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the poet did not like, and I gave them to Pringle for his little annuals— "The Friendship's Offering." The subject was a touching one. I give it here from his own letter. "They," the lines, "were at least earnestly felt and conceived. Last summer, after going down to Hastings, Mrs. Banim and I took a walk along the path at the bottom of Cart Hill, and passing the little churchyard, which you may recollect, we caught a glance of the headstone of the daughter of an old friend, who had just died in the town, and whom we knew a few months before. Young, beautiful, and good, after the first feeling came the remarkable question-Yes, here lies poor Bessy-before her time-yet what has she lost? And that answer, thus made, it was that suggested my verses."
The poet's objection was not to the verses but the subject. I was convinced of that. He did not like to see any thing about lost friends, as it recalled to his mind what had just happened. The lines entitled "The Death-boat of Heligoland" were written this year, and four of his "Letters to the Students of Glasgow."
In 1828 Viscount Dillon, a great friend of Campbell's, launched an epic poem, in twelve books; the metre, blank verse, was recommended by Campbell, and had been a work of three years. There were excellent points about Lord Dillon; he was kind, gentlemanly, hospitable, with a handsome person. In company highly agreeable, though given to engross a full share of conversation. In his poem he imitated some of the inversions of language in Milton and others of the great poet's peculiarities, but, as in all such cases, not with success. The noble viscount, however, erred sometimes on the score of metaphorical propriety. I remember a figure of his comparing the flight of a female apparition through the sky to a rocket
Rapid as rocket rushing with a hiss
Some passages were very effective and highly poetical. I am unaware of the success of the work.
Lord Dillon patronised a young lady as a poetess, and mentioned her in the highest terms to Campbell, to whom she was, it subsequently appeared, to dedicate her volume. This occurred in 1828, but his lordship had talked of her for nearly two years, and one day, at the poet's, said "She is a wonderful girl-she is the girl to start for the Derby." Some time after the poet asked if she had not " 'bolted," as he had heard nothing more of her at the winning-post. The volume at last appeared, with some pretty lines indicative of an elegant, well-informed mind.
At the poet's this amiable but somewhat enthusiastic nobleman used to get into conversations of a considerable length, until Campbell either got impatient or lapsed into one of his abstractions and became lost to all that was said. I in the meantime generally conversing with Mrs. Campbell, Lord Dillon would address me, perceiving Campbell's inattention. It was impossible not to attend to one who was really so kind a man, and one of thorough good in manners, although, as a French writer says, "it was difficult to get a comma" into his discourse. On many subjects, particularly Irish ones, he was full of information, and had made himself well acquainted with Italy, where he said he had lived several years for less than a thousand a year in order to economise, and could get teachers for his children, keep a carriage, horses, and a town and country house for that sum.
Campbell, Dillon, and one or two others, used to meet at dinner at a friend's house near Maida Hill, when the pleasantness and conviviality of the after-dinner-hour were the most agreeable I ever remember. The table was strictly a "conversible table," never less than the Graces nor more than the Muses sitting down to it. In general there were no more than six. Here all kinds of subjects were freely discussed-poetry, philosophy, economy, politics, and sometimes religion, but nothing in the way of disputation, all being in a strain of sober inquiry or illustration, carried on in good humour. There was none of that affectation of wit, the intention to exhibit which too frequently in those days consumed time to no purpose; none of that Sisyphean effort which, toiling for ease and levity, falls back from over-doing. The poet and the peer both came into the world in 1777, and were within a month or two of the same age. Lord Dillon had a seat out of Ireland-Ditchley in Oxfordshire, where he dealt out a generous hospitality.
At the commencement of 1829, the poet had become somewhat more reconciled to his domestic misfortune. He went abroad frequently and saw company at home. He had not lost any portion of his old abstractive habit, however, for Pringle had been circulating a paper soliciting a subscription for an unfortunate youth named Henry Scott. A copy was put into Campbell's hand for the purpose of mentioning the subject at a dinner where he was to be in the chair. When the cloth was removed, the poet had forgotten the paper and all about the subscription of which Pringle had been solicitous. In fact, Campbell had mislaid it at home. Pringle complained to me; "You should have kept the paper yourself,” I observed," and having prepared Campbell for the expectation of it beforehand, have gone and given it to him at the proper moment; it was eight chances out of ten otherwise that he would lose it."
"Impossible!" said Pringle, "a charity matter, too?"
With his habitual absence of mind, as I told that excellent and kind creature, he would have lost an exchequer bill in the same way, the last property he had in the world.
Pringle then sent him a note, recalling the circumstance of his inattention, which the world would have declared was unpardonable neglect, disregard of charitable feelings, and the like. Campbell instantly replied:
"I was guilty of a sad oversight in neglecting to circulate the paper which you gave me, and now, by some fatality I have mislaid it for the present, though I shall seek for it, and I think to a certainty I shall find
"In the meantime I enclose 37. as the only atonement I can offer you for the behoof of the poor fellow in whom you are so humanely interested. With much regard, and respect, &c."
This was but a repetition of the poet's old way. I never heard that the paper was discovered; the chances are that it was never heard of again.
I think it was the time he last came up from Scotland that I crossed him in the street just as he was entering his own house, wearied and dusty. I went in with him for a few minutes, when putting his hand into all his pockets, he exclaimed "I have not lost them, surely, I had a hundred pounds and more just now." He searched, but searched in vain, coat, pockets, and all. He had been set down in the White-horse Yard, Fetter Lane, and remarked that he was positive he had the notes there.
"Did he know the numbers ?"
"No." He set of to the inn again, but he never heard any thing more of his notes. He pulled them out perhaps, and dropped them in the coach in which he left the inn. I found he had brought them loose in his pocket, such was his careless way. Even when he wished to place any thing at home in security he generally put it in some place that when he wanted it he had forgotten. He soon forgot in the present case the loss of his money, economist as he affected at times to be.
He passed the first three months of the year in London, in tolerable health, resuming as near an approach as he could make to his old domestic life, though it was easily seen that his efforts were far from successful. There are so many little things demanding female supervision in the economy of a household, that are certain to be neglected under male superintendence, and above all under the superintendence of one so "helpless," to use Mrs. Campbell's word, as the poet was, that the want of her who had for so many years filled up the void now become wider in the poet's existence, was every day more and more visible. the loss of Mrs. Campbell he had to begin a new course of life, without adaptation for the change or experience to direct him how to make the best of it. It is with many like the severance of life itself to be thus torn away from past habits to form new ones. Confidence in self may do much to retrieve such a state of things, but it will as often lead wide of the mark as it will steer successfully, while in any case there are no more than partial restoratives, since the memory of past things, like antique coins, gaining additional value from the green rust of time, is quite sufficient to prevent the present from yielding satisfaction.
He decked his table with fresh plate and gave dinners, occasionally, as if he wished to seek in society at home the removal of that desolateness of feeling which it was impossible he should not experience. His table had seldom more than six, including himself and son, or eight at most. never recollect to have seen more. His dinners were frugal and well served, there was nothing extraneous; all was in good taste, too, at this time, for he had not yet betaken himself to those changes of domicile nor that disregard of comfort which he afterwards fell into as he drew more towards his last years. I well remember his giving two dinners in the month of January in this year on account of some circumstances attending them that were truly characteristic.
"Hold yourself disengaged, my good friend, for the 29th of January," he said to me, some days prior to that time, and to clench my attention, he wrote me a formal note, a wonderful thing for him to do when we were so intimate. I was on no account to miss that particular dinnerparty, and I promised to keep myself disengaged accordingly.
When the day arrived I could not conjecture who I was to meet. dinner hour was fixed later than usual. On entering his drawing-room in Upper Seymour-street, West, I found myself the first guest. Presently the poet, who had been dressing, came in, and looked at me with a degree of surprise for which I could not account. "I see I am the first
of the party," said I.
"Yes," he replied.
"You are dressed-did you come to dine ?" "To be sure I did this is the 29th of January." "Yes; but I did not invite you for that day."
"But you did though-I have your note of invitation at home into
"I did not mean it for to-day, but for to-morrow; I had a particular reason-it is my blunder, I see-you must stay and dine now. I will tell you my reason for not asking you to-day. I have friends on all sides in politics, as you know, and too many to ask altogether, so I meant to divide them. Tories to-day and Whigs to-morrow. Now, I intended you for to-morrow's party. They are high-flyers coming to-day, some of them excellent friends of mine, barring politics; you know two of them, Sir Francis Freeling, and Mr. Courtenay."
"You intend to escape a combustion that way, I suppose," was my
"I might be fearful of one in truth with some of you Whigs. Remember, I am Tory to-day. I was afraid if I asked you we might talk the Brunswickers of Cumberland over once more, and offend my cavalier friends-good in all but politics."
"We will not talls of the Duke of Cumberland and Protestant ascendency," I remarked, "we can find other topics."
"Yes," said the poet, laughingly, "but if they toast the 'Cumberland Brunswickers for ever, and down with all Papists,' you will give the 'Scarlet Lady at once in the way of reprisal ?"
"Oh, no," I replied, "I shall be in your house. It shall be the glorious and immortal memory, King William and the Orangemen, not forgetting the Curse.* But for fear of such a catastrophe, I shall start home again."
This the poet would not hear about; and remarked he was only jesting, that his company that day was such as he highly valued. "You shall stay now and get two dinners in place of one. The Brunswickers will
be left the other side of the Channel, and we need not broach Catholic Emancipation." We had some more jesting, in the course of which the poet observed that the morrow was the 30th of January, and that, as all his guests would be Cromwellians, he would have a calf's head. "All the party for to-morrow are of the right kind, staunch Cromwellians-sturdy Roundheads. We must toast the immortal memory of old Noll!" The poet was in one of his lively and happy humours, continuing in the same strain of pleasantry, when Sir Francis Freeling was announced, and his jesting terminated. Among the guests that day I remember the present Adjutant-General, Sir John Macdonald, and his son, Mr. Norman Macdonald, and the Hon. T. P. Courtenay, I forget who the others were. The evening passed off in an exceedingly pleasant manner, the almost certain consequence of a small conversational party.
On the following day I went again. Among the guests were the present Lord Chief Justice and Colonel Jones, of the Guards. The last, it is well known, was a good soldier but an eccentric man. He had left the Guards, I believe, about that time, and since then is no more. Campbell said something about military punishment, regarding which Jones, whose enemies laid him under a charge of cruelty on that very point, remarked :
They accuse me of flogging wounded men at Brussels. I did do so, and would do it again if the same things were to occur."
Campbell pricked up his ears, for he was a great enemy to brutal pu
A toast drank by the Cumberland Orangemen in Ireland at that time, too vulgar and ribald for gentlemen, uncharitable for bigots, and profane for Christians.
nishments at the will of any single man, and indeed in any case. thought that rigour in punishment never mended an adult mind. The colone! said he had enemies enough to make use of the rumour to do him all the mischief they could, but he did not regard them a rush. If he had done wrong, the Duke of Wellington would not have passed the circumstance over without reprobation.
"I would do it again, Campbell. I will tell you how it was. offence was one which none but English soldiers and the scum of those would commit. There is a brotherhood in the continental armies between man and man, that I am sorry to say does not exist among our men, that would have prevented such a crime among them. I was made governor of the city of Brussels by the Duke of Wellington. A great many wounded men were brought there; some severely, others very slightly wounded indeed. Some of these last, who walked about, coming into the hospitals only to have their wounds examined, stole the blankets from the beds under their suffering and dying comrades, and went and sold them for brandy. Think of the hearts of the rascals who could do such an inhuman thing. I did flog them for it, and would do it again. I made those feel in body who had no humanity in their hearts, not even towards their comrades."
"That was an extreme case," some one observed; "the men deserved punishment."
"The army was full of men that were a disgrace to it. In my regiment of guards, half were very bad characters; and, worst of all, a good many were attorneys' clerks, hackneyed in every species of villany."
"Not the worst of all," it was observed; "the regiment might have had their masters."
"True," said Jones. "The excellence of our non-commissioned officers and their vigilance was the means of repressing much that was bad among the men. Soldiers in such a place as London must be worse men than nature intended them, when they do not become soldiers until they have run the round of every vice there, as was the case with too many in my battalion."
I well recollect Jones relating, I think on this very occasion, that he was on guard at Cotton Garden, (the receptacle in which were carefully enclosed the witnesses against Queen Caroline), and the secrecy observed respecting the arrival of one of them, about whom her majesty's legal advisers were in the dark. Jones obtained the requisite information, and was suspected of having done so by Lord Sidmouth, whose mediocrity of understanding was well matched by his illiberality of spirit. Jones had before this taken up an address to the queen in his full uniform of the Guards. This was flagrant disloyalty in Lord Sidmouth's view, and he made it the ground of a desire to the Duke of Wellington that Jones should be cashiered and dismissed the service. The duke, with his customary straightforwardness, replied that had Jones sneaked up with an address in plain clothes, it might be different, but he had gone up openly, and he (the duke) did not see why a soldier had not as good a right to express his sentiments upon a civil question as any one who was not in the army -that Colonel Jones had committed no military offence.
While on this subject, I remember Jones relating one day at the poet's table, another anecdote equally honourable to the duke, which took place long before time had laid his whitening hand upon the veteran soldier.