I looked out on the foggy shores of England with a feeling of relief; my tongue would now be freed from the difficult bondage of foreign languages, and my ears be rejoiced with the music of my own. After two hours’ delay at the Custom House, I took my seat in an open car for London. The day was dull and cold; the sun resembled a milky blotch in the midst of a leaden sky. I sat and shivered, as we flew onward, amid the rich, cultivated English scenery. At last the fog grew thicker; the road was carried over the tops of houses; the familiar dome of St. Paul’s stood out above the spires; and I was again in London!
LOCKHART, BERNARD BARTON AND CROLY—LONDON CHIMES AND GREENWICH FAIR.
My circumstances, on arriving at London, were again very reduced. A franc and a half constituted the whole of my funds. This, joined to the knowledge of London expenses, rendered instant exertion necessary, to prevent still greater embarrassment. I called on a printer the next morning, hoping to procure work, but found, as I had no documents with me to show I had served a regular apprenticeship, this would be extremely difficult, although workmen were in great demand. Mr. Putnam, however, on whom I had previously called, gave me employment for a time in his publishing establishment, and thus I was fortunately enabled to await the arrival of a remittance from home.
Mrs. Trollope, whom I met in Florence, kindly gave me a letter to Murray, the publisher, and I visited him soon after my arrival. In his library I saw the original portraits of Byron, Moore, Campbell and the other authors who were intimate with him and his father. A day or two afterwards I had the good fortune to breakfast with Lockhart and Bernard Barton, at the house of the former. Mr. Murray, through whom the invitation was given, accompanied me there. As it was late when we arrived at Regent’s Park, we found them waiting, and sat down immediately to breakfast.
I was much pleased with Lockhart’s appearance and manners. He has a noble, manly countenance—in fact, the handsomest English face I ever saw—a quick, dark eye and an ample forehead, shaded by locks which show, as yet, but few threads of gray. There is a peculiar charm in his rich, soft voice; especially when reciting poetry, it has a clear, organ-like vibration, which thrills deliciously on the ear. His daughter, who sat at the head of the table, is a most lovely and amiable girl.
Bernard Burton, who is now quite an old man, is a very lively and sociable Friend. His head is gray and almost bald, but there is still plenty of fire in his eyes and life in his limbs. His many kind and amiable qualities endear him to a large circle of literary friends. He still continues writing, and within the last year has brought out a volume of simple, touching “Household Verses.” A picture of cheerful and contented old age has never been more briefly and beautifully drawn, than in the following lines, which he sent me, in answer to my desire to possess one of his poems in his own hand: