I was at that time the guest of a son of my Pittsburg friend, Judge McMillan, who led the singing in our church, and with whom I expect to sing “St. Thomas” in heaven. My host of that evening afterwards became U.S. Senator from Minnesota.
A considerable portion of three winters I traveled in Minnesota and lectured, one day riding thirty miles in an open cutter when the mercury was frozen and the wind blew almost a gale. Have crossed houseless prairies between midnight and morning, with only a stage driver, and I never encountered a neglect or a rudeness: but found gentlemen in red flannel shirts and their trowsers stuffed into the tops of their boots, who had no knowledge of grammar, and who would, I think, have sold their lives dearly in my defense.
Late in ’60 or early in ’61, I lectured in Mantorville, and was the guest of Mr. Bancroft, editor of the Express, when he handed me a copy of the New York Tribune, pointed to an item, and turned away. It was a four line announcement that he who had been my husband had obtained a divorce on the ground of desertion. I laid down the paper, looked at my hands, and thought:
“Once more you are mine. True, the proceeds of your twenty years of brick-making are back there in Egypt with your lost patrimony, but we are over the Red Sea, out in the free desert; no pursuit is possible, and if bread fails, God will send manna.”
While I sat, Mrs. Bancroft came to me, caressed me, and said:
“Old things have passed away, and all things have become new.”
OUT INTO THE WORLD AND HOME AGAIN.
In my first lecturing winter I spoke in the Hall of Representatives, St. Paul, to a large audience, and succeeded past all my hopes. I spoke there again in the winter of ’61 and ’62, on the anti-slavery question, and in a public hall on “Woman’s Legal Disabilities.” Both were very successful, and I was invited to give the latter lecture before the Senate, which I did. The hall was packed and the lecture received with profound attention, interrupted by hearty applause.
The Senate was in session, and Gen. Lowrie occupied his seat as a member. It was a great fall for him to tumble from his dictatorship to so small an honor. He sat and looked at me like one in a dream, and I could not but see that he was breaking. I hoped he would come up with others when they began to crowd around me, but he did not.
I had come to be the looked-at of all lookers; the talked-of of all talkers; was the guest of Geo. A. Nurse, the U.S. Attorney, dined with the Governor, and was praised by the press. I was dubbed the “Fanny Kemble of America,” and reminded critics of the then greatest Shylock of the stage. A judge from Ohio said there was “not a man in the State who could have presented that case (Woman’s Legal Disabilities) so well.” Indeed, I was almost as popular as if I were about to be hanged!