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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 369 pages of information about Lady John Russell.

On April 27th, after six months’ absence, Lord and Lady Russell were once more at Pembroke Lodge.

    Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell

    37 CHESHAM PLACE, May 26, 1870

...  We came up, your father and I, on Tuesday to dine with Clarendons, and stayed all yesterday to dine with Salisburys.  Many things strike me on returning to England and English society:  the superiority of its best to those of any other nation; the larger proportion of vulgarity in all classes; ostentatious vulgarity, aristocratic vulgarity, coarse vulgarity; the stir and activity of mind on religion, politics, morals, all that is most worthy of thought.  What is to come of it all?  Will goodness and truth prevail?  Is a great regeneration coming?  I believe it in spite of many discouraging symptoms.  I believe that a coming generation will try to be and not only call itself Christian.  God grant that each of my children may add some little ray of light by thought, word, and deed to help in dispelling the darkness of error, sin, and crime in this and all other lands.

    Lady Russell to Mr. Rollo Russell

    June 2, 1870

I wish most earnestly for legal and social equality for women, but I cannot shut my eyes to what woman has already been—­the equal, if not the superior, of man in all that is highest and noblest and loveliest.  I don’t at all approve of any appearance of setting one against the other.  Let equal justice be done to both, without any spirit of antagonism....  I can well believe in all the delights of Oxford, and envy men that portion of their life.

CHAPTER XII

1870-78

In July, 1870, public attention was abruptly distracted from Irish and educational questions by the outbreak of the Franco-German War, which followed immediately upon the King of Prussia’s refusal to promise France that he would never, under any circumstances, countenance his cousin Prince Leopold’s candidature for the Spanish throne.  War came as a surprise to every one, even to the Foreign Office, and its real causes were little understood at the time.  The entire blame fell on Napoleon.  Only some, who had special information, knew that Bismarck had long been waiting for the opportunity which the extravagant demand of France had just given him; and very few among the well-informed guessed that he might have had a hand in contriving the cause of dispute itself.  Napoleon, since his annexation of Savoy, had so bad a reputation in Europe, a reputation which Bismarck had managed to blacken still more in their recent controversy over Luxembourg, that people were ready to take it as a matter of course that Napoleon should be the aggressor.  Finally, by publishing through the Times the secret document in M. Benedetti’s own hand, which assured help to Germany in annexing Holland, if Germany would help Napoleon to seize Belgium, Bismarck destroyed all remaining sympathy for France.

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