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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Fifty-One Years of Victorian Life, by Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey

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Title: Fifty-One Years of Victorian Life

Author: Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey

Release Date: January 14, 2012 [eBook #38569]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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FIFTY-ONE YEARS OF VICTORIAN LIFE

 

 

All Rights Reserved

 

 


Margaret Countess of Jersey

 

 

 

FIFTY-ONE YEARS
OF VICTORIAN LIFE

 

BY THE DOWAGER
COUNTESS OF JERSEY

 

 

 

LONDON
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
1922

 

 

DEDICATED
TO
MY CHILDREN
AND
GRANDCHILDREN

 

Printed in Great Britain by
Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.

 

 

“What is this child of man that can conquer
Time and that is braver than Love?
Even Memory.”
Lord Dunsany.
 
Though “a Sorrow’s Crown of Sorrow”
Be “remembering happier things,”
Present joy will shine the brighter
If our morn a radiance flings.

We perchance may thwart the future
If we will not look before,
And upon a past which pains us
We may fasten Memory’s door.

But we will not, cannot, banish
Bygone pleasure from our side,
Nor will doubt, beyond the storm-cloud,
Shall be Light at Eventide.
M. E. J.

 

 


[Pg vii]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
AN EARLY VICTORIAN CHILD
The Duke of Wellington—Travelling in the Fifties—Governesses—“Mrs. Gailey”—Queen Victoria at Stoneleigh—A narrow escape—Life at Stoneleigh—Rectors and vicars—Theatricals pp. 1-22
 
CHAPTER II
A VICTORIAN GIRL
Mentone—Genoa—Trafalgar veterans—Lord Muncaster and Greek brigands—The Grosvenor family—Uncles and aunts—Confirmation—“Coming out”—Ireland—Killarney—The O’Donoghue—Myths and legends—The giant Benadadda pp. 23-50
 
CHAPTER III
MARRIAGE
Fanny Kemble—An old-fashioned Christmas—A pre-matrimonial party—Fonthill Abbey—Engagement—Married to Lord Jersey pp. 51-64
 
CHAPTER IV
EARLY MARRIED LIFE
Lord Jersey’s mother—In London—Isola Bella, Cannes—Oxfordshire neighbours—Caversfield Church—Life at Middleton—Mr. Disraeli—Froude and Kingsley—James Russell Lowell—T. Hughes and J. R. Lowell—Mr. Gladstone on Immortality—Thought-reading—Tom Hughes and Rugby, Tennessee—Cardinal Newman pp. 65-93
 [Pg viii]
CHAPTER V
BERLIN AND THE JUBILEE OF 1887
Sarah Bernhardt—Death of Gilbert Leigh—In Italy, 1884—Court Ball in Berlin—The Crown Prince Frederick—Prince Bismarck—Conversation with Bismarck—Bismarck and Lord Salisbury—Thanksgiving Service—Trials of Court Officials—The Naval Review—Knowsley—Apotheosis of the Queen pp. 94-121
 
CHAPTER VI
GHOST STORIES AND TRAVELS IN GREECE
Lord Halsbury’s ghost story—The ghostly reporter—A Jubilee sermon—Marathon—Miss Tricoupi—Nauplia—The Laurium Mines—Hadji Petros—Olympia—Zante pp. 122-140
 
CHAPTER VII
VOYAGE TO INDIA—HYDERABAD
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain—Departure for India—Colonel Olcott and Professor Max Müller—Sir Samuel Baker—Mahableshwar—H.H. the Aga Khan—Races at Hyderabad—H.H. the Nizam of Hyderabad—Purdah ladies—Breakfast in a zenana pp. 141-161
 
CHAPTER VIII
MADRAS, CALCUTTA, AND BENARES
Brahmin philosophers—Faith of educated Hindus—Theosophists at Adyar—The Ranees of Travancore—The Princesses of Tanjore—“The Heart of Montrose”—The Palace of Madura—Rous Peter’s Sacred Door—Loyalty of native Indians—Passengers on the Pundua—The Brahmo Somaj—Maharajah of Benares—Marriages of infants and widows pp. 162-187
 
CHAPTER IX
NORTHERN INDIA AND JOURNEY HOME
The Relief of Lucknow—View from the Kotab Minar—Sekundra and Futtehpore Sekree—The legend of Krishna—The Jains—The Maharajah of Bhownuggar—Baroda—English as Lingua Franca—Meditations of a Western wanderer—An English plum-pudding—The Greek Royal Family—Original derivations pp. 188-211
 [Pg ix]
CHAPTER X
WINDSOR—EGYPT AND SYRIA
Dinner at Windsor—Voyage up the Nile—Choucry Pasha, Princess Nazli—The Pigmies—Inn of the Good Samaritan—The Holy City—Balbec—Damascus, Lady Ellenborough—Oriental methods of trade—Smyrna—Constantinople—The Selamlik—The Orient Express—Story of a picture pp. 212-239
 
CHAPTER XI
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF AUSTRALIA
War Office red tape—Balmoral—Farewell to England—Voyage on the Arcadia—The Federation Convention—The delegates—The Blue Mountains—Sir Alfred Stephen—Domestic Conditions—Correspondence with Lord Derby—Labour Legislation—The Ex-Kaiser—Lord Derby’s poem pp. 240-265
 
CHAPTER XII
FURTHER IMPRESSIONS OF AUSTRALIA—NEW ZEALAND AND NEW CALEDONIA
Yarrangobilly Caves—Dunedin—The New Zealand Sounds—Hot Springs of New Zealand—Huia Onslow—Noumea—The Governor of New Caledonia—The Convict Settlement—Convicts in former days—Death of Lord Ancram pp. 266-286
 
CHAPTER XIII
TONGA AND SAMOA
Tongan ladies—Arrival at Apia—German plantations—R. L. Stevenson—King Malietoa—The Enchanted Forest—King Mataafa—The Kava Ceremony—A native dance—Missionaries—Samoan mythology—Desire for English protection—Visit from Tamasese—An Object of Pity—Courage of R. L. Stevenson pp. 287-318
 [Pg x]
CHAPTER XIV
DEPARTURE FROM AUSTRALIA—CHINA AND JAPAN
Bushrangers—Circumstantial evidence—The Great Barrier Reef—Coloured labour—Hong-Kong—Canton—The Viceroy of Canton—Japanese scenery—Interview with the Empress—The Sacred Mirror of the Sun Goddess—Christianity in Japan—Daimios of old Japan—Japanese friends pp. 319-345
 
CHAPTER XV
JOURNEY HOME—THE NILE—LORD KITCHENER
The well-forged link of Empire—Columbus discovers America—The Mayor cuts his hair—The pageant “America”—Back at Osterley—The dahabyah Herodotus—Escape of Slatin Pasha—How a King and an Arab evaded orders—The Dervishes—Lord Kitchener pp. 346-368
 
CHAPTER XVI
DIAMOND JUBILEE AND DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA
Mr. Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary—The Queen at Temple Bar—The South African War—Indian princesses—Lord and Lady Northcote—The Victoria League—Mr. Chamberlain’s letter pp. 369-383
 
Index pp. 385-392

 

 


[Pg xi]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Margaret, Countess of Jersey (photogravure)
After the portrait by Ellis Roberts at Osterley Park.
Frontispiece
 FACING PAGE
Stoneleigh Abbey 18
The Library, Middleton Park
From a photograph by the present Countess of Jersey.
68
Middleton Park
From a photograph by the present Countess of Jersey.
68
Osterley Park
From a photograph by W. H. Grove.
238
Group at Middleton Park, Christmas, 1904 370

 

 


[Pg 1]

FIFTY-ONE YEARS OF VICTORIAN LIFE

 

CHAPTER I

AN EARLY VICTORIAN CHILD

I was born at Stoneleigh Abbey on October 29th, 1849. My father has told me that immediately afterwards—I suppose next day—I was held up at the window for the members of the North Warwickshire Hunt to drink my health. I fear that their kind wishes were so far of no avail that I never became a sportswoman, though I always lived amongst keen followers of the hounds. For many years the first meet of the season was held at Stoneleigh, and large hospitality extended to the gentlemen and farmers within the Abbey and to the crowd without. Almost anyone could get bread and cheese and beer outside for the asking, till at last some limit had to be placed when it was reported that special trains were being run from Birmingham to a neighbouring town to enable the populace to attend this sporting carnival at my father’s expense. He was a splendid man and a fearless rider while health and strength permitted—rather too fearless at times—and among the many applicants for his bounty were men who based their claims to assistance on the alleged fact that they had picked up Lord Leigh after a fall out hunting. It was always much more difficult to restrain him from giving than to induce him to give.

[Pg 2]My mother, a daughter of Lord Westminster, told me that from the moment she saw him she had never any doubt as to whom she would marry. No wonder. He was exceptionally handsome and charming, and I believe he was as prompt in falling in love with her as she confessed to having been with him. An old relative who remembered their betrothal told me that she knew what was coming when Mr. Leigh paid £5 for some trifle at a bazaar where Lady Caroline Grosvenor was selling. The sole reason for recording this is to note that fancy bazaars were in vogue so long ago as 1848.

My mother was only twenty when she married, and very small and pretty. I have heard that soon after their arrival at Stoneleigh my father gave great satisfaction to the villagers, who were eagerly watching to see the bride out walking, by lifting his little wife in his arms and carrying her over a wet place in the road. This was typical of his unfailing devotion through fifty-seven years of married life—a devotion which she returned in full measure.

I was the eldest child of the young parents, and as my grandfather, Chandos Lord Leigh, was then alive, our home for a short time was at Adlestrop House in Gloucestershire, which also belonged to the family; but my grandfather died and we moved to Stoneleigh when I was far too young to remember any other home. In those days we drove by road from one house to the other, and on one occasion my father undertook to convey my cradle in his dog-cart, in the space under the back seat usually allotted to dogs. In the middle of a village the door of this receptacle flew open and the cradle shot out into the road, slightly embarrassing to a very young man.

About the earliest thing I can recollect was seeing[Pg 3] the Crystal Palace Building when in Hyde Park. I do not suppose that I was taken inside, but I distinctly remember the great glittering glass Palace when I was driving with my mother. Of course we had pictures of the Great Exhibition and heard plenty about it, but oddly enough one print that impressed me most was a French caricature which represented an Englishman distributing the prizes to an expectant throng with words to this effect: “Ladies and Gentlemen, some intrusive foreigners have come over to compete with our people and have had the impertinence to make some things better than we do. You will, however, quite understand that none of the prizes will be given to these outsiders.” It was my earliest lesson in doubting the lasting effects of attempts to unite rival countries in any League of Nations.

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON

Somewhere about this time I had the honour of being presented to the great Duke of Wellington in the long Gallery (now, alas! no more) at Grosvenor House. I do not remember the incident, but he was the Hero in those days, and I was told it so often that I felt as if I could recall it. My father said he kissed me, but my mother’s more modest claim was that he shook hands.

My parents were each endowed with nine brothers and sisters—i.e. my father was one of ten who all lived till past middle life, my mother was one of thirteen of whom ten attained a full complement of years. Indeed, when my parents celebrated their golden wedding they had sixteen brothers and sisters still alive. As almost all these uncles and aunts married and most of them had large families, it will be readily believed that we did not lack cousins, and the long Gallery was a splendid gathering-place for the ramifications of the[Pg 4] Grosvenor side of our family. Apart from the imposing pictures, it was full of treasures, such as a miniature crystal river which flowed when wound up and had little swans swimming upon it. It was here, later on in my girlhood, that I saw the first Japanese Embassy to England, stately Daimios or Samurai in full native costume and with two swords—a great joy to all of us children.

To go back to early recollections—my next clear impression is of the Crimean War and knitting a pair of red muffetees for the soldiers. Plenty of “comforts” were sent out even in those days. Sir George Higginson once told me that when boxes of miscellaneous gifts arrived it was the custom to hold an auction. On one occasion among the contents were several copies of Boyle’s Court Guide and two pairs of ladies’ stays! So useful! The latter were bestowed upon the French vivandière. No W.A.A.C.s then to benefit.

After the Crimean War came the Indian Mutiny, and our toy soldiers represented English and Sepoys instead of English and Russians. Children in each generation I suppose follow wars by their toys. Despite the comradeship of English and French in the Crimea, I do not believe that we ever quite ceased to regard France as the hereditary foe. A contemporary cousin was said to have effaced France from the map of Europe; I do not think we were quite so daring.

In all, I rejoiced in five brothers and two sisters, but the fifth brother died at fourteen months old before our youngest sister was born. His death was our first real sorrow and a very keen one. Long before that, however, when we were only three children, Gilbert, the brother next to me, a baby sister Agnes, and myself, our adventurous parents took us to the South of[Pg 5] France. I was four years old at the time and the existence of a foreign land was quite a new light to me. I well remember running into the nursery and triumphantly exclaiming, “There is a country called France and I am going there!”

TRAVELLING IN THE FIFTIES

My further recollections are vague until we reached Lyons, where the railway ended and our large travelling carriage brought from England was put on a boat—steamer, I suppose—and thus conveyed to Avignon. Thence we drove, sleeping at various towns, until we reached Mentone, where we spent some time, and I subsequently learnt that we were then the only English in the place. I think that my parents were very brave to take about such young children, but I suppose the experiment answered pretty well, as a year later they again took Gilbert and me to France—this time to Normandy, where I spent my sixth birthday, saw the great horses dragging bales of cotton along the quays at Rouen, and was enchanted with the ivory toys at Dieppe.

I think that people who could afford it travelled more in former days than is realised. Both my grandparents made prolonged tours with most of their elder children. My grandfather Westminster took my mother and her elder sisters in his yacht to Constantinople and Rome. My mother well remembered some of her experiences, including purchases from a Turkish shopkeeper who kept a large cat on his counter and served various comestibles with his hands, wiping them between each sale on the animal’s fur. At Rome she told me how she and one of her sisters, girls of some twelve and thirteen years old, used to wander out alone into the Campagna in the early morning, which seems very strange in view of the stories of restraint placed[Pg 6] upon children in bygone days. As to my grandfather Leigh, I believe he travelled with his family for about two years, to Switzerland, France and the North of Italy. They had three carriages, one for the parents, one for the schoolroom, and one for the nursery. A courier escorted them, and an avant-courier rode on in front with bags of five-franc pieces to secure lodgings when they migrated from one place to another. On one occasion on the Riviera they met the then Grand Duke Constantine, who thrust his head out of the window and exclaimed “Toute Angleterre est en route!”

GOVERNESSES

After our return from Normandy we were placed in charge of a resident governess, a young German, but as far as I can recollect she had very little control over us. We discovered that the unlucky girl, though of German parentage, had been born in Russia, and with the unconscious cruelty of children taunted her on this account. Anyhow her stay was short, and she was succeeded about a year later by an Englishwoman, Miss Custarde, who kept us in very good order and stayed till she married when I was fourteen. Her educational efforts were supplemented by masters and mistresses during the London season and by French resident governesses in the winter months, but I do not think that we were at all overworked.

I doubt whether Miss Custarde would have been considered highly educated according to modern standards, but she was very good in teaching us to look up information for ourselves, which was just as useful as anything else. Her strongest point was music, but that she could not drive into me, and my music lessons were a real penance to teacher and pupil alike. She would give me lectures during their progress on such[Pg 7] topics as the Parable of the Talents—quite ignoring the elementary fact that though I could learn most of my lessons quickly enough I had absolutely no talent for music. She was, however, a remarkable woman with great influence, not only over myself, but over my younger aunts and over other men and women. She was very orderly, and proud of that quality, but she worked too much on my conscience, making me regard trivial faults as actual sins which prevented her from kissing me or showing me affection—an ostracism which generally resulted in violent fits of penitence. She had more than one admirer before she ended by marrying a schoolmaster, with whom she used to take long walks in the holidays. One peculiarity was that she would give me sketches of admirers and get me to write long stories embodying their imaginary adventures. I suppose these were shown as great jokes to the heroes and their friends. Of course she did not think I knew the “inwardness” of her various friendships, equally of course as time went on I understood them perfectly. Miss Custarde is not the only governess I have known who acquired extraordinary influence over her pupils. In Marcel Prevost’s novel Anges Gardiens, which represents the dangers to French families of engaging foreign governesses, he makes the Belgian, Italian, and German women all to a greater or less extent immoral, but the Englishwoman, though at least as detestable as the others, is not immoral; the great evil which she inflicts on the family which engages her is the absolute power which she acquires over her pupil. The whole book is very unfair and M. Prevost seems to overlook the slur which he casts on his own countrymen, as none of the men appear able to resist the wiles of the sirens engaged to look after[Pg 8] the girls of their families; but it is odd that he should realise the danger of undue influence and attribute it only to the Englishwoman. Why should this be a characteristic of English governesses—supposing his experience (borne out by my own) to be typical? Is it an Englishwoman’s love of power and faculty for concentration on the object which she wishes to attain?

We liked several of our foreign governesses well enough, but they exercised no particular influence—and as a rule their engagements were only temporary. I do not think that Miss Custarde gave them much opportunity of ascendancy. With one her relations were so strained that the two ladies had their suppers at different tables in the schoolroom, and when the Frenchwoman wanted the salt she rang the bell for the schoolroom-maid to bring it from her English colleague’s table. However, I owed a great deal to Miss Custarde and know that her affection for all of us was very real. She died in the autumn of 1920, having retained all her faculties till an advanced age.

After all no human being could compete with our mother in the estimation of any of her children. Small and fragile and often suffering from ill-health, she had almost unbounded power over everyone with whom she came in contact, and for her to express an opinion on any point created an axiom from which there was no appeal. As middle-aged men and women we have often laughed over the way in which we have still accepted “mama said” so-and-so as a final verdict. As children our faith not only in her wisdom but in her ability was unlimited. I remember being regarded as almost a heretic by the younger ones because I ventured to doubt whether she could make a watch. Vainly did I hedge by asserting that I was certain that if she[Pg 9] had learnt she could make the most beautiful watch in the world—I had infringed the first article of family faith by thinking that there was anything which she could not do by the uninstructed light of nature. She was a good musician, and a really excellent amateur artist—her water-colour drawings charming. Her knowledge of history made it delightful to read aloud to her, as she seemed as if the heroes and heroines of bygone times had been her personal acquaintance. Needless to say her personal care for everyone on my father’s property was untiring, and the standard of the schools in the various villages was maintained at a height uncommon in days when Education Acts were not so frequent and exacting as in later years.

“MRS. GAILEY”

Another great character in our home was our old nurse. For some reason she was never called Nanna, but always “Mrs. Gailey.” The daughter of a small tradesman, she was a woman of some education—she had even learnt a little French and had been a considerable reader. Though a disciple of Spurgeon, she had lived as nurse with my mother’s cousin the Duke of Norfolk in the days when the girls of the family were Protestants though the boys were Roman Catholics. When the Duchess (daughter of Lord Lyons) went over to the Roman Church the Protestant nurse’s position became untenable, as the daughters had to follow their mother. She told us that this was a great distress at first to the eldest girl Victoria (afterwards Hope-Scott), for at twelve years old she was able to feel the uprooting of her previous faith. The other sisters were too young to mind. Gailey’s idol, however, was Lord Maltravers (the late Duke), who must have been as attractive a boy as he became delightful a man.

Gailey came to us when I was about four, my first[Pg 10] nurse, who had been my wet-nurse, having married the coachman. Our first encounter took place when I was already in my cot, and I announced to her that if she stayed a hundred years I should not love her as I had done “Brownie.” “And if I stay a hundred years,” was the repartee, “I shall not love you as I did the little boy I have just left”—so we started fair. Nevertheless she was an excellent nurse and a fascinating companion. She could tell stories by the hour and knew all sorts of old-fashioned games which we played in the nursery on holiday afternoons.

The great joy of the schoolroom children was to join the little ones after tea and to sit in a circle while she told us either old fairy tales, or more frequently her own versions of novels which she had read and of which she changed the names and condensed the incidents in a most ingenious manner. On Sunday evenings Pilgrim’s Progress in her own words was substituted for the novels. Miss Custarde could inflict no greater punishment for failure in our “saying lessons” than to keep us out of the nursery. Gailey stayed with us till some time after my marriage and then retired on a pension.

The Scottish housekeeper, Mrs. Wallace, was also a devoted friend and a great dispenser of cakes, ices, and home-made cowslip and ginger wine. Rose-water, elder-flower water, and all stillroom mysteries found an expert in her, and she even concocted mead from an old recipe. Few people can have made mead in this generation—it was like very strong rather sweet beer. We all loved “Walley”—but she failed us on one occasion. Someone said that she had had an uncle who had fought at Waterloo, so we rushed to her room to question her on this hero’s prowess. “What did[Pg 11] your uncle do at Waterloo?” The reply was cautious and rather chilling: “I believe he hid behind his horse.” She looked after all our dogs and was supposed to sleep with eight animals and birds in her room.

QUEEN VICTORIA AT STONELEIGH

In the summer of 1858 a great event occurred in the annals of Stoneleigh. Queen Victoria stayed at my father’s for two nights in order to open Aston Hall and Park, an old Manor House and property, which had belonged to the Bracebridge family and had been secured for the recreation of the people of Birmingham. Naturally there was great excitement at the prospect. For months beforehand workmen were employed in the renovation and redecoration of the Abbey and its precincts. Many years afterwards an ex-coachpainter met one of my sons and recalled to him the glorious days of preparation for Her Majesty’s visit. “Even the pigsties were painted, sir,” said he.

Stoneleigh is a large mass of buildings—parts of the basement remain from the original Abbey of the Cistercian monks. On these was built a picturesque house about the beginning of the seventeenth century, early in the eighteenth century a large mansion was added in the classical Italian style, and about a hundred years later a new wing was erected to unite the two portions. The old Abbey Church stood in what is now a lawn between the house and the ancient Gateway, which bears the arms of Henry II. To put everything in order was no light task. The rooms for the Queen and Prince Consort were enclosed on one side of the corridor leading to them by a temporary wall, and curtained off where the corridor led to the main staircase. In addition to every other preparation, the outline of the gateway, the main front of the house, and some of the ornamental flower-beds were traced out with little[Pg 12] lamps—I think there were 22,000—which were lighted at night with truly fairy-like effect. By that time we were five children—the house was crowded in every nook and corner with guests, servants, and attendants of all kinds. Somehow my brother Gilbert and I were stowed away in a room with two or three maids, but the “little ones,” Agnes and two small brothers Dudley and Rupert, were sent to the keeper’s house in the Deerpark. That house was a delightful old-world building standing on a hill with a lovely view, and we were occasionally sent there for a day or two’s change of air, to our great joy.

On the occasion of the Royal Visit, however, Gilbert and I quite realised our privilege in being kept in the Abbey and allowed to stand with our mother and other members of the family to welcome the Queen as the carriage clattered up with its escort of Yeomanry. My father had, of course, met Her Majesty at the station. The Queen was more than gracious and at once won the hearts of the children—but we did not equally appreciate the Prince Consort. Assuredly he was excellent, but he was very stiff and reserved, and I suppose that we were accustomed to attentions from our father’s guests which he did not think fit to bestow upon us, though the Queen gave them in ample measure.

We were allowed to join the large party of guests after dinner, and either the first or the second evening witnessed with interest and amusement the presentation of the country neighbours to the Queen. Having been carefully instructed as to our own bows and curtsies, we naturally became very critical of the “grown-up” salutations, particularly when one nervous lady on passing the royal presence tossed her head back into the air by way of reverence. I think the[Pg 13] same night my father escorted the Queen into the garden in front of the house, which was separated from part of the Park by a stone balustrade. In this park-ground several thousand people had assembled who spontaneously broke into “God save the Queen” when she appeared. Fortunately the glorious hot summer night (July) was ideal for the greeting.

One morning our small sister and brothers were brought to the Abbey “to be presented.” Agnes made a neat little curtsy, though we unkindly asserted that it was behind the Queen’s back, but the baby boys were overcome by shyness and turned away from the Queen’s kisses. Unfortunate children! they were never allowed to forget this!

THE PRINCE CONSORT

Poor Prince Consort lost his last chance of good feeling from Gilbert and myself when he and the Queen went to plant memorial trees. We rushed forward to be in time to see the performance, but he sternly swept us from the royal path. No doubt he was justified in bidding us “stand back,” but he might have remembered that we were children, and his host’s children, and done it more gently.

I shall refer to our dear Queen later on, but may here insert a little incident of her childhood which came to my knowledge accidentally. In the village belonging to my married home, Middleton Stoney, there was a middle-aged policeman’s wife who cultivated long ringlets on either side of her face. She once confided to me that as a child she had had beautiful curls, and that, living near Kensington Palace, they had on one occasion been cut off to make “riding curls” for Princess (afterwards Queen) Victoria, who had lost her own hair—temporarily—from an illness. The child had not liked this at all, though she had been[Pg 14] given some of the Princess’s hair as an equivalent. I imagine that her parents received more substantial payment.

Our childhood was varied by a good deal of migration. We were regularly taken each year about May to our father’s London house, 37 Portman Square, where we entertained our various cousins at tea-parties and visited them in return. We were generally taken in the autumn to some seaside place such as Brighton, Hastings, Rhyl, or the Isle of Wight. We estimated the merits of each resort largely according to the amount of sand which it afforded us to dig in, and I think Shanklin in the Isle of Wight took the foremost place in our affections.

A NARROW ESCAPE

Two years, however, had specially delightful autumns, for in each of these our father took a moor in Scotland—once Kingairloch and the second time Strontian. On each occasion I accompanied my parents; to Kingairloch, Gilbert (Gilly he was always called) came also—the second year he spent half the time with us and then returned to his tutor and Agnes, and Dudley took his place for the remainder of our stay. How we enjoyed the fishing, bathing in the loch, and paddling in the burns! Everyone who has spent the shooting season in Scotland knows all about it, and our experiences, though absolutely delightful, did not differ much from other people’s. These visits were about 1860 and 1861. The railroad did not extend nearly so far as at present and the big travelling-carriage again came into play. One day it had with considerable risk to be conveyed over four ferries and ultimately to be driven along a mountainous road after dark. As far as I remember we had postilions—certainly the charioteer or charioteers had had as much whisky as was good[Pg 15] for them, with the result that the back wheels of the heavy carriage went right over the edge of a precipice. The servants seated behind the carriage gave themselves over for lost—we children were half-asleep inside and unconscious of our peril, when the horses made a desperate bound forward and dragged the carriage back on to the road. We were taken later to see the place with the marks of the wheels still plain on the rocky edge—and young as we were could quite realise what we had escaped. Both shooting lodges were situated in the midst of the lovely mountain scenery of North Argyllshire, possibly Kingairloch was the more beautiful of the two. One day from dawn to eve the mountains echoed and re-echoed with the plaintive bleating of flocks, and we were told that it was because the lambs were taken from their mothers. I still possess some verses which my mother wrote on that occasion, and transcribe them to show that she had a strong poetic as well as artistic vein:

“Far over the mountains and over the corries
Echoed loud wailings and bleatings the day
When from the side of the mothers that loved them
The lambs at Kingairloch were taken away.

“Vainly, poor mothers, ye watch in the valley
The nook where your little ones gambolled before,
Vainly ye climb to the heights of the mountains—
They answer you not, and shall answer no more!

“Never again from that stream-silvered hill-side,
Seeking fresh grass betwixt harebell and heather,
Shall you and your lambkins look back on Loch Corry,
Watching the flight of the sea-bird together.

“No more, when the storm, striking chords on the mountains,
Drives down the thick mists their tall summits to hide,
Shall you give the sweet gift of a mother’s protection
To the soft little creatures crouched down by your side.
[Pg 16]
“Past the sweet peril! and gone the sweet pleasure!—
Well might the echoes tell sadly that day
The plaint of the mothers that cried at Kingairloch
The day that the lambs were taken away.”

Visits to Scotland included sojourns at Ardgowan, the home of our uncle and aunt Sir Michael and Lady Octavia Shaw-Stewart on the Clyde. Aunt Occy, as we called her, was probably my mother’s favourite sister—in any case her children were our favourite cousins on the Grosvenor side, and we loved our many visits to Ardgowan both when we went to the moors and in after years. There were excursions on the hills and bathing in the salt-water of the Clyde, fishing from boats, and shells to be collected on the beach. Also my uncle had a beautiful yacht in which he took us expeditions towards Arran and to Loch Long from which we were able to go across the mountain pass to Loch Lomond.

My grandmother Lady Leigh died in 1860, before which time she used to pay lengthened visits to Stoneleigh accompanied by three or four unmarried daughters. She was a fine handsome old lady. Her hair had turned white when she was about thirty-two, but, as old ladies did in those days, she wore a brown front with a black velvet band. She had a masterful temper and held her daughters in considerable awe, but, after the manner of grandparents, was very kind to us. I fancy that so many unmarried sisters-in-law may have been a slight trial to my mother, but we regarded our aunts as additional playfellows bound to provide us with some kind of amusement. The favourite was certainly “Aunt Georgy,” the youngest daughter but one. She had an unfailing flow of spirits, could tell stories and join in games, and never objected to our invasion of her room[Pg 17] at any time. Poor “Aunt Gussie” (Augusta) was less fortunate: she had bad health and would scold us to make us affectionate—an unsuccessful method to say the least of it—the natural result was, I fear, that we teased her whenever opportunity offered. Aunt Georgie was very good-looking and I believe much admired. She did not, however, marry till she was about forty. A Colonel Newdigate, whose runaway horse she had stopped when quite a girl, had fallen in love with her and wanted to marry her. She persistently refused and he married someone else. When his wife died, he returned to his first affection and ultimately melted my Aunt’s heart. She had no children of her own, but was a good stepmother to his only son—now Sir Frank Newdegate, Governor of West Australia.

LIFE AT STONELEIGH

Stoneleigh offered every possible amusement to children—long galleries and passages to race up and down, a large hall for battledore and shuttlecock and other games, parks and lawns for riding and cricket, and the River Avon at the bottom of the garden for fishing and boating, not to mention skating in hard winters. People are apt to talk and write as if “Early Victorian” and “Mid-Victorian” children were kept under strict control and made to treat their elders with respectful awe. I cannot recall any undue restraint in our case. As I have already said, our mother was an influence which no one would have attempted to resist, but she never interfered with any reasonable happiness or amusement. Our father was the most cheerful of companions, loving to take us about to any kind of sights or entertainments which offered, and buying us toys and presents on every possible occasion. The only constraint put upon us, which is not often used with the modern child, concerned religious observance. We had to come in[Pg 18] to daily Prayers at 10 o’clock even if it interfered with working in our gardens or other out-door amusement—and church twice on Sundays was the invariable rule as soon as we were old enough to walk to the neighbouring villages of Stoneleigh and Ashow, or to attend the ministrations of the chaplain who generally officiated once each Sunday in the chapel in the house. We had to learn some “Scripture lesson” every day and two or three on Sundays, and I being the eldest had not only to repeat these Sunday lessons to my mother, but also to see in a general way that my younger brothers and sisters knew theirs. I was made to learn any number of chapters and hymns, and Scripture catechisms—not to speak of the Thirty-nine Articles! At last when mother and governess failed to find something more to learn by heart I was told to commit portions of Thomas à Kempis to memory. Here, I grieve to confess, I struck—that is to say, I did not venture actually to refuse, but I repeated the good brother’s words in such a disagreeable and discontented tone of voice that no one could stand it, and the attempt to improve me in this way was tacitly abandoned.

 

STONELEIGH ABBEY.

 

RECTORS AND VICARS

On the whole I feel sure that the advantages of acquiring so many great truths, and generally in beautiful language, far outweighed any passing irritation that a young girl may have felt with these “religious obligations.” If it is necessary to distinguish between High and Low Church in these matters, I suppose that my parents belonged to the orthodox Evangelical School. I have a vague recollection of one Vicar of Stoneleigh still preaching in the black silk Geneva gown. At Ashow—the other church whose services we attended—the Rector when I was small was an old Charles Twisleton, a cousin of my father’s.[Pg 19] He, however, had discarded the black gown long before my day. My father told me that when the new Oxford School first took to preaching in surplices Mr. Twisleton adopted this fashion. Thereupon the astonished family at the Abbey exclaimed, “Oh, Cousin Charles, are you a Puseyite?” “No, my dears,” was the confidential reply, “but black silk gowns are very expensive and mine was worn out.” Probably many poor clergymen were glad to avail themselves of this economical form of ritual. I have an idea that Rudyard Kipling’s Norman Baron’s advice to his son would have appealed to my parents had it been written in their day:

“Be polite but not friendly to Bishops,
And good to all poor Parish priests.”

I feel that they were “friendly to Bishops” when they met, and they were certainly good to all the Rectors and Vicars of the various villages which belonged to my father or of which the livings were in his gift, but they had no idea of giving their consciences into ecclesiastical keeping. In fact my grandmother Westminster once said to my mother, “My dear, you and I spend much of our lives in rectifying the errors of the clergy”; those excellent men often failing in business capacity.

The church services at both our churches were simple to a degree. At Stoneleigh the organ was in the gallery and the hymns were sung by the schoolchildren there. The pulpit and reading-desk were part of what used to be called a “three-decker” with a second reading-desk for the clerk. This was exactly opposite our large “Squire’s Pew” across the aisle. There had from time immemorial been a Village Harvest Home[Pg 20] with secular rejoicings, but at last there came the great innovation of service with special decoration and appropriate Psalms and Lessons in church. I do not know the exact year, but think that it must have been somewhere in the sixties, after my Uncle James—my father’s youngest brother—became Vicar of Stoneleigh, as it must have been his influence which induced my father to consent to what he considered slightly ritualistic.

However, all went well till it came to the Special Psalms. The choir had nothing to do with leading responses—these pertained to the clerk—old Job Jeacock—and when the first “special” was given out he utterly failed to find it. The congregation waited while he descended from his desk—walked across the aisle to our pew and handed his Prayerbook to me that I might help him out of his difficulty!

Decorations in the churches at Christmas were fully approved, and of course the house was a bower of holly, ivy and mistletoe—these were ancient customs never omitted in our home. Christmas was a glorious time, extending from the Villagers’ Dinner on S. Thomas’s Day to the Ball on our father’s birthday, January 17th—a liberal allowance. The children dined down on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and there was always a Christmas Tree one evening laden with toys and sweetmeats. Among other Christmas customs there was the bullet-pudding—a little hill of flour with a bullet on the top. Each person in turn cut a slice of the pudding with his knife, and when the bullet ultimately fell into the flour whoever let it down had to get it out again with his mouth. Snap-dragon was also a great institution. The raisins had to be seized from a dish of burning spirits of wine,[Pg 21] presided over by “Uncle Jimmy” (the clergyman) dressed as a ghost in a sheet, who had regularly on this occasion to thrill us with a recitation of “Alonzo the Brave and Fair Imogene”—the faithless lady who was carried off from her wedding feast by the ghost of her lover. Of course her fate was inextricably mixed up in our minds with the flame of the snap-dragon.

THEATRICALS

Twelfth Night, with drawing for characters, was duly honoured—nor were private theatricals forgotten. Like all children we loved dressing-up and acting. The first “regular” play with family and household for audience in which we performed was Bluebeard, written in verse by my mother, in which I was Fatima. After that we had many performances—sometimes of plays written by her and sometimes by myself. I do not think that we were budding Irvings or Ellen Terrys, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely and the audiences were tolerant.

More elaborate theatricals took place at Hams Hall, the house of Sir Charles Adderley (afterwards Lord Norton), who married my father’s eldest sister. They had a large family, of whom five sons and five daughters grew up. These young people were devoted to acting and some of us occasionally went over to assist—at least I recollect performing on one occasion—and we often saw these cousins either at Hams or at Stoneleigh, the houses being at no great distance apart. The youngest son, afterwards well known as Father Adderley, was particularly fond of dressing up—he was a well-known actor—and I am not sure that he did not carry his histrionic tastes into the Church of which he was a greatly esteemed prop. Another numerous family of cousins were the children of my father’s fifth sister, married to the Rev. Henry Cholmondeley—a son of[Pg 22] Lord Delamere—who held the living of my father’s other place—Adlestrop. Uncle Cholmondeley was clever and devoted enough to teach all his five sons himself without sending them to preparatory schools; and between his teaching and their abilities, most, if not all, of them won scholarships to aid their careers at public schools. With their four sisters they were a noisy but amusing set of companions, and we always enjoyed their visits. My father’s youngest sister was not old enough for her children to be our actual contemporaries, but when she did marry—Mr. Granville Leveson-Gower of Titsey—she had twelve sons and three daughters—a good record.

My mother’s sisters rivalled my father’s in adding to the population—one, Lady Macclesfield, having had fifteen children, of whom twelve were alive to attend her funeral when she died at the age of ninety. So I reckoned at one time that I had a hundred first cousins alive, and generally found one in whatever quarter of the globe I chanced to visit.

Speaking of theatrical performances, I should specially mention my father’s next brother, Chandos Leigh, a well-known character at the Bar, as a Member of the Zingari, and in many other spheres. Whenever opportunity served and enough nephews and nieces were ready to perform he wrote for us what he called “Businesses”—variety entertainments to follow our little plays—in which we appeared in any capacity—clowns, fairies, Shakespeare or Sheridan characters, or anything else which occurred to him as suited to our various capacities, and for which he wrote clever and amusing topical rhymes.

 

 


[Pg 23]

CHAPTER II

A VICTORIAN GIRL

The Christmas festivities of 1862 had to be suspended, as my mother’s health again obliged my father to take her to the South of France. This time I was their sole companion, the younger children remaining in England.

We travelled by easy stages, sleeping at Folkestone, Boulogne, Paris, Dijon, Lyons, Avignon, and Toulon. I kept a careful journal of our travels on this occasion, and note that at Lyons we found one of the chief silk manufactories employed in weaving a dress for Princess Alexandra, then engaged to the Prince of Wales. It had a gold rose, shamrock and thistle combined on a white ground. There also we crossed the Rhône and saw in the hospital at Ville Neuve, among other curious old paintings, one by King Réné d’Anjou. It represented the Holy Family, and my childish eyes carried away the impression of a lovely infant patting a soft woolly lamb. So completely was I fascinated that, being again at Lyons after my marriage, I begged my husband to drive out specially to see the picture of my dream. Alas! ten years had changed my eyesight, and instead of the ideal figures, I saw a hard stiff Madonna and Child, with a perfectly wooden lamb. I mention this because I have often thought that the populace who were so enraptured with a Madonna like Cimabue’s in S. Maria Novella at Florence saw as I did something beyond what was actually there. Grand and[Pg 24] stately it is, but I think that unsophisticated eyes must have endowed it with motherly grace and beauty, as I gave life and softness to the baby and the lamb.

MENTONE

We went on by train from Toulon as far as Les Arcs and then drove to Fréjus, and next day to Cannes. Whether the train then only went as far as Les Arcs or whether my parents preferred the drive through the beautiful scenery I do not know—anyhow we seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the drive. I note that in April we returned from Cannes to Toulon by a new railroad. Cannes was a little seaside country town in those days, with few hotels and villas such as have sprung up in the last half-century; but even then it attracted sufficient visitors to render hotel accommodation a difficulty, and we had to shorten our intended stay. We went to pay our respects to the ex-Lord Chancellor Brougham, already King of Cannes. He was then eighty-five, and I have a vague recollection of his being very voluble; but I was most occupied with his great-nephew, a brother of the present Lord Brougham, who had a little house of his own in the garden which was enough to fascinate any child. From Cannes we drove to Nice, about which I record that “the only thing in Nice is the sea.” We had considerable difficulty in our next stage from Nice to Mentone, as a rock had in one place fallen from the top of a mountain to the valley below and filled up part of the road with the débris of its fall. At Mentone we spent over three weeks, occupied in walks with my father and drives with him and my mother, or sometimes he walked while I rode a donkey up the mountains. There was considerable political excitement at that time, Mentone having only been ceded by Italy to France in 1861 and the natives being by no means reconciled to[Pg 25] French rule. There was a great local feeling for Garibaldi, and though the “Inno Garibaldi” was forbidden I fear that my mother occasionally played it in the hotel, and any listener (such as the waiter) who overheard it beamed accordingly. I happened to have a scarlet flannel jacket for outdoor wear, and remember women in the fields shouting out to me “Petite Garibaldi.”

My mother often sat on the beach or among olive trees to draw while I read, or looked at the sea, or made up stories or poems, or invented imaginary kingdoms to be shared with my sister and brothers on my return—I fear always reserving supreme dominion for my own share.

When we left England the idea had been to continue our travels as far as Rome, but my mother’s health forbade, as the doctor said that the cold—particularly of the Galleries—would be too much for her. It was a great disappointment, above all to her, but she was very good in submitting. As so long a tranquil sojourn anywhere had not been contemplated, our library was rather restricted, but two little volumes which she had brought, one of Dryden, and Milton’s “Paradise Regained,” afforded me happy hours. Also I perpetrated an Epic in six Cantos on the subject of Rienzi! From Mentone we went to San Remo for a week, returning to Mentone February 17th, when preparations began for a Fête to be given by the English and Danish to the inhabitants of the town on the occasion of the Prince of Wales’s marriage. Old Lord Glenelg was, I believe, nominal President, but my father was the moving spirit—entertaining the populace being for him a thoroughly congenial task.

Many years afterwards in Samoa Robert Louis[Pg 26] Stevenson told me that he was at Mentone with his father at the time of the festivities, but he was a young boy, and neither he nor I knew under what circumstances we were ultimately to make acquaintance. There were all sorts of complications to be overcome—for one thing it was Lent and my father had to obtain a dispensation from M. le Curé for his flock to eat meat at the festal dinner. This was accorded on condition that fish was not also consumed. Then there appeared great questions as to who would consent to sit down with whom. We were told that orange-pickers would not sit down with orange-carriers. As a matter of fact I believe that it was against etiquette for women to sit down with the men, and that in the end 300 workmen sat down in the garden of the Hôtel Victoria (where we were staying) and I can still recollect seeing the women standing laughing behind them while the men handed them portions of food. Posts were garlanded with heath and scarlet geraniums, and decorated with English, French, and Danish flags and portraits of Queen Victoria and the Prince and Princess of Wales. The festivities included a boat-race and other races, and ended with illuminations and fireworks at night. All went off splendidly, though the wind rather interfered with lighting the little lamps which decorated some of the buildings.

In connection with the Prince’s wedding I heard one story which I believe was told by my aunt Macclesfield—(appointed Lady-in-Waiting to the Princess) to my mother, which as far as I know has never appeared in print.

The present ex-Kaiser, then little Prince William aged four, came over with his parents for the wedding. He appeared at the ceremony in a Scottish suit, whereupon[Pg 27] the German ladies remonstrated with his mother, saying that they understood that he was to have worn the uniform of a Prussian officer. “I am very sorry,” said his mother; “he had it on, but Beatrice and Leopold” (the Duke of Albany) “thought that he looked so ridiculous with tails that they cut them off, and we had to find an old Scottish suit of his uncle’s for him to wear!” An early English protest against militarism!

GENOA

Two days after the excitement of these royal festivities we again left Mentone by road for Genoa, which we reached March 16th, having stopped on the way at San Remo, Alassio, and Savona. At Genoa we joined my mother’s sister Agnes and her husband, Sir Archibald Campbell (of Garscube), and saw various sights in their company.

I knew very little of my Uncle Archibald, as he died comparatively young. At Genoa he was certainly very lively, and I fear that I contrived unintentionally but naturally to annoy him—it only shows how Italian politics excited everyone, even a child. He had seen some map in which the Italians had marked as their own territory, not only what they had lately acquired, but all to which they then aspired; I hardly imagine the Trentino, but certainly Venice. Uncle Archy scoffed at their folly—with precocious audacity, and I suppose having heard such Italian views at Mentone, I asserted that they would ere long have both Venice and Rome! He was quite indignant. It was impertinent of me, as I knew nothing of their power or otherwise, but it was a good shot!

I have heard that Sir Archibald’s mother was a stately old Scottish lady who thought a great deal of family, and precedence, and that one day he scandalised[Pg 28] her by asking, “Well, mother, what would be the precedence of an Archangel’s eldest son?”

Aunt Aggy was broken-hearted when he died, and always delicate, fell into very ill-health. When the Franco-German War broke out she set to work undauntedly for the sick and wounded, and positively wanted to go abroad to nurse in some hospital—probably in Germany. A certain very clever Dr. Frank, of German-Jewish descent, was to make arrangements. The whole Grosvenor family and all its married connections were up in arms, and my father was dispatched to remonstrate with her. With much annoyance and reluctance she gave in—and soon after married Dr. Frank! The family were again astounded, but after all when they knew him they realised that he made her happy and took to him quite kindly. My aunt and Dr. Frank lived a great deal at Cannes, where they had a nice villa—Grandbois—and many friends, and he had a tribe of admiring patients. Aunt Aggy was very charming and gentle and lived to a good age.

From Genoa we drove in easy stages to Spezia, noting towns and villages on the way. It was a delightful means of travelling, walking up the hills and stopping at little townships for luncheon in primitive inns. Motors have somewhat revived this method of travel, but whirling along at a great pace can never allow you to see and enjoy all the lesser beauties which struck you in the old leisurely days. I have duly noted all sorts of trivial incidents in my journal, but they are much what occur in all such expeditions and I need not dilate on the beauties of mountain, sea, and sky which everyone knows so well. At Spezia we saw the scene of Shelley’s shipwreck, and on one coast of the Gulf the prison where Garibaldi had been interned not very[Pg 29] long before. I record that it was a large building, and that his rooms, shown us by a sailor, were “very nice.” I trust that he found them so. After returning to our old quarters we left Mentone on April 15th, evidently with great regret and with a parting sigh to the voiturier who had driven us on all our expeditions, including those to Genoa and Spezia—also to my donkey-man and to the chambermaid. Looking back, I feel that these southern weeks were among the happiest of my life, and that something of the sunlight and mountain scenery remained as memories never effaced.

TRAFALGAR VETERANS

We returned to England by much the same route as our outward journey, only the railroad being now open from Cannes to Toulon a night at Fréjus was unnecessary. I cannot remember whether it was on our outward or our homeward journey, but on one or the other we met at the Palace of the Popes at Avignon an old custodian who had fought at Trafalgar and been for some years prisoner in England. He showed with some pride an English book, and it amused my mother to recognise a translation from a German work of which she did not hold a high opinion. I do not suppose that the French soldier read enough of it to do him much harm.

It is rather curious that my father on two or three occasions took us to see at Greenwich Hospital an old servant of Nelson’s who was with him at Trafalgar, so I have seen both a Frenchman and an Englishman who took part in that battle. Nelson’s servant had a little room hung all round with pictures of the hero. My father asked him whether the Admiral said the prayer which one print represents him as reciting on his knees before the battle. The man said he did not know what words he used, but he saw him kneel down to pray.[Pg 30] On our way to Paris we spent a night at Fontainebleau—and finally reached Stoneleigh on May 1st, 1863.

Speaking of my mother’s numerous brothers and sisters, I ought not to omit the eldest, Eleanor, Duchess of Northumberland, who was a very great lady, handsome and dignified till her death at an advanced age. She had no children, but was admired and respected by many nephews and nieces. I believe that her country neighbours regarded her as almost royal, curtsying when she greeted them. I remember her telling me that she could not go and hear some famous preacher in London because she would not have her carriage out on Sunday and had never been in any sort of cab. What would she have thought of the modern fashion of going in omnibuses? However, a year or two before her death the late Duke of Northumberland (grandson of her husband’s cousin and successor) told me with great glee that they had succeeded in getting Duchess Eleanor into a taxi and that she had enjoyed it very much. I cannot think how they managed it. She lived during her widowhood at Stanwick Park, and my youngest sister Cordelia had a rather comical experience when staying with her there on one occasion. My aunt, among other tabooed innovations, altogether objected to motors and would not allow any through her Lodge gates. Previous to her visit to Stanwick, Cordelia had stayed with the Lawsons at Brayton in Cumberland and while there had been stopped by a policeman for riding a tricycle after dark without a light. She left her address with the Lawson family, and while at Stanwick the local policeman appeared, absolutely trembling at having been forced to enter these sacred precincts, to summon her in that she “drove a carriage, to wit a tricycle, between the hours, etc.” The[Pg 31] household managed to keep it dark from Aunt Eleanor, and Cordelia sent authority to the Lawson family to settle the case and pay the fine—but what would the aunt have said had she known of her niece’s crime and penalty?

LORD MUNCASTER AND GREEK BRIGANDS

Lady Macclesfield, the second daughter, I have already mentioned. The surviving sister (one having died young) next above my mother in age was Elizabeth Lady Wenlock, who was very clever and, among her nine children, had charming daughters to whom I may refer later on. Then after my mother came Octavia and Agnes—and then Jane, married to Lord Muncaster, who died seven years later at Castellamare, leaving her with one little girl of about two years old. Margaret or Mimi, as we called her, was a great interest when the young widowed mother brought her to stay with us, soon after her father’s death. She was a dear little girl, and we were told that she was a great heiress, and somehow in the hands of the Lord Chancellor. Her father had died without a will, and all the property, including the beautiful Muncaster Castle in Cumberland, went to the child though her uncle succeeded to the title. However, poor little Mimi died when she was eleven years old, so her uncle succeeded to the property after all. He was the Lord Muncaster who was captured by the brigands near Marathon in 1870 with his wife and her sister, Miss L’Estrange, Mr. Vyner, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, and two other men. The brigands let the ladies go without injury—Lady Muncaster had hidden her rings in her mouth to protect them—but they would only let one man go to get ransom for the rest. The men drew lots and it fell to Vyner, but he absolutely refused to take the chance, saying that he was a bachelor and Lord Muncaster a married man. Instead of ransom the Greek[Pg 32] Government sent troops. The brigands were annihilated, but they first killed Vyner and his companions. It was said that the Government stood in with the brigands, but I have never quite understood why, if so, the former did not prefer the money to the death of their allies—unless they thought that they would have to produce the ransom. Lord Muncaster always had his head hanging a little to one side, and in my youth I had a floating idea that it was from permanent grief at the tragedy. Meantime my Aunt Jane married a second time, a brother of Lord Crawford’s. She was pretty, with green eyes and a nervous manner. She was a beautiful needlewoman and I believe a true musician.

THE GROSVENOR FAMILY

One more Grosvenor aunt must be remembered, my mother’s youngest sister Theodora. I have heard that my grandmother was greatly distressed at the loss of her fourth daughter, Evelyn, who died as a child, although there were seven surviving sisters, therefore when another girl-baby arrived she called her Theodora—the gift of God. Certainly she was greatly attached to the child, and I fancy that the little Theodora was given much more spoiling and freedom than her elder sisters. She was very lively and amusing, and being the only daughter left unmarried when my grandfather died—in 1869—she became her mother’s constant companion. When she ultimately married a brother of Lord Wimborne’s she and Mr. Merthyr Guest continued to live with my grandmother, who endowed them with a large fortune. Mr. Guest died some years ago, but Aunt Theodora still lives—and has one daughter.

My grandfather was a quiet old gentleman as far as I recollect him—he is somehow associated in my mind[Pg 33] with carpet slippers and a diffident manner. He was what they call of a “saving” disposition, but I really believe that he was oppressed with his great wealth, and never sure that he was justified in spending much on himself and his family. When he became a thorough invalid before his death he was ordered to take certain pills, and in order to induce him to do so my grandmother would cut them in two and take half herself. After his death his halves were discovered intact done up with red tape!

During his lifetime I stayed with my parents once or twice at the old Eaton Hall, before my uncle (the first Duke) built the present Palace. It was a nice, comfortable house. I have heard, from a neighbour who recollected the incident, that when it was being built the workmen employed would chisel rough representations of each other’s features in the gargoyles which formed part of the decoration. I suppose that was done in ancient times by the men who built the churches and colleges of those days.

My grandparents besides these numerous daughters had four sons—two, both named Gilbert, died, one as a baby, the other, a sailor, as a young man. The late Duke was my godfather and always very kind to me, particularly when, after my marriage, I stayed on more than one occasion at the new Eaton. I never knew a man more anxious to do all he could for the people about him, whether in the country or on his London property. He had very much the feeling of a patriarch and loved nothing better than to have about him the generations of his family. It was a complicated family, as he married first his own first cousin, Constance Leveson-Gower, and after her death the sister of his son-in-law Lord Chesham, husband of his second[Pg 34] daughter Beatrice. I cannot quite unravel it, but somehow he was brother-in-law to his own daughter. The youngest son, Richard, a quaint, amusing man, was created Lord Stalbridge.

Having said so much of my mother’s family, I think I should mention the two sisters of my father whom I have hitherto omitted. One was his second sister, Emma—a typical and excellent maiden aunt. She was principally noted for being my sister Agnes’s godmother and feeling it her duty to hear her Catechism—but neither Agnes nor any of us minded; in fact I remember—I suppose on some wet Sunday—that we all insisted on sharing the Scripture lesson and were given figs in consequence. The third sister was Caroline, twin with Augusta, but very different, for whereas Aunt Gussie was delicate and nervous, not to say irritable, Aunt Car was slow and substantial. She ended with marrying when no longer very young an old cousin of my father’s, a clergyman, Lord Saye and Sele, who had actually baptized her early in life. She made him an excellent wife; she had numerous step-children, though none of her own. Looking back on these Early Victorian uncles and aunts with their various wives and husbands, I cannot but claim that they were good English men and women, with a keen sense of duty to their tenants and neighbours rich and poor. Of course they varied immensely in character and had their faults like other people, but I cannot recall one, either man or woman, who did not try to act up to a standard of right, and think I was fortunate to have been brought up among them.

UNCLES AND AUNTS

In my younger days I had also living several great-uncles and aunts on both sides, but the only one whom I can spare time and space to mention here is my[Pg 35] Grandfather Leigh’s sister, Caroline Lady East. When she was young Mr. East fell in love with her and she with him, but he was an impecunious youth and my great-grandparents would not permit the marriage. Whereupon he disguised himself as a hay-maker and contrived an interview with his lady-love in which they exchanged vows of fidelity. Then he went to India, where he remained eleven years, and returned to find the lady still faithful, and having accumulated a sufficient fortune married her. They had a nice little country house on the borders of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, and, though they had no children, were one of the happiest old couples I ever knew. My great-aunt died in 1870, but Uncle East lived till over ninety and went out hunting almost to the end—so eleven years of India had not done him much harm. He stayed with us at Middleton after my marriage when old Lord Abingdon was also a guest. Lord Abingdon must have been over seventy at the time, but a good deal younger than Sir James. They had known each other in youth and were quite delighted to meet again, but each confided separately to my husband and myself that he had thought that the other old fellow was dead. However, they made great friends, and in token of reunion Lord Abingdon sent his servant to cut Uncle East’s corns!

To return to my recollections of my own girlhood. I think that it must have been in 1864 that I had a bad attack of chicken-pox which temporarily hurt my eyes and left me somewhat weak. Either in that autumn or the following one my parents took me to the Isle of Arran and left me there for a time with a maid—while they accompanied my brother Gilbert back to school. I loved the Isle of Arran, and was only [Pg 36]disturbed by the devotion of a child-niece of the landlady’s who would follow me about everywhere. The only way of escape was to go—or attempt to go—into the mountains of which she was afraid, knowing that there were giants there.

I must not omit one honour which I enjoyed in 1865. My mother took me to see my Aunt Macclesfield, who was in Waiting at Marlborough House when His present Majesty was born. My aunt welcomed us in the Princess of Wales’s pretty sitting-room hung with a kind of brocade with a pattern of roses. The baby was then brought in to be admired, and to my gratification I was allowed to hold the little Prince in my arms. I did not then realise that in after years I could claim to have nursed my King.

Shortly afterwards we used to hear a good deal of the American Civil War. We were too young to have much opinion as to the rival causes, but there was a general impression conveyed to our minds that the “Southerners were gentlemen.” Some time after the war was over, in December 1868, Jefferson Davis, the Southern (Confederate) President, came to stay at Stoneleigh. He was over in Europe on parole. We were told that he had been in prison, and one of my younger brothers was anxious to know whether we “should see the marks of the chains.” We had a favourite old housemaid who was preparing his room, and we imparted to her the thrilling information of his former imprisonment. Her only response was “Umph, well, I suppose he won’t want these silver candlesticks.” A large bedroom was being prepared for him, but she considered that silver candlesticks were only for ladies, and that presidents and prisoners were not entitled to such luxuries.

He proved to be a benevolent old gentleman[Pg 37] who impressed my cousins and myself by the paternal way in which he addressed any elder girl as “daughter.”

After this—but I cannot remember the particular years—we went in the autumn to Land’s End, The Lizard, and Tintagel, and also had villas at Torquay and Bournemouth respectively, but our experiences were too ordinary to be worthy of record. I think I was about seventeen when I went with my parents to Vichy, where my father drank the waters—and we went on to some beautiful Auvergne country. This was my last excursion abroad with my parents before I married.

CONFIRMATION

In 1867 I was confirmed. The church which we attended was in Park Street. It has since been pulled down, but was then regarded as specially the church of the Westminster family. My grandparents sat in a large pew occupying the length of the gallery at the west end of the church. We had a pew in the south gallery with very high sides, and my early recollections are of sitting on a dusty red hassock from which I could see little but the woodwork during a very long sermon. One Sunday when I was approaching years of discretion the clergyman gave out notice of a Confirmation, with the usual intimation that Candidates should give in their names in the Vestry. My mother told me to do this accompanied by my younger brother (Gilbert) as chaperon. The clergyman seemed a good deal surprised, and I rather fancy that I was the only Candidate. He was an old man who had been there for a long time. He said that he would come and see me at my parents’ house, and duly arrived at 37 Portman Square. I was sent in to my father’s sitting-room for the interview, and I believe that he was more embarrassed than I was, for I had long been led to regard[Pg 38] Confirmation as the proper sequence to learning my Catechism and a fitting step in religious life. The clergyman somewhat uneasily remarked that he had to ascertain that I knew my Catechism, and asked me to say it. This I could have done in my sleep, as it had for years formed part of my Sunday instruction. When I ended he asked after a slight pause whether I knew why the Nicene Creed was so called. This was unexpected pleasure. I had lately read Milman’s Latin Christianity to my mother, and should have enjoyed nothing better than delivering to my pastor a short lecture on the Arian and Athanasian doctrines. When I began it, however, he hastily cut me short, saying that he saw that I knew all about it—how old was I? “Seventeen and a half.” “Quite old enough,” said he, and told me that he would send me my ticket, and when I went to the church someone would show me where to sit. This ended my preparation as far as he was concerned. I believe he intimated to my parents that he would see Miss Leigh again, but in practice he took care to keep clear of the theological enfant terrible.

I was duly confirmed on May 31st, by Dr. Jackson, Bishop of London. I feel sure that my mother amply supplied any lacunæ left by the poor old clergyman. No doubt in those days Preparation for Confirmation was not regarded as seriously as at present, but I do not think that mine was quite typical, as some of my contemporary cousins underwent a much more serious course of instruction.

“COMING OUT”

That autumn I began to “come out” in the country. We went to a perfectly delightful ball at the Shaw-Stewarts’ at Ardgowan, where the late Duke of Argyll—then Lord Lorne—excited my admiration by the way he danced reels in Highland costume. Thence my[Pg 39] brother and I went to Hans Hall to the coming-of-age of my cousin Charles Adderley, now Lord Norton. The whole country-side swarmed to the festivities, and one party unable to obtain any other conveyance chartered a hearse. Miss Ferrier, in her novel The Inheritance, makes one of her female characters arrive at a country house, where she was determined to be received, in a hearse—but she was even more gruesome than my cousin’s guests as she accompanied the corpse!

The following year (1868), May 12th, I was presented—Princess Christian held the Drawing-Room on behalf of the Queen, who still lived in retirement as far as social functions were concerned. She, however, attended this Drawing-Room for about half an hour—receiving the entrée. Her devotion to the Prince Consort and to his memory was unparalleled. No doubt the fact that she had practically never had anyone with whom she could associate on equal terms until her marriage had a good deal to do with it. I know of a lady whom she summoned to sit with her when the Prince Consort was being carried to his funeral on the ground that she was a widow and could feel for her, and she said that her shudders when the guns went off were dreadful, and that she seemed unable to realise that here for the first time was something that she could not control.

To return to my entry in the world. Naturally I went during 1868 and the three or four succeeding years to the balls, dinners, and garden parties usual in the course of the season. The “great houses” then existed—they had not been pulled down or turned into public galleries and offices. Stafford House, Grosvenor House, Northumberland House, and others entertained in royal style, and there were Garden Parties at Argyll Lodge and Airlie Lodge on Campden Hill, at Syon, and[Pg 40] at Chiswick, then in possession of the Duke of Devonshire.

In those days there was still a sort of question as to the propriety of waltzing. Valses and square dances were danced alternately at balls, and a few—but very few—girls were limited to the latter. Chaperones were the almost invariable rule and we went back to them between the dances. “Sitting-out” did not come in till some years later. In the country, however, there was plenty of freedom, and I never remember any restriction on parties of girls and young men walking or rowing together without their elders. By the time I came out my brother Gilbert (Gilly) was at Harrow and Dudley and Rupert at Mr. Lee’s Private School at Brighton. My special charge and pet Rowland was still at home, and the youngest of the family Cordelia a baby.

Dudley and Rupy were inseparable. Duddy delicate, Rupy sturdy and full of mischief into which he was apt to drag his elder brother. I had to look after them, and see that they accomplished a few lessons in the holidays—no light task, but I was ready for anything to keep off holiday tutors and, I am afraid, to retain my position as elder sister. Love of being first was doubtless my besetting sin, and my good-natured younger brothers and sisters accepted my rule—probably also because it was easier than that of a real grown-up person. My mother had bad health, and my father took it for granted that it was my business to keep the young ones as far as possible out of mischief. As for my sister Agnes, she was always a saint, and I am afraid that I was a tyrant as far as she was concerned. Cordelia was born when I was over sixteen and was always rather like my child. Rowland was just seven when[Pg 41] her arrival delighted the family, and his first remark when he heard that he had a little sister was “I wonder what she will think of my knickerbockers”—to which he had lately been promoted. Boys wore little tunics with belts when they first left off baby frocks, and sailor suits were not introduced when my brothers were children.

IRELAND

My next special recollection is of a visit to Ireland which I paid in company with my parents, Gilbert, and Agnes in August 1869. We crossed in the Leinster and duly lionised Dublin. I kept a journal during this tour in which the sights of the city are duly noted with the remark, after seeing the post office, that we “made the various observations proper to intelligent but tired travellers.”

The country—Bray, Glendalough, and the Seven Churches seem to have pleased us much better. I do not know whether the guides and country people generally are as free with their legends now as they were fifty years ago, but they told us any amount of stories to our great satisfaction. Brough, the guide at the Seven Churches, was particularly voluble and added considerably to the tales of St. Kevin given in the guide-book. St. Kevin, as recounted by Moore in his ballad, pushed Kathleen into the Lake when she would follow him. I remember that Brough was much embarrassed when I innocently asked why he did this. However, he discreetly replied: “If your honourable father and your honourable mother want you to marry a gentleman and you don’t like him, don’t push him into the water!” Excellent advice and not difficult to follow in a general way. When St. Kevin was alive the skylark used to sing early in the morning and waken the people who had been up late the night before at a[Pg 42] wedding or merrymaking. When the Saint saw them looking so bad he asked, “What’s the matter?” On hearing that the lark would not let them get any sleep, he laid a spell that never more should lark sing above that lake. This encouragement of late hours seems rather inconsistent with his general asceticism. St. Kevin was more considerate to a blackbird than to the laverock. The former once laid her eggs on his extended hand, and he kept it held out until she had had time to build her nest in it and hatch her young.

Brough was even better acquainted with fairies than with saints. He knew a man at Cork named Jack M’Ginn, a wool-comber, who was carried away by the fairies for seven years. At the end of that time he accompanied them to a wedding (fairies like weddings). There was present a young lady whom the fairies wanted to make sneeze three times, as if they could do so and no one said “God bless her” they could take her away. So they tickled her nose three times with horse-hair, but as they were withdrawing it the third time Jack cried out in Irish “God bless her.” This broke the spell, and Jack fell crashing down amongst the crockery, everyone ran away, and he arose retransformed to his natural shape.

Another acquaintance of Brough’s—a stout farmer—met one evening three fairies carrying a coffin. Said one, “What shall we do for a fourth man?” “Switch the first man who passes,” replied the second. So they caught the farmer and made him carry it all night, till he found himself in the morning nearly dead not far from his own door. Our guide enjoined us to be sure, if fairies passed us in the air, to pick some blades of grass and throw them after them, saying “Good luck[Pg 43] to you good folk”: as he sagely remarked, a civil word never does harm. As more prosaic recollections, Brough told us of the grand fights at Glendalough, when the young men were backed up by their sisters and sweethearts. The etiquette was for a young woman to take off her right stocking, put a stone in it and use it as a weapon, “and any woman who fought well would have twenty young farmers wanting to marry her.”

KILLARNEY

We stopped at Cork, whence we drove to see Blarney Castle and its stones. In those days, and probably still, there were two, one called the Ladies’ Stone, which we three children all kissed, and another suspended by iron clamps from the top of the Castle, so that one had to lie down and hold on to the irons with one’s body partly over an open space—rather a break-neck proceeding, particularly in rising again. Only Gilly accomplished this. The railway to Glengariff then went as far as Dunmanway, whence it was necessary to drive. We slept at the Royal Hotel where we arrived in the evening, and to the end of my life I never shall forget the beauty of Bantry Bay as we saw it on waking next morning with all its islands mirrored in purple shadows. But the whole drive to Killarney, and above all the Lakes as they break upon your sight, are beyond description. We saw it all in absolutely glorious weather—possibly rare in those regions, but certainly the Lakes of Killarney impressed me then as more beautiful than either the Scottish or the English Lakes because of their marvellous richness of colour. After fifty years, and travels in many lands, I still imagine that they are only excelled in colour by the coral islands of the Pacific; but of course the Irish Lakes may dwell in my memory as more beautiful than they really[Pg 44] are, as I saw them first when I had far fewer standards of comparison. Anyhow, they were like a glorious dream. We spent some enchanting days at Killarney and saw all the surrounding beauties—the Gap of Dunloe with the Serpent Lake in which St. Patrick drowned the last snake in Ireland (in a chest into which he enticed the foolish creature by promising to let it out again), Mangerton, the highest mountain in Ireland but one, and Carrantuohill, the highest of all, which my brother and sister and I were allowed to ascend on condition that the guide would take good care of us. However, when out of our parents’ sight he found that he was troubled with a corn, and lay down to rest, confiding us to a ponyman who very nearly lost us in a fog. The ponies could only approach the base, the rest was pretty stiff climbing.

THE O’DONOGHUES

The Upper, the Middle, and the Lower Lake are all lovely, but the last was particularly attractive from its connection with the local hero—the Great O’Donoghue, whose story we gleaned from our guides and particularly a boy who carried our luncheon basket up Mangerton. He was a magician and had the power of taking any shape he pleased, but he ended by a tremendous leap into the Lake, after which he never returned to his home. Once every seven years, however, between six and seven on May Day morning, he rides from one of the islands in the Lower Lake to the opposite shore, with fairies strewing flowers before him, and for the time his Castle also reappears. Any unmarried man who sees him will marry a rich wife, and any unmarried woman a rich husband. Our boatman pointed out an island where girls used to stand to see him pass, but no one ever saw him except an old boatman, and he had been married a long time, so the[Pg 45] apparition did not help him. No O’Donoghue has ever been drowned since the hero’s disappearance. We heard two different versions of the cause of the tragedy. Both attributed it to his wife’s want of self-control. One related that the husband was in the habit of running about as a hare or a rabbit, and as long as she did not laugh all went well, but when he took this flying leap into the water she burst into a fit of laughter and thereby lost him permanently. Our boy guide’s story was more circumstantial and more dramatic. According to him, the O’Donoghue once turned himself into an eel, and knotted himself three times round Ross Castle, where he lived (a super-eel or diminutive castle!). This frightened the lady dreadfully, and he told her that if she “fritted” three times on seeing any of his wonders she would see him no more. Some time after he turned himself into a goose and swam on the lake, and she shrieked aloud, thinking to lose him. Finally he brought out his white horse and told her that this was her last chance of restraining her fears. She promised courage and kept quiet while he rode straight up the Castle wall, but when he turned to come down she fainted, whereupon, horse and all, he leapt into the water. The boy also declared that in the previous year he was seen by two boatmen, a lady and a gentleman, another man, and some “company,” whereupon the lady fainted—recalling the lady of O’Donoghue, it was the least she could do. In the lower Lake may still be seen rocks representing the chieftain’s pigeons, his spy-glass, his books containing the “Ould Irish,” and his mice (only to be seen on Sundays after prayers). In the Bitter Lake, which was pointed out to us from a distance, is the fairy-island where he dances with the fairies.

MYTHS AND LEGENDS

[Pg 46]The O’Donoghue in his lifetime had his frivolous moments. He once changed a number of fern fronds into little pigs, which he took to the fair at Killarney and sold to the jobbers. They looked just like other pigs until the purchasers reached some running water. As we all know, running water dissolves any spell, and the pigs all turned back into little blades of fern. As testimony to the authenticity of this tale the water was duly shown to us. The O’Donoghue, however, knew that the jobbers would not remain placid under the trick, so he went home and told his maid to say, if anyone asked for him, that he had gone to bed and to sleep and could only be wakened by pulling his legs. The jobbers arrived, received the message, went in and pulled his legs, which immediately came off! Off they ran in alarm, thinking that they had killed the man, but the good O’Donoghue was only having his fun with them, so called them back and returned their money. We picked up a good deal of fairy-lore during our sojourn in the south of Ireland, and I record it as it may have passed away during the past half-century. The driver who took us to the Gap of Dunloe told me that in his mother’s time a woman working in the fields put down her baby. While she was out of the way the steward saw the fairies change it for a fairy-baby who would have been a plague to her all her life. So as the child was crying and shrieking he stood over it and declared that he would shoot the mother or anyone else who should come near it, and as no one came to comfort it the fairies could not leave their baby to cry like that, so they brought back the stolen child and took away their own. That steward was such a man of resource that one cannot help wishing that he were alive to deal with the Sinn Feiners of the present[Pg 47] day. Another piece of good advice which we received was, if we saw a fairy (known by his red jacket) in a field to keep an eye fixed on him till we came up with him—then to take away his purse, and each time we opened it we should find a shilling. I regret to say that I never had the opportunity, but the guide, remarking my father’s tendency to give whenever asked, observed that he thought his lordship had found a fairy purse. It is a commonplace to notice the similarity of folk-lore in many lands pointing to a common origin, but it is rather curious to compare the tale of the O’Donoghue with that of the Physicians of Myddfai in South Wales. Only in that the husband, not the wife, caused the final tragedy. The fairy-wife, rising from the Lake, warns her mortal husband that she will disappear for ever if he strikes her three times. Long years they live in happiness, but thrice does he give her a slight blow to arouse her from unconventional behaviour at a christening, a wedding, and a funeral respectively. Thereupon she wends her way to the Lake and like a white cloud sinks into its waters. She leaves her sons a legacy of wisdom and healing skill, and from time to time a shadowy form and clear voice come to teach them still deeper knowledge.

From the south of Ireland we went to the north, but I regret to say were not nearly so fascinated by the loyal Ulsterman as by the forthcoming sons of the south. Nevertheless we enjoyed the wild scenery of Lough Swilly and the legends connected with Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway. Among the tales of Dunluce was that of a banshee whose duty it is (or was) to keep clean one of the rooms in the ruin. The old man who showed us over declared that she did not always properly fulfil her task. She is supposed to be the spirit[Pg 48] of a cook who fell over the rocks into the water and reappears as a tall woman with red hair. The place of cook must have been a rather trying one in ancient days, for the kitchen pointed out to us was on the edge of a precipice and we were told that once when a good dinner was prepared the attendants let it all fall into the sea! It was not, however, explained whether this was the occasion on which the like fate befell the cook. Possibly she died in a frantic effort to rescue it.

THE GIANT BENADADDA

The Giant’s Causeway was very interesting. We first entered Portcorn Cave, which has fine colours and a great deal of froth said to have been caused by the giant’s washerwoman washing a few collars there. The giant in question was called Fin MacCoul, and at the same time there lived another Giant in Scotland called Benadadda. Wishing to pass backwards and forwards, the two agreed that Fin should pave a way of columns and Benadadda should work it. Hence Fingal’s Cave—gal or gael meaning “the stranger”—presumably the name was given in compliment to the future guest. But the two champions found the work harder than they had expected, and Benadadda sent to tell Fin that if he did not make haste he must come over and give him a beating. Fin returned that he was not to put himself out, but to come if he pleased. Soon after Fin rushed in crying out to his wife, “Goodness gracious! he’s coming. I can’t face that fellow!” And he tumbled into bed.

Soon Benadadda walked in. “Good day, ma’am. Ye’re Mrs. McCoul?”

“Yes, sir; I percave you are Benadadda?”

“I am ma’am. Is Fin at home?”

“He’s just gone into the garden for a few vegetables, but he’ll be back directly. Won’t ye take a cheer?”

[Pg 49]“Thank you kindly”—and he sat down.

She continued: “I’ve got a little boy in that cradle and we think he’s taything, fer he won’t give the fayther nor me any raste. Just put your finger along his gums.”

Benadadda, unable to refuse a lady, put his fingers into Fin’s mouth, who promptly bit them off, and then jumping up called on Benadadda to come on. The Scottish giant, unable to fight with his wounded hand, told them, “I wish I’d never come among you craters,” and walked off. Mrs. MacCoul ran after him with an oatcake, but having tasted it he said, “Very good outside, but give the rest to your goodman”; for she had baked the tin girdle inside the cake. This is how I recorded the tale, which I suppose I picked up locally, but I have somewhere heard or read another account in which, without waiting for his fingers to be bitten off, Benadadda exclaimed, “Begorra, is that the baby? then I’ll be but a mouthful to the fellow himself,” and made off.

I am unable to say which version is authentic, but neither seems to attribute undaunted valour to either champion, and both agree that Irish wit got the better of superior Scottish strength. I record these tales rather than attempt description of the Caves and other beauties of the coast, as the physical features remain and the legends may be forgotten. The great rocks shaped like columns are called the Giant’s Organs, and are (or were) supposed to play every Christmas morning. The tune they play is “St. Patrick’s day in the morning,” upon hearing which the whole Causeway dances round three times.

We left Ireland at the end of August, having thoroughly enjoyed our travels there. It was then a peaceful[Pg 50] country. The Queen had given her name to Queenstown Harbour in 1849, and I suppose had visited Killarney on the same occasion. Anyhow, memories of her stay still lingered there. I recollect even now the enthusiasm with which a boatman who had been one of those who had taken her on the Lake said, “I passed a long day looking at her.” It was a thousand pities that she did not often revisit Ireland.

 

 


[Pg 51]

CHAPTER III

MARRIAGE

Next year—1870—all thoughts were to a large extent taken up with the Franco-German War. It does not seem to me that we took violent sides in the struggle. Naturally we were quite ignorant of the depths of cruelty latent in the German nature, or of the manœuvres on the part of Bismarck which had led to the declaration of war. We were fond of our sister’s French governess Mdlle. Verdure, and sorry for the terrible collapse of her country, but I think on the whole that the strongest feeling in our family was amazement at the revelation of inefficiency on the part of the French, mingled with some admiration for the completeness of German organisation. Anyhow, everyone was set to work to provide comforts for the sick and wounded on both sides—medical stores which I fancy would have been to a large extent condemned wholesale if submitted to the medical authorities during the late War, but which I am sure were very useful and acceptable in ’70-71. As is well known, that winter was an exceptionally hard one—we had fine times skating, and I remember a very pleasant visit to old Lord Bathurst at Cirencester—but it must have been terrible in Paris. Our French man-cook had some refugee sisters quartered in the neighbourhood who were employed by my mother in dressmaking work for our[Pg 52] benefit, but I do not know whether refugees were numerous in England.

What did really excite us in common with all England were the excesses of the Commune. Never shall I forget the papers coming out with terrific headlines: “Paris in Flames—Burning of the Tuileries,” and so on. I passed the morning in floods of tears because they were “burning history,” and had to be rebuked by my mother for expressing the wish that the incendiaries could be soaked in petroleum and themselves set on fire.

The year 1871 was rendered interesting to our family by the marriages of our two Leigh uncles—Chandos, commonly known among us as “Uncle Eddy,” married an amiable and good-looking Miss Rigby, who inherited money from a (deceased) Liverpool father. Uncle Eddy was a great character. A fine, athletic man, successful in every walk of life which he entered, a good horseman, cricketer and actor, he did well at the Bar and seemed to know practically everybody and to be friends with them all. He was blessed with supreme self-confidence and appeared innocently convinced that everyone was as much interested in his affairs as he was himself. This childlike disposition was really attractive, and quite outweighed the boyish conceit which endured to the end of a long and useful life.

His love affairs with Miss Rigby were naturally very public property. I heard all about them from the beginning, and have no doubt that anyone of age to listen and capable of sympathising was similarly favoured. He originally proposed to the young lady after a few days’ acquaintance, and she turned pale and said “You have no right to speak to me in this way.” Ups and downs followed, including a [Pg 53]consultation with planchette, which quite properly wavered and shook and spoke with an uncertain voice. This was all in 1870. Some time in January we acted a small farce which I had perpetrated called The Detective. When it was over my uncle informed me that failing his marriage he intended to leave me a thousand pounds in recognition of this play. Fortunately I founded no hopes on that thousand pounds, for I think that it was the following morning when Uncle Eddy came shouting along the top corridor where we slept. “Margaret—you’ve lost your thousand pounds!” The post had come in and the fair lady had relented.

FANNY KEMBLE

James, my father’s youngest brother, called “Uncle Jimmy,” had travelled in the United States and been entertained on her plantation in Georgia by a charming Southern lady—a Miss Butler, daughter of the descendant of an old Irish family who had married the well-known actress Fanny Kemble. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce Butler had separated—not from any wrong-doing, but from absolute incompatibility of temper. For one thing the wife took up a violent anti-slavery attitude—a little awkward when (as she must have known when she married) the husband owned a cotton plantation worked by slave labour. However, the two daughters remained on friendly terms with both parents, and Mr. Butler died during—or shortly after—the war. One daughter married a Dr. Wister and became the mother of the well-known author, Owen Wister; the younger, Frances, married my uncle and was adopted into the family as “Aunt Fanny.” Though some ten or eleven years older than myself, she and I became the greatest friends, and I much liked her somewhat erratic, though withal stately, mother, who was called “Mrs. Kemble.” Both Uncles were married (on different[Pg 54] days) in June 1871, my sister Agnes being bridesmaid to Miss Butler and I to Miss Rigby.

Both marriages were very happy ones, though my Uncle Chandos ended his life in a dark cloud cast by the late War—in which he lost his only two sons, and his wife was killed in a motor accident not long after his death.

Since I wrote above I have found an old journal from May 18th, 1868, to November 3rd, 1869. I do not extract much from it, as it largely consists of records of the various balls and entertainments which we attended—but it is rather amusing to note what circumstances, social and otherwise, struck the fancy of a girl in her first two seasons. Politically the Irish Church Bill seems to have been the burning question. We went to part of the Debate on the Second Reading (June 17th, 1869) in the House, and I not only give a summary of Lord Salisbury’s speech, but when the Bill was carried, devote over two pages of my journal to a full description of the details of the measure. The causes célèbres of Madame Rachel, the Beauty Doctor, and of the nun, Miss Saurin, against her Mother Superior, Mrs. Starr, appear also to have been topics of conversation.

AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS

One visit is perhaps worth recording. My father’s mother was a Miss Willes of an old family living on the borders of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire—regular country people. One of her brothers, Charles, was married to a certain Polly—I think she was a Miss Waller, but anyhow they were a plump, old-fashioned pair. She was supposed to keep a book in which were recorded the names of over a hundred nephews and nieces, and to sell a pig to give a present to any one of the number who married. On the last day of 1868 my brother Gilly and I went with our Aunt Georgiana[Pg 55] to stay with this charming old couple at King-Sutton Manor House near Banbury. This is how I describe the New Year festivities of fifty years ago: “It is a queer old house like one in a storybook, full of corners. My wash-stand was in a recess with a window, separated from the rest of the room by doors so that it looked like a chapel. We had dinner between six and seven, a real Christmas dinner with nearly twenty people—great-uncle Charles, great-aunt Martha, great-aunt Sophy, George Willes, Willie Willes, Stany Waller, the clergyman Mr. Bruce, Aunt Polly herself beaming at the head of the table, turkey and beef stuck with holly, and the plum-pudding brought in, in flaming brandy.... Almost everyone seemed related to all the rest. A few more people came after dinner while we were in the drawing-room and the dining-room was being cleared for dancing. Two fiddlers and a blowing-man were then perched on a table in a corner and dancing began—quadrilles, lancers, jig, reel, and valse carried on with the utmost energy, by Aunt Polly in particular, till about half-past eleven, when muffled bells began to ring in a church close by and the dancing was stopped that we might all listen. At twelve o’clock the muffles were taken off, Aunt Polly charged with Xmas cards into the midst of her company, punch was brought in in great cups, silver, I believe; everyone kissed, shook hands, and wished everyone else a Happy New Year, the bells rang a joy-peal, and we had supper, and then began dancing again till between one and two in the morning. After many efforts Gilly succeeded in catching Aunt Polly under the misletoe and kissing her.” I do not know what a “blowing-man” may have been, but have a vivid recollection of Aunt Polly trying to dance everyone down in a perpetual jig, and of the[Pg 56] portly figure of Uncle Charles, who had to be accommodated with two chairs at dinner.

We had other very pleasant visits—and amongst them we stayed with my uncle and aunt Wenlock for my cousin Carry Lawley’s wedding to Captain Caryl Molyneux. This marriage was particularly interesting to all the cousinhood, as it was brought about after considerable opposition. Carry was an extraordinarily pretty, lively, and attractive girl rather more than a year older than myself. She had brilliant eyes and auburn hair and was exceedingly clever and amusing. Her family naturally expected her to make a marriage which would give all her qualities a wide sphere. However, at the mature age of eleven she won the affections of Lord Sefton’s younger brother and he never fluctuated in his choice. I do not know at what exact moment he disclosed his admiration, but he contrived to make the young lady as much in love with him as he was with her. Vainly did her mother refuse consent. Carry stuck to her guns, and I believe ultimately carried her point by setting up a cough! Anyhow the parents gave in, and when they did so, accepted the position with a good grace. Somehow what was considered sufficient provision for matrimony was made and Caryl and Carry were married, on a brilliant spring day in April 1870.

A PRE-MATRIMONIAL PARTY

It was at the Wenlocks’ London house, in the following year, that I made the acquaintance of Lord Jersey. We had unknowingly met as children at an old inn on Edgehill called “The Sunrising”; at that time his parents, Lord and Lady Villiers, lived not far off at Upton House, which then belonged to Sarah, Lady Jersey. While my brother and I were playing outside, a boy with long fair hair looked out of the inn and smilingly lashed his whip at us, unconscious that it was[Pg 57] his first salutation to his future wife! I discovered in after years that George Villiers, as he then was, used to ride over for lessons to a neighbouring clergyman and put up his pony at the inn.

At the dinner-party at Berkeley Square Lord Jersey did not take me in, and I had not the slightest idea who he was, but when the ladies left the dining-room I was laughed at for having monopolised his attention when he was intended to talk to his partner. He was reckoned exceedingly shy, and I thought no more of the matter till the following season, to which I shall return in due course.

After our return to Stoneleigh, though I do not recollect in which month (I think August), we had a large and gay party including a dance—it was distinctly a pre-matrimonial party, as three of the girls whom it included were either engaged or married before twelve months were over, though none of them to the men present. The three girls were Gwendolen (then called Gwendaline) Howard, who married Lord Bute; Maria Fox-Strangways, married to Lord Bridport’s son Captain Hood; and myself. Rather oddly, a much older man and a widower, Lord Raglan, who was also of the party, caught the matrimonial microbe and married his second wife in the ensuing autumn.

Among others my cousin and great friend Hugh Shaw-Stewart was there and immortalised our doings in verse. At Christmas time I managed to get slight congestion of the lungs and soon after went to spend some time with my kind uncle and aunt Sir Michael and Lady Octavia Shaw-Stewart at Fonthill, and Hughie, who had also suffered from chest trouble, stayed with his parents there while preparing for Oxford.

FONTHILL ABBEY

Fonthill, as is well known, belonged to the eccentric[Pg 58] Beckford and was full of his traditions. After his death the property was divided and my grandfather Westminster bought the portion which included Beckford’s old house, of which the big tower had fallen down, and built himself a modern house lower down the hill. Another part was bought—I do not know when—by Mr. Alfred Morrison. When my grandfather Westminster died in the autumn of 1869 he left the reversion of Fonthill Abbey to Uncle Michael. Perhaps he thought that the Shaw-Stewarts should have an English as well as a Scottish home. However that might have been, Fonthill is a delightful place—and I benefited by their residence there at this time. I think that they were only to come into actual possession after my grandmother’s death—but that she lent it to them on this occasion as my aunt was delicate and it was considered that she would be the better for southern air.

The modern house was a comfortable one with good rooms, but had a peculiarity that no room opened into another, as my grandfather objected to that arrangement—dressing-rooms, for instance, though they might open into the same lobbies, might not have doors into the bedrooms.

Part of Beckford’s old house higher up the hill was preserved as a sort of museum. The story was that he insisted on continuous building, Sundays and weekdays alike. The house had a very high tower which could be seen from a hill overlooking Bath, where he ultimately went to live. Every day he used to go up the hill to look at his tower, but one morning when he ascended as usual he saw it no longer—it had fallen down. It used to be implied that this was a judgment on the Sunday labour. Also we were told that he made the still-existing avenues and drove about them[Pg 59] at night, which gave him an uncanny reputation. Probably his authorship of that weird tale Vathek added to the mystery which surrounded him. He had accumulated among many other treasures a number of great oriental jars from the Palace of the King of Portugal, and when these were sold after his death my grandfather, to the best of my recollection, purchased three.

Mr. Morrison had secured a good many of the others, which I saw in after years when I stayed at the other Fonthill House which he had built on his part of the property. Many of the other treasures passed, as is well known, into the possession of Beckford’s daughter who married the 10th Duke of Hamilton. Alas—most of them must have been dispersed ere now!

Mr. Alfred Morrison, when I was at Fonthill with my uncle and aunt, was a subject of much interest, as it was rumoured that he wanted to emulate Beckford. I do not quite know in what way beyond trying to collect the oriental jars. He was a distinctly literary man, and was reported to have married his wife because he found her reading a Greek grammar in the train. Whether or no that was the original attraction I cannot say, but she proved a delightful and amusing person when I met her in after years. Meantime we used to hear of the beautiful horses which he sent to the meets of the local hounds, though he did not ride, and other proofs of his wealth and supposed eccentricity.

My uncle as well as my aunt being far from strong, we led a quiet though pleasant life. Hughie and I shared a taste for drawing and painting of very amateur description and Hughie used to help me with Latin verses, in which I then liked to dabble.

After my return to Stoneleigh I had yet another[Pg 60] treat. My Uncle James and his new wife “Aunt Fanny” were kind enough to ask me to share in the spring their first trip abroad after their marriage. We went via Harwich to Rotterdam and thence for a short tour in Holland and Belgium with which I was highly delighted. The quaint canals, the cows with table-cloths on their backs, the queer Jewish quarter in Amsterdam, and still more the cathedrals and picture galleries in Belgium gave me infinite pleasure, but are too well known to describe.

Even the copyist in the Antwerp Gallery who, being armless, painted with his toes was an amusement, as much to my uncle, who loved freaks, as to myself. Ghent and Bruges were a revelation; and I was much entertained by the guide who took us up the Belfry of St. Nicholas (I think it was) at the former city and pointed triumphantly to the scenery as “bien beau, tout plat, pas de montagnes.” He shared the old Anglo-Saxon conception of Paradise.

“Nor hills nor mountains there
Stand steep, nor strong cliffs
Tower high, as here with us; nor dells nor dales,
Nor mountain-caves, risings, nor hilly chains;
Nor thereon rests aught unsmooth,
But the noble field flourishes under the skies
With delights blooming.”

In the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, over the high altar, was an image of the saint with three children in a tub. My uncle asked a priest what he was doing with the children, but all the good man could say was that “St. Nicolas aimait beaucoup les enfants,” quite ignorant of the miracle attributed to his own saint, namely, that he revived three martyred boys by putting them into a barrel of salt.

Shortly after our return to England we moved to[Pg 61] Portman Square for the season. At a dinner-party—I believe at Lord Camperdown’s—I again met Lord Jersey, but fancied that he would have forgotten me, and subsequently ascertained that he had the same idea of my memory. So we did not speak to each other. Later on, however, my father told my mother that he had met Lord Jersey and would like him asked to dinner. The families had been friends in years gone by, but had drifted apart. My mother agreed, sent the invitation, which was accepted. In arranging how the guests were to sit I innocently remarked to my mother that it was no good counting Lord Jersey as a young man—or words to that effect—as “he would never speak to a girl”—and I was rather surprised when in the drawing-room after he came across to me and made a few remarks before the party broke up.

After this events moved rapidly for me. Jersey, unexpectedly to many people, appeared at balls at Montagu House, Northumberland House (then still existing), and Grosvenor House. Also he came to luncheon once or twice in Portman Square. He did not dance at balls, but though “sitting-out” was not then the fashion we somehow found a pretext—such as looking at illuminations—for little walks. Then Lord Tollemache drove my mother and me to a garden-party at Syon, where I well recollect returning from another “little walk” across a lawn where my mother was sitting with what appeared to me to be a gallery of aunts.

ENGAGEMENT

We went to a last ball at the Howards of Glossop in Rutland Gate, and discovering that we were about to leave London Jersey took his courage in two hands and came to Portman Square, July 18th, and all was happily settled.

[Pg 62]I went next morning—it may have been the same evening—to tell Aunt Fanny, who was then laid up at a house not far from ours. I had been in the habit of paying her constant visits, so she had an idea of what might happen, and I found her mother, Mrs. Fanny Kemble, with her. One word was enough to enlighten my aunt, who then said, “May I tell my mother?” I assented, and she said, “This child has come to tell me of her engagement.” Whereupon Mrs. Kemble demanded, with a tragical air worthy of her aunt Mrs. Siddons, “And are you very happy, young lady?” I cheerfully answered, “Oh yes”—and she looked as if she were going to cry. My aunt said afterwards that any marriage reminded her of her own unfortunate venture. Aunt Fanny was much amused when I confided to her that finding immediate slumber difficult the first night of my engagement I secured it by attempting the longest sum which I could find in Colenso’s arithmetic. My brothers and sisters accepted the news with mixed feelings—but poor little Cordelia, who had been left at Stoneleigh, was quite upset. I wrote her a letter in which I said that Lord Jersey should be her brother and she should be bridesmaid. The nurse told me that she burst into tears on receiving it and said that he should not be her brother, and not take away Markie. She quite relented when she saw him, because she said that he had nice smooth light hair like Rowly—and as time went on, she suggested that if Aggy would only “marry or die” she should be “head girl and hear the boys their lessons.” As the youngest “boy” was seven years older than herself this may be regarded as an exceptional claim for woman’s supremacy in her family.

My future mother-in-law, Jersey’s mother, and his[Pg 63] brothers welcomed me most kindly. As for his sisters, Lady Julia Wombwell and Lady Caroline Jenkins, I cannot say enough of their unvarying friendship and affection.

MARRIED TO LORD JERSEY

I was engaged about the middle of July, and shortly we returned to Stoneleigh. My mother was terribly busy afterwards, as my brother Gilbert came of age on the first of September and the occasion was celebrated with great festivities, including a Tenants’ Ball, when the old gateway was illuminated as it had been for the Queen’s visit. The ivy, however, had grown so rapidly in the intervening years that an iron framework had to be made outside it to hold the little lamps. There was a very large family party in the house, and naturally my affairs increased the general excitement and I shared with my brother addresses and presentations. As my mother said—it could never happen to her again to have a son come of age and a daughter married in the same month. She was to have launched the Lady Leigh lifeboat in the middle of September, but my sister was commissioned to do it instead—and we returned to Portman Square for final preparations. Like most girls under similar circumstances I lived in a whirl during those days, and my only clear recollections are signing Settlements (in happy ignorance of their contents) and weeping bitterly the night before the wedding at the idea of parting from my family, being particularly upset by my brother Dudley’s floods of fraternal tears. However, we were all fairly composed when the day—September 19th, 1872, dawned—and I was safely married by my Uncle Jimmy at St. Thomas’s Church, Orchard Street. It was not our parish, but we had a special licence as it was more convenient. My bridesmaids were my two sisters,[Pg 64] Frances Adderley, one of the Cholmondeleys, Minna Finch (daughter of my father’s cousin Lady Aylesford), and Julia Wombwell’s eldest little girl Julia—afterwards Lady Dartrey.

When all was over and farewells and congratulations ended, Jersey and I went down for a short honeymoon at Fonthill, which my grandmother lent us. So ended a happy girlhood—so began a happy married life. I do not say that either was free from shadows, but looking back my prevailing feeling is thankfulness—and what troubles I have had have been mostly of my own making.

My father was so good—my mother so wise. One piece of advice she gave me might well be given to most young wives. “Do not think that because you have seen things done in a particular way that is the only right one.” I cannot resist ending with a few sentences from a charming letter which Aunt Fanny wrote me when I went to Stoneleigh after my engagement:

“I have thought of you unceasingly and prayed earnestly for you. I could not love you as I do, did I not believe that you were true and good and noble—and on that, more than on anything else, do I rest my faith for your future. Oh, Marky my darling child, cling to the good that is in you. Never be false to yourself. I see your little boat starting out on the sea of life, anxiously and tremblingly—for I know full well however smooth the water may be now there must come rocks in everyone’s life large enough to wreck one. Do you call to mind, dear, how you almost wished for such rocks to battle against a little time ago, wearying of the tame, even stream down which you were floating? God be with you when you do meet them.”

 

 


[Pg 65]

CHAPTER IV

EARLY MARRIED LIFE

It is more difficult to write at all consecutively of my married life than of my girlhood, as I have less by which I can date its episodes and more years to traverse—but I must record what I can in such order as can be contrived.

We did not stay long at Fonthill, and after a night or two in London came straight to our Oxfordshire home—Middleton Park.

My husband’s grandfather and father had both died in the same month (October 1859) when he was a boy of fourteen. He was called “Grandison” for the three weeks which intervened between their deaths, having been George Villiers before, so when he returned again to Eton after his father died, the boys said that he came back each time with a fresh name. His grandmother, however, the well-known Sarah, Lady Jersey, continued to reign at Middleton, for the largest share of the family fortune belonged to her as heiress of her grandfather Mr. Child—and, I suppose, in recognition of all he had enjoyed of hers, her husband left her the use of the Welsh property and she alone had the means to keep up Middleton. She was very fond of my husband, but when she died, soon after he came of age and inherited the place, he did not care to make many changes, and though his mother paid lengthened visits[Pg 66] she had never really been mistress of the house. Therefore I seemed to have come straight upon the traces of a bygone generation. Even the china boxes on my dressing-table and the blotters on the writing-tables were much as Lady Jersey had left them—and there were bits of needlework and letters in the drawers which brought her personally vividly before me. The fear and awe of her seemed to overhang the village, and the children were still supposed to go to the Infant School at two years old because she had thought it a suitable age. She had been great at education, had built or arranged schools in the various villages belonging to her, and had endowed a small training school for servants in connection with a Girls’ School at Middleton. Naturally the care of that school and other similar matters fell to my province, and I sometimes felt, as I am sure other young women must have done under similar circumstances, that a good deal of wisdom was expected from me at an age which I should have considered hardly sufficient for a second housemaid. Some of the schools of that date must have been quaint enough. An old lame woman still had charge of the Infant School at the neighbouring hamlet of Caulcot, whom we soon moved into the Almshouses. In after years one of her former pupils told me that she was very good at teaching them Scripture and a little reading, but there was no question of writing. If the old lady had occasion to write a letter on her own account she used a knitting-needle as a pen while my informant held the paper steady. If a child was naughty she made him or her stand crouched under the table as a punishment. She never put on a dress unless she knew that Lady Jersey was at the Park, and then, she being crippled with rheumatism, her[Pg 67] pupil had to stand on a chair to fasten it up, lest the great lady should pay a surprise visit.

LORD JERSEY’S MOTHER

Sarah, Lady Jersey, had a great dislike to any cutting down or even lopping of trees. She had done much towards enlarging and planting the Park, and doubtless trees were to her precious children. Therefore the agent and woodmen, who realised the necessity of a certain amount of judicious thinning, used to wait until she had taken periodical drives of inspection amongst the woods, and then exercised some discretion in their operations, trusting to trees having branched out afresh or to her having forgotten their exact condition before she came again.

In one school, Somerton, I was amused to find a printed copy of regulations for the conduct of the children, including injunctions never to forget their benefactress. But she was really exceedingly good to the poor people on the property and thoughtful as to their individual requirements. One old woman near her other place, Upton, told me how she had heard of her death soon after receiving a present from her, and added, “I thought she went straight to heaven for sending me that petticoat!” Also she built good cottages for the villagers before the practice was as universal as it became later on. The only drawback was that she would at times insist on the building being carried on irrespective of the weather, with the result that they were not always as dry as they should have been.

Lady Jersey was well known in the world, admired for her beauty and lively conversation, and no doubt often flattered for her wealth, but she left a good record of charity and duties fulfilled in her own home.

As for her beautiful daughter Lady Clementina, she[Pg 68] was locally regarded as an angel, and I have heard that when she died the villagers resented her having been buried next to her grandmother, Frances Lady Jersey, as they thought her much too good to lie next to the lady who had won the fleeting affections of George IV.

I soon found home and occupation at Middleton, but I confess that after being accustomed to a large and cheerful family I found the days and particularly the autumn evenings rather lonely when my husband was out hunting, a sport to which he was much addicted in those days. However, we had several visitors of his family and mine, and went to Stoneleigh for Christmas, which was a great delight to me.

Soon after we went abroad, as it was thought desirable after my chest attack of the previous winter that I should not spend all the cold weather in England. We spent some time at Cannes, and I fancy that it really did my husband at least as much good as myself—anyhow he found that it suited him so well that we returned on various occasions.

Sir Robert Gerard was then a great promoter of parties to the Ile Ste Marguerite and elsewhere, and the Duc de Vallombrosa and the Duchesse de Luynes helped to make things lively.

IN LONDON

I will not, however, dwell on scenes well known to so many people, and only say that after a short excursion to Genoa and Turin we returned in the early spring, or at the end of winter, to superintend a good deal of work which was then being done to renovate some of the rooms at Middleton. At the beginning of May we moved to 7 Norfolk Crescent—a house which we had taken from Mr. Charles Fane of Child’s Bank—and my eldest son was born there on June 2nd, 1873. He had come into the world unduly soon—before he was [Pg 69]expected—and inconveniently selected Whit Monday when the shops were shut and we were unable to supply certain deficiencies in the preparations. Nevertheless he was extremely welcome, and though very small on his arrival he soon made up for whatever he lacked in size, and, as everyone who knows him will testify, he is certainly of stature sufficient to please the most exacting.

 

THE LIBRARY, MIDDLETON PARK.

 

MIDDLETON PARK.
From photographs by the present Countess of Jersey.

 

My mother-in-law and her second husband, Mr. Brandling, were among our frequent visitors. Mr. Brandling had a long beard and a loud voice, and a way of flinging open the doors into the dining-room when he came in in the morning which was distinctly startling. Apart from these peculiarities he did not leave much mark in the world. He was very fond of reading, and I used to suggest to him that he might occupy himself in reviewing books, but I do not think that he had much power of concentration. My mother-in-law was tactful with him, but he had a decided temper, especially when he played whist. As I did not play, this did not affect me.

My younger sister-in-law, Caroline, and I were great friends. She had married Mr. Jenkins, who was well known as a sportsman and an amiable, genial man. His chief claim to fame, apart from his knowledge of horses and their training, was an expedition which he had made to avenge his sister’s death in Abyssinia. His sister had married a Mr. Powell and she and her husband had been murdered by natives when travelling in that country. Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Powell’s brother went to Egypt, collected followers, went into the territory where the murder had taken place, burned the village which sheltered the aggressors, and had the chief culprits handed over to them for execution. It was said that[Pg 70] the fact that a couple of Englishmen would not leave their relatives’ death unavenged produced more effect than the whole Abyssinian expedition.

ISOLA BELLA, CANNES

The winter after my boy’s birth Caroline lost hers, who was a few months older than mine, and was herself very ill, so we invited her and Mr. Jenkins to join us at Cannes, where we had this season taken a villa—Isola Bella. We were the first people who inhabited it. It has since been greatly enlarged and its gardens so extended that it is now one of the finest houses in the place. Even then it was very pretty and attractive, and we enjoyed ourselves greatly.

There was a quaint clergyman at that time who had known Caroline when she had been sent as a girl to Hyères, where he then ministered, and where he had been famous for a head of hair almost too bushy to admit of being covered by a hat. He was anxious to re-claim acquaintance, but though civil she was not effusive. He was noted for paying long visits when he got into anyone’s house. I heard of one occasion on which his name was announced to a young lady who was talking to a man cousin whom she knew well. The youth on hearing the name exclaimed that he must hide, and crept under the sofa. The visitor stayed on and on till the young man could stand his cramped position no longer and suddenly appeared. The parson was quite unmoved and unmovable by the apparition of what he took to be a lover, and merely remarked “Don’t mind me!”

We found this house so charming that we sent our courier back to England to bring out our boy. My aunt, Lady Agnes, and her husband, Dr. Frank, with their baby girl, lived not far off—they had found Isola Bella for us and were pleasant neighbours. My husband,[Pg 71] Caroline, and myself found additional occupation in Italian lessons from a fiery little patriot whose name I forget, but who had fought in the war against the Austrians. Among other things he had a lurid story about his mother whose secrets in the Confessional had been betrayed by a priest, resulting in the arrest and I believe death of a relative. After which though the lady continued her prayers she—not unnaturally—declined to make further confessions.

Our sojourn on this visit to Cannes was further brightened by Conservative triumphs in the 1874 elections. We used to sit after breakfast on a stone terrace in front of the villa, Mr. Jenkins smoking and Jersey doing crochet as a pastime—being no smoker; and morning after morning the postman would appear with English papers bringing further tidings of success.

The Jenkinses returned to England rather before ourselves—we travelled back towards the end of April in singularly hot weather, and when we reached Dover Jersey left me there for a few days to rest while he went back to Middleton. Unfortunately the journey, or something, had been too much for me, and a little girl, who only lived for a day, appeared before her time at the Lord Warden Hotel. It was a great disappointment, and I had a somewhat tedious month at the hotel before migrating to 12 Gloucester Square—the house which we had taken for the season.

I have no special recollections of that season, though I think that it was that year that I met Lord Beaconsfield at the Duke of Buccleuch’s. It is, however, impossible to fix exactly the years in which one dined in particular places and met particular people, nor is it at all important.

OXFORDSHIRE NEIGHBOURS

I would rather summarise our life in the country,[Pg 72] where we had garden parties, cricket matches, and lawn tennis matches at which we were able to entertain our neighbours. Now, alas! the whole generation who lived near Middleton in those days has almost passed away. Our nearest neighbours were Sir Henry and Lady Dashwood at Kirtlington Park with a family of sons and daughters; Lord Valentia, who lived with his mother, Mrs. Devereux, and her husband the General at Bletchington; and the Drakes—old Mrs. Drake and her daughters at Bignell. Sir Henry’s family had long lived at Kirtlington, which is a fine house, originally built by the same architect—Smith, of Warwick—who built the new portion of Stoneleigh early in the eighteenth century. Sir Henry was a stalwart, pleasant man, and a convinced teetotaller. Later on than the year of which I speak the Dashwoods came over to see some theatricals at Middleton in which my brothers and sisters and some Cholmondeley cousins took part. After the performance they gave a pressing invitation to the performers to go over on a following day to luncheon or tea. A detachment went accordingly, and were treated with great hospitality but rather like strolling players. “Where do you act next?” and so on, till finally Sir Henry burst out: “What an amusing family yours is! Not only all of you act, but your uncle Mr. James Leigh gives temperance lectures!” Sir Henry’s son, Sir George Dashwood, had a large family of which three gallant boys lost their lives in the Great War. To universal regret he was obliged to sell Kirtlington. It was bought by Lord Leven, whose brother and heir has in turn sold it to Mr. Budgett. Not long before I married, the then owner of another neighbouring place—Sir Algernon Peyton, M.F.H., of Swift’s House, had died. Lord[Pg 73] Valentia took the Bicester hounds which he had hunted, for a time, rented Swift’s from his widow, and ultimately did the wisest thing by marrying her (1878) and installing her at Bletchington. They are really the only remaining family of my contemporaries surviving—and, though they have occasionally let it, they do live now in their own house. They had two sons and six daughters—great friends of my children. The eldest son was killed in the Great War.

Another neighbour was a droll old man called Rochfort Clarke, who lived at a house outside Chesterton village with an old sister-in-law whose name I forget (I think Miss Byrom)—but his wife being dead he was deeply attached to her sister. Soon after our marriage he came to call, and afterwards wrote a letter to congratulate us on our happiness and to say that had it not been for the iniquitous law forbidding marriage with a deceased wife’s sister we should have seen a picture of equal domestic felicity in him and Miss ——. He was very anxious to convert Irish Roman Catholics to the ultra-Protestant faith, and he interpreted the Second Commandment to forbid all pictures of any sort or kind. None were allowed in his house. Once he wrote a letter to the papers to protest against the ritualism embodied in a picture in Chesterton Church—an extremely evangelical place where Moody and Sankey hymns prevailed. Later on the clergyman took me into the church to show me the offending idol. It consisted of a diminutive figure—as far as I could see of a man—in a very small window high up over the west door. The most appalling shock was inflicted upon him by a visit to the Exhibition of 1851, where various statuary was displayed including Gibson’s “Tinted Venus.” This impelled him to break into a[Pg 74] song of protest of which I imperfectly recollect four lines to this effect:

“Tell me, Victoria, can that borrowed grace
Compare with Albert’s manly form and face?
And tell me, Albert, can that shameless jest
Compare with thy Victoria clothed and dressed?”

The sister-in-law died not long after I knew him, and he then married a respectable maid-servant whom he brought to see us dressed in brown silk and white gloves. Shortly afterwards he himself departed this life and the property was bought by the popular Bicester banker Mr. Tubb, who married Miss Stratton—a second cousin of mine—built a good house, from which pictures were not barred, and had four nice daughters.

I cannot name all the neighbours, but should not omit the old Warden of Merton, Mr. Marsham, who lived with his wife and sons at Caversfield. The eldest son, Charles Marsham, who succeeded to the place after his death, was a great character well known in the hunting and cricket fields. He was a good fellow with a hot temper which sometimes caused trying scenes. Towards the end of his life he developed a passion for guessing Vanity Fair acrostics, and when he saw you instead of “How d’ye do?” he greeted you with “Can you remember what begins with D and ends with F?” or words to that effect. There was a famous occasion when, as he with several others from Middleton were driving to Meet, one of my young brothers suggested some solution at which he absolutely scoffed. When the hounds threw off, however, Charlie Marsham disappeared and missed a first-class run. It was ultimately discovered that he had slipped away to a telegraph office to send off a solution embodying my brother’s suggestion!

CAVERSFIELD CHURCH

[Pg 75]Caversfield Church was a small building of considerable antiquity standing very close to the Squire’s house. The present Lord North, now an old man, has told me that long ago when he was Master of Hounds he passed close to this church out cub-hunting at a very early hour, when the sound of most beautiful singing came from the tower, heard not only by himself but by the huntsmen and whips who were with him—so beautiful that they paused to listen. Next time he met the clergyman, who was another Marsham son, he said to him, “What an early service you had in your church on such a day!” “I had no weekday service,” replied Mr. Marsham, and professed entire ignorance of the “angelic choir.” I have never discovered any tradition connected with Caversfield Church which should have induced angels to come and sing their morning anthem therein, but it is a pretty tale, and Lord North was convinced that he had heard this music.

One thing is certain, the tiny agricultural parish of Caversfield could not have produced songsters to chant Matins while the world at large was yet wrapped in slumber.

Thinking of Caversfield Church, I recollect attending a service there when the Bishop of Oxford (Mackarness, I believe) preached at its reopening after restoration. In the course of his sermon he remarked that there had been times when a congregation instead of thinking of the preservation and beautifying of the sacred building only considered how they should make themselves comfortable therein. This, as reported by the local representative, appeared in the Bicester paper as an episcopal comment that in former days people had neglected to make themselves comfortable in church. However, my old Archdeacon uncle-by-marriage,[Pg 76] Lord Saye and Sele, who was a distinctly unconventional thinker, once remarked to my mother that he had always heard church compared to heaven, and as heaven was certainly the most comfortable place possible he did not see why church should not be made comfortable. The old family pew at Middleton Church had been reseated with benches to look more or less like the rest of the church before I married, but was still a little raised and separated by partitions from the rest of the congregation. Later on it was levelled and the partitions removed. From the point of view of “comfort,” and apart from all other considerations, I do think that the square “Squire’s Pew”—as it still exists at Stoneleigh—where the occupants sit facing each other—is not an ideal arrangement.

At Broughton Castle—the old Saye and Sele home—one of the bedrooms had a little window from which you could look down into the chapel belonging to the house without the effort of descending. Once when we stayed there and my mother was not dressed in time for Morning Prayers she adopted this method of sharing in the family devotions.

Broughton Castle, and Lord North’s place, Wroxton Abbey (now for sale) are both near Banbury, which is about thirteen miles from Middleton—nothing in the days of motors, but a more serious consideration when visits had to be made with horses.

LIFE AT MIDDLETON

Mr. Cecil Bourke was clergyman at Middleton when I married and had two very nice sisters, but he migrated to Reading about two years later, and was succeeded by the Rev. W. H. Draper, who has been there ever since. He is an excellent man who has had a good wife and eleven children. Mrs. Draper died lately, to the sorrow of her many friends. Some of the children[Pg 77] have also gone, but others are doing good work in various parts of the Empire. Old Lord Strathnairn, of Mutiny fame, was once staying with us at Middleton. He was extremely deaf and apt to be two or three periods behind in the conversation. Someone mentioned leprosy and its causes at dinner, and after two or three remarks that subject was dropped, and another took its place, in which connection I observed that our clergyman’s wife had eleven children. Lord Strathnairn, with his mind still on “leprousy,” turned to me and in his usual courteous manner remarked, “It is not catching, I believe?”

Among other neighbours were Mr. and Mrs. Hibbert at Bucknell Manor, who had six well-behaved little daughters whom, though they treated them kindly, they regarded as quite secondary to their only son. On the other hand, Mr. and Mrs. Dewar at Cotmore were perfectly good to their four sons, but the only daughter distinctly ruled the roost. Moral: if a boy baby has any choice he had better select a family of sisters in which to be born, and the contrary advice should be tendered to a female infant.

To return to our own affairs. The little girl whom we lost in April 1874 was replaced, to our great pleasure, by another little daughter born at Middleton, October 8th, 1875, and christened Margaret like the baby who lay beneath a white marble cross in the churchyard. The new little Margaret became and has remained a constant treasure. Villiers’ first words were “Hammer, hammer,” which he picked up from hearing the constant hammering at the tank in the new water-tower. He was very pleased with his sister, but a trifle jealous of the attentions paid her by his nurse. A rather quaint incident took place at the baby’s christening. When[Pg 78] Villiers was born, old Lord Bathurst, then aged eighty-two, asked to come and see him as he had known my husband’s great-grandmother Frances, Lady Jersey (the admired of George IV), and wanted to see the fifth generation. We asked him to stay at Middleton for the little girl’s christening, and after dinner to propose the baby’s health.

He asked her name, and when I told him “Margaret” he murmured, “What memories that brings back!” and fell into a reverie. When he rose for the toast he confided to the family that her great-grandmother on my side—Margarette, Lady Leigh—had been his first love and repeated, “Maggie Willes, Maggie Willes, how I remember her walking down the streets of Cirencester!” He was a wonderful man for falling in love—even when he was quite old he was always fascinated by the youngest available girl—but he died unmarried. Perhaps one love drove out the other before either had time to secure a firm footing in his heart.

Lord Bathurst told me that when he was a middle-aged man and friend of the family Sarah Lady Jersey was very anxious to secure Prince Nicholas Esterhazy for her eldest daughter Sarah (a marriage which came off in due course). She had asked him to stay at Middleton, and it was generally believed that if he accepted the match would be arranged. Lord Bathurst in November 1841 was riding into Oxford when he met Lady Jersey driving thence to Middleton. She put her head out of the carriage and called to him, “We have got our Prince!” At that time the Queen was expecting her second child, and Lord Bathurst, more occupied with Her Majesty’s hopes than with those of Lady Jersey, at once assumed that this meant a Prince of[Pg 79] Wales, and rode rapidly on to announce the joyful tidings. These were almost immediately verified, and he gained credit for very early intelligence. He was a gallant old man, and despite his years climbed a fence when staying at Middleton. He died between two and three years later.

On a visit to the Exeters at Burghley, near Stamford, we had met Mr. and Mrs. Finch of Burley-on-the-Hill, near Oakham, and they asked us to stay with them soon after little Margaret’s birth. I mention this because it was here that I met Lady Galloway, who became my great friend, and with whom later on I shared many delightful experiences. She was a handsome and fascinating woman a few months younger than myself.

MR. DISRAELI

It was in this year, May 18th, 1875, that Disraeli wrote to Jersey offering him the appointment of Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen—saying, “I think, also, my selection would be pleasing to Her Majesty, as many members of your family have been connected with the Court.” On May 28th he notified the Queen’s approval. (It is rather quaint that the first letter begins “My dear Jersey”—the second “My dear Villiers.” My husband was never called “Villiers,” but Disraeli knew his grandfather and father, who were both so called.) Jersey used to answer for Local Government in the House of Lords. The Queen was always very kind to him, as she had known his grandmother so well, and told me once that Lady Clementina had been her playfellow. She was his godmother; she records it if I remember rightly in the Life of the Prince Consort, or anyhow in a letter or Diary of the period, and says there that she became godmother as a token of friendship to Sir Robert Peel—his mother’s father. She[Pg 80] declared to us that she had held him in her arms at his christening, and of course it was not for us to contradict Her Majesty: but I think that she officiated by proxy. She gave him two or three of her books in which she wrote his name as “Victor Alexander,” and again we accepted the nomenclature. As a matter of fact he was “Victor Albert George” and always called “George” in the family. He had, however, the greatest respect and affection for his royal godmother, and valued her beautiful christening cup. As Lord-in-Waiting he had to attend the House of Lords when in session, and spoke occasionally—he always sat near his old friend Lord de Ros, who was a permanent Lord-in-Waiting.

I used to go fairly often to the House during the years which followed his appointment and before we went to Australia, and heard many interesting debates. Jersey and I always considered the late Duke of Argyll and the late Lord Cranbrook as two of the finest orators in the House. The Duke was really splendid, and with his fine head and hair thrown back he looked the true Highland Chieftain. Several much less effective speakers would sometimes persist in addressing the House. I remember Lord Houghton exciting much laughter on one occasion when he said of some point in his speech “and that reminds me,” he paused and repeated “and that reminds me,” but the impromptu would not spring forth till he shook his head and pulled a slip of paper, on which it was carefully written, out of his waistcoat pocket.

I was told, though I was not present, of a house-party of which the Duke of Argyll and Lord Houghton both formed part. One evening—Sunday evening, I believe—Lord Houghton offered to read to the assembled[Pg 81] company Froude’s account of the “Pilgrimage of Grace” in his History of England. Most of them seem to have submitted more or less cheerfully, but the Duke, becoming bored, retired into the background with a book which he had taken from the table. Just when Lord Houghton had reached the most thrilling part and had lowered his voice to give due emphasis to the narrative, the Duke, who had completely forgotten what was going on, threw down his book and exclaimed, “What an extraordinary character of Nebuchadnezzar!” Whereupon Lord Houghton in turn threw down Froude and in wrathful accents cried, “One must be a Duke and a Cabinet Minister to be guilty of such rudeness!”

Froude was rather a friend of ours—a pleasant though slightly cynical man. I recollect him at Lady Derby’s one evening saying that books were objectionable; all books ought to be burnt. I ventured to suggest that he had written various books which I had read with pleasure—why did he write them if such was his opinion? He shrugged his shoulders and remarked, “Il faut vivre.” When Lady Derby told this afterwards to Lord Derby he said that I ought to have given the classic reply, “Je n’en vois pas la necessité,” but perhaps this would have been going a little far.

FROUDE AND KINGSLEY

Froude and Kingsley were brothers-in-law, having married two Misses Grenfell. On one occasion the former was giving a Rectorial Address at St. Andrews and remarked on the untrustworthiness of clerical statements. About the same time Kingsley gave a discourse at Cambridge in which he quoted a paradox of Walpole’s to the effect that whatever else is true, history is not. Some epigrammists thereupon[Pg 82] perpetrated the following lines. I quote from memory:

“Froude informs the Scottish youth
Parsons seldom speak the truth;
While at Cambridge Kingsley cries
‘History is a pack of lies!’
Whence these judgments so malign?
A little thought will solve the mystery.
For Froude thinks Kingsley a divine
And Kingsley goes to Froude for history.”

The Galloways when we first made their acquaintance lived at 17 Upper Grosvenor Street. In 1875 we occupied 17a Great Cumberland Street—and in 1876 a nice house belonging to Mr. Bassett in Charles Street—but in 1877 we bought 3 Great Stanhope Street, being rather tired of taking houses for the season. My second (surviving) daughter Mary was born here on May 26th—a beautiful baby, god-daughter to Lady Galloway and Julia Wombwell. My third and youngest daughter, Beatrice, was born at Folkestone October 12th, 1880, and the family was completed three years later by Arthur, born November 24th, 1883, to our great joy, as it endowed us with a second son just before his elder brother went to Mr. Chignell’s school—Castlemount—at Dover.

In the same month, but just before Arthur was born, our tenant at Osterley, the old Duchess of Cleveland (Caroline), died. She was a fine old lady and an excellent tenant, caring for the house as if it had been her own. She had most generous instincts, and once when part of the stonework round the roof of Osterley had been destroyed by a storm she wrote to my husband saying that she had placed a considerable sum with his bankers to aid in its restoration. This was unexpected and certainly unsolicited, which made it all the[Pg 83] more acceptable. We should never have thought of disturbing her during her lifetime, and even when she died our first idea was to relet the place to a suitable tenant. I had never lived there (though we once slept for a night during the Duchess’s tenure), so had no associations with, and had never realised, the beauty of, the place. However, after her death we thought we would give one garden-party before reletting, which we did in 1884. The day was perfect, and an unexpected number of guests arrived. We were fascinated with the place and decided to keep it as a “suburban” home instead of letting, and it became the joy of my life and a great pleasure to my husband.

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

I will speak of some of our guests later on, but I must first mention some of those whom we knew at Great Stanhope Street and Middleton during the earlier years of our married life. One of our great friends was the American Minister Mr. Lowell. Looking through some of his letters, I recall his perfect charm of manner in speaking and in writing. The simplest occurrence, such as changing the date of a dinner-party in 1882, gave him the opportunity of words which might have befitted a courtier of old days:

“Her Majesty—long life to her—has gone and appointed Saturday, June 3rd, to be born on. After sixty-three years to learn wisdom in, she can do nothing better than take my Saturday away from me—for I must go to drink her health at the Foreign Office! ’Tis enough to make a democrat of any Tory that ever was except you. I have moved on my poor little dinner to 5th. I can make no other combination in the near future, what with Her Majesty’s engagements and mine, but that. Can you come then? Or is my table to lose its pearl? If you can’t, I shall make another specially for you.”

[Pg 84]Before I knew Mr. Lowell personally I was introduced to his works by Mr. Tom Hughes (“Tom Brown” of the “Schooldays”) who stayed with us at Middleton at the beginning of 1880 and gave me a copy of Lowell’s poems carefully marked with those he preferred. Four years later in August Lowell stayed with us there. It was a real hot summer, and he wrote into Hughes’ gift these verses which certainly make the volume doubly precious:

“Turbid from London’s noise and smoke,
Here found I air and quiet too,
Air filtered through the beech and oak,
Quiet that nothing harsher broke
Than stockdoves’ meditative coo.

“So I turn Tory for the nonce
And find the Radical a bore
Who cannot see (thick-witted dunce!)
That what was good for people once
Must be as good for evermore.

“Sun, sink no deeper down the sky,
Nature, ne’er leave this summer mood,
Breeze, loiter thus for ever by,
Stir the dead leaf or let it lie,
Since I am happy, all is good!”

T. HUGHES AND J. R. LOWELL

This poem was afterwards republished under the title “The Optimist” in a collection called Heartsease and Rue. Lowell added four additional stanzas between the first and the last two, elaborating the description and the underlying idea. I think, however, that the three original ones are the best, particularly the gentle hit at the “Tory”—with whom he loved to identify me. The “stockdoves” were the woodpigeons whose cooing on our lawn soothed and delighted him. Mr. Hughes told me that he had first made Mr. Lowell’s acquaintance by correspondence, having written to him to express his admiration of one of his works. I have[Pg 85] just discovered that in an Introduction to his Collected Works published 1891 Hughes says that Trübner asked him in 1859 to write a preface to the English edition of the Biglow Papers which gave him the long-desired opportunity of writing to the author. He also told me—which he also describes in the Introduction—how nervous he was when about at last to meet his unknown friend lest he should not come up to the ideal which he had formed, and how overjoyed he was to find him even more delightful than his letters. In a fit of generosity Hughes, quite unasked, gave me a very interesting letter which Lowell wrote him on his appointment to England in 1880. It is a long letter, some of it dealing with private matters, but one passage may be transcribed:

“I have been rather amused with some of the comments of your press that have been sent me. They almost seem to think I shall come in a hostile spirit, because I have commented sharply on the pretension and incompetence of one or two British bookmakers! It is also more than hinted that I said bitter things about England during our war. Well, I hope none of my commentators will ever have as good reason to be bitter. It is only Englishmen who have the happy privilege of speaking frankly about their neighbours, and only they who are never satisfied unless an outsider likes England better than his own country. Thank God I have spoken my mind at home too, when it would have been far more comfortable to hold my tongue. Had I felt less kindly toward England, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so bitter, if bitter I was.”

Mr. Hughes records, again in the Introduction, that Lowell said in one of his letters during the American War, “We are all as cross as terriers with your kind of neutrality”—but he rejoices in the gradual increasing[Pg 86] warmth of his feeling for England as he grew to know her better during the last years of his life.

While I knew him he was always most friendly, and it is pleasant to recall him sitting in the garden at Osterley on peaceful summer evenings enjoying specially that blue haze peculiar to the Valley of the Thames which softens without obscuring the gentle English landscape.

One more letter, including a copy of verses, I cannot resist copying. In July 1887 he endowed me with Omar Khayyám, and some months later I received this—dated “At sea, 2nd November 1887”:

“Some verses have been beating their wings against the walls of my brain ever since I gave you the Omar Khayyám. I don’t think they will improve their feathers by doing it longer. So I have caught and caged them on the next leaf that you may if you like paste them into the book. With kindest regards to Lord Jersey and in the pleasant hope of seeing you again in the spring,
Faithfully yours,
J. R. Lowell.”

“With a copy of Omar Khayyám.

“These pearls of thought in Persian gulfs were bred,
Each softly lucent as a rounded moon:
The diver Omar plucked them from their bed,
Fitzgerald strung them on an English thread.

“Fit rosary for a queen in shape and hue
When Contemplation tells her pensive beads
Of mortal thoughts for ever old and new:
Fit for a queen? Why, surely then, for you!

“The moral? When Doubt’s eddies toss and twirl
Faith’s slender shallop ’neath our reeling feet,
Plunge! If you find not peace beneath the whirl,
Groping, you may at least bring back a pearl.”

He adds beneath the lines: “My pen has danced to the dancing of the ship.”

[Pg 87]The verses (of course not the covering letter) appeared in Heartsease and Rue.

Mr. Lowell stayed with us at Osterley in the two summers following his return. He died in America just before we went to Australia.

We knew Robert Browning pretty well, and I recollect one interesting conversation which I had with him on death and immortality. Of the former he had the rather curious idea that the soul’s last sojourn in the body was just between the eyebrows. He said that he had seen several people die, and that the last movement was there. I cannot think that a quiver of the forehead proves it. For immortality, he said that he had embodied his feelings in the “Old Pictures in Florence” in the lines ending “I have had troubles enough for one.” No one, however, can read his poems without realising his faith in the hereafter.

MR. GLADSTONE ON IMMORTALITY

How diverse are the views of great men on this mystery! Lady Galloway wrote to me once from Knowsley of a talk she had had with Mr. Gladstone which I think worth recording in her own words:

“The theory of Mr. Gladstone’s that mostly interested me last night was—that every soul was not of necessity immortal—that all the Christian faith of the immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body was a new doctrine introduced and revealed by our Lord in whom alone, maybe, we receive immortal life. This he only suggests, you understand—does not lay it down—but I don’t think I have quite grasped his idea of the mystery of death, which as far as I can understand he thinks Man would not have been subject to but for the Fall—not that Death did not exist before the Fall—but that it would have been a different kind of thing. In fact that the connection between Sin and Death meant that you lost immortality thro’ Sin and gained it thro’ Christ.”

[Pg 88]I might as well insert here part of a letter from Edwin Arnold, author of The Light of Asia, which he wrote me in January 1885 after reading an article which I had perpetrated in The National Review on Buddhism. I had not known him previously, but he did me the honour to profess interest in my crude efforts and to regret what he considered a misconception of Gautama’s fundamental idea. He continues:

“I remember more than one passage which seemed to show that you considered Nirvana to be annihilation; and the aim and summum bonum of the Buddhist to escape existence finally and utterly. Permit me to invite you not to adopt this view too decidedly in spite of the vast authority of men like Max Müller, Rhys David, and others. My own studies (which I am far from ranking with theirs, in regard of industry and learning) convince me that it was, in every case, the embodied life; life as we know it and endure it, which Gautama desired to be for ever done with.... I believe that when St. Paul writes ‘the things not seen are eternal,’ he had attained much such a height of insight and foresight as Buddha under the Bodhi Tree. I even fancy that when Professor Tyndall lectures on the light-rays which are invisible to our eyes, and the cosmical sounds which are inaudible to ears of flesh and blood, he approaches by a physical path the confines of that infinite and enduring life of which Orientals dreamed metaphysically.”

After this Mr. Arnold—afterwards Sir Edwin—became numbered among our friends, and was very kind in giving us introductions when we went to India, as I will record later.

THOUGHT-READING

Meantime I may mention a quaint bit of palmistry or thought-reading connected with him. We had a friend, Augusta Webb of Newstead, now Mrs. Fraser, who was an expert in this line. She was calling on me one day[Pg 89] when I mentioned casually that I had met Mr. Arnold, whose Light of Asia she greatly admired. She expressed a great wish to meet him, so I said, “He is coming to dine this evening—you had better come also.” She accepted with enthusiasm. He sat next to me, and to please her I put her on his other side. In the course of dinner something was said about favourite flowers, and I exclaimed, “Augusta, tell Mr. Arnold his favourite flower.” She looked at his hand and said without hesitation, “I don’t know its name, but I think it is a white flower rather like a rose and with a very strong scent.” He remarked, astonished, “I wish I had written it down beforehand to show how right you are. It is an Indian flower.” (I forget the name, which he said he had mentioned in The Light of Asia), “white and strong-smelling and something like a tuberose.” It is impossible that Augusta could have known beforehand. Her sister told me later that she did occasionally perceive a person’s thought and that this was one of the instances.

To return to Thomas Hughes, who originally gave me Lowell’s poems. He was an enthusiast and most conscientious. On the occasion when, as I said before, he stayed at Middleton he promised to tell my boy Villiers—then six and a half years old—a story. Having been prevented from doing so, he sent the story by post, carefully written out with this charming letter:

February 1st, 1880.

My dear little Man,

“I was quite sorry this morning when you said to me, as we were going away, ‘Ah, but you have never told me about the King of the Cats, as you promised.’ I was always taught when I was a little fellow, smaller than you, that I must never ‘run word,’ even if it [Pg 90]cost me my knife with three blades and a tweezer, or my ivory dog-whistle, which were the two most precious things I had in the world. And my father and mother not only told me that I must never ‘run word,’ for they knew that boys are apt to forget what they are only told, but they never ‘ran word’ with me, which was a much surer way to fix what they told me in my head; because boys find it hard to forget what they see the old folk that they love do day by day.

“So I have tried all my long life never to ‘run word,’ and as I said I would tell you the story about Rodilardus the King of the Cats, and as I can’t tell it you by word of mouth because you are down there in the bright sunshine at Middleton, and I am up here in foggy old London, I must tell it you in this way, though I am not sure that you will be able to make it all out. I know you can read, for I heard you read the psalm at prayers this morning very well; only as Mama was reading out of the same book over your shoulder, perhaps you heard what she said, and that helped you a little to keep up with all the rest of us. But a boy may be able to read his psalms in his prayer book and yet not able to read a long piece of writing like this, though I am making it as clear as I can. So if you cannot make it all out you must just take it off to Mama and get her to look over your shoulder and tell you what it is all about. Well then, you know what I told you was, that I used to think that some people could get to understand what cats said to one another, and to wish very much that I could make out their talk myself. But all this time I have never been able to make out a word of it, and do not now think that anybody can. Only I am quite sure that any boy or man who is fond of cats, and tries to make out what they mean, and what they want, will learn a great many things that will help to make him kind and wise. And when you asked me why I used to think that I could learn cat-talk I said I would tell you that story about the King of the Cats which was told to me when [Pg 91]I was a very little fellow about your age. And so here it is.”

The story itself is a variant, very picturesquely and graphically told, of an old folk-tale, which I think appears in Grimm, of a cat who, overhearing an account given by a human being of the imposing funeral of one of his race, exclaims, “Then I am King of the Cats!” and disappears up the chimney.

TOM HUGHES AND RUGBY, TENNESSEE

Tom Hughes, at the time of his visit to Middleton, was very keen about the town which he proposed to found on some kind of Christian-socialist principles, to be called “New Rugby,” in Tennessee. It was to have one church, to be used by the various denominations, and to be what is now called “Pussyfoot.” What happened about the church I know not, but I have heard as regards the teetotalism that drinks were buried by traders just outside the sacred boundaries and dug up secretly by the townsmen. Anyhow, I fear that the well-meant project resulted in a heavy loss to poor Hughes. I recollect that Lord Galloway’s servant suggested that he would like to accompany Mr. Hughes to the States—“and I would valet you, sir.” Hughes repudiated all idea of valeting, but was willing to accept the man as a comrade. All he got by his democratic offer was that the man told the other servants that Mr. Hughes did not understand real English aristocracy. Which reminds me of a pleasing definition given by the Matron of our Village Training School for Servants of the much-discussed word “gentleman.” She told me one day that her sister had asked for one of our girls as servant. As we generally sent them to rather superior situations, I hesitated, though I did not like to refuse straight off, and asked, “What is your brother-in-law?”[Pg 92] “He is a gentleman,” was the answer. Observing that I looked somewhat surprised, the Matron hastened to add, “You see, my sister keeps a temperance hotel, and in such a case the husband does not work, only cleans the windows and boots and so on.” Whereby I gather that not to work for regular wages is the hall-mark of a gentleman! But a girl was not provided for the place.

I believe that Henry James was first introduced to us by Mr. Lowell, and became a frequent visitor afterwards. He was an intimate friend of my uncle the Dean of Hereford and of his mother-in-law Mrs. Kemble.

Under the name of Summersoft he gives a delightful description of Osterley in his novel The Lesson of the Master. “It all went together and spoke in one voice—a rich English voice of the early part of the eighteenth century.” The Gallery he calls “a cheerful upholstered avenue into the other century.”

CARDINAL NEWMAN

One dinner at Norfolk House lingers specially in my memory; it was in the summer of 1880 and was to meet Dr. Newman not long after he had been promoted to the dignity of Cardinal—an honour which many people considered overdue. A large party was assembled and stood in a circle ready to receive the new “Prince of the Church,” who was conducted into the room by the Duke. As soon as he entered a somewhat ancient lady, Mrs. W— H—, who was a convert to “the Faith,” went forward and grovelled before him on her knees, kissing his hand with much effusion, and I fancy embarrassing His Eminence considerably. My aunt, the Duchess of Westminster, who was very handsome but by no means slim, was standing next to me and whispered, “Margaret, shall we have to do that? because I should never be able to get up again!”[Pg 93] However, none of the Roman Catholics present seemed to consider such extreme genuflections necessary. I think they made some reasonable kind of curtsy as he was taken round, and then we went in to dinner. Somewhat to my surprise and certainly to my pleasure, I found myself seated next to the Cardinal and found him very attractive. I asked him whether the “Gerontius” of the poem was a real person, and he smiled and said “No,” but I think he was pleased that I had read it. I never met him again, but in October 1882 I was greatly surprised to receive a book with this charming letter written from Birmingham:

Madam,

“I have but one reason for venturing, as I do, to ask your Ladyship’s acceptance of a volume upon the Russian Church which I am publishing, the work of a dear friend now no more. That reason is the desire I feel of expressing in some way my sense of your kindness to me two years ago, when I had the honour of meeting you at Norfolk House, and the little probability there is, at my age, of my having any other opportunity of doing so.

“I trust you will accept this explanation, and am

“Your Ladyship’s faithful servant,
John H. Cardinal Newman.”

The book was Notes of a Visit to the Russian Church by Lord Selborne’s brother, Mr. W. Palmer, edited and with a Preface by Cardinal Newman. I have never been able to understand what he considered my kindness, as I thought the Great Man so kind to me, a young female heretic.

 

 


[Pg 94]

CHAPTER V

BERLIN AND THE JUBILEE OF 1887

I find it difficult to recall all our foreign travels. In 1876 I paid—with my husband—my first visit to Switzerland, and three years later we went again—this time making the doubtful experiment of taking with us Villiers aged six and Margaret (called Markie) aged three. Somehow we conveyed these infants over glaciers and mountains to various places, including Zermatt. We contrived a sort of awning over a chaise à porteurs carried by guides—but they did a good bit of walking also. I was really terrified on one occasion when we drove in a kind of dog-cart down precipitous roads along the edge of precipices. The children sat on either side of me—their little legs too short to reach the floor of the carriage. I had an arm round either, feeling—I believe justly—that if I let go for a moment the child would be flung into space. Jersey was walking—the maid, I suppose, with courier and luggage—anyhow I had sole responsibility for the time being. Our courier was excellent, and no matter where we arrived contrived to produce a rice-pudding on which the children insisted. It is unnecessary to describe the well-known scenes through which we passed. Switzerland impressed me, as it does all travellers, with its grandeur and beauty—but I never loved it as I did the South and, later on, the East.

SARAH BERNHARDT

Another winter we went—after Christmas—with[Pg 95] Villiers only—to Biarritz; again I did not think it southern enough in sky and vegetation to rival the Riviera, though the pinewoods, and great billows rolling in from the sea, were attractive. Soon afterwards we embarked in a governess—a clever young woman called Ada Mason, who was recommended by Lady Derby. She had been a show pupil at the Liverpool Girls’ College, and before we engaged her permanently she went to complete her French education in Paris. She stayed with us till she married in Australia. In March 1883 we took Villiers, Markie, and Miss Mason to the Riviera, Florence, and Venice. I do not know that there is anything exceptional to record. I observe in a short journal which I kept on this occasion that Jersey and I while in Paris went to the Vaudeville to see Sarah Bernhardt in Fédora. My comment is: “She acted wonderfully but I did not think much of the play. The great coup was supposed to be when the hero gave her a bang on the head, but as that used to make the ladies faint he contented himself with partially throttling her when we saw it.” I suppose French ladies are more susceptible than English. Once in after years I went with a friend to see the divine Sarah in La Tosca. I thought the torture part horrid enough, but when La Tosca had killed the wicked Governor my companion observed plaintively, “We did not see any blood,” as if it were not sufficiently realistic.

On this same journey abroad we visited, as on various other occasions, the Ile St. Honorat and Ste Marguerite, a picnic party being given on the former by Lord Abercromby and Mr. Savile. The Duchesse de Vallombrosa brought Marshal McMahon, and special interest was excited on this occasion since Bazaine had lately[Pg 96] escaped from what had been formerly the prison of the Masque de Fer. Jersey went with some of the party to Ste Marguerite, and Marshal McMahon told Mr. Savile that he did not connive at Bazaine’s escape, but that Madame Bazaine came to him and asked when he would let her husband out. He replied, “In six years, or six months, if he is a bon garçon”; so she went out saying, “Then I shall know what to do,” and slammed the door after her, with the evident purpose of unlocking another door, which she accomplished.

Marshal McMahon must have been a fine fellow, but hardly possessed of French readiness of speech if this story which I have heard of him is true. He was to review the Cadets at a Military College—St. Cyr, I think—and was begged beforehand to say a special word of encouragement to a young Algerian who was in training there. When it came to the point the only happy remark which occurred to him was, “Ah—vous êtes le nègre—eh bien continuez le!”

From Cannes we went to several other places, including Spezzia, Genoa, Venice, and Florence. We saw all the orthodox sights in each place and at Florence dined with Mr. John Meyer and his first wife, who, if I remember rightly, was a Fitzgerald. He was in the exceptional position of having no nationality—he was somehow connected with Germany and Russia (not to speak of Judæa) and had been in South America and Switzerland. He had been a Russian, but had lost that nationality as having been twenty-five years absent from that country. He wanted to become an Englishman, as his wife wanted to send her boy to school in England, but it would mean a lengthened residence or a private Act of Parliament costing £3,000. In the end the nice Mrs. Meyer who entertained us on[Pg 97] this occasion died, and he bought an Italian Marquisate and turned into an Italian! He married as his second wife a beautiful Miss Fish, and I last saw them in their charming villa near Florence.

The Meyers were pleasant hosts, and it was at the dinner which I have mentioned that I first made the acquaintance of a telephone. They had asked some people to come in after dinner, and to show how the instrument worked telephoned to invite an additional guest. I never encountered a telephone at a private house in London till long afterwards.

Our younger children, Mary and Beatrice, stayed during our absence at our little Welsh home—Baglan House, near Briton Ferry—a place which all our children loved.

DEATH OF GILBERT LEIGH

In 1884 a great sorrow befell our family. My brother Gilbert, then M.P. for South Warwickshire, went in August of that year to America with Mr. W. H. Grenfell—now Lord Desborough—with the object of getting some bear-shooting in the Rockies. Towards the end of the month they began camping—but the hunting was not good, as Indians had previously driven the part of the country which they visited with the view of getting game for their side. Mr. Grenfell’s journal records frost at the end of August and heavy snow on the night of September 1st. On September 12th they pitched a camp in the Big Horn Mountains on a charming spot close to a clear, rocky river with trees and high walls on either side. On Sunday the 14th, a boiling hot day, they had an hour’s wash in the river, and after luncheon Gillie started off down the Ten Sleeper cañon alone on his horse—he was never seen alive again. For a whole week Mr. Grenfell and the three men whom they had with them searched in every[Pg 98] possible direction, and at last, on the 21st, they found my brother lying dead at the foot of a precipice from which he had evidently fallen and been instantaneously killed—“a terrible way,” writes Mr. Grenfell, “to find a friend who had endeared himself to all—always cheery and ready to make the best of everything—nothing put him out”—“his simplicity, absence of self-assertion, and quaint humour made him a general favourite—whatever happened he never complained and did not know what fear was.”

The news did not reach England till some three days later, and it is impossible to dwell on the terrible sorrow of all who loved him so dearly. My brother Dudley was mercifully in the States at the time of the fatal accident, and my uncle James Leigh set off at once to bring the body home; but the long wait—till October 20th—was unspeakably trying most of all for my poor parents, who were broken-hearted. My mother put a bunch of white rosebuds on his coffin, for when a little boy he had said one day that his “idea of love was a bunch of roses.”

I will only add her verses on her firstborn son:

“He is gone, and gone for ever,
‘Coming home again’ now never—
If ’tis cold he feels it not,
Recks not if ’tis scorching hot,
But by children circled round
Roams the happy hunting-ground,
Pure in heart and face as they,
Gladsome in God’s glorious day.

“If I see him once again
Will he tell me of his pain?
Did he shout or cry or call
When he saw that he must fall?
Feel one pang of mortal fear
When the fatal plunge was near?
[Pg 99]Or to the last—to fear a stranger—
Think to triumph over danger?

“I think so—on his marble face
Fright and terror left no trace—
Still—as if at Stoneleigh sleeping,
There he lay—all the weeping
Broke in streams from other eyes
Far away.
But to him come not again
Cold or heat or grief or pain.”

Gilly was truly “to fear a stranger.” He had, as Mr. Grenfell recounts, been six times before to the Rocky Mountain country and always had extraordinary adventures—once he rode his horse along a ledge till he could neither go forward nor turn, and had to slip over its tail and climb out, leaving the animal to shift for itself. Two cowboys roped and got the saddle and bridle off and left the horse, which somehow backed out and got down without injury.

IN ITALY, 1884

Earlier in the year 1884 Jersey, Lady Galloway, and I made a pleasant tour among the Italian Lakes, including a run to Milan for Easter Sunday, where we heard some of the splendid service in the Cathedral. We took with us Villiers, his last trip abroad before his regular schooldays. He had attended Miss Woodman’s classes during two or three London seasons, and had had a visiting tutor from Oxford—Mr. Angel Smith—for the past year or so at Middleton; but on May 1st, after our return from the Lakes, he went to Mr. Chignell’s, Castlemount, Dover, where he remained till he went to Eton three years later. He had an unvaryingly good record both for the lessons and conduct while at Castlemount.

I have no special recollection of the two following years, so pass on to 1887. That winter Lady Galloway[Pg 100] was in Russia and was to stay in Berlin with the Ambassador, Sir Edward Malet, and his wife, Lady Ermyntrude, on her return. The Malets very kindly invited me to meet her and to spend a few days at the Embassy. I arrived there on February 21st, and found Lady Galloway and her sister-in-law Lady Isabel Stewart already installed. The following afternoon the routine of German court etiquette—now a thing of the past—began. Lady Ermyntrude took us to leave cards on the various members of the Corps Diplomatique and then proceeded to present Mrs. Talbot (now Lady Talbot) and myself to Gräfin Perponcher, the Empress’s Obermeisterin. She was a funny old soul in a wig, but regarded as next door to royalty, and it was therefore correct to make half a curtsy when introduced to her. It was a great thing to have anyone so kind, and yet so absolutely aware of all the shades of ceremonial, as Lady Ermyntrude, to steer us through the Teutonic pitfalls.

COURT BALL IN BERLIN

In the evening we were taken to the Carnival Court Ball, where we stood in a row behind Lady Ermyntrude to be presented to the Crown Prince and Princess as they came round. The Diplomatic people were on the left of the royal seats. The Weisser Saal was lighted partly with candles and partly with electric lights; one felt that either one or the other would have had a better effect, but no doubt that was all rectified in later years. We were presently taken into an outer room or gallery to be presented to the Empress Augusta, who was seated in a chair with a sort of Stonehenge of chairs in front. She was attired in what appeared to be royal robes heavy with gold embroidery and gigantic diamonds, but she looked almost like a resurrected corpse, except that her eyes were still large and wonderfully bright[Pg 101] and glittering as if they had little torches behind them. I fancy that she had some preparation of belladonna dropped into them on these occasions. Her mouth was always a little open, giving the impression that she wanted to speak but could not; really, however, she talked fast enough, and was very gracious in sending messages to my grandmother Westminster. After our presentation we had to sit in Stonehenge for a few minutes. We had heard that when the Empress was a girl, her governess would place her in front of a circle of chairs, and make her go round and address a polite remark to each. We recognised the utility of the practice as Her Majesty made a neat little sentence to each of the circle seated before her this evening. Sir Edward and Lady Ermyntrude went home early, as they were in mourning, but when we tried to go in to supper with the Embassy Staff, we were seized on by Count Eulenberg and told to go into the royal supper-room. The Crown Prince and Princess came and talked to us very kindly, but I could not help thinking the latter rather indiscreet, as when I made a futile remark as to the fine sight presented by the Palace she returned, “A finer sight at Buckingham Palace,” then, lowering her voice, “and prettier faces!” True enough, but a little risky addressed to a stranger with possible eavesdroppers.

The old Emperor William was not at this ball, as he was not well enough—which distressed him, as he liked society; but two days later we were invited to a small concert at his own Palace. When we had made our curtsies to the Empress she desired that we should go round and be presented to His Majesty. I had been told previously that he was interested in the idea of seeing me, as he had been a great friend of my [Pg 102]grandmother Westminster and they used to interchange presents on their birthdays. When we were taken up to him Gräfin Perponcher reminded him of Jersey’s grandmother and Lady Clementina Villiers, but he immediately asked if I were not also related to Lady Westminster. When I said that I was her granddaughter he asked, “Et êtes-vous toujours en relation avec elle?” and on hearing that I wrote to her charged me with messages which she was afterwards very pleased to receive.

During the singing we sat round little tables covered with red velvet table-covers, which seemed a funny arrangement, as it meant that some of the audience had their backs to the performers. There were five which—joining each other—ran down the centre of the room. The Empress sat at the head of the end one, and the Crown Princess presided at a round one in the middle of the room, at which Lady Galloway and I were seated. Princess Victoria (afterwards Schaumburg Lippe) sat between us—we found her lively, though not pretty. When the performance was over the Emperor came and talked to us again; he seemed very cheerful, though he put his hand on the back of a chair for, as he said, “un petit appui”! I told him that I had been with the crowd to see him when he looked out at the soldiers as he did every morning. “Quoi, Madame, vous avez fait la curieuse?” he said, and proceeded to tell us that he was now “devenu la mode,” though formerly no one came to look at him. Finally some supper was brought and put on the tables where we had been sitting.

THE CROWN PRINCE FREDERICK

The following day we were invited to breakfast (or rather 12.30 luncheon) with the Crown Prince and Princess—only their three unmarried daughters besides Lady Galloway, Lady Isabel, and myself. The Crown[Pg 103] Prince was a most fascinating man and particularly impressed us by his devotion to his wife, having even consulted a lady dentist by her desire! The three Princesses each had in front of her place at table a large collection of little silver objects given them on their respective birthdays. The parents again reverted to my grandmother, and on hearing of her immense number of children and grandchildren the Prince remarked, “What a number of birthday presents that must mean!”—which amused me, as with all grandmamma’s kindness to me personally, she was far from troubling about the identity of all her grandchildren—life would not have been long enough.

The Princess talked much of the hospitals at Berlin, and of her trouble in introducing anything like decent nursing into them. She said when she first married a Children’s Ward would be shut up at night without any nurse whatever in charge, and several children found dead in the morning. I believe she did great things for the hospitals, but fear that discretion was not always the better part of her valour, and that she more than once gave offence by comparison with the superior method in England. After luncheon the Princesses departed and the parents took us through their own rooms, which were very pretty and comfortable. When we reached her Studio the Crown Princess did not want to take us in, as she said she must go off to see Princess William (the late ex-Kaiserin), but the Prince said, “You go, I shall take them”—for he was determined that we should see, and duly admire, his wife’s artistic talents. We saw the Crown Princess again in the evening at the theatre, as she sent for Lady Galloway and me into her box and put Mary through a searching catechism about Russia.

[Pg 104]Saturday 26th till the following Tuesday we spent at Dresden, which we greatly admired. We saw the Galleries and Museums, and attended a Wagner opera—Siegfried; but I need not record sights and sentiments shared with so many other travellers. I had some experience at Dresden of the dangers of “Verboten.” I ventured out for a short time alone and felt the risk of being arrested at least twice—once for walking on the wrong side of the bridge, once for standing in the wrong place in the principal church. I committed a third crime, but forget its nature.

Two evenings after our return to Berlin we were invited to another royal concert, and on this occasion I sat at Prince William’s table quite unconscious that he would be hereafter England’s greatest foe! What impressed me most about him was the way in which he asked questions. Someone told him that I held a position in the Primrose League, and he at once wanted to know all about it. The impression left on my mind was that he thought that it brought women too prominently forward.

Next day we visited the various palaces at Potsdam—the Crown Princess had kindly sent word to her gardener Mr. Walker, to meet us, and he proved an amiable and efficient guide. At the Stadt Schloss Frederick the Great’s bedroom, with a silver balustrade, was being prepared for the baptism of Prince William’s fourth son. We had been warned at the Embassy that this expedition would be one of difficulty if not of danger, but we accomplished all successfully save our return from the Wild Park Station at Berlin. Of course this was before the days of motors, so our journey to and from Potsdam was by train, and somehow we missed the Embassy carriage at the station. Innocently we[Pg 105] took a fly, but at the Embassy it was discovered that this was a second-class fly, which was considered a most disreputable proceeding. We had not known the various categories of Berlin vehicles.

PRINCE BISMARCK

We had one real piece of good fortune, due to Herbert Bismarck, whom we had known in England and met several times at Berlin. His father had not been present at the opening of the Reichstag which we attended, so we had asked Herbert if he were likely to speak on any following day, for we were anxious to see him and he did not often appear at entertainments or such-like gatherings.

Herbert promised to let us know, but he did better, for he coached his mother what to do should we call, and Lady Ermyntrude took us to see the Princess on Saturday afternoon. Princess Bismarck was most gracious, said Herbert had asked every day if we had called; he was devoted to England and to his collection of photographs of English ladies, which he expected her to distinguish one from the other.

CONVERSATION WITH BISMARCK

Her sister, Countess Arnim, was also in the room. When we had been talking with them for a few minutes the Princess rang, and beckoned to the servant who answered to come close that she might whisper. Lady Galloway overheard her say in German, “Tell the Prince that the English ladies are here.” After a short interval an inner door opened slowly, and the tall form of the Chancellor appeared. We all jumped up as the Princess announced “Mon Mari.” He shook hands with Lady Ermyntrude, who introduced us each in turn. Hearing that Lady Galloway was “la sœur de Lord Salisbury,” he was anxious to investigate whether she resembled him in face, but decided not very much, as “Lord Salisbury avait les traits très[Pg 106] masculins and le visage plus carré,” which he emphasised rather in action than in words. Mary had to sit on one side of him facing the light in order that he might the better make these comparisons. I was at the end of a sofa on his other hand. Lady Galloway then remarked that he had been very kind to her nephew Lord Edward Cecil, who had been in Berlin in the spring of the previous year. Curiously enough, though he had had him to dinner, he did not seem to remember him, though he perfectly recollected Lord Cranborne, who had been with his father at the time of the Congress. Being informed that Lord Edward had been abroad in order to study German, he asked, “Eh bien, a-t-il eu de succès?” and remarked that German was a difficult language but less so for the English than for some other people, and that while the English often spoke French more fluently they grasped the German construction better as being more akin to their own. Mary agreed, saying we were of the same race, whereupon he politely thanked her for having recalled and acknowledged the fact. I then remarked that it had been suggested that he wished to change “les caractères allemands,” meaning the letters. He misunderstood me to mean the characters of the people, and said that he should hardly be capable of that, but added: “On m’accuse d’avoir changé une nation de poêtes en nation de politiques militaires, mais c’est parce que nous avons été si longtemps l’enclume qu’il fallait le faire. Il faut toujours être l’enclume ou le marteau, maintenant nous sommes le marteau. Nous étions l’enclume jusqu’à Leipzig et Waterloo.” I suggested that at Waterloo “nous étions deux marteaux,” and he answered, bowing, “J’espère que nous les serons encore ensemble.” Little did he or I look[Pg 107] on twenty-seven years! Bismarck then asked for the English of “enclume”—“car je ne suis pas forgeron,” and when we told him he said that he only knew “l’anglais pour voyager, le russe pour la chasse et le français pour les affaires,” and went on to speak of his son, who, as we all agreed, knew English so well. Like the Princess, he said that Count Herbert was much attached to our country, and added that if he continued to do well and “si je peux guider sa destinée j’ai l’intention qu’il aille quelque jour en Angleterre”: meantime he thought that Count Hatzfeldt was getting on all right. Lady Galloway said that he was very popular. Bismarck considered that he did better as Ambassador than in affairs at home, as though he could work well he lacked the power of sticking to his work. I then referred to Mr. Deichmann, a country neighbour of ours who had built a house near Bicester and married a Miss de Bunsen, widow of another German, who had been his friend. Mr. (afterwards Baron) Deichmann and his wife were undoubtedly friends (or henchmen?) of the Bismarcks, and Mr. Deichmann was very proud of a tankard which the Prince had given him. “He gave me a very good horse,” returned the Prince, when I mentioned this, and described him as “bon enfant.” In the light of after experience I feel sure that the Deichmanns were employed to report to the Prince on social matters in England and particularly in diplomatic circles. I do not at all mean that they were anti-English, but that they were “utilised.” They were very intimate friends of the Münsters, and somehow kept in with the Crown Princess and her family, although the Princess certainly did not love Bismarck! I well recollect a dinner which (in years later than that of our interview with the great man) the Deichmanns gave[Pg 108] at their house in London to reconcile the French and German Embassies. What had been the exact cause of friction I do not know, but the ostensible one was that the then Ambassadress, Madame Waddington, had not worn mourning when some German princelet died. Anyhow, Madame Deichmann had Madame Waddington to dinner, and Marie Münster to a party afterwards, and they were made to shake hands and be friends. It was clever of Madame Deichmann, and she well deserved the title of Baroness afterwards conferred upon her. However, I am not altogether sure that Bismarck appreciated the reference to his friends on this occasion—he may not have wished to be thought too intimate! He did not resent it though, and when we rose to take leave gave Lady Galloway many messages for Lord Salisbury, hoping to see him again in Germany or when he, Bismarck, came to England, which he seemed to regard as quite on the cards. He also asked Lady Ermyntrude affectionately after Sir Edward, whom he thought looking rather unwell when he last saw him, though quite himself again when he became excited.

BISMARCK AND LORD SALISBURY

Just as we were going away the Prince asked if we would like to see the room where the Congress had been held. Of course we were delighted, so that he took us in and showed us where they all sat, Lord Beaconsfield on his right hand, and Lord Salisbury, as he particularly pointed out to Lady Galloway, just round the corner. Then Gortschakoff, who, he said, did not take much part, next Schouvaloff, on whom the work fell, but he added in English, “Lord Salisbury squeezed him.” And there, he said, pointing to the other side of the table, “sat the victim of the Congress, the Turk.” So little impression had the victim made[Pg 109] upon him that he could not even remember his name—he thought, however, that it was Mehemet—Mehemet something—at last Princess Bismarck helped him out—Mehemet Ali. I believe the head Turk was Karatheodori Pasha, but presume that he was a nonentity; at all events neither Prince nor Princess Bismarck referred to him. Bismarck rather apologised for the bareness of the room, a fine, large, long apartment, and wished that he were equal to giving balls in it—this, with Emperor William’s desire to go to balls, gave a cheerful impression of these old men.

Little did we then realise what our feelings with regard to Germany would be twenty-seven years later! Though I feel ashamed now of the impression made upon me by Prince Bismarck, I cannot help recording that I was foolish enough to write some verses comparing him to Thor, the Scandinavian war-god, with his hammer and anvil, and to add them to my account of our interview.

After our return to England Lord Salisbury told Lady Galloway that he should like to see this account, and when I met him again he said to me with great amusement, “So you have seen Thor?”

Prince Bismarck had an undoubted admiration for Lord Salisbury. Not long after Sir Edward Malet’s appointment to Berlin poor Lady Ermyntrude had a child who did not survive its birth. She was very ill. Some little time afterwards her father, the Duke of Bedford, told me that she had been very anxious to come over to England to be with her parents for her confinement. This was arranged, and then Sir Edward, anxious about her health, wanted to join her. He did not know whether he could rightfully leave his diplomatic duties, but Bismarck reassured him, telling[Pg 110] him that so long as Lord Salisbury was in power he need have no apprehension as to the relations between England and the German Empire.

I confess also to having been fascinated by the Crown Prince—afterwards the Emperor Frederick; but he was not in the least like a Prussian—he was like a very gentle knight. Poor man! He had already begun to suffer from the fatal malady to his throat. The last time I spoke with him he came into the box in which we were sitting at the theatre and said, “I cannot talk to you much, my throat is so bad.”

The next event which made a great impression on me in common with every other subject of the British Empire was the first Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Its excitements, its glories, have been told over and over again, but no one who did not live through it can grasp the thrill which ran from end to end of the nation, and no one who did live through it can pass it on to others. The Queen became a tradition while yet alive. When ten thousand children from the elementary schools were entertained in Hyde Park the proceedings concluded by the release of a balloon bearing the word “Victoria.” As it ascended one child was heard gravely explaining to another that “that was the Queen going up to Heaven.” A man (or woman) wrote to the paper that in the evening he had observed that the sunset colours had formed themselves into a distinct arrangement of red, white, and blue! I chanced the week before the Jubilee celebrations to express to a girl in a shop a hope for fine weather. In a tone of rebuke she replied, “Of course it will be fine: it is for the Queen!”—a sentiment more poetically expressed by the French Ambassador Baron de Courcel, who said to me on one rather doubtful day in the week preceding[Pg 111] the Diamond Jubilee, “Le bon Dieu nettoie les cieux pour la Reine!” This confidence was fully justified: the weather was glorious. When traffic was stopped in the main thoroughfares, and all streets and houses had their usual dinginess hidden in glowing decorations, London looked like a fairy city—a fitting regal background for an imperial apotheosis—only perchance excelled by the Diamond Jubilee ten years later. “Mother’s come home,” I heard a stalwart policeman say on the day when the Queen arrived in Buckingham Palace. That was just it—Mother had come back to her joyous children.

THANKSGIVING SERVICE

The Dowager Lady Ampthill, one of her ladies-in-waiting, recounted an incident which I do not think appeared in any of the papers. When the royal train was coming down from Scotland Lady Ampthill awoke in the early summer dawn, and looked out of the carriage in which she had been sleeping. The world was not yet awake, but as the train rushed through the country amongst fields and meadows she was astonished to see numbers of men and women standing apparently silently gazing—simply waiting to see the passing of the Great Queen to her Jubilee. Perhaps the climax was the Thanksgiving Service in Westminster Abbey.

I cannot refrain from inserting here my mother’s lines describing the final scene on that occasion:

“It was an hour of triumph, for a nation
Had gathered round the Monarch of their pride;
All that a people held of great or lovely,
The wise, the world-renowned, stood side by side.

“Lands famed in story sent their Kings and chieftains,
Isles scarcely recked of came our Queen to greet,
Princesses lent the tribute of their beauty,
And laid the flowers of welcome at her feet.
[Pg 112]
“The organs pealed, the trumpets gave their challenge,
A stormy shout of gladness rent the air,
All eyes beamed welcome, and all hearts bowed with her
When low she bent her royal head in prayer.

“She bent amid a haughty nation, knowing
No sun e’er set upon its widespread towers,
Though right and good had deemed that day the lion
To sheath its claws and robe itself in flowers.

“When Cæsar kept high holiday, when Rome
Called forth her maidens to fill hours of ease,
Pale warriors darkly met in bloody ring
Or some Numidian giant died to please.

“But in that hour supreme when all eyes turned
Upon the Queen’s kind face and gestures mild,
Bright tears unbidden rose, stern bosoms heaved,
They saw her stoop—she stooped to kiss her child.

“Children and children’s children passed before her,
Each one ‘fair History’s mark’ with stately grace;
Mother of many nations, Queen and Empress,
She drew them each within her fond embrace.

“Symbolic kiss—it spoke of early birthdays,
When little hearts had swelled with little joys,
It told of kisses given and counsels tender
To graceful maidens and to princely boys;

“Of fond caresses given in days of gladness
When Hope was young and blue the skies above,
Of kisses interchanged in hours of sorrow
When all seemed shattered save the bonds of love.

“And of that hour of dutiful surrender
Of hearts to Him who gives to Kings to be,
The memory of those kisses grave and tender
Shall knit our hearts, Victoria, still to thee.

“Sceptres outlasting long the hands that held them,
Thrones that have seated dynasties may fall:
Love never dies, his chain is linked to heaven,
The Lord, the friend, the comforter of all.
[Pg 113]
“Yes! of those hours so joyous and so glorious
When the tall fires prolonged the festal day,
The memory of those kisses gently given
Shall be the dearest we shall bear away.”

On July 2nd I recollect Lord and Lady Lathom coming to spend a Sunday with us at Osterley. He was then Lord Chamberlain—and the poor man seemed utterly exhausted by the strain of the Jubilee festivities though very happy at their success. He spoke among other things of the quaint applications which he had received for permission to attend the service at the Abbey. Amongst others he had one from a lady who said that if she did not obtain a seat a large class would be unrepresented—namely, the class of Old Maids. I think she had one. Even people like my father not connected with the Court were pestered to “use influence”—one lady wrote to him to try and get seats for herself and her father, and wanted them near the preacher as “papa was very deaf.”

TRIALS OF COURT OFFICIALS

Lord Mount Edgcumbe—then Lord Steward—once told me of a trying experience which he had in connection with the Jubilee. There was a great banquet at Windsor and he had to order the seating of the guests, who included various foreign royalties. As is well known in dealing with foreigners the order in which they sit is far more important than the precedence in which they walk into the banqueting hall—if you put two princes or dignitaries one on the right, the other on the left of the table, and both are about equally important, you must take care to put the left-hand man one higher up at the table than the guest on the right. Well, Lord Mount Edgcumbe had ordered this feast of some thirty or forty notabilities or more to complete satisfaction, and had gone to his room to[Pg 114] attire himself in all the glory of a High Steward. Just as he was getting into his breeches a message was brought him that two more German princelets had arrived who had to be included in the party. Poor man! he had to hasten to complete his toilet and to rush down and rearrange the whole table.

Talking of German etiquette (I don’t know how far it survives the fall of the Hohenzollerns), we had a most eccentric Teutonic specimen at Osterley that Jubilee summer. Our kind hostess at Berlin—Lady Ermyntrude Malet—introduced to us, by letter, a certain Count Seierstorpff—so we asked him to spend Whitsuntide. We had various other guests, including the Kintores and Lord and Lady Maud Wolmer (now Lord and Lady Selborne) and Lady Maud’s sister, Lady Gwendolen Cecil. Count Seierstorpff’s one form of conversation was to catechise everybody as to the rank of the company—how far they were “ebenbürtig.” This culminated in his asking me what Lady Maud would be if Lord Wolmer were to die! I told Lord Wolmer this, and he said, “Couldn’t you tell him that of two sisters in the house, both equally eligible, one is unmarried!”

When on Whit-Monday we drove to see Ham House he kept jumping up on the seat of the landau in which he went with some of the party to inspect the surrounding country—spying, I suppose—and when we were sitting outside the house after dinner he suddenly disappeared and was found to have rushed wildly right round a portion of the grounds. Many years afterwards—1913, I believe—Jersey and I met him again at Cannes. He had grown into a fat, truculent Prussian, and had married a pleasant American wife. Poor people! After the War I asked what became of them. He and[Pg 115] his two sons were killed in the War—she had lost money and relations by the sinking of the Lusitania—had gone mad and was in an asylum. I only wonder that he had not gone mad, but suppose there was method in his Osterley madness.

THE NAVAL REVIEW

The last festivity in which I took part that summer was the Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead. Jersey went by invitation of the P. and O. Company on a ship of their fleet—the Rome if I recollect rightly—but Lady Galloway and I with her stepfather Lord Derby were invited from Friday, July 22nd, for the Review on Saturday and to spend Sunday on board the Mirror, one of Sir John Pender’s electric-cable ships. I never shared in a more amusing party. There was great confusion with the luggage at Waterloo. I think most people lost something. Lady Galloway and I each had two small boxes and each lost one, but it did not matter, as we were able to supplement each other’s remaining articles. Sir William Russell the journalist lost all his luggage, but it was said that he invariably did so, and he did not seem to mind at all. Lord Wolseley, Lord Alcester, Lord Lymington (afterwards Portsmouth), and Sir William Des Voeux, who had been Governor of Fiji, Lady Tweeddale, and Countess Marie Münster were among the guests, and our kind host did everything to make us happy. The Mirror, like the other unofficial ships, remained stationary during the Review, but Lady Galloway and I persuaded the Chairman, Sir John Pender, and the Captain to let a boat take us to the House of Lords ship, the Euphrates, for which we had tickets, and which was to follow the Queen’s Yacht, the Victoria and Albert, down the lines. It was a magnificent sight. I will not attempt to describe it, as it has been far better recorded than any[Pg 116] words of mine could achieve. One thing, however, I may note. The then biggest and finest ships were like rather ugly floating forts, and all, or almost all, different from each other. The graceful old men-of-war with long lines and pointed bows were considered obsolete. Ten years later when there was a Review for the second Jubilee all was changed again. I do not mean that the naval architects had reverted to the old models, but the general effect was a return to the old lines, and the fortress ships, almost sunk under the sea, had disappeared. Also they were later on built in classes, so that their fittings were interchangeable and the engineers from one ship could be easily transferred to another.

To return to our personal experiences. The rest of the party had remained on the Mirror, and I rather fancy some of them got a little bored, as their time was less exciting than ours. Anyhow, one or two of the men became exceedingly anxious for our return as the dinner-hour approached, as of course the boat could not fetch us off from the Euphrates till all the proceedings were over and the coast clear. We were told when we did get back, which I do not think was unduly late, that Lord Alcester had expressed a somewhat uncomplimentary opinion of women, emphasised with a capital D! However, everyone enjoyed the illumination of the ships, and particularly the searchlights—then somewhat of a novelty and in which the Mirror specially distinguished herself. On Sunday morning our Chairman, Sir John Pender, was very properly anxious that his guests should enjoy “religious privileges”; and as everyone was content that he should have service on board instead of putting us on shore, it was arranged accordingly. There was[Pg 117] a distinct rivalry as to who should officiate. We had not a Bishop nor even one of the lesser lights of the Church among our otherwise representative company—the Captain evidently considered that under these circumstances he was the proper person to read prayers, and he produced prayer-books—I suppose that they were provided by the Electric Company—and Sir John distinctly held that as Chairman it was for him, although a Nonconformist, to conduct the Anglican devotions—so he began. The Captain determined anyhow to act as prompter. They got on all right—till Sir John, a little man, stood up to read the First Lesson. This unfortunately began, “And Satan stood up”—still more unfortunately it appeared that it was the wrong lesson, and the Captain ruthlessly pulled him down. Nevertheless we somehow reached a happy conclusion.

In the afternoon some of us, including Lord Derby, were offered a choice of cruising about among the ships or going over to see Lord and Lady De La Warr at a little house they had somewhere on the coast called Inchmery. We chose the latter, and were sent in a tug called the Undaunted. I tried to immortalise the expedition in a so-called poem of which I only quote a few verses—needless to say Lord Derby was the hero:

“There was an Earl—a noble Earl
Who would a sailor be,
And therefore asked two kindly dames
To take him out to sea....
····
“We’ve often heard of Inchmery,
Its charms and crabs are vaunted;
Bring round the tug and cast her off,
That splendid tug Undaunted!
[Pg 118]
“The splendid tug sailed fast and far,
She bore as fair a band
As ever dared the heaving deep
And sighed to gain the land.

“She bore our Only General,
Whose prowess must be granted,
For he can always go to sleep
And always wake when wanted.

“A great Colonial Governor
Who would have ruled the main,
Only emotions swelled his breast
Which he could not restrain.”


As to the above, Lord Wolseley explained to us that he shared a characteristic with Napoleon and I rather think Wellington—namely, that he could always go to sleep in a minute when he so desired, and wake with equal celerity. He exemplified this by retiring into the little cabin of the launch when the waves became somewhat restive, and fell fast asleep immediately, seated on a bench. The poor Colonial Governor, Sir William Des Voeux, was less happy—he had to lie prostrate at the bottom of the launch during the short transit until we landed.

The De La Warrs gave us an excellent tea, and we then strolled among the rocks on the shore, where it was supposed that the great Lord Derby wanted to find crabs:

“The time speeds on—and now at length,
By new-born terrors haunted,
Soldier and sage demand the tug—
‘Where is the good Undaunted’?

“What object meets their straining eyes,
From aid and rescue far?
Dauntless perhaps, but useless quite,
She’s stranded on the bar.
[Pg 119]
“The Captain smiles, ‘It wasn’t I,’
The General’s out of reach,
The noble Earl sits down to play
Aunt Sally on the beach.”

It was a fine sight to see Lord Derby (uncle of the present Lord Derby), regarded by most people as an exceptionally solemn statesman, sitting tranquilly on the shore throwing stones—a sort of ducks and drakes—into the sea—quite unmoved by the tug’s disaster.

However, Lord De La Warr came to the rescue with a launch which took us safely back to the Mirror—minus Sir William, who had found the tug quite bad enough and declined to trust himself to the launch. He remained for the night at Inchmery, and I presume, like the rest of us, found his way back to London next day.

KNOWSLEY

The Lord Derby of this expedition was a great friend of mine. His wife, formerly Lady Salisbury, was Lady Galloway’s mother, and I originally met her staying at Galloway House—after which she invited us several times to Knowsley. I think my first visit there was in 1879 when we met the Leckys—afterwards great friends—and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lowe (afterwards Lord Sherbrooke). He was an albino and chiefly remembered for his abortive attempt to tax matches, giving rise to the joke “ex luce lucellum.” She was, I believe, a very good-natured woman, but it was funny to see the result of her excessive flow of conversation. She would begin with a circle round her, and person after person would gradually steal away, leaving her at length with only one victim whom amiability or good manners forbade to depart.

I well recollect that Lady Derby won my heart on this occasion by coming to the front door to meet us[Pg 120] on arrival, under the evident impression that as a young woman I might be shy coming to a very large house among those, including my host, who were mostly strangers. I dare say that I might have survived the shock, but I was much struck with the courtesy and thoughtfulness of a woman old enough to be my mother, and it was one of the first lessons, of which I have had many in life, of the great effect of the manner in which people originally receive their guests.

Lady Derby was a remarkable woman in many ways. Her heart was first in her husband and children and then in politics. She could never take a lightsome view of life and let it carry her along. She always wished to manage and direct it. Her motives were invariably excellent, but occasionally things might have gone better had she taken less trouble about them. She did great things for her children, who adored her, but even with them it might sometimes have been well had their lives been left a little more to their own discretion. She was kindness itself to me, and I used greatly to enjoy going to Derby House, then in St. James’s Square, where she was always at home to her particular friends at tea-time and where one always had the chance of meeting interesting people.

APOTHEOSIS OF THE QUEEN

To conclude my recollections of the Jubilee. I think that it was in the autumn of 1887, and not after the Diamond Jubilee, that we were staying with Lord and Lady Muncaster at their beautiful home in Cumberland. We went to the local church and an Archdeacon was preaching for some Society which involved a plea for missionary effort. He spoke to this effect (of course these are not the exact words): “There are black men, brown men, red men, and yellow men in the British Empire. We must not despise any[Pg 121] of them, for we are all children of one Great——” I naturally expected “Father,” but he added “Mother”! So far had Queen Victoria advanced in the tutelary rank! I was told after her death that the Tibetans had adopted her as a protecting deity—and that they attributed the invasion of their country to the fact that she had died, as we had never disturbed them in her lifetime. I record later on how natives in Madras did “poojah” to her statue, offering coconuts and such like tribute—but the Indians also did “poojah” to a steam-engine when they first saw it, so perhaps this was not an extraordinary token of reverence.

 

 


[Pg 122]

CHAPTER VI

GHOST STORIES AND TRAVELS IN GREECE

To go a little back in recollections of the eighties one of our friends was Lord Cairns, Lord Chancellor in 1868 and again from 1874 till, I believe, his death. Once when I was sitting near him at dinner, we were discussing ghost stories. He said that without giving them general credence he was impressed by one which had been told him by the wife of the Prussian Minister, Madame Bernstorff. (I think, though am not sure, that Bernstorff was Minister before there was a German Embassy.) The story was, briefly, that a man in Berlin had a dream, thrice repeated, in which a comrade appeared to him and said that he had been murdered, and that his dead body was being carried out of the city, covered with straw, by a certain gate. The man roused himself, told the police, the body was duly found and the murderers arrested. “Well,” said I, “I think I have read that story in Dryden, and believe he took it from Chaucer.” Sure enough I found the tale in “The Cock and the Fox,” Dryden’s modernised version of Chaucer’s “Tale of the Nun’s Priest”—but the amusing thing is that Dryden says,

“An ancient author, equal with the best,
Relates this tale of dreams among the rest”—

and a note explains that the “ancient author” was Cicero, from whose treatise, De Divinatione, the story was taken. I sent the book to Lord Cairns, who answered (June 25th, 1883): “It is Madame [Pg 123]Bernstorff’s story to the letter! It was most kind of you to send it to me, and it is a fresh proof that there is nothing new under the sun! The ‘catena’ of Cicero—Chaucer—Dryden—Bernstorff is very amusing.”

LORD HALSBURY’S GHOST STORY

Being a Lord Chancellor does not render a man immune from belief in ghosts. I have more than once heard the late Lord Halsbury relate his adventure in this line. As a young man he went to stay with a friend, who put him up for the night. After he had gone to bed, a figure entered his room, and taking it to be his host he spoke to it, but it made no reply and left as silently as it entered. At breakfast next morning he said to the master of the house—I suppose jokingly—“If you did come in my room last night I think you might have answered when I spoke to you.” Both his hosts looked embarrassed, and then his friend said, “Well, to tell you the truth, that room is considered to be haunted; but it is our best room, and my wife thought that a hard-headed lawyer would not be liable to be disturbed, so we put you there.” Mr. Giffard, as, Lord Halsbury then was, left without further incident, but some time after, meeting his friend again, he said, “Well, how’s your ghost getting on?” “Oh, my dear fellow,” was the reply, “don’t talk of my ghost. My aunt came to stay with me and we put her into that room. The ghost came in and tried to get into her bed, and she will never speak to me again!”

Lord Halsbury also had a story about a ghost who haunted his brother’s house in London. I think it was a little old woman, I cannot remember the details, but he certainly seemed to believe in it.

Talking of dreams and apparitions, though I cannot remember the year—probably in the early nineties—I[Pg 124] recollect a rather amusing instance of the explosion of one of such stories when thoroughly sifted. Mr. (afterwards Sir James) Knowles told me one day that the great object of Myers and Gurney and the founders of the Psychical Society was to obtain evidence of a genuine apparition seen by two witnesses who would both bear such testimony as would stand cross-examination by a barrister. This was most sensible, as one person may honestly believe in an appearance, which may be an hallucination caused by circumstances, and affected by his own mental or bodily condition, but it is hardly possible that such conditions will enable two people to see the same spirit at the same moment unless it should actually appear. Mr. Knowles said that at last the Psychical Society had found a well-authenticated story in which two thoroughly credible witnesses had seen the ghost, and this was to come out in the forthcoming number of The Nineteenth Century.

THE GHOSTLY REPORTER

The witnesses were an English judge and his wife; to the best of my recollection they were Sir Edmund and Lady Hornby, and the scene of the apparition Shanghai. Anyhow, I perfectly recollect the story, which was as follows. The judge had been trying a case during the day, and he and his wife had retired to bed when a man (European, not native) entered their bedroom. They were much annoyed by this intrusion and asked what he wanted. He replied that he was a reporter who had been in court, but had been obliged to leave before the conclusion of the trial, and was extremely anxious that the judge should tell him what the verdict was that he might complete the report for his paper. The judge, to get rid of him, gave some answer that satisfied him, and the man[Pg 125] departed. Next day the judge learnt that a reporter had been present who was taken ill and died before the conclusion of the trial, and he was convinced that this was his ghostly visitor. The weak point, said Mr. Knowles, was that the narrators would not allow themselves to be cross-examined by a barrister. They were very old, and nervous about the publication of the story in print, and the thought of cross-examination was quite too much for them. However, Mr. Knowles and the other investigators were fully satisfied as to their bona fides, and the tale duly appeared in an article in the Review. No sooner was it published than various people wrote pointing out that it was all a misapprehension. There had been no reporter who had suddenly died on the occasion specified, and various other details were disproved by officials and others who had been at the place at the time when the judge was by way of having presided over the trial and seen the ghost. (Sir Edmund was a judge of the Supreme Court of China and Japan.) Mr. Knowles came again and said, “There you see!” The story when subjected to the light of publicity fell to the ground. No doubt something had put the germ into the old people’s heads and it had blossomed in the course of years.

To return for a minute to the year 1887. In that year my husband was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire—an appointment which he held until his death. This is referred to in the following verses by Mr. Lionel Ashley, younger son of the great Lord Shaftesbury and a friend of my husband’s and mine of long standing. Lady Galloway and I used to call him “the Bard,” as he was fond of making verses about us. I insert these because they give such a happy idea[Pg 126] of one of Osterley Saturday-to-Monday parties. They are dated June 19th, 1887, which I see by our Visitors’ List was the Sunday.

“In a cot may be found, I have heard the remark,
More delight than in Castles with pillars.
But we find in the Palace of Osterley Park,
All the charms of suburban Villiers.

“A Sunday in Osterley Gardens and Halls,
That’s a day to look on to and after.
Its pleasures my memory fondly recalls,
And the talk, with its wisdom and laughter.

“In a nice little church a grave sermon we heard,
Which reproved Christianity flabby,
And urged that in heaven a place be preferred
To a Jubilee seat in the Abbey.
·····
“The Irish question, in masterly way,
Mr. Lowell made easy and clear.
We must make them content, without further delay,
But the method was not his affair.
·····
“Of the Queen’s new Lieutenant, with pleasure we hail
The appointment, for now ’tis a mercy,
From cold shoulders in Oxfordshire never will fail
To protect her a glorious Jersey.
····
“Then may everyone of th’ illustrious Brood
Learn to make the same excellent stand his own,
That not only the names, but the qualities good
May descend to each ‘Child’ and each ‘Grandison.’”

The last line was rather prophetic, as there was no “Grandison” apart from the family’s Irish title at the time of writing. My husband, as already mentioned, bore the name for the three weeks between his grandfather’s and father’s death, but our elder son was always Villiers. Now his son is Grandison and I think bids fair to inherit the “qualities good” of his grandfather—he could not do better.

A JUBILEE SERMON

[Pg 127]The “nice little church” was that at Norwood Green, and the sermon, preached by a rather eccentric Irish clergyman, informed us that he had been studying history and found that in the days of George III’s Jubilee “there was an old king and a ma-ad king. How would you have liked that?” And he continued to tell us of the death at that period of Sir John Moore commemorated by an Irish clergyman who “two years later was translated to the Kingdom of Heaven, for which his Irish curacy had so well prepared him.”

In addition to those above named by Mr. Ashley, we had staying with us Lord Rowton, Lord and Lady Galloway, Lady Lytton and her daughter Betty, Col. Charles Edgcumbe, my sister Cordelia, and my brother-in-law Reginald Villiers, to whom my husband was greatly attached. It is very pleasant to recall those happy days, but sad to think how few that shared them are left!

I turn from our Osterley parties for the time being to record a most amusing journey which Lady Galloway and I made to Greece in 1888. Lord Jersey could not make up his mind to start with us, though we had hopes (which proved vain) that he might join us later. Our families were somewhat excited on learning our intention, as the recollection of the Marathon brigands who captured poor Mr. Vyner and the Muncasters still coloured the popular ideas of Greece.

Our husbands, however, were—fortunately—confident in our own powers of taking care of ourselves. Lord Jersey calmly remarked, “If you are captured Galloway and I will come with an army to rescue you.” Mr. Ashley, less trustful of the future, insisted on presenting each of us with a small revolver and box of cartridges. I forget what Mary did with hers, but my one object[Pg 128] was to conceal the weapon from possible brigands. I regarded them rather like wasps, who are supposed not to sting if you let them alone, but I was certain that if I tried to shoot I should miss, and then they might be annoyed and I should suffer. I had to take the revolver, but I hid the cartridges in my luggage and put the weapon where it would not be seen.

We were not absolutely certain till we reached Marseilles whether we should go to Greece after all, or to Algeria or elsewhere, but finding that we could get berths on a Messageries boat we ultimately carried out our original intention though we did not really mean to stay long in Athens or its neighbourhood, and imagined Marathon (the scene of the Vyner tragedy) to be quite “out of bounds.”

However, when on March 31st we reached the Piræus early in the morning we soon found that we were in the happiest possible abode. Our constant friend and protector Sir Thomas (now Lord) Sanderson had written from the Foreign Office to Mr. William Haggard, the British Chargé d’Affaires, to look after us in the absence of the Minister, and it is impossible to speak too highly of his kindness. The Greek Ministers were deeply impressed by the fact that Lady Galloway was (half) sister to the English Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, and laid themselves out to make everything pleasant and delightful. Greece was still almost unknown to Cook’s tourists. I think there was a Cook’s Office, but I do not recall seeing any of his clients about the place—anyhow, not outside Athens itself. Mr. Haggard met us with a boat belonging to the Harbour Master’s Office, and as soon as we had settled ourselves in the Hôtel d’Angleterre at Athens (a very good hotel) he began to make all sorts of arrangements[Pg 129] for us—so that instead of three days we stayed some three weeks in Athens and about a month altogether in Greece.

MARATHON

We told Mr. Haggard that our friends were very much afraid of our finding brigands at Marathon, or rather at their finding us. He assured us that after the tragedy—seventeen years previously—all the brigands had been killed and it was perfectly safe; anyhow, he took us to Marathon next day, and we were delighted with the scenery through which we passed and with the silent, desolate field where the battle had been waged, with wild flowers growing on the hillock pointed out as the soldiers’ grave. Whether it still keeps its impressive solitude I know not. It is useless to attempt description of Greece, so well known to all either from personal experience or from hundreds of accounts both in prose and poetry, but I may just say that as my mother (who saw it as a girl) told me, the colours of the mountains were like those of a dove’s neck, and the clearness of the atmosphere such that one felt as if one could see through the hills.

An evening or two later we dined with Mr. Haggard and his wife, and we were soon introduced to the various notabilities, who from the King and Queen downwards were most kind and hospitable. To begin with their Majesties, who entertained us at breakfast at the Royal Kiosk at the Piræus, and on more than one subsequent occasion at dinner, and whom we met on various other occasions: King George had much of the charm of his sister Queen Alexandra and was a distinctly astute monarch. As far as one could judge, he really liked his quaint little kingdom, and I remember his asserting with energy that they were a good people. The Queen, a Russian, was a kindly, pious woman and apparently[Pg 130] happy with her children, to whom she was devoted. She then had six, but there were only three at home at the time—Princess Alexandra, a pretty, merry girl just grown-up, and two younger children, Marie and Andrew. Andrew was a dear little boy about six or seven years old. When I asked Princess Marie about his birthday she gravely replied that he was too young to have a birthday!

Greece struck me as a singularly “democratic” country in the sense that there was really no “aristocracy” between the Sovereign and the people. What in other countries is commonly called “Society” was in Athens mainly composed of the Ministers, the Corps Diplomatique, and one or two rich merchants—particularly one called Syngros, who spent large sums on public works. One of these was the Academy, a large building with, as far as we could ascertain, nothing as yet inside it.

The Mykenæ Museum, which contained many of Schliemann’s antiquities, discovered at Argos and elsewhere, was specially interesting; but the Greek newspaper which followed our movements and formulated our opinions for us said that when we visited the Academy “both ladies were enthusiastic at the sight of the building. They confessed that they never expected to find in Athens such a beautiful building; they speak with enthusiasm of Athens in general”—but evidently the Academy (of which I do not think we saw the inside) was “It.”

M. Tricoupi was then Prime Minister, Minister of War, and practically Dictator. He was undoubtedly a man of great ability and judgment, and was devoted to England. We saw him constantly and also his sister Miss Tricoupi, a wonderful old lady.

MISS TRICOUPI

[Pg 131]She gave up her life to promoting her brother’s interests in all respects. She appeared to me like a link with the past, as she had been with her brother in England early in the century, and then had taken to Sarah, Lady Jersey, as a present from King Otho, a water-colour drawing of a room in his Palace which always hung in my bedroom at Middleton. She also knew my grandmother and my mother’s elder sisters. Whenever Parliament was sitting she sat at home from one o’clock in the afternoon till any hour of the night to which the debates happened to continue. Any of her brother’s supporters, no matter of what rank, could come into the large room at one end of which she was seated. It did not appear to be necessary that she should speak to them, much less offer them refreshments. I saw some men who appeared to be sailors or fishermen enter and seat themselves at the far end of the room without speaking or apparently attracting any particular notice.

When we went to see her she gave us tea and delicious little rolled-up pieces of bread-and-butter—this we were assured was an especial favour. Naturally she could not have fed the whole of Athens daily! Poor woman—I saw her again on our subsequent visit to Athens, and after that used to correspond for nearly thirty years. She wrote most interesting letters, though after her brother’s death she lived mainly in retirement. During the war, however, her feelings became somewhat embittered towards the Allies; she ultimately died seated on her sofa—she never would give in to incapacity, though she must have been very old.

One of the most amusing members of the Ministry was Theotoki, Minister of Marine, who went with us on more than one excursion and was most kind in[Pg 132] providing gunboats for any destination which had to be reached by sea. I rather think that he was of Venetian descent—he had a nice, lively wife, and I should say that he was not averse to a little innocent flirtation. The bachelor Tricoupi embodied all his ideals of woman in his capable and devoted sister, and had very advanced Woman Suffrage views, more uncommon then than a quarter of a century later. He was all in favour of the appointment of women not only as Members of Parliament, but also as Ministers of the Crown. One day he and Theotoki were taking us somewhere by sea when a discussion arose on this point. Either Lady Galloway or I wickedly suggested that women, admitted to the Cabinet, might exercise undue influence on the minds of the male members. Tricoupi in perfect innocence thereupon replied that it might be arranged that only married men should hold such office, apparently convinced that matrimony would make them woman-proof! I shall never forget Theotoki’s expressive glance.

NAUPLIA

Dragoumi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was one of those who gave a dinner-party in our honour, on which occasion he and M. Tricoupi and one of the other Ministers concocted an excellent programme to enable us to visit Nauplia and Argos and Mykenæ. I wrote an account of this to my mother which she kept, so I may as well transcribe it, as it gives an account of places which have probably been much altered and brought up to date in the present day under the auspices of “Cook’s Tours.” I told my mother:

“We went with Bakhméteff the Russian and Haggard the Englishman, who each had a Greek servant, and we having a German courier made up a tolerably mixed lot. You would have laughed to see the three [Pg 133]Cabinet Ministers sitting in solemn conclave at a party the night before to settle all details of our expedition. Theotoki, the Minister of Marine, had a ship ready to send to meet us anywhere we liked, and Tricoupi ordered Dragoumis, the Foreign Minister, just to go down to send off some further telegram, which Dragoumis—a white-haired statesman—obediently trotted off to do. The Czar of all the Russias is not a greater autocrat than Tricoupi. When we arrived at Nauplia we found the M.P. for that district waiting for us at the station, and he had received orders to have the hotel thoroughly cleaned and prepared—no one had been allowed to inhabit it for four days before our arrival. The landlord, as far as we could make out, was locked up in a room, whence we heard coughs and groans, presumably because he had found a clean dwelling such a ghastly thing, and we were waited on by a very smart individual (who was a Parisian doctor of law!) and a small Greek girl. When we woke up next morning we found by way of variety that the ground was covered with snow and the coachman said he could not possibly go to Epidaurus—however, Bakhméteff sent for the Prefect of Police, who told him he must, so with four horses in front and one trotting behind we went a perfectly lovely drive through splendid mountain country looking even more beautiful from the snow on the hills. Perhaps you don’t know about Epidaurus—an ancient temple of Æsculapius is there, and near it has lately been discovered the most perfect theatre in Greece, which could seat twenty-five thousand people. Hardly a stone is out of place—we went up to the top row, and an unfortunate ‘Ephor of Antiquities’ who had also been ordered up from Athens to do us the honours stood on the stage and talked to us—one could hear every word. The Ephor and all the inhabitants of Nauplia (who are stated by the papers to have received us ‘with affection’) thought us quite mad, not only for going in the snow, but for going in an open carriage, a circumstance also carefully recorded in the papers. A Greek would[Pg 134] have shut up the carriage and both windows. Thursday we returned (i.e. to Athens) by Tiryns, Argos and Mykenæ and saw Dr. Schliemann’s excavations. The Treasury of Atreus is a marvellous thing—a great cone-shaped chamber in a hill with an inner chamber on one side and an enormous portal with projecting walls in front with a gigantic slab over it. Metal plates are said to have been fastened on the walls at one time, but how on earth the prehistoric people arranged these stones curving inwards so as to keep in place and how they lifted some of them at all passes the wit of man to conceive.”

I continue in this letter to explain how much of all this Dr. Schliemann and his wife did and did not find, and also to describe the “Lion Gate” and the “Agora”—but all that is well-known and doubtless has been further explored since our visit.

Among other dissipations at Athens we attended two balls—one at M. Syngros’, the other at the Austrian Legation. After the former a correspondent of one of the Greek papers wrote:

“It is a curious phenomenon the gaiety with which the Prime Minister is possessed this year. I have no doubt that he belongs to that fortunate circle which sees with affection the setting on each day of the Carnival. It appears that the presence of the two distinguished English ladies who are receiving the hospitality of our town for some days now has revived in him dormant feelings and reminiscences. M. Tricoupi passed the years of his youth in England, and it was with the English ladies that he enjoyed the sweet pleasure of dancing. This evening he dances also with Lady Jersey. He frequently accompanied the two distinguished ladies to the Buffet, and with very juvenile agility he hastens to find for them their sorties de bal with which the noble English ladies are[Pg 135] to protect their delicate bodies from the indiscretion of that cold night.”

M. Bakhméteff, who was one of our companions to Nauplia, was a typical Russian—very clever, knowing some eight or nine languages and all about Greece ancient and modern. We used to call him the “Courier,” as he was invaluable on our various expeditions, and he seemed to enjoy his honorary post. Like many of his compatriots he had no real religious belief, but regarded religious observance as quite a good thing for women; he told me that a man looked rather ridiculous kneeling, but it was a becoming attitude for women—the folds of her dress fell so nicely! But he assured me that if I saw him on duty in Russia I should see him kissing the ikons with all reverence. Poor man! If still alive, I wonder what has happened to him. He lent me a capital Japanese costume for the ball at the Austrian Legation. Lady Galloway went as “Dresden china” or a “bouquetière.”

THE LAURIUM MINES

We made a very interesting expedition to the Laurium mines, of which I subsequently ventured to give an account in The National Review, but again I think it unnecessary here to describe a well-known enterprise—the revival in modern days of lead mines worked in classical times. We stayed the night at the house of the manager, M. Cordella. He and his wife were most kindly hosts, and everyone contributed to our enjoyment. One little domestic detail amused us. As we entered the substantial and comfortable house one of us exclaimed to the other, “Oh, there is a bath!”—a luxury not always found in our wanderings—but a second glance showed us that we should have to wait till our return to the hotel next day, as the bath was fixed in the well of the staircase!

[Pg 136]As for our sentiments about the mines I cannot do better than quote the words of the N ea Ephemeris, one of the papers which knew so well what we thought on each occasion:

“The eminently English spirit of the most ingenious and noble ladies saw in all those works something like the positiveness of the spirit that prevails in their own country and were delighted at it in Greece which they loved so much. They had no words to express their satisfaction to the true man possessed with the spirit of our century whom they found in the person of M. Cordella, the director of the works, and to his worthy wife, who tendered to them so many nice attentions.”

This, the Hora, and the Acropolis, seem to have been the chief Government papers, and occasionally one of them would hold up to contempt a wretched Delyannis organ which basely ignored the presence of the English Prime Minister’s sister!

I cannot record all our excursions to Eleusis, Ægina, and elsewhere, but I will add a few lines describing the general appearance of the people at that time, also written to my mother, as probably they have greatly changed in over thirty years:

“The Peloponnesian shepherds look remarkably picturesque, as they wear large white coats with peaked hoods over their heads. Further north the coats are more often blue—near Athens black and a different shape—near Eleusis the people are Albanians and wear Albanian costumes, which are very bright with many colours. Almost all the natives outside the towns wear costumes which make the villages look like places in plays, and every little inn is a regular picture—but the country is very thinly populated and you go for miles without seeing a soul. It is most beautiful.”

HADJI PETROS

One rather interesting character was the Lord [Pg 137]Chamberlain, an old gentleman called Hadji Petros, son of the original brigand who was one of the husbands of Lady Ellenborough, and is the thinly disguised “Hadji Stavros” of About’s novel Le Roi des Montagnes. Hadji Petros was supposed to be quite illiterate, but he could sign his name, as he did so on a case of chocolate which he gave me. Anyway, “by royal permission” he took us over the Palace and down into the kitchens, where he showed us the correct method of making Turkish coffee. His son, we were told, was a very smart young officer who led cotillons at the Athenian balls—two generations from the original brigand.

We left Athens on February 22nd, and were taken by ship from a port near Patras at the end of the Gulf of Corinth to Pyrgos. We went in a Government boat (the Salaminia, I believe), and it was arranged that we should stay with the Demarch (Mayor) and drive thence to see Olympia.

Fortunately for us M. Bakhméteff accompanied us, and the whole thing was very entertaining. The officers on the ship thought it too absurd that we should want to take off even hand luggage for the night, as they said we should find everything we wanted at the Demarch’s. Sure enough we found three elaborate sitting-rooms adorned with photographs and chairs tied up with ribbons, a bedroom with two comfortable beds and plenty of pin-cushions, and a dressing-room provided with tooth-brushes, sponges, and dentifrice water, but as means of washing one small green glass jug and basin between us. However, we managed to borrow two large, red earthenware pans from the kitchen and got on nicely. The Demarch was more than kind and hospitable, but as he knew no language save his native Greek it was lucky that Bakhméteff[Pg 138] was there to interpret. We landed too late for Olympia that evening, so we were taken down to a most romantic and desolate spot, where Alpheus runs into the sea in full view of the Acroceraunian mountains where “Arethusa arose from her couch of snows.” In addition to one or two officials we were guarded by a delightful gendarme and were introduced to a bare-legged giant in an oil-skin coat whose duty was to look after the fish in a kind of stew or watercourse running out of a lake. Whether the poachers had been busy lately I know not, but the efforts of the custodian, the gendarme, and the rest of the party to give us a fishing entertainment were singularly abortive. Their object appeared to be to capture a mullet, and at length a dead one was landed by the joint throwing of a small net and poking with Lady Galloway’s parasol. With dauntless courage they returned to the charge, and when another small fish was seen the gendarme drew his sword and vainly tried to stab it. Ultimately the professional fishermen did catch it and gave it to the gendarme, who skipped about with glee. He had seen me put some shells in my pocket, and apparently thought we should like to do the same with the fish, so proceeded to wash it—and naturally let it escape. Next day the Demarch told M. Bakhméteff that he had ordered an open carriage for the ladies (knowing our lunatic tendencies) and that he would take him (Bakhméteff) in a shut one. Bakhméteff came to us in a frantic state of mind and begged our authority to say that English ladies could not possibly go in a carriage alone—so ultimately we three proceeded in the open carriage with our gendarme on the box, and the Demarch followed with his servant. All went well till it began to rain, when our gallant[Pg 139] defender jumped off the box and into the shut carriage with the Demarch and the other man. They put up both windows and I believe smoked, only leaving a little breathing-hole in front. Doubtless they enjoyed themselves immensely—so did we.

OLYMPIA—ZANTE

As with other well-known places, I omit all description of Olympia, reached by a road concerning which we decided that it would be a compliment to compare it to a ploughed field. The drive took four hours each way. I dare say there are hotels and chars-à-bancs if not trams now, but I am very glad to recall Olympia, as we saw it in the wilds with ruins of temples and the newly excavated Gymnasium undisturbed by eager tourists. The Museum, containing the beautiful statue of Hermes with the Infant Bacchus, had not long been erected on the lines of a Greek temple. By way of an additional treat our hosts had roasted a lamb whole and brought it into the outer hall of the Museum on a stick regardless of the mess which it made. We made futile efforts to protect the floor with newspapers, but were obliged to eat some of the meat.

From Pyrgos we went to the Island of Zante, where we spent Sunday. I wrote to my mother that it was a most lovely place—and told her:

“We took some luncheon up into an olive grove on the hills and lay on cushions there in the most perfect air and warmth you can imagine, with birds singing and the greenest grass thick with flowers just like the Pre-Raphaelite pictures. A little higher up you could see the sea on both sides. Cephalonia in one distance and the Acroceraunian mountains in the other. This island is, as you know, famous for flowers, and the nosegays the Consul sent us were so enormous that after filling all the vases, etc., we could we had to fill two large foot pans and put them on the balcony.”

[Pg 140]Of Cephalonia, where we spent a few hours on our way to Corfu, my chief recollection is of wild mountainous country. The Consul (or Vice-Consul) who took us for a drive told us a thrilling tale—as yet unconcluded—of two rival families. The father of one married his daughter to a young man, whereas the other family wanted her and attacked the bridal party on the wedding day. I forget exactly how many people they killed, but I think the bridegroom was among the victims, and anyhow they carried off the young lady to the mountains, and she was still there at the time of our visit.

Corfu was very delightful—but I recall no particular incident. There seemed to be a good many people who still regretted that Mr. Gladstone had handed it over to Greece.

Our gunboat and M. Bakhméteff had left us at Zante, and from Corfu we went by an Austrian Lloyd steamer to Brindisi; thence by train to Naples. There we found Lord Rowton and dined with him and one or two friends. We also spent a day with him in Rome, where he was a good deal amused by our evident feeling that Roman were not to be compared to Greek antiquities.

 

 


[Pg 141]

CHAPTER VII

VOYAGE TO INDIA—HYDERABAD

I must go back a little in these mixed memories to record our early acquaintance with Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who afterwards became one of our great friends. I believe that I first met him at Lady St. Helier’s (then Lady Jeune) at a luncheon or party in 1886. We asked him to dinner at 3 Great Stanhope Street, and he accepted—and we also asked the Jeunes. Mr. Chamberlain, though this was about the time that he split with Gladstone over Home Rule, was still regarded as a dangerous Radical, and was by no means universally met in Conservative houses. As it happened he arrived at our dinner a little before the Jeunes. As they were announced I went to the drawing-room door to meet them and she stopped me, and said in a low voice before entering the room, “You are coming to dine with me on such a date—shall you mind meeting Mr. Chamberlain?” (She had quite forgotten our meeting at her house.) “He is in the house,” was my reply—whereat she gasped and nearly fell backwards. I well recollect the stern disapproval of our old-fashioned Tory butler Freeman. He showed it in his manner, though he did not venture at the moment to put it into words—but a few days afterwards we had another dinner at which were present some of our regular—and I am sure highly respectable—friends. The following[Pg 142] morning Freeman said to me solemnly, “We had a very nice dinner last night.” “Yes,” said I, “I think it went off very well.” “All very nice people,” he added with marked emphasis, and left me to digest the unspoken rebuke.

Freeman was a great character and his comments were apt to be amusing. The year after this incident Lord Robert Cecil spent a Sunday at Osterley, and after the party had left on Monday Freeman informed me that there was only one thing that had troubled him. In reply to my rather anxious inquiry as to what had gone wrong he said: “That fine young fellow Lord Salisbury’s son did not hold himself up properly. I spoke to his servant about it, and he said it was his book. I said our young lord [Villiers] is very clever, but I hope he will hold himself up.” Poor Freeman! he was rather a rough diamond in some respects, but one of the best and most faithful of servants. He caught a chill and died early in 1894, soon after our return from Australia.

HADJI PETROS

To return to Mr. Chamberlain. Though already twice a widower he was still regarded politically as a young man, and I remember the American Minister Mr. Phelps assuring me that he had watched in the House of Commons Mr. Gladstone snub Chamberlain in a way that he was convinced had a good deal to do with his breach with the Liberal party. I doubt that being more than a very secondary cause, but I perfectly recall the acrimonious tone in which Mr. Chamberlain early in our acquaintance commented on the way in which politicians were treated “because they were young.” Anyhow, Mr. Chamberlain not only asserted himself as worthy of all consideration politically, but he rapidly discarded socially his stern views of those[Pg 143] whom he had formerly stigmatised as “lilies of the field.” The late Sir Cecil Spring Rice once told me that he and Mr. Chamberlain had been thrown together a good deal on some occasion in America, and the latter had confided to him that he had really believed that the so-called “upper classes” were, taken as a whole, the idle, selfish, self-indulgent, and generally pernicious people whom he had denounced, but that when he came to know them he realised that they were a very different set of individuals. I have always held that Mr. Chamberlain was an honest man, and that when people accused him of changing his coat his changes were the result of conviction. He once said to me that he had invariably held that the people ought to have what they really wanted, and that more than once he had discovered that he was mistaken in what he had previously imagined to be their desires, and that then he was willing to follow their lead. “For instance,” he said, “I thought the country wanted Secular Education and therefore advocated it, but experience showed me that this was not the case and I therefore ceased to support it.” Of course this principle may be pushed too far. A statesman ought to have some convictions from which he cannot and will not depart, but it would be absurd to say that a man entering political life is bound to have a cut-and-dried programme which nothing will make him modify. Moreover Mr. Chamberlain had grown up in a narrow commercial circle, and larger knowledge of men and manners was bound to widen his views. On the first occasion that he stayed with us at Osterley in June 1887 and June 1888 his daughter Miss Beatrice Chamberlain came with him. I see by our old Visitors’ Book that we had some very good Conservatives to meet [Pg 144]them—in 1888 Lady Lathom and her daughter Maud, George Curzon, Lord and Lady Kintore, Sir John Stirling Maxwell, and my husband’s cousin, Prince Louis Esterhazy. I have been told that more than one person first saw Mr. Chamberlain rowing on the Lake at Osterley in a tall hat and with a pipe in his mouth! I rather think that it was at a garden party. In 1888 just after the death of the Emperor Frederick almost everyone appeared in mourning, which somebody said made it look like a funeral wake tempered with strawberries. Poor Beatrice Chamberlain, however, appeared in a sort of plaid gown which made her very unhappy. She confided to Lady Lathom that she had just returned from France and had not known that people were wearing mourning—moreover she belonged to some society in Birmingham (a very sensible one) which agreed not to wear mourning except for quite the nearest relatives. She was afraid we might think that her clothes were due to her Radical principles, which we certainly did not. She became a very talented and distinguished woman, and her death, a few years ago, was a loss to many good causes. I was much touched by a letter which she wrote me after my husband died in 1915 in which she said that he and I had been kind to her “particularly in the long-ago days when I, not so very young, but so very raw, was keeping house for papa and came with him into this strange, unknown, and uncharted world of London.” We had done little enough, and it was very nice of her to preserve such a recollection for over a quarter of a century.

Next year when Mr. Chamberlain stayed with us he had married the charming Miss Endicott, now Mrs. Carnegie, but I shall have more to say of them both later on.

DEPARTURE FOR INDIA

[Pg 145]I must now record some recollections of the first of our three visits to India.

The idea of such a journey arose from my seeing Mr. Robert Bourke in a hansom as I was driving late in the season of 1886. He waved to me and I stopped to hear what he had to say. “I want to talk to you and Jersey,” said he. “Very well,” I said; “come down to Osterley and you will find us both at such a time.” It was accordingly arranged, and he told us that Lord Salisbury had offered him the Government of Madras. He was somewhat upset, as he had been Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs when Lord Salisbury was Secretary of State for that Department, and when the latter became Prime Minister Mr. Bourke thought that he ought to have had higher promotion, and regarded this offer rather as exile. However, on talking it all over he began to paint the gubernatorial glories in more roseate hues, and my husband and I both recommended him to accept, as we neither of us thought in our hearts that he was likely to attain Cabinet rank in England. Then he said, “If I go, will you come out and stay with me?” It was a new but attractive project, and we gave a provisional promise which we fulfilled in the autumn of 1888. My parents undertook to keep an eye on the younger children and to have them at Stoneleigh for part of our absence—it was arranged that Villiers should join us when his Christmas holidays began, and the Eton authorities consented that he should miss the following term as it was thought that India would be equally educational. We accordingly took our passages on the P. and O. Arcadia, which left Marseilles on Friday, October 26th. My brother Dudley and Mr. Charles Buller sailed in the same ship, which was a new one and had improvements then reckoned[Pg 146] very novel. For instance, it had electric light, which had not yet been installed in all the P. and O. fleet. There were about 240 first-class passengers—some entertaining ones among them, including Sir Samuel and Lady Baker, Captain Hext, who was Director of Indian Marine, and Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Leigh. In the second saloon was the theosophist Colonel Olcott—an odd mixture of philanthropy and humbug—but discussions with him often served to pass the time. One was not allowed to ask a second-saloon passenger for meals, but we had permission for him to come and talk to us, and also to give two theosophical lectures in the first-class saloon. I shall have more to say of him at Madras—but the inner meaning of theosophy is so often discussed that I insert here the way in which he presented it as I noted in my journal after one of his lectures given when we were nearing Port Said:

“Colonel Olcott gave a lecture on the Theosophical Society of which he is President. The Society has its headquarters in Madras” (N.B.—really at Adyar near Madras) “and has three chief objects—Universal Brotherhood, Study of ancient oriental texts, Investigation of hidden psychical forces. It admits members of any religion, but requires universal toleration. Practically its own tenets are Buddhist, that being rather a philosophy than a religion. It professes, however, to assist its members to the better comprehension of the esoteric or underlying significations of their respective religions.”

Colonel Olcott himself was a Buddhist, and moreover laid claim to certain powers of healing, which I should imagine, in so far as they were effectual, were a kind of faith healing; he went beyond M. Coué, as he declared that he had healed a blind man! Mrs. Gerard Leigh[Pg 147] gravely asked him one day whether he could give her something to protect her against spooks, as she often had to stay in a house which she believed to be haunted. “Give me something you are accustomed to wear,” he said, and she handed him a ring. He stared at it, and said, “If you could see—you would see two rays” (blue rays I think he said) “going from my eyes into this ring.” “What will it do?” she asked. “Well,” was the answer, “it will be like a hand laid on your head to protect you.” If she remembered it next time a spook was about, I feel sure that it was most effectual. “Your ring,” he said to one of us, “came out of a jeweller’s shop—mine came out of a rose,” and told us a pleasing legend of how his sister held a rose and Madame Blavatsky conjured a ring out of it.

COL. OLCOTT AND PROF. MAX MULLER

He had very exalted philanthropic views, and long afterwards, when he was in England, Professor Max Müller told me that he had said to him, “Colonel Olcott, with all your fine ideas for doing good how can you lend yourself to that nonsense of broken tea-cups and so on?” “And,” continued Max Müller, “he looked down through his funny blue spectacles and answered, ‘All religions must be manured’—which surely gave away the whole show.”

Colonel Olcott was extremely anxious to enlist me as a member of the Theosophical Society, assuring me that he only wanted my signature to a document which he would keep privately, “not for publication.” What good it would do him in that case is not very apparent, but the net was spread in vain in the sight of the bird as far as I was concerned. Years afterwards he reappeared at Sydney and renewed his appeal in the following pathetic—but still unsuccessful—verses:

[Pg 148] To our Lady of Leigh
Only a paper,
A very short paper,
An innocent paper,
My lady, to sign,
Expressing your int’rest,
Your broad-minded int’rest,
Your psychical int’rest,
In this work of mine.
Sign: I entreat you,
Bishops will greet you,
Clergy beseech you,
Lady, to join
This league confraternal
To seek the eternal—
Not the infernal—
Basis of truth!
H. S. O.”
Sydney, 7th May 1891.

Another, still more generally interesting, fellow-voyager on the Arcadia was, as already mentioned, Sir Samuel Baker, who, with his intrepid wife, was making one of his frequent journeys to India. He enlivened many hours which might have proved tedious by stories of his African adventures, and was always surrounded by an interested circle of listeners. He told how on his expedition to the sources of the White Nile he had met two tattered figures which proved to be Speke and Grant coming back from tracing that part of the river which flowed from the Victoria Nyanza. They urged him to continue his undertaking as they said that if he also found the source he was seeking “England will have done it”—and she did. He asked them to come into his camp—but they hung back—and when he asked why they explained that they heard he had Mrs. Baker with him, and were in such rags that they did not like to present themselves before a lady! Nevertheless they were induced not to treat the desert like a London drawing-room, and the lady laughed and mended their clothes for them. Sir Samuel loved to tell stories of his wife’s heroism and self-possession in more than one critical juncture. With all her adventures she had remained a very simple and charming woman.

SIR SAMUEL BAKER

[Pg 149]When we were passing the Arabian Coast of the Gulf of Suez Sir Samuel Baker pointed out Mount Sinai, though some people pretend that you can only see its whereabouts—not the Mountain itself. He told us a great deal of Moses’ adventures—from Josephus, I believe—but he also said that he himself had seen all the Plagues of Egypt, though he said that for “lice” one should read “ticks”! We asked how about the Darkness? He said he had been in a Khamsin wind when for twenty minutes you could not see the flame of a candle close by; and as for the “first-born,” when plague or cholera swept off families they only cared about the first-born, the second- or third-born did not count. He and Lady Baker were also very amusing about the visits to Egypt of the Princess of Wales and the Empress Eugénie respectively.

We had a mild excitement in the Gulf of Aden when a man played the “Boulanger” hymn during dinner. No one now would recognise the “Boulanger” hymn, as the hero of the black horse is forgotten, but then the Germans hissed and the French applauded. The captain was appealed to, and sent word to “tell the man to stop that noise”—a message which the steward delivered too accurately to please the performer!

I do not describe any of the sights which we saw either at the Ports or at sea, much as they thrilled such unaccustomed oriental travellers as ourselves. Most people now are familiar with the voyage either from personal experience or from oral or written descriptions. I have made it several times since, and, bad sailor as I am, only wish I were young enough to undertake it again. Our cicerones treated us mercifully, but I believe some greenhorns are not so fortunate. I heard of one youth who was warned in advance that the[Pg 150] sailors and others were sure to try to take him in. He was told several facts concerning the places and people which they passed—these he absolutely refused to believe. At last someone pointed out rocks in the sea near Suez and said, “Those are the wheels of Pharaoh’s chariots.” “Ah, that I know is true,” said the youth, “for it’s in the Bible.”

We arrived at Bombay on the morning of November 10th, and were as delighted as are most visitors with the glitter and glow of the city with its swarming and varied population. The Yacht Club was a cool and pleasant resort—and we visited the Arab horse-market, the Towers of Silence, and other well known sights. Particularly were we impressed with the curious Caverns on the Island of Elephanta, with the gigantic figures carved in high relief. Few could help being awed by the three immense heads joined together in the Central Division of the great Central Hall, representing Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu. I was specially interested in the designs representing the story of the favourite Hindu deity Ganpati or Ganesha. You see the marriage of his parents Siva and Parvati, his birth, and a battle among the gods and demons in the course of which he had his head cut off. His irate mother substituted an elephant’s head and declared that she, the Mother of Nature, would upset everything unless gods and men worshipped him in this guise—and he now appears as God of Wisdom. Another version is that Siva himself cut off his son’s head, mistaking him for an intruder in his mother’s apartments. However that may be, the lower class of Hindu have adopted him as a favourite deity, and we were told of a great festival in February when they flock to the Caves with offerings of coco-nuts, rice, and leaves.

[Pg 151]Our travelling-companion Captain Hext was most kind to us in Bombay, and a Parsee, Mr. Allbless, showed us something of the life of that community.

MAHABLESHWAR

From Bombay, after a night at Poona, we went to Mahableshwar to stay with our kind friends, Lord and Lady Reay, he being at that time Governor of the Bombay Presidency. We left the train at Wathar and a drive of about five hours through magnificent scenery brought us to our destination soon after seven in the evening of November 14th. We were greatly struck by the huge square-topped mountains towering in giant terraces above fertile, well-watered valleys. The soil was generally deep brown or deep red. As darkness came on we saw quantities of fire-flies amongst the luxuriant vegetation. Next morning the view from the house across the valley to a gigantic square-topped mountain beyond was so dazzling as almost to take away one’s breath. Few things are so impressive as to arrive after dark at an unknown dwelling, and to awaken in the morning to a new world of glorious scenery quivering in sunshine and colour. I recall two instances of the same awaking to the joy of natural beauty previously unsuspected—once at Glengariff and once at Mahableshwar. The soft radiance of Southern Ireland was very different from the almost violent colouring of India, but the sudden delight was the same.

We spent a very happy six days at Mahableshwar and saw all sorts of interesting people and places, including the haunts of the great Mahratta Chieftain Sivaji. Our introduction to Indian hill-life could not have been made under pleasanter auspices nor with kinder hosts.

The Duke of Connaught was then Commander-in-Chief[Pg 152] of the Bombay Presidency troops. H.R.H. and the Duchess lived near the Reays, and they were also very good to us. Lady Patricia Ramsay was then a most attractive little girl of two years old. The older children were in England. The Duke, here as elsewhere, had a great reputation as a soldier.

When we visited Pertab Ghur, one of Sivaji’s thirty-one mountain fortresses, we were told with amazement that the Duke and his officers had lately brought a battery of mule artillery up the steep hill leading thereto. This fort had an arched gateway almost concealed in the hill-side, with a door covered with iron spikes. About fifty people live in the fort, and when they saw the battery approaching they took the soldiers for dacoits and shut the gates against them.

H.H. THE AGA KHAN

One visitor to Lord and Lady Reay while we were with them was the Aga Khan, since so widely known, but then a boy of about thirteen who was brought by his uncle to pay his respects to the Governor. The story of his ancestry as told to me at the time was as follows. Some generations ago a Hindu announced a tenth Avatar, or Incarnation, of Vishnu, and persuaded a number of people to give him offerings for the Avatar. At last, however, the devotees became tired of parting with their goods for an unseen deity and insisted that the Avatar should be shown to his disciples. The Hindu agreed, and selected a deputation of two hundred, whom he conducted on a sort of pilgrimage through Northern India seeking for a suitable representative who would consent to play the required part. At last they reached the borders of Persia, and there he heard of a holy man belonging to the then Royal Family who would, he thought, fulfil all the requirements. Before introducing his followers he contrived a private[Pg 153] interview with the Imaun (as I believe he was called) and offered to hand over to him all the disciples and their future offerings if he would assume the character of an Avatar and pretend to have received those already given. The Princely Saint consented on condition that the Hindu believers should become Mohammedans—no doubt this wholesale conversion to the true faith overcame any scruples which he may have felt concerning the requisite trivial deception. Thus arose the sect of the Khojahs, Hindu—or at least Indian—Mohammedans, acknowledging the spiritual headship of this Persian Avatar and his descendants. Some say that this Imaun was one of the tribe or order of the Assassins of whom the Old Man of the Mountains was chief in the time of the Crusades. It was declared that each head of Aga Khan’s family was assassinated in turn, and that his life would be sacrificed in due course to make way for his successor. However, I hope that is not true, as I have known him for over thirty years and saw him very much alive not long ago.

When we met at Mahableshwar he was a stout youth with dark eyes and hair and a very composed manner. His father, who had died before our interview, did not want the boy in childhood to know of his semi-divine character as he justly thought that it would not be very good for him, but the boy was too acute to be kept in the dark. His mother was a Persian princess, and he is immensely rich from offerings made to himself and his ancestors. Even in boyhood he was called “His Highness,” that title having been given him in 1896—but the rank and salute of a chief of the Bombay Presidency was not granted till 1916, as he is not a territorial prince, but owes his wealth and immense[Pg 154] influence to the large numbers both in India and Zanzibar who acknowledge his spiritual sway.

We were told that he sometimes had a milk bath and that his followers were then allowed to drink the milk in which he had bathed! Lord Reay asked whether he would have to fast in Ramadan, but he said not till he was fifteen. I asked what was done to people if they did not keep the fast. He said nothing in India, but in Persia the Moollahs beat defaulters.

When Aga Khan grew up he managed to reconcile his followers to the orthodox Mohammedan faith. He traces his descent from Mohammed’s son-in-law Ali. What his private religious views may have been is impossible to say; I should think he was really a Mohammedan, but considered it necessary to allow his followers to regard him as semi-divine. He was supposed in after years to have said to his friends that he could drink wine if he liked because his devotees were made to believe that his throat was so holy that it changed to water on touching it—and he added that “being a god was not all beer and skittles!” I must say that when he sat near me at dinner at Osterley he did not drink wine. He was once dining there when in England for King Edward’s coronation, and I told him that the Sikh High-Priest was reported to have said that he did not like to be mixed up with “these secular persons” and wanted to hold the robe of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the occasion. Aga Khan comically protested against such an invasion of his ecclesiastical status, and said in that case he should complain to the King and go back to India!

From Mahableshwar a journey of two days and a night brought us to Hyderabad (Deccan)—where we stayed at the Residency with the Acting-Resident[Pg 155] Mr. Howell and his wife. We were enchanted with Hyderabad—a real typical Native State and extraordinarily picturesque. We saw various interesting examples of native life and tradition both in the pauses on our journey and from the train. As we drew near Hyderabad there were numbers of immense syenite stones piled on each other or scattered over the plain. Legend says that when Rama was pursuing the giant Ravana who had carried off Siva he enlisted the aid of the monkey-god Hanuman and his army to make a bridge to Ceylon. The monkeys carried rocks from the Himalayas, but not unnaturally became pretty tired by the time they reached the Deccan and let a good many fall, which may still be seen scattered about.

RACES AT HYDERABAD

Hyderabad is largely Mohammedan, and the Nizam has a considerable army, including a regiment of negro cavalry and a good many Arabs. We were fortunate in seeing a race-meeting the day after our arrival, and this gathering of natives in all their variety of costume and colour was dazzling to our unaccustomed eyes. The populace swarmed in the trees and clustered round the boundary of the course, but even more brilliant were the garments of the native nobles and gentlemen who walked about in the ring and gathered in the grandstand. They wore long coats of every conceivable hue and of rich materials, flowered red and green and gold silk, purple velvet or embroidered white, with gold-worked belts, bright turbans, and sometimes swords. There were little boys gaily dressed like their fathers, riders in white muslin with black and gold turbans, on prancing horses with tails dyed pink, others carrying little flags at the end of spears; Arabs of the Nizam’s bodyguard with high boots and green, red, dark-blue,[Pg 156] and gold costumes and striped floating round their heads, and the Nizam’s syces in yellow and blue.

The Nizam himself, an effete individual, had a red fez, a pearl watch-chain, and dazzling emerald rings, but was otherwise in European dress. Around him were the gentlemen of his Court, salaaming to him and to each other with strictly Oriental etiquette, and mingled with them English officers, ladies and civilians. Flags were flying surmounted by the Union Jack, and a band played, ending up with “God save the Queen.” The jockeys were some English and some native, the owners English, Parsee, and Mohammedan.

A hot Indian sun made the scene glow with golden warmth during the afternoon and with rosy pink as it set in the evening with the unexpected rapidity which is almost startling until use has made it familiar. I was talking a few days later to an Indian gentleman about his visit to England, and he said what he did not like was the light, which interfered with his sleeping. Light is the last thing of which I should have expected England to be accused, but there is in India no great variety in the length of night and day all the year round, so my friend was unaccustomed to the very early dawn of an English summer day. Not long ago I heard of an English coachman employed in America. He, on being asked his opinion of the States, said he did not like two things—they had no twilight and said the Lord’s Prayer wrong (i.e. “Who art” instead of “Which art”). It is difficult to satisfy the physical and theological prejudices of an alien in any land.

H.H. THE NIZAM OF HYDERABAD

Jersey had been introduced to the Nizam the day following our arrival; I made his acquaintance at the races, but found him singularly lacking in animation. The only occasion on which I saw him aroused to [Pg 157]anything like interest was when we went to the Palace to see his jewels. He had wonderful strings of pearls and emeralds, something like a tiara of diamonds for the front of a turban, large single diamonds in rings, one remarkable ruby engraved with the seals of the Moghul emperors, and an uncut diamond valued at £720,000 which was as uninteresting to look at as a pebble picked up on a beach. If I recollect rightly that diamond afterwards played a part in a lawsuit. Jersey said something about black pearls, which he happened to admire. The Nizam did not appear to notice the remark, which was translated to him, but presently made a slight sign, and with the ghost of a smile produced a little calico bag from which he extracted a couple of these gems.

Poor man—he had four thousand women shut up in his Zenana. That included his father’s wives and women servants as well as his own. Every woman who becomes his wife begins with a monthly pension of 35 rupees, which can, of course, be increased by his favour. There was a story going when we were at Hyderabad that the women had, shortly before, inveigled the Nizam into the depths of the Zenana and given him a good flogging! No doubt strange things may happen in remote apartments where no male except eunuchs may enter. The present Nizam is, I believe, an enlightened and loyal ruler.

The City of Hyderabad was about eight miles in circumference, and as a quarter was occupied by the Nizam’s palatial buildings there was room and to spare both for ladies and Court officials. The Nizam is of course semi-independent, but the British Government exercises the ultimate control. Fortunately, though the Nizam did not shine intellectually, he had[Pg 158] some very intelligent Ministers, notably Sir Salar Jung, who exercised the chief control, and the very enlightened Director of Education, Syed Hossain Bilgrami, who with his brother Seyd Ali had originally come from Bengal and contrived to establish an intellectual standard distinctly superior to that of many Native States. Amongst other things Syed Hossain had set up a Zenana School for “purdah” girls of the upper classes, which was at that time quite a new experiment in India. When we saw it the head mistress was a Mrs. Littledale, a Christian Hindu lady married to an Englishman. The main idea was that the young ladies should be sufficiently educated to be real companions to the men whom they were ultimately to marry. One of the pupils on the occasion of our visit was a cousin of the Bilgramis engaged to one of Syed Hossain’s sons. The young man in question was then at Oxford, and understood to be anxious for the education of his lady-love. The whole question of the higher education of Indian women, particularly of those of the upper classes, bristles with difficulties. It has much advanced in the thirty-three years which have elapsed since our first visit to Hyderabad, but the problems have not yet been by any means completely solved. If young women are educated up to anything like a European standard they can hardly fail to be discontented with continuous seclusion. On the other hand, if they are allowed to come out of purdah and to mix freely with others of both sexes they will be looked down upon by large sections of the community, and in many cases, particularly among the ruling families, it will be difficult to arrange suitable marriages for them. One sometimes wonders whether such complete freedom as prevails in Western and Northern lands has been altogether [Pg 159]beneficial to their women, and the climate of India might make unrestrained intercourse even more difficult. However, Parsee women are not secluded, nor are the women of the quite low Indian castes.

PURDAH LADIES

As far as I could make out, opinions differed among the ladies themselves as to whether they should or should not prefer to come out of purdah. Some certainly considered that for husbands to allow it would be to show that they did not properly value their wives. For instance, the Nizam’s aide-de-camp Ali Bey, a very active, intelligent soldier, told us that he would not at all mind his wife seeing men or going about, but that she would not wish it. On one occasion when the fort at Secunderabad was brilliantly illuminated with electric lights for some festivity he offered to drive her out late, when the people had gone, to see the effect, but she declined. On the other hand, when we dined with the Financial Secretary Mehdi Ali, and the ladies went afterwards into an inner drawing-room to see Mrs. Mehdi Ali, she rather pathetically said to me in perfect English: “I cannot go to call upon you, Lady Jersey. I am not a woman, but a bird in a cage.” It seemed rather absurd that she should be secluded, for she was evidently highly educated, and I understood read French as well as English. Her costume was somewhat interesting. Most of the Moslem ladies wore trousers and were enveloped in a sari. Mrs. Mehdi Ali had a gorgeous brocade garment specially designed by Howell & James, which at a casual glance looked like an ordinary gown but somehow embraced a “divided skirt.”

I had an amusing breakfast with the sisters of Sir Salar Jung and his brother the Munir-ul-Mulk. We had dined the previous evening at a gorgeous banquet with[Pg 160] the brothers, and the ladies of the party, including Lady Galway, Mrs. Howell, and five others, were invited for eleven o’clock the following morning to the Zenana in the same Palace. Of course brothers may be present with their sisters. With a truly Oriental disregard of time the Munir appeared about 11.25, the ladies still later. The Munir was attired in an azure blue coat embroidered with silver. The materials of the most gorgeous men’s coats were imported from Paris—and their fezes chiefly came from Lincoln & Bennett’s in London.

As for the ladies, they generally wore stockings and over them long drawers or breeches, fitting tightly to the lower part of the leg and very full above. They had jackets and voluminous scarves called “chuddars.” I believe the breeches were sewn on! One of the sisters wore yellow as a prevailing colour, and had bare arms and feet. The other had a magnificent gold embroidered crimson velvet jacket, a green chuddar, and pink stockings. These ladies were both married, but the husband of one was in a lunatic asylum. There was also present a female cousin, but she, being a widow, was all in white and wore no jewels except one or two armlets.

BREAKFAST IN A ZENANA

Our breakfast was spread on a long table under the colonnade where we had dined the previous night. We had then sat on chairs at a regular dining-table, but this was only raised a few inches from the ground and we sat on the floor, which was covered with a white cloth. The table was thickly covered with piled-up dishes containing principally all kinds of curry and rice cooked in different ways. Water was the main drink, but anyone who liked could ask for coffee. Everyone had plates, and the Englishwomen were[Pg 161] provided with spoons and forks, but the Indian ladies ate (very tidily) with their fingers, over which attendants poured water after breakfast. The two sisters (half-sisters really) sat side by side, and laughed and chattered incessantly. Miss White, a lady doctor who was present, interpreted anything they had to say, but they were just merry, talkative children with no real interest in anything beyond their clothes, food, and jewels. Miss White said that they knew, and taught their children, nothing. I should say that they were the most ignorant of all the native ladies whom I have met in India, but certainly not the least happy, and apparently quite contented.

 

 


[Pg 162]

CHAPTER VIII

MADRAS, CALCUTTA, AND BENARES

From Hyderabad we went to Madras to fulfil our promise of paying a visit to Mr. Bourke, who had now become Lord Connemara. We stayed there for over three weeks and became much interested in the Presidency. Being rather remote from the usual routes of visitors it is perhaps less known, and has been called the “Benighted Presidency,” but many of the natives are exceptionally intelligent, and there appears to be more opportunity than in some other parts of India of seeing the Hindu faith in working order and less affected than elsewhere by the influence of the Mohammedan conquerors. Lord Connemara’s Private Secretary, Mr. Rees (afterwards Sir John Rees, so sadly killed by falling from a train) was very kind in securing two Brahmins of different varieties of the Hindu faith to come and talk to me and explain their views—both spoke excellent English. One was a Munshi who belonged to the “Advaita” sect, which holds that everything is part of the Divinity; the other—an ascetic—held a refined form of what is called the “Sankhya” philosophy, which presupposes eternal matter with which the Eternal Mind unites itself. After all, such fine drawn distinctions are quite congenial to the spirit of the early Gnostics, the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, and even to Christians of to-day who are ready to start fresh communities from differences on[Pg 163] tenets which seem to the ordinary mind without practical bearing on the Two Great Commandments.

BRAHMIN PHILOSOPHERS

To return to my Brahmin friends. Both those here mentioned and others to whom I have spoken claim a faith certainly different from the vast mass of the Indian peoples. They claim to believe in One God, and say that all proceed from Him and that all effort should be directed to reabsorption into Him. Good acts tend to this result by the gradual purification in successive incarnations of “Karma,” which may perhaps be described as the residuum of unconquered passions and unexpiated sins after death. When the Munshi was explaining this theory of upward progress Mr. Rees asked him what happened to devil-worshippers and such like out-caste races. “They go to hell,” was the prompt reply. Observing my look of surprise, Ramiah hastened to add, “Oh, we have plenty of hells, twenty, thirty, forty”—evidently thinking that I was astounded not at the sweeping perdition of his countrymen, but at the probably overcrowded condition of the infernal regions.

Shiva, Vishnu, and the other gods and goddesses adored by the populace were regarded by the illuminati as embodiments of various divine attributes, or incarnations to reveal the divine will and to deliver men from evil. There seemed no unwillingness to accept Christ in some such way as this. As one said to me, “I do not know His history as well as I know my own sacred books, but if what is told of Him is true, I believe that he must have been a saint, if not a Divine Incarnation.” Another thought that each race had its own revelation. “We,” he said, “have Krishna, you have Christ. You say that your Christ was crucified—our Krishna was shot.”

[Pg 164]To an inquiry why if their own faith was so elevated they left the masses to idol-worship I had the crushing reply: “Ignorant people and females cannot at once comprehend the universal presence. We teach them first that God is in the image—so He is, for He is everywhere—and from that we go on to explain that He pervades the universe.” I asked my ascetic friend, Parthasaradi, whether in that case they might find the deity in the leg of a table—to which he retorted with Tyndall’s views about the mutability of atoms, from which he deduced that being everywhere He was certainly also in the leg of the table—and he cited Roman Catholic teaching on his side as justifying idol-worship. Parthasaradi had a marvellous store of quotations from Tyndall, Leibnitz, Matthew Arnold, and others at his fingers’ ends. He kindly said that if I were as good as my creed he would be satisfied, and hoped that I would be content if he were as good as his. He had catechised Mr. Rees about me before he would condescend to talk to me, as he did not think that “European females” were generally sufficiently interested in Hindu religion to make them worthy of his expositions. He had been a Vakil of the High Court, but had given up his position to embrace an ascetic life, and had devoted his property to founding a library, only reserving enough for himself and his wife to live upon. His wife had become a sort of nun. He was a curious-looking man with long shaggy black hair and very white teeth—rather handsome. His costume consisted of a cotton dhoti (cloth) of doubtful whiteness wrapped round his legs and a green shawl twisted about his body. There is no doubt that he was very earnest in his faith in the Almighty, and I was really touched by his appeal one day to Mr. Rees,[Pg 165] who chanced to be present at a visit which he paid me. Mr. Rees told him that he was so eloquent that he almost converted him to the need for greater religion. Whereupon said the ascetic, with evident emotion: “Why don’t you come at once? You need not wait for an invitation as to a Governor’s breakfast.” He spoke just like a member of the Salvation Army, and I am sure with an equally genuine feeling. It would be absurd to generalise from a superficial acquaintance with India, but it seemed to me from conversation with these and other educated Indians that, while quite willing to accept the high Christian morality and also to profit from the education in Christian schools, working out a man’s own salvation appealed to them more than the doctrine of Atonement.

FAITH OF EDUCATED HINDUS

The Dewan Rao Behadur Kanta Chunder, a highly intelligent man whom we met later on at Jeypore, allowed that the Atonement was his stumbling-block. He had been educated in a Mission School and had a great respect and affection for the Principal, but he was not a professing Christian. He said that he believed in one God, but was obliged to continue Shiva-worship to please his mother. I hope that he received the same dispensation as Naaman! He further said that he believed in the transmigration of souls, but thought that all spirits would ultimately return to the Great Spirit whence they came.

I asked this Dewan about a point on which I was curious—namely, whether as a child, before he came under Mission influence, his Hindu faith had a practical influence on his daily conduct. “Oh, yes,” he said; “if I did anything wrong I was quite frightened of the images of the gods in the house”—so I suppose they have a real effect, but no one seemed to think that[Pg 166] anything made the native Indian truthful! However, it is to be feared that with the majority even of Christians truth is not a primary virtue.

To return to Madras and our adventures there. I do not attempt descriptions of the cities or scenery which we visited. Much as we enjoyed such sights, they are fully described in guide books, and I keep to our personal experiences. The length of our visit to Madras was partly due to unfortunate circumstances which it is unnecessary to detail at length, though they have since in broad outline become public property. Briefly, shortly after our arrival Lady Connemara, who had been staying at Ootacamund, arrived at Government House accompanied by the doctor and one of the staff. The following day she migrated to an hotel just as a large dinner-party was arriving, and we had to conceal her absence on plea of indisposition.

After several days’ absence and much negotiation she consented to return—but Lord Connemara implored us to remain while she was away, and even after she came back, to help him look after his guests, particularly some who came to stay in the house. We were rather amused, when later on we visited the Prendergasts at Baroda, to discover that Sir Harry Prendergast and his daughters, who had stayed at Government House in the midst of the trouble, had never discovered that Lady Connemara was not there, but thought that she was ill in her own rooms all the time! I cannot help thinking that some of us must have been rather like the policeman before the magistrate of whom the cabman said “I won’t go for to say that the gentleman is telling a lie, but he handles the truth rather carelessly.” I fear that we must have handled the truth rather carelessly.

[Pg 167]Fortunately the native servants could not speak English, and the better class natives in the city behaved extraordinarily well in wishing to keep things quiet as far as possible. Anyhow, Lady Connemara came back for a time, and ultimately—some time in the following year, I think—returned to England. The end, as is well known, was a divorce. She married the doctor, and Lord Connemara a rich widow—a Mrs. Coleman. They are all dead now and the causes of dispute do not matter; they may be summed up with the old formula, “Faults on both sides.”

The delay was rather tiresome for us, as we had planned to get to Calcutta well before Christmas, but on the other hand it enabled us to see a good deal that we could not have done in the short time which we had originally destined to the Presidency, and Lord Connemara and his staff did everything for our entertainment.

THEOSOPHISTS AT ADYAR

Among other excursions we had an amusing visit to our ship acquaintance, Colonel Olcott, at the headquarters, or Library, of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. Adyar is a pretty place, and there are nice shady drives near it with banyan, tamarind, and other trees. As we approached we saw a large bungalow on the top of a small hill, and noticed a number of people seated in the verandah. It was evident that they saw us from their elevation, but it did not seem to have struck them that we could also see them from below. When we arrived at the door everyone had disappeared except Colonel Olcott, who was seated in an attitude of abstraction, but jumped up holding out his hands and expressing great pleasure at our visit.

We were taken into a long hall, hung round with the shields of the various theosophical Lodges in[Pg 168] India and elsewhere. There were several rooms, and as we were shown into them the people whom we had seen on the verandah were either “discovered” or “entered” like actors on a stage, and duly introduced: “A Russian Countess”—the “Countess of Jersey”; “a Japanese nobleman”—the “Earl of Jersey.” We were shown the doors of Kathiawar wood rather well carved, and beyond there was a kind of Sanctuary with two large paintings of Mahatmas behind doors like those of a Roman Catholic altarpiece. I believe that it was behind those doors that Madame Blavatsky was supposed to have performed a miracle with broken tea-cups, but I am not clear as to details and Colonel Olcott was too cute to attempt to foist the story upon us. What he did tell us was that the artist Schmiechen painted the Mahatmas without having seen them, implying some kind of inspiration. We happened to know Schmiechen, as he had painted several of our family, so when we were back in England I remarked that I had seen the pictures which he had painted without having seen the subjects. “Yes,” said he, “but I had very good photographs of them!”

Olcott told us that he intended to have portraits of the Founders of all religions in this Sanctuary, but so far the only companion of the Mahatmas was a photograph of Paracelsus. He, however, produced another photograph from somewhere and bade me prepare to respect a bishop. The bishop proved to be black! Poor Olcott! He made another attempt to convert me while at Madras by lending me copies of a rather colourless magazine—always assuring me that his Society was in no sense anti-Christian. When he called to see the effect which this publication had had upon me I remarked that I had read not only the[Pg 169] magazine, but its advertisements, which advertised distinctly anti-Christian books. He turned the colour of beetroot, for he had never thought of the advertisements.

THE RANEES OF TRAVANCORE

While we were at Madras the then Maharajah of Travancore was invested with the insignia of the Grand Cross of the Star of India. He was a gorgeous figure wearing over a long coat of cloth-of-gold with small green spangles the pale-blue satin cloak of the Order, which cost him two thousand rupees at Calcutta. His white turban was adorned with beautiful emeralds. The right of succession in Travancore is peculiar, being transmitted to males through females. As there were no directly royal females in 1857, this Maharajah’s uncle adopted two Ranees to be “Mothers of Princes.” The elder Ranee was charming and highly educated, but unfortunately had no children, and her husband, though a clever man (perhaps too clever!) got into difficulties and was banished. The Ranee declined all the suggestions of her friends that she should divorce him, and her constancy was rewarded by his recall to her side. This marital fidelity pleased Queen Victoria so much that she sent the Princess a decoration.

The younger Ranee had two sons, of whom one, called the First Prince, was considered Heir Presumptive and was present at the Investiture. He did not strike me as much of a man, and he and the Maharajah were reported not to be on friendly terms. Ladies marry in Travancore by accepting a cloth (i.e. sari) from a man—if they do not like him they have only to send it back, which constitutes a divorce.

Sir Mount Stuart Grant Duff, when Governor of Madras, was admiring the embroidered cloth of one of these Travancore ladies and innocently said that he[Pg 170] would like to send her a cloth from Madras as a specimen of the handiwork executed there, to which she promptly retorted that she was much obliged, but that she was quite satisfied with her present husband.

Although I refrain from descriptions in a general way, I must include some reference to a journey in the southern part of the Presidency which Lord Connemara kindly arranged for us, as it is less well known than Madras itself and other cities generally visited. Also this part of the country will doubtless change rapidly, if it has not already done so.

A long day’s journey took us to Tanjore, where the temporary District Judge, Mr. Fawcett, was good enough to receive us in his bungalow and show us the sights. The great Temple rejoices in the name of Bahadeeswara-swami-kovil and is said to have been built in the eleventh century. The Gôpuram or great pyramidical tower, 216 feet from the base to the top of the gilded Kalasum, which takes the place of our Cross, is most imposing. It is covered with carvings, and amongst them we were shown the head and bust of an Englishman in a round hat commonly called “John Bright.” The attendants point to this with pride, saying that it was put there when the temple was originally built, on account of a prophecy that the English would one day possess the land. We were struck by the wonderful foresight of the Hindu prophets in the time of William the Conqueror, as they foretold not only the advent of the English, but also their costume 800 years after the date of the prophecy.

THE PRINCESSES OF TANJORE

The Sivajee dynasty had ruled that part of the country till a Rajah called Serfojee ceded his territory to the British. His granddaughter, the senior lady of his son Sevajee, was the last real Princess of the family.[Pg 171] She was dead before the date of our visit, but some ladies of the zenana still lingered on in the Palace. Some years after our visit Lord Dufferin told me of his experiences at Tanjore. As Viceroy he was admitted to the zenana, though of course other men could not enter. He was shown into a large, dimly lighted room at the end of which was a Chair of State covered with red cloth. The attendants made signs for him to approach the chair, and he was just about to take his seat upon it when he suddenly perceived a small figure wrapped in the red cloth. He had been about to sit down on the Princess!

We did not see the ladies, but we visited the large rambling Palace, in which were three very fine halls. One was rather like a church, with a nave and two narrow side aisles, and two rows of dim windows one above the other. This appeared to be utilised as a Museum with very miscellaneous contents. There was a silver-plated canopy intended to be held over bridal pairs—and a divan on which were placed portraits of Queen Victoria and the late Ranee attended by large dolls or figures presumably representing members of the Sivajee family. All about the halls were cheap ornaments, photographs, and, carefully framed, an advertisement of Coats’ sewing cotton! Another hall contained a fine statue of Serfojee by Flaxman, a bust of Nelson, and a picture representing the head of Clive with mourners for his death.

There was also an interesting library with many Sanscrit and other manuscripts. One book in particular, full of paintings of elephants executed for Serfojee, was really amusing. Towards the beginning was a picture of angelic white elephants, and other black, red, and purple elephants all with wings. An attendant[Pg 172] declared that elephants supported the various quarters of the globe and used to have wings, but one day in flying they fell down upon a Rishi (Saint) and disturbed his devotions, whereupon he induced the gods to deprive them of their flying powers. It is always dangerous to offend Saints.

From Tanjore a night’s journey took us to Madura, where we stayed with Mr. Turner, the Collector of the District, in an interesting and remarkable house. At the time of our visit it belonged to the Johnston family, but they let it to the Government that the rent might pay for a Scholarship at the Madras College. The principal living-room was rather like a church, having forty columns in it, and, the floor being on different levels and divided in various ways, it served for sitting-room, dining-, and billiard-room. From one corner a winding staircase led to a terrace from which opened bedrooms. Below the living-room were vaults or dungeons where wild beasts and prisoners were confined in the old days when the house was a sort of Summer Palace. In one of these vaults tradition said that a queen was starved to death.

“THE HEART OF MONTROSE”

My bedroom, a very large room, was rendered additionally attractive as having been the temporary resting-place of the heart of Montrose, enclosed in a little steel case made of the blade of his sword. Lord Napier of Merchiston, descended from Montrose’s nephew, gave this to his daughter (afterwards Mrs. Johnston) on his death-bed, 1773, in a gold filigree box of Venetian workmanship. When Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were on their way to India their ship was attacked by a French frigate and Mr. Johnston with the captain’s permission took charge of four quarter-deck guns. Mrs. Johnston refused to leave her husband and remained on deck holding her[Pg 173] son, aged five, by one hand and in the other a large velvet reticule including, with several treasures, the gold filigree box. A shot wounded the lady’s arm, bruised the child’s hand, knocked down the father, and shattered the filigree box, but the steel case with the heart resisted the blow.

Arrived at Madura Mrs. Johnston employed a native goldsmith to make a filigree box after the pattern of that which was damaged, and also a silver urn in which it was placed and which stood on an ebony table in the then drawing-room. The natives soon started a legend that the urn contained a talisman, and that whoever possessed it could never be wounded in battle or taken prisoner. Owing to this report it was stolen, and for some time could not be traced, but at last Mrs. Johnston learnt that it had been purchased by a neighbouring chief for a large sum of money.

Mr. A. Johnston, her son, in a letter to his daughters dated 1836 and published as an appendix to Napier’s Life of Montrose, relates the particulars which he had heard from his mother, and further his own experiences, which give an impression of very familiar friendship between English and natives in days when the former were largely isolated from intercourse with home.

Young Alexander Johnston was sent each year by his father during the hunting season to stay with one or other of the neighbouring chiefs for four months together to acquire the different languages and native gymnastic exercises. On one occasion he was hunting in company with the chief who was supposed to have the urn, and distinguished himself by so wounding a wild hog that his companion was enabled to dispatch it. Complimenting the youth on his bravery, the chief asked in what way he could recognise his prowess.

[Pg 174]Young Johnston thereupon told the history of the urn and its contents, and begged the great favour of its restoration to his mother if it were really in his friend’s possession. The chivalrous native replied that he had indeed purchased it for a large sum, not knowing that it was stolen from Mrs. Johnston, and added that one brave man should always attend to the wishes of another brave man no matter of what country or religion, and that he felt it a duty to carry out that brave man’s wish who desired that his heart should be kept by his descendants. With Oriental magnanimity he accompanied the restored heart with rich presents to the youth and his mother.

In after years this chief rebelled against the authority of the Nabob of Arcot, was conquered by the aid of English troops, and executed with many members of his family. He behaved with undaunted courage, and on hearing that he was to die, at once alluded to the story of the urn and expressed the hope that his heart would be preserved by those who cared for him, in the same way as that of the European warrior.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnston returned to Europe in 1792, and being in France when the Revolutionary Government required the surrender of all gold and silver articles in private possession, they entrusted the urn and its contents to an Englishwoman at Boulogne, who promised to secrete it. Unfortunately she died shortly afterwards, and the Johnstons were never able to trace the lost treasure.

Mr. Alexander Johnston adds that he ultimately received from the French Government the value of the plate and jewels which his parents had been compelled to give up to the Calais municipality. It is, however, unlikely that he would have recovered the heart thirty[Pg 175] or forty years afterwards—unless indeed Mrs. Johnston had kept it in its little steel case and surrendered the urn.

THE PALACE OF MADURA

The old Palace at Madura is a fine building, now used for a court of justice. At the time of our visit recollections of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) still prevailed. When he arrived at the Palace a row of elephants was stationed on either side of the court on to which the principal buildings opened. All the elephants duly salaamed at a given signal except one—perhaps inoculated with Bolshevik principles. Whereupon the stage-manager of the proceedings called out in Tamil to the mahout of the recalcitrant animal, “I fine you five rupees!”

One of the purdah Ranees still occupied a side room of the Palace, and our host Mr. Turner with another man was stationed to guard the door. The Prince, however, feeling that “nice customs curtsy to great kings,” put them aside and entered the apartment with all his suite. The Ranee was much flurried at first, but finally fascinated, and afterwards gave him a handsome necklace.

From delightful terraces on the Palace roof you get an extensive view of the town and surrounding country. There are two fine hills, one called Secundermullai, as Alexander the Great is supposed to have camped there, the other Elephantmullai, from a legend that the Chola (Tanjore) King’s magician made him a gigantic elephant, but the Pandyan (Madura) King’s magician changed it into a mountain. As the mountain bears a decided resemblance to an elephant, who will doubt the tale?

The most striking feature of Madura is the immense Temple, of which the size, the decorations, and the wealth displayed are impressive evidence of the vitality[Pg 176] of the Hindu faith. Four gôpurams or towers guard the entrances to the halls, galleries, arcades, and courts within the sacred precincts. One hall is called the Hall of a Thousand Pillars and is said really to contain 997. In the galleries are colossal figures of dragons, gods, goddesses, and heroes, groups being often carved out of one gigantic monolith.

The presiding deity is Minachi, the old Dravidian fish-goddess adopted by the Brahmins as identical with Parvati, wife of Siva. The Brahmins constantly facilitated the conversion of the lower races to their faith by admitting their tutelar deities to the Hindu Pantheon. The great flag-staff of Minachi (alias Parvati) is overlaid with gold. There are a thousand Brahmins and attendants employed about the Temple, which has an annual income of 70,000 rupees, and shortly before our visit the Nättuköttai Chetties or native money-lenders had spent 40,000 rupees on the fabric.

The Treasury contains stores of jewels, particularly sapphires, and “vehicles” for the gods in the form of elephants, cows, lions, or peacocks constructed of, or overlaid with, gold or silver of fine workmanship. Two cows, late additions, were pointed out to us as having cost 17,000 rupees.

The Chetties are an immensely wealthy caste, and lavish money in building both temples and commodious houses for themselves. At one corner of the latter they put a large figure of an Englishman attended by a small native, at another an Englishwoman in a crinoline and with rather short petticoat. They evidently like to propitiate the powers both seen and unseen.

Before the Prince of Wales’s visit the Collector asked them to contribute a specified sum towards the fund[Pg 177] being raised for his entertainment. They refused, but offered so much less. They were then shut up in a place enclosed with palisades, while a series of notes and messages was interchanged with them. They were much amused by the proceedings, which they evidently regarded as the proper method of negotiation, and kept refusing with roars of laughter, till feeling that they had played the game long enough, they consented to give the sum originally asked and were released.

ROUS PETER’S SACRED DOOR

Among the many objects of interest in the temple one of the quaintest was a door dedicated to a former Collector called Rous Peter. He used to worship Minachi in order to obtain any money that he wanted from the Pagoda Treasury for the repair of the roads and other public purposes.

After his death the Brahmins placed him among their devils, and used to light little lamps round the door in his honour. A devil was quite as much respected as a beneficent deity, indeed it was even more necessary to keep him in a good humour. Mr. Peter unfortunately did not always distinguish between his own and the public funds and finally poisoned himself.

He had a great friend, one Colonel Fisher, who married a native woman, and he and Peter were buried side by side near the Pagoda. Colonel Fisher’s family were, however, not satisfied with this semi-heathen arrangement and later on built a Christian church destined to include their remains. There was some little difficulty with the Christian authorities about this, but ultimately it was amicably settled. When we were at Madura a screen behind the altar shut off from the rest of the church the part where they were buried, to which the natives came with garlands to place on Peter’s tomb.

[Pg 178]As is well known, such semi-deification of Europeans who had captivated Indian imagination was not uncommon. We heard of a colonel buried in another part of the Presidency on whose grave the natives offered brandy and cheroots as a fitting tribute to his tastes.

A twenty-three hours’ journey brought us back to Madras on the afternoon of December 16th. We had greatly enjoyed our few days in the new world of Southern India, and were impressed with the hold that the Hindu faith still had on the population.

During the whole of our stay at Madras Lord Connemara and his staff made every effort for our enjoyment. Mr. Rees (Private Secretary) was especially kind in arranging that I should see, not only the Public Museums and other Institutions, but also some of the private houses to which Europeans were not generally admitted. Among the excellent representatives of the British Government were the Minister of Education, Mr. Grigg, and Mrs. Grigg. Madras owes much to them both—the native girls particularly to Mrs. Grigg. Their son, who acted as one of Lord Connemara’s pages at the Investiture of the Maharajah of Travancore, is now Sir Edward Grigg, whose knowledge of the Empire has been invaluable to the Prince of Wales, and who is now Secretary to the Prime Minister.

One of the most prominent educational institutions at Madras was the Scottish Free Church Mission which had a College for boys and Schools for girls of different castes. These included some Christians, but there was no claim to any large number of conversions. All scholars learnt to read the Bible, and no doubt a good system of morality was inculcated. I believe that had we gone to Trichinopoly we should have found[Pg 179] many more Christians. It is much easier to convert pariahs and low-caste natives, numerous in Southern India, than those of the higher castes, who have to give up social position and worldly advantage if they change their faith. Lord Connemara often received very amusing correspondence. One letter was from a luckless husband who wrote: “Nothing is more unsuitable than for a man to have more than one wife. I have three, and I pray your Excellency to banish whichever two you please to the Andaman Islands or some other distant country.”

LOYALTY OF NATIVE INDIANS

When we first visited India at all events the natives had implicit faith in English power and justice even when their loyalty left something to be desired. An Englishman was talking to a man suspected of pro-Russian sympathies, and pointed out to him the way in which Russians treated their own subjects. “If Russia took India,” he said, “what would you do if a Russian tried to confiscate your property?” “In that case,” was the prompt reply, “I should appeal to the High Court.” For the most part, however, they were intensely loyal to the person of the Sovereign.

When Queen Victoria’s statue was unveiled at the time of the First Jubilee the natives came in thousands to visit it, and to “do poojah,” presenting offerings of cocoa-nuts, etc. The statue was in bronze, and they expressed great pleasure in finding that their Mother was brown after all; they had hitherto imagined her to be white!

We had arranged to sail from Madras to Calcutta by a British India named the Pundua, which ought to have landed us there in good time for Christmas, but our voyage had many checks. First the hydraulic[Pg 180] unloading machinery of that “perfidious bark” went wrong, and we were only taken on board three days later than the scheduled time for starting. Starting at all from Madras was not particularly easy in those days, for the harbour had been constructed on a somewhat doubtful principle; nature had not done much for it, and the results of science and engineering had been seriously damaged by a cyclone. As Sir Mount Stuart Grant Duff had sagely remarked, “Any plan is a good one if you stick to it,” but the damaged walls were being rebuilt somewhat tentatively and there was no conviction as to the ultimate outcome. Probably there is now a satisfactory structure, but in our time there was not much protection for the boat which carried us to the Pundua. Mr. Rees was to accompany us to Calcutta, and Lord Connemara and Lord Marsham took us on board. We had taken tender farewells of all our friends ashore and afloat—the Governor had gone back in his boat, when we heard an explosion followed by a fizzing. A few minutes later the captain came up and said, “Very sorry, but we cannot start to-day.” “What has happened?” “The top of the cylinder has blown off.” Much humiliated we had to return with our luggage to Government House, and to appear at what was called “The Dignity Ball” in the evening.

Next day (December 22nd) we really did get off; the wretched Pundua possessed three cylinders, so one was disconnected, and she arranged to proceed at two-third speed with the others. This meant something over nine knots an hour, and, after sticking on a sandbank near the mouth of the Hoogli, we ultimately reached the neighbourhood of Diamond Harbour on December 26th, and by means of a Post Office boat, and[Pg 181] train, reached Calcutta and Government House late that evening.

PASSENGERS ON THE “PUNDUA”

When I went on board the Pundua I was shown into the good-sized “Ladies Cabin” and told that I could have that and the adjoining bathroom to myself. In reply to my inquiry as to whether the other ladies on board would not want it, I was told that there was only one other lady and she was not in the habit of using the bath! This seemed queer, till I discovered that she was the heroine of one of the tragedies which sometimes occur in the East. She was the daughter of a family of mixed European and Indian parentage. The other children were dusky but respectable. She was white, and rather handsome, and fascinated a luckless young Englishman of good family, who married her, only to discover that she was extravagant and given to flirtation. They were on their way to a post—tea-planting if I remember aright—somewhere to the North of India. When they first left England the husband was very sea-sick, and the wife carried on a violent flirtation with another passenger and was also described as swearing and drinking. When the husband recovered she insisted on his shooting her admirer, and on his declining tried to shoot her husband. The captain, however, seized the revolver and shut her up in a second-class cabin. She was only allowed to dine with the first-class passengers on Christmas evening. Poor husband! I believe that he was quite a good fellow, but I do not know their subsequent fate.

We also had on board an orchid-hunter who had given up the destination which he had originally proposed to himself, because he discovered that a rival was going to some new field for exploration, and as he could not let him have the sole chance of discovering[Pg 182] the beautiful unknown flower of which there were rumours, he set off to hunt him. All the material for a novel, if only the lady with the revolver had formed an alliance, offensive and defensive, with the orchid-hunter. Unfortunately we did not learn the after-history of any of these fellow-passengers.

We were warmly welcomed at Government House, Calcutta, by Lord and Lady Lansdowne. Lord Lansdowne, an old school and college friend of Jersey’s, had just taken over the reins of Government from Lord Dufferin. Lord William Beresford, another old friend of my husband’s, was Military Secretary, and Colonel Ardagh Private Secretary. Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace, who had been so eminently successful as Private Secretary to the late Viceroy, was staying on for a short time to place his experience at the service of the new rulers. The aides-de-camp were Major Rowan Hamilton, Captain Streatfeild, Captain Arthur Pakenham, Captain Harbord, and Lord Bingham.

We found that the tardy arrival of our unfortunate Pundua had not only been a disappointment to ourselves, but, alas! a great grief to many of the Calcutta ladies, as it was bringing out their new frocks for the Viceroy’s Christmas Ball. I hope that it proved a consolation to many that the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal gave a ball at Belvedere two days after the ship came in, when no doubt the dresses were unpacked. Lady Lansdowne’s pretty daughter, now Duchess of Devonshire, was just out and therefore able to attend this ball.

THE BRAHMO SOMAJ

We spent a few very pleasant days at Calcutta and met various interesting people. Amongst them was Protap Chunder Mozoondar, Head of the Brahmo Somaj (i.e. Society Seeking God). He paid me a special visit to expound the tenets of his Society, which, as is[Pg 183] well known, was founded by Babu Chunder Sen, father of the (Dowager) Maharanee of Kuch Behar. Briefly, the ideas of the Society are based on natural theology, or the human instinct, which tells almost all men that there is a God. The Brahmo Somaj accepts a large portion of the Holy Books of all nations, especially the Vedas and the Bible. It acknowledges Christ as a Divine Incarnation and Teacher of Righteousness, but again it does not regard His atonement as necessary to salvation. My informant’s view was that Christian missionaries did not sufficiently take into account Hindu feelings, and enforced unnecessary uniformity in dress, food, and outward ceremonies. This is quite possible, but it would be difficult for a Christian missionary not to insist on the Sacraments, which form no essential part of the Brahmo Somaj ritual.

Babu Chunder Sen’s own sermons or discourses in England certainly go beyond a mere acknowledgment of Christ as a Teacher and express deep personal devotion to him and acceptance of His atonement in the sense of at-one-ment, or bringing together the whole human race, and he regards the Sacraments as a mystical sanctification of the ordinary acts of bathing—so congenial to the Indian—and eating. However, in some such way Protap Chunder Mozoondar seemed to think that a kind of Hinduised Christianity would ultimately prevail in India.

It is impossible for an ordinary traveller to form an opinion worth having on such a point, but the Brahmo Somaj, like most religious bodies, has been vexed by schism. Babu Chunder Sen among other reforms laid down that girls should not be given in marriage before the age of fourteen, but his own daughter was married to the wealthy young Maharajah Kuch Behar[Pg 184] before that age. This created some prejudice, though the marriage was a successful one, and she was a highly educated and attractive woman. She had a great reverence for her father, and in after years gave me some of his works. Another pundit, later on, started another Brahmo Somaj community of his own. The explanation of this given to me by Kuch Behar himself was that he was a “Parti” and that this other teacher (whose name I have forgotten) wanted him to marry his daughter, but he chose Miss Sen instead! I fear that this is not a unique example of church history affected by social considerations.

While at Calcutta we received a telegram to say that Villiers had reached Bombay and we met him at Benares on New Year’s Day, 1889. He had come out escorted by a Mr. Ormond, who wanted to come to India with a view to work there and was glad to be engaged as Villiers’s travelling companion. Rather a curious incident was connected with their voyage. A young Mr. S. C. had come out on our ship the Arcadia—on Villiers’s ship a youth travelled who impersonated this same man. The amusing part was that a very excellent couple, Lord and Lady W. (both now dead), were on the same ship. Lady W. was an old friend of Mrs. S. C.—the real man’s mother—but, as it happened, had not seen the son since his boyhood. Naturally she accepted him under the name he had assumed, and effusively said that she had nursed him on her knee as a child. The other passengers readily accepted him as the boy who had been nursed on Lady W.’s knee, and it was not until he had landed in India that suspicion became excited by the fact that there were two S. C.’s in the field and that number Two wished to raise funds on his personality. This assumption of someone else’s[Pg 185] name is common enough, and every traveller must have come across instances, but it was rather funny that our son and ourselves should have travelled with the respective claimants.

MAHARAJAH OF BENARES

At Benares we were taken in hand by a retired official—a Jain—rejoicing in the name of Rajah Shiva Prashad. We stayed at Clark’s Hotel, while Shiva Prashad showed us all the well-known sights of the Holy City, and also took us to pay a formal visit to the “Maharajah of the people of Benares.” It is curious that the Maharajah should have adopted that name, just as Louis Philippe called himself “King of the French” rather than “of France” to indicate less absolute power. The Maharajah’s modesty was due to the fact that Shiva is supposed to uphold Benares on his trident, and bears the name of “Mahadeva”—Great God, or Ruler of the City—so the earthly potentate can only look after the people—not claim the city itself.

The Maharajah’s Palace was on the river in a kind of suburb called Ramnagar, to which we were taken on a barge. We were received at the water-steps by a Babu seneschal, at the Castle steps by the Maharajah’s grandson, and at the door of a hall, or outer room, by the Maharajah himself—a fine old man with spectacles. It was all very feudal; we were seated in due state in the drawing-room, and after some polite conversation, translated by our friend the Rajah, who squatted on the floor at the Maharajah’s feet, we were entertained with native music and nautch-dancing. After we had taken leave of our host we inspected his tigers, kept, I suppose, as an emblem of his rank. Shiva Prashad told us a romantic tale of his own life, according to which he first entered the service of the Maharajah of Bhurtpore, but was disgusted by the cruelty which[Pg 186] he saw exercised—prisoners thrown into miserable pits, and only given water mixed with salt to drink. He left the Maharajah, and thought of becoming an ascetic, but being taunted by his relatives for his failure in life, he (rather like St. Christopher) determined to enter the service of someone “greater than the Maharajah.” He discovered this superior power in the British Government, which gave him an appointment in the Persian Department.

While there he somehow found himself with Lord Hardinge and three thousand men arrayed against sixty thousand Sikhs. The Council of War recommended falling back and waiting for reinforcements, “but Lord Hardinge pronounced these memorable words—‘We must fight and conquer or fall here.’” They fought—and first one three thousand, then another three thousand friendly troops joined in, so the Homeric combat ended in their favour, and Prashad himself was employed as a spy. Afterwards he retired to the more peaceful occupation of School Inspector, and when we knew him enjoyed a pension and landed property.

MARRIAGES OF INFANTS AND WIDOWS

He posed as a perfect specimen of a happy and contented man, and had much to say about the excellence of the British Raj and the ignorance and prejudice of his own countrymen, whom he said we could not understand as we persisted in comparing them with Europeans—that is, with reasonable beings, whereas they had not so much sense as animals! All the same I think a good deal of this contempt for the Hindu was assumed for our benefit, particularly as the emancipation of women evidently formed no part of his programme. He gave an entertaining account of a visit paid by Miss Carpenter to his wife and widowed sister. Miss Carpenter was a philanthropic lady of about fifty, with hair beginning[Pg 187] to grizzle, who carried on a crusade against infant marriage and the prohibition of the remarriage of widows. “Well,” was the comment of Mrs. Prashad, “I married when I was seven and my husband nine and I have been happy. How is it that this lady has remained unmarried till her hair is growing grey? Has no one asked her? There ought to be a law in England that no one shall remain unmarried after a certain age!” The sister countered an inquiry as to her continued widowhood with the question, “Why does not the Empress marry again?”

 

 


[Pg 188]

CHAPTER IX

NORTHERN INDIA AND JOURNEY HOME

From Benares we went to Lucknow, where we had the good fortune to meet Sir Frederick (afterwards Lord) Roberts, and Lady Roberts, who were exceedingly kind to us during our stay. We had one most interesting expedition under their auspices. We and some others met them by appointment at Dilkusha, a suburban, ruined house of the former King of Oude from which Sir Colin Campbell had started to finally relieve Outram and Havelock in November 1857. Roberts, then a young subaltern, was, as is well known, of the party, and he took us as nearly as possible over the ground which they had traversed. Havelock, who had previously brought relief to the garrison, but not enough to raise the siege of Lucknow, had sent word to Sir Colin not to come the same way that he had, as it entailed too much fighting and loss to break right through the houses held by the rebels, but to keep more to the right. Sir Frederick pointed out the scenes of several encounters with the enemy, and one spot where he, sent on a message, was nearly lost—also Secunderabagh, a place with a strong wall all round it, where the British found and killed two thousand rebels, the British shouting “Remember Cawnpore!” to each man as they killed him.

THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW

Each party—Campbell’s, and Havelock’s who advanced to join them—put flags on the buildings they[Pg 189] captured as signals to their friends. At last they respectively reached the Moti Mahal or Pearl Palace. Here Sir Frederick showed us the wall on which the two parties, one on either side, worked till they effected a breach and met each other. Then Sir Colin Campbell, who was at the Mess House just across the road, came forward and was greeted by Generals Outram and Havelock—and the relief was complete.

Sir Frederick had not seen the wall since the breach had been built up again, but he pointed out its whereabouts, and Jersey found the new masonry which identified the spot. Colonel May, who had come with us from Dilkusha, then took us over the Residency in which he, then a young engineer, had been shut up during the whole of the siege. It was amazing to see the low walls which the besieged had managed to defend for so long, particularly as they were then overlooked by comparatively high houses held by the rebels which had since been levelled to the ground. Colonel May indicated all the posts, and the places of greatest danger, but there was danger everywhere, except perhaps in the underground rooms in which 250 women and children of the 32nd were lodged. Cannon-balls were always flying about—he told us of one lady the back of whose chair was blown away while she was sitting talking to him just outside the house, and of a cannon-ball which passed between the knees of a Mrs. Kavanagh, while she was in the verandah, without injuring her. We also saw the place where the rebels twice assembled in thousands crying “Give us Gubbins Sahib and we will go away.” They particularly hated Mr. Gubbins, as he was Financial Commissioner.

Sir Frederick said the ladies seemed quite dazed as they came out, and told us of one whom he knew who[Pg 190] came out with two children, but subsequently lost her baby, while her husband was killed in the Mutiny. She, he said, never fully recovered her senses. No wonder, poor woman! One quaint thing we were told was that the rebels played themselves into quarters every evening with “God save the Queen.”

One unfortunate incident marred an otherwise delightful time at Lucknow. A sham fight took place, and Sir Frederick Roberts was good enough to lend a horse to Jersey and a beautiful pony to Villiers in order that they might witness it. Villiers, boylike, tried to ride his pony up the steep bank of a nullah. It fell back with him, and he suffered what was called a “green fracture,” the bones of his forearm being bent near the wrist. They had to be straightened under chloroform. We were able to leave Lucknow two days later, but the arm rather hampered him during the rest of our journey.

Delhi was our next stopping-place, where we had a most interesting time, being entertained by the Officer Commanding, Colonel Hanna—who had during the siege been employed in helping to keep open the lines of communication so as to supply food and munitions to the troops on the Ridge. He was therefore able to show us from personal knowledge all the scenes of the fighting and relief, as well as all the well-known marvels of architecture and the glories left by the great Moghuls. His house was near the old fortifications, which I believe are now demolished for sanitary reasons, but it was then a joy to look out of the windows, and see the little golden-brown squirrels which frequented the old moat, with the two marks on their backs left by Krishna’s fingers when he caressed their progenitors.

We were thrilled by his stories of events of which he had been an eye-witness, culminating in his account[Pg 191] of the three days during which the British troops were permitted to sack the reconquered city. My husband remarked that he would not have stopped them at the end of three days. “Yes, you would, had you been there,” said Colonel Hanna. It must be very hard to restrain men maddened by weeks of hardship and the recollection of atrocities perpetrated by their foes, if they are once let loose in the stronghold of their enemies. The troops camped on the Ridge, and losing their bravest from hour to hour seem to have had at least one advantage over the defenders of Lucknow—they did not suffer from the terrible shortage of water.

VIEW FROM THE KOTAB MINAR

Without attempting an account of all the palaces, tombs, and mosques which we saw, I must just say that nothing that I have ever seen is so impressive in its way as the view from the Kotab Minar after you have scaled the 375 steps to its tapering summit. Over the great plain are scattered the vestiges of deserted cities built by the conquerors and emperors of two thousand years, a history culminating on the Ridge of Delhi, where Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress, and where her grandson received in person the homage of the feudatory princes and chiefs over whom he was destined to rule. Even the Campagna of Rome has not that array of skeletons of past and bygone cities actually displayed before the eyes of the beholder, each bearing the name of some ruler whose name and deeds are half remembered although his dynasty has passed away.

One of these cities is Tughlakabad, with the tomb of Tughlak and his son Juna. The latter was a horrid tyrant who maimed and ill-treated many victims. His cousin and successor Feroz seems to have been a merciful and pious ruler: he compensated the injured as far as possible and got them to write deeds of indemnity,[Pg 192] which he placed in Juna’s tomb that the latter might present them on the day of judgment. One cannot help thinking that Feroz rather than Juna may benefit from this action at the Great Assize.

On January 12th we went to spend Saturday to Monday with Major and Mrs. Paley at Meerut. Our nephew George Wombwell was laid up at Colonel Morris’s house there with typhoid fever. He seemed to be recovering, and after making arrangements for a nurse and every attention we returned to Delhi on Monday. We were afraid to keep Villiers in a cantonment station with illness about. Alas! Jersey was summoned back a few days later, when we were at Agra, as George became worse, and died. It was very sad.

At Agra we went first to Lauri’s Hotel, but Sir John Tyler, Superintendent of the Jail, persuaded us to come and stay with him, which was really a great thing, as Villiers had by no means completely recovered from the effect of his accident, and Sir John being a surgeon was able to look after him. Needless to say we visited the famous Taj by moonlight and by day, each time finding fresh beauties. I venture to quote a sentence about it from an article which I wrote concerning India published in The Nineteenth Century, because Sir Edwin Arnold was polite enough to say that I had discovered a fault which had escaped the observation of himself and his fellows:

“The Taj, that fairy palace of a love stronger than death, sprung from sunset clouds and silvered by the moon, has but one fault—it is too perfect. Nothing is left to the imagination. There are no mysterious arches, no unfinished columns, nothing is there that seems to speak of human longing and unfulfilled aspiration;[Pg 193] you feel that a conqueror has made Art his slave, and the work is complete; you can demand nothing more exquisite in this world.”

SEKUNDRA AND FUTTEHPORE-SEKREE

Among the many wonders of Agra and its neighbourhood I was specially impressed by the Tomb of the Great Akbar at Sekundra. As in the case of the Taj, the real tomb is underneath the building, but in the Taj the Show Tomb is simply in a raised chamber something like a chapel, whereas Akbar’s Show Tomb is on a platform at the summit of a series of red sandstone buildings piled on each other and gradually diminishing in size. The tomb, most beautifully carved, is surrounded by a finely worked marble palisade and arcade running round the platform. Presumptuously, I took this mighty erection as an ideal for a scene in a child’s story, Eric, Prince of Lorlonia.

We were also delighted with Futtehpore-Sekree, the great city which Akbar built and then deserted because it had no water. It reminded us of Pompeii, though perhaps it had less human interest it had a greater imprint of grandeur. The great Archway or High Gate, erected 1602 to commemorate Akbar’s conquests in the Deccan, has a striking Arabic inscription, concluding with the words:

“Said Jesus on whom be peace! The world is a bridge; pass over it, but build no house there: he who hopeth for an hour may hope for eternity: the world is but an hour; spend it in devotion: the rest is unseen.”

The greatest possible art has been lavished on the tomb of the hermit Sheikh Suleem. This holy man had a baby six months old when Akbar paid him a visit. Seeing his father look depressed instead of elated by the honour, the precocious infant asked the cause. The[Pg 194] hermit must have been too much absorbed in religious meditation to study the habits of babies, for instead of being startled by the loquacity of his offspring he confided to him that he grieved that the Emperor could not have an heir unless some other person sacrificed his child. “By your worship’s leave,” said baby, “I will die that a Prince may be born,” and before the father had time to remonstrate calmly expired. As a result of this devotion Jehanghir was born, and Akbar built Futtehpore-Sekree in the neighbourhood of the hermit’s abode.

When Sheikh Suleem died he was honoured with a splendid tomb inlaid with mother-of-pearl and enclosed in a marble summer-house with a beautifully carved screen to which people who want children tie little pieces of wool. Apparently a little addition to the offering of wool is desirable, as the priest who acted as guide assured us that an English officer who had a blind child tied on the wool, but also promised our informant a hundred rupees if the next was all right. The next was a boy with perfect eyesight and the priest had his reward.

Beside the baby’s tomb, which is in an outer cemetery, we saw a little tomb erected by a woman whose husband was killed in the Afghan War over one of his old teeth!

We were fortunate in having Sir John Tyler as our host at Agra, for as Superintendent of the Jail he was able to ensure that we should have the best possible carpets, which we wanted for Osterley, made there. They were a long time coming, but they were well worth it. Abdul Kerim, Queen Victoria’s Munshi, was a friend of his, in fact I believe that Sir John had selected him for his distinguished post. He was on leave at Agra at the time of our visit, and we went to[Pg 195] a Nautch given at his father’s house in honour of the Bismillah ceremony of his nephew.

From Agra we visited Muttra, where we were the guests of the Seth Lachman Das—a very rich and charitable old man of the Bunyah (banker and money-lender) caste. He lodged us in a bungalow generally let to some English officers who were temporarily absent, and he and his nephew did all in their power to show us the sights at Muttra and in the neighbourhood.

THE BIRTHPLACE OF KRISHNA

Amongst other sacred spots we were taken to Krishna’s birthplace. It was curious that though, throughout India, there are magnificent temples and rock-carvings in honour of Vishnu and his incarnation Krishna, his birthplace was only marked by a miserable little building with two dolls representing Krishna’s father and mother.

The legend of Krishna’s babyhood is a curious echo of the birth of our Lord and the crossing of the Red Sea combined. It seems that a wicked Tyrant wanted to kill the child but his foster-father carried him over the river near Muttra, and as soon as the water touched the infant’s feet it receded and they passed over dry shod. In memory of this event little brass basins are sold with an image within of the man carrying the child in his arms. The child’s foot projects, and if one pours water into the basin it runs away as soon as it touches the toe. I do not know what may be the hydraulic trick, but certainly it is necessary to put the brass basin into a larger one before trying the experiment to receive the water which runs out at the bottom. The little birthplace building was in the courtyard of a mosque—part of which was reserved for the Hindus.

The Seth had built a temple in Muttra itself, where[Pg 196] he annually expended large sums in feeding the poor, and he and his family had erected a still finer one at Brindaban, a famous place of pilgrimage in the neighbourhood, where they had set up a flag-staff 120 feet high overlaid with real gold. Seth Lachman Das maintained at his own expense twenty-five priests and fifteen attendants besides fifty boys who were fed and instructed in the Shastras. As at Madura, we were struck by these rich men’s apparent faith in their own religion.

After visiting Deeg and Bhurtpore, we reached the pretty Italian-looking town of Ulwar. The Maharajah, who was an enlightened potentate, had unfortunately gone into camp, but we were interested in the many tokens of his care for his subjects and of his artistic tastes. He kept men executing illuminations like the old monks.

When we visited the jail I was admitted to the quarters of the female prisoners, who seemed quite as anxious to show the labels which they carried recording their crimes, as schoolchildren are to display their exercises or needlework when one visits a school. One smiling woman brought me a label inscribed “Bigamy,” which struck me as rather ludicrous considering the circumstances, and also a little unfair to the criminal. Indian men are allowed several wives—why was she punished for having more than one husband? Probably, however, she was safer locked up in prison than left at the mercy of two husbands, one of whom would almost certainly have cut off her nose if he had an access of jealousy.

After Ulwar we spent a few days at that most attractive city, Jeypore, called by Sir Edwin Arnold the “City of Victory,” a victorious Maharajah[Pg 197] having transferred his capital there from the former picturesque town of Amber. The principal street of Jeypore has houses on either side painted pink, which has a brilliant effect in the sunlight, but when we were there the paint certainly wanted renewing. The Maharajah was a rarely intelligent man, and he had a particularly clever and agreeable Dewan—or Prime Minister. We made great friends with the English doctor—Dr. Hendley—who not only attended some of the native nobles, but also was able to superintend the English lady doctor and thereby help the native ladies. Formerly when a child was born a live goat was waved over its head and the blood of a cock sprinkled on it and its mother. Mother and child were then kept for a fortnight without air, and with a charcoal fire constantly burning, more charcoal being added if the child cried. Mercifully the younger ladies and their husbands were beginning to realise the comfort of English treatment on these occasions.

THE JAINS

On our way from Muttra to Ahmedabad we slept at the Rajpootana Hotel, about sixteen miles from Mount Abu Station, in order to visit the Dilwarra Temples of the Jains. The Jains are a sect of very strict Buddhists—almost the only representatives of the Buddhists left in Hindustan proper. Ceylon and Burmah are Buddhist, so are some of the lands on the Northern Frontier, but the Brahmins contrived to exterminate Buddhism in the great Peninsula in the eighth century after it had spread and flourished there for about a thousand years. These Dilwarra temples are well worth a visit. The pious founder is said to have bought the land for as many pieces of silver as would cover it, and to have paid £18,000,000 sterling for building, besides £560,000 for levelling the site on the steep hill.

[Pg 198]Without attempting to guarantee the accuracy of these figures, it may safely be said that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any buildings in the world of which the interiors present an equal amount of highly finished artistic labour. Outside the temples are low and not imposing, inside they are one mass of minute and elaborate sculpture. You stand beneath a dome with saints or angels worthy of a Gothic cathedral rising to its central point. Around are arcades with pillars and arches, beyond which are numerous small chapels or shrines, each with the figure of a large cross-legged Rishi or Saint with little rishis in attendance. Every inch of arch, arcade, and ceiling is adorned with marvellous carving of ornaments, or of men, ships, and animals. We were told that the central figure in each temple was “Of the Almighty,” who seemed to exact as tribute to his power a fearful noise of cymbals and tomtoms. He appeared to be not exactly a deity, but a divine emanation. The really perfect Jain wore a piece of muslin over his mouth to avoid destroying the life of even invisible insects, but such extreme virtue was, I fancy, rare and must have been highly uncomfortable.

THE MAHARAJAH OF BHOWNUGGER

From Ahmedabad we went to Bhownugger, where we were received in great state by the young Maharajah symptuously attired in green velvet and the Star of India, and attended by his high officials and a guard of honour. We felt very dirty and dusty after a hot journey (thermometer in railway carriages nearly 100°) when received with so much splendour, but we liked the Maharajah immensely and he became devoted to my husband.

He gave us a splendid time with all sorts of “tamashas” while we were his guests, but we were specially[Pg 199] interested in his personality. He had been educated in the college for young chiefs at Ajmere and had acquired a very high standard of ideas of right and wrong and of his duty to his people. I expect that, like the rest of us, he often found it hard to carry his theories into practice, and it was rather pathetic when, speaking of what he wished to do, he added, “We must do the best we can and leave the rest to God”—then, looking up at the chandelier hanging in the bungalow in which he entertained us, he continued, “God is like that light, and the different religions are the different colours through which He shines.”

One of his difficulties, poor man, was in his matrimonial arrangements. He had married two or three ladies of high rank, as considered suitable by the Brahmins, but he had also married to please himself a fair maiden of lower caste. He then learnt that if he did not get rid of her the Brahmins meant to get rid of him. Thereupon he took the Political Officer of that part of the country, Captain Ferris, into the middle of the tennis ground, as the only spot free from the risk of spies, and poured his griefs into the Englishman’s sympathetic bosom. Captain Ferris’s solution was that Mrs. Ferris should call upon the despised Rani, as she did on the more orthodox wives, and that the Maharajah should cling to his English adviser for several days, driving about with him and never leaving him, which would for the time being prevent attempts at assassination. What was to happen afterwards I do not know. Perhaps the Brahmins became aware that any foul play would bring the English raj down upon them. Anyhow, the Maharajah lived to pay a visit to England and came to see us there—though he did not attain old age.

[Pg 200]We heard a good deal of the harm resulting from the great expense of native marriages, including the temptation to infanticide. In the district about Ahmedabad the lower castes do not forbid second marriages, and these are less expensive than the first. Therefore a girl was sometimes married to a bunch of flowers, which was then thrown down a well. The husband thus disposed of, the widow could contract a second alliance quite cheaply.

We then spent two nights as guests of the Thakur Sahib of Limbdi, who, like the other Kathiawar Princes of Morvi and Gondal, had been in England for the Jubilee, and whom we had known there. All three, particularly Limbdi and Gondal, were enlightened men, with various schemes for promoting the welfare of their subjects. The life of many of these Indian Chiefs recalls the days of Scottish Clans. When we were driving with Limbdi he would point out labouring men who saluted as he passed as his “cousins,” and finally told us that he had six thousand blood relations.

BARODA

On February 14th we arrived at Baroda, where we were most hospitably entertained by Sir Harry and Lady Prendergast. Baroda, like so many Indian cities, offered a picture of transition, or at least blending of East and West. As is well known, the late Gaikwar poisoned the British Resident. He was tried by a Tribunal of three Indians and three British. The former acquitted, the latter condemned him. He was deposed and three boys of the family were selected of whom the Maharanee was allowed to adopt one as heir. She chose the present Gaikwar, who was educated under British auspices, but has not always been happy in his relations with the British Government. He however proved quite loyal during the late war. When[Pg 201] we were at Baroda he had been decorating his Palace in an inferior European style. He had bought some fair pictures, but would only give an average of £100, as he said that neither he nor his subjects were capable of appreciating really good ones. In contrast to these modern arrangements we saw the “Chattries” of former Gaikwars. These were funny little rooms, something like small loose boxes in a garden surrounding a shrine. In one was a doll, representing Kunda Rao’s grandfather, in another the ashes of his father under a turban with his photograph behind, in yet a third the turbans of his mother and two other sons. In each room there were a bed, water and other vessels, and little lights burning, the idea being that all should be kept in readiness lest the spirits should return to occupy the apartments. After all, the rooms of the late Queen of Hanover were until lately, perhaps are still, kept as in her lifetime, provided with flowers and with a lady-in-waiting in daily attendance; so East and West are much alike in their views of honour due to the departed.

Back to Bombay for yet five happy days with our dear friends Lord and Lady Reay before saying farewell to India on February 22nd. We had had a truly interesting experience during our three and a half months in the Eastern Empire, and were deeply impressed by the manner in which so many races were knit together under British rule. How far all this may endure under the new attempts at Constitution-making by Occidentals for Orientals remains to be seen. When we paid this first of our visits to India it was perfectly evident that the idea of the Queen-Empress was the corner-stone of government. My husband talked to many natives, Maharajahs and officials, and would[Pg 202] sometimes refer to the leaders of the great English political parties. Their names seemed to convey nothing to the Indians, but they always brought the conversation back to “The Empress.” Disraeli was criticised in England for having bestowed that title on his Mistress, but we had constant opportunities of seeing its hold upon the Oriental mind. “Give my best respects to the Empress,” was a favourite mission given to Jersey by his Maharajah friends. He conscientiously tried to acquit himself thereof when we saw the Queen, who was a good deal amused when he painstakingly pronounced their titles and names.

I once heard a story which shows the effect of the Royal ideal on quite a different class. A census was in progress and a large number of hill-tribes had to be counted. These people had been told a legend that the reason for this reckoning was that the climate in England had become so hot that a large number of the women were to be transported there to act as slaves and fan the Queen—also the men were to be carried off for some other servile purpose. Consequently the mass of the people hid themselves, to the great embarrassment of the officials. One extremely capable man, however, knew the people well and how to deal with them. He contrived to induce the leading tribesmen to come and see him. In reply to his inquiry they confessed their apprehensions. “You fools,” said the Englishman, “it is nothing of the sort. I will tell you the reason. You have heard of the Kaiser-i-Hind?” Yes—they had heard of her. “And you have heard of the Kaiser-i-Roum?” (the Czar). They had also heard of him. “Well, the Kaiser-i-Roum paid a visit to the Kaiser-i-Hind, and when they had finished their curry and rice they began talking. He said he[Pg 203] had more subjects than she, the Kaiser-i-Hind said she had most. To settle the matter they laid a heavy bet and both sent orders to count their people. If you don’t let yourselves be counted the Kaiser-i-Hind will lose the bet and your faces will be blackened.” The tale of the bet appealed to their sporting instincts. All difficulties disappeared. The tribesmen rushed to be counted—probably two or three times over.

ENGLISH AS LINGUA FRANCA

Again, it was curious to notice how the English language was weaving its net over India.

At Jeypore an English-speaking native official had been told off to take us about during our stay. When we were thanking him and saying good-bye, he remarked that the next person whom he was to conduct was a judge from Southern India. The judge was a native Indian, but as he did not know the language of the Jeypore State he had sent in advance to ask to be provided with a guide who could speak English. Formerly the lingua franca of the upper, or educated, classes was Persian, of the lower ones Urdu—the kind of Hindustani spoken by the Mohammedan, and afterwards by the English army. Of course both languages still prevail, but all educated Indians learn English in addition to two or three of the hundred-odd languages spoken in the Peninsula. On a later visit a Hyderabad noble was taking my daughter and me to see various sights. I noticed that he talked to a good many natives in the course of our excursion, and as they appeared to be of different castes and occupations, I asked him at last how many languages he had talked during the day. After a little reflection he reckoned up six. It will not be such a very easy matter to get all these people into the category of enlightened electors.

[Pg 204]On our voyage home I occupied myself by writing the article already mentioned as appearing in The Nineteenth Century—from which I extract the following supplement to my recollections:

“Caste is the ruling note in India. The story which tells how the level plains of Kathiawar were reclaimed from the sea illustrates this. The egrets laid their eggs on the former ocean-line and the wave swept them away. The egrets swore that the sea should be filled up until she surrendered the eggs. They summoned the other birds to help them, and all obeyed their call except the eagle. He was the favourite steed of Vishnu, so thought himself exonerated from mundane duties. But Vishnu looked askance at him and said that he should be put out of caste unless he went to help his fellows. Back he flew to Kathiawar, and when the sea saw that the royal bird had joined the ranks of her opponents she succumbed and gave back the eggs.

“Hindu respect for animal life entails consequences which make one wonder how the earth can provide not only for the swarms of human inhabitants, including unproductive religious mendicants, but also for such numbers of mischievous beasts. Some castes will kill no animals at all, and all Hindus hold so many as sacred that peacocks, monkeys, and pigeons may be seen everywhere, destroying crops and eating people out of house and home. The people of a town, driven to desperation, may be induced to catch the monkeys, fill a train with them, and dispatch it to discharge its cargo at some desolate spot; but woe betide a simicide! The monkeys in any given street will resent and lament the capture of a comrade, but do not care at all if a stranger is carried off. He is not of their caste.”

MEDITATIONS OF A WESTERN WANDERER

In May 1889—The National Review also published the following verses, which I wrote after reading Sir Alfred Lyall’s “Meditations of a Hindu Prince.” I called them “Meditations of a Western Wanderer”:

[Pg 205] “All the world over, meseemeth, wherever my footsteps have trod,
The nations have builded them temples, and in them have imaged their God.
Of the temples the Nature around them has fashioned and moulded the plan,
And the gods took their life and their being from the visions and longings of man.

“So the Greek bade his marble be instinct with curves of the rock-riven foam,
Within it enshrining the Beauty and the Lore of his sunlitten home;
And the Northman hewed deep in the mountain and reared his huge pillars on high,
And drank to the strength of the thunder and the force flashing keen from the sky.

“But they knew, did those builders of old time, that wisdom and courage are vain,
That Persephonē rises in springtide to sink in the winter again,
That the revelling halls of Walhalla shall crumble when ages have rolled
O’er the deep-rooted stem of the World-ash and the hardly-won Treasure of gold.

“I turn to thee, mystical India, I ask ye, ye Dreamers of earth,
Of the Whence and the Whither of spirit, of the tale of its birth and rebirth.
For the folks ye have temples and legends and dances to heroes and kings,
But ye sages know more, would ye tell it, of the soul with her god-given wings.

“Ah, nations have broken your barriers; ah, empires have drunk of your stream,
And each ere it passed bore its witness, and left a new thought for your dream:
The Moslem saith, ‘One is the Godhead,’ the Brahmin ‘Inspiring all,’
The Buddhist, ‘The Law is Almighty, by which ye shall stand or shall fall.’

“Yea, verily One the All-Father; yea, Brahmin, all life is from Him,
And Righteous the Law of the Buddha, but the path of attainment is dim.
Is God not afar from His creature—the Law over-hard to obey?
Wherein shall the Life be of profit to man seeing evil bear sway?
[Pg 206]
“Must I ask of the faith which to children and not to the wise is revealed?
By it shall the mist be uplifted? By it shall the shrine be unsealed?
Must I take it, the often-forgotten yet echoing answer of youth—
‘’Tis I,’ saith the Word of the Father, ‘am the Way and the Life and the Truth’?

“The Truth dwelleth ay with the peoples, let priests hide its light as they will;
’Tis spirit to spirit that speaketh, and spirit aspireth still;
Wherever I seek I shall find it, that infinite longing of man
To rise to the house of his Father, to end where his being began.

“And the secret that gives him the power, the message that shows him the way,
Is the Light he will struggle to follow, the Word he perforce will obey.
It is not the voice of the whirlwind, nor bolt from the storm-kindled dome;
’Tis stillness that bringeth the tidings—the child knows the accents of home.”

We had a calm voyage to Suez in the Bengal. It was fortunate that it was calm—for the Bengal was quite an old-fashioned ship. I think only something over 3,000 tons—different from the Arcadia, then the show-ship of the P. and O. fleet. I was amused once to come across an account by Sir Richard Burton of a voyage which he took in the Bengal years before, when he described the P. and O. as having done away with the terrors of ocean travel by having provided such a magnificent vessel.

We spent nine days at Cairo and Alexandria and saw the usual sights, then quite new to us; but it is generally a mistake to visit one great land with a history and antiquities of its own when the mind has just been captured by another. Anyhow, we were so full of the glories of India that Egypt failed to make the appeal to us which she would otherwise have done, and which she did on subsequent visits. The mosques in particular seemed to us inferior to the marble dreams of Delhi[Pg 207] and Agra. Moreover on this occasion we did not ascend the Nile and see the wonderful temples. The one thing which really impressed me was the Sphinx, though I regret to say that my husband and son entirely declined to share my feelings. Lord Kitchener was then, as Adjutant to Sir Francis Grenfell, Colonel Kitchener. He afterwards became a great friend of ours, but we first made his acquaintance on this visit to Cairo. We had a most interesting inspection of the Barrage works under the guidance of Sir Colin Moncrieff and dined with the Khedive, and at the British Agency.

From Alexandria we went by an Egyptian steamer—at least a steamer belonging to an Egyptian line—to Athens, which we reached on March 15th, accompanied by Lady Galloway. On this voyage I performed the one heroic deed of my life, with which bad sailors like myself will sympathise. The crew of this ship was mainly Turkish—the native Egyptians being no good as seamen, but the captain, Losco by name, was a Maltese and exceedingly proud of being a British subject.

AN ENGLISH PLUM-PUDDING

The first day of our voyage on the Béhéra was calm, and we sat cheerfully at dinner listening to his conversation. He was particularly emphatic in his assertions that he understood something of English cuisine, I believe taught by his mother, and above all he understood the concoction of an English plum-pudding and that it must be boiled for twenty-four hours. Said he, “You shall have a plum-pudding for dinner tomorrow.” Then and there he sent for the steward and gave him full instructions. Next evening the plum-pudding duly appeared, but meantime the wind had freshened and the sea had risen. Under such[Pg 208] conditions I am in the habit of retiring to my cabin and remaining prostrate until happier hours dawn—but was I to shake, if not shatter, the allegiance of this British subject by failing in my duty to a British pudding? I did not flinch. I sat through the courses until the pudding was on the table. I ate and praised, and then retired.

We reached Athens early on the following morning and forgot rough seas and plum-puddings in the pleasure of revisiting our former haunts and showing them to Jersey and Villiers. The King and Queen were again good enough to ask us to luncheon and dinner, and this time we also found the British Minister, Sir Edmund Monson, who had been absent on our previous visit. He kindly included Villiers, though barely sixteen years old, in an invitation to dinner, and much amusement was caused in diplomatic circles by the very pretty daughter of the American Minister, Clarice Fearn. She was about seventeen and had evidently been almost deprived of young companionship during her sojourn at Athens. She was seated at the British Legation between Villiers and a French Secretary no longer in his first youth, so she promptly turned to the latter and said, “I am not going to talk to you, I am going to talk to Lord Villiers”; result, an animated conversation between the youngsters throughout dinner. She at once acquired the nickname of “La belle-fille de l’avenir,” and long afterwards a man who had been at the British Legation some time subsequent to our visit said that he had always heard her called this, though he had never known the reason. I need hardly add that “Society” at Athens was very small and easily amused. Poor “belle-fille de l’avenir,” I saw her again when she and her sister stayed for a time at[Pg 209] Somerville College at Oxford, but she died quite young. Her sister, Mrs. Barton French, still lives.

THE GREEK ROYAL FAMILY

For the rest I need not recapitulate Greek experiences beyond transcribing part of a letter to my mother which contains an account of the domestic life of the Greek Royal Family in those bygone days:

“Despite the weather we have been very comfortable here and found almost all our old friends. The Queen has a new baby since last year, to whom she is quite devoted. It is number seven, but you might think they had never had a baby before. The first time we had luncheon there we all migrated to the nursery, and the Duke of Sparta who is going to marry Princess Sophie of Germany, almost resented George’s suggestion that some beautiful gold things of his might be moved out of the nursery cupboard, as he said ‘they have always been there.’ Last Sunday we had luncheon there again, and this time the baby was brought downstairs and his brothers and sisters competed for the honour of nursing him, the Queen and several of us finally seating ourselves on the floor in order that the infant prince might more conveniently play with the head of his next youngest brother, who lay down with it on a cushion for the purpose. It makes one almost sad to see the eldest Princess, brought up like this—a perfectly innocent girl always in fits of laughter—going to be married to one of the Czar’s brothers; she will find it so different in that Russian Court, poor thing.”

Further on in the same letter I write:

“Everyone has a different story about the Rudolph-Stephanie affair. I have met several people who knew the Baroness and say she was very lovely. Some disbelieve suicide, as he was shot through the back of his head and she through the small of her back, but, as the Austrian Minister here says, no one knows or ever will know the real truth. I think the tragedies[Pg 210] in those three imperial houses, Russia, Germany, and Austria, surpass any the world has ever seen,” and I cite the wise man’s prayer for “neither poverty nor riches” as “about right.”

My mother sent the long letter of which this formed part to my aunt Theodora Guest, who made a characteristic comment. She allowed the wisdom of the prayer, but continued—“but in praying for neither poverty nor riches, I should be careful to add ‘especially not the former,’ for I don’t see that poverty ensures peace, or security from murder—and it would be hard to be poor all one’s life and be murdered at the end! Better be rich and comfortable if only for a time. Still I would not be Empress of Russia for something, and that poor innocent Grecian princess is to be pitied.”

This was written April 1889. What would my mother, my aunt, or myself have said now?

The baby of our luncheon party was Christopher, now the husband of Mrs. Leeds. The poor little Princess whose doom we feared had a more merciful one than many of her relations. She married the Grand Duke Paul later in 1889 and died in 1891 after the birth of her second child. Taken indeed from the evil to come. Her children were adopted by the Grand Duchess Serge, who I believe has been murdered in the late Terror—but I do not know what has happened to the children.

ORIGINAL DERIVATIONS

To turn to something more cheerful. A delightful woman, a real Mrs. Malaprop, had lately been at Athens and much enlivened the British Legation both by her remarks and her credulity. With her the Parthenon was the “Parthian,” the Odeum (an ancient theatre) the “Odium,” Tanagra became “Tangiers,” and so on. She told Mr. Haggard that she did not like the [Pg 211]“Parthian,” it was too big. “Oh,” he said, “you ought to like it, for you have heard of the Parthian shafts—those” (pointing to the columns) “are the original Parthian shafts.” “How very interesting!” said she. He then proceeded to inform her that the Odeum was used for music (which was true), but added that the music was so bad that they all hated it, and therefore the place was called the “Odium”—also “very interesting.” She was taken for an excursion in Thessaly, where there were sheep-pens on the mountains, and one happened to be fenced in a shape something like an irregular figure 8. Another lady pointed this out and gravely informed her that that was how the Pelasgians numbered their mountains. “Oh, Charles,” shouted the victim to her husband, “do look—the Pelasgians numbered their hills—one, two, three—there is number eight!”

 

 


[Pg 212]

CHAPTER X

WINDSOR—EGYPT AND SYRIA

After our return to London in the spring I was greatly surprised when on meeting Sir Henry Ponsonby one day at a party he desired me to send my article on India to the Queen. He was at that time her Private Secretary and knew her deep interest in all things concerning India, but I never imagined that anything which I had written was sufficiently important to be worth her notice. However, I could but do as I was ordered, and I was still more surprised a little later at the result, which was a command that Jersey and I should dine and sleep at Windsor. Jersey had been there before, but it was novel to me and very interesting.

We were taken on arrival to a very nice set of rooms overlooking the Long Walk, up which we presently saw the Queen returning from her afternoon drive. An excellent tea was brought us and Lord Edward Clinton came to look after us—also another member of the Household, I forget who it was, but I recollect that an animated discussion took place in our sitting-room as to an omission on the part of somebody to send to meet the Speaker (Arthur Peel) at the station! It is always rather a comfort to ordinary mortals to find that even in the most exalted establishments mistakes do sometimes occur. We were told that dinner would be at a nominal 8.30, and that a page would take us down when we were ready. Of course we were dressed in[Pg 213] excellent time, but just as I had finished my toilet Jersey came into my room in great agitation. He was expected to wear what we called “the funny trousers”—not knee-breeches, but trousers fastened just below the calf of the leg and showing the socks. Unfortunately his black silk socks were marked in white, and he said I must pick out the marking—which was impossible all in a minute, and the rooms somewhat dimly lit. However, my maid suggested inking over the marks, to my immense relief—and all was well.

DINNER AT WINDSOR

When we went downstairs the Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Southampton, showed us a plan of the table, and it was explained that when the Queen went in to dinner we all followed—were not sent in with a man—and seated ourselves as directed. Then as time approached we were drawn up on either side of the door by which the Queen entered. She greeted each in turn kindly but quickly, and went straight in. It was not really stiff or formidable when we were once seated. After dinner the Queen established herself in a chair in the Long Gallery and each guest was called up in turn for a little conversation. She talked to me about India, and said that it was only her great age and the fact that she was a very bad sailor that prevented her going there. She was much interested in our having seen her Munshi at Agra, and he always formed a link between Her Majesty and ourselves. She had us to Windsor two or three times altogether, and always spoke of him and arranged that we should see him. He was quite a modest humble man to begin with, but I fear that his head was rather turned later on.

Two pieces of advice Her Majesty bestowed upon me, to keep a Journal, and wherever I travelled never to forget England.

[Pg 214]This school term we were greatly pleased at Villiers winning the Junior Oppidan Exhibition at Eton. He had not even told us that he was going in for it, and we saw the first announcement in The Times. His master, Mr. Donaldson, wrote that he took it “in his stride without quickening his space at all or making any special preparation for it.” It was certainly a creditable performance after missing a whole term while in India.

In February 1890 Lady Galloway and I set off on a fresh expedition. Jersey was anxious that I should escape the cold, and held out hopes—unfortunately not fulfilled—of joining us later. We went by a Messageries steamer—the Congo—to Alexandria, and thence to Cairo, where we found various friends, including Colonel Kitchener, who had meantime stayed at Osterley and who looked after us splendidly. He was very amusing, and when there was a difficulty about our cabins on the Nile boat he went off with us to Cook’s Office and said that we must have two cabins instead of two berths with which, despite our orders given in London, they tried to put us off. No one in Egypt could ever resist Kitchener’s orders. He declared that we represented two aunts whom he expected. I do not mean that he told Cook this.

He told us how he and other officers had looked after Mr. Chamberlain on a late journey up the Nile and how he felt sure that they had enlightened him a good deal. It was very shortly after this that Mr. Chamberlain made a famous speech in Birmingham wherein he said that he had seen enough of Egypt to realise that England could not abandon the country in its present condition. I do not remember the words, but that was what they conveyed, quite different from former Radical[Pg 215] pronouncements. That was the great thing with Mr. Chamberlain. As I have already maintained, he had an open mind, and was ready to learn from facts and experience.

VOYAGE UP THE NILE

To return to our Egyptian experiences. We went to Luxor on the post boat, and spent about a week at the hotel there. We found all sorts of friends on dahabyahs and in other places, and were duly impressed by the mighty temples and tombs of the kings. I do not attempt any description of these marvels, never to be forgotten by those who have seen them.

While we were at Luxor the Sirdar, Sir Francis Grenfell, arrived on a tour of inspection with Lady Grenfell and others. We joined the same steamer, the Rameses, and having so many friends on board made the voyage as far as Assouan additionally pleasant. The direct military jurisdiction at that time began near Edfou, and a force of Ababdeh, or native guerilla police who were paid to guard the wells, came to receive the Sirdar on his reaching this territory. A number mounted on camels led by their Sheikh on horseback galloped along the bank as the ship steamed on. At Edfou itself there was a great reception of native infantry and others mounted on camels and horses.

On this trip we saw beautiful Philæ in perfection; and also had the experience, while at Assouan, of shooting the cataract, really a succession of rapids among rocks. The boatmen took care to make this appear quite dangerous by getting close to a rock and then just avoiding it with loud shouts. An Austrian, Prince Schwarzenberg, who was one of our fellow-passengers, looked pretty anxious during the process, but there was no real cause for alarm. Last time we visited Egypt the Dam, though of enormous benefit to[Pg 216] the country, had destroyed much of the charm of Philæ and of the excitement of the cataract.

From Assouan the Grenfells and their party went on to Wady Halfa, and Lady Galloway, Mr. Clarke of the British Agency, and I set off on our return journey to Cairo. Prince Schwarzenberg and his friend Count Westfahlen were our fellow-passengers. The Prince was very melancholy, having lost a young wife to whom he was devoted; also he was very religious. Count Westfahlen admired him greatly. The Prince was quite interesting and cheered up considerably in the course of our voyage. He was a good deal impressed by the ordinary fact, as it seemed to us, that the English on board the steamer had left a portion of the deck undisturbed for the Sirdar’s party without having been officially requested to do so. According to him, Austrians of the middle-class would not have done so under similar circumstances. On the other hand, he was astonished to learn that English boys of our own families were in the habit of playing games with the villagers. If his views of Bohemian society were correct, “democracy” for good and for evil was at a distinct discount!

Meantime the most amusing part of our down-river voyage occurred at Assiout, where the steamer anchored, and where we spent the afternoon with the Mudir Choucry Pasha and dined with him in the evening. He received us with a splendid cortège of donkeys (quite superior to the ordinary race) and attendants; and showed us the hospital—where there were some women among others who had been wounded at Toski—the prison, and American schools. What entertained us most, however, was an Italian Franciscan convent where the nuns trained girls. The Prince was quite scandalised[Pg 217] because, he said, they ought to have been strictly cloistered—whereas they admitted him, Mr. Clarke, and the Mudir, whom they declared was “un bon papa”; and one of the nuns played “Il Bacio” and the Boulanger Hymn for our amusement.

CHOUCRY PASHA.

Choucry Pasha then took Lady Galloway and me to visit his wife and married daughter, who, though their charms were by no means dangerous, were much more particular in secluding themselves than the nuns, for the men of our party had to keep out of the way until our interview was over and they had retired. Then the Mudir sent a messenger to ask the Prince and Mr. Clarke to join us. They declared that they were taken aback when the black servant conveyed the summons thus: “Pasha, ladies, harem,” not feeling sure but that they would have to rescue us from an unknown fate. What they did find in the house was the dusky host on his knees unpacking his portmanteau before us in order to produce for our inspection some antiquities which he had stowed away amongst his socks and other garments!

The dinner, later in the evening, consisted of various oriental dishes, and a large turkey appearing after sweet pastry.

PRINCESS NAZLI

While at Cairo we paid a visit to the well-known Princess Nazli, a relation of the Khedive’s who received Europeans, both men and ladies, but not altogether with the approval of her vice-regal relatives. She said that the doctor wanted her to go to the Kissingen baths, but the Khedive did not like her to go alone, would prefer that she should marry someone. The Khedive had told her in speaking of some other relations that Sir Evelyn Baring might interfere with anything else but not with the members of his family. She had [Pg 218]retorted, “You had better let him interfere with the family, as then he will resign in three weeks.”

She told us of the cruelties which she knew were inflicted on their slaves by the old ladies of Ibrahim Pasha’s and Mehemet Ali’s family, and of how her English governess would send her to try to obtain mercy when the screams of the victims were heard. She remembered when she was a child how the ladies taught their attendants to use the kourbash, and how she saw the poor women covered with blood.

Among other notable people then in Cairo was the explorer Henry Stanley (afterwards Sir Henry), who had not long returned from his expedition to relieve Emin Pasha, and had visited the Pigmies. We met him at dinner at Colonel Kitchener’s, and as I sat near him we talked a good deal. My impression was that he did not easily begin a conversation, but was fluent when once launched. He was engaged on his book, In Darkest Africa, in which he declared that there were to be three pages devoted to a beautiful white lady fragrant with the odours of Araby whom he met under the Equator! If I subsequently identified her I fear that I have now forgotten her.

THE PIGMIES

I remarked on the loss of my brother-in-law’s relative Mr. Powell, who had gone up in a balloon and never been heard of again, whereat Stanley’s comment was, “That would be someone to look for!” We had already met his companion, Dr. Parkes, at the Citadel, who had shown some of us the little darts used by the dwarfs. Years later Mr. James Harrison brought several of the Pigmy men and women to England, and they performed at the Hippodrome. He kindly offered to bring them down to one of our Osterley garden parties, where they created great interest and [Pg 219]amusement. They were about as big as children five to seven years old, and quite willing to be led by the hand. We had a long, low table arranged for them on the lawn near some tall trees, and one of the little men said, through the interpreter, that he thought that “there must be good shooting in this forest.” We gave them some children’s toys; when the little woman first saw a doll she shrank away quite frightened, but was subsequently much pleased. The chief little man appropriated a skipping-rope, and appeared with it tied round his waist at the Hippodrome that evening. We were told that the price of a wife among them was two arrows, and one who had previously lost an arrow was distressed at having lost “half a wife.” The Pigmies did not seem to mind the company, but when one rather big man had inspected a little woman more closely than pleased her she waited till he had turned his back and then put out her tongue at him!

To return to our travels in 1890. We left Port Said on a Russian boat on the afternoon of March 19th and reached Jaffa early the following morning and Jerusalem the same evening. It was very thrilling, and I am always glad that we were there before the days of railways. The whole place was pervaded with Russian pilgrims, many of whom arrived on our boat. Jerusalem has inspired painters, scribes, and poets for hundreds of years, so I will only mention one or two of the scenes which struck us most.

Naturally the Church of the Holy Sepulchre made a deep impression upon us. The Sepulchre may or may not have been the original tomb in which our Lord was laid, but it has been consecrated by the vows and prayers of countless generations, thousands have shed their blood to win that spot from the infidel, and if[Pg 220] warring Churches have built their chapels around it at least they cluster under the same roof and bow to the same Lord. The then Anglican Bishop, Dr. Blyth, took us over the church. We entered by the Chapel of the Angels into the little chapel or shrine containing the Sepulchre. There indeed it was impossible to forget the divisions of Christendom, as the altar over the Holy Tomb was divided into two portions, one decorated with images to suit the Latins, the other with a picture to meet the views of the Orthodox Church. Other chapels of the Roman and various Eastern Churches surround the Sanctuary, the finest being that of the Greeks, who seemed when we were there to exercise the chief authority over the whole building. The Greek Patriarch was a great friend of Bishop Blyth, and had allowed one or two English and American clergymen to celebrate in Abraham’s Chapel, a curious little chapel in an upper part of the mass of buildings included in the church. Near it was the bush in which the ram substituted for Isaac was supposed to have been caught.

Comprised in the church building are the steps up to Calvary, the place of the Crucifixion, and the cleft made by the earthquake in the rock.

The Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem is also very interesting. The Grotto, said to be on the site of the Stable, is under the church and the place of our Lord’s Birth is marked by a silver star let into the pavement. Beyond are caves formerly inhabited by St. Jerome, dark places in which to have translated the Bible. As usual there are chapels for the different sects, and blackened marks on the wall of a cave showed where they set it on fire in one of their quarrels. While we were in the church a procession passed from the Latin Chapel to the Grotto, and a[Pg 221] Turkish soldier was standing with a fixed bayonet opposite the Armenian Chapel to keep the peace as it went by. The Armenians had been forced to fold a corner of the carpet before their altar slanting instead of square, that the Latin processions might have no pretext for treading on it. I suppose Indian Mohammedans are now enlisted as ecclesiastical police, unless indeed the warring Churches trust to the impartiality of English Tommies.

INN OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN

From Jerusalem we had a delightful excursion to Jericho. A carriage road over the mountain pass was in course of construction, but we had to ride horses as it was not yet ready for vehicles. On the way we passed the usual Russian pilgrims with their greasy ringlets, plodding on foot, but the most interesting party was one we saw at the Khan or Inn at the top of the pass. This Inn was no doubt on the site of that where the Good Samaritan left the traveller whom he had treated as a neighbour. Even if our Lord was only relating a parable, not an historic incident, this must have been the Inn which He had in mind, as it is the one natural stopping-place for travellers between Jerusalem and Jericho. While we were seated in the courtyard resting awhile in the open-air in preference to the primitive room within, there rode in a group exactly like the pictures of the Flight into Egypt—a man leading a donkey or mule (I forget which) on which was seated a woman carrying a baby, evidently taking it to baptize in Jordan. “The Madonna and Child,” exclaimed Lady Galloway, and we felt thrilled to see a living Bible picture before our eyes.

As to falling among thieves, we had been assured that there was every chance of our doing so unless we paid the Sheikh of an Arab tribe to accompany us as[Pg 222] escort. This was a simple and generally accepted form of blackmail. The plundering Arabs agreed among themselves that any tourist giving a fixed sum to one of their leaders should be guaranteed against the unwelcome attentions of the rest. As a special tribute to “Lord Salisbury’s sister,” we were also provided with a Turkish soldier, but I doubt his utility. Anyhow the Arab was more picturesque and probably a more effectual guardian.

We had also with us our dragoman Nicholas, whom we had brought on from Egypt. I do not think that he knew much about Palestine, but he was always ready with an answer, and generally asserted that any spot we asked for was “just round the corner” of the nearest hill. I maliciously asked for Mount Carmel, knowing that it was far to the north. With a wave of his hand he declared, “Just round there.” When we reached the bituminous desert land surrounding the Dead Sea I gravely asked for Lot’s wife. “Lot’s wife?” said Nicholas, hopelessly perplexed. “Don’t you know, Nicholas?” said Lady Galloway. “She was turned into a pillar of salt.” “Oh yes,” he replied pointing to the nearest salt-like hillock, “there she is.” No doubt if he ever took later travellers to those parts they had the benefit of our identification.

We stopped for luncheon at Jericho, and having inspected the strange land surrounding the Dead Sea, we went on to the Jordan, a small, rapid river flowing among alders and rushes. There we washed our rings and bracelets and then returned to the Jordan Hotel at Jericho, a solitary building kept by a Hungarian, very comfortable in a simple way—though possessing a perfect farmyard of noisy animals. As is well known the Dead Sea lies over 1,300 feet below the level of the[Pg 223] Mediterranean and the Jordan discharges its water into it, without any outlet on the other side. Hence evaporation leaves all the saline deposits of the river in this inland Sea and causes its weird dead appearance and the heavy, forbidding nature of its waters.

THE HOLY CITY

It is impossible to dwell on all the spots named as scenes of Gospel history and tradition. As Lady Galloway truly remarked, the difference between the story as simply told by the Evangelists, and the aggregation of subsequent legend, deepened our conviction of the truth which we had learnt in childhood. For myself I had heard so much of the disappointment which I should probably feel at finding Jerusalem so small and thronged with so much that was tawdry and counter to all our instincts, that I was relieved to find the city and its surroundings far more beautiful and impressive than I had expected. To look from the Mount of Olives across the Valley of Jehoshaphat to where the Mosque of Omar rises on Mount Zion is in itself a revelation of all that stirred the souls of men of three Faiths who fought and died to win the Holy City. On the wall of rock on the city side of the Valley a spot was pointed out to us on which Mohammedan tradition foretold that Jesus would stand to judge mankind at the Last Day. I asked why Mohammedans should believe that our Lord would be the Judge. My informant hesitatingly replied that “He would judge the world for not believing in Mohammed”—but I think that the answer was only invented on the spur of the moment.

The one sacred spot inside the city about which there appeared to be no dispute was Pilate’s House, as from time immemorial this building had been the abode of the Roman Governor. When we saw it it formed part[Pg 224] of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, very nice women who educated orphans and carried on a day school. In a basement was the old pavement with marks of some kind of chess or draught board on which the Roman soldiers played a game. One of the arches of the court, now included in the Convent Chapel, is called the Ecce Homo Arch, as it is probable that our Lord stood under it when Pilate said “Behold the Man.”

On our way back to Jaffa we slept at Ramleh and again embarked on a Russian steamer, which sailed on the evening of March 25th and reached Beyrout on the following morning. Jaffa was known as a very difficult port in rough weather, but we were lucky both in landing and embarking. One of the rocks which impeded the entrance to the port was believed to have been the monster which Perseus petrified with the head of Medusa. I only hope that no engineer has blown up this classic rock for the sake of any improvement to the harbour!

Palestine must have entirely changed since we were there thirty-one years ago, and it is curious to look back on the problems exercising men’s minds at that time. The Jewish population was then stated to have nearly trebled itself in ten years. We were rather entertained by a sermon delivered by a very vehement cleric in the English Church. He prophesied that the Empire of Israel was bound to attain its ancient magnificent limits, but he said that he was not asking his congregation to contribute to this achievement (though he gave them the opportunity), as it was certain to be effected; only any of us who held back would not share in the ultimate triumph. I do not know what he would have said now, but if alive and holding the same views he must be a kind of Zionist.

[Pg 225]The Sultan had given the old Church of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem to the Emperor Frederick for the Germans, and the performances of his son are only too familiar, but in our day the fear was of Russian machinations. Russian pilgrims, as a pious act, were carrying stones to assist in building the Russian church, of which the tall minaret dominated the Mount of Olives, and the Russian Government was erecting large buildings for pilgrims just outside the city walls which, as we were significantly told, would be equally available for troops.

BALBEC

From Beyrout we had a two days’ drive, sleeping at Shtora on the way to Balbec. The road was over Lebanon, and a wonderful piece of French engineering. The Hôtel de Palmyra at Balbec was very comfortable. We found close by some of the first tourists of the season in tents supplied by Cook. They were very cheerful, but I think must have been rather cold, as March is full early for camping out in those regions and there was plenty of snow on the mountain tops. The women in that region wear a kind of patten in winter to keep them above the snow. It is a wooden over-shoe with raised sole and high wooden heel instead of the iron ring under English pattens. We were amazed at the splendour of the ruined Temples of Balbec, where the Sun was worshipped at different periods of ancient history as Baal or Jupiter. Most astonishing of all was the enormous Phœnician platform or substructure of great stones, three of which are each well over 60 feet long. In a quarry near by is another stone, 68 feet long, hewn but not cut away from the rock.

From Balbec we drove to Damascus, and met on the way an escort sent to meet Lady Galloway. We[Pg 226] did not take the escort beyond Shtora, where we had luncheon, but at Hemeh we found the Vice-Consul, Mr. Meshaka, and a carriage and guard of honour sent by the Governor, so we drove into the town in state.

The result of these attentions to “the Prime Minister’s sister” was comic. A weird female had, it appears, seen us at Jerusalem and followed our traces to Damascus. We saw her once coming into the restaurant smoking a big cigar, and heard that she drank. She was reported to have had a difference with her late husband’s trustees on the subject of his cremation. Whether he, or she, or the trustees wanted him cremated I forget, and am uncertain whether she was carrying about his ashes, but anyhow she had vowed vengeance against Lady Galloway because we had been provided with an escort on more than one occasion and she had not. The maids said that this woman had armed herself with a revolver and sworn to shoot her rival! I will record our further meeting in due course.

Meantime we were delighted with Damascus, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, standing amidst orchards then flowering with blossom, among which run Abana and Pharpar, so picturesque in their windings that we were inclined to forgive Naaman for vaunting them as “better than all the waters of Israel.” The men wore long quilted coats of brilliant colours, red, green, and yellow, and the women brightly coloured cotton garments. The whole effect was cheerful and gay.

Being an Oriental city, it was naturally full of intrigue and various citizens, notably the Jews, tried to claim European nationality so as to evade the exactions of the Turkish Government, but as far as we could[Pg 227] judge they seemed very prosperous. We visited several houses, Turkish, Christian, and Jewish, very pretty, built round courts with orange trees and basins of water in the centre. The rooms were painted, or inlaid with marble—one of the Jewish houses quite gorgeous with inlaying, mother-of-pearl work, and carved marble; in one room a marble tree, white, with a yellow canary-bird perching in its branches. I think it was this house which boasted a fresco of the Crystal Palace to show that its owner lived under the “High Protection of the British Government.” Perhaps the family has now substituted a painting of the Eiffel Tower to propitiate the French.

We went to a mountain-spot overlooking the town below the platform called Paradise, from which tradition says that Mohammed looked down on the city, but thought it so beautiful that he refrained from entering it lest having enjoyed Paradise in this life he should forfeit a right to it hereafter. It is a pretty story, but I fear that history records that he did visit Damascus, for which I trust that he was forgiven, as the temptation must have been great.

DAMASCUS. LADY ELLENBOROUGH

We were much interested while at Damascus in hearing more about Lady Ellenborough, who had lived in the house occupied by the Consul, Mr. Dickson, who was very kind to us during our stay.

Lady Ellenborough was quite as adventurous a lady as Lady Hester Stanhope, and her existence on the whole more varied. She was the daughter of Admiral Sir Henry Digby, and when quite a young girl married Lord Ellenborough, then a widower. After six years’ experience of matrimony she was divorced, it was said in consequence of her flirtations with the then Prince Schwarzenberg. However, that may have been, she[Pg 228] was at one time married to a Bavarian Baron Venningen. How she got rid of him I do not know, but she was well known as the “wife” of Hadji Petros the brigand, whose son I have mentioned as among our friends at Athens. While in Greece she fell a victim to the fascination of the handsome Sheikh Mejmel el Mazrab, who had brought over Arab horses for sale. She went off with him, and her marriage to him is duly recorded in Burke’s Peerage. She lived with him partly at Damascus and partly in the desert, evidently much respected by her neighbours, who called her “Lady Digby” or “Mrs. Digby” as being sister of Lord Digby. She was a good artist and is said to have been very clever and pleasant. She dressed like a Bedouin woman, and when she attended the English church service came wrapped in her burnous; but Mr. Dickson’s father, who was then the clergyman, always knew when she had been there by finding a sovereign in the plate. She died in 1881. I never heard that she had a child by any of her husbands.

Among the glories of Damascus is the great Mosque, once a Christian church, and hallowed by both Christian and Moslem relics. When we were there it still had an inscription high up, I think in Greek characters, stating that the Kingdoms of this World should become the Kingdoms of Christ. There was a fire some time after we saw it, but I trust that the inscription is still intact. Among the many other places which we saw was the wall down which St. Paul escaped in a basket, and as we looked thence into the desert Mr. Dickson told us that until a short time before, a camel post started regularly from a gate near by, bearing an Indian mail to go by way of Bagdad. Before the Overland Route was opened this was one of the speediest routes, and[Pg 229] was continued long after the necessity had ceased to exist.

ORIENTAL METHODS OF TRADE

Time was some difficulty in Damascus, as Europeans generally reckoned by the usual clock, while the natives, Syrians and Arabs, counted, as in Biblical days, from sunrise to sunset and their hours varied from day to day—not that punctuality worried them much. In making an appointment, however, in which men of East and West were both involved it was necessary to specify which sort of time was approximately intended. Mr. Meshaka kindly took us to make some purchases, and he introduced us to one shop in which the proprietor—an Oriental, but I forget of exactly what nationality—had really established fixed prices on a reasonable scale. While we were looking round some Americans came in and began asking prices. The shopkeeper told them his principle of trade, whereupon said one of them: “That will not do at all. You must say so much more than you want and I must offer so much less. Then we must bargain until we come to an agreement.”

While they were considering their purchases I asked the price of some tiny models, in Damascus ware, of the women’s snow-shoes. The man answered me aloud, and then came up and whispered that they were a fifth of the price, but he was obliged to put it on nominally “because of those people”! How can dealers remain honest with such inducements to “profiteering”? However, there is not much risk of their abandoning their ancient methods of trade. I recollect Captain Hext (our P. and O. fellow-traveller) telling me of one of his experiences somewhere in the Levant. While his ship stopped at a port one of the usual local hawkers came on board and showed him a curio which[Pg 230] he wished to possess. Captain Hext and the man were in a cabin, and the man reiterated that the object in question was worth a considerable sum, which he named. While Captain Hext was hesitating a note for him was dropped through the cabin-window by a friend well versed in the habits of those regions. Acting on the advice which it contained, he said to the hawker, “By the head of your grandmother is this worth so much?” The man turned quite pale, and replied, “By the head of my grandmother it is worth”—naming a much lower sum—which he accepted, but asked Captain Hext how he had learnt this formula (which of course he did not reveal) and implored him to tell no one else or he would be ruined. I am not quite sure whether it was the “head” or the “soul” of his grandmother by which he had to swear, but I think head.

We drove back from Damascus via Shtora to Beyrout, where the Consul told us of the strange requirements of visitors. One told him that he had been directed to pray for some forty days in a cave—and expected the Consul to find him the cave!

SMYRNA

At Beyrout we took an Austrian boat and had a most interesting voyage, stopping at Larnaca (Cyprus) and at Rhodes, where I had just time to run up the Street of the Knights. Early on Easter Eve we reached Smyrna, where we stayed at the British Consulate with Mr. Holmwood till the following afternoon. There was a considerable population of mixed nationalities, amongst them English whose children had never been in England. Some of the young women whom we saw in church on Easter Sunday were plump, white-skinned, and dark-eyed like Orientals. Mr. Holmwood said that many were sent for education to Constantinople, and [Pg 231]apparently an Eastern life, necessarily with little exercise or occupation, had even affected their appearance.

It was by no means safe in those days to venture far outside the town, for brigands were dreaded, and only some two years previously had carried off the sons of one of the principal English merchants and held them to ransom. They sent word that they would let them go free if the father would come unarmed and unattended to a certain spot and bring £500. On his undertaking to do so they liberated the boys without waiting for the actual money, but the youngest died from the effects of exposure, their captors having had constantly to move to avoid pursuit. Mr. Holmwood would not let us out of the sight of himself and his dragoman, for he said that the Turks, unlike the Greeks, had no respect for women.

A Canon Cazenove who was in our ship officiated on Easter Sunday. The British Government having ceased to subsidise a chaplain for the Consular Church, there was only service when a travelling clergyman could be annexed, but the congregation rolled up joyfully at short notice. While we were in church we heard cannon discharged outside in honour of the Sultan’s birthday, and the impression was somewhat strange—an English service in the precincts of one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation, a congregation partly of travelling, partly of orientalised British, and without the echoes of Mohammedan rule. Poor Smyrna! still the battleground of warring races.

We resumed our voyage and I was thrilled when we passed Tenedos, touching at Besika Bay and seeing in the distance the Plains of Troy. We entered the Dardanelles in rain and mist, and I think it was fortunate that we got through safely, as our Austrian captain,[Pg 232] though a mild lover of little birds, was also credited with an affection for drink. A fine morning followed the wet evening; Sir Edgar Vincent sent a boat from the Bank to meet us, and received us most hospitably in his charming house. During a delightful week at Constantinople we saw all the “lions” of that wonderful city, under his auspices.

Despite its unrivalled position and the skill and wealth lavished upon it by Christendom and Islam, I do not think that Constantinople takes the same hold upon one’s affection as Athens or Rome. Many of the buildings seem to have been “run up” for the glory of some ruler rather than grown up out of the deep-rooted religion or patriotism of a race. St. Sophia is glorious with its cupola and its varied marble columns, but greatly spoilt by the flaunting green shields with the names of the companions of the Prophet; and the whole effect is distorted because the prayer carpets covering the pavement have to slant towards the Kebla, the niche or tablet indicating the direction of Mecca; whereas the Mosque, having been built as a Christian church, was destined to look towards Jerusalem—at least it was built so that the congregation should turn to the East.

There was, however, one beautiful object which we were delighted to have seen while it retained a brilliance which it has since lost. There were in a new building in process of erection opposite the Museum four tombs which had lately been discovered near Sidon and brought to Constantinople by Hampdi Bey, Director of the School of Art. All were fine, but the finest was that dignified by the name of Alexander’s Tomb. The attribution was doubtful, but not the beauty. They had been covered up while the building was in progress,[Pg 233] but were just uncovered and we were allowed to see them. The unrivalled reliefs on “Alexander’s Tomb” represented Greeks and Persians first as fighting, and then as having made friends. The two nations were easily distinguished, as the Greeks had hardly any garments, while the Persians were fully clothed. The tombs having long been buried in the sand, the vivid colours, and particularly the purple worn by the Persians, had been perfectly preserved, but I understand that, exposed to the light, all soon faded away.

CONSTANTINOPLE

The streets of Constantinople were not nearly so gay as those of Cairo or of many other Eastern towns which I have seen. Things may have altered now, but during our visit hardly any women walked about the city, and the men were mostly dressed in dark European clothes with red fezes, not at all picturesque. At the Sweet Waters, a stream in a valley rather like Richmond, where we drove on Friday afternoon, it was different. The ladies celebrated their Sabbath by driving in shut carriages, or walking about near the water, in gay-coloured mantles, often with parasols to match, and with transparent veils which did not at all conceal their very evident charms.

Sir William White was then Ambassador, and he and his wife were very kind to us. Among other things Lady White invited us to join a party going over to Kadikeui on the Scutari side of the Bosphorus. It was a quaint expedition. The Embassy launch and the French launch each carried guests. The French launch, “mouche” as they called it, started first, but the sea was rapidly rising, and the few minutes which elapsed before we followed meant that the waves were almost dangerous. It was impossible, however, that the British should show the white feather when France[Pg 234] led the way. Lady Galloway and I sat silent, one or two foreign ladies, Belgians, I think, screamed and ejaculated; the Swedish Minister sat on the prow like a hardy Norseman and encouraged the rest of us, but the Persian Minister wept hot tears, while Lady White stood over him and tried to console him with a lace-trimmed handkerchief and a bottle of eau de Cologne.

Having landed as best we could, Sir Edgar Vincent, Lady Galloway and I drove to Scutari, where we saw the howling dervishes. There was a band of little children who were to lie on the floor for the chief, and specially holy, dervish to walk upon at the conclusion of the howling ceremony. The building where this took place was so hot and crowded that I soon went outside to wait for my companions. Immediately a number of dishevelled inhabitants began to gather round me, but I dispersed them with my one word of Turkish pronounced in a loud and indignant tone. I do not know how it is spelt, but it is pronounced “Haiti” and means “go away.” I make it a point in any fresh country to learn if possible the equivalent for the words “hot water” and “go away.” I suppose as we were not in an hotel I found the Turkish for “hot water” unnecessary, but “go away” is always useful.

Among the people we met in Constantinople was a venerable Pasha called Ahmed Vefyk, who used to govern Brusa and part of Asia Minor, and was noted for his honest energy, and for doing what he thought right irrespective of the Sultan. He talked English well, and his reminiscences were amusing. He told us that fifty-five years previously he had taken thirty-nine days to travel from Paris to Constantinople and then everyone came to see him as a curiosity. He introduced us to his fat wife and to a daughter, and offered to make[Pg 235] all arrangements for us if we would visit his former Government.

THE SELAMLIK

Alas! time did not admit, neither could we wait to dine with the Sultan, though we received messages desiring that we should do so. We were told, however, that the Sultan always wished to retain known visitors in Constantinople, and to effect this would ask them to dine and then keep postponing the date so as to delay their departure. We could not chance this, so were obliged to leave without having seen more of His Majesty than his arrival at the ceremony of the Selamlik—a very pretty sight, but one which has often been described. We were at a window just opposite the Mosque and were edified, among other incidents, by the way in which the ladies of the harem had to perform their devotions. They were driven up in closed carriages, their horses (not themselves) were taken out, and they remained seated in the vehicles for the duration of the service, which lasted about three-quarters of an hour. Imagine Miss Maud Royden left in a taxi outside a church while the ministers officiated within! The Sultan was driven up with brown horses, and drove himself away in another carriage with white ones. I do not know if this had any symbolic significance.

THE ORIENT EXPRESS

We left Constantinople by the Orient Express on the evening of April 14th, and had quite an exciting journey to Vienna, which we reached on the afternoon of the 16th. Sir Edgar Vincent accompanied us, and there was also on the train Captain Waller, a Queen’s Messenger, and these were each bound to have a separate sleeping compartment. There were various passengers of different nationalities, including our maids.

A compartment with four berths had been reserved for Lady Galloway and myself—but when the maids[Pg 236] looked in to arrange it they came back in alarm, announcing that our Damascus foewoman of the revolver and the cigar had installed herself in our compartment and refused to move! Of course Sir Edgar, being Governor of the Imperial Ottoman Bank, was all-powerful and the lady had to give way—but there was another sufferer. Later on a Greek who shared a compartment with a German wanted to fight him; they had to be forcibly separated and the Greek shut up for Tuesday night in the saloon while the German was left in possession—which further reduced the accommodation. When we stopped at Budapest, about midnight, the sister of the Queen of Servia was escorted into the train with flowers and courtesy, but the poor woman had to spend the night in the passage, as the alternatives were sharing the compartment of the revolver woman, who, we were told in the morning, terrified her by barking like a dog, or going into the saloon with the Greek, equally uncomfortable.

These were not all the excitements. Previously, at Sofia, Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria got into the train accompanied by an imposing-looking man who we thought was Stambuloff, the Prime Minister afterwards assassinated. It appeared that Prince Ferdinand’s pastime was to join the train in this way, have his déjeuner on board, get out at the frontier, and return to his capital by the next train. It seemed a curious mode of enjoyment, but probably Bulgaria was less lively than it has become since. We heard afterwards that he was annoyed because Sir Edgar and ourselves had not been presented to him, but he might have given a hint had he wished it.

Anyhow, we presently saw some apricot omelettes walking about and asked for some, but were told that[Pg 237] this was a déjeuner commandé and we could not share it, to which deprivation we resigned ourselves. When the repast was over, however, an American solemnly addressed Sir Edgar saying, “Did you, who were near the royal circle, have any of that asparagus?” (I think it was asparagus—may have been French beans.) “No,” replied Sir Edgar. “Very well then,” said the Yankee; “since you had none I will not protest, but we were refused it, and if you had had any I should certainly have made a row.” It was lucky that we had not shared any of the Princely fare, for there was hardly space for more rows on that train.

At Vienna Lady Galloway and I parted. She went to her relatives at Berlin, and I returned via Cologne and Flushing to England, where I was very glad to rejoin my family after these long wanderings.

We had some very happy parties at Osterley during the succeeding summer. I have already mentioned Mr. Henry James’s description of the place. Our great friend Sir Herbert Maxwell, in his novel Sir Lucian Elphin, also adopted it under another name as the background of one of his scenes, and I have quoted Mr. Ashley’s verses written in 1887. I love the place and its memories so dearly that I cannot resist adding the testimony of another friend, Mr. Augustus Hare. He knew it well both in the days of the Duchess of Cleveland and after we had taken up our abode there, and mentions it several times in The Story of my Life, but he tells, in an account of a visit to us including the Bank Holiday of August 1890, of our last party before we went to Australia. From that I extract a few lines, omitting the over-kindly portraits of ourselves which he was apt to draw of his friends:

[Pg 238]“I went to Osterley, which looked bewitching, with its swans floating in sunshine beyond the shade of the old cedars. Those radiant gardens will now bloom through five years unseen, for Lord Jersey has accepted the Governorship of New South Wales, which can only be from a sense of duty, as it is an immense self-sacrifice.


“The weather was really hot enough for the luxury of open windows everywhere and for sitting out all day. The party was a most pleasant one. M. de Stael, the Russian Ambassador; Lady Crawford, still lovely as daylight, and her nice daughter Lady Evelyn; Lady Galloway, brimming with cleverness; M. de Montholon, French Minister at Athens; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Parker, most amusing and cheery; Sir Philip Currie, General Feilding, etc. Everything was most unostentatiously sumptuous and most enjoyable. On Monday we were sent in three carriages to Richmond, where we saw Sir Francis Cook’s collection, very curious and worth seeing as it is, but which, if his pictures deserved the names they bear, would be one of the finest collections in the world. Then after a luxurious luncheon at the Star and Garter we went on to Ham House, where Lady Huntingtower showed the curiosities, including all the old dresses kept in a chest in the long gallery. Finally I told the Jersey children—splendid audience—a long story in a glade of the Osterley garden, where the scene might have recalled the Decameron. I was very sorry to leave these kind friends, and to know it would be so long before I saw them again.”

 

OSTERLEY PARK.
From a photograph by W. H. Grove.

 

STORY OF A PICTURE

Sir Francis Cook—Viscount Monserrate in Portugal—had a wonderful collection both of pictures and objets d’art which he was always ready to show to our friends and ourselves. I am not expert enough to know whether all the names attributed to the pictures could be verified, but I can answer for one which we saw on an occasion when we took Lord Rowton over with some others. It was a large circular painting of the [Pg 239]Adoration of the Magi by Filippo Lippi. Lord Rowton expressed the greatest interest in seeing it, as he said that Lord Beaconsfield and himself had hesitated greatly whether to utilise the money received for Endymion to purchase this beautiful picture, which was then in the market, or to buy the house in Curzon Street. I should think the decision to buy the house was a wise one under the circumstances, but the picture is a magnificent one. I saw it not long ago at an exhibition of the Burlington Fine Arts Club lent by the son—or grandson—of Sir Francis Cook.

 

 


[Pg 240]

CHAPTER XI

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF AUSTRALIA

Mr. Hare’s account of our August Party in 1890 mentions the reason of its being the last for some time. My husband had been already offered the Governorship of Bombay and would have liked it for many reasons, but was obliged to decline as the climate might have been injurious after an attack of typhoid fever from which he had not long recovered. He was then appointed Paymaster-General, an unpaid office which he held for about a year. The principal incident which I recollect in this connection was a lengthened dispute between his Department and the Treasury over a sum of either two pounds or two shillings—I think the latter—which had gone wrong in an expenditure of thirty-five millions. In the end Jersey came to me and triumphantly announced that the Paymaster-General’s Department had been proved to be in the right. How much paper, ink, and Secretary’s time had gone to this conclusion I cannot say. Postage being “On Her Majesty’s Service” would not come into the reckoning.

WAR OFFICE RED TAPE

We had one other experience of pre-war War Office methods, but that was many years later. A rumour arrived in Middleton village that the soldier son of one of our labourers had had his head blown off. As there was no war proceeding at the time, we could not think how this accident had happened, and went to ask the parents where their son was stationed. They had no[Pg 241] clear idea, but after a long talk remembered that they had received a photograph of his regiment with the Pyramids in the background. Armed with this information we approached the War Office and ultimately elicited that the poor youth had not lost his head, but had died of fever in Egypt, when arose the question of certain pay due to him. The War Office, with an insatiable thirst for information, would pay nothing until elaborate forms were filled up with the names and addresses of all the brothers and sisters. These proved to be scattered over the face of the Empire, and as the parents could neither read nor write, endless visits to them were necessary before we could find out enough to fill in the forms. Before this was accomplished I had to leave home and one of my daughters took charge.

At last she wrote that the money was really being paid to the old father and would be deposited in the Post Office. Knowing that he was very shaky, I wrote back begging that she would get him to sign a paper naming his heir, but before this was done he suddenly fell down dead, leaving the money in the Post Office, and my daughter corresponded on alternate days with the General Post Office and the War Office before she could get it out. Then some more money was found to be due, and the War Office said they could not pay it until they had certificates from the sexton and the undertaker who had buried the poor old man. I was back by the time these were procured, and lo and behold! one spelt his name Hitchcox and one Hitchcocks. Foreseeing another lengthened correspondence, I enclosed the form with a letter in Jersey’s name vouching for the fact that they referred to the same person but that the villagers spelt the name in two different ways. Fortunately the War Office felt that they were now[Pg 242] sufficiently acquainted with the family biography and paid up. No wonder a plethora of clerks was needed even in pre-war days.

To return to our own affairs. The late Lord Knutsford, then Colonial Secretary, in the summer of 1890 asked my husband if he would accept the Governorship of New South Wales, and he consented. Great stress was laid on our not telling anyone before the Queen had approved, and we were most conscientious, though I do not believe that other people keep such offers equally secret from all their friends and relatives. It was rather inconvenient as we wanted to invite my brother Rupert to accompany us as A.D.C. and he was already committed to another appointment abroad. As soon as the telegram announcing the Queen’s approval arrived, I sent a footman to look for him at two or three addresses saying that he must find Captain Leigh somehow. He brought him back in triumph, having caught him in the street. Lord Ancram and my cousin Harry Cholmondeley were the other A.D.C.s, and George Goschen, now Lord Goschen, Private Secretary.

BALMORAL

Just before we were due to start, the Queen sent for us to Balmoral to say good-bye. We there met amongst others the Duke of Clarence, the only time I ever saw him, and I thought him a singularly gentle, modest young man. Some old gentleman had lately left him a long gold and turquoise chain which had belonged to Marie Antoinette. He told the Queen about it, and, with genuine surprise, said he could not think why it had been left to him. Her Majesty expressed the greatest interest in anything which had belonged to Marie Antoinette, so he ran upstairs and brought it down for his grandmother’s inspection. He talked of[Pg 243] his voyage to Australia, and said he was sorry that he had been too young to appreciate all he had seen as he should have done. I remember the late Admiral Lord Clanwilliam, who had the supervision of the young Princes when they were on board the Bacchante, saying that no boys had ever given him less trouble, and that Prince George (the present King) was equal to boys a year older than himself.

When we went to Australia Lord Hopetoun was already there as Governor of Victoria, and Lord Kintore as Governor of South Australia, while Lord Onslow reigned in New Zealand. These, like Jersey, had all previously been Lords-in-Waiting to the Queen, and Her Majesty said to us, “As soon as I get a nice Lord-in-Waiting Lord Salisbury sends him off to govern a Colony”; to which my husband aptly replied, “You see, Ma’am, how well you brought us up!” A remark rewarded by a gracious smile.

The Queen was indeed more than kind, and was very much upset when our departure was delayed, just when all preparations were made, by my being seized with an attack of typhoid fever. She telegraphed constantly, and when the Court returned to Windsor sent a messenger daily to inquire. We were told that her kind heart led her to imagine that my illness was either caused or intensified by our having been summoned to Balmoral just at the last minute, because she had forgotten that we were starting so soon. Of course it had nothing to do with it, but the Queen was well aware what typhoid fever meant. As she wrote to Jersey, she was “but too well acquainted with this terrible illness not to feel anxious whenever any relations or friends are suffering from it.”

The result was that when I was convalescent Jersey[Pg 244] had to start alone, and I went with my children to spend Christmas at Stoneleigh, following him in January. Lady Galloway was a true friend, for since our London house was let she took me from Claridge’s Hotel, where I was taken ill, to her house in Upper Grosvenor Street and nursed me there for weeks. Everyone was kind, Lady Northcote offering that I should take possession of her house and have Lady Galloway there to look after me, but in the end I stayed in Upper Grosvenor Street till I could move to Stoneleigh. Christmas at Stoneleigh was an unexpected pleasure, and my parents, brothers, and sisters did all they could to further my convalescence. An addition to the family party was my brother Dudley’s charming new American wife, of whom he was intensely proud. When we greeted them or drank their healths, however, in the course of the festivities he invariably prefaced his words of thanks with “I and my wife” despite the laughing protests of his auditors. On Twelfth Night we drew characters, with the result—perhaps not quite fortuitous—that my eldest girl Margaret and her youngest brother Arthur, aged seven, were Queen and King. Their healths were duly drunk, and Arthur eagerly and emphatically responded, beginning “My wife and I!”

Mrs. Dudley Leigh had been in her girlhood much admired in the Court of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie. She was greatly attached to the Empress and was one of the young ladies recorded in Filon’s Memoirs as having helped to cheer the deposed monarchs in the first part of their exile when they resided at Cowes.

Hélène Leigh (then Beckwith) told me that she and her sister often went to spend an evening with the[Pg 245] Empress, who, as is well known, had a leaning towards spiritualism and table-turning. The Emperor disliked the experiments, and on one occasion begged them to stop. Presently he went to bed and then Eugénie determined to resume. The table moved, and rapped out “Janvier.” The Empress asked what the date implied, and the answer came “La Mort.” In the following January the Emperor died. Personally none of these coincidences convince me, as I have known automatic and other prophecies which did not “come off.” The Emperor was very ill and his death must have seemed imminent to many present, but I allow that it is curious that the date as remembered by my sister-in-law should have proved accurate.

FAREWELL TO ENGLAND

At last I was considered well enough to start, and went off accompanied by four children, two governesses and three servants, the rest of the household having preceded us. We had a bitterly cold journey, and Lady Galloway, who joined us in London and went with us across France and Italy, had her work cut out to keep us warm and fed. She then went to stay with some of her friends, having promised to visit us later in Australia.

It was very sad leaving all my family, and particularly my eldest boy Villiers. He had to finish his time at Eton and was then to come to us before going to Oxford. Everyone who has to leave children behind—and, alas! that is the lot of only too many English parents—knows what it means, and I will not dwell upon it.

All our friends were most sympathetic and helpful, and I was particularly touched by Lord Derby’s thoughtfulness. In his first letter on hearing of the appointment he wrote: “You are a queen and an exile. Are[Pg 246] you to be congratulated or condoled with?...” He went on with serious words of encouragement, and a little later took the trouble voluntarily to write out for our use notes on Australia “founded on the reports of many friends and on some experience of C. O.”

Among his very shrewd remarks was:

“Distrust all informants who have been long away; things change rapidly in those parts. And remember that the enriched colonist who comes back with £10,000 a year to live in England does not in the least represent the country in which his money was made.”

Again he says that the Governor—

“Must spend his whole salary and something over. But it is a mistake to suppose that mere outlay and splendid festivities will conciliate goodwill—though they go a long way towards it. What the colonists really wish and like is that the Governor should appreciate them, mix in their amusements and apparently like to be among them.”

Fortunately Jersey always liked to be among his fellow-men and understood them, and the Australians soon found that out, and never forgot it. Also Lord Derby truly said:

“The less a Governor interferes directly, the better; if his ministers come to think that he desires so to do, they will tell him nothing; if relieved from this fear, they will be glad enough to profit by his experience and impartiality.”

Many of Lord Derby’s further comments are much to the point, but I only cite one which is somewhat of a forecast:

“Schemes of imperial federation are not treated seriously by anybody, but intercolonial federation is[Pg 247] a growing idea, and likely to be worked out, though still much opposed.”

During our absence Lord Derby was an excellent correspondent and I may refer to his letters later on.

VOYAGE ON THE “ARCADIA”

We sailed in the Arcadia, the same ship which had taken us to India, with the same Captain Andrewes. The usual incidents of a long voyage were not wanting—the natural effect on young men and women was exemplified in the growing attachment of a very clever Australian Professor to our English governess—an attachment which ultimately ripened to a wedding in Australia, when Miss Mason became Mrs. Harry Allen. She is now Lady Allen, and when the Prince of Wales visited Australia she sat at a banquet between H.R.H. and the Governor-General, so our Australian experiences were quite successful as far as she was concerned.

I do not recollect much of the other events on board ship, for I was still not very strong and lived mostly with my children, in a nice large cabin which the P. and O. had arranged for me. There was, however, one couple who excited considerable interest—a youth who always appeared in spotless white and a coloured sash, and a girl who wore white frocks, displaying varied ribbons to match her admirer’s. When we reached Ceylon passengers were forbidden to send any washing ashore, as there was small-pox in Colombo, and the young man went nearly frantic at being unable to refresh his wardrobe. His fellow-passengers cruelly ragged him, and he was reported to have run up and down in front of his cabin with a drawn sword.

I suppose the small-pox was only in the native quarters, for we were allowed to land, to our great joy, had a delightful drive to Mount Lavinia, where we saw the mango trick—not very impressive—had dinner[Pg 248] at the Colombo Hotel, and re-embarked for the longest and dullest part of our voyage. The monotony of the nine days between Ceylon and Australia was relieved in a manner more stirring than pleasant. We were met by a cyclone, and had to go considerably out of our course to avoid its full fury, but what we did encounter was quite bad enough and we were very thankful when we sighted Australia.

We were fortunate during our sojourn in having the old friends whom I previously mentioned, and their wives, as colleagues. Lady Hopetoun and Lady Kintore were away when we landed, having been on a trip home; but Lord Kintore met us at Adelaide and took us up for the day to his beautiful house in the Mountains—Marble Hill—while Lord Hopetoun looked after us with equal hospitality at Melbourne. We only stayed a few hours at each place, as our great object was to reach our destination, which was primarily the Governor’s little country house, Hill View, situated in the hills. Here I spent about a fortnight to rest and revive before going down for the assembling of the Federation Convention at Sydney.

This was a very stirring introduction to Colonial life. (The words “Colony” and “Colonial” are now taboo, but before Federation the present Australian States were called “Colonies,” and “Colonial” was freely used by everyone!)

THE FEDERATION CONVENTION

Delegates from all the States were assembled in Sydney and most of them had brought wives, so it was somewhat confusing to a new-comer to be at once introduced to a number of people, however kindly disposed towards her, whom she had never seen before, in totally novel surroundings. As far as I recollect the initial banquet took place on the evening of my[Pg 249] arrival, March 1st, 1891. It was given in the Town Hall, a really fine building in which we afterwards attended endless functions of all descriptions. It was arranged that Lady Innes, wife of Sir George Innes, a judge, should dine alone with me and accompany me to the Gallery to hear the speeches after the banquet. All the guests courteously rose on my arrival; my cousin Harry Cholmondeley escorted me, very magnificent in his A.D.C.’s uniform. As the Cholmondeleys had been in the habit of acting with us at Middleton, I felt very much as if I were taking part in private theatricals.

The principal speeches were made by Jersey and the New South Wales Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, who was the main promotor of Federation. Sir Henry was a remarkable character in his way. He was the son of a small farmer on my grandmother’s property at Stoneleigh, where he attended the village school, and his first pair of breeches was made by the village tailor (the same parish clerk who made me find his places in church). Henry Parkes emigrated to Australia, and a lady there told me how he kept a sort of toy-shop and “fancy repository” where she could take her umbrella to be mended. He became a Member of Parliament and almost an autocrat. He had a fine head, like a shaggy lion, and was a good speaker, though I fear that the education given him in Stoneleigh School had not altogether overcome a certain difficulty with his “h’s,” and in the transaction of business he was somewhat slow in thought. He was, however, undoubtedly able and tenacious, and did a great deal for his growing country. He was a trifle like the German Kaiser in his desire for his city’s progress in art, and had filled the National Park and the Botanic Gardens[Pg 250] with statues and busts more notable for quantity than quality—but the intention was good, though the expenditure was large. I believe that he had originated the motto of the Federation: “One People, One Destiny.”

Jersey’s speech was extremely well received, though his reference to the Union of the Saxon Heptarchy as precursor to that of the Australian States enabled one of the papers to indulge next day in witticisms. It declared that it had greatly perplexed the audience, some thinking that “Heptarchy” was the name of one of His Excellency’s ancestors who had fought at Crécy—others that it was a kind of cake!

THE DELEGATES

Next day began the serious work of the Convention. Delegates were present from the six Australian Colonies; there were also three New Zealanders, including the celebrated Sir George Grey, who held a “watching brief” to see what the Australians were doing, though New Zealand had no intention of federating with the others. She was quite right, for although in those days people were apt to think of New Zealand as part of “Australasia,” she is too far off and too different in origin and natural conditions to form a portion of what is a very distinct continent.

No doubt the most intellectual and probably efficient member of the Convention was the President, Sir Samuel Griffith, Chief Justice of Queensland and afterwards Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. It is not for me to attempt a summary of the debates and of all the questions to which they gave rise, naturally the most difficult being the relations between the States. No doubt the result ultimately achieved did credit to the statesmanship of many who took part. Probably the weakest point was leaving to the separate States[Pg 251] every power not expressly transferred to the Commonwealth; in Canada everything not expressly reserved to the Provinces went to the Dominion, which certainly tends to closer union. However, this is looking a good deal ahead.

One of the points which seemed to add interest, perhaps dignity, to the convention was the great size of the delegates. They averaged over six feet in height, and I really forget how many pounds avoirdupois in weight—but something quite remarkable. Australian legislators were undoubtedly of sturdy growth, and whatever else they favoured had a great predilection for tea. I sometimes attended debates in New South Wales Parliament. My husband was precluded from doing so, but members seemed to think it rather a compliment that I should be present. However exciting the discussion, and whoever the orator, as sure as six o’clock struck a cry of “Tea, tea, tea!” arose from all sides of the house, and out rushed everybody to refresh himself before returning to duty.

The great antagonist to Sir Henry Parkes was Mr., afterwards Sir George, Dibbs. He was an immense man, who had had a varied career, but was generally esteemed for his direct and downright honesty. When in his turn he became head of the Government he was noted as the first Australian-born Premier. When we first arrived in the Colony he was supposed to have Republican tendencies, but these seemed gradually, indeed rapidly, to evaporate. While we were in Australia he paid his first visit to England, where many prominent people, including our family and friends, paid him much attention. The final touch was put by the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward), who had discovered his liking for a big cigar, and with[Pg 252] unfailing tact he gave him one to smoke. Dibbs said, “No, he should keep it,” whereupon the Prince replied that he was to smoke that, and he would give him another. Of course this got into the Sydney papers, and when the traveller returned the street boys used to shout out, “Geordie, where’s the cigar the Prince of Wales gave you?”

The papers afforded us endless amusement during his trip. They used to come out with heavy headlines. “Dibbs meets one King—several Princes,” etc. “Dibbs visits the Queen,” and on one occasion, mixed up with it all, “Lady Leigh desires that Dibbs should bring out Lord Jersey’s son.” The Bulletin had a wicked page of drawings caricaturing Parkes’ wrath as he read these items.

Dibbs returned a rabid imperialist. I said to him one day, “I suppose that talk of republicanism was only your fun?” “Only my fun,” was his hasty reply.

The Chief Justice, Sir Frederick Darley, and his delightful wife and family were among our greatest friends. Sir Frederick was a tall, handsome man; his resemblance to my father was often noticed by those who knew them both. Lady Darley was a very cultivated woman, sister to Rolf Boldrewood, author of Robbery under Arms, whose real name was Thomas Browne.

Lady Darley was great at “spirit-drawing”—a power in which she quite honestly believed. It was curious, but I think instinctive. She would take a pencil between her fingers, and talk and look about the room while the pencil drew shading on a sheet of paper. Ultimately the shading would evolve a large head with no outline but the shadow. Once when in after years the Darleys were staying at Middleton Lady Darley[Pg 253] showed her powers at my request, and another lady who was among our guests confided to me afterwards that she had produced an exact portrait of a relative long since dead who had held my friend in great affection. I am certain that Lady Darley did not know of this person’s existence—the result must be left between telepathy and imagination! Anyhow, these mystic powers never interfered with Lady Darley’s care for her family and for her duties to the community—she was a real influence for good. She and Sir Frederick have now passed away, but some of their daughters live in England and are still among our friends.

THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

Sir Frederick had built a charming house in the Blue Mountains called Lilianfels after a daughter who had died in youth. It was situated on a high plateau among most romantic scenery—deep ravines and almost inaccessible, thickly wooded valleys. One of these valleys plays a leading part in Robbery under Arms, the bushranging hero Starlight having his lair among the rocks. A railway had been made to this high ground, twisting and turning in extraordinary fashion, tradition said because the engineer wanted to pay constant visits to an innkeeper’s daughter at a house somewhere on the way. Once at Katoomba, beyond which lay Lilianfels, the difficulty for the pedestrian would not be to scale mountains, but to descend into the valleys, and in our time not many people attempted it. Tourists, however, came up to admire the splendid views and the picturesque waterfalls, and to visit the famous Jenolan caves in the same neighbourhood.

The whole formation of the valleys and caves showed that this part of the mountain-range had been in bygone ages cliffs washed by the sea. The Jenolan caves were long labyrinths full of stalactites and stalagmites of[Pg 254] wonderful forms and colours. About two miles had been opened up when we were there, doubtless much more has since become accessible. Some of us climbed down a primitive iron ladder to view a mystical underground river, source unknown. I seized on it with joy for a child’s story which I published later on.

I believe that there is now a fine hotel near the caves, but when we spent a night there we found a very primitive hostelry; and as we were a party of nine, including the Duchess of Buckingham and her cousin Miss Murray, I am afraid we left little accommodation for other arrivals. We were unconscious of the inconvenience to which we were putting them until some time afterwards, when a little publication was sent us anonymously. It appears that a public room which had been allotted to us as a dining-room had been turned into a bedroom for two travellers after we had retired. Now this hotel was strictly Pussyfoot, and my husband, having been warned, had brought his own wine for our Party. He left two bottles in the room, and our successors frankly confessed that they had carried them off in triumph and shared the contents with their companions without saying where they had found them. The writer in the account sent us said that he did not imagine that the Governor knew how he had hampered the other guests and did not suppose that he realised the fate of his wine until he read this account. I must say that we were more amused than annoyed! All this happened long after our landing in the country, but thinking of the Darleys recalls our visit to my memory.

SIR ALFRED STEPHEN

The Chief Justice in each Colony was a great personality, and in due course Sir Frederick became in addition Lieutenant-Governor, succeeding in that office[Pg 255] dear old Sir Alfred Stephen, who held it when we arrived. Sir Alfred was a member of the English family which has given so many distinguished luminaries to the Bar, and he worthily upheld their traditions at the Antipodes. He had been in Tasmania before settling in New South Wales, had been twice married, and had had nine children by each wife, nine born in each Colony, and, if I remember rightly, nine sons and nine daughters in all. With sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and other relatives his connections played such a prominent part in Sydney society that my A.D.C. brother found it advisable to devote certain pages in the Government House invitation book to “Sir Alfred Stephen’s family,” instead of entering them in the usual alphabetical lists.

Sir Alfred was a delightful and intellectual man with great devotion to philanthropic schemes. On one point only I was disposed to differ from him—namely, he was extremely anxious to facilitate divorce and was much too serious in the matter to see the comic side of some of the American reasons for separation. Quite late in life, after being nearly bald his hair began to grow again, and he proudly called attention to his newly flowing locks.

I cannot name all the Ministers. Some had (much to their credit) risen from quite lowly positions; others like Sir Frank Suttor, belonged to old Australian families—indeed while we were in Australia a child of the sixth generation was born to the Suttors, quite a record in such a young country.

The general rule was while in Sydney the Governor and his wife could only receive private hospitality from the Chief Justice, Lieutenant-Governor, Admiral commanding the Station, and the Anglican and Roman[Pg 256] Catholic Primates. Apart from these they could attend any ball or function given by, I think, six joint hosts—as for instance the Squatters’ Ball, a Club dinner, or a Charity Entertainment. It was a wise rule on the whole, as it would have been exceedingly difficult to discriminate among hosts and hostesses without giving offence; and personally I was very glad that the Ministers and their wives should not have been even indirectly called upon to entertain us, as most of them were anything but rich, and yet had one begun the custom others might have felt bound to follow. Up the country it was different—when we visited the different Districts for agricultural shows, opening of school buildings, or general inspections, it was fully recognised that prominent people should receive us, and I cannot say enough of their kindness and hospitality.

Indeed, open-handed hospitality was the rule in Australia, and the squatters and landowners, such as Mr. and Mrs. Osborne, Dr. and Mrs. Hay, and many others of our hosts and friends, seemed never to regard their own convenience if they could make their guests happy.

Among the oldest families was that of Mrs. Macarthur Onslow, whose ancestor had introduced merino sheep into New South Wales, and who was—and is—universally respected in the State.

DOMESTIC CONDITIONS

Looking back on our various expeditions, I realise that our visits must often have been no small tax in remote places and in houses where servants were necessarily few. Quite rich people, having to our knowledge lands and flocks bringing in thousands a year, would have only three or four servants—the daughters of the house would do much of the work,[Pg 257] and visitors would be quite prepared to help in making butter and cakes. A good deal that had been said in England about the splendid times which servants had overseas struck me on nearer observation as capable of being looked at from quite another point of view. For instance, much was made at one time of maid-servants having horses to ride. When the nearest town was perhaps fifteen or twenty miles off, when a horse cost £5 or £10, was never groomed, and when the rider himself or herself caught and saddled him as wanted, riding was not such an exceptional privilege.

Again, it was true that wages were about double what they were in England, but accommodation was much rougher, and servants were expected to help in every department as required—no question of saying “that is not my place.” I am speaking of nearly thirty years ago, but certainly almost all the servants whom we took out returned with us to England.

This also applies to any remarks about social conditions. As I said before, Lord Derby was most regular in writing, and begged for any news which I could send him. Having been Colonial Secretary, he retained great interest in the Dominions. He told me in one letter that he was keeping mine, as he thought they might be of use hereafter, and after his death a number were returned to me. I have also preserved many of his; but looking through them, both his and mine refer so largely to topics of the day in both hemispheres that I hardly think that voluminous extracts can be of much present interest.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH LORD DERBY

I, however, quote a few. In one of his first letters he says:

“Writing to Australia is no easy matter. What can one say to a friend who has met with reverses? [Pg 258]And surely there is no greater reverse in life than being turned upside down. Does it pay to be a constitutional monarch turned wrong-side up?”

To which I replied:

“Your reversed friend was delighted to get your letter; though, as my little boy says when told that he is upside down, ‘No, we are standing straight, it is the people in England who are standing on their heads now,’ which shows that he is rapidly imbibing Australian theories, and believes that whatever be the follies of the Old World, we in New South Wales must be all right.”

I do not think that I felt upside down, but nevertheless I had from time to time the feeling of having been buried and dug up again. Born and brought up in a very old house, and having both lived and travelled almost entirely among what was ancient, it was a strange experience to live where there were no relics of an Old World, and hardly any spot where history had been made in the long ago. On the other hand, Australia looked bravely forward, and was, and is, building for the future. As Lord Derby put it in another letter:

“I trust you enjoy colonial society and antipodean politics which at least have the charm of greater hopefulness than we can indulge in in this used up old country.”

Some of his accounts might almost have been written to-day; for instance, July 1891:

“The Labour party seems quite as lively with you as it is here. Questions of that class will play a considerable part at the coming elections, and many candidates who call themselves conservative will swallow pledges more than half socialistic.”

[Pg 259]And again in November:

“Speeches are constantly made but seldom read. England is sick of the Irish question (!) but has no other ready to put in its place. Claims for shorter hours and higher wages are rising in every trade and business, and this is the only subject that really touches public opinion; it is not, however, an easy one for candidates to make capital out of, for opinion in the electoral masses has not pronounced in favour of or against a compulsory eight hours; which is the main question in dispute. The cat has not jumped yet, when it does pledges and opinions will be swallowed, and a dishonest scramble will follow.”

Many cats have jumped since then, but the main outlines of politics are not essentially different.

I confess that I was impressed by the extent to which the problem of the unemployed existed in a country with apparently limitless possibilities. Meetings of these men took place constantly near the Queen’s Statue during 1892, and perhaps a portion of a letter which I wrote to Lord Derby may be worth recording as at least a first-hand impression of what took place at the time.

“As to the unemployed, they present the usual features of the class, somewhat intensified by local colour. A kind Government not only provides a free Labour Bureau to meet their case, but has obtained for them certain buildings belonging to the Municipality as sleeping and smoking-rooms, and to the ‘married destitute’ is now distributing orders for free rations. I understand that about 9,000 entered their names on the books of the Labour Bureau, but only some 200 have so far proved themselves qualified for free rations. What I am, however, trying hard to make out is why, when everyone tells you ‘there is work for everyone in this country if he likes’—‘everyone[Pg 260] can make money here’—‘this is the working-man’s paradise,’ etc., etc., there should be such numbers of men out of work and undoubtedly so much real destitution. Possibly two incidents which have occurred lately may assist in the solution of the problem. A contractor took a number of men from the Labour Bureau to do certain works near the Harbour. He tried to sort them with a view to giving the less efficient 6s. a day, the others to have 7s. or 8s. a day when proved capable of earning it. They all struck, and even the Minister for Works backed them up, saying the contractor must not do that—he must give all the men standard wages, but might send away the inefficient ones and have others in their place.”

Of course the wages in Australia have risen enormously in the last twenty-five years. At the time I wrote, as far as I recollect, miners had about 14s. a day and other skilled labourers somewhere from 10s. to 13s. The men employed by the contractor were probably unskilled. I continue my letter:

“Yesterday I visited a large Government Asylum for women ... no poor law here. It comes to exactly the same thing, only, instead of the rates, Government supports the institution. But the interesting thing was this—connected with this women’s asylum is a farm, and the Matron’s husband (an ex P. & O. captain) has voluntarily taken it in hand. He wanted labour, and observed that in a neighbouring Government Asylum for men there are numbers of men capable of doing plenty of work, but not up to the 7s. to 10s. a day standard. He asked permission to have some of these men, and has now about 40 employed about the farm, giving them board and lodging at this Women’s Asylum and from 3d. to 1s. a day. I saw some at 3d. doing 4ft. draining, and I talked to one, a bricklayer, who was doing excellent work for 1s. a day. I calculated with the Master what his board and lodging were worth[Pg 261] (meat about 2½d. lb.) and it came to about 1s. a day, so with 1s. wages on six days that was about 13s. a week.”

I remark that had Trade Unions found out that these men, whom masters would not employ at full rates, were working instead of sitting with folded hands, it would doubtless have been stopped. Meantime, though ancient history, this is not altogether unenlightening.

LABOUR LEGISLATION

One rather amusing incident took place in Parliament. “Eight hours” was the Trade Union rule, but was not enforced by law at the time of which I write. A measure was brought into the Legislative Assembly (the Lower House) to make it legally obligatory. First came the preamble, which was accepted, then Clause Two stating that Eight Hours should be the legal working-day, which was passed with acclamation, then the various clauses with penalties attached which would oblige employers and employed to abide by the new law. All these were promptly negatived. It seems to have struck somebody that two clauses expressing an academic opinion looked a little isolated, so a member brought forward a third clause stating that nobody was to be obliged to work eight hours if he did not want to do so. This was accepted with equal unanimity, and the Bill stood practically thus: 1st. Name. 2nd. Eight hours is a legal working-day. 3rd. No one is obliged to work eight hours. I believe that the whole thing evaporated in a burst of laughter and never went to the Upper House, but of course every sort of stringent regulation as to working-hours has come in since.

However, the immediate sequel of this legislative effort deserves record. A ship came into Sydney Harbour and stevedores were enlisted to unload it. After eight hours’ work they wanted to go on so as to get overtime pay. “Not at all,” said the captain, “I[Pg 262] am in no hurry. Eight hours is a legal working-day, and I am not going to break the law.” Whereupon they all struck because they were not allowed to work overtime! This is enough on this burning question, which is certainly not peculiar to Australia.

Before leaving Lord Derby’s letters a few extracts with regard to European foreign affairs may be of interest. In March ’91 he writes:

“Every thing and person on the Continent is quiet; even the German Emperor. At least he has not been emitting any oracles lately. He is said to have grown tired of Caprivi, and another change is talked of. There is a vague idea about that he is ‘going queer.’ I don’t know that it rests on any authority.”

In the same letter, though this did not then concern foreign politics, he says:

“The only rising man I hear of is on the Gladstonian side—young Sir Edward Grey, grandson of old Sir George, once Home Secretary. He is making a name as an effective debater.”

Even Lord Derby could not foresee under what circumstances these two men, the Kaiser and Sir Edward, would become protagonists twenty-three years later! He also speaks of the “rising celebrity,” Rudyard Kipling. In the following May he says:

“Foreign affairs seem quiet all over Europe; I am not behind the scenes, but I know that the diplomatists expect no early disturbance. The Czar would scarcely indulge in the pleasing pastime of baiting his Jews, if he looked forward to wanting a loan. Besides, he hates soldiering, and takes some interest in finance. The German Emperor has been making a fool of himself, which is nothing new; he delivered a speech the other[Pg 263] day, in which he praised the beer-swilling and duelling of German students as being the most effective influences to keep up the true German character! He is an energetic young savage, and that is the best one can say.”

It should be remembered that the Czar who indulged in “the pleasing pastime of Jew baiting” was not the luckless Nicholas II so brutally murdered—a victim, say some, to the baited Jews—but his father, Alexander III, whom he succeeded in 1894.

THE EX-KAISER

In July Lord Derby refers to the visit of the German Emperor at the beginning of the month:

“He has been ramping up and down, seeing everything, questioning everybody, intent on making the most of his time, and keeping all the world in the condition of fuss and bustle which is the element in which he lives. It is almost too soon to judge the effect of his visit. I should say that he was popular rather than otherwise; not from his manners, which are queer and rather blunt; but there is a certain simplicity about him which pleases, as when he told the Windsor people, in answer to an address, that he had come ‘to see his grandmamma, who had always been kind to him.’ He had a good reception in the city, though not so enthusiastic as the press makes out. There was about as much interest shown in his state entry as in an ordinary Lord Mayor’s Show. He is understood to be well satisfied, and the visit has given people a subject to talk about, which they were beginning to want. None now lasts longer than a week. By that time, journalistic enterprise has said whatever is to be said, and the public grows weary. I am afraid one effect of this German visit will be to put the French in a bad humour, though with no good reason. But that cannot be helped.”

Lord Derby seems to have been somewhat reassured, as in August, after touching on home affairs, he writes:

[Pg 264]“The other event is more important: the visit of the French fleet to Portsmouth, where it has been reviewed by the Queen, and civilities of every kind have been exchanged. I call the matter important, because the visit of the German Emperor made a great feeling of soreness in France, and led to endless talk about England having joined the anti-gallican alliance. All that nonsense is ended by the courtesy shown to French officers: and the relations of the two countries, if not absolutely cordial, are again comfortable. The business was well managed and does credit to the people in Downing Street.”

Lord Derby continued to send most interesting news, but unfortunately some of his later letters are missing, and alas! he died in the spring of 1893, so I never saw my kind and constant friend again.

LORD DERBY’S POEM

I never saw the following lines published. They were given me by Lady Galloway, who told me that Lord Derby believed that he had composed them, as he could not remember having heard or read them when he woke with them in his mind. She wrote down what he said with regard to them.

“Lines made, as I believe, in sleep, in the course of a dream, in which some fellow-student had asked me to complete a poem which he was sending in:

“We judge but acts—not ours to look within:
The crime we censure, but ignore the sin:
For who tho’ versed in every legal art
Can trace the mazes of the human heart,
Allow for nature, training, faults of race
And friendships such as make us brave or base,
Or judge how long yon felon in his cell
Resisted, struggled—conquered ere he fell?
Our judgments skim the surface of the seas,
We have no sounding-line for depths like these.
Jan. 1893, 5 to 7 a.m.”

[Pg 265]One or two imperfect lines follow. The idea recalls Burns’s “Address to the Unco’ Guid”:

“Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.”

Lord Derby, however, goes deeper into the springs of action. Verses composed in sleep are by no means uncommon, but apart from Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” are perhaps seldom as consecutive as these.

 

 


[Pg 266]

CHAPTER XII

FURTHER AUSTRALIAN IMPRESSIONS—NEW ZEALAND AND NEW CALEDONIA

Lady Galloway came out to us towards the end of 1891, and in January she accompanied us on one of our amusing expeditions. This time it was about three days’ tour through a hilly—indeed mountainous country. The hills in Australia do not, as a rule, attain great height; it is because they are so ancient in the world’s history that they have been worn down by the storms of ages and the ravages of time. We went, however, to open another range of caverns of the same kind as the Jenolan Caves. These, the Yarrangobilly Caves, had been explored, and to a certain extent excavated, within more recent years, and were now to be made accessible to tourists.

Mr. Dibbs and other officials and Members of Parliament, notably some Labour Members, came also; and a mixed multitude, said to amount to about five hundred people in all, took part more or less in what was called “The Governor’s Picnic.”

YARRANGOBILLY CAVES

These did not follow us all through the hills, but camped in the valley near the caves. Here a comic incident occurred. For the first part of the tour we were in one district, for the last in another, but somehow in the middle we fell between two stools. In Number One and Number Three we were entertained by hosts who displayed the usual lavish hospitality, and all the[Pg 267] way we were conveyed by kindly charioteers, and accompanied by a splendid voluntary mounted escort, but in Number Two, the valley near the caves, something had gone wrong. A wooden hut with several rooms had been prepared for our reception, but no food! It was a sort of debatable ground, and either through misunderstanding or, as was hinted, through local jealousy, it was nobody’s business to act host on the border land.

The poor Premier and other officials were desperate when they discovered our plight, and in the end Dibbs possessed himself of one of the troopers’ swords and rushed off to a party of picnickers who were innocently sitting down to enjoy the supper which they had brought with them, asking what they meant by eating cold mutton while the Governor and his party were destitute!

He returned triumphant with a joint. Meantime someone had produced a packet believed to contain Brand’s Essence. Lady Galloway claimed that she knew how to make soup, so it was handed over to her. She upset it all into a soup plate full of water, and then, and not till then, it was discovered to be tea! However, one way and another, we were provided with sufficient food, and duly inaugurated the caves.

They were beautiful, but never have I been so hard pressed for adjectives. The old guide whom we also met in the Jenolan Caves had been put on duty at the Yarrangobilly excavations for the occasion. He stopped our party of six or seven people before each particular stalagmite or stalactite, and would not move on till each of us in turn had ejaculated “beautiful,” “magnificent,” “stupendous,” or some other such laudatory word as suppressed laughter enabled[Pg 268] us to utter, for it became a sort of game not to repeat what our companions had said.

The following day an early start took us to Tumut, where we had a great reception and excellent entertainment. We were, however, not allowed to enter the town for our first greetings. As we drew near it, about 9 a.m. we perceived a table with a white cloth and several men standing round it in a field (“paddock” is the correct term in Australia). The wagonette was stopped, we were requested to get out, and we found that the magistrates of the district were waiting there with champagne, forestalling the reception prepared for us by the Municipality!

Shortly after our return to Hill View, our summer’s home, Lady Galloway, my brother Rupert, and I set off on a trip to New Zealand. In the intervening time the whole of Australia was deeply moved by the terrible news of the death of the Duke of Clarence. The fact of his recent engagement brought home to every household the full force of the tragedy. Addresses of condolence poured in, and the staff was fully occupied in acknowledging them and forwarding them to England.

We sailed from Melbourne, staying for a day at Hobart in Tasmania, where Lady Hamilton, wife of Sir Robert Hamilton the Governor, who was then absent, took excellent care of us. Tasmania appeared to be a happy, friendly little place, but naturally we had no time to see much. The harbour is fine, and the vegetation in the neighbourhood of the city was rich and green with quite an English aspect.

We then took ship for Dunedin, quite in the south of the South Island. It took us about four days and the sea was by no means calm.

DUNEDIN

Dunedin is a very interesting place and quite lives up[Pg 269] to its name, for it is a small edition of Edinburgh. Scotch names over most of the shops, and as we walked past the open door of a boys’ school we heard instructions being given in a very decided Scottish accent. There is a hill which recalls the Castle Hill, and even a manufacture of a very good woollen fabric with a distinctly plaid character. No doubt all this has greatly developed, but I trust it remains true to its Scottish origin. It was founded in 1848 by emigrants representing the Free Kirk of Scotland who left after the separation from the Established Church. There is a story that some of the first settlers put up a notice on their land to the effect that their co-religionists might help themselves to wood but that all others were to pay for it. True fraternal feeling, but it is hardly consonant with usual Scottish shrewdness that they should have expected the other wood-gatherers to volunteer payment.

From Dunedin we went on to Invercargill, the extreme southern point, where the Governor, Lord Onslow, had invited us to join him on the Government yacht, the Hinemoa, and there we found Lady Onslow awaiting us.

We were indeed fortunate in sharing in this expedition. The Onslows, who were on the point of returning to England, had arranged a trip to the Sounds for which they had not previously found time, and it was only in their yacht that we could have fully enjoyed the wonders of these fiords of the Southern Hemisphere. I do not know how it is now, but then excursion steamers only went about four times a year, were very crowded, and entered a limited number of Sounds. Lord Onslow took us into one after another, each more imposing than the last. I was particularly impressed by the desolate grandeur of one said not to have been entered for[Pg 270] twenty-five years. The mountainous steeps which guarded it were in great part simply rocky slopes, and it seemed as if the spirits of the place resented our intrusion. In most of the other Sounds the precipitous mountain sides were clad with wildly luxuriant foliage, and land and water were alive with birds, particularly water-fowl. Amongst these were the lovely black-and-white Paradise ducks, which could be caught with long-handled nets something like gigantic butterfly nets.

The precipices enclosing the Sounds rise in some cases five or six thousand feet from the water’s edge, their tops are snow-clad, and great waterfalls thunder into the calm sea-inlets below. The most famous fiord is Milford Sound, where is the great Bowen Fall. So thick is the vegetation that one fallen tree was pointed out to us on which we were assured that 500 different specimens of ferns, creepers, etc., might be counted. We had no time to verify this statement, but a hasty inspection made it seem not at all impossible. One thing is certain—the mountain-side with its impenetrable forest descends so precipitously into the waters below that our yacht of 500 tons was tied up to an overhanging tree and had no need to cast anchor. I think that there are seventeen Sounds in all (I do not mean that we saw so many), but Milford Sound is the only one which could be reached from the land, and even that was, in our time, a matter of great difficulty. For a long time the only inhabitant had been a man called Sutherland, who was considered a hermit and periodically supplied with food. He had discovered about fourteen miles inland the great Sutherland waterfall, which is much higher than Niagara though not nearly so broad.

THE NEW ZEALAND SOUNDS

[Pg 271]When we were in Milford Sound we found a small band of convicts who had been lately established there for the purpose of making a road to the Fall. I do not think that they were working very hard, but they had cleared about two miles of footpath through the thicket along which we walked, and a lovely walk it was. Tea at the end, however, was considerably disturbed by sandflies which came round us in a perfect cloud, so that we could only push our cups up under our veils.

New Zealand sandflies are a peculiarly virulent species—a large blister rises directly they bite you, but they have the saving grace that they stop the moment the sun sets. They were, however, the only drawback to this most delightful of trips. While we were fighting them my brother and Lord Onslow’s A.D.C., Captain Guthrie, tried to push on to the Fall. As far as I remember, they got a distant view but had not time to reach it.[1]

Lord Onslow was a most considerate nautical host. We cruised from Sound to Sound by night as a rule, so that we might lie prostrate and asleep on the rough waves which are apt to surround those shores, and during the day we enjoyed the calm waters of the fiord.

We parted from the yacht and from our kind hosts with regret, having arranged to be again their guests at Wellington. Meantime we saw something of the South Island, which, by the way, bears the alternative name of Middle Island. New Zealand is really composed of three islands—North Island, the South or Middle Island, and a little one at the foot named Stewart[Pg 272] Island. New Zealand claims dominion over a large number of small islands in the Pacific, to which happily two of the Samoan group over which it exercises a “mandate” have been added since the war. Lord Onslow told us that shortly before our visit he had been to settle the claims of certain rival Queens of Raratonga, one of these dependencies. Having decided in favour of one of these royal ladies, he endowed her with a sundial, as a sign of supremacy, as he thought she could well assert herself by “setting the time of day.” The South Island is full of beauty. We went in a steamer up Lake Wakatipu. I cannot attempt a description of all the charms of this lake and its neighbourhood. Naturally it differed from the Italian Lakes in the absence of picturesque villages (now, by the way, almost swallowed up by the rows of villas which skirt Como and Maggiore), but on the other hand there was the fascination of radiant nature little touched by the hand of man. Probably now there is a happy and growing population near Lake Wakatipu.

Before we left South Island we stayed for a night or two with my cousin, Edmund Parker, a member of Dalgetty’s firm, who then lived at Christchurch. It is curious that whereas Dunedin owed its origin to the Scotch Free Kirk, Christchurch, founded two years later, was a child of the “Canterbury Association,” which, under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Lyttelton, and others, sent out a body of settlers largely drawn from Oxford and strictly members of the Church of England. They took up a tract of land and sold it in portions, devoting ten shillings out of every pound received to church and schools; their city was named Christchurch after the Cathedral and College in Oxford, and the surrounding district bears[Pg 273] the name of Canterbury. It stands upon the river Avon, the banks of which are planted with willows said to have been originally brought from Napoleon’s Tomb at St. Helena. There is a fine cathedral copied from Caen Cathedral in Normandy, and the whole place recalls some city of the Old World transplanted to a newer and brighter land.

The story goes that some of the original settlers, importing classics into agriculture, “swore at their oxen in Greek”—perhaps someone who heard them quoting Virgil’s Georgics took any foreign tongue for Greek oaths.

HOT SPRINGS OF NEW ZEALAND

After crossing to Wellington and spending a day or two with the Onslows there, we set off again to visit the famous hot-lake district in the Northern Island. Our headquarters were at Rotorua and Whakarewarewa, from both of which we visited the marvellous geysers, springs, and hot lakes with which the district abounds.

The great Pink and White Terraces had been destroyed by a mud volcano some years before our visit, but we saw in many places how similar formations were being reproduced by the chemical substances thrown up by the springs, making polished pink-and-white pavements and even terraces on a small scale. To see the natural hot fountains starting up from the pools among the rocks was entrancing. Some of the columns play at regular intervals, some only occasionally; one irregular performer shoots up a column of boiling water to a height sometimes attaining 100 feet. One was called the Prince of Wales’s Feathers, as the water sprang up in that form.

New Zealand is far more prolific in legends than Australia; the Maoris being of a higher type than the Australian aboriginal, naturally handed down [Pg 274]semi-historical, semi-mythical traditions of their ancestors. Among the prettiest and best-known tales is that of Hinemoa. This young lady was the daughter of the chief of a powerful tribe whose headquarters was at Whakarewarewa. Among the many suitors attracted by her beauty she preferred a youth named Tutaneki; but though his mother was the daughter of the chief of the Island of Mokoia, situated in the centre of the Lake of Rotorua, his father was a commoner, and Hinemoa’s father was furious at the idea of a mésalliance. He dared Tutaneki again to set foot on the mainland, and caused all the canoes to be hauled up on the beach to keep Hinemoa from attempting to join her lover. Tutaneki, however, was an accomplished musician, and every evening the strains of his lute floated so sweetly over the waters of the lake that Hinemoa could no longer stand separation. Taking six empty gourds as an improvised life-belt, she swam the three miles dividing her from music and love. Fortunately, though numbed by her exertions, she landed on the island where a hot spring, still called Hinemoa’s Bath, wells up near the beach, and a plunge into it soon revived her. More successful than Leander, she was united to her lover and lived with him peacefully on Mokoia. Her father appears to have reconciled himself to the inevitable.

At one moment we almost thought that we should have, in a minor degree, to emulate the performance of Hinemoa. We arranged to row across the Lake to a spot on the shore opposite our hotel, where we were to be met by a “coach” (as the ordinary vehicles were called) bringing our luncheon. Somehow first our rudder broke away and then the boatman seemed to lose his head—and anyhow lost one of his oars. We[Pg 275] were thereby left helplessly floating at no great distance from the beach, and, what was worse, with no apparent possibility of securing our luncheon. However, my brother, bolder than Tutaneki, saved Lady Galloway and myself from imitating Hinemoa. He plunged into the water and managed to wade ashore, and we soon had the satisfaction of seeing him return carrying the luncheon basket on his head, and having sent a messenger to summon another boat to our rescue.

One particularly fascinating feature in the Hot Lakes District was the charm of open-air hot baths. Certain pools were surrounded by high palisades rendering them absolutely private. You secured a key and locked yourself in, when you could disport yourself in natural hot water and wade about under the trees to your heart’s content. The water was of a delightful temperature, but certainly impregnated with chemicals, as I found the skin peeling off my feet after two or three such baths.

HUIA ONSLOW

We arrived at Auckland in time to witness the final send-off of that most popular Governor, Lord Onslow, with special tributes to Lady Onslow and her baby son Huia, who, having been born during his parents’ tenure of office, had been endowed with the Maori chieftain’s distinctive badge, the feather of the Huia, and was christened by that name. Whenever he appeared the Maoris shouted “Huia! Huia!” and, most tactfully, the child showed a preference for brown men over white. Poor Huia grew into a splendid and talented youth, but was disabled by an accident while diving. Despite his crippled condition he gallantly pursued his scientific studies till released by death in 1922.

Of all Rudyard Kipling’s Songs of the Cities I think[Pg 276] the Song of Auckland best conveys the claim of that vision of beauty:

“Last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart—
On us, on us the unswerving season smiles,
Who wonder ’mid our fern why men depart
To seek the Happy Isles!”

Truly, New Zealand must have waited while Providence bestowed gifts on many lands, and have then received a special bounty from each store of blessing. The strength of the mountain pass, the plunge of the waterfall, the calm mirror of the lake, the awe of the forest, the glow of the flowers, the fertile pasture for the flock, the rich plains for the corn—gold, coal, and Kauri gum, the marvels of her springs—all these and much more are given to her children, together with one of the most perfect climates on the face of the earth. She has but one drawback—namely, that she is ringed round by some of the stormiest oceans known to man. Perhaps were it not so too many eager pilgrims would seek this far-off Paradise!

Lord and Lady Onslow returned with us to Sydney Government House, and soon after left with their family for England. Lady Galloway in turn sailed in the spring (Australian autumn), to my great regret. She made the voyage in a Messageries boat, accompanied by the very pretty daughters of Lord Southesk, Helena and Dora Carnegie.

In July of this year (1892) my husband and I were fortunately able to make a most interesting journey to the French Colony of New Caledonia. As is well known, certain questions had arisen from time to time between Australia and New Caledonia, as the former Government asserted that convicts escaped from the French penal colony were apt to take refuge[Pg 277] on Australian shores; and since the total cessation of convict transportation from Great Britain Australians were, not unnaturally, additionally sensitive to their arrival from any other quarter.

NOUMEA

Apart from this, however, the relations between the British and French “outposts of Empire” were very friendly and a good many Australians had established themselves as free settlers in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia; and when the French Government heard that Jersey contemplated a visit they sent word (as we learnt later on) that a generous sum was to be spent on the reception of the first Australian Governor to undertake the voyage. Owing to the fact that he had to await permission from home before absenting himself from New South Wales, and as there was then no cable to Noumea, we were unable to name an exact date for our arrival, which after some three days’ voyage took place on July 13th. We sailed in a Messageries boat, the Armand Béhic, very luxurious and with most obliging officers, but much too narrow in proportion to its length, which caused it to roll even when the sea was perfectly calm. This was a common fault with Messageries boats in those days. Probably also it was deficient in cargo, as, despite a large Government subsidy, this line was run to New Caledonia at a considerable loss. I wrote to my mother describing our arrival as follows:

“We were received” (at Noumea) “with a tremendous salute of guns, after which the Conseil de Santé promptly put the ship and all its company into quarantine for 24 hours! We (including Private Secretary and servants) were allowed to stay on board, where we were perfectly comfortable, but all the other passengers from the Armand Béhic and another ship arriving from Sydney at about the same time, were bundled off[Pg 278] to the quarantine island. There were about 180 of them and accommodation for about 25. What the rhyme or reason of 24 hours’ quarantine was in a question of small-pox which might appear, if at all, in 21 days, we at first failed to discover, but the solution—and I fancy the true one—ultimately offered was that when our ship arrived with the British Ensign flying there was an awful hullabaloo. They did not know we were coming by this ship, and neither Government House nor anything else was ready, so they cried, “Whatever shall we do? Happy thought! Small-pox at Sydney—let us quarantine them till we have had time to prepare,” (Here let me remark that as a rule Australia was absolutely free from small-pox, but a few cases had lately been brought by a ship, and of course relegated to the New South Wales remote quarantine stations.)

To resume my letter:

“It mattered very little to us, but was awfully hard on the other victims, particularly as they put all their worn linen into some concoction of chemicals which utterly spoilt it. Meantime we went off to the quarantine island for a walk and went up a hill whence we had a beautiful view of the harbour which is lovely ... high hills of charming shapes round it ... the real glow of vivid green, red, and blue which one imagines in the South Pacific.... Well, next morning, at 9 a.m., we were allowed to land in great honour and glory, and were received by the Mayor, girt with his tricolour sash, and all the Municipal Council, and then escorted to Government House, where everything had been prepared, down to unlimited scent-bottles, tooth-brushes, and splendidly bound copies of Byron and Milton, to make us feel at home. The only drawback was that having once established us, and apparently cleaned up the house for our arrival, nobody ever attempted to dust or clean in any way again—and as it rained all the time after the first day, and everyone [Pg 279]walked everywhere, including in the ball-room, in muddy boots, the effect was peculiar. Every place was, however, decorated with flowers and flags, which are no doubt excellent substitutes for dusters and dustpans.”

THE GOVERNOR OF NEW CALEDONIA

I shall not easily forget that household. It is hardly necessary to say that the Governor, M. Laffon, was a bachelor, a young man, clever and charming but evidently unaccustomed to domestic details. I believe that he was appointed through the influence of the Paris Rothschild, who was a friend of his father, and who had a predominating share in the nickel mines which constitute the great wealth of New Caledonia. He, however, was a civilian and had no voice in the appointment of the Private Secretary and Military A.D.C. who constituted his staff, and who treated their Chief with a profound disregard which scandalised our Private Secretary, George Goschen.

M. Laffon got up at any hour in the morning to take us to “objects of interest” before the heat of the day, but the staff did not trouble themselves to appear till about noon, and when a ceremonious déjeuner was given we found that the Minister of the Interior was running round to put the name-cards on the places of the guests. These young men told Mr. Goschen that when they did not want to go anywhere they pleaded headache and wondered if their Governor were surprised at the frequency of these ailments. “But don’t you have a headache?” added one of them. “An A.D.C.,” retorted our virtuous Briton, “never has a headache.” “But you have sentiments?” “An A.D.C.,” was the reply, “has no feelings.” “You must feel unwell sometimes?” “Never more than one out of four of us at a time.”

[Pg 280]Poor George Goschen was nearly crippled with rheumatism while at Noumea, but would rather have died on the spot than have omitted to set a good example by following us everywhere in a pelting rain. Nevertheless when they deigned to accompany us the two Frenchmen made themselves very agreeable.

Our English footman, originally a boy from Middleton village, was considerably taken aback when he found that the only attendance in our rooms was the sudden inroad of a party of kanakas (natives) who ran in with feather brushes, stirred up a little dust, and rapidly disappeared. “Well, Henry,” said Mr. Goschen, “either you or I will have to make His Excellency’s bed.” And, stimulated by this and by my maid’s example, Henry turned to, and we were made perfectly comfortable.

Fortunately for the peace of mind of our kind hosts, the Government and Municipality, we came in for the Fêtes de Juillet, so though they could not carry out the special entertainments projected for us, they had three balls, and some races, already arranged. It was rather strange to have the music supplied by a Convict Band in their penal garb, but it was very good.

In the middle of one of the balls we were summoned to witness a “pilou-pilou,” that is a native dance by the kanakas—merry-looking people with tremendous heads of wool standing straight up. They danced a kind of ballet with much swaying of their bodies and swinging of their weapons, which they afterwards presented to me. I did not much like taking them, but was assured that it was the custom.

These kanakas were darker and of a more negro type than the Samoans whom we afterwards visited, but not so dark as the Australian aboriginals, nor so[Pg 281] savage as the inhabitants of the New Hebrides or New Ireland.

We saw two of their villages, and their system of irrigation by little watercourses on the hill-side, which showed considerable capacity for agriculture. The Roman Catholic missionaries claimed to have converted about ten thousand of them, and it was curious to find in a dark little hut of bark and reeds, with little inside except mats and smoke, two or three Mass books and a crucifix. Some of the priests whom we met had gone into the wilds of New Caledonia before the French annexed it in 1853, and regardless of danger had worked there ever since.

THE CONVICT SETTLEMENT

We were taken to see the chief buildings of the Convict Settlement, which appeared to be large and well planned, but one had rather a painful shock when the first object pointed out was the site of the guillotine. Naturally the convicts were divided into different classes. We entered one long building where a number were confined in common, and seemed fairly cheerful, but others were in little separate cells from which they were only brought out, and then alone, for a very short time each day. Some had only a brief period of such solitary confinement, but in one small cell we found a very big man who almost seemed to fill it with his body when he stood up at our entrance. He had been condemned to seven years of this penance for having assaulted a waiter. He implored the Governor either to have him executed at once, or to allow him a little more liberty. I backed up his plea, and M. Laffon promised some consideration, which I trust was effectual.

The worst thing we saw was the lunatics’ prison, inhabited by men who had gone mad since their arrival in the Island. One man had a most refined and [Pg 282]intellectual head; he had been a distinguished lawyer at Lyons and was transported for having killed a man who, if I recollect rightly, had been his sister’s lover. No wonder that shame, exile, and his surroundings had driven him mad. Another was much happier; he was quite harmless, and was allowed to wander about and indulge his mania, which was the decoration of the little chapel. I have no reason at all to think that the convicts were ill-treated, but we did not see the place where the worst criminals were confined, and one of the French ladies mysteriously remarked, “Ils ont des temps durs ceux-là.”

I always feel, however, that philanthropists who are ready to condemn the treatment of convicts in any part of the world fail to realise the difficulty of keeping order amongst large bodies of men, most of whom, at all events, have criminal instincts. The heroes of novels and plays who undergo such imprisonment are almost invariably represented as unjustly convicted, probably scapegoats for real criminals, and all our sympathy is evoked on their behalf. No doubt, particularly in the early days of Australia, there were many cruelties and much undue severity, but the comparatively few officers and men who were put to guard and govern masses of criminals had no easy task. They were far removed from any possibility of summoning help in cases of mutiny, and probably many of them deteriorated mentally and physically through much anxiety and the hardships which they themselves had to encounter.

CONVICTS IN FORMER DAYS

On the other hand, I heard many authentic stories in Australia of the kind treatment and good behaviour of the convicts who were sent out from England for slight offences, and who became steady and law-abiding[Pg 283] settlers, and were particularly careful in the education and upbringing of their children. One gentleman told me of a dentist who refused a fee for treating him because his father, who had been an official in convict days, had been so good to the dentist’s ticket-of-leave family. Of course it seems very hard of our ancestors to have transported men and women for stealing bread or poaching, and I am not justifying the penal laws of the eighteenth century, but being what they were I am not at all sure that the majority of those who were sent to Australia were not better off than they would have been shut up in the prisons of those days in England, and certainly their children had a much better start in life. I believe that the great hardship was the voyage out in a slow sailing ship, overcrowded, with little fresh air and the constant risk of food and water running short. Once landed, there were many chances of prosperity for the well-behaved. I say nothing of the real black sheep who were relegated to Port Arthur or Norfolk Island. It is a mercy to think that those days are past and over.

To return to New Caledonia. There were elaborate arrangements for work in the nickel mines, and as assigned servants to free settlers whom the French Government were very anxious to plant on the land. I do not think that they were very successful in inducing large numbers to undertake the long voyage, though there were a few Bretons on our ship. A good many Australians, however, were established in trade in Noumea.

Words fail to do justice to the kindness of the New Caledonian French—they made every exertion to render us happy, and completely succeeded. When we left they robbed their Museum of a whole collection of[Pg 284] native curiosities which they put on board ship with us, despite our protestations. One quaint incident perhaps deserves record. Just as we departed I received an imposing-looking missive written in flowery English, which proved to be a letter from a French poilu. He informed me that he had been in Australia and had there married a girl whose name he gave me. She was then living in Victoria, and if I remember rightly was half Belgian, half British. A small child had been the offspring of the union, but “France had called on him to serve,” and though his time of service overseas was nearly up, and though he wished to return to Australia to “stand by his wife,” France saw otherwise and proposed to ship him back to Marseilles; he was in despair until I had appeared “like a star of hope upon the horizon.”

When we were back at Sydney I wrote to the Charity Organization at Melbourne asking if they could find out anything about the lady. Oddly enough she was actually employed in the C.O.S. Office, and was said to be quite respectable, though there appeared to have been a little informality about the “marriage lines.”

I then wrote to the very amiable French Colonel at Noumea and asked whether under the circumstances he could see his way to letting the lovelorn swain return to Australia instead of to France. With prompt courtesy he granted my request, and named some approximate date for the man’s arrival in Melbourne. Thereupon I wrote a further letter to the C.O.S., asking that they would be prepared for a marriage ceremony about which there should, this time, be no mistake. The end of the romance, at all events of this chapter, was that I received a gushing epistle of[Pg 285] gratitude signed by “two young hearts,” or words to that effect, “made for ever happy.” I never saw the youth and maiden whom I had thus been instrumental in launching among the eddies and currents of matrimony, but I trust that the little girl was sufficient to justify a somewhat blind experiment.

DEATH OF LORD ANCRAM

A great tragedy threw a shadow over our sojourn in N.S.W.

One of our aides-de-camp was Lord Ancram, elder son of Lord Lothian, and a particularly attractive young man. He was a great favourite in Sydney and much in request at gatherings of every description, being good-looking and having charming manners. In June 1892 he and my brother were invited to join a shooting party in the country. He went off in high spirits, and when he came to say good-bye to me, knowing him to be rather delicate, I cautioned him to be sure and put some kind of bedding under as well as over him if sleeping out at night. This he promised to do. I never saw him again. It was customary in Australia to shoot riding. He and his companions got off their horses for luncheon, and put their guns on the ground. On remounting one of the party seems to have picked up a loaded gun in mistake for his own which he had discharged. Handled incautiously this gun went off, and poor Ancram was shot through the head, dying instantaneously. I shall never forget the universal sorrow not only in Government House, but among the whole warm-hearted community of New South Wales. It was some comfort that the Admiral commanding the Station, Lord Charles Scott, was Ancram’s uncle, and he and his nice wife were able to help, and advise as to the best means of breaking the news to the poor parents and relatives in England.

[Pg 286]Poor George Goschen, who was devoted to Ancram, was almost prostrated by grief. It was rather curious that not very long before the accident Ancram told me that he had dreamt that he found himself back in his old home, but that his brother had taken his place and that nobody recognised him or took any notice of him!

Treasures of the Old World are sometimes found at the Antipodes. On one of our tours, at a township called Bungendore, a large wooden box appeared unexpectedly in our private railway car. Opened, it was found to contain a letter from a Mr. Harold Mapletoft Davis explaining that he confided to our care relics from Little Gidding, brought from England long before by his parents. His mother, Miss Mapletoft, was directly descended from Dr. Mapletoft and from his wife, the only Miss Colet who married. In the box were a copy of the famous Harmonies, and bound volumes of manuscript writings by Mary Colet and her sisters. The fine binding of The Harmonies, now in the British Museum, was said to have been executed by Mary Colet herself; she did not die young as represented in “John Inglesant,” but lived to a good old age. There was also a lovely Charles I embroidered miniature chest of drawers, containing a boar’s tooth, a handkerchief with the royal monogram, and other relics. Charles I left this at Little Gidding during his troubles. It was ultimately purchased by Queen Victoria, and is now at Windsor.

 

 


[Pg 287]

CHAPTER XIII

TONGA AND SAMOA

Not long after our return from New Caledonia I set sail again, this time to take advantage of an invitation from the Britannic Land Commissioner to stay with him at his house in Samoa. My brother Rupert Leigh and my daughter Margaret accompanied me on the Norddeutscher Lloyd mail-ship Lubeck. The Germans subsidised the line, but it was, I understood, run at a regular loss. We left on August 3rd, and encountered very rough weather, seas sweeping over the bridge, and even invading our cabins. Captain Mentz was very kind, installed us in his own quarters, and did his best to find food which Margaret and I could eat despite sea-sickness. I must say this for him, although he was a German!

We passed Norfolk Island, but did not land anywhere until we reached Nekualofa, the chief town of the Tongan group, which consists of about 100 islands and atolls. Tonga, like every island in the Pacific of which I ever heard, has its own particular quarrels and politics. It was governed at the time of our visit by an ancient potentate called King George, after George III of England. His wife had been Queen Charlotte, but she had died.

The hero, or rather villain, of recent Tongan history was one Shirley Baker, a Wesleyan missionary with the aspirations of a Richelieu or Mazarin. He belonged to the Wesleyan Church of Australia, which had [Pg 288]previously become independent of the Mother Church in England. Shirley Baker, however, having made himself Prime Minister of Tonga, did not care to take orders even from Australia, but persuaded the dusky monarch that the right and proper thing was to have a Free Methodist Church of his own. This would not have mattered, but the inhabitants were all compelled to belong to this new connexion, and beaten and imprisoned if they wished to adhere to what was presumably the Church of their baptism. Other trifling accusations, such as of poisoning, were brought against this ecclesiastical Prime Minister, and ultimately the British High Commissioner from Fiji had to come down and deport him to New Zealand. Still, however, as far as we could learn during a brief stay of some twenty-four hours, though there was surface peace, intrigue and suspicion were still rampant.

Even before we landed my brother came to me and said that one of our fellow-passengers had warned him that if we paid a visit to King George the missionary interpreter in attendance would probably misrepresent what we had to say to the monarch. “But,” added Rupert, “I don’t think that we have anything particular to say, have we?” I agreed that I did not think that our communications would vitally affect the peace of the world, or even of the Pacific, so we ventured to enter the royal precincts.

The Palace was a comfortable-looking villa, of which the most striking adornment was a full-length oil-painting of the old German Emperor William, presented to the King for having declared the neutrality of Tonga in the Franco-German War of 1870. The High Commissioner of Fiji had countered this propaganda by presenting an engraving of Queen Victoria,[Pg 289] but we were bound to confess, that, being merely head and shoulders, our Sovereign Lady was placed at a disadvantage in the artistic competition.

TONGAN LADIES

The Tongan ladies were celebrated for their beauty, and we were told that when the Duke of Edinburgh, as Prince Alfred, visited Australia and some places in the Pacific, Tonga was much disappointed because he failed to land on its shores. The inhabitants, however, found balm for their wounded feelings in two explanations offered: first, Queen Victoria was so impressed by the importance of the group that had she sent a representative it must have been her eldest, not her second son; secondly, she had heard so much of the charms of the ladies that she feared lest the Prince should bring back a dusky daughter-in-law if exposed to their wiles. One only wonders why they thought that she should object. The King was a fine old man, and we had no reason to believe that a rather weak-looking missionary gave any serious misconstruction of our conventional remarks. They dealt a good deal with our Queen, and at all events he introduced her name at the right place!

We had a very pretty drive in a vividly green lane, had tea at the hotel, and returned to sleep on board. The real joy, however, was our departure at sunrise next morning. Never before or since have I seen such a glory of colour—St. John may have witnessed something like it when he wrote the Revelation, but I cannot believe that earth contains a rival.

The sun struck the coral reefs through an absolutely calm sea, and its beams were broken up into streams and rivers of crimson, blue, green, and purple, as if a rainbow or the tail of an angelic peacock or bird of paradise had fallen into the ocean; nor did the rivers[Pg 290] remain unchanged. At one moment a flood of crimson passed by, and if we ran to the other side of the ship, we found that the waters were turning to emerald; they parted and mingled and parted again till we seemed in a fairy world of magic.

We spent much time in the lagoons of Samoa and saw beautiful hues, particularly deep purples, there, but never again the extraordinary beauty of the Tongan archipelago. Behind the ever-changing sea rose a myriad islands crowned with palms and floating in light. My brother asked me if I remembered the little picture in our old Ballantyne’s Coral Island of schoolroom days. I had already thought of it, and gratefully felt that at least one dream of childhood had been fulfilled, that I had seen something of what our books had told, though not as the sailor which I had sighed to be.

King George died in the spring after we had made his acquaintance. A prominent resident whom we had met at Nukualofa, Mr. Parker, wrote to describe the honours paid to his memory. He said that he had been for so many years “a leading character for good and bad that his sudden, but on account of his age not unexpected, death caused much commotion.”

“However much some of his subjects may have disliked him (or rather his régime) when alive, and with much reason there were many, now that he is dead the respect they show is very striking. The place both day and night is as silent as death, though there is plenty of movement.” On a low white wall surrounding the premises, “at intervals of about one foot there is a lamp placed on the top; and at every few yards of the road a camp of people squat down with torches, and patiently wait for daylight as a sign of respect, and also in all probability to keep evil spirits away, though if asked the watchers would not say so.”

[Pg 291]The house itself was brilliantly illuminated with hundreds of coloured lamps and paper lanthorns, and within, mats, flowers, and sandal-wood powder were lavished on the dead monarch. Meantime I must return to our voyage.

ARRIVAL AT APIA

We landed at Apia, the capital of Samoa, on August 13th, by Sydney calendar. (Samoan was different, as we had crossed 180° longitude, but this is unimportant.) We were met by our kindest of hosts, Mr. Bazett Michael Haggard, with the boat of the British Commission rowed by a fine crew of natives in white shirts and red lava-lavas or kilts. These, like other Samoan men, were tattooed from the waist to the knee rather as if they wore tight breeches under their kilts. We were taken to Haggard’s quarters, a two-storied house called Ruge’s Buildings, embowered in trees, containing a fine long reception room upstairs, with bedrooms off it for my daughter, myself, and my maid. Below were the servants’ quarters, the staff being a very intelligent Indian and two Samoan boys; behind was a courtyard with rooms beyond for Mr. Haggard and my brother. The whole had been the property of a commercial company. Mr. Haggard in his anxiety for our safety used to lock us women in at night, but I do not know what danger he apprehended.

Ruge’s Buildings were situated on the principal road of Apia, not far from the harbour which was the scene of the famous hurricane in which the English ship Calliope outrode the storm and escaped, while the German Adler was wrecked against the reefs. Her mast still rose above her shattered remains, marking the spot where she lay.

The Samoan group consisted of three principal and several outlying islands. Tutuila, which possesses the[Pg 292] best harbour, was held by the Americans, while Upolu, site of the capital, and Savaii, a mountainous isle, were more or less in dispute between the Germans and the British. The politics of the whole group were involved to a degree, and certainly hold little interest for anyone at this time of day. The League of Nations did not exist in 1892, but Samoa would have afforded a splendid field for its discussions, not to say a happy hunting-ground for commissions and expenditure.

The main points of difference in 1892 may be summarised thus: There were two kings, Malietoa Laupepa, acknowledged by the European Powers, and a rebel, Mataafa, fortified in the mountains. There was another monarch, Tamasese, but he was not then counted among the royal claimants, though son of a chief called the “German King,” because his father had once upon a time been acknowledged by the Germans, who gave him a uniform.

Also there were three Land Commissioners and three Consuls, English, American, and German; a German Prime Minister; Mabon, Secretary of State—I think American—and a Swedish Chief Justice. The last-named was appointed to settle any matters of difference which might arise between the Land Commissioners of the three Great Powers, and they were to decide the disputes between the various claimants to land.

The Europeans had often tried to induce the natives to sell them land far below its value, and the natives were not altogether behindhand in the game, as they would sell the same land to two or three different purchasers. Result, far more claims to land than acres existing to satisfy the claimants. The Swedish Chief Justice, a man called Cedercrantz, with a squint, did[Pg 293] not know English when appointed, and had to go to Fiji to learn it.

To add to the complications there were three sets of missionaries in Upolu, London missionaries and Wesleyans, with a standing feud between them, and Roman Catholics of course violently opposed to both. All this for a population well under a hundred thousand! However, despite all these quarrels, and the consequent excitements, the natives seemed a singularly contented and easy-going community, and everyone whom we met vied with all others in making us happy.

The Samoans are fairer than the New Caledonians and their hair less woolly; they approached nearer to the Malay type. We found they did not in the least want to work in the cocoa-nut plantations set on foot by the Germans, and why should they. Fishing one day a week and cultivating a few yams and taros on another day would supply their food, and the women made tappa for their few garments out of the bark of trees.

GERMAN PLANTATIONS

The Germans imported workmen of the dusky negro type from the New Hebrides and New Ireland, but the English settlers were not allowed to do this, and the consequence in our time was that the Germans owned the plantations, but otherwise trade and population accrued largely to New Zealanders and other British subjects.

Our host, Bazett Haggard, brother to Rider Haggard and to William Haggard whom we had known in Athens, was a great character. When he visited Sydney he was known as “Samoa,” for he never talked of anything else, which was perhaps not surprising under the circumstances.

A lawyer by profession, on appointment as Land[Pg 294] Commissioner he had been endowed with a Foreign Office uniform and a Red Box which were sources of infinite gratification and innocent pride. An Australian young lady asked in awed tones, “Have you seen the beautiful box which Lord Salisbury gave Mr. Haggard?” Previous to a ball at Government House he asked with all the solemnity appropriate to a budding diplomat whether I would dance with him as first representative of the Foreign Office at Sydney. After the dance he laid aside his sword for the rest of the evening, assuring me that this was the proper etiquette, to dance the State dance wearing the sword and subsequent ones without it. No doubt he was right.

Apart from Samoa the universe for him revolved round his native county, Norfolk, whence sprang all that was finest in the British race, particularly the Haggard brothers. I forget how many there were, but they had, he said, all loud voices, and on some occasion won a contested election by the simple process of shouting.

Apart from this quaint strain of simple satisfaction with himself and his surroundings he was the kindest of men, and I was assured that when it came to his legal work all his oddities were cast aside and that he was an excellent and capable Commissioner.

R. L. STEVENSON

On the evening following our arrival he invited Robert Louis Stevenson and Mrs. Stevenson to dinner, and if we had already felt the fascination of Utopia we then fell under the spell of the Enchanter who evoked all the magic woven round its land and sea. I shall never forget the moment when I first saw him and his wife standing at the door of the long, wood-panelled room in Ruge’s Building. A slim, dark-haired, bright-eyed figure in a loose, black velvet jacket over his[Pg 295] white vest and trousers, and a scarlet silk sash round his waist. By his side the short, dark woman with cropped, curly hair and the strange piercing glance which had won for her the name in native tongue, “The Witch Woman of the Mountain.”

Stevenson was never one to keep all the treasures of his imagination and humour for his books. Every word, every gesture revealed the man, and he gave one the impression that life was for him a game to be shared with his friends and played nobly to the end. I think that Matthew Arnold’s “Empedocles on Etna” expressed him when he sang:

“Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy’d the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes?”

But Stevenson, braver to confront life than Empedocles, would not have leapt into the crater!

At that dinner, which inaugurated our friendship, a very merry talk somehow turned on publishers and publishing. It began, if I remember rightly, with a reference to Mrs. Humphry Ward’s latest book, for which she was reported to have received a number of thousands which both Stevenson and Haggard pronounced to be incredible, Haggard speaking from his brother’s experience and Stevenson from his own. Thereupon it was suggested by someone, and carried unanimously, that we should form an “Apia Publishing Company”; and later on in Haggard’s absence the rest of us determined to write a story of which our host should be hero, and the name, suggested, I think, by Stevenson, was to be An Object of Pity, or the Man Haggard.

[Pg 296]Before this was completed various incidents occurred which were incorporated into the tale. Another friend of Mr. Haggard was the British Consul, Mr. Cusack Smith, and he took us to tea with him and his pretty wife on the Sunday afternoon following our arrival. They lived in a pleasant bungalow of which the compound—or lawn—was enlivened by a good-sized turtle tied to a post, which was being kept ready to be slaughtered and cooked when we came to dine with them!

The question of fresh meat was not altogether easy to solve in Samoa. We, knowing that there were certain difficulties, had brought with us a provision of tongues and similar preserved foods, also of champagne, but there were few cows and oxen, and sheep were impossible to rear on the island—at least so far means had not been found to feed them amongst the luxuriant tangle of tropical vegetation. Preserved provisions, including butter, were mostly brought from New Zealand. Samoa itself provided skinny chickens, some kind of pigeon, yams, taros, and of course fish.

The occasional great treat was pig cooked in the native oven, an excellent kitchen arrangement. A hole was dug in the ground, the object to be cooked was wrapped up in leaves and placed between hot stones; the whole was then covered up with earth and left long enough for the meat to be thoroughly soft and cooked through; when opened nothing could be more tender.

KING MALIETOA

Among other entertainments we were invited to dine by King Malietoa, to whom we had already paid a formal visit of ceremony. The banquet, which took place about three in the afternoon, was laid on a long cloth spread on the ground and consisted of all sorts[Pg 297] of native delicacies, including a dish of a peculiar kind of worm, and, besides pig and pigeon, of vegetables cooked in various ways. The staff of the monarch included an orator or “Talking Man,” and a jester, thereby recalling the attendants of the Duke of Austria in The Talisman.

The Talking Man, whose badge of office was a fly-whisk, carried over his shoulder, had had his innings at our formal reception, but the jester came in very useful at the banquet. We were told that one of his most successful jokes was to snatch away pieces of the food placed before the King. On this occasion he was crouched just behind Malietoa and myself. Part of the regal etiquette was for the monarch to give me a piece of any delicacy in his fingers, but he always tactfully looked the other way when he had done so, thereby giving me the chance of slipping it into the hands of the jester, who consumed it chuckling with glee.

Malietoa was a gentle, amiable being who seemed rather oppressed by the position into which he had been thrust by the Powers. His rival Mataafa was undoubtedly the stronger character of the two, and appealed to the romantic instincts of Stevenson, who was his personal friend.

Stevenson and Haggard between them therefore concocted a plot whereby I was to visit incognita the camp in the mountains of the rebel potentate. As it would not do to keep my own name, my husband being then Governor of New South Wales, I was to become Stevenson’s cousin, Amelia Balfour, and he wrote beforehand to ask that accommodation should be provided for me with the ladies of this royal house, as I was not well accustomed to Island customs.

[Pg 298]This is how Stevenson later on described the encounter in the very fragmentary “Samoid”:

“Two were the troops that encountered; one from the way of the shore,
And the house where at night, by the timid, the Judge[2] may be heard to roar,
And one from the side of the mountain. Now these at the trysting spot
Arrived and lay in the shade. Nor let their names be forgot.
········
So these in the shade awaited the hour, and the hour went by;
And ever they watched the ford of the stream with an anxious eye;
And care, in the shade of the grove, consumed them, a doubtful crew,
As they harboured close from the bands of the men of Mulinuu
But the heart of the Teller of Tales (Tusitala) at length could endure no more,
He loosed his steed from the thicket, and passed to the nearer shore,
And back through the land of his foes, steering his steed, and still
Scouting for enemies hidden. And lo! under Vaca Hill
At the crook of the road a clatter of hoofs and a glitter of white!
And there came the band from the seaward, swift as a pigeon’s flight.
Two were but there to return: the Judge of the Titles of land;
He of the lion’s hair, bearded, boisterous, bland;
And the maid that was named for the pearl,[3] a maid of another isle,
Light as a daisy rode, and gave us the light of her smile.
But two to pursue the adventure: one that was called the Queen
Light as the maid, her daughter, rode with us veiled in green,
And deep in the cloud of the veil, like a deer’s in a woodland place,
The fire of the two dark eyes, in the field of the unflushed face.
And one her brother[4] that bore the name of a knight of old,
Rode at her heels unmoved; and the glass in his eye was cold.
Bright is the sun in the brook; bright are the winter stars,
Brighter the glass in the eye of that captain of hussars.”

The adventurous party consisted of R.L.S., his stepson Lloyd Osbourne, his stepdaughter Mrs. Strong (née Osbourne), and a young native chief Henry Simele, my brother, and myself. It was arranged with infinite,[Pg 299] but somewhat futile, secrecy that Mr. Haggard, my daughter and I, with Rupert should ride out in the afternoon and find the Vailima party awaiting us at the Gasi-gasi Ford. This duly came off; we were rather late, and found our companions crouching, excited, at the appointed spot in the attitude proper for conspirators.

THE ENCHANTED FOREST

Haggard and my daughter thereupon returned to Ruge’s Buildings, and the rest of us pursued our way through the enchanted forest, past groves of bananas, and up the mountain. From time to time little stiles barring the narrow paths had to be negotiated; some Europeans explorers had imagined that these were a kind of fortification to protect Mataafa’s quarters, but really they were nothing more romantic than fences to keep pigs from wandering.

Nature in Samoa everywhere erected natural screens for those who desired concealment in the extraordinary luxuriance of her tangled vegetation: overhead, broad-leaved forest trees interlacing their branches so that it was possible to ride even at midday under a tropical sun; below, the long and varied creeping plants which went under the general name of “vines,” and which rendered progress difficult except where narrow tracks had been cleared leading from one little village to another. Mostly, however, the villagers were within easy reach of the seashore, partly for convenience of fishing, partly as being accessible in boats. The villagers loved to visit their friends, rowing pleasantly from place to place within the lagoons which circled the Island.

To return to our journey. Among other instances of tropical luxuriance, we passed a quantity of sensitive plant. The original plant had been placed by a member[Pg 300] of a German firm on his child’s grave, thence it had quickly spread and had become a perfect pest in the surrounding districts. My horse was an extremely lanky and skinny animal which Mr. Haggard had procured for my use, and which alternately rejoiced in the names of “Pedigree” and “Starvation,” the latter seeming more appropriate. R.L.S. rode a fat little pony. Mrs. Strong subsequently caricatured our progress by representing me very tall with an extremely tight waistband, and Stevenson looking upward from his diminutive steed.

Mrs. Strong, be it understood, regarded any kind of fitting garment as a foolish superfluity. On this occasion she had donned corsets for the convenience of a long ride, but when, in the twilight, we neared our destination she slipped them off and gave them to an attendant, bidding him be a good boy and carry them for her.

KING MATAAFA

As we approached the royal abode we were met first by a man beating a drum, then by the whole population, and heard many remarks interchanged in low tones; my companions told me that they referred to the “Tamaiti Sili” or “Great Lady,” showing how singularly ineffectual was my disguise. If any proof of this were needed it was soon supplied. Mataafa, a very fine old man, received us most courteously, attended specially by a remarkable old gentleman called Popo, who had curiously aquiline features quite unlike the ordinary native. Stevenson thus described him:

“He who had worshipped feathers and shells and wood,
As a pillar alone in the desert that points where a city stood,
Survived the world that was his, playmates and gods and tongue—
[Pg 301]For even the speech of his race had altered since Popo was young.
And ages of time and epochs of changing manners bowed,
And the silent hosts of the dead wondered and muttered aloud
With him, as he bent and marvelled, a man of the time of the Ark,
And saluted the ungloved hand of the Lady of Osterley Park.”

We were first presented with refreshing cocoa-nuts, and after profuse compliments, conveyed through the interpreter, dinner, or supper, was prepared on a small wooden table in the background. It consisted of pigeon, chickens, taros, and yams, but poor Mataafa, who had previously adjourned for evening service, could not share the birds because it was a fast day. He was a Roman Catholic—another point of difference between him and Malietoa, who was a Protestant.

After the evening repast came the kava ceremony. As is well known, kava is a drink made from the roots of the pepper-tree, chewed by young persons (who have first carefully washed their teeth), and then soaked in water. To me it always tasted rather like soapy water, but it is most popular with the natives, who will sit at festivities drinking large quantities. It is said to have no effect on the head, but to numb the lower limbs if too much is imbibed.

At special ceremonies, however, it is somewhat in the nature of a loving-cup, only each guest has a cocoa-nut shell refilled from the general wooden-legged bowl for his benefit. The kava is always given in strict order of precedence, and the interest was to see whether Mataafa would give the first cup to Stevenson as a man, and head of the family, or to me, a mere woman and ostensibly a female relative, as in the latter case it would show that he saw through my cousinly pretensions. It was rather a curious scene in the dimly lighted native house—chairs for the King and his[Pg 302] European guests, while the interpreter, Henry Simele, and the native henchmen squatted near-by. With an indescribable expression of suppressed amusement Mataafa handed the cup to me, whereupon Stevenson, with a delightful twinkle of his eye, exclaimed, “Oh, Amelia, you’re a very bad conspirator!”

Stevenson and my brother were then taken off to another house, while Mrs. Strong and I were escorted to the couch prepared for us—a large pile of soft mats enclosed in a mosquito curtain, with two pillows side by side at the head.

A native house has often been described. It is generally a roof shaped like an inverted boat of wooden beams supported on posts and thatched with palm-leaves. Its size varies greatly according to the position and wealth of the owner. Mataafa’s was a large one and his mats were beautiful. There was only one room, and in a general way no one would have demurred at sleeping all together. However, in this case a large tappa curtain was let down in the centre; the King and his warriors slept on one side, and the other formed the apartment of Mrs. Strong and myself.

Mrs. Strong was a most entertaining companion, and told me stories of American experience before we both composed ourselves to sleep. She was much amused by my one preparation for evening toilet, which was a toothbrush; but I had to go outside the matting curtains suspended between the posts to use it, as all cooking and washing was bound to take place where nothing should spoil the beautiful mats carpeting the house proper. I found guards outside waiting in the darkness, and when he heard of my excursion Stevenson declared that my teeth would become historic. It is not to be supposed that the natives neglect cleanliness—they[Pg 303] constantly bathe in the sea and in streams, but all washing takes place outside, not inside, their houses.

THE KAVA CEREMONY

Next morning we adjourned from the private abode to Mataafa’s large new Parliament House, where all his chiefs were assembled for public or King’s kava. They sat round in a sort of circle, each representing one of the royal “names” or tribes.

Without going into the intricacies of Samoan genealogy it may be explained that no Prince could properly be King of the whole group unless he could prove his title to rule over all the “names.” As it seemed that neither Malietoa nor Mataafa could do this, their quarrel was unlikely ever to be decided except by force and by the support given to one or the other from outside. Anyhow, a great number of “names” were represented on this occasion and the scene was very interesting.

This Parliament House was said to be the largest native building in Samoa, and was certainly fine and well constructed. On the cross-beams of the central “roof-tree” were three painted wooden birds, emblems of the King’s house, as his father had been called “King of the Birds.”

The King and his guests again sat on chairs, the chiefs squatted on the ground. This time, being public, the King, with true courtesy, accepted my ostensible position, and gave the kava first to R.L.S.; after the rest of us had drunk, it was carried to each chief in turn, and in several cases curious rites accompanied their acceptance of the cup. In one case an old man had to lie down and be massaged for an imaginary ailment, in another the kava was poured over a stone which stood for one of the “names” whose human representative was lacking. The most dramatic [Pg 304]incident was when a fine-looking chief, who was a sort of War Lord in Mataafa’s army, five times refused the cup with a very haughty air before condescending to drink, which he then had to do five times. We were told that this was in memory of an ancestor who had refused water when no supply could be obtained for his king, recalling the story of David pouring out the water obtained at the risk of his captains’ lives.

When all was over some of the chiefs were presented to us, particularly the War Lord, who had laid by his truculent manners and was very smiling and amiable. He had had two drinks, first as Head of the Forces, later on as Headman of his Village—so was in great form.

Poor Mataafa! After we left the Islands war broke out again, his forces were finally defeated, and I believe that he died in exile. My stolen visit to him will, however, be always a most delightful recollection.

We also paid our respects to Tamasese, son of the “German King,” previous to spending a night with the Wesleyan Missionary and his wife. Tamasese was out when we arrived, as he did not expect us so early. We had started in the Commissioner’s boat at 4 a.m., and saw the sun rise over the locked lagoon. We were, however, most courteously received by his handsome wife Viti, who besides her tappa lava-lava wore a kind of double bib or sleeveless jumper falling to the waist before and behind, with a hole in the middle for her head to go through. This ingenious garment was made of cotton pocket-handkerchiefs not yet cut apart for sale and printed with portraits of prize-fighters.

Tamasese, when he entered the house, proved to be the finest native whom we had yet seen, with the square head and broad limbs of a Roman emperor. In addition[Pg 305] to the lava-lava both men and women loved to decorate themselves and their guests with garlands of flowers worn either on their heads or hung round their necks. I have a vivid recollection of my brother seated on a box in Tamasese’s hospitable house with a wreath of flowers on his head, surrounded by an admiring crowd of young women, including the handsome Viti, a young cousin or adopted daughter, and the Taupau or Maid of the Village, a girl selected for her beauty and charm to represent the community in the receptions and merry-makings which are a prominent feature in Samoan life.

A NATIVE DANCE

Later in the day we were present at a native dance, if dance it can be called, when the performers sat for the most part on the ground, and the action took place by girls swinging their arms and bodies while the men contributed the music. The girls did not confine themselves to rhythmic movements, but also gave a kind of comic dramatic performance, mimicking amongst other things the manners and customs of white people with much laughter and enjoyment. They threw bunches of leaves about by way of cricket balls—got up and walked in peculiar manners, with explanations which were translated to us as “German style,” “English style,” and so on; and when they sang a kind of song or recitative, concerning a college for native girls about to be established by the missionaries, they made the very sensible suggestion that one or two of them should go and try what the life was like before they entered in any number.

Tamasese paid us a return visit at Apia. It was curious to see him seated on a chair having luncheon with us, dressed solely in a white lava-lava and a large garland of leaves and flowers or berries. He also[Pg 306] attended an evening party at Ruge’s Buildings; on that occasion he added a white linen coat to his costume at Haggard’s request, simply because the cocoa-nut oil with which natives anoint their bodies might have come off on the ladies’ dresses in a crowd.

The truth is that a lava-lava and a coating of oil are much the most healthy and practical costume in a tropical climate. When a shower of rain comes on it does so with such force that any ordinary garment is soaked through in a few minutes. It is impossible for natives to be always running home to change their clothes even if their wardrobes permitted, and remaining in these wet garments is surely provocative of the consumption which so often carries them off.

Shirley Baker in Tonga made it a law that everyone should wear an upper and a nether garment; in Samoa it was not a legal question, but the missionaries made doubtless well-intentioned efforts to enforce the addition of white shirts to the male, and overalls to the female costume, which really seemed unnecessary with their nice brown skins.

It is difficult for a casual visitor to judge fairly the influence of missionaries on natives, but on the whole, as far as I have seen missions in different lands, despite mistakes and narrow-mindedness, it seems to be for good. There is an enormous difference between missions to ancient civilisations such as those of India and China, and to children of nature such as the population of the Pacific. I do not forget the command “Go ye and teach all nations,” an authority which no Christian can dispute; I am thinking only of how this has been done, and with what effect on the “nations.”

It is pretty evident that when the nations have an[Pg 307] elaborate ritual of their own, and when the educated classes among them have a decided tendency to metaphysics, a ritual such as that of the Roman Catholics is apt to appeal to them, and the men sent to teach them must be prepared to enter into their difficulties and discussions. When, however, the populations to be approached are merely inclined to deify the forces of nature, and to believe in the power of spirits, if a man of some education comes among them, helps them in illness, and proves his superiority in agriculture and in the arts of daily life, they are very ready to accept his authority and obey his injunctions.

MISSIONARIES

In the case of the South Sea Islanders there is no doubt that the missionaries have afforded them protection against the tyranny and vices introduced by many of the low-class traders and beachcombers who exploited them in every possible way. The missionaries have done their best to stop their drinking the horrible spirits received from such men, in return for forced labour and the produce of their land. They have done much to eradicate cannibalism and other evil customs. Their error seems to have been the attempt to put down dances and festivities of all kinds on the plea that these were connected with heathen rites, instead of encouraging them under proper restrictions. Even when we were in the Islands, however, many of the more enlightened missionaries had already realised that human nature must have play, and that, as St. John told the huntsman who found him playing with a partridge, you cannot keep the bow always bent. Probably by now the Christian Churches in the Pacific have learnt much wisdom by experience.

As before remarked, there were, in 1892, three sets of missionaries in Samoa. Apart from the Roman Catholics,[Pg 308] the most important were the London Missionaries, whose founders had been men of high education and who had settled in the Islands about the time of Queen Victoria’s accession. The Wesleyans had also made many converts.

Some years before our visit a sort of concordat had been arranged between the various Anglican and Protestant Churches working in the Pacific. The Church of England clergy were to work in the Islands commonly called Melanesia; the Wesleyans, whose great achievements had been in Fiji, were to take that group, Tonga, and other offshoots of their special missions; the London missionaries were to have Samoa and other fields of labour where their converts predominated. Under this agreement the Wesleyan missionaries left Samoa, but alas! after a time they came back, to the not unnatural indignation of the London missionaries. Their plea was that their flock begged them to return. An outsider cannot pronounce on the rights and wrongs of the question, but the feeling engendered was evident to the most casual observer.

As for the Roman Catholics, we were sitting one evening with a London missionary, when a native servant ran in to inform him that the R.C. priest was showing a magic-lantern in which our host and one of his colleagues were represented in hell!

I should add that I noticed that in a course of lectures given to their students by the London missionaries was one “on the errors of the Roman Church,” but that was not as drastic, nor, I presume, so exciting, as the ocular argument offered by the priest.

SAMOAN MYTHOLOGY

The mythology of the Samoans was much like that of other primitive nations, and as in similar cases their gods and heroes were closely connected. The chief[Pg 309] deity was a certain Tangoloalangi or “god-of-heaven.” He had a son called Pilibuu, who came down to earth, settled in Samoa, and planted kava and sugar-cane. He also made a fishing-net and selected as his place of abode a spot on Upolu large enough to enable him to spread it out. Pilibuu had four sons to whom he allotted various offices; one was to look after the plantations, another to carry the walking-stick and fly-whisk to “do the talking,” a third as warrior carried the spear and club, while the youngest had charge of the canoes. To all he gave the excellent advice, “When you wish to work, work; when you wish to talk, talk; when you wish to fight, fight.” The second injunction struck me as that most congenial to his descendants.

The Samoans had legends connected with their mats, those of fine texture being valued as jewels are in Western lands. One was told me at great length about a mat made by a woman who was a spirit, who worked at different times under the vines, under a canoe, and on the sea-shore. Either her personal charms or her industry captivated Tangoloalangi, and he took her up to heaven and made her his wife. Her first child, a daughter, was endowed with the mat, and looking down from heaven she was fascinated by the appearance of a fine man attired in a lava-lava of red bird-of-paradise feathers. She descended in a shower of rain, but her Endymion, mistaking her mode of transit for an ordinary storm, took off his plumes for fear they should get wet. Arrived on earth she went up to him and said, “Where is the man I saw from heaven wearing a fine lava-lava?” “I am he,” replied the swain. Incredulous, she retorted, “I saw a man not so ugly as you.” “I am the same as before, but you saw me from a distance with a red lava-lava on.” In vain he resumed his adornment;[Pg 310] the charm was broken and she would none of him. Instead of returning to the skies she wandered to another village and had further adventures with the mat, which she gave to her daughter by the earthly husband whom she ultimately selected. She told the girl that on any day on which she took the mat out to dry in the sun there would be darkness, rain, and hurricane. The mat was still preserved in the family of the man who told me the story, and was never taken out to dry in the sun.

The Samoans, like other races, had a story of the Flood, and one derivation (there are several) of the name of the Group is Sa = sacred or preserved, Moa = fowl, as they say that one of their gods preserved his fowls on these islands during the deluge.

They had sacred symbols, such as sticks, leaves, and stones, and a general belief in spirits, but I never heard of any special ritual, nor were there any traces of temples on the Islands. They seemed a gentle, amiable people, not fierce like the natives of New Ireland, the New Hebrides, and others of negroid type.

The constant joy of the natives is to go for a malanga or boat expedition to visit neighbouring villages, and we quite realised the fascination of this mode of progress when we were rowed through the quiet lagoons in early morning or late evening, the rising or setting sun striking colours from the barrier reefs, and our boatmen chanting native songs as they bent to their oars. Once a little girl was thrown into our boat to attend us when we were going to sleep in a native teacher’s house. She lay down at the bottom with a tappa cloth covering her from the sun. We were amused, when the men began to sing, to hear her little voice from under the cloth joining in the melody.

DESIRE FOR ENGLISH PROTECTION

On this occasion we visited one or two stations of[Pg 311] the London missionaries and inspected a number of young chief students. I noticed one youth who seemed particularly pleased by something said to him by the missionary. I asked what had gratified him, and Mr. Hills said that he had told him that the Island from which he came (I think one of the Ellice Islands) had just been annexed by the British, and they were so afraid of being taken by the Germans! That well represented the general feeling. Once as we were rowing in our boat a large native canoe passed us, and the men in it shouted some earnest supplication. I asked what it was, and was told that they were imploring “by Jesus Christ” that we should beg the British Government to take the Island.

Poor things, not long after we left, the agreement was made by which England assumed the Protectorate of Tonga and Germany that of Upolu and Savaii of the Samoan group. Since the war New Zealand has the “mandate” to govern them, and I hope they are happy. I never heard that they were ill-treated by the Germans during their protectorate, but they had certainly seen enough of the forced labour on German plantations to make them terribly afraid of their possible fate.

The London missionaries had stations not only on the main Island, but also on the outlying islets of Manono and Apolima which they were anxious that we should visit. The latter was a small but romantic spot. The only practicable landing-place was between two high projecting rocks, and we were told that any party of natives taking refuge there could guarantee themselves against pursuit by tying a rope across from rock to rock and upsetting any hostile canoe into the sea.

[Pg 312]Ocean itself, not the inhabitants, expressed an objection to our presence on this occasion. There was no sheltering lagoon to receive us, the sea was so rough and the surf so violent that our crew assured us that it was impossible to land, and we had to retreat to Manono. Mr. Haggard sent a message thence to the Apolima chiefs assuring them of our great regret, and promising that I would send my portrait to hang in their village guest-house. I told this to the head missionary’s wife when I saw her again, and she exclaimed with much earnestness, “Oh, do send the photograph or they will all turn Wesleyans!” To avert this catastrophe a large, elaborately framed photograph was duly sent from Sydney and formally presented by Mr. Haggard. I trust that it kept the score or so of Islanders in the true faith. A subsequent visitor found it hanging upside down in the guest-house, and the last I heard of it was that the chiefs had fled with it to the hills after some fighting in which they were defeated. I seem to have been an inefficient fetish, but I do not know whose quarrel they had embraced.

We had one delightful picnic, not by boat, but riding inland to a waterfall some twenty or thirty feet high. Our meal was spread on rocks in the little river into which it fell, and after our luncheon the native girls who accompanied us sat on the top of the fall and let themselves be carried by the water into the deep pool below. My daughter and I envied, though we could not emulate them, but my brother divested himself of his outer garments and clad in pyjamas let two girls take him by either arm and shot with them down into the clear cool water. One girl who joined the entertainment was said to be a spirit, but there was no[Pg 313] outward sign to show wherein she differed from a mortal. Mortals or spirits, they were a cheery, light-hearted race.

VISIT FROM TAMASESE

I must mention Tamasese’s farewell visit to us accompanied by one or two followers. Mr. Haggard donned his uniform for the occasion, and as usual we English sat in a row on chairs, while the Samoans squatted on the floor in front. We had as interpreter a half-caste called Yandall, who had some shadowy claim to the royal blood of England in his veins. How or why I never understood, but he was held in vague esteem on that account.

At this visit, after various polite phrases had been interchanged, Haggard premised his oration by enjoining on Yandall to interpret his words exactly. He first dilated in flowery language on the importance of my presence in Samoa, on which our guests interjected murmurs of pleased assent. He then went on to foreshadow our imminent departure—mournful “yahs” came in here—and then wound up with words to this effect: “Partings must always occur on earth; there is but one place where there will be no more partings, and that is the Kingdom of heaven, where Lady Jersey will be very pleased to see all present”! Imagine the joy of the Stevenson family when this gem of rhetoric was reported to them.

I have already referred to the story, An Object of Pity, or the Man Haggard, which was written by my brother and myself in collaboration with the Stevensons. The idea was that each author should describe his or her own character, that Haggard should be the hero of a romance running through the whole, and that we should all imitate the style of Ouida, to whom the booklet was inscribed in a delightful dedication afterwards[Pg 314] written by Stevenson, from which I venture to cull a few extracts:

“Lady Ouida,—Many besides yourself have exulted to collect Olympian polysyllables and to sling ink not Wisely but too Well. They are forgotten, you endure. Many have made it their goal and object to Exceed; and who else has been so Excessive?... It is therefore, with a becoming diffidence that we profit by an unusual circumstance to approach and to address you.

“We, undersigned, all persons of ability and good character, were suddenly startled to find ourselves walking in broad day in the halls of one of your romances. We looked about us with embarrassment, we instinctively spoke low; and you were good enough not to perceive the intrusion or to affect unconsciousness. But we were there; we have inhabited your tropical imagination; we have lived in the reality that which you have but dreamed of in your studio. And the Man Haggard above all. The house he dwells in was not built by any carpenter, you wrote it with your pen; the friends with which he has surrounded himself are the mere spirit of your nostrils; and those who look on at his career are kept in a continual twitter lest he should fall out of the volume; in which case, I suppose he must infallibly injure himself beyond repair; and the characters in the same novel, what would become of them?... The present volume has been written slavishly from your own gorgeous but peculiar point of view. Your touch of complaisance in observation, your genial excess of epithet, and the grace of your antiquarian allusions, have been cultivated like the virtues. Could we do otherwise? When nature and life had caught the lyre from your burning hands who were we to affect a sterner independence?”

There follow humorous comments on the contents of the chapters, and the Dedication ends with the signatures of “Your fond admirers” in Samoan with English[Pg 315] translations. Mrs. Stevenson, for instance, was “O Le Fafine Mamana O I Le Maunga, The Witch-Woman of the Mountain”; and the rest of us bore like fanciful designations. It was of course absurd daring on the part of Rupert and myself to write the initial chapters, which dealt with an imaginary conspiracy typical of the jealousies among various inhabitants of the Islands, and with our expedition to Malie (Mataafa’s Camp); but we were honoured by the addition of four amusing chapters written by Stevenson, Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. Strong, and their cousin Graham (now Sir Graham) Balfour. The Stevensons gave a lurid account of Haggard’s evening party at Ruge’s Buildings, and Mr. Balfour projected himself into the future and imagined Haggard old and historic surrounded by friends and evolving memories of the past.

“AN OBJECT OF PITY”

We had kept him in ignorance of what was on foot, but when all was complete the Stevensons gave us luncheon at Vailima with the best of native dishes, Lloyd Osbourne, adorned with leaves and flowers in native fashion, officiating as butler. When the banquet was over a garland of flowers was hung round Haggard’s neck, a tankard of ale was placed before him, and Stevenson read aloud the MSS. replete with allusions to, and jokes about, his various innocent idiosyncrasies. So far from being annoyed, the good-natured hero was quite delighted, and kept on saying, “What a compliment all you people are paying me!” In the end we posed as a group, Mrs. Strong lying on the ground and holding up an apple while the rest of us knelt or bent in various attitudes of adoration round the erect form and smiling countenance of Haggard. The photograph taken did not come out very well, but sufficiently for my mother later on to make a coloured[Pg 316] sketch for me to keep as a frontispiece for my special copy of An Object of Pity. It was indeed a happy party—looking back it is sad to think how few of those present now survive, but it was pleasure unalloyed while it lasted.

As for the booklet, with general agreement of the authors I had it privately printed at Sydney, the copies being distributed amongst us. Some years after Stevenson’s death Mr. Blaikie asked leave to print twenty-five presentation copies in the same form as the Edinburgh edition, to which Mrs. Stevenson consented. I wrote an explanatory Preface, and lent for reproduction the clever little book of coloured sketches by Mrs. Strong, with Stevenson’s verses underneath to which I have already alluded.

We had arranged to return to Australia by the American mail-ship, the Mariposa, so after three of the happiest weeks of my life we had to embark on board her on the evening of September 2nd, when she entered the harbour of Apia.

Regret at leaving Samoa was, however, much allayed by meeting my son, Villiers, who had come across America from England in the charge of Sir George Dibbs, our New South Wales Premier, whose visit to the mother-land I have already described. Villiers had grown very tall since we parted, he had finished his Eton career and joined us to spend some months in Australia before going to Oxford. We were amused by an “interview” with him and Dibbs in one of the American papers, in which he was described as son of the Governor of New South Wales, but more like a young Englishman than a young Australian, which was hardly surprising considering that he had at that time never set foot in Australia. This [Pg 317]reminds me of some French people who seeing a Maharajah in Paris at the time of Lord Minto’s appointment to India, thought that the dignified and turbaned Indian must be the new Viceroy—the Earl of Minto.

COURAGE OF R. L. STEVENSON

Poor Robert Louis Stevenson—he died not long after our visit; his life, death, and funeral have been recorded in many books and by many able pens. His life, with all its struggles and despite constant ill-health, was, I hope and believe, a happy one. Perhaps we most of us fail to weigh fairly the compensating joy of overcoming when confronted with adversity of any kind. He told me once how he had had a MS. refused just at the time when he had undertaken the cares of a family represented by a wife and her children, but I am sure that the pleasure of the success which he won was greater to his buoyant nature than any depression caused by temporary failure.

He loved his Island home, though he had from time to time a sense of isolation. He let this appear once when he said how he should feel our departure, and how sorry he should be when he should also lose the companionship of Haggard.

There has lately been some correspondence in the papers about misprints in his books. This may be due in part to the necessity of leaving the correction of his proofs to others when he was residing or travelling in distant climes. When we were in Samoa, Una, or the Beach of Falesa, was appearing as a serial in an illustrated paper of which I received a copy. Stevenson had not seen it in print until I showed it to him, and was much vexed to find that some verbal alteration had been made in the text. At his request when we left the Island I took a cable to send off from Auckland, where[Pg 318] our ship touched, with strict injunctions to “follow Una line by line.” There was no cable then direct from Samoa, and apparently no arrangement had been made to let the author see his own work while in progress.

 

 


[Pg 319]

CHAPTER XIV

DEPARTURE FROM AUSTRALIA—CHINA AND JAPAN

Early in 1893 my husband was obliged to resign his Governorship, as our Welsh agent had died and there were many urgent calls for his presence in England. The people of New South Wales were most generous in their expressions of regret, and I need not dwell on all the banquets and farewells which marked our departure. I feel that all I have said of Australia and of our many friends there is most inadequate; but though the people and places offered much variety in fact, in description it would be most difficult to avoid repetition were I to attempt an account of the townships and districts which we visited and of the welcome which we received from hospitable hosts in every place. There were mining centres like Newcastle where the coal was so near the surface that we walked into a large mine through a sloping tunnel instead of descending in a cage; there was the beautiful scenery of the Hawkesbury River, the rich lands round Bathurst and Armidale and other stations where we passed most enjoyable days with squatters whose fathers had rescued these lands and made “the wilderness to blossom like a rose.” It often seemed to me that one special reason why Englishmen in Colonial life succeeded where other nations equally intelligent and enterprising failed to take permanent root was the way in which Englishwomen would adapt themselves to isolation. We all know the[Pg 320] superiority of many Frenchwomen in domestic arts, but it is difficult to imagine a Frenchwoman living in the conditions accepted by English ladies in all parts of the Empire.

One lady in New South Wales lived fifteen miles from the nearest neighbour, and her one relaxation after a hard day’s work was to hear that neighbour playing down the telephone on a violin. That, however, was living in the world compared to the fate of another friend! The husband of the latter lady was, when we met, a very rich man who drove a four-in-hand and sent his son to Eton. When they first started Colonial life they lived for five years a hundred miles from any other white woman. The lady had a white maid-servant of some kind for a short time at the beginning of their career, but she soon left, and after that she had only black “gins” (women). I was told that one of her children had been burnt in a bush fire, and her brother-in-law was killed by the blacks. Naturally I did not refer to those tragedies, but I asked whether she did not find the isolation very trying, particularly the evenings. She said, oh no, she was so occupied during the day and so tired when the work was over that she had no time to wish for anything but rest. She was a very quiet, pleasant woman, a lady in every sense of the word, and one could not but admire the way in which she had passed through those hard and trying years and resumed completely civilised existence.

BUSHRANGERS

We heard many tales of bushrangers from those who had encountered them or heard of their performances from friends. It is not very astonishing that a population largely recruited in early days from convicts should have provided a contingent of highwaymen.[Pg 321] Their two main sources of income were the oxen and horses which they stole and sold again after scientifically “faking” the brands, and the gold which they robbed as it was being conveyed to distant banks.

I have referred to Rolf Boldrewood’s hero “Starlight.” Certain incidents of his career were adapted from the life of the most prominent bushranger Kelly, but whereas Starlight, for the purpose of the story, is endowed with some of the traits of a fallen angel, Kelly seems to have been a common sort of villain in most respects, only gifted with exceptional daring and with that power over other men which is potent for good or evil. He was described as wearing “armour”; I believe that he protected himself with certain kitchen utensils under his clothes. In the end, when hotly pursued by the police, he and his band underwent a regular siege in a house, but by that time the police were able to bring up reinforcements by rail, the gang was forced to surrender, and Kelly and others were executed.

A sordid incident was that on the very night of his execution Kelly’s brother and sister appeared, for money, on the stage in a theatre at Melbourne!

The railroad was the effectual means of stopping bushranging, both by facilitating the movements of the police and by enabling gold to be transported without the risks attendant on coaches, or horsemen who were sometimes sent by their employers to carry it from place to place. A gentleman told me how he had been thus commissioned, and being attacked by a solitary bushranger in a wayside inn, dodged his assailant round and round a stove and ultimately got off safely.

Bushranging was extinct before our arrival in New South Wales, but Jersey had one rather curious [Pg 322]experience of its aftermath. An old man had murdered his wife, and, in accordance with the then custom, the capital sentence pronounced upon him by the judge came before the Governor in Council for confirmation. Jersey asked the advice of each member in turn, and all concurred in the verdict except one man, who declined to give an opinion. After the Council he took my husband aside and told him that he had not liked to join in the condemnation as he knew the criminal personally. He added this curious detail. The murderer had formerly been connected with a gang of bushrangers; he had not actually shared in their depredations, but he had received the animals they stole, and it was his job to fake the brands—namely, to efface the names or marks of the proper owners and to substitute others so that the horses or cattle could not be identified. The gang was captured and broken up, the members being all sentenced to death or other severe punishment, but this man escaped, as his crimes could not be proved against him. Nemesis, however, awaited him in another form. He kept his faking iron; and when his wife was found murdered, the fatal wound was identified as having been inflicted with this weapon, and he was thereby convicted.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Another story of those bygone days, though unconnected with bushranging, seems worth preservation. A man was found lying dead in the streets of Brisbane (or some other town in Queensland), and there was no evidence whatever to show how he had come by this fate, though the fact that his watch was missing pointed to violence on the part of some person unknown. A considerable time afterwards certain poor houses were demolished, with the view presumably to building better ones in their place. Behind a brick in the[Pg 323] chimney of one of these houses was found the missing watch. A workman who had inhabited the house at the time of the murder was thereupon arrested, and brought before a judge who had come on circuit. The workman protested his innocence, saying that he had seen the man lying in the street and, finding that he was quite dead, appropriated his watch and took it home to his wife. The woman had told him that he was very foolish, as if the watch were found in his possession he might be accused of killing the man, and yielding to her persuasions instead of trying to sell or wearing it he hid it behind the chimney where it was found. The story sounded thin, but on hearing the details of place and date the presiding judge exclaimed that it was true. When a young barrister he himself had been in the same town, and was running to catch the train when a man, apparently drunk, lurched against him; he pushed him aside and saw him fall, but had no idea that he was injured, and hurried on. The workman was acquitted, and I suppose that the judge acquitted himself!

Space has not admitted any record of our visitors at Sydney, but I must mention the pleasure which we had in welcoming Miss Shaw who came on behalf of The Times to examine and report on the Kanaka question. It was universally allowed that The Times had been very well advised in sending out so charming and capable a lady. She won the hearts of the Queensland planters, who introduced her to many sides of plantation life which they would never have troubled themselves to show a mere man. We gladly continued in England a friendship thus begun at the Antipodes, none the less gladly when Miss Shaw became the wife of an equally talented servant of the Empire, Sir Frederick Lugard.

[Pg 324]One year we entertained at Osterley a number of foreign Colonial delegates and asked representative English people to meet them.

Among our guests were Sir Frederick and Lady Lugard. The latter was seated between a Belgian, interested in the Congo, and I think a Dutchman. After dinner these gentlemen asked me in somewhat agitated tones, “Qui était cette dame qui était si forte dans la question de l’Afrique?” and one said to the other, “Elle vous a bien roulé, mon cher.”

I explained that it was Lady Lugard, formerly Miss Flora Shaw.

“Quoi—la grande Miss Shaw! Alors cela s’explique,” was the reply in a voice of awe.

In February 1893 Villiers and our younger children left in the Ophir direct for England, accompanied by Harry Cholmondeley, the German governess, and the servants. My brother remained on the staff of our successor, Sir Robert Duff. Our eldest daughter, Margaret, stayed with us, as we contemplated a visit to Japan and a trip across Canada and to Chicago on our way back, and wished for her company.

We travelled by train to Toowoomba in Queensland, where we slept one night, and then went on to Brisbane, where we embarked on board the Eastern Australian ship the Catterthun. Brisbane was still suffering from the after-effects of great floods, and it was curious, particularly in the suburbs, to see many houses, which had been built on piles to avoid the depredation of ants, overturned, and lying on their sides like houses thrown out of a child’s box of toys. Nevertheless Brisbane struck us as a cheerful and prosperous city during our few hours’ stay.

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

The voyage through the lagoon of the Great Barrier[Pg 325] Reef, though hot, was most enjoyable. As is well known this great coral reef extends for over twelve hundred miles in the ocean washing the north-east coast of Australia. In the wide expanse of sea between it and the mainland ships can generally sail unvexed by storms, and from a few hours after we left Brisbane till we reached the mouth of the North Continent that was our happy condition.

We stopped at one or two coast towns and passed through the very pretty Albany Passage to the Gulf of Carpentaria, across which we had a perfectly smooth passage. We then spent a night or two with Mr. Dashwood at Port Darwin, where we were much interested in the population, partly officials of the Eastern Extension Cable Company and partly Chinese. Everything has doubtless changed greatly in the years which have intervened since our visit. Port Darwin was then the chief town of the Northern Territory of South Australia—now the Northern Territory has been taken over by the Commonwealth Government, which appoints an Administrator and encourages settlement. I hope the settlers will succeed, but Port Darwin remains in my memory as a very hot place and the European inhabitants as of somewhat yellow complexion.

The Chinese had a temple or Joss house, attached to which was a sort of hall in which were stored numerous jars recalling those of the Forty Thieves, but containing the bones of dead Chinamen awaiting transport to their own country.

While at Port Darwin Mr. Dashwood very kindly arranged a Corroboree for us. We were told that this was one of the few places where such an entertainment was possible. In parts of Australia farther south the aboriginals have become too civilised, and in the wilder[Pg 326] places they were too shy and would not perform before white men.

The whole thing was well worth seeing. The men were almost naked, and had with their own blood stuck wool in patterns on their black bodies. They had tall hats or mitres of bamboo on their heads and carried long spears. The Corroboree began after dark, and the men shouted, danced, and carried on a mimic war to the glare of blazing bonfires. A sort of music or rhythmic noise accompanied the performance caused by weird figures painted with stripes of white paint who were striking their thighs with their hands. They looked so uncanny that I could not at first make out what they were, but was told that they were the women or “gins.” The scene might have come out of the infernal regions or of a Witches’ Walpurgis Night.

Next morning my husband wanted to give the performers presents; he was begged not to give them money, as they would spend it in drink, but he was allowed to purchase tobacco and tea and distribute packets of these. Most peaceable quiet men and women tidily dressed came up to receive them, and it was hardly possible to believe that these were the demoniac warriors who had thrilled us the night before.

While at Port Darwin we visited the prison, and seven or eight Malays, under sentence of death for piracy or some similar crime, were paraded for our inspection. I thought this somewhat hard upon them, but we were assured that such notice would be rather pleasing to them than otherwise, and their smiling countenances certainly conveyed that impression. One odd bit of red-tape was connected with this. Every death-sentence had to go to Adelaide, then headquarters of the Northern Territory Government, to be confirmed, but because[Pg 327] when Port Darwin was first established it took many weeks for any communication to go to and fro, no criminal could be executed till that number of weeks had elapsed, although telegraph or post could have reported the sentence and received confirmation in days if not in hours. No doubt all is now different, but I do not suppose that the criminals objected to the delay.

COLOURED LABOUR

Here, as elsewhere in the semi-tropical parts of Australia, the burning question of coloured labour arose—one wondered, for instance, whether such labour would not have largely facilitated the introduction of rubber. Still Australia must, and will, decide this and similar problems for herself; and if even strictly regulated Indian or kanaka labour would infringe the ideal of “White Australia,” the barrier must be maintained.

Of course our officers on board the Catterthun were white, but the crew were Chinese. At one time an attempt had been made to prevent their employment—very much to Captain Shannon’s distress, as he loved his Chinamen. This veto, however, was not in force when we made the voyage, though the men were not allowed on shore. We had a Chinese Wesleyan missionary on board, and we were told that when his Wesleyan friends wanted him to visit them at Melbourne or Sydney (the former, I think) they had to deposit £100, to be refunded when he returned to the ship, as a guarantee against his remaining in the country.

At Port Darwin we said a final farewell to Australia and sailed for Hong-Kong. Our one port of call during this voyage was at Dilli, port of the Portuguese Colony of Timor. The southern portion of Timor belongs to the Dutch, but our company was under contract to call[Pg 328] at the Portuguese port, and we suffered acutely in consequence. The Portuguese had owned a gunboat for five years, during which time they had contrived to knock some forty-nine holes in its boiler. They had had it once repaired by the Dutch, but it was past local efforts, so we had to tow the wretched thing to Hong-Kong, which seriously impeded our progress. The Portuguese could not even tie it on straight, so after we had gone some distance we had to send an officer and a carpenter on board. They found the three officers of the Portuguese Navy who had it in charge prostrate with sea-sickness (not surprising from the way they were tossing about), so they tied the vessel properly behind us, left a card, and returned.

Timor was a picturesque mountainous island, but its commerce as far as we could learn consisted of Timor ponies—sturdy little beasts—and postage stamps. Of course everyone on board rushed off to purchase the latter for their collections.

I rode up with one or two companions to a Portuguese monastery on the top of a hill, where the Father Superior entertained us with exceptionally good port wine. He said that he and his community educated young native chiefs. We tried politely to ascertain whether the education was gratis. The Reverend Father said that the youths did not pay, but each brought several natives who cultivated the plantations belonging to the monastery as an equivalent. Presumably this was not slavery, but what a convenient way of paying school fees! An improvement on Squeers—the scholars learnt, and their attendants toiled, for the public good.

Timor provided an interesting addition to our passengers in the person of a Portuguese Archbishop with his attendant priests. I believe that his Grace had got[Pg 329] into some kind of ecclesiastical hot-water and was going to Macao for inquiry, but I do not know particulars. However, on the Sunday following our departure from Timor I learnt that our captain would read the English service and the Chinese Wesleyan would hold one for the crew on the lower deck. I suggested to the first officer that he should offer the Portuguese priests facilities for their rites, as it seemed only proper that all creeds should take part. This was gratefully accepted, but when a few days later I sent my friend again to propose a service on March 25th (the Annunciation) the padre was quite annoyed, and asked what he knew about it! My officer piously declared that we knew all about it, but the Archbishop would have nothing to say to it.

HONG-KONG

The only rough part of our whole voyage was some twenty-four hours before reaching Hong-Kong, and if we had not had the gunboat dragging behind we should probably have landed before the storm. I was greatly surprised by the beauty of Hong-Kong. Its depth of colour is astonishing and the variety of craft and constant movement in the harbour most fascinating. As viewed from the Peak, it was like a scene from a world-drama in which modern civilisation and traffic were ever invading the strange and ancient life of the China beyond. There were the great men-of-war and merchant ships of the West side by side with the sampans on which thousands of Chinese made their homes, lived and moved and had their being. To the roofs of the sampans the babies were tied by long cords so that they might play on deck without falling into the water. Anyhow, the boys were securely tied—there seemed some little doubt about the knots in the case of girls. Then behind the city were the great red-peaked hills[Pg 330] which one sees on screens—I had always thought that they were the convention of the artist, but no, they were exact transcripts from nature.

Across the harbour lay the British mainland possession, Kowloon, to which we paid an amusing visit. We were taken by the Commodore of the Station, and as I believe we did something unauthorised, gratitude forbids me to mention his name. We entered a Chinese gambling-house, which was very quaint. There was a high hall with a gallery or galleries running round—behind were some little rooms with men smoking, I imagine opium. In the gallery in which we took seats were several people, including Chinese ladies. On the floor of the hall was a table at which sat two or three Chinamen who appeared to be playing some game of their own—probably fan-tan. We were given little baskets with strings in which to let down our stakes. As we did not know the game and had no idea what we were backing, we put in some small coins for the fun of the thing, and when we drew them up again found them agreeably multiplied. I had a shrewd suspicion that the heathen Chinee recognised our escort and took good care that we were not fleeced.

The climate of Hong-Kong is said to be very trying, and our brief experience bore this out. We spent Easter Sunday there, and it was so hot that attendance in the Cathedral was a distinct effort. A few days later we went on an expedition to the Happy Valley, and it was so cold that our hosts handed round orange brandy to keep the party alive.

While we were there our daughter Margaret attended her first “come-out” ball, and we felt that it was quite an original performance for a débutante to be carried to Government House in a Chinese chair.

[Pg 331]Hong-Kong should be a paradise for the young—there were only nine English girls in the Colony of age to be invited, and any number of young men from ships and offices.

CANTON

Even more interesting than Hong-Kong was our brief visit to Canton. The railway from Kowloon to Canton was not then built, and we went by boat up the Pearl River. Everything was novel to us, including the pagodas on the banks of the river, erected to propitiate some kind of deities or spirits, but once there remaining unused, and generally falling into decay. We reached Canton at daybreak, and if Hong-Kong was a revelation Canton was still more surprising. The wide river was packed with native vessels. How they could move at all was a problem: some were propelled by wheels like water wheels, only the motive power was men who worked a perpetual tread-mill; the majority were inhabited by a large river population called the Tankers, who ages before had taken up their abode on boats when driven by nature or man from land. We were told that they never willingly went ashore, and when compelled to do so by business, ran till they regained their floating homes. But not the river alone, the vast city with its teeming population was so exactly what you see in Chinese pictures that it appeared quite unreal; for a moment I felt as if it had been built up to deceive the Western traveller, as houses were erected and peasants dressed up in the eighteenth century to make Catherine the Great believe in a prosperous population where none existed.

However, Canton was real, and the more we saw during our short stay the more were we astonished by pictures awakened to life. We visited a rich merchant, and his house and enclosed garden, with little bridges,[Pg 332] quaintly trimmed shrubs, and summer-houses in which were seated portly gentlemen in silk garments and round hats with buttons on the top, had been transported bodily from the old Chinese wall-paper in my nursery at Stoneleigh. His wife was escorted into his hall by attendant maidens, but so thick was the paint on her face and mouth that for her utterance was as difficult as walking on her tiny feet.

The merchant spoke a little English, but was not very easy to understand. He showed the charmingly decorated apartments of his “Number One Wife,” but I am uncertain whether that was the lady we saw or a predecessor, and in the garden we were introduced to “my Old Brother.” We were entertained with super-fine tea and also presented with some in packets, but we did not find that pure Chinese tea was altogether appreciated by our friends in England. We stayed at the Consulate with Mr. Watters; a most interesting man who, having spent a large portion of his life in China, had become imbued with much of their idealism, and esteemed them highly in many respects. The Consulates of the various European Powers were all situated in a fortified enclosure called the Shameen, outside the city proper. It was very pretty and pleasant, with green grass and nice gardens. Soup made of birds’ nests duly appeared at dinner. As is well known, these nests are made by the birds themselves of a kind of gum, not of twigs and leaves. The birds are a species of sea-swallow which builds in cliffs and rocks. The nests come chiefly from Java, Sumatra, and the coasts of Malacca. Our kind host also provided sharks’ fins, another much-esteemed luxury.

The wonderful streets of Canton with their gaily painted signs and shops teeming with goods of all[Pg 333] descriptions, the temples, Examination Hall, and Prison have been described by so many travellers that I will not dwell upon them. We were carried to all the sights in chairs, and under the auspices of Mr. Watters were treated with every civility, though I cannot of course say whether any insulting remarks were made in the vernacular.

THE VICEROY OF CANTON

Our constant friend, Sir Thomas Sanderson, had written in advance to ensure that Jersey should be treated with every respect by the then Viceroy of Canton, who was Li-Hung Chang’s brother. It was arranged that guards belonging to the Consulate should accompany my husband when he went to pay his ceremonial call so that he might appear sufficiently important. He was very courteously received, and took the opportunity of hinting to the interpreter that when His Excellency returned the visit my daughter and I would like to see him. Directly he arrived at the Consulate he expressed a wish that we should appear, and we gladly obeyed the summons. We discovered afterwards that this was quite an innovation, as the Viceroy had never before seen a white woman. Anyhow, he seemed just as amused at seeing us as we were at seeing him, and asked every sort of question both about public matters in England and about our domestic affairs.

He wanted to know what would be done with my jewellery when I died and why I did not wear ear-rings. Of course he inquired about the Queen, also about the British Parliament. Concerning the latter the interpreter translated the pertinent question, “His Excellency wants to know how five hundred men can ever settle anything”—I fear that my husband could only laugh in reply.

[Pg 334]The Viceroy and his attendants remained for about an hour. We were seated at a long table facing the Great Man, and Mr. Watters and the Vice-Consul at either end. When our guest and his followers had departed Mr. Watters told us that they had been carefully watching lest anything should have been said in Chinese which could have been construed as derogatory to the British. Only once, he said, had a term been used with regard to the Queen’s sons which was not absolutely the highest properly applied to Princes. The Viceroy was, however, in such a good temper and the whole interview went off so well that they thought it wiser to take no notice of this single lapse from diplomatic courtesy.

It was, probably still is, necessary to keep eyes and ears open in dealing with the “childlike and bland” race. The late Lord Loch once described to me a typical scene which took place when he was Governor of Hong-Kong. A great review of British troops was being held at which a prominent Chinese Governor or General (I forget which) was present and a number of Chinese were onlookers. The Chinese official was exceedingly anxious to edge out of his allotted position to one a little in front of Lord Loch, who was of course taking the salute. If he had succeeded in doing so his countrymen would have at once believed in the Chinese claim that all foreign nations were tributary to the Son of Heaven and have accepted the salute as a recognition of the fact. Lord Loch therefore stepped a little in advance each time that his guest moved forward, and this continued till both, becoming aware of the absurdity of the situation, burst out laughing and the gentleman with the pigtail perforce resigned his “push.”

Thanks to Mr. Watters we were able to buy some[Pg 335] exceptionally good Mandarins’ coats and embroideries, as he found dealers who had really fine things and made them understand that Jersey meant business.

From Hong-Kong we sailed in an American ship for Japan, and landed at Kobe towards the middle of April. We had a very pleasant captain, who amused me by the plaintive way in which he spoke of the cross-examination to which he was subjected by many passengers. One man was much annoyed by the day lost in crossing 170° longitude. “I tried to explain as courteously as I could,” said the captain, “but at last he exclaimed, ‘I don’t believe you know anything about it, but I have a brother-in-law in a bank in New York and I shall write and ask him!’”—as if they kept the missing day in the bank.

JAPANESE SCENERY

Kobe is approached through the beautiful inland sea, but unfortunately it was foggy as we passed through, so we lost the famous panorama, but we soon had every opportunity of admiring the charms of Nature in Japan. We had always heard of the quaint houses and people, of their valour and their art, but somehow no one had told us of the beauty of the scenery, and it was quite a revelation to us.

I do not attempt any account of the wonderful towns, tombs, and temples which we saw during our month’s sojourn in the country, as travellers and historians have described them again and again, and Lafcadio Hearn and others who knew the people well have written of the spirit and devotion of the Japanese; but I venture to transcribe a few words from an article which I wrote just after our visit for The Nineteenth Century, giving my impressions of the landscape in spring:

“Japanese scenery looks as if it ought to be etched. Large broad masses of light and shade would fail to[Pg 336] convey the full effect. Between trees varied in colouring and delicate in tracery peep the thatched cottage roofs and the neat grey rounded tiles of little wooden houses standing in gardens gay with peach blossom and wisteria; while the valleys are mapped out into minute patches of green young corn or flooded paddy-fields interspersed here and there with trellises over which are trained the spreading white branches of the pear. Everywhere are broad river-courses and rushing mountain streams, and now and again some stately avenue of the sacred cryptomeria leads to a temple, monastery, or tomb. Nothing more magnificent than these avenues can be conceived. The tall madder-pink stems rear their tufted crests in some cases seventy or eighty feet into the air, and the ground below is carpeted with red pyrus japonica, violets, ferns, and, near the romantic monastery of Doryo-San, with a kind of lily or iris whose white petals are marked with lilac and yellow. The avenue leading to Nikko extends in an almost unbroken line for over fifteen miles, the trees being known as the offering of a daimio who was too poor to present the usual stone or bronze lantern at the tomb of the great Shogun Ieyasu.”

At Tokyo we were hospitably entertained at the Legation by Mr. (now Sir Maurice) de Bunsen, Chargé d’Affaires, in the absence of the Minister. The Secretary of Legation, Mr. Spring Rice (afterwards Sir Cecil), added greatly to our pleasure by his knowledge of things Japanese and the trouble he took to explain them.

A letter to my mother, dated April 1893, resumes many of my impressions of a Japan of nearly thirty years ago when it was still only emerging from its century-long seclusion.

“You cannot imagine what a delightful country Japan is. Not only is it so pretty, but it is so full of real interest. I had imagined that it was rather a[Pg 337] joke full of toy-houses and toy-people—on the contrary one finds great feudal castles with moats and battlements, gigantic stones fifteen feet long, and the whole place full of legends of knights and their retainers, ghosts and witches and enchantments.... The Clan-system here was in full-swing till just the other day, when Sir Harry Parkes routed out the Mikado, and the Shoguns (Tycoons) or Great War Lords, who had ruled the country for centuries, had at last to give way.

“Even now the representatives of the greatest clans hold chief places in the Ministry and Naval and Military Departments, and the question in Parliament here is whether the radical opposition can break up the clan-system and distribute the loaves and fishes of Government patronage evenly amongst the people. Meantime I doubt if the Mikado, or Emperor as it is most proper to call him, is very happy in his new life. He thinks it correct to adapt himself to ‘Western civilisation,’ but very evidently prefers the seclusion of his ancestors and has credit for hating seeing people. There was to have been a garden party—the Cherry Blossom Party—at the Palace last Friday, but unfortunately it pelted, so it was promptly given up and everyone said that His Imperial Majesty was very glad not to have to ‘show.’

INTERVIEW WITH THE EMPRESS

“However G. had an audience with him yesterday and all of us with the Empress. It was rather funny. In the first place there was great discussion about our clothes. G. went in uniform, but the official documents granting audience specified that the ladies were to appear at 10 a.m., in high gowns—and in the middle of the Japanese characters came the French words ‘robes en traine.’ The wife of the Vice-Chamberlain—an Englishwoman—also wrote to explain that we must come without bonnets and with high gowns with trains! So we had to write back and explain that my latest Paris morning frock had but a short train and M’s smartest ditto none at all.

“However, they promised to explain this to the Empress, and we arrived at the Palace, which we found[Pg 338] swarming with gold-laced officials, chamberlains, vice-chamberlains, and pages, and ladies in their regulation costume—high silk gowns just like afternoon garments but with long tails of the same material, about as long as for drawing-rooms—how they could have expected the passing voyager to be prepared with this peculiar fashion at twenty-four hours’ notice I know not, and I think it was lucky that I had a flowered brocade with some kind of train to it.

“The saloons were very magnificent—built five years ago—all that was Japanese in them first-class—the European decorations a German imitation of something between Louis XV and Empire, which I leave to your imagination. G. was carried off in one direction whilst we were left to a trained little lady who fortunately spoke a little English, and after a bit we were taken to a corridor where we rejoined G. and Mr. de Bunsen and were led through more passages to a little room where a little lady stood bolt upright in a purple gown with a small pattern of gold flowers and an order—Japanese, I believe. She had a lady to interpret on her right, and two more, maids of honour, I suppose, in the background. The interpreting lady appeared to be alive—the vitality of the others was doubtful. We all bowed and curtsied, and I was told to go up to the Empress, which I did, and when I was near enough to avoid the possibility of her moving, she shook hands and said something almost in a whisper, interpreted to mean that she was very glad to see me for the first time. I expressed proper gratification, then she asked as to the length of our stay, and finally said how sorry she was for the postponement of the garden party, to which I responded with, I trust, true Eastern hyperbole that Her Majesty’s kindness in receiving us repaid me for the disappointment. This seemed to please her, and then she shook hands again, and went through her little formulæ with M. and G., giving one sentence to the former and two to the latter, after which with a great deal more bowing and curtsying we got out of the room and were shown through the other apartments.[Pg 339] I heard afterwards that Her Majesty was very pleased with the interview, so she must be easily gratified, poor dear. I am told ‘by those who know’ that she is an excellent woman, does a great deal for schools and hospitals to the extent on at least one occasion of giving away all her pocket-money for the year and leaving herself with none. The poor woman has no children, but the Emperor is allowed other inferior spouses—with no recognised position—to the number of ten. I do not know how many ladies he has, but he has one little boy and two or three girls. The little boy is thirteen and goes to a day-school, so is expected to be of much more social disposition than his papa.”

THE SACRED MIRROR OF THE SUN-GODDESS

The boy in question is now Emperor and has unfortunately broken down in health. Mrs. Sannomya (afterwards Baroness), wife of the Vice-Chamberlain, told me that he was very intelligent, and that the Empress, who adopted him in accordance with Japanese custom, was fond of him. She also told me that the secondary wives were about the Court, but that it was not generally known which were the mothers of the Prince and Princesses. Mrs. Sannomya personally knew which they were, but the children were to be considered as belonging to the Emperor and Empress, the individual mothers had no recognised claim upon them. I believe that this Oriental “zenana” arrangement no longer exists, but meanwhile it assured the unbroken descent of the Imperial rulers from the Sun-goddess. We were assured that the reigning Emperor still possessed the divine sword, the ball or jewel, and the mirror with which she endowed her progeny. The mirror is the symbol of Shinto, the orthodox faith of Japan, and it derives its sanctity from the incident that it was used to attract the Sun-goddess from a cave whither she had retired in high dudgeon after a[Pg 340] quarrel with another deity. In fact it seems to have acted as a pre-historic heliograph. By the crowing of a cock and the flashing of the mirror Ten sho dai jin was induced to think that morning had dawned, and once more to irradiate the universe with her beams.

Though Shintoism, the ancient ancestral creed, was re-established when the Emperor issued from his long seclusion, the mass of the population no doubt prefer the less abstract and more ritualistic Buddhism of China and Japan. What the educated classes really believe is exceedingly hard to discover. A very charming Japanese diplomatic lady remarked to me one Sunday at Osterley in connection with church-going that “it must be very nice to have a religion.” Viscount Hayashi summed up the popular creed, in answer to an inquiry on my part, as “the ethics of Confucius with the religious sanction of Buddhism”: perhaps that is as good a definition as any other.

It seems doubtful whether Christianity has made solid progress, though treated with due respect by the Government. Mr. Max Müller told me that when the Japanese were sending emissaries to the various Western Powers with instructions to investigate their methods both in war and peace, two of these envoys visited him and asked him to supply them with a suitable creed. “I told them,” said he, “‘Be good Buddhists first and I will think of something for you.’” An English lady long resident in Japan threw some further light on the Japanese view of ready-made religious faith. At the time when foreign instructors were employed to start Japan with her face turned westward, a German was enlisted to teach court etiquette, no doubt including “robes montantes en traine.” While still in this service a Court official requested him to[Pg 341] supply the full ceremonial of a Court Christening. “But,” returned the Teuton, “you are not Christians, so how can I provide you with a Christening ceremony?” “Never mind,” was the reply, “you had better give it us now that you are here; we never know when we may want it.”

CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN

St. Francis Xavier, who preached Christianity to the Japanese in the sixteenth century, records the testimony of his Japanese secretary, whom he found and converted at Goa, as to the effect likely to be produced on his fellow-countrymen by the saintly missionary. “His people,” said Anjiro of Satsuma, “would not immediately assent to what might be said to them, but they would investigate what I might affirm respecting religion by a multitude of questions, and above all by observing whether my conduct agreed with my words. This done, the King, the nobility, and adult population would flock to Christ, being a nation which always follows reason as a guide.”

Whether convinced by reason or example it is certain that the Japanese of the day accepted Christianity in large numbers, and that many held firm in the terrible persecution which raged later on. Nevertheless the Christian faith was almost exterminated at the beginning of the seventeenth century, only a few lingering traces being found when the country was reopened to missions in the latter half of the nineteenth.

Nowadays the Japanese idea unfortunately appears to be that Christianity has not much influence on the statesmanship of foreign countries, and their leading men in competition with the West seem too keen on pushing to the front in material directions to trouble much about abstract doctrines. Belief in a spirit-world, however, certainly prevailed among the masses of the[Pg 342] people whom we saw frequenting temples and joining in cheerful pilgrimages.

The great interests of our visit from a social and political point of view was finding an acute and active-minded race in a deliberate and determined state of transition from a loyal and chivalrous past to an essentially modern but still heroic future. Neither the war with China nor that with Russia had then taken place, but foundations were being laid which were to ensure victory in both cases. The Daimios had surrendered their land to the Emperor and received in return modern titles of nobility, and incomes calculated on their former revenues. The tillers of the soil were secured on their former holdings and instead of rent paid land-tax. Naturally everything was not settled without much discontent, particularly on the part of the peasants, who thought, as in other countries, that any sort of revolution ought to result in their having the land in fee-simple. Much water, however, has flowed under the Sacred Bridges of Japan since we were there, and I do not attempt to tread the labyrinths of the agrarian or other problems with which the statesmen of New Japan had or have to deal.

DAIMIOS OF OLD JAPAN

One thing, however, was evident even to those who, like ourselves, spent but a short time in the country. The younger nobles gained more than they lost in many ways by the abandonment of their feudal prominence. Their fathers had been more subservient to the Shoguns than the French nobility to Louis XIV. The third of the Tokugawa line, who lived in the seventeenth century, decreed that the daimios were to spend half the year at Yedo (the modern Tokyo), and even when they were allowed to return to their own estates they were obliged to leave their wives and families in the capital[Pg 343] as hostages. The mountain passes were strictly guarded, and all persons traversing them rigidly searched, crucifixion being the punishment meted out to such as left the Shogun’s territory without a permit. On the shores of the beautiful Lake Hakone at the foot of the main pass villas were still pointed out where the daimios rested on their journey, and we were told that a neighbouring town was in other times largely populated by hair-dressers, who had to rearrange the elaborate coiffures of the ladies who were forced to take their hair down before passing the Hakone Bar. True, the daimios lived and travelled with great state and had armies of retainers, but at least one great noble confessed to me that the freedom which he then enjoyed fully compensated him for the loss of former grandeur.

My daughter who “came out” at Hong-Kong had quite a gay little season at Tokyo, as we were hospitably entertained by both Japanese and diplomats, and amongst other festivities we thoroughly enjoyed a splendid ball given by Marquis Naboshima, the Emperor’s Master of Ceremonies.

We were also fortunate in seeing the actor Danjolo, commonly called the “Irving of Japan,” in one of his principal characters. The floor of the theatre was divided into little square boxes in which knelt the audience, men, women, and children. From the main entrance of the house to the stage ran a gangway, somewhat elevated above the floor; this was called the Flowery Path, and served not only as a means of access to the boxes on either side, but also as an approach by which some of the principal actors made a sensational entrance on the scene. A large gallery, divided like the parterre, ran round three sides of the house and was reached from an outside balcony. European spectators[Pg 344] taking seats in the gallery were accommodated with chairs.

The main feature wherein the Japanese differed from an English stage was that the whole central part of the former was round and turned on a pivot. The scenery, simple but historically correct, ran across the diameter of the reversible part; so while one scenic background was before the audience another was prepared behind and wheeled round when wanted. To remove impedimenta at the sides or anything which had to be taken away during the progress of a scene, little black figures with black veils over their faces, like familiars of the Inquisition, came in, and Japanese politeness accepted them as invisible.

Danjolo, who acted the part of a wicked uncle, proved himself worthy of his reputation and was excellently supported by his company. All the parts were taken by men; some plays were in those days acted by women, but it was not then customary for the two sexes to perform together. Now I believe that the barrier has been broken down and that they do so freely.

When we had a Japanese dinner at the Club the charming little waitresses gave dramatic performances in intervals between the courses.

Certainly the Japanese are prompt in emergency. A Japanese of high rank once told me how the Rising Sun came to be the National Flag. A Japanese ship arrived at an American port and the harbour authorities demanded to know under what flag she sailed. This was before the days when Japan had entered freely into commercial relations with other lands, and the captain had no idea of a national ensign. Not to be outdone by other mariners, he secured a large piece of white linen and painted upon it a large red orb. This was offered[Pg 345] and accepted as the National Flag of Japan, and is still the flag of her merchant fleet. With rays darting from it, it has become the ensign of her warships, and, as a gold chrysanthemum on a red ground, represents the Rising Sun in the Imperial Standard. According to my informant, who told me the tale at a dinner-party in London, the whole idea sprang from the merchant captain’s readiness of resource.

Whatever changes Japan may undergo, it must still retain the charm of its pure, transparent atmosphere with the delicate hues which I never saw elsewhere except in Greece. In some respects, unlike as they are physically, the Japanese recall the quick-witted, art-loving Greeks. Again, Japan, with its lovely lakes and mountains and its rich vegetation, has something in common with New Zealand, and, like those happy Islands, it has the luxury of natural hot springs. I shall never forget the hotel at Miyanoshita where the large bathrooms on the ground-floor were supplied with unlimited hot and cold water conducted in simple bamboo pipes direct from springs in a hill just behind the house.

JAPANESE FRIENDS

Still more vividly do I recall the Japanese who did so much for our enjoyment at Tokyo. Amongst others was the delightful Mrs. Inouye, whose husband, as Marquis Inouye, has since been Ambassador in London. Marchioness Inouye has remained a real friend, and constantly sends me news from the Island Empire. Nor must I forget how much we saw under the guidance of my cousin, the Rev. Lionel Cholmondeley, for many years a missionary in Japan, and Chaplain to the British Embassy there.

 

 


[Pg 346]

CHAPTER XV

JOURNEY HOME—THE NILE—LORD KITCHENER

Our sojourn in Japan was all too short, and we sailed from Yokohama in a ship of the Empress Line on May 12. Capturing a spare day at 170° longitude, we reached Vancouver on the Queen’s Birthday. Our thirteen days’ voyage was somewhat tedious, as I do not think that we passed a single ship on the whole transit. The weather was dull and grey, and there was a continuous rolling sea, but I must say for our ship that no one suffered from sea-sickness. She lived up to the repute which we had heard concerning these liners; they were broad and steady, and I for one was duly grateful.

THE WELL-FORGED LINK OF EMPIRE

We had some pleasant fellow-passengers, including Orlando Bridgeman (now Lord Bradford) and his cousin Mr. William Bridgeman (now a prominent politician). A voyage otherwise singularly devoid of excitement was agitated by the discovery of one or more cases of small-pox among the Chinese on board. Every effort was made to keep this dark, but when the ukase went forth that every passenger who had not been vaccinated recently must undergo the operation, no doubt remained as to the truth of the rumours current. Fortunately my husband, my daughter, myself, and my maid had all been vaccinated just before leaving Sydney, but we still felt anxious about possible quarantine at Victoria—the port on the Island of Vancouver—the[Pg 347] town being on the mainland. Nothing happened, however, and if the ship’s doctor perjured himself, and if the captain did not contradict him, I trust that the Recording Angel did not set it down, as the relief of the passengers was indeed great.

The truth afterwards so forcibly expressed by Rudyard Kipling was brought home to us when landing on Canadian shores:

“Take ’old of the Wings o’ the mornin’,
An’ flop round the earth till you’re dead;
But you won’t get away from the tune that they play
To the bloomin’ old rag over’ead.”

Every morning at Sydney we were aroused by “God Save the Queen” from the men-of-war in the harbour just below Government House, and at Vancouver we found the whole population busy celebrating Queen Victoria’s Birthday. At the hotel nobody was left in charge but a boy of fourteen, a most intelligent youth who somehow lodged and fed us. Next day we were anxious to find him and recognise his kind attentions before leaving, but evidently in his case sport outweighed possible tips, for he had gone to the races without giving us a chance.

Vancouver had a curiously unfinished appearance when we saw it, houses just arising and streets laid out but not completed. I have heard, and fully believe, that it has since become a very fine city, rising as it does just within the Gateway to the Pacific, though it is of Victoria that Rudyard Kipling (to quote him again) sings:

“From East to West the tested chain holds fast,
The well-forged link rings true.”

The Directors of the Canadian Pacific had most kindly assigned a private car to our use, but we had[Pg 348] arrived a little before we had been expected, and as our time was limited we travelled in the ordinary train as far as Glacier, where we slept and the car caught us up.

Glacier in the Rockies well deserved its name, as we found ourselves once more in the midst of ice and frozen snow such as we had not seen except on distant mountains for over two years. We were allowed to attach the car to the through trains, and detach it to wait for another, as desired, which gave us the chance of seeing not only the great mountains and waterfalls as we flew by, but also of admiring at leisure some of the more famous places.

From Winnipeg our luxurious car with its bedrooms and living-rooms all complete took us down as far as St. Paul in the States, where we joined the ordinary train for Chicago. I think that it was at St. Paul that we had our first aggravating experience of American independence, which contrasted with the courtesy of Japan. A number of passengers had some twenty-five minutes to secure luncheon (or dinner, I forget which) before the departure of the next train. Unfortunately they depended almost entirely on the ministrations of a tall and gaily attired young woman; still more unfortunately one or two of them rashly requested her to make haste. Her vengeance was tranquil but sure. She slowly and deliberately walked round, placing a glass of iced water near each guest. It was hot enough to render iced water acceptable, but not to the exclusion of other food.

COLUMBUS DISCOVERS AMERICA

We included Chicago in our wanderings for the purpose of seeing the great Exhibition which was by way of celebrating the fourth centenary of Columbus’s discovery of America. A schoolboy once described the life and exploits of Columbus to this effect: “Columbus[Pg 349] was a man who could make an egg stand on end without breaking it. He landed in America and saw a Chief and a party of men and said to them, ‘Are you the savages?’ ‘Yes,’ said the Chief; ‘are you Columbus?’ ‘Yes,’ said Columbus. Then the Chief turned to his men and said, ‘It’s of no use; we’re discovered at last.’” Whether Columbus would have taken the trouble to discover America if he could have seen in a vision New York, Niagara, and a few other phenomena I know not, but I am sure he would have never gone out of his way to discover Chicago.

My sister-in-law, Mrs. Rowland Leigh, has told me that her grandfather sold a great part of the land on which Chicago now stands for a pony for her grandmother to ride upon. With all due respect he made a great mistake in facilitating the erection of this overgrown, bumptious, and obtrusive city. It may have improved in the past thirty years, but I can conceive of no way in which it could have become attractive.

It was horribly hot when we arrived, but a chilling and unhealthy wind blew from Lake Michigan, on which it stands, which gave us all chest colds, and we heard that these were prevalent throughout the city. Then the streets were badly laid and dirty. I think that the inhabitants burnt some peculiar kind of smoky fuel. They were very proud of this Exhibition, which looked well, on the lines of the White City at Shepherd’s Bush. It was made of Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax) plastered over with white composition, and as it stood near some part of the Lake which had been arranged to accommodate it the white buildings reflected in the blue water had a picturesque effect. The only part of the interior which really impressed me was a building (not white) representing the old monastery where[Pg 350] Columbus had lived for some time in Spain. This was filled with a very interesting loan collection of objects connected with his life and times.

The citizens of Chicago had invited a large variety of crowned heads and princely personages to attend the Exhibition as their guests, but previous engagements had been more prevalent than acceptances. They had succeeded in securing a Spanish Duke who was a lineal descendant of Columbus, and he and his family had been the prominent features of their ceremonies to date. Shortly before we came great excitement had arisen because it was announced that the Infanta Eulalia, aunt of the King of Spain, and a real genuine Princess, would honour the city and Exhibition with her royal presence. Two problems had thereupon to be solved. What would they do with the Duke? They no longer wanted a minor luminary when a star of the first magnitude was about to dawn above their horizon. That was promptly settled. They put the poor grandee into a train for New York on a Friday and told him that they would continue to frank him until the Monday, after which date he would be “on his own.” He was said to have declared himself highly satisfied with the arrangement, as this would leave him free to enjoy himself after his own fashion during the remainder of his sojourn in America. I only hope that they had paid his return tickets by steamboat, but I never heard how that was managed.

THE MAYOR CUTS HIS HAIR

The Duke being thus disposed of, problem two required far more serious consideration. The Mayor of Chicago was a “man of the people” and had never condescended to wear a tall hat, in fact he had such a bush of hair that he could not have got one on to his head; and as a sort of socialist Samson whose political[Pg 351] strength lay in his locks, he had steadily declined to cut it. So day by day the Chicago papers came out with: “Will H. [I forget his exact name] cut his hair?” “Will he wear a tall hat?” And when the great day came and the Infanta was met at the station by the Conscript Fathers, a pæan of joy found voice in print: “He wore a tall hat.” “He has cut his hair.” I cannot say whether the pillars of the municipal house fell upon him at the next election.

I do not feel sure of the official designation of the sturdy citizens who ultimately received the Infanta. They may have constituted the Municipality or the Council of the Exhibition, very likely both combined. One thing, however, is certain: no Princess of Romance was more jealously guarded by father, enchanter, giant, or dwarf than Eulalia by her Chicago hosts. The first knight-errant to meet his fate was our old Athens friend, Mr. Fearn. He was Head of the Foreign Section of the Exhibition, a highly cultured man, had held a diplomatic post in Spain, where he had known the Infanta, and could speak Spanish. When he heard that she was coming he engaged sixteen rooms at the Virginia Hotel (where we were staying) and arranged to give her a reception. Could this be allowed? Oh, no! Mr. Fearn could converse with her in her own tongue and no one else would be able to understand what was said—the party had to be cancelled.

Then H.R.H. was to visit the Foreign Section, and Mr. Fearn, who naturally expected to be on duty, invited various friends, including ourselves, to be present in the Gallery of the rather fine Entrance Hall. Mr. Fearn, Head of the Section, to receive the Princess on arrival? Not at all—why, she might think that he was the most important person present. Mr. Fearn[Pg 352] might hide where he pleased, but was to form no part of the Reception Committee.

They wanted to take away his Gallery, but there he put his foot down. His friends were coming and must have their seats. So he sat with us and we watched the proceedings from above. I must say that they were singularly unimpressive. The Infanta arrived escorted by some big, uncomfortable-looking men, while a few little girls strewed a few small flowers on the pavement in front of her. I heard afterwards that H.R.H., who was distinctly a lady of spirit, was thoroughly bored with her escort, and instead of spending the hours which they would have desired in gazing on tinned pork, jam-pots, and machinery, insisted on disporting herself in a kind of fair called, I think, the Midway Pleasance, where there were rows of little shops and a beer-garden. She forced her cortège to accompany her into the latter and to sit down and drink beer there. They were duly scandalised, but could not protest. The Infanta was put up at the P—— Hotel owned by a couple of the same name. The husband had avowedly risen from the ranks, and the wife, being very pretty and having great social aspirations, had left Mr. P. at home when she journeyed to Europe. They were very rich and had a house in Chicago in the most fashionable quarter on the shores of the Lake, and gave a great party for the Princess to which were bidden all the élite of the city.

It appeared, however, that the royal guest did not discover till just as she was setting forth that her hosts were identical with her innkeepers, and the blue blood of Spain did not at all approve the combination. It was too late to back out of the engagement, but her attitude at the party induced rather a frost, and her[Pg 353] temper was not improved by the fact that a cup of coffee was upset over her gown.

THE PAGEANT “AMERICA”

I cannot say that I saw this, for, though we received a card for the entertainment, it came so late that we did not feel called upon to make an effort to attend. The lady’s sense of humour, however, was quite sufficient to enable her to see the quaint side of her reception generally, in fact I chanced to hear when back in England that she had given to some of our royal family much the same account that is here recorded. It is not to be assumed, nevertheless, that Chicago Society does not include charming and kindly people. Among the most prominent were, and doubtless are, the McCormicks, some of whom we had known in London, and who exerted themselves to show us hospitality. Mrs. McCormick, head of the clan, gave us a noble luncheon, previous to which we were introduced to about thirty McCormicks by birth or marriage. “I guess you’ve got right round,” said one when we had shaken hands with them all. Mrs. McCormick Goodhart took us to see a great spectacle called “America,” arranged at a large theatre by Imre Kiralfy, subsequently of White City fame.

The colour scheme was excellent. The historical scenes presented might be called eclectic. The Discovery of America was conducted by a page in white satin who stood on the prow of Columbus’s ship and pointed with his hand to the shore. Behind him in the vessel were grouped men-at-arms whose gold helmets were quite untarnished by sea-spray. Perhaps they had been kept in air-tight boxes till the Discovery was imminent and then brought out to do honour to the occasion. The next scene which I recollect was the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in an Indian village.[Pg 354] The Fathers, in square-cut coats and Puritan headgear, stood round the village green, and did not turn a hair, while young women danced a ballet in front of them. After all, I saw a ballet danced in after years at the Church Pageant at Fulham, so there is no reason why the Pilgrim Fathers should not have enjoyed one when it came their way. The final climax, however, was a grand agricultural spectacle with a great dance of young persons with reaping-hooks. This was a just tribute to the McCormick family, who were the great manufacturers of agricultural implements and thereby promoted the prosperity of Chicago.

On leaving Chicago we wended our way to Niagara. I am free to confess that we had seen so much grandeur and beauty, and particularly such picturesque waterfalls, in Japan, that we did not approach any scene in the New World with the thrill of expectation which we might have nursed had we come fresh from more prosaic surroundings, but Niagara swept away any vestige of indifference or sight-weariness. It is not for me to describe it. I can only say that we were awe-struck by the unending waters rushing with their mighty volume between the rocks and beneath the sun. When we sometimes tried to select the sights which we had seen most worthy of inclusion in the Nine Wonders of the World, neither my husband nor I ever hesitated to place Niagara among the foremost.

At New York we stayed two or three nights waiting for our ship. It was very hot, and most of our American friends away at the seaside or in the country. My chief impressions were that the waiting at the otherwise comfortable Waldorf Hotel was the slowest I had ever come across; and that the amount of things “verboten” in the Central Park was worthy of Berlin. In[Pg 355] one place you might not drive, in another you might not ride, in a third mounted police were prepared to arrest you if you tried to walk. Really, except in wartime, England is the one place where you can do as you like. However, I am sure that New York had many charms if we had had time and opportunity to find them out.

We sailed in the White Star ship Majestic, and after a pleasant crossing reached England towards the end of June 1893. The country was terribly burnt up after a hot and dry spell, but we were very happy to be at home again, and to find our friends and relations awaiting us at Euston.

BACK AT OSTERLEY

My daughter was just in time for two or three balls at the end of the London season, the first being at Bridgewater House. She and I were both delighted to find that our friends had not forgotten us, and that she had no lack of partners on her somewhat belated “coming out.” We were also in time to welcome our friends at a garden party at Osterley, and to entertain some of them from Saturdays to Mondays in July.

Then began many pleasant summers when friends young and old came to our garden parties, and also to spend Sundays with us at Osterley, or to stay with us in the autumn and winter at Middleton. Looking back at their names in our Visitors’ Book, it is at once sad to feel how many have passed away and consoling to think of the happy days in which they shared, and particularly to remember how some, now married and proud parents of children, found their fate in the gardens at Osterley or in the boat on the Lake.

It would be difficult to say much of individuals, but I could not omit recording that among our best and dearest friends were Lord and Lady Northcote. I[Pg 356] find their names first in the list of those who stayed with us July 1st-3rd, 1893, and their friendship never failed us—his lasted till death and hers is with me still.

Before, however, I attempt any reminiscences of our special friends, I would mention yet two more expeditions which had incidents of some interest.

In 1895 Lady Galloway and I were again in Rome, and I believe that it was on this occasion that we were received by Queen Margaret, whose husband King Umberto was still alive. She was a charming and beautiful woman with masses of auburn hair. She spoke English perfectly and told us how much she admired English literature, but I was rather amused by her expressing particular preference for The Strand Magazine—quite comprehensible really, as even when one knows a foreign tongue fairly well, it is always easier to read short stories and articles in it than profounder works. She also liked much of Rudyard Kipling, but found some of his writings too difficult. Later on I sent Her Majesty the “Recessional,” and her lady-in-waiting wrote to say that she had read and re-read the beautiful verses.

A former Italian Ambassador told me that when the present King was still quite young some members of the Government wanted him removed from the care of women and his education confided to men. The Queen, however, said, “Leave him to me, and I will make a man of him.” “And,” added my informant, “she did!”

THE DAHABYAH “HERODOTUS”

Later in the year my husband engaged a dahabyah, the Herodotus, to take us up the Nile, and we left England on January 22nd, 1896, to join it. Margaret and Mary went with us, and we sailed from Marseilles for Alexandria in the Sénégal, a Messageries boat which was one[Pg 357] of the most wretched old tubs that I have ever encountered. How it contrived to reach Alexandria in a storm was a mystery, the solution of which reflects great credit on its captain. We had a peculiar lady among our fellow-passengers, who, when Columbus was mentioned, remarked that he was the man who went to sea in a sack. We believe that she confused him with Monte Cristo.

Anyhow we reached Cairo at last, where we were joined by Lady Galloway, who had been staying with Lord and Lady Cromer at the Agency, and we joined our dahabyah—a very comfortable one—at Gingeh on February 4th. As we had a steam-tug attached, we were happily independent of wind and current, and could stop when we pleased—no small consideration. We realised this when, reaching Luxor three days later, we met with friends who had been toiling upstream for a month, unable to visit any antiquities on the way, as whenever they wanted to do so the wind, or other phenomena, became favourable to progress. I ought not to omit having met Nubar Pasha, the Egyptian statesman, at Cairo, a dear old man, with a high esteem for the English, who, he said, had a great respect for themselves, and for public opinion. At first sight those two sentiments seem not altogether compatible, but on thinking over his remark one perceives how they balance each other.

At El Ballianeh, another stopping-place on our voyage to Luxor, we found the town decorated in honour of the Khedive’s lately married sister, who was making an expedition up the Nile. Her husband, having modern tendencies, was anxious that she should ride like the English ladies, and had ordered a riding-habit for her, but only one boot, as he only saw one of the[Pg 358] Englishwomen’s feet. Had he lived in the present year of grace his vision would not have been so limited.

Near Karnak, E. F. Benson and his sister were busy excavating the Temple of Mant. Miss Benson had a concession and excavated many treasures, while her brother no doubt drew out of the desert his inspiration for The Image in the Sand, published some years later.

In pre-war days we used to say that the Nile was like Piccadilly and Luxor resembled the Bachelors’ Club, so many friends and acquaintances passed up and down the river, but on this particular voyage the aspect which most impressed my husband and myself was the dominating influence of the Sirdar, Lord Kitchener. We only saw him personally for a few minutes, as he was with his staff on a tour of inspection, but wherever we met officers of any description there was an alertness, and a constant reference to “The Sirdar!” “The Sirdar has ordered,” “The Sirdar wishes.” A state of tension was quite evident, and soon proved to be justified.

No one quite knew when and where the Mahdi would attack, everybody was on the look-out for hidden Dervishes. At Assouan we had luncheon with the officers stationed there, Major Jackson (now Sir Herbert) and others, who were most hospitable and amusing. I must confess that though they were more than ready for the Dervishes, they were specially hot against the French. Of course at that time the feeling on both sides was very bitter; it was long before the days of the entente, and any French officer who made friends with an Englishman had a very bad mark put against his name by his superiors.

Either at Assouan or Philæ, where Captain Lyons entertained us, we heard a comical story of a tall Englishman[Pg 359] in a café at Cairo. He was alone, and three or four French officers who were sitting at a little table began to make insulting remarks about the English. This man kept silent until one of them put out his foot as he passed, plainly intending to trip him up. Thereupon he seized his assailant and used him as a kind of cudgel or flail wherewith to belabour his companions. Naturally the others jumped up and attacked in their turn, and the Englishman, outnumbered, must have had the worst of it had not the girl behind the counter suddenly taken his part and aimed a well-directed shower of empty bottles at the Frenchmen, who thereupon found discretion the better part of valour and retreated.

ESCAPE OF SLATIN PASHA

Major Jackson gave us a graphic account of the arrival of Slatin Pasha after his escape from Omdurman after eleven years’ captivity. He said that a dirty little Arab merchant arrived at his quarters claiming to be Slatin Pasha. He knew that Slatin had been prisoner, but did not know of his escape, and felt doubtful of his identity. “However,” said he, “I put him into a bedroom and gave him some clothes and a cake of Sunlight Soap, and there came out a neat little Austrian gentleman.” I have always thought what a large bakshish Major Jackson might have received from the proprietor of Sunlight Soap had he given them that tale for publication. I believe that Major Burnaby had £100 for mentioning the effect of Cockle’s Pills on some native chief in his Ride to Khiva. However, Slatin managed to convince his hosts that he was himself, despite that he had almost forgotten European customs and languages during his long slavery. At Assouan we were obliged to abandon our nice dahabyah and transfer ourselves to a shaky and hot stern-wheeler[Pg 360] called the Tanjore, as the large dahabyah could not travel above the First Cataract and we wanted to go to Wady Halfa. There was some doubt as to whether we could go at all, and the stern-wheeler had to form one of a fleet of four which were bound to keep together and each to carry an escort of six or seven Soudanese soldiers for protection. What would have happened had a strong force of dervishes attacked us I do not know, but fortunately we were unmolested. Of the other three stern-wheelers one was taken by the Bradley Martins, Cravens, and Mrs. Sherman, and the other two were public.

We had an object-lesson on the advantages of a reputation for being unamiable. On board one of the public stern-wheelers was a certain F. R., author and journalist, with his wife and daughter. Jersey overheard Cook’s representative giving special injunctions to the agent in charge of this boat to keep F. R. in good humour, as he might make himself very disagreeable. Whether he did anything to damage the firm I know not, but I know that he bored his fellow-passengers so much that on the return journey they either transferred themselves to the fourth boat or waited for another, anything rather than travel back with the R.’s. So the R.’s secured a whole stern-wheeler to themselves.

I have carefully refrained from any description of the well-known temples and tombs, which record the past glories of the cities of the Nile, but I must say a word of the wonderful rock temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbal, close on the river banks. We saw it by moonlight, which added much to the effect of the great pylon cut in the rock with its four sitting figures of the king, each 66 feet high. Small figures stand by the knees of the colossi, who look solemnly out over the[Pg 361] river unmoved by the passing centuries. Inside the rock is a large corridor with eight great Osiride figures guarding its columns, and within are smaller chambers with sculptured walls.

HOW A KING AND AN ARAB EVADED ORDERS

I would also recall among the less important relics of the past the small ruined Temple of Dakkeh. It was built in Ptolemaic times by an Ethiopian monarch singularly free from superstition. It was the custom of these kings to kill themselves when ordered to do so by the priests in the name of the gods, but when his spiritual advisers ventured to send such a message to King Erzamenes, he went with his soldiers and killed the priests instead.

I do not know whether the story lingered on the banks of the Nile till our times, but the instinct of this king seems to have been reincarnated in an Arab, or Egyptian, soldier who related to an English officer his first experience of an aeroplane during the late war. This man was enlisted by the Turks during their invasion of Egypt and afterwards captured by the British. Said he, “I saw a bird, oh, such a beautiful bird, flying in the sky. My officer told me to shoot it, but I did not want to kill that beautiful bird, so I killed my officer.” Certainly if one wished to disobey an unreasonable order it was the simplest method of escaping punishment.

At Wady Halfa we were delightfully entertained at tea and dinner by Colonel Hunter (now Sir Archibald). Dinner in his pretty garden was indeed a pleasant change from our jolting stern-wheeler. Previously he took us to see the 500 camels—riding and baggage—of the camel-corps. All were absolutely ready for action. Like the horses of Branksome Hall in the “Lay of the Last Minstrel,” who “ready and wight stood saddled[Pg 362] in stable day and night,” these camels lay in rows with all their kit on or near them—nothing to be done when the order of advance should be given except to fill their water-flasks. All this with the shadow of the Sirdar pointing towards them—to fall even sooner than the officers perchance anticipated.

While our boat waited at Wady Halfa we made a short expedition, two hours by train on a local military railway, to Sarras, which was then the Egyptian frontier. Egyptian officers showed us the Fort on a hill with two Krupp and two Maxim guns. There were one or two other little forts on heights, and below was the camp with tents, huts, camels, and horses. From the hill we looked out at the country beyond, a mass of small hills rising from a sandy desert, all barren and arid. It gave a weird impression to stand thus on the uttermost outpost of civilisation wondering what of death and terror lay beyond.

THE DERVISHES

Seven years previously, in July 1889, Sir Herbert Kitchener (as he then was) had written to my husband from the Egyptian Headquarters at Assouan, and thus described the Dervishes:

“I leave for the South to-morrow and shall then have an opportunity of seeing the Dervish camp. It is most extraordinary that they have been able to invade Egypt in the way they have done without any supplies or transport. I have talked to numbers of prisoners and they say they are just as fanatical as ever; their intention is to march on Cairo, killing all who do not accept their faith, and they do not care in the least how many lives they lose in the attempt, as all that die in their belief go straight to heaven. They have brought all their women and children with them, and seem to have no feeling whatever for the sufferings they make them undergo. We have rescued almost thousands and fed and clothed them; they come in the most awful state [Pg 363]of emaciation. I expect we shall have a fight shortly with the strong men of the party who now keep all the food for themselves, leaving the women and children to die of starvation.”

There was certainly real anxiety about them even during our expedition, and it was thought better for our stern-wheelers to anchor in the middle of the stream at night, when far from barracks, for fear of attack. I think, however, that it was at Assouan, a well-guarded centre, that the Bradley Martins came to implore Jersey to come and reassure poor Mrs. Sherman, Mrs. Bradley Martin’s kind old mother. She had heard some firing in connection with Ramadan, and told her family that she knew that their dahabyah had been captured by dervishes and that they were keeping it from her. Why she thought that the dervishes were considerate enough to keep out of her cabin I do not know, nor why she consented to believe my husband and not her own children. However, it is not uncommon for people to attach more weight to the opinion of an outsider than to that of the relatives whom they see every day.

Before returning to Cairo we tied up near Helouan and rode there along a good road with trees on either side. Helouan itself struck us as resembling the modern part of a Riviera town pitched in the desert. Neither trees nor verandahs mitigated the glare of the sun, unless a few clumps near the sulphur baths did duty as shade for the whole place. There were numerous hotels and boarding-houses, though I recorded the opinion, which I saw no reason to modify on a visit some years later, that there seemed no particular reason for people to go there unless preparatory to committing suicide. However, I suppose that the[Pg 364] Races and the Baths constituted the attraction, and it may have become more adapted to a semi-tropical climate since we saw it.

Before we said farewell to the Herodotus the crew gave us a “musical and dramatic” entertainment. The comic part was largely supplied by the cook’s boy, who represented a European clad in a remarkably battered suit and ordered about a luckless native workman. The great joke was repeatedly to offer him as a seat the ship’s mallet (with which posts for tying up were driven into the bank) and to withdraw it the moment he tried to sit down. His face, and subsequent flogging of the joker, were hailed with shrieks of laughter. Similar pranks interspersed with singing, dancing, and tambourine playing were witnessed by an appreciative audience, including eight or ten native friends of the sailors, who were supplied with coffee and cigarettes.

On March 12th we reached Cairo and, with regret, left our comfortable dahabyah for the Ghezireh Palace Hotel. On the 14th came the rumour that orders had come from England that troops should advance on Dongola. There was the more excitement as it was asserted, and I believe truly, that the Government had taken this decisive step without previous consultation with either Lord Cromer or the Sirdar. However, all was ready, and the climax came when in September 1898 the Dervishes were defeated by Sir Herbert Kitchener, the Mahdi slain, and Gordon avenged.

On October 7th of that year Sir Herbert wrote from Cairo, in answer to my congratulations:

“I am indeed thankful all went off without a hitch. I see the —— says we kill all the wounded, but when I left Omdurman there were between six and seven thousand wounded dervishes in hospital there. The[Pg 365] work was so hard on the Doctors that I had to call on the released Egyptian doctors from prison to help; two of them were well educated, had diplomas, and were and are very useful. We ran out of bandages and had to use our first field dressing which every man carries with him.”

LORD KITCHENER

How unjust were newspaper attacks on a man unfailingly humane! Kitchener’s reception in England towards the end of the year was a wild triumph—more than he appreciated, for he complained to me of the way in which the populace mobbed him at Charing Cross Station and pulled at his clothes. I remember at Dover, either that year or on his return from South Africa, meeting the mistress of an Elementary School whom I knew who was taking her scholars to see him land “as an object lesson,” an object lesson being permitted in school hours. The children might certainly have had many less useful lessons.

Lord Kitchener (as he had then become) spent a Sunday with us at Osterley, June 17-19th, 1899. I well recollect a conversation which I had with him on that occasion. He expressed his dissatisfaction at his military work being ended. “I should like to begin again as a simple captain if I could have something fresh to do.” “Why,” said I, “you are Governor-General of the Soudan, surely there is great work to do there.” No, that was not the sort of job he wanted. “Well,” I told him, “you need not worry yourself, you are sure to be wanted soon for something else.”

Little did he think, still less did I, that exactly six months later, on December 18th, orders would reach him at Khartum to join Lord Roberts as Chief of the Staff, in South Africa. He started at once, and met his Commander-in-Chief at Gibraltar on 27th. Indeed a[Pg 366] fresh and stirring act in the drama of his life opened before him. Later on, when he had succeeded Lord Roberts in the supreme command, he wrote (January 1902) thanking me for a little diary which I had sent him, and continued:

“We are all still hard at it, and I really think the end at last cannot be far off. Still in this enormous country and with the enemy we have to contend with there is no saying how long some roving bands may not continue in the field, living like robbers in the hills and making occasional raids that are difficult to meet.

“It will be a joyful day when it is over, but however long it may be in coming, we shall all stick to it.

“The Boers are simply senseless idiots to go on destroying their country.”

What would he have said of the Irish of twenty years later?

After his return from South Africa I was much amused by the account he gave us of receiving the O.M. medal from King Edward, who was ill at the time. When he arrived at Buckingham Palace he was taken to the King’s bedroom, but kept waiting behind a large screen at the entrance in company with Queen Alexandra, who kept exclaiming, “This is most extraordinary!” At last they were admitted to the royal presence, when the King drew out the order from under his pillow. The recipient had evidently been kept waiting while somebody went to fetch it.

I have other recollections of Lord Kitchener at Osterley, though I cannot exactly date them. One Sunday some of us had been to church, and on our return found George Peel extended in a garden chair, looking positively white with anxiety. He confided to us that Kitchener and M. Jusserand of the French[Pg 367] Embassy had been marching up and down near the Lake at the bottom of the garden violently discussing Egypt and Fashoda, and he was afraid lest the Englishman should throw the Frenchman into the Lake—which, considering their respective sizes, would not have been difficult. They certainly parted friends, and Kitchener mentions in one of his letters: “I saw Jusserand in Paris, but he said nothing to me about his engagement. I must write to him.”

KITCHENER AND MRS. BOTHA

Another meeting which took place at one of our garden parties was with Mrs. Louis Botha. I was walking with the General when I saw her coming down the steps from the house. He and I went forward to meet her, and it was really touching to see the evident pleasure with which she responded to the warm greetings of her husband’s former opponent. She, like her husband, knew the generous nature of the man.

Lord Kitchener certainly knew what he wanted even in little things, but even he could not always get it.

Just when he was appointed to the Mediterranean Command (which I am sure that he had no intention of taking up) he came down to see us one afternoon, and amused himself by sorting our Chinese from our Japanese china, the latter kind being in his eyes “no good.” Tired of this, he suddenly said, “Now, let us go into the garden and pick strawberries.” “But,” said I, “there are no strawberries growing out-of-doors in May.” “Oh,” he exclaimed, “I thought when we came to Osterley we always picked strawberries.” Fortunately I had some hot-house ones ready at tea.

At King Edward’s Durbar at Delhi Lord Kitchener’s camp adjoined that of the Governor of Bombay, Lord Northcote, with whom we were staying. He arrived a day or two after we did, came over to see us, and took[Pg 368] me back to inspect the arrangements of his camp, including the beautiful plate with which he had been presented. He was extremely happy, and most anxious to make me avow the superiority of his establishment to ours, which I would not admit. At last in triumph he showed me a fender-seat and said, “Anyhow, Lady Northcote has not a fender-seat.” But I finally crushed him with, “No, but we have a billiard-table!”

I must allow that there was a general suspicion that all would not go smoothly between two such master minds as his and the Viceroy’s. Those are high politics with which I would not deal beyond saying that the impression of most people who know India is that the power ultimately given to the Commander-in-Chief was well as long as Lord Kitchener held it, but too much for a weaker successor in a day of world-upheaval.

The last time I saw him was in the July before the Great War, when he came down to tea, and talked cheerfully of all he was doing at Broome Park, and of the trees he intended to plant, and how I must come over from Lady Northcote’s at Eastwell Park and see his improvements. He certainly then had no idea of what lay before him. In a last letter written from the War Office (I think in 1915, but it is only dated “25th”) he speaks of trying to motor down some evening, but naturally never had time.

The final tragedy ended a great life, but he had done his work.

 

 


[Pg 369]

CHAPTER XVI

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE—INDIA—THE PASSING OF THE GREAT QUEEN

I realise that in the foregoing pages I have dwelt more on foreign lands than on our own country. This only means that they offered more novelty, not that England was less interesting to my husband and myself.

The great Lord Shaftesbury used to say that his was a generation which served God less and man more. I trust that only the latter half of this dictum has proved true, but certainly throughout Queen Victoria’s reign men and women seemed increasingly awake to their duty to their fellows and particularly to children.

Without touching on well-known philanthropic movements, I should like to mention one, unostentatious but typical of many others—namely, the “Children’s Happy Evenings Association,” founded by Miss Ada Heather-Bigg and inspired throughout its existence by the energy of her sister, Lady Bland-Sutton. This was the pioneer Society for organised play in the Board, now “County,” Schools. It owed much to the work of many of my friends, and was specially fortunate in the personal interest of its patron, now Queen Mary. Though the exigencies of the new Education Act compelled it to cease its voluntary work after the Great War, during thirty years it brought happiness into the lives of thousands of poor children.

[Pg 370]To return to our Osterley experiences.

We had one specially interesting Sunday in June 1895. Among others staying with us from Saturday to Monday were Lord and Lady George Hamilton and Sir Stafford and Lady Northcote. Mr. Arthur Balfour came down on Sunday to dine and spend the night, and he and Lord George were busy with a game of lawn tennis on the garden front of the house. Several of us were in another part of the grounds under the cedars overlooking the Lake, enjoying the fine warm afternoon.

All at once a very hot and dusty figure appeared through the little gate near the portico and revealed itself as Schomberg—commonly called “Pom”—McDonnell, then Lord Salisbury’s Private Secretary. I went to meet him, offering tea, dinner, or whatever hospitality he preferred. All he would say in breathless and very serious tones was, “Give me an egg beat up in brandy and find me Arthur Balfour.”

The desired refreshment and the statesman were produced in due course. It appeared on further inquiry that Mr. McDonnell had bicycled from Hatfield to London in search of Mr. Balfour, and not finding him in Carlton Gardens had pursued him to Osterley. Such were the exigencies of pre-motor days. The interview over, the messenger retreated as swiftly as he had come.

We were not allowed to know the message till next morning when the papers came with the thrilling announcement, “Resignation of the Government”! Mr. Balfour said to me, “I might quite well have told you, but Pom was so very determined that I should not.”

The only recipient of the secret was Lord George Hamilton.

When Mr. Balfour returned to the lawn-tennis ground he said very quietly to Lord George between the sets, [Pg 371]“The Government have resigned”; and then continued his game as if nothing had happened.

 

Viscount Villiers Hon. Arthur Villiers Hon. Walter Rice Lord Dunsany
Imogen Rice  Earl of Jersey

GROUP AT MIDDLETON PARK, CHRISTMAS, 1904

Col. Earl of Longford Countess of Longford Lady Margaret Rice Countess of Jersey
Lord Silchester Lady Pansy Lady Dunsany Charles Rice
Pakenham Elwyn Rice

 

Lord Rosebery’s Government had been defeated a few days previously on the cordite vote, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman having been Secretary of State for War. Of course there was great excitement. Mr. St. John Brodrick spent the next Sunday with us, and was summoned to London by Lord Salisbury early on the Monday morning, when he was offered, and accepted, the post of Under-Secretary of State for War.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN, COLONIAL SECRETARY

There was a prevalent idea that Mr. Chamberlain would become Secretary of State for War, but I felt sure that he would obtain the Colonies, knowing what a deep interest he took in the Overseas Empire. We had once had a long conversation about it at a dinner at Greenwich. When the appointment was made I wrote to congratulate him, and he said in his reply, “I hope I may be able to do something to promote the closer union of our Empire”—a hope amply fulfilled.

I have many recollections of Mr. Chamberlain at Osterley. He was a charming guest, always ready to take his share in any amusement or discussion. It was comical to see him on one occasion making his way in a sort of trot down the Gallery with a serious expression on his face, and his arm extended at full length holding a poker towards him, which the game somehow entailed his keeping clear of his nose.

He loved to sit on the platform on the top of the double flight of steps leading to the garden after dinner on hot nights, smoking and talking. I remember that he told us a good ghost story, but am sorry that I forget the details. The last time I saw him before his sad illness I sat next to him at dinner at his own house. He had then taken up Protection (which I[Pg 372] always wished he had called “Preference”). I said to him: “You know, Mr. Chamberlain, I am a Free Trader?”

“Yes,” he said, “I know, but you will give an old friend credit for being honest.”

“Certainly,” I replied, and I said that truthfully with my whole heart.

In later years we were neighbours at Cannes, as we had the Villa Luynes for four seasons, not far from the Villa Victoria where he took up his winter abode. Everyone bore witness to Mrs. Chamberlain’s devotion, and it was splendid to see how she encouraged him, and helped him to retain his interest in the outer world in which he could no longer play an active part.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 was marked by even greater enthusiasm than the celebrations of 1887. Ten years of that life of devotion to her Empire had drawn ever closer the links between her and her people. They had shared with her yet more sorrows and yet more joys, especially the death of the Duke of Clarence, the marriage of our present King, and the births of our Prince of Wales and the Duke of York.

I think the Prince of Wales began his inroad into the hearts of the populace on this occasion. When the Queen returned from her triumphal procession to St. Paul’s the two little Princes were taken out on to a balcony to see and be seen by the throng below. The infant Prince Albert danced in his nurse’s arms, but Prince Edward, or, as he was always called, Prince David, solemnly and correctly saluted in return for the ringing cheers with which he was greeted. An eye-witness recounted at the time that still the spectators cheered, and again and again the boy saluted, till at length as[Pg 373] they would not stop he evidently felt that something more was required, and saluted with both hands.

THE QUEEN AT TEMPLE BAR

We had an exciting time, as the custom has always been that when the Lord Mayor receives the Sovereign at Temple Bar he should await his or her arrival at Child’s Bank, which is No. 1 Fleet Street. We accordingly went there with our family and particular friends, including my father and mother. My father’s ancestor, Sir Thomas Leigh, was Lord Mayor when Queen Elizabeth visited the city on her accession and presented it with the Pearl Sword; and two of my husband’s ancestors, Sir Francis Child and his son bearing the same name, who were Lords Mayor in the eighteenth century, are represented in their portraits at Osterley as holding this sword.

The Lord Mayor of the Diamond Jubilee, Sir George Faudel-Phillips, brought this same sword to the Bank and showed it to us, realising our special interest, as the representatives of both our families had had charge of the sword in bygone years, and were present to see it offered to Queen Victoria.

This ceremony took place exactly opposite the Bank, and was certainly a trying one for the Lord Mayor, as he had to offer the sword to her Majesty, receive it back, and then in his flowing robes leap to his horse and still bearing the weapon ride before her carriage to St. Paul’s.

It was impossible not to recall pictures of John Gilpin when one saw his mantle flying in the air, but I must say that Sir George displayed excellent horsemanship and carried through his part without a hitch.

I never saw the Queen more beaming than on this occasion, and no wonder, for she fully realised that the wild acclamations of the people came straight from[Pg 374] their hearts. When we were again at Windsor in the following May I ventured to hope that Her Majesty had not been overtired. She said, “No—not on the day, but when the celebrations had gone on for a month she was rather tired.”

Rather an amusing incident occurred during the procession. Lady Northcote and her father, Lord Mount Stephen, were among our guests at the Bank. A few days previously Lady Northcote had met Lord Roberts, Sir Donald Stewart, and Sir Redvers Buller, and had said jokingly: “What is the good of knowing Field Marshals if they do not salute one on such an occasion?” As a result all three saluted her—Lord Roberts in particular was riding at the head of the Colonial and Asiatic troops on the little white Arab horse which he had ridden all through the Afghan War, and all the time when he was Commander-in-Chief in Madras and in India. The horse wore the Afghan medal and the Kandahar Star given him by Queen Victoria. When Lord Roberts was opposite Child’s, he duly reined his charger round and solemnly saluted. An evening paper gravely asserted that he had saluted the city and that it was “a fine thing finely done.” It was finely done, but the salute was to a lady, not to the city!

In the following year our eldest daughter Margaret married Lord Dynevor’s son, Walter Rice, and in 1899 our second daughter Mary married Lord Longford. These proved the happiest possible marriages, and our grandchildren as delightful as their parents. Both these weddings took place from 25 St. James’s Place by the extreme kindness of Lady Northcote, who provided the whole of the entertainments, including putting us all up for the two occasions.

[Pg 375]My brother Rowland in 1898 married in America the daughter of General Gordon of Savannah, who was warmly welcomed in our family.

In March 1899 Lady Northcote and I had a short but delightful tour in Holland and Belgium.

Soon after this came the black shadows of the African War, in which Longford took a distinguished part, serving with the 2nd Life Guards and with the Imperial Yeomanry, and, at Lord Robert’s desire, raising the Irish Horse. Though he was wounded at Lindley he returned safely—but, alas! in the European War he was killed at Suvla Bay—one of the best and bravest of men.

Lord Northcote having been appointed Governor of Bombay, he and Lady Northcote left England early in 1900. My remaining daughter Beatrice and I travelled with them as far as Marseilles, where they joined their ship and we went on to North Italy.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR

The war was still raging in South Africa and we lived in a state of constant anxiety. While we were in Florence, however, the news came of the relief of Kimberley. I shall always recollect the arrival of a brief telegram to the effect that “General French had ridden into Kimberley,” quite sufficient to induce total strangers to address each other in the tea-shop, which was a common resort, and to exchange happy speculations as to the truth of the news.

In Paris on our way back we had the further tidings of the surrender of Cronje, and the relief of Ladysmith, which I regret to say did not improve the temper of the French or their manners towards English travellers—but perhaps all this is better now forgotten. We had found the Italians perfectly amiable.

One great difference between the Boer War and that which has since devastated the world was that the former[Pg 376] did not in any way interfere with ocean travel, and in the autumn following the departure of our friends, Jersey, Beatrice, and myself set off again to join them in India. They were on tour when we first reached Bombay, so we went to see some of our former haunts and a few places which we had not previously visited.

I have already written so much of India that I will only very briefly mention some incidents which particularly struck me on this occasion. I pass over the wonderful Caves of Ellora, for, marvellous as they are, they are fully described in guide-books. We paid a second visit to Hyderabad, and it was curious there to note the strong contrast between the modern education of the girls of the higher classes and the conservative attitude of some of the old ladies.

We attended a large dinner given by the Vikar, or Prime Minister, who was married to the Nizam’s sister, and after dinner he expressed a wish that I should pay a visit to his wife, who lived in a palace near the hall in which we had dined. The Resident’s wife kindly accompanied me, though she had not hitherto made the lady’s acquaintance.

It was the weirdest visit I ever paid. Darkness had fallen, and we were received at the entrance of the Palace by a number of wild-looking females bearing torches and wrapped in red saris. They reminded me of an old print representing a beldame with a flaming torch at the Gate of Tartarus, with Cerberus and other monsters in the background: rather a libel on the women, who were doubtless excellent in private life, but who seemed to be guarding a fatal portal on this occasion. They conducted us to a vast, dimly lighted chamber with pillars and arches; which might have been the Hall of Eblis.

INDIAN PRINCESSES

[Pg 377]What was happening in its recesses I could not see, but in the middle, on an ordinary-looking chair, sat the Princess, her destined daughter-in-law squatting at her feet and attendants in the background. She was wrapped in a gorgeous green-and-gold sari and covered with jewels on neck, arms, and ankles, but her bare feet projected in an uncomfortable manner; she looked as if a cushion on the floor would have suited her much better than her stiff seat. Near her, looking singularly incongruous, stood her son, and a stepson whose existence scandal said she resented. The young men were attired in immaculate European dress-clothes, and might had walked out of the Bachelors’ Club except that they wore on their heads curious mitre-shaped hats which indicated their connection with the Nizam’s house. They both spoke English perfectly. Our conversation with the lady was naturally limited to translated platitudes, but I was interested to see the heroine, who was reckoned very clever but not over-scrupulous.

At the great fortress city of Gwalior we visited very different ladies—the mother and wife of Scindia, who received us in pleasant apartments, well-furnished, light and airy. The old lady might have been an English dowager—she was extremely talkative and full of her son the Maharajah, who was expected back immediately from the Boxer War. The little wife was in the charge of an English governess and seemed anxious to remain in another room out of her mother-in-law’s way. She was about eighteen, and was much amused at the height of my daughter who was her contemporary. Unfortunately the poor young thing had no child, though she had been married for some years. The Maharajah was devoted to her and wanted to avoid a second marriage, but later on was obliged to[Pg 378] consent to taking another wife with a view to providing an heir.

I do not know what ceremonies were then necessary, but when he married our young friend certain difficulties had arisen. The wife of Scindia had to be chosen from a very limited caste, and the only eligible young lady at the moment was the daughter of a quite middle-class family somewhere near Bombay or Poona. Now if the lady had been his equal by birth it would have been proper for the Maharajah to ride to her residence in order to bring her home, but he could not have gone to a comparatively humble abode. As a compromise he had to ride the same number of days which it would have taken him to reach his bride, but it was arranged that he should do this in his own dominions, sleeping each night at the house of one of his Sirdars.

At Lahore we saw the College for young Chiefs, modelled as far as possible on the lines of an English Public School and, like the Mayo College at Ajmere, intended to bring up a manly race of rulers without the risks attendant on sending them to England. The majority of the youths whom we saw were Mohammedans or Sikhs. The Mohammedans would mess together, but, though the Sikhs are by way of disregarding caste, in practice it was found that each youth preferred to eat in private. This may have been partly a question of dignity, as these young northern chiefs came attended with personal servants.

Their private rooms, with occupant’s name outside, were not unlike those of Eton boys, and each contained a little illuminated card calling attention to the special observances of the scholar’s own faith, and saying that the Directors of the College were anxious that the students should attend to their religious obligations.

[Pg 379]I noticed outside one door “Granth Sahib,” and wondered what Scotsman had entered himself as pupil with such companions. On inquiry it proved that this was the shrine or chapel of the “Granth” or Sacred Book of the Sikhs, the one symbol allowed in their worship. We went into the room where it was kept, and found a large volume lying on the floor, with flowers thrown upon it, evidently the offering of some devotee who had performed “poojah” or worship.

At beautiful Amritsar, now a home of sad memories, in the Golden Temple in the Lake, we saw a far more gorgeous shrine, but still with the Granth as its centre of worship.

LORD AND LADY NORTHCOTE

I must not linger over these scenes, though every part of India offers a fresh temptation to dwell on its manifold races, its historic temples and palaces, but must hasten to our sojourn at Bombay, where Lord and Lady Northcote gave us some of the most delightful weeks of our lives, including a truly cheerful Christmas in a home away from home.

Every day brought something of interest seen under the best possible auspices, and every evening a happy time with our friends. It was a joy also to find how they had rooted themselves in the esteem and affection of both English and Indians in the Presidency.

Just before we sailed for England came the news of Queen Victoria’s serious illness. Everyone knew, though no one liked to acknowledge, that recovery was problematical. Wireless telegraphy was still in its infancy, so we had no news between Bombay and Aden, where we arrived in the middle of the night. I was asleep in my berth when our ship anchored, and I shall never forget waking in the early dawn and hearing a man’s voice saying to a friend just outside my cabin,[Pg 380] “She went off very quietly.” No need to ask who it was whose passing from earth had wrung the hearts of many nations, and not least of those who go down to the sea in ships.

People who remember those winter days need no description of their import, and those who are too young to recall them can never realise what it meant to feel as if a whole Empire had become one great orphaned family. Statesmen and soldiers had given place to their successors, poets, philosophers, and men of science had passed away, but for over sixty years the Queen had been the unchanging centre of our national life, and it seemed incredible that even she had laid down the burden of sovereignty, and would no longer share the joys and sorrows of her people.

And here I would end these wandering reminiscences, but must just record one tribute to her memory in which I was privileged to take part.

In the following May a number of women dressed in deep mourning assembled at 10 Downing Street, then the dwelling of the Prime Minister, Mr. Arthur Balfour. His sister Miss Balfour, Miss Georgina Frere, daughter of the late Sir Bartle Frere, and Lady Edward Cecil (now Lady Milner) had assembled us in order that we might establish a society for knitting more closely together British subjects dwelling in various parts of the Empire.

THE VICTORIA LEAGUE

We called it the Victoria League in memory of the great Queen-Empress under whose sway that Empire had extended to “regions Cæsar never knew.” The executive committee then elected was composed of the wives and sisters of Cabinet Ministers, of wives of leaders of the Opposition, and other representative ladies. Most unexpectedly, just before the meeting Lady Rayleigh[Pg 381] (Mr. Balfour’s sister) informed me that I was to take the chair and that it was intended to appoint me first President. My breath was quite taken away, but there was neither time nor opportunity for remonstrance, and I concluded that I was chosen because one great object of the founders being to emphasise “no party politics,” it was thought wiser not to select a President whose husband was of Cabinet rank, and that though a Conservative I had the qualification of overseas experience.

The late Lady Tweedmouth, a Liberal, was appointed Vice-President, and shortly afterwards Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton, representing the Liberal Unionists, became Honorary Secretary. Later on Miss Talbot, now Dame Meriel, took the post of Secretary, which she held for fifteen years, and Mrs. Maurice Macmillan succeeded Miss Georgina Frere as Honorary Treasurer, a position which she still holds. Miss Drayton, O.B.E., is now our most efficient Secretary.

For myself I have been President for twenty-one years, and, thanks to the extraordinary kindness and capacity of my colleagues, those years have been full of interest and unshadowed by any disputes, despite the divergent politics of the directing committees. We have always borne in mind the purpose of the League so well summed up by Rudyard Kipling on its foundation, “the first attempt to organise sympathy.”

We have now 38 British Branches and 22 Overseas Affiliated Leagues, besides Allied Associations, and we are honoured by having the King and Queen as Patrons and the Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal Family as Vice-Patrons.

Men were soon added to our Councils, and we had two splendid Deputy Presidents in Sir Edward Cook[Pg 382] and Sir James Dunlop-Smith, now, alas! both taken from us. But the twenty-one years of the League’s work lie outside the limits of these wandering recollections.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN’S LETTER

I would, however, like to insert the wise words which Mr. Chamberlain wrote on March 16th, 1902, in reply to a request sent by desire of our Committee for some official recognition. After acknowledging my letter he continues:

“I heartily approve of the efforts you are making to draw closer the ties between our Colonial kinsfolk and ourselves. I believe that the questions of sentiment enter more largely into these things than the average man is willing to admit, and that we have lost much in the past by the absence of personal intercourse with those whose support and friendship are daily becoming more important to us as a Nation. The Colonials are especially sensitive to these personal considerations. They find it difficult to understand our preoccupations and the impossibility of returning the hospitality they so freely offer when we visit them.

“No Government can set this matter right, as it is not a question of official recognition, but of private and personal courtesy.

“I look therefore with the greatest hope to the work of such associations as yours which may help to make our Colonists feel that we appreciate their affection and desire as far as in us lies to reciprocate it.”

He then proceeds to explain the view which he says he has already discussed with Mr. Alfred Lyttelton—namely, that it is wiser to refrain from giving official colour to a work which had better maintain a “private and personal character.” He continues:

“I cannot dissociate myself from my office, and I do not think that it would be wise or desirable that I should extend the vast field of responsibility which that[Pg 383] office already covers by associating myself publicly with these private Associations.”

He expresses himself as ready at any time to give such assistance as obtaining special privileges for the guests we represent at the Coronation or other functions, and then says:

“But I feel that, except in such ways, I had better stand apart, and that the great value of these associations lies in their non-official character. I represent the Government—you represent the people, and I think it is most important that this distinction should be carefully preserved.

“I am open to conviction, but I think I am right in begging you to accept my reasons and to excuse me from accepting a request which as a private individual I should have been proud to comply with.”

Naturally we felt the justice of views so fully and courteously explained.

And now I must end. The years spent under the rule of two great Kings, and the guidance of two gracious Queens, have had their joys and sorrows, public and private, but they lie too near our day for a woman to attempt even a personal record of what they have brought under her ken.

The happy marriages of my eldest son to the beloved daughter of Lord Kilmorey, of my youngest daughter to Lord Dunsany, and of my brother Rupert to Miss Dudley Smith belong to the present century.

I can only say how grateful I am for the affection of many friends, and the love of my children and grandchildren, which have softened the sorrows and heightened the joys of these latter years.

 

THE END

[Pg 384]

 

 


[Pg 385]

INDEX

A

Abdul Kerim, Queen Victoria’s Munshi, 194-195, 213

Abingdon, Earl of, 35

Abu Simbal, 360, 361

Adderley, Sir Charles, and Hon. Lady, née Leigh, 21

Adderley Cousins at Hams Hall, 21, 64

Adyar, Theosophist Headquarters, 167, 168

Aga Khan, H.H., the, 152-154

Akbar, his Tomb, 193;
why he built Futtehpore-Sekree, 194

Albert Edward, H.R.H. Prince of Wales (Edward VII), gives cigar to Mr. Dibbs, 251, 252

Alcester, Admiral Lord, 115

Alexandra, H.R.H., Princess of Wales (afterwards Queen), gown woven for, 23;
fête given for her marriage at Mentone, 25, 26;
Prince William at her wedding, 26;
at Marlborough House, 36, 366

Alexandra, Princess, of Greece, 209-210

Ali Beg, 159

Ampthill, Dowager Lady, 111

Ancram, Earl of, A.D.C., accidentally killed, 285

Andrew, Prince, of Greece, 130

Antwerp, 60

Apia, capital of Samoa, 291

Arcadia, s.s., 145, 247

Ardagh, Col. Sir John, 182

Ardgowan, 16

Argyll, 8th Duke of, 80, 81

Armand Béhic, Messageries s.s., 277

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 88, 89

Arran, Isle of, 35, 36

Ashley, Hon. Lionel, 125, 126, 127

Assiout and its Mudir, 216-217

Assouan, 214, 358, 359, 363

Athens, 127

Auckland, 275

Augusta, Empress, 100-101

Australia, voyage to, 247, 248

Avon, River, at Stoneleigh, 17

Avon, River, at Christchurch, N.Z., 273


B

Baker, Sir Samuel and Lady, 148, 149

Baker, Shirley, Wesleyan Missionary, 287, 288

Bakméteff, Russian diplomat, 132, 135, 137, 138, 140

Bathurst, William, 5th Earl, 78, 79

Bazaine, Marshal, his escape from Ste. Marguerite, 96

Beaconsfield, Lord, 71, 79

Beckford, William, of Fonthill Abbey, 58, 59

Bedford, Hastings, Duke of, 109

Benadadda, Scotch giant, 48, 49

Benson, Mr. E. F. and Miss, Excavations in Egypt, 358

Beresford, Lord William, 182

Berlin, visit to, 100-110

Bernhardt, Sarah, 95

Bernstorff, Madame, her ghost story, 122, 123

Bhownuggar, Maharajah of, his aims and difficulties, 198, 199

Biarritz, 95

Bilgrami, Syed Hossain, C.S.I., 158

Bismarck, Prince, 105-110

Bismarck, Princess, 105

Bismarck, Count Herbert, 105

Blyth, Dr., Anglican Bishop at Jerusalem, 220

Bombay, 150

Bourke, Rev. Cecil, 76

Brahmo-Somaj, 182-184

Brandling, Mr. Charles, 69

Brisbane, 324

Brough (Irish Guide), 41-42

Brougham, 1st Lord, Lord Chancellor, 24

Broughton Castle, 76
[Pg 386]
Browne, Thomas (Rolf Boldrewood), 252

Browning, Robert, 76

Buckingham, Duchess of, 254

Buller, Mr. Charles, 145

Buller, F.M. Sir Redvers, 374

Burley-on-the-Hill, 79

Bute, Dowager Marchioness of, née Howard, 57


C

Cairns, 1st Earl, Lord Chancellor, his ghost story, 122

Cairo, 357

Calcutta, 182-184

Campbell, Lady Agnes: see Frank

Campbell, Sir Archibald, 27

Campbell, Sir Colin, 188, 189

Canadian Pacific Railway, 347-348

Cannes, 24, 68, 372

Canton, Viceroy of, 333, 334

Carnegie, Ladies Helena and Dora, 276

Carpenter, Miss, philanthropist, 186, 187

Caulcot Infant School, 66, 67

Caversfield, The Angelic Choir, 75

Cazenove, Canon, 231

Cecil, Lady Gwendolen, 114

Cecil, Lord Robert, 142

Cedercrantz, Swedish Chief Justice in Samoa, 292

Cephalonia and its brigands, 139, 140

Ceylon, 247

Chamberlain, Miss Beatrice, 144

Chamberlain, Mrs., née Endicott, 144, 372

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Joseph, first acquaintance with, 140;
his political creed, 143, 372;
at Osterley, 143, 144, 371;
in Egypt, 214, 215;
letter concerning Victoria League, 352, 383

Chandar Ras Behadur Khanha, 165

Chicago, 348-354

Cholmondeley, Captain Harry, A.D.C., 242, 249

Cholmondeley, Rev. Lionel, 345

Cholmondeley, Hon. Mrs., née Leigh, 21

Christchurch, N.Z., 272

Christian, H.R.H., Princess, 39

Christmas at Stoneleigh Abbey, 20, 21

Chunder Sen Babu, 183

Clarence, H.R.H., Duke of, 242;
death of, 268

Clarke, Mr. Frederick, 216, 217

Clarke, Mr. Rochfort and pictures, 73, 74

Cleveland, Caroline, Duchess of, 82

Clinton, Lord Edward, 212

Colombo, 247

Columbus, Christopher, how he discovered America, 348, 349

Connaught, T.R.H. Duke and Duchess, 151, 152

Connemara, Lord, 145, 162, 166, 167, 180

Consort, H.R.H. Prince, 11, 12, 13

Constantine, Duke of Sparta (“Tino”), 209

Constantine, Grand Duke (Romanoff), 6

Constantinople, 232, 233

Cook, Sir Edward, 382

Cook, Sir Francis, collection at Richmond, 238

Crawford, Emily, Countess of, 238

Crimean War, 4

Cromer, Earl and Countess of, 357

Crystal Palace, 2, 3

Curzon, Hon. George, afterwards Marquis, 127

Cusack-Smith, Mr. (afterwards Sir Thomas) and Mrs., 296

Custarde, Miss, Governess, 6-8


D

Damascus, 226-230

Darley, Sir Frederick, Chief Justice, N.S.W., and Lady, 251-253

Dartrey, Countess of, 64

Dashwood, Sir George, 72

Dashwood, Sir Henry and Lady, 72

Davis, Jefferson, ex-President, 36

de Bunsen, Sir Maurice, 336

Deichmann, Baron and Baroness, 107, 108

De La Warr, Earl and Countess of, 117-119

Derby, Edward, 15th Earl of, at the Spithead Naval Review, 115, 117-119;
letters from, 245-247, 257-264;
poem composed in sleep, 264-265;
death of, 264

Derby, Mary, Countess of, 119, 120

de Ros, Lord, 80

Des Vœux, Sir William, 118-119

Devereux, General and Hon. Mrs., 72

Devonshire, Duchess of, 182

Dewar, Mr. and Mrs., 77

Dibbs, Sir George, First Australian-born Premier, 251, 252
[Pg 387]
Dickson, Mr., Consul, at Damascus, 227, 228

Dieppe, 5

Dragoumis, Greek Foreign Minister, 132, 133

Draper, Rev. W. H. and Mrs., 76, 77

Drayton, Miss, O.B.E., 381

Duff, Sir Robert, 324

Dufferin, Marquis of, Viceroy, 171

Dunedin, N.Z., 268, 269

Dunlop-Smith, Sir James, 382

Dynevor, Lord (Hon. W. Rice), 374


E

East, Sir James, 35

Eaton Hall, 33

Edgcumbe, Col. Hon. Charles, 127

Edgehill, “The Sunrising,”, 56

Edinburgh, H.R.H. Duke of, 289;
at Melbourne, 247

Edward, Prince of Wales, his first public appearance, 372, 373

Elephanta, Caves of, 150

Ellenborough, Lady, her romantic life, 227, 228

Endicott, Miss: see Chamberlain

Epidaurus Amphitheatre, 133

Esterhazy, Prince Louis, 143

Esterhazy, Prince Nicholas, 78

Eugénie, Empress, 245

Eulalia, Infanta, 350-354

Eulenberg, Count, 101


F

Faudel-Phillips, Sir George, Lord Mayor at Temple Bar, 373

Fawcett, Mr., Judge at Tanjore, 170

Fearn, Clarice, 208

Fearn, Mr., American diplomat, 208

Ferdinand of Bulgaria, 236

Ferris, Captain, British Agent at Bhownuggar, 199

Fiji, High Commissioner, 288

Fin, McCoul (Fingal), Irish Giant, 48

Fonthill Abbey, 57, 58, 64

Frank, Dr., 28

Frank, Lady Agnes, 27, 28, 70

Frederick, Crown Prince, afterwards Emperor, 102, 103, 110

Frederick, Crown Princess, afterwards Empress, 102, 103, 104

Free Kirk Settlers in New Zealand, 269

Freeman, family butler, 141, 142

Frere, Miss Georgina, 381

Froude, J. A., 81;
epigram on him and Kingsley, 82

Futtehpore-Sekree, 193


G

Gailey, Mrs., nurse at Stoneleigh, 9, 10

Galloway, Mary, Countess of, first acquaintance with, 79, 82;
letter from, 87;
with her in Italy, 99;
in Berlin, 100-109;
at the Naval Review, 115-119;
in Greece, 127-140;
meeting at Cairo and return to Greece, 207;
journey with her through Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Constantinople and Vienna, 214-237;
nurses Lady Jersey in Upper Grosvenor Street, 244;
visits Australia and New Zealand, 266-276

Garibaldi Hymn, 25;
prison, 28

Genoa, 27

George V, H.M. King, as an infant, 36;
on the Bacchante, 243

George, King of Greece, 129, 208

George, King of Tonga, 287-290

Gerard, Sir Robert, 68

Ghent, 60

Giant’s Causeway, its legend, 48, 49

Gladstone, Mr., his theory of immortality, 87

Glendalough and its legends, 41, 42

Glengariff, 43

Goschen, Hon. George, afterwards Viscount, Private Secretary, 279, 280, 286

Grandison, Viscount, Irish title of Jersey family, 65, 126

Grant Duff, Sir Mount Stuart, offers a cloth to the Ranee, 169;
views on Madras Harbour, 180

Greenwich Hospital, 29

Grenfell, Sir Francis Sirdar, afterwards Lord Grenfell, 215, 216

Grenfell, Mr. W. H., afterwards Lord Desborough, 97, 98

Grey, Sir George, of New Zealand, 250

Griffith, Sir Samuel, Australian statesman, 250

Grigg, Mr., Madras Minister of Education, and Mrs., 178

Grigg, Sir Edward as a boy at Madras, 178

Grosvenor House, 3, 4, 61

Gubbins, Sahib, Financial Commissioner at Lucknow, 189

Guest, Lady Theodore, 32, 210

Gwalior, 377


H

Hadji Petros, Greek Lord Chamberlain, 137
[Pg 388]
Hadji Petros, brigand, a husband of Lady Ellenborough, 228

Haggard, Bazett Michael, 291, 293, 294

Haggard, William, chargé d’affaires in Athens, 128;
and Mrs., 129-210

Hakone, Lake, 343

Halsbury, 1st Earl of, Lord Chancellor, and the ghost, 123

Hamilton, Lady, wife of Governor of Tasmania, 268

Hamilton, Lord and Lady George, 376

Hanna, Colonel Commanding at Delhi, 190;
his stories of the siege, 191

Hare, Augustus, his account of Osterley, 237, 238

Havelock, Sir Henry, and the Relief of Lucknow, 188

Hay, Dr. and Mrs., 256

Hayashi, Viscount, on Japanese religion, 340

Heather-Bigg, Miss Ada, foundress Children’s Happy Evenings, 369

Helouan, 363

Hendley, Doctor, 197

Hext, Captain, Director of Indian Marine, 146, 151, 229, 230

Higginson, Sir George, Story of Crimea, 4

Hinemoa, Maori heroine, 274

Hinemoa, New Zealand Government yacht, 269

Hobart, 268

Holmwood, Mr., British Consul at Smyrna, 230

Hong-Kong, 329, 330, 331

Hood, Lady Maria, née Fox-Strangways, 57

Hopetoun, Lord, afterwards Marquis of Linlithgow, 248

Hornby, Sir Ed. and Lady, apparition to at Shanghai, 124, 125

Houghton, Lord, 80, 81

Hughes, Thomas, gives Lowell’s works to Lady Jersey, 85;
writes story for her son, 89-91;
founds “New Rugby,” 91

Hunter, Colonel, afterwards General Sir Archibald, 361

Hyderabad, 155-161, and 376, 377


I

Inchmery, 117-119

India, visits to, 145-204;
poem inspired by, 205

Innes, Sir George and Lady, 249

Inouye, Marquis and Marchioness, 345

Invercargill, 269

Ireland and its legends, 41-50


J

Jackson, Major, afterwards Sir Herbert, at Assouan, 358, 359

Jains, the, and the Dilwarra Temples, 197-198

James, Henry, 92

Japan, Emperor of, 337-340

Japan, Empress of, 337-339

Jeacock, Job, Parish Clerk at Stoneleigh, 20;
made Sir H. Parkes’s first breeches, 249

Jenkins, W. H. 69 and 70

Jenkins, Lady Caroline, née Villiers, 63, 69-71

Jenolan Caves, N.S.W., 253, 254

Jersey, 7th Earl of, as a boy, 56;
engagement and marriage, 61-64;
Lord-in-Waiting, 79;
Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, 125;
at Windsor, 212-213;
Travels in France, 68, 95, 96;
in Italy, 94, 96, 97;
in Switzerland, 94;
in India, 145-205;
in Egypt, 206-7, 356-364;
in Greece, 208-11;
Paymaster-General, 240;
appointed Governor of New South Wales, 242;
at Balmoral, 242, 243;
life in Australia, 249-257, 267, 268;
visits New Caledonia, 276-284;
in China, 329-335;
in Japan, 335-345, 376-379;
through Canada, 347-348;
in United States, 343-345;
at Child’s Bank, 373

Jersey, Frances, Countess of, née Twysden, 68, 78

Jersey, Julia, Countess of, née Peel, 62, 69

Jersey, Margaret Elizabeth, Countess of, née Leigh, birth, 1;
journey with parents to France, 4-5;
to Scotland, 14, 15;
to France and Italy, 23-29, 36;
to Ireland, 40-50;
with Rev. J. and Mrs. Leigh to Holland and Belgium, 60;
marriage, 61-64;
country neighbours, 72-77;
other friends, 81-93;
after marriage, travels in France, 68, 95, 96;
in Italy, 94, 96, 97, 356, 375;
in Switzerland, 94;
in Germany, 100-109;
[Pg 389]at the Naval Review, 116-119;
travels in India, 146-205, 376-379;
at Windsor, 212, 213;
travels in Greece, 127-140, 208-211;
in Egypt, 206-7, 214-218, 356-364;
Palestine, 219-225;
Syria, 225-230;
Constantinople, 232-235;
in Australia, 249-257, 267, 268;
visits New Zealand, 268-276, 319-323;
New Caledonia, 276-284;
Tonga, 287-291;
Samoa, 291-318;
President Victoria League, 381

Jersey, Sarah, Countess of, née Fane, 65-67, 78

Jeypore, City of Victory, 196

Johnston, Mr. and Mrs., and the Heart of Montrose, 172-175

Jung, Sir Salar, and his sisters, 159-161

Jusserand, Monsieur, 366-367


K

Karnak, 358

Katoomba, 253

Kemble, Mrs. Fanny, 53, 62

Killarney Lakes, 43-45

Kingsley, Charles: see Froude, J. A.

Kintore, Earl, 248

Kipling, Rudyard, “rising celebrity,” 262;
quoted, 19, 276, 347;
his “Recessional,” 356

Kitchener, Earl, in Egypt, 207, 214, 358;
visits to Osterley, 214, 365-367, 368;
letters from, 362, 363, 364-365, 366;
at Delhi, 367-368

Knowles, Sir James and Nineteenth Century, 124, 125

Kobe, 335

Kotab Minar, the, 191

Kowloon, 330

Krishna, Brahmin worship of, his birthplace, 195

Kuch Behar, Maharajah of, 183, 184


L

Lachman Das, Seth, 195-196

Laffon, Monsieur, Governor of New Caledonia, 279, 281

Lahore, 378, 379

Lansdowne, Marquis and Marchioness of, 182

Lathom, Earl and Countess of, 113, 144

Laurium Mines, 135, 136

Lecky, Mr. and Mrs., 119

Leigh, Hon. Agnes, 4, 12, 13, 14, 34, 40

Leigh, Hon. Augusta, 17

Leigh, Caroline, Lady, née Grosvenor, 2;
devotion of children, 8, 9;
advice on daughter’s marriage, 64;
letters of daughter to, 209, 210, 133-134, 336-339;
poems by, 15, 16, 98, 99, 111-113;
at Child’s Bank, 373

Leigh, Chandos, 1st Lord, 2

Leigh, Hon. Sir Chandos, K.C., 22, 52, 53

Leigh, Hon. Lady Chandos, née Rigby, 52, 53

Leigh, Hon. Mary Cordelia, 30, 40, 62, 127

Leigh, Hon. Dudley, afterwards 3rd Lord Leigh, 12, 13, 14, 40, 63, 145, 244

Leigh, Hon. Mrs. Dudley, née Beckwith, 244, 245

Leigh, Mr. and Mrs. Gerard, 146, 147

Leigh, Hon. Gilbert, M.P., 4, 12, 13, 14, 54;
death of, 97-99

Leigh, Hon. Mrs. James, née Butler, 53, 54, 60, 62;
letter from, 64

Leigh, Margarette, Lady, née Willes, 16, 78

Leigh, Hon. Rowland, 40, 375

Leigh, Hon. Mrs. Rowland, née Gordon, 349, 375

Leigh, Major Hon. Rupert, 12, 40;
A.D.C., 242;
accompanies Lady Jersey on s.s. Lübeck, 287;
in Tonga, 288, 289;
in Samoa, 298;
writes in An Object of Pity, 315;
joins Staff of Sir Robert Duff, 324;
marriage, 383

Leigh, Hon. Mrs. Rupert, née Dudley Smith, 383

Leigh, Hon. and Rev. J. W. (Dean of Hereford), 20, 21, 53

Leigh, William Henry, 2nd Lord, entertains North Warwickshire Hunt, 1;
marriage, 2;
travels with his children, 4, 5, 14, 15, 23-29, 36;
receives Queen Victoria at Stoneleigh, 11-13;
takes moors in Scotland, 14, 15;
talks with Nelson’s servant, 29;
visits Ireland, 41-50;
at Child’s Bank, 373

Leveson-Gower, Hon. Mrs., née Leigh, 22

Littledale, Mrs., School for Indian ladies, 158

Lloyd. Mr. and Mrs., 31, 32

Loch, 1st Lord, 334
[Pg 390]
Longford, Colonel, Earl of, 374, 375

Lowe, Robert, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke, and Mrs., 119

Lowell, Mr. J. R., letters from, 83, 86;
poems by, 84, 86

Lucknow, 188

Lugard, Sir Frederick and Lady, 323, 324

Lyons Silk Manufactory, 23

Lyttelton, Hon. Mrs. Alfred, 381

Lyttelton, Lord, and the Canterbury Association, 282

Lytton, Countess of, and Lady Betty, 127


M

Macclesfield, Mary, Countess of, née Grosvenor, her story of ex-Kaiser, 26, 27;
mentioned, 31, 36

McDonnell, Sir Schomberg, 370

MacMahon, Marshal, 96

Macmillan, Mrs. Maurice, 381

Madras, 162 et seq.;
Harbour, 180

Madura,172-177

Mahableshwar, 151

Malet, Sir Edward, 100, 101, 109

Malet, Lady Ermyntrude, 100, 101, 105, 109

Malietoa Laupepa, King of Samoa, 292;
dinner with, 296-297

Marathon and its brigands, 31, 32;
visited, 129

Marie, Princess, of Greece, 130

Margaret, Queen of Italy, 356

Marsham, Charles, 74

Mary, H.M. Queen, interest in “Children’s Happy Evenings Association,” 369

Mason, Miss (Lady Allen), 247

Mataafa, rival King of Samoa, 292, 297-304

Max Müller, Professor, 147, 340

Maxwell, Sir Herbert Maxwell, Bart., 237

May, Colonel, at Lucknow, 189

Mehdi Ali, Mrs., 159

Mentone, 5;
marriage celebrations at for Prince of Wales, 25, 26

Meshaka, Mr., Vice-Consul at Damascus, 226-229

Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. John, 96, 97

Middleton Park, 65, 66, 71, 72

Milford Sound, 270

Miyanoshita, hot baths, 345

Molyneux, Hon. Mrs. Caryl, née Lawley, 56

Morrison, Mr. Alfred, 58, 59

Mount Abu, Jain temples on, 197, 198

Mount Stephen, Lord, 374

“Mrs. Malaprop,” a modern, 210, 211

Muncaster, Lady, née Grosvenor, 31;
marries Hon. H. Lindsay, 32

Muncaster, Lord and Lady, 31, 32, 120


N

Nabeshima, Marquis, 345

Napier of Merchiston, Lord, 172

Nauplia, 132, 133

Nazli, Princess, 217, 218

Nekualofa in Tonga, 287

Newdegate, Sir Frank, 17

Newdigate, Hon. Mrs., née Leigh, 16, 17

New Caledonia, voyage to, 276, 277

Newcastle in Australia, 319

Newman, Cardinal, 92, 93

New York, 354, 355

New Zealand, 268-276

Niagara, 354

Nikko, 336

Nile, the, 215, 216, 356-364

Nizam, H.H. the late, 155-157, 376, 377

Nizam, His Exalted Highness the present, 377

Norfolk, Duchess of, née Lyons, 9

Norfolk, Henry, Duke of, as Lord Maltravers, 9;
at Norfolk House, 92

Norfolk Island, 217

North, Lord, 75

Northcote, Lady, 244, 355, 356, 370, 374, 375, 379

Northcote, Sir Stafford (afterwards Lord), 355, 356, 370, 375, 379

Northumberland, Eleanor, Duchess of, née Grosvenor, 30, 31

Noumea, 277, 278

Nubar Pasha on the English, 357


O

O’Donoghue, the, 44-46

Olcott, Colonel, Theosophist, 146-148;
at Adyar, 167-169

Olga, Queen of Greece, 127-128, 209

Olympia, 139

“One People, One Destiny,” 250

Onslow, Countess, 269, 275, 276

Onslow, Earl, 269, 271, 272, 275, 276

Onslow, Hon. Huia. Maori Chieftain, after years of, 275

Onslow, Mrs. MacArthur, 256

Orient Express, 235

Osborne, Mr. and Mrs., 256
[Pg 391]
Osbourne, Lloyd, 298, 315

Osterley Park, 82, 83, 86, 143, 144, 237, 238, 355


P

Parker, Hon. Edmund, 272

Parker, Mr., of Tonga, 290

Parkes, Sir Henry, Premier of New South Wales, 249-251

Paley, Major and Mrs., 192

Peel, Hon. George, 366

Pender, Sir John, 115-117

Perponcher, Gräfin, 100

Phelps, Mr., American Minister, 142

Pigmies, African, 218, 219

Ponsonby, Sir Henry, 212

Port Darwin, 325-327

Popo, Samoan native, 300

Prendergast, Sir Harry, 166;
and Lady, 200

Protap, Chunder Mozoondar, 182, 183

Pundua, s.s., 180, 181, 182

Pyrgos, 137, 139


R

Raglan, Lord, 57

Ramsay, Lady Patricia, as a child, 152

Raratonga Island and its Queens, 272

Reay, Lord and Lady, 151, 152, 201

Rees, Sir John, 162, 163, 178, 180

Robbery under Arms, 253

Roberts, F.M. Earl, at Lucknow, 188-190;
at Child’s Bank, 374

Rome, 140, 356

Rotorua, 273;
Lake of, 274, 275

Rowton, Lord, 127, 140;
his anecdote of a picture, 239

Ruge’s Buildings, 27

Russell, Sir William, 115


S

St. Helier, Lady, 140

St. Kevin at Glendalough, 41, 42

Salisbury, Marquis of, Prime Minister, Bismarck’s esteem for, 105, 106, 108, 109

Samoa, 291 et seq.

Sanderson, Lord, 128, 333

Sannomiya, Baroness, 337, 339

Savaii, Samoan Island, 292

Schwarzenberg, Prince, 215, 216

Scott, Lord and Lady Charles, 285

Seierstorpff, Count, 114

Serfojee, Rajah of Tanjore, 170, 171

Sivajee, Princess at Tanjore, 171

Shaftesbury, Earl of, dictum on his generation, 369

Shaw-Stewart, Sir Hugh, 57

Shaw-Stewart, Sir Michael and Lady Octavia, née Grosvenor, 16, 38, 57

Shintoism, 339, 340

Shiva Prashad, Rajah, 185-187

Simele, Henry, Samoan Chief, 298, 302

Slatin Pasha, his escape from Omdurman, 359

Smyrna, 230, 231

Somerton School, 67

Southampton, Lady, Lady-in-Waiting, 213

Speke and Grant, their meeting with Sir S. Baker, 148

Spezia, 28, 29

Spring Rice, Sir Cecil, 336

Stalbridge, Lord, 34

Stanley, Sir Henry, Explorer, 218

Stephen, Sir Alfred, Lieutenant-Governor, N.S.W., 255

Stevenson, R. L., 25, 294, 295;
visit to rebel camp with, 297-303;
chief author of An Object of Pity, 313-316

Stevenson, Mrs. R. L., 294, 315, 316

Stewart, F.M. Sir Donald, 374

Strathnairn, F.M. Lord, 77

Strong, Mrs., 298, 300, 302, 315

Suleem Sheikh and his infant son, 193, 194

Sutherland, discoverer of Sutherland Falls, N.Z., 270

Suttor, Sir Frank, 255

Switzerland, expedition to, with children, 94

Sydney, arrival at, 248

Syon House, 61


T

Talbot, Dame Meriel, O.B.E., 381

Tamasese, Samoan Chief, 292, 304-306

Tanjore, 170

Theotoki, Greek Minister, 131-133

Timor, island of, 327-329

Toowoomba, Queensland, 324

Tricoupi, Greek Prime Minister, 130, 131

Tricoupi, Miss, 130, 131, 133, 134

Trafalgar seamen, 29

Travancore, Maharajah and Ranees of, 169, 170

Tonga, islands of, 287-291

Tubb, Mr. and Mrs., 74

Tughlakabad and its rulers, 191, 192
[Pg 392]
Tumut, N.S.W., reception at, 268

Turner, Mr., Collector of Madura, 172

Tutuila, Samoan Island, 291, 292

Tweedmouth, Fanny, Lady, 381

Tyler, Sir John, of Agra, 192, 194


U

Ulwar, 196

Upton House, 56

Upolu, chief Samoan island, 292


V

Vailima, R. L. Stevenson’s home, 315

Valentia, Viscount and Viscountess, 72, 73

Vancouver, arrival at, 346, 347

Vetyk Ahmed Pasha, his reminiscences, 234

Victoria, H.M. Queen, at Stoneleigh Abbey, 12, 13;
anecdote of her childhood, 13, 14;
in Ireland, 50;
devotion to Prince Consort’s memory, 39;
first Jubilee, 110-113, 120, 121;
reverence for in India, 179, 201-203;
receives Lord and Lady Jersey at Windsor, 212, 213;
Diamond Jubilee, 372-374;
her death, 379, 380

Victoria League founded, 380-382

Villiers, Hon. Arthur, birth, 82

Villiers, Lady Beatrice, 82;
in Italy, 373;
in India, 376, 377;
marries Lord Dunsany, 383

Villiers, Lady Clementina, 67, 68, 79

Villiers, Lady Margaret, 77, 98;
in Switzerland and Italy, 94, 95;
in Tonga and in Samoa, 287, 291, 298, 299;
leaves Australia with parents, 324;
at Hong-Kong, 330;
at Canton, 333;
in Japan, 337, 338, 343;
in London, 355;
in Egypt, 356;
marries Hon. Walter Rice, 374

Villiers, Lady Mary, 82, 97, 356;
marries Earl of Longford, 374

Villiers, Hon. Reginald, 127

Villiers, Viscount (now 8th Earl of Jersey), birth, 68, 69;
at Castlemount School, Dover, 82;
story written for by Tom Hughes, 89-91;
in Switzerland, at Biarritz and in Italy, 94, 95;
in India and Greece, 184-209;
wins Junior Oppidan Scholarship at Eton, 214;
remains in England when Lady Jersey at Apia, his experience with American reporter, 316;
marriage with Lady Cynthia Needham, 383

Vincent, Sir Edgar, afterwards Lord d’Abernon, at Constantinople, 232;
on the Orient Express, 235-237

Viti, Samoan lady, her dress, 304-305


W

Wady Haifa, 361, 362

Wakatipu Lake, 272

Wallace, Mrs., housekeeper, 10, 11

Wallace, Sir Donald Mackenzie, 182

Watters, Mr., Acting Consul at Canton, 332, 333

Whakarewarewa hot springs, 273

Wenlock, Elizabeth, Lady, née Grosvenor, 31, 56

Wellington, Arthur, Duke of, 3

Wellington in New Zealand, 273

Westfahlen, Count, 216

Westminster, Constance, Duchess of, 92

Westminster, 1st Duke of, 33

Westminster, Marchioness of, 19, 33

Westminster, Marquis of, 5, 32, 33

White, Miss, lady doctor at Hyderabad, 161

White, Sir William and Lady, 233, 234

William I, Emperor, 101, 102;
his picture in Tonga, 288

William, Prince, afterwards William II, 26, 27, 104

Willes, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, their New Year’s Party, 54-56

Wister, Owen, American author, 53

Wolmer, Lord and Lady, afterwards Earl and Countess of Selborne, 114

Wolseley, F.M. Viscount, 115, 118

Wombwell, George, death of, 172

Wombwell, Lady Julia, 63


X

Xavier, St. Francis, in Japan, 341


Y

Yandall, Samoan interpreter, 313

Yarrangobilly Caves, 266-268

Yokohama, 346


Z

Zante, island of, 139, 140

 

 


Footnotes:

[1] I learn that since our time a hut has been erected between Sutherland Falls and Milford Sound called Sandfly Hut. The guide-book says with consoling candour that it “is well named, but this pest is no less noticeable at any of the other stopping-places.”

[2] Haggard, who had described to us the loud voices of himself and his brothers.

[3] Margaret Villiers.

[4] Captain Rupert Leigh.

 

 


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