISAPPOINTING BOY. Hood," and a life of Peter Bell, which “My dear Septimus,” I said, “ I conshe had begun at Keswick.
gratulate you on your son. He is a most On her marriage Mrs. Southey had pleasant fellow; cheerful without sillilost an annuity bequeathed to her by a re-ness intelligent, but not a prig.” lation of her father's, Colonel Bruce. It “Humph! " replied my friend. was therefore with great satisfaction that A great part of conversation in this she learnt in 1852 that the Queen had country is carried on by grunts; but if conferred on her a pension of two hun- there is anything which cannot be ex