Read CHAPTER V of Maria Mitchell: Life‚ Letters‚ and Journals, free online book, by Maria Mitchell, on



Shortly after her return from the South, Miss Mitchell started again for a tour in Europe with the same young girl.

Miss Mitchell carried letters from eminent scientific people in this country to such persons as it would be desirable for her to know in Europe; especially to astronomers and mathematicians.

When Miss Mitchell went to Europe she took her Almanac work with her, and what time she was not sight-seeing she was continuing that work. Her wisdom in this respect was very soon apparent. She had not been in England many weeks when a great financial crisis took place in the United States, and the father of her young charge succumbed to the general failure. The young lady was called home, but after considering the matter seriously Miss Mitchell decided to remain herself, putting the young lady into careful hands for the return passage from Liverpool.

Miss Mitchell enjoyed the society of the scientific people whom she met in England to her heart’s content. She was very cordially received, and the astronomers not only opened their observatories to her, but welcomed her into their family life.

On arriving at Liverpool, Miss Mitchell delivered the letters to the astronomers living in or near that city, and visited their observatories.

“Au, 1857. I brought a letter from Professor Silliman to Mr. John Taylor, cotton merchant and astronomer; and to-day I have taken tea with him. He is an old man, nearly eighty I should think, but full of life, and talks by the hour on heathen mythology. He was the principal agent in the establishment of the Liverpool Observatory, but disclaims the honor, because it was established on so small a scale, compared with his own gigantic plan. Mr. Taylor has invented a little machine, for showing the approximate position of a comet, having the elements.

“He has also made additions to the globes made by De Morgan, so that they can be used for any year and show the correct rising and setting of the stars.

“He struck me as being a man of taste, but of no great profundity. He has a painting which he believes to be by Guido; it seemed to me too fresh in its coloring for the sixteenth century.

“August 4, 3 P.M. I put down my pen, because old Mr. Taylor called, and while he was here Rev. James Martineau came. Mr. Martineau is one of the handsomest men I ever saw. He cannot be more than thirty, or if he is he has kept his dark hair remarkably. He has large, bluish-gray eyes, and is tall and elegant in manner. He says he is just packed to move to London. He gave me his London address and hoped he should see me there; but I doubt if he does, for I did not like to tell him my address unless he asked for it, for fear of seeming to be pushing.

“August,... I have been to visit Mr. Lassell. He called yesterday and asked me to dine with him to-day. He has a charming place, about four miles out of Liverpool; a pretty house and grounds.

“Mr. Lassell has constructed two telescopes, both on the Newtonian plan; one of ten, the other of twenty, feet in length. Each has its separate building, and in the smaller building is a transit instrument.

“Mr. Lassell must have been a most indefatigable worker as well as a most ingenious man; for, besides constructing his own instruments, he has found time to make discoveries. He is, besides, very genial and pleasant, and told me some good anecdotes connected with astronomical observations.

“One story pleased me very much. Our Massachusetts astronomer, Alvan Clark, has long been a correspondent of Mr. Dawes, but has never seen him. Wishing to have an idea of his person, and being a portrait painter, Mr. Clark sent to Mr. Dawes for his daguerreotype, and from that painted a likeness, which he has sent out to Liverpool, and which is said to be excellent.

“Mr. Lassell looks in at the side of his reflecting telescopes by means of a diagonal eye-piece; when the instrument is pointed at objects of high altitude he hangs a ladder upon the dome and mounts; the ladder moves around with the dome. Mr. Lassell works only for his own amusement, and has been to Malta,carrying his larger telescope with him,for the sake of clearer skies. Neither Mr. Lassell nor Mr. Hartnup makes regular observations.

“The Misses Lassell, four in number, seem to be very accomplished. They take photographs of each other which are beautiful, make their own picture-frames, and work in the same workshop with their father. One of them told me that she made observations on my comet, supposing it to belong to Mr. Dawes, who was a friend of hers.

“They keep an album of the autographs of their scientific visitors, and among them I saw those of Professor Young, of Dartmouth, and of Professor Loomis.

“August 4. I have just returned from a visit to the Liverpool Observatory, under the direction of Mr. Hartnup. It is situated on Waterloo dock, and the pier of the observatory rests upon the sandstone of that region, The telescope is an equatorial; like many good instruments in our country, it is almost unused.

“Mr. Hartnup’s observatory is for nautical purposes. I found him a very gentlemanly person, and very willing to show me anything of interest about the observatory; but they make no regular series of astronomical observations, other than those required for the commerce of Liverpool.

“Mr. Hartnup has a clock which by the application of an electric current controls the action of other clocks, especially the town clock of Liverpooldistant some miles. The current of electricity is not the motive power, but a corrector.

“Much attention is paid to meteorology. The pressure of the wind, the horizontal motion, and the course are recorded upon sheets of paper running upon cylinders and connected with the clock; the instrument which obeys the voice of the wind being outside.

“Au, 1857. I did not send my letter to Mr. Hawthorne until yesterday, supposing that he was not in the city; but yesterday when Rev. James Martineau called on me, he said that he had not yet left. Mr. Martineau said that it would be a great loss to Liverpool when Mr. Hawthorne went away.

“I sent my letter at once; from all that I had heard of Mr. Hawthorne’s shyness, I thought it doubtful if he would call, and I was therefore very much pleased when his card was sent in this morning. Mr. Hawthorne was more chatty than I had expected, but not any more diffident. He remained about five minutes, during which time he took his hat from the table and put it back once a minute, brushing it each time. The engravings in the books are much like him. He is not handsome, but looks as the author of his books should look; a little strange and odd, as if not of this earth. He has large, bluish-gray eyes; his hair stands out on each side, so much so that one’s thoughts naturally turn to combs and hair-brushes and toilet ceremonies as one looks at him.”

Later, when Miss Mitchell was in Paris, alone, on her way to Rome, she sent to the Hawthornes, who were also in Paris, asking for the privilege of joining them, as they too were journeying in the same direction. She says in her diary:

“Mrs. Hawthorne was feeble, and she told me that she objected, but that Mr. Hawthorne assured her that I was a person who would give no trouble; therefore she consented. We were about ten days on the journey to Rome, and three months in Rome; living, however, some streets asunder. I saw them nearly every day. Like everybody else, I found Mr. Hawthorne very taciturn. His few words were, however, very telling. When I talked French, he told me it was capital: ‘It came down like a sledge-hammer.’ His little satirical remarks were such as these: It was March and I took a bunch of violets to Rosa; notched white paper was wound around them, and Mr. Hawthorne said, ’They have on a cambric ruffle.”

“Generally he sat by an open fire, with his feet thrust into the coals, and an open volume of Thackeray upon his knees. He said that Thackeray was the greatest living novelist. I sometimes suspected that the volume of Thackeray was kept as a foil, that he might not be talked to. He shrank from society, but rode and walked.”


ROME, Fe, 1858.

... The Hawthornes are invaluable to me, because the little ones come to my room every day and I go there when I like. Mrs. Hawthorne sometimes walks with us, Mr. H. never. He has a horror of sight-seeing and of emotions in general, but I like him very much, and when I say I like him it only means that I like her a little more. Julian, the boy, is in love with me. When I was last there Mr. H. came home with me; as he put on his coat he turned to Julian and said, “Julian, I should think with your tender interest in Miss Mitchell you wouldn’t let me escort her home.”

“We arrived in Rome in the evening. Mrs. H. was somewhat of an invalid, and Mr. Hawthorne tried in vain to make the servant understand that she must have a fire in her room. He spoke no word of French, German, or Italian, but he said emphatically, ’Make a fire in Mrs. Hawthorne’s room.’ Worn out with his efforts, he turned to me and said, ’Do, Miss Mitchell, tell the servant what I want; your French is excellent! Englishmen and Frenchmen understand it equally well.’ So I said in execrable French, ‘Make a fire,’ and pointed to the grate; of course the gesture was understood.

“Mr. Hawthorne was minutely and scrupulously honest; I should say that he was a rigid temperance man. Once I heard Mrs. Hawthorne say to the clerk, ‘Send some brandy to Mr. Hawthorne at once.’ We were six in the party. When I paid my bill I heard Mr. Hawthorne say to Miss S., the teacher, who took all the business cares, ’Don’t let Miss Mitchell pay for one-sixth of my brandy.’

“So if we ordered tea for five, and six partook of it, he called the waiter and said, ’Six have partaken of the tea, although there was no tea added; to the amount.’

“I told Mr. Hawthorne that a friend of mine, Miss W., desired very much to see him, as she admired him very much. He said, ’Don’t let her see me, let her keep her little lamp burning.’

“He was a sad man; I could never tell why. I never could get at anything of his religious views.

“He was wonderfully blest in his family. Mrs. Hawthorne almost worshipped him. She was of a very serious and religious turn of mind.

“I dined with them the day that Una was sixteen years old. We drank her health in cold water. Mr. Hawthorne said, ’May you live happily, and be ready to go when you must.’

“He joined in the family talk very pleasantly. One evening we made up a story. One said, ‘A party was in Rome;’ another said, ’It was a pleasant day;’ another said, ‘They took a walk.’ It came to Hawthorne’s turn, and he said, ‘Do put in an incident;’ so Rosa said, ’Then a bear jumped from the top of St. Peter’s!’ The story went no further.

“I was with the family when they first went to St. Peter’s. Hawthorne turned away saying, ‘The St. Peter’s of my imagination was better.’

“I think he could not have been well, he was so very inactive. If he walked out he took Rosa, then a child of six, with him. He once came with her to my room, but he seemed tired from the ascent of the stairs. I was on the fifth floor.

“I have been surprised to see that he made severe personal remarks in his journal, for in the three months that I knew him I never heard an unkind word; he was always courteous, gentle, and retiring. Mrs. Hawthorne said she took a wifely pride in his having no small vices. Mr. Hawthorne said to Miss S., ’I have yet to find the first fault in Mrs. Hawthorne.’

“One day Mrs. Hawthorne came to my room, held up an inkstand, and said, ‘The new book will be begun to-night.’

“This was ‘The Marble Faun.’ She said, ’Mr. Hawthorne writes after every one has gone to bed. I never see the manuscript until it is what he calls clothed’.... Mrs. H. says he never knows when he is writing a story how the characters will turn out; he waits for them to influence him.

“I asked her if Zenobia was intended for Margaret Fuller, and she said, ‘No;’ but Mr. Hawthorne admitted that Margaret Fuller seemed to be around him when he was writing it.

“London, August. We went out for our first walk as soon as breakfast was over, and we walked on Regent street for hours, looking in at the shop windows. The first view of the street was beautiful, for it was a misty morning, and we saw its length fade away as if it had no end. I like it that in our first walk we came upon a crowd standing around ‘Punch.’ It is a ridiculous affair, but as it is as much a ‘peculiar institution’ as is Southern slavery, I stopped and listened, and after we came into the house Miss S. threw out some pence for them. We rested after the shop windows of Regent street, took dinner, and went out again, this time to Piccadilly.

“The servility of the shopkeepers is really a little offensive. ’What shall I have the honor of showing you?’ they say.

“Our chambermaid, at our lodgings, thanks us every time we speak to her.

“I feel ashamed to reach a four-penny piece to a stout coachman who touches his hat and begs me to remember him. Sometimes I am ready to say, ’How can I forget you, when you have hung around me so closely for half an hour?’

“Our waiter at the Adelphi Hotel, at Liverpool, was a very respectable middle-aged man, with a white neck-cloth; he looked like a Methodist parson. He waited upon us for five days with great gravity, and then another waiter told us that we could give our waiter what we pleased. We were charged L1 for ‘attendance’ in the bill, but I very innocently gave half as much more, as fee to the ‘parson,’

“August 14. To-day we took a brougham and drove around for hours. Of course we didn’t see London, and if we stay a month we shall still know nothing of it, it is so immense. I keep thinking, as I go through the streets, of ’The rats and the mice, they made such a strife, he had to go to London,’ etc., and especially ’The streets were so wide, and the lanes were so narrow;’ for I never saw such narrow streets, even in Boston.

“We have begun to send out letters, but as it is ‘out of season’ I am afraid everybody will be at the watering-places.

THE GREENWICH OBSERVATORY. “The observatory was founded by Charles II. The king that ‘never said a foolish thing and never did a wise one’ was yet sagacious enough to start an institution which has grown to be a thing of might, and this, too, of his own will, and not from the influence of courtiers. One of the hospital buildings of Greenwich, then called the ‘House of Delights,’ was the residence of Henrietta Maria, and the young prince probably played on the little hill now the site of the observatory.

“But Charles, though he started an observatory, did not know very well what was needed. The first building consisted of a large, octagonal room, with windows all around; it was considered sufficiently firm without any foundation, and sufficiently open to the heavens with no opening higher than windows. This room is now used as a place of deposit for instruments, and busts and portraits of eminent men, and also as the dancing-hall for the director’s family.

“Under Mr. Airy’s direction, the walls of the observing-room have become pages of its history. The transit instruments used by Halley, Bradley, and Pond hang side by side; the zenith sector with which Bradley discovered the ’aberration of light,’ now moving rustily on its arc, is the ornament of another room; while the shelves of the computing-room are filled with volumes of unpublished observations of Flamstead and others.

“The observatory stands in Greenwich Park, the prettiest park I have yet seen; being a group of small hills. They point out oaks said to belong to Elizabeth’s timenoble oaks of any time. The observatory is one hundred and fifty feet above the sea level. The view from it is, of course, beautiful. On the north the river, the little Thames, big with its fleet, is winding around the Isle of Dogs; on the left London, always overhung with a cloud of smoke, through which St. Paul’s and the Houses of Parliament peep.

“Mr. Airy was exceedingly kind to me, and seemed to take great interest in showing me around. He appeared to be much gratified by my interest in the history of the observatory. He is naturally a despot, and his position increases this tendency. Sitting in his chair, the zero-point of longitude for the world, he commands not only the little knot of observers and computers around him, but when he says to London, ’It is one o’clock,’ London adopts that time, and her ships start for their voyages around the globe, and continue to count their time from that moment, wherever the English flag is borne.

“It is singular what a quiet motive-power Science is, the breath of a nation’s progress.

“Mr. Airy is not favorable to the multiplication of observatories. He predicted the failure of that at Albany. He says that he would gladly destroy one-half of the meridian instruments of the world, by way of reform. I told him that my reform movement would be to bring together the astronomers who had no instruments and the instruments which had no astronomers.

“Mr. Airy is exceedingly systematic. In leading me by narrow passages and up steep staircases, from one room to another of the irregular collection of rooms, he was continually cautioning me about my footsteps, and in one place he seemed to have a kind of formula: ’Three steps at this place, ten at this, eleven at this, and three again.’ So, in descending a ladder to the birthplace of the galvanic currents, he said, ’Turn your back to the stairs, step down with the right foot, take hold with the right hand; reverse the operation in ascending; do not, on coming out, turn around at once, but step backwards one step first.’

“Near the throne of the astronomical autocrat is another proof of his system, in a case of portfolios. These contain the daily bills, letters, and papers, as they come in and are answered in order. When a portfolio is full, the papers are removed and are sewed together. Each year’s accumulation is bound, and the bound volumes of Mr. Airy’s time nearly cover one side of his private room.

“Mr. Airy replies to all kinds of letters, with two exceptions: those which ask for autographs, and those which request him to calculate nativities. Both of these are very frequent.

“In the drawing-room Mr. Airy is cheery; he loves to recite ballads and knows by heart a mass of verses, from ‘A, Apple Pie,’ to the ’Lady of the Lake.’

“A lover of Nature and a close observer of her ways, as well in the forest walk as in the vault of heaven, Mr. Airy has roamed among the beautiful scenery of the Lake region until he is as good a mountain guide as can be found. He has strolled beside Grassmere and ascended Helvellyn. He knows the height of the mountain peaks, the shingles that lie on their sides, the flowers that grow in the valleys, the mines beneath the surface.

“At one time the Government Survey planted what is called a ‘Man’ on the top of one of the hills of the Lake region. In a dry season they built up a stone monument, right upon the bed of a little pond. The country people missed the little pond, which had seemed to them an eye of Nature reflecting heaven’s blue light. They begged for the removal of the surveyor’s pile, and Mr. Airy at once changed the station.

“The established observatories of England do not step out of their beaten path to make discoveriesthese come from the amateurs. In this respect they differ from America and Germany. The amateurs of England do a great deal of work, they learn to know of what they and their instruments are capable, and it is done.

“The library of Greenwich Observatory is large. The transactions of learned societies alone fill a small room; the whole impression of the thirty volumes of printed observations fills a wall of another room, and the unpublished papers of the early directors make of themselves a small manuscript library.

“October 22, 1857. We have just returned from our fourth visit to Greenwich, like the others twenty-four hours in length. We go again to-morrow to meet the Sabines.

“Herr Struve, the director of the Pulkova Observatory, is at Greenwich, with his son Karl. The old gentleman is a magnificent-looking fellow, very large and well proportioned; his great head is covered with white hair, his features are regular and handsome. When he is introduced to any one he thrusts both hands into the pockets of his pantaloons, and bows. I found that the son considered this position of the hands particularly English. However, the old gentleman did me the honor to shake hands with me, and when I told him that I brought a letter to him from a friend in America, he said, ’It is quite unnecessary, I know you without.’ He speaks very good English.

“Herr Struve’s mission in England is to see if he can connect the trigonometrical surveys of the two countries. It is quite singular that he should visit England for this purpose, so soon after Russia and England were at war. One of his sons was an army surgeon at the Crimea.

“Five visitors remained all night at the observatory. I slept in a little round room and Miss S. in another, at the top of a little jutting-out, curved building. Mrs. Airy says, ’Mr. Airy got permission of the Board of Visitors to fit up some of the rooms as lodging-rooms.’ Mr. Airy said, ’My dear love, I did as I always do: I fitted them up first, and then I reported to the Board that I had done it.’

“October 23. Another dinner-party at the observatory, consisting of the Struves, General and Mrs. Sabine, Professor and Mrs. Powell, Mr. Main, and ourselves; more guests coming to tea.

“Mrs. Airy told me that she should arrange the order of the guests at table to please herself; that properly all of the married ladies should precede me, but that I was really to go first, with Mr. Airy. To effect this, however, she must explain it to Mrs. Sabine, the lady of highest rank.

“So we went out, Professor Airy and myself, Professor Powell and Mrs. Sabine, General Sabine and Mrs. Powell, Mr. Charles Struve and Miss S., Mr. Main, Mrs. Airy, and Professor Struve.

“General Sabine is a small man, gray haired and sharp featured, about seventy years old. He smiles very readily, and is chatty and sociable at once. He speaks with more quickness and ease than most of the Englishmen I have met. Mrs. Sabine is very agreeable and not a bit of a blue-stocking.

“The chat at table was general and very interesting. Mr. Airy says, ’The best of a good dinner is the amount of talk.’ He talked of the great ‘Leviathan’ which he and Struve had just visited, then anecdotes were told by others, then they went on to comic poetry. Mr. Airy repeated ‘The Lost Heir,’ by Hood. General Sabine told droll anecdotes, and the point was often lost upon me, because of the local allusions. One of his anecdotes was this: ’Archbishop Whately did not like a professor named Robert Daly; he said the Irish were a very contented people, they were satisfied with one bob daily.’ I found that a ‘bob’ is a shilling.

“When the dinner was over, the ladies left the room, and the gentlemen remained over their wine; but not for long, for Mr. Airy does not like it, and Struve hates it.

“Then, before tea, others dropped in from the neighborhood, and the tea was served in the drawing-room, handed round informally.

“August 15. Westminster Abbey interested me more than I had expected. We went into the chapels and admired the sculpture when the guide told us we ought, and stopped with interest sometimes over some tomb which he did not point out.

“I stepped aside reverently when I found I was standing on the stone which covers the remains of Dr. Johnson. It is cracked across the middle. Garrick lies by the side of Johnson, and I thought at first that Goldsmith lay near; but it is only a monumentthe body is interred in Temple churchyard.

“You are continually misled in this way unless you refer at every minute to your guide-book, and to go through Europe reading a guide-book which you can read at home seems to be a waste of time. On the stone beneath which Addison lies is engraved the verse from Tickell’s ode:

“‘Ne’er to these chambers where the mighty rest,’ etc.

“The base of Newton’s monument is of white marble, a solid mass large enough to support a coffin; upon that a sarcophagus rests. The remains are not enclosed within. As I stepped aside I found I had been standing upon a slab marked ‘Isaac Newton,’ beneath which the great man’s remains lie.

“On the side of the sarcophagus is a white marble slab, with figures in bas-relief. One of these imaginary beings appears to be weighing the planets on a steel-yard. They hang like peas! Another has a pair of bellows and is blowing a fire. A third is tending a plant.

“On this sarcophagus reclines a figure of Newton, of full size. He leans his right arm upon four thick volumes, probably ‘The Principia,’ and he points his left hand to a globe above his head on which the goddess Urania sits; she leans upon another large book.

“Newton’s head is very fine, and is probably a portrait. The left hand, which is raised, has lost two fingers. I thought at first that this had been the work of some ‘undevout astronomer,’ but when I came to ’read up’ I found that at one time soldiers were quartered in the abbey, and probably one of them wanted a finger with which to crowd the tobacco into his pipe, and so broke off one.

“August 17. To-day we have been to the far-famed British Museum. I carried an ‘open sesame’ in the form of a letter given to me by Professor Henry, asking for me special attention from all societies with which the ‘Smithsonian’ at Washington is connected.

“I gave the paper first to a police officer; a police officer is met at every turn in London. He handed it to another official, who said, ’You’d better go to the secretary.’

“I walked in the direction towards which he pointed, a long way, until I found the secretary. He called another man, and asked him to show me whatever I wanted to see.

“This man took me into another room, and consigned me to still another manthe fifth to whom I had been referred. N was an intelligent and polite person, and he began to talk about America at once.

“I asked to see anything which had belonged to Newton, and he told me they had one letter only,from Newton to Leibnitz,which he showed me. It was written in Latin, with diagrams and formulae interspersed. The reply of Leibnitz, copied by Newton, was also in their collection, and an order from Newton written while he was director of the mint.

“N also showed me the illuminated manuscripts of the collection; they are kept locked in glass-topped cases, and a curtain protects them from the light. We saw also the oldest copy of the Bible in the world.

“The art of printing has brought incalculable blessings; but as I looked at a neat manuscript book by Queen Elizabeth, copied from another as a present to her father, I could not help thinking it was much better than worsted work!

“A much-worn prayer-book was shown me, said to be the one used by Lady Jane Grey when on the scaffold. Nothing makes me more conscious that I am on foreign soil than the constant recurrence of associations connected with the executioner’s block. We hung the Quakers and we burned the witches, but we are careful not to remember the localities of our barbarisms; we show instead the Plymouth Rock or the Washington Elm.

“Among other things, we were shown the ’Magna Charta’a few fragments of worn-out paper on which some words could be traced; now carefully preserved in a frame, beneath a glass.

“Thus far England has impressed me seriously; I cannot imagine how it has ever earned the name of ‘Merrie England.’

“August 19. There are four great men whose haunts I mean to seek, and on whose footsteps I mean to stand: Newton, Shakspere, Milton, and Johnson.

“To-day I told the driver to take me to St. Martin’s, where the guide-book says that Newton lived. He put me down at the Newton Hotel, but I looked in vain to its top to see anything like an observatory.

“I went into a wine-shop near, and asked a girl, who was pouring out a dram, in which house Newton lived. She pointed, not to the hotel, but to a house next to a church, and said, ’That’s itdon’t you see a place on the top? That’s where he used to study nights.’

“It is a little, oblong-shaped observatory, built apparently of wood, and blackened by age. The house is a good-looking oneit seems to be of stone. The girl said the rooms were let for shops.

“Next I told the driver to take me to Fleet street, to Gough square, and to Bolt court, where Johnson lived and died.

“Bolt court lies on Fleet street, and it is but few steps along a narrow passage to the house, which is now a hotel, where Johnson died; but you must walk on farther through the narrow passage, a little fearful to a woman, to see the place where he wrote the dictionary. The house is so completely within a court, in which nothing but brick walls could be seen, that one wonders what the charm of London could be, to induce one to live in that place. But a great city always draws to itself the great minds, and there Johnson probably found his enjoyment.

“August 27. We took St. Paul’s Church to-day. We took tickets for the vaults, the bell, the crypt, the whispering-gallery, the clock and all. We did not know what was before us. It was a little tiresome as far as the library and the room of Nelson’s trophies, but to my surprise, when the guide said, ‘Go that way for the clock,’ he did not take the lead, but pointed up a staircase, and I found myself the pioneer in the narrowest and darkest staircase I ever ascended. It was really perfect darkness in some of the places, and we had to feel our way. We all took a long breath when a gleam of light came in at some narrow windows scattered along. At the top, in front of the clock works, stood a woman, who began at once to tell us the statistics of the pendulum, to which recital I did not choose to listen. She was not to go down with us, and, panting with fatigue and trembling with fright, we groped our way down again.

“There was another long, but easy, ascent to the ‘whispering-gallery,’ which is a fine place from which to look down upon the interior of the church. The man in attendance looked like a respectable elderly gentleman. He told us to go to the opposite side of the gallery, and he would whisper to us. We went around, and, worn out with fatigue, dropped upon a bench.

“The man began to whisper, putting his mouth to an opening in the wall; we heard noises, but could not tell what he said.

“To my amazement, this very respectable-looking elderly gentleman, as we passed him in going out, whispered again, and as this time he put his mouth close to my ear, I understood! He said, ’If you will give anything for the whisper, it will be gratefully received.’ There are notices all over the church forbidding fees, and I felt that the man was a beggar at bestmore properly a pickpocket.

“A figure of Dr. Johnson stands in one of the aisles of the church. It must be like him, for it is exceedingly ugly.

“September 3. We have been three weeks in London ‘out of season,’ but with plenty of letters. At present we have as many acquaintances as we desire. Last night we were at the opera, to-night we go out to dine, and to-morrow evening to a dance, the next day to Admiral Smyth’s.

“The opera fatigued me, as it always does. I tired my eyes and ears in the vain effort to appreciate it. Mario was the great star of the evening, but I knew no difference.

“One little circumstance showed me how an American, with the best intentions, may offend against good manners. American-like we had secured very good seats, were in good season, and as comfortable as the very narrow seats would permit us to be, before most of the audience arrived. The house filled, and we sat at our ease, feeling our importance, and quite unconscious that we were guilty of any impropriety. While the curtain was down, I heard a voice behind me say to the gentleman who was with us, ’Is the lady on your left with you?’’Yes,’ said Mr. R.’She wears a bonnet, which is not according to rule.’’Too late now,’ said Mr. R.’It is my fault,’ said the attendant; ‘I ought not to have admitted her; I thought it was a hood.’

“I was really in hopes that I should be ordered out, for I was exceedingly fatigued and should have been glad of some fresh air. On looking around, I saw that only the ‘pit’ wore bonnets.

“September 6. We left London yesterday for Aylesbury. It is two hours by railroad. Like all railroads in England, it runs seemingly through a garden. In many cases flowers are cultivated by the roadside.

“From Aylesbury to Stone, the residence of Admiral Smyth, it is two miles of stage-coach riding. Stage-coaches are now very rare in England, and I was delighted with the chance for a ride.

“We found the stage-coach crowded. The driver asked me if we were for St. John’s Lodge, and on my replying in the affirmative gave me a note which Mrs. Smyth had written to him, to ask for inside seats. The note had reached him too late, and he said we must go on the outside. He brought a ladder and we got up. For a minute I thought, ’What a height to fall from!’ but the afternoon was so lovely that I soon forgot the danger and enjoyed the drive. There were six passengers on top.

“Aylesbury is a small town, and Stone is a very small village. The driver stopped at what seemed to be a cultivated field, and told me that I was at my journey’s end. On looking down I saw a wheelbarrow near the fence, and I remembered that Mrs. Smyth had said that one would be waiting for our luggage, and I soon saw Mrs. Smyth and her daughter coming towards us. It was a walk of about an eighth of a mile to the ’Lodge’a pleasant cottage surrounded by a beautiful garden.

“Admiral Smyth’s family go to a little church seven hundred years old, standing in the midst of tombstones and surrounded by thatched cottages. English scenery seems now (September) much like our Southern scenery in Aprilrich and lovely, but wanting mountains and water. An English village could never be mistaken for an American one: the outline against the sky differs; a thatched cottage makes a very wavy line on the blue above.

“We find enough in St. John’s Lodge, in the admiral’s library, and in the society of the cultivated members of his family to interest us for a long time.

“The admiral himself is upwards of sixty years of age, noble-looking, loving a good joke, an antiquarian, and a good astronomer. I picked up many an anecdote from him, and many curious bits of learning.

“He tells a good story, illustrative of his enthusiasm when looking at a crater in the moon. He says the night was remarkably fine, and he applied higher and higher powers to his glass until he seemed to look down into the abyss, and imagining himself standing on its verge he felt himself falling in, and drew back with a shudder which lasted even after the illusion was over.

“In speaking of Stratford-upon-Avon, the admiral told me that the Lucy family, one of whose ancestors drove Shakspere from his grounds, and who is caricatured in Justice Shallow, still resides on the same spot as in Shakspere’s time. He says no family ever retained their characteristics more decidedly.

“Some years ago one of this family was invited to a Shakspere dinner. He resented the well-meant invitation, saying they must surely have forgotten how that person treated his ancestor!

“The amateur astronomers of England are numerous, but they are not like those of America.

“In America a poor schoolmaster, who has some bright boys who ask questions, buys a glass and becomes a star-gazer, without time and almost without instruments; or a watchmaker must know the time, and therefore watches the stars as time-keepers. In almost all cases they are hard-working men.

“In England it is quite otherwise. A wealthy gentleman buys a telescope as he would buy a library, as an ornament to his house.

“Admiral Smyth says that no family is quite civilized unless it possesses a copy of some encyclopaedia and a telescope. The English gentleman uses both for amusement. If he is a man of philosophical mind he soon becomes an astronomer, or if a benevolent man he perceives that some friend in more limited circumstances might use it well, and he offers the telescope to him, or if an ostentatious man he hires some young astronomer of talent, who comes to his observatory and makes a name for him. Then the queen confers the honor of knighthood, not upon the young man, but upon the owner of the telescope. Sir James South was knighted for this reason.

“We have been visiting Hartwell House, an old baronial residence, now the property of Dr. Lee, a whimsical old man.

“This house was for years the residence of Louis XVIII., and his queen died here. The drawing-room is still kept as in those days; the blue damask on the walls has been changed by time to a brown. The rooms are spacious and lofty, the chimney-pieces of richly carved marble. The ceiling of one room has fine bas-relief allegorical figures.

“Books of antiquarian value are all aroundone whole floor is covered with them. They are almost never opened. In some of the rooms paintings are on the walls above the doors.

“Dr. Lee’s modern additions are mostly paintings of himself and a former wife, and are in very bad taste. He has, however, two busts of Mrs. Somerville, from which I received the impression that she is handsome, but Mrs. Smyth tells me she is not so; certainly she is sculpturesque.

“The royal family, on their retreat from Hartwell House, left their prayer-book, and it still remains on its stand. The room of the ladies of the bedchamber is papered, and the figure of a pheasant is the prevailing characteristic of the paper. The room is called ’The Pheasant Room.’ One of the birds has been carefully cut out, and, it is said, was carried away as a memento by one of the damsels.

“Dr. Lee is second cousin to Sir George Lee, who died childless. He inherits the estate, but not the title. The estate has belonged to the Lees for four hundred years. As the doctor was a Lee only through his mother, he was obliged to take her name on his accession to the property. He applied to Parliament to be permitted to assume the title, and, being refused, from a strong Tory he became a Liberal, and delights in currying favor with the lowest classes; he has twice married below his rank. Being remotely connected with the Hampdens, he claims John Hampden as one of his family, and keeps a portrait of him in a conspicuous place.

“A summer-house on the grounds was erected by Lady Elizabeth Lee, and some verses inscribed on its walls, written by her, show that the Lees have not always been fools.

“But Dr. Lee has his way of doing good. Being fond of astronomy, he has bought an eight and a half feet equatorial telescope, and with a wisdom which one could scarcely expect, he employed Admiral Smyth to construct an observatory. He has also a fine transit instrument, and the admiral, being his near neighbor, has the privilege of using the observatory as his own. In the absence of the Lees he has a private key, with which he admits himself and Mrs. Smyth. They make the observations (Mrs. Smyth is a very clever astronomer), sleep in a room called ‘The Admiral’s Room,’ find breakfast prepared for them in the morning, and return to their own house when they choose.

“I saw in the observatory a timepiece with a double second-hand; one of these could be stopped by a touch, and would, in that way, show an observer the instant when he thought a phenomenon, as an occultation for instance, had occurred, and yet permit him to go on with his count of the seconds, and, if necessary, correct his first impression.

“Admiral Smyth is a hard worker, but I suspect that many of the amateur astronomers of England are Dr. Leesrich men who, as a hobby, ride astronomy and employ a good astronomer. Dr. Lee gives the use of a good instrument to the curate; another to Mr. Payson, of Cambridge, who has lately found a little planet.

“I saw at Admiral Smyth’s some excellent photographs of the moon, but in England they have not yet photographed the stars.”