Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. I.

FRONTISPIECE-VIEW FROM DINING-ROOM, NEWTOWN ANNER.

From a Photograph by W. D. HEMPHILL, M.D.

VIGNETTE ON TITLE-VIEW FROM DARK WALK, NEWTOWN ANNER.

From a Photograph by W. D. HEMPHILL, M.D.

VOL. II.

FRONTISPIECE—THE SLOPE, NEWTOWN ANNER.

From a Photograph by W. D. HEMPHILL, M.D.

VIGNETTE ON TITLE_LADY OSBORNE'S SUMMER HOUSE.

From a Photograph by W. D. HEMPHILL, M.D.

PORTRAIT OF REV. HENRY WOODWARD .

PAGE 45

PORTRAIT OF ARCHBISHOP WHATELY

PAGE 207

PREFACE TO THE AUTOGRAPH LETTERS.

LETTERS stand in the same relation to biography that politics do to history. The events of a great character's life are made known by a mere biography, as history shews forth in the framed pictures left on the scaffolding of politics; but letters manifest the tone of mind as politics do the springs that guide the master hands accomplishing historical results.

The following written remains of the friends of Lady Osborne are all either of intrinsic interest in the judgment of the Editor, or of value on account of the (for the greater part) illustrious individuals who penned them for anything characteristic of such, has a charm belonging to it, and, if genuine, it must be characteristic.

In Lady Osborne's letters the Editor was struck by the still, unsettled, yet enduring interest of many of the subjects treated therein. In those, on the other hand, alluded to by Mons, de Sismondi, though in their nature final, they come under the category of the study for which he was most famous—history; a qualification which, though chief, was only one of many others; for, in his life, he was celebrated for his enlightened and truly liberal views on contemporaneous matters; likewise for being the centre of the most brilliant society that passed through Geneva, the gangway of the South of Europe. The pick and choice of all who travelled thither were to be met with at his soirées.

In those days the Editor was too young to understand the remarkable plot of social ground upon which Fortune had assigned her first view of the world in its company sense. A person finding themselves, suddenly, for the first time, at the foot of lofty mountains, would hardly take in all their altitude. Still it was impossible for her, even, not to reverence the gracious host and hostess, and to wonder at all the well-filled book-shelves that had been the products of M. de Sismondi's brain, and to listen with interest to the recital of his travels in the company of Madame de Stael, on whom all the “ beaux esprits ” of the day waited at various stopping places, as upon a sovereign who makes a progress There was to be seen the Marquis de St. Marsan, with fingers frozen in Napoleon's Moscow expedition, and accompanied by his lovely daughter, a model of grace and beauty. Remarkable instances of failure and success, were to be met side by side, as re “arded the past and future. On the one hand, the ex-Minister of Charles the Tenth, Baron d'Haussez, representing as he did individual will’or despotism pur

THE AUTOGRAPH LETTERS.

7

et simple;' and on the other, a personage who, in the condition of an exiled prince, the sagacious and far-seeing Mons. de Sismondi discerned a power that would be felt as one of the greatest in the world—the present ruler of the destinies of France. Queen Hortense, who, if she had been born in private life, would have been a most noteworthy person on account of her graces and gifts. She was an instance of the combination of a talent for music and painting; for, while well known as the composer of some beautiful “romances,” including the present French national air (composed, too, when quite a child), she would graciously shew albums of portraits done by herself, which indicated her facility in the sister art. Foreigners of all countries and shades of opinion found a ready admission to that small but very remarkable salon.

It may not be deemed unworthy of mention that M. de Sismondi's sisters both married men conspicuous in different ways—Sir James Mackintosh and Mr. Wedgewood.

That brilliant assemblage has long since vanished, as do all the dissolving views of this life. Many of the letters are from those eminent for their lives bearing upon the great hereafter rather than as actors upon the stage of this life, with one or two exceptions, though to reach that last plunge they had still to perform their parts in this life, but with their minds fixed upon that state which, though so vague to the living philosopher, is revealed to every dead barbarian.

Here the Editor has assembled a group on the plan of Chênes, and she only hopes that they will meet with the

« AnteriorContinuar »